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

1260. The fairies break their dances and leave them printed on the lawn. ~A.E. Housman

Fairies learn to dance
before they learn to walk.
and
Fairies learn to sing
before they learn to talk.
~From a poem
by Rose Fyleman

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Step lightly around the toadstools or tiptoe gingerly past them my friends, tis where the fairies gather to sing and dance beneath the wondrous moon.

The Fairy Dance
The soft stars are shining,
The moon is alight;
Blades of green grass
Are dancing tonight:
O swift and gay
Is the song that they sing;
They float and sway
As they dance in a ring.
O seek not to find them,
The wee folk so fair;
They’re shy as the swallow
And swift as the air:
If you come, they are gone
Like a snowflake in May;
Like a breath, like a sigh,
They vanish away.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Katherine Davis

Let them(the people) praise His(God’s) name with dancing and make music to Him(God’s) with timbrel and harp. ~Psalm 194:3 ✝

**Collage of toadstool photograghs I’ve been taking

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  ✝

1061. You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars. ~Thomas Traherne


The voice of the sea
speaks to the soul.
The touch of the sea is sensuous,
enfolding the body 
in its soft,
close embrace.
~Kate Chopin

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I had to go. I just had to go down to the sea today if only through photographic memories. I haven’t been to the beach in so long, and it appears that I won’t get to go this year either, at least not for months and months. As a child, I was weaned and grew up on the beautiful, blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, and since then sand, shore, and sea have haunted me. Via sensory perceptions even as a young child I heard a voice, a clear voice-a familiar voice-a welcome voice-a sacred voice who reached down into the depths of my soul to touch me in ways that are still not easy to articulate. But here goes. Since the sea is always moving in its ceaselessness, I became aware of its cadenced rhythms early on. Day after day, night after night its undulations never stopped, and I found myself comforted by the sounds they created. Even when it was just along the shore and not out in a boat on the deep water, the songs of the sea continued to poignantly reverberate as they rolled in on the waves to the sandy shore. These were songs as primordial as the days and as ancient as the Holy One Himself who yet hovers over the waters, and when I sat quietly listening, waiting, and watching, I began to feel and internalize the pulsing rhythms of the sea while their songs filled up the space around me, its devout, hearkening witness. “Wild silences,” as haunting as the call of the gulls, were “heard” as well, and the elements of light and darkness affected and enhanced the ocean’s charms, chants, and silences as it enfolded me in its embrace. What’s more a lonely beach, devoid of crowds, also transports of delight to the magical, mystique of the sea. For it was then, and only then, that I was privy to the voices of the ocean’s more wistful “shy presences,” the ones with the subtle, emotive melodies.

If you look at the map in the collage you will see a blue marker where our house at 68 Prospect Avenue in Long Beach, California was. It was only a half a block from Ocean Boulevard, and once I crossed that busy street, all I had to do was take the stairs down from the seawall onto the sand. Between the houses on each street ran an alley way that you can see in one of the photos beneath the map. This passage way was one of my favorite places to travel as it was along those fences  that so many of the cherished, fragrant flowers grew, and in the distance you can actually see the ocean.

The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. ~Psalm 93:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Safari; collage created by Natalie

337. We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot

I’d give all the wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life’s decay,
To be once more a little child
For one bright summer day.
~Lewis Carroll

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The sidewalks were long and narrow that ran between the stucco houses, and high was the exterior wall of the two-story duplex two doors down from us on the seaward end of the block. At the base of that duplex’s stucco wall was an elongated flower bed filled with pansies and strawberries, and about halfway down the wall was a door that separated the flower bed into two sections. Behind the door was a storage area, a closet of sorts, filled with all kinds of fascinating objects. Because the closet was under the front stairwell of the two story structure, it was one of those odd-shaped little niches with a downward sloping ceiling on one end. In the closet’s mysterious, deeper recesses were all kinds of tools. When the door to the closet was ajar, it meant Uncle was inside sitting on his stool and working on a yard or household task Auntie had commissioned. The “doghouse” as he called it, was a rich and irresistible den of curiosities for a young child, and in it with Uncle as tutor-in-residence I not only learned but also fell in love with a myriad of things. The closet with its earthy smells and assorted contraptions was a magical place, and the gardening tools were as provocative a sight for young eyes as the images of the storybook gardens they conjured up. Decades later when a friend commented that I live close to nature, I thought of that closet again and realized the lasting impression that it and Uncle had made on my life. Then and there in a place that smelled of soil and sea I came to love and respect the earth for its charming and sometimes “shy presences”–the visible ones, the audible ones, the tangible ones, even the ones that dwelt in dim obscurity. Uncle’s closet and his tales gave birth to “stirrings” that ultimately led me to believe that all Creation is a gift to be cherished and that its Maker is to be adored and praised.

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The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. ~Exodus 15:2  ✝

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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!

**Images via Pinterest

15. The feeling remains that God is on the journey too. ~Teresa of Avila

God is always with you.
Simply turn your face to Him.
~Kirpal Singh

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When I feel out of sorts, I’ve learned to get up and go outside even if I have to bundle up under layers of clothes or suffer the misery of triple digit heat.  After wandering about my yard, its “shy presences” and silences begin to soothe me until eventually my inner compass restores the balance of my sanity.  The simple truth is that the rhythm of earth’s heartbeat has a way of drowning out the rabid mongrels in a world too often torn by senseless tragedies and horrific madness. When that happens I find that being close to the land is as comforting and reassuring as was slipping my hand into the safety of my parents strong hands when I was a child.  Now that they are gone and I am grown, I find the same kind of comfort when I draw near the Lord and His ever-present occupancy her on earth.

J. Philip Newell asks, “Where do we look, therefore, to learn of God?   It’s not away from ourselves and away from Creation, but deep within all that has life.”  What better place then to do that than a garden?  Newell goes on to say that “in looking for the life of God by listening within we will hear falseness and confusion, selfishness and violence of heart, but deeper still is the Love that utters all things into being.”  I heard such a silent utterance when I felt my child first move in my womb; the sensation felt like that of a butterfly’s wings barely grazing my flesh, but more than than it felt like the gentle touch of the Holy One Himself inviting me to walk in with Him in Eden.

“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 flocks 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   ✝