716. Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light. ~John Ruskin

The peonies bloom, white and pink.
And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl,
A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation,
For the flower is given to them as their home.
~Czeslaw Milosz

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This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly, 
and there it is again —
beauty, the brave, the exemplary, 
blazing open.
~Excerpt from Mary Oliver’s
peom about peonies

My mother and her sister, my Aunt Johnnie, had a knack with peonies.  Theirs always bloomed year after year, even when they moved them around the yard even though the experts say they need to be put in the ground and left alone.  I, on the other hand, have done exactly that and yet mine only seem to bloom when that have a mind too.  And I was thrilled to see that this was the year for two of them to actually have a few blooms.  But all the rains and storms we’ve had have taken a toll on their beautiful blooms, and so I was able to get only a few pictures as you can see in my collage above.  The lighter one has the most heavenly fragrance, and it’s such a delight to go out in the morning or the late afternoon and be greeted by its sweet aroma.  Sadly it suffered more from the rain and storms, and so I blurred the outer edges a bit to cover up some of its browning spots.

Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. ~Song of Songs 4:16 ✝

681. Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning sun can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem, or saying a prayer. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves. ~Edwin Way Teale

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Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! ~Peace Pilgrim

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Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice. ~Joseph B. Wirthlin

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Don’t stop yourself from enjoying the now because of an imagined tomorrow or a remembered yesterday. Take a look at how you’re stopping yourself from being happy. ~Marie T. Russell

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There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you. ~Deuteronomy 12:7   ✝

**All images via Pinterest

647. Awake! for morning in the bowl of night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight…fill the cup before life’s liquor in its cup be dry. ~Lines from The Rubayyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward Fitzgerald

Every morning is a fresh beginning.
Every day is the world made new.
Today is a new day.
Today is my world made new.
I have lived my life up to this moment,
to come to this day.
This moment–this day– is as good
as any moment in all eternity.
I shall make of this day–
a heaven on earth.
This is my day of opportunity.
~Dan Custer


Seize the morning, seize the moment, seize the day, and seize the blessings that come your way. Get rid of all hesitation, tell your loved ones how much you love them, express gratitude to the Lord above and let your spirit soar. Don’t let your history interfere with the clean slate of this new day. Be yourself, make the most of what you have, worry not about what you have not, and rejoice in the gift of life this day.


When I stand before thee at day’s end,
thou shalt see my scars and know
that I had my wounds and also my healing.
~Rabindranath Tagore

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24   ✝