In the dark,
Brighter than many ever see.
Through the soul’s own mastery.
And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.
~Helen Keller, a poem
by Langston Hughes
My son, pay attention to what I (God) say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. ~Proverbs 4:20-22 ✝
**Helen Keller was born with the ability to see and hear. At 19 months of age, she contracted an illness described by doctors as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain,” which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her both deaf and blind.
One of life’s gifts is that each of us,
no matter how tired and downtrodden,
finds reasons for thankfulness:
for the crops carried in from the fields
and the grapes from the vineyard.
~J. Robert Moskin
So James and I are driving along headed for lunch one day last week, and I just happened to glance down a cross street in time to see a house with a large side yard that has established its own tiny vineyard. Fascinated by the prospect, I asked James to turn around and go back so I could get a better look and take some photos. There on 4 rows with 7 vines on each of the rows, whoever owns the house has created what appears to be, at least for the moment, a healthy and prospering vineyard. Sadly however there are no roses at the end of the rows. Why roses? “In wine regions around the world, roses are frequently planted at the perimeter of vineyards. Roses typically require the same type of soil and sun requirements as grapevines and traditionally, rose hedges were planted as an early warning system to protect the health of the grapevines. Early detection of disease or stress on the roses alerted winemakers to take the necessary precautions to protect vines from damage. Roses also add beauty to the vineyard landscape, provide food for bees and offer habitat for beneficial insects preying on undesirable insects that can damage the grape crop.” Unfortunately this is not being done much any more as toxic pesticides are being used instead to control what would harm the vines, and I fear that this is what may be the plan here. But we shall see for I plan to make regular visits to this little suburban vineyard and will be praying that the owners are earth-friendly gardeners.
Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? ~Excerpted line from Deuteronomy 20:6 ✝
**I already knew about roses and why they were planted at the end of vineyard rows, but I opted instead to use this snippet from an article I found on the internet to explain it. Also as you can see, the leaves on the grape vines, as are leaves on most things in Texas, are a bit wilted at midday this time of year due to the intense heat .
Ask the world to reveal its quietude —
not the silence of machines when they are still,
but the true quiet by which birdsongs,
trees, bellworts, snails, clouds, storms
become what they are, and are nothing else.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests
in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. ~Job 22:21 ✝
Let us love winter, for
it is the spring of genius.
Scripture tells us that God rested on the 7th day, and so we see that He deems rest as an essential element of well being. Earth’s life cycles would simply not be sustainable without rest, and that’s what winter is designed for. This rhythm of restfulness and then liveliness is visible in more than just springtime’s revival though; for example, we see it in the yielding of daylight to darkness, wakefulness to sleep, and noisiness to silence. Relaxation leads to revitalization and health, and that’s why Creation’s repetitive patterns of repose and continuation have been described as the holy rituals of sacred restful sacraments. Although loving winter, especially when we are in its most extreme throes, is challenging, the good news is that Yahweh, the lovable Genius behind winter, built into it things that keep us hopeful. One such thing is this lenten rose that I found blooming near my back fence. In the already cleared ground and warmed by autumn’s leafy debris its pink flowers are rising above the foliage and standing there “pretty as a picture” as they say. Perhaps the hellebore bloomed a bit earlier than usual because what little winter we’ve had here has been mild, very mild so far. It’s just early February and yet there were days last week and more coming next week with highs in the mid-to-high 70‘s. Thus my wondrous, little lenten rose is truly a “verse” of poesy penned by the now sleeping earth, and it is manifest proof that “the poetry of the earth” is, as Keats said, never dead.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. ~Genesis 2:2-3 ✝
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs;
ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is
people who have come alive.
I remember reading an article a while back about Pablo Casals, the world-renowned cellist. He was in his 90’s at the time and still going strong so the reporter asked him to what he attributed his health and longevity. Casals answered that they were the result of his passion for music. When I read that, I was envious because at that time I had never experienced that kind of passion for anything. But the Lord knows the desires of our hearts, and it came to pass that He granted me things to stir up passion in me. It began one summer when I bought some seeds and sowed them in pots on my patio. From the onset seeing new life emerge from those tiny seeds, I was hooked. So with spade in hand, I began pushing it down into the soil and thus began my love of gardening. As my efforts flourished and the birds and bees came, the desire to capture the day to day beauty of it all became the catalyst of my passion for photography. Now not only do I have a great camera and lots of beds with wondrously beautiful flowers but on my blog I’ve also sown, it seems, a “garden” that blooms with amazingly deligtful people.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4 ✝
**Images via Pinterest, and the music in video is my happy song
Life finds me down, but not out. Hope finds me exhausted, but not emotionally bankrupt. Faith finds me weary, but not willing to stop pressing on. Health, you can try hard to drag me along, but I can’t be drug along when I’m in God’s hands. He holds me. ~Heather Mertens, fellow blogger at: http://40yearwanderer.com/blog/
Sometimes, I am startled out of myself, like this morning when the wild geese came squawking, flapping their rusty hinges, and something about their trek across the sky made me think about my life, the places of brokenness, the places of sorrow, the places where grief has strung me out to dry. And then the geese come calling, the leader falling back when tired, another taking her place. Hope is borne on wings. Look at the trees. They turn to gold for a brief while, then lose it all each November. Through the cold months, they stand, take the worst weather has to offer. And still, they put out shy green leaves come April, come May. The geese glide over the cornfields, land on the pond with its sedges and reeds. You do not have to be wise. Even a goose knows how to find shelter, where the corn still lies in the stubble and dried stalks. All we do is pass through here, the best way we can. They stitch up the sky, and it is whole again. ~Barbara Crooker