1392. He prayeth best, who loveth best all things great and small; for the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There are 100,000 or so species of insects 
native to the United States. More than 1/3 
of these have been found in Texas. 
Texas has more different kinds of 
insects than any other state. 
~From a Texas Gov’t. publication
found on the Internet

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There is simply never a shortage of “beasties” on Texas soil especially when the temperatures soar. “Things great and small,” lovable and loathsome, have been on the move in the water, in the air, and on the land. Some float, some flutter, some fly, some are fleet of foot, some feed on the earth’s grasses and some crawl, slither, or graze in them. Scripture tells us that the good Lord saw that all He made was good, but being a less than perfect mortal, I struggle with loving and seeing the good in “all things great and small.” The fact that spiders, snakes, and “skeeters” bite and can kill has always had a great deal to do with my disdain for earth’s not so charming and/or endearing creatures. However, when I became an avid gardener, I began realizing more and more the intentionality of all that God made. Working the soil helped me see the genius of the “string of life” that connects everything on earth together in a beneficial series of interdependencies. Creation, on a grander scale of course, is much like the human body–everything in it is connected and it all works together for the good of the whole. In light of that complete awareness, slowly but surely, I’m learning to be more tolerant of the earth’s less endearing creatures. Toiling under the sun in all the seasons has shown me that built into Creation’s tapestry are purpose and provisions for all that God made. That awareness, despite my difficulty in embracing all of the “beasties” who dwell here in Texas has engendered and enlarged my trust, love, and faith in the Lord’s plans and His purposes as well as an acceptance of all that He has made.

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How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. When You send your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. -Psalm 104:24, 30  ✝

1246. If we were but conscious of our own utter littleness, we would not dare look with contempt on the smallest atom in the world. ~Charles Lanman

Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the sunlight,
and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds.
Long glinting dragon-flies shot across the path, or hung
tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.
~Edited excerpt from Arthur Conan Doyle

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Did you know that there’s always a party going on in a backyard. Yes, indeed there is, and the guests frolic on their flooring, the ground, and under the “coffered ceiling” of the sky. Some even “boogie down” underground; thus a lawn, not just the grass, is alive. And the world out there is filled with beasties that buzz, tweet, squawk, flutter, scurry, build, dance, burrow, hoot, chase, pounce, and soar among other things. Not only that but the party goes on 24/7. If you don’t believe me, just step outside sometime, take a look around, and listen.

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Depending upon the season and time of day or night, you might hear a chorus of amphibians, insects a buzzin’, and birds a callin’ or a singin’ or a drummin’. And those noisy birds, for example, just might be a gatherin’ nesting materials, or a feedin’ on berries or insects, or a splashin’ around in a birdbath. Whilst the birds are doing their things, the butterflies and bees might be a fluttterin’ about and a sippin’ on the nectars in flowers. If not that, then you might find a “hophopper” a chowin’ down on a tasty leaf or a dragonfly a skimmin’ across a surface of water. Or you might even find something exotic like my friend in the photos above a lookin’ back at you and gettin’ perturbed because you’re too close to its perch, so close in fact that it raises an arm of warning to scold you. When I find a praying mantis like this one, they are often on a rose bush which is where I found this one. Well actually it was on the trellis where the rose was, but I think he’d made his way from the rose over to it in hopes he could scare off dusk’s unwanted interloper.

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For who scorns the day of small things. ~Excerpt from Zechariah 4:10 ✝

*The collage of praying mantis images at the top created by Natalie from photos via Pinterest

1184. I used to visit and revisit it(his garden) a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. ~Edited excerpt by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Now summer is in flower and nature’s hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done…
~Excerpt from a poem by John Clare

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Natalie, oh Nstalie, what can you say
About how it is your garden thrives?
Is it a labor of love that drives you
To keep these pretty flowers alive?

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Yes ‘tis so for despite the torrid heat
And in the face of pesky insect mobs
I daily venture out with tools in hand
To wage war against the weedy hordes.

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 But in return as I mosey back to go inside
I feel blessed to be able to work the soil
Alone  in quiet, solitude on flowery paths
Where nothing’s heard but muted toils.

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In the end my back is bent, my brow wet,
And my stamina all but entirely spent,
But ’tis when the grueling work is done,
That I rest in satisfied accomplishment.

