1290. Though suffering and chaos befall us, they can never quench the inner light of providence. ~John O’Donohue

Each life is clothed in raiment of spirit
that secretly links it to everything else.
~John O’Donohue

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There is a quiet light that shines in every heart. It draws no attention to itself though it is always secretly there. It is what illuminates our minds to see beauty, our desire to seek possibility and our hearts to love life. Without this subtle quickening our days would be empty and wearisome, and no horizon would ever awaken our longing. Our passion for life is quietly sustained from somewhere in us that is wedded to the energy and excitement of life. This shy inner light is what enables us to recognize and receive our very presence here as blessing. ~John O’Donohue

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. ~Psalm 128:2  ✝

**All quotes via TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US, A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue; photo of Moonflower taken by Natalie

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

660. A snowy day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder. ~Susan Orlean

The first fall of snow is not only an event,
it is a magical event.
You go to bed in one kind of a world
and wake up in another quite different,
and if this is not enchantment
then where is it to be found?
~J. B. Priestley

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I know snowy manifestations get in the way of “human” comings and goings and doings and that in areas where winter delivers a lot of the fluffy white stuff the populace tires of it, but man oh man is snow one of my favorite things. And for me it is definitely an “enchantment” any time it happens here which is not all that often! But snow in fact it did last week, and as always it was a “magical event” that layered the world in loveliness. Regrettably, I could only watch it from my hospital bed, but oh well, such is life.

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What I love best about snow is that, like God’s grace, it takes the ordinary, the humdrum, the lackluster, even things that are dirty or ugly and moves them into the realm of the extraordinary and the beautiful. We are told in scripture there is a time for everything under heaven, and that there is goodness and purpose in all that God has devised. It also tells us that stopping man from his toils so that he takes time to consider the work of God’s hands is a part of the grand plan too. And so it is that the slower, quieter pace of winter affords us abundant opportunities to consider the amazing works of God’s hands, to honor the Lord for what He is and does, and to enjoy His amazing abilities and gifts. And it’s the best time of year to force man’s gaze off his own self-inflated sense of greatness and to refocus his regard on the enormous magnitude of Him who made it all and who teaches His children ways to cope with whatever comes against them.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth,” and to the rain shower, “Be a mighty downpour.” So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor. ~Job 37:5-7   ✝

273. The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the whole world. ~Vita Sackville-West

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners
is that they are optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied.
They always look forward to doing something better
than they have ever done before.
~Vita Sackville-West

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During World War I and World War II, victory gardens were planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.  Vegetables, fruits, and herbs were grown to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war efforts.  Not only did these gardens indirectly aid in the war efforts, but they were also considered civil “morale boosters.”  By planting them, gardeners felt empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce they grew.  As a result victory gardens became a part of daily life on the home front.

Amos Bronson Alcott said, “Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps, perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvests reaps.”  Can you imagine what it must have been like to stand in Eden? And to listen for the Lord as He walked in the cool of the day?  There are times when I’m in my garden that I get a sense of the incredible thrill that must have been.  The perennial pleasures of my garden plant a rightness in my days and a comfortable feeling of harmony in my spirit.  And the wholesome harvests I reap are not just the fruits, the flowers, and the beauty all around me but also the peace it brings and the times when the deep sanctity of it touches my soul where the Lord is planting and digging for harvests of His own.

There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil.  This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment.  ~Ecclesiastes 2:24-25  ✝