994. Give me the end of the year an’ its fun when most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done… ~Edgar A. Guest

December finds himself again a child
Even as he undergoes his age.
Cold and early darkness now descends,
Embracing sanctuaries of delight.
~Nicholas Gordon

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Why do we feel restored in December
As in a sacramental time and place?
Therein Mystery is artfulness,
And therein too a vision of peace is stored,
So that healing flows from it through our eyes.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from May Sarton

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As the year draws to an end and winter and Christmas approach, “Shall we liken what has and is coming to pass to the web in a loom?  There have been and still are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something very beautiful, something which compels our attempt at understanding.” ~Edited & adapted excerpt  by Earl W. Count

…the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. ~Numbers 6:26   ✝

**Both images via Pinterest

991. The autumn air is clear, The autumn moon is bright. Fallen leaves gather and scatter… ~Li Bai

That’s no December sky!
Surely ’tis still June
Holding her state on high
As queen of the noon.
For only the tree-tops are bare
Clear-cut in the perfect air…
~Edited and adapted excerpt from a poem
by Robert Fuller Murray

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Now the seasons are closing
their files on each of us,
the heavy drawers full of certificates
rolling back into the tree trunks,
a few old papers  flocking away.
Someone we loved has fallen from
our thoughts, making a little, glittering
splash like a bicycle pushed by a breeze.
Otherwise, not much has happened;
we fell in love again, finding
that one red leaf on the wind.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Ted Kooser

He (God) made the moon to mark the seasons… ~Excerpt from Psalm 104:19  ✝

985. Well, one can’t get over the habit of being a little girl all at once… ~Lucy Maud Montgomery


The reluctance to put away childish
things may be a requirement of genius.
~Rebecca Pepper Sinkler

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I am often accused of being childish.  I prefer to interpret that as child-like. I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things. I tend to exaggerate and fantasize and embellish. I still listen to instinctual urges. I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind. I never water my garden without soaking myself. It has been after such times of joy that I have achieved my greatest creativity and produced my best work. ~Leo F. Buscaglia

I resemble all the remarks above, and I’m darned proud of it. Mike Dolan said that we should “anticipate the day as if it was our birthday and we are turning six again.” And that works quite well for me thank you very much. Perhaps that’s why I squealed with delight late last night when it began to snow on my blog. I had forgotten all about WP’s snow option and was delightfully beside myself when it started to fall across my computer screen. We don’t get a whole lot of snow, if any, where I live, but now I know that for an entire month, it will be snowing all day long and into the night on my blog. How much more merry and bright can it get?! Love, love, love it, and so I refuse to put away the fabulous “childish” things that are part of the miracles during the season of lights. And another thing, what’s the best part of the Christmas tree? Isn’t it the lights? Well I think so, and that’s why the last two years, I’ve put a lighted outside metal tree in my house instead of the traditional tree. There’s no icicles nor ornaments nor any other decorations on it. It’s just the glowing, twinkling, multi-colored luminescent glory of elfin lights!!! How’s that for being a kid??? And a genius, I might add! Oh December is going to be a fun month this time around because the little girl in me is alive and well again!

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:2-4   ✝

652. Was it the smile of early spring that made my bosom glow…was it some feeling of delight, all vague and undefined? ~Anne Brontë

From December to March,
there are for many of us three gardens:
the garden outdoors, the garden of
pots and bowls in the house, and
the garden of the mind’s eye.
~Katherine S. White

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In winter’s cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.

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On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision’s clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.

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In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows.
~Cynthia Adams

You (God) have set the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter. ~Psalm 74:17   ✝

595. Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too. ~William Cowper

I managed to keep a few square yards on a shelf for staging in a greenhouse, and those few square yards were crowded with bright things from December to Easter. Their brilliance contrasted with winter’s leaden skies; it was like coming into an aviary full of tropical birds and butterflies… ~Excerpt by Vita Sackville-West, edited and adapted

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I have a little greenhouse
Here in my backyard,
Where hyacinths and tulips grow
And pansies bloom unmarred.

