379. And the stately lilies stand, fair in the silvery light, like saintly vestals, pale in prayer; their pure breath sanctifies the air, as their fragrance fills the night. ~Julia C. R. Dorr

God’s the lily of the valley
Praise Him from all fields to cope
Where all angels meet to rally
Insuring us with lasting hope.
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Mae Stein


I have been thinking
about living
like the lilies
that blow in the fields.

They rise and fall
in the edge of the wind,
and have no shelter
from the tongues of the cattle,

and have no closets or cupboards,
and have no legs.
Still I would like to be
as wonderful

as the old idea.
But if I were a lily
I think I would wait all day
for the green face

of the hummingbird
to touch me.
What I mean is,
could I forget myself

even in those feathery fields?
~Excerpted lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, Lilies

My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. ~Song of Songs 2:16 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

268. “The true meaning of America, you ask? It’s in a Texas rodeo, in the sound of laughing children, in a …” ~Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, actor, songwriter, and horse breeder

I wanted to be like my father,
who was a cattle man and rodeo roper.
And that was – he was my hero,
and I wanted to be more like him.
~Dave Brubeck, American jazz pianist and composer


Shortly after the beginning of the year, a sign starts flashing “this thing is legendary,” and huge trucks loaded with equipment roll onto the grounds of Will Rogers Coliseum.  But before the livestock comes, before the vendors come, before the riders come, before the spectators come, the carnival trucks are unloaded and construction of the Stock Show midway begins. Soon afterwards the Ferris Wheel and other rides rise high above the surrounding fences, the midway opens, and the “oldest continual running livestock show and rodeo” becomes a daily part of everyday life here in Fort Worth once again.  And each year when I see the Ferris Wheel on the stock show grounds, I’m transported back to my childhood in Long Beach, California, and that stretch of beach with the amusement park about a mile down from our house.  Even though I was forbidden to go there alone, the call of the midway fun and the cotton candy was just too strong to resist.  So from time to time between the ages of 10 and 12 I’d steal away to Rainbow Pier with a few dimes in my pocket and secretly partake of the Pike’s allurements.  I must have picked my days well and not tarried any longer than I should because my disobedient treks to the Pike faded into obscurity undetected.

Our move to Texas when I was 13 not only brought an end to my life in southern California but also to my childhood.  Its halcyon days, however, continue to be my “precious, kingly possessions” and a treasure house of cherished memories.  And I hold fast still to the pleasures and memories of that portion of my life which was filled with a constancy of joy that has never since been equalled.  But then perhaps, it is not the constancy of joy that changed, just the earnestness of the seeker to look for it because according to Scripture we have a promise from God that joy comes in the morning, every morning.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouts of joy.  ~Job 8:21  ✝

250. Stay, little cheerful Robin! stay, and at my easement sing… ~William Wordsworth


The robin’s song at daybreak
Is a clarion call to me.
Get up and get out in the garden.
For the morning hours flee.


I cannot resist the summons,
What earnest gardener could?
For the golden hours of morning
Get into the gardener’s blood.


The magic spell is upon me,
I’m glad that I did not wait;
For life’s at its best in the morning,
As you pass through the garden gate.
~Howard Dolf

In the first photo, a Pinterest posting, is a European robin who according to my English garden bloggers is already singing in their gardens.  The one in the second photo is our American robin who has yet to come, but when he does, we’ll know that spring can’t be too far away.  For he, the stuff of a Messianic legend and spring’s cheery harbinger, will, as the poem says, sing loudly of its coming and our need to get up and out in the garden.  Given my willingness to heed a garden’s summons at any point in time, the robin’s task won’t be too hard to accomplish.  Would that I were as willing to listen to Christ’s calling.  The last photograph I also found on Pinterest.  Although I’ve heard and seen robins feeding their young in my yard, I’ve not yet been able to get a good photograph of the event.

For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.  I(God) know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine. ~Psalm 50:10-11  ✝

**See post 46 to read the legend of the robin.