1395. As a writer you have a duty to be a messenger. ~Jay Griffiths

We all serve as a vessel to be
messengers for one another.
Are you sharing the messages
you’re inspired to speak?
Someone is waiting to hear your words.
~Nanette MathewsScreen Shot 2017-07-22 at 8.11.38 PM.pngMy work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam…
~Excerpted lines from The Messenger,
a poem by Mary OliverScreen Shot 2017-07-22 at 8.22.59 PM.pngWe often see ourselves as small, insignificant citizens,
but God sees in us as His messengers.
~Sunday AdelajaScreen Shot 2017-07-22 at 8.22.12 PM.png

“ ‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’ ” ~Daniel 4:17  ✝

**Sunflowers images taken by Natalie; hummingbird images via Pinterest

1295. A writer lives, at best, in a state of astonishment. Beneah any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all. ~William Sansom

How can I stand on the ground
every day and not feel its power?
How can I live my life stepping on
this stuff and not wonder at it?
~William Bryant Logan

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The many gardens of the world,
of literature and poetry,
of painting and music,
of religion and architecture,
all make the point as clear as possible:
The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.
~Thomas Moore

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A garden is like the self.
It has so many layers
and winding paths,
real or imagined, that it
can never be known, completely,
even by the most intimate of friends.
~Anne Raver

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The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝

1200. Every day, you get the opportunity to change your life. ~Rodolfo Costa

You are an instrument of God.
Don’t leave the instrument
sitting in its case my son. Play!
Leave no part of your instrument unexplored.
~Abraham Verghese

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I don’t normally share this “bragging” kind of information, but it’s the recognition of a goal I’d set for myself. And in achieving it, it has silenced old naysaying ghosts and proved that even an old, gray-haired lady without any particularly impressive credentials or talents can fulfill, in some way, long held hankerings. As an educator and a parent, I always encouraged my students and my daughter to explore avenues that led to dreams or desires they held. To that end, James and I afforded for our daughter, ballet lessons, karate lessons, violin lessons, swimming lessons–in general anything she came home and said she’d like to try. As it turned out her skills as a swimmer earned her 5 full collegiate scholarships. Then there were the graduate degrees she attained. Though these things are no longer her little niches in the grand scheme of things, they’ve served her well, helped develop her character and values, and left her with no “what if” regrets. For me it was different, unless my dreams served a “practical” purpose, I was denied the pursuit of them. For example, I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a dancer, I wanted to be a singer but of course all such things were not at all “practical” and certainly no one could make a living doing them according to my parents. Then when it came time for college (something that no one on either side of my family had had the privilege and opportunity to attend), mom decided that it would be great if I became a teacher even though I  didn’t want to be one. But since my father had just passed away leaving her to finish raising their 3 teenage daughters on her own and she had quashed all my other longings, what else could I do but be the dutiful daughter a girl of that era had no other choice but to be. But then came the day when the dutiful daughter retired after 31 years of teaching and chose to find ways to address those long held hungers. Now although she may not be an artist, she can take pretty darned good photos. Although she’s not a dancer, she and her hubby can scoot their boots pretty darned well around a dance floor. Although she’s not an published author, she can knock out some fair-to-middling prose now and again. And so today after starting my blog with NO followers 3 years ago, WP notified me that I hit 1000 followers. It may seem a small number to some of you, but my little previously unanswered “what if” regrets are singing Hallelujah choruses because at long last I’m playing my instrument in an attempt to serve God whose instrument I am.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. ~Exodus 9:16 ✝

861. The pen is the tongue of the mind.~Miguel de Cervantes

Keep a diary and
one day it’ll keep you.
~Mae West

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It is necessary to write, if the days are not
to slip emptily by. How else, indeed,
to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?
For the moment passes, it is forgotten;
the mood is gone; life itself is gone.
That is where the writer scores over his fellows:
he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.
~Vita Sackville-West

However we go about the process, I believe those of us who write do find it necessary to do so. Perhaps, it’s because “clapping the net over the butterfly of the moment” helps define who we are for ourselves before “life itself is gone” and perhaps to help us know how who and what we are matters in the world. Whatever the reason, as tired as I am, I felt the need to put my fingers on the keyboard tonight. Thank you for all the prayers for my sister, Linda, and her husband, Dick. It seems that he blacked out last night because his blood pressure plummeted to critical levels. Then because the dropping of the blood pressure to such dangerously low levels causes the organs to start shutting down he went into renal failure. However, the good news tonight is that his BP is up to a normal range for him and his kidneys are functioning which means he is still on track for the transplant eligibility when a heart becomes available. Praise the Lord! The docs still have to find out what caused his blood pressure to drop so low, but I have faith that they will. Sadly he still does in fact look like he has been hit by a truck as his left eye is black, and he has a bad gash on the back of his head not to mention a whole bunch of large bruises. But they have put stitches in the cut above that eye, and as for the broken bones beneath his eye where it has turned pitch black, there is yet some question about what will need to be done, if anything, about those broken bones. They have also put staples in the cut on the back of his head, and thankfully, he apparently has no concussion. So, though very tired, we are grateful, more relieved, and praising God tonight.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. ~Colossians 4:2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

568. Creativity – like human life itself – begins in darkness. ~Julia Cameron

gray, dismal, gloomy-cloudy
brown, beige, falling-leaves
fog, mist, rain-water
muted, chilly, windy-autumn…
Where or where to start the day’s post?
Looking out at the world this morning,
I see all these things and more,
and so now it’s just how to begin?

