New every morning

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24


(morning sun / Rosemary Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2018)

Is it fair to say I was lured away?
By endless distractions and lovelier attractions then
Or fairer still, my own free will
Is the better one to blame for this familiar mess
I’ve made again
So I would understand if You were out of patience
And I would understand if I was out of chances
Your mercies are new every morning
So let me wake with the dawn
When the music is through or so it seems to be
Let me sing a new song, old things gone
Every day it’s true, You make all Your mercies new
The distance left between East and West
Is how far You would go to forget the debt I’d owe
And thrown into the sea, the wicked ways in me
Will never have a chance to wash back on the sand
So I would understand if You would make me pay
I would understand lying in the bed I made again
Your mercies are new every morning
So let me wake with the dawn
When the music is through or so it seems to be
Let me sing a new song, old things gone
Every day it’s true, You make all Your mercies new
Up comes the sun on every one of us
Gone, gone, gone the guilt and shame that knew Your name
Your mercies are new every morning
So let me wake with the dawn
When the music is through or so it seems to be
Let me sing a new song, old things gone
Every day it’s true, You make all Your mercies new
Songwriters: Nordeman, Nichole Ellyse / Ashworth, Charles William

As morning breaks

“The longest way must have its close –
the gloomiest night will wear on to a morning.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe


(morning at the beach / Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2018)

As morning breaks I look to You, O God
To be my strength this day, Alleluia
As morning breaks I look to You, O God
To be my strength this day, Alleluia
O God You are my God
For You my soul is thirsty
My body pines for You
Like a dry weary land without water
So I gaze upon You
In Your sanctuary
To see Your strength and glory

As morning breaks I look to You, O God
To be my strength this day, Alleluia

For Your love is better than life
My lips can speak Your praises
I will bless You of my life
In Your name I will life up my hands

And my soul shall be filled as with a banquet
My mouth shall praise Your name with joy

As morning breaks I look to You, O God
To be my strength this day, Aleluia
As morning breaks I look to You, O God
To be my strength this day, Alleluia… Alleluia

(lyrics to As Morning Breaks by John Michael Talbot based on Psalm 63
Frome the album Come to the Quiet—a favorite album since my early college days)

the mystery of Spirit

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

“The indwelling Spirit shall teach him what is of God and what is not.
This is why sometimes we can conjure up no logical reason for opposing
a certain teaching, yet in the very depth of our being arises a resistance.”

Watchman Nee


(the “beaver” moon in the wee hours of a foggy dawn sky / Julie Cook / 2017)

“The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

daybreak’s moon

A rare experience of a moment at daybreak,
when something in nature seems to reveal all consciousness,
cannot be explained at noon.
Yet it is part of the day’s unity.

Charles Ives


(starlings make their first flight of the day / Julie Cook / 2017)

‘Awake, my soul, awake! show thy spirit, arouse thy senses,
shake off the sluggishness of that deadly heaviness that is upon thee,
begin to take care for thy salvation.
Let the idleness of vain imaginations be put to flight, let go of sloth,
hold fast to diligence.
Be instant in holy meditations, cleave to the good things which are of God:
leaving that which is temporal, give heed to that which is eternal.
Now in this godly employment of thy mind,
to what canst thou turn thy thoughts more wholesomely and profitably than to
the sweet contemplations of thy Creator’s immeasurable benefits toward thee.’

St. Anselm of Canterbury

morning wake up

“There are two ways of waking up in the morning.
One is to say, ‘Good morning, God,’
and the other is to say,
‘Good God, morning’!”

― Fulton J. Sheen

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(a deer who uses my flowerbed as a mattress / Julie Cook / 2016)

I don’t know who was more surprised…
me or the deer.

Come each morning, as I roll out of bed,
I immediately head to the laundry room in order to grab the cats their food.
It never fails, as soon as my feet hit the floor, the cats make certain that I don’t do a single thing other than feed them.
It is as if they will immediately perish if I fail to fill their food bowls the nanosecond I’m up.

