1214. Heart-stopping envy is the sincerest form of flattery. ~Anna Godbersen

Life is indeed colorful. We can feel in the pink one day,
with our bank balances comfortably in the black, and
the grass seemingly no greener on the other side of the fence.
And then out of the blue, something invites envy.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by Alex Morritt

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In the spring when we were actually getting rain, we also had several bouts of hail along with the showers. As a result this summer there have been little armies of roofers tap, tap, tapping their way all around town. Our roof too was recently replaced, and then two weeks later my new neighbor got her new roof put on. Shortly thereafter, Natalie, yes interestingly we share the same name, was out in her front yard when we pulled onto our driveway. When she saw us, she came running over to tell us about something funny that had happened while the workers were up on her roof. It seems that one of them was so taken with my yard and flowers that he was leaning over on his ladder to get a better view. But because his view was blocked by a large tree, he had to lean way over on his ladder to get a good look at it. And then boom, he finally had leaned a tad too far over and tumbling down came he and his ladder. Fortunately, other than his pride, the guy wasn’t hurt so we felt no remorse about having a really good laugh about the incident. Then Natalie went on to tell us another funny story about her mom who is so envious of my yard that she’s been trying to get glimpses of it through the slats in her privacy fence. And it also seems that she’s seen enough to jokingly ask Natalie if she thought I’d notice if she sneaked over and dug up a few things. Of course I was very flattered and pleased that others enjoy my little piece of Eden as much as I do, but I don’t want them falling off ladders or having to peek through fences to see it. So I told Natalie, as I tell everyone, that people are always welcome to open the gate and come on in to look around, and that I’d be happy to share with her and her mom all the seeds that they might want. I also told her that I have chairs spread out around the yard for those who want to linger a while longer. Lastly and with tongue in cheek, I said that she and her mom were more than welcome to come in and dig up all the weeds they wanted.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast; it is not. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ✝

**The collage is of some of what’s on my garden’s altars today.

1102. Fate shall yield to fickle chance, and chaos judge the strife. ~John Milton

Bright and true and tender
can Mother Nature be albeit 
dark, fierce, fickle and disastrous
oft too is she.
~Natalie Scarberry

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It is sad that nature will play
such tricks with us poor mortals,
inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her,
and then, when we are entirely
within her power, tricking us to the heart.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Every year it seems to me
I hear complaints about spring.
It is either “late” or “unusually cold,”
“abnormally dry” or “fantastically wet,”
for no one is ever willing to admit
that there is no such thing as a normal spring.
~Thalassa Crusso

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This year had been shaping up to be the best spring ever in my gardens, and then as so often happens over the Texas prairies this time of year, blustery high winds caused cold air from the north to collide with the existing warm air making Mother Nature more foe than friend as night fell. I must have had some kind of sixth-sense inclination of the impending doom, however, because I took the three photographs above before I called it a day and came inside for good. Sadly what you see in them is gone now. The reason for their demise can be seen in the picture below of the huge amount of pea-size to quarter-size hail that fell with the two-inch downpour of rain. I know that it could have been worse because tornados can and do sometimes accompany such weather events; so I’m grateful this time wasn’t one of them and that no one was hurt or experienced loss of life, limb, or property. But it was still sad, very sad today, to see masses of green “carnage” as well as the remains of flowery life and beauty scattered everywhere. Yet I will always praise the Lord for the rain.

