649. This is My Wish For You. ~Charles Livingston Snell

This is my wish for you…
That the spirit of beauty may continually hover about you
and fold you close within the tenderness of her wings.

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That each beautiful and gracious thing in life
may be unto you as a symbol of good for your soul’s delight.

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That sun glories and star glories
leaf glories and bark glories
flower glories and glories
that lurk in the grasses of the field
glories of mountains and oceans
of little streams of running waters
glories of songs of poesy of all the arts
may be to you as sweet, abiding
influences that will illumine
your life and make you glad.

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That your soul may be as an alabaster cup,
filled to overflowing with the mystical wine of beauty and love.

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That happiness may put her arms around you,
and wisdom make your soul serene.

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This is my wish for you.
~Poem by Charles Livingston Snell

Dear friends, since God so loved us we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. ~1 John 4:11-12   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

617. Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. ~Anne Frank

Life is full of beauty.
Notice it.
Notice the bumble bee, the small child,
and the smiling faces.
Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
~Ashley Smith

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Oh, the green, green, green of fresh growing things; the scent, scent, scent of fragrant flowery things; and the buzz, buzz, buzzing of little, busy bees. But wait, wait, wait! Back that “wagon” up and hold on just a minute! It’s still January and therefore wintertime. So what’s up with the green, the flowers, the aromas, and the buzzes? Ah the joyous blessing of a greenhouse filled with thriving, flowering, sweet smelling things! The only downside to such is that the bees seem to think the greenhouse is solely their domain and so object to a human interloper’s pottering visits. But then again, I seem to be developing a history outside the garden of adverse encounters with the wee buzzing folk. In my recent tale about a trip to Paris two years ago, I neglected to mention that on the very first day of our long-longed for visit to that magical city, we got off the metro, walked to the Pont Alexandre, and as we turned to walk on the gorgeously adorned bridge where I would get my first view of some of the city including the Eiffel Tower, I was stung on my face by a bee. But let me assure you that the subsequent outpouring of tears had absolutely nothing to do with the bee’s assault and everything to do with the legendary marvels that now lay before my very own eyes. And ya know, it didn’t stop me from the joy and the journey then and there nor will it keep me from the same in my greenhouse for both were and are filled with unforgettable beauty, fabulous fragrances, breathtaking spectacles, and beguiling allures.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-26   ✝

**I took this photo in my greenhouse.  The bee was nectaring on a gorgeous anemone.

467. 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

A Garden

Hollyhocks, showing off pink ruffled dresses,
Gossip together on tall, furry stalks,
Coyly ignoring the bachelor buttons
Peeping at them from behind the red phlox.

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Lilacs combine with the sweet white alyssum
To fill the warm air with their heady perfume,
And noisy bees gather the generous off’rings
Of all the fair flowers that come into bloom.

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And up in a treetop enjoying the garden,
And adding his part to the beauty below
,
A mockingbird sings with creative abandon
A love song to everything summer can grow.
~Linnea Bodman

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With rake and seeds and sower,
And hoe and line and reel,
When the meadows shrill with “peeping”
And the old world wakes from sleeping,
Who wouldn’t be a grower
That has any heart to feel?
~Frederick Frye Rockwell

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-26   ✝

Word of God speak, pour down like rain, and let me rest in your holiness!

**Images via Pinterest

458. The summer flower blooms and quickly dies because the sunny glow which brings it forth, soon slays with parching power. ~Edited quote by Dante Alighieri

The serene philosophy of the pink rose is steadying.
Its fragrant, delicate petals burned by the fiery heat
are too soon ready to fall,
with regret or disillusion, after only a day in the sun.
It is so every July and August in my garden.
One can almost hear their pink, fragrant murmur
as they flutter down to die upon the grass:
“Summer, oh summer, will it always be
sultry, feverish summertime.”
~Edited and adapted lines by Rachel Peden

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Although burns have marred her pink petals,
The heat hasn’t utterly robbed the rose of her beauty.
She is yet serene in her fragrant pinkness
And her murmur, albeit faint, speaks of God’s glory.

Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; for You are God, gracious and merciful. ~Nehemiah 9:31 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! May I dwell in Your holy presence and praise Your name for all that you have given and done.

325. I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls off a string. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery

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No one knew the name of this day
Born quietly from deepest night;
It hid its face in the light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.
The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.
We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And the wisdom of the soul become one.
~John O’Donohue

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. Psalm 19: 1-2 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!

314. The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other. ~Arthur Rubenstein, pianist

The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks
at the sky and sings.
~Joyce Kilmer

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I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.  Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.  Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.  ~Psalm 145:1-3   ✝

245. Novelty is an essential attribute of the beautiful. ~Benjamin Disraeli

What was any art but a mould
in which to imprison for a moment
the shining elusive element
which is life itself.
~Willa Cather

The foliate head and the Green Man are sculptures or drawings in which almost always a man’s face is surrounded by or made from leaves; it is a face that merges nature with humanity.

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The Green Man is “a mythic figure that appears in art and legend throughout the centuries and independently in diverse cultures.”  Purportedly the images of these leafy men represent life irrepressible.

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Countless numbers of the leafy faces can be seen on medieval castles, abbeys, and churches.  In fact it was the Europeans who are said to have spread the Green Man’s image and lore to the parts of the world they colonized.

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For some the Green Man’s image symbolized the triumph of green life over death and winter.  Others considered him the protector of nature; parallels have even been drawn between the Green Man and Jesus Christ.

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I see the foliate face as a mould, as Cather suggests, in which can be seen the artistic quintessence of vegetative and human life.  And as Disraeli proposes, it is the novelty of its beauty, unconventional as it may be, that is most appealing.  On days when I can’t or don’t get out into my garden, I see my semi-human, foliate-faced “friend” on the ground at the end of the stone path out my back door.  He is a reminder of the strong connection I feel to the natural world and God, its holy Maker. His eyes seem to peer longingly from behind his verdant leafiness in the same way I perceive that the Lord peers down at the world wanting to know, protect, and love His children.  His countenance evokes thoughts of man’s need to create as the made-in-the-image-heir of a creative God, of man’s desire to feel connected to the whole of Creation, and of man’s hope that new seasons will arise again and again as promised.  The man in the stone may seem to be locked in perpetual silence, but he speaks to me and I often talk to him.

…the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.  ~Numbers 6:25-26  ✝