1148. Being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure. ~Bob Marley

To become whole
first let yourself be broken.
~Based on lines from
the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

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To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything and your heart
will be wrung and possibly broken.

If you want to make sure of keeping
it intact you must give it to no one,
not even an animal.

Wrap it carefully round with hobbies
and little luxuries;
avoid all entanglements.
Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin
of your selfishness.
But in that casket, safe, dark,
motionless, airless, it will change.

It will not be broken;
it will become unbreakable,
impenetrable, irredeemable.

To love is to be vulnerable.
~C.S. Lewis

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. ~James 1:12  ✝

**Watercolor image found on Pinterest

912. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. ~Elie Wiesel

Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest,
to be completely present to the moment,
to taste the here and now, to be where we are.
Help us then, Lord, to be patient and
trust that the treasure we look for is hidden
in the holy ground on which we stand
and apparent even in the absence of light.
~Edited and adapted excerpt by
Henri Nouwen

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O, Ancient of Days, as daylight splits the veil of night, I praise Your holy name and wonder if you come to my garden still. If you do, do you come only in the early hours as I sensed at dawn today? Or do you come as well at dusk when light bedecks, with a touch of quicksilver sparkle, only the very tops of things making out of ordinary beauty that which is extraordinary? Is it in praise of your divine glory that the birds linger and chatter before their daytime forays and then again as they return at day’s end to find rest for the night? Are the gentle breezes I feel upon my face your very breath and the flowers I see fallen jewels from your holy crown? Do the bees and butterflies yet nectar in autumn to guarantee Eden’s resurrection after winter’s wrath consumes them. O, God, I want to know more of you and do believe you are here with me always; for if not on the lawn, I find your footprints upon my heart.

Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~Hebrews 4:16  ✝

**Image of titmouse and autumn berries via Pinterest

424. Holy Spirit–You’re the Live in being alive, the Be in every creature’s being, the Breathe in every breath on earth. ~St. Hildegard von Bingen

We praise You for these gifts,
Light-giver,
Sound of joy,
Wonder of being alive,
Hope of every person,
and our strongest Good.
~St. Hildegard von Bingen

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purpleliciousness
color of robe given Christ
in passion’s demand
~Natalie Scarberry

The flower in my photograph is a passion flower (passiflora incarnata.) Besides being breathtakingly beautiful there was a time long ago when Catholic missionaries connected certain aspects of the passion flower with Christian beliefs. To them the ten petals of the flower represented the ten apostles in Christianity excluding St. Peter and Judas. The vines of the plant symbolized the whips that were used during the flagellation of Christ. One of the major characteristics is the hundreds of filaments on the flower that symbolized the Crown of Thorns. The five anthers were associated with the five sacred wounds of Christ. The flower contains three stigmas that reflected the three nails that were used for Christ’s hands and feet during his Crucifixion. There is a floral component that resembles a chalice-like ovary that has been supposed to symbolize the Holy Grail. The religious symbolism and associations that had been brought to attention once gave the missionaries faith and comfort for their efforts in spreading Christianity to the indigenous cultures of South America. The Jesuit Missionaries transported color drawings and dried versions of the plant back to their country where a Spanish herbalist named Nicolas Monardes was the first to document the plant and write about the qualities of the flower, indicating that it was a powerful plant and that it carried a symbolic relationship with Christianity.

The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe. ~John 19:2   ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

 

396. Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor

No man can possibly
know what life means, what the
world means, until he has a child and loves it. And
then the whole universe changes
and nothing will ever again seem
exactly as it seemed before.
~Lafcadio Hearn

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In honor of my dad on Father’s Day:

This is the translation of a letter written in 1943 in French received by Mrs. Norman F. Holcomb (my mom) of Walnut Springs, Texas, and refers to her husband, Pvt. Holcomb (my dad), who was in the Medical Detachment of the Railway Operating Battalion stationed in the Italian area:

“Permit an Algerian who is unknown to you to thank you sincerely for what America and the Americans are doing for us. Since the arrival of the American troops at Boue, the whole Algerian population, especially the Jewish, has sought the friendship of your brave soldiers who come to free us from the fascist and racial yoke. My husband and I congratulate ourselves upon having been among the first. We do not know how to express our gratitude to you for the intelligent care and attention which your husband has been so good as to give my two children, two little girls aged nine and six. (Dad was a medic and when he was off duty he took medicine and bandages to treat these two girls for severe burns.) Your husband was so kind as to show us photographs of you and your little girl (the girl of whom Madame Atlau speaks is their first born, me, and I was only a few months old at that time.) How pretty she is! We look at it often and never cease to pray that God may protect her for you. The American Red Cross, outstanding philanthropic institution, has presented to infants born since March 1st of this year, these items (infant layette sets) not to be found in Algeria for the Nazis and Italians have denuded us of everything. My cousin who has profited by the gift of one of these outfits begs me to thank you in her name and in the name of all who have benefitted by these. It is a commission which I gladly perform. I have sent you by your husband a little bracelet of identification (which I still have) intended for your daughter. I beg you to accept it as a gesture of friendship. I close, dear Madame, in wishing good luck to you, your child and your husband, and hoping that total victory for the Allied Nations is near. Madame Albert Atlau, Boue, Algeria.”

