1338. The joyful heart sees and reads the world with a sense of freedom and graciousness. John O’Donohue

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

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As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.

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Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

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As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

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As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

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As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

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May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god. ~John O’Donohue

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Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. ~Psalm 100:2  ✝

**All photos found on Pinterest;
special effects on the last two were done by me on iPiccy

1227. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. ~Mahatma Gandhi

When I despair, I remember that all through
history the ways of truth and love
have always won. There have been tyrants,
and murderers, and for a time they can
seem invincible, but in the end
they always fall. Think of it–always.
~Mahatma Gandhi

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I have heard from two friends today whose hearts have been hurt deeply. And as we all do, they are questioning why and how people can be so hateful and hurtful. Years ago when I was coping with a very hurtful situation, a friend of mine told me that only “hurting people hurt other people.” And over the years since I’ve come to see that Jack was exactly right. But then that doesn’t address another part of my friend’s questioning which was a.) do I think there are more hurting people these days and b.) if so, why? Before I answer that, let me say first that the fact that one of the Adam and Eve’s children killed his brother did not bode well for mankind’s ability to co-exist from the get go. We live in a fallen world in which good and evil do exist and have from the moment the choice was made to defy God’s will. And millennia after millennia has provided more than adequate evidence of a common inability as a whole to be loving and to get along peacefully. Now to address two of her queries; yes, I do think there are more hurting, hateful people, and the source is the media and the internet as you suggested. Just look at what we are being fed 24/7–It’s “cool” to be a bad-ass, it’s “cool” to be disrespectful, it’s “cool” to bully others, it’s “cool” get revenge and on and on it goes around the clock and ad nauseum. But like Gandhi I’ve not lost faith in mankind’s ability to self-correct. And it all starts with each and everyone one of us. The tools at our easy disposal are kind words, kind gestures, and lots of smiles especially to and with those who are hell-bent on behaving badly. We also have to choose to surround ourselves with people who support and affirm who and what we are; we have to choose to walk away from those who want to fight verbally or physically; we have to choose to forgive transgressions which in the end if not released only poison ourselves; we have to choose to be kind to ourselves as well by finding or creating some kind of sacred space where we can restore and re-energize our emotional well being; we have to choose to leave any and all past hurts behind us never to be brought into the present again; and we have to find places and ways to sit in silence in order to listen to the still, small voice inside who loves us and wants to heal our brokenness. And finally we have to greet each day and each breath with gratitude for the gifts that they are; we have to learn when enough is enough; we have to realize the finiteness of each breath, each step, each day; and for heaven’s sake we have to quit trying to seek a “version” of ourselves and find the real, authentic person inside. Is all of the above easy to do? No, but then what is in this life? Is it essential that we try? Yes, for the ones we leave behind when we are gone!

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… ~Luke 6:27  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

849. Yellow-the hue of that portion of the visible spectrum lying between green and orange, evoked in the human observer by radiant energy… ~The Dictionary

DSC_0012 It has been a kind of yellowlicious day,
and what could such be, one might say?
Well, yellowlicious is as
yellowlicious does,
and what yellowlicious does is color
our days with the brightest of luscious flowers.
~A Dr. Seussical kind of query
by Natalie Scarberry

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I caught
a yellow rhyme
in my hands, and
it fluttered
like a bevy of
bright butterfly wings

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Since yellow is
the brightest color
in the rainbow,
why shouldn’t it
pen flaxen happiness
in the sunlight

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As it spreads
its luminous wings
and paints across
the yard in swaths of gold,
landing here and there
as nimbly as a butterfly

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Now I can’t help but
wonder if one couldn’t
catch such dazzling
poesy and turn it
into butterfly smiles
for the whole world to see.
~Heavily edited and adapted poem
by Gregory Golden

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God your love is so precious. You protect people in the shadow of your wings. ~Psalm 36:7  ✝

745. I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known. ~Author Unknown

You cannot help but learn more
as you take the world into your hands.
Take it up reverently, for it is
an old piece of clay, with millions
of thumbprints on it.
~John Updike

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This is my lovely granddaughter. She was two years old when her father and our daughter, Nikki, got married. So I have been a part of her life almost from the get go and like to think that I’ve had a positive impact on her, if not by a blood link, then by a shared heart link. Like my daughter, Annie is beautiful and bright and has a compassionate, loving heart. She will graduate soon from high school, and then in the fall she will be headed off to college. Since her life will soon change in profound ways, I pray that she continues to follow the Lord and the holy nudgings of her own heart. Part of my desire for her is best stated in these quotes above and below and in what Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” And I pray that she always knows that the “all” of who and what she is more than enough since she is made in the image of Almighty God. For a better insight into her sweet heart, check out some of her posts on her blog where she expresses her love and desire to serve the Lord at:   https://alwayslivingforhim.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/little-moments-big-blessings/

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To be nobody but yourself in a world
which is doing its best, night and day,
to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight;
and never stop fighting.
~e.e. cummings, 1955

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~Marianne Williamson

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6   ✝

713. Colors are the smiles of nature. ~Leigh Hunt

You’ve already won me over-in spite of me.
So don’t be alarmed if I fall head over feet.
And don’t be surprised if I love you
for all that you are.
I couldn’t help it-it’s all your fault.
~Alanis Morisette

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Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! So what do you think? Is Morisette talking about a man who has won her heart? Or is it possible to fall head over feet in love, with a flower for instance? The color of the flower above certainly makes me smile, and it was a huge surprise, and I do love it.

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It all started several years ago when I decided to plant some new iris in the large island bed. Late in the growing season, I went to a nearby nursery, and all they had were a few scraggly rhizomes that had long since lost their name tags. But not caring too much as to what color they were and trusting that they would still thrive despite their pitiful condition, I bought the five that remained, came home and planted them.

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Sure enough before winter set in, up shot some of their green spears making it appear hopeful that they would for sure “make it.” And not only did they make it that next spring as it turned, but two of them were the amazing color you see in the photos.

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I’d never seen an iris this color before, and thinking that its petals with their beards of gold looked somewhat velvety and chocolatey over their also golden centers, it was indeed this flower’s fault that I couldn’t help but fall in love with its beauty nor resist taking shots of its blooms from all angles year after year. Ain’t love grand with whomever or whatever wins us over?! I think so and apparently so does the Lord.

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~1 Corinthians 13:7   ✝

580. Once more on our morning walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven by the winds… ~John Burroughs

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

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With every north wind that blows the landscape decomposes more and more, and the air grows a little wilder with falling leaves. After each assault layer upon layer of the leafy insulation blankets the lawn and beds in more warmth to protect them from coming winter’s icy blasts. Above, the branches, if not already bare, are now dotted with only a smattering of leaves. They, the ones too tenacious to let go so far, cannot hold on much longer though because the winter solstice will be upon us in less than a week. These brisk northerly winds have also taken a toll on the once verdant and supple, ornamental grasses. Many of them have begun drying out and taking on a shabby, tattered look, but among the shades of brown, remain a few tinged with glorious color. Autumn may be beset with more gray than sunny days and quelling blows night after night, but some continue to hold a measure of winsome smiles and “honey’d leavings.” And as the lusty song of life plays on, earth yet murmurs, “come play again with me,” a call, way, way too alluring for me to ignore.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. ~Isaiah 40:8   ✝

533. Laughter is God’s blessing. ~Joseph Prince

Laughter is the brush
that sweeps away
the cobwebs of the heart.
~Mort Walker

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Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of God.
~John O’Donohue

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:2a   ✝