383. Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

Pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find.
~William Wordsworth

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My Aunt Johnnie worked for a shoe company, and so my sisters and I nearly always got shoes from her on our birthdays and at Christmas. But because a shoe box is so recognizable, and she, like me, hated being predictable, she put things other than shoes in the shoe boxes and the shoes in more unlikely boxes. As a result we had no idea what her gifts were until the day came to untie the ribbons and open them up. However, as Aunt Johnnie was a good and generous woman of means, we knew, even before we opened them, that we’d love and be grateful for whatever the gifts were.

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Scripture tells us that “this is the day the Lord has made” and then implores us to “rejoice and be glad in it.” Since each day is a gift from God and since He is a good and generous Father with unlimited means, we can rest assured that there is inherent goodness in all our days. But it is only with a grateful heart that in “untying the ribbon” and opening up the gift we’ll find the miraculous not only on the outstanding days but also in the common ones and those filled with trials.

Thought to ponder for the day: “I have nothing to give that was not a gift to me.”

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him. Matthew 7:11 ✝

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!

** Images via Pinterest

382. It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet. ~Kojiro Tomita.

I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order
to make something grow; to interact with nature;
to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honor the earth, to leave a mark.
Through gardening, we feel whole as we make
our personal work of art upon our land.
~Julie Moir Messervy

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Blessings For Artists At The Start Of The Day by John O’Donohue

May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.

May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings, and fixed fortress corners, a morning
When you become a pure vessel for what wants to ascend from silence.

May your imagination know the grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation, and the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all the unfinished and unsolved.
Until the veil of the unknown yields and something original
Begins to stir toward your senses and grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth in a clean line of form, that claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard, that calls space to a different shape.

May it be its own force field and dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light to surprise the hungry eye…

Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence. ~Psalm 21:6   ✝

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!

381. Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Painting is poetry
that is seen rather than felt,
and poetry is painting
that is felt rather than seen.
~Leonardo da Vinci

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COLORS OF MY BRUSH

Blue for the eyes that loved my calm sky,
green for the soft grass we slept on,
white for the lilies we picked,
yellow for small daises,
purple for sunsets,
red for wild lips,
pink for skin,
rose for
you.
~by Andrew Crisci

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is created. And no matter whether it be by painting, sculpture, architecture, music, writing (poetry, prose, drama), performing arts (theater or dance), film making, photography, or printmaking, the maker of whatever inspired the creative endeavor, has felt, experienced, and/or seen things so moving that the urge to give life to artistic expressions has erupted in his/her very soul. Why?  Because inherent in each of our souls is Yahweh’s creative abilities since we are made in His creating image.

Art is a collaboration
between God and the artist,
and the less the artist does
the better.
~André Gide

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ~Genesis 2:7  ✝

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!

** Image via Pinterest.

380. Flowers are the alphabet of angels, whereby they write on the hills and fields mysterious truths. ~Benjamin Franklin

Yet, the great ocean hath no tone of power mightier
to reach the soul, in thought’s hushed hour,
than yours, ye Lilies! chosen thus and graced!
~Mrs. Felicia D. Hemans

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Lilies, beautiful lilies, I adore them! And I feel sure they’ve written “mysterious truths” on many a hill and field since they’ve been cultivated for thousands and thousands of years. Lilies were the holy flower of the ancient Assyrians, and there’s an ancient legend that says the lily sprang up from the tears Eve shed as she left the Garden of Eden. It has also been written that the lily-of-the-valley grew up from the tears shed by Mary over the death of her son, Jesus, the Messiah. The word lily in French is lis and the fleur-de-lis may be a stylized representation of a lily. However there’s been much controversy and debate about whether the stylized flower is a lily or a wild yellow iris instead. Despite the disputes, at some point in the Middle Ages, the fleur-de-lis did in fact become a religious symbol associated with the lily. That may have stemmed from words in the Song of Solomon and other passages of scripture or literary works since Christ has often been depicted amid stylized lilies.

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My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear. ~Anne Lamott

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My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. ~Song of Songs 6:2 ✝

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!

379. And the stately lilies stand, fair in the silvery light, like saintly vestals, pale in prayer; their pure breath sanctifies the air, as their fragrance fills the night. ~Julia C. R. Dorr

God’s the lily of the valley
Praise Him from all fields to cope
Where all angels meet to rally
Insuring us with lasting hope.
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Mae Stein

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I have been thinking
about living
like the lilies
that blow in the fields.

They rise and fall
in the edge of the wind,
and have no shelter
from the tongues of the cattle,

and have no closets or cupboards,
and have no legs.
Still I would like to be
as wonderful

as the old idea.
But if I were a lily
I think I would wait all day
for the green face

of the hummingbird
to touch me.
What I mean is,
could I forget myself

even in those feathery fields?
~Excerpted lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, Lilies

My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. ~Song of Songs 2:16 ✝

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!

378. The miracles of nature do not seem miracles because they are so common. If no one had ever seen a flower, even a dandelion would be the most startling event in the world. ~Author Unknown

It gives one a sudden start
in going down a barren, stony street
to see upon a narrow strip of grass,
just within the iron fence, the radiant dandelion,
shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun.
~Henry Ward Beecher

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The First Dandelion

Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, has ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook o shelter’d grass–
Innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful face.
~Walt Whitman

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A dandelion gone to seed, photographed with a macro lens. Photo by: Kristhian Castro (Cali, Colombia)

You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. ~Psalm 77:14 ✝

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!

377. Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man. ~Vladimir Nabokov

Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable,
butterflies lead to the sunny side of life.
And everyone deserves a little sunshine.
~Jeffrey Glassberg

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A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
and for a brief moment, its glory and beauty
belong to our world.
But then it flies again,
And though we wish it could have stayed…
We feel lucky to have seen it at all.
~Author Unknown

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” ~Hans Christian Anderson

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. ~1 Chronicles 16:29 ✝

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!