684. God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther

Morning is the best
 of all times in the garden.
The sun is not yet hot.  
Sweet vapors rise from the earth.
Night dew clings to the soil 
and makes plants glisten.
Birds call to one another.  
Bees are already at work.
~William Longgood

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Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it’s a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.
~Pueblo Blessing

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ~Isaiah 55:12   ✝

546. God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. ~Martin Luther

The Fall of the year
is more than three months
bounded by an equinox and a solstice.
It is a summing up without
the finality of year’s end.
~Hal Borland

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As we backed out of the garage not long ago, we saw this, the clearly defined, edge of a line of the thunderstorms. As I took the photograph, it occurred to me that in a much slower progression, that’s the way all of the aberrations of nature pass over the earth during the course of a year. Sunny days come and go, hot and cold periods come and go, flowers come and go, fruitings and harvests come and go–in other words God’s good provisions are always in a never-ending flux of comings and goings. Autumn then, as Borland says, is indeed a summing up of what’s happened throughout a year’s trip around the sun, and thankfully it only takes away what the gardener holds dear a little bit at a time. We may be just steps away from winter, but given earth’s history of unfailing continuance we are not too many steps further away from spring. So to recall a familiar phrase, all’s well that ends well, especially when we’re blessed with the divine promise for more. Is there any way God’s enduring love and goodness could be even the slightest bit more grand!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
~Psalm 136:1-9    ✝

491. Every vine climbing and blossoming tells of love and joy. ~Robert G. Ingersoll

That is faith, cleaving to Christ,
twining around Him
with all the tendrils of our heart,
as the vine does round its support.
~Alexander Maclaren

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Like all else in Creation, vines remind me of the nearness of God perhaps because they reflect the way He wraps His arms around His children and keeps them close to Himself. In that way we go together like a hat and glove as they say for we are to the Lord as the branch is to the vine, as sheep are to the shepherd, as the flower is to the stem, as the bride is to her groom, as the bird is to air, as the fish is to water, as the star is to the sky, as the sun is to the moon, as the plant is to the seed, as the grass is to the dew, and as the babe is to its mother. Simply put, we are inextricably linked to Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth, and it is from our loving Source that we gather strength and energy. His supporting and sustaining provisions draw us into His holy web of life and subsequently move us closer and closer to the Light. In the Gospel of John are the “I am” sayings of Jesus which give us wonderful descriptions of the way Christ connects with us:

“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the light of the world.”
“I am the gate for the sheep.”
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”
“I am the resurrection, and the life.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I am the true vine.”

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Return to us, O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. ~Psalm 80:14-15   ✝

**Three images above Scripture via Pinterest

452. She told me about rolling hills covered with cornfields and treeless miles of land without water. ~A. LaFaye

I have no hostility to nature,
but a child’s love to it.
I expand and live in
the warm day like corn and melons.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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August is upon us now with its usual dry nastiness and so the “parcels of corn” have indeed become “brown and sere.” Though their yield was harvested some time ago and the plants left to die under the blistering summer sun, I think their golden-brown, curled flag-leaves create a kind of unique beauty. And now that the farmers have begun the process of removing the dry, dead remains, even the barren, stub-filled fields have an intriguing eye-appeal. Although both my parents were raised on farms in farming communities, I had my very first experience with growing a crop like corn a few summers ago when our daughter and her husband decided to sow some corn in their inner city garden. Once the seedlings got going, it seemed like almost every day for a while that the stalks grew taller and taller. Then as the tassels appeared, the stalks began to buzz with the constant hum of more honey bees than I’ve ever seen in a suburban garden. Later on when the pale yellow silks started emerging, our excitement heightened again as the bees buzzed on harvesting the huge amounts of yellowish pollen falling from the floppy tassels. At that point I became so fascinated by the goings on that I went to the internet and was truly dumfounded to read that each piece of pollen that lands on a silk produces only one of the two to four hundred kernels that typically appear on a single ear of corn. How amazing is that! When it was all said and done, not only was their small crop of corn the tastiest any of us had ever eaten, but it also aroused in us and our offspring a sense of respect for the generations of farmers within our family lineage as well as for the ancient civilizations whose cultures had had a marked and ongoing influence on the global landscape. But more than anything, we marveled, as we always do, at the wonders of Creation and its Maker.

May the people praise you, O God; may all the people praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God will bless us. ~Psalm 67:5-7   ✝

Thank you, 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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

444. We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the Secret sits in the middle and knows. ~Robert Frost

Into my life, larger than life, beautiful, you strolled in.
I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine,
in my camouflage rooms.
~Carol Anne Duffy

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You are my hiding place. You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. ~Excerpted lyrics by Michael James Ledner

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O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. ~Song of Songs 2.14   ✝

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You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. ~Psalm 32:7   ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

443. August bursts on the scene like a matchflame in the heat and haze of crimson sunsets. ~Edited excerpt from a poem by Elizabeth Maua Taylor

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When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend



all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking



of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.
~Mary Oliver

Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. ~Leviticus 25:10  ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

** Photo via Pinterest

442. Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. ~Lindley Karstens

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.
My garden of flowers is also my garden
of thoughts and dreams.
The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers,
and the dreams are beautiful.
~Abram L. Urban

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Although I began gardening quite some time before I retired, I had little time to devote much quality time to it. Now that I own my time, the garden has grown a great deal and been refined considerably, and it continues to be a constant source of delight for me. Come rain or shine, winter, spring, summer or fall, I walk its paths looking for the presences and realities that feed my soul. From day to day they are different, and there are times when the abundance of them is less or they are harder to find, but I never fail to find something to feast on, even if it’s just a tiny morsel.

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My garden, like any garden is still a work in progress however, and so it is never the same from season to season. The lay of the land may remain more or less the same, but the garden itself is dynamic and always in a state of flux–new things are planted each year, a few older or weaker ones die, and sometimes I find treasures growing in the garden that I didn’t have to plant or sow. And to insure that there is always something in bloom, I have tried to plant flowers in that flower at differing times so that when one group is spent, another is beginning to bloom. My garden, like any garden is still a work in progress however, and so it is never the same from season to season. The lay of the land may remain more or less the same, but the garden itself is dynamic and always in a state of flux–new things are planted each year, a few older or weaker ones die, and sometimes I find treasures growing in it that I didn’t have to plant or sow. And to insure that there is always something in bloom, I have tried to plant things that flower at differing times so that when one group is spent, another is beginning to bloom.

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A woman who had never been in my backyard visited me for the first time recently, and as we wandered around, she kept saying, “Wow! You should have been an artist,” and I thought to myself, “No, God’s the artist; I’m just the schemer, planner, planter, and steward of His gifts.” It was a nice compliment though, and in many ways, I do think a garden is a reflection of the person who designs it and brings it into reality. On another occasion my daughter brought a friend to see my yard, and her comment was “Wow! It’s like walking into another world,” and that’s exactly the feel I’d been trying to accomplish. I always wanted my garden to be a tranquil place of beauty blessed by the kind of peace the world cannot give. I deliberately designed it to be a welcoming place, a place of delight, so that no guest leaves it without being blessed by its beauty, and above all else I created it to be a place that speaks of God, His abundant gifts, and His amazing grace.

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Corinthians 1:3   ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.