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

1125. Flowers heal me. Clematis make me happy. I keep myself surrounded by it… ~Edited excerpt by Rebecca Wells

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Natalie, Natalie, oh so merry
How does your garden grow?
With a vine here, and another one there,
Of pretty clematis climbing on high.

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Clematis vine boasts vibrant hue,
now seeks acclaim for ocean’s blue,
and strives to catch the morning dew.
~Cona Adams

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If I had grown up in that house
I couldn’t have loved it more,
couldn’t have been more familiar with
the creak of the swing, or the pattern of the clematis
vines on the trellis, or the velvety swell of land
as it faded to gray on the horizon…The very
colors of the place had seeped into my blood.
~Donna Tartt

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On the warm stone walls, climbing roses
were just coming into bloom and
great twisted branches of honeysuckle and
clematis wrestled each other as they
tumbled up and over the top of the wall.
~Meg Rosoff

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Happiness is remembering my wild and lovely garden,
Arbors of white roses and purple clematis;
Pretty yellow daylilies and daffodils beside a rail fence,
Placing carefully flowers, I create a soul-soothing retreat.
In my beautiful garden all my old favorites grow,
No color does not have its place to welcome birds and butterflies;
Even wild flowers and vines, and kittens grow,
Seeding themselves the purple larkspur and rosy phlox;
Such beauty, O such beauty, had rested beneath the snow.
~Edited acrostic by Broken Wings

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Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4  ✝

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   ✝

1087. I can hear you making small holes in the silence rain… ~Excerpted line from a poem by Jerry Hughes

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby…
~Excerpt from a poem by Langston Hughes

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Listen to the rain! Each drop whispers secrets as it falls in many notes. All in tune the pitter pattering of their rich elemental sounds reveal a holy, life-giving melody written by the hand of God. Yahweh’s songs tell of filling lakes and streams to quench the thirst of earth and man and of replenishing gardens so as to provide food for the bodies and beauty for the souls of His children. There too are songs that like tears which empty the heart of sorrow fall like mercy from above to bless and heal in their quiet persistence.

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!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
of the rain.
~Edited excerpt from a poem
by Mary Oliver

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. ~Leviticus 26:4 ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

970. In the world of words, the imagination is one of the forces of nature. ~Wallace Stevens

Words can sometimes, in moments of
grace, attain the quality of deeds.
~Elie Wiesel

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Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. ~Yehuda Berg

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~Colossians 3:17   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

698. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower. ~Samuel Smiles

Finger-like ancient
flowers dating back to the
reign of Edward III

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Freckled are your tube-
like prettily colored bells
that look like a glove

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And are a lurking
place of the wee folk who clap
the fairy thunder

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Stately foxglove with
the lambs-tongue-leaves you thrill
the eye and heal hearts

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But beware to all
who know not you can kill a
man as well as heal

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Favorite of mine
are you in the garden but
grow you not in heat

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So it is that I
must find you early in the
year to grow in pots

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Where a favorite
of the buzzing bees and
my camera are you

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Because you see
I love your freckly poetry
of apostrophes

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My blogging friend, Bette Stevens, posted this week that April is national poetry month, and so I set out to write a series of haikus about a favorite flower of mine. I’m certainly no poet but I had fun trying to tell some of the lore about this flower in haiku fashion. Along with the verses are photos I’ve taken and others I found on Pinterest.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. ~Isaiah 40:8   ✝

357. A blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal, and strengthen. ~John O’Donohue

The earth together with its
surrounding waters must in fact
have such a shape as its shadow reveals,
for it eclipses the moon
with the arc of a perfect circle.
~Nicolaus Copernicus

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May the Lord enclose you in a circle of grace
in which protection is near and danger is kept far away.

May the Lord enclose you in a circle of goodness
in which hope is kept within and doubt is kept without.

May the Lord enclose you in a circle of mercy
in which light is forever near and darkness is kept forever far away.

May the Lord enclose you in a circle of love
in which peace dwells within and evil is kept without.

May the Lord’s goodness, grace, love, and mercy encircle you
in safety wherever you go and in whatever you do.

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. ~Isaiah 40:22 ✝

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 (a circle of love)!

**Image borrowed from Pinterest