1357. Late February, and the air’s so balmy snowdrops and crocuses might be fooled into early blooming. ~Gail Mazur

It’s only approaching mid-February rather than late February hereabouts, and there are no crocuses yet nor snowdrops blooming for us, but it is balmy enough for the quinces, daffodils, and saucer magnolias to have been fooled into blooming.

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oft treacherous is
winter when it proffers not
cold nor snow nor ice

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But instead betrays
the garden with lies that spring
has indeed arrived

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So that daffodils
and quince and magnolias
flower too early

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Leaving them in great
peril from a forth coming
late wintry, hard freeze

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So who’s to say that
‘tis the month of love when
deceitfulness lurks

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But as for the Lord: … but I(God) will not take my love from him, not will I ever betray my faithfulness to him. I will not violate my covenant or alter why my lips have uttered. ~Psalm 89:33-34 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie except for the first one. I found it on Pinterest today.

 

1345. There are hundreds of languages in this world and one transcends all, the language of love. ~Julie Parker

Beneath the chaos, YOU ARE STILLNESS.
Beneath the pain, YOU ARE JOY.
Beneath the fear, YOU ARE LOVE.
~Julie Parker

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I believe Love is everywhere. I believe Hearts speak to hearts. I believe Souls know each other long before they meet. I believe we are in this world to create Heaven on Earth. I believe everything we encounter is a call to remember a language our Soul has known for eternity. I believe we are Love… ~Julie Parker

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May the Love you are
blossom into Being.
With each unfurling petal
May you know the beauty of your Soul.
May you sow seeds of Love
through every season.
~Julie Parker

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.’” ~Leviticus 19:18  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest; borders and special effects done by me on iPiccy.

1334. Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Willis Peterson said, “A click of the shutter, a crank of the film, and you’ve caught forever a significant bit of life,” and I could not agree more. But to each of us the “significant bit of life” we choose to capture photographically may be vastly different. For me it is the natural world in general, and my garden of flowers in particular. So when winter begins to weigh heavily on me, I turn to my archives to find “significant bits” from previous years to lift off the weight of lackluster winter. While I share Ehrmann’s prayer with you, I decided I’d share some of my treasured “bits.”

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Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may
I not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times.

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May I still remember the bright
hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my
childhood, or dreaming on
the margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

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Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me
friendly with myself.

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Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

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Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

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And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time’s olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening’s
twilight find me gentle still.
~Max Ehrmann

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Let us not depreciate Earth. The sun was like a great visiting presence that stimulated and took its due from all animal energy. When it flung wide its cloak and stepped down over the edge of the fields at evening, it left behind it a spent and exhausted world. ~Willa Cather

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By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. ~Psalm 42:8  ✝

1332. Can you remember who you were before the world the world told you who you should be? ~Charles Bukowski

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy,
a quickening that is translated through you
into action, and because there is only one of you
in all time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through
any other medium and will be lost.
~Martha Graham

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Not only would the uniqueness of you be lost forever, but the desires and dreams you once had would “be tamed,” possibly into near non-existence. For they were were not simply urges but ordained “beacons of truth” leading to divine and holy purpose. Because there is power in your authenticity, being who you were created to be helps you shine your light in the world. To that end the Lord wants to connect with you so that you can plug into His light and beginning a dialogue with Him is the way to start building that blessed connection. But if we have any resentment about who and what we are, that destructive attitude will limit us because “fear cannot coexist with love.” We have to let go of the past regardless of how painful and/or disappointing it may have been and stop bringing our past into the present and “replaying it into the future.” Shame and guilt has to be released in order for us to create new and healthy patterns. Also as we move forward, we must daily find ways to take action on things that stir, inspire, and ignite joy and the sacred calling on our lives. And we must bring acceptance and compassion into our moments of self-talk, and why not? Since we are the only ones who can hear what we say to ourselves, there’s no reason we can’t be nice and affirming and encouraging to ourselves. Finally, we must also let go of what we “think” we need, and when we do, what we really need will miraculously begin to show up.

