1376. Outside the open window the morning air is all awash with angels. ~Richard Wilbur

open your eyes
to the beauty around you,
open your mind
to the wonders of life,
open your heart
to those who love you,
and always
be true to yourself.
~Maya Angelou

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May the touch of your skin
Register the beauty
Of the otherness
That surrounds you.

May your listening be attuned
To the deeper silence
Where sound is honed
To bring distance home.

May the fragrance
Of a breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the earth.

And when you partake
Of food and drink,
May your taste quicken
To the gift and sweetness
That flows from the earth.

May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. ~Matthew 6:22 ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1316. So much has been given to me I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied. ~Helen Keller

For three things I thank God every day of my life:
thanks that he has vouchsafed me knowledge of his works;
deep thanks that he has set in my darkness the lamp of faith;
deep, deepest thanks that I have another life to look forward to–
a life joyous with light and flowers and heavenly song.
~Helen Keller

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Oh autumn, how late you came, but how glorious you have been! Today, however, winter’s first cold, cold breath has blown hard across the garden and these flowery “babies” I found today will perish in the frigid hours before dawn’s first light. In gratitude for their coming I shall like Helen and the author of the poem below go to sleep tonight thanking God that they came at all.

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Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.

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Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.

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Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat, a new poem, my library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.

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And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and
I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.
~Carrie Newcomer

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So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2:6-7  ✝

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**This tiny little sunflower came up from a fallen seed that had dropped down out of the bird feeder. I’ve been watching to see if it would bloom before winter nipped it in the bud and sure enough it did. The photos are not my best effort this time, but it was too darned cold to stand out in that cold north wind for long.

1222. We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves. ~Leonora Carrington

From within and from behind, a
light shines through us upon things,
and makes us aware that we
are nothing, the but light is all.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I was up early this morning and so went wandering around the yard looking for something picture worthy. As I took these photos, I decided that they were more spectacular because of the play of early morning light on them. I saw only a portion of the flower as I rounded the corner, and even so the light shining through the leaves and the small portion of this flower’s filaments was both magical and mystical. And I’m always struck by how much holiness I sense in the light, even small pieces of it. It’s like God’s radiance falls on things in the garden as well as the sunlight. When it was all said and done, I couldn’t decided which was more stunning, the fragment of the flower or in the whole thing.

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Later in the day during a Bible Study I found myself surrounded by people who like these leaves and flowers were filled with notable and holy spiritual light. In the course of our discussion we talked about the fact that we are all made in the image of God. And so it occurred to me that whenever we look in a mirror we are actually seeing the face of God, coming face to face, as it were, with the very one who breathed life into us. And when you think of it that way, you realize that we are never separated from the Lord, no matter where life takes us or what we do or don’t do. He is always there behind the face, behind the light. Notice in the lines below how the First Nation’s people also connected life with light and breath.

What is life? It is the flash
of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo
in the wintertime. It is
the little shadow which runs
across the grass and loses
itself in the sunset.
~Crowfoot

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. ~Matthew 6:22  ✝

989. Light is good from whatever lamp it shines. ~Author Unknown

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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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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1:17   ✝

763. In the end, there is no absence of irony… ~Winona LaDuke

Life is too ironic to understand.
It takes sadness to know
What happiness is,
Noise to appreciate silence,
And absence
To value presence!
~Author Unknown

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Not too long after I graduated and began working in my secretarial position, the grant that funded James’ job at the blood bank expired and so he had to be let go. After a few months he got another job, this time with EPA working in air pollution control here in our area, and thus we continued moving forward in paying off the debts incurred from his illness in our first year of marriage. On a side note, as a requirement for his job, James had to attend conferences on air quality and pollution controls. When one came up which required that he fly to North Carolina, I learned for the very first time that James was very much afraid of flying, and though I hadn’t thought of it for several years, it occurred me then that that probably meant the end of any chance of ever getting to Paris. But I told myself such is life and just let the dream fall by the wayside again. Soon after that I decided to stop wasting the education that my parents had worked hard to fund and went back to school one summer in order to get a third teaching field. In the fall of 1968 I finally got my first teaching job, and then 2001 I retired after having taught English and/or Spanish for 31 years. And go figure! I never did get the opportunity to teach French. And so whoooosh! The dream’s tiny, remaining flame is all but snuffed out one more time. However, all had not been lost. Life had gone on in spite of all the setbacks and dashed hopes. Over the course of our now nearly 53 years of marriage, I had given birth to our one and only child who was and is the delight and love of our lives. But wait! Are you ready for this one? She met her future husband while they were both working on their Ph.D in graduate school, and they married shortly after their graduations. So? One might ask. What’s the problem with that? Well… Where do suppose he took her on their honeymoon??? Why, where else but Paris of course and for a whole, entire week! To be continued… (2 weeks, 1 day and counting)

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. ~2 Samuel 22:29  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

762. Life is like a canvas. It begins blank every day, and when at day’s end it’s like another brush stroke has been painted across it. ~Edited Unknown

You don’t just have a story –
you’re the story in the making,
and you never know what the
next chapter is going to be.
That’s what makes it exciting.
~Dan Millman

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Life is like a book and
we’re the writers of our own stories,
the makers of our own destiny.
And each day is a new chapter,
a new challenge,
a new path,
a new journey.
~Unknown

Your word, Lord, is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. ~Psalm 119:105  ✝

739. My head is bursting with the joy of the unknown. My heart is expanding a thousand fold. ~Rumi, translated by Shahram Shiva

Of all the senses,
sight must be 
the most delightful.
~Helen Keller, deaf and blind
American author and lecturer

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May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
and glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.

~Excerpts from a blessings for
the senses by John O’Donohue

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. ~Matthew 6:22   ✝

**Image via Pinterest