1352. If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. ~Robert Brault

Nor would He have created blue skies, nor sandy beaches nor stars above, nor beautiful flowers, nor falling snow, and on and on the list of clues goes. God wants to speak to us through all that He has made. All of Creation gives pointers into Yahweh’s mystery because it is part of His grand plan that we draw near Him for in so doing we discover our divinely-inspired and eternal connection to Abba, our Loving Father.

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The most beautiful thing
we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good
as dead: his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

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Einstein is right; it’s impossible for science to explain everything and in the pause of wonder, rapt in awe, we come to appreciate the endless and vast wonders of what God’s mind imagined, what His words spoke, and what His hands created. Thus in being brought close to the heart and mind of God, one’s sense of childlike astonishment returns the I nexpressible joy and utter excitement of life. And it helps us to know on a more conscious level that there’s more to life than what we can understand and explain. That’s why I like to think of the unfathomable mysteries around us as sacred benedictions, blessing at the close of earth’s daily holy orders that encourage us to stay in the Lord’s keeping and to continue looking for more revelations of the Holy One’s nature and intent for our lives.

Who…is like You, LORD? Who is like You—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? ~Excerpted passage from Exodus 15:11  ✝

**These images were taken in the springtime, but that chair and others like it are always in close proximity to my door, and I sit in them on most everyday of the year even if it’s for just a short while.

1339. There is an ancient tribal proverb I once heard in India. It says that before we can see properly we must first shed our tears to clear the way. ~Libba Bray

Glory be to you, O God,
for the grace of new beginnings
placed before me in every moment
and encounter, good or bad, of life.
~Edited quote by
John Philip Newell

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Wood as found in the natural world is, in and of itself, beautiful; the same is true of marble. However if wood is to be used in the making of a violin for example, some tools needed to hollow and shape the wood accordingly are chisels, knives, saws, scrapers. groove cutters, hole reamers, and peg shavers. And some tools needed to gouge and shape something out of marble are chisels, hammers, drills, rasps, files, and abrasive sandpapers, all of which in both instances can and do draw blood and extract the proverbial “pound of flesh” if used on we mortals. And the point of such is? Well, in a way these processes correlate to human suffering and what it can and often does achieve in a person’s life. For it is not until the wood is gouged out and shaped that its “voice,” AKA it’s exquisite sound, is released from the wood to bless our ears, and it is not until someone like Michelangelo gouges around and in a piece of marble that magnificent angels appear from deep inside the marble’s being to bless our eyes. So it was that when reading a comment today by a fellow blogger who has endured much “gouging,” it finally dawned on me in light of her struggles and mine as well as those of others that it is not until the soul is “gouged” out that we mortals are able to give “voice” in some way to garnered wisdom and profound truths. Thus trials should be seen as gifts to be embraced and celebrated, not mourned and regretted. However being appreciative of pain is something most of us find difficult at best. Clearly though “had the eye no tear, the soul would have no rainbow” nor would the dark depths of the soul ever come into healing light. The passages of Scripture below as well as others tell us to be “content” and even “thankful” about losses and painful trials for they are blessings brought forth from the scraping, gouging, and shaping the Lord has done and continues to do in our souls in order to set free “earth” angels, to give life to sacred and powerful voices, to fulfill ordained purposes, and to help bring about the memory of what we left in childhood that my dear friend calls the “soft glory of our being.”

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~James 1:2-4  ✝

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ~Romans 12:12  ✝

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:10  ✝

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~1 Peter 5:10  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; special effects done on by me on spicy

1317. When I am among the trees, they give off such hints of gladness. ~Excerpted and combined lines from a poem by Mary Oliver

Autumn is the American season.The leaves
take fire on the trees and hang there flaming.
~Excerpted and combined lines
by Archibald MacLeish

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MacLeish is right; the leaves hang in varying shades of flaming red and orange and yellow. And I’m happy to report that it seems the weather guys were a tad overly zealous about the forecast last night. Although it did freeze, the temperature did not fall far enough below freezing to vanquish autumn’s glory after all. Now tonight may be a different story. But we’ll see. My grandfather used to say that anyone who tried to predict the weather in Texas was either a fool or a jackass because ya just never know for sure what the weather’s gonna do in the Lone Star State. However since NOAA is predicting temps in the low 20’s tonight and just in case they’re right this time, I went out today and took one last photographic look at autumn’s splendor, not only that which aflame hangs but also that which ultimately falls to the ground.

