1380. This gives me courage to move forward and publish my book, in spite of my little fears and doubts.. ~A Friend

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo,
and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly,
I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight,
to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.
~Richard Wright

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In my post (#1379) last night I discussed the importance of sharing our stories. And because of some of the comments I got about that post, I want to touch on that subject one more time. Storytelling predates the written word, and these narratives have been shared in every culture in order to entertain, and/or educate, and/or preserve cultural values and views, and/or instill morals. Moreover, “in addition to being part of religious rituals, some archaeologist believe rock art may have served as a form of storytelling for many ancient cultures.” Symbols were also painted on the walls of caves as a way of remembering stories. Even complex tattooing has sometimes represented stories. “Stories have been carved, scratched, painted, printed or inked onto wood or bamboo, ivory and other bones, pottery, clay tablets, stone, palm-leaf books, skins (parchment), bark cloth, paper, silk, canvas and other textiles, recorded on film and stored electronically in digital form.” And who knows what other form they may take in the future. The reality is that human beings are storytelling organisms who lead storied lives. And often it is only in the attempt to tell the story that one realizes the value of the experience.

Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. ~Joel 1:3  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1157. To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself
the means of inspiration and survival.
~Winston Churchil

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One of my favorite quotes is by G.K. Chesterton: “Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.” Decades ago when I was going through a particularly dark and difficult time, I spent 8 months in the weekly care and tutelage of a healing mentor who after spending an hour with me on the first visit, asked this question, “If you were a 4 year old child what would you want to do right now?” Since it had been a long day at work and I was tired and a bit hungry, I said, “Get a chocolate ice cream cone.” Subsequently she asked me if I knew where to get one and when I said yes, she stood up and declared, “Good, I want you to do that today and every time we finish our work here.” Though dumbfounded by such an unexpected and odd request, I followed the doctor’s orders and eventually came to know the reason behind it.

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The child we once were didn’t die. He/she is still alive and well somewhere inside all the years of growing and becoming an adult. And like any sentient being our inner child is still able to perceive and feel things. Thus he/she needs to be fed and nurtured and stimulated. And part of my problem back then was that my inner child was and had been for some time apparently starving to death. I know to some of you that may sound silly or absurd, but becoming aware of that and learning how to take care of little Natalie Holcomb has brought great healing to grown-up Natalie Scarberry. And so it is that when the day by day grind of pain and the day after day accounts of doom and gloom on the world’s stage begin to break me that I find ways to feed and delight my inner child on a grander scale. Besides finding way to do that in the glory of my garden, I often come by it as well in humor and the stories I adored in childhood. Thus all the silliness on my blog today. It was simply time to throw off the suffering and heaviness and darkness of this fallen world and time to talk of unicorns and white rabbits and good faeries and such. Ergo as Chesterton said, the saving of my soul and my life is underway one again. Yay team!

…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~Excerpted line from Romans 5:3-4  ✝

**Images via Pinterest

1116. The happiest moments in my childhood were spent on my grandmother’s front porch. ~Andre Leon Talley

There was a quiet solitude
just to sit and look at the landscape,
an inner quietness after dinner sitting on
the back porch and looking at the waning light.
There was no need for talking
or for any other kind of communication.
~Edited excerpt by Lee Krasner

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Sit with me awhile.
We can share our thoughts,
or talk of life and
what’s going on with us,
or maybe we could just sit
and be at peace together while we
soak up the last drop of the day’s light
and breathe in the cool air.
Or perhaps we could just watch the world go by
as we linger, waist deep in thought
or in reverie drenched in vanilla twilight.
~Me and Unknown Aauthors

Suggested and approved activities for porch sitters:
1.) you can read a book,
2.) you can sip on iced tea, hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, or a soft drink
3.) you can enjoy the seasons,
4.) you listen to the birds sing and relax,
5.) you can visit with friends or neighbors and reminisce or share stories
6.) you can watch the sun rise or witness the setting of the sun
7.) you can let your mind wander, shoes optional,
8.) you can take a nap
9.) you can talk or not talk,
10.) you can just sit and do nothing and rock or swing

But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. ~Psalm 13:12  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1074. It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or at dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought. ~James Douglas

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression,
and their author always has a niche
in the temple of memory
from which the image is never cast out
to be thrown on the rubbish heap
of things that are outgrown or outlived.
~Howard Pyle

