1376. Outside the open window the morning air is all awash with angels. ~Richard Wilbur

open your eyes
to the beauty around you,
open your mind
to the wonders of life,
open your heart
to those who love you,
and always
be true to yourself.
~Maya Angelou

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May the touch of your skin
Register the beauty
Of the otherness
That surrounds you.

May your listening be attuned
To the deeper silence
Where sound is honed
To bring distance home.

May the fragrance
Of a breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the earth.

And when you partake
Of food and drink,
May your taste quicken
To the gift and sweetness
That flows from the earth.

May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. ~Matthew 6:22 ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1167. My job is to inform, not to convince. ~Saint Bernadette

Looking for God?
And haven’t found Him In a building
Or on an altar
Or in a religious rite
Or in a churchly ceremony
Or in the words/actions of Christians?

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“And the Holy Spirit descended in
a bodily shape like a dove upon Jesus,
and a voice came from heaven, which said,
“Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
~Luke 3:22  ✝

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So the answer lies in Jesus and what He taught
and how then, upon learning that, that people
choose to live out His teachings in their daily lives.
Of course there are always the proverbial “rotten apples”
found in any kind of “barrel,” but even though they
don’t  get it at all or get it right, they can’t spoil the Truth 
Sadly, however, there are those who pervert it
or by their wrong actions keep others from finding it.

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If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. ~1 Corinthians 13:1  ✝

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If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:2-3  ✝

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13: 4-7   ✝

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And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~1 Corinthians 13:13  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

1158. Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

…I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace…
~Diane Ackerman

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Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear
are not “yours,” not personal.
They are conditions of the human mind.
They come and go.
Nothing that comes and goes is you.
~Eckhart Tolle

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Every morning, every moment,
with every breath, breathe in forgiveness,
breathe in the Holy Spirit, breathe in life,
and breathe out gratefulness.
Let the love and light of God soak
into your spirit and flood your heart.
You are loved.
~Author Unknown

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For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… ~Excerpt from Psalm 91:11  ✝

**First image found on the internet along with Ackerman’s quote; other images via Pinterest

1073. Hand in hand, with fairy grace, will we sing, and bless this place. ~William Shakespeare

Soft moss a downy pillow makes, and green leaves spread a tent,
Where Faerie fold may rest and sleep until their night is spent.
The bluebird sings a lullaby, the firefly gives a light,
The twinkling stars are candles bright, Sleep, Faeries all, Good Night.
~Elizabeth T. Dillingham

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The belief in spiritual beings is almost universal to human culture, be it an accurate understanding of such or not. As children, we often believe in imaginary spirits like faeries, elves, and leprechauns, but as we mature, we begin to sense the existence of a very real and holy Spiritual Being. We learn from Scripture that this Divine Creator can and does send angelic spirits as messengers or protectors. Since all that exists is part of a Grand Design by a benevolent Creator, one can assume then that there’s a sacred reason for imagination and belief in spiritual beings. Creative urges keep us mindful of our Creative God and of our own purposeful, creative abilities. Playfulness as well serves an ordained purpose because it teaches us how to be joyful. We are, after all, implored to be joyful daily for the Lord’s blessings and gifts, and it is through play that children begin to gain wisdom and knowledge of Yahweh’s miraculous abilities and His forgiving and provisionary nature.

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A little fairy comes at night,
Her eyes are blue, her hair is brown,
With silver spots upon her wings,
And from the moon she flutters down.
She has a little silver wand,
And when a child goes to bed
She waves her hand from right to left,
And makes a circle round its head.
And then it dreams of pleasant things,
Of fountains filled with fairy fish,
And trees that bear delicious fruit,
And bow their branches at a wish:
Of arbors filled with dainty scents
From lovely flowers that never fade;
Bright flies that glitter in the sun,
And glow-worms shining in the shade:
And talking birds with gifted tongues,
For singing songs and telling tales,
And pretty dwarfs to show the way
Through fairy hills and fairy dales.
~Excerpted lines from the poem,
Queen Mab, by Thomas Hood

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… ~Psalm 91:11  ✝

**Images via Pinterest

1039. Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan. ~Albert Schweitzer

Oh to relive
those Old Sundays,
those sacred things…
~S. Michaels at https://5wise.wordpress.com

