1200. Every day, you get the opportunity to change your life. ~Rodolfo Costa

You are an instrument of God.
Don’t leave the instrument
sitting in its case my son. Play!
Leave no part of your instrument unexplored.
~Abraham Verghese

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I don’t normally share this “bragging” kind of information, but it’s the recognition of a goal I’d set for myself. And in achieving it, it has silenced old naysaying ghosts and proved that even an old, gray-haired lady without any particularly impressive credentials or talents can fulfill, in some way, long held hankerings. As an educator and a parent, I always encouraged my students and my daughter to explore avenues that led to dreams or desires they held. To that end, James and I afforded for our daughter, ballet lessons, karate lessons, violin lessons, swimming lessons–in general anything she came home and said she’d like to try. As it turned out her skills as a swimmer earned her 5 full collegiate scholarships. Then there were the graduate degrees she attained. Though these things are no longer her little niches in the grand scheme of things, they’ve served her well, helped develop her character and values, and left her with no “what if” regrets. For me it was different, unless my dreams served a “practical” purpose, I was denied the pursuit of them. For example, I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a dancer, I wanted to be a singer but of course all such things were not at all “practical” and certainly no one could make a living doing them according to my parents. Then when it came time for college (something that no one on either side of my family had had the privilege and opportunity to attend), mom decided that it would be great if I became a teacher even though I  didn’t want to be one. But since my father had just passed away leaving her to finish raising their 3 teenage daughters on her own and she had quashed all my other longings, what else could I do but be the dutiful daughter a girl of that era had no other choice but to be. But then came the day when the dutiful daughter retired after 31 years of teaching and chose to find ways to address those long held hungers. Now although she may not be an artist, she can take pretty darned good photos. Although she’s not a dancer, she and her hubby can scoot their boots pretty darned well around a dance floor. Although she’s not an published author, she can knock out some fair-to-middling prose now and again. And so today after starting my blog with NO followers 3 years ago, WP notified me that I hit 1000 followers. It may seem a small number to some of you, but my little previously unanswered “what if” regrets are singing Hallelujah choruses because at long last I’m playing my instrument in an attempt to serve God whose instrument I am.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. ~Exodus 9:16 ✝

1067. And far and wide, in a scarlet tide, the poppy’s bonfire spread. ~Bayard Taylor

Flowers could be described as bursts
of color, pattern, and infinite grace
all governed by sacred geometry.
They are perfectly woven into the fabric of
existence to brighten up our world.
~Cherie Rae Dirksen

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To see the flower,
to really see it
takes time: knowing
what to praise
and for how long. Suppose
the poppy’s a scarlet
ibis afloat on a bed
of leaves, cardinals
in flight, a tanager calling
its mate. The artist
enlivened this flower
so you could know it.
Yet here you stand
befuddled by a poppy:
recognizable, small
delicate as a robin.
Relax. Try not to stare
so hard. It knows
you’re here admiring
its birdlike petals.
Opalescent, the red
poppy shines from within
dark, oval center
clipped from a swath
of velvet cloth.
You can feel the wings
sway: five of them
on a huge scale
gathering sun.
Not one of us
can ignore their
willful beauty.
~Georgia O’Keeffe

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Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things? A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance. ~Ecclesiastes 8:1  ✝

**Some images via Pinterest; others from my archives; collage by Natalie

***Georgia O’Keeffe was regarded as one of the most significant and intriguing artists of the twentieth century. She was known internationally for her boldly innovative art, being best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers such as this red poppy.

823. Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. ~Claude Monet

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

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Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet
and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale
‘til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Monet’s ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene over and over again in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of seasons. And as he had unwavering confidence in himself as an artist, he would do whatever it took to advance his career including purchasing a boat at the age of thirty-three which with his knowledge of boats he rendered into a studio boat, an act significant both on a personal and a practical level. At Giverny Monet’s lily ponds would become the subjects of his best-known works. It was in 1899 that he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings that were to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life.

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So be very careful to love the Lord your God. ~Joshua 23:11  ✝

**I found the above information about Monet on the Internet; the first collage I created included my photos of poppies at Giverny along with a photo of Monet’s famous “poppies” painting. In the second collage I included a photo of one of Monet’s paintings of his Japanese bridge and lily pond along with some photos I took of such. Then for the final collage I used a photo of a signed painting of his studio boat and an assortment of flowers I found at Giverny along with a part of two rooms in his house and signs pointing the way to Giverny.

820. Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

  All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,
Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

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Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames–
These must all be fairy names!

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Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

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Fair are grown-up people’s trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him. ~Auguste Rodin

Ah to be an artist and to be able to have conversations with the flowers, but then I talk to mine all the time, offering up praise for their beauty. Admittedly they tend to be one-sided conversations, but nodding the head demurely is an acceptable way of accepting words of admiration, is it not?! So too, when I hear the Lord speak, I bow my head in the same way the flowers do, and I pray He also sees it as an act of devoted adoration.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. ~1 Chronicles 29:11  ✝

**I took the photo of the pink Hollyhock when we visited Monet’s gardens at Giverny, France. The other two images I found on Pinterest.

748. Red is passion-lit, orange is flowerageous, yellow is suntastic, pink is lipsensual, green is lifebursting, blue is skyful, purple is berrydancing, gray is cloudrainy. ~Terri Guillemets

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Beauty is the adjustment of all parts
proportionately so that one cannot add
or subtract or change without
impairing 
the harmony of the whole.
~Leon B. Alberti

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To conquer a piece of earth and make it as beautiful
as one can dream of it being: That is art, too.
A man cannot be separated from the earth.
I come out of the garden every day feeling,
oh, inspired in a way that one needs
in order to convert the daily-ness of the life
into something greater than that little life itself.
~Stanley Kunitz

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Nothing is more the child
of art than a garden.
~Sir Walter Scott

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But who can paint
like Nature?
Can imagination boast,
amid its gay creation,
hues like hers?
~James Thomson

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Nature is painting for us,
day after day,
pictures of infinite beauty.
~James Russell Lowell

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If you ask me what I came
to do in this world,
I, an artist, will answer you:
I am here to live out loud.
~Emile Zola

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My garden is the canvas
upon which nature paints,
and in it I daily toil.
With my camera in hand
at other times,
I let live 
Yahweh’s art
out loud!
~Natalie Scarberry

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are al the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8   ✝

**I took all these photos of flowers blooming in my yard.

722. I think the names of colors are at the edge, between where language fails and where it’s at its most powerful. ~A.S. Byatt

My skin is kind of, sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
But I’m told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it’s silver when it’s wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet.
~Shel Silverstein

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A German artist named Hans Hoffman noted that “the whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.” And I’m so glad it is a realm drenched in color into which we are born and that we are blessed with eyes that can distinguish the millions of hues therein. Initially, one might think in terms of the basics like: grey, red, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, purple and pink. But then what about dark and light shades of all those colors that take us into the realm of shades like hunter green, cherry red, hot pink, cobalt blue, lemon yellow and so on. Even a rainbow is a continuum of hues as one color overlaps the neighboring color, is it not?

Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father, David…He made the curtain of blue, purple, and crimson yarn and fine linen, with cherubim worked into it. ~2 Chronicles 3:1 and 3:14   ✝

581. It’s like nature (in autumn) is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary. ~Siobhan Vivian

The autumn of the year is an artist,
a mural artist who enchants the landscape
with 
touches of tangerine and magenta, crimson and gold.
And we, we who witness and relish fall’s splendor
are invited to tell its story or to dance or to sing
with the same kind gusto as the dazzle of its drama.
~Natalie Scarberry

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Magenta! The mystery of marvelous, magical magenta! But why, why would a color as gorgeous as it be a mystery? Well, magenta doesn’t have a wavelength, and it’s never seen in a rainbow. Yet the rainbow is supposed to be the full spectrum of color, and wavelengths of reflected light determine what color the eye sees. So the answer lies in color mixing. But wait, colors cannot be mixed in physics! And therein lies the mystery of magenta. It has to do, not with photons and physics, but instead with the physiology of the way the eye works. Even though the human eye is sensitive to color, it is only through red cones, blue cones, and green cones in the retina, none of which mixed, result in magenta. However, as it turns out, the brain can be tricked into color mixing or even into inventing or making up a color. And so magenta results from the perceived absence of green in the color spectrum leaving only red and blue, and blue light mixed with red light creates magenta. That’s why my photo of the ornamental grass yesterday and the one today tell me that the Lord, genius and maker of all this is, is a Master Artist as enamored as anyone, including “moi,” with mixing and matching colors and creating what some call “eye candy.”

I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh praise the greatness of our God. ~Deuteronomy 32:3    ✝