1027. Everyone can identify with a fragrant garden, with beauty of sunset, with the quiet of nature, with a warm and cozy cottage. ~Thomas Kincade

Many miles away there’s a shadow
on the door of a cottage
on the Shore of a dark Scottish lake.
~Sir Walter Scott

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Let there be a cottage….a real cottage…a white cottage, embowered with flowering shrubs, so chosen as to unfold a succession of flowers upon the walls, and clustering round the windows through all the months of spring, summer, and autumn—beginning, in fact, with May roses, and ending with jasmine. Let it, however, not be spring, nor summer, nor autumn—but winter, in his sternest shape. This is a most important point in the science of happiness. And I am surprised to see people overlook it, and think it matter of congratulation that winter is going; or, if coming, is not likely to be a severe one. On the contrary, I put up a petition annually, for as much snow, hail, frost, or storm, of one kind or other, as the skies can possibly afford us. Surely every body is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a winter fire-side: candles at four o’clock, warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without… ~Thomas De Quincey

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Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars… ~Psalm 148:7-9   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

654. The North wind did blow and now we have some sleet and snow, so what then will poor robin do, poor thing? ~Edited and adapted line from an old Nursery Rhyme

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Mistress Mary quite contrary,
Why doesn’t your garden grow?
Is it because the sleet and snow
Have left the pretty maids unduly cold?
~Adapted verse from 
an old Nursery Rhyme

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Yesterday an itsy bitsy spider climbed up the garden spout, but it wasn’t long before the rain came down and washed the spunky little spider out.

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Then this morning with a hickory dickory dock, the clock struck early on, and the mouse ran out to find that the temps had, as they predicted, dropped below freezing and would stay that way all the livelong day.  So with a hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle began to shed a host of woebegone tears and the dog refused to laugh when the spoon slid silently away on its ice-laden dish.

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Undaunted by such things, however, Humpty Dumpty set out to sit upon the garden wall, but a slip here and a slide there whilst on the way convinced him not to take a chance for he could plainly see that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t be able to put him or the frost covered flowers he might land upon back together again. Now as the day draws to an end, Polly has put the kettle on so that all can have a spot of tea and while safe and warm inside dream of better days.

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He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21   ✝

**Iimages via Pinterest

553. As autumn passes one remembers one’s reverence. ~Yoko Ono Lennon

Jack Frost
~By C.E. Pike



Look out! Look out!
Jack Frost is about!
He’s after our fingers and toes;
And all through the night,
The gay little sprite
Is working where nobody knows.

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He’ll climb each tree,
So nimble is he,
His silvery powder he’ll shake.
To windows he’ll creep
And while we’re asleep
Such wonderful pictures he’ll make.

Across the grass
He’ll merrily pass,
And change all its greenness to white.
Then home he will go
And laugh ho, ho ho!
What fun I have had in the night.

Frost performed “its secret ministry” as sleep held us close in the night, and when I awoke it lay twinkling like stardust atop things in the garden and on the lawn. Then as dawn’s early light kissed our few colorful autumn leaves, it turned them into glowing golden nuggets or the color of crystalized, reddish ripe persimmons or the usual, splendid oranges of advancing autumn. And as some of the leaves tumbled to the ground, winds blew them into little swirling eddies that played like happy children upon the lawn and in the street. O Autumn, your magic does indeed bring a sense of spectacular glory even as Spring and Summer’s progeny perish.

There is a playful side of nature, and there is a playful side in us which tells me that the Lord too knows something of playfulness since we are made in His image. Anyone who has seen or heard how breezes play in rustling leaves, how raindrops splatter and play on rooftops, how squirrels chase each other round and round a tree trunk has witnessed God’s sense of playfulness.

“Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?” ~Job 38:28-30   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

482. Spring flowers are long since gone. Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace. ~Louise Seymour Jones


On such a day each road is planned
To lead to some enchanted land;
Each turning meets expectancy.
The signs I read on every hand.
~Eleanor Myers Jewett

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Wait, wait, wait! What did I just hear? I think it was about something coming this way. Shhhhh! Did you hear it? Okay, okay, listen again! There it is! Did you hear it this time? All right, if the voices are yet imperceptible, perhaps the eye can see what the ear cannot hear. Let’s see! Berries are turning orange, red, or purple, spent perennial flowers are being replaced by seed pods, ornamental grasses are sending up pretty seed heads, the spider and oxblood lilies are in bloom, monarch butterflies are reappearing in the garden, the sun is moving southward, days are shortening, and rain paid us a visit last Saturday. Now do you know what I’m hearing? Well, if not, I’ll be happy to tell you what nature’s voices are saying! “Signs on every hand” are declaring that the heat beast is dying and that autumn is, slowly but surely, coming this way!

