I miss me…

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I miss me. The old me. The contented me. The bright me. The smiling me. The laughing me. The gone me. The me who didn’t see one of her hardest trials coming. It’s not that my life was ever perfect or pain free because it has never really been either of those things. No one’s ever is. But it was a known world, a quiet world, a world that had been accepted, a world from which a measure of wisdom had been garnered. And as long as I’ve lived I should have learned that we live in a constant state of flux in this world and so change is inevitable. There are always new lessons to be learned, new trials and tribulations, new insights to be gained, new purposes to be served. For the Lord has need of us and our gifts. And He knows we need to have our hearts softened again and again so that we continually yearn to hear His voice, read His Word, as well as trust and lean on Him and Him only for all our needs. Though we cannot understand much of the Divine mysteries, Yahweh designed us to seek Him and what more compelling catalysts are there than sleepless nights, relentless pain, and endless discomforts to drive us back under the shelter of His wings and near the sound of his still, small voice. And the undeserved blessing is that when we think we can’t go another step further, He is the strength and impetus that comes to help us keep putting one foot in front of the other. God is after all a good, good Father, and He doesn’t want to lose any of us even those of us who were once lost. Jesus always wants to bring us back into His keeping where hope lives, love lives, healing lives, and His grace upon grace sustains and saves us. So though these things above are gone for now, I’m living by faith that they will return even though I have one more week of radiation, which has been one of the hardest things to endure mentally, emotionally, and physically, to come my way, and there is yet another worrisome, even potentially life threatening, bridge to cross next month.

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  ✝

**Photo and text by Natalie

***For those new to my blog, the radiation treatments have exacerbated my migraine headaches and restless leg symptoms that had previously been relatively under control with my medications. Since the radiation treatments have ramped them up, sleep has been very elusive and the pain from one or both has pushed into the range of nearly unbearable and I’ve maxed out on my meds.

1424. The West is color. Its colors are animal rather than vegetable, the colors of earth and sunlight and ripeness. ~Jessamyn Westl

The prairie skies can always make you
see more than what you believe.
~Jackson Burnett

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It was still that day, evocatively still and sacredly quiet. The plain’s grasses shone golden in the sunlight and spread out before us like butter on warm toast in and around the craggy terrain. Mountains, hills, buttes, mesas, and plateaus framed these prairies and stood like paternal sentinels over the hallowed ground they had erupted upon eons ago. And although there was barely a breeze blowing on that chilly autumn day when we travelled through northern New Mexico, one could faintly hear, or maybe just imagine, the earth playing her vast array of harmonies, harmonies wrought of whispering grasses, pounding hooves, lapping waters, laughing children on the run, and the call of wild birds in flight. That particular day, however, there was only a lone hawk soaring above in the cloudless expanse of the day’s sapphire blue sky. Nevertheless it it was enough to inspire images in my mind of sun-bronzed bodies riding bareback on painted ponies, wispy curls of smoke rising from tee pees, herds of grazing buffalo, joyful children at play, beautiful black-haired women going about their daily tasks, and perhaps the faint sound of drums and flutes playing a shamanic kind of melody. Despite wanting to get to our home hundreds of miles away from there, with every advancing mile I lamented that we were drawing closer to the end of this peaceful and prepossessing land, and as we neared its end I began to feel a deep sense of sorrow. There was in me a longing and a sense of envy for those who and that which had known the earth in her beautiful infancy, loved the earth for its providence and splendor, worked the land and revered it as well as its Maker..

