1294. Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made. ~Wayne Dyer

Everything you do makes a difference.
So choose the difference you wish
to make and act with this intention.
~Julie Parker

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nay·say  (nā′sā′)
tr.v. nay·said (-sĕd′), nay·say·ing, nay·says (-sĕz′)
To oppose, deny, or take a pessimistic or negative view.
nay′say′er n.

Synonyms :
pessimist, doubter, cynic, misanthrope

One who frequently engages in excessive complaining, negative banter and/or a genuinely poor and downbeat attitude. Naysayers are distinguished by their tendency to consistently view the glass half empty, make frequent one-way trips to negative town, and constantly emphasize the worst of a situation. They have the capacity to rant and whine for hours on end.

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Life is hard. There’s no denying it, and I’m finding that it doesn’t get any easier as one ages. In fact, parts of the aging process are even harder. I believe it was the actress, Bette Davis, who said that “getting old is not for sissies.” Well, she was absolutely right! And so like anyone else, I could choose to adopt the victim mentality and take the easy road which to my way of thinking is the one called “pissin’ and moanin’” as they say here in Texas, as it doesn’t require anything but a big mouth and a sour attitude. But what a waste that would be! My parents worked hard so that I could have a better life than they had had and so that I could get a college degree which neither of them had. My dad even fought in a war so that I could retain the freedoms of an American citizen. So after I got my degree, I taught for 31 years in public schools so that I might also be able to help others attain whatever they wanted to achieve. Along the way, James and I got married and eventually had a daughter who we in turn worked hard for so that she too could do and be all that she wanted. As it turned out she went even further than we did when she earned her Ph.D. In all that living and doing there were lots of heartaches and setbacks along the way which we endured and survived. So? Isn’t that true for everybody, more or less. Maybe, maybe not! Let’s add to that mix the death of my father at a early age followed by the onset of daily and sometimes overwhelming physical pain at the age of 25. In fact the last time I had a pain free day was when I was 25 and I am now 74. And so because I’m as human as the next person, after a while I became for a period of time a nay-sayer, one whose mantra became “life’s a bitch and then your die.” But God just wasn’t going to let the story end that way, and so a turning point came and a mentor was sent to help and heal. So it’s all better now, right?! In some ways yes and in some ways no! But’s that’s life isn’t it? At least here on earth! There’s always ups and downs! But what did change, my perspective when I learned to count my blessings and talents, and then realized they were greater than my losses. Now I refuse to let the hardships define me because I’m worthy of more. I’ve earned that by being a survivor but more importantly the Lord sees all of us as being able to be worthy with the choices we make and the things we do to serve Him and His purposes. In a nutshell, I’m just too old, stubborn, and ornery to be defeated now after surviving the hurdles of the past and enduring all the pain. So I choose find joy in each and every day; I choose to serve the Lord and others; I choose to be generous with myself and what I’ve been given, I choose to find and enjoy beauty in this world; I choose not be defined as a naysayer or live as one; I choose to praise the Lord as often as I can; and I choose to continue standing tall and for what’s right as long as I live; for my friends, every day is a gift and an opportunity to make the world a better place. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…” ~Matthew 5:14  ✝

**Images found on 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

1096. It would be infinitely lonely to live in a world without blessing. ~John O’Donohue

Though suffering and chaos befall us,
they can never quench the inner light of providence.
~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 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.
We enter the world as strangers who all at once
become heirs to a harvest of memory,
spirit, and dream that has long preceded us
and will now enfold, nourish, and sustain us.
The gift of the world is our first blessing.

This is the opening paragraph of the book
“To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings” 

by John O’Donohue

They will receive blessing from the Lord… ~Excerpt from Psalm 24:5  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1040. It’s not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

The human spirit needs
places where nature
has not been rearranged
by the hand of man.
~Author Unknown

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The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning

in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather

plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body’s world,
instinct

and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
sweetness
and tangibility,

to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is —

so it enters us —
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.
~Poem by Mary Oliver

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering the waters. ~Genesis 1:2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

 

989. Light is good from whatever lamp it shines. ~Author Unknown

Light gives of itself freely,
filling all available space.
It does not seek anything in return;
it asks not whether you are friend or foe.
It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.
~Michael Strassfeld

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When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~Mary Oliver

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

520. Some places speak distinctly. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Have you ever looked at a map of the world?
Look at Texas with me just for a second.
That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast,
and the Red River and the Rio Grande. . .
As soon as anyone anywhere in the world
looks at it, they know what it is.
It’s Texas.
~Author Unknown

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But knowing that I’m living in God’s world everywhere in Creation is equally as obvious because of the undeniable iconic images of His reality. For example when I encounter people, be they Texans or anyone else, I recognize God’s face because we are all made in His image. In the vitality that shines forth in human faces, I see God’s strength. In the laughter of those I love here or elsewhere I become aware of His grace. In my deepest yearnings, I feel His presence and sense His divine design. In my brokenness and suffering His mercy shines through. In the great lights of the sky, I glimpse the shining of His everlasting faithfulness. In the quiet of the night, the stars and the moon that He flung into space speak His name and tell of His power all around the globe. In the insights of wise ones far and near, I hear His voice and grasp His truths. In my soul searching, His nearness is felt, and in fears that come in the darkness of the night, I encounter His angels. In colors that fill the sky and flowery faces, I see His beauty. In relationships with others, His love is made known. When my flesh is wounded and my body bleeds, the face of His Son who, in a land far, far away, shed His blood for my redemption is revealed. In unforeseen moments of wonder, awe, and passion I feel stirrings of His mighty spirit. And the touch of His hands can be felt in the warmth of the sun, and in the changing seasons of the north, south, east, and west His rhythm of life becomes clear. And today on my birthday, I know that I have been blessed wherever I’ve been and gone all the days of my life.

“O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? . . .” ~Deuteronomy 3:24   ✝

407. Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light. ~Theodore Roethke

At first a small line of inconceivable splendour emerged on the
horizon, which, quickly expanding, the sun appeared in all of his
glory, unveiling the whole face of nature, vivifying every colour
of the landscape, and sprinkling the dewy earth with glittering light.
~Ann Radcliffe

Image

I took this photo late in the day and yet it is obvious the sunflower is still holding the light. And whether it’s in the soft radiance of this flower, or in the dawn’s “unveiling the whole face of nature,” or in the blazing streaks of sunset closing down the day, or in the white glow of the moon illuminating the night there is a “line of inconceivable splendour” in all light. And it is this “splendour” that yields insight in the mystery and nature of the Lord. We emerge from the darkness of a mother’s womb, but from our inception we too hold light within ourselves for we are of the light’s Maker. Notice that Radcliffe said the light vivified (enlivened) color. She recognized that light gives of itself and in so doing gives life. With a smile we are capable of lighting up our whole countenance, and it has been said that “if one life shines, the life next to it will catch the light.” James M. Barrie, author of PETER PAN, added to that by saying that “those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. ~2 Corinthians 4:6-7 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.