Lord it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials,
and on the meadows
let the winds go loose.
~Ranier Maria Rilke

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What a feast for the senses autumn is! Before long dying leaves will be filled with stunning colors and golden light so that their last days will thrill the eye. When the brightly colored foliage begins to fall from its branches, the leaves will swirl about like colorful party confetti in chilly autumnal winds. After they litter the ground, the crunch under our feet will charm the ear, and bright orange pumpkins prepared in scrumptious fare will gladden the taste buds. And if that’s not enough, there are migrating birds and butterflies, sparkling patches of frost on the ground, and clouds bearing blessed rain that will also add to autumn’s thrilling drama. Oh come sweet autumn, come!

He (God) makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. ~Psalm 135:7 ✝

469. The ripest peach is highest on the tree. ~James Whitcomb Riley

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:
This is luck made round. Frost can nip
the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,
a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,
the burrowing worm that coils in rot can
blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.
~A verse from a poem by Marge Piercy

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Abracadrabra! Hinkety, pinkety! Jiggity, jog! Poof! Oh wouldn’t it be lovely if with such a simple incantation we could go back in time to a place where one of our life’s greatest treasures lie! For me it would be a place filled with the sights and sounds of the sea, the fragrances of beautiful flowers, the tastes of luscious fruits, and the magic of innocence. That place would always be my childhood home in southern California where sanctity fell from on high and oozed up from the ground, and the air was charged and ripe with God’s goodness.

It was when I read this verse today that the poet’s words actually took me back for the briefest of moments to that time and place. For you see in our backyard we had a large peach tree, and I remember so well reaching up, grabbing one, though it might not have been the highest, and eating it with joyful abandon, letting the “juicy sun” drip right down from my mouth. And then there were my mama’s peach pies!!! My oh my oh my but they were the best I have ever eaten!

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:12   ✝

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. With all Creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything, and I will adore you!” (From Revelation Song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean)

356. Reflection is a flower of the mind, giving out wholesome fragrance… Desiderius Erasmus

Your writing voice is the
deepest possible reflection of who you are.
The job of your voice is not
to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences.
In your voice, your readers
should be able to hear the contents
of your mind, your heart, and your soul
~Meg Rosoff

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A spring morn,
A summer’s eve,
A gladsome spirit…

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A soaking rain,
A lawn sprinkler’s whirl,
A well watered garden…

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A single rose,
A blazing sunset,
A solitary serenity…

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A flower garden,
A lowering hush,
A steeping sanctitude…

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A sacred Sabbath,
A timely sermon,
A pastor’s wisdom…

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A holy benediction,
A Franciscan prayer,
A forgiving Savior’s love…

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A cool, crisp day,
A frost tipped lawn,
An end to summer’s siege…

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A chilly, autumn night,
A yellow harvest moon,
A heart full of thanksgiving…

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A fallen leaf,
A heavy, wintry frost,
A magical majesty under a sapphire sky…

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Years ago in trying to cope with undesired limitations induced by chronic pain, I realized I could keep myself up and out of a downward spiraling gloom by writing down 3 to 5 things each day that charmed or delighted me both outwardly and inwardly. I also found that I could find uplifting joy in photos of objects and colors in the natural world. Finding the goodness in God and His Creation as well as being thankful for His gifts is a light that showed me the way out of moments of dark desperation.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. ~1 Corinthians 13:8-12 ✝

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!

**Some photos via Pinterest

278. Winter is the time for comfort – it is the time for home. ~Edith Sitwell

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He knows no winter, he who loves the soil,
For, stormy days, when he is free from toil,
He plans his summer crops, selects his seeds
From bright-paged catalogues for garden needs.
When looking out upon frost-silvered fields,
He visualizes autumn’s golden yields;
He sees in snow and sleet and icy rain
Precious moisture for his early grain;
He hears spring heralds in the storm’s turmoil.
He knows no winter, he who loves the soil.
~Sudie Stuart Hager

…and the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil.  For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as He delighted in prospering your ancestors…  ~Deuteronomy 30:9  ✝

272. I love snow, snow, and all the forms of radiant frost.  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,–
the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes,
noiselessly transforming the world,
the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter,
and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery
all objects upon which they fall.
~John Burroughs

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Yesterday was a double, good whammy kind of day, and the whamminess began and ended in the heavens.  Right after first light little, bitty snow flakes began to fall, and by noon the frigid, gray day had been punctuated with a lovely smattering of snow.  The north wind was a contributor in the snowscapade because at times it seemed to be blowing down even more of the “exquisite crystals” from the white clouds of heaven’s expanse.  The second whammy played out when sparkling stars and a slender slice of the ancient moon punctuated heaven’s then blackened dome and prettified to a greater extent the frosting of snow on the ground.

