1151. Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth. ~Stewart Udall

Life has loveliness to sell,
all beautiful and splendid things,
blue waves whitened on a cliff,
soaring fire that sways and sings,
and children’s faces looking up,
holding wonder like a cup.
~Sara Teasdale

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Wowed! When was the last time you were wowed, really, really wowed? I love being wowed! I’ve always loved being wowed! And for awhile after becoming a grown up, I spent some hard years when I wasn’t wowed by much of anything! I was frequently overwhelmed but not wowed! Then I started a garden and now seldom does a day go by that I’m not wowed by something. And I know I’m an easy mark because I adore flowers and birds and butterflies and bees and sunsets and rain and oceans and such. Nevertheless, easy mark or not, I still maintain that the Lord has made incredible things and that they are meant to wow us! So don’t just look at my flowers; notice the colors, look at the shapes, and the amazing details like the pistils and the anthers.

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Beauty is nature’s brag, and must be shown
in courts, 
at feasts, and high solemnities,
where most 
may wonder at the workmanship.
~John Milton

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He who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead;
his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

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The point is that when I see a sunset
or a waterfall or something,
for a split second it’s so great,
because for a little bit I’m out of my brain,
and it’s got nothing to do with me.
I’m not trying to figure it out,
you know what I mean?
And I wonder if I can somehow find
a way to maintain that mind stillness.
~Chris Evans

Only those who look with the eyes of children
can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.
~Eberhard Arnold

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He(God) performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9  ✝

**All images taken recently by me in my yard.

1023. Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish. ~John Jakes

We have to dare to be ourselves,
however frightening or strange
that self may prove to be.
~May Sarton

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Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before-”
(What? Before you reach the morning…)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
Now there is time and
Time is young.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by May Sarton

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood… ~Excerpt from Ephesians 4:25  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

910. Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it. ~Anne “Ninon” de L’Enclos.

There is a harmony in autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
which through the summer is not heard or seen,
as if it could not be, as if it had not been!
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

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I cannot endure to waste anything as precious
as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.
So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Have I told you lately that I love you?
Autumn you fill my heart with gladness,
Take away all my sadness,
Ease my troubles,
That’s what you do.
For the morning sun in all it’s glory
Meets the day with hope and comfort too.
You fill my life with splendor,
And somehow you make it better…
~Excerpted and adapted lyrics
by Van Morrison

The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. ~Psalm 50:1 ✝

**Images via Pinterest

870. A hug makes you feel good all day. ~Kathleen Keating

A hug delights and warms and charms;
that must be why God gave us arms.
~Author Unknown

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A hug is the perfect gift:
one size fits all, and
nobody minds if you exchange it.
~Irvin Ball

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Love is a circular emotion
that surrounds you, like a hug,
~Jarod Kintz

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One word can end a fight;
One hug can start a friendship;
One smile can being unity;
One person can change your entire life!
~Israelmore Ayivor

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Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. ~Proverbs 4:8  ✝

**images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie

549. The man who is happy is fulfilling the purpose of existence. ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If Heaven made him —
earth can find some use for him.
~Chinese Proverb

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I watched light split the darkness on this chilly November morn, and as the sun rose higher on the horizon, I saw it initially tickle the tops of trees. Then leaf by leaf by leaf it began to lower. In the topmost branches, the squirrels, benefactors of the sun’s first fruits, sat poised in readiness for the day. Below the birds, yet reluctant to lift off, and I were on stand by waiting for the light’s kiss to brush its warmth against us as well. While I sat before the unfolding drama, it occurred to me that such as this, these primal vignettes of earth’s awakening, had played out in the same prevailing silence and expectancy since the dawn of time. It’s as if the light, and only the light, adds the vibrancy and buoyancy of sound and tempo to the day–as if there is a purpose in dim, quiet beginnings, as if first there is a need to obey holy rhythms, a foremost call to offer thanksgiving, a wisdom in opening songs of praise. Verily what I witnessed was the pregnant pause between what was, what is, and what’s yet to be, and standing in those gaps waiting to be greeted was, as always, the Giver of light, of breath, of life. At last when the light touched the ground, birds gave voice to the day’s opus and the dance of life began again! Thus I knew it was time not only to rise but also to celebrate miracles and keep them from becoming ordinary, time to prevent the mundane from stealing joy and a sense of awe and wonder. For it is ordained that we, all of us, have been anointed, have been given skill sets, and somehow, in some way have a purpose to fulfill. And if we are to accomplish that, we must cherish the light, take it with us, open life’s doors, and live in amazement.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

355. Forget diamonds, wear a crown of daisies. ~Sandra O’Connell

… At my feet the white-petaled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece their–if you don’t mind
my saying so–their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in their roots. What do I know,
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain;
what the sun lights up willingly…
~Excerpt from “Daisies” by Mary Oliver

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He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me… It’s funny how some things, even those learned in early childhood, never fade from memory. I’ll bet most, if not all of you, remember pulling the petals off a daisy and reciting this ditty over and over again until the final petal gave up the supposed truth. Georgia O’Keefe, the American artist who painted those amazing, large-format pictures of enlarged blossoms, said of them, “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in a city rush around so they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” Why would she feel that way? I think it’s because there is just something in the “world of a flower” that exudes sanctitude and goodness, a revelation that sheds light into the mysteries of life. And its words seem to say over and over again, “I speak of a divine and devoted lover. I tell tales of a garden created in a faraway place, a long time ago. I describe a tragic fall therein from divine Grace. I relate attempts to redeem the lost children of subsequent generations. I narrate stories of a Savior who did His father’s bidding. I share the story of the Christ’s sacrifice and His magnanimous offer of redemption. I talk of holy men bound to spread the Messiah’s story who, as they moved from one monastery garden to another, spread species of my kind from place to place. I inspire men of rhymes to write poetry about me that speaks to human hearts. I sing hopeful, prophetic melodies of my faithful return year and year, millennia upon millennia. I whisper words from above of unending love into listening ears. Quite simply, if you look at me and hold me, cherish me and revere me, I will make known to you the Creator of heaven and earth, and you will forever bless His holy name for He is the One who answered once and for all your childhood query.

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. ~Psalm 52:8 ✝

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!

344. Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. ~Robert Frost

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I want to make poems that say right out, plainly,
what I mean, that don’t go looking for the
laces of elaboration, puffed sleeves. I want to
keep close and use often words like
heavy, heart, joy, soon, and to cherish
the question mark and her bold sister

the dash. I want to write with quiet hands. I
want to write while crossing the fields that are
fresh with daisies and everlasting and the
ordinary grass. I want to make poems while thinking of
the bread of heaven and the
cup of astonishment; let them be

songs in which nothing is neglected,
not a hope, not a promise. I want to make poems
that look into the earth and the heavens
and see the unseeable. I want them to honor
both the heart of faith, and the light of the world;
the gladness that says, without any words, everything.
~Mary Oliver

Sing the praises of the Lord, you His faithful people, praise His holy name. ~Psalm 30:4  ✝

Thank you, 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!