#Love, #Faith, and #Books Nobody #Reads

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20 years ago I was the manager of a retail music store called The Wall.   While working there, I met a young man who so influenced my life that I actually had a series of posts early on in my BnV career that were inspired by him (The Burning Questions).  He had a particularly intriguing habit of coming into work each day with a specific question. He would pose this question and we would spend the remainder of the day discussing amongst ourselves our thoughts and opinions on the selected topic. Who is the best band of all time? What is the best song ever written?  Do ghosts exist?  Is there a God?  And always, WHY?  They were some of the best conversations I’ve ever had. They must have been, because I still remember.

Fast forward 20 years.  Lives change, tragedies and challenges happen, and Inspiration Leads. This same young man is now a father and husband, pastor of his own church, a relatively new blogger and the author of his first book.  (I say first, because Im certain there will be many).  I shared a post by him just last week called “Youth Sports — Love With A Capital L” and now I’d like to introduce you to him.  So grab a beverage, curl up with a blanket and enjoy …..

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My name is Chad and this is my profile.

These sorts of things always seem vain and self-important, but I can’t figure out why. We wear name tags, introduce ourselves, smile and invite each other to our parties. This is all a very natural overflow of our human need to connect, to see ourselves as part of a bigger story. When I can find a real-life bookstore, I look at the titles, cover art, and excerpts for the same reason: to find somewhere I can belong, someone I can relate to, a hand to hold.

I guess this impulse is why I/we do anything.

I write often and from a pretty specific point of view. That we are loved and accepted by Our Creator – this perspective is the life-line that runs through every word, even if it is never stated. Because you can tell, right? You can tell if someone thinks you are worthy and beautiful. Religion has so often come down on the wrong side of this, showing people we are garbage, we are primarily sinners possessing no real intrinsic value. It’s why I ran from God, Jesus, and spirituality for most of my life. Once I woke up to the fact that this couldn’t have been further from the truth, woke up to the fact that I was loved, here, now, today, what else could I do but spend the rest of my life as a modern-day street preacher? Instead of sandwich boards pointing to a fiery hell, my tools are my heart to open and my arms to wrap around a cold and lonely world who has believed a lie for way too long.

I started the Bridge Faith Community where I teach on Sunday mornings, write on 2 blogs; bridgefaithcommunity.com and lovewithacapitall.com, and now I wrote a book; Chronicles, Nehemiah and Other Books Nobody Reads, that you can get at lulu.com or at my house.

The Bridge blog is very spiritual, mixing my life with Scripture in an attempt to clearly display that God is not somewhere else, that He is here, if only we have eyes to see.

Love With A Capital L is a bit more fun, mixing my life with, well, your life and the art I see/hear/experience and the things that make today explosive and ordinary and painful and overwhelming and totally worthwhile.

These things are the way I express myself, but to be honest, my favorite work of art is my life. I have been given gifts I could never have imagined and been blessed far beyond my wildest dreams. I have 2 of the sweetest boys you have ever met, Samuel and Elisha, and a wife who is truly an Angel. So, I might make it to a million or I might die tomorrow, but I will be thankful for every moment.

Now that it’s finished, maybe it is vain and self-important, but it was pretty fun, too.

Love & Peace.

Chad.

Here is a chapter of the book:

XXIII. Everyone Needs A Hand To Hold On To

Let’s take this one day at a time, I’ll hold your hand if you hold mine.

Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, Rise Against

 

If picture’s worth a thousand words then your touch is worth them all.

Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen, Anberlin

 

For the closing prayer, everyone at the Bridge stands and holds another’s hand in each of their own. Now, for some, this introduces an element of dread into an otherwise safe environment. I’ve seen some hurry from their seats into the lobby or their car when they begin to sense the message winding down. For others, this is the perfect end to their morning.

