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

1021. Life is a series of little deaths out of which life always returns. ~Charles Feidelson, Jr. 

There is something frank
and joyous and young
in the open face 
of the country.
It gives itself ungrudgingly
to the moods of the season,
holding nothing back.
~Willa Cather

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Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. It’s only two days until the end of the year. The train carrying all of this year’s comings and goings has all but run out of track, and it has been almost 10 days since we entered the season of somber gardens, short, but lengthening days, decidedly lower temperatures, and more-gray-than-blue skies. The reckless abandon of the growing seasons has yielded to winter’s, seemingly unadventurous restraint, and the countryside has been at least somewhat ravaged. The bare bones of the landscape now stand like silent sentinels over treasures buried beneath the soil where masses of autumn’s fallen have come to rest. Although the countryside appears to be wasted and barren, the soil in reality is teeming with life, life which the decaying matter warms and protects. And so it is time for us to rest and reflect on life, love, and home, whatever, whoever, and wherever that might be for you.

~The land enjoyed its sabbath rests… ~Excerpt from 2 Chronicles 36:21  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1005. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power. ~Northern Advocate

In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year,
bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil.
~Rose G. Kingsley

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Leaf by leaf and petal by petal, the garden unravels more and more each day. And with every wind that blows, be it from the north, the south, the east, or the west, little eddies of leaf litter now blow about dancing like bits of confetti. Too can be seen the first skeletons of trees and shrubs laid bare by the blustery winds and recent downpours. Yet the temperatures have remained mildish and so amid the decay are, even as the sands in late autumn’s hourglass run out, “honey’d leavings” and faint renditions of fall’s “lusty song.” However, soon and like all things, the last season of the year will come to its Sabbath and therefore have to rest until its next appointed hours.

What prodigious phenomenons are the seasons of the year! How carefully planned! What attention to detail they are given! Even in places where there are no robust seasonal changes, one is able to discern the Divine’s purpose. No matter when or where one is, there is a discernible rhythm to the seasonal harmonies in the cosmic book of days. And in the rhythms are a sacred and perceptible heartbeat, a heartbeat that if sought and listened to is as recognizable as that of a mother’s to her infant. For it is the beating heart of God, and His comforting eternal echo of the spheres can be heard in every corner of the universe. Like gravity the sound of it holds hearers in its grasp, and in the hearing comes the longing to see the face of the Holy One whose heart holds us, His children, with a love bigger than the universe itself.

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. ~Except from Jeremiah 8:7  ✝

**I love this capture I got of the red oak leaf that became wedged in the latch on my greenhouse door during yesterday’s high winds.

578. Wisdom sails with wind and time. ~John Florio

There’s a whisper in the wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
and a voice is calling, calling…
let us go.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from a poem by Robert William Service

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The Sabbath dawned in gray attire and blowing gusty winds that sent scores of fallen leaves scampering across the lawn or swirling in checkered little eddies. Then down, down, down the grayness lowered until at last it began to shed its rainy tears, tears not wept in sadness but in joy. The birds who’d been darting back and forth to and from the feeders and the sheltering bamboo were gone, and now except for the rain, the yard was still and silent. However, empty it was not for in the midst of it all moved the ruach, a mere breath, the holy breath of Yahweh, the Ancient of Days. This wind, this holy breath was whispering that it was He who had used the phrase Ruach Yahweh in His promise that the redeeming Messiah would be empowered by the Holy Spirit; so come let us prepare to behold and adore this Messiah, this Savior, this Christ, this Immanuel, the Lord of all Creation.

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). ~Matthew 1:23   ✝

** Edited image via Pinterest with added Scriptural text by Natalie

571. There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast. ~Charles Dickens

We look at life from the back side of the tapestry.
And most of the time, what we see are
loose threads, tangled knots and the like.
But occasionally, God’s light shines through, and
we get a glimpse of the larger design with God
weaving together the darks and lights of existence.
~John Piper

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No moon, no stars, no sun, no blue of sky… No bees, no butterflies, no adoring, garden paramours… Only a foggy Sabbath steeped in silent, grey stillness as bit by bit by bit color empties out of the landscape leaving in its wake pallid, watercolored remains to blanket the lawn… Autumn has but a fortnight left before she relinquishes her throne to winter’s chilling reign. So I wonder if she’s weeping, if the falling mists are her crestfallen tears. It would certainly seem so as gloomy and grey as her recent days have been. Her palette, once streaked with chestnut and chocolate, maroon and mahogany, mauve and mulberry, orange and ochre, red and russet, is soon to be washed of all but grey and beige and evergreen. Thankfully, however, there are the brightly colored lights of Christmas to brighten the dying year’s ever-increasing, muted days.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1:17  ✝

565. Come, come thou bleak December wind, and blow the dry leaves from the tree! ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Through bare trees
I can be winter’s innocence,
unashamed needfulness,
the thin and reaching limbs 
of a beggar,
longing to touch 
but the hem of the sun.
~Lisa Lindsey

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It’s the first morn of December. It’s cold. It’s gray. Leaves are brown, dying, or gone. Branches already bare resemble arms reaching to the heavens for something or someone. A norther continues to blow open wider and wider the gates of the year’s Sabbath, and the wings and winds of change are palpable in the frosty air. In the garden’s resounding gong, in its tinkling wind chimes, and in its clanging bells I hear portents of the changes. I’m reminded not only by these sounds but also by the morning’s silences that December is a time of expectancy, a time of waiting, and a time of preparation; moreover, it is a time to share in the ancient longing for the Messiah’s birth as well as a time to look forward to His second coming. And since our time coin for this year is almost spent, it is time now more than ever to let love reign our hearts, to let peace be our constant prayer, to let compassion and giving pour our of our gratitude for another year of Yahweh’s gifts, blessings, fulfilled promises, and miracles. And it is also time, now and always, to reach for the heavens and praise God for all that He is, for all that He has done, and all that He continues to do for His children!

Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. ~2 Chronicles 6:40   ✝

** Image via Pinterest, but edited by Natalie

550. I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence. ~Thomas Hood

The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
And yet the world,
In its distress,
Displays a certain
Loveliness.
~Excerpts from a poem by
John Updike

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In hushed stillness a gloomy, gray shroud has hung over the garden today, and out of the chilling grayness November has weeped drippy tears. Drip, drip, drip started the mist in the night, and ever since the ground has been soaking up the felicitous wealth. On and on it has drizzled as it often does in autumn knowing that, though the garden wanes, earth’s womb has begun mothering spring’s progeny. Roots, strong and deep, need the moisture to grow and gather the vigor they’ll need months from now to push life forth from naked branch and barren soil. And in the muted stillness of the day, I’ve felt is a familiar Presence, a holy Presence, the Overseer of all things great and small. Though it be the Sabbath, God walks His Eden still in the cool of the day for therein lies the heartbeat of Creation, child of His love and light.

Those who sow with tears will reap songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:5  ✝