515. If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. ~Albert Einstein

Child of the pure, unclouded brow
And dreaming eyes of wonder!
Though time be fleet and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy tale.
~Lewis Carroll

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The Toadstool

THERE ‘s a thing that grows by the fainting flower,
And springs in the shade of the lady’s bower;
The lily shrinks, and the rose turns pale,
When they feel its breath in the summer gale,
And the tulip curls its leaves in pride,
And the blue-eyed violet starts aside;
But the lily may flaunt, and the tulip stare,
For what does the honest toadstool care?
She does not glow in a painted vest,
And she never blooms on the maiden’s breast;
But she comes, as the saintly sisters do,
In a modest suit of a Quaker hue.
And, when the stars in the evening skies
Are weeping dew from their gentle eyes,
The toad comes out from his hermit cell,
The tale of his faithful love to tell.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

They send forth their children as a flock: their little ones dance about. ~Job 21:11   ✝

**Today is my daughter’s birthday, and although she’s a grown woman with children of her own, I always loved reading her fairy tales when she was young.

249. The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion

What pure delight a garden brings!
What joy in watching growing things.
Up springing from the sodden mold
Their wealth of beauty to unfold–
‘Tis here my spirit soars and sings!

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To note the flash of painted wings,
And hark the bees soft murmurings
In quests of sweets the blossoms hold;
Where all gray days are days of gold,
Strolling its paths bright wanderings,
What pure delight!
~Louella C. Poole

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My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to pasture his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies.  ~Song of Solomon 6:2  ✝

213. Hope is the extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them. ~Vincent McNabb

Ah! the year is slowly dying,
And the wind in tree-top sighing,
Chant his requiem…
High in the air wild birds are calling,
Nature’s solemn hymn.
~Mary Weston Fordham

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With lows in the teens and 20’s, the few things that had been hanging on have now perished along with their joyous songs of life.  In their place after last week’s arctic blast more and more strains of “nature’s solemn hymn” can be heard.  All is not lost, however.  The change of melodies is a part of God’s grand design, and I find strength and hope in watching His plan play out each year.  In fact on days when I feel really out of sorts, I’ve learned to go outside and find something to do even if I have to bundle up to accomplish it.  It might be nothing more than refilling the bird feeders and making sure all the overwintering wildlife have water, but the time out there steadies my inner compass again.  Feeling earth’s heartbeat and subsequently getting in step with its rhythms, also quells any sense of hopelessness brought on by the trials of life and the ongoing reports of a world torn by conflict and chaos.  It’s like when I first felt my child move in my womb.  I knew the sensation which felt like the wings of a butterfly barely grazing my uterus was the unmistakable touch of something sacred and right stirring inside me.  The Lord’s movement in my inner life is much the same.  It may be an ever so slight brush against my soul, but I know I’ve been touched by His loving Presence and am being held firmly in the arms of His grace regardless of what transpires with men gone mad.

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him.  See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.  He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.  ~Isaiah 40:10-11  ✝