As I make my way to get the cat food, bypassing my sacred cup of coffee, the ritualistic trip to the loo,
I instinctively open the shutters, casting the welcomed morning light into what was my nightly shuttered world of darkness.

On this particular morning, as I routinely pull open the shutters…
imagine my surprise… when, what do I spy sitting directly outside the window… in my flower bed,
a deer who had obviously decided to bed down…on top of my daylilies no less!

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The signs have been there for weeks.

Bushes and plants nipped down to the nubs.
Most of which have had to have been dug up and now replaced with “deer” resistant plants…..
while allowing other plants and bushes to simply fend for themselves…

I knew that the deer had been enjoying themselves in the middle of the night…
using my yard as a giant salad bowl…
but here before my bleary eyes was one of the nonplused culprits.
One who took her own sweet time readying herself for the day.

Eventually she and her baby fawn roused themselves from bed, as they made their way to the edge of the woods where they would no doubt spend the heat of the day, simply waiting to come back to feast at night in my yard….

As I’m off to Atlanta to take Dad for his pre-op before Friday’s surgery…

A happy Monday to deer and all…..

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Isaiah 12:4-6

Rain or shine

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.
Lord Byron

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(after the rain / Julie Cook / 2015)

It’s a brand new day to a brand new week. . .
Good things and bad things are lining up. . .
Each are headed your way.
Dread and joy join hands. . .
Red rover, red rover, it’s time to come on over. . .
As they each call out. . .your name. . .
Do you go or do you stay?

As the sun rises, raising spirits, possibilities seem endless.
New beginnings are set in motion.
Green lights and straightaways stretch outward beyond our sights. . .
Yet just past the horizon, well past our concern, storm clouds are gathering.

Bumps in the road
Deep ruts
and endless potholes make the journey less then desirable.
The joy dissipates as we fight to keep it all in the middle.
The rains add insult to the injury in the consistent pursuit.
The winds pick up, whipping our hopes and our dreams, into a panicked frenzy.

White knuckled, two handed driving,
as the wipers strain to keep up, fighting the deluge.
Swerving and skidding along. . .barley in control on the wet highways,
while the lightening steaks across the skies, punctuated by deafening thunder.

Nerves now frayed. . .
wondering why we ever got out of bed. . .
someone whispers. . .is this all there is. . .
And just when it seems all is for nought. . .
when we’re ready to throw our hands up and raise the white flag, shouting
“OK LIFE, YOU WIN. . .”

God sends a reminder. . .

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

(Lamentations 3:22-23)

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Possibilities and Potential

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.
Pope John XXIII

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
Winston Churchill

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(a tulip tree bud ready to burst forth / Julie Cook / 2015)

Alarms sound
coffee brews
a sun rises
sleepy eyes open
showers taken
dogs walked
breakfast gulped
buses run
bells ring
traffic snarls
It’s Monday morning, again

A new day and a new week eagerly arrives
Last week is gone along with all that happened and took place,
be it good or bad.
This new morning, to this new week, offers all sorts of potential and possibility.
The sky’s the limit.
There are no “nos” yet shouted.
There have yet to be any disappointments
There are no failures
No quarrels
No wrongs
No crises
Only a clean slate just waiting for a fresh new mark
Greet the day with head held high. . .
For this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it
Psalm 118:24

Obligatory obligations

Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.
Elie Wiese

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(tufted titmouse / Julie Cook / 2014)

To rise with each new dawn,
with prayer upon my lips. . .

To greet you in my waking hours,
with praise for a brand new morn. . .

To give to you this time,
which you first freely gave to me. . .

Despite the sleepiness and fatigue
Despite the press for time
Despite not being in the mood
Despite the freedom not to pray. . .

There remains my obligation, an obligation to you. . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A definition of Obligatory—–
Binding in law or conscience; imposing duty or obligation; requiring performance or forbearance of some act.

Having an obligation means there is a responsibility.
There is a requirement.
A duty is to be done, performed, or to be said— carried out as a specific task.
A responsibility to act on behalf of self or others.

