1448. Flowers rewrite soil, water, and sunshine into petal’d poetry. ~Terri Guillemets

Flowers have spoken to me 
more
than I can tell in written words.
They are the hieroglyphics of angels,
loved by all men
for 
the beauty of their character,
though few can decipher even
fragments of their meaning.
~Lydia M. Child

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In July and August when week after week it’s beyond insanely hot, when day after day it’s miserably humid, when weeds grow higher and faster than grass, when hordes of mosquitos and armies of flies launch endless assaults, and the flowers of spring have long been gone, I begin to entertain the idea that it might just better to hire someone to come with a bulldozer and level my flower beds.

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This has become an even more freqent a consideration as I’ve aged and found it harder and harder physically to manage it all. But then a day or days come in the spring when I get up and migrate to my chair that looks out at a large portion of our yard, and I see through our oversized glass patio doors why I not only created my garden but also why I absolutely cannot part with it.

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The millefleurs patterns of flowers and leaves are reminiscent of old tapestries and antique porcelain which take my breath away and transport me back to times long and forever gone. Moreover it numbs the madness of world and the trials that come as I remember poets of old, books like THE SECRET GARDEN, and the flower-lined streets and alleys of my childhood. It is my haven, my sanctuary, my sacred space, and in and of it my soul feeds and my spirit takes flight. These photos I took through the glass doors do not do it justice, but perhaps you too can get a sense of its glory.

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. ~Song of Songs 2:12 ✝

1442. Through the dancing poppies stole A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul. ~John Keats

That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful
means that we are less alone,
that we are more deeply inserted into existence
than the course of a single life
would lead us to believe.
~John Berger

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Years ago when I first began gardening, should anyone ask me what my favorite flower was, my reply as always was the rose. And I still adore them, but that was before I had seen a poppy or a morning glory nor clematis nor hollyhock nor lilies and on and only the list grows. Now I can honestly say it’s a toss up. It really depends on what’s blooming at the time. I would never have come to have grown either poppies or morning glories had I not seen them at a plant sale on a driveway in a neighborhood not too far from mine. I instantly fell in love with both of them. The owner of the house who was having the plant sale told me that morning glory seeds were easy to start, the trick was to soak them in what began as tepid water for 24 hours before I sewed them in the ground in spring. But she said, the poppy seeds must be sown in our area in the fall in order for them to germinate and grow roots deep enough to put up their tall stems and glorious flowers. (In colder climes with much later warm-ups, sowing them in autumn is not the thing to do.) So that summer I had my first crop of morning glories and the following autumn I sowed my first seeds for the poppies which bloomed the following spring. Since then it has been a love affair I never tire of. Why all of this now, you might ask, since it’s not spring yet and autumn has long since past. Well I hadn’t been outside in my yard lately, but today when I opened the back door to feed the cats, I saw poppy plants about 6 inches tall already, and of usual childhood squeals of joy arose from deep down inside and became air borne. I was a bit late sowing poppy seeds this last autumn and was fearful that perhaps I wouldn’t have any this year, but one of the things about seeds that I absolutely adore is that often all on their own they fall from a spent flower and lie in wait for the proper time to germinate and spring up anew with no help from human hands. So I went back into my photo archives and found some poppy and morning glory photos to dazzle you with this week. Why the heck not? I can as easily put a quote on a few of my favorite things as I can on ones I find on Pinterest and Pixabay, right?! Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my…

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…” ~Matthew 6:28 ✝

**Poppy photo taken by Natalie in her yard

1440. I’d rather have flowers on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Edited quote by Emma Goldman

Natalie, Natalie ever so merry,
how does your garden grow?
With pinks and stock,
as well as tulips and hyacinth,
and a teeny, tiny daffodil.

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But wait, it’s January! It’s wintertime! And tomorrow night may bring bitter cold temps with freezing rain or sleet and snow into north central Texas. So how can it be that her garden grows anything at all right now? Well, you see there’s a table out here in Natalieworld that’s reserved for such things. So how does that work? Is it a lipped table laden with dirt like a flower pot? No, no, no, but there’s the grocery store where she shops, and this time of year, they sell little pots that have already been planted with bulbs and she buys flowers every Sunday because little Natalie Scarberry, like Claude Monet, “must have flowers, always, always” be they cut flowers or bulbs in pots.

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For those of you who are new to my blog or for those of you who may have forgotten, Natalieworld is the part of our house that we added onto the back of the garage for my mother when she could no longer live alone. It connects to the main part of the house only through a small hallway that leads to the laundry room in one directions and the kitchen in the other direction, and so there is a distinct sense of privacy about it. After Mom passed away, I thought  since it would make a bigger master bedroom and bath, James and I might want us to move out here from our bedroom in the main part of the house. But he said no; he wanted me to have it as a studio for all my creative endeavors. So out went Mom’s furniture and in came new desks and file cabinets and book cases and two recliner rocking chairs–et voilà, a marvelous studio complete with big windows and a French door looking out on my back yard with its greenhouse, numerous flower beds, bird houses and feeders. Now as my 3 grandchildren have grown and spent time with me out here they’ve all declared that one day they too will have a Natalieworld of their own.

