1269. The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them,-these sticks, stones, feathers, shells,-there is no Deity. ~R. H. Blyth

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In the afternoons,
in the almost  empty fields,
I hum the hymns
I used to sing

in church.
They could not tame me,
so they would not keep me,
alas,

and how that feels,
the weight of it,
I will not tell
any of you,

not ever.
Still, as they promised,
God, once he is in your heart,
is everywhere –

so even here
among the weeds
and the brisk trees.
How long does it take

to hum a hymn?  Strolling
one or two acres
of the sweetness
of the world,

not counting
a lapse, now and again,
of sheer emptiness.
Once a deer

stood quietly at my side.
And sometimes the wind
has touched my cheek
like a spirit.

Am I lonely?
The beautiful, striped sparrow,
serenely, on the tallest weed in his kingdom,
also sings without words.
-Mary Oliver 

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  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collage by Natalie

1009. Who, what, where, when, and why?

Every single word you read
Has a lot going on, you see?
So read this age-old story,
As it is a blessed advisory.

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The first Noel the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds as they lay
In fields where they lay a keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

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They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the east beyond them far:
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.

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And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from the country far;
To seek for a King was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.

“Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” ~Excerpt from Matthew 2:8  ✝

**All images via Pinterest

626. White is the beautiful broken lace of snowflakes falling on your face. ~Mary O’Neill

White is snow falling on the ground.
It’s clouds in the blue sky
And foam that splashed on oceans shores.
It’s the richness of pearls.
It’s the robe of angels.
It’s a crisp winter’s chill.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Marvel-Maniac

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Is White a Color?


White, pristine, unblemished
They say it is not a color.
I love white mists, clouds
Lingering on blue mountains.

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White, no shades
No off white, cream
Pure as snow on shimmering peaks
Is my favorite sight.

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Nurses, priests, politicians
Are bound, chained to white.
White nebulous clouds
Evoke deep nostalgic thoughts.

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The paper I write is white.
White is holy, pure.
They say light is white
Because it combines all colors.

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So white is the mother of all colors
The churning of all yellow, blue, green.
Colors sacrifice their egos
To the eternal white.

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Is white a color?
The matriarch of all colors
The fountain of all extent colors
Yes, king white reigns supreme!
~Excerpted verses from a poem
by John Matthew

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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   ✝

**Images via Pinterest, all collages created by Natalie

588. The magic of Christmas Eve is not in the presents under the tree but in the coming of His presence…

Christmas Eve is a night of sacred hymns
that wrap themselves around us like a shawl.
And they warm more than the body–
they warm the human heart and fill it
with melodies that last forever.
~Edited and adapted
excerpt 
by Bess Streeter Aldrich

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ROSEMARY WREATH 

~by Teri Casper

Several common herbs have legends connected with the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt after Jesus was born. Since rosemary is silent underfoot, its soft leaves muffling crackling twigs beneath it, it prevented detection and ensured their safe journey.

Another story involves rosemary, sugar cane and date palm. The plants argued as to which provided the Holy Family with the greatest benefit. Palm sheltered them in the daytime heat and gave them fruit. Sugar cane provided sweetness. The rosemary bush was silent, having nothing special to offer the family.

After Mary washed Jesus’ swaddling clothes she asked the palm to bend its head so she could hang them on its fronds to dry. It couldn’t bend low enough for her to reach them. Sugar cane offered its branches but the clothes fell to the ground. So Mary hung out Jesus’ clothes on the rosemary, a small flowerless bush that had antiseptic properties. Mary blessed the rosemary, giving it flowers the blue color of her robe. Legend has it that a rosemary plant will grow no higher than six feet in thirty-three years, so as not to stand taller than Jesus did.

During their flight to Egypt, Mary, Jesus and Joseph ran out of water. Joseph went to the nearest village to get some. Mary heard Herod’s soldiers’ shouts and the sound of hoof beats approaching. There was no place to hide.

Mary saw a rose bush and asked for shelter. It refused, which is why rose bushes have thorns. The clove bush also refused help and this resulted in it having unpleasant smelling flowers. The sage plant hid them, blossoming to create safe haven. The soldiers passed by. Since then, the plant was considered sacred and believed to possess curative and protective powers.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~Psalm 73:25-26   ✝

**Image via Pinterest, text added by Natalie

470. The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Christianity sees plants and flowers as created by God
to show forth and share with humans
the divine goodness, beauty and truth – the purpose of all Creation.
In this flowers may be enjoyed simply and directly in themselves
as showing forth God’s goodness and beauty,
or more fully, as archetypes, signatures, symbols,
and bearers of legends, mirroring the revealed articles
of Christian faith – thereby serving as means
for their teaching, recollection, contemplation and celebration.
~John S. Stokes, Jr.

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Mary’s Gold they were called and the “golden gifts” of Calendula were offerings to the Virgin Mary by the poor who had not actual gold to give her. In the late Middle Ages some of the churches started designing actual gardens devoted entirely to Mother Mary. Marigolds and other flowers associated with her were planted in the Marian Gardens. Those flowers represented significant events in Mary’s life as well as her virtues, and the purpose of the gardens was to provide a place for worshippers to meditate and pray. All gardens or any flowery place for that matter seem to me to be an excellent setting for prayer, praise, and contemplation. So with my little photographic collage of summery yellow flowers, I’m offering up a piece of written text by John O’Donohue as a Celt’s food for thought this week.

May you recognize in your life, the presence, power and light of your soul. May you realize that you are never alone, that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe. May you have respect for your own individuality and difference. May your realize that the shape of your soul is unique, that you have a destiny here, that behind the façade of your life there is something beautiful, good, and eternal happening. May you learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.

I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. ~Psalm 119:15   ✝

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. With all Creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything, and I will adore you!”(From Revelation Song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean)

 

469. The ripest peach is highest on the tree. ~James Whitcomb Riley

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:
This is luck made round. Frost can nip
the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,
a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,
the burrowing worm that coils in rot can
blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.
~A verse from a poem by Marge Piercy

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Abracadrabra! Hinkety, pinkety! Jiggity, jog! Poof! Oh wouldn’t it be lovely if with such a simple incantation we could go back in time to a place where one of our life’s greatest treasures lie! For me it would be a place filled with the sights and sounds of the sea, the fragrances of beautiful flowers, the tastes of luscious fruits, and the magic of innocence. That place would always be my childhood home in southern California where sanctity fell from on high and oozed up from the ground, and the air was charged and ripe with God’s goodness.

It was when I read this verse today that the poet’s words actually took me back for the briefest of moments to that time and place. For you see in our backyard we had a large peach tree, and I remember so well reaching up, grabbing one, though it might not have been the highest, and eating it with joyful abandon, letting the “juicy sun” drip right down from my mouth. And then there were my mama’s peach pies!!! My oh my oh my but they were the best I have ever eaten!

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:12   ✝

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. With all Creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything, and I will adore you!” (From Revelation Song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean)

397. Where we love is home, home that out feet may leave, but not our hearts. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

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

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May God bless the place where you dwell. May He bless every heart that beats beneath its roof. May every hand be blessed that toils to bring joy therein, and may every foot that walks its portals through be blessed. When you leave the shelter of its roof and walls, may sunshine brighten your path, rainbows follow the rain, and soft winds freshen your spirit. May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you, and may God enfold you in the mantle of His love. ~An edited and adapted collection of Celtic blessings

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 ✝

Thank you, Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.