Valentine’s Best Secret in a Riddle

What can be divided endlessly and still not diminish?

That secret is not so hard to guess, but there’s another secret that Valentine’s Day will keep forever: how it began.

Some say that Valentine’s Day began with two saints in the early Christian church, both named Valentine, both said to have been martyred on February 14. One was a priest who secretly married couples after the Roman Emperor Claudius commanded that young men not marry (because single men were supposedly better soldiers). Another was a Christian jailed for not worshiping Roman gods. Children loved him so much that they tossed notes through his barred window. Since the Old French word galantine, meaning gallant or lover, sounded like Valentine, some say that people equated one or both of the St. Valentines with galantine and began to celebrate lovers on that day.

Other people say that Chaucer began the Valentine tradition when he wrote that birds started pairing off on February 14. (At that time, the calendar was different from the one we have now; their 14th was our 24th, which is closer to spring in the Northern Hemisphere.) So the day was celebrated as a time when couples got together.

It seems that Valentine’s Day will keep its beginnings a secret. But love’s best secret?

 

“Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish.”

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh –

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week :

Shadow of the Week:

 

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Text and photos © 2018 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

A Heart in Bloom

 

“The blossoms of earth wither and fade

the blossoms of the heart, what a joy!”

Rumi

Happy February!

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

 

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Text and photos © 2018 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The Secret to Personal Peace in a Chaotic World

 

“[W]hatever is true, whatever is noble,

whatever is right, excellent or praiseworthy –

think about such things. . .

And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8, The Bible

 

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

 

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Text and photos © 2018 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Among the Frosts

 

“There is a rumor of total welcome among the frosts of the winter morning.”

– Mary Oliver, Upstream

 

Winter welcomes,

beckons,

invites us to

pause

on the brittle brink of the year,

witness

the shimmer of the season,

listen

for undertones of time passing

on icy tiptoe,

breathe

the crisp air.

Drink all of it.

Deeply.

Deeply grateful.

– kh

 

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week – a visitor at my heated birdbath:

Shadow of the Week – spied at church:

 

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Text and photos © 2018 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

As Deep as Eternity

 

Sleet began falling yesterday morning as the temperatures outside dropped into the teens. By afternoon, the sleet had turned to snow, and this morning I woke to a silent world, blanketed in white. It’s now midday, but everyone seems to be staying indoors, and the quiet continues. At the end of a busy, noisy week, this interlude of stillness and peace is welcome.

“Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.”

Thomas Carlyle

 

“Let silence take you to the core of life.”

Rumi

 

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week – the view from my desk:

Shadow of the Week:

 

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Text and photos © 2018 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

 

Dance of the Heart

 

“He that lives in hope dances without music.”

George Herbert

 

With or without music, may your hopeful heart dance through this year.

And may your dance become an invitation for the world to hope and dance with you.

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week – heartwood (the central, older, darker, most durable part of the tree):

Shadow of the Week:

 

 

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Text and photos © 2018 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Here, Now, This Present Moment

 

Leafless branches arch,

angle, interweave to frame

cloud veils spun of ice.

– kh –

 

This is what I see at this moment from the window at my desk:

The tick of the clock on my bedroom shelf. The rush of a jet fading as it travels the icy winter sky. The quiet shiver and sway of vines in the chill breeze. This is my present moment as I write this last post of 2017.

Once again, time carries us toward the speed bump between one year and the next. That speed bump is always a marker of sorts, a chance to glance into the rearview mirror at the year falling quickly behind us before the new year carries us full speed ahead. Thanks for joining me this past year as I posted what I saw, what I read, and what I found inspiring, always with an eye, an ear, a heart open to peace.

That’s where peace starts, you know – in this present moment, here and now, in my eye and yours. In my ear and yours. In my heart and yours. As much as we’d like to wave a wand over the entire world and make the jumbled and jagged pieces smooth out and fall into place, peace has to start with each of us being peace and kindness for family and friends and co-workers and everyone we meet.

May 2018 be a year of peace so powerful that it spreads from each of us into the whole world.

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm into the new year.

Nature of the week – the insides of acorn tops:

Shadow of the Week – from holiday decorations:

 

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Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Snow Puddles

 

“Crossing a bare common,

in snow puddles, at twilight,

under a clouded sky . . .

I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson 

 

Whatever the weather in your part of the world, may you enjoy a perfect exhilaration this weekend. Happy Holidays to all!

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

 

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For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here.

 

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The Wind, the Moon, and You and Me

 

I have two poems for you today, the first a nursery rhyme:

 

The moon’s the North Wind’s cooky.

He bites it, day by day,

Until there’s but a rim of scraps

That crumble all away.

The South Wind is a baker.

He kneads clouds in his den.

And bakes a crisp new moon that – greedy

North – Wind – eats – again!

Vachel Lindsay

 

“[L]ike the moon,

you will sometimes be a crescent

and sometimes full.”

Rumi

Whether you’re at the crescent stage or the full moon stage or somewhere in between, may you reflect the beauty of this season back into the world.

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

 

 

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For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here.

 

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

 

Mute Music

 

“[E]very withered stem

and stubble rimed with frost,

contribute something

to the mute music [of winter].”

– Emerson, “Nature” –

 

Pause for a moment this week to enjoy stems and stubble, to listen to the shushing sound they make in the wind – or if the day is still, to discover the season’s mute music.

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

 

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here.

 

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.