1300. The child I was is just one breath away from me. ~Sheniz Janmohamed, a Canadian born writer

…little faces sweetened laughter
bubbling- – dappled golden jeweled memories
scatter…
delightful as butterfly wings carry
wishful mind explosions
in brilliantly colored balloons,
a to and fro gliding spin..
.
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Sue Ashby posted on https://scvincent.com/2016/11/14/tire-swing-dreams-by-sue-ashby/

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 4.05.20 PM.png

Sunday afternoon, I was working in a flowerbed in my front yard and listening to young children laughing as they played across the street. It reminded me so much of times when my two sisters and I played as children in California. Those were halcyon days indeed, and I yet have such fond and venerated memories of those early days. Then on Monday I read Ashby’s poem above and again the revered memories came flooding back in the kind of “wishful mind explosions” of which she spoke. On top of that, when we drove by a local school yesterday, the children were out playing on the playground, another prized memory of mine, and so boom, the “brilliantly colored balloons” glided even higher still. And now today two photo images I found on Pinterest sent the lovely balloons soaring almost to the moon and back! And no, some elderly dementia has not set in (she say’s tongue in cheek); these things have just helped me touch base with my inner child, a personage with whom I frequently like to visit. In fact it was a healing mentor decades ago who told me that it was a must to not only stay in touch with our “inner child” but it’s also essential to feed and nourish that child on a regular basis! Thus in these troubling times especially, it’s of utmost importance to remember and reconnect with the childhood “joy and intense happiness” as well as the “real meaning of life” spoken about in the lines below. Like Janmohamed and me, he too seems to believe that we should always remain “just one breath away” from childhood. Why so? I believe it’s because it is the part of us closest to the sacred breath of life blown into us by Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 3.27.51 PM.png

When I look back at that freedom of childhood,
which is in a way infinite, and at all the joy
and the intense happiness, now lost,
I sometimes think that childhood is where
the real meaning of life is located,
and that we, adults, are its
servants – that that’s our purpose.
~Karl Ove Knausgaard

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! ~Psalm 107:8  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie. The images of the girls swinging on the beach is a especially fond memory of mine.

1294. Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made. ~Wayne Dyer

Everything you do makes a difference.
So choose the difference you wish
to make and act with this intention.
~Julie Parker

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 6.24.31 PM.png

nay·say  (nā′sā′)
tr.v. nay·said (-sĕd′), nay·say·ing, nay·says (-sĕz′)
To oppose, deny, or take a pessimistic or negative view.
nay′say′er n.

Synonyms :
pessimist, doubter, cynic, misanthrope

One who frequently engages in excessive complaining, negative banter and/or a genuinely poor and downbeat attitude. Naysayers are distinguished by their tendency to consistently view the glass half empty, make frequent one-way trips to negative town, and constantly emphasize the worst of a situation. They have the capacity to rant and whine for hours on end.

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 6.32.57 PM.png

Life is hard. There’s no denying it, and I’m finding that it doesn’t get any easier as one ages. In fact, parts of the aging process are even harder. I believe it was the actress, Bette Davis, who said that “getting old is not for sissies.” Well, she was absolutely right! And so like anyone else, I could choose to adopt the victim mentality and take the easy road which to my way of thinking is the one called “pissin’ and moanin’” as they say here in Texas, as it doesn’t require anything but a big mouth and a sour attitude. But what a waste that would be! My parents worked hard so that I could have a better life than they had had and so that I could get a college degree which neither of them had. My dad even fought in a war so that I could retain the freedoms of an American citizen. So after I got my degree, I taught for 31 years in public schools so that I might also be able to help others attain whatever they wanted to achieve. Along the way, James and I got married and eventually had a daughter who we in turn worked hard for so that she too could do and be all that she wanted. As it turned out she went even further than we did when she earned her Ph.D. In all that living and doing there were lots of heartaches and setbacks along the way which we endured and survived. So? Isn’t that true for everybody, more or less. Maybe, maybe not! Let’s add to that mix the death of my father at a early age followed by the onset of daily and sometimes overwhelming physical pain at the age of 25. In fact the last time I had a pain free day was when I was 25 and I am now 74. And so because I’m as human as the next person, after a while I became for a period of time a nay-sayer, one whose mantra became “life’s a bitch and then your die.” But God just wasn’t going to let the story end that way, and so a turning point came and a mentor was sent to help and heal. So it’s all better now, right?! In some ways yes and in some ways no! But’s that’s life isn’t it? At least here on earth! There’s always ups and downs! But what did change, my perspective when I learned to count my blessings and talents, and then realized they were greater than my losses. Now I refuse to let the hardships define me because I’m worthy of more. I’ve earned that by being a survivor but more importantly the Lord sees all of us as being able to be worthy with the choices we make and the things we do to serve Him and His purposes. In a nutshell, I’m just too old, stubborn, and ornery to be defeated now after surviving the hurdles of the past and enduring all the pain. So I choose find joy in each and every day; I choose to serve the Lord and others; I choose to be generous with myself and what I’ve been given, I choose to find and enjoy beauty in this world; I choose not be defined as a naysayer or live as one; I choose to praise the Lord as often as I can; and I choose to continue standing tall and for what’s right as long as I live; for my friends, every day is a gift and an opportunity to make the world a better place. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

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

**Images found on Pinterest

1157. To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself
the means of inspiration and survival.
~Winston Churchil