No matter how the winter’s storms
May rage with ghoulish glee
And beat against my casement there,
It never frightens me.

I watch my flowers from day to day,
I water them with care
And they give back their sweet perfume–
Their fragrance fills the air.

I wonder if in years to come
The greenhouse yet will stand,
When I who tend it now so well
Shall sleep beneath this land?

I wonder if–but who can tell
What passing years may bring?
But still–there’s always flowers to bloom
And beyond this door birds to sing.
~Poem by Iva H. Drew,
edited and adapted

…We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience… ~Colossians 1:9-11   ✝

**I took this photograph today of tulips abloom in my greenhouse.

565. Come, come thou bleak December wind, and blow the dry leaves from the tree! ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Through bare trees
I can be winter’s innocence,
unashamed needfulness,
the thin and reaching limbs 
of a beggar,
longing to touch 
but the hem of the sun.
~Lisa Lindsey

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It’s the first morn of December. It’s cold. It’s gray. Leaves are brown, dying, or gone. Branches already bare resemble arms reaching to the heavens for something or someone. A norther continues to blow open wider and wider the gates of the year’s Sabbath, and the wings and winds of change are palpable in the frosty air. In the garden’s resounding gong, in its tinkling wind chimes, and in its clanging bells I hear portents of the changes. I’m reminded not only by these sounds but also by the morning’s silences that December is a time of expectancy, a time of waiting, and a time of preparation; moreover, it is a time to share in the ancient longing for the Messiah’s birth as well as a time to look forward to His second coming. And since our time coin for this year is almost spent, it is time now more than ever to let love reign our hearts, to let peace be our constant prayer, to let compassion and giving pour our of our gratitude for another year of Yahweh’s gifts, blessings, fulfilled promises, and miracles. And it is also time, now and always, to reach for the heavens and praise God for all that He is, for all that He has done, and all that He continues to do for His children!

Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. ~2 Chronicles 6:40   ✝

** Image via Pinterest, but edited by Natalie

395. A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the lover of the gift. ~Thomas à Kempis

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

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It was late summer when she, my neighbor down the street, called to ask if I wanted a Crinum Lily. She said she had planted one in her yard but that it was in too much shade to bloom. Up front let me just tell you that only because I’d wanted a pink Crinum for years and had not been able to acquire one that I would have even considered saying yes at that time of year, trudge on down to her house on foot with shovel in tow, and dig the thing up out of heavy clay soil under the scorching heat of the Texas sun. However after having been captivated by this lily years before, I endured the blistering heat, dug the bulb up, and brought it back down to my garden. And as soon as I recovered from my near heat stroke, I cut all the long, heat-beleaguered strappy foliage down to almost nothing, found a spot in my garden where I thought it would thrive, and put it in the ground. Soon my prized acquisition began to show new growth, and I was thrilled. Then in early December we had one of the worst ice storms I’ve ever seen here and for days the frozen remains blanketed the ground. During that time I kept hoping against hope that when I could get out to check on it, the new “baby” would have survived the ice-bound onslaught. But sadly what I found days later was foliage that had turned to brown mush. Since it had been so newly planted before the early, brute force of the icy assault, I gave up hope that it would make a come back. But sure enough after the start of the new year, it did, and again I was thrilled. Then in early March we had the hardest, late freeze on record, and again in the aftermath I found nothing but a stub of brown mush where my hope had so recently be restored. Surely I thought to myself, it won’t make it back this time, but as spring warmed the land, I started seeing new growth where twice my hope had been dashed, and I was thrilled. At long last June came, and I had lots of lovely green foliage. As late as it was, however, I put away hope for flowers this time around thinking that it had suffered too much, too soon to bloom. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I went out two days ago to find a tall stalk with buds on it had shot up almost overnight. Despite recent rains, I have been able, however, to capture the beauty of that which had previously been only a memory of something incredibly lovely I’d stumbled upon long ago in another’s garden. Isn’t it amazingly loving how without asking the Lord often grants us a thing of our heart’s desire out of the blue! I am thrilled. I am blessed. I am grateful.

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A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. ~Proverbs 18:16  ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.