1089. The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven  upon the place beneath. ~William Shakespeare

The great and amorous sky curved over the earth,
and lay upon her as a pure lover.
The rain, the humid flux descending from heaven
for both man and animal, for both thick and strong,
germinated the wheat, swelled the furrows
with fecund mud and brought forth the buds in the orchards.
~Aeschylus, The Danaides, c 500 B.C.

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Rain! Each drop is a small, but powerful, miracle descending from above, and when it falls, it comes down on a mission of salvation through time, space, and distance. When it first hits the ground after a prolonged dry spell like the one we’d been having, the sound of it fills my ears with joyful delight. As I listen to the falling rain it seems to create a kind of music which is not unlike the dulcet chords a beloved’s voice gives rise to. What’s more its haunting melodies often spark the remembrance of a vague “water” memory, perhaps a nebulous recollection of my wet beginning that lingers somewhere in memory’s oldest and deepest recesses. So it is that for as long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to rain’s mystique, and it never fails to put a smile on my face and thanksgiving in my heart. It has been said that nature, like man, sometimes weeps for gladness, and when the smell of wet soil and damp grass greet my nose, I have also been known to “weep for gladness.” Not only that but on the heels of the smiling, gratitude, and weeping, I’m oftimes overcome with the irresistible urge I felt in childhood to jump and dance with wanton joy in the sloshy puddles beneath my feet.

He(God) draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams. Job 36: 27  ✝

**These are rain dotted flowers already blooming in my gardens.

970. In the world of words, the imagination is one of the forces of nature. ~Wallace Stevens

Words can sometimes, in moments of
grace, attain the quality of deeds.
~Elie Wiesel

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Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. ~Yehuda Berg

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~Colossians 3:17   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

925. The earth has music for those who listen. ~William Shakespeare

Inside the silence between
your 
heartbeats hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Listen.
Quiet the voices and noise around you.
Honor the Holy One calling you!
~Author Unknown

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I perceive the universe as a cosmic temple and planet earth as a sanctuary in that temple. Although not given the power of speech as such therein, rain and other weather-related phenomena exhibit distinctive voices in and under the heavens. And as these things fall from earth’s chaotic atmosphere, they often blend their unique voices with other holy sounds in the natural world. In that sacred chorus is a call for humanity to seek the Maker of the temple because God not only hardwired man with a desire to connect with other human beings but also with a  longing to seek and connect with Him. Thus to that end man was given eyes to witness the sacraments of heaven and earth, ears to hear the chants of their hallowed voices, intellect to question and understand to some extent what is seen and heard, and a heart that in due time turns from irreverence to deep longing.  Tecumseh, a leader of the Shawnee, said, “Nature is so powerful, so strong.  Capturing the essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the rain in its weather.  It takes you to a place within yourself.” And so after the 11 inches of magical, mystical rain that we’ve had in the last week, I’m a’listenin’ and doin’ little jigs all over the place.

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

**Image via 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…

568. Creativity – like human life itself – begins in darkness. ~Julia Cameron

gray, dismal, gloomy-cloudy
brown, beige, falling-leaves
fog, mist, rain-water
muted, chilly, windy-autumn…
Where or where to start the day’s post?
Looking out at the world this morning,
I see all these things and more,
and so now it’s just how to begin?

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The writer has a volume of words, the artist a palette of paints, the musician a range of notes, and all three have a desire to create images that find a home in the human heart. They also have a passion to satisfy longings in their souls with what they create. So the wordsmith employs rhymes, punctuation, syntax and so on. The musician’s realm is concerned with chords, notes, instruments, etcetera. For the artist, it’s easels, canvases, paints and the list goes on. We are all made in the image of our Creator, and therefore we too must create. Okay, okay, before you say but I’m not any of these things, let me just add that these are only 3 outlets for creativity. Gardeners create growing spaces, builders construct homes, teachers inspire learning, homemakers raise children, and on and on it goes. Finally let me quote a definition of creativity that I came across recently: “Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and in some way valuable is created (such as an idea, a joke, a literary work, painting or musical composition, a solution, an invention etc). The range of scholarly interest in creativity includes a multitude of definitions and approaches involving several disciplines; psychology, cognitive science, education, philosophy (particularly philosophy of science), technology, theology, sociology, linguistics, business studies, songwriting and economics, taking in the relationship between creativity and general intelligence, mental and neurological processes associated with creativity, the relationships between personality type and creative ability and between creativity and mental health, the potential for fostering creativity through education and training, especially as augmented by technology, and the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of learning and teaching processes.” So it is that you, all of you, were born to create. Explore your options, find your talents, embrace them, cultivate them, expand them, share them!!! They are sacred gifts with a holy and powerful purpose.

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. ~Hebrews 6:17   ✝

** Mixed Media Image via Pinterest

420. At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

“You’re lovely, but you’re empty,” he went on.
“One couldn’t die for you.
Of course an ordinary passerby would think
my rose looked just like you.
But my rose…is more important… since she’s the one I’ve watered.
Since she’s the one I put under glass.
Since she’s the one I sheltered behind a screen.
Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars.
Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained,
or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all.
Since she’s my rose.”

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“People where you live,” the little prince said,
“grow five thousand roses in one garden. . .
yet they don’t find what they’re looking for. . .”
“And yet what they’re looking for could be found
in a single rose. . .”

And the little prince added,
“But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
“One sees clearly only with the heart.
Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

~Excerpts from THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

What the little prince said about the essential being invisible to the eyes is profoundly true. Scripture tells us we are made in the image of God, and that truth puts into perspective the vast and diverse abilities of our Maker. Simply put, it tells me that the Lord is bigger and more powerful that we could ever imagine. It also tells me there is a distinct reason for the uniqueness of every created entity. It tells me that how we feel about what our eyes see should be filtered first through that knowledge and our heart of hearts. It tells me that what we are matters only in the light of how we treat everyone and everything that crosses our path on this journey, be they flowers, be they animals, or be they people.

As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man. ~Proverbs 27:19  ✝

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.

292. The force of Spring – mysterious, fecund, powerful beyond measure. ~Michael Garofalo

Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of Spring
The Winter garment of repentance fling;
The bird of time has but a little way
To fly — and Lo! the bird is on the wing.
~Omar Khayyám

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In the rising of the morning sun God speaks to us of grace and new beginnings, and the fertility of the earth is a sign of how life wells up from within, from the dark unknown place of God.  ~J. Philip Newell

Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in his deeds among mortals.  ~Psalm 65:5   ✝