At the Bridge, we give an awful lot of thought to the environment we create. From the color to the art on the walls to the music and placement of the tables and food, the narthex (a super-fancy term for lobby that I just love) is designed for welcoming comfort. The people are engaging and kind, the food is terrific, entering is easy and non-threatening.

However, once the service starts, there is a different aim altogether. The Scriptures invite us into a transformation, a spiritual re-birth, and transformations are never comfortable. Has there ever been a woman, reflecting on childbirth, that would say it was anything other than stressful, arduous, and exhausting? It’s called labor.

Of course, the primary announcement of the Gospel, the Good News, is one of grace, forgiveness, rescue, and life. No matter who you were, what you’ve done, where you’ve been, you can come home. Not only can you come home, but the Creator of the Universe, and the Creator of you, has been waiting for you with the table set. He has never stopped loving you. You do not have to get it together, stop doing whatever, start doing whatever, or climb any kind of ladder of achievement. He loves you and accepts you, exactly as you are, here, now, today.

That IS Good News.

My wife fell in love and married me. That was really good news, too. She accepted me as I was, scars and all. I had many habits and vices, none of which I’ll detail here and none of which were honoring to a woman as lovely as Angel. She loved me anyway in spite of my flaws, the way I was.

There is really only one response to that kind of overwhelming love; to live into those shoes, into that identity. (Obviously, the love of my wife is a laughably poor comparison to the love of Jesus Christ, but sometimes laughably poor comparisons are all we have. The Taylor Swift song ‘Begin Again’ makes me cry because it points me in the direction of my God.) If someone sees you, loves you, speaks a fresh word about you, and you believe it, that can change everything about you, everything about the way you live. All of the things that you settled for before that moment suddenly aren’t good enough. You are a child of the Living God, made in His image, and there is an honor and dignity to that. Some things are beneath you now. You are made to fly, not to crawl in the muck at the bottom of any gross barrel you see.

But leaving old lives behind is hard. Shedding that skin is painful, full of starts and restarts.

Welcome to Church, right?

Welcome to the road.

Welcome to a full capital-L Life.

Ideally, you come inside and you hear you are the beautiful artwork of God, loved beyond reason. And you weep.

Then you realize that you have erected all sorts of walls, carried such heavy baggage, worn thick iron chains around your neck, locked yourself in a prison you have built. You have believed so many lies that this is all you are worth.

And again you weep.

But it’s LOVE that exposes those lies. It’s LOVE that gives you the tools to break those chains, destroy those walls, and demolish that prison. Tearing down the cage you’ve constructed forever is hard, terrifying work, not for the weak.

Or for the unconnected.

We live in a culture that glorifies the individual, the loner, the hero who pulls herself up by the bootstraps. Our culture has minimized actual personal contact until we have days where we don’t see or talk to another human being in person. I have hundreds of friends on social media, some I’ve never actually met. I prefer to text. If my phone rings, I assume it is an emergency. I drive myself if I must leave the house.

But why would I leave the house?

I can order any products I see advertised to live a fulfilled life. I can order my groceries online and  someone leaves a box outside my door. I don’t even have to get dressed. I have new neighbors who I haven’t met.

This is life? This is living?

Is it living to measure my worth based on how many ‘likes’ my latest post garners?

In a word, no. So we hold each others hands as an act of rebellion, opposing the culture that tells us we should worship at the altar of ourselves and our superior abilities. We hold each others’ hands as proclamation that we are, indeed, alive – especially if we have forgotten. Though the road can be long and difficult, it is nothing we have to travel alone.

Do you know what damage it does to a soul that is never touched by another human being? One of the most revolutionary barriers Jesus broke was to touch those who shouldn’t have been and never were touched. In fact, they were called ‘untouchables’ and they were cast out from the rest, regarded as less than human for some reason or another (blood, skin, sin, etc.). Jesus spoke with them, ate with them, and shockingly touched them. As if they were friends or children and not just a disease, history, or reputation. Of course, the healing was physical, superficial, but the true healing took place where the Pharisees could not see, in their hearts.

