Monday, December 31, 2012

Fellow Travellers ~ Thomas R. Kelly

"Have you had the experience of being carried and upheld and supported? I do not mean the sense that God is upholding you, alone. It is the sense that some people you know are lifting you, and offering you, and upholding you in your inner life. And do you carry some small group of acquaintances toward whom you feel a peculiar nearness, people who rest upon your hearts not as obligations but as fellow-travelers? Through the day you quietly hold them high before God in inward prayer, giving them to Him, vicariously offering your life and strength to become their life and strength."

Thomas R. Kelly

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Artwork Mary Fedden

Friday, December 28, 2012

Insolent Power ~ William Charles Braithwaite

'Evils which have struck their roots deep in the fabric of human society are often accepted, even by the best minds, as part of the providential ordering of life. They lurk unsuspected in the system of things until men of keen vision and heroic heart drag them into the light, or until their insolent power visibly threatens human welfare.'

William Charles Braithwaite, 1919

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Simple Gifts ~ Joseph Brackett

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,


'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.


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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twins in Soul ~ William Penn

"Friends are true twins in soul; they sympathize in every thing, and have the love and aversion. One is not happy without the other, nor can either of them be miserable alone. As if they could change bodies, they take their turns in pain as well as in pleasure; relieving one another in their most adverse conditions.What one enjoys, the other cannot want. Like the primitive Christians, they have all things in common, and no property but in one another."

 ~ William Penn

Artwork by Donald Uhlin 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Countless Pairs of Eyes ~ George Amoss Jr.

"A few days ago, I looked into the clear, steady eyes of a dear friend and received the sweet, silent assurance of love. I realized then, yet again, that it is love that sustains me, that enables me to go on from day to day in the face of the ravages of time, that redeems my time and my pain. Since that day, my heart has been heavy with the realization that there are countless pairs of eyes in this world that seek, that long for that sweet, silent word, that divine Logos of love, and do not receive it--not because they are wilfully blind, but because someone like me, who has been blessed with a glimpse of the redeeming power and beauty of love, has chosen--out of fear or for whatever reason--to hide behind a wall of what George Fox referred to as "thoughts, searching, seeking, desires, and imaginations." So I pray this morning that I be given the courage to fling my arms wide and join the Lord in the dance of crucifixion, learning in that dance the joy of suffering love, the joy that breaks down all barriers and opens my eyes to answer the love--that of God--in every one."

George Amoss Jr.

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Artwork by John Craxton

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do my Forgiving ~ Mariellen O. Gilpin

"Sometimes forgiveness comes in an instant, an act of grace, as in the healing of my relationship with my father. Sometimes it comes in less deep-rooted relationships first, as in the challenges to my support group friends, because sometimes we have to grow stronger, wiser and more loving in other relationships first. Sometimes forgiveness must be a process, a progressive letting-go over time. But I need to forgive because it heals me physically as well as spiritually. I need always to challenge in the presence of God because of the resulting sense of compassion and wider vision. I need to remember the importance of humility, and the importance of not waiting for the other to change to do my forgiving. Always, I need to remember that the work of forgiveness is something God calls me to do."

Mariellen O. Gilpin

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Great Respect~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

"Consider beforehand if what you are about to say is worth saying. Practice saying much with few words. Never present a tale as true unless you know for certain that it is so; it is better to say nothing at all than to say something that may turn out to be false or otherwise of no value. For once it becomes known that you are not conscientious to always speak only the truth, no one will believe you even when you do speak the truth. If, however, you have great respect for the truth your every word will carry more weight than those spoken under oath by a liar."

~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

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Artwork from Peter Nevins

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Am Involved in Mankind ~ John Donne

"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

-  John Donne

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Artwork by Thomas Hart Benton

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Eye Sees~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

"Everyone most certainly needs instruction at times. The eye sees all and seeks the improvement of all, but it cannot see itself to aid its own improvement. Thus it is with us -- we are so prejudiced in our own favour that we cannot see our own mistakes and shortcomings as easily as those of others. Therefore, it is very necessary that we have their help, since they can see our needs much more clearly than we ourselves can."

~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

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That Perfect Silence ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Let us labor for an inward stillness--
An inward stillness and an inward healing.
That perfect silence where the lips and heart
Are still, and we no longer entertain
Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,
But God alone speaks to us and we wait
In singleness of heart that we may know
His will, and in the silence of our spirits,
That we may do His will and do that only”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Picture Friends Meetinghouse Oxford, UK

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deeply Rooted in the Earth ~ Thomas Moore

"But there is a spirituality that is more like a lowly emanation from the most humble and earthbound things; that of a particular house, a garden, a neighbourhood  a grove of trees, a pristine beach, a holy well, a field of wheat.  Here spirituality is indistinguishable from enchantment, for in an enchanted world the things of nature and even of culture reek of holiness.  Enchantment is nothing more than spirituality deeply rooted in the earth."

