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

1044. As long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come. ~Earnest Hemingway

The birds they sing at break of day,
“Start again…” I hear them say.
~Leonard Cohen

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Nourish beginnings,
let us nourish beginnings.
Not all things are blest,
but the seeds of all things are blest.
The blessing is in the seed.
~Muriel Rukeyser

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. ~John 12:24  ✝

**Image of European robin via Pinterest

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

831. Appearances are often deceiving. ~Aesop

Do not hover always on the surface of things,
nor take up suddenly with mere appearances;
but penetrate into the depth of matters…
~Isaac Watts

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No one knows what makes the soul wake up happy!
Maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil from the face of God.
~Rumi

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I discovered this passionflower (in the first photo) as it was opening to the morning’s light and thought to myself, “what an gangly, unsightly thing!” Then as I watched, slowly but surely it expanded from its misshapenness into what you see in the second photo–the glorious thing it was meant to be. At that moment, it was if dawn’s breeze had indeed briefly lifted the veil of God, and I could see His face smiling in divine revelation of the importance of the day’s gift. The lesson was not to be blinded by first appearances ever but always to wait for His light to reveal the true nature and beauty of people and things. Like the flower, if we allow God to work in us and through us, our awkward beginnings can evolve into the splendor and purpose He intended, for in all of us, “There is a morning inside waiting to burst open in the light.” ~Rumi

“This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it–the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ ~Jeremiah 33:2-3  ✝

591. The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t be discouraged.
It’s often the last key in bunch
that opens the lock.
~Author Unknown

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Refuse to fall down
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
toward heaven
only you.
It is in the middle of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.
~Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  ~James 1:4   ✝

** Images via Pinterest

564. I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Autumn is the eternal corrective.
It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity;
but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.
What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop
and fail to see the span of his world
and the meaning of the rolling hills
t
hat reach to the far horizon?
~Hal Borland

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Nature reveals intimations of its Maker in so many ways. It can even mask disturbing realities in this fallen world so that in the remaining clarity one can gain a better perspective of the bigger picture. The exact beginning and end of nature’s seasons, like the seasons of our lives, come and go shrouded to some extent in veils of mystery. And we can never really be sure of the exact moment in time that the spark of change ignites. Nor do we know when the remaining ember of that initial spark will die, but the time and space between beginnings and endings, like autumn, ripen life with more than enough breadth and depth and distance and color. For example it was over 80 degrees here today and although I did not “waste anything as precious as autumn’s sunshine,” I know November’s door will close at midnight and the winter solstice is only 3 weeks away. But I also know there’s no guarantee that the solstice will mark the exact end of lovely autumnesque realities. The weather forecast may say that an arctic norther will start blowing in here in the wee hours of the morning and plummet our temperatures to below freezing by tomorrow night. But the same forecast also shows that a day later we’ll be on the climb right back up to the warmer ripeness and color that is quintessentially autumn. So who knows? Is this cold snap the beginning of the end or will it be the next one or the one after that? There may be many things we cannot know in this life, and although it has been said that “life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing,” others perceive life as a different kind of tale. I, for one, find that standing outside in autumn, or any season for that matter, gives me glimpses of Yahweh, the Holy One, wrote the tale, who knows everything, who’s in control, and who has a plan, purpose, and time for all things under heaven.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

549. The man who is happy is fulfilling the purpose of existence. ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If Heaven made him —
earth can find some use for him.
~Chinese Proverb

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I watched light split the darkness on this chilly November morn, and as the sun rose higher on the horizon, I saw it initially tickle the tops of trees. Then leaf by leaf by leaf it began to lower. In the topmost branches, the squirrels, benefactors of the sun’s first fruits, sat poised in readiness for the day. Below the birds, yet reluctant to lift off, and I were on stand by waiting for the light’s kiss to brush its warmth against us as well. While I sat before the unfolding drama, it occurred to me that such as this, these primal vignettes of earth’s awakening, had played out in the same prevailing silence and expectancy since the dawn of time. It’s as if the light, and only the light, adds the vibrancy and buoyancy of sound and tempo to the day–as if there is a purpose in dim, quiet beginnings, as if first there is a need to obey holy rhythms, a foremost call to offer thanksgiving, a wisdom in opening songs of praise. Verily what I witnessed was the pregnant pause between what was, what is, and what’s yet to be, and standing in those gaps waiting to be greeted was, as always, the Giver of light, of breath, of life. At last when the light touched the ground, birds gave voice to the day’s opus and the dance of life began again! Thus I knew it was time not only to rise but also to celebrate miracles and keep them from becoming ordinary, time to prevent the mundane from stealing joy and a sense of awe and wonder. For it is ordained that we, all of us, have been anointed, have been given skill sets, and somehow, in some way have a purpose to fulfill. And if we are to accomplish that, we must cherish the light, take it with us, open life’s doors, and live in amazement.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28  ✝

**Image via Pinterest