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. ~Excerpt from Deuteronomy 2:7  ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard; collages by me

1138. What potent blood hath modest May. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life? ~Richard P. Feynman

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Lively fiestas are going on outside my windows, and creatures, great and small, winged or afoot, are partaking of the flowering banquets. In fact the “beasties” have been so busy moving around and supping on May’s “potent blood” that lately I’ve been able to capture only a few images of them with my camera. But that’s okay because I wouldn’t slow them down a bit for a photo op, even if I could, for what they’re doing is sacred and greatly needed. For not only are they satisfying their divinely designed hunger but they are also guaranteeing that this time next year there will be more glory and bounty in earth’s growing spaces. Only God could devise such an amazing design whereby Creation’s continuance and sustenance belongs not in the hands of the biggest, the strongest, or the smartest but whereby mankind owes its provision of food and therefore existence to pollinators, small creatures whose lives span the briefest capsules of time. Given that, it’s regrettable that much of mankind nowadays lives in godless, sterile technological hubs where the sight of the miraculous in the workings of Creation is lost and the enormous power and goodness of the Lord and what He has granted goes unseen or unnoticed or unaccepted. They are totally unaware or disbelieve that their welfare could possibly be carried out, not by human hands, but instead by tiny wings and feet which they, of course, hold not in high regard or for that matter even acknowledge the possibility of  their vital importance.

I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. ~Psalm 50:11  ✝

**Images via Pixabay; collage created by Natalie

1060. When the heat of the summer made drowsy the land, a dragonfly came and sat on my hand. ~Eleanor Farjeon

Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light,
and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds.
Long,
glinting dragonflies shot across the path, or
hung tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.
~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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You are made of almost nothing
But of enough
To be great eyes
And diaphanous double wings;
To be ceaseless movement,
Unending hunger
Grappling love.
Link between water and air,
Earth repels you.
Light touches you only to shift into iridescence
Upon your body and wings.
Twice-born, predator,
You split into the heat.
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.
You rocket into the day.
But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,
For you, the design and purpose stop.
And you fall
With the other husks of summer.
~Louise Bogan

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Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Curious dragonfly with
Wings of stained glass,
Oh, ancient bearer Of secret dreams,
Your delicate beauty
Keeps wonder in my heart.
~Grace Edwards

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Deep in the sun-drenched growths the dragonfly
hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky.
~Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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Predating the dinosaur dragonflies have inhabited and flown the earth for 300 million years or more and the related damselflies for at least 250 million years. The difference between these two amazing insects is that damselflies are smaller, have slimmer bodies, and most of them, when resting, hold their wings along or above the body whereas dragonflies hold their wings flat and away from the body. Both species are found on all continents except Antartica., however because of the loss of wetland habitats their populations are currently being threatened all around the world.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. ~Excerpt from Genesis 1:31  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

1022. While it robs them of life, it tears away the veil and reveals the golden gem of beauty and sweetness. ~Northern Advocate

The death-glow always beautifies anything
that wears the trace of beauty ere it goes back to nothingness.
We do not understand the secret of this principle,
yet we know that it is some law of the infinite mind.
~Northern Advocate

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Threads, filaments, silken strands holding to the past and yet releasing the future in the air. The amazing looking objects in the photos above and below are seed pods from a milkweed (Asclepias) plant. Asclepias species produce some of the most complex flowers in the plant kingdom, and they are an important nectar source for native bees, wasps, and other nectar-seeking insects. Asclepias species produce their seeds in follicles, and the seeds, which are arranged in overlapping rows, bear a cluster white, silky, filament-like hairs known as the coma (often referred to by other names such as pappus, “floss”, “plume”, or “silk”). The follicles ripen and split open, and the seeds, each carried by its coma, are blown by the wind. Milkweed is an essential larval host plant for the Monarch Butterfly which is why I have grown some in my garden for the last two years. Endangered Monarchs must pass through the “Texas funnel” coming and going on their epic migration to and from Canada to their roosting grounds in Michoacán, Mexico, in the spring and fall, and so Texas has been deemed critically important to the health of these beautiful and unique butterflies, threatened by the loss of habitats. But why should I bring this up now at the end of the year since we won’t see butterflies for months to come? Because it shows that though winter is an ending, it’s important to remember that it is the first season of the new year and so it is a beginning as well. Not only that but when all seems drab and lackluster, one who looks carefully can find great beauty even in the dying of the past.

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We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ~Romans 6:4  ✝

**Images via Pinterest.

543. Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature. ~C.S. Lewis

Miracles, the sense of phenomena
we cannot explain,
surround us on every hand:
life itself is the miracle of miracles.
~George Bernard Shaw

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WHY! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the
 water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds–or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down–or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring–yet each distinct, and in its place.
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the 
same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass–the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women,
and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships,
with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
~Excerpts from Miracles
by Walt Whitman

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9   ✝

On November 9th, 2012, after two clots in my brain threatened my life, You, Lord Jesus, held me in Your precious hands and restored my health and wholeness. I praise and thank You, now and always.  Help me to stay under the mighty wings of Your grace and holiness!