1362. Your smile tells me more than words will ever say. ~Author Unknown

Smile with your lips, smile with your eyes,
smile with your heart and your soul and your life.
~Terri Guillemets

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Two weeks after James and I married in 1963, he became very ill and had to been hospitalized. In the beginning it looked as if he might have had something that would have been life threatening or else something that could have been at least life altering, but it turned out to be neither. There was a time when they found a tumor on my thyroid that could have been malignant, but after a partial thyroidectomy it proved to be benign. There was a time when it looked like I would never have a child of my own, however nine years after we married, we were blessed with a healthy baby girl. Three years after our daughter was born she became very ill and had to be hospitalized with something that at one time would have ended her life, but at that time it didn’t. There was a time when I had to have a hysterectomy because my uterus was full of tumors, but again they proved to be benign. There was a time when my daughter became pregnant, but miscarried her one and only biological child, but I have been blessed with three wonderful grandchildren. There was a time, when tumors were once again found in what remained of my thyroid, and they could have been malignant, but they weren’t. There was a time that those tumors grew so large and that surgically removing them endangered the finding and saving of my parathyroids, but the surgeon was able to locate 3 of the 4 and so the health issues that would have ensued from their loss didn’t materialize. There was a time when I had a stroke that could have left me crippled physically and/or mentally or worse yet it could have taken my life, but it didn’t. There was a time when my grandson suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted individual and eventually the child had to be hospitalized for 5 months to save his life and shore up his wholeness. He suffers still with PTSD and other issues as a result, but today my daughter sent a photo in which he was having fun and smiling for the first time in nearly two years. So why did all that make me cry on the way home from my sister’s this afternoon? Was it because of sadness and despair over misfortunes and trials? Before I answer that let me say that not only have I committed my fair share of trespasses against the Lord and his commandments, but when I was 18, my father died suddenly, and afterwards I turned my back on the Lord for nearly two decades and railed against Him regularly for allowing my beloved father to be taken from me. So the tears flowed not out of grief but because God has blessed me so many times despite my human frailties and transgressions that I was once again humbled, reduced to tears of joy and gratitude, and made to ponder why on earth after my egregious shortcomings, He would love me enough to bless me over and over again with His amazing grace. The answer is simple: because though I once was so lost, I was and am His beloved child and I asked! So if someone were ever looking for a person who didn’t believe in miracles or in the power of prayer or in Jesus, as the Messiah, or in God’s forgiveness, faithfulness, or His loving goodness, I would NOT be the person they were seeking. But if they were wanting to know more about the Lord, I would tell them to “knock and the door would be opened.” So what do ya think? Am I smiling along with my beautiful grandson now? Oh you betcha I am, yes, yes, and yes!!!

**Image via Pinterest; special effects done by Natalie on iPiccy

1342. Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. ~Michael Strassfeld

Everyday
I see or hear
something
that more or less

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kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

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~Mindful, a poem
by Mary Oliver

What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. ~Job 22:28  ✝

**Image via Pixabay; special effects done by me on Pixabay

1233. Of all God’s gifts to the sighted man, color is the holiest, the most divine… ~John Ruskin

There are not more than five primary colors,
yet in combination they produce
more hues than can ever been seen.
~Paul Klee

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We live, breath, and move on holy ground, and life’s experiences come to us by means of our God-given senses. Nature and its colors don’t just surround us like the walls of a house or a building; they move into our space and through our senses touching us in very discernible and meaningful ways.

The laws of color are unutterably beautiful
because they are not accidental.
~Vincent Van Gogh

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Terry T. Williams said that “All life is holy and daily prayers are delivered on the lips of (blue) breaking waves, the whispering of (green) grasses, and the shimmering of (autumn) leaves. I believe these prayers of which he spoke are real and meant to bring us into intimacy with the Lord, the singular and ancient author of the excellences we’ve been given like these beautiful rain lilies.

All the other colors are just colors,
but purple seems to have a soul?
When you look at it,
it’s looking back at you.
~Uniek Swain

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Nothing has life apart from God, and if we want to look for and find Him, we must start where He dwells and seek what He values. Colors, like these of the passionflower, as well as angelic hosts, miracles, and God’s grace, are the unmistakably visible and tangible elements emitted by Creation’s many sacred voices.

…for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. ~Romans 11:29  ✝

**All images taken by me in my yard but not all at the same time

1205. Do not say, ‘It is morning,’ and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name. ~Rabindranath Tagore

This time of the year is so terribly hot that I find myself grumbling morning, noon, and evening about the relentless, scorching rays of the sun, the same sun that in winter is quite a welcome presence! So here’s to the beautiful sun, bearer of light and life, and the sunflower that mimics its golden glory.

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Beautiful Sun! with thy golden rays,
To God, the wise Creator, be all praise;
For thou nourisheth all the creation,
Wherever there is found to be animation.

Without thy heat we could not live,
Then praise to God we ought to give;
For thou makest the fruits and provisions to grow,
To nourish all creatures on earth below.

Thou makest the birds to sing on the tree,
Also by meadow, mountain, and lea;
And the lark high poised up in air,
Caroling its little song with its heart free from care.

While the bee from flower to flower does roam
To gather honey, and carry it home;
While it hums its little song in the beautiful sunshine,
And seemingly to thank the Creator divine —

For the honey it hath gathered during the day,
In the merry growing months of the year
When the flowers are in full bloom,
Also the sweet honeysuckle and the broom.

