1210. If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again. ~Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us
to encounter everyday epiphanies, those
transcendent moments of awe that change
forever how we experience life and the world.
~John Milton

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When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry

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He (the Lord) maketh me lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. ~Psalm 23: 1-2  ✝

**Images of wood drakes and great herons via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

1140. I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony. ~Gustave Flaubert

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You can listen to silence, Reuven.
I’ve begun to realize that you can
listen to silence and learn from it.
It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
It talks to me sometimes.
I feel myself alive in it.
It talks. And I can hear it.

You have to want to listen to it,
and then you can hear it.
It has a strange, beautiful texture.
It doesn’t always talk.
Sometimes – sometimes it cries,
and you can hear the pain of the world in it.
It hurts to listen to it then. But you have to.
~From THE CHOSEN by Chaim Potok

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Be still and listen to the rhythm of your beating heart.

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Be still and feel the in and out movement of your breath.

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Be still and find the peace at the center of your being.

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Be still and seek the presence of your inner child.

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Be still and remember childhood’s simple pleasures.

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Be still and recall the unadulterated innocence of a child

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Be still and let joy now bubble up from gratitude for the gift of life.

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And finally in the silence of your thankfulness be still and listen so that you hear the Lord calling you by name.

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

**Images found on Pinterest and Pixabay

1078. Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. ~Kahlil Gibran

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Someday perhaps the inner light
will shine forth from us, and then
we’ll need no other light.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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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 welded 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….The gift of the world is our first blessing. ~Excerpt from a book by John O’Donohue

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A man should learn to detect 
and
watch that gleam of light 
which flashes
across his mind from within.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“…Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” ~Luke 11:36  ✝

1070. Dance is the hidden language of the soul. ~Martha Graham

May I stand amazed in the Presence of God;
May I stand in the midst of celestial fire
until my heart is molten gold…
May I walk everywhere on earth radiant, complete…
~Normandi Ellis

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I am the Lord of the Dance said he!
I danced in the days when the world began.
I live in you, and you live in me.
So dance on, then, wherever you may be
For I am still Lord of the dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be!

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I sleep in the kernel and I dance in the rain;
I dance in the wind and through the waving grain.
I dance in the constancy of waves in the sea,
For I am still the Lord of the waves’ mystery.
I dance at the Sabbath when it’s time to rest
For to live is to dance, and the dance goes on and on.

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The moon in her phases, the tides of the sea,
The movement of the earth, and the seasons that will be
Are the rhythm of the dancing and a promise through the years
That the dance goes on through both joy and the tears.
They took My life at Calvary, but I leapt up high,
Because I am the Life that will never, ever die.

**This is not a repeat of last night’s hymn that I quoted in part. It’s a heavily edited and adapted version of another rendition of the Lord of the Dance, and I love the new elements of it because I think they add depth and richness. I hope you enjoy it.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 4   ✝

***Images via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

943. If you wish to know the Creator, come to know His creatures. ~Columbanus, Medieval Irish Monk

Out of the waters of God’s life
come the creatures of earth, sea, and sky.
With the birth of the creatures on the fifth day
there is the emergence of seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching.
~J. Philip Newell

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One of the keys to listening needs to be simply an appreciative attentiveness to God’s creatures. The Book of Job says, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you.” And to look to the animal world is not to look away from God; instead, it’s a way to look at a showing forth of the mystery of God. For it reveals something of the way of God’s seeing and sensing, and one can see as well that in Creation’s mysteries is part of the Christ mystery.

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I’ve seen animals, such as the bird in the photo above, who seem to be bowing before the Creator in gratitude for life, for the day, for His continuing Presence here. There is also the unbroken song of the creatures. And in Revelation John envisaged an unending song of praise being sung by all that swims and flies and has motion. He said every creature on earth here below and in the ocean beneath and in the air above was giving glory to God, singing Holy, Holy, Holy. ~Both paragraphs contain directly quoted, paraphrased, and/or adapted random excerpts from THE BOOK OF CREATION by J. Philip Newell

Consider first the Canada Goose,
brown body, whitish breast
black head, long black neck…
Then there’s the Barnacle Goose…
flight note
a rapidly repeated gnuk
gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk
(like an ecstatic Eskimo)…
The snow goose
has a pure white plumage
with black-tipped wings…
In Europe you might take her for a swan
or maybe a gannet
till she lets you know abruptly
she’s all goose
so
there they go
through the wind, the rain, the snow
wild spirits knowing
what they know
~Kenneth White

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10  ✝

**Mike Bizeau posted the great photo of a bull elk on his blog, and I found the image of the bird with its head bowed on Pinterest

896. Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ~Victor Hugo

Music by itself carries us beyond
words and thoughts into the realm of feeling.
~Jane E. Vennard

