Of all the towns my husband and I have called home, one of the more interesting places we have lived has been a little mining town in the rolling foothills of California called Angels Camp. Some of you may recognize that name from the writings of Mark Twain as he spent quite a bit of his time travelling through that region of California during the Gold Rush of the mid 1800's.

Angels Camp is well known for its annual county fair, better known as "The Jumping Frog Jubilee" which was made famous (or infamous!) by Mark Twain's short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" (1867). You would think that living in a quaint town that was made famous by frogs and a rich history of gold mining would be interesting enough, but no -- there's more. Angels Camp boasts several working cattle ranches, one of which was only a few miles from our home.

Living in this rural location, much of my time was spent driving our children to and from town. On one occasion in particular, a “not your everyday occurrence” stands out in my mind. As I sped around a corner of the oak tree lined highway, I came face to face with several hundred bovine! I immediately put my foot on the breaks and slowed down. My car was the only one on the road which was now completely blocked. I felt trapped as I inched forward and I wondered how I would get past them to take my children to school on that day. Moments later the cattle were on all sides of us, stirring up dust and encircling the car. I could move no further. I felt confused and a bit of panic set in as the beasts lumbered by me. A steer is a rather large animal when it is right next to you – up close and personal! I felt boxed in, surrounded and pressed in on all sides. The road was impassable and I didn’t know what to do. Then suddenly, through the cloud of dust a cowboy appeared in front of me riding upon a horse. Yes, there really are still cowboys in California! (And in case you are wondering…he was dressed the part complete with chaps, a leather vest, Stetson hat and a shiny belt buckle.  Can’t you just picture it?) I looked up at him through my car window and saw that he was motioning for me to continue driving. The man was calm and unruffled as he came alongside me and slowly directed me through the massive herd of cattle. His reassuring presence settled my nerves and my panic subsided. I kept my attention on my guide as we made our way through the crowded highway and a peaceful calm settled upon me.  He stayed by me all the way until my car was beyond the steers and the road was clear.

This memory has sometimes come to my mind when I have felt weighed down and boxed in by the chaos of life. At times our jobs or other responsibilities can seem so overwhelming that we feel hard pressed and confused as we try to figure out how to maneuver our way through the turmoil. Our focus often shifts from God to our troubles and stress begins to overtake us. Have you ever felt like that? Completely overwhelmed and surrounded by burdens that seemingly block your forward progress? Take heart! God’s word promises that He will never abandon us.  He will be our Guide.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Maintaining our focus on God's character and not on our circumstances is essential when navigating through life. We will all face trials and “road blocks” at one time or another but when we focus on His promises our spirits will be comforted and we will feel His peace. Knowing that God will never abandon us will help us face every obstacle in our path. So, let’s remember when things are hectic and we feel a bit frazzled, to keep our eyes on our Guide. In the midst of a herd of troubles He’ll stay by us and lead us through.

Living for Him,

Post Script: I originally wrote and posted this in June of 2010. However, since this week is the week we remember God's gift of peace, I thought it appropriate to post again. Also, I've added an Advent tab above with my gift to you during this Christmas season.  Blessings!

Linked with:  
Winsome Wednesdays
Grace Cafe
Thought Provoking Thursday
Spiritual Sundays

The Monday "Sharing His Beauty" link-up is almost here! Let's start the week giving praises to our Father together!  This month, I'm also unwrapping the Gifts of Advent on the link-up date.  I hope you'll join me! (The linky will be open on Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time). See you then!


  1. Nice post Joan! You are so right; He desires that we come to him with our worries and struggles, not as a last resort when we've tried everything else, but as soon as trouble crops up. we need to step back and leave it all with Him!

    Blessings and hugs!

  2. I can only imagine how you must have felt being in the midst of a herd. Thank goodness for your guide. And what a perfect analogy for our walk with God. He is my guide and I need to keep my eyes on Him and not on the chaos of my circumstances.

    I hope you are enjoying staying home and not driving the long distance to work.

    Blessings and love,

  3. Hi Joan - great analogy of God guiding us through. I love it when things like this happen and we can relate it to God, our father. Thanks for linking Up Joan, I appreciate it and look forward to seeing you there.
    God bless

  4. Love it!!!! I'm right in that car with you.

  5. That is beautiful. It is like an angel appearing, isn't it. I set the scripture to music about peace and keeping our eyes on Jesus. It is on my Wordsong Collections blog under the Label, Peace. Thanks for your sweet visit.

  6. So very beautiful, bless you.

  7. THis is a great post with such a vivid visual of being lead through our trials and roadblocks...we used to live in Montana and this story took me right back to the place. Since my hubby has worn cowboy boots, jeans, and a cowboy had for 40 yrs it made me smile...he has been known as the "cowboy preacher" in the midwest. I enjoyed this very much!

  8. This made me smile so much!!! Only twice in my life have I helped work cattle. I have also been in a field helping mend fence when their curiosity got the best of them. I even played a softball game with cow spectators occupying center outfield. Thank you for sharing! Nice to read you for the first time!

  9. What an incredible event to have stored in your memory...such a vivid picture of God guiding us!

  10. Hi Joan:

    I love this story and it is a wonderful analogy of how God comes along beside us and guides us through the storms of life.

    (I've been around cattle all my life, but never caught in a herd like that. I'll bet it was scary!)

    Many blessings and thank you for sharing this at The Grace Cafe!

  11. Joan, I really like this post! There are many times when we feel surrounded by a herd of troubles, but Jesus, our Guide, is always with us to lead us through. We just have to keep our eyes on Him.

    Many blessings!

  12. Beautiful memory. Thank you so much for letting us share it with you! We have the best guide, don't we. This Christmas season, I'll be striving to slow down. To be still so I can hear Him throughout the crowd/chaos.
    Blessings to you!

  13. Oh, I feel claustrophobic just reading about it! I've felt surrounded by troubles at times -- and then God! Depending on God's character instead of focusing on my troubles doesn't come easy to me, but even if the trouble doesn't disappear I can find peace in my heart.

    Blessings on your week, Joan.

  14. I love this story. I felt your panic as you were surrounded by the animals. I know where Angels Camp is. I lived in Stockton which is not too far from there for almost 20 years. California is such a diverse state. I'll bet a lot of people didn't know such a places as Angels Camp existed in that state. lol
    This story is a great analogy for how our Shepherd guides us through troubles. Thank you for sharing it.

  15. Keep our eyes on the Guide. Such great advice! It's so easy to get distracted on the chaos, but He always gives us a way to look up.

  16. Excellent Post Joan. Boxed in by bovine and also often in life - - but thank God, we too have a Spiritual guide to show us the way to travel.


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