All things new

Cause of who you are and who I am in you
You make all things pure, oh oh
‘Cause of who you are and who I am in you
You make all things true, oh
You make all things new, all things new

Watermark – All Things New Lyrics

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(wild butterfly pea / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(silver spotted skipper / Julie Cook / 2-15)

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(silver spotted skipper / Julie Cook / 2015)

On this new morning to this new day to this new week,
I beseech you oh Lord,
make all things new–
in me. . .

He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
Then he said,
“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5

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

Gentle Humility

The voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

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(soft downy feathers of a hawk found on a walk in the woods / Julie Cook / 2014)

“These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.

To mind one’s own business.

Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one’s dignity.

To choose always the hardest.”

― Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living

Each morning, as I begin my prayers, the very first thing I do is to ask for forgiveness of my sins, of those things known and of those things unknown–sins of self–especially that of ego and pride. And it is often those very type of sins, those of self which are the ones that I am most unconscious of as they tend to be a bit insidious, seeping in through the chinks in the armor.

Our western culture tends to embrace bravado–we like winners, we like confidence, we like fighters–we also like glitz and glamor and the notion that bigger is better, more is best. All of which runs counter to the concept of gentleness and humility. It should be noted that even our reputation in other countries is often of being loud and obnoxious. Not exactly a virtuous sort of moniker.

As I read these wise words of Mother Teresa, I am convicted of heart–as is usually the case under Mother Teresa’s gentle reprimands. Oh I can rationalize that, as an American, we / me are curious people who tend to be all over the place as far as managing our lives as well as the managing of other’s lives. We / me, tend to bristle at insults. We / me do not do well with slights or complaints, and heavens knows we / me do not tolerate provocation very well at all and we / me relish waving our dignity here, there and yon. Our Media / Entertainment worlds do not help with these nasty little habits of ours, but they seem to rather enjoy instigating such and adding fuel to the fire. Makes for better ratings I’m sure.

On this new day to this new week, in the wee hours of this new year, may we all be mindful that it is gentleness that is truly the greater virtue. That humility is stronger than bravado and hype. And that it is the meek who shall inherit the earth. . .for:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Unexpected visitor

Visits always give pleasure – if not the arrival, the departure
Portuguese Proverb

What a surprise we found yesterday afternoon upon our arrival home after a long day away. As we turned into the driveway from the road, we see a most unusual individual standing on the driveway… just outside of the open garage. My husband immediately stops and we just sit in the truck perched at the top of the driveway in awe.

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A young deer is standing on the driveway right by the house! It looks at us sitting in the truck at the top of the driveway but continues standing and even edging it’s way slowly closer to the garage and house. What these photos don’t show is that our fluffy orange cat Peaches is sitting on the walkway just behind the big bush on the left of the picture. The deer is standing just about 2 feet away form Peaches in a bit of a stare off.

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I think if we’d sat in the truck a while longer, the little deer would have eventually edged its way over the Peaches–perhaps nose to nose introductions. Peaches, who in turn was not budging, is a very docile cat who no doubt was equally intrigued with the visiting larger 4 legged “guest.”
“We can’t sit here all day” my husband reluctantly admits as we proceed to edge our own way down the driveway as the little deer simply turned and walked down the bank, wandering toward the back yard and “mom” as she waited by the tree.

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What a special treat…. Who knew we’d have “company” waiting on us when we arrived home. Just goes to show that none of us ever knows what necessarily awaits us upon our arrivals here, there, and yon…. with that thought in mind, on this new day to this new week, alway be ready for the unexpected–and remember the words of St Benedict from his Rule for living…..
“Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ,
for He is going to say,
“I came as a guest, and you received Me” (Matt. 25:35).
And to all let due honor be shown….”

A new day, a new chance

“O, with what freshness, what solemnity and beauty, is each new day born; as if to say to insensate man, “Behold! thou hast one more chance! Strive for immortal glory!”
― Harriet Beecher Stowe
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(photographs: Troup County, GA / Julie Cook / 2013)

Each new day brings nothing but new possibilities. The woesome weariness of yesterday has faded, the looming activities of tomorrow are still fuzzy; the only sure thing is now, today, this moment. Please make the most of it. We are all promised nothing more but this moment, no guarantees for a tomorrow…
Be willing to go out on a limb, take a risk—as long as your motives are true and pure. Be bold, think strong and solid. Go with confidence. This is your new day to your new week, make it what you wish…

Taking the hidden path

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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(Photograph: Padova, Italy/ Julie Cook / June 2007)

On this new morning of this new week, may you be ready and willing to travel down or up the new road(s) you find placed before you. May you be ready for any and all new adventures. Is there an unfamiliar closed door in front of you? Do not be afraid to open it…for behind that door, ’round that corner is a new journey, a new adventure, a new experience(s) waiting on you. I pray you have the courage to go forward. My principal use to always tell us, his teachers, if you aren’t moving forward, you’re only moving backwards. Plan on going forward–today!