1400. Shall I dance…

I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel,
Shall I dance with thee, O Lord, in the breeze at dawn?
Yes, says the Lord of my soul and the dance of life!

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I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel.
Shall I dance with thee O Lord in the morning light?
Yes, says the Lord of my soul and the dance of life!

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I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel.
Shall I dance with thee O Lord upon the dewy grass?
Yes, says the Lord of my life and the dance!

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I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel.
Shall I dance with thee all the day long O Lord?
Yes, says the Lord of my soul and the dance of life!

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I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel.
Shall I dance with thee O Lord when the evening shadows fall?
Yes, says the Lord of my soul and the dance of life!

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Then O Lord when day is done
and sleep takes me into its arms,
will You watch over me until we dance again
upon the morrow’s stage?
Yes, says the Lord of the dance
and the lover of my immortal soul!

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And when I awaken again in this dark and decaying world,
may I quake in your presence visible in all that surrounds me!
And may You refresh my vitality and strength for another day!
Yes, says the Lord of the dance and the lover of my immortal soul!

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 11.11.04 PM.pngThis is my story
This is my song
Loving my Savior
all the day long!

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. ~Psalm 143:10  ✝

**Photos found on Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

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

1269. The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them,-these sticks, stones, feathers, shells,-there is no Deity. ~R. H. Blyth

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In the afternoons,
in the almost  empty fields,
I hum the hymns
I used to sing

in church.
They could not tame me,
so they would not keep me,
alas,

and how that feels,
the weight of it,
I will not tell
any of you,

not ever.
Still, as they promised,
God, once he is in your heart,
is everywhere –

so even here
among the weeds
and the brisk trees.
How long does it take

to hum a hymn?  Strolling
one or two acres
of the sweetness
of the world,

not counting
a lapse, now and again,
of sheer emptiness.
Once a deer

stood quietly at my side.
And sometimes the wind
has touched my cheek
like a spirit.

Am I lonely?
The beautiful, striped sparrow,
serenely, on the tallest weed in his kingdom,
also sings without words.
-Mary Oliver 

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. ~Psalm 84:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collage by Natalie

996. Hold me, Lord, in the light of Your Being…

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Then, Breath of heaven, come dance
with me as autumn comes to an end

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And turn me round and round
on the earth, the beautiful hem of heaven

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So you can sing in my ear
the hymns of the spheres

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To fill me with heavenly peace
beneath the moon and stars

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Oh dance with me Yahweh
o’er fields of mercy and grace

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Waltz with me Emmanuel
as the angels and I sing, “Hallelujah”in praise of You

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Let them praise His(God’s) name with dancing… ~Excerpt from Psalm 149:3   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

588. The magic of Christmas Eve is not in the presents under the tree but in the coming of His presence…

Christmas Eve is a night of sacred hymns
that wrap themselves around us like a shawl.
And they warm more than the body–
they warm the human heart and fill it
with melodies that last forever.
~Edited and adapted
excerpt 
by Bess Streeter Aldrich

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ROSEMARY WREATH 

~by Teri Casper

Several common herbs have legends connected with the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt after Jesus was born. Since rosemary is silent underfoot, its soft leaves muffling crackling twigs beneath it, it prevented detection and ensured their safe journey.

Another story involves rosemary, sugar cane and date palm. The plants argued as to which provided the Holy Family with the greatest benefit. Palm sheltered them in the daytime heat and gave them fruit. Sugar cane provided sweetness. The rosemary bush was silent, having nothing special to offer the family.

After Mary washed Jesus’ swaddling clothes she asked the palm to bend its head so she could hang them on its fronds to dry. It couldn’t bend low enough for her to reach them. Sugar cane offered its branches but the clothes fell to the ground. So Mary hung out Jesus’ clothes on the rosemary, a small flowerless bush that had antiseptic properties. Mary blessed the rosemary, giving it flowers the blue color of her robe. Legend has it that a rosemary plant will grow no higher than six feet in thirty-three years, so as not to stand taller than Jesus did.

During their flight to Egypt, Mary, Jesus and Joseph ran out of water. Joseph went to the nearest village to get some. Mary heard Herod’s soldiers’ shouts and the sound of hoof beats approaching. There was no place to hide.

Mary saw a rose bush and asked for shelter. It refused, which is why rose bushes have thorns. The clove bush also refused help and this resulted in it having unpleasant smelling flowers. The sage plant hid them, blossoming to create safe haven. The soldiers passed by. Since then, the plant was considered sacred and believed to possess curative and protective powers.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~Psalm 73:25-26   ✝

**Image via Pinterest, text added by Natalie

528. Behold congenial autumn comes, the Sabbath of the year. ~John Logan

There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron

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Year after year I fall in love again with autumn, and this one is no different than all the others. Even though few leaves have changed colors, there are tangible signs of Keats “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Samples of such manifest themselves daily in the form of ripening seeds, nuts, hips, berries, fruits, and acorns. As well several crisp mornings have filled autumn’s cup with its quintessential sanctity, and some shrouded in foggy mists have revealed squirrels scurrying about with greater urgency while birds, soon to pull out on migratory treks, feast on seeds and berries like the ones in the photo. These are American beautyberries, and they first appeared months ago in shades of pretty, pale greens, but as autumn drew near they deepened into their stunning shade of magenta and began issuing forth tunes in this, the next series of earth’s delightful melodies.

Passages in Scripture indicate that music originated with God and accompanied Creation, and there are those who yet hear the continuing echoes of Yahweh’s “Divine symphony” as made evident in the lines I quoted from Lord Byron. The American evangelist, Beth Moore, says that a song is “the fluent language of the soul,” and I couldn’t agree more because it is my soul that “hears” the myriads of earth’s melodic voices. I think perhaps the hymns of nature are more discernible in spring and autumn after they’ve been weighed down by winter’s oppression or nearly snuffed out by the intensity of summer’s fires, but earth’s music never fails to play on. And whenever the “echo of the spheres” and “the music in all things” of which Baron Byron spoke is heard, it is a privilege to “listen” to the “songs of the morning stars and the angels shout for joy” (Job 38:7). And how blessed are we, the peoples of the earth, that God “takes delight” in us, that “He quiets” us “with His love,” and that “He rejoices” over us “with singing.”

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”   ~Zephaniah 3:17   ✝

346. Morning is the best of all times in the garden. ~William Longgood

I was up early this morning, and these are the views I saw as I moved the camera lens to get closer and closer to the back of our deep lot. I took them from my chair inside the house.  Since it was a scene I’d thought I might not see this year after our harsh winter and a very late hard freeze, it was a heavenly reminder that “God’s in His Heaven” and “All’s right with the world!”

I welcome this new day.
It is a gift to me, a new creation, a promise, a resurrection.
I am thankful to be alive this morning,
and I give praise to God!

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May I not miss the beauty in each new day!

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May I miss not the opportunity to be joyful about all God’s holy gifts!

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May I miss not the wonder in all that Yahweh has made!

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 ✝

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!