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My faith journey began long ago at a time when I was young enough that all I knew was unmarred innocence, youthful unawareness, and blind acceptance of what I’d been told and taught. In handmade, starched and often white organdy dresses and on feet in meticulously polished white shoes I’d enter with my family, as I’d been taught, solemnly and quietly into church buildings with their tall steeples and large, sonorous bells that called the masses to worship. Inside there was the unmistakable aroma of old wooden pews, time-worn Bibles, and tattered hymnals that spoke of countless others who had come before us to worship. And because it was a time of greater formality, we were greeted at the doors by ushers in dark suits wearing white carnations in their lapels; these men and/or women would hand us freshly printed programs as they led us down the aisle to a pew with red velvet cushions, cushions that had seen many a day and been sat on by a multitude of churchgoers. Somewhere along the way to our seats, I would encounter an image of the Christ who was portrayed as a man with soft brown hair and a sweet face. When all who had heeded the call to worship were seated, the acolytes would march in under gothic arches carrying state and national flags in the glow of blue, red, green, and yellow light streaming through the stained-glass windows. On their heels came the choir and the robed pastoral staff. Once everyone was in place, choral voices led us in songs before we were implored to make affirmations of faith and recite the Lord’s prayer. Then came the giving of tithes in gold offertory plates, before we drank from silver chalices filled with the “Blood of Christ” and took from a silver plate the bread wafer that symbolized the “Body of Christ.” All the while these sacred things were taking place, a large pipe organ played softly in the background behind flickering candles and pretty flowers on altars covered in sacramental cloths. Finally by the time all was said and done within the hallowed gray, stone walls, we had sung a number of old familiar hymns, shouted amens, listened to a tutorial sermon, bowed our heads for the holy benedictions, read words of Scripture, raised our arms and voices in praise, and prayed for friends and neighbors as well as the hungry and the needy. And all of it was fervently carried out in hopes that God, was then and would always be with us, listen to our pleas, and answer our prayers.

Sadly at a church after we moved here I witnessed such widespread hypocrisy and intolerant prejudice by clergy and church members alike that I stopped going to church and turned away from Lord and His teachings at the age of 19.  However, the Good Shepherd would not let go of that which was rightfully His and so He pursued me for the next two decades as He does all of His wandering and lost “sheep” until one day I turned to listen to His voice again. Soon afterwards I chose to walk back into a church, and fortunately it was one where sincere sanctity appeared to be palpable and devout holiness seemed to permeate all that and who had gathered to honor and consecrate the Almighty, the Holy Spirit, and the Christ. It felt like home and I knew I was home. As sentient beings, everything we encounter evokes some kind of emotional response from us which affects both flesh and psyche. So powerful and evocative are such experiences sometimes that there have been people who are healed of life-threatening diseases by constantly picturing themselves in times and places of the past wherein they were happy and well and sensed the presence of the Almighty.

Experience life in all possible ways –
good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter.
Experience all the dualities.
Don’t be afraid of experience,
because the more experience you have,
the more mature you become.
~Osho

The sacred pathway is
not hard, children
know it…
~S. Michaels at https://5wise.wordpress.com

…if I(Paul) am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory. ~1 Timothy 3:15-16  ✝

**All but one image via Pinterest; collage by Natalie, and one photo of Natalie

1009. Who, what, where, when, and why?

Every single word you read
Has a lot going on, you see?
So read this age-old story,
As it is a blessed advisory.

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The first Noel the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds as they lay
In fields where they lay a keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

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They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the east beyond them far:
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.

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And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from the country far;
To seek for a King was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.

“Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” ~Excerpt from Matthew 2:8  ✝

**All images via Pinterest

1008. Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be. ~Unknown

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The kings they came from out the south,
All dressed in ermine fine;
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
And gifts of precious wine.

The shepherds came from out the north,
Their coats were brown and old;
They brought Him little new-born lambs–
They had not any gold.

The wise men came from out the east,
And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
Did glorify the night.

The angels came from heaven high,
And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
The host of heaven sings.

The kings they knocked upon the door,
The wise men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
To hear the song begin.

The angels sang through all the night
Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
Before the song was done.
~Sara Teasdale

For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. ~Matthew 2:2  ✝

**Image via Pinterest