I miss me…

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I miss me. The old me. The contented me. The bright me. The smiling me. The laughing me. The gone me. The me who didn’t see one of her hardest trials coming. It’s not that my life was ever perfect or pain free because it has never really been either of those things. No one’s ever is. But it was a known world, a quiet world, a world that had been accepted, a world from which a measure of wisdom had been garnered. And as long as I’ve lived I should have learned that we live in a constant state of flux in this world and so change is inevitable. There are always new lessons to be learned, new trials and tribulations, new insights to be gained, new purposes to be served. For the Lord has need of us and our gifts. And He knows we need to have our hearts softened again and again so that we continually yearn to hear His voice, read His Word, as well as trust and lean on Him and Him only for all our needs. Though we cannot understand much of the Divine mysteries, Yahweh designed us to seek Him and what more compelling catalysts are there than sleepless nights, relentless pain, and endless discomforts to drive us back under the shelter of His wings and near the sound of his still, small voice. And the undeserved blessing is that when we think we can’t go another step further, He is the strength and impetus that comes to help us keep putting one foot in front of the other. God is after all a good, good Father, and He doesn’t want to lose any of us even those of us who were once lost. Jesus always wants to bring us back into His keeping where hope lives, love lives, healing lives, and His grace upon grace sustains and saves us. So though these things above are gone for now, I’m living by faith that they will return even though I have one more week of radiation, which has been one of the hardest things to endure mentally, emotionally, and physically, to come my way, and there is yet another worrisome, even potentially life threatening, bridge to cross next month.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10  ✝

**Photo and text by Natalie

***For those new to my blog, the radiation treatments have exacerbated my migraine headaches and restless leg symptoms that had previously been relatively under control with my medications. Since the radiation treatments have ramped them up, sleep has been very elusive and the pain from one or both has pushed into the range of nearly unbearable and I’ve maxed out on my meds.

1447. The air is like a butterfly with frail blue wings. The happy earth looks at the sky and sings. ~Joyce Kilmer

It is a glorious privilege to live,
to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love.
To look up at the blue summer sky;
to see the sun sink slowly
beyond the line of the horizon;
to watch the worlds come twinkling
into view, first one by one,
and the myriads that no man can count,
and lo! the universe is white with them;
and you and I are here.
~Marco Morrow

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Morrow mentions only the summer sky, but it’s a privilege to look up and behold the wonders of the sky at any time, isn’t it?! This time of year an especially breathtaking view of the sky can be seen by looking through flowering trees. But why is it that we like to gaze up at the heavens with or without trees? What are we looking for? And when our look up at the embracing canopy over us, why do words of wonder and awe enter our thoughts and subsequently fall from our lips? What is it about what we see that fills us with utter amazement? Is it because of the firmament’s majestic beauty and/or our puzzlement about the mysteries therein? Or is it because in our looking we become aware of a knowing that transcends ordinary knowing? Could it be that we recognize the handiwork of the One to whom we’re inextricably and lovingly connected? As we look and listen, can’t we hear the Holy One’s voice in the deepest part of ourselves, that quiet voice telling us that the sky and earth and life are not the result of a random happenstance but are acts of His divine and loving grace poured out for our benefit? Maybe in the sky and all else that delights our senses we see the quicksilver flicker of a tiny flame which illuminates our Maker’s face, a face our eyes have forgotten but our hearts still remember? Indeed, what a “glorious privilege it is to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love” under the tutelage of our grand and caring Father! And how wondrous it is that the knowing can come from just looking and listening and giving ourselves to Him!

It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s (and mankind’s, says Natalie) privilege to discover them. ~Proverbs 25:2 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1438. We look into the reverse end of the kaleidoscope of human events and see, mostly, confusion and discord; while God beholds harmony from the divine end. ~James Lendall Basford

We hear the beating
of wings over Bethlehem
and a light that is not of the sun
or of the stars shines in the midnight sky.
The message of Christmas is that
the material world is bound to
the invisible spiritual world.
~Author Unknown

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The dictionary defines relationship as a connection to or an involvement with another, and what happened in a Bethlehem manger over 2,000 years ago was the Breath of Heaven reaching out to touch and begin a relationship with the material world. Christmas then is not an event; it is instead the beginning of a relationship. What God gave the world in the beginning was physical light, but it was His son, the Messiah, who brought salvation and the spiritual light that illuminates the face of God and opens the door to an intimate involvement with Him. To achieve that divine destiny Jesus came into our world, walked among us, and left a continuing legacy of ways to remain connected to and in relationship with the Creator. That relationship can only come into its fullness by walking with the Creator, talking with Him, and devoting time to the Lover of our souls. It’s like when a man or woman marry. They don’t just celebrate and spend time with each other on that one day of the year. It has to be a day to day, minute to minute commitment if the relationship is to grow and blossom into greater goodness.

When I saw others straining toward God,
I did not understand it, for though,
I may have had Him less than they did,
there was no one blocking the way
between Him and me,
and I could reach His heart easily.
It is up to Him, after all, to have us;
our part consists of almost solely
of letting Him grasp us.
~Ranier Maria Rilke

May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. ~1 Kings 8:57 ✝

**Inages found on the Internet; collage by Natalie

1381. May…the month when the foliage of herbs and trees is most freshly green, when buds ripened and blossoms appear in their fragrance and loveliness. ~Sir Thomas Malory

Well, spring sprang.
We’ve had our state of grace 
and
our little gift of sanctioned madness,
courtesy of Mother Nature.
~David Assael

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As oncoming summer’s blast furnace begins to heat up so do the colors in the garden. It has literally become a lively fiesta outside my doors and creatures, great and small, winged or afoot, are partaking of the feasts that have been laid before them on Creation’s table.

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In fact they’ve been so busy of late supping on the produce of May’s “potent blood” that I’ve only been able to capture two recent “critter” images with my camera. But I wouldn’t keep any of them from their tasks even if I could for what they’re doing not only satisfies their hunger but also mine, and it guarantees that this time next year there will be more.

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God’s designs are such ingenious plans! For example these pollinating creatures are so much smaller than we and their lives span such a brief period of time, but what power their tiny wings and feet have in the grand scheme of things! We, mortal humanity that is, think ourselves to be so mighty and yet mankind literally owes its very existence to what comes from the labors of these annual pollinating dances upon earth’s stage.

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And sadly too many lives play out solely in the technological bubbles of modern society and so are completely unaware of the miraculousness of such scenarios and the utter life-supporting significance of what goes on outside myopic, sterile, and godless environments.

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Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. ~Excerpted line from Jeremiah 8:7 ✝

**All photos taken in her yard by Natalie

1283. A secret freedom opens through a crevice you can barely see. ~Rumi

Every morning, when we wake up,
we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live.
What a precious gift! We have the capacity
to live in a way that these twenty-four hours
will bring peace, joy, and happiness
to ourselves and others.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

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As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of the ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfill new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.
~Excerpt from a blessing
by John O’Donohue

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ~2 Corinthians 3:17  ✝

**Image taken by Natalie; special effects done on iPiccy

1264. Pleasure is spread through the earth in stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find. ~William Wordsworth

Your legs will get heavy and tired.
Then comes a moment of feeling
the wings you’ve grown, lifting.
~Rumi

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Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.
~ Mary Oliver

I’ve definitely become slow and not as steady as I once was like this poet declares, but my heart still thrills to what I find in the garden. My love for flowers like these morning glories is yet deep and strong and steadfast. As the years move on, I may know that my days grow closer and closer to their end, but though I’m not as quick and fleet of foot as I once was, I remain ever grateful for gifts from God and the garden where I feel wings lifting my soul on high.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. ~1 Corinthians 12:4 ✝

**Photo of these two morning glories taken in my yard this afternoon at dusk.

1251. We strain to renew our capacity to wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again. ~Shana Alexander

What
if you were
a beetle,
and a soft wind

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and a certain allowance of time
had summoned you
out of your wrappings,
and there you were,

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so many legs
hardening,
maybe even
more than one pair of eyes

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and the whole world
in front of you?
And what if you had wings
and flew

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into the garden,
then fell
into the up-tipped
face

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of a white flower,
and what if you had
a sort of mouth,
a lip

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to place close
to the skim
of honey
that kept offering itself –

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what would you think then
of the world
as, night and day,
you were kept there –

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oh happy prisoner –
sighing, humming,
roaming
that deep cup?
~How Everything Adores Being Alive,
by Mary Oliver

For the word of God is alive 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. ~Isaiah 40:29  ✝

**Photos 1, 4, 6, 7, 8 by Mandy Disher; images 2, 3, 5 via Pinterest