1449. All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar. ~Helen Hayes 

Spring has returned.
The Earth is like a child
that knows poems.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

But where did spring come from? Was it here?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.47.53 PM.pngOr here?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.50.16 PM.png
Perhaps it was here? Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.53.08 PM.pngCan you see it here?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.56.23 PM.pngWas it hiding here?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.57.39 PM.pngDid it just leave never to return?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.58.14 PM.png

Why do we even believe it will come again? Just because someone older than we has seen it before and says that it will? And someone before him or her had done and said the same? Do we believe everything others tell us? And then even if that’s true what’s the spark that creates the phenomena and sets it all in motion?

What makes something like this spring up
from what seems like nothingness?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 3.30.58 PM.pngOr this?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 3.58.50 PM.pngWhere does this beauty come from?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.01.50 PM.pngIs there a grand plan for something like this?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.26.04 PM.pngWho could make something like this?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.34.06 PM.pngCan you make one of these?
Not grow it. Not graft it. Not clone it. Not start it from seed.
Just create it from scratch?
Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.04.38 PM.pngIs there a purpose for this?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.20.24 PM.pngIs this really necessary?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.13.19 PM.pngWhy and where does this come?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.42.12 PM.pngWho could be responsible for something this exquisite?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 3.13.08 PM.png

Perhaps it’s time to watch the seasons as they pass over the fields, to be still and quieted, to look and listen, to wonder and question, to consider grand divine design and not random happenstance! Maybe then when the dark nights of the soul come, and they will come again and again, and you’re experiencing more anquish than you think you can bear and have little to no hope left, you’ll be ready to meet the Holy One who has and is the only feasible answer to these questions. Then out of gratitude you might even consider inviting Him into your world. He already knows who you are and He will welcome you back into His arms no matter where you”ve been or what you’ve done or not done.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1447. The air is like a butterfly with frail blue wings. The happy earth looks at the sky and sings. ~Joyce Kilmer

It is a glorious privilege to live,
to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love.
To look up at the blue summer sky;
to see the sun sink slowly
beyond the line of the horizon;
to watch the worlds come twinkling
into view, first one by one,
and the myriads that no man can count,
and lo! the universe is white with them;
and you and I are here.
~Marco Morrow

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Morrow mentions only the summer sky, but it’s a privilege to look up and behold the wonders of the sky at any time, isn’t it?! This time of year an especially breathtaking view of the sky can be seen by looking through flowering trees. But why is it that we like to gaze up at the heavens with or without trees? What are we looking for? And when our look up at the embracing canopy over us, why do words of wonder and awe enter our thoughts and subsequently fall from our lips? What is it about what we see that fills us with utter amazement? Is it because of the firmament’s majestic beauty and/or our puzzlement about the mysteries therein? Or is it because in our looking we become aware of a knowing that transcends ordinary knowing? Could it be that we recognize the handiwork of the One to whom we’re inextricably and lovingly connected? As we look and listen, can’t we hear the Holy One’s voice in the deepest part of ourselves, that quiet voice telling us that the sky and earth and life are not the result of a random happenstance but are acts of His divine and loving grace poured out for our benefit? Maybe in the sky and all else that delights our senses we see the quicksilver flicker of a tiny flame which illuminates our Maker’s face, a face our eyes have forgotten but our hearts still remember? Indeed, what a “glorious privilege it is to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love” under the tutelage of our grand and caring Father! And how wondrous it is that the knowing can come from just looking and listening and giving ourselves to Him!

It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s (and mankind’s, says Natalie) privilege to discover them. ~Proverbs 25:2 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1446. Beauty is a nectar which intoxicates the soul. ~T.C. Henley

Beauty unites all things,
links together flower and star,
with chains more certain than
those of reason.
~Henry James Slack

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One spring years ago when the flowering trees were in bloom, we came across one of the most beautiful specimens I’d ever seen. I hadn’t a clue as to what kind of tree it was, but I knew I had to have one of my own one day. Thus began the search, a search as it turned out that was not so easy. First I had to find out what the name of the tree was, and once I found that out I discovered that none of the local nurseries had even heard of it before much less had one for sale. So I went online and found a few mail order places that had them. They were fairly expensive but I knew I’d never be happy until one grew here.

