1384. You need to decide who you are for yourself. Become a whole being. ~Roy T. Bennett

you are not a name or a height, or a weight or a gender
you are not an age and you are not where you are from
you are your favorite books and the songs stuck in your head
you are your thoughts and what you eat
for breakfast on Saturday mornings

you are a thousand things, marvelous things,
but others often choose to see
only the things you are not
~Edited and adapted quote by m.k

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How far back would you have to go to recollect what it was like waking up and not caring what other people thought? Can you remember when you started tip-toeing through life in order to please others? How many of your actions, appearances, and situations have become moulded over the years by the perceptions of others? Whose life is it you’re actually living? Is it yours, based on who you truly are and how you honestly feel about things and what you really want out of life? Or is it a life more or less dictated by others? Has it ever occurred to you that those “other” people you’ve worried about are doing the same–living a kind of “fabricated” existence because they too are worried about what you and others think of them? Do you ever wonder what life might be like if we’d all just stand up and be the person we genuinely are, the one we were meant to be all along?

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not implying that this kind of allowing-what-others-think scenario has influenced everyone else but me. I was just as inclined to play that game as anyone else, but as I’ve aged, I’ve come to have an intense dislike for pretense and an earnest appreciation and acceptance of who and what Natalie is. That doesn’t mean for a split second that I believe myself to be perfect or a be-all, end-all pillar of knowledge and/or wisdom. It just means that this is what God made me to be, and so I’ve come to realize, especially since I’m made in His image, that I and everyone else for that matter should be able to stand alone on our own gifts and merits or lack of them. But ya wanna know what the real game changer was in my decision to stop allowing what others think to have any place whatsoever in my life? It was when they were nowhere to be found during “the dark nights” of my soul! So wouldn’t it be grand if we could all just be our one of a kind selves and thus a true-to-self participant in this thing called life instead of being a concocted facsimile or a mere spectator.

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  ✝

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ~Psalm 139:14-16  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1372. The grass is vibrant. The rocks pulsate. All is in flux; turn but a stone and an angel moves. ~George MacLeod

The garden of God in which we have been created has not be destroyed. Nor has it been abandoned. We may live in a state of exile from it, but God forever dwells in that place and seeks our company. ~Excerpt from THE BOOK OF CREATION by John Philip Newell

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The sun, moon and stars, in their harmonies of movement and light, are further theophanies or showing of God. Shining out of the darkness of space they express something of the inexpressible. “There is no speech, nor are there words,” says the Psalmist, “yet their voice goes out through all the earth.” The sun by day and the moon by night declare the mystery of God. What is it that they are saying? ~Excerpt from THE BOOK OF CREATION by John Philip Newell

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Nature best teaches how to pray, and how to reverence all the gifts the Almighty has given us. She is like a vast outspread handkerchief, embroidered with God’s eternal name, on which we may dry alike our tears of sorrow and of joy; she turns weeping into ecstasy, and fills our hearts with speechless, quiet reverence and resignation. ~Robert Schumann

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Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~Chief Seattle, 1855

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~Genesis 1:1 ✝

**All flowery photos taken by Natalie in her yard.

1355. I just kept thinking, if I don’t do something, who will? ~Matthew West

I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot 
do
interfere with what I can do.
~Edward Everett Hale

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I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
~Excerpted lines from a song
by Matthew West

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While in the car today, I heard this song again and thought to myself how relevant it was and still is in these troubling times. Going to church to worship and praise God once or twice a week is not nearly enough to fulfill our purpose and obligation to the loving God we worship. We have been given that we might give, and we are called on to be His church whenever and wherever we are. In so doing we become the light and hope of a fallen and hurting world. Anybody with an eye to see and an ear to hear knows that all around each and every one of us are people who are suffering, people who are poor, people who are hungry, people who are thirsty, people who are abused, people who are broken. people who need love and encouragement and on and on the list goes. And for all of them far more has to be done than the preaching of a sermon. That’s why we, each one of us, have to let our actions be a message and/or an act of merciful grace to and for others. We must let God use the gifts and talents He gave us to bless those in need. That is the true way of a miracle worker. One random act of kindness a day can change 365 lives every year. And when the right words can’t be found, just a smile and a kind word will sometimes do for they too can be the stuff of miracles. And if you are in need or feeling down, go be a blessing to someone else and you’ll find that the blessing, like a boom-a-rang, comes right back to you. Smiles and kindness costs the giver nothing but their impact is beyond measure, and like a pebble thrown in a pond they reach out in ever-widening circles!

