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.

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 7.04.38 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 6.58.02 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 7.13.48 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 6.59.56 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 7.01.39 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 7.19.36 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 7.27.35 PM.png

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

1308. So she poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of her spirit. ~Edited quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne

God respects me when I work;
but God loves me when I sing.
~Rabindranath Tagore

Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 6.54.17 PM.png

Anything worth thinking about
is worth singing about.

Which is why we have songs of
praise, songs of love, songs of sorrow.

Songs the shepherds sing, on the lonely mountains,
while the sheep are honoring the grass, by eating it.

The dance-songs of the bees, to tell where the flowers,
suddenly, in the morning light, have opened.

A chorus of many, shouting to
heaven, or at it, or pleading.

Or that greatest of love affairs,
a violin and a human body.

And a composer,
maybe hundreds of years dead.

I think of Schubert, scribbling on
a café napkin. Thank you, thank you.

~Excerpted verses from a poem
by Mary Oliver

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You(God). ~Psalm 63:5 ✝

**Image via the Internet; special effects  done by me on iPiccy

1295. A writer lives, at best, in a state of astonishment. Beneah any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all. ~William Sansom

How can I stand on the ground
every day and not feel its power?
How can I live my life stepping on
this stuff and not wonder at it?
~William Bryant Logan

Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 6.57.58 PM.png

The many gardens of the world,
of literature and poetry,
of painting and music,
of religion and architecture,
all make the point as clear as possible:
The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.
~Thomas Moore

\Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 6.08.31 PM.png

A garden is like the self.
It has so many layers
and winding paths,
real or imagined, that it
can never be known, completely,
even by the most intimate of friends.
~Anne Raver

Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 6.20.35 PM.png

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝

1284. I have faith in myself and my life. I honour the wisdom of my soul. ~Julie Parker

This is a very important practice. Live your
daily life in a way that you never lose yourself.
When you are carried away with your worries, fears,
cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself
and you lose yourself. The practice is
always to go back to oneself.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 6.21.44 PM.png

The place I want to get back to
is where in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let’s see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can’t be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named
Gratitude.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. ~Colossians 3:16  ✝

**Image via Pinterest; border and special effects done on iPiccy

1277. Then summer fades and passes and October comes. ~Thomas Wolfe

I cannot endure to waste anything
as precious as autumn sunshine
by staying in the house.
So I spend almost all 
the
daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 7.42.39 PM.png

The garden releases its last
radiance, not as something failed,
but as its full reason for being: to give
continually, to its last bit of energetic being.
Its giving is its beauty. It is a smile;
it is the heart of love.

So the birdsong that surrounds me
is given, not away, but into the world.
It is given as rain, as sunlight, as snowfall
and autumn leaves. It falls on our ears
as what it is, with no deception,
the complete truth of being.

Even the smell of decay, drifting from
a deer, dead by the side of the road, says:
“This is what I am and no other. I do not
pretend to be. Even in death I speak
without deceit, even unto my flesh,
my very bones.”

Be tolerant of these songs,
my musings on the way these things are.
For I cannot give up the garden to winter except
by giving myself as well, fully and completely,
into the praise of our mutual beauty,
our total loving of the world.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Richard Wehrman

I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw… ~Proverbs 24:32  ✝

**Image by Natalie; special effects created by my grandson, Joe, and I on my computer and on iPiccy

1223. Color is joy. One does not think joy. One is carried by it. ~Ernst Hass

Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud–
We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms our ear or sight,
All melodies, the echoes of that voice
All colors a suffusion from that light.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 3.24.50 PM.png

From my hate-the-heat perspective the garden being adorned with crown jewels like these in the collage is one of the few saving graces of a Texas summer. If these flowers had voices instead of brilliant colors, I think that even as buds whose colors had not yet been revealed they would start the day off with soft, murmuring melodies. Then as the day’s flames licked up higher and higher and they burst into bloom, their songs would play on but in loud and bold arias so that the bees, the butterflies, and other pollinators would harken to their lusty, changeling voices. And all the while as the harmonies played on, the insect benefactors would suckle on the tasty fare despite the sizzling sultriness. And I, I would remain the envious onlooker because it is only they and not I who are small enough to crawl down into the gloriously-filled caverns of sweet nectars. Then at day’s end in weariness from performing their noisy choruses and from enduring the onslaught of mugginess their songs would give way to those of the white and silver flowery voices that mingle in with the enlarging and marvelous music of the night. As for me, though saddened by their silence and passing, I would have agree with Barbara Kingsolver who said that “in the places that call me out, I know I’ll recover my wordless childhood trust in the largeness of life and its willingness to take me in” again, another day. Another writer once said that in the isolation and silence of winter one can savor belonging to him or herself. And who knows, perhaps summer allows one to do the same but in a different way, especially when that individual is falling short of being thankful for God’s gifts by fussing about the way they are wrapped.

You(God) turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy… ~Psalm 30:11  ✝

**All images taken by me in my yard; not all were taken on the same days

1192. Water lilies, Monet’s passion written in whispering tears as dragonflies press the air into a whir. ~Edited and adapted excerpts from poems by Beth St. Clair

Lilies perch upon their little islands
To flower on pads of green in the water
Amid the dance of dragonflies by day
And fireflies that grace the dark of night.
~Natalie Scarberry

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 4.57.29 PM.png

If you have forgotten water lilies floating
On a dark lake among mountains in the afternoon shade,
If you have forgotten their wet, sleepy fragrance,
Then you can return and not be afraid.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 4.38.40 PM.png

But if you remember, then turn away forever
To the plains and the prairies where pools are far apart,
There you will not come at dusk on closing water lilies,
And the shadow of mountains will not fall on your heart.
~Sara Teasdale

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 4.56.01 PM.png

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

**Image of one of Monet’s water lily paintings and his signature found on the Interent; collage by Natalie