265. Of the six million species on the planet, only man makes language. Words. What’s more — in evidence of the Divine — we string symbols together and then write them down, where they take on a life of their own and breathe outside of us. ~Charles Martin

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I write because there is nothing larger in life than
To be read, maybe even reread by another–
To be examined and then verified of being
Understood, or trusted like a saint–
I don’t imagine being immortalized
Or stacked in a library for hands with a million
Oppositions to wander through for
Poetic justice either–

Perhaps purpose is purchased or earned or even
Inherited by some mystic right–
But it is my reasoning I hearken to,
All that I am resonates with inscribing, putting down
My Self on the papyrus of today,
Like a manuscript never quite decrypt but
Interesting to the soul’s eye
For perpetual encounter.
~Deborah Jeanne Avila

All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord for they have heard the words of your mouth.  Psalm 138:4  ✝

264. Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. ~Erich Fromm

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Sometimes we write love in small letters-
Spreading the butter on his toast or
Wiping down the kitchen counter dabbed with
Peanut butter and jelly…

Love is often dangling on a clothesline
And snatching a peek at a sleeping face;
It is the giving up and giving in
To another’s want with joy…

Blowing, kissing and holding tight is
Love’s voice upon a sore finger, a wrinkled
Cheek, a weary shoulder than saunters at
Days end hopelessly…

Minutes are just as vital in love’s scaling
Upward climb to perfection, the afternoons
Picking strawberries and the morning
Prayer that’s an alloy…

Write love, in capital or small, it doesn’t matter–
Pen it with every touch; add it to tuna casseroles
And let it water down every heartache at
Your midnight soliloquies

But compose it…
Jot it down
and engrave it without restraint!
Dirty your hands in it
and clean a soul with
It…
Like the only work you’ve employed.
~Deborah Jeanne Avila

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love,  I am a noisy gong or clanging symbol.   And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing…  ~1 Corinthians 13  ✝

263. Don’t grieve for me now. I am free. ~Author Unknown

This post is in loving memory of Debbie Jeanne Avila , a friend and fellow blogger.  Tonight I’ve chosen bits and pieces of some of Debbie’s poetry to honor her, and because she loved my photos of flowers, I’m including one with each excerpt.  Sweet Debbie you will not be forgotten, and I am comforted that for you to be absent here, means that you are now and forever in the presence of Jesus.  Till we meet again.  Love, Natalie

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I had forgotten what LIFE was all about,
Those dark chocolate nights dipped in indubitable doubts,
Wonderful wonderings if this was all there is,
And if it was, then, we had bitten envied bliss.

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as sad as a morning glory that has never met
her glory I am damp with seeds that have never met
the portent wise sunlight–
damp with grinding dreams at my hoof and
damper after they sodden cold with dawn’s
twilight–
nothing reverts or inverts, if all formulates into
winter’s beginning and continuance

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Help me with my un-perceived progress
I stand still, everything around me sweeping
Like a Kansas tornado.
So many
voices within, held down and pressed,
It scares me to hear such a composing
Of songs I alone know

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September vivifies the introspections of soul like
The glaciating mountains in silence-
Ruminating, finding their niches so to sleep and then
Shake at springs kissing–
It embers gently, suspiciously as if someone would
Snuff it out too soon–

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Miscreant as it may some times be with the unexpected
Heat and elongated sun-kissed troubling–
Days are slightly shorter for most living breathing ways,
As I turn down the lights,
Pick up Keats and Dickinson, Rumi and rosehips
For morning simmering decadence. (http://girlwiththepen1118.wordpress.com)

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“Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  ~1 Corinthians 15:55  ✝

262. If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. ~Robert Brault

You, O God, are the beginning of all that is.
From your life the fire of the rising sun streams forth.
You are the life-flow of creation’s rivers,
the sap of blood in our veins, earth’s fecundity,
the fruiting of trees, creatures’ birthing,
the conception of new thought, desire’s origin.
~J. Philip Newell

