1198. When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive-to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~Marcus Aurelius

Every morning, when we wake up,
we have twenty-four brand new hours to live.
What a precious gift!
We have the capacity to live in a way
that these twenty-four hours will bring
peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

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Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even,
the miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
~Mary Oliver

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. ~Proverbs 4:18  ✝

**Morning glory in my yard

1187. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape. ~Excerpt from an article by David Whyte@gratefulness.org

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Stop what you are doing right now! Just stop for a minute! Close your eyes and feel the in and out movement of your breath. Keep your eyes closed, stay still a little longer, and feel your heart beating. Now open your eyes, take in all the colors and sights around you, and recognize the blessing of sight. Then listen to any sounds you hear and be thankful for you ears and the blessing of both sound and silence. Next reach out your hands and touch something, anything, and become aware of its textures or smoothness, hardness or softness–all those things that come with the blessing of touch. After that find something to take a bite or sip of, and as you chew or swallow, savor and enjoy the flavor and taste of whatever it is. Last, before you return to what you were or were not doing, try to wrap your mind around the “many millions of things that had to come together and live together and mesh together” for all those gifts to be realities in your world. Almost 4 years ago, a day came when all that was threatened to be over for me as the result of 2 clots in my brain. Never, ever take for granted the gifts, the blessings, the miracles, and especially the Giver of the “many millions of things!” Thank you Jesus for this day, these gifts, and your faithfulness!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5  ✝

**Image via Pixabay; text added by Natalie

1109. The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

It is a glorious privilege
to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love.
To look up at the blue summer sky;
to see the sun sink slowly beyond the line of the horizon;
to watch the worlds come twinkling into view,
first one by one, and the myriads that no man can count,
and lo! the universe is white with them;
and you and I are here.
~Marco Morrow

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Morrow mentions only the summer sky, but isn’t it a privilege to look up and behold the wonders of the heavens whenever given the chance? I certainly think so, and it’s especially breathtaking in the spring when looking up through the branches of flowering trees because the view then is even more spectacular. But then again, I find that staring heavenward, regardless of the season, is always a wondrously delightful pastime. And as I sit looking up, I wonder if, like me, others are filled with the same sense of sanctity? And if so, do the firmament’s mysteries and majestic beauty bring them too to an awareness that something in its mystical vastness transcends ordinary knowing? I would like to think that everyone begins to recognize the handiwork of the Holy One to whom we’re all inextricably and lovingly connected. And as people look and listen, that they may hear, in the deepest part of themselves, God’s still, small voice telling them that the sky and earth and life are not the result of a random happenstance but are acts of His divine and loving grace poured out for mankind. In the sky and all else which delights the senses may we seek the Maker’s face, a face the eyes have forgotten but the heart yet remembers. Indeed, what a glorious privilege it is to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, and to love! And how wondrous it is that those privileges are free and available to everyone!

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made… ~Excerpt from Romans 1:20  ✝

**Collage by Natalie of images she took of flowering trees…

1091. Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ~Desmond Tutu

We must accept finite disappointment,
but never lose infinite hope.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~Emily Dickinson

It has been my privilege to meet some incredible people through my blog. They are people I never knew to ask God for, but He has given them to me anyway. When I asked Him why He blessed me with their presence in my life, He let me know that it’s because they can fill my life in ways that no one else can. And it’s true. From places all over the globe they are the candles in my darknesses and the birds of hope that perch atop my soul when my days grow dark and I find myself in the “chillest” of lands and on the “strangest” of seas.

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

**Image found on Pinterest

1052. When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~Marcus Aurelius

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What did you notice today?

The dawn’s light;
the bird on the wing;
the clouds over your head;
the breeze as dried grasses swayed;
the sun as it journeyed across the heavens;
the in and out movement of your breath;
the pumping of blood in your veins;
the regular beating of your heart;
the falling shades of night.

What did you hear?

What made you smile?

What made you laugh?

What made you cry?

What made you sad?

What astonished you?

What touched you deep within?

What made you thankful?

What made you feel alive?

Should these and more not all be things to take notice of? After all isn’t each day a gift? And aren’t all the abilities to feel and do these things a part of the gift? Can anything you do or say bring this day or the opportunities it offered back?

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 138:24  ✝

848. Oh what a beautiful morning…the sounds of earth are like music. ~Excerpted lyrics from a song written by George and Ira Gershwin

When you arise in the morning,
think of what a privilege it is to be alive –
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
~Marcus Aurelius

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Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness…Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. ~Psalm 150:1-2, 6  ✝

**Pink morning glories in the day’s first light in my garden.

233. The day is of infinite length for him who knows how to appreciate and use it. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Take time to think; it is the source of power.
Take time to play; it the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read; it is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to pray; it is the greatest power on earth.
Take time to love and be loved; it is a God-given privilege.
Take time to be friendly; it is the road to happiness.
Take time to laugh; it is the music of the soul.
Take time to give; it is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to be charitable; it is the key to heaven.
~Author Unknown

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; …  ~Ecclesiastes 3:8  ✝