nothing more to add…


(sunrise / Rosemary Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2019)

“Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty,
persevere in it for this very reason.
God often desires to see what love your soul has,
and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction.”

St. John of the Cross

Amen, and again I say, AMEN!!

am I content?

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold your King is coming to you,
Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

Matthew 21:5

“Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and
learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires
transforming greed into gratitude.”

― John Chrysostom


(tree frog basking in the warm sun of a cool spring morning /Julie Cook / 2017)

The crowds were so excited…
with each man woman and child being caught up in the moment.

Hailing and shouting exultations.
He was everything they thought they wanted.
Welcoming, inviting and enthusiastically waving…
each person was so very delighted, happy and pleased.

Finally…it was him…it was the One everyone had waited for….
yes, finally…all would now be well
They were all so certain that things were to be different, better…
and finally…as they should be…

There was a general sense of satisfaction radiating from the crowd…
a sense that all things were right with the world…

As a sense of contentment settled over the crowd.
Today was to be their day…
because He had finally come…

Yet there was something in the shifting winds that signaled an impending
sense of change…
and He was the only one who felt it….

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

heightened senses….

“Memory believes before knowing remembers.
William Faulkner

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(Victorian Christmas Greeting card)

Every memory seems more keen.
Every sight seems more bright.
Every tear seems more heavy.
Every scent seems more strong.
Every sound seems more bold.
Every heartache seems more piercing.
Every loss seems more painful.
Every joy seems more complete.
Every touch seems more dear…

Each year, finding ourselves standing before what makes Christmas just that,
Christmas…
Our senses,
our thoughts,
our tastes,
our recollections…
seem hopelessly more intense, more sharp, more profound…

Be that a blessing
or
be that a curse.

Pain is greater.
Suffering is more fierce.
Joy is more contagious.
While satisfaction hangs precariously in the balance.

There are those who gravitate toward this more mystical and magical time
full of giddiness and glee…
while others wish to close their eyes,
not openning them again until mid January.

The sensory overload can be overtly overwhelming or palpably underwhelming.

And yet it is in that overload, be it over or under,
that we actually become more….
raw…
more open…
and even more vulnerable.

And it is in that vulnerability that the ego slightly abates….
the guard slips ever so quietly,
While pretense evaporates as the dew in first light…
As we are splayed wide open.

And it is in that moment of pure raw vulnerability that
the heart finally realigns,
beating rhythmically for the first time since the tragic Fall,
as it is once again, albeit briefly, in sync with all of Creation…

For no word from God will ever fail.”
Luke 1:37

there’s always something better

My father said there were two kinds of people in the world:
givers and takers.
The takers may eat better,
but the givers sleep better.

Marlo Thomas

“The greatest need of our age and of every age, the greatest need of every human heart, is to know the resources and sufficiency of God.”
― Albert Benjamin Simpson

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(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

Having thrown out a bucket of corn for our resident deer, it didn’t take long for the invading passerby grackles to find the golden nuggets dispersed within the grass.
With life having been relatively dry up until the last few days, we’d put out a tub of water for our thirsty four legged friends.

As soon as the grackles approached, ready to descended onto the corn, they first hesitantly and cautiously headed toward the black tub.
A single grackle arrived in order to investigate.
Then a few more appeared hoping no doubt that the big black tub held a treasure trove of corn.
More and more grackles arrived with each new arrivee having to check out the tub for a possible plethora of food–
Obviously not satisfied by the existing kernels scattered throughout the grass.

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(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(curious and opportunistic grackles check out the water tub / Julie Cook / 2015)

I suppose we’re a lot like the never satisfied grackles, as we often seem to think there is going to be something bigger, better and more which must be lurking elsewhere other than that which has been graciously offered and set before us. It’s as if we are constantly hoping to find that which is easier for the taking and neatly given without our ever having to work for what we get. . .

So it is with this thought in mind that my prayer for today is that we may each stop long enough, taking time from our chaotic lives, to find the gratitude within our hearts for that which we already possess, as well as for that which has been graciously offered and lovingly placed before us. . .all without the expectation and desire of seeking anything else or anything more. . .
May we truly appreciate the effort we exert. . .which in turn,
makes each reward that more sweet. . .

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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9