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Four hundred year old trees,
who draw aliveness from the earth
like smoke from the heart of God,
we come, not knowing you
will hush our little want to be big;

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we come, not knowing
that all the work is so much
busyness of mind; all
the worry, so much
busyness of heart.

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As the sun warms anything near,
being warms everything still
and the great still things
that outlast us

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make us crack l
ike leaves of laurel
releasing a fragrance
that has always been.
~Mark Nepo, In Muir Woods

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord… ~Excerpt from 1 Chronicles 16:33  ✝

**In the photos are leaves from an assortment of local trees including my Japanese Maple as well as fallen leaves both conglomerates of such and individual ones on my front sidewalk. My favorite was the carpet of yellow Gingko Biloba in the yard of a house my daughter used to own.

1291. The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered at times over the garden… ~Excerpted and adapted line by Henri-Frédéric Amiel

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In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. ~Rose G. Kingsley

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And at no season, save perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as we find in October and November when a cooler version of summer is in effect in Texas. ~Edited and adapted quote by Rose G. Kingsley

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I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud and too hot. ~Edited and adapted line by Lin Yutang

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So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. ~Lin Yutang

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Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. ~Lin Yutang

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It knows the limitations of life and its content. ~Lin Yutang

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Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? ~Job 12:12  ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard today. The yard may not has as many blooms now as the riotous days of its early splendor, but it has more than enough to keep feeding my soul.

1287. And all the daughters of the year shall dance! ~Excerpted line from “To Autumn” by William Blake

We should consider every day lost
in which we have not danced at least once.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

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I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance with each other in autumn’s splendor

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I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance in the slant of its golden hours

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I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance beneath skies of China blues

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I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance amid the glory of colorful leaves

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I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance alongside blossoms laden with dew

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I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance in winds that speak of change

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I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance rings around big plump pumpkins

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I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And you and I shall dance as Lover with His beloved

Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. ~Excerpt from Jeremiah 31:13  ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie except the two images in the collage at the top

1254. The Holy Spirit in every single soul “prays in us with unspeakable groanings.” ~Excerpted from a quote by Edith Stein

Holy Spirit, you are welcome here! Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere!
May you have a truly blessed Sabbath and feel the touch of Christ’s presence!

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Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
CHORUS
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
~Excerpted lyrics written by
Cyril Garrett Neville, Gaynielle H. Neville,
Hack Bartholomew, Norman Caesar

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~John 14:26  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1248. I am forced to conclude that God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment, just to prove that all that diversity could be crammed into one section of earth… ~Author Mary Lasswell

The stars at night – are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas.
The prairie sky – is wide and high
Deep in the heart of Texas.
The sage in bloom – is like perfume
Deep in the heart of Texas…
~Excerpted lyrics from a song
by June Hershey

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Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession.
Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.
Like most passionate nations, Texas has 
its own
history based on, but not limited by, facts.
~John Steinbeck

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I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study and the passionate possession of all Texans. ~John Steinbeck, 1962

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And, “Texans for the most part have never learned to be dull,” accurately quipped Randolph Campbell.

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As I’ve said repeatedly the intense heat of the Texas summer has always been difficult for me to tolerate. It forces me to stay indoors much more than I like, and being separated from the earth and God’s voice in the natural world starves my spirit. However, I have come to love much of the unique Texas experience, and I am thankful that the Lord created the man or woman who invented air-conditioning. I’m grateful too that our house has lots of windows so I can at least see my yard during times when it’s just too miserably hot to be out in it.. Also after I bought a digital camera, I’m able to save the garden’s glory in photographs that help me make it through the times when the summer heat temporarily robs the landscape of much of its beauty. How blessed are we that the work of His hands is as apparent as ever in His world.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:19 ✝

**Images found on the Internet, Pinterest, and Pixabay; collages by Natalie