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.

1445. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of “wonder and humility.” ~Rachel Carson

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen,
among the beauties and mysteries of the earth,
are never alone or weary of life.
~Rachel Carson

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What is that I hear? What is it I see? What’s that smell floating along on the breeze? Are they things returning once again to remind me that just like that with a sound, a sight, and a scent winter falls slowly but surely into spring, glorious, glorious spring? Could it be that time of year has come when the greens are greener, the colors are fresher, the fragrances sweeter? Have we at last traversed winter’s domain of quietness, of drabness, of blandness to find once more that hope is tangible, love is in the air, and the “beauties and mysteries” of the earth yet have a way of filling old and young alike with wonder and humility? If so, which of these photographic delights might be the “proof in the pudding?”

Is it the forsythia I saw above?

Or is it this that was right behind it?

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Or is it these side by side hellebores?

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Or perhaps it is the glowing whiteness of this Magnolia Stellata?

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Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. ~Psalm 85:11 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1355. I just kept thinking, if I don’t do something, who will? ~Matthew West

I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot 
do
interfere with what I can do.
~Edward Everett Hale

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I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
~Excerpted lines from a song
by Matthew West

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While in the car today, I heard this song again and thought to myself how relevant it was and still is in these troubling times. Going to church to worship and praise God once or twice a week is not nearly enough to fulfill our purpose and obligation to the loving God we worship. We have been given that we might give, and we are called on to be His church whenever and wherever we are. In so doing we become the light and hope of a fallen and hurting world. Anybody with an eye to see and an ear to hear knows that all around each and every one of us are people who are suffering, people who are poor, people who are hungry, people who are thirsty, people who are abused, people who are broken. people who need love and encouragement and on and on the list goes. And for all of them far more has to be done than the preaching of a sermon. That’s why we, each one of us, have to let our actions be a message and/or an act of merciful grace to and for others. We must let God use the gifts and talents He gave us to bless those in need. That is the true way of a miracle worker. One random act of kindness a day can change 365 lives every year. And when the right words can’t be found, just a smile and a kind word will sometimes do for they too can be the stuff of miracles. And if you are in need or feeling down, go be a blessing to someone else and you’ll find that the blessing, like a boom-a-rang, comes right back to you. Smiles and kindness costs the giver nothing but their impact is beyond measure, and like a pebble thrown in a pond they reach out in ever-widening circles!

You(God) enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. ~Psalm 18:36 ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1337. Of winter’s lifeless world each tree now seems a perfect part; yet each one holds spring’s secret deep down within its heart. ~Edited quote by Charles G. Stater

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers…
~Thomas Campion

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Gray, foggy dreariness
ushered in the day;
A mist, a cold, frigid drizzle,
fell from on high;
Bare, starkly austere, lay everything
I could see; and
Silence, a stilled quietude, blanketed
my wintry garden.
Bleakly naked, towered tall trees that
stood above all else,
But underneath them from the secret place
murmured a voice,
The sacred, almost indistinguishable, faint
whisper emerged amid
The fog and fine rain to go forward undetected
past the woody sentinels
To allow its utterances to break into morn’s reverie
to tell of signs, longed for signs
Of tiny sparks of life that are preparing to push up
despite the gloominess
And ‘twas this message that stirred embers in my spirit
to keep their glimmer from
Becoming far too dim to continue sustaining my hope,
expectations, and “joie de vie.”

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Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter.
It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.
~Rumi

The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. ~Job 37:9 ✝

**Both photos taken by Natalie

1326. You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret—you return to the beauty you have always been. ~Aberjhani

Light gives of itself freely,
filling all available space.
It does not seek anything in return;
it asks not whether you are friend or foe.
It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.
~Michael Strassfeld

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Each day brings new opportunities,
allowing one to constantly live with
hope and the possibility of love—
be there for others—bring
love and light into their lives.
~Edited and adapted quote
by Roy T. Bennett

And with any amount of light, even the tiniest glow or spark, comes hope. Light, love, and hope! Where would any of us be without a measure of these three things? They are inextricably linked together and have been since the beginning of time! For light begets hope, hope inspires love, and love brings light. But…

Love does not find you,
nor do you find love.
Love is ever present…
When you are willing to open, to risk,
to adventure, to live with authenticity –
then the power of Love flows
through you and creates light.
~Edited and adapted passage
by Julie Parker

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. ~Proverbs 15:30  ✝

**Image found on Wallpapers App

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  ✝

1263. Then summer fades and passes and October comes. ~Excerpt from lines by Thomas Wolfe

Autumn begins with a subtle change
in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and
nights that 
become suddenly clear and chilled.
~Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

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At long last August passed into nothingness for the year, and I welcomed September, hopeful, despite knowing better from past experience, that it would indeed be sweet and bring on autumn’s amazingly lovely, cool, crisp days. Though disappointed by it’s initial lack of sweetness, I clung to the hope that the equinox would remedy what September had  so far failed to do, a hope fried by the 102 degrees last Monday, the 101 degrees last Tuesday, and the high 90’s the remainder of the week. But maybe, just maybe, as September passes into October this week, summer may actually begin somewhat of a fall into autumn’s golden glory, that is if the weather guys are right about their predictions. But then I know only too well that they might not be because I’ve spent too many years here enduring the heat as far as into December at times. So shhhhhh, let’s not allow my words and doubt frighten the chance away should it ring true. In the meantime, as usual I’ll cling to the memory of autumn that remains always in my heart.

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In every month, yet in aught begun,
Read over that month, what avails to be done;
So neither this travail shall seem to be lost,
Nor thou to repent of this trifling cost.

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…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~Excerpt from Romans 5:3-5 ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Yahoo weather; collages created by Natalie