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Creation has been described as “the grand volume of God’s utterance,” and isn’t it grand to know that we are a part of that utterance.  When we seek God then we should not look “away from ourselves and away from creation, but deep within all that has life” including ourselves.  We can and should search for Him in Scripture, but God is found in more than religious moments and environments.  Simply put, He speaks to us through two books: Creation and the Bible.  Because He exists in all contexts, His light is woven throughout the whole of Creation’s fabric.  Whether recognized and acknowledged or not, nothing has life apart from God, and if we want to look for Him, we need to start in places where He yet dwells.  I start in my garden because, like all gardens, it is a microcosm of the grander macrocosm of Creation itself, and even in a small piece of Eden is the whole of the mystery of God.  In it I see the same ebbing and flowing and rhythms that I see in my life and Creation at large, and I know that I’m as connected to its Source as the infant in a mother’s womb is connected to its life-giving source.  One of my friends told me once that when she was in college she would sometimes go lie down in a wheat field and look up at the sky because she knew to go out into Creation was to find Yahweh.  She had learned as have I that wherever and whenever we look and listen, we shall find Him, and I pray this is a week where your encounters with the Holy One are many.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.  ~Psalm 63:2    ✝

**In the photograph is some French Lavender that I found blooming in my greenhouse today.  Even it speaks of the blue of our planet and the heavens.

261. Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. ~C. S. Lewis

Every gardener knows
that under the cloak of winter
lies a miracle–a seed waiting to sprout,
a bulb opening to the light,
a bud straining to unfurl.
And the anticipation nurtures our dream.
~Barbara Winkler

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Miracles!  Where would any of us be without the existence of miracles?  Bad things happen on planet earth, but miraculous things occur on a daily basis too.  And many times out of the dust and devastation of catastrophic disasters arise changes for the betterment of life and living conditions as well as the inevitable uplifting examples of an amazing goodness that exist in the human soul.  I garden not just because of a love for flowers but more importantly because I find day to day evidence of the mystery and miracles of God and His goodness in the garden’s confines.  Spending even the smallest amount of time in my garden brings repeated awarenesses of the Lord’s abiding presence, and that keeps me focused on Him and not on my own smallness or limitations.  In spite of Creation’s brokenness and my own heart’s sufferings, I am guided to wellsprings of life and hope amid earth’s unmistakable hallowed workings.  Both contentment and enlightenment can be found in the orbs of the heavens, in the green of the earth, in the flowing of its waters, in the warmth of the sun, and in the wind, that like Yahweh, can be felt but not seen.  That in turn teaches me how to respond to life and its sometimes terrifying circumstances with a spirit of peace and love instead of anger, confusion, and frustration.  Understanding is not promised unto us, but peace that transcends understanding is granted to those who seek the Prince of Peace and search for the true heart of life.

The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.  ~Psalm 50:1   ✝

260. The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer. ~Vita Sackville-West

January is the quietest month in the garden.
. . .But just because is looks quiet
doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall
while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder
into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants.
The feasting earthworms tunnel along,
aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome
the seeds and bare roots to come.
~Rosalie Muller Wright

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I’ve heard it said that “the color of springtime is in the flowers” whereas “the color of winter is in the imagination.”  Thankfully I’ve got a good imagination, and when that fails, I have a large collection of photos to look back on because by the end of January my spirit is in dire need of a boost.  A place I like to frequent also helps to keep my imagination alive and well.  It’s a nursery, and this particular Dallas nursery not only has a great selection of flowers during the growing seasons, but year round it has all sorts of indoor plants too.  In addition  to the plants it has an oak cabinet with drawers full of fascinating seeds, racks of seed packets, shelves filled with gardening books, and an array of tools.  So between the plant and seed catalogs that start arriving in the mail after Christmas and my visits to Nicholson-Hardie’s nursery, the “dream” is kept alive even when the under-the-surface busy but ravaged-atop January garden appears to be completely shut down.  And it is this “stuff” of which gardener’s dreams are made that keeps my imagination churning and my head full of schemes, schemes that are the spice of a gardener’s life.  What a blessing is our memory, our imagination, and our ability to dream; God is so good.

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.  ~Psalm 69:30  ✝

The hidden things you do not know

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Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Jeremiah 33:3

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(a pair of Cardinals/ Julie Cook / 2014)

The still small voice of God

Would we not assume it to be LOUD, LARGE, BIGGER THAN LIFE, ATTENTION GRABBING?
Yet experience teaches that God does not operate as we do or as we would–which is truly our blessing.

We might think a big name Ad agency should be hired. High tech, glitzy commercials, billboards, neon lights. . . run a spot during the Super Bowl—yeah that’s it, the Super Bowl. Use George Clooney or Heidi Klum as a spokesperson.
Offer some sort of give away—a new iPad, a new camera, a new car. A five nights, all expenses paid, trip to Disney–yeah that’s it, Disney.

Maybe we should Google the reviews to that Still Small Voice.
How many…

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