1292. Let me keep company always with those who say “look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads. ~Mary Oliver

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
~Folliat S. Pierpoint

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Life is huge!
Rejoice about the sun, moon, flowers, and sky.
Rejoice about the food you have to eat.
Rejoice about the body that houses your spirit.
Rejoice about the fact that you can
be a positive force in the world around you.
Rejoice about the love that is around you.
If you want to be happy, commit
to making your life one of rejoicing.
~Author Unknown

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. ~Psalm 96:11  ✝

**Photo taken by Natalie

1282. When I dance I forget everything else and just feel completely happy. ~Katherine Jenkins

When you dance, your purpose
is not to get to a certain
place on the floor. It’s to enjoy
each step along the way.
~Wayne Dyer

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If I Were
There are lots of ways to dance
and to spin, sometimes it just
starts my feet first then my entire body,
I am spinning no one can see it
but it is happening. I am so glad to be alive,
I am so glad to be loving and loved.
Even if I were close to the finish, even if
I were at my final breath,
I would be here to take a stand,
bereft of such astonishments,
but for them.
~Excerpt from a poem
by Mary Oliver

Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful. ~Excerpt from Jeremiah 31:4  ✝

**Image via Pinterest; special effects done on iPiccy and Movavi

1251. We strain to renew our capacity to wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again. ~Shana Alexander

What
if you were
a beetle,
and a soft wind

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and a certain allowance of time
had summoned you
out of your wrappings,
and there you were,

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so many legs
hardening,
maybe even
more than one pair of eyes

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and the whole world
in front of you?
And what if you had wings
and flew

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into the garden,
then fell
into the up-tipped
face

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of a white flower,
and what if you had
a sort of mouth,
a lip

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to place close
to the skim
of honey
that kept offering itself –

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what would you think then
of the world
as, night and day,
you were kept there –

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oh happy prisoner –
sighing, humming,
roaming
that deep cup?
~How Everything Adores Being Alive,
by Mary Oliver

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~Isaiah 40:29  ✝

**Photos 1, 4, 6, 7, 8 by Mandy Disher; images 2, 3, 5 via Pinterest

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

1164. Drip, drip, drip in cadenced rhythm fall the rain’s dotted silver threads from heaven above. ~Natalie Scarberry

I looked out the window at the falling rain
and gave myself over to the compelling urge to put
myself entirely in the keeping of this rainy day.
~Edited lines from a poem
by Raymond Carver

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Drip, drip, dripping from on high it falls
Not in torrents this time, but in a tender grayness.
Fall, fall, falling through space it comes
Traveling from who knows where and what source
Yet it brings familiar scents and thoughts of yore.
Would I, could I, unravel such things!

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Puddles, puddles, puddling everywhere
Making pools of water like bits of glassy mirrors.
Hang, hang, hanging are leaves and flowery faces
Weighed down by the heaviness of daylong showers
Born of lowering gray clouds leaden with water
Yet there is loveliness in their blurry, drooping poses.
Would I, could I, paint such things.

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Memories, memories, making their way through the rain
With smacks of this fragrance and that, places and people,
Joys and pain, good things and bad things all tied up
In “raindrops on roses” and more of my favorite things
That sparkle and forever accompany rainy days and quiet ways.
Yet there’s gladness in it all for it’s the sum and magic of a life.
Would I, could I, understand such things.
~Natalie Scarberry

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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!
~Excerpt from a poem
by Mary Oliver

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“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” ~Job 11:7  ✝

**All images taken by me in my yard today while holding an umbrella in one hand and trying to manage the camera with the other one.

1155. A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. ~Victor Hugo

I haven’t much time to be fond of anything…
but when I have a moment’s fondness
to bestow, most times…the roses get it.
I began my life among them
in my father’s nursery garden, and
I shall end my life among them, if I can.
~Wilkie Collins

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The garden is the place I go for refuge and shelter, not the house. In the house are duties and annoyances, servants to exhort and admonish, furniture, and meals; but out there blessings crowd round me at every step — it is there that I am sorry for the unkindness in me, for those selfish thoughts that are so much worse than they feel; it is there that all my sins and silliness are forgiven, there that I feel protected and at home, and every flower and weed is a friend and every tree a lover. When I have been vexed I run to them for comfort, and when I have been angry without just cause, it is there I find absolution. Did ever a woman have so many friends? And always the same, always ready to welcome me and fill me with cheerful thoughts. Happy children of a common Father, why should I, their own sister, be less content and joyous than they? ~Elizabeth von Arnim

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Gardens and chocolate
both have mystical qualities.
~Edward Flaherty

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I would hurry to my place of shelter far from the tempest and the storm. ~Psalm 55:8 ✝

**All flower images taken by me in my yard; lower most chocolate image via Pinterest

1124. I love tulips better than any other spring flower; they are the embodiment of alert cheerfulness and tidy grace… ~Excerpted line by Elizabeth von Arnim

 Guarded within the old red wall’s embrace,
Marshaled like soldiers in gay company,
The tulips stand arrayed.
~Excerpt from
a poem by Amy Lowell

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Sooooo, every week when we go to the grocery story, I buy one of those little bunches of cut flowers to set on the shelf near my computer. But this last week they had a pot of tulips on sale for $5.00 and they looked like they might be very pretty ones when they fully opened up. So I saved myself some money and brought the bargain, potted tulips home. And every day I have watched as they slowly but surely opened up into a very pretty species indeed. And here’s the thing, since I’ve tried and tried planting tulip bulbs in the ground with little to no luck at all, (actually this year I did get one to come up and bloom. It wasn’t very big but it was pretty) now I’m wondering, if I planted these that are already in soil in the pot instead of more bulbs in the fall, that they might actually come up next year and bloom for me. Okay, okay, before any of you gardening gurus out there have reasons to shoot holes in my theory, just let them lie and allow me to find out the folly of it for myself. That way I’ll have a whole year to look forward to their coming before my hopes are dashed again and I am once again “tulipless.” Also should any of you feel compelled to ask why I don’t just go out and cut flowers from my garden instead of buying ones each week, let me just say that I’m greedy and can’t stand for any of my babies to be “murdered.” And yes, I am also aware that the ones I buy have been “murdered,” but hey, that was someone else’s bad choice not mine.

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Flowers heal me. Tulips make me happy. I keep myself surrounded by them… ~Excerpt from a line by Rebecca Wells

…the cheerful heart has a continual feast. ~Excerpt from Proverbs 17:22   ✝