1292. Let me keep company always with those who say “look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads. ~Mary Oliver

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
~Folliat S. Pierpoint

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Life is huge!
Rejoice about the sun, moon, flowers, and sky.
Rejoice about the food you have to eat.
Rejoice about the body that houses your spirit.
Rejoice about the fact that you can
be a positive force in the world around you.
Rejoice about the love that is around you.
If you want to be happy, commit
to making your life one of rejoicing.
~Author Unknown

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. ~Psalm 96:11  ✝

**Photo taken by Natalie

1237. Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them. ~Vincent McNabb

What is Hope? a star that gleaming
O’er the future’s troubled sky,
Struggles, tremulously beaming,
To reveal what there may lie.
~R.A.P., “Hope,” in 
Southern Literary Messenger,
December 1840

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In one of my posts today appear the following lines: “Deep at the center of your being is an infinite well of gratitude. Allow this gratitude to fill your heart, your body, your mind, your consciousness, your very being. This gratitude will radiate out from you in all directions, touching everything in your world, and return to you as more to be grateful for.” And I am living proof that this is absolute truth. I’ve mentioned in some of my early blogs that after my father’s death when I was 18, my faith journey was derailed for quite some time. And for years following that things happened that caused me to become very cynical about life. What I didn’t realize was that what’s inside our hearts and minds becomes evident as well in our faces and our demeanor, and bitter cynicism does not make one pretty or welcoming. About 20 years ago after I finally reconnected with the Lord, slowly but surely gratitude began to swell inside me despite the fact that I still walked physically painful and trying paths. Then after surviving a stroke with negligible, residual effects nearly 4 years ago, my gratitude took another huge leap so much so that it is as it says above “radiating out in all directions touching everything in my world.” One of the ways it has become blatantly obvious is the way strangers, people I run into in my day to day doings and goings, respond and interact with me. It’s as if we become friends almost instantly. For example, about month ago we went to a new restaurant to eat, and a young girl of a different skin color, brought us our food and though I can’t remember now why, something happened that made us both laugh. As a result when we left that day, she  walked after us to wish us a good day. Then the next week when we went in she brought us our food again and engaged us in a brief conversation as though we were friends who’d known each other for quite a while. As we left that day there was another warm good-bye and well wishes given to us. In week number three, a different waiter brought us our food, but soon afterwards she stopped by our table to say hello, tell us she was sorry she didn’t get to bring us our food, and she chatted with us for a few minutes. Also. on the way out the door which had been broken, she made a point of coming over to tell us to be careful and watch out for the broken glass. This brings us to yesterday when we ate there again (yes, we really do like their food), once more a different waiter brought us our food, but it wasn’t long before she came over to our table to give me a hug and ask us how things were going. So what’s the point of my story about all this? With all the black lives matter drama that has stirred up racial unrest again, it has restored my hope that we can in fact all learn to get along with one another. However, it has to begin with each and everyone of us and our willingness to look at people through the eyes of our heart and not through the judgmentally-learned eyes of our faces. Before I go here’s one last blessing that has helped restore hope in me. My blog has now reached 70% of the world’s countries, and so I have garnered lots of followers of different ethnicities and cultures, all of whom have proven to be lovely people with a willingness to accept others different from themselves as well as engage in pleasant exchanges with them. And so to end I want to share some things Audrey Hepburn had to say along similar lines:

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most. To laugh cures a multitudes of ills.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.
For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others. For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness, and for poise, walk in the knowledge that you are never alone.

When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. ~Job 29:24  ✝

**Image via the Internet

1118. I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. ~Edward Everett Hale

The Power of One
One song can spark a moment.
One flower can begin a garden.
One tree can start a forest.
One bird can herald spring.
One smile can begin a friendships.
One hand clasp can lift the soul.
One sunbeam can light a room.
One candle can wipe out darkness.
One laugh can conquer gloom.
One hope can raise the spirit.
One touch can show we care.
~Author Unknown

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An elderly man was walking along the beach one morning after a storm. And in the in the distance he could see someone moving along like a dancer. As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman who was not dancing but was reaching down and picking up starfish and gently throwing them into the ocean. As he drew closer still, he called out, “Good morning, young lady! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young woman paused, looked up, and replied, “The sun is up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw the starfish back into the sea, they will die.” The old man smiled, and said, “But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You cannot possibly make a difference!” The young woman listened politely then she bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the water and said, “It made a difference for that one.” ~A parable, original author unknown

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Pixabay; collage created by Natalie

879. You are not too young or too old; it is never too late to dive into your increasing depths where life calmly gives out its own secret. ~Adapted line by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Each one of us has an inner room
where we can visit to be cleansed of
fear-based thoughts and feelings.
This room, the holy of holies,
is a sanctuary of light.
~Marianne Williamson

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Sanctuary, on a personal level, is where
we perform the job of taking care of our soul.
~Christopher Forrest McDowell

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The ache for home lives in all of us,
the safe place where we can go
as we are and not to be questioned.
~Maya Angelou

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A sanctuary is your space,
a safe place in a troubling world,
private and strong for healing wounds
an oasis where you can relax
take off your shoes
enjoy being your true self
feel free, think big, think small
take your time and breathe
savor the moment
open up your heart and
laugh, cry, or be crazy if you like…
“Remember the entrance 
to the sanctuary is inside you.”
~Rumi

You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for Your Word to renew me. ~Psalm 119:114 (MSG)  ✝

**Top photo is a view of my garden, my own personal sanctuary; the other lovely ones are via Pinterest

805. Round and round it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows…

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Life’s just a merry-go-round.
Come on up.
You might get a brass ring.
~Mae West

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If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
~Nadine Stair

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Work diligently,
Live simply,
Think quickly,
Fight fairly,
Give generously,
Laugh loudly,
Pray faithfully,
Love deeply!

I’ve always loved merry-go-rounds, especially ones where you could reach out and try to grab a brass ring.  Why?  Because the brass ring could purchase a ticket for another ride. This one in the photos is in Paris just across the street from the Eiffel Tower.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. ~Psalm 17:6  ✝

760. When writing the story of you life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen. ~Unknown

Life is one open book full of pages.
We laugh, we cry, we smile,
we stumble, we stand, we fall,
and we succeed.
Every chapter defines who
and what we really are.
~J. Johnson

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Some stories don’t have a
clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing,
having to change,
taking the moment and
making the best of it
without knowing what’s
going to happen next,
delicious ambiguity..
.
~Gilda Radner

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. ~Psalm 27:1   ✝

737. Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. ~Rumi

Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of anger and resentment?
Did I forgive? Did I love?
These are the real questions.
I must trust that the little bit
of love that I sow now
bears many fruits, here in this world
and in the life to come.
~Henri Nouwen

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Give birth and life to your faith and dreams.
Let die all doubt and fear.
Plant seeds of hope.
Uproot all intolerance.

Kill off pridefulness.
Speak words of healing.
Tear down walls of indifference.
Build up those who are downtrodden.

Weep with compassion for those less fortunate.
Laugh long and often.
Mourn in your own way but not without hope.
Dance with gusto and sometimes in the rain.

Scatter stones that wall in and isolate mercy.
Gather stones in order to build bridges instead.
Embrace all living creatures.
Refrain from embracing ignorance and extravagance.

Search for your true self.
Give up on what the world tells you should be.
Keep your focus on the still, small voice inside.
Throw away words spoken in anger, resentment, and envy.

Tear away from those bent on destruction.
Mend broken relationships with forgiveness.
Be silent and listen to your heart’s sacred and sound goodness.
Speak words of comfort and concern and love.

Love the Lord with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul.
Hate injustice and prejudice.
War not with others nor yourself.
Pray for wisdom and peace.

1     There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens: 

2      a time to be born and a time to die,
    
        a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3      a time to kill and a time to heal,
    
        a time to tear down and a time to build,

4      a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    
        a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5      a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    
        a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6      a time to search and a time to give up,
    
        a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7      a time to tear and a time to mend,
   
        a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8      a time to love and a time to hate,
  
        a time for war and a time for peace.

~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   ✝

**Image via Pinterest