1369. Beauty. –A sun which dwells in the souls of all… ~“A Chapter of Definitions,” Daily Crescent, 1848, June 23rd

Beauty unites all things, 
links together flower and star,
with chains more certain 
than those of reason.
The poet, the artist, thus finds
 the clue which
guides them in their 
pilgrimage throughout the world.
~Henry James Slack,
The Ministry of the Beautiful, 1850

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 10.04.49 PM.png

As many of you know, I have suffered with chronic pain since I was around 25 years old, and since I will be 75 in 6 months, that’s 50 years of coping not only to survive the pain but to thrive in life as well. In a recent conversation regarding that statistic a fellow blogger thought it interesting that I surround myself with beauty and lovely words. And it occurred to me that I, in fact, had been doing that more and more as the years rolled on. Maybe I some how knew they could and would help me survive the “dark nights of the soul” and “guide me through my difficult pilgrimage in this world.” And perhaps again ‘tis why finding this clematis abloom in the yard this week thrilled me almost beyond what words can adequately convey. But as I think it’s important for all of us to find something profoundly uplifting for ourselves, I shall try. Last spring I went in a local nursery to buy some seeds, and as I made my way to the back of the store where they were kept, I passed this pure white clematis you see in the photo. But since I had already spent my bi-monthly yard allowance,  I forced myself to walk on by. I hadn’t gone very far however, when I decided to go back and see how much the beauty was. Of course it was a tad pricey as I expected, but it was so very beautiful and already full of buds. About that time I heard someone call my name and turned round to find my next door neighbor standing nearby. She asked what I was looking at and I told her to come and see. We both agreed it was exceptionally beautiful, and she asked if I was going to buy it. Woefully I told her, “No, I’d better not,” and headed off to get my seeds, and she headed up to the front to make her purchases. When I found my seeds, I did the same and even went down a different aisle so as not to be tempted to go over budget. And I actually got almost to the cash register before I said to myself, “Natalie, you know you will regret it a hundred times over if you don’t buy something you love that much.” So I went back, picked it up, and brought it home. For weeks, its blooms delighted me and then as the summer’s torrid heat befell us, it quit blooming which is what happens here with a lot of things. But to my utter surprise, it began blooming again in the fall when the temps began to drop below the “fry” level. So I patted myself on the back for having bought it because not only was it beautiful, it was also going to be a repetitive source of joy and delight. Then as winter approached, I hired someone to come clear the yard of all the spent and dead perennials. Unfortunately the industrious little soul took it upon himself to venture into the area where this treasure was, and by the time I discovered him there, he had already cut it completely down to the ground. So after he left, I lamented with tears that it might not come back in the spring, and that even if it did, it might not bloom for another year or two. So you can imagine how excited I was when a few weeks ago, I saw new growth coming up from where it had been. Then as it climbed up and up and I discovered buds, I squealed like a happy child. Finally to find a few days ago that one of the buds had opened was all that it took for the “sun to bloom in my soul” despite some recent very difficult pain-filled days. Everyone faces trials and suffering in this world, not the same as mine perhaps, but suffering nonetheless. So I pray that all of you find some way or some things that let the sun shine in your soul as well as guide you on your path and pilgrimage through life. God’s Holy Spirit will indwell in you, if you but believe in Him and ask, and it is the Holy Spirit who will point the way to the “sun,” the light that will illuminate and hearten your passage here.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~John 14:26  ✝

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 6.30.54 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 6.33.41 PM.png

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.