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It has been officially autumn for a couple of weeks now, but the temperature and unchanging leaves tell a different story. Theirs is a tale of summer, a summer not yet wanting to relinquish its throne. While begrudging that fact as I sat in a church meeting yesterday, a man quietly entered the room, sat down at a piano behind me, started playing a familiar tune, and as if by magic changed everything for the better. For almost immediately after he began playing, autumn’s glory flowed down his arms and oozed from his fingertips onto the piano’s keys. As he played on, the tinkling sounds of the musical notes emulated more and more the spectacle of autumn’s falling leaves. Enthralled I turned so I could watch him play and noticed he was not reading sheet music. Instead he was playing solely from memory and out of his heart. Thus as Vennard suggests, music  does remove the limitations of words and speaks to us of things bigger and grander than the mere scope of language can, so much so that it is indeed able to carry us into and from the “realm of feeling.” Not only that but when we quiet our bodies and minds and listen carefully, we are also able to discern, in the silence of music’s pauses, the holy footfalls of Yahweh’s abiding Presence in Creation.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song music. ~Psalm 98:4  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

892. The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us. ~Ashley Montagu

There is no season when such
pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on,
and produce so pleasant an effect
on the feelings, as now in October.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The subtle beauty of this day
Hangs o’er me like a fairy spell,
And care and grief have flown away,
And every breeze sings, “all is well.”
I ask, “Holds earth or sin, or woe?”
My heart replies, “I do not know.”
Nay! all we know, or feel, my heart,
Today is joy undimmed, complete;
In tears or pain we have no part;
The act of breathing is so sweet,
We care no higher joy to name.
What reck we now of wealth or fame?
The past–what matters it to me?
The pain it gave has passed away.
The future–that I cannot see!
I care for nothing save today–
This is a respite from all care,
And trouble flies–I know not where.
Go on, oh noisy, restless life!
Pass by, oh, feet that seek for heights!
I have no part in aught of strife;
I do not want your vain delights.
The day wraps round me like a spell
And every breeze sings, “All is well.”
~A Golden Day Poem by
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence. ~Psalm 21:6  ✝

**Image of mute swam at dusk via Pinterest

867. The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. ~Marcus Aurelius

Come out here where the roses have opened.
Let soul and world meet.
~Rumi

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May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul.
May you realize that you are never alone, that your soul
in its brightness and belonging
connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.
May you have respect for you own individuality and difference.
May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique,
that you have a special destiny here, that behind the façade of your life
there is something beautiful, good, and eternal happening.
May you learn to see yourself with the same delight,
pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.
~John O’Donohue

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. ~Psalm 62:5 ✝

817. Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for, without being seen, they are present with you. ~St Francis of Sales

     Angels are all around us, all the time,
in the very air we breathe.
~Eileen Elias Freeman

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The golden moments in the stream of life
rush past us and we see nothing but sand;
the angels come to visit us, and we
only know them when they are gone.
~George Elliot

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We not only live among men,
but there are airy hosts, blessed spectators,
sympathetic lookers-on,
that see and know and appreciate
our thoughts and feelings and acts.
~Henry Ward Beecher

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Angels come to help and guide us in as many guises
as there are people who need their assistance.
Sometimes we see their ethereal, heavenly shadow,
bright with light and radiance.
Sometimes we only feel their nearness or hear their whisper.
And sometimes they look no different from ourselves.
~Eileen Elias Freeman

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I had so many freckles that my mother used to say
that they were kisses from the angels.
~Lara Flynn Boyle

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Wishing you…
a sunbeam to warm you,
a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering angel, so
nothing can harm you.
~Irish Blessing

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Goodness knows I have plenty of freckles, and so I’m not surprised that with all those angel kisses all over my face I’ve felt the presence of ministering angels all my life. However, lately there have been even more than ever aflutter in my world. And so my post tonight is in praise of the Lord and His ever-vigilant angels. For I know not where any of us would be without angels watching over us. Where heaven meets earth, there are you, too, my friends!

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. ~Hebrews 1:14  ✝

**Angel images via Pinterest

715. God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars. ~Elbert Hubbard

Experience is not
what happens to a man.
It is what a man does
with what happens to him.
~Aldous Leonard Huxley

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As I become more and more thankful for the constancy of God’s Presence through moments not only “where He maketh me lie down green pastures” or when “He leadeth me beside still waters and refreshes my soul” or during the times He walks with me “through the valley of the shadow of death,” the Lord lays more and more blessings on my table. So it is and has been that the cup of my soul is filled to overflowing and the contents therein have been steeped in a mellow and ripe richness. The fact that God is good and all that He created is good has grown increasingly more apparent even in moments of darkest despair. Such trials have stretched me upward to His saving light where I am able to see the “scarred” Christ who calls me, flawed and scarred, to be more than I dared dream was possible. Much like the embryonic infant who has to push its way agonizingly through the narrow straights of a mother’s womb to be born, gratitude tunnels a way bit by bit through dark and adverse portals where His fruits of the spirit are forged by fire into being. As well, as in the eye of a storm peace can exist in the midst of the turbulence and greater patience can be acquired by relinquishing control to a God who has always dwelt not only within and without Creation but also within and without each of His children.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

I’ve tasted and seen, of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free, and my shame is undone
By Your presence, Lord

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness…
~Excerpted lyrics by Bryan Torwalt
**To hear a recording of this song click on this link:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~Romans 5:1-4   ✝