857. If you want to know God, watch a monarch butterfly from a thousand miles away return to a place where it has never been before. ~Author Unknown

Butterflies…not quite birds,
as they are not quite flowers,
mysterious and fascinating
as are all indeterminate creatures.
~Elizabeth Goudge

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From inside my house today, I’m pretty sure I saw a monarch butterfly as it flitted in and out of the yard. This is an appearance I’ve been waiting and hoping for days. For you see from April through June monarchs leave their habitats in groves of fir trees deep in Mexico or in the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque to begin a journey as far north as southern Canada, and in so doing they fly over our area. Sadly their numbers have decreased tremendously because of the ongoing shrinking of their habitats and the poisoning of milkweeds along their flyway by farmers, but I’m still seeing some of them every year, and finding these colorful nomadic wanderers in my garden has always been for me a delightful rite of passage in their dramatic migrations. Monarchs with their burnt-orange and black-veined wings edged in black margins sprinkled with white dots are stunning. That’s why it’s easy to spot the 5 or 6 generations of them that it takes to get to their northernmost destinations. Milkweeds are their host plants (where they lay their eggs); so whenever and wherever they find them they pause to breed which is why I purposefully plant some in my yard each year. At the end of summer as though heeding some kind of primordial cosmic call or the birthing scents of autumn, the last brood of summer begins the long journey back south. Though it takes 5 or 6 generations of them to make it northward in the spring, at the end of the summer a “Methuselah generation” is born, and that single generation can make it all the way from Canada deep into Mexico where they’ll cluster in colonies the rest of the year. The fact that monarchs return to these places where they have never been speaks of knowledge beyond the grasp of the human mind.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! ~Romans 11:33  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

856. August, the summer’s last messenger of misery… ~Henry Rollins

August ends today,
and yet summer will continue
by force to grow more days.
They sprout secretly between
the chapters of the year,
covertly between its pages.
~Adapted and edited quote by
Jonathan Safran Foer

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Sail away, sail, sail away–oh wretched month of August that brings into such sharp focus the “furious boil” of Texas summers. Your daily assaults of sweltering heat test my sanity, my stamina, and my endurance! As the beast of sizzling nastiness that you are, you’ve successfully bathed the landscape in drab browns and beiges by keeping nary a drop of rain from falling, day after day after drought-ridden day. But, alas and alack, your time coin will be spent at midnight today! And even though the heat of your volcano-like fury will linger a bit longer, at least there are a few visible signs that autumn is on the way. So it is with a huge grin and a hopeful heart that I say goodbye and good riddance!

I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of the burning heat. ~Hosea 13:5  ✝

855. A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, “darkness” on the walls of his cell. ~C.S. Lewis

When I saw others straining toward God, I did not understand it,
for though I may have had Him less than they did,
there was no one blocking the way between Him and me…
~Rainer Maria Rilke

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Dawn broke yet again this morning, Praise Yahweh
The sun brought back light from out of darkness, Praise Elohim
Creatures stirred fulfilling ordained purposes, Praise Adonai
The breeze, a holy breath, blew through Eden, Praise Jehovah
Flowers bloomed offering their nectar, Praise El Shaddai
Grasses grew proffering food for cattle, Praise God
Blood yet flows through my veins, Praise Jesus
Air yet fills my lungs with breath, Praise the Lord
Holiness rises still from all the eyes can see
and all the ears can hear, Praise the Ancient of Days
I am alive by His Grace, and so I persist, persist
in praising the Holy One who created everything that is.
What a gift, what a privilege to adore and praise Him
by whatever name that has come down through the ages!
~Natalie Scarberry

Since ancient times, roses have symbolized God at work in whatever situation they appear. The intricate and elegant rose offers a glimpse of a masterful Creator’s active presence in Creation. As this popular flower blossoms, its buds gradually open to reveal blossoms with lovely layers — an illustration of how spiritual wisdom unfolds in people’s lives. The strong, sweet scent of a rose brings to mind the powerful sweetness of love, which is the essence of God. ~Via the Internet

