1305. [L]et us linger awhile in the wonderful old Lilac walk. It is a glory of tender green and shaded amethyst and grateful hum of bees. ~Alice Morse Earle

There are a thousand ways
to kneel and kiss the earth.
~Rumi

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Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness.  One of the doors
into the temple.
~Mary Oliver

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker… ~Psalm 95:6  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1112. To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle. Walt Whitman

Everything that slows us down
and forces patience,
everything that sets us back into
the slow circles of nature, is a help.
~May Sarton

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Tonight
Tonight I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the evening off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness.
One of the doors
into the temple.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Mary Oliver

Well, kiddies, I am taking the night off. My aging, aching back in killing me as I’ve been working too hard for too many days in the gardens. I pray you have a lovely evening. I shall be back tomorrow. Love, Natalie

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~Psalm 46: 10  ✝

**Image found on Pixabay

720. O, the month of May, the merry month of may… ~Thomas Dekker

Ho! the merrie first of Maie
Brings the daunce and blossoms gaie
To make of lyfe a holiday!
~Old English saying

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Thousands of years ago winter was a time to honor death and the summer a time to honor life. In those ancient times the short days, grey skies, and cold temperatures began to wear people down and that coupled with a gradual decline in food supplies took its toll on their spirits. Indeed winter was a very difficult time for the ancients, and so the coming of summer brought them great hope. As the crops and grasslands became full of life again, the animals bred, and the warmth of the sun thawed out the earth and their spirits, they celebrated the cross-over and coming change in the human cycle that reflected the turning of the seasons. It was a time for celebrating the forces of life overcoming death, light overcoming darkness, and summer overcoming winter.

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Thus began the dancing around the May pole. A kind of maypole dance, with origins in the 18th century, began as a traditional artistic dance popular in Italy and France. Eventually, traveling troupes performed it in London theaters, thus bringing this traditional dance to larger audiences. An English teacher training school adopted the maypole dance and soon it had spread across most of central and southern England. The dance became part of the repertoire of physical education for girls and remained popular in elementary schools in both England and the US well into the 1950’s.

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I remember in elementary school making May baskets and flowers out of coloredl pieces of construction paper and crepe paper. Today May Day has many different meanings, if any, but it eventually found its place in Christianity. And though considered quaint now, in decades past, like dancing around the maypole, as the month of April rolled to an end, people begin gathering flowers and candies and goodies to put in May baskets to hang on the doors of friends, neighbors, and loved ones on May 1st. And there were even rules about the basket tradition:

1.  Giving was supposed to be anonymous. Reciprocity was not expected. One was to leave the basket on the doorknob or doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run.
2.  Children were to give to grownups, instead of the other way around. On almost every other holiday, only the child receives gifts; so they don’t get to experience the true joy of unselfish giving.

He(Jesus) told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near…” ~Luke 21:29-30   ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collages created by Natalie

644. Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren’t even there before. ~Mignon McLaughlin

I love thee — I love thee,
‘Tis all that I can say
It is my vision in the night,
My dreaming in the day.
~Thomas Hood

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Years ago, I volunteered to plant four trial roses in my garden. One of them was a luscious color of pink, and it’s name was Unforgettable. Sadly it only lived a couple of years and was not one that made it into the rose world. But I loved the thing and every time I passed by one of its fabulous blooms, I broke into a song sung decades ago by Nat King Cole. Since you, my readers, are unforgettably lovely too, I’m wishing you a Happy Valentine’s tonight with the lyrics from that song as well as a youtube link so you can hear Cole’s smooth as silk voice singing the song. Also the painted rose in the mixed-media image above is about the same shade of pink as that luscious rose was. Enjoy! Love, Natalie

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Unforgettable, that’s what you are.
Unforgettable though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me.
How the thought of you does things to me.
Never before has someone been more
Unforgettable in every way.
And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay.
That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too.
~Excerpted lines from the song, Unforgettable, sung
by Nat King Cole and written
by Phil Ramacon, Coral Gordon, P/K/A Chyna

“A new command I(Christ) give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~John 13:34-35   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

632. A garden is a bird’s dinner table bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries. ~Anne Raver

That little bird has chosen his shelter.
Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds.
Yet he is rocking himself to sleep
without caring for tomorrow’s lodging,
calmly clinging to his little twig,
and leaving God to think for him.
~Martin Luther

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Red–bright, bright, glorious red! How easy it is to find in the winter landscape! Yahweh not only provided birds with sheltering places, but He also formed plants that produce colorful, and therefore easy to spot, feasts of red berries. In Scripture, we are told that we needn’t worry about what we require either because the Lord promises to provide for our needs too. However, since youth is an opiate that leads many a “fledgling” like I once was to a) believe that he/she is infallible and b) to believe he/she is the only one on the planet with a clue about anything, I foolishly thought for a time that my life was only what I was making of it. Then as time passed I began to realize there were doors that did not have to open, but they did; there were opportunities that didn’t have to present themselves, but they did; and there were misfortunes that could have occurred, but they didn’t, and so on. It’s our God-given free will which allows us to make choices that determine the outcome of our lives, and even poor choices can and do sometimes lead to a path that eventually merges back into the one the Lord wants us to travel. Looking back at such things I realize now that it’s only because of the intervention of God’s divine and saving grace that advantageous things happen. And who knows perhaps even the detours are gifts of His divine providence meant to protect the unwise sojourner from harm. Though prudence and patience are lessons I’m still trying to master, at least I’ve become more aware of the importance and necessity of listening to the Lord, consulting Him before making choices, yielding to His will and plan for my life, and living more like the birds who worry not. So on I go these days putting one foot in front of the other. In the meantime God keeps His eye on me and the sparrow, the birds feast upon the garden’s berries, and I rely more and more on the Lord, letting my little piece of Eden continue to feed my soul and remind me of His faithful provision and promises.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…” ~Matthew 6: 25-28   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; overlay created 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

508. All our lives we are engaged in preserving our experiences and keeping them fresh by artificially sprinkling the water of memory over them. ~Vimala Thakar

Memory is a child walking the seashore.
You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up
and store away among its treasured things.
~Pierce Harris

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Events-a heartbreak here, a miracle there-come and go weaving the experiences of our seasons solidly into the fabric of our lives and who we are. Layer upon layer of growing moves us through doors that forever alter our reality and render us somewhat different than we were prior to each particular journey. And as we leave behind places and people, time attempts to swallow them up. But we carry the treasured “pebbles” we pick up with us into every new arena because they’ve etched indelible marks in us which continue to reverberate deep within our hearts. And these memories of past events that we’ve “stored away” never cease to ebb and flow even from behind foggy mists of forgetfulness. With me they are often remembered in moonlight reveries when seeking the feel of God’s presence or when lingering in places of beauty with no other agenda but to relish the glory of all that He made.

In the secret,
in the quiet place,
in the stillness
You(God) are there.
~Excerpt from the lyrics of a song
by Chris Tomlin

I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever. ~Psalm 45:17   ✝

** Image via Pinterest