1155. A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. ~Victor Hugo

I haven’t much time to be fond of anything…
but when I have a moment’s fondness
to bestow, most times…the roses get it.
I began my life among them
in my father’s nursery garden, and
I shall end my life among them, if I can.
~Wilkie Collins

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The garden is the place I go for refuge and shelter, not the house. In the house are duties and annoyances, servants to exhort and admonish, furniture, and meals; but out there blessings crowd round me at every step — it is there that I am sorry for the unkindness in me, for those selfish thoughts that are so much worse than they feel; it is there that all my sins and silliness are forgiven, there that I feel protected and at home, and every flower and weed is a friend and every tree a lover. When I have been vexed I run to them for comfort, and when I have been angry without just cause, it is there I find absolution. Did ever a woman have so many friends? And always the same, always ready to welcome me and fill me with cheerful thoughts. Happy children of a common Father, why should I, their own sister, be less content and joyous than they? ~Elizabeth von Arnim

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Gardens and chocolate
both have mystical qualities.
~Edward Flaherty

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I would hurry to my place of shelter far from the tempest and the storm. ~Psalm 55:8 ✝

**All flower images taken by me in my yard; lower most chocolate image via Pinterest

1146. An interior is the natural projection of the soul. ~Coco Chanel

A house is much more than a mere shelter.
It should lift us emotionally and spiritually.
~John Saladino

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This week I mentioned to a friend that I was getting a new sofa for our living room, and she asked me to send her a picture of it when it came. So I took some photos and afterwards I sat on it a while, along with my cat, enjoying my newly cleaned living room and looking at all the things that we have accumulated therein over the last 40 years. Ours is not a large house and it’s a modest one, but we have done some things within our means over the years to improve and update it. It’s still certainly not a fancy one; but it is ours and so holds all that define who and what James and Natalie and Nikki are. Simply put, it is the altar upon which lie the strivings, good and bad, of our combined lives. And since then I’ve been wondering what others might have to say about what makes a house a home and if it means the same for everyone? So to delve into that quandary I gathered some thoughts by others who more or less put into words what I would say on that subject and decided to accompany them with photos of the part of my house I took that day.

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I always amazes me to thing that every house on every street is full of so many stories; so many triumphs and tragedies, and all we see are yards and driveways. ~Glenn Close

Luxuries are never so comfortable
as
are the familiar, ordinary things of home. ~Eucharista Ward

Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other.  It is the place of confidence.  It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts.  It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule. ~Frederick W. Robertson

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Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration. ~Charles Dickens

Home is where we feel at ease,
where we belong,
where we can create surroundings
that reflect our tastes and pleasures…
Making a home is a form
of creativity open to everyone.
~Terence Conran

Home should be an oratorio of the memory, singing to all our after life melodies and harmonies of old-remembered joy. ~Henry Ward Beecher

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Home is a place where we feel safe and comfortable, a place to relax and recharge. ~Catherine Pulsifer

There is a magic in that little world, home;
it is a mystic circle that surrounds comforts
and virtues never known beyond its hallowed limits.
~Robert Southey

Home is the father’s kingdom, the mother’s world and a child’s paradise. Home is the heart of life… ~Christian Morgenstern

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Where is home? Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace. ~Vernon G. Baker

Home is
where you can be silent
and still be heard . . .
When you can ask
and find out who you are . . .
Where people laugh with you
about yourself . . .
Where sorrow is divided
and joy multiplied . . .
Where we share and love
and grow.
~Author Unknown

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. ~Psalm 84:3  ✝

**The top photo is a part of the front of my house.

820. Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

  All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,
Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

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Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames–
These must all be fairy names!

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Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

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Fair are grown-up people’s trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him. ~Auguste Rodin

Ah to be an artist and to be able to have conversations with the flowers, but then I talk to mine all the time, offering up praise for their beauty. Admittedly they tend to be one-sided conversations, but nodding the head demurely is an acceptable way of accepting words of admiration, is it not?! So too, when I hear the Lord speak, I bow my head in the same way the flowers do, and I pray He also sees it as an act of devoted adoration.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. ~1 Chronicles 29:11  ✝

**I took the photo of the pink Hollyhock when we visited Monet’s gardens at Giverny, France. The other two images I found on Pinterest.

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

669. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy… ~Line from a song written by Carole King and David Palmer

If I had a tale that I could tell you
I’d tell a tale for sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I’d make a wish for sunshine all the while…
~Excerpted lyrics from the 
above named song
that was
 recorded by John Denver

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It was such a lovely sunshine-day,
The house and the yard couldn’t hold me;
A meadow I found, so on my back I lay,
And sang what my spirit told me.

It was such a lovely sunshine-day,
The house and the yard couldn’t hold me;
I climbed up a tree, oh, what bliss to stay,
Where only could peace enfold me.
~Edited excerpted lines from poem
by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

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Beautiful – beautiful morning outside,
Bright with the sunshine and glows in the sky.
Birdies are singing and dewdrops are falling:
It’s a beautiful morning outside.

Day after day in this wonderful way,
Nature is showing its wonderful face,
With sunshine at mornings, and cheers every where;
It is morning again in this world.
~Excerpted lines from poem
by Parmanand Mahabir

This is what the Lord says to me: “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. ~Isaiah 18:4    ✝

**Both image via Pinterest

516. I need the seasons to live to the rhythm of rain and sun. ~Sophie Marceau

The rain began again.
It fell heavily, easily, with no
meaning or intention but the
fulfillment of its own nature…
~Helen Garner

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Late yesterday the wind began pushing hard, very hard against the yard and house. Then rain pelted the roof in the night, and the power went out leaving only the sound of the rain falling in the dark, the utter darkness of deepening night. When day dawned and light at last seeped in, the rain had stopped, but heavy clouds hung low filling heaven’s vast expanse. Outside it was nippy, a nip perhaps chilly enough at last to encourage the changing colors of autumn leaves. Throughout the day as mighty gusts of wind continued to blow and dampness reminiscent of the rain hung in the air, the delicious rhythm of last night’s falling rain lingered in my thoughts. “Listen to the pouring rain, listen to it pour, let it rain all night long…”

Lingering in Happiness

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground
where it will disappear — but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;
and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

~Mary Oliver

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. ~James 5:7   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

 

493. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility. ~Rachel Carson

If facts are seeds that later produce 
knowledge and wisdom,
then the emotions and 
the impressions of the senses
are the fertile soil 
in which the seeds must grow.
~Rachel Carson

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God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds–
and I think that He has made them partly
as a balance for that kind of civilization that
would choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts.
He made the great open places for people who want to be…
away from the crowds that kill all reverence.
And I think He is glad at times to have us forget
our cares and responsibilities so that we may be nearer Him–
as Jesus was when he crept away into the wilderness to pray.
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark 1:35   ✝

** Image via Pinterest