1223. Color is joy. One does not think joy. One is carried by it. ~Ernst Hass

Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud–
We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms our ear or sight,
All melodies, the echoes of that voice
All colors a suffusion from that light.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 3.24.50 PM.png

From my hate-the-heat perspective the garden being adorned with crown jewels like these in the collage is one of the few saving graces of a Texas summer. If these flowers had voices instead of brilliant colors, I think that even as buds whose colors had not yet been revealed they would start the day off with soft, murmuring melodies. Then as the day’s flames licked up higher and higher and they burst into bloom, their songs would play on but in loud and bold arias so that the bees, the butterflies, and other pollinators would harken to their lusty, changeling voices. And all the while as the harmonies played on, the insect benefactors would suckle on the tasty fare despite the sizzling sultriness. And I, I would remain the envious onlooker because it is only they and not I who are small enough to crawl down into the gloriously-filled caverns of sweet nectars. Then at day’s end in weariness from performing their noisy choruses and from enduring the onslaught of mugginess their songs would give way to those of the white and silver flowery voices that mingle in with the enlarging and marvelous music of the night. As for me, though saddened by their silence and passing, I would have agree with Barbara Kingsolver who said that “in the places that call me out, I know I’ll recover my wordless childhood trust in the largeness of life and its willingness to take me in” again, another day. Another writer once said that in the isolation and silence of winter one can savor belonging to him or herself. And who knows, perhaps summer allows one to do the same but in a different way, especially when that individual is falling short of being thankful for God’s gifts by fussing about the way they are wrapped.

You(God) turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy… ~Psalm 30:11  ✝

**All images taken by me in my yard; not all were taken on the same days

1212. Freedom is the oxygen of the soul. ~Moshe Dayan

Freedom has its life in the hearts,
the actions, the spirit of men and
so it must be daily earned and refreshed —
else like a flower cut from its life-
giving roots, it will wither and die.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 9.37.49 PM.png

For Freedom
As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfill new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.
As the ocean absolves itself
Of the expectation of land,
Approaching only In the form of waves
That fill and pleat and fall
With such gradual elegance
As to make of the limit
A sonorous threshold
Whose music echoes back among
The give and strain of memory,
Thus may your heart know the patience
That can draw infinity from limitation.
~Excerpted lines
by 
John O’Donohue

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. ~Excerpt from Galatians 5:12  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

621. Color is a power which directly influences the soul. ~Wassily Kandinsky

In the house of words was a table of colors.
They offered themselves in great fountains,
and each poet took the color he needed:
lemon yellow or sun yellow
ocean blue or smoke blue,
crimson red, blood red, or wine red.
~Eduardo Galeano

DSC_0044

There is not one blade of grass,
there is no color in this world
that is not intended to make us rejoice.
~John Calvin

DSC_0040

Joy is the sweet voice, joy the luminous cloud–
We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms our ear or sight
all melodies the echoes of that voice,
all colours a suffusion from that light.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

DSC_0066

In nature, light creates the color.
In the picture, color creates the light.
~Hans Hoffman

DSC_0010

Color! Ah, the fabulous, mystic realm of color! Just look at these flowers I photographed in my greenhouse yesterday! What a sacred voice is the song of their colors! It never fails to wow me over and over again! Even in the low-light of a cold, grey, rainy winter’s day, color declares and praises God’s holy name! Thus, may it ever draw us near Him.

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

567. Fragrance takes you on a journey of time. ~Daphne Guinness

There’s not a wind
but whispers thy name;
not a scent that beneath the moon,
but tells a tale of thee…
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from Bryan Proctor

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 9.26.55 PM

As I opened the door to go out and close up the greenhouse, I could smell the scent of a wood burning fire wafting through the garden. All around me the darkness was descending uncommonly quiet and still except for a slow trickle of water falling from one tier to another in the fountain. It had been a cloudy day, but now occasional breaks in the clouds were allowing glimpses of a waxing gibbous moon–the distinctive, ancient moon that was the only nocturnal companion for those who’d once lived a more solitary existence where I now stand. As I stopped to inhale the fragrance of autumn’s ripeness, the aroma of burning oak, and the scent of the damp soil, I was momentarily transfixed as images of pioneers moving west across the land passed before my mind’s eye. They were descendants of immigrants like my great-grandparents who came here in covered wagons from the east, and I reckon that maybe, just maybe, it’s echoes of their voices I yet hear whispering faintly in the winds that blow across the Texas prairies.

