1396. We not only need to have a deep respect for children; but also a deep respect for the child in everyone. ~C. JoyBell C.

A grownup is
a child with layers on.
~Woody Harrelson

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Do you think that child in you actually died at some point in time along the way of your growing and becoming an adult? Well, it didn’t! It is still alive and he/she needs to be nurtured for the betterment of your adult health and well-being. This does not mean you should behave in a childish manner nor give up your autonomy. But it never hurts every now and again to “Anticipate the day as if it were your birthday and you’re turning six again.” (Mike Dolan)

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The right to play is one of the divine rights of men and women, of boys and girls, and is just as essential to the peace, happiness and prosperity of the world as is the right to pray. ~Silas X. Floyd

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One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination. ~Sam Levenson

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Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with its apparent opposite and enemy, the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence. ~Norman Podhoretz

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I am often accused of being childish. I prefer to interpret that as child-like. I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things. I tend to exaggerate and fantasize and embellish. I still listen to instinctual urges. I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind. I never water my garden without soaking myself.  It has been after such times of joy that I have achieved my greatest creativity and produced my best work. ~Leo F. Buscaglia, professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California, best-selling author, and motivational speaker

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Imagination is our inner-child and creativity, its playground. ~Jaeda DeWalt

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Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.  ~Heraclitus

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It is a happy talent to know how to play.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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If one looks closely at Creation, he/she can easily see that even the Lord has a playful side. So it is that we must honor and nurture what God has chosen to include in us. My husband is 81 years old and has been playing golf since he was a young boy. And I would double dog dare anyone to try talk him into stopping playing! I can assure you it would defninitely be a daunting task! Now, has your adult self spent time with your inner child today? The people in that last collage have!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” ~Matthew 19:14  ✝

**Photos via Pinterest and Pixabay; collages created by Natalie

1393. Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness, and radiate light into the world. ~Author Unknown

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Do you remember the last time you squealed with joy about something? Or do you at least remember seeing a young child squeal with delight? How about an almost 75 year old? Well it’s true; I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact I’m elated that just months away from my 75th birthday, there are things in this world that still can make me squeal with joy and amazement. I’ve long admired photographs of lotus flowers and knew a little of their history, but it never dawned on me that I would actually ever find one here in Texas. And yet just last week as my husband and I made our periodic run through our local Botanic Gardens that to my amazement I spotted from the car what I thought were the pods of a Lotus plant. And so camera in hand, I screeched for him to stop and jumped out of the car to go take a closer look. Not only were there the remaining pods of previous lotus blooms, but I actually spotted a bud. That’s when I squealed because it was almost like standing in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time, so much so that I half expected to see Adam and Eve eventually stroll by. So for days I went back to photograph the bud as it slowly opened. At long last it appeared that it would fully open last Wednesday, the day my sister and I had chosen for our weekly quilting get-to-together. But rather than cancel at the last minute I went on to her house since we both look forward to our quilting days and time spent together. Sadly it did fully bloom that day and by the following day when I went back most of the petals had already begun to fall away. But I had seen enough to remain fully thrilled and enthralled by the experience. And I know that where there once was one there will soon enough be more. The opening photo is a collage of lotus photos I found on Pinterest, but below as I reveal some of the fascinating information about the Lotus Flower here are the photos I took last week. They are not the best photos, but it was very hot so I was shooting fast, and I couldn’t get very close to them.

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The Lotus Flower is one of the earliest and most spiritually meaningful symbols in our world ever. It spans various thousand-year-old Eastern cultures and to this day holds enormous symbolic weight.

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So what is it about this mysterious blossom that people find so enrapturing? Its colorful bloom is an obvious suspect, but the lotus also has a life cycle unlike any other.

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Late in the evening the petals close and withdraw beneath the surface, then at daybreak, the flower again lifts up to the sky and unfolds its majestic crown. With its roots based in mud, it submerges every night into murky river water, and—undeterred by its dirty environment—it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals.

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Although cultures have their own interpretations of this daily process, there is a general consensus among ancient texts that the lotus symbolizes spiritual enlightenment and rebirth.

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The lotus stunned people with its ability to dip into the grime and revive itself unscathed—an incredible daily cycle of life, death, and a sudden immaculate rebirth that can only be described as spiritual. But the flower also has a fascinating will to live. A lotus seed can withstand thousands of years without water, able to germinate over two centuries later.