You(God) enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. ~Psalm 18:36 ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1150. Sow the living part of yourselves in the furrow of life. ~Miguel de Unamuno

Two years ago, I was saying as I
planted seeds in the garden,
“I must believe in these seeds,
that they fall into the earth and grow
into flowers and radishes and beans.”
It is a miracle to me because
I do not understand it.  The very fact
that they use glib technical phrases to
describe the process does not make it any
less a miracle, and a miracle we all accept.
Then why not accept God’s miracles?
~Edited lines by Dorothy Day

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Part of the genius of God’s miracles and grand design is that we awaken every day to a fresh flowing of His energy and His vitality that has been stored in the seeds of our being, seeds that possess the same strength as that of the rising sun, earth’s swelling seas, and its fertile plains. An excellent time to look for the shining of His everlasting light in the “sanctuary of the soul” is in the first waking moments of each new day. That inward realm is where doors open to the germination of new life because inside each one of us the Lord has planted His “seeds of greatness.” There’s never a moment in life when either in and of ourselves or in the people around us that there are not yet unopened gifts of promise. Simply put, “heaven’s creativity on earth” is born in our bodies, and therein the Master’s “sacred hopes” are hidden. His hopes can come to fruition through the germination of our gifts and through the catalyst of prayer when we lift up “the agonies of life in the world” and ask for grace where “the human soul has grown hard” and lost sight of God’s light.

You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. ~Psalm 77:14 ✝

**Image of Lotus pod with sseeds via Pinterest

1339. There is an ancient tribal proverb I once heard in India. It says that before we can see properly we must first shed our tears to clear the way. ~Libba Bray

Glory be to you, O God,
for the grace of new beginnings
placed before me in every moment
and encounter, good or bad, of life.
~Edited quote by
John Philip Newell

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Wood as found in the natural world is, in and of itself, beautiful; the same is true of marble. However if wood is to be used in the making of a violin for example, some tools needed to hollow and shape the wood accordingly are chisels, knives, saws, scrapers. groove cutters, hole reamers, and peg shavers. And some tools needed to gouge and shape something out of marble are chisels, hammers, drills, rasps, files, and abrasive sandpapers, all of which in both instances can and do draw blood and extract the proverbial “pound of flesh” if used on we mortals. And the point of such is? Well, in a way these processes correlate to human suffering and what it can and often does achieve in a person’s life. For it is not until the wood is gouged out and shaped that its “voice,” AKA it’s exquisite sound, is released from the wood to bless our ears, and it is not until someone like Michelangelo gouges around and in a piece of marble that magnificent angels appear from deep inside the marble’s being to bless our eyes. So it was that when reading a comment today by a fellow blogger who has endured much “gouging,” it finally dawned on me in light of her struggles and mine as well as those of others that it is not until the soul is “gouged” out that we mortals are able to give “voice” in some way to garnered wisdom and profound truths. Thus trials should be seen as gifts to be embraced and celebrated, not mourned and regretted. However being appreciative of pain is something most of us find difficult at best. Clearly though “had the eye no tear, the soul would have no rainbow” nor would the dark depths of the soul ever come into healing light. The passages of Scripture below as well as others tell us to be “content” and even “thankful” about losses and painful trials for they are blessings brought forth from the scraping, gouging, and shaping the Lord has done and continues to do in our souls in order to set free “earth” angels, to give life to sacred and powerful voices, to fulfill ordained purposes, and to help bring about the memory of what we left in childhood that my dear friend calls the “soft glory of our being.”

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~James 1:2-4  ✝

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ~Romans 12:12  ✝

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:10  ✝

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~1 Peter 5:10  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; special effects done on by me on spicy

1309. O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

So I like best of all autumn,
because its tone is mellower,
its colors are richer,
and it is tinged with a little sorrow.
~Lin Yutang

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If I had to pick a recent, appropriate emblem for deep November, it would be the mellow richness of this rose. Though a wild west wind has blown today, the day I found it, dawn had broken under a heavy fog, and when the mist lifted, this rose and everything else in the garden was left completely soaked. It was as if the heavens had rained down a multitude of tears and tinged the landscape with more than the little autumn sorrow of which Yutang speaks. I for one have to wonder if, with daybreak coming later and later and darkness falling earlier and earlier, a garden knows that the year has almost completed another turn around the sun. If so and because the longing to be, to exist as an expression of the Divine Presence, can be seen in all Creation, that longing is not easily given up.

As this year draws to its end
we give thanks for the gifts it has brought
and how they came inlaid within,
where neither time nor tide
could touch them, and we also thanks
for the days when the veil lifted
and the soul could see delight;
when a quiver caressed the heart
in the sheer exuberance of being here.
-Excerpted and edited lines
by John O’Donohoe

When we take time to look beyond the trials of life, we see God’s blessings and realize that daily we continue to be given endowments of grace from the Host of the universe. From unmistakable “quivers that caress the heart” we know that we are not alone. We know that we belong to God and recognize a longing within us to touch Him. We know that He sits at the heart of life, and from there works at bringing to fruition that which He inlaid in us from the beginning. We know too that He is beside us in every moment and that our sadness is His sadness, our joy His joy, our loss His loss, our victory His victory.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done. ~1 Chronicles 16:8  ✝

1284. I have faith in myself and my life. I honour the wisdom of my soul. ~Julie Parker

This is a very important practice. Live your
daily life in a way that you never lose yourself.
When you are carried away with your worries, fears,
cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself
and you lose yourself. The practice is
always to go back to oneself.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

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The place I want to get back to
is where in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let’s see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can’t be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named
Gratitude.

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 via Pinterest; border and special effects done on iPiccy