1363. It’s a greenin’ and a colorin’ up as old man Winter slowly goes back from whence he came…

St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time-
a day to begin transforming
winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.
-Adrienne Cook

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As it is now, the last few days of winter are looking pretty magical themselves, if you ask me. Color has returned to the earth in places and the grass is greening, and so St. Patrick’s Day has indeed brought enchantment, brilliant and splendid. And where there are but few flowers yet, there is the promise of more of them. And where there are no fruits yet, there is the promise of them. And where there is not food from crops yet, there is the promise of such. Relying on the faithfulness of God’s promises, today and always, we can ask, as did St. Patrick:

As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen.
-St. Patrick, Patron of Ireland.

I pray all of you have a very blessed weekend. and that pray wherever there are clouds of darkness in your life, an awareness of the reliability of all God’s promises produces more than enough light to shoo them away.

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it. ~Numbers 23:19-20  ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1362. Your smile tells me more than words will ever say. ~Author Unknown

Smile with your lips, smile with your eyes,
smile with your heart and your soul and your life.
~Terri Guillemets

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Two weeks after James and I married in 1963, he became very ill and had to been hospitalized. In the beginning it looked as if he might have had something that would have been life threatening or else something that could have been at least life altering, but it turned out to be neither. There was a time when they found a tumor on my thyroid that could have been malignant, but after a partial thyroidectomy it proved to be benign. There was a time when it looked like I would never have a child of my own, however nine years after we married, we were blessed with a healthy baby girl. Three years after our daughter was born she became very ill and had to be hospitalized with something that at one time would have ended her life, but at that time it didn’t. There was a time when I had to have a hysterectomy because my uterus was full of tumors, but again they proved to be benign. There was a time when my daughter became pregnant, but miscarried her one and only biological child, but I have been blessed with three wonderful grandchildren. There was a time, when tumors were once again found in what remained of my thyroid, and they could have been malignant, but they weren’t. There was a time that those tumors grew so large and that surgically removing them endangered the finding and saving of my parathyroids, but the surgeon was able to locate 3 of the 4 and so the health issues that would have ensued from their loss didn’t materialize. There was a time when I had a stroke that could have left me crippled physically and/or mentally or worse yet it could have taken my life, but it didn’t. There was a time when my grandson suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted individual and eventually the child had to be hospitalized for 5 months to save his life and shore up his wholeness. He suffers still with PTSD and other issues as a result, but today my daughter sent a photo in which he was having fun and smiling for the first time in nearly two years. So why did all that make me cry on the way home from my sister’s this afternoon? Was it because of sadness and despair over misfortunes and trials? Before I answer that let me say that not only have I committed my fair share of trespasses against the Lord and his commandments, but when I was 18, my father died suddenly, and afterwards I turned my back on the Lord for nearly two decades and railed against Him regularly for allowing my beloved father to be taken from me. So the tears flowed not out of grief but because God has blessed me so many times despite my human frailties and transgressions that I was once again humbled, reduced to tears of joy and gratitude, and made to ponder why on earth after my egregious shortcomings, He would love me enough to bless me over and over again with His amazing grace. The answer is simple: because though I once was so lost, I was and am His beloved child and I asked! So if someone were ever looking for a person who didn’t believe in miracles or in the power of prayer or in Jesus, as the Messiah, or in God’s forgiveness, faithfulness, or His loving goodness, I would NOT be the person they were seeking. But if they were wanting to know more about the Lord, I would tell them to “knock and the door would be opened.” So what do ya think? Am I smiling along with my beautiful grandson now? Oh you betcha I am, yes, yes, and yes!!!

**Image via Pinterest; special effects done by Natalie on iPiccy

1239. Suddenly a bright surprise appeared, as just around the bend, stood a string of pearlescent, purple blossoms in the rising sun. ~Adapted lines from a poem by Alicia M Patti

A string of beautiful blossoms.
Purple blossoms.
Perky, purple blossoms at that.
A string of purple, roguchii blossoms.
Peerless and plentiful.
Provocative and phenomenal.
~Natalie Scarberry

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So shall we make a string of pearls
With the seeds of their purply glory
To honor God’s mercies
That are new every morning?
Endless mercies like:
Faithfulness
Steadfast Love
Forgiveness
Hope
Peace
Joy
And on and on they go!
Then afterwards why not
Give them to everyone
Because 
one size fits all.
~Natalie Scarberry