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The writer has a volume of words, the artist a palette of paints, the musician a range of notes, and all three have a desire to create images that find a home in the human heart. They also have a passion to satisfy longings in their souls with what they create. So the wordsmith employs rhymes, punctuation, syntax and so on. The musician’s realm is concerned with chords, notes, instruments, etcetera. For the artist, it’s easels, canvases, paints and the list goes on. We are all made in the image of our Creator, and therefore we too must create. Okay, okay, before you say but I’m not any of these things, let me just add that these are only 3 outlets for creativity. Gardeners create growing spaces, builders construct homes, teachers inspire learning, homemakers raise children, and on and on it goes. Finally let me quote a definition of creativity that I came across recently: “Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and in some way valuable is created (such as an idea, a joke, a literary work, painting or musical composition, a solution, an invention etc). The range of scholarly interest in creativity includes a multitude of definitions and approaches involving several disciplines; psychology, cognitive science, education, philosophy (particularly philosophy of science), technology, theology, sociology, linguistics, business studies, songwriting and economics, taking in the relationship between creativity and general intelligence, mental and neurological processes associated with creativity, the relationships between personality type and creative ability and between creativity and mental health, the potential for fostering creativity through education and training, especially as augmented by technology, and the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of learning and teaching processes.” So it is that you, all of you, were born to create. Explore your options, find your talents, embrace them, cultivate them, expand them, share them!!! They are sacred gifts with a holy and powerful purpose.

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. ~Hebrews 6:17   ✝

** Mixed Media Image via Pinterest

385. Like billowing clouds, like the incessant gurgle of the brook the longing of the spirit can never be stilled. ~Hildegard von Bingen

Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God. ~Hildegard von Bingen

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O most noble Greenness, rooted in the sun,
shining forth in streaming splendor upon the wheel of Earth.
No earthly sense or being can comprehend you.
You are encircled by the very arms of Divine mysteries.
You are radiant like the red of dawn!
You glow like the incandescence of the sun!

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O moving force of Wisdom, encircling the wheel of the cosmos,
Encompassing all that is, all that has life,
in one vast circle.
You have three wings: The first unfurls aloft
in the highest heights.
The second dips its way dripping sweat on the Earth.
Over, under, and through all things whirls the third.
Praise to you, O Wisdom worthy of praise!

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Holy spirit, making life alive,
moving in all things, root of all created being…
You are lustrous and praiseworthy life,
You waken and re-awaken everything that is.

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Who was she, this feather on the breath of God? By name, she was Hildegard von Bingen; by profession, among other things, she was a writer of one of the largest bodies of letters to survive from the Middle Ages. Born in 1098, Hildegard was given as a tithe to the church, and later as a writer of poetry and songs as well as theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, a composer, a philosopher, a Christian mystic, and a benedictine abbess, it has been said that “her life tells of an irresistible spirit overcoming social, physical and gender barriers to achieve great things in the service of Christ.”

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. ~Psalm 91:4  ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

**Poetry by Hildegard von Blingen
** Images via Pinterest

287. Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us… ~Vincent McNabb

Sit by the edge of the dawn / and the sun will rise for you.
Sit by the edge of the night / and the stars will shine for you.
Sit by the edge of the stream / and the nightingale will sing for you.
Sit by the edge of silence / and God will speak to you.
~from an ancient Hindu text

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“The semi-colon tells you that there is still some question about the preceding full sentence; something needs to be added…It is almost a greater pleasure to come across a semicolon than a period.  The period tells you that that is that; if you didn’t get all the meaning you wanted or expected, you got all the writer intended to parcel our and now you have to move along.  But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little feeling of expectancy there is more to come; read on; it will get clearer.”  ~Lewis Thomas, American doctor and essayist

I think of nature’s seasons as junctures followed by divinely positioned, albeit invisible, semi-colons because they impart “a pleasant little feeling of expectancy.”  There are always more of them to be had, and it is that expectancy of “more” that keeps me hopeful not only in nature’s seasons but also in the seasons of my life when what I see tries to delude me into thinking things won’t ever change or this is the end.  In the passage above from the old Hindu text the use of “slashes” and “ands” could instead have been replaced with semi-colons because there is something more that comes after each of the suggested occasions to sit and wait.  In the same way, the fact that gardens keep an unfaltering “punctuation of continuance” right in front of me is one of the reasons I’m so drawn to spend time in them.  I need endless expectancy that breeds hopefulness.

And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety.  ~Job 11:18   ✝

**Even the two mauve hellebores in the photo look a bit like a semi-colon if one uses his/her imagination.