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“What a happy woman I am living in a garden, with books, babies, birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them! Yet my town acquaintances look upon it as imprisonment, and would rend the air with their shrieks if condemned to such a life. Sometimes I feel as if I were blest above all my fellows in being able to find my happiness so easily. I believe I should always be good if the sun always shone, and could enjoy myself very well in Siberia on a fine day. And what can life in town offer in the way of pleasure to equal the delight of any one of the calm evenings I have had this month sitting alone at the foot of the verandah steps, with the perfume of young larches all about, and then moon hanging low over the beeches, and the beautiful silence made only more profound in its peace by the croaking of distant frogs and hooting of owls?” ~Elizabeth von Arnim

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…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…and work with your hands… ~Excerpts from Thessalonians 4:11 ✝

**All photos taken today by Natalie

1364. The force of Spring – mysterious, fecund, powerful beyond measure. ~Michael Garofalo

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This morning I used a quote that talked of magic, and I was quickly reminded that Scripture warns us about the guiles of the dark arts. But if one consults a dictionary, he/she will find the definition which was my intent in using the word: magic (n.) a mysterious quality of enchantment; (adj.) mysteriously enchanting. For you see, Creation and the mystery of its Maker, so often enchant me with a reverent sense of awe and wonder especially when as if by magic Spring brings amazing arrays of beauty and splendor out of what once appeared to be stark nothingness. Here are some samples of the wondrous “magic” I found in my yard on this first day of spring.

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The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven—
All’s right with the world!
~Robert Browning

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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

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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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Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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O God, from your life the fire of the rising sun streams forth.
You are the life-flow of creation’s rivers,
the sap of blood in our veins,
earth’s fecundity, the fruiting of trees, creatures’ birthing,
the conception of new thought, desire’s origin.
All of these are of you, O God, and I am of you.
~J. Philip Newell

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. ~Song of Songs 2:11-12   ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

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

1346. Perfumes are the feelings of flowers. ~Heinrich Heine

Flowers always make people
better, happier, and more helpful;
they are sunshine, food
and medicine to the mind.
~Luther Burbank

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I mentioned in a post recently that every Sunday when we go to the grocery store to do our shopping, I buy flowers to put on my desk. And this week instead of cut flowers, I found a springtime mini bulb garden that had been planted in a pot. It was filled with tulips, crocus, dutch iris, hyacinth, and the tiniest little golden daffodils. The hyacinth in the photo above was just opening when I bought the potted garden, and for days now as it opened further I’ve enjoyed it’s heavenly perfume.And as the week has progressed, the crocus has opened as have the tulips and the iris. Then this morning, the last thing to push out of its papery sheaths were the daffodils, and that’s when squeals of delight could be heard far and wide. What absolute joy and great fun can come from the simplest of things! I’ve heard it said that simple minds have simple pleasures, and if that implies that I’m a simple-minded simpleton then so be it. For as the temperature outside plummets below the freezing mark again tonight, the fact that springtime is happening right here next to computer is just way, way too much fun, and simple as that may be, it brings me more than enough immeasurable joy to care not what others may think of me.

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Some women feel the need to act
like they’re never scared, needy or hurt;
like they’ve been hardened by the world.
I think that’s dishonest.
It’s ok to feel delicate sometimes.
Real beauty is in the fragility of one’s petals.
A rose that never wilts isn’t a rose at all.
~Edited quote by Crystal Woods

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. ~Proverbs 27:9  ✝

**All photos were taken by me; I took them outside however instead of where they sit by my computer because I don’t like the way a flash alters the colors of flowers.

1334. Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Willis Peterson said, “A click of the shutter, a crank of the film, and you’ve caught forever a significant bit of life,” and I could not agree more. But to each of us the “significant bit of life” we choose to capture photographically may be vastly different. For me it is the natural world in general, and my garden of flowers in particular. So when winter begins to weigh heavily on me, I turn to my archives to find “significant bits” from previous years to lift off the weight of lackluster winter. While I share Ehrmann’s prayer with you, I decided I’d share some of my treasured “bits.”

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Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may
I not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times.

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May I still remember the bright
hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my
childhood, or dreaming on
the margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

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Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me
friendly with myself.

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Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

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Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

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And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time’s olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening’s
twilight find me gentle still.
~Max Ehrmann

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Let us not depreciate Earth. The sun was like a great visiting presence that stimulated and took its due from all animal energy. When it flung wide its cloak and stepped down over the edge of the fields at evening, it left behind it a spent and exhausted world. ~Willa Cather

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By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. ~Psalm 42:8  ✝