1314. Learn to use the lightening (in the storms of life) as fiery fuel to further propel you to all that encourages your own aliveness. ~Victoria Erickson

Use your internal strength and willpower
to rise above the thoughts pulling you down
and watch your world rise alongside you…
~Victoria Erickson

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I crave the ones who’ve seen confusion and known struggle; who have pulled themselves up from the shackles of heartache and strife, disappointment and darkness, exhaustion and drain, and have risen with a heart as open and unwaveringly wide as the ocean itself. Give me those people. The brave, the vulnerable, the wise, the ones who care for a world, and how to better it along with themselves. To know their ability in making waves, in shifting patterns with tides and in creating change. Let us become that open ocean. And make it rise. ~Victoria Erickson

Tonight, you may be empty, silent, sorrowful or alone,
but you have the moon and you have your breath,
and in inhaling the wonder of those alone, may you
be wrapped in the soft shawl of gentle relief that this
moment is beautiful and more than worthy…
~Victoria Erickson

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief. ~Ecclesiastes 1:18  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1070. Dance is the hidden language of the soul. ~Martha Graham

May I stand amazed in the Presence of God;
May I stand in the midst of celestial fire
until my heart is molten gold…
May I walk everywhere on earth radiant, complete…
~Normandi Ellis

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I am the Lord of the Dance said he!
I danced in the days when the world began.
I live in you, and you live in me.
So dance on, then, wherever you may be
For I am still Lord of the dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be!

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I sleep in the kernel and I dance in the rain;
I dance in the wind and through the waving grain.
I dance in the constancy of waves in the sea,
For I am still the Lord of the waves’ mystery.
I dance at the Sabbath when it’s time to rest
For to live is to dance, and the dance goes on and on.

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The moon in her phases, the tides of the sea,
The movement of the earth, and the seasons that will be
Are the rhythm of the dancing and a promise through the years
That the dance goes on through both joy and the tears.
They took My life at Calvary, but I leapt up high,
Because I am the Life that will never, ever die.

**This is not a repeat of last night’s hymn that I quoted in part. It’s a heavily edited and adapted version of another rendition of the Lord of the Dance, and I love the new elements of it because I think they add depth and richness. I hope you enjoy it.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 4   ✝

***Images via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

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

222. Green thoughts emerge from some deep source of stillness which the very fact of winter has released. ~Michael Osler

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun;
I was called from the darkness by the song of the earth,
I joined in the singing and she gave me birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be!
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you on, wherever you may be,
I will lead you all in the Dance, said he!

The moon in her phases and the tides of the sea,
the movement of the Earth, and the seasons that will be
Are rhythm for the dancing and a promise through the years–
The Dance goes on through joy and tears.
~Excerpts from the Lord of the Dance, traditional

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The Winter Solstice that arrives tomorrow is an annual event shrouded in ancient lore.  The words which mean “sun set still in winter” are derived from the Latin.  For ages the Winter Solstice was seen as a special and critical moment in the cycle of a year.  From neolithic times the physical remains at New Grange and Stonehenge in the British Isles have attested to this because their primary axes seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line framing the winter solstice at sunrise in New Grange and at sunset in Stonehenge.  Given that these earliest communities were not assured of living through the winter, the time of the solstice had to be marked because it was of maximum importance for which preparations had to be made during the previous nine months.  Today, for many, the shortest day of the year simply means that winter has arrived and for the next six months there will be a bit more daylight each day.  For those who follow Christ through His teachings, the solstice opens the doors on celebrations honoring His, the Messiah’s birth.  Christ is our Lord of the Dance, and He has come that all may join Him in the dance of life by accepting His offer of salvation.  “Sing we now of Christmas!”

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  ~Mark 1:1  ✝

216. Like light dappling through the leaves of a tree and wind stirring its branches, like birdsong sounding from the heights of an orchard and the scent of blossom after rainfall, so You (Lord) dapple and sound in the human soul, so You (Lord) stir into motion all that lives. ~J. Philip Newell

The oaks and pines and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set,
so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that they may well wonder what
“the story of the trees” would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it,
or if we had ears fine enough to understand.
~Author Unknown

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Though left barren by a blue norther and seemingly now no more than silent sentries watching over the landscape, somewhere in the core of these trees their music plays on.  John Muir’s idea that the fibers of a tree’s being thrills “like harp strings” not only sets well with me, but it also answers the question Walt Whitman once asked, “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?”  The music of life of which he and so many others have verbalized through the ages plays on in all of Creation.  We may not always hear or pay attention to the music but the melodies are there; we may be absent from the Lord, but He is never absent from us.  I know because I hear nature’s songs and I see reminders of the Lord’s continual and constant presence in the great and small pulsing lights in the heavens, in the caroling colors of earth and sky, in the sizzling efficacy of the sun’s warmth, in the rush of roaring waters and tides, in the sighing and howling of the wind, wind which like the Holy One is a presence that can be felt but not seen.

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord…  ~1 Chronicles 16:33  ✝

191. Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life. ~Hal Borland

The hush comes with the deepening of Autumn;
but it comes gradually.
Our ears are attuned to it, day by quieter day.
But even now, if one awakens in the deep darkness
of the small hours, one can hear it;
a foretaste of Winter silence.
~Hal Borland

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One day recently as we pulled out of the garage to go to lunch, we saw this, the clearly  defined, back edge of a line of thunderstorms.  While I was taking shots of the scene, it occurred to me that in a much slower progression that’s the way all of nature’s phenomena pass over the earth during the course of a year.  Sunny days come and go, hot and cold periods come and go, flowers come and go, fruitings and harvests come and go–in other words the Lord’s good provisions are always in a never-ending flux of comings and goings.  Autumn then, as Hal Borland suggests in another excerpt, is indeed a summing up of what’s happened throughout a year’s trip around the sun, and thankfully it only takes away what the gardener holds dear a little bit at a time.  We may not be too many steps away from winter, but given earth’s history of unfailing continuance neither are we too many steps away from spring.  So to recall an old familiar adage, all’s well that ends well, and autumn does indeed end a year splendidly well.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.  His love endures forever.   ~Psalm 135:1   ✝