678. Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion. ~The Talmud

Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists
in the elimination of non-essentials.
~Lin Yutang

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The best things in life are nearest:
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of right just before you.
Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life’s plain,
common work as it comes,
certain that daily duties and daily bread
are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” ~Psalm 142:5   ✝

677. Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! ~Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa, Lakota holy man and tribal chief

Spring has returned.
The Earth is like a child
that knows poems
by heart.
~Ranier Maria Rilke

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The cycle of nature—the progress from seed to fruition
to dying-off and then renewal in the spring—
was mirrored in the wild fields and the cultivated garden alike,
while the fragility of harvest—the possible interruption of
the cycle by drought, wind, or other natural calamities—
established the pattern of how humans understood
the workings of the cosmos.  The oldest of surviving
sacred stories have their roots in the garden
and reflect how humanity sought to understand
the changeable patterns of their world and, at the same time,
to imagine a world no longer subject to change.
~Peg Streep

See! The winter is past…flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is hear in our land. ~Song of Songs 2:11-12   ✝

**Image via Pinterest, text written by Natalie

619. All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. ~Author Unknown

dry seeds scatter
from my hand into the wind
one clings
as if to say there is in me
something yet to be
~Jeanne Emrich

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Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,
Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry –
Meadows and gardens running through my hand.
In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams;
A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
That will drink deeply of a century’s streams;
These lilies shall make summer on my dust.
Here in their safe and simple house of death,
Sealed in their shells, a million roses leap;
Here I can blow a garden with my breath,
And in my hand a forest lies asleep.
~Muriel Stuart

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See how seeds, that Autumn winds send,
And throughout Winter neglected lay,
Uncoil two little green leaves at one end,
With tiny root at the other taking hold in the clay.
As, lifting and strengthening day by day,
It pushes upward and onward, sprouting new leaves,
And cell after cell the Power in it weaves
Out of the storehouse of soil and clime,
To fashion a flower in due course of time…
~Edited and adapted poem by William Allingham

You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land. ~Psalm 80:9   ✝

**Vintage seed packets via Pinterest, collages by Natalie

534. The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. ~William Blake

A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.
~Starhwak

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Irish immigrants fleeing from the Great Famine of the 1840’s brought versions of Halloween to North America. For them the celebration had its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian “All Saints Day” on November 1st. The festivities of the centuries-old holiday began at sunset and ended at midnight on October 31st. Samhain meant roughly “summer’s end,” and it was a celebration of the end of the “lighter half” of the year in which the daylight hours steadily increased and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year in which the daylight hours steadily decreased.

As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.
Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.
~Excerpts from a blessing by
John O’Donohue

The land yields its harvest; God, our God blesses us. ~Psalm 67:6  ✝

**Images via Pinterest

532. Oh darkly, deeply, beautifully blue… ~Lord Byron

The touch of an infinite mystery
passes over the trivial and the familiar,
making it break out into ineffable music…
The trees, the stars, and the blue hills
ache with a meaning
which can never be uttered in words.
~Rabindranath Tagore

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The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water.

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Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue.

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The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance.

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This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue. ~Rebecca Solnit

In the eyes, windows to the soul, of some and even in the color of our unique, blue marble of a planet one comes upon the divine mystery that “can never be uttered in words” at the “edges and in the depths” of the “deeply, beautifully blue” of which Byron, Tagore, Solnit, and “Holy Writ” speak.

They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lamp-stand that is for light, together with is lamps, its wick trimmers and trays, and all its jars for the olive oil used to supply it. ~Numbers 4:9   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

524. Gardening: the fine art of soul to soil. ~Jan Bills

But each spring. . .a gardening instinct,
sure as the sap rising in the trees,
stirs within us.
We look about and decide to tame
another little bit of ground.
~Lewis Gantt

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Life! Life has materialized again! On a cool, misty morn of late October, little green slivers of life have emerged into visible existence, life anew made manifest from tiny black seeds scratched into barren soil and sprinkled with water, the very elixir of life itself! And it has come where two losses occurred unexpectedly in my yard last June. When it happened, “the gardening instinct” Gantt mentions kicked in immediately even though it was long after the last rising of sap and well before the next. Sadly, at that time however, the fires of summer were already growing intense, and it was too hot to start “taming” bits of ground. But when temperatures at last lowered in late September, my son-in-law tilled and tamed the new bits of ground for me. It may seem odd to sow this late in the year, but given the mild winters and early to warm up springtimes of north central Texas, the seeds of poppies, larkspur, bluebonnets, bee balm, and sweet peas must be sown in the fall so that the roots of the seedlings have enough time to grow strong and hardy. Such indeed is “the stuff of which dreams are made” for those of us who need flowers for the soul to thrive, who seek revelation of God in a garden, who live close to and find intrigue in the soil from which we came, and who dig the ground seeking His presence in earth’s depths.

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

**Images via Pinterest

519. Being a cowboy isn’t a job or a hobby that you can just pick up. It’s a life style that you live from the day you are born. ~Author Unknown

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I pull my hat brim down,
and look across this land,
that my daddy gave to me.
Wide open spaces, filled
with trees and hills
as far as the eye can see,
and as the sun rises,
I say a thankful prayer,
before my day comes to a start
cause if you could see what I see,
then you would know that
God must be a cowboy at heart.
~Author Unknown

Trust in the Lord and do good: dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. ~Psalm 37:3   ✝

503. And even the sun in dawn chorus sings, a celestial melody to the earth below. ~Tjaden

Aurora Musis Amica (est)
Dawn is a friend of the muses
~Latin Proverb

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Day has come, but the sun sits not yet high in the sky. The garden is quiet and still. Her winged paramours, the birds and bees and butterflies, have yet to stir from their drowsy realms. And sunlight has yet to kiss the plants and flowers and grass. The breeze stirs not. All that has quickened thus far is prevailing peace and earth’s discernible heartbeat, tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump, the beating that cradles me in Yahweh’s heart. And so I wait and I watch and I sink into the already delicious nowness.

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. ~Psalm 67:6    ✝

483. …dark furrow lines grid the ground, punctuated by orange abacus beads of pumpkins – now the crows own the fields… ~John Geddes

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At the end of the garden,
Across the litter of weeds and grass cuttings,
The pumpkin spreads its coarse,
Bristled, hollow-stemmed lines,
Erupting in great leaves
Above flowers
The nobbly and prominent
Stigmas of which
Are like fuses
Waiting to be set by bees.

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When, like a string
Of yellow mines
Across the garden,
The pumpkins will smolder
And swell,
Drawing the combustion from the sun
To make their own.
At night I lie
Waiting for detonations,
Half expecting
To find the garden
Cratered like a moon.
~John Cotton,
clergyman in England
and the American colonies

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. ~Psalm 65:9a, 10-11 ✝

**Images via Pinterest

482. Spring flowers are long since gone. Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace. ~Louise Seymour Jones


On such a day each road is planned
To lead to some enchanted land;
Each turning meets expectancy.
The signs I read on every hand.
~Eleanor Myers Jewett

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Wait, wait, wait! What did I just hear? I think it was about something coming this way. Shhhhh! Did you hear it? Okay, okay, listen again! There it is! Did you hear it this time? All right, if the voices are yet imperceptible, perhaps the eye can see what the ear cannot hear. Let’s see! Berries are turning orange, red, or purple, spent perennial flowers are being replaced by seed pods, ornamental grasses are sending up pretty seed heads, the spider and oxblood lilies are in bloom, monarch butterflies are reappearing in the garden, the sun is moving southward, days are shortening, and rain paid us a visit last Saturday. Now do you know what I’m hearing? Well, if not, I’ll be happy to tell you what nature’s voices are saying! “Signs on every hand” are declaring that the heat beast is dying and that autumn is, slowly but surely, coming this way!

Lord it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials,
and on the meadows
let the winds go loose.
~Ranier Maria Rilke

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What a feast for the senses autumn is! Before long dying leaves will be filled with stunning colors and golden light so that their last days will thrill the eye. When the brightly colored foliage begins to fall from its branches, the leaves will swirl about like colorful party confetti in chilly autumnal winds. After they litter the ground, the crunch under our feet will charm the ear, and bright orange pumpkins prepared in scrumptious fare will gladden the taste buds. And if that’s not enough, there are migrating birds and butterflies, sparkling patches of frost on the ground, and clouds bearing blessed rain that will also add to autumn’s thrilling drama. Oh come sweet autumn, come!

He (God) makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. ~Psalm 135:7 ✝