1442. Through the dancing poppies stole A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul. ~John Keats

That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful
means that we are less alone,
that we are more deeply inserted into existence
than the course of a single life
would lead us to believe.
~John Berger

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 11.21.31 PM.png

Years ago when I first began gardening, should anyone ask me what my favorite flower was, my reply as always was the rose. And I still adore them, but that was before I had seen a poppy or a morning glory nor clematis nor hollyhock nor lilies and on and only the list grows. Now I can honestly say it’s a toss up. It really depends on what’s blooming at the time. I would never have come to have grown either poppies or morning glories had I not seen them at a plant sale on a driveway in a neighborhood not too far from mine. I instantly fell in love with both of them. The owner of the house who was having the plant sale told me that morning glory seeds were easy to start, the trick was to soak them in what began as tepid water for 24 hours before I sewed them in the ground in spring. But she said, the poppy seeds must be sown in our area in the fall in order for them to germinate and grow roots deep enough to put up their tall stems and glorious flowers. (In colder climes with much later warm-ups, sowing them in autumn is not the thing to do.) So that summer I had my first crop of morning glories and the following autumn I sowed my first seeds for the poppies which bloomed the following spring. Since then it has been a love affair I never tire of. Why all of this now, you might ask, since it’s not spring yet and autumn has long since past. Well I hadn’t been outside in my yard lately, but today when I opened the back door to feed the cats, I saw poppy plants about 6 inches tall already, and of usual childhood squeals of joy arose from deep down inside and became air borne. I was a bit late sowing poppy seeds this last autumn and was fearful that perhaps I wouldn’t have any this year, but one of the things about seeds that I absolutely adore is that often all on their own they fall from a spent flower and lie in wait for the proper time to germinate and spring up anew with no help from human hands. So I went back into my photo archives and found some poppy and morning glory photos to dazzle you with this week. Why the heck not? I can as easily put a quote on a few of my favorite things as I can on ones I find on Pinterest and Pixabay, right?! Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my…

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…” ~Matthew 6:28 ✝

**Poppy photo taken by Natalie in her yard

1409. A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. ~Walt Whitman

For, after all, put it as we may ourselves,
we are all of us, from birth to death, guests
at a table which we did not spread.
The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath
are parts of the banquet…
Shall we think of the day then as a chance
to come nearer our Host, and find out
something of Him who has fed us so long?
-Rebecca Harding Davis

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 10.22.54 PM.png

Autumn is perennially one of the two seasons in which I pray every available drop of glory lands squarely in the metaphorical cup intended to quench the thirst of the my soul. Although there are delights to serve that purpose in all the seasons, spring and fall feed my parched soul like no other, and I would lament the spillage of even a single drop of their honeyed elixir. From the very beginning all humanity has indeed been a guest at a table it did not set, and Yahweh who set the table remains the Gracious Host of the banquet which is annually laid before us. Given that, the question is how does one respond appropriately to the Lord’s continuous and magnanimous gifts. Among other things Scripture says His people should rejoice and be glad in their days and that they should be thankful for His gifts and praise Him always. So years ago when I began to realize how much a bent toward cynicism was squelching my gratitude and keeping me from receiving God’s full measure of grace, I began an experiment to prove something to myself. At the end of each day, I’d write down at least 5 blessings, good things that I’d experienced during the course of the day. Despite my doubts of accomplishing that goal for any length of time, I soon discovered that I could find more than enough commendable and/or noteworthy good things for which to thank God, especially the blessings that come through the five senses especially when I discovered that morning glories love the fall’s cooler temps and put on a splendid, “grand finale.” Once moe I realized that for any relationship to work and flourish it is not enough to just feel love. The recipient, be it a mortal he or she or a Deity, they must be told and shown as often as possible how deep our love and gratitude goes.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. -Philippians 2:1-2 ✝

**Photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1259. Ipomoea alba, a white blooming, fragile moon destined only to bloom for a single, lovely night. ~Natalie

In whispered song of shadowed pearl,
her lumened face now opened
for night’s cool embrace.
~Edited excerpt
from a poem, by David Mohn

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 5.34.53 PM.png

From out of twining, emerald leaves
what was at first a tight, small
small bud of green, emerges
a twisted spiral of white and green.

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 5.36.45 PM.png

Then wider and wider it
spreads until like a lady’s
handkerchief it opens.

Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 4.18.53 PM.png

As the stars pop out one by one
in the heavens above the satiny,
fragrant, night-blooming
morning glory begins its reign
as sovereign monarch throughout
the entirely of night’s realm.

Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 4.37.05 PM.png

Round like the moon, it mimics 
 the orb in the utter splendor 
of its fullness before it begins
to crumple in the day’s first light,

Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 5.47.56 PM.png

But that it might be
cool enough to embolden it
to linger a little longer.