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The “shy presences” of which Douglas spoke can be very real ones, like toads or snails or garden snakes and such; however, the “shy presences” for an imaginative child are often both real as well as make believe. For them the real ones might be shadow dancers, enlivened dollops of light, or glistening drops of dew whereas their make-believe ones might be the fabled “wee folk” found in stories they’ve heard or read. Gardens in and of themselves are naturally enchanting places, and tales of “fairies, elves, and leprechauns” can’t help but add an irresistible dimension to that enchantment, at least in the mind of a child or in someone with a very healthy inner child. And as Mr. Pyle so aptly put it, childhood images are never cast out onto rubbish heaps but instead leave “indelible impressions in the temples of our memories.” That’s why in early spring findings such as grape hyacinth, daffodils, crocus, snowdrops, and tulips can open doors in revered temples of memory and thus release cherished phrases such as “fairy woods where the wild bee wings,” or  “tiny trees for tiny dames,” or “tiny woods below whose bough shady fairies weave a house,” or “tiny tree tops, rose or thyme, where the braver fairies climb” as found in poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and others. Or maybe they come from a poem like this one below:

THERE are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
It’s not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardner’s shed and you
just keep straight ahead —
I do so hope they’ve really come to stay.
There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
They often have a dance on summer nights;
The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.
Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
And pick a little star to make a fan,
And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
Well, they can.
There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
Now you can guess who that could be
(She’s a little girl all day, but at night she steals away)?
Well — it’s Me!
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Rose Fyleman

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**Image via Pinterest

767. I think our dreams are held in safe-keeping within our souls, and when fulfilled, tears are the happy release of the “minding.” ~Masked Native at: http://maskednative.com/

There is sacredness in tears.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief,
irrepressible joy,
deep contrition,
and unspeakable love.
~Adapted quote
by Washington Irving

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I want to start off by thanking all of you who read the daily installments of my personal saga about Paris as well as those of you who took the time to comment about my story. I didn’t realize that walking back through the years to tell about the events that lead up to our trip in 2013 and the one we’ll be making again soon, would bring about a kind of catharsis which ultimately defined and released long held emotions about things in my past.

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However, now I realize more than ever how important it is that people share their personal stories, the things that make us who and what we are, not only for the impact they’ve had and continue to have on us, but also because others may find release, healing, encouragement, assurances, etc. in our narratives. We are, after all, a composite of everything that happens to us as well as the resulting influence of all those who cross our paths.

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Several years ago I ordered some morning glory seeds from a catalog, and another packet of a different kind of morning glories was thrown in as a bonus. However, that bonus package got lost at the bottom of my seed-storage box until I discovered it again earlier in spring. So I sowed the seeds, “et voilà,” here it is. Isn’t it lovely? I’ve never seen a morning glory like this one, but I think I’m falling in love with its cute, pink and white curlicues.

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Although in France they don’t associate the color pink with the city of Paris, imagery around the turn of the last century (the Belle Époque) as well as later images in the media and Paris-themed feminine merchandise, the color pink does continue to be associated with Paris elsewhere in the world. So I’m calling this frilly little pink posy my “Parisienne Glory,” and I pray that it blesses your eyes. Love, Natalie

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

762. Life is like a canvas. It begins blank every day, and when at day’s end it’s like another brush stroke has been painted across it. ~Edited Unknown

You don’t just have a story –
you’re the story in the making,
and you never know what the
next chapter is going to be.
That’s what makes it exciting.
~Dan Millman

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Life is like a book and
we’re the writers of our own stories,
the makers of our own destiny.
And each day is a new chapter,
a new challenge,
a new path,
a new journey.
~Unknown

Your word, Lord, is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. ~Psalm 119:105  ✝

754. It took a lone assent of self to get back up… ~Julie Cook (https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/about/)

A voice beneath the surface
Speaks
Echoes into my
Inner being
Inner heart
Inner mind
Blessing me
With
Strength to arise
~Yoshiko
(https://zyoshiko.wordpress.com/author/yoshikoz/)

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We are more than what people see on the surface. We are narratives, stories that make us who and what we are. And the stories are ripe with sorrows and joys, defeats and victories, love and loss, suffering and wellness–all those things each of us must face in life. And like my friend, Virginia, says “when you shed light on your past and how it affected you, it illustrates the transition that occurred to mold you into the person you are today.” So here I go with the next installment in my little story.

After being stuck in limbo the first semester of my sophomore year, I eventually found the strength to rise, albeit on wobbly and unsure legs at times, and I began the “lone assent of self” back into the mainstream of life. It was the summer of ‘62 and I had decided to continue working half a day for the Dean of Women as well as get a couple of courses out of the way in summer school. Since I only worked in the afternoons, I had some time on my hands after my morning classes were over, and what better place to go than the student center where food and friends awaited a hungry “climber.” The living was easy that summer and life was good. I had met some new friends who were teaching me to play bridge. And soon Keith, Danny, and I were playing bridge well enough to play in competition, and that summer would become one of the most memorable ones of my life.

…weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning. ~Psalm 30:5 ✝

**Image of old French, 1902 calendar page via Pinterest