How beautiful thy appearance while setting in the west,
Whilst encircled with red and azure, ’tis then thou look’st best!
Then let us all thank God for thy golden light
In our prayers every morning and night!
~Edited poem by Max Plowman

…“May the Lord bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below; with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield…” ~Excerpted lines from Deuteronomy 33:13-14  ✝

**Photo taken by me in my yard

1165. Did you hear it, fluting and whistling a shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall knifing down the black ledges. ~Excerpt from the poem, The Swan, by Mary Oliver

Did you too see it, drifting all night on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
a perfect commotion of silk and linen
as it leaned into the bondage of its wings…
~Another excerpt from the poem, The Swan,
by Mary Oliver

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Whistling Swans
Do you bow your head when you pray or
do you look up into that blue space?
Take your choice, prayers fly from all directions.
And don’t worry about what language you use,
God no doubt understands them all.
Even when the swans are flying north
and making such a ruckus of noise,
God is surely listening and understanding.
Rumi said, There is no proof of the soul.
But isn’t the return of spring and how
it springs up in our hearts a pretty good hint?
Yes, I know, God’s silence never breaks,
but is that really a problem?
There are thousands of voices, after all.
And furthermore, don’t you imagine
(I just suggest it) that the swans know about
as much as we do about the whole business?
So listen to them and watch them, singing as they fly.
Take from it what you can.
Last night the rain spoke to me slowly,
saying, what joy to come falling out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again in a new way on the earth!
~Mary Oliver

Because You(God) are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings. ~Psalm 63:7 ✝

**Singing swan images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1113. Spring comes: the flowers learn their colored shapes. ~Maria Konopnicka

Spring makes its own statement,
so loud and clear that the gardener
seems to be only one of the instruments,
not the composer.
~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

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In the great gardens, after bright spring rain,
We find sweet innocence come once again,
White periwinkles, little pensionnaires,
With muslin gowns and shy and candid airs,

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That under saint-blue skies, with gold stars sown,
Hide their sweet innocence by spring winds blown,
From zephyr libertines that like Richelieu
And d’Orsay their gold-spangled kisses blew;

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And lilies of the valley whose buds blonde and tight
Seem curls of little schoolchildren that light
The priests’ procession, when on some saint’s day
Along the country paths they make their way;

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Forget-me-nots, whose eyes of childish blue,
God-starred like heaven, speak of love still true;
And all the flowers that we call “dear heart,”
Who say their prayers like children, then depart

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Into dark. Amid the dew’s bright beams
The summer airs, like Weber waltzes, fall
Round the first rose who, flushed with her youth, seems
Like a young Princess dressed for her first ball.

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Who knows what beauty ripens from dark mould
After the sad wind and the winter’s cold? —
But a small wind sighed, colder than the rose
Blooming in desolation, “No one knows.”
~Edith Sitwell

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I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live. ~Job 27:6  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

 

1041. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter,
and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of
little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
~Khalil Gibran

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According to Melinda T. Owens “the Egyptians believed that the heart was the source of the soul and of memory, emotions, and personality. That is why they preserved the heart during mummification but threw the brain away. Later on, Aristotle said that the heart was also the source of intelligence, motion, and sensation.” After having a child I too have come to believe such things about the human heart. Why so? For one thing, while a woman is carrying a child in utero, the unborn babe continuously hears the mother’s heartbeat. For that reason after being born an infant can often be silenced from crying by holding him/her up on the mother’s shoulder so that her heartbeat is discernible again. When the child hears her familiar heartbeat, which by the way is a one of a kind as no two heartbeats are exactly the same, the child is calmed and comforted. Thus early on I think we come to associate love with the heartbeat of the woman who first reveals that emotion to us even though it may not be on a conscious level that we come to that conclusion. Okay, okay so maybe that’s a crazy idea, but then it’s not the first time I’ve been told I was full of it.

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As I sat in the hospital today visiting my brother-in-law who has just had the heart transplant, I was shown the picture above of the human heart, and in a way one can make out the shape of the hearts we’ve come to associate with love. And that my friends is what generated by musings above plus giving me a segue into an update on his recovery. Soon after the surgery last Wednesday, Dick was taken to Cardiac Intensive Care. Then yesterday, after 4 days in ICU, they removed all the IV’s (and there were about 20 or more of them it looked like) and all but one drainage tube and subsequently moved him out of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and into a regular room. Since the second day they’ve told us over and over again that the markers on the functioning of his new heart are “perfect,” and he says that he has not been in any pain whatsoever up to this point. So as it stands now there is a chance that he will get to go home tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then Thursday. How amazingly awesome is that and our God?! That’s why once more I want to praise God and thank all of you who have been praying and lighting candles for Dick. Other than the miracle of childbirth and my recovery from a stroke 3 years ago, I don’t know that I have ever witnessed anything any more miraculous than those 2 things and Dick’s recovery from this transplant. That’s not to say that there aren’t still some hurdles to overcome such as his body trying to reject the heart, the threat of diabetes as a result of the massive doses of steroids he’s having to take to try to prevent that rejection, the threat of skin cancer because he’s so fair skinned and has no immune system and so  on.  Nonetheless I for one can’t help but believe that the good Lord would not have brought him along this far and this successfully to let it all go downhill now. And that is my prayer.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ~Proverbs 4:23  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest