1390. The truer you are to yourself, the greater your gifts will manifest themselves. ~Tiffany L. Jackson

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For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:10  ✝

**First image of a crow was taken in Scotland by Natalie; all other images found on Pinterest;

 

1376. Outside the open window the morning air is all awash with angels. ~Richard Wilbur

open your eyes
to the beauty around you,
open your mind
to the wonders of life,
open your heart
to those who love you,
and always
be true to yourself.
~Maya Angelou

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May the touch of your skin
Register the beauty
Of the otherness
That surrounds you.

May your listening be attuned
To the deeper silence
Where sound is honed
To bring distance home.

May the fragrance
Of a breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the earth.

And when you partake
Of food and drink,
May your taste quicken
To the gift and sweetness
That flows from the earth.

May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. ~Matthew 6:22 ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1344. “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am,” (~John 8:58 ✝), a passage of Scripture which tells us that the Lord existed before His human life on earth.

The passages of Holy Writ below are seven other
“I am” statements made by our Lord.

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“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” ~John 6:35  ✝

“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ~John 8:12  ✝

“I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” ~John 10:9  ✝

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” ~John 10:11  ✝

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” ~John 11:25  ✝

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” ~John 14:6  ✝

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” ~John 15:1  ✝

The great “I am” had:
no servants, yet they called him Master.
no degree, yet they called him Teacher.
no medicines, yet they called him Healer.
no army, yet kings feared Him.
won no military battles, yet He overcame the world
and conquered death.
committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
And though He was buried in a tomb,
yet He lives today. His name is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; text box addd by Natalie

1270. To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are. ~Roy T. Bennett

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You are strong when you
take your grief and teach it to smile.
You are brave when you
overcome your fear and help others to do the same.
You are happy when you
see a flower and are thankful for the blessing.
You are loving when your
own pain does not blind you to the pain of others.
You are wise when you
know the limits of your wisdom.
You are true when you
admit there are times you fool yourself.
You are alive when tomorrow’s
hope means more to you than yesterday’s mistake.
You are growing when you
know what you are but not what you will become.
You are free when you
are in control of yourself and do not wish to control others.
You are honorable when you
find your honor is to honor others.
You are generous when you
can take as sweetly as you can give.
You are humble when you
do not know how humble you are.
You are thoughtful when you
see me just as I am and treat me just as you are.
You are merciful when you
forgive in others the faults you condemn in yourself.
You are beautiful when you
don’t need a mirror to tell you.
You are rich when you
never need more than what you have.
You are you when you
are at peace with who you are not.
~Anon~

And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. ~Ephesians 2:22  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest; border via PicFont; text and clip art via iPiccy

1262. “Oh! ‘darkly, deeply, beautifully blue,’ / As someone somewhere sings about the sky.” ~Lord Byron

“What is blue?” asked a child, so very small
To which a man answered, “Blue is a lot of
things of which I’ll tell you a few, but not all.”
“Blue is the ocean, the rivers and streams.”
“Blue is the “splish splash” of water, |
which in sunlight glistens and gleams.”
“Blue is the flavorful taste of seafood cuisine
made from crabs or lobsters or shrimp
found beneath the deep blue sea.”
“Blue is the delicious aroma of blueberry pie.”
“Blue is the immense, infinite sky.”

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The child delighted, then cried thanks and ran away,
while the man was left there brooding
over the things about blue he’d just said,
for he knew that though what he’d said was true
there is more than joy when it comes to blue.
Blue can also describe the feeling a person gets
when he or she is left feeling dejected and sad.
Blue, too, can express grievous sorrow
that engulfs a person and causes him or her to frown.
And blue can be used to articulate misery and pain
or the dreariness of a day in which it may rain.

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But then another man who’d heard
what the first one had added, pondered those words
within his head because he knew that blue wasn’t
always quite as bad and gloomy as all that.
For blue can also describe a type of a music.
Blue when called the blues is a wonderful noise
that flows from the soul and out through the voice
or the piano, the saxophone, the trumpet, and the bass.
Such likable blues tug at the heart of people worldwide
for they have a way of healing depression and shame.
So you see without blue, the world as we know it,
could and would never be, entirely the same.
~Edited and adapted poem
by E. A. Costa

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“Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth, 32 with an opening for the head in its center…” ~Exodus 28: 31-32  ✝

**Blue columbine, blue clock vine; blue morning glory, all from my yard

1145. Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself. ~Saint Francis de Sales

 Patience is the
companion of wisdom.
~Augustine of Hippo

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~Colossians 3:12  ✝

**Image via Pinterest; text box added by Natalie

1102. Fate shall yield to fickle chance, and chaos judge the strife. ~John Milton

Bright and true and tender
can Mother Nature be albeit 
dark, fierce, fickle and disastrous
oft too is she.
~Natalie Scarberry

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It is sad that nature will play
such tricks with us poor mortals,
inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her,
and then, when we are entirely
within her power, tricking us to the heart.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Every year it seems to me
I hear complaints about spring.
It is either “late” or “unusually cold,”
“abnormally dry” or “fantastically wet,”
for no one is ever willing to admit
that there is no such thing as a normal spring.
~Thalassa Crusso

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This year had been shaping up to be the best spring ever in my gardens, and then as so often happens over the Texas prairies this time of year, blustery high winds caused cold air from the north to collide with the existing warm air making Mother Nature more foe than friend as night fell. I must have had some kind of sixth-sense inclination of the impending doom, however, because I took the three photographs above before I called it a day and came inside for good. Sadly what you see in them is gone now. The reason for their demise can be seen in the picture below of the huge amount of pea-size to quarter-size hail that fell with the two-inch downpour of rain. I know that it could have been worse because tornados can and do sometimes accompany such weather events; so I’m grateful this time wasn’t one of them and that no one was hurt or experienced loss of life, limb, or property. But it was still sad, very sad today, to see masses of green “carnage” as well as the remains of flowery life and beauty scattered everywhere. Yet I will always praise the Lord for the rain.

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Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone. ~Zechariah 10:1  ✝