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning… ~Lamentations 3:22-part of 23   ✝

1131. The rose is without an explanation; she blooms because she blooms. ~Angelus Silesius

Roses of the field whisper divine poetry,
but you must listen carefully to hear it
because noise from the wheels of progress
drowns out everything that sings.
~Edited poem by Judith Cody

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You love the roses – so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses!
Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and red
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
~Edited poem by George Elliot

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He(the Lord) will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. ~Psalm 91:4  ✝

**Image of my Night Owl roses

1098. How can I stand on the ground every day and not feel its power? How can I live my life stepping on this stuff and not wonder at it? ~William Bryant Logan

A garden is the mirror of the mind.
It is a place of life, a mystery of green,
moving to the pulse of the year,
and pressing on and pausing the whole
to its own inherent rhythms.
~Henry Beston

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After the autumnal equinox passes sometime in late September the days begin to grow shorter and shorter so that light blesses the soil less and less. Soon with each new cold front that blows in temperatures start dropping more and more from the feverish pitch of their summertime highs. Then as the year’s last child draws near its end, the first freeze comes and the garden starts to wither and unravel. Soon afterwards another freeze arrives, harder than the last, and then another until the stage is set for ice or snow or frost to layer the land. With each onslaught winter’s sting strikes deeper and deeper at the remains of the garden. However, after the winter solstice occurs, the process of “pausing the whole” slowly but surely begins to reverse itself so that day by day there’s a little more sunlight and a little more and a little more until somewhere in all of that movement of the sun and the earth and the stars, the divine mystery and its miracles spark children of the soil into being once more. Faithfully in hidden wombs beneath soil or in bark, embryos have been growing and waiting for the elements to create the right catalytic mixture to push tiny tips upward or outward into the light of day. Following the first emergence of new life, earth’s sacred rhythms, which had been faint as we traversed winter’s veil of grief, become louder again until buds, nurtured by water, warmth, and sunlight, grow large and ripe enough to come into their time of blossoming. So it is that the “pausing” at last comes to an end, and spring’s first comers to press upward, outward and onward burgeoning into flowers and the “mystery of green” that’s a garden. And then in the mirror of my mind I can see clearly the countenance in the Face of all faces because as Robert Brault says, “As a gardener, I’m among those who believe that much of the evidence of God’s existence has been planted.”

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

1003. We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night. ~Jack Kornfield

Joy does not simply happen to us.
We have to choose joy
and keep choosing it every day.
~Henri J.M. Nouwen

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Every day
I see or hear
something
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light. It was what
I was born for –

to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself

over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
~Excerpt from the poem, Mindful,
by Mary Oliver

…for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. ~Psalm 26:3  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

966. Some places speak distinctly. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Paris is a place where just walking down a street
that I’ve never been down before
is like going to a movie or something.
Just wandering the city is entertainment.
~Wes Anderson

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Every time I look down on this timeless town
Whether blue or gray be her skies
Whether loud be her cheers or whether soft be her tears
More and more do I realize
That I love Paris in the spring time
I love Paris in the fall
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles
I love Paris every moment
Every moment of the year
I love Paris, why oh, why do I love Paris?
Because my love is there.
~Excerpted lyrics
by songwriters Blondy, Alpha

I ran across this image of Paris last night on Pinterest, and the splendor of it brought into the foreground of my mind once again why, like the song above says, I love Paris every moment of the year. The river is the beautiful Seine. Over the two bridges in the foreground on the Île de la Cité is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris with its renowned flying buttresses. In the background I see the top of the Musée de l’Orangerie des Tuileries, the permanent home for 8 of Monet’s water lily murals as well as works by Cezanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir, Rousseau, Sisley, and others. Behind that I see the top of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. And these are only a few of the things that so long ago made captive my heart. Gertrude Stein once said that the US was her country and that Paris was her home. I instantly understood how she felt. Glad am I that the Lord who delights to give us the desires of our hearts is  faithful to His promises for twice now He has granted me the opportunity to spend time in the magical place that is the city of Paris. Ooh la la! Je t’adore Paris!

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. ~Psalm 36:5  ✝