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

1159. Words are such small things, like confetti in the brain, and yet they are color and clarify everything; they stain the mind or warp the feelings. ~Diane Ackerman

Ecstasy is what everyone craves —
not love or sex, but hot-blooded, soaring intensity,
in which being alive is a joy and a thrill.
That enravishment doesn’t give meaning to life,
and yet without it life seems meaningless.
~Diane Ackerman

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In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,
In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,
I will honor all life —
wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.
~Excerpted verses from a poem
by Diane Ackerman

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor. ~Proverbs 21:21  ✝

**All images (my enravishments) were taken by me in my yard.

1057. When all is said and done, we exist only in relation to the world… ~Diane Ackerman

The more we exile ourselves from nature,
the more we crave its miracle waters.
~Diane Ackerman

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In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.
~Diane Ackerman

In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. ~Hebrews 1:10  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1000. Poetry is when emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. ~Robert Frost

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Everything

I want to make poems that say right out, plainly,
what I mean, that don’t go looking for the
laces of elaboration, puffed sleeves. I want to
keep close and use often words like
heavy, heart, joy, soon, and to cherish
the question mark and her bold sister
the dash. I want to write with quiet hands. I
want to write while crossing the fields that are
fresh with daisies and everlasting and the
ordinary grass. I want to make poems while thinking of
the bread of heaven and the
cup of astonishment; let them be
songs in which nothing is neglected,
not a hope, not a promise. I want to make poems
that look into the earth and the heavens
and see the unseeable. I want them to honor
both the heart of faith, and the light of the world;
the gladness that says, without any words, everything.
~Mary Oliver

He (Jesus) will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of His birth. ~Luke 1:14  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

925. The earth has music for those who listen. ~William Shakespeare

Inside the silence between
your 
heartbeats hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Listen.
Quiet the voices and noise around you.
Honor the Holy One calling you!
~Author Unknown

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I perceive the universe as a cosmic temple and planet earth as a sanctuary in that temple. Although not given the power of speech as such therein, rain and other weather-related phenomena exhibit distinctive voices in and under the heavens. And as these things fall from earth’s chaotic atmosphere, they often blend their unique voices with other holy sounds in the natural world. In that sacred chorus is a call for humanity to seek the Maker of the temple because God not only hardwired man with a desire to connect with other human beings but also with a  longing to seek and connect with Him. Thus to that end man was given eyes to witness the sacraments of heaven and earth, ears to hear the chants of their hallowed voices, intellect to question and understand to some extent what is seen and heard, and a heart that in due time turns from irreverence to deep longing.  Tecumseh, a leader of the Shawnee, said, “Nature is so powerful, so strong.  Capturing the essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the rain in its weather.  It takes you to a place within yourself.” And so after the 11 inches of magical, mystical rain that we’ve had in the last week, I’m a’listenin’ and doin’ little jigs all over the place.

…let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— ~Proverbs 1:5  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

870. A hug makes you feel good all day. ~Kathleen Keating

A hug delights and warms and charms;
that must be why God gave us arms.
~Author Unknown

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A hug is the perfect gift:
one size fits all, and
nobody minds if you exchange it.
~Irvin Ball

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Love is a circular emotion
that surrounds you, like a hug,
~Jarod Kintz

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One word can end a fight;
One hug can start a friendship;
One smile can being unity;
One person can change your entire life!
~Israelmore Ayivor

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Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. ~Proverbs 4:8  ✝

**images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie

660. A snowy day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder. ~Susan Orlean

The first fall of snow is not only an event,
it is a magical event.
You go to bed in one kind of a world
and wake up in another quite different,
and if this is not enchantment
then where is it to be found?
~J. B. Priestley

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I know snowy manifestations get in the way of “human” comings and goings and doings and that in areas where winter delivers a lot of the fluffy white stuff the populace tires of it, but man oh man is snow one of my favorite things. And for me it is definitely an “enchantment” any time it happens here which is not all that often! But snow in fact it did last week, and as always it was a “magical event” that layered the world in loveliness. Regrettably, I could only watch it from my hospital bed, but oh well, such is life.

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What I love best about snow is that, like God’s grace, it takes the ordinary, the humdrum, the lackluster, even things that are dirty or ugly and moves them into the realm of the extraordinary and the beautiful. We are told in scripture there is a time for everything under heaven, and that there is goodness and purpose in all that God has devised. It also tells us that stopping man from his toils so that he takes time to consider the work of God’s hands is a part of the grand plan too. And so it is that the slower, quieter pace of winter affords us abundant opportunities to consider the amazing works of God’s hands, to honor the Lord for what He is and does, and to enjoy His amazing abilities and gifts. And it’s the best time of year to force man’s gaze off his own self-inflated sense of greatness and to refocus his regard on the enormous magnitude of Him who made it all and who teaches His children ways to cope with whatever comes against them.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth,” and to the rain shower, “Be a mighty downpour.” So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor. ~Job 37:5-7   ✝