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Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. ~Proverbs 17:6 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

355. Forget diamonds, wear a crown of daisies. ~Sandra O’Connell

… At my feet the white-petaled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece their–if you don’t mind
my saying so–their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in their roots. What do I know,
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain;
what the sun lights up willingly…
~Excerpt from “Daisies” by Mary Oliver

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He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me… It’s funny how some things, even those learned in early childhood, never fade from memory. I’ll bet most, if not all of you, remember pulling the petals off a daisy and reciting this ditty over and over again until the final petal gave up the supposed truth. Georgia O’Keefe, the American artist who painted those amazing, large-format pictures of enlarged blossoms, said of them, “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in a city rush around so they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” Why would she feel that way? I think it’s because there is just something in the “world of a flower” that exudes sanctitude and goodness, a revelation that sheds light into the mysteries of life. And its words seem to say over and over again, “I speak of a divine and devoted lover. I tell tales of a garden created in a faraway place, a long time ago. I describe a tragic fall therein from divine Grace. I relate attempts to redeem the lost children of subsequent generations. I narrate stories of a Savior who did His father’s bidding. I share the story of the Christ’s sacrifice and His magnanimous offer of redemption. I talk of holy men bound to spread the Messiah’s story who, as they moved from one monastery garden to another, spread species of my kind from place to place. I inspire men of rhymes to write poetry about me that speaks to human hearts. I sing hopeful, prophetic melodies of my faithful return year and year, millennia upon millennia. I whisper words from above of unending love into listening ears. Quite simply, if you look at me and hold me, cherish me and revere me, I will make known to you the Creator of heaven and earth, and you will forever bless His holy name for He is the One who answered once and for all your childhood query.

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. ~Psalm 52:8 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

294. March is a month of expectation… ~Emily Dickinson

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O such a commotion under the ground
When March called,”Ho there! ho!”
Such spreading of rootlets far and wide,
Such whisperings to and fro!
“Are you ready?” the Snowdrop asked,
” ‘Tis time to start , you know.”
“Almost, my dear! the Scilla replied,
“I’ll follow as soon as you go.”
Then “Ha! ha! ha!” a chorus came
Of laughter sweet and low,
From millions of flowers under the ground,
Yes, millions beginning to grow.

“I’ll promise my blossoms,” the Crocus said,
“When I hear the blackbird sing.”
And straight thereafter Narcissus cried,
“My silver and gold I’ll bring.”
“And ere they are dulled,” another spoke,
“The Hyacinth bells shall ring.”
But the Violet only murmured , “I’m here,”
And sweet grew the air of Spring.

O the pretty brave things, thro’ the coldest days
Imprisoned in the walls of brown,
They never lost heart tho’ the blast shrieked loud,
And the sleet and the hail came down;
But patiently each wrought her wonderful dress,
Or fashioned her beautiful crown,
And now they are coming to lighten the world
Still shadowed by winter’s frown.
And well may they cheerily laugh “Ha! ha!”
In laughter sweet and low,
The millions of flowers under the ground,
Yes, millions beginning to grow.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The promise of the Lord are promises that are pure, silver refined in a furnace in the ground, purified seven times.  ~Psalm 12:6   ✝

206. The more I wonder, the more I love. ~Alice Walker, author of THE COLOR PURPLE

It seemed to my friend
that the creation of a landscape-garden
offered to the proper muse
the most magnificent of opportunities.
Here indeed was the fairest field
for the display of the imagination,
in the endless combining of forms of novel beauty.
~Edgar Allan Poe

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Purple, the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow, can be seen sometimes simply streaking the heavens, and it is mentioned at least 25 times in the Bible.  Over the ages the color’s “novel beauty” has symbolized magic, mystery, spirituality, the sub-conscious, creativity, dignity, and royalty; statistics show that it has evoked all of those meanings more so than any other color.  And yet the color purple is a rarity in nature so much so that its earliest dyes could be made only at great expense rendering it a color to be worn solely by kings, emperors, nobility, and priests. So when I find samplings of purple in my yard as I did yesterday, it feels as if honored guests have arrived at my “table.”  Add to that the fact that pigments from these particular guests have been found in prehistoric depictions dating back 50,000 years and that those depictions were found where the Garden of Eden could have been, then the honored guests become not only venerable ones but also sacred ones.  I sent out the invitations to these purple invitees last August after happening upon Crocus Sativus corms at a local nursery.  Since I had long wanted to try growing the plants from which the spice saffron is obtained, I came home and immediately planted my 6 little corms and then came the watching and waiting for signs of life.  But as the leaves began to fall and collect in the beds and I was spending less time outside, I’d almost forgotten about them until yesterday when I went out to get the mail.  To my surprise I spied two of the beauties with their three crimson stigmas (saffron threads) pushing up from under a layer of leaves.  Like a child I literally squealed with delight; it was as if I’d stepped into the Lord’s holy presence as He walked in His garden.

They put a purple robe on Him(Jesus), then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on Him.  ~ Mark 15:17  ✝