1338. The joyful heart sees and reads the world with a sense of freedom and graciousness. John O’Donohue

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

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As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.

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Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

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As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

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As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

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As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

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May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god. ~John O’Donohue

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Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. ~Psalm 100:2  ✝

**All photos found on Pinterest;
special effects on the last two were done by me on iPiccy

1077. Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, things other than self. ~Edited quote by Dean Jackson

Listening is a great way of receiving gifts
of wisdom, intelligence and inspiration,
but we only hear.
~Anonymous

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Only the briefest of moments
When everything is still
When the world is silent
A magical moment
When there’s just you
And everything God has
Created for you

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That moment
Is always there
But the noise of life
The mad rush
Of the day
Is too loud for us
To hear it to see it
To feel it

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Sit back
Let your worries
Drift away
Clear your mind
And just listen
Breathe in the breeze
As it splashes
Over you

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Listen
Not with your ears
But with your Soul
To the sounds of
The leaves rustling
In the trees and
The song of the birds
Rising like a wave

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Listen
Listen with your heart
Listen closely
For there’s only a moment
Only the briefest of moments
And then the magic’s gone
Lost in the chaos
Of the day.
~Edited poem
by Michael Traveler

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

Images via Pinterest

972. Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again. ~Joseph Campbell

If you’re really listening,
if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world,
your heart breaks regularly.
In fact, your heart is made to break;
its purpose is to burst open again and again
so that it can hold evermore wonders.
~Andrew Harvey

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Teach me how to trust
my heart,
my mind,
my intuition,
my inner knowing,
the senses
of my body,
the blessings of my spirit,
teach me to trust these
things
so that I may enter my
sacred space and love
beyond my fear
And thus
walk in balance
with the passing of each
glorious sun…
~A Prayer of the Lakota

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. ~Psalm 40:5   ✝

943. If you wish to know the Creator, come to know His creatures. ~Columbanus, Medieval Irish Monk

Out of the waters of God’s life
come the creatures of earth, sea, and sky.
With the birth of the creatures on the fifth day
there is the emergence of seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching.
~J. Philip Newell

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One of the keys to listening needs to be simply an appreciative attentiveness to God’s creatures. The Book of Job says, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you.” And to look to the animal world is not to look away from God; instead, it’s a way to look at a showing forth of the mystery of God. For it reveals something of the way of God’s seeing and sensing, and one can see as well that in Creation’s mysteries is part of the Christ mystery.

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I’ve seen animals, such as the bird in the photo above, who seem to be bowing before the Creator in gratitude for life, for the day, for His continuing Presence here. There is also the unbroken song of the creatures. And in Revelation John envisaged an unending song of praise being sung by all that swims and flies and has motion. He said every creature on earth here below and in the ocean beneath and in the air above was giving glory to God, singing Holy, Holy, Holy. ~Both paragraphs contain directly quoted, paraphrased, and/or adapted random excerpts from THE BOOK OF CREATION by J. Philip Newell

Consider first the Canada Goose,
brown body, whitish breast
black head, long black neck…
Then there’s the Barnacle Goose…
flight note
a rapidly repeated gnuk
gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk
(like an ecstatic Eskimo)…
The snow goose
has a pure white plumage
with black-tipped wings…
In Europe you might take her for a swan
or maybe a gannet
till she lets you know abruptly
she’s all goose
so
there they go
through the wind, the rain, the snow
wild spirits knowing
what they know
~Kenneth White

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10  ✝

**Mike Bizeau posted the great photo of a bull elk on his blog, and I found the image of the bird with its head bowed on Pinterest

814. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and that can grow brave by reflection. ~Thomas Paine

Refuse to fall down
If you cannot refuse to fall down, refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down, lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled.
The one who says nothing good comes of such as this,
is not yet listening.
~Edited excerpt
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~Marianne Williamson

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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  ✝

**Photos I took in Paris when we went to see Napoleon’s Tomb at Les Invaides…

632. A garden is a bird’s dinner table bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries. ~Anne Raver

That little bird has chosen his shelter.
Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds.
Yet he is rocking himself to sleep
without caring for tomorrow’s lodging,
calmly clinging to his little twig,
and leaving God to think for him.
~Martin Luther

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Red–bright, bright, glorious red! How easy it is to find in the winter landscape! Yahweh not only provided birds with sheltering places, but He also formed plants that produce colorful, and therefore easy to spot, feasts of red berries. In Scripture, we are told that we needn’t worry about what we require either because the Lord promises to provide for our needs too. However, since youth is an opiate that leads many a “fledgling” like I once was to a) believe that he/she is infallible and b) to believe he/she is the only one on the planet with a clue about anything, I foolishly thought for a time that my life was only what I was making of it. Then as time passed I began to realize there were doors that did not have to open, but they did; there were opportunities that didn’t have to present themselves, but they did; and there were misfortunes that could have occurred, but they didn’t, and so on. It’s our God-given free will which allows us to make choices that determine the outcome of our lives, and even poor choices can and do sometimes lead to a path that eventually merges back into the one the Lord wants us to travel. Looking back at such things I realize now that it’s only because of the intervention of God’s divine and saving grace that advantageous things happen. And who knows perhaps even the detours are gifts of His divine providence meant to protect the unwise sojourner from harm. Though prudence and patience are lessons I’m still trying to master, at least I’ve become more aware of the importance and necessity of listening to the Lord, consulting Him before making choices, yielding to His will and plan for my life, and living more like the birds who worry not. So on I go these days putting one foot in front of the other. In the meantime God keeps His eye on me and the sparrow, the birds feast upon the garden’s berries, and I rely more and more on the Lord, letting my little piece of Eden continue to feed my soul and remind me of His faithful provision and promises.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…” ~Matthew 6: 25-28   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; overlay created by Natalie

533. Laughter is God’s blessing. ~Joseph Prince

Laughter is the brush
that sweeps away
the cobwebs of the heart.
~Mort Walker

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Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of God.
~John O’Donohue

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:2a   ✝