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One spring years ago when the flowering trees were in bloom, we came across one of the most beautiful specimens I’d ever seen. I hadn’t a clue as to what kind of tree it was, but I knew I had to have one of my own one day. Thus began the search, a search as it turned out that was not so easy. First I had to find out what the name of it was, and once I found that out I discovered that none of the local nurseries had even heard of it before much less had one for sale. So I went online and found a few mail order places that had them. They were fairly expensive but I knew I’d never be happy until I had one of my own.

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Then another year or two went by and I finally found one at a nursery in a small town close to where we live. It was autumn and the leaves were falling off but you could tell it was alive so we bought it and all winter my hopes ran high that come spring I would at last have my ornamental Peppermint Peach Tree. As the temps began to rise, I’d go out every day looking for signs of life only to find none and eventual heartbreak once again.

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So I told myself it just wasn’t meant to be and moved on until last spring when I saw another one in full bloom again. As soon as I got home I got online to try one more time to find one, and I did. It came on a late and cold wintry day which was not a good time to get out and plant it. It was packed in ice to keep it alive until we didn’t have to plant it immediately, so it lived like that for nearly a week until at last we could finally get out and get it in the ground. And then the waiting game began again. Every day I would make my little trek out to the back fence where we had planted it to see if anything was happening and sure enough green leaf swellings began to appear and what looked like a few blossoms too. Some of the little flowers are white, some are white with red stripes, and some are just red, and it’s all one one tree, thus the name, Flowering Peppermint Peach Tree.

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A week later, we had a late freeze and I feared the worst, but although the little blossom swellings fell off the green leaves did not and so all summer the little baby tree was filled with the sweet music of many leaves and I made sure it was watered well. Then autumn followed by winter came and the leaves vanished. Nevertheless, I waited with great faith that this, the third try, would prove fruitful and praise the Lord and hallelujah it did! I know, I know, it’s just a tree right?! And many would think me silly and that such really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but you see it truly does. It reminds me that God is still in His heaven and all’s right with the world!!! Mankind may be doing it’s best to destroy all that Yahweh made, but He, the Maker of heaven and earth, is still on the Throne of Grace and in control!

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Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. ~Deuteronomy 7:9 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; the first one is the tree when I first saw it years ago in another’s yard, and the remaining ones are what’s happening now in my yard on my own little tree

1445. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of “wonder and humility.” ~Rachel Carson

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen,
among the beauties and mysteries of the earth,
are never alone or weary of life.
~Rachel Carson

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What is that I hear? What is it I see? What’s that smell floating along on the breeze? Are they things returning once again to remind me that just like that with a sound, a sight, and a scent winter falls slowly but surely into spring, glorious, glorious spring? Could it be that time of year has come when the greens are greener, the colors are fresher, the fragrances sweeter? Have we at last traversed winter’s domain of quietness, of drabness, of blandness to find once more that hope is tangible, love is in the air, and the “beauties and mysteries” of the earth yet have a way of filling old and young alike with wonder and humility? If so, which of these photographic delights might be the “proof in the pudding?”

Is it the forsythia I saw above?

Or is it this that was right behind it?

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Or is it these side by side hellebores?

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Or perhaps it is the glowing whiteness of this Magnolia Stellata?

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Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. ~Psalm 85:11 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1443. Be the light shining in the darkness. ~Julie Reed

The world is holy.
We are holy.
All life is holy.
Daily prayers are delivered on
the lips 
of breaking waves,
the whisperings of grasses,
the shimmering of leaves.
~Terry Tempest Williams

