1171. Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival…
Treat each guest honorably.
Be grateful for whoever comes.
~Rumi

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Even in seemingly dormant times, we are in transition. Losses and gains are in constant play. We are the change-agent, and we are changed. Even without toil, we transform. So, wisdom advises us to open our hearts to transition; to honor fully what is passing, to learn from all that unfolds, and to welcome what arrives at our door each day with courage and curiosity. ~A Network for Grateful Living

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. ~Colossians 3:16  ✝

**Image of lily taken by me in my yard today. Outer edges deliberately blurred so that focus is on the amazing stamen and anthers.

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.