And that is absolutely worth a bit of uncomfortability.

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Thank you so much Chad for sharing your time, talent and self with BnV.  Im pleased and honoured to share the news about all you are doing and pray only the best blessings…or the most inspiring …ever touch your life.

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~Morgan~

 

Rain- #NaturalWorld #Meditations

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Rain.

It is a beautiful thing. There are so many types of rain, really, and I couldn’t tell you which sort I prefer more (unless we are including the fluffy, white, frozen variety that I love most of all, in copious quantities, as frequently as possible.)
Silver Greenery

There’s the light, misty kind that I tend to envision whenever someone talks about Great Britain. That type of drizzly, foggy rain that hangs over the landscape, penetrating every crevice, enveloping whatever it touches in a hazy shroud, and leaving ten thousand beads of incandescent diamonds in its wake that sparkle and scintillate when the light reappears. (Sounds divine, doesn’t it?) Oh, it’s also that deceptively inconsequential form of rain that doesn’t look like much until you walk out in it without your brolly.
Mists

There’s the freezing drizzle, or frizzle; that sinister variety of rain that usually arrives overnight and surreptitiously transforms the garden path, car park, or the front steps into a skating arena suitable only for Olympic athleticism. It’s that quirky classification of rain that warps and blurs everything into unrealistic, Photoshop-worthy deviations of reality that makes most of us grab our camera’s (ie. Phones) to record and share the surreal, Dr Suess-iness of it all. This category of precipitation doesn’t initially impress either, so you generally disregard it until you have to go out and then promptly wind up on your…..
Winter's Icy Grip

There are many classifications of thunderstorms as well. Those that pop up in the middle of a sweltering, summer day just long enough to make us all run for cover; the kind that create a lot of noise for 20 minutes and then disappear into a haze of steam. There are those that roll overhead in the hiatus of evening, fast and furious, full of sound and fury, (signifying nothing?) that do little more than make a mess, generally. And then there are those magnificent, cacophonous, tempests that jar you from sound sleep in the middle of the night with ear-splitting thunder and shocks of lightening that leave you wondering if you couldn’t hide under the bed with the cat.
Lightening

There’s also the awe-inspiring, stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks kind of rain that makes you stare out the window in astonishment, forces you off the road in your car because you can’t see one inch ahead or behind, and makes you wonder for a fleeing, transitory moment if there isn’t an arc being built someplace nearby that you perhaps ought to be booking passage on: those torrential downpours of cats and dogs (and monkeys.)
pouring-rain

Then there’s the steady, pervasive, day-long kind of rain that sweeps over the earth, softly falling hour by hour, never flooding, never rumbling, never wreaking havoc. This is the kind of rain that looks like a painting by Monet or Van Gough; that smells so sweet you inhale the scent of it deeply and can’t help sighing. It’s also that sort of precipitation that makes you want to pull off your shoes like a child, go out and splash in the puddles.
Gentle Rain

Much like life, we can’t control the rain; what kind of rain it is, how hard it falls or for how long, but we can control how we respond to it so that we neither wind up soaking wet wishing we had protection from the rain, staring in dumb-struck wonder at the rain fearing what might happen next because the unanticipated variability of the rain caught us completely off guard. Rather, we can stop to enjoy the rain, whatever its form, inhale deeply, and allow ourselves to be refreshed and renewed before we plod on.

Rainbow

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~Morgan~
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Photos 1 and 3 taken by me 🙂

Other Beautiful original photos found on Pinterest.  Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the original photographers.  Thank You.

#AwardWinning #Epic #Fantasy #DarkFey #Trilogy #Free for a limited time

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Review Rating:

5 stars! Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

The Reviled is a young adult fantasy novel by Cynthia A. Morgan and the first book of the Dark Fey series. There are worlds of light and darkness coexisting alongside one another in this lavish fantasy world, and the story initially focuses on the world of the Light Loving Fey. This domain of fairy kind contains both Ayla and Mardan. Ayla is a guardian whose mission is to soothe the pain of others with her incredible powers, whilst Mardan leads a somewhat solitary life as a Celebrant. As the pair grow closer, however, Ayla senses a darkness growing among The Reviled, creeping in the shadows of her world. Unsure of how much to share with Mardan, Ayla worries for the fate of Jyndari as the darkness approaches.

