1393. Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness, and radiate light into the world. ~Author Unknown

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Do you remember the last time you squealed with joy about something? Or do you at least remember seeing a young child squeal with delight? How about an almost 75 year old? Well it’s true; I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact I’m elated that just months away from my 75th birthday, there are things in this world that still can make me squeal with joy and amazement. I’ve long admired photographs of lotus flowers and knew a little of their history, but it never dawned on me that I would actually ever find one here in Texas. And yet just last week as my husband and I made our periodic run through our local Botanic Gardens that to my amazement I spotted from the car what I thought were the pods of a Lotus plant. And so camera in hand, I screeched for him to stop and jumped out of the car to go take a closer look. Not only were there the remaining pods of previous lotus blooms, but I actually spotted a bud. That’s when I squealed because it was almost like standing in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time, so much so that I half expected to see Adam and Eve eventually stroll by. So for days I went back to photograph the bud as it slowly opened. At long last it appeared that it would fully open last Wednesday, the day my sister and I had chosen for our weekly quilting get-to-together. But rather than cancel at the last minute I went on to her house since we both look forward to our quilting days and time spent together. Sadly it did fully bloom that day and by the following day when I went back most of the petals had already begun to fall away. But I had seen enough to remain fully thrilled and enthralled by the experience. And I know that where there once was one there will soon enough be more. The opening photo is a collage of lotus photos I found on Pinterest, but below as I reveal some of the fascinating information about the Lotus Flower here are the photos I took last week. They are not the best photos, but it was very hot so I was shooting fast, and I couldn’t get very close to them.

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The Lotus Flower is one of the earliest and most spiritually meaningful symbols in our world ever. It spans various thousand-year-old Eastern cultures and to this day holds enormous symbolic weight.

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So what is it about this mysterious blossom that people find so enrapturing? Its colorful bloom is an obvious suspect, but the lotus also has a life cycle unlike any other.

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Late in the evening the petals close and withdraw beneath the surface, then at daybreak, the flower again lifts up to the sky and unfolds its majestic crown. With its roots based in mud, it submerges every night into murky river water, and—undeterred by its dirty environment—it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals.

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Although cultures have their own interpretations of this daily process, there is a general consensus among ancient texts that the lotus symbolizes spiritual enlightenment and rebirth.

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The lotus stunned people with its ability to dip into the grime and revive itself unscathed—an incredible daily cycle of life, death, and a sudden immaculate rebirth that can only be described as spiritual. But the flower also has a fascinating will to live. A lotus seed can withstand thousands of years without water, able to germinate over two centuries later.

“O Lord, by these things men live, And in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health and let me live! ~Isaiah 38:16  ✝

1318. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples… ~John Muir

The oaks and pines and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set,
so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that they may well wonder what
“the story of the trees” would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it,
or if we had ears fine enough to understand.
-Author Unknown

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When one thinks about earth’s courts in such a way, he/she realizes that trees, like us, stand on hallowed ground, and so it’s not surprising that throughout the ages trees have been given deep and sacred meanings. By observing the growth and death of trees, the flexible nature of their branches, the annual reoccurrence of their foliage, humanity has seen trees as powerful symbols of growth, decay, and resurrection. Trees and their way of providing shade and shelter are adored by both wildlife and humanity alike, and the views afforded from their lofty heights are to be envied. Trees are more than simply the largest elements of the landscape or garden; over time they become like venerated companions that unfailingly stand by us throughout the seasons and storms of life. Given their size and the fact that they prevent soil erosion, provide weather-sheltered ecosystems in and under their leaves, play a vital role in the production of oxygen and the reduction of carbon dioxide, moderate ground temperatures, and produce orchard fruits, trees speak to us of the largesse and power of God.

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Soon and in a blaze of glory the trees bearing the leaves in my photos will be stripped of their foliage, but though barren and seemingly no more than a silent sentry where they stands, somewhere in their core their music will play on. Muir’s idea that the fibers of the tree’s being thrills “like harp strings” at all times is true and answers Walt Whitman’s inquiry, “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?” The music of life plays on in all of Creation, and like God’s presence it is never absent from us. We may not always hear the music but the melodies are there. We may be absent from the Lord, but He is never absent from us. He can be found in the lights of the sky, the colors of earth, the warmth of the sun, in waters that flow, in the wind that can be felt but not seen, and in the boughs of mighty trees. In his Celtic Psalter J. Philip Newell uses the image of trees as a revelation of God’s presence, “Like light dappling through the leaves of a tree and wind stirring its branches, like birdsong sounding from the heights of an orchard and the scent of blossom after rainfall, so you dapple and sound in the human soul, so you stir into motion all that lives.” When our ears and eyes weren’t “fine enough to understand,” God sent us His son. As we follow the star to the manger in celebration of Christ’s birth in a few weeks, may the music in all that God has made be heard, acknowledged, and honored.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. -Luke 11:10  ✝

O come, O come Emmanuel!