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. ~Psalm 37:3 ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1412. Life, when it was good, was indeed pink. La vie en rose. ~Lydia Michaels

…the right kind of day is a jeweled balm
for the battered spirit.
A few of those days and you can become drunk
with the belief that all’s right with the world.
~Ada Louise Huxtable

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Pink is not just a color; it embodies a variety of attitudes, all of which are uplifting. There’s the cool and collected pinks, the bold and sassy hotter pinks, the soft and drowsy pinks, and the daring and dramatic deep pinks. In the spring I think of pink as a somewhat shy presence but as summer’s fiery temperatures rise, pink is anything but timid. In Texas the scorching days of July and August punish the flesh and the spirit relentlessly, but even the smallest touch of pink pours over us a soothing salve of goodness. The pinks of summer may not entirely keep me from walking “without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer,” but they do keep the flames from licking up so high that they completely snuff out my breath. While locusts screech, pink flowers murmur softer melodies taking some of the edge off the insects’ discordant harmonies and my discomfort. I’ve even seen ribbons of pink in spectacular sunsets at the end of “right kind of days” in all seasons and they, too, cool down the heat in the fiery glow of the summer sun. Studies show that colors effect the human psyche; that could be why when a person is well, he/she is said to be in the pink. Since Creation is full of colors, the Lord, Himself, must place a premium on them and their effect. So whenever I hear someone say, “How majestic is His name,” I perceive God’s majesty in a broad spectrum of the amazing colors I’ve seen on earth and in the heavens.

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People usually associate the colour pink with weakness and naiveté; but I associate this colour with the most beautiful parts of the day— dawn and dusk! And in my searching through mystical writings, I have found that pink is actually related to the utmost levels of the Tree of Life. I’ve also seen it in pictures of the sky surrounding the most magnificent Aurora Borealis! So pink is strong and wonderful. ~C. JoyBell C.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. ~Psalm 8:1 ✝

**Photograps taken by Natalie in her yard today

1392. He prayeth best, who loveth best all things great and small; for the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There are 100,000 or so species of insects 
native to the United States. More than 1/3 
of these have been found in Texas. 
Texas has more different kinds of 
insects than any other state. 
~From a Texas Gov’t. publication
found on the Internet

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There is simply never a shortage of “beasties” on Texas soil especially when the temperatures soar. “Things great and small,” lovable and loathsome, have been on the move in the water, in the air, and on the land. Some float, some flutter, some fly, some are fleet of foot, some feed on the earth’s grasses and some crawl, slither, or graze in them. Scripture tells us that the good Lord saw that all He made was good, but being a less than perfect mortal, I struggle with loving and seeing the good in “all things great and small.” The fact that spiders, snakes, and “skeeters” bite and can kill has always had a great deal to do with my disdain for earth’s not so charming and/or endearing creatures. However, when I became an avid gardener, I began realizing more and more the intentionality of all that God made. Working the soil helped me see the genius of the “string of life” that connects everything on earth together in a beneficial series of interdependencies. Creation, on a grander scale of course, is much like the human body–everything in it is connected and it all works together for the good of the whole. In light of that complete awareness, slowly but surely, I’m learning to be more tolerant of the earth’s less endearing creatures. Toiling under the sun in all the seasons has shown me that built into Creation’s tapestry are purpose and provisions for all that God made. That awareness, despite my difficulty in embracing all of the “beasties” who dwell here in Texas has engendered and enlarged my trust, love, and faith in the Lord’s plans and His purposes as well as an acceptance of all that He has made.

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How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. When You send your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. -Psalm 104:24, 30  ✝

1353. Timeless thoughts of a winter’s stare; eyes gazing over a landscape bare. ~Michael A. Barron

Gray, endless shades of
Gray, winter’s somber suit of
Gray, the season’s shroud

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Beige, broad blankets of
Beige, chilling frosts turn green to
Beige, on what we trod

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Color, drear shades of
Color, muted, faint hues of
Color, in stark realm

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Winter, the woe of
Winter, shall soon be gone for
Winter, bows to spring

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As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I(God) desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10-11  ✝

**All 4 haikus written by Natalie; most images from Pinterest; collages by Natalie; a few of the images in the last collage are ones I’ve taken in past winters

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

1312. Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. ~Rabindranath Tagore

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt,
finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
sermons in stones, and good in everything.
~William Shakespeare

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When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~Mary Oliver

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. ~Excerpt from Genesis 2:9  ✝