1343. Sometimes we need to sink to the depths to know how to swim to the light. ~Julie Parker

Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on.
Let your tears water the seeds
of your future happiness.
~Steve Maraboli

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If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse. ~Anthon St. Maarten

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. ~Psalm 116:8  ✝

**Image found on Pixabay

1237. Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them. ~Vincent McNabb

What is Hope? a star that gleaming
O’er the future’s troubled sky,
Struggles, tremulously beaming,
To reveal what there may lie.
~R.A.P., “Hope,” in 
Southern Literary Messenger,
December 1840

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In one of my posts today appear the following lines: “Deep at the center of your being is an infinite well of gratitude. Allow this gratitude to fill your heart, your body, your mind, your consciousness, your very being. This gratitude will radiate out from you in all directions, touching everything in your world, and return to you as more to be grateful for.” And I am living proof that this is absolute truth. I’ve mentioned in some of my early blogs that after my father’s death when I was 18, my faith journey was derailed for quite some time. And for years following that things happened that caused me to become very cynical about life. What I didn’t realize was that what’s inside our hearts and minds becomes evident as well in our faces and our demeanor, and bitter cynicism does not make one pretty or welcoming. About 20 years ago after I finally reconnected with the Lord, slowly but surely gratitude began to swell inside me despite the fact that I still walked physically painful and trying paths. Then after surviving a stroke with negligible, residual effects nearly 4 years ago, my gratitude took another huge leap so much so that it is as it says above “radiating out in all directions touching everything in my world.” One of the ways it has become blatantly obvious is the way strangers, people I run into in my day to day doings and goings, respond and interact with me. It’s as if we become friends almost instantly. For example, about month ago we went to a new restaurant to eat, and a young girl of a different skin color, brought us our food and though I can’t remember now why, something happened that made us both laugh. As a result when we left that day, she  walked after us to wish us a good day. Then the next week when we went in she brought us our food again and engaged us in a brief conversation as though we were friends who’d known each other for quite a while. As we left that day there was another warm good-bye and well wishes given to us. In week number three, a different waiter brought us our food, but soon afterwards she stopped by our table to say hello, tell us she was sorry she didn’t get to bring us our food, and she chatted with us for a few minutes. Also. on the way out the door which had been broken, she made a point of coming over to tell us to be careful and watch out for the broken glass. This brings us to yesterday when we ate there again (yes, we really do like their food), once more a different waiter brought us our food, but it wasn’t long before she came over to our table to give me a hug and ask us how things were going. So what’s the point of my story about all this? With all the black lives matter drama that has stirred up racial unrest again, it has restored my hope that we can in fact all learn to get along with one another. However, it has to begin with each and everyone of us and our willingness to look at people through the eyes of our heart and not through the judgmentally-learned eyes of our faces. Before I go here’s one last blessing that has helped restore hope in me. My blog has now reached 70% of the world’s countries, and so I have garnered lots of followers of different ethnicities and cultures, all of whom have proven to be lovely people with a willingness to accept others different from themselves as well as engage in pleasant exchanges with them. And so to end I want to share some things Audrey Hepburn had to say along similar lines:

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most. To laugh cures a multitudes of ills.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.
For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others. For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness, and for poise, walk in the knowledge that you are never alone.

When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. ~Job 29:24  ✝

**Image via the Internet

1227. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. ~Mahatma Gandhi

When I despair, I remember that all through
history the ways of truth and love
have always won. There have been tyrants,
and murderers, and for a time they can
seem invincible, but in the end
they always fall. Think of it–always.
~Mahatma Gandhi

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I have heard from two friends today whose hearts have been hurt deeply. And as we all do, they are questioning why and how people can be so hateful and hurtful. Years ago when I was coping with a very hurtful situation, a friend of mine told me that only “hurting people hurt other people.” And over the years since I’ve come to see that Jack was exactly right. But then that doesn’t address another part of my friend’s questioning which was a.) do I think there are more hurting people these days and b.) if so, why? Before I answer that, let me say first that the fact that one of the Adam and Eve’s children killed his brother did not bode well for mankind’s ability to co-exist from the get go. We live in a fallen world in which good and evil do exist and have from the moment the choice was made to defy God’s will. And millennia after millennia has provided more than adequate evidence of a common inability as a whole to be loving and to get along peacefully. Now to address two of her queries; yes, I do think there are more hurting, hateful people, and the source is the media and the internet as you suggested. Just look at what we are being fed 24/7–It’s “cool” to be a bad-ass, it’s “cool” to be disrespectful, it’s “cool” to bully others, it’s “cool” get revenge and on and on it goes around the clock and ad nauseum. But like Gandhi I’ve not lost faith in mankind’s ability to self-correct. And it all starts with each and everyone one of us. The tools at our easy disposal are kind words, kind gestures, and lots of smiles especially to and with those who are hell-bent on behaving badly. We also have to choose to surround ourselves with people who support and affirm who and what we are; we have to choose to walk away from those who want to fight verbally or physically; we have to choose to forgive transgressions which in the end if not released only poison ourselves; we have to choose to be kind to ourselves as well by finding or creating some kind of sacred space where we can restore and re-energize our emotional well being; we have to choose to leave any and all past hurts behind us never to be brought into the present again; and we have to find places and ways to sit in silence in order to listen to the still, small voice inside who loves us and wants to heal our brokenness. And finally we have to greet each day and each breath with gratitude for the gifts that they are; we have to learn when enough is enough; we have to realize the finiteness of each breath, each step, each day; and for heaven’s sake we have to quit trying to seek a “version” of ourselves and find the real, authentic person inside. Is all of the above easy to do? No, but then what is in this life? Is it essential that we try? Yes, for the ones we leave behind when we are gone!

