803. The prairie sky – is high and wide deep in the heart of Texas.

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The sage in bloom – is like perfume deep in the heart of Texas.

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The stars at night – are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas.

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And after 16 days in Europe – we’re finally back home, safe and sound, deep in the heart of Texas. However we’re exhausted, have mountains of dirty clothes to unpack and wash, and there are over 7,000 emails in my inbox. Sadly, I don’t think I could never catch up with all that, so I’m just going to start from scratch today reading your new posts and comments. I pray that all of you are well. I’ve missed you and your posts and am looking forward to re-engaging with “y’all,” as they say down here in Texas. Love, Natalie

We praise you and thank you Lord for all your tender mercies and protection these past sixteen days!  “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.” ~Psalm 69:30   ✝

*All images via Pinterest.

561. If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. ~Rabbi Harold Kushner

Above me and below me
Hovers the beautiful.
I am surrounded by it.
I am immersed in it.
~Native American Saying

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I thank God for the ways of Creation–
For eyes to see Creation’s beauty,
For ears to hear Creation’s sounds,
For a tongue to taste Creation’s savory delights,
For a nose to smell Creation’s sweet aromas,
For arms to embrace others with a loving touch,
For a heart to understand the ways of the Lord,
For words to praise the triune God, Maker of heaven and earth.
~Edited and adapted from a Native American prayer

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. ~Psalm 69:30   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

560. Every moment of light and dark is a miracle. ~Walt Whitman

When you rise in the morning
give thanks for the light,
for your life,
for your strength.
Give thanks for your food
and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.
~Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee

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Under the sun’s flares on a fairly warm, late November day, fierce winds yielded at last to gentle breezes. And then at day’s end, the setting sun generated dazzling drama in the west while moonrise began eastward with a waxing crescent moon. Up and up and up it ascended through the branches of the willow until its light shined over the tree’s top as night dropped its dark shade. Changing slowly from the sinuous sliver of a crescent moon like this one to the rounded fullness of a sphere, the great white orb of the heavens has been an endless source of wonder, charming and bewitching mortals throughout the ages as well as affecting tides, fishing activities, and the planting of crops. Its varying phases and mystical beauty have also inspired legends, myths, and romance by those who’ve lived below and gazed up at its recurrent and divine evanescence. But then any kind of light–sunlight, moonlight, candlelight, firelight, spiritual light–has always fascinated and drawn humanity into its mystery. Perhaps it’s because humans as well as and earth’s creatures sense sanctity within it. I know I do, and I’ve always wondered if wolves howl at the moon as an act of thanksgiving for their Creator or at least as a way of loving Him which makes me think that howling at the moon is not such a bad idea.

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:5   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

557. All that we behold is full of blessings. ~William Wordsworth

Wherever I have knocked,
a door has opened.
Wherever I have wandered,
a path has appeared.
~Alice Walker

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Whatever be the depth of woe
Along the path that I must go,
I’ll sing my song—
My song of joy for all the love
That’s lavished on us from above,
And count no loss of treasure-trove
When things go wrong.
I’ll sing the sunlight, and the bright
Soft smiling stars that gem the night;
For gifts of good
That God hath spread along my way,
The lilt of birds in tuneful play,
The harvests full and flowers gay,
The whole day long
I’ll sing my song
Of gratitude!
~John Kendrick Bangs

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:10   ✝

**Mixed media image via Pinterest

549. The man who is happy is fulfilling the purpose of existence. ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If Heaven made him —
earth can find some use for him.
~Chinese Proverb

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I watched light split the darkness on this chilly November morn, and as the sun rose higher on the horizon, I saw it initially tickle the tops of trees. Then leaf by leaf by leaf it began to lower. In the topmost branches, the squirrels, benefactors of the sun’s first fruits, sat poised in readiness for the day. Below the birds, yet reluctant to lift off, and I were on stand by waiting for the light’s kiss to brush its warmth against us as well. While I sat before the unfolding drama, it occurred to me that such as this, these primal vignettes of earth’s awakening, had played out in the same prevailing silence and expectancy since the dawn of time. It’s as if the light, and only the light, adds the vibrancy and buoyancy of sound and tempo to the day–as if there is a purpose in dim, quiet beginnings, as if first there is a need to obey holy rhythms, a foremost call to offer thanksgiving, a wisdom in opening songs of praise. Verily what I witnessed was the pregnant pause between what was, what is, and what’s yet to be, and standing in those gaps waiting to be greeted was, as always, the Giver of light, of breath, of life. At last when the light touched the ground, birds gave voice to the day’s opus and the dance of life began again! Thus I knew it was time not only to rise but also to celebrate miracles and keep them from becoming ordinary, time to prevent the mundane from stealing joy and a sense of awe and wonder. For it is ordained that we, all of us, have been anointed, have been given skill sets, and somehow, in some way have a purpose to fulfill. And if we are to accomplish that, we must cherish the light, take it with us, open life’s doors, and live in amazement.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

526. Heat lingers as days are still long; early mornings are cool while autumn is still young. ~Po Chu-i, Chinese poet who lived from 772-864 during the Tang Dynasty

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


~Excerpt from i thank you God for most this amazing… (65)

by e.e. cummings, a poet whose peculiar syntax
and lack of or strange use of punctuation
conjures up as lasting and as memorable
images as this photo

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I think it curious when I read another’s perfect description of my current reality, especially when it is one like Po Chu-i’s that was written so long ago and so far away from where I am. When it happens, I can’t help but wonder what the writer was like, what he was doing when not writing poetry, and what the landscape looked like that inspired his thoughts and rhymes. Was he young like the autumn of which he spoke, or was he like me, one who has weathered many an autumn. I also  wonder if in China today the heat lingers again in Lady Autumn’s infancy. It’s certainly lingering hear in Texas in the 21st century. However, I’m not complaining because for some time now our early morns have been deliciously cool as have been the evenings that draw the days to an end. So cool in fact was it again this morning that after last night’s watering, droplets yet bejeweled the rose in the photo. That in and of itself is cause for thanksgiving since it wasn’t too long ago that all such surface water would have evaporated before dawn’s first light brushed away night’s obscurity. Actually, despite the lingering heat, this fall has been filled with more than a fair measure of splendor, a smattering of its usual intimations of holy mysteries, and now the first expected touches of nature’s autumnal poetry have been penned. Speaking of poetry, some poets like e.e. cummings write lines that challenge easy interpretation, but often poetry which defies easy understanding endures through the ages because the words and thoughts resonate in the deepest chambers of the human heart. Perhaps that’s why today I’m captivated by cumming’s poetic imagination as well as nature’s magical images and the Lord’s amazing genius.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4   ✝

426. Crowds of grasshoppers skip at our feet… thanking the Lord for a life so sweet. ~Jean Ingelow

I seeeeeee yoooou!
But from where did you come?
You were not into the camera’s eye at first.
Perhaps it was because my focus
was solely upon your handsome home.
But now that I have spied you,
I wonder if you’ve come into view
in fear of what I’m up to.
But you need not worry Mr. Hophopper
for I will not try to catch or harm you;
I want merely to capture your image
with the magic of my camera.
~Natalie Scarberry

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The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

~Mary Oliver

Let us come before Him with thanksgiving an extol Him with music and song. ~Psalm 95:2   ✝

Thank you, 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.