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Be a light unto the world, and hurt it not. Seek to build not destroy.
How?
By your shining example. Seek only Godliness. Speak only in truthfulness. Act only in love. Live the Law of Love now and forever more. Give everything require nothing. Avoid the mundane. Do not accept the unacceptable. Teach all who seek to learn of Me. Make every moment of your life an outpouring of love. Use every moment to think the highest thought, say the highest word, do the highest deed. In this, glorify your Holy Self, and thus too, glorify Me. Bring peace to the Earth by bringing peace to all those whose lives you touch. Be peace incarnate. Feel and express in every moment your Divine Connection with with every person, place, and thing. Embrace every circumstance, own every fault, share every joy, contemplate every mystery, walk in every man’s shoes, forgive every offense (including your own), heal every heart, protect every person’s rights, preserve every person’s dignity, presume every person’s holiness, be every person’s blessing, pronounce every person’s future secure in the assured love of God. Be a living, breathing example of the Highest Truth that resides within you. Speak humbly of yourself, lest someone mistake your Highest Truth for boast. Speak softly, lest someone think you are merely calling for attention. Speak gently, that all might know of Love. Speak openly, lest someone think you have something to hide. Speak candidly, so you cannot be mistaken. Speak often, so that your word may truly go forth. Speak respectfully, that no one be dishonored. Speak lovingly, that every syllable may heal. Speak of Me with every utterance. Make of your life a gift. Remember always, you are the gift! Be a gift to everyone who enters your life, and to everyone whose life you enter. When someone enters your life unexpectedly, look for the gift that person has come to receive from you…” ~Edited passage by Neale Donald Walsch

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house…” ~Matthew 5:14 ✝

**Rose photo taken by Natalie in her yard. This is a China Rose that dates back centuries and was the find that was brought back to Europe so that she could be bred with their only once blooming roses. She has literally parented hundreds if not thousands of roses over the centuries and so she speaks to me of the holiness and importance of all things.

1441. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

For a seed to achieve
its greatest expression,
it must come completely undone.
The shell cracks,
its insides come out,
and everything changes.
~Cynthia Occelli

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Part of the genius of God’s grand design is that we awaken every day to a fresh flowing of His energy and vitality. These things have been stored in the seeds of our being, seeds that possess the same strength as that of the rising sun, earth’s swelling seas, and its fertile plains. An excellent time to look for the shining of Yahweh’s everlasting light in the sanctuary of the soul is in the first waking moments of each new day. These are moments that are fresh and ripe and full of promise, and regardless of one’s age there’s simply never a moment when in and of ourselves that there aren’t unopened gifts(seeds) of promise. The Almighty’s sacred hopes remain within us forever, and heaven’s creativity on earth can be born of them at any time. Even if the human soul has grown hard, the catalyst of prayer, as the agonies of life in the world are lifted up, is enough to bring about miraculous new life and hope. Just take a look at seeds which lie dormant in the earth season after season after season; they too can be brought to life with a single spark of the Divine’s touch.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. ~Isaiah 61:11 ✝

**Image of flax seed which is used to make linen found on Pixabay

1434. On this cool, crisp morning, I arose before the sun and went out the front door to look for the newspaper…

But that’s not what caused me
to stop in my driveway, paper forgotten.
Overhead, the “Big Dipper” (Ursa Major)
and other stars twinkled brightly,
framed by thin, wind-shaped clouds.
Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 8.13.18 PM.pngIn that moment, I felt magical,
caught by the wonder of nature,
blessed with beauty.
In this time of year
when children take center stage,
The thought of happy children reminded me
of the wisdom of innocence in all of us.
For it was not my intellect that caused me to look up
but my own innocence untarnished by age.
Like a child , I had no doubt that each moment
holds limitless awe, magic, and wonder,
and I knew how truly blessed we all are.
~Edited thoughts by my sadly
deceased, dear friend, Emily Seate|
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Let us remember that He has given us
the sun and the moon and the stars,
and the earth with it forests and
mountains and oceans–
and all that lives and moves upon them.
He has given us all green things and
everything that blossoms and bears fruit–
and all that we quarrel about
and all that we have misused–
and to save us from our own foolishness,
from all our sins, He came
down to earth and gave us Himself.
~Sigrid Undset

Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession? -Song of Solomon 6:10 ✝ (The Song of Solomon is often interpreted as an allegorical representation of the relationship of God and Israel, or for Christians, God and the Church or Christ and the human soul, as husband and wife.)

**Images found on the internet; superimposed photograph of the Big Dipper on  newspaper image done by Natalie