1415. Imagination is the soul’s happiest retreat. ~James Lendall Basford

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health,
and quiet breathing.
~John Keats

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The human body needs one kind of nourishment, while the spirit needs to be fed in other ways. One of the needs of the spirit is beauty, and nature’s vast array of beauty has a way of strengthening and healing body and soul. Creation is a place to “play in and pray in,” and when we spend time in earth’s sanctuaries, we gain a better perspective of what’s really important as our senses are heightened and ordered. Rachel Carson alleged that “those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life,” and as Keats said, our breathing becomes quieter in such places. Quieted and slow breathing does indeed promote a sense of well being and induce a healthy state of mind. Also, when we are alone with the Lord in any of nature’s settings, it is easy to feel His presence. More importantly if we listen carefully when in the midst of the natural world’s profound silences, we can hear Him speak to us.

God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds–
and I think that He has made them partly as a
balance for that kind of civilization that would
choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts.
He made the great open places for people who want
to be away from the crowds that kill all reverence.
And I think He is glad at times to have us forget our cares
and responsibilities so that we may be nearer Him–
as Jesus was when He crept away into the wilderness to pray.
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. -Mark 1:35 ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

 

 

594. The wise still seek Him. ~Author Unknown

The media is increasingly devoted to fear-inducing subject matter: terrorism, serial killers, environmental catastrophes, and so on. And yet, every day the Lord’s grace is made manifest in countless places and situations, and He showers blessings and outright miracles on our planet. ~Edited excerpt from JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young

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Let us remember that He has given us
the sun and the moon and the stars,
and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–
and all that live and move upon them.
He has given us all green things
and everything that blossoms and bears fruit–
and all that we quarrel about
and all that we have misused–
and to save us from our own foolishness,
from all our sins,
He came down to earth and gave us Himself.
~Sigrid Undset,
Nobel prize-winning Norwegian novelist

God is our refuge and strength,an ever-present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,  though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. ~Psalm 46:1-3   ✝

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572. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When the oak is felled
the whole forest echoes with its fall,
but a hundred acorns are sown
in silence by an unnoticed breeze.
~Thomas Carlyle

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A tiny acorn falls from a towering tree. An even tinier seed drops from a flowering plant. Deciduous trees and shrubs lose their sheltering leaves. Perennials die down to the shivering ground when the first hard freeze comes, and the flourishing grass withers and turns brown. At a glance there is no telling proof of life as the sun and moon pass over barren fields throughout the short, cold days and the long colder nights of late autumn and wintertime. Yet the world doesn’t pass into nothingness. What the Lord spoke into the void remains alive in dark, inner chambers where it lies in wait, waiting patiently with expectancy for moments in time when a spark will activate the memory of what Yahweh spoke, and once again life emerges from sacred, secret places. Then sunlight and rain, filled with the same kind of holiness, nurtures the new growth and urges it on to another round of completion. For in the faithful and ongoing rites of passage in springtime under the multitudinous orbs of heaven, life goes on directed by the ancient and engulfing rhyme and reason of the Maker of Heaven and Earth who is as omnipresent now as He has ever and always been.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:18   ✝

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534. The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. ~William Blake

A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.
~Starhwak

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Irish immigrants fleeing from the Great Famine of the 1840’s brought versions of Halloween to North America. For them the celebration had its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian “All Saints Day” on November 1st. The festivities of the centuries-old holiday began at sunset and ended at midnight on October 31st. Samhain meant roughly “summer’s end,” and it was a celebration of the end of the “lighter half” of the year in which the daylight hours steadily increased and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year in which the daylight hours steadily decreased.

As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.
Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.
~Excerpts from a blessing by
John O’Donohue

The land yields its harvest; God, our God blesses us. ~Psalm 67:6  ✝

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493. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility. ~Rachel Carson

If facts are seeds that later produce 
knowledge and wisdom,
then the emotions and 
the impressions of the senses
are the fertile soil 
in which the seeds must grow.
~Rachel Carson

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God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds–
and I think that He has made them partly
as a balance for that kind of civilization that
would choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts.
He made the great open places for people who want to be…
away from the crowds that kill all reverence.
And I think He is glad at times to have us forget
our cares and responsibilities so that we may be nearer Him–
as Jesus was when he crept away into the wilderness to pray.
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark 1:35   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

376. Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength, and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life. ~Joseph Conrad

Forests, lakes, and rivers,
clouds and winds, 
stars and flowers,
stupendous glaciers, 
and crystal snowflakes –
every form of animate 
or inanimate existence,
leaves its impress on the soul of man.
~Orison Swett Marden

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Eenie, meenie, miney, moe–it’s hard to decide what to sing the praises of in a garden this time of year. “Animate or inanimate” it’s all good. In mine Yahweh “leaves His impress” in my mind, heart, and soul for hour after hour, day after day He ushers in gifts that take my breath away. So it is that I’ve been able to witness for myself that His wells of mercy, grace, goodness, and forgiveness never run dry nor do His faithful provisions. My cup, like the beauty in these chalice-like blossoms, is continually filled to overflowing. And why not? Herein I’m awakened daily with birdsong, sunlight filling sapphire skies, days breaking in exhilaration, and zephyrs spreading sweetly scented aromas in places where holiness falls like misting rain. This place is where I felt the Lord’s presence again after a long lapse in my faith journey, and when I renewed my relationship with Him amidst its treasures, my roots sank deep in its soil and His being. Thus I remain deeply connected to my yard and Him through something not unlike the life-giving umbilical cord that nurtures a child in a mother’s womb. This place on earth’s sacred ground is my sanctuary, and its “walls” echo voices that not only mentor me but hopefully others with whom I share its ageless tales and “shy presences.”

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I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God. ~Deuteronomy 32:3 ✝

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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!

374. Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

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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Like Sackville-West, “flowers really do intoxicate me” but none more than Poppies and Larkspur. However, until several years ago I’d not had any success in growing either of those two. Luckily, one day at the book store another gardener revealed that the trick here in north-central Texas is to sow the seeds of both in the fall. So I took her advice and the following autumn I threw poppy and larkspur seeds in several flower beds around the yard. Et voilà, much to my amazement, up they sprouted! After the Larkspur germinated, the seedlings grew into fluffy little green mounds that looked way too diminutive and delicate to survive winter’s upcoming, bitter assaults, but that they did. Then as Spring approached and days lengthened and warmed again, the seedlings produced upward growing center stalks, the stands of which my husband referred to as little forests for indeed that’s exactly what they looked like. Then some time after they’d begun their upward advance, he ran in excitedly to tell me that one of my little “trees” had flowers opening on it. And soon all the little” forests” exploded into spiky seas of luscious colors; so inviting was the “beauty of their character,” that I visited them daily as did the swallowtail butterflies and the bumblebees. The bees and butterflies were going for the tasty nectar and I to gaze in amazement at the long-yearned-for new additions to my garden. Although new in my yard, they were hardly new to the world for I’d found out over the winter that the stately Larkspur has existed for thousands of years. I also learned that at some point in time they were given the name Larkspur because one of their petal-like sepals elongates into a spur resembling the spur of a lark’s back toe. Might that too be the hieroglyph of an angel?

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Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. ~Psalm 148:1-3 ✝

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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!

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