890. The music of summer yet flutters in the middle of the day around Autumn seeking its former nest. ~Edited and adapted excerpt by Rabindranath Tagore

Early mornings are cool now though autumn is still young.
Dew on the lotus scatters pure perfume;
Wind on the bamboos gives off a gentle tinkling.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by Po Chu (772-864)

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The harvest moon hung round and high
It dodged clouds high in the sky,
The stars winked down their love and mirth
The Autumn season was giving birth.
Oh, it must be October…
~Pearl N. Sorrels

I will dance
The dance of day’s dawning
And scattering fragrances

I will dance
The dance of day’s closing
And twinkling stars

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝

**Lotus image via Pinterest

687. Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God. ~Ronald Reagan

Help us to be ever faithful
gardeners of the spirit,
who know that without darkness
nothing comes to birth,
and without light nothing flowers.
~May Sarton

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In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
~Excerpted lines by Lao Tzu

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. ~2 Samuel 22:29   ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

578. Wisdom sails with wind and time. ~John Florio

There’s a whisper in the wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
and a voice is calling, calling…
let us go.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from a poem by Robert William Service

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The Sabbath dawned in gray attire and blowing gusty winds that sent scores of fallen leaves scampering across the lawn or swirling in checkered little eddies. Then down, down, down the grayness lowered until at last it began to shed its rainy tears, tears not wept in sadness but in joy. The birds who’d been darting back and forth to and from the feeders and the sheltering bamboo were gone, and now except for the rain, the yard was still and silent. However, empty it was not for in the midst of it all moved the ruach, a mere breath, the holy breath of Yahweh, the Ancient of Days. This wind, this holy breath was whispering that it was He who had used the phrase Ruach Yahweh in His promise that the redeeming Messiah would be empowered by the Holy Spirit; so come let us prepare to behold and adore this Messiah, this Savior, this Christ, this Immanuel, the Lord of all Creation.

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). ~Matthew 1:23   ✝

** Edited image via Pinterest with added Scriptural text by Natalie

553. As autumn passes one remembers one’s reverence. ~Yoko Ono Lennon

Jack Frost
~By C.E. Pike



Look out! Look out!
Jack Frost is about!
He’s after our fingers and toes;
And all through the night,
The gay little sprite
Is working where nobody knows.

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He’ll climb each tree,
So nimble is he,
His silvery powder he’ll shake.
To windows he’ll creep
And while we’re asleep
Such wonderful pictures he’ll make.

Across the grass
He’ll merrily pass,
And change all its greenness to white.
Then home he will go
And laugh ho, ho ho!
What fun I have had in the night.

Frost performed “its secret ministry” as sleep held us close in the night, and when I awoke it lay twinkling like stardust atop things in the garden and on the lawn. Then as dawn’s early light kissed our few colorful autumn leaves, it turned them into glowing golden nuggets or the color of crystalized, reddish ripe persimmons or the usual, splendid oranges of advancing autumn. And as some of the leaves tumbled to the ground, winds blew them into little swirling eddies that played like happy children upon the lawn and in the street. O Autumn, your magic does indeed bring a sense of spectacular glory even as Spring and Summer’s progeny perish.

There is a playful side of nature, and there is a playful side in us which tells me that the Lord too knows something of playfulness since we are made in His image. Anyone who has seen or heard how breezes play in rustling leaves, how raindrops splatter and play on rooftops, how squirrels chase each other round and round a tree trunk has witnessed God’s sense of playfulness.

“Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?” ~Job 38:28-30   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

527. If you want to be reminded of the love of the Lord, just watch the sunrise! Jeannette Walls

How sweet the morning air is!
See how that one little cloud floats
like a pink feather
from some gigantic flamingo.
~Arthur Conan Doyle

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Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn

The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to color.
~John O’Donohue

In Him(Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:4-5   ✝

**Image via Pinterest