In the book Meditating on the Word, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer with translation by David Mel. Gracie, the word obligatory is applied in the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as he instructs seminarians, instructions which may be equally directed to us today, regarding the responsibility for prayer, in particular, the importance of the responsibility to morning prayer.. .

Before the heart unlocks itself for the world, God wants to open it for Himself; before the ear takes in the countless voices of the day, it should hear in the early hours, the voice of the Creator and Redeemer. God prepared the stillness of the first morning for himself.
It should remain his.`

The morning must yield an hour of quiet time for prayer and common devotion. How else could we prepare ourselves to face the tasks,cares and temptations of the day? And although we are often “not in the mood” for it, such devotion is an obligatory service to the One who desires our praises and prayers, and who will not other wise bless our day through His word and through our prayers.

Should we, those of the Christian faith, not find it odd that the muslims, who both Jews and Christians look upon with distrust, make time daily as they are called to prayer 5 times during the course of each day? Are we not reminded by the psalmist that we too are called to pray. . .to pray 7 times a day. . .
Can we not carve out time for the communion, conversation, fellowship and relationship with the loving Creator as He has stated we are required to do—to worship, to praise, to petition, to seek, to learn, to grow, to find peace, solace, and ultimately love. . .

I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous ordinances.

Psalm 119:163-164

Saving the best for last

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart.”
― Helen Keller

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(the setting of the sun in a December Georgia evening sky / Julie Cook / 2014)

Does He give us His very best at the start of each day?
The time when our senses are the most fresh and keen?

Does He give us His very best at the noonday hour?
The time when we begin to lose our steam, seeking a needed jolt to make it through the day?

Or does He save His very best for the end of each passing day?
When our eyes are weary and our senses dulled, when our strength is gone
and our hearts are low?

What is your resolve each morning?

Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
– I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
– I shall fear only God.
– I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
– I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
– I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”

― Mahatma Gandhi
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(the new blooms of an awakening Spring / Julie Cook / 2014)

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

With each new morning, at dawn’s first light, as the alarm sounds, what do you do first?

Do you quickly shut your eyes hoping that you had only imagined they had opened?
Do you imagine it all a dream, thinking surely it’s not already morning?
Do you simply shut your eyes again, oblivious that they had opened at all?
Do you curse the light, the alarm, the morning, the day?
Do you fill yourself with dread, angst, regret?

Do you immediately begin running over your day’s agenda in your head, making yourself nervous before you even get out of bed?
Do you hit the snooze button allowing yourself a small reprieve?
Do you think it best to simply stay in the bed, avoiding the day all together?

or

Do you thank God for having given you a new morning–despite how bad you may feel?
Do you think that this may be the day that things turn around—your health, your circumstance, your job, your heart?
Do you imagine the possibilities which are ahead of you this new day?
Do you silently promise to smile more at each new passerby?
Do you think about the difference you could make in someone’s life this new day?
Do you think of the many things you wish you could accomplish in your life with today being possibly the only day you have to do so?
Do you resolve to make a difference, take a stand, to do what is right, be the role model you wish you had, to be the person who speaks up?

or

You could merely muddle about each morning, lamenting your lot in life, cursing the news, fearing the day, hiding in the shadows.
You could blame others for your circumstance. . .opting to play the role of the victim.
Maybe you’re just comfortable being unhappy, in a bad place, settling for less than what the Creator of the Universe had envisioned for you when He saw you before you were even born.
“but I can’t help my circumstances” you protest.
“I was given this bum lot in life, what do you want me to do? I can’t change things”

Maybe it is bad.
Very bad.
“What do you know” you sneer.
Maybe you are a “product” of your surroundings
Maybe you’ve hit a wall with little to no hope in sight.
But does that mean it defines you?
Does it have to claim you?

Dare to resolve each new morning to claim love, to claim truth, to claim justice, to claim peace.
To offer thanks despite circumstance.
To turn from woe to hope
To seek Grace
To offer Grace

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Acts 20:32