Today is not just another day, it is the one day that is given to you today. It is a gift, the only gift of a day that you have right now. And so the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response, to the great gift that this unique day is, and if you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.
Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, the incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky; we so rarely look at the sky, so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather, but we don’t think of all the different nuances of weather. We just think of good weather and bad weather. This day, right now, this unique weather, maybe a kind that may never come in that form again. The formation of clouds in the sky may never be the same than it is right now, open your eyes and look at that.
Look at the faces of people that you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom not only their own story but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far. And in this present moment, this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generations and so many all over the world, flows together and meets you here like life giving water if you only open your heart and drink. Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to you. You flip a switch and there is electric light. You turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water and drinkable water. It is a gift that millions and millions of people will never experience. ~Br. David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine Monk
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 ✝
**Images via Pinterest except for middle one that I took at the bottom; collages by Natalie
If you’re really listening,
if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world,
your heart breaks regularly.
In fact, your heart is made to break;
its purpose is to burst open again and again
so that it can hold evermore wonders.
Teach me how to trust
my inner knowing,
of my body,
the blessings of my spirit,
teach me to trust these
so that I may enter my
sacred space and love
beyond my fear
walk in balance
with the passing of each
~A Prayer of the Lakota
Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. ~Psalm 40:5 ✝
The careful insect ‘midst his works I view,
Now from the flowers exhaust the fragrant dew,
With golden treasures load his little thighs,
And steer his distant journey through the skies.
“Veiled in this fragile filigree of wax is the essence of sunshine, golden and limpid, tasting of grassy meadows, mountain wildflowers, lavishly blooming orange trees, or scrubby desert weeds. Honey, even more than wine, is a reflection of place. If the process of grape to glass is alchemy, then the trail from blossom to bottle is one of reflection. The nectar collected by the bee is the spirit and sap of the plant, its sweetest juice. Honey is the flower transmuted, its scent and beauty transformed into aroma and taste.” ~Stephanie Rosenbaum
The bees’ rhythms may be heard only by petaled ears, but the hum of the bee is sweet music to the gardener’s ears for the “wonder at it” divvies up its humming happiness and the honey it makes renders the taste of the fragrant flower’s sweetness.
Eat honey, my child, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. ~Proverbs 24:13 ✝
…Thus in each flower and simple bell,
That in our path untrodden lie,
Are sweet remembrancers who tell
How fast the winged moments fly.
Time will steal on with ceaseless pace,
Yet lose we not the fleeting hours,
Who still their fairy footsteps trace,
As light they dance among the flowers.
~Charlotte Turner Smith
First there came yellow,
soft and dotted, next to buds
on a pretty rose
Then appeared a pink
hibiscus with emboldened
stamen and pollen
Next a huge orange
rose with a touch of pink in
her heart’s center
At last there was a
wee rose who bore all shades
amid glossy green
~All haikus by written by
Natalie after a trip, camera in hand,
to a local nursery
I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. ~Isaiah 45:3 ✝
Blessings are the things we take for granted.
Most know the Earth is utterly enchanted
Yet walk through life and love mechanically.
Love brings the sweet relief of absolution,
Enveloping our hesitance in need.
No touch inspires so swift a revolution,
Transforming all the hieroglyphs we read.
In your love is the charity of spring,
Nor self-obsessed nor blinded by some creed,
Embracing the grey dawns that blessings bring.
~Excerpted lines by Cornelius Lyons
Dawn washes away night’s darkness and brings light to the day. Be grateful for the light, your eyes, and the purposes they serve. Ears allow humankind to hear the song of the birds and words of love. Be grateful for them and the purposes they serve. Feet take mortals places where they want and need to go. Be grateful for them and the purposes they serve. Arms and hands enable people to work, care for themselves, and embrace others. Be grateful for them and the purposes they serve. The in and out movement of breath sustains the gift of life all have been granted. Thus, in all things honor the gifts, the Giver, and the blessings that they are and that they bring.
…because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb. Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills… ~Genesis 49:25-26 ✝
Mother Nature sleeps now,
All the earth is bare;
Deep in the ground
She guards her treasures rare.
~Excerpt from poem
by Margaret Morgan
My garden is all put to bed for the winter.
Faded and dead are its brightly-colored blossoms,
Its green leaves decayed and fell to the ground.
But deep in the dark soil the dry bulbs
And the delicate rootlets are sleeping;
While the leaves make a blanket above them.
They sleep and they wait for the spring’s
First call to awakening life.
Sometimes when dark days are burdened:
When my hands are wearied with working;
I wish that some kindly gardener
Would cover me warm and leave me to rest
Like the roots and bulbs in my garden–
To sleep and grow strong like the flowers
For another season of blooming.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Dorothy Whitehead Hough
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. ~Proverbs 24:3-5 ✝
Nature is man’s teacher.
She unfolds her treasures to his search
unseals his eye, illumes his mind, purifies his heart;
an influence breathes from all the sights
and sounds of existence.
~Alfred Billings Street
It is not so much being “city pent” that keeps me from looking long into the “fair and open face” of the heavens in summer. It’s from being “house pent.” However, to keep my heat-driven incarceration inside my air-conditioned home from totally stifling my spiritual breathing, I hungrily emerge out of doors for a while very early and/or very late in the day. Outside and under the heavens I am able at last to breathe long and deep in prayer. According to Howard Pyle, “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 and outlived.” In my childhood nature and her sweet stories left a profound impression in my memory. Because as Pyle suggests that impression was not thrown on “the rubbish heap” and because late in life I reentered nature’s haunts by means of a garden, I was brought back to a reverent and devoted relationship with the Maker of my soul and Creation.
Last night when I was out, I noticed that a pure white Angel’s Trumpet had opened, and it was still there briefly this morning. The brilliance of its whiteness reminded me of the temporal dominion of any kind of darkness and the inevitable return of light. Then when I came inside, I read an email from a friend in which he quoted “Peace is seeing the sunrise and sunset and knowing who to thank.” Though neither he nor I knew whom to credit for the thought, we always know who to thank for everything. So thank you, Lord, for sunrises and sunsets as well as endings and beginnings. For you see the Angel in the Trumpet intimated that the heat beast is on its last legs.
The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. ~Psalm 119:64 ✝
Lord God, Your breath is within me, and I will honor and praise you with every breath that I breathe.