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 7.20.46 PM.png

The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. ~1 Corinthians 15:41  ✝

**In the last photograph you are looking at a moonflower fully opened after first light because it was cool enough that morning when I took the picture. And I’m looking at it from the back so that you can see one of the small green buds behind it that it was before it began to untwist and open.

1229. The glory in the garden lies in more than meets the eye. ~Rudyard Kipling

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be…
~William Wordsworth

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.41.04 PM.png

“Glory days, they’ll pass you by in the wink of a young girl’s eye” goes a line in a song by Bruce Springsteen. And so it is with the morning glory. She comes and spends her brief hour upon life’s stage but that wink of her daily glory lasts a lifetime, at least for me. I adore each and every one that blooms until the vines die with the first freeze. And if there is a blessing in our hot summers here in Texas, it is in that we enjoy a long growing season and our first average freeze date is not until November 15th.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.48.58 PM.png

About this time each year my morning glory vines hit their stride and from here on out until our first freeze, glory will indeed abound in my yard. Each one though it lives but that one day looks like a chalice which holds morning’s light and therefore God’s continuing glory on earth. As such she feeds body and soul with her beauty and she honors her Maker with her glory. So yes, Mr. Wordsworth we shall grieve not the “splendor in the grass or the glory in the flower,” but ever find strength in the “primal sympathy which having been must ever be…”

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.50.56 PM.png

morning glory sings in
the highest pitch
that fills
all the
empty spaces
unto the eyes of
the Lord
~Gregory Golden

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.54.53 PM.png

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. ~Psalm 3:3  ✝

**All morning glory images taken in my yard but not all today

932. How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence. ~Benjamin Disraeli

To forget how to dig the earth and
to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 4.49.54 PM

There is something incredibly engaging and comforting about a garden, especially when one is surprised this late in the year by a find as lovely as this Heavenly Blue morning glory. However, even long after she’s gone when winter has plunged us into its “vale of grief,” there will yet be signs that point to primeval and sacred origins, ordained recurring seasons, and our connection to the Holy Breath of the Creator. But today it was the brilliance of the autumn morn, the splendor and blueness of the blossom, and a gentle breeze blowing in my face from time to time that prompted an awareness of the in and out movement of God’s life-giving breath in me as well as cognizance of a sacramental connection to Him. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit priest, said, “There is a communion with God, and there is a communion with earth, and there is a communion with God through the earth.” Teilhard de Chardin contended that the more he devoted himself in some way to the interests of the earth the more he belonged to God. It is the same for me. Being close to the earth in my garden or taking photographs of its progeny and/or nature in general, is like being attached to an umbilical cord that keeps me forever tethered to the Divine Source of all life, and therefore through it comes the spiritual nourishment that feeds my hungry soul.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. ~Psalm 24:1-2  ✝

847. There is a joy that comes from admiring the beauty of flowers. ~Luther Burbank

 To nurture a garden is to feed
not just the body but also the soul.
~Alfred Austin

DSC_0097

When in these fresh mornings
I go into my garden before anyone is awake,
I go for the time being into perfect happiness.
In this hour divinely fresh and still,
the fair face of every flower
salutes me with a silent joy. . .
All the cares, perplexities,
and griefs of existence,
all the burdens of life
slip from my shoulders
and leave me with the heart
of a little child that asks nothing
beyond the present moment
of innocent bliss.
~Celia Thaxter, American writer

DSC_0104

As I stood there yesterday morning looking at what you see in the photographs, I was trying to figure out how I could describe to others the impact of the vision before my eyes. Scenes like this are exactly the reason I created and continue to maintain a garden. The exquisite beauty of a single morning glory perched atop a sea of blooming autumn clematis touched my soul in a way that is beyond all reason and verbal expression. It was indeed a source of holy food that nurtured my body and soul. How could I ask for anything more!

For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. ~Psalm 92:4  ✝

767. I think our dreams are held in safe-keeping within our souls, and when fulfilled, tears are the happy release of the “minding.” ~Masked Native at: http://maskednative.com/

There is sacredness in tears.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief,
irrepressible joy,
deep contrition,
and unspeakable love.
~Adapted quote
by Washington Irving

DSC_0002

I want to start off by thanking all of you who read the daily installments of my personal saga about Paris as well as those of you who took the time to comment about my story. I didn’t realize that walking back through the years to tell about the events that lead up to our trip in 2013 and the one we’ll be making again soon, would bring about a kind of catharsis which ultimately defined and released long held emotions about things in my past.

DSC_0007

However, now I realize more than ever how important it is that people share their personal stories, the things that make us who and what we are, not only for the impact they’ve had and continue to have on us, but also because others may find release, healing, encouragement, assurances, etc. in our narratives. We are, after all, a composite of everything that happens to us as well as the resulting influence of all those who cross our paths.

