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

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.19.04 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.45.38 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.44.08 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.16.57 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.47.53 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.48.10 PM.png

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  ✝

1344. “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am,” (~John 8:58 ✝), a passage of Scripture which tells us that the Lord existed before His human life on earth.

The passages of Holy Writ below are seven other
“I am” statements made by our Lord.

Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 3.06.04 PM.png

“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” ~John 6:35  ✝

“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ~John 8:12  ✝

“I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” ~John 10:9  ✝

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” ~John 10:11  ✝

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” ~John 11:25  ✝

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” ~John 14:6  ✝

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” ~John 15:1  ✝

The great “I am” had:
no servants, yet they called him Master.
no degree, yet they called him Teacher.
no medicines, yet they called him Healer.
no army, yet kings feared Him.
won no military battles, yet He overcame the world
and conquered death.
committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
And though He was buried in a tomb,
yet He lives today. His name is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him 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 1:1-5  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; text box addd by Natalie

1095. Every moment of light and dark is a miracle. ~Walt Whitman

In order for the light to shine so brightly,
the darkness must be present.
~Francis Bacon

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 6.04.36 PM.png

Three days from now, we’ll officially leave winter, the season of darkness and death, and enter spring, the season of light and rebirth. So I decided to share some thoughts about light and darkness, and since today is St. Patrick’s day and John O’Donohue was an Irish poet, I chose the following lines because some of what O’Donohue describes herein resembles as well what happens to the earth at times.

Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.
In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.
That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.
That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.
When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.
That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.
When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.
When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.
When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.
As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.
And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The color and stillness
Of a found world.
~John O’Donohue

He (God) reveals the deep things of darkness and disorder, where even light is like darkness. ~Job 12:22  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1034. Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of mystery. ~Max Planck


Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. ~Hugh Macmillan

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 6.35.46 PM.png

When the ages of ice came
And sealed the Earth inside
An endless coma of cold,
The heart of the Earth held hope,
Storing fragments of memory,
Ready for the return of the sun.

Let us then salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed’s self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.

The humility of the Earth
That transfigures all
That has fallen
Of outlived growth.
~Edited excerpt from In Praise of Earth
by John O’Donohue


“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” ~Genesis 8:22  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

691. Unto the Cross came death, and unto death came the Cross. ~Anthony Liccione

Screen shot 2015-04-02 at 8.34.19 PM

Our Father. We have killed Him, and we will kill Him again, and our world will kill Him. And yet He is there. It is He who listens at the door. It is He who is coming. It is our Father who is about to be born through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~Frederick Buechner

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16 ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage created by Natalie

653. He (winter) withers all in silence, and his hand unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life. ~William Blake

Drops fell…and rang like
little disks of metal.
Ping! Ping! and there was not
a pinpoint of silence 
between them.
~Amy Lowell

DSC_0100

Mama, mama mía! Here we go again! Down, down, down plummet the temps! And this time newly birthed lives will be lost in the chicanery of this winter skirmish.

Screen shot 2015-02-22 at 8.16.18 PM

Why? Because here in north central Texas late January and early February often conjure up enough unseasonably warm days to convince the land that spring has sprung. And the dastardly scoundrels have done it again!

DSC_0132

These two deceiving culprits have successfully hoodwinked gardens and parks alike into believing it is time for blooming things to emerge from branch and soil. Now, after their two-faced, heartless lies, a harsh north wind doth blow.

DSC_0039

Moreover, freezing rain is falling and soon will switch to sleet and/or snow. In the frigid, darkness of night, the samaras of a Red Maple, the yellows of a smattering of daffodils and forsythia as well as the pinks and whites of some saucer magnolias will be washed out leaving only the browns of death and decay. Oh what a wicked, wicked, fickle web Mother Nature ofttimes weaves.

So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you. ~Proverbs 22:19   ✝

570. It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself. ~Charles Dickens

You’re never too old to be a child at Christmas.
Think back to your own childhood memories of Christmas –
not the gifts and the tinsel, but the joy and wonder
of a time when everything seemed so new
and nothing was impossible.
~William Saroyan, (1908-1981),
Armenian-American dramatist and writer

Screen shot 2014-12-29 at 3.16.18 PM

Hey, it’s snowing! At least on my blog, little snowflakes are softly cascading. Okay, I’ll admit it; I’m delighted about that and gleefully squealed like a child when the WP support lady told me how to make it happen. And what’s more, if Charles Dickens and William Saroyan think it’s okay to be a child at Christmas, who am I to lack confidence in that stance? I realize Christmas is weeks away, but the snow on my blog was enough to jump start my enthusiasm about it. Christmas always takes me back to the time when I saw the world through the eyes of a child. That’s because my childhood was magical, not perfect nor without hurts, but magical nonetheless. It was the result of a Divinely engineered coming together of extraordinary people in an extraordinary place at an extraordinary time. I say that with a humble heart because I know it was and is a privilege not afforded all people. My childhood was so out of the ordinary in fact that I can recall the exact moment in time it came to an end. It was in the cessation of a beating heart that the reality of it shattered like the pieces of a breaking mirror. Not only was the magic and innocence of it lost forever at that moment, but the devastation left me fragmented and it severed my hold on the handle of anything that nurtured my faith. Then close on the heels of that life-altering experience, I was swept away into the uncharted waters of young womanhood and the inevitable trials that accompany aging and marriage. Those events added to the continuing and inconsolable sorrow of my father’s death left me turning a deaf ear to the Lord’s “still, small voice” as well as a blind eye to His abiding presence in my world. After nearly a decade of watching me, lost and brokenhearted, wander deeper into the “wilderness,” He sent an angel of mercy into my world. Ironically the Divine messenger was a child, my baby girl, who would and did touch my heart in a way no other mortal had been able to. In her smile, in the twinkle of her eyes, and in the beauty of her heart, a heart more loving and gentle than any I’ve ever known, I found my way, step by step, back into the Lord’s keeping. Oh come let us adore the Christ who finds a way to speak to the child in us all!

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. ~Romans 8:17   ✝

**The photo is a composite of my daughter from the age of 8 months to 18 years.