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

1308. So she poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of her spirit. ~Edited quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne

God respects me when I work;
but God loves me when I sing.
~Rabindranath Tagore

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Anything worth thinking about
is worth singing about.

Which is why we have songs of
praise, songs of love, songs of sorrow.

Songs the shepherds sing, on the lonely mountains,
while the sheep are honoring the grass, by eating it.

The dance-songs of the bees, to tell where the flowers,
suddenly, in the morning light, have opened.

A chorus of many, shouting to
heaven, or at it, or pleading.

Or that greatest of love affairs,
a violin and a human body.

And a composer,
maybe hundreds of years dead.

I think of Schubert, scribbling on
a café napkin. Thank you, thank you.

~Excerpted verses from a poem
by Mary Oliver

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You(God). ~Psalm 63:5 ✝

**Image via the Internet; special effects  done by me on 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

1242. I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun-not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else. ~C.S. Lewis

The following is a poem of belief by a Jewish prisoner in a Nazi Concentration Camp. It was written during WW2, on the wall of a cellar, by a Jew in the Cologne concentration camp.

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I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.
I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me,saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace…
~Unknown

He(Jesus) came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through Him. ~John 1:7 ✝

1227. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. ~Mahatma Gandhi

When I despair, I remember that all through
history the ways of truth and love
have always won. There have been tyrants,
and murderers, and for a time they can
seem invincible, but in the end
they always fall. Think of it–always.
~Mahatma Gandhi

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I have heard from two friends today whose hearts have been hurt deeply. And as we all do, they are questioning why and how people can be so hateful and hurtful. Years ago when I was coping with a very hurtful situation, a friend of mine told me that only “hurting people hurt other people.” And over the years since I’ve come to see that Jack was exactly right. But then that doesn’t address another part of my friend’s questioning which was a.) do I think there are more hurting people these days and b.) if so, why? Before I answer that, let me say first that the fact that one of the Adam and Eve’s children killed his brother did not bode well for mankind’s ability to co-exist from the get go. We live in a fallen world in which good and evil do exist and have from the moment the choice was made to defy God’s will. And millennia after millennia has provided more than adequate evidence of a common inability as a whole to be loving and to get along peacefully. Now to address two of her queries; yes, I do think there are more hurting, hateful people, and the source is the media and the internet as you suggested. Just look at what we are being fed 24/7–It’s “cool” to be a bad-ass, it’s “cool” to be disrespectful, it’s “cool” to bully others, it’s “cool” get revenge and on and on it goes around the clock and ad nauseum. But like Gandhi I’ve not lost faith in mankind’s ability to self-correct. And it all starts with each and everyone one of us. The tools at our easy disposal are kind words, kind gestures, and lots of smiles especially to and with those who are hell-bent on behaving badly. We also have to choose to surround ourselves with people who support and affirm who and what we are; we have to choose to walk away from those who want to fight verbally or physically; we have to choose to forgive transgressions which in the end if not released only poison ourselves; we have to choose to be kind to ourselves as well by finding or creating some kind of sacred space where we can restore and re-energize our emotional well being; we have to choose to leave any and all past hurts behind us never to be brought into the present again; and we have to find places and ways to sit in silence in order to listen to the still, small voice inside who loves us and wants to heal our brokenness. And finally we have to greet each day and each breath with gratitude for the gifts that they are; we have to learn when enough is enough; we have to realize the finiteness of each breath, each step, each day; and for heaven’s sake we have to quit trying to seek a “version” of ourselves and find the real, authentic person inside. Is all of the above easy to do? No, but then what is in this life? Is it essential that we try? Yes, for the ones we leave behind when we are gone!

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… ~Luke 6:27  ✝

**Image via Pinterest