1447. The air is like a butterfly with frail blue wings. The happy earth looks at the sky and sings. ~Joyce Kilmer

It is a glorious privilege to live,
to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love.
To look up at the blue summer sky;
to see the sun sink slowly
beyond the line of the horizon;
to watch the worlds come twinkling
into view, first one by one,
and the myriads that no man can count,
and lo! the universe is white with them;
and you and I are here.
~Marco Morrow

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Morrow mentions only the summer sky, but it’s a privilege to look up and behold the wonders of the sky at any time, isn’t it?! This time of year an especially breathtaking view of the sky can be seen by looking through flowering trees. But why is it that we like to gaze up at the heavens with or without trees? What are we looking for? And when our look up at the embracing canopy over us, why do words of wonder and awe enter our thoughts and subsequently fall from our lips? What is it about what we see that fills us with utter amazement? Is it because of the firmament’s majestic beauty and/or our puzzlement about the mysteries therein? Or is it because in our looking we become aware of a knowing that transcends ordinary knowing? Could it be that we recognize the handiwork of the One to whom we’re inextricably and lovingly connected? As we look and listen, can’t we hear the Holy One’s voice in the deepest part of ourselves, that quiet voice telling us that the sky and earth and life are not the result of a random happenstance but are acts of His divine and loving grace poured out for our benefit? Maybe in the sky and all else that delights our senses we see the quicksilver flicker of a tiny flame which illuminates our Maker’s face, a face our eyes have forgotten but our hearts still remember? Indeed, what a “glorious privilege it is to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love” under the tutelage of our grand and caring Father! And how wondrous it is that the knowing can come from just looking and listening and giving ourselves to Him!

It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s (and mankind’s, says Natalie) privilege to discover them. ~Proverbs 25:2 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1436. I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clockmaker. ~Voltaire

If you want to find God, hang out
in the space between your thoughts.
~Alan CohenScreen Shot 2017-12-24 at 8.30.06 PM.pngMay yours always be a world blessed
with plentitude and enduring joys.
In your heart, may there be love;
in your soul, may there be peace;
in your mind may there be calmness.
May each season of the years
bring you the best they have to offer.
May you never be lacking enough
and never want for more.
May your home be a sanctuary wherein
you feel the continual presence of the Lord.
May you feel His mantle of love
perpetually around you and yours.
May your life yield a multitude of days
filled with laughter and love.
On rainy or troubling days may there
be rainbows, physical and/or spiritual,
to gladden your eyes and heart.
On starry, moonlit nights, may the orbs of heaven
and the “echoes of the spheres” speak to you
of the Holy One and His goodness and mercy.
~Natalie Scarberry

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. -Ephesians 1:17 ✝

**Clocks photos taken by Natalie in London and Paris; collage created by Natalie

1191. Seasons of the heart…

Grief can be the garden of compassion.
If you keep your heart open through everything,
your pain can become your greatest ally
in your life’s search for love and wisdom.
~Rumi

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Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.
~Kahlil Gibran

Then I would still have this consolation–my joy in unrelenting pain–that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.~Job 6:10   ✝️

1061. You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars. ~Thomas Traherne


The voice of the sea
speaks to the soul.
The touch of the sea is sensuous,
enfolding the body 
in its soft,
close embrace.
~Kate Chopin

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I had to go. I just had to go down to the sea today if only through photographic memories. I haven’t been to the beach in so long, and it appears that I won’t get to go this year either, at least not for months and months. As a child, I was weaned and grew up on the beautiful, blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, and since then sand, shore, and sea have haunted me. Via sensory perceptions even as a young child I heard a voice, a clear voice-a familiar voice-a welcome voice-a sacred voice who reached down into the depths of my soul to touch me in ways that are still not easy to articulate. But here goes. Since the sea is always moving in its ceaselessness, I became aware of its cadenced rhythms early on. Day after day, night after night its undulations never stopped, and I found myself comforted by the sounds they created. Even when it was just along the shore and not out in a boat on the deep water, the songs of the sea continued to poignantly reverberate as they rolled in on the waves to the sandy shore. These were songs as primordial as the days and as ancient as the Holy One Himself who yet hovers over the waters, and when I sat quietly listening, waiting, and watching, I began to feel and internalize the pulsing rhythms of the sea while their songs filled up the space around me, its devout, hearkening witness. “Wild silences,” as haunting as the call of the gulls, were “heard” as well, and the elements of light and darkness affected and enhanced the ocean’s charms, chants, and silences as it enfolded me in its embrace. What’s more a lonely beach, devoid of crowds, also transports of delight to the magical, mystique of the sea. For it was then, and only then, that I was privy to the voices of the ocean’s more wistful “shy presences,” the ones with the subtle, emotive melodies.

