490. Were there no God, we would be in this glorious world with grateful hearts and no one to thank. ~Christina Rossetti

La plus grande des joies
C’est de croire en Toi
Et de se réfugier en Toi
Père des Mondes,
Et de l’Enfant en moi.
~Poème written by Frédéric at: http://poemsandpoemes.wordpress.com/about/
The greatest joy
It is to believe in You
And take refuge in You
Father of the Worlds
And of the Child in me.

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Recently I was up early enough to witness dawn’s first golden glimmer of light pierce holes in the dense, leafy green darkness at the back fence. Then as the morning light lifted night’s dark shades higher and higher, the fragrance of Autumn Clematis floated along on the bright morn’s happy wings. Soon butterflies, creatures of the wind, danced and rejoiced while happy voices on the TV echoed in celebration within the walls of a sanctuary. Therein the sunlight fell in brilliant fragments through the stained glass windows, and all that those colorful bits of light touched seemed to be filled with the same kind of holiness that I had felt streak through our trees.

“To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature.  Most persons do not see the sun.  At least they have a very superficial seeing.  The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child.  The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lord I love the Temple where you live, where your glory is. ~Psalm 26:8   ✝

** Image via Pinteest

248. I look back with gladness to the day when I found the path to the land of heart’s desire… ~Mrs. George Cran

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, our nurse,
and our teacher.
~Edited and adapted excerpt from Isaac Watts


What’s that whisper in the wind?  Do you hear it?  Listen, there it is again!  Oh, I know.  It’s that ancient and seductive call that tempts the gardener to come and play in the dirt?  And it doesn’t take much bidding before this one can do naught but hearken to the bewitching pleas.

For days now I’ve heard the “call” because even though winter is still quite young,  January has obliged the “voice” by bringing some warmer days.  So several days ago I began clearing my flower beds of autumn’s dead, leafy debris, cutting off seed heads to be scattered elsewhere, and pruning weak, leggy growth off shrubs and roses.  Working close to the soil let me, as usual, hear earth’s heartbeat, and that sweet sound in turn spread a soothing balm over the spiritual doldrums.

Ironically, however, it occurred to me as I worked today that I was blessing the warmth of the same sun that only a few months ago I’d been cursing for its relentless waves of miserable heat.  That brought me face to face afresh with the truth that too much of anything spoils even the very best of things, that there is a purpose, if not understanding, in all things, and that gratitude, when in comfort or lack, is the only appropriate response to a day’s gifts.  So, you see, it was more than an ordinary call or faint heartbeat that I’d heard; I’d encountered the Teacher and He, leading me in and out of flesh and spirit, had shown me, again, wisdom growing in the garden’s “soil.”

…and the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil.  ~Deuteronomy 30:9a  ✝

245. Novelty is an essential attribute of the beautiful. ~Benjamin Disraeli

What was any art but a mould
in which to imprison for a moment
the shining elusive element
which is life itself.
~Willa Cather

The foliate head and the Green Man are sculptures or drawings in which almost always a man’s face is surrounded by or made from leaves; it is a face that merges nature with humanity.


The Green Man is “a mythic figure that appears in art and legend throughout the centuries and independently in diverse cultures.”  Purportedly the images of these leafy men represent life irrepressible.


Countless numbers of the leafy faces can be seen on medieval castles, abbeys, and churches.  In fact it was the Europeans who are said to have spread the Green Man’s image and lore to the parts of the world they colonized.


For some the Green Man’s image symbolized the triumph of green life over death and winter.  Others considered him the protector of nature; parallels have even been drawn between the Green Man and Jesus Christ.