For fantasy and fey fans, The Reviled has absolutely everything you could want in an epic fantasy adventure. Our two central characters are superbly well developed and engaging to read about, but Cynthia A. Morgan’s expansion of the world around them is what really captivated me. Jyndari is an exotic world with deep detailing and a delicate balance between dark and light. The emotional spectrum of Ayla’s journey is rich and harrowing, taking us into the deepest corners of her incredible mind as she senses the dark fey lurking at every turn. The mystery of what he wants from her is well spun out to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. Overall, I’d highly recommend The Reviled to fans of young adult fantasy and fey stories.

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Youth Sports — Love With A Capital L

The subtitle for this post is “An Argument for the Abolition of Competitive Youth Sports,” because I can’t think of any reason for this dinosaur to continue to exist, infecting generation after generation. [Full disclosure; I grew up playing baseball, from the time I was 8 through college, now my children play, and I’ve coached […]

via Youth Sports — Love With A Capital L

One of my very good friends recently opened a blog here on WordPress and wrote this Inspiring post.  Please stop by and pay him a visit. Im sure you’ll love reading what he has to offer 🙂

When – #poetry of #love and #spirituality

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daylight

When ‘last the Light Escapes night drear,
Tis then Morn’ Stands upon the Mountain
And Jocund Day Waits, tiptoe, for Intent;
While Promise ‘pends upon the Balance.

forboding moon

When Yore consumes the Unsullied year
With rash and tainted Fervor,
‘Tis then foreboding haunts the darkness
And Muses Wait upon the Morrow.

Moodtide

When Twilight ‘parts with Fleeting shadow
And dark descends like the Immortal cowl,
Then my Soul Sighs Deep and Long
For the loss of all it once Held Dear.

~Morgan~
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Beautiful Images found on Pinterest.

The Glow – A #Holiday #Meditation of #Hope

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The Holidays are a splendid time of year, filled with cheer, giving, kindness and benevolence we might otherwise neglect to employ; yet, it is also a time of year when many look through the glitter and sparkle and see only shadows of what used to be. Memories can be a funny thing. Though they are of happy hours, they can make us sad; and although they are of joyful moments, they can bring us tears. This holiday season I find myself understanding these conundrums more than ever before as I look around my festively decorated home and find myself missing one who loved this season of the year more than any other. I sit quietly staring at the place she used to sit and long to hear her laughter ringing through the house once more.

Nevertheless, she and those whom you may miss, would Never want us to be sad and would not want one sparkling, shining moment of this Blessed Season to find diminishment, particularly in missing them. Are they not near in every glittering ornament on the tree and through ever gladsome song? Do they not smile through the glow, a sweet reflection of the radiance of where to they have gone that reaches out to touch our quiet hearts? Should we not remember that we are never truly alone when Love has touched our lives and remembers?

Now, you may have other beliefs and you may not entirely agree, but when Love smiles upon us, I believe we should pause to smile back. Perhaps if we did so more often, the darkness of this world would be a bit brighter. Perhaps it might glitter and sparkle like the lights of our countless holiday ornamentation shining out into the bleak winter night. Perhaps through our quiet smiles we might draw those lingering in the shadows into the light, if even for a moment, to bask in the glow and share a contented sigh.

Love is ever present. Not in some far removed, theological ideal, but in Us, should we choose to remember it and share it. A simple act of Kindness; a smile of consolation; an unasked-for generosity; or patience amid the chaos can share that Love in far more powerful ways that we ever may be able to imagine.

