1182. Wherever fear is, happiness is not. ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Fear is the main source of superstition,
and one of the main sources of cruelty.
To conquer is the beginning of wisdom.
~Bertrand Russell

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When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins
from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes like the measle-pox
when death comes like an iceberg
between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity,
wondering: what is it going to be like,
that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower,
as common as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage,
and something precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder if
I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing
and frightened, or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up
simply having visited this world.
~Mary Oliver

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10  ✝

**There are 365 days in the year, and the Bible, as in the passage above, tells us not to be afraid 365 times. Coincidence? I think not. It’s a message the Lord wants to be rooted in our hearts every single day of our lives.

844. A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time. ~Anne Taylor Fleming

We’re going to the chapel,
and we’re gonna get married…
Oh, but we already did that, didn’t we?!
The year was 1963, it was August 17th,
and Henry Mancini was singing our song.
~James and Natalie

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The days of wine and roses
laugh and run away like a child at play

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through the meadow land toward a closing door,
a door marked “Nevermore,” that wasn’t there before.

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The lonely night discloses,
just a passing breeze filled with memories

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of a golden smile that introduced me to
the days of wine and roses and you.
~Lyrics by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer

As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. ~Isaiah 62:5   ✝

**First 3 wedding images via Pinterest, bottom image at our reception

491. Every vine climbing and blossoming tells of love and joy. ~Robert G. Ingersoll

That is faith, cleaving to Christ,
twining around Him
with all the tendrils of our heart,
as the vine does round its support.
~Alexander Maclaren

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Like all else in Creation, vines remind me of the nearness of God perhaps because they reflect the way He wraps His arms around His children and keeps them close to Himself. In that way we go together like a hat and glove as they say for we are to the Lord as the branch is to the vine, as sheep are to the shepherd, as the flower is to the stem, as the bride is to her groom, as the bird is to air, as the fish is to water, as the star is to the sky, as the sun is to the moon, as the plant is to the seed, as the grass is to the dew, and as the babe is to its mother. Simply put, we are inextricably linked to Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth, and it is from our loving Source that we gather strength and energy. His supporting and sustaining provisions draw us into His holy web of life and subsequently move us closer and closer to the Light. In the Gospel of John are the “I am” sayings of Jesus which give us wonderful descriptions of the way Christ connects with us:

“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the light of the world.”
“I am the gate for the sheep.”
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”
“I am the resurrection, and the life.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I am the true vine.”

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Return to us, O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. ~Psalm 80:14-15   ✝

**Three images above Scripture via Pinterest

267. God waits to win back His own flowers as gifts from man’s hands. ~Rabindranath Tagore

Flowers don’t worry about how they are going to bloom.
They just open up and turn toward the light
and that makes them beautiful.
~Jim Carrey

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Small children pick flowers for their mamas, men bring flowers to women they love, flowers are thrown on a stage after a stellar performance, a bride carries flowers down the aisle at her wedding, returning warriors were once showered with flower petals, a coffin may be surrounded by flowers at a funeral, and on and on go the roles that flowers play in our lives.  We adore them and deem them worthy tokens of admiration, love, respect, and honor.

I’ve tended the soil and planted flowers for my own enjoyment and because I feel close to God in my garden, but until I read what Tagore said, I’d never thought about it as being a way to give gifts to God.  I’ve known that how we live and what we do with our lives is to be an offering to the Lord and done for His glory, and now the thought of presenting Him with my posies as gifts adds an even greater level of joy to my labors in the garden.  Although the time has not yet come for a miraculous flower like the one in the photo to bloom, I offer up this one from last year’s bounty as a thank offering to the Holy One for the coming of another spring and for His continual presence in my life and for all the ways He blesses me.  I chose this Star Magnolia because it lights up whatever darkness surrounds it in the same way the stars light the heavens and Jesus lights the darkness around us.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  ~Colossians 3:15  ✝

**Over the past 10 years, a plethora of research has shown that flowers increase the levels of positive energy and moods, reduce the likelihood of stress-related depression, and help people feel secure, relaxed, optimistic, and happy.