I see the foliate face as a mould, as Cather suggests, in which can be seen the artistic quintessence of vegetative and human life.  And as Disraeli proposes, it is the novelty of its beauty, unconventional as it may be, that is most appealing.  On days when I can’t or don’t get out into my garden, I see my semi-human, foliate-faced “friend” on the ground at the end of the stone path out my back door.  He is a reminder of the strong connection I feel to the natural world and God, its holy Maker. His eyes seem to peer longingly from behind his verdant leafiness in the same way I perceive that the Lord peers down at the world wanting to know, protect, and love His children.  His countenance evokes thoughts of man’s need to create as the made-in-the-image-heir of a creative God, of man’s desire to feel connected to the whole of Creation, and of man’s hope that new seasons will arise again and again as promised.  The man in the stone may seem to be locked in perpetual silence, but he speaks to me and I often talk to him.

…the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.  ~Numbers 6:25-26  ✝

239. Blow, blow, thou Winter wind… ~William Shakespeare

How can those who do not garden,
who have no lot in the great fraternity of those
who watch the changing year
as it affects the earth and its growth,
how can they keep warm their hearts in winter?
~Francis King


Blustery was the north wind that came up last night.  As it ran groaning around the corners of the house, it rattled the windows and doors.  But there were no snow flurries nor threats of icy assaults, no misery other than the cold sting in the sound of creaking tree limbs, in the sound of the rushing gale.  As the Sabbath dawned, blue were the skies and bright was the light from above, but the relentless, chilling winds kept on and in check the thermometer.  The endless gusts and leafy flutterings throughout the day intimated over and over again that tonight will neither be inviting nor without loss.  To lower the risks inside faucets will be left to drip, cabinet doors will be opened in front of the pipes below, and thermostats will be turned up higher than usual.  So I will not feel the bite of the chilling wind nor will my heart for, oddly enough, I know where lay outside what will keep it warm. Though I know not how they survive, the larkspur seedlings in the photo will make it through this long, cold night as well as others like it.  I may not be able to fathom all that God built into Creation, but I can and do praise Him for all His goodness.

From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from scattering winds.  ~Job 37:9  ✝

18. The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. ~J. B. Priestley

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Our area, that had been desperately in need of rain, was the beneficiary of fortuitous events on Christmas Eve.  Could it be that the celebration of the Messiah’s coming the night before was what prompted the blessing of rain as well as the magical, miracle of snow.  So many voices were lifted up in praise and worship of Him that our petitions for rain might have been heard as well. Occasionally on cold, crisp wintry days or nights layers of snow blanket God’s creation even here in north central Texas, but this time we received a strange mixture of “wet” goodness.  At eventide sparkling stars punctuated the ancient moon in heaven’s blackened dome, but during the course of the Messiah’s birthday, clouds laden with moistures moved in, flashes of lightning lit up the sky, a good amount of rain was garnered, hail fell, and finally snow covered the landscape.  If this is not an assortment of  Divine providence mixed with earthly “enchantment,” then as Priestley says, “where is such to be found?”

Praise His Holy Name!

10. For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. ~Martin Luther

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing,of scattering abroad.
~Edwin Way Teale


Like Teale I knew that autumn’s winds were scatterers and sowers, but until I did some research, I didn’t realize how much the autumnal shedding of leaves accomplishes.  For the sake of the sod, the fallen leaves cover the ground like a protective blanket.  It’s also easier for leafless trees to conserve much needed moisture in their branches and trunks, and since cold, dry winter winds strip moisture from trees through their leaves, losing their leaves is self-protective mechanism.  It would also be very costly energy wise for trees to keep their little leafy food factories up and running with less light and heat.   Because the transport of water from the ground into the trunk and leaves would be a damaging drain on a trees’ limited resources, the loss of leaves puts trees into a state of dormancy thereby reducing the amount of energy they need to live.  When leaves “come to rest upon the ground,” their work is far from over.  As they lie there, they become food for soil organisms which are vital to the overall health of ecosystems.  In addition the decomposing leaves restock the soil with nutrients and make up a part of the spongy humus that absorbs and holds rainfall.  And finally with the arrival of spring and warmer temps, bacteria, fungi, and insects come into play because the fallen leaves are chewed and rotted which in turn releases nutrients for plant growth.

“For the wisdom that fashioned the universe and can be read in earth’s dark depths and in heaven’s infinity of lights thanks be to you, O God.”  ~John Philip Newell