1432. The leaves drift toward the earth like ships to land, a voyage launched from timbers’ great lofty berths… ~Excerpt from a poem by Dan Young

Ah! the year is slowly dying,
And the wind in tree-top sighing,
Chant his requiem.
Thick and fast the leaves are falling,
High in the air wild birds are calling,
Nature’s solemn, autumnal hymn.
~ Edited poem by
Mary Weston Fordham

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Day by day autumn’s end draws nearer, and thus even more strains of “nature’s solemn, autumnal hymn” fill the coldish air. And because the temperatures finally dropped below freezing for several nights here, the things that had been hanging on perished or are now in the process of dying and so their joyous songs of life have ceased for the year. The terrain too is well-nigh down to its barest essentials, and all that we’ll soon hear are winter’s deep sighs and silences or the wailing of her bitter, gusty winds. Things that  hold onto the promise of spring either in their roots or in splitting seed casings will be busy beneath the soil whilst they wait for the sun to invite them to flourish “Thick and fast” falling remnants of leaves have been and are layering the ground to protect what lies beneath waiting for the appointed hour of rebirth in earth’s next circle around the sun. It’s all a God-ordained and Scripturally- declared grand plan, and I love watching Yahweh’s strategy play out round and round as the years pass. In fact on days when I feel out of sorts, I’ve learned to get outside regardless of how cold or hot it is, and as I look, listen, and wait under heaven’s canopy, it’s not long before my inner compass is made right again. Feeling earth’s heartbeat and becoming a part of its rhythms keep at bay the sense of hopelessness that’s often engendered by the trials of life and a world torn by depravity and meriless madness. Being close to the land is as comforting and reassuring as when I was a kid and slipped my hand into the safety of a parent’s hand. The same thing happens even more so now that I’m aware I’m drawing near God and what He has made. Standing in His Creation, I’m certain that even though humans transgress and frequently fall short of what they’re meant to be and do, He still stands ready to take His children by the hand, comfort them, and proffer His magnanimous gestures of mercy and redeeming grace. It’s not unlike what I experienced when I first felt my child move in my womb. I knew that the sensation which felt like wings of a butterfly barely grazing my inner flesh was the unmistakable touch of something sacred stirring inside me. The Lord’s movement in our inner and outer lives is much the same. It may be an ever so slight brush against our flesh and/or soul, but we know that we have indeed felt the Almighty’s loving Presence.

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. ~Isaiah 40:10-11  ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1400. Shall I dance…

I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel,
Shall I dance with thee, O Lord, in the breeze at dawn?
Yes, says the Lord of my soul and the dance of life!

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I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel.
Shall I dance with thee O Lord in the morning light?
Yes, says the Lord of my soul and the dance of life!

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I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel.
Shall I dance with thee O Lord upon the dewy grass?
Yes, says the Lord of my life and the dance!

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I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel.
Shall I dance with thee all the day long O Lord?
Yes, says the Lord of my soul and the dance of life!

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I hear the sound of voices singing joyful hymns of the gospel.
Shall I dance with thee O Lord when the evening shadows fall?
Yes, says the Lord of my soul and the dance of life!

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Then O Lord when day is done
and sleep takes me into its arms,
will You watch over me until we dance again
upon the morrow’s stage?
Yes, says the Lord of the dance
and the lover of my immortal soul!

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And when I awaken again in this dark and decaying world,
may I quake in your presence visible in all that surrounds me!
And may You refresh my vitality and strength for another day!
Yes, says the Lord of the dance and the lover of my immortal soul!

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 11.11.04 PM.pngThis is my story
This is my song
Loving my Savior
all the day long!

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. ~Psalm 143:10  ✝

**Photos found on Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1321. Sense your Being, your own presence. That’s a source of joy. That’s the ultimate gratitude. ~Eckhart Tolle

presence

noun pres·ence \ˈpre-zən(t)s\
:  the fact or condition of being present
:  the bearing, carriage, or air of a person;
: the state of being closely focused on the here and now, not distracted by irrelevant thoughts

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A fellow blogger posted the above quote by Tolle yesterday, and since then I’ve been thinking about it and what it means. For me it begs the question as to whether it’s just a matter of being visible and tangible or more than that a matter of reflecting the sacred Image in which we are made. And if it is the latter, what does that reflection look like. I believe it is one where goodness and light are as apparent as physical attributes and personality particulars. For example light can be so prevalent in some, as was so with my father, that there’s a perceivable twinkle in the eyes that warms and begets a very real presence even in photographs. And as for goodness, when present it is like an aura that surrounds and defines a person.

To quote Tolle again, “The answer is, who you are cannot be defined through thinking or mental labels or definitions, because it’s beyond that. It is the very sense of being, or presence, that is there when you become conscious of the present moment.” In the first quote Tolle implores us to be aware of our Being as a source of joy and gratitude. That should occur in every moment if we remain aware of the fact that life is gift and express our gratitude to the Maker of all life for that gift. According to Alan Cohen, “appreciation is the highest from of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.”

So presence it seems to me is an awareness of the sacred ground on which we stand at every moment of our lives, an awareness of the sanctity of all living things, an awareness of the holy air we breathe, an awareness of the holy light that shines on and in everyone, an awareness of intentional and divine creation, and an awareness that He who brought us here saw that all He did and made was good. So when we are asked to sense our own presence we should realize that first and foremost it is “purely and completely evidence of God’s grace” in our lives. Walt Whitman once penned, “we convince by our presence,” and so it is not our face nor our hair nor our size nor any such thing that matters when we talk of presence. It must always be the goodness and light we bring to our “state of being closely focused on the here and now” which is “not distracted by irrelevant thoughts” as Webster so aptly defined it in his dictionary notation above.

God intended Earth.
God intended the waters.
God intended you and me.
We were created in the image 
and
the likeness of God; 
we are holograms, if you will.
So the power, the presence, the energy
is within you and me.
The energy of God, as life,
 is within each of us.
~Mary Manin Morrissey

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. ~Excerpt from Genesis 1:31  ✝

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

1320. Through all the…

noise and chaos of this world it’s absolutely essential to find a time and place every day to whisper the name Jesus, the name above all names. And then with certainty know that any and all of us, will be heard. Afterwards we must then be still and wait, listen and believe, and before long we’ll find ourselves in and surrounded by the Lord’s Holy presence.

 “Be still, and know that I am God…” ~Excerpt from Psalm 46:10 ✝

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God is always waiting to hear from His children,
And because He wants us to hear His voice,
He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible,
He speaks to us through our thoughts,
He speaks to us through our conversations with others,
He speaks to us through ordinary moments in our lives
He speaks to us through our circumstances,
And so on…

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12  ✝

**Image via Pinterest; text box added by Natalie

1293. We strain to renew our capacity to wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again. ~Shana Alexander

Human life is as evanescent as the
morning dew or a flash of lightning.
~Samuel Butler

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The disciples are drawn to the high altars
with magnetic certainty, knowing that a
great Presence hovers over the ranges …
in the primal patterns of nature,
a magical union with beauty.
~Ansel Adams

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Beauty is truth’s smile when she
beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.
~Rabindranath Tagore

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The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.
~Chief Dan George

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He(God) performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9 ✝

**Images via Pinterest

1290. Though suffering and chaos befall us, they can never quench the inner light of providence. ~John O’Donohue

Each life is clothed in raiment of spirit
that secretly links it to everything else.
~John O’Donohue

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There is a quiet light that shines in every heart. It draws no attention to itself though it is always secretly there. It is what illuminates our minds to see beauty, our desire to seek possibility and our hearts to love life. Without this subtle quickening our days would be empty and wearisome, and no horizon would ever awaken our longing. Our passion for life is quietly sustained from somewhere in us that is wedded to the energy and excitement of life. This shy inner light is what enables us to recognize and receive our very presence here as blessing. ~John O’Donohue

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. ~Psalm 128:2  ✝

**All quotes via TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US, A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue; photo of Moonflower taken by Natalie

1256. Never say “no” to pie. ~Al Roker

We must have pie.
Stress cannot exist in
the presence of pie.
~David Mamet

It was luscious lemon meringue pie at the deli again today, and whilst I was gobbling mine down, I recalled a “pie story” blessing, the importance of which was not the pie, nor was it a lemon pie. Instead it was a random act of kindness cherry pie!

