327. I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. ~Wendell Berry

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Not undelightful, friend, our rustic ease
To grateful hearts; for by especial hap,
Deep nested in the hill’s enormous lap,
With its own ring of walls and grove of trees,
Sits, in deep shelter, our small cottage – nor
Far-off is seen, rose carpeted and hung
With clematis, the quarry whence she sprung,
O mater pulchra filia pulchrior,
(What a beautiful mother and beautiful daughter,)
Whither in early spring, unharnessed folk,
We join the pairing swallows, glad to stay
Where, loosened in the hills, remote, unseen,
From its tall trees, it breathes a slender smoke
To heaven, and in the noon of sultry day
Stands, coolly buried, to the neck in green.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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“I (Jesus) am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be more fruitful.” ~John 15:1-2 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!  You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

**Photos are of blossoms on my new Clematis vine…

“Crown Him with many crowns”

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Remember the sufferings of Christ, the storms that were weathered… the crown that came from those sufferings which gave new radiance to the faith… All saints give testimony to the truth that without real effort, no one ever wins the crown.
Thomas Becket

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(a blooming dogwood / Julie Cook / 2014)

Dogwoods blooming turn skyward,
tinged by the rust of nails.
A thousand tiny crowns lifting to the Heavens
While the echoes of sorrow linger in the wind

Three hours, three days, three cackles of the cock
The lamb is lead to slaughter
A noose tightens as a sponge offers up bitter gall
Life and death begin a precarious slow dance
As every soul hangs in the balance between loss and hope

Arms extend upward bearing fingers stiff with pain as a head falls forward
Blood and water flow into one when the spear pierces the innocent
Assent and decent…

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