-   Thomas Moore

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Artwork Joseph Vorst

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lived Down ~ William George Jordan

"Let us seek to cultivate this simplicity in all things in our life. The first step toward simplicity is ” simplifying.” The beginning of mental or moral progress or reform is always renunciation or sacrifice. It is rejection, surrender or destruction of separate phases of habit or life that have kept us from higher things. Reform your diet and you simplify it; make your speech truer and higher and you simplify it; reform your morals and you begin to cut off your immorals. The secret of all true greatness is simplicity. Make simplicity the keynote of your life and you will be great, no matter though your life be humble and your influence seem but little. Simple habits, simple manners, simple needs, simple words, simple faiths,—all are the pure manifestations of a mind and heart of simplicity.

Simplicity is never to be associated with weakness and ignorance. It means reducing tons of ore to nuggets of gold. It means the light of fullest knowledge; it means that the individual has seen the folly and the nothingness of those things that make up the sum of the life of others. He has lived down what others are blindly seeking to live up to. Simplicity is. . .the secret of any specific greatness in the life of the individual."

~ William George Jordan

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Artwork by Diana Ashdown

Nothing in Anger ~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

"Do nothing in anger but consider well before you act, lest you be sorry later and will acquire a name of evil repute. In time your anger will cool and you will be able to decide wisely what has to be done. Make a difference between one who has wronged you against his will through lack of forethought, and one who has deliberately and maliciously done so. Be gracious to the former and let your reactions toward the latter be tempered with righteousness."

~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

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Friday, December 7, 2012

More Peace~ Monica

"I make peaceful living a priority. That means I limit artificial noise whenever possible, noise made by non-organic things. We'd rather hear the duckling laugh, the rain on the roof, and the dog bark rather than electronic beeps. I'm always on the look out to clear clutter, which is nothing more than visual chaos. We like fresh air and a relaxed lifestyle. All too often, these things elude me and circumstances takes over. Even the quaintest landscape looks most peaceful before the tornado funnel arrives.

One way I've put more peace into my life lately is by throwing away my to-do list. This doesn't mean I chuck all my responsibilities out the door (who could get away with that?) but if I'm going to make peaceful living a priority, then I need to save my sanity and revamp my goals. Instead of a to-do wish list, I've started doing what I call "one big thing." Every day when I get up I ask myself what is the most important "big thing" that has to be done today. It could be laundry. It could be seeing a friend. It could be a much needed trip to the store, or a home project that needs attention. Barring sickness, emergencies, or locust plagues, I can usually get the one big thing done. Anything else I can do on top of that is icing on the cake, and it feels so good. Most of the time it's surprising how many other things I am able to get done besides the big thing, but there is no pressure to do them. I feel more productive and less stressed than when I held myself to a list of demands which often made me feel like a failure when I couldn't complete all of them in a single day. "
- Monica

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Artwork by Hakob Hakobian

Tenderness Toward All Creatures ~ John Woolman

"Where the love of God is verily perfected and the true spirit of government watchfully attended to, a tenderness toward all creatures made subject to us will be experienced, and a care felt in us that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation which the great Creator intends for them."

"Be careful that the love of gain draw us not into any business which may weaken our love of our Heavenly Father, or bring unnecessary trouble to any of His creatures."

John Woolman

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Artwork ~ "The Peaceable Kingdom" by Quaker artist Fritz Eichenberg,

The illustration suggested by Friend Michelle Everett Wilbert

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fleeting, Unredeemable Time ~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

" Never go to sleep without considering how you have spent the day just past, what you accomplished for good or evil, and you will readily perceive whether you are using your time -- fleeting, unredeemable time -- in a constructive manner or not."

~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

We Receive Everything ~ Henri-Frédéric Amiel

"We receive everything, both life and happiness; but the manner in which we receive, this is what is still ours. Let us then receive trustfully without shame or anxiety. Let us humbly accept from God even our own nature, and treat it charitably, firmly, intelligently. Not that we are called upon to accept the evil and disease in us, but let us accept ourselves in spite of the evil and the disease."

Henri-Frédéric Amiel

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Artwork from Quaker artist Kenneth Rowntree

"Let your life be modest~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

"Let your life be modest and reserved, your manner courteous, your admonitions friendly, your forgiveness willing, your promises true, your speech wise, and share gladly the bounties you receive."

~ Amish Rules of a Godly Life

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Tired and Irritable ~ Robert E. Reuman

"Whether working as individuals or institutions, we need to learn to be patient with what we can achieve, and to take limited satisfaction in limited progress. We are all humans: we make mistakes, we grow tired and irritable, we cannot love as widely or as wisely as we feel we ought to. Having tried to improve our situation, and without giving up that effort, we must learn to forgive others and ourselves in comparable degrees."

~ Robert E. Reuman

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Artwork from Lill Tschudi

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Tide of Human Life ~ Mildred Tonge

"When we belittle our own experience, we refuse to take the responsibility of our gifts. Writers and artists, like children, know the sacredness, the immediacy of their own experience. Faith means believing in the divine purpose behind our own childhood and adulthood. Faith means claiming the value of our own experience as part of the meaning of the universe.

Our own spiritual journey, our own quest, our own search for soul or identity, our own link with God—by comparison with Dante’s or Giotto’s, we may feel ours trivial or clumsy. But when we attempt to express ourselves with pencil, typewriter, or brush, we share not only in the creativity of our own time but of all time. We perform the human act of organizing something from chaos. We share the divine act of creation. We become part of, not isolated from it."

~ Mildred Tonge

Artwork by Edward Ardizzone

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