1352. If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. ~Robert Brault

Nor would He have created blue skies, nor sandy beaches nor stars above, nor beautiful flowers, nor falling snow, and on and on the list of clues goes. God wants to speak to us through all that He has made. All of Creation gives pointers into Yahweh’s mystery because it is part of His grand plan that we draw near Him for in so doing we discover our divinely-inspired and eternal connection to Abba, our Loving Father.

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The most beautiful thing
we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good
as dead: his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

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Einstein is right; it’s impossible for science to explain everything and in the pause of wonder, rapt in awe, we come to appreciate the endless and vast wonders of what God’s mind imagined, what His words spoke, and what His hands created. Thus in being brought close to the heart and mind of God, one’s sense of childlike astonishment returns the I nexpressible joy and utter excitement of life. And it helps us to know on a more conscious level that there’s more to life than what we can understand and explain. That’s why I like to think of the unfathomable mysteries around us as sacred benedictions, blessing at the close of earth’s daily holy orders that encourage us to stay in the Lord’s keeping and to continue looking for more revelations of the Holy One’s nature and intent for our lives.

Who…is like You, LORD? Who is like You—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? ~Excerpted passage from Exodus 15:11  ✝

**These images were taken in the springtime, but that chair and others like it are always in close proximity to my door, and I sit in them on most everyday of the year even if it’s for just a short while.

1186. People who judge others say more about who they are than those they judge. ~Donald L. Hicks

I hate to go mincing through life, afraid to take
a single long step for fear somebody is watching.
I want to “wave my wild tail and walk by my wild lone.
~Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of,
among other things, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

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validation, noun • the recognition or affirmation of the validity or worth of (a person or their feelings or opinions); causing (a person) to feel valued or worthwhile

Ya know, there are some words and/or expressions that just irritate the heck out of me. As an educator I hated it when my daughter or any other child for that matter was labeled as an over achiever because she and they excelled academically and/or in sports or music or art or whatever. Why do people do that? We should celebrate the success of anyone who is working hard and attempting to reach their full God-given potential. I don’t like the expression under-achiever either. Or geek. Or retard. Or freak. Or any other of those thoughtless labels that make a person feel stupid or like an outsider. I taught way too long not to know that we are all unique, not only in who we are but also in how we think and how fast we acquire knowledge. And next who in the sam hill gives any one else on the planet the right to validate others. Who are they to decide if our feelings or opinions are worthwhile? Did I miss something in school? Is there some elected or appointed group who’s allowed to make such decisions about the rest of us? I don’t think so! But then perhaps I, too, was too busy being an “over achiever” and so missed the election of such enlightened individuals. Wrong again! We are, all of us, children of the Creator of all that is, and God Almighty is the ONLY voice we should and must listen to about such things. Scripture says we are all given spiritual gifts and that there is a purpose in them. And though the Lord forgives us of our failures and shortcomings if we ask with a contrite heart, I think He still fully intends for us to give the gift of life He has granted us our best effort! So instead of all this name calling and judging and criticizing, people need to be encouragers and validators of a person’s inherent worth and abilities. In fact, that is something which the Lord charges each and every one of us to do. Lastly I don’t fit in a “box,” you don’t fit in a “box,” nobody fits in a “box” of man’s making! And before someone cleverly quips that men just need to create bigger boxes then, unless they are able to create the DNA of a me and a you and endow us with our gifts, they can’t  even begin to create boxes big enough to do that!

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. ~Romans 12:6-9  ✝

1007. “The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.” ~Excerpt from the The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
~Excerpt from a hymn
by John H. Hopkins, Jr. (1857)

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The Journey Of The Magi

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again…”
~Excerpt from a poem by T.S. Eliot

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. ~Matthew 2:9-11  ✝

**White horse image found on Pinterest

897. A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy. ~Luis Barragan

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. ~Albert Einstein

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By Einstein’s definition above, I’m not dead yet, for my eyes still open and I frequently stand wrapped in awe when I find amazing things like what you see in these photos. What caught my eye at first was the marker identifying the vine as a Dutchman’s Pipe whose flowers, it said, have an interesting and specialized pollination mechanism. Intrigued by that I read on to find that because they are quite aromatic, their strong scent attracts insects, and that the inner part of their perianth tube (or pipe stem) is covered with hairs that act as a fly trap. Once caught these hairs wither to release the fly who has been covered with pollen. That in and of itself was more than enough to wow me. But now after also having seen the strangely beautiful and mysterious flower and its seed pods, I can, with complete confidence, attest to the fact that my emotions are not yet strangers either. Once again the Lord’s amazing creativity and imagination have stopped me in my tracks and taken my breath away. Chronic pain may have long been my lot in life to bear, but I can do nothing less than continually praise the Lord and express my gratitude for unlike me there are so many people in the world who have little to nothing but misery, grief, suffering, and grievous iniquities dumped over and over again upon their plates. Such is why tears so often flood these eyes that yet allow me to see and emotions erupt that yet allow me to feel.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? ~Job 11:7  ✝

**Sadly with the recent debacle on computer that I shared with my readers, I’ve discovered that some of my photos are missing or in a black hole somewhere. So I had to use these that I found on Pinterest.

876. Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art. ~Ambrose Bierce

  Sometimes I do get to places just when
God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.
~Ansel Adams

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For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

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For the wonder of each hour,
Of the day and of the night;
Hill and vale and tree and flow’r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

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For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight;
For the mystic harmony,
Linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.
~Folliot S. Pierpont

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. ~Excerpt from Psalm 40:3  ✝

824. My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. I must have flowers, always and always. ~Claude Monet

The finale:
Every day I discover more and more beautiful things.
It’s enough to drive one mad.
I have such a desire to do everything,
my head is bursting with it.
~Claude Monet
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A man, his house, his gardens, his art, his passion, his life, his loves, his sorrows–all are kept alive in a place called Giverny. Claude Monet lived for 43 years in his house at Giverny, and with a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived and created his flower gardens and water gardens which in and of themselves are true works of art visited by 500,000 people each year. And without a doubt as one marvels at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration, one can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionism.
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Monet did not like organized or constrained gardens. Instead he married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow freely, and grow freely they have ever since. But always looking for mists and transparencies, Monet eventually dedicated himself less to the flowers than to reflections in water, which was a kind of inverted world transfigured by the element of liquidity.
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As I said in an earlier post, it was over a 100 degrees fahrenheit the day we visited to Giverny, and since so little time was allotted for the tour we ended up having to find our way back to the bus-hot, tired, and hungry. But the biggest problem as it turned out was there were no signs pointing us to the distant lot where we had gotten off the bus. So we, like other lost souls, wandered for what seemed like forever in the unrelenting heat in a place where NO shade was to be found anywhere. At one point I leaned against a wooden post and told James I was about to fall down on the ground and perish from heat exhaustion. But I did add that it was okay because he could just bury me right there amidst all that beauty and I would die a happy woman.
**My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and gather lilies. ~Song of Songs 6:2  ✝
**My source for the information I included above was several articles I found on the Internet, and I found a few of the photos I used on Pinterest and the Internet.

729. 
Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message. ~Malcolm Muggeridge

Is there a green too green
Is there a wet too wet
In a land that has
suffered long, a drought.

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Is there a heaven too high
Is there a ground too low
In a world that has
suffered much, for a Savior

Is there a Father too loving
Is there a God too merciful
In a heart that has
suffered long, afflictions

Shake not your fists at the heavens
Shake not your fists at the world
Seek instead the One
who came to make a way for all
through the wilderness
through the darkness
through the confusion
through the suffering
~Natalie Scarberry

The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed in gladness. ~Psalms 65:12   ✝