1339. There is an ancient tribal proverb I once heard in India. It says that before we can see properly we must first shed our tears to clear the way. ~Libba Bray

Glory be to you, O God,
for the grace of new beginnings
placed before me in every moment
and encounter, good or bad, of life.
~Edited quote by
John Philip Newell

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Wood as found in the natural world is, in and of itself, beautiful; the same is true of marble. However if wood is to be used in the making of a violin for example, some tools needed to hollow and shape the wood accordingly are chisels, knives, saws, scrapers. groove cutters, hole reamers, and peg shavers. And some tools needed to gouge and shape something out of marble are chisels, hammers, drills, rasps, files, and abrasive sandpapers, all of which in both instances can and do draw blood and extract the proverbial “pound of flesh” if used on we mortals. And the point of such is? Well, in a way these processes correlate to human suffering and what it can and often does achieve in a person’s life. For it is not until the wood is gouged out and shaped that its “voice,” AKA it’s exquisite sound, is released from the wood to bless our ears, and it is not until someone like Michelangelo gouges around and in a piece of marble that magnificent angels appear from deep inside the marble’s being to bless our eyes. So it was that when reading a comment today by a fellow blogger who has endured much “gouging,” it finally dawned on me in light of her struggles and mine as well as those of others that it is not until the soul is “gouged” out that we mortals are able to give “voice” in some way to garnered wisdom and profound truths. Thus trials should be seen as gifts to be embraced and celebrated, not mourned and regretted. However being appreciative of pain is something most of us find difficult at best. Clearly though “had the eye no tear, the soul would have no rainbow” nor would the dark depths of the soul ever come into healing light. The passages of Scripture below as well as others tell us to be “content” and even “thankful” about losses and painful trials for they are blessings brought forth from the scraping, gouging, and shaping the Lord has done and continues to do in our souls in order to set free “earth” angels, to give life to sacred and powerful voices, to fulfill ordained purposes, and to help bring about the memory of what we left in childhood that my dear friend calls the “soft glory of our being.”

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~James 1:2-4  ✝

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ~Romans 12:12  ✝

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:10  ✝

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~1 Peter 5:10  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; special effects done on by me on spicy

1256. Never say “no” to pie. ~Al Roker

We must have pie.
Stress cannot exist in
the presence of pie.
~David Mamet

It was luscious lemon meringue pie at the deli again today, and whilst I was gobbling mine down, I recalled a “pie story” blessing, the importance of which was not the pie, nor was it a lemon pie. Instead it was a random act of kindness cherry pie!

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I was five days short of being 30 years old, when my one and only child was born. As it turned out she was born on a day when the hospital had been having record numbers of babies all week long so I had to be kept in the recovery area all night until and if a room became available the next morning. My visitors, who were allowed in briefly to see me in recovery, had all been able to see Nikki, but sadly I had not seen her yet, and they wouldn’t bring her to me until I was in a room. When morning came, a room did become available so they took me up and brought my baby too me for the first time. However, I only held her briefly because I was having chills and shaking so badly I was afraid I might drop her. So I rang for a nurse to come take her back to the nursery and take me to the bathroom. The nurse asked me why I was shaking like that, and I told her it was because I was freezing cold. She quickly stuck a thermometer in my mouth, then yanked it out almost immediately, and commented that I didn’t have any fever. Next she got me up to take me to the bathroom and when I sat down on the toilet I passed out. When I finally came to, there were an assortment of doctors and nurses who were worried that I’d had been having a seizure. As it turns out I had a fever of 105 degrees but not a seizure. So they immediately launched into what would become a 9 day campaign to bring my fever down, to determine where I had an infection, and to keep me from infecting the baby with whatever it was. As a result all they would do to alleviate my angst about the situation was roll Nikki down to my room in her little bed and let me walk to the door so I could at least see her from a distance a few minutes each day. Needless to say I was completely bummed! When day five, my 30th birthday, dawned they had finally discovered where and what kind of infection it was, but until the antibiotics, which had had to be changed several times, finally started significantly kicking in they wouldn’t let me go home yet. So when the phone rang that morning, I answered it in an extremely pissy mood. On the other end of the line was a voice I didn’t recognize who was singing happy birthday to me. When she finished she asked how I was, and I said, “lousy,” to which she replied, “well I hope you have a good day and hung up.” Okay let’s see! I couldn’t go home, I couldn’t hold my baby, I couldn’t have visitors until after 2 in the afternoons! What do you think? Helluva a good 30th birthday or not?!

