1345. There are hundreds of languages in this world and one transcends all, the language of love. ~Julie Parker

Beneath the chaos, YOU ARE STILLNESS.
Beneath the pain, YOU ARE JOY.
Beneath the fear, YOU ARE LOVE.
~Julie Parker

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I believe Love is everywhere. I believe Hearts speak to hearts. I believe Souls know each other long before they meet. I believe we are in this world to create Heaven on Earth. I believe everything we encounter is a call to remember a language our Soul has known for eternity. I believe we are Love… ~Julie Parker

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May the Love you are
blossom into Being.
With each unfurling petal
May you know the beauty of your Soul.
May you sow seeds of Love
through every season.
~Julie Parker

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.’” ~Leviticus 19:18  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest; borders and special effects done by me on iPiccy.

1332. Can you remember who you were before the world the world told you who you should be? ~Charles Bukowski

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy,
a quickening that is translated through you
into action, and because there is only one of you
in all time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through
any other medium and will be lost.
~Martha Graham

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Not only would the uniqueness of you be lost forever, but the desires and dreams you once had would “be tamed,” possibly into near non-existence. For they were were not simply urges but ordained “beacons of truth” leading to divine and holy purpose. Because there is power in your authenticity, being who you were created to be helps you shine your light in the world. To that end the Lord wants to connect with you so that you can plug into His light and beginning a dialogue with Him is the way to start building that blessed connection. But if we have any resentment about who and what we are, that destructive attitude will limit us because “fear cannot coexist with love.” We have to let go of the past regardless of how painful and/or disappointing it may have been and stop bringing our past into the present and “replaying it into the future.” Shame and guilt has to be released in order for us to create new and healthy patterns. Also as we move forward, we must daily find ways to take action on things that stir, inspire, and ignite joy and the sacred calling on our lives. And we must bring acceptance and compassion into our moments of self-talk, and why not? Since we are the only ones who can hear what we say to ourselves, there’s no reason we can’t be nice and affirming and encouraging to ourselves. Finally, we must also let go of what we “think” we need, and when we do, what we really need will miraculously begin to show up.

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” ~Jeremiah 29:11-13 and part of 29:14  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest; border and special effects done by Natalie on iPiccy

1330. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light. ~John Milton

In a futile attempt to erase our past,
we deprive the community of our healing gift.
If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame,
our inner darkness can neither be illuminated
nor become a light for others.
~Brennan Manning

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Everyone has a story no matter what their age. We who are older however are actually made up of a series of stories, and in each of them tides turned along the way or remained static because of the choices we made and/or the chances we took. And one of the most critical choices each one of us has to make is whether or not to be authentically who God intended us to be. Most of us have somewhat of a grasp of that early on, but adolescence is and was a game changer. Living through those years is like what Virginia Woolf once said, “the eyes of others are our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” During the formative, teen years rather than remaining true to oneself, many try to be what the eyes of others think they should be and to think thoughts and to have ideas that this body of “they” believe to be “cool.” Because teens, like everyone else, want to be liked and accepted, their innocence and naïveté prompts many of them to succumb partially or wholly to the standards and choices of others in order to remain “free” from the prisons and cages of their peers, the intimidating, corporate “they.” And I was just as guilty of that as anyone else until one night, years and years later, in the middle of a very emotionally and physically painful night, it dawned on me that though there was no one there in the darkness to help me cope, to soothe me, or to stop the pain. And that was the mid-life game changer that motivated me to walk back far enough through time to remember who Natalie genuinely was, to embrace her, and to walk into the future as the Natalie I was meant to be. A subsequent choice I made was not to let what had broken me define who Natalie was and is but instead with God’s grace to find my inner light and let it shine even if at times it yet has to break forth through tears.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~Brené Brown

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…” ~Matthew 5:14  ✝

**Collage of developing ages in Natalie’s life gathered and put in chronological order by Natalie

1298. Out beyond the fear, anger, pain and denial, lies a field of possibility. Beyond this a world of Love. I will meet you there… ~Julie Parker

Love lights our way through the darkness.
Love keeps us safe through the storm.
Love opens us to new beginnings.
Love is the glow of emerging dawn.
~Julie Parker

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Love does not find you, nor do you find love.
Love is and has always been ever present…
When you are willing to open, to risk,
to adventure, to live with authenticity –
then the power of Love flows through you.
~Edited quote by Julie Parker

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:1-3  ✝

**Photo be Elena Shumilova

1210. If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again. ~Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us
to encounter everyday epiphanies, those
transcendent moments of awe that change
forever how we experience life and the world.
~John Milton

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When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry

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He (the Lord) maketh me lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. ~Psalm 23: 1-2  ✝

**Images of wood drakes and great herons via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

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.

1086. No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. ~C.S. Lewis

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not a mark of weakness,
but of power. They speak
more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of
overwhelming grief, of deep contrition,
and of unspeakable love.
~Washington Irving

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Nikki was born to us after nine years of marriage, 5 days before my thirtieth birthday and ten days before her father’s 37 birthday. From the instant of her birth, she was, has always been, and is still the greatest joy of our lives. And though James and I know intellectually that she is only 12 hours away by car or an hour and a half by air, somehow it feels like she is far, far away, on the opposite side of the world now. And it’s not that we don’t wish her and her family well. We truly do wish them the very best always, and we know that the Lord has laid this opportunity upon their altar of their lives for a reason. But James and I are lost in sadness at the moment and don’t want anyone to try to minimalize what we’re feeling or tell us it’s foolish or that it will be all right. Also, what Mr. Lewis said is very true because some of what we’re experiencing does feel like fear. Long ago I read in a piece of literature (The Miracle Worker) that we don’t just keep our children safe; they keep us safe as well. So today has been hard, very hard, and for me there have been tears, lots of them as well as fears for both of us. And when I’m hurting like this, I withdraw and become introspective as I search to find my bearings, my balance, my true north again.

When someone you love is gone
in some way from your life,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make you unsure…
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by John O’Donohue

“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Excerpt from Joshua 1:9  ✝