May The Glow of the Season Reach out to you through the darkness of these troubled times and fill your quiet world or rush and bustle with Peace and Joy!

Happy Christmas!

~Morgan~

Beloved – #Love #poetry

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Long I have Embraced you,

Solemn and Silent

In the Restless winds of Life

And

Through the Tranquility of night.

Long I have Considered you,

Entwined by my Embrace

As the north wind howls

And

The shifting hands of Time turn.

Long shall I Surround you

As day ever Turns to night,

While the Heavens spiral overhead

And

Shadows grow in the Glimmering Twilight.

Long

Oh Beloved One

And Longer still

Shall this Love Breathe

And

Remember.

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~Morgan ~

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Beautiful original photograph found on Pinterest. Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the original photographer. Thank you~

A Thankful Heart – #Thanksgiving #Blessing

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A Thankful Heart is Open to Blessings
because it is closed to worry, doubt, and wailing.

A Thankful Heart is Filled with Love
because it empties itself of loathing, greed, and envy.

A Thankful Heart is Overflowing with Peace
because it does not Share itself with lies, distrust, and negativity.

A Thankful Heart Touches Others with its Blessings and Love
because it is Ever in the Presence of Love and Blessing.

A Thankful Heart Speaks in Kindness, Patience and Empowerment
because it does not Speak of hate, intolerance or to incapacitate.

A Thankful Heart Chooses its Path Each Day with Diligence and Joy
because it does not Concentrate on what it cannot do.

A Thankful Heart Walks in Hope, Love, Peace and Joy
because it Knows nothing else.

A Thankful Heart Shares its Purpose
because it is Incapable of Withholding All that Pours from its Abundant Profusion.

Embark upon Each New Day with a Thankful Heart
and You will Find Endless Blessings for which to be Thankful.

You are a Blessing for which I am very thankful.   Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  ❣

~Morgan~
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Beautiful Image found at: plattform.com

The Conversation of Transformation – #MeditativeThinking & #Spirituality

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Speak in tones that are Hushed and Still,
In Quiet Transition and Lingering Blaze,
While the Quickening Breeze lends a corporeal Thrill,
The Luster of Autumn’ Sweet Golden days.

Cherry-cheeked apples fill cask and crate,
While pumpkins Smile a toothless Grin,
Crimson and Russet Dance in Unified State,
While Garden Spiders Laboriously Spin.

These Restful Days all too Fleeting Pass,
As November Strides in with hoarfrosts Waiting,
Shifting life’s waters as a looking glass
Finding Reflection, Perfection Creating.

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In the glorious shimmers and russet tones of Autumn, we revel in warm colours and sweet scents; tempting our pallets with tantalizing spices as the lush splendour of summer transforms into the stillness of winter. Colours fade like the hours of daylight diminishing; Shadows lengthen in the clustering dimness, and as the frolicking jubilee of summer settles into the quiet repose of winter I find myself considering how very much like Life are these transitions.

Autumn brings the shifting season of life into sharp detail for me, much like the colours of Fall. The gentle transformation from taxing summer to seductive autumn encourages me to reflect and allow Change the opportunity to whisper of new and different possibilities. A season of transformation, Autumn reminds me that internal alterations are often as necessary and Life-Renewing as external ones. It suggests that how I relate to the world, as well as to myself through Mind, Spirit, and Body, can be as ever-changing as the seasons.

As simply and as beautifully as leaves transforming from glorious green to radiant umber and glittering gold, that which makes us reflective and opens our minds to possibility speaks to each of us. It’s a conversation, not a lecture. A chorus meant to be shared. A rhyme intended to be enjoyed. So in this magnificent season of transformation, when colours are converting and all of nature prepares for renewal, perhaps we should pause as well, breathe deep, and open our thoughts to the conversation waiting all around us.

We might be surprised by what we hear!

