1394. I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. ~John Steinbeck

There’s a vastness here(Texas) 
and
I believe that the people who
 are born
here breathe 
that vastness into their soul.
They dream big dreams 
and think big thoughts,
because 
there is nothing to hem them in.
~Conrad Hilton

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 3.45.57 PM.png

I wasn’t born here in Texas although my mother was, and we didn’t move here until I was 13 years old. Then in college I met and married a born and bred Texas man who put an end to any dreams I might have had of ever leaving here. But I’ve come to love much of the mystique and the vastness of the unique Texas experience just NOT the intense summer and sometimes into autumn heat. It has always very been difficult for me to withstand these excessively sweltering temperatures as well as their often accompanying high levels of humidity. So until it begins months later to subside again and being ever-so-thankful for air-conditioning I incarcerate myself indoors. Unfortunately my self-imposed imprisonment lasts much longer than I would like. However, the Lord in His goodness always answers our calls of distress and finds ways to provide that which we need in some way. So it was when I bought a house with lots of windows so I can still see outside and then later purchased a digital camera to record outdoor scenes and store them on my computer for indoor viewing. Now at least I don’t feel so totally cut off from nature. How blessed are we that the work of His hands is as apparent as ever in His world.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress… May He send you help from the sanctuary… May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your praise offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy…and…lift up banners in the name of God. May the Lord grant all your requests. ~Excerpts from Psalm 20:1-5 ✝

Well it’s bulls and blood
It’s dust and mud
It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd
It’s the white in his knuckles
The gold in his buckle
He’ll win the next go ’round
It’s boots and chaps
It’s cowboy hats
It’s spurs and latigo
It’s the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo
These are excerpted lyrics from a song
by Garth Brooks entitled RODE0

**All but two photos in my collage above were taken by me

1393. Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness, and radiate light into the world. ~Author Unknown

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.19.04 PM.png

Do you remember the last time you squealed with joy about something? Or do you at least remember seeing a young child squeal with delight? How about an almost 75 year old? Well it’s true; I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact I’m elated that just months away from my 75th birthday, there are things in this world that still can make me squeal with joy and amazement. I’ve long admired photographs of lotus flowers and knew a little of their history, but it never dawned on me that I would actually ever find one here in Texas. And yet just last week as my husband and I made our periodic run through our local Botanic Gardens that to my amazement I spotted from the car what I thought were the pods of a Lotus plant. And so camera in hand, I screeched for him to stop and jumped out of the car to go take a closer look. Not only were there the remaining pods of previous lotus blooms, but I actually spotted a bud. That’s when I squealed because it was almost like standing in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time, so much so that I half expected to see Adam and Eve eventually stroll by. So for days I went back to photograph the bud as it slowly opened. At long last it appeared that it would fully open last Wednesday, the day my sister and I had chosen for our weekly quilting get-to-together. But rather than cancel at the last minute I went on to her house since we both look forward to our quilting days and time spent together. Sadly it did fully bloom that day and by the following day when I went back most of the petals had already begun to fall away. But I had seen enough to remain fully thrilled and enthralled by the experience. And I know that where there once was one there will soon enough be more. The opening photo is a collage of lotus photos I found on Pinterest, but below as I reveal some of the fascinating information about the Lotus Flower here are the photos I took last week. They are not the best photos, but it was very hot so I was shooting fast, and I couldn’t get very close to them.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.45.38 PM.png

The Lotus Flower is one of the earliest and most spiritually meaningful symbols in our world ever. It spans various thousand-year-old Eastern cultures and to this day holds enormous symbolic weight.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.44.08 PM.png

So what is it about this mysterious blossom that people find so enrapturing? Its colorful bloom is an obvious suspect, but the lotus also has a life cycle unlike any other.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.16.57 PM.png

Late in the evening the petals close and withdraw beneath the surface, then at daybreak, the flower again lifts up to the sky and unfolds its majestic crown. With its roots based in mud, it submerges every night into murky river water, and—undeterred by its dirty environment—it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.47.53 PM.png

Although cultures have their own interpretations of this daily process, there is a general consensus among ancient texts that the lotus symbolizes spiritual enlightenment and rebirth.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 4.48.10 PM.png

The lotus stunned people with its ability to dip into the grime and revive itself unscathed—an incredible daily cycle of life, death, and a sudden immaculate rebirth that can only be described as spiritual. But the flower also has a fascinating will to live. A lotus seed can withstand thousands of years without water, able to germinate over two centuries later.