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I was five days short of being 30 years old, when my one and only child was born. As it turned out she was born on a day when the hospital had been having record numbers of babies all week long so I had to be kept in the recovery area all night until and if a room became available the next morning. My visitors, who were allowed in briefly to see me in recovery, had all been able to see Nikki, but sadly I had not seen her yet, and they wouldn’t bring her to me until I was in a room. When morning came, a room did become available so they took me up and brought my baby too me for the first time. However, I only held her briefly because I was having chills and shaking so badly I was afraid I might drop her. So I rang for a nurse to come take her back to the nursery and take me to the bathroom. The nurse asked me why I was shaking like that, and I told her it was because I was freezing cold. She quickly stuck a thermometer in my mouth, then yanked it out almost immediately, and commented that I didn’t have any fever. Next she got me up to take me to the bathroom and when I sat down on the toilet I passed out. When I finally came to, there were an assortment of doctors and nurses who were worried that I’d had been having a seizure. As it turns out I had a fever of 105 degrees but not a seizure. So they immediately launched into what would become a 9 day campaign to bring my fever down, to determine where I had an infection, and to keep me from infecting the baby with whatever it was. As a result all they would do to alleviate my angst about the situation was roll Nikki down to my room in her little bed and let me walk to the door so I could at least see her from a distance a few minutes each day. Needless to say I was completely bummed! When day five, my 30th birthday, dawned they had finally discovered where and what kind of infection it was, but until the antibiotics, which had had to be changed several times, finally started significantly kicking in they wouldn’t let me go home yet. So when the phone rang that morning, I answered it in an extremely pissy mood. On the other end of the line was a voice I didn’t recognize who was singing happy birthday to me. When she finished she asked how I was, and I said, “lousy,” to which she replied, “well I hope you have a good day and hung up.” Okay let’s see! I couldn’t go home, I couldn’t hold my baby, I couldn’t have visitors until after 2 in the afternoons! What do you think? Helluva a good 30th birthday or not?!

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About an hour later as I was lying there crying and feeling very sorry for myself, my mom came in carrying a small, freshly baked cherry pie and singing happy birthday. Stunned I sat up and asked, “What are you doing here? How did you get in? It’s not 2 o’clock yet!” She told me that she had gotten a call at home that I was very distraught and that she needed to get up to the hospital as soon as possible and bring me some kind of birthday surprise. And then the female voice told her that she’d just need to tell them at the desk who she was and they would let her in. So Mom quickly baked a cherry pie and came on up. Needless to say it was an amazing gift of grace that I sorely needed that day. It wasn’t until I got ready to leave the hospital 4 days later that one of the other nurses told me who had called me that day. It was the head nurse on that floor, and the day before she had noticed on my chart that the next day was my birthday. So she had taken time out of her day off, first to call and sing to me, then to call the hospital to see if they had my mother’s name and phone number, and finally to call and send my mother on an errand of mercy. I don’t know what others would call that, but as far as I’m concernd it was God’s grace in action with an “earth” angel He had appointed to deliver it. Sadly I was so glad to be able to hold my baby at long last and get to go home that last day that I didn’t even think to ask the head nurse’s name so I could call or write to thank her. But I think of her often and am so grateful for her selfless act of kindness.

You(God) gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit. ~Job 10:12 ✝

**My daughter was born on 10-12-72. What a coincidence that the scripture I chose is from Chapter 10 and verse 12 of Job! Or is it just coincidence?!

**Pie images via Pinterest