1339. There is an ancient tribal proverb I once heard in India. It says that before we can see properly we must first shed our tears to clear the way. ~Libba Bray

Glory be to you, O God,
for the grace of new beginnings
placed before me in every moment
and encounter, good or bad, of life.
~Edited quote by
John Philip Newell

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 7.30.55 PM.png

Wood as found in the natural world is, in and of itself, beautiful; the same is true of marble. However if wood is to be used in the making of a violin for example, some tools needed to hollow and shape the wood accordingly are chisels, knives, saws, scrapers. groove cutters, hole reamers, and peg shavers. And some tools needed to gouge and shape something out of marble are chisels, hammers, drills, rasps, files, and abrasive sandpapers, all of which in both instances can and do draw blood and extract the proverbial “pound of flesh” if used on we mortals. And the point of such is? Well, in a way these processes correlate to human suffering and what it can and often does achieve in a person’s life. For it is not until the wood is gouged out and shaped that its “voice,” AKA it’s exquisite sound, is released from the wood to bless our ears, and it is not until someone like Michelangelo gouges around and in a piece of marble that magnificent angels appear from deep inside the marble’s being to bless our eyes. So it was that when reading a comment today by a fellow blogger who has endured much “gouging,” it finally dawned on me in light of her struggles and mine as well as those of others that it is not until the soul is “gouged” out that we mortals are able to give “voice” in some way to garnered wisdom and profound truths. Thus trials should be seen as gifts to be embraced and celebrated, not mourned and regretted. However being appreciative of pain is something most of us find difficult at best. Clearly though “had the eye no tear, the soul would have no rainbow” nor would the dark depths of the soul ever come into healing light. The passages of Scripture below as well as others tell us to be “content” and even “thankful” about losses and painful trials for they are blessings brought forth from the scraping, gouging, and shaping the Lord has done and continues to do in our souls in order to set free “earth” angels, to give life to sacred and powerful voices, to fulfill ordained purposes, and to help bring about the memory of what we left in childhood that my dear friend calls the “soft glory of our being.”

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~James 1:2-4  ✝

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ~Romans 12:12  ✝

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:10  ✝

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~1 Peter 5:10  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; special effects done on by me on spicy

1298. Out beyond the fear, anger, pain and denial, lies a field of possibility. Beyond this a world of Love. I will meet you there… ~Julie Parker

Love lights our way through the darkness.
Love keeps us safe through the storm.
Love opens us to new beginnings.
Love is the glow of emerging dawn.
~Julie Parker

Screen Shot 2016-11-14 at 6.32.18 PM.png

Love does not find you, nor do you find love.
Love is and has always been ever present…
When you are willing to open, to risk,
to adventure, to live with authenticity –
then the power of Love flows through you.
~Edited quote by Julie Parker

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:1-3  ✝

**Photo be Elena Shumilova

1262. “Oh! ‘darkly, deeply, beautifully blue,’ / As someone somewhere sings about the sky.” ~Lord Byron

“What is blue?” asked a child, so very small
To which a man answered, “Blue is a lot of
things of which I’ll tell you a few, but not all.”
“Blue is the ocean, the rivers and streams.”
“Blue is the “splish splash” of water, |
which in sunlight glistens and gleams.”
“Blue is the flavorful taste of seafood cuisine
made from crabs or lobsters or shrimp
found beneath the deep blue sea.”
“Blue is the delicious aroma of blueberry pie.”
“Blue is the immense, infinite sky.”

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 6.03.34 PM.png

The child delighted, then cried thanks and ran away,
while the man was left there brooding
over the things about blue he’d just said,
for he knew that though what he’d said was true
there is more than joy when it comes to blue.
Blue can also describe the feeling a person gets
when he or she is left feeling dejected and sad.
Blue, too, can express grievous sorrow
that engulfs a person and causes him or her to frown.
And blue can be used to articulate misery and pain
or the dreariness of a day in which it may rain.

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 6.40.46 PM.png

But then another man who’d heard
what the first one had added, pondered those words
within his head because he knew that blue wasn’t
always quite as bad and gloomy as all that.
For blue can also describe a type of a music.
Blue when called the blues is a wonderful noise
that flows from the soul and out through the voice
or the piano, the saxophone, the trumpet, and the bass.
Such likable blues tug at the heart of people worldwide
for they have a way of healing depression and shame.
So you see without blue, the world as we know it,
could and would never be, entirely the same.
~Edited and adapted poem
by E. A. Costa

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 5.47.57 PM.png

“Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth, 32 with an opening for the head in its center…” ~Exodus 28: 31-32  ✝

**Blue columbine, blue clock vine; blue morning glory, all from my yard

1228. Some days are for living. Others are for getting through. ~Malcolm S. Forbes

A good day
is a good day.

A bad day is
a good story.

At the end of the day
it’s all good.
~Glennon Melton

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 3.37.34 PM.png

Hmmmm?! Interesting poem up above! Okay then, here goes with the story of my bad day:

I wish I hadn’t had a crappy-assed night last night, but I did.
I wish my head didn’t hurt like hell, but it does.
I wish my feet weren’t painfully on fire, but they are.
I wish I could say it’s raining, but it’s not; it’s only occasional spitting and there’s not much of that.
I wish I could say that it’s cooler, but since the humidity is higher than the temperature, it still feels hot as hell outside.
I wish I weren’t being whiney about all this, but I am.
I wish I didn’t hate all the things that some say to try to make bad days better, but I do right now.
I wish I were clinging harder to God’s goodness and his faithfulness today, but I’m not.
I wish I were able to be more grateful right now, but I’m not.
I wish I knew why I have to deal with so much pain so often, but I don’t.
I wish I knew how at the end of the day, this will all be good, but I “effen” don’t!
I wish that something chocolate, sounded good and could make it better, but it can’t!
Now don’t we all wish Natalie would quit her wishin’ negativity!!!

Doesn’t sound like much of a story to me unless one finds merit it someone else’s pissin’and moanin’!

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 6.20.51 PM.png

“…In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I(Jesus) have overcome the world.” ~Excerpt from John 16:33  ✝

**Flower image taken by me in my yard today; lower image via Pinterest

1217. There is nothing better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve. ~Malcolm X

At last, you will not be remembered for
roaming the earth as a non-entity,
but by every word, and every miracle,
and every love, and every seed that ever came
from the innermost part of your heart.
~Michael Bassey Johnson

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 4.35.35 PM.png

Every day I read blog post after blog post filled with litanies of “somebody done me wrong” songs, and I know that pain and loss are real and deep, unwarranted and regrettable, heartbreaking and devastating. And although I can’t walk that proverbial mile in the shoes of these bloggers, they need to know that we’ve all been there and done that. But ya know, there comes a time when one must let the past go and move on. My guess is if I handed any of them a burning hot potato that I’d just taken out of the oven, they would put the darn thing down before it did any serious damage to their hand. And so why is it that any of them or us hold on to toxic, past suffering, letting it “burn” us over and over again, day in and day out! Why do we give hateful, hurtful people that kind of power over our lives? Isn’t it like dragging dead bodies around with us wherever we go-weighty, stinking, rotting corpses with no life left in them? Why do we do that? Is it because we think nothing good or anyone loving will ever come along again? Oh my gosh, if nature were like that, life on planet earth would have ended eons ago. Like everything else God created we are full of seeds and possibilities, but the seeds must first be sown and then nurtured before the possibilities become evident, not unlike those minuscule green shoots that push up from the darkness of the soil to the light. And that sowing process can’t be done by whining and wallowing around in the stench of those carcasses we’re hanging on to. It can only be done when disappointments and heartbreaks are finally thrown onto a compost heap to become fodder for new growth and the seeds are thrown out to germinate! And no, it’s not that I’ve lived a sheltered, privileged life devoid of heartache that I can say these things for I’ve known bitter loss; I live with chronic pain; I’ve dealt with defeat; and I’ve experienced utter despair; but I’ve also known enough of joy and happiness and miracles not to let that which has tried to break me define who and what I am and/or steal another millisecond of what life is left in these old bones. Walking away is a choice; letting go is a choice; setting ourselves free from harmful people and things is a choice, and only we can make those choices. So grieve a while, sing your sad songs, write your sad stories and poems, and then pick yourself up, dust your fanny off from the fall, stand bravely tall, and declare to life and the world that you cannot, will not be subdued or diminished by others or the past. Then walk away with songs of hope in your words, and never, ever look back.

He(the Lord) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~Psalm 147:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; text box added to altered and edited images I created; collage by Natalie too