1040. It’s not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

The human spirit needs
places where nature
has not been rearranged
by the hand of man.
~Author Unknown

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.42.33 PM.png

The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning

in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather

plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body’s world,
instinct

and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
sweetness
and tangibility,

to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is —

so it enters us —
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.
~Poem by Mary Oliver

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering the waters. ~Genesis 1:2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

 

901. How mysterious you are, Lovely One! ~Mary Lambert

In my garden fair is a trellis
where climbs a fetching Moonflower,
a curious, twining vine whose blossoms
hide in daylight and open only to the night.
~Edited excerpt from a poem
by Troost Avenue

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 5.30.30 PM

Oh white blooming moon, you’ve been
Confined in a bud below the day’s bright sun
Shutting yourself in until day is done,
But now dazzling flower that mimics the moon
You’ve unfurled to light up night’s darkness where
Sacred secrets can be told ‘neath a veil of midnight blue
For the light of the moon is the only language
To which you, your majesty, hearken.
~Natalie Scarberry

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? ~Psalm 8:3-4 ✝

**I actually got up and out early enough this brisk morn to capture a moonflower before the light caused it to close completely and perish. As you can see, her edges have started to wrinkle however. Moonflowers are in the same family as morning glories, and you can see a few blue ones over and behind it starting to unfurl as the “moonie” closes.

716. Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light. ~John Ruskin

The peonies bloom, white and pink.
And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl,
A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation,
For the flower is given to them as their home.
~Czeslaw Milosz

Screen shot 2015-04-27 at 6.05.21 PM

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly, 
and there it is again —
beauty, the brave, the exemplary, 
blazing open.
~Excerpt from Mary Oliver’s
peom about peonies

My mother and her sister, my Aunt Johnnie, had a knack with peonies.  Theirs always bloomed year after year, even when they moved them around the yard even though the experts say they need to be put in the ground and left alone.  I, on the other hand, have done exactly that and yet mine only seem to bloom when that have a mind too.  And I was thrilled to see that this was the year for two of them to actually have a few blooms.  But all the rains and storms we’ve had have taken a toll on their beautiful blooms, and so I was able to get only a few pictures as you can see in my collage above.  The lighter one has the most heavenly fragrance, and it’s such a delight to go out in the morning or the late afternoon and be greeted by its sweet aroma.  Sadly it suffered more from the rain and storms, and so I blurred the outer edges a bit to cover up some of its browning spots.

Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. ~Song of Songs 4:16 ✝

446. Petunia, you are a jewel of the dawn; your horn is thick and bright as the morning. ~Steve Gunther

Petunia, you raise your face
and trumpet your song to the midday.
Your song is delicate and frail.
Your green fingers tremble in the smile of the eye
like the hum of a bee lost in the torpor of your kiss.

DSC_0037

Your head nods with the gentle breeze.
You are at peace.
Your color is your happiness.
Petunia, open your eye,
spread your fragile smile to the moon.

DSC_0009

Your petals drink in the night,
the cool air sits on you
weightless, trickling
from your fluted flowers,
from your fingers.

~Excerpted and adapted verses from a poem by Steve Gunther

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn. ~Psalm 57:7-8   ✝

Sweet Jesus, fill us with the mercy You bled and draw us back unto Yourself!

 

354. An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision. ~St. Thomas Aquinas

Image

Have you been pleasantly surprised lately?
The very gift of life is a surprise.
When we stay alert, we notice how astounding
even the simplest sensation can be:
the tapping of fingers on a keyboard,
sniffing the fragrance of lilacs,
savoring a fresh, juicy strawberry,
hearing a convocation of crows,
seeing the sun pierce through a leaf on the windowsill,
being captivated by an angelic vignette.
~Edited passage from a newsletter
from http://www.gratefulness.org

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… ~Psalm 91:11 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

343. Christ is risen! — Ye sleeping buds, break. Open your green cerements, and wake to fragrant blossoming for His sweet sake. ~Margaret French Patton

Image

See the land, her Easter keeping
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices
Fields and gardens hail the spring;
Shaughs and woodlands ring with voices,
While the birds build and sing.

You, to whom your Maker granted
Powers to those sweet birds unknown,
Use the craft by God implanted;
Use the reason not your own.
Here, while heaven and earth rejoices,
Each his Easter tribute bring –
Work of fingers, chant of voices,
Like the birds who build and sing.
~Charles Kingsley

Image

On a faraway spring morning, in a remote corner of the Roman empire, soldiers crucified a Galilean Jew known as Jesus of Nazareth. ~Colin J. Humphreys

This Nazarene, Jesus, had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
He had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
He had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
He had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered death.
He committed no crime, yet He was crucified.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” ~Mark 16:6

Image

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

335. Here are the sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight: with wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white, and taper fingers catching at all things, to bind them all about. ~John Keats

By helpful fingers taught to twine
Around its trellis, grew
A delicate and dainty vine;
The bursting bud, its blossom sign,
Inlaid with honeyed-dew.
~Hattie Howard

Image

Between each row of houses in Belmont Shore, California, where I grew up ran an alley which was the way to get in and out of the rear facing garages; it was also a favorite place to ride my bike or skates as well as being a frequented path to the homes of neighboring friends. Besides the garages the alley skirted the back yards of the houses and on many of the fences grew Sweet Pea vines. Not only were the flowers of these vines lovely and fragrant, but for a curious and imaginative child born in and of and wedded to one of the few remaining years of innocence the world would ever know they were the home of enchanted and magical fairy creatures.

Hauntingly unforgettable indeed have been the gardens in my childhood, but it was more than just the colors, the beautiful flowers and the lovely fragrances. Along with being mesmerized by all that splendor, I was courted by the Holy One, Yahweh, whose sole intent was to capture my heart and reveal His own. Though the world and its deceptions fought long and hard to turn me away from Jesus, He would not and did not give up on what had always been His.

The world is very old;
But every Spring
It groweth young again,
And fairies sing.
~Author Unknown

Image

With their richly colored, yet small, delicate flowers, the sweet pea’s history can be traced back to 17th century Italy when a Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani, sent its seeds to England. Then Henry Eckford, a Scottish nurseryman, cross-bred the original flower and created the colorful and intensely sweet scented blossom that became the floral sensation of the late Victorian era.

Image

The Song of the “Sweet Pea Fairies”

Here Sweet Peas are climbing,
(Here’s the Sweet Pea rhyme!)
Here are little tendrils,
Helping them to climb.

Here are sweetest colours,
Fragrance very sweet;
Here are silky pods of peas,
None for us to eat!

Here’s a fairy sister,
Trying on with care.
Such a grand new bonnet
For the baby there.

Does it suit you Baby?
Yes, I really think
Nothing’s more becoming
Than this pretty pink!

~Cicely Mary Barker

Image

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15-16 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

**My sweet pea vines are climbing but not blooming yet so I’m using images here that I found on Pinterest.