1107. Plain dealing is a jewel, but they that wear it are out of fashion. ~Thomas Fuller

Knowing your own darkness
is the best method for dealing
with the darknesses of other people.
~Carl Jung

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Okay, so I know I’m an old codger and that many in the world think that as a demographic we old folk are just too old-fashioned to “get it” whatever “it” is that they think they have a better handle on than we do. So let’s consider for a moment the primordial “seven deadly sins.” And afterwards, feel free to let me know when and if any of them have changed: 1.) pride/vanity, 2.) lying tongues, 3.) the shedding of innocent blood by the hands of others, 4.) hearts that devise evil acts, 5.) feet that are swift in running to mischief, 6.) false witnesses who speak lies, 7.) ones who sow discord among their fellow man. Are these not things that have existed since the beginning of time? Have we not all encountered and commited many of them in our own lives? Have we not all been deeply hurt, desperately lonely, overwhelming despondent, and/or bitterly betrayed at some point even by those who were supposed to be family and/or friends? Have we not all had our hearts broken and almost ripped out of our very flesh by grief? Have we not all braved “dark nights” of the soul at least once in our lives? Have we not all experienced suffering and pain, both physical and emotional? Have we not all been lied to and cheated on in some way? Have we ourselves not been repeatedly mischievous and sinful? If the answer to these questions is not only yes, but hell yes, then what is it that ANYONE, regardless of age or gender, doesn’t get? Except maybe contrition and forgiveness, kindness and sincerity, compassion and grace, finding the strength to get up again and again after being knocked down over and over again. Life is freakin’ hard, and trust me when I say that you guys who supposedly “have a handle on things” which we old folks don’t understand, you’re going to find that the “hard” which you perceive growing old to be is not even close to the reality of what it is. So why don’t we all, young and old alike, try to learn to trust again, to hope again, to believe again, to be kind again, to be accepting again, to be loving again, to be authentic again and to do all those things with the greatest sincerity we can muster. For if we know our own darknesses, should we not attempt to be a light in another’s darkness instead of increasing their darkness? And one last thing, if someone offers you all these things, then accept them graciously as the gift they were meant to be and embrace them as well as the giver regardless of what’s happened to you in the past!

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. ~Proverbs 1 8-9  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1095. Every moment of light and dark is a miracle. ~Walt Whitman

In order for the light to shine so brightly,
the darkness must be present.
~Francis Bacon

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Three days from now, we’ll officially leave winter, the season of darkness and death, and enter spring, the season of light and rebirth. So I decided to share some thoughts about light and darkness, and since today is St. Patrick’s day and John O’Donohue was an Irish poet, I chose the following lines because some of what O’Donohue describes herein resembles as well what happens to the earth at times.

Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.
In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.
That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.
That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.
When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.
That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.
When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.
When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.
When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.
As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.
And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The color and stillness
Of a found world.
~John O’Donohue

He (God) reveals the deep things of darkness and disorder, where even light is like darkness. ~Job 12:22  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

912. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. ~Elie Wiesel

Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest,
to be completely present to the moment,
to taste the here and now, to be where we are.
Help us then, Lord, to be patient and
trust that the treasure we look for is hidden
in the holy ground on which we stand
and apparent even in the absence of light.
~Edited and adapted excerpt by
Henri Nouwen

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O, Ancient of Days, as daylight splits the veil of night, I praise Your holy name and wonder if you come to my garden still. If you do, do you come only in the early hours as I sensed at dawn today? Or do you come as well at dusk when light bedecks, with a touch of quicksilver sparkle, only the very tops of things making out of ordinary beauty that which is extraordinary? Is it in praise of your divine glory that the birds linger and chatter before their daytime forays and then again as they return at day’s end to find rest for the night? Are the gentle breezes I feel upon my face your very breath and the flowers I see fallen jewels from your holy crown? Do the bees and butterflies yet nectar in autumn to guarantee Eden’s resurrection after winter’s wrath consumes them. O, God, I want to know more of you and do believe you are here with me always; for if not on the lawn, I find your footprints upon my heart.

Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~Hebrews 4:16  ✝

**Image of titmouse and autumn berries via Pinterest

865. Silence is the language of God. All else is poor translation. ~Rumi

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all else, may silence make you strong.
~Chief Dan George

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When Christ said that man does not live by bread alone, he spoke of hunger. This hunger was not the hunger of the body. It was not the hunger for bread. He spoke of the hunger that begins deep down in the very depths of our being in silence. He spoke of a need as vital as breath. He spoke of our hunger for love. Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world…But with love, we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others. ~Chief Dan George

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But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. ~Psalm 13:5   ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet

835. There’s a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is confidence and tranquility in you. ~John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places in your heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
A beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening…

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May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
And waste your heart on fear no more.
~Both passages are excerpts
from John O’Donohue

For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory. ~Psalm 149:4  ✝

**Edited image via Pinterest

745. I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known. ~Author Unknown

You cannot help but learn more
as you take the world into your hands.
Take it up reverently, for it is
an old piece of clay, with millions
of thumbprints on it.
~John Updike

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This is my lovely granddaughter. She was two years old when her father and our daughter, Nikki, got married. So I have been a part of her life almost from the get go and like to think that I’ve had a positive impact on her, if not by a blood link, then by a shared heart link. Like my daughter, Annie is beautiful and bright and has a compassionate, loving heart. She will graduate soon from high school, and then in the fall she will be headed off to college. Since her life will soon change in profound ways, I pray that she continues to follow the Lord and the holy nudgings of her own heart. Part of my desire for her is best stated in these quotes above and below and in what Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” And I pray that she always knows that the “all” of who and what she is more than enough since she is made in the image of Almighty God. For a better insight into her sweet heart, check out some of her posts on her blog where she expresses her love and desire to serve the Lord at:   https://alwayslivingforhim.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/little-moments-big-blessings/

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To be nobody but yourself in a world
which is doing its best, night and day,
to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight;
and never stop fighting.
~e.e. cummings, 1955

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~Marianne Williamson

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6   ✝

713. Colors are the smiles of nature. ~Leigh Hunt

You’ve already won me over-in spite of me.
So don’t be alarmed if I fall head over feet.
And don’t be surprised if I love you
for all that you are.
I couldn’t help it-it’s all your fault.
~Alanis Morisette

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Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! So what do you think? Is Morisette talking about a man who has won her heart? Or is it possible to fall head over feet in love, with a flower for instance? The color of the flower above certainly makes me smile, and it was a huge surprise, and I do love it.

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It all started several years ago when I decided to plant some new iris in the large island bed. Late in the growing season, I went to a nearby nursery, and all they had were a few scraggly rhizomes that had long since lost their name tags. But not caring too much as to what color they were and trusting that they would still thrive despite their pitiful condition, I bought the five that remained, came home and planted them.

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Sure enough before winter set in, up shot some of their green spears making it appear hopeful that they would for sure “make it.” And not only did they make it that next spring as it turned, but two of them were the amazing color you see in the photos.

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I’d never seen an iris this color before, and thinking that its petals with their beards of gold looked somewhat velvety and chocolatey over their also golden centers, it was indeed this flower’s fault that I couldn’t help but fall in love with its beauty nor resist taking shots of its blooms from all angles year after year. Ain’t love grand with whomever or whatever wins us over?! I think so and apparently so does the Lord.

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~1 Corinthians 13:7   ✝