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… ~Luke 6:27  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

737. Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. ~Rumi

Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of anger and resentment?
Did I forgive? Did I love?
These are the real questions.
I must trust that the little bit
of love that I sow now
bears many fruits, here in this world
and in the life to come.
~Henri Nouwen

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Give birth and life to your faith and dreams.
Let die all doubt and fear.
Plant seeds of hope.
Uproot all intolerance.

Kill off pridefulness.
Speak words of healing.
Tear down walls of indifference.
Build up those who are downtrodden.

Weep with compassion for those less fortunate.
Laugh long and often.
Mourn in your own way but not without hope.
Dance with gusto and sometimes in the rain.

Scatter stones that wall in and isolate mercy.
Gather stones in order to build bridges instead.
Embrace all living creatures.
Refrain from embracing ignorance and extravagance.

Search for your true self.
Give up on what the world tells you should be.
Keep your focus on the still, small voice inside.
Throw away words spoken in anger, resentment, and envy.

Tear away from those bent on destruction.
Mend broken relationships with forgiveness.
Be silent and listen to your heart’s sacred and sound goodness.
Speak words of comfort and concern and love.

Love the Lord with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul.
Hate injustice and prejudice.
War not with others nor yourself.
Pray for wisdom and peace.

1     There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens: 

2      a time to be born and a time to die,
        a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3      a time to kill and a time to heal,
        a time to tear down and a time to build,

4      a time to weep and a time to laugh,
        a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5      a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
        a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6      a time to search and a time to give up,
        a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7      a time to tear and a time to mend,
        a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8      a time to love and a time to hate,
        a time for war and a time for peace.

~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

730. Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos. Ice cream is happiness condensed. ~Don Kardong, Jessie Lane Adams

In everyone’s life, at some time,
our inner fire goes out.
It is then burst into flame
by an encounter with another human being.
We should all be thankful for 
those people
who rekindle the inner spirit.
~Albert Schweitzer

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This is a bit of a strange post for Mother’s Day, but then there are those who say I am a bit strange, and truth be told, I might be. And I normally don’t post more than once a day, but while what happened today was fresh in my mind, I decided to go ahead with it. I’ve written several posts now about my childhood in which I’ve talked about how wonderful it was, and it truly was. In one of them, however, I also added that like all else in life, it was not without hurtful events, some of which came about because of my mother. Then in caring for mom who suffered from dementia at the end of her life, things became very arduous and wounding. As a result, since then I’ve prayed over and over again that the Lord would help me forgive and forget as much as possible and help me replace the bad “stuff” with remembrances of the happy and good times. Okay, I’m sure by now you all are asking yourselves, where is she going with this? How could this possibly have anything to do with ice cream as her lead and photos indicate? Funny, how the Lord works sometimes, isn’t it?! Well you see, it goes like this: while eating strawberry ice cream today, memories of my Mother’s unequaled, homemade ice cream flooded my mind with memories of the joy and happiness that was a part of life most of the time at my mother’s house. My mom was THE very best cook in the whole wide world. That’s why over the years, my friends were always thrilled to get an invitation to her house. In fact, I sometimes wonder if my husband married me because of who I am or because of my mom’s mashed potatoes. Well, that’s neither here nor there; I really just wrote this to thank the Lord for what happened with the ice cream today and to wish all of you a Happy Mother’s day. Even if you, who are reading this have never birthed a child, I wish you the same because everyone mothers other people in one way or another at times. And as for old Albert Schweitzer’s words, he was right in a way; it was a sort of a fire that had gone out, and though the encounter was with ice cream instead of another human being, it helped, maybe not to rekindle as much as to work, some healing in my inner spirit.

“‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God. ~Leviticus 19:3   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

604. Why always “not yet”? Do flowers in spring say “not yet”? ~Norman Douglas

I held a moment in my hand,
brilliant as a star, 
fragile as a flower,
a tiny sliver of one hour.
I dripped it carelessly.
Ah! I didn’t know, 
I held opportunity.
~Hazel Lee


There’s a whisper
inside of you…

It’s saying it’s time to
kick it up a notch.

To love more.
To create more.
To forgive more.

To be more of all that
you are and of all that
you can be.

You hear it, don’t you?
~Nick Ortner

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…  ~Hebrews 10:24    ✝

373. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. ~Agatha Christie

Even as the stone
of the fruit must break,
that its heart may stand in the sun,
so you must know pain…
Accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always
accepted the seasons
that pass over your fields…
~Khalil Gibran


Our Father, each day is a little life, each night a tiny death; help us to live with faith and hope and love. Lift our duty above drudgery; let not our strength fail, or the vision fade, in the heat and burden of the day.
O God, make us patient and pitiful one with another in the fret and jar of life, remembering that each fights a hard fight and walks a lonely way.
Forgive us, Lord, if we hurt our fellow souls; teach us a gentler tone, a sweeter charity of words, and a more healing touch.
Sustain us, O God, when we must face sorrow; give us courage for the day and hope for the morrow.
Day unto day may we lay hold of thy hand and look up into thy face, whatever befall, until our work is finished and the day is done. Amen.
~St. Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226

I love you, Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1  ✝

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!