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Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone. ~Zechariah 10:1  ✝

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

1020. Come, see the north wind’s masonry… ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Through the sharp air
 a flaky torrent flies…
and hides the gloomy skies;
the fleecy clouds their chilly bosoms bare,
and shed their substances on the floating air.
~George Crabbe

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What a weekend weather wise it has been! We’ve been dealt nearly the full gamut of frequent Texas weather patterns in the last 72 hours–high winds, thunder, lightning, heavy rains, flash floods, hail, tornados. And then as if that were not enough, for good measure Mother Nature also threw in an earthquake and a white-out blizzard in the Panhandle and a few other places. On top of that I woke up here to find a smattering of snow on the ground which given that it didn’t freeze overnight nor was it 32 degrees or below when I awoke is very unusual. About the only thing that got skipped the last few days was the intense heat of summer although on Christmas Day the temperature did climb to almost 80 degrees. So hellooooo Winter! It seems you HAVE arrived ready to go, ready to wash off last year’s grime, and bringing nighttime temps right at freezing or below for the next 10 days. Makes me kind of wonder, and a bit fearfully I might add, what more Mother Nature could have up her perfidious sleeve for truly she’s demonstrated once again that she can be most untrustworthy at times.

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Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. ~Psalm 51:7  ✝

**Weather image found on Facebook; all other images taken by Natalie; collages created by Natalie

513. All things on earth point home in old October… ~Thomas Wolfe

…the year’s grown old,
mornings are dark,
and evenings come apace.
~Hilaire Belloc

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Hummingbird, hummingbird
be gone.  Fly, fly, fly away soon.
September’s harvest moon
rose early on, but glory days remain
belying summer’s lingering, warm chant.

Temps too cold for you are on the march
as shorter grow October’s days
lessening sunlight hours
and the food 
a garden can provide.
Likewise, dark clouds bearing
high winds, 
rain, and hail
are on the move
 from northern climes.

Prithee take to wing tiny creature;
do not delay, for you have far to go and
deepening autumn will anon turn to winter and
beneath the soil its pretty flowers send.
~Natalie Scarberry

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. ~Jeremiah 8:7a    ✝

**Image via Pinterest

294. March is a month of expectation… ~Emily Dickinson


O such a commotion under the ground
When March called,”Ho there! ho!”
Such spreading of rootlets far and wide,
Such whisperings to and fro!
“Are you ready?” the Snowdrop asked,
” ‘Tis time to start , you know.”
“Almost, my dear! the Scilla replied,
“I’ll follow as soon as you go.”
Then “Ha! ha! ha!” a chorus came
Of laughter sweet and low,
From millions of flowers under the ground,
Yes, millions beginning to grow.

“I’ll promise my blossoms,” the Crocus said,
“When I hear the blackbird sing.”
And straight thereafter Narcissus cried,
“My silver and gold I’ll bring.”
“And ere they are dulled,” another spoke,
“The Hyacinth bells shall ring.”
But the Violet only murmured , “I’m here,”
And sweet grew the air of Spring.

O the pretty brave things, thro’ the coldest days
Imprisoned in the walls of brown,
They never lost heart tho’ the blast shrieked loud,
And the sleet and the hail came down;
But patiently each wrought her wonderful dress,
Or fashioned her beautiful crown,
And now they are coming to lighten the world
Still shadowed by winter’s frown.
And well may they cheerily laugh “Ha! ha!”
In laughter sweet and low,
The millions of flowers under the ground,
Yes, millions beginning to grow.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The promise of the Lord are promises that are pure, silver refined in a furnace in the ground, purified seven times.  ~Psalm 12:6   ✝

18. The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. ~J. B. Priestley

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Our area, that had been desperately in need of rain, was the beneficiary of fortuitous events on Christmas Eve.  Could it be that the celebration of the Messiah’s coming the night before was what prompted the blessing of rain as well as the magical, miracle of snow.  So many voices were lifted up in praise and worship of Him that our petitions for rain might have been heard as well. Occasionally on cold, crisp wintry days or nights layers of snow blanket God’s creation even here in north central Texas, but this time we received a strange mixture of “wet” goodness.  At eventide sparkling stars punctuated the ancient moon in heaven’s blackened dome, but during the course of the Messiah’s birthday, clouds laden with moistures moved in, flashes of lightning lit up the sky, a good amount of rain was garnered, hail fell, and finally snow covered the landscape.  If this is not an assortment of  Divine providence mixed with earthly “enchantment,” then as Priestley says, “where is such to be found?”

Praise His Holy Name!