1390. The truer you are to yourself, the greater your gifts will manifest themselves. ~Tiffany L. Jackson

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For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:10  ✝

**First image of a crow was taken in Scotland by Natalie; all other images found on Pinterest;

 

1283. A secret freedom opens through a crevice you can barely see. ~Rumi

Every morning, when we wake up,
we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live.
What a precious gift! We have the capacity
to live in a way that these twenty-four hours
will bring peace, joy, and happiness
to ourselves and others.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

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As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of the ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfill new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.
~Excerpt from a blessing
by John O’Donohue

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ~2 Corinthians 3:17  ✝

**Image taken by Natalie; special effects done on iPiccy

1244. August breathes its final, burning breath today and so tomorrow we welcome long-awaited September’s arrival. ~Natalie Scarberry

Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning.
Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps.
And by nightfall were like soft teacakes
with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum.
The day was twenty-four hours long,
but it seemed longer.
~Excerpted lines from
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
by Harper Lee

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I used to teach TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and it was and is one of my favorite pieces of American literature. I especially loved this passage above as it described the older women of my childhood. Now that spring flowers have gone I’m like those ladies Harper Lee describes in her novel because by day’s end I am frosted with sweat and talc.

Spring flowers are long since gone.
Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace.
The gardener’s feet drag a bit on the dusty
path and the hinge in his back is full of creaks.
~Louise Seymour Jones

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Much of summer’s bloom hangs not just limp but some of it is fried to a crisp. As for my feet, they are dragging more than a bit on my dusty paths and “the hinge in his back is” definitely “full of creaks” so much so that it’s begging me daily to stop the torturous activity.

The summer days are fading, as they must
From endless hours to short and fleeting light
The bird’s once bright, immortal tune,
now cries A melancholy aura to the dusk.
~Shannon Georgia Schaubroeck

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As night falls, the birds’ tunes are as melancholy as I feel, but my melancholy has nothing to do with lamenting the fading of summer. It has more to do with being weary from the long trek through the burning cathedral with a high pressure dome for a ceiling that is the reality of July and August in Texas. But I can’t say I wouldn’t do it all over again, for the garden feeds my soul and in it I find so many reasons to praise the Lord over and over again.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear His voice… ~Psalm 95:6-7  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage at top created by Natalie

1212. Freedom is the oxygen of the soul. ~Moshe Dayan

Freedom has its life in the hearts,
the actions, the spirit of men and
so it must be daily earned and refreshed —
else like a flower cut from its life-
giving roots, it will wither and die.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

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For Freedom
As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfill new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.
As the ocean absolves itself
Of the expectation of land,
Approaching only In the form of waves
That fill and pleat and fall
With such gradual elegance
As to make of the limit
A sonorous threshold
Whose music echoes back among
The give and strain of memory,
Thus may your heart know the patience
That can draw infinity from limitation.
~Excerpted lines
by 
John O’Donohue

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. ~Excerpt from Galatians 5:12  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1152. And she was as fair as is the rose in May. ~Geoffrey Chaucer

Which is the loveliest in a rose?
Its coy beauty when it’s budding,
or its splendour when it blows?
~George Barlow

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THE ROSE aloft in sunny air,
Beloved alike by bird and bee,
Takes for the dark Root little care
That toils below it ceaselessly.

I put my question to the flower:
“Pride of the Summer, garden queen,
Why livest thou thy little hour?”
And the Rose answered, “I am seen.”

I put my question to the Root.
“I mine the earth content,” it said,
“A hidden miner underfoot:
I know a Rose is overhead.”
~John James Platt

**Le Souvenir de la Malmaison is a bourbon rose that was created in 1843 by Lyon rose breeder Jean Béluze, who named it after the Château de Malmaison where Joséphine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, had created a magnificent rose garden. For a while I had a Souvenir de la Malmaison growing in my yard; sadly she perished in the garden for some reason, but this photo keeps her alive in my memory and in my heart.

May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth He has given to mankind. ~Psalm 115:15-16  ✝

1118. I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. ~Edward Everett Hale

The Power of One
One song can spark a moment.
One flower can begin a garden.
One tree can start a forest.
One bird can herald spring.
One smile can begin a friendships.
One hand clasp can lift the soul.
One sunbeam can light a room.
One candle can wipe out darkness.
One laugh can conquer gloom.
One hope can raise the spirit.
One touch can show we care.
~Author Unknown

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An elderly man was walking along the beach one morning after a storm. And in the in the distance he could see someone moving along like a dancer. As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman who was not dancing but was reaching down and picking up starfish and gently throwing them into the ocean. As he drew closer still, he called out, “Good morning, young lady! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young woman paused, looked up, and replied, “The sun is up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw the starfish back into the sea, they will die.” The old man smiled, and said, “But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You cannot possibly make a difference!” The young woman listened politely then she bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the water and said, “It made a difference for that one.” ~A parable, original author unknown

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Pixabay; collage created by Natalie

1091. Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ~Desmond Tutu

We must accept finite disappointment,
but never lose infinite hope.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~Emily Dickinson

It has been my privilege to meet some incredible people through my blog. They are people I never knew to ask God for, but He has given them to me anyway. When I asked Him why He blessed me with their presence in my life, He let me know that it’s because they can fill my life in ways that no one else can. And it’s true. From places all over the globe they are the candles in my darknesses and the birds of hope that perch atop my soul when my days grow dark and I find myself in the “chillest” of lands and on the “strangest” of seas.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. ~Psalm 62:5  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest