1428. It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~e. e. cummings

Authenticity is mesmerizing!
Vulnerability is captivating!
Flaws can be enchanting!
Light is breathtaking!
Love is spellbinding!
And you are sacred!
~Edited and adapted quote
by Craig Crippen

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Although the process of looking for better versions of myself was coming to an end under my own will and impetus, it was finished with the help of a trained mentor. It was she who herself had been where I was that found the wisdom and words to drive the message home to me that when we reject who we are, it is not only a lie to the world but also a lie to ourselves, and such lies can lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief. So to “pay it forward” what I want others to know, although I don’t think my posts on this subject have reached all of those I was hoping it would, perhaps you who have read it will be able to “pay it forward” some day in your own way so that the gift stays alive. The road to recovery and finding our true-blue selves is not hard to do even after age 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 or yet more years later. It first begins when we realize that the original true-to-self person we once were did not die. Many, like me, just put him/her into hiding and learned to exchange who we are for something less and/or something false. It is always a choice! So please don’t hand who and what you are over to an often corrupt and superficial world! You are made of better stuff, holy stuff, intentional stuff!!!

In closing, without fail there are going to be hard times in life which will demand that we be utterly and completely who we truly are in our heart of hearts. Life is NOT a competition nor a comparison!!! We don’t have to trade our genuine identity and authenticity for ANYONE ELSE’S approval or standards!!! In fact when the trials come and they will, we will need EVERYTHING in the repertoire of embracing the divine self in order to remain alive and whole, make crucial decisions, support loved ones, and move forward. So please instead of creating versions of yourselves, start TODAY searching for and spending time with the real you of you!!!

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Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ~Ephesians 4:25 ✝

**Images via the Internet

1366. The thing is, at the end of the day you still have to face yourself. Dave Pelzer

Is anybody happier
because you passed their way?
Does anyone remember
that you spoke to them today?

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The day is almost over,
and its toiling time is through,
Is there anyone that will utter
a kind word about you?

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Can you say tonight in parting,
with the day that’s slipping fast,
that you helped a single person
of the many that you passed?

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Is a single heart rejoicing
over what you did or said?
Does the one whose hopes were fading
now with courage look ahead?

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Did you win the day or lose it?
Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness,
or a scar of discontent?

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As you close your eyes in slumber,
do you think that God will say,
“you have earned one more tomorrow
by the good you did today?”
~John Hall

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Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. ~1 Timothy 6:18  ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard today at day’s end

1279. The reflections on a day well spent furnish us with joys more pleasing than ten thousand triumphs. ~Thomas à Kempis

Is anybody happier because I passed this way today?
Does anyone remember that I spoke to them along the way?

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The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through.
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of me?

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Can I say tonight in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That I helped a single person of the several that I passed?

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Is a single heart rejoicing over what I did or said?
Does one whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

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Did I waste the day or use it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did I leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word!
~Proverbs 15:23  ✝

**All photos were taken by Natalie as this day drew ever closer to its end.

1188. Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. ~Chief Seattle

What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across
the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
~Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

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Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.
~A Ute Prayer

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Oh Lord, whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath I feel moving in and out of me,
the very breath that gives life to me and all living things.
I come before you, as one of your children to ask that
You continue to reveal Yourself through Creation’s beauty.
May my hands always respect the things you’ve created;
May my ears be ever sharp to hear your voice; and
May I be wise enough to perceive the lessons
hidden in all things made of Your hands.
~My prayer based on one by
Chief Yellow Lark of the Lakota Sioux

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. ~Job 33:4  ✝

**Three images via Pinterest; the bottom picture of the granite boulders taken by me on what were once First Nation’s lands at Medicine Park, Oklahoma

1182. Wherever fear is, happiness is not. ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Fear is the main source of superstition,
and one of the main sources of cruelty.
To conquer is the beginning of wisdom.
~Bertrand Russell

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When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins
from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes like the measle-pox
when death comes like an iceberg
between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity,
wondering: what is it going to be like,
that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower,
as common as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage,
and something precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder if
I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing
and frightened, or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up
simply having visited this world.
~Mary Oliver

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10  ✝

**There are 365 days in the year, and the Bible, as in the passage above, tells us not to be afraid 365 times. Coincidence? I think not. It’s a message the Lord wants to be rooted in our hearts every single day of our lives.

1171. Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival…
Treat each guest honorably.
Be grateful for whoever comes.
~Rumi

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Even in seemingly dormant times, we are in transition. Losses and gains are in constant play. We are the change-agent, and we are changed. Even without toil, we transform. So, wisdom advises us to open our hearts to transition; to honor fully what is passing, to learn from all that unfolds, and to welcome what arrives at our door each day with courage and curiosity. ~A Network for Grateful Living

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. ~Colossians 3:16  ✝

**Image of lily taken by me in my yard today. Outer edges deliberately blurred so that focus is on the amazing stamen and anthers.

1094. Part 2: Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never been seen. ~Robert Bresson

Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet
sculptor or photographer or musician or dancer
and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale
’til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.
~Edited and adapted quote by
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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How many of you liked to color when you were a child at least until someone said “you shouldn’t color outside the lines?” Or liked to build things that others knocked down for the fun of it? Or loved to twirl and dance around until someone laughed at you? Or beat out sounds on a little drum or hand made flute until someone implored you to quit making that awful racket? There are so many ways that unthinkingly people stifle the creative urge in us when we are young, and then we tuck the urges away until one day we have the courage to pick up that pen or that brush or that musical instrument or those ballet shoes or that camera or whatever to express that our creativity that has laid dormant within us. Wanna know why that urge is there and why it keeps coming to the surface? Scripture tells us that we are made in the image of God, the Creator of all that is. So that need within us is an inextricable part of who we are and it’s there to serve a sacred purpose. Now before you say, “Oh I’m just not creative.” Yes, you are! You have to be because you are part of the Creator of everything. Everybody is creative in some way. Look at all the ways in which Yahweh created. Some of you may be an imaginative cook, or homemaker, or gardener, or teacher, or statesmen, or preacher, or seamstress, etc. Not every one is designed to make music or write poetry or dance the light fandango. There are thousands of ways to be creative and all of them are valid and come from our inherent ability to be creative. Creativity is not a competition. And no one, simply no one, has the right to criticize or discourage us from fulfilling what we have been anointed to do. In fact, in my way of thinking, it’s sacrilege to try to do so. And it is also not for anyone else to judge the quality or the reason or the necessity of what we create. It’s a God-given right and mandate for all that He has made serves a purpose. So I offer the following things to think on:

1) To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong. ~Joseph Chilton Pearce
2) Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. ~Scott Adams
3) All creative outlets require courage. ~Anne Tucker
4) The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf
5) What creativity offers is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit. ~John Updike
6) Creativity is not a thing; it is a way. ~Elbert Hubbard
7) Creativity is the struggle to understand. ~Terri Guillemets
8) Life beats down and crushes the soul and creative outlets remind one that he/she has one. ~Stella Adler
9) Creativity is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail. ~Theodore Dreiser

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So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ~Genesis 1:27  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie