1427. It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. ~André Gide

Use your authentic voice
and share from your heart.
Be real. Be you. Tell your story.
~Arianna Merritt

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My discourse the last two days has not been penned in order to mitigate myself, to explain myself, nor to address any of my personal needs. I just hate to see so many people, especially young girls and women, believing they have to create “versions” of themselves to be worthy and/or to survive when all they need do is discover and/or reconnect with what’s real and true about themselves. One should never have to tell lies to validate him or herself. We were already born “enough!” For after all we are the apple of God’s eye and created in His image! Nothing in this life is perfect, and so we must learn to work with the imperfections in and around us. That does NOT mean, however, that we have to become differently imperfect to do that. We are already equipped with what we need to accomplish our purpose in this life. In fact it was in-utero-hard-wired into our beings.

A version by definition is: something differing in certain respects. Although time causes our physical bodies to differ and maturing can and should bring a differing and greater wisdom, we do NOT have to alter our core, our soul. Once I learned this not only did I successfully raise a child to be true to herself, but as a teacher I encouraged needy adolescent children every day. And when dealing with them, I learned quickly that being true to my real self made me more trustworthy, more approachable, and more able to shore up in truth the wobbly legs of those who were struggling to “fit in.” Yes, it requires diligent vulnerability, transparency, honesty, and integrity, but that’s what I came into the world designed to be able to muster, and so did YOU!!!

To be continued…

The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them. ~Excerpt from Jeremiah 51:17 ✝

**Image via Pinterest; text added by Natalie

1410. Color is a power which directly influences the soul. ~Wassily Kandinsky

Of all God’s gifts to the sighted man,
color is the holiest,
the most divine, the most solemn.
-John Ruskin

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To the sighted man color is undeniably holy, but the sanctity of it goes deeper than the eye. Deep within the human soul I believe color is recognized as tidings from the Father of our world. There is also a holy melody meant for the ears. Pablo Picasso once asked, “Why do two colors, one put next to the other, sing?” He couldn’t explain it nor can I, but there are color combinations that compose the sweetest of tunes. Pink and blue is one of those duos, and together they sing a divine harmony reminiscent of sapphire skies filled with pink ribbons of light. And Richter, a soviet pianist, said, “Music is the poetry of the air,” and I couldn’t agree more because these colorful rhyming couplets fill the breath of my garden with prayer-like chants as well as with the holiness of their hues.

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. ~Psalm 148:13  ✝

**Photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1253. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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She,
In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.
She,
Within herself,
Found loveliness,
Through the soul’s own mastery.
And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.
~Helen Keller, a poem
by Langston Hughes

My son, pay attention to what I (God) say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. ~Proverbs 4:20-22  ✝

**Helen Keller was born with the ability to see and hear. At 19 months of age, she contracted an illness described by doctors as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain,” which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her both deaf and blind.

1229. The glory in the garden lies in more than meets the eye. ~Rudyard Kipling

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be…
~William Wordsworth

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“Glory days, they’ll pass you by in the wink of a young girl’s eye” goes a line in a song by Bruce Springsteen. And so it is with the morning glory. She comes and spends her brief hour upon life’s stage but that wink of her daily glory lasts a lifetime, at least for me. I adore each and every one that blooms until the vines die with the first freeze. And if there is a blessing in our hot summers here in Texas, it is in that we enjoy a long growing season and our first average freeze date is not until November 15th.

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About this time each year my morning glory vines hit their stride and from here on out until our first freeze, glory will indeed abound in my yard. Each one though it lives but that one day looks like a chalice which holds morning’s light and therefore God’s continuing glory on earth. As such she feeds body and soul with her beauty and she honors her Maker with her glory. So yes, Mr. Wordsworth we shall grieve not the “splendor in the grass or the glory in the flower,” but ever find strength in the “primal sympathy which having been must ever be…”

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morning glory sings in
the highest pitch
that fills
all the
empty spaces
unto the eyes of
the Lord
~Gregory Golden

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But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. ~Psalm 3:3  ✝

**All morning glory images taken in my yard but not all today

1222. We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves. ~Leonora Carrington

From within and from behind, a
light shines through us upon things,
and makes us aware that we
are nothing, the but light is all.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I was up early this morning and so went wandering around the yard looking for something picture worthy. As I took these photos, I decided that they were more spectacular because of the play of early morning light on them. I saw only a portion of the flower as I rounded the corner, and even so the light shining through the leaves and the small portion of this flower’s filaments was both magical and mystical. And I’m always struck by how much holiness I sense in the light, even small pieces of it. It’s like God’s radiance falls on things in the garden as well as the sunlight. When it was all said and done, I couldn’t decided which was more stunning, the fragment of the flower or in the whole thing.

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Later in the day during a Bible Study I found myself surrounded by people who like these leaves and flowers were filled with notable and holy spiritual light. In the course of our discussion we talked about the fact that we are all made in the image of God. And so it occurred to me that whenever we look in a mirror we are actually seeing the face of God, coming face to face, as it were, with the very one who breathed life into us. And when you think of it that way, you realize that we are never separated from the Lord, no matter where life takes us or what we do or don’t do. He is always there behind the face, behind the light. Notice in the lines below how the First Nation’s people also connected life with light and breath.

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

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

1066. God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed it is the purest of human pleasures. ~Francis Bacon

A garden is a delight to the eye
and a solace for the soul.
~Sadi

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Who hath a garden, he has joy,
However small his plot may be.
Wide his horizons; in his demesne
Master of beauty and life is he.

God has gracious smiled on him,
Made him a helper in His great task–
Building a glorious world in time;
What finer task could anyone ask?

Who hath a garden, he has friends–
Lilies and roses will not forsake;
When they depart, ‘tis but for a time;
They will return when the spring winds wake.

Let him rejoice on his kingly throne
Who hath a garden of pink and gold;
Kings bear burdens and soon are gray–
Who hath a garden shall not grow old.
~Thomas Curtis Clark

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. ~Psalm 47:1  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

774. The only noise now was the rain, pattering softly with the magnificent indifference of nature for the tangled passions of humans. ~Sherwood Smith

  I like it when it rains hard.
It sounds like white noise everywhere,
which is like silence but not empty.
~Mark Haddon

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After an extended period of hot weather,
comes the first rain shower creating
an exquisite and eloquent fragrance in the air –
an earthy sweet smell that permeates and floats all around us,
refreshing our minds and rejuvenating our lives.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate

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Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
~Excerpt fro a poem
by Mary Oliver

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If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? ~1 Corinthians 12:17  ✝