“O Lord, by these things men live, And in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health and let me live! ~Isaiah 38:16  ✝

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

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 8.30.18 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 8.53.49 PM.png

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  ✝

1382. Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon…

…A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed,
we would launch one. It would explode high in the air-
explode softly-and send thousands, millions,
of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth –
boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either –
not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four,
with the sharpener built right in.
~Excerpted lines by Robert Fulghum

Today I ran across this photo that I took one afternoon last fall. I had been outside looking for signs of coming fall when I noticed a large patch of weeds in my front flowerbed. After I sat down to pull them, I heard a strange, fiery kind of noise overhead. It wasn’t a fire breathing dragon as I first feared it might be but instead this hot air balloon making its way right over the top of my house. The big bright balloon was a colorful, fanciful thing, and for some strange reason the first thing I thought of was Fulghum’s whimsical parody about a Crayola bomb. At least to me the balloon looked like something that might be on a mission to drop something fun on those of us below. In fact the balloon itself almost looks like a crayola drawing. Then as I pondered writing about the pretty thing, I remembered the old 5th Dimension’s song from the 70‘s wherein the listener is hears “Would you like to ride in my beautful balloon…

Up, up and away in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon.
The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon;
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon.
We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky.
Suspended under a twilight canopy
We’ll search the clouds for a star to guide us.
We can float among the stars together,
you and I, for we can fly.”
~Excerpted and edited lyrics
by the 5th Dimension

Something extraordinary had turned an ordinary day into one of delight especially for my inner child.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into eternal continuity that keep us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.
~Excerpt from TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US,
by John O’Donohue

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. -Psalm 23:6 ✝

 

1371. On being asked to write a poem against the destruction of the natural world… ~Dale Biron

Poems we love are just songs
we must sing again and again.
~Dale Biron

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 10.36.07 PM.png

Well, yes I have written such poems on occasion and several times in fact, not because I was asked, but just because my heart or soul or maybe some other nameless part of me couldn’t help but do so. I’ve quoted Rachel Carson, Walt Whitman, and Wallace Stegner just to add intellectual heft to my haranguing. And based on what I can tell, so far none of my writing or talking has made a single bit of difference, except that I now stare dumbstruck at the magnificence of a single ocean wave, and cannot take my eyes off clouds and full moons or Giant Egrets, taking one tiny sacred step at a time. After all, isn’t every poem ever just a search and rescue party for our heart and soul– nothing protected, nothing saved, nothing sustained, except maybe, just maybe, me, and you, and every other blessed thing. ~Dale Biron

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 10.36.28 PM.png

And ya know what, I personally think one can write poetry with a camera or a paint brush or with a musical instrument or a sculpting knife and on and on it goes, so that those perhaps bereft of the ability to rhyme may be gifted poets too. The Lord remains the master poet Himself as the stroke of His mighty “pen” plays on in His Creation.

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝

**Images found at: http://petitcabinetdecuriosites.tumblr.com/tagged/flowers

1370. Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time. ~Martin Luther

And he departed from our sight
that we might return to our heart,
and there find Him.  For He departed,
and behold, He is here.
~St Augustine

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 10.17.03 PM.png

God, give us eyes to see
the beauty of the Spring,
And to behold Your majesty
in every living thing –
And may we see in lacy leaves
and every budding flower
The Hand that rules the universe
with gentleness and power –
And may this Easter grandeur
that Spring lavishly imparts
Awaken faded flowers of faith
lying dormant in our hearts,
And give us ears to hear, dear God,
the Springtime song of birds
With messages more meaningful
than a mortal’s oft empty words.
Let the songbirds speak to all
harried beings lost in dark despair –
saying “Be like us and do not worry
for the Lord has you in His care.”
~Edited poem by
Helen Steiner Rice

And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of Lord Jesus. ~Luke 24:2-3 ✝

For Christ has risen!

**Image found on Pinterest and edited by Natalie

1365. When purple colored curtains mark the end of day, and heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s twilight time. ~Excerpted lines from a song written by Buck Ram, Morty Nevins, and Al Nevins

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 9.25.15 PM.png

Shadows creep stealthily across the lawn
Whilst night, unruffled, defies the dawn,
And the moon released from day’s embrace,
Smiling wakes up and shows his face
To this mystic world of the twilight hours.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by 
Ernestine Northover

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 9.57.50 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 9.54.34 PM.png
“Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come…” ~Exodus 30:7-8  ✝

**Clematis photos taken by Natalie

***Image of poem by Mary Schofield found on the Internet