1430. I don’t want to end up simply having visited the world. ~Mary Oliver

The universe is full of radiant
suggestion…over and over in the butterfly
we see the idea of transcendence.
In the forest we see not the inert
but the aspiring. In water that departs forever
and forever returns, we experience eternity.
~Mary Oliver

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Is there some “voice” you turn to when your heart and soul needs a spark, something to satiate a vague longing, or to get your creative juices flowing, or something to make you feel acutely alive, or when you need some wise rumination or conjecture that transcends the routine and the mundane commentaries. I know that Scripture and the teachings of Jesus can do that, but as a mortal human being, I also need the take on such things from other mortal humans. I need wise musings by kindred spirits who voice things that comfort me and help me feel less alone and isolated. I know, I know; I have a loving husband and a loving family and friends, but don’t you ever long for someone who knows you better than anyone else deep down inside in those places you, seldom if ever, bring to the surface. You know, the things that touch you profoundly and you’re not entirely sure why or where it comes from, and you need another’s thoughts to help you understand what you feel and how intensely you feel it. I’ve never been anything except a daughter, a wife, and a mother, but there is a Natalie way down in there that I’m not sure I could put into words so that they could understand how or what it feels like to be the me of me, not the one who has always tried to live up to the expectations of others, but the one who has always wondered what it would have been like to strike out on her own and follow her own dreams. This is not a complaint for I have been truly blessed all my life. Nor does it mean that I’ve never faced great sorrow or loss or coped with chronic pain. Everyone has “crosses to bear,” but we don’t have to let such things define and/or decide who we are! Perhaps that’s why literature has always been a great source of illumination for me because I believe writer’s are always digging down into that same kind of well and attempting to bring to the surface what they find therein.

The most regretful people on earth
are those who felt the call to creative work,
who felt their own creative power
restive and uprising, and gave to it
neither power no time.
~Mary Oliver

Many writers fit the bill that I described above, and I quote them frequently, but it has only been in the last few years that I have found my forever go-to first person for such things. This remarkable woman is a modern-day, living poet, and I have bought to date everything she has published for I don’t think I’ve ever read works by another that touch me the way she does and explain what I feel inside any better than she. I have shared some of her works before as well as in this post, and in the coming days I’m going to post quite a few more for I’ve been “hungry” again of late and as always have found “nourishing food” in her words. I hope you to enjoy her musings and offerings.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a
hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal
of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours,
and I will tell you mine.
~Mary Oliver

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. ~James 1:5  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1427. It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. ~André Gide

Use your authentic voice
and share from your heart.
Be real. Be you. Tell your story.
~Arianna Merritt

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My discourse the last two days has not been penned in order to mitigate myself, to explain myself, nor to address any of my personal needs. I just hate to see so many people, especially young girls and women, believing they have to create “versions” of themselves to be worthy and/or to survive when all they need do is discover and/or reconnect with what’s real and true about themselves. One should never have to tell lies to validate him or herself. We were already born “enough!” For after all we are the apple of God’s eye and created in His image! Nothing in this life is perfect, and so we must learn to work with the imperfections in and around us. That does NOT mean, however, that we have to become differently imperfect to do that. We are already equipped with what we need to accomplish our purpose in this life. In fact it was in-utero-hard-wired into our beings.

A version by definition is: something differing in certain respects. Although time causes our physical bodies to differ and maturing can and should bring a differing and greater wisdom, we do NOT have to alter our core, our soul. Once I learned this not only did I successfully raise a child to be true to herself, but as a teacher I encouraged needy adolescent children every day. And when dealing with them, I learned quickly that being true to my real self made me more trustworthy, more approachable, and more able to shore up in truth the wobbly legs of those who were struggling to “fit in.” Yes, it requires diligent vulnerability, transparency, honesty, and integrity, but that’s what I came into the world designed to be able to muster, and so did YOU!!!

To be continued…

The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them. ~Excerpt from Jeremiah 51:17 ✝

**Image via Pinterest; text added by Natalie

1419. Your heart, and its Creator, have loved you since the beginning. ~ Nayyirah Waheed

If you didn’t grow up like I did
then you don’t know, and if you
don’t know it’s probably better
you don’t judge.
~Junot Diaz

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…let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— ~Proverbs 1:15

**Title quote and poem edited and adapted by Natalie
***Image found on Pinterest

1372. The grass is vibrant. The rocks pulsate. All is in flux; turn but a stone and an angel moves. ~George MacLeod

The garden of God in which we have been created has not be destroyed. Nor has it been abandoned. We may live in a state of exile from it, but God forever dwells in that place and seeks our company. ~Excerpt from THE BOOK OF CREATION by John Philip Newell

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The sun, moon and stars, in their harmonies of movement and light, are further theophanies or showing of God. Shining out of the darkness of space they express something of the inexpressible. “There is no speech, nor are there words,” says the Psalmist, “yet their voice goes out through all the earth.” The sun by day and the moon by night declare the mystery of God. What is it that they are saying? ~Excerpt from THE BOOK OF CREATION by John Philip Newell

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Nature best teaches how to pray, and how to reverence all the gifts the Almighty has given us. She is like a vast outspread handkerchief, embroidered with God’s eternal name, on which we may dry alike our tears of sorrow and of joy; she turns weeping into ecstasy, and fills our hearts with speechless, quiet reverence and resignation. ~Robert Schumann

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Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~Chief Seattle, 1855

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~Genesis 1:1 ✝

**All flowery photos taken by Natalie in her yard.

1337. Of winter’s lifeless world each tree now seems a perfect part; yet each one holds spring’s secret deep down within its heart. ~Edited quote by Charles G. Stater

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers…
~Thomas Campion

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Gray, foggy dreariness
ushered in the day;
A mist, a cold, frigid drizzle,
fell from on high;
Bare, starkly austere, lay everything
I could see; and
Silence, a stilled quietude, blanketed
my wintry garden.
Bleakly naked, towered tall trees that
stood above all else,
But underneath them from the secret place
murmured a voice,
The sacred, almost indistinguishable, faint
whisper emerged amid
The fog and fine rain to go forward undetected
past the woody sentinels
To allow its utterances to break into morn’s reverie
to tell of signs, longed for signs
Of tiny sparks of life that are preparing to push up
despite the gloominess
And ‘twas this message that stirred embers in my spirit
to keep their glimmer from
Becoming far too dim to continue sustaining my hope,
expectations, and “joie de vie.”

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Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter.
It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.
~Rumi

The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. ~Job 37:9 ✝

**Both photos taken by Natalie

1335. Give voice to that inner child of astonishment and surprise and sheer joy. ~Unknown

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Remember Today that you are alive.
Sometimes we tend to forget.
You have a purpose that is all your own.
No one else is you.
You have dreams, hopes, and desires.
Listen to your heart for a while.

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Remember Today all the blessings you have.
There’s beauty in every direction you look.
Enjoy the abundance that is already yours.
The world is a wonderful place and you’re here.

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Remember Today that you get what you give.
Your world is a mirror of your inner self.
Love will be yours when you give it away.

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Remember Today that life is creation.
As long as you live you can always contribute.
Your own special voice.

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Remember Today is a special time.
Make the best of it while you can.
~Mary Shelwood

“The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” ~Zechariah 8:5  ✝

**The collages include one photo of me and my sisters, four of them include my granddaughter and/or two grandsons; two include photos of my daughter, and one includes my grandchildren’s other grandmother.

1320. Through all the…

noise and chaos of this world it’s absolutely essential to find a time and place every day to whisper the name Jesus, the name above all names. And then with certainty know that any and all of us, will be heard. Afterwards we must then be still and wait, listen and believe, and before long we’ll find ourselves in and surrounded by the Lord’s Holy presence.

 “Be still, and know that I am God…” ~Excerpt from Psalm 46:10 ✝

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God is always waiting to hear from His children,
And because He wants us to hear His voice,
He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible,
He speaks to us through our thoughts,
He speaks to us through our conversations with others,
He speaks to us through ordinary moments in our lives
He speaks to us through our circumstances,
And so on…

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12  ✝

**Image via Pinterest; text box added by Natalie