1407. How dear the woods are! You beautiful trees! I love every one of you as a friend. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery

Now we enter the ancient wood.
In what wild forms the gnarled
and mossy boughs are twisted,
what a sensation of sacred repose.
~Henry James Slack

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sanctuary (noun)
1. a place of refuge or safety
2. a nature reserve
3, a holy place; a temple; a church

In ancient cultures, people worshipped the Lord in groves of trees and forests. Is it any wonder? There are churches in this country that were built with glass walls and ceilings in wooded areas. What better sanctuary could there be than under the canopy of trees and the heavens above?

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.” ~Author Unknown

The waters nourished it, deep springs made it grow tall; their streams flowed all around its base and sent their channels to all the trees of the field. ~Ezekiel 31:4 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; collage created by Natalie

1298. Out beyond the fear, anger, pain and denial, lies a field of possibility. Beyond this a world of Love. I will meet you there… ~Julie Parker

Love lights our way through the darkness.
Love keeps us safe through the storm.
Love opens us to new beginnings.
Love is the glow of emerging dawn.
~Julie Parker

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Love does not find you, nor do you find love.
Love is and has always been ever present…
When you are willing to open, to risk,
to adventure, to live with authenticity –
then the power of Love flows through you.
~Edited quote by Julie Parker

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:1-3  ✝

**Photo be Elena Shumilova

684. God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther

Morning is the best
 of all times in the garden.
The sun is not yet hot.  
Sweet vapors rise from the earth.
Night dew clings to the soil 
and makes plants glisten.
Birds call to one another.  
Bees are already at work.
~William Longgood

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Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it’s a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.
~Pueblo Blessing

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ~Isaiah 55:12   ✝

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

623. To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. ~Mahatma Gandhi

With rake and seeds and sower,
And hoe and line and reel,
When the meadows shrill with “peeping”
And the old world wakes from sleeping,
Who wouldn’t be a grower
That has any heart to feel?
~Frederick Frye Rockwell

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The gardener in his old brown hands
Turns over the brown earth,
As if he loves and understands
The flowers before their birth,
The fragile childish little strands
He buries in the earth.
Like pious children one by one
He sets them head by head,
And draws the clothes when all is done,
Closely about each head.
And leaves his children to sleep on
In the one quiet bed.
~Arthur Symons

When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil? When he has leveled the surface, does he no sow caraway and scatter cumin? Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in the field? His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. ~Isaiah 28:24-26 ✝

**Image via Facebook

544. When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator. ~Mahatma Gandhi

See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move
in silence…
we need silence to be able to touch souls.
~Mother Teresa

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No sky could hold
so much light–
and here comes the brimming,
the flooding and streaming
out of the clouds
and into the leaves,
glazing the creeks,
the smallest ditches!
And so many stars!
The sky seems stretched
like an old black cloth;
behind it, all
the celestial fire
we ever dreamed of!
And the moon steps lower,
quietly changing
her luminous masks, brushing
everything as she passes
with her slow hands
and soft lips–
clusters of dark grapes,
apples swinging like lost planets,
melons cool and heavy as bodies–
and the mockingbird wakes
in his hidden castle;
out of the silver tangle
of thorns and leaves
he flutters and tumbles,
spilling long
ribbons of music
over forest and river,
copse and cloud–
all heaven and all earth–
wherever the white moon
fancies her small wild prince–
field after field after field.
~Mary Oliver

Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you shining stars. ~Psalm 148:3   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

492. All that we behold is full of blessings. ~William Wordsworth

You pray in your distress and in your need;
would that you might pray also in the fullness
of your joy and in your days of abundance.
~Khalil Gibran

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Looking out across a freshly mowed lawn
Sunrises and sunsets ablaze with color
A doe running in the field with her fawn

Quiet summer nights that are mild
Followed by a raucous chatter of birds in the morn
The infectious laughter of a child

Reading a new book by candlelight
Laughing with family and friends
And summer storms through the night

So many things to be thankful for
So many things to enjoy
So many things already and so much more
~By Pamela B. in VOICES OF NATURE

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1:17   ✝

**Image via Pinterest