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About an hour later as I was lying there crying and feeling very sorry for myself, my mom came in carrying a small, freshly baked cherry pie and singing happy birthday. Stunned I sat up and asked, “What are you doing here? How did you get in? It’s not 2 o’clock yet!” She told me that she had gotten a call at home that I was very distraught and that she needed to get up to the hospital as soon as possible and bring me some kind of birthday surprise. And then the female voice told her that she’d just need to tell them at the desk who she was and they would let her in. So Mom quickly baked a cherry pie and came on up. Needless to say it was an amazing gift of grace that I sorely needed that day. It wasn’t until I got ready to leave the hospital 4 days later that one of the other nurses told me who had called me that day. It was the head nurse on that floor, and the day before she had noticed on my chart that the next day was my birthday. So she had taken time out of her day off, first to call and sing to me, then to call the hospital to see if they had my mother’s name and phone number, and finally to call and send my mother on an errand of mercy. I don’t know what others would call that, but as far as I’m concernd it was God’s grace in action with an “earth” angel He had appointed to deliver it. Sadly I was so glad to be able to hold my baby at long last and get to go home that last day that I didn’t even think to ask the head nurse’s name so I could call or write to thank her. But I think of her often and am so grateful for her selfless act of kindness.

You(God) gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit. ~Job 10:12 ✝

**My daughter was born on 10-12-72. What a coincidence that the scripture I chose is from Chapter 10 and verse 12 of Job! Or is it just coincidence?!

**Pie images via Pinterest

1232. When summer gathers up her robes of glory, like a dream of beauty she glides away. ~Sarah Helen Power Whitman

Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.
~Michelle L. Thieme

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More signs!!! Yippee! It ain’t over til it’s over they say, but I see more signs that the “over” is on its way! So yay!!! This rare week of cloudy days, rainy spells, and the blessing of lower temperatures is not only a boon and a balm but it’s also encouraging my belief that the “times they are a changing.” That belief is found as well in these images of white autumn clematis blooms, red and orange ripening rose hips, and a spider web. A spider web, a sign? Yes, strangely enough I’ve always found more spider webs in my yard as autumn approaches than at any other time of the year. And oddly the spider’s prey trapped in the center of the web looks like a tiny angel. So? Angel’s are always portents of change, aren’t they?! The dictionary defines portent as a warning or a sign that something, especially something momentous or calamitous, is likely to happen. So I’m praying the angel is telling me that all these things are portents of the momentous beginning of an earlier end of summer here in Texas. Did you hear that you nasty old heat beast? You can just back up your bag of torrid tricks and head on down the road. Oh now I can hardly wait for one of my most favorite things–that morning when I open the door and feel the first delicious nip in the air and know that autumn’s door is truly opening.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years… ~Genesis 1:14  ✝

1053. Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle….a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream. ~Barbara Winkler

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream.
The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg,
and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs.
Dreams are the seedlings of realities.
~James Allen

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Part of the genius of God’s grand design is that we awaken every day to a fresh flowing of His energy and vitality that has been stored in the seeds of our being, seeds that possess the same strength as that of the rising sun, earth’s swelling seas, and its fertile plains. An excellent time to look for the shining of His everlasting light in the “sanctuary of the soul” is in the first waking moments of each new day. That inward realm is where doors open to the germination of new life because inside each one of us the Lord has planted His “seeds of greatness.” There’s never a moment in life when either in and of ourselves or in the people around us that there are not yet unopened gifts of promise. Simply put, “heaven’s creativity on earth” is born in our bodies, and therein the Master’s “sacred hopes” are hidden. And His hopes come to fruition through the germination of our gifts and through the catalyst of prayer when we lift up “the agonies of life in the world” and ask for grace where “the human soul has grown hard” and lost sight of God’s light. May the “soil” of this week be such that the precious, holy seeds of the uniqueness that is you fully come to fruition.

Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? ~1 Corinthians 3:16  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1011. It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself. ~Charles Dickens

Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys,
showing that nothing else in life need be taken seriously,
and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one
of the few occasions in which men become entirely alive.
~Robert Lynd

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Life grew very hard for me in my late 30‘s, and the difficulties spilled over well into my forties. As a result I was becoming more and more cynical about “life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.” Those circumstances were made worse by the 20 year derailment in my faith journey and both were aiding and abetting a steady, downward spiral into the “black abyss” of hopelessness. So my doctor recommended that I go see a counselor, and I did, but reluctantly at first. Though it wasn’t long before I warmed to her, it took a while longer before I started really opening up about the burdensome issues that had brought me to her door. Then one afternoon as the session was about to end, she said, “I want you to imagine that you are a 4 year old child.” I replied, “Okay,” and then she asked, “If you were that 4 year old, what would want to do right this very minute?” Without too much consideration, I blurted out, “go get a chocolate ice-cream cone.” After hearing my response she immediately stood up, smiled, and said, “All right. I shall see you next week and TODAY on the way home I want you to stop and have a chocolate ice cream cone.” When I started to ask why, she quickly replied, “Just do it. I’ll explain next time.” So I stopped and got the chocolate ice cream cone, and I do have to say that it might possibly have been the very best ice cream cone I’ve ever had. The point was and is that the child in all of us doesn’t die. It’s simply that the accumulating years of growing and changing cover over him or her as happens with a path no longer traveled. And so it was that miraculously after clearing the way with one weekly ice cream cone after the other, the healing of my brokenness got under way, the getting back on track with my faith journey got under way, and the nourishing of my starving inner child, who was essential in restoring joy, hopefulness, and a sense of wonder, also got under way. Praise the Lord!

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home! ~Charles Dickens 

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” ~Luke 2:10  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

 

843. Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragonfly hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky… ~Dante Gabriel Rossetti

    Iridescent sylphs prancing in the breeze
with fast flickering gossamer wings
in a cloud of vivid blue, red, and green.
~Edited excerpt from a poem
by Jacob Fuson

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Alight, dragonfly, upon a frail stem,
dance with the wind
beneath the hot, summer sun.
Beneath that brittle shell of yours
is a secret, sacred grace.
~Edited excerpt from a poem
by J. L. Stanley

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blue green dragonfly
angel of my garden pond
hunt the mosquito
~Michael K. Thompson

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The dragonfly keeps dancing
over the dark water,
the flash of iridescent blue
underneath her wings
quick as a breath
~Edited excerpt from a poem
by Sy Lilang

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How graceful and lovely
is the dragonfly as it
flits about under the summer sky
observing the wonders of a garden,
attracted to its vast array of colors
~Natalie Scarberry

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I stand stunned
in awe as you
sleekly shimmer by
in a fabulous flurry
of lustrous, dew-laden lapis blue
and jubilant jade green
~Edited excerpt from a poem
by April J

By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. ~Proverbs 3:19-20  ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collages by Natalie

665. Come, gentle Spring! Ethereal Mildness! Come! ~James Thomson

Down, down, down and drip, drip, drip
falls the gray, gray, grayness of yet another rainy day.
And outside my feet go squish, squish, squish
from the rain and snow and rain and snow and rain,
but oh heavens no, no, no you won’t find me a fussin’
because now, my friends, a grow, grow, growin’
we’ll find the sweet green, green, greening things
of advancing, birthing, sprouting spring.
~Natalie Scarberry

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O the green things growing, the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
I should like to live, whether I smile or grieve,
Just to watch the happy life of my green things growing.

O the fluttering and the pattering of those green things growing!
How they talk each to each, when none of us are knowing;
In the wonderful white of the weird moonlight
Or the dim dreamy dawn when the cocks are crowing.



I love, I love them so – my green things growing!
And I think that they love me, without false showing;
For by many a tender touch, they comfort me so much,
With the soft mute comfort of green things growing.



And in the rich store of their blossoms glowing
Ten for one I take they’re on me bestowing:
Oh, I should like to see, if God’s will it may be,
Many, many a summer of my green things growing!

But if I must be gathered for the angel’s sowing,
Sleep out of sight awhile, like the green things growing,
Though dust to dust return, I think I’ll scarcely mourn,
If I may change into green things growing.
~Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~Ephesians 5:19b-20   ✝

** Image via Pinterest