839. And soon, too soon, we part with pain to sail o’er silent seas again. ~Thomas Moore

It’s an art to live with pain…
to mix the light into gray.
~Eddie Vedder

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I have lived pain, and my life can tell,
but I only deepen the wounds
when I neglect to give thanks for
the heavy perfume of wild roses in August
and the song of crickets on humid summer nights
and the rivers that run and the stars that rise
and the rain that falls and all the
good things that a good God gives.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from Ann Voskamp

The migraine rages on, and once more I’m sailing the silent seas of pain. Though it be a life long story, the Lord has and will again bring me back one day to dry land. ~Natalie

But as for me, afflicted and in pain–may your salvation, God, protect me. ~Psalm 69:29  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

584. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet, precious things that God has created in the realm of nature. ~Northern Advocate

Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love–
that makes life and nature harmonize.
…the trees give us a scent that is
a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about
the earth seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot

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Goodbye “dreamful autumn,” your “pale amber sunlight” and the “twilight silences” of your “prosaic days” have created their usual “golden spell that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.” “The leaves by hundreds came…The sunshine spread a carpet, and everything was grand; Miss Weather led the dancing; Professor Wind, the band…the sight was like a rainbow new-fallen from the sky” while “the sound of life” wound “down to its cyclic close” with a “bittersweet, mellow, messy leaf-kicking pause” and “flaming torches” that lighted “the way to winter.” “The mild heavens,” “the tenderly solemn” days and nights, the “reverent meekness in the air,” the bursts of “color and beauty, radiant with glory,” “the fading of holy stars in the dim light of morning,” “the closing up of a beautiful life” all touched again “something old in the human soul.” Your “ripeness and color and time of completion” came “like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail.” His “crimson scarf” was “rent…” “The wind” wafted “to us the odor of leaves that” hung “wilted on the dripping branches…” as your “funeral anthem of the dying year” played on. “The whole body of the air” was “enriched by” the “calm, slow radiance” of your days, and so we listened with delight to your “rhythms that are the heart of life.” And now the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and the wild “music of autumnal winds amongst the faded wood” have lowered to the gradual hush that always comes “with the deepening of autumn” and the approach of the winter solstice. Oh, “delicious autumn,” “the hush before winter,” “the year’s last, loveliest smile” your “magic of earth-scents and sky-winds” truly are “ordained for the healing of the soul.”

“Nevertheless, I (the Lord) will bring healing to it: I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” ~Jeremiah 33:6   ✝

**Image via Pinterest with added text by Natalie

492. All that we behold is full of blessings. ~William Wordsworth

You pray in your distress and in your need;
would that you might pray also in the fullness
of your joy and in your days of abundance.
~Khalil Gibran

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Looking out across a freshly mowed lawn
Sunrises and sunsets ablaze with color
A doe running in the field with her fawn

Quiet summer nights that are mild
Followed by a raucous chatter of birds in the morn
The infectious laughter of a child

Reading a new book by candlelight
Laughing with family and friends
And summer storms through the night

So many things to be thankful for
So many things to enjoy
So many things already and so much more
~By Pamela B. in VOICES OF NATURE

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   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

488. 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. ~G. K. Chesterton

Feel the wild imprint of surprise.
Free the joy inside the self.
Awaken to the wonder of life.
~Edited excerpts from John O’Donohue blessings

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When children first feel “the wild imprint of surprise,” they easily let go the joy inside themselves, but by the time they enter adolescence most become guarded about their feelings and their expressions of joyfulness. Then as playgrounds and backyard recreations are left far behind when they enter young adulthood, they are, like I was, less and less exposed to the wonders of Creation. However, I discovered when I first retired “that like a forgotten fire, childhood can flare up again.” The flames were sparked when I could at last spend greater amounts of time in my garden and with my creative outlets that I found my inner child was still alive and well.

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Sadly, the middle years of my life took me far from the things I loved in my childhood as well as through some deep valleys of brokenness. Now painful health issues rob me many nights of restful sleep, but I’ve yet to be “broken in two by time.” Though past and present circumstances have and continue trying to steal my “joie de vivre,” the Lord has not left me stranded on detours away from the His plan for my life nor stuck at dead ends. Instead the Shepherd keeps leading His lamb back into His keeping, and that as well as the freeing of my inner child helps to restore my joy. When one of my grandson’s was younger he told me once that he loved the way I often got down on the floor and played right alongside him and his brother. The question is: Was I doing it for them or for myself?

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ~Isaiah 55:12 ✝

** Images via Pinterest

438. God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?”  ~William A. Ward

Whatever be the depth of woe
Along the path that I must go,
I’ll sing my song—
My song of joy for all the love
That’s lavished on us from above,
And count no loss of treasure-trove
When things go wrong.
I’ll sing the sunlight, and the bright
Soft smiling stars that gem the night;
For gifts of good
That God hath spread along my way,
The lilt of birds in tuneful play,
The harvests full and flowers gay,
The whole day long
I’ll sing my song
Of gratitude!
~John Kendrick Bangs

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The passage of Scripture below is not a suggestion. It’s a mandate. It’s not meant for only the good times. It’s meant for this day and every day no matter what comes our way. It doesn’t say to hang our heads in defeat or wring our hands in worry or fear when the world is harsh and times are tough. It says to rejoice and be glad in the day. Why? Because life is a gift and it’s holy, every breath is a gift and it’s holy, we are meant to be a gift to the world and we are holy. Being holy means not being defined by what comes against us, but to come into that which is holy and good within us. Joy can be found in every day, not because life is always good but because God is. Lest any who read this think me naive or the survivor of a “charmed” life to believe these things, let me allow that I’ve endured my fair share of “dark nights of the soul,” I’ve been in the black abyss and climbed out, I’ve felt death’s sting in the loss of some I’ve loved, I’ve known heartbreak and tragedy, I’ve known defeat and failure, I’ve experienced chilling betrayal, and I’ve lived with chronic pain for nearly 50 years. But, hear this, the Giver of life has never left me to walk those bitter paths alone, even during the times when I turned my back on Him. So when He asks me to make a joyful noise unto Him, I can and shall do naught but gratefully oblige.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24   ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

345. Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious. ~Ruth Reichl

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Today and every day may you see the “endlessly delicious” beauty in earth, sky, and sea. May you hear it in the song of the birds, in the wildness of the wind, in the splendor of starry nights. May you smell it in the fruiting and flowering of the earth. May you touch it in earth’s textures and in your human interactions. May you taste it in the food that comes from the fertility of the earth and from Creation’s life giving waters. May all these senses keep your child-like wonder and sense of awe alive and well. And may they teach you something about God’s ways and inspire reverence and gratitude for His gifts and blessings.

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. ~Psalm 27:4 ✝

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!

272. I love snow, snow, and all the forms of radiant frost.  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,–
the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes,
noiselessly transforming the world,
the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter,
and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery
all objects upon which they fall.
~John Burroughs

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Yesterday was a double, good whammy kind of day, and the whamminess began and ended in the heavens.  Right after first light little, bitty snow flakes began to fall, and by noon the frigid, gray day had been punctuated with a lovely smattering of snow.  The north wind was a contributor in the snowscapade because at times it seemed to be blowing down even more of the “exquisite crystals” from the white clouds of heaven’s expanse.  The second whammy played out when sparkling stars and a slender slice of the ancient moon punctuated heaven’s then blackened dome and prettified to a greater extent the frosting of snow on the ground.

Most nights I go for a short walk before bedtime.  Walking alone at 9 or 10 o’clock at night is a delicious experience.  The streets are empty of traffic and most folks are inside watching TV or getting ready for bed.  Especially in wintertime for some reason, it feels like I’m the only one left in the universe except for God.  And His presence is so large and close I feel like I could just extend my hand and feel it slip into His.  When I see my exhaling breath as one can when it’s terribly cold, I feel as if He’s just breathed those first breaths of life into me once again.  The air is so cold and crisp and invigorating, and the solitude is filled with His holy peacefulness.

–then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  ~Genesis 2:7  ✝