If you look at the map in the collage you will see a blue marker where our house at 68 Prospect Avenue in Long Beach, California was. It was only a half a block from Ocean Boulevard, and once I crossed that busy street, all I had to do was take the stairs down from the seawall onto the sand. Between the houses on each street ran an alley way that you can see in one of the photos beneath the map. This passage way was one of my favorite places to travel as it was along those fences  that so many of the cherished, fragrant flowers grew, and in the distance you can actually see the ocean.

The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. ~Psalm 93:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Safari; collage created by Natalie

925. The earth has music for those who listen. ~William Shakespeare

Inside the silence between
your 
heartbeats hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Listen.
Quiet the voices and noise around you.
Honor the Holy One calling you!
~Author Unknown

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I perceive the universe as a cosmic temple and planet earth as a sanctuary in that temple. Although not given the power of speech as such therein, rain and other weather-related phenomena exhibit distinctive voices in and under the heavens. And as these things fall from earth’s chaotic atmosphere, they often blend their unique voices with other holy sounds in the natural world. In that sacred chorus is a call for humanity to seek the Maker of the temple because God not only hardwired man with a desire to connect with other human beings but also with a  longing to seek and connect with Him. Thus to that end man was given eyes to witness the sacraments of heaven and earth, ears to hear the chants of their hallowed voices, intellect to question and understand to some extent what is seen and heard, and a heart that in due time turns from irreverence to deep longing.  Tecumseh, a leader of the Shawnee, said, “Nature is so powerful, so strong.  Capturing the essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the rain in its weather.  It takes you to a place within yourself.” And so after the 11 inches of magical, mystical rain that we’ve had in the last week, I’m a’listenin’ and doin’ little jigs all over the place.

…let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— ~Proverbs 1:5  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

732. Poor dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprises! ~Wallace Stevens

Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise; whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy, it will open a new place in our hearts… ~Henri Nouwen

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Some time back in March, I was standing in line at Lowe’s to check out when I looked over and saw a small packet of Peruvian Daffodil bulbs. Since I’d seen photos of these flowers before, I knew they were amazingly beautiful and was tempted to give them a try. However, never having had much luck with yellow daffodils, I wasn’t sure they would do any better with these especially as late as I was going to get them in the ground. But then I thought, as I often do these days, what the heck and bought them anyway. When I got home I had some Dahlias I was going try in pots and so I threw the Peruvian Daffodils in a pot too and set all 5 pots in places around the yard. After a couple of weeks, foliage began to appear. However, by that time it seems, I’d forgotten what was in that fifth pot. And then last week long stalks holding the blooms shot up from the strappy foliage, which I’d already been intrigued about making me even more curious about what in the world was growing in that pot. Curiouser and curiouser I grew, until…the lengthy “brain burp” ended, a vague memory of the incident at Lowe’s surfaced, and a bloom finally opened up. Oh, how I love surprises!!! And none better than exquisitely gorgeous ones in the garden! But now the surprise is raising conundrums.  For example, I’m wondering if they’ll make it in the pot through the long hot summer and on into autumn and winter? Or should I put them in the ground when they’re finished blooming? And if I do that, will they make it in the ground during summer, autumn, and winter? Or should I take the bulbs out of the pot when they’ve finished blooming, let them dry, and store them until next year when I can repot them? My oh my oh my, perhaps it’s time to look for the yellow brick road so I can go ask the Wizard of Oz or follow the white rabbit down the hole, like Alice did, and see if he has any answers or check to see if Einstein had any ideas about such things or should I just ask the Holy One whose hands made all there is? That’s it! That’s always a good idea, just like Paris is! Oh yes, my friends, our trip to Paris is getting closer and closer!

PS.  The little bug on one of the yellow anthers seems to like the surprise too!

He(God) will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21    ✝

724. Earth, thou great footstool of our God, who reigns on high; thou fruitful source of all our raiment, life, and food; our house, our parent, and our nurse. ~Isaac Watts

So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—
Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil
of this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world is made,
and the stars that blaze in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge we bear.
~Jan Richardson

“Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you. “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this… ~Job 12:7-9    ✝

*Image via Pinterest