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” ~Jeremiah 29:11-13 and part of 29:14  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest; border and special effects done by Natalie on iPiccy

1331. I live someplace where snow is rare, you know? It’s rareness makes it so special. ~Edited quote by Stephanie Perkins

Snow is diamonds for a faery’s feet;
Blithely and bonnily she trips along,
Her lips a-carol with a merry song,
And in her eyes the meaning…
Life is sweet!
~Poem by Ruby Archer

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A 20% chance! Just 20%, that was all we had, and since that is almost next to nothing, we never expected to see snow here today. But snow it did for just a little while. It wasn’t a heavy snow, but it was enough to work its magic in places.

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The first fall of snow is not only
an event, it is a magical event.
~ J. B. Priestley

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A few feathery flakes are scattered
widely through the air, and hover downward
with uncertain flight, now almost alighting on the earth,
now whirled again aloft into remote regions of the atmosphere.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Snow flurries began to fall and
they swirled around people’s legs
like
like house cats…It was magical.
~Sarah Addison Allen

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The wind crooned softly 
as it
dusted the snow 
against the window…
~Soheir Khashoggi

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Snow…blots and softens the top of
every object like ice on a plum pudding.
~Mark Haddon

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Snow was the most beautiful thing
Amitola had ever seen. It fell so gracefully
and drizzled like a cold whisper.
~Edited quote by Aishabella Sheikh

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Snow is falling outside and
all is peaceful and still. In such
moments it is possible to believe
that the world can still be good.
~Richard Paul Evans

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Snowflakes fall from high.
Flurries lift and twirl below.
The world has turned white.
~Richelle E. Goodrich

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Will had loved the snow,
the cleanness of it, the quiet,
the sense of peace it brought…
~Sandra Dallas

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I love snow…especially snow that happens
when you least expect it and it just sprinkles…
It feels like a secret. ~Edited quote
by Kate Messner

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Two things, love and snow, make
the world look fresh again…
~Edited quote by ~Charles Finch

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Winter invites white;
white invites silence;
silence invites peace.
You see, there is so
much peace in snow!
~Edited quote
by Mehmet Murat ildan

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater… ~Isaiah 55:10  ✝

**All photos taken in her yard by Natalie

1330. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light. ~John Milton

In a futile attempt to erase our past,
we deprive the community of our healing gift.
If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame,
our inner darkness can neither be illuminated
nor become a light for others.
~Brennan Manning

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Everyone has a story no matter what their age. We who are older however are actually made up of a series of stories, and in each of them tides turned along the way or remained static because of the choices we made and/or the chances we took. And one of the most critical choices each one of us has to make is whether or not to be authentically who God intended us to be. Most of us have somewhat of a grasp of that early on, but adolescence is and was a game changer. Living through those years is like what Virginia Woolf once said, “the eyes of others are our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” During the formative, teen years rather than remaining true to oneself, many try to be what the eyes of others think they should be and to think thoughts and to have ideas that this body of “they” believe to be “cool.” Because teens, like everyone else, want to be liked and accepted, their innocence and naïveté prompts many of them to succumb partially or wholly to the standards and choices of others in order to remain “free” from the prisons and cages of their peers, the intimidating, corporate “they.” And I was just as guilty of that as anyone else until one night, years and years later, in the middle of a very emotionally and physically painful night, it dawned on me that though there was no one there in the darkness to help me cope, to soothe me, or to stop the pain. And that was the mid-life game changer that motivated me to walk back far enough through time to remember who Natalie genuinely was, to embrace her, and to walk into the future as the Natalie I was meant to be. A subsequent choice I made was not to let what had broken me define who Natalie was and is but instead with God’s grace to find my inner light and let it shine even if at times it yet has to break forth through tears.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~Brené Brown

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…” ~Matthew 5:14  ✝

**Collage of developing ages in Natalie’s life gathered and put in chronological order 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