I love the aroma of wood smoke and the crunching sound of autumn leaves beneath my feet and the savory scents that fill the space between heaven and earth this time of year. When darkness lowers, the moon, if it’s up there, is a comforting presence in the night sky, and the long nights ahead become cozy times of nestling down in a comfy chair with a cup of hot chocolate or tea for warmth to dream, yes to dream, first that in some soon-to-come felicitous moment I’ll look out the window and witness the wondrous spectacle of snow and secondly that spring will come sooner than usual and be even more glorious than the last. Ah, but how the marvelous old moon makes dreamers out of us all!

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. ~2 Corinthians 2:14   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

509. How we treat the vulnerable is how we define ourselves as a species. ~Russell Brand

What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
Yes, but not for this alone.

Is it to feel our strength –
Not our bloom only, but our strength -decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?

Yes, this, and more!

Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 2.39.31 PM

It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.

It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion -none.

It is -last stage of all –
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Matthew Arnold

Echoes, echoes of the past–voices, so many familiar voices gone, now silenced by the closing of their life’s doors–memories, memories mingling with the present, all bringing the dark clouds that move in across her brain where the fury of raging storms begin on unfamiliar shores. The echoes, the voices, and the memories become scrambled in her dementia so that things and people once cherished create anxiety, anguish, and at times torment. Her mind, once sharp and clear, is now befuddled as she becomes more and more lost inside herself and her fears. Her family raised, her labors done, there is nothing left now but the lonely silence of her worsening deafness and the rapid waning of her vision. Soon she will be ever so far away from me, the one in whose womb my life began. Will she then still know my face and the feel of my touch? Will the skies ever again clear in her head and cast her weary, but back on familiar shores? Or has she begun the final journey of her dreaded aloneness? Please Lord, be with my mother as she struggles to navigate these dark passages of uncharted waters. Bring her comfort and peace, and if not mine, then let her recognize Your touch and know Your face. Let the child she has again become blindly trust as she once did that all is well with her soul and that You will care for her always. And let Your sweet benedictions steal into her senescent heart and fragile mind that’s becoming so profoundly confused, wounded, and betrayed by her aged, earthly body.

One of my followers commented yesterday on my memory post about the sadness of dealing with an aging parent who has Alzheimer’s, and I know that others of you are caring for elderly parents whose memories are failing. In those situations there are two or more people affected by the circumstances; both the aged and their caregiver(s) are profoundly impacted by this passage. So I decided to share the above with all of you.  It is something I wrote in my journal during a long, hard night when I was caring for my 92-year-old mother before she passed away.

 

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ~Isaiah 46:4   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ~Isaiah 46:4 ✝

472. Outside the open window the morning air is all awash with angels. ~Richard Purdy Wilbur

Angels descending, 
bring from above,
echoes of mercy, 
whispers of love.
~Fanny J. Crosby

DSC_0006

My cats start meowing for food around daybreak, and when I hear them, I heed the call, put out their food, and then settle back in my recliner to snooze a little longer. In between my snippets of sleep, I open my eyes to enjoy the spectacle of day’s coming as it moves in and across my backyard. Yesterday because I had seen a hummingbird at my feeder, I’d decided to leave my camera near my chair. So the photo above was shot early this morning from inside through a sliding glass door and its screen. Sadly the little guy was not up as close as I’d have liked nor is he completely in focus. But I loved the image because as he hovered with wings still rapidly in motion, the camera captured him just at the right moment so that it looks like he has the tiny wings of an angel. And who knows? Perhaps he was and had been sent to remind me that…

It’s not just another day.
It’s the one day that is given to me today.
It’s a gift.
It’s the only gift I have right now,
and the only appropriate response
is gratefulness.
~Verse taken from “A Good Day” 
by David Steindl-Rast

“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!” 2 Samuel 22:47   ✝

Lord, Your beauty draws all things to Yourself. Please let me stay and rest in your holiness.

232. Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Image

How good it is to center down!  To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!  The streets of our mind seethe with endless traffic; our spirits resound with clashings, with noisy silences, while something deep within hungers and thirsts for the still moment and the resting lull.  We look at ourselves in this waiting moment–the kinds of people we are.  The questions persist; what are we doing with our lives? What is the end of our doings?  Where is my treasure?  As we listen, floating up through all the jangling echoes of our turbulence, there is a sound of another kind–a deeper note which only the stillness of the heart makes clear.  It moves directly to the core of our being.  Our questions are answered, our spirits are refreshed, and we move back into the traffic of our daily rounds with the peace of the Eternal in our step.  How good it is to center down!  ~Excerpt from For the Inward Journey by Howard Thurman, American author, philosopher, theologian, educator

Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.  ~Proverbs 8:34  ✝