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 5.15.28 PM.png

One of my favorite quotes is by G.K. Chesterton: “Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.” Decades ago when I was going through a particularly dark and difficult time, I spent 8 months in the weekly care and tutelage of a healing mentor who after spending an hour with me on the first visit, asked this question, “If you were a 4 year old child what would you want to do right now?” Since it had been a long day at work and I was tired and a bit hungry, I said, “Get a chocolate ice cream cone.” Subsequently she asked me if I knew where to get one and when I said yes, she stood up and declared, “Good, I want you to do that today and every time we finish our work here.” Though dumbfounded by such an unexpected and odd request, I followed the doctor’s orders and eventually came to know the reason behind it.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 5.00.27 PM.png

The child we once were didn’t die. He/she is still alive and well somewhere inside all the years of growing and becoming an adult. And like any sentient being our inner child is still able to perceive and feel things. Thus he/she needs to be fed and nurtured and stimulated. And part of my problem back then was that my inner child was and had been for some time apparently starving to death. I know to some of you that may sound silly or absurd, but becoming aware of that and learning how to take care of little Natalie Holcomb has brought great healing to grown-up Natalie Scarberry. And so it is that when the day by day grind of pain and the day after day accounts of doom and gloom on the world’s stage begin to break me that I find ways to feed and delight my inner child on a grander scale. Besides finding way to do that in the glory of my garden, I often come by it as well in humor and the stories I adored in childhood. Thus all the silliness on my blog today. It was simply time to throw off the suffering and heaviness and darkness of this fallen world and time to talk of unicorns and white rabbits and good faeries and such. Ergo as Chesterton said, the saving of my soul and my life is underway one again. Yay team!

…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~Excerpted line from Romans 5:3-4  ✝

**Images via Pinterest

376. Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength, and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life. ~Joseph Conrad

Forests, lakes, and rivers,
clouds and winds, 
stars and flowers,
stupendous glaciers, 
and crystal snowflakes –
every form of animate 
or inanimate existence,
leaves its impress on the soul of man.
~Orison Swett Marden

Image

Eenie, meenie, miney, moe–it’s hard to decide what to sing the praises of in a garden this time of year. “Animate or inanimate” it’s all good. In mine Yahweh “leaves His impress” in my mind, heart, and soul for hour after hour, day after day He ushers in gifts that take my breath away. So it is that I’ve been able to witness for myself that His wells of mercy, grace, goodness, and forgiveness never run dry nor do His faithful provisions. My cup, like the beauty in these chalice-like blossoms, is continually filled to overflowing. And why not? Herein I’m awakened daily with birdsong, sunlight filling sapphire skies, days breaking in exhilaration, and zephyrs spreading sweetly scented aromas in places where holiness falls like misting rain. This place is where I felt the Lord’s presence again after a long lapse in my faith journey, and when I renewed my relationship with Him amidst its treasures, my roots sank deep in its soil and His being. Thus I remain deeply connected to my yard and Him through something not unlike the life-giving umbilical cord that nurtures a child in a mother’s womb. This place on earth’s sacred ground is my sanctuary, and its “walls” echo voices that not only mentor me but hopefully others with whom I share its ageless tales and “shy presences.”

Image

I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God. ~Deuteronomy 32:3 ✝

Image

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!

203. Surely a man needs a closed place where in he may strike root and, like the seed become. ~Antoine de St. Exupéry

But he also needs the Great Milky Way
above him and the vast sea spaces,
though neither stars nor ocean serve his daily needs.
~Antoine de St. Exupéry

Image

For me, autumn, especially late autumn, is a time for reflection, contemplation, and soul searching–a time for ruminating on the things that move me and make me who and what I am.  And so as I worked out in the yard on this sunny last day of November, the windmills in my mind started churning up memories of the events that led to its door.  Rather than covering every step of the journey, I decided to start when I found my “closed place” in this house with its spacious yards where I began to “strike roots.”  In the beginning, though the home and its conveniences served my physical needs and provided me with creature comforts, relief from old emotional wounds and peaceful contentment remained elusive long afterwards.  Years passed with little change in the status quo until one summer while recalling the beautiful flowers surrounding my childhood home (above) in California, I decided it was time to try growing my own flowers right here in hot old Texas.  Since I wasn’t sure I’d inherited the proverbial “green thumb” of my ancestors, I resolved to begin on a small scale.  So I cleaned off a corner of the patio, bought some bags of potting soil and an assortment of pots and seeds, and thus commenced what I know now to have been a pivotal moment in my life.  From the minute the first seeds germinated, a soul-saving passion for gardening was being birthed in me.  Despite the summer’s miserable heat, I faithfully watered and fussed over my thriving “little flock,” and it was those familiar flowery scents that were the catalysts which sparked my spiritual reawakening.  The next summer with the success of the previous year under my belt and a renewed recognition of Ruach Elohim (the Spirit of God), I decided to branch out and actually sow  seeds in the ground and dig a few holes for bedding plants.  Success came again and with it the quickening in my spirit intensified so much so that I decided to take my recently commissioned mentor’s advice to attend church once more.  This was the first step in righting the derailment of my faith journey that had begun after the early death of my father.

Scripture tells us that Christ is the vine, and we are the branches.  Until those first two growing summers the branch that was Natalie had been withering, not because the Lord had been doing less but because I had been turning a deaf ear and  blaming Him for the loss of my father as well as for painful, emotional wounds and the awful, unrelenting migraines that had started in my mid-twenties.  Since then I have spent season after glorious season planting, replanting, listening, seeking His presence, and marveling at the wonders of heaven and earth.  This pilgrimage that was involved in becoming the Natalie I am today has taught me that He, His Church, and His Creation, which includes the Great Milky Way, the vast sea spaces, and a garden, are the “holy foods” I must have to survive and live in peace and harmony.  Now minute by minute in this place where I have deeply “rooted” myself, the hungering need for “more” has been forever silenced by miracles great and small, blessing upon blessing, and the amazing grace He continues to bestow upon me.

I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener… Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine;  you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:1 and 4-5