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5  ✝

854. On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it. ~Jules Renard

When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born. You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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Sense the blessings of the earth in the perfect arc of a ripe tangerine, the taste of warm, fresh bread, the circling flight of birds, the lavender color of the sky shining in a late afternoon rain puddle, the million times we pass other beings in our cars and shops and out among the trees without crashing, conflict, or harm. ~Jack Kornfield

In the beginning God created the heavens and earth. ~Genesis 1:1 ✝
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ~Genesis 2:7 ✝
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. ~Psalm 24:1 ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage by Natalie

What do you see?

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen:
not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
C. S. Lewis

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(a camouflaged praying mantis on the rubber plant / Julie Cook / 2015) at: https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/what-do-you-see-2/

Marginalized,
lambasted,
ridiculed,
disrespected,
and ignored.

Considered. . .
foolish,
out of touch,
ignorant,
and old fashioned.

Silenced and hushed.
Mocked and scorned.
Altered and changed.
Disproven. . .or so they say. . .

I am supposedly alone in my thinking,
cast aside as one who is mad for believing.
I am told that I cannot believe nor proclaim.
There is no room for such nonsense in our culture.
It has now been cut from every corner of what ever was.
Never mind that our laws and our very government is rooted in Its Word.
The spoken Word of Law and Order
Of right and wrong. . .
Of consequence and cost. . .

It has been stricken from walls and books,
from playing fields, events and meetings.
It has been ripped from ceremonies and pledges.
Mere mention brings an assault of legalism, reprimand and anger. . .

You are correct, I have never seen nor heard nor touched. . .

And yet I continue to believe. . .

Despite your objections to the contrary,
or your attempts to call my hand. . .
or your incessant pursuits to silence my thoughts.

I believe because I have seen It all too clearly. . .

In the stars and in the moon. . .

I have heard it in the coyote’s cry and in the whippoorwill’s sad song.

I have found It in the sun that has warmed my face–
As I have found It in the mighty winds and tumultuous seas of any given storm. . .

And I have found It in the silence of loneliness and despair. . .

It is found in the face of every new born child
And It is in the bird which takes flight on the winds.
It rests in the gentle touch of the elderly.
And it sits upon the shoulders of the innocent. . .

So despite your objections and your vehement desire to erase It from my life,
as well as every other’s life. . .
I will continue to believe,
to proclaim,
to worship,
to pray,
to observe,
and to witness

You may think you can make It all go away by simply taking it all away and
pretending It just isn’t there. . .

yet His Wonders never cease. . .

May your wonders never cease
may your spirit never leave
may we ever long to see your face
and when we turn from you again
oh how quickly we forget
may we be reminded of your grace
May Your Wonders Never Cease
Lyrics by Third Day
May Your Wonders Never Cease

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9

853. Nature is infinitely creative. It is always producing the possibility of new beginnings. ~Marianne Williamson

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The Law of Divine Compensation posits that this is a self-organizing and self-correcting universe: the embryo becomes a baby, the bud becomes a blossom, the acorn becomes an oak tree. Clearly, there is some invisible force that is moving every aspect of reality to its next best expression. ~Marianne Williamson

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Nature inspires my everything. She inspires my solitude, and my writing and my art. She lifts me upon her welcoming wings and soars me through the sky of possibilities. She colors my day, brightens my soul, and calms my nights. She is fierce and beautiful, strong and delicate — an unrelenting Queen so generous of advice and never weary of new beginnings. In spring a colorful maiden, in winter a wise old lady, in autumn a looking-glass to my falling-leaf self, and summer a warm blossomed benefactor, comrade to the sun. A constant companion — sometimes indifferent, sometimes nuzzling me with her genial breezes and raining drops of heaven onto me. To close my windows and shut her out is error and melancholy. ~Terri Guillemets

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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” ~Zechariah 4:10  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collages of seeds, seedpods, bird nests, baby birds, bird eggs, caterpillars and chrysalises created by Natalie