“O Lord, by these things men live, And in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health and let me live! ~Isaiah 38:16  ✝

1253. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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She,
In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.
She,
Within herself,
Found loveliness,
Through the soul’s own mastery.
And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.
~Helen Keller, a poem
by Langston Hughes

My son, pay attention to what I (God) say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. ~Proverbs 4:20-22  ✝

**Helen Keller was born with the ability to see and hear. At 19 months of age, she contracted an illness described by doctors as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain,” which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her both deaf and blind.

1215. We are all farmers tending a little part of the Lord’s vineyard. ~Sheri L. Dew

One of life’s gifts is that each of us,
no matter how tired and downtrodden,
finds reasons for thankfulness:
for the crops carried in from the fields
and the grapes from the vineyard.
~J. Robert Moskin

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So James and I are driving along headed for lunch one day last week, and I just happened to glance down a cross street in time to see a house with a large side yard that has established its own tiny vineyard. Fascinated by the prospect, I asked James to turn around and go back so I could get a better look and take some photos. There on 4 rows with 7 vines on each of the rows, whoever owns the house has created what appears to be, at least for the moment, a healthy and prospering vineyard. Sadly however there are no roses at the end of the rows. Why roses? “In wine regions around the world, roses are frequently planted at the perimeter of vineyards. Roses typically require the same type of soil and sun requirements as grapevines and traditionally, rose hedges were planted as an early warning system to protect the health of the grapevines. Early detection of disease or stress on the roses alerted winemakers to take the necessary precautions to protect vines from damage. Roses also add beauty to the vineyard landscape, provide food for bees and offer habitat for beneficial insects preying on undesirable insects that can damage the grape crop.” Unfortunately this is not being done much any more as toxic pesticides are being used instead to control what would harm the vines, and I fear that this is what may be the plan here. But we shall see for I plan to make regular visits to this little suburban vineyard and will be praying that the owners are earth-friendly gardeners.

Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? ~Excerpted line from Deuteronomy 20:6  ✝

**I already knew about roses and why they were planted at the end of vineyard rows, but I opted instead to use this snippet from an article I found on the internet to explain it. Also as you can see, the leaves on the grape vines, as are leaves on most things in Texas, are a bit wilted at midday this time of year due to the intense heat .

1143. In health the flesh is graced, the holy enters the world. ~Wendell Berry

Ask the world to reveal its quietude —
not the silence of machines when they are still,
but the true quiet by which birdsongs,
trees, bellworts, snails, clouds, storms
become what they are, and are nothing else.
~Wendell Berry

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When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests
in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry

Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. ~Job 22:21  ✝

**Image by Mike Bizeau found at: https://naturehasnoboss.com/2016/05/01/bluebird/

1090. Your big opportunity may be right where you are now. ~Napoleon Hill

With the past, I have nothing to do;
nor with the future. I live now.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Now is the time to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder of your life.

Open your eyes and see the friends
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encourages you to live everything here.

See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be
And the mind to mirror mystery.
~John O’Donohue

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. ~Psalm39:7  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1058. The poetry of the earth is never dead… ~John Keats

Let us love winter, for
it is the spring of genius.
~Pietro Aretino

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Scripture tells us that God  rested on the 7th day, and so we see that He deems rest as an essential element of well being. Earth’s life cycles would simply not be sustainable without rest, and that’s what winter is designed for. This rhythm of restfulness and  then liveliness is visible in more than just springtime’s revival though; for example, we see it in the yielding of daylight to darkness, wakefulness to sleep, and noisiness to silence. Relaxation leads to revitalization and health, and that’s why Creation’s repetitive patterns of repose and continuation have been described as the holy rituals of sacred restful sacraments. Although loving winter, especially when we are in its most extreme throes, is challenging, the good news is that Yahweh, the lovable Genius behind winter, built into it things that keep us hopeful. One such thing is this lenten rose that I found blooming near my back fence. In the already cleared ground and warmed by autumn’s leafy debris its pink flowers are rising above the foliage and standing there “pretty as a picture” as they say. Perhaps the hellebore bloomed a bit earlier than usual because what little winter we’ve had here has been mild, very mild so far. It’s just early February and yet there were days last week and more coming next week with highs in the mid-to-high 70‘s. Thus my wondrous, little lenten rose is truly a “verse” of poesy penned by the now sleeping earth, and it is manifest proof that “the poetry of the earth” is, as Keats said, never dead.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. ~Genesis 2:2-3  ✝