Most nights I go for a short walk before bedtime.  Walking alone at 9 or 10 o’clock at night is a delicious experience.  The streets are empty of traffic and most folks are inside watching TV or getting ready for bed.  Especially in wintertime for some reason, it feels like I’m the only one left in the universe except for God.  And His presence is so large and close I feel like I could just extend my hand and feel it slip into His.  When I see my exhaling breath as one can when it’s terribly cold, I feel as if He’s just breathed those first breaths of life into me once again.  The air is so cold and crisp and invigorating, and the solitude is filled with His holy peacefulness.

–then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  ~Genesis 2:7  ✝

270. Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. ~Hugh Macmillan

She (nature) withers the plant down to the root
that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger.
She calls her family together
within her inmost home to prepare them for being
scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.
~Hugh Macmillan

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Early morning light steals across straw-colored grass and slowly warms the biting chill of a February dawn.  Splinters of sunlight glisten and sparkle as they move over the garden’s frost-laden, bare bones.  From my vantage point inside I can make out a lone, reddish leaf, not quite ready to be a memory, clinging tenaciously to a branch in the ornamental cherry tree.  It reminds me that a wellspring of life lies dormant below in nature’s “inmost home” where “her life is gathered into her heart.”  My attention is diverted next to the dogs I hear barking up and down the alleyway.  The feral cats must be on the move in search of food.  Then birds begin to show up at the feeders and high above their flutterings I see the first squirrels running the high wires.  Soon birdsong breaks morn’s silence, and lights start coming on in the once darkened houses around us.  The neighborhood is coming alive and gearing up for the day, but no, not I.   Since retirement I’ve been able to linger as long as I like most mornings and from my well-situated chair watch the days and the changing seasons pass over my yard.  Nature’s recurrent patterns and rhythms have always comforted me, and it’s delightful to be able to partake of her daily feasts.  Though evidence of God’s grace is readily apparent in the spectacular moments of life, perhaps sweeter are the ones ferreted out of day to day, ordinary living.  These are blessings that are not unlike the contrast of a mass of diamonds scattered out on a dark piece of velvet in which all are lovely but none seems particularly more special than the other and that of a singular diamond’s loveliness on the same piece of fabric which in its aloneness is brilliantly stunning.

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.  ~Psalm 33:4  ✝

256. The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for Him there. ~George Bernard Shaw

Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies.
I hold you here root and all, in my hand flower–
but if I could understand what you are
root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is!
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Whenever I read Tennyson’s poem or see a garden wall I think of Burnett’s novel, THE SECRET GARDEN, and then I find myself trying to imagine what Tennyson’s crannied wall and the garden walls at Misselthwaite Manor looked like.  I’ve read that walled growing spaces date back to the earliest of Persian gardens and that their function, especially in the northern temperate zones, was to shelter a garden from frost and wind.  Since purportedly the sheltering walls raised the ambient temperature inside a garden by several degrees, I’m guessing they were made of heavy stones.  Although the garden walls in Tennyson’s poem and Hodgson’s novel no doubt were constructed similarly and to serve the same purpose, the practicality of such, is not the point of the two tales.  The two literary pieces have to do with the impact of encountering the Ancient of Days or the contemplation of His mystery that often takes place within a garden’s walls.  Every garden in a very real sense is a piece of Eden, and in Eden man inevitably encountered Him by whose Hands both he and it were made.  As Tennyson grasped the entirety of a little flower in his hand, he voiced a firm belief that comprehending its mystery would lead to an unraveling of the ultimate conundrum, man and God.  And in THE SECRET GARDEN the lives of two children were resurrected and subsequently infused with that same mysterious “stuff of life” after holy “place” and “elemental” grace had had their way with them.

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; that there he put man whom he had formed…They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze…  ~Genesis 2:8 and Genesis 3:8a  ✝