~Morgan~

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Beautiful Original Artwork: Autumn Farm by Paul Landry

#Halloween #FlashFiction – Grave Choice

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Cemetary_stock_7_by_Tigg_stock

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Weariness overcame me. Darkness spiraled up from the pit of my stomach, engulfing me, pulling me under, surrounding me. I struggled against it, trying to breath in the suffocating murk, but, like a hypnotic spell, I could not resist the tugging blackness encroaching on my thoughts. Sleep leapt upon me, like a tigress with claws bared, sinking them into my flesh, penetrating deeply, inescapable.

Quiet. Blackness. Sinking. Strange sensations scathed over me. Heaviness. Lightness. Breaking through. Crashing in. Calm tranquility mixed with ethereal panic that left me searching the dimness frantically, but for what I did not know. Light? Breath? Heartbeat?

All was silent. All was Dim.

Fear crashed in on me; a thousand boulders tumbling on my body from out of the dingy night sticking to me, pounding over me without mercy and without ceasing, yet I did not fall. There was no pain, only fear devouring me in the darkness. Echoes of thought whispered from the ebon vastness around me; voices once so bright, filled with life, now empty, hollow, soundless.

What happened to the life that was inside me? Where did my vibrancy go? Try as I might, I could not draw a single breath and the sensation of existing without it was terrifying. Brackish water sloshed around my feet, pouring in from the edges of the darkness, splashing upwards in a slow, inescapable progression; yet my feet felt nailed to the place where I stood. Unable to run, I searched the emptiness around me, horrified to watch the slogging water sucking upward around me, encasing me in icy coldness.

Where was the Light? Wasn’t there a Tunnel of Light? What happened to all the preaching and teaching and reaching from Heaven? Shadows began to move in the deep darkness, slinking towards me in a haze that filled me with dread. Sounds like ravenous animals gnawing bones began to filter through to me. Screeches and cackles more horrendous in sound than any tale from the crypt I had ever heard. Insidious laughter mocked my struggles as I fought to escape the unrelenting icy embalmment closing around me.

Then all went silent as a single voice spoke from the darkness staining itself crimson over my head. I listened, aghast at the familiarity of the tone and inflection. It was my own voice. It was me, speaking out of the past to haunt my own soul and as I listened, bitter tears slipped down my pallid cheeks, falling into the freezing water encircling my chest, my neck, sloshing upward over my chin, my nose, consuming me.

“I have everything I could ever want or need. I’ve got more money than I know what to do with, more influence than I know how to use, and more friends than I can count. ……………
What do I need God for?”

~Morgan~

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Stirring Image by: ariagne-stock at deviantart.com

The Avenue- #poetry of #spirituality and #lore

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The Avenue into After

Lies hushed and ever Still

Waiting in the heretofore

Beyond the mortal thrill,

Lingering in misty mires

Of yesterdays Unknowns,

Hollow shades of what if

Tumbling by Unshown.

The Avenue to Beyond

Whispers Softly of the time

When Beyond and Ever After

Walked hand in hand

With Rhyme.

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~Morgan ~

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Beautiful original photograph found on Pinterest. Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the original photographer. Thank you ~

Memory – #poetry

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Memory speaking

Without a word

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~Morgan ~

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Beautiful original photograph found on Pinterest. Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the original photographer. Thank you ~

Delicate and Lush – #poetry of #Harmony

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The still soft Hush

Whispers Delicate and Lush

Of All once Treasured

Now scarce Remembered,

Singing Sweet and long

A Transcendent Song

Of Silence ringing,

Tranquility bringing

The still soft Hush

Whispering Delicate

And Lush

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~Morgan ~

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Beautiful original photograph found on Pinterest. Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the original photographer. Thank you ~

Singular- #poetry of #positivity

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Singular Beauty

Individually Glorious

Distinctive Splendor

Uniquely Magnificent

Solitary Exquisiteness

Oneness of Wonder

As each leaf is Resplendent

In it’s own Luster

So to

Shine You.

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~Morgan ~

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Beautiful original photograph found on Pinterest. Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the original photographer. Thank you ~