DSC_0003

Several years ago I ordered some morning glory seeds from a catalog, and another packet of a different kind of morning glories was thrown in as a bonus. However, that bonus package got lost at the bottom of my seed-storage box until I discovered it again earlier in spring. So I sowed the seeds, “et voilà,” here it is. Isn’t it lovely? I’ve never seen a morning glory like this one, but I think I’m falling in love with its cute, pink and white curlicues.

DSC_0021

Although in France they don’t associate the color pink with the city of Paris, imagery around the turn of the last century (the Belle Époque) as well as later images in the media and Paris-themed feminine merchandise, the color pink does continue to be associated with Paris elsewhere in the world. So I’m calling this frilly little pink posy my “Parisienne Glory,” and I pray that it blesses your eyes. Love, Natalie

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:5  ✝

741. A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest of men. ~Roald Dahl

Screen shot 2015-05-21 at 6.39.24 PM

Nonsense, you say,
Why that’s right up my alley.
It adds spice to life
and soothes the strife.
So here I go like Dr. Seuss
but with a touch of poetic residues.
~Natalie Scarberry

Wham bam popped the hollyhock!

DSC_0101

Swoosh unfurled a shady lady morning glory!

DSC_0009

Blam boom burst the echinacea!

DSC_0067

Zoom scampered the gladiola!

DSC_0083

Kapow pounced the daylily!

DSC_0112

Onomatopoeia imitates a sound
that it describes with nonsensical words
while alliteration repeats the same letter or sound
at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
And so today after photographing flowers with amazing colors
I thought it might be fun to let you see with both your eyes and ears.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. ~Psalm 19:7   ✝

**Top photo via Pinterest; rest were taken by Natalie

485. All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A morning glory at my window
satisfies me more than
the metaphysics of books.
~Walt Whitman

DSC_0014

Exquisite! Beautiful! Lovely! Elegant! Magnificent! What’s not to love about something as deserving of these adjectives as this morning glory? From its twisted bud to its fully opened flower, this  morning glory is an absolute marvel! As much to be adored as the flower itself are the heart-shaped leaves and the way the vines wrap around and cling to anything they touch. Simply put, this particular vine and each stage of its flowering process make manifest some of the most wondrous spectacles in my garden. That’s why I squeal with delight when the first one opens each year and mourn the loss of the last ones when the first freeze snuffs out their glorious reign. Each bell-shaped flower lasts for a single day, but the glory of that flower is so splendid that many times it is more than enough to be the drop that fills my cup to overflowing. Also, over the years it and other things of short-lived splendor have helped me realize that length of life is far less important than the magnitude and impact of goodness in whatever time a living thing is granted. Blue morning glories like the one above look like flowering bits of heaven spilling out of a small chalice, and because that diminutive goblet seems to hold a smidgen of holy light, I’ve often wondered if it is not a sample or preview of what Glory is like.

The fact that the Divine Trinity is three persons in One reveals that God is a relational Being. Not only does He want to establish an intimate relationship with His children but He also wants us to know Him intimately as well. How better to achieve that goal than to share with us what He treasures so that we’ll be inspired to seek the Holy One who is magnanimously loving and generous. By covering the earth with precious bits and pieces of Himself, God paints a “selfie” that leaves an unmistakable trail which, if followed, inevitably leads to His throne.

You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. ~Nehemiah 9:6    ✝

461. When the eye sees a color it is immediately excited… ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness 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 just little boxes of eight, but the boxes of 64… And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” ~Robert Fulghum

DSC_0053During the growing seasons in my yard, yellow sets up camp on sunflower’s faces, orange spills from the daylily’s cup, red rests on many a rosy petal, blue climbs salvia spikes and perches on morning glory vines while purple dangles from the wisteria vine and crawls along the top of the lavender’s wands. Then there’s the medley of light to dark pink that runs along coneflower petals while gold fills the Rudbeckia petals, the magenta that bubbles on the panicles of the Crape Myrtles, the hot pink that mounts the spires of loosestrife and trumpets forth from the upright tubes of Monarda, and the softer and varied shades of light pinks that adorn other roses as well as the coral vine. What I don’t have nor never will have here in my yard are what you see in the photo, the beautiful wine-red fruits of the prickly pear cactus. I am just not a cactus fan, but I think the ripened fruits of Opuntia are stunning, and in the Texas landscape the prickly pear cactus can be found almost anywhere.

Claude Monet once said that color was his “day-long obsession, joy and torment” and that he perhaps owed “having become a painter to flowers.” Similarly it is my love affair with color and flowers that led have me to become a photographer and blogger. And to think it all began with boxes of crayolas. Why? When I was a child, we lived in southern, coastal California where I fell in love with the flowers I encountered at every turn, and since we traveled every summer either by car or train, Mother wanted to make sure my sisters and I had things to keep us from getting bored and antsy. So each of us got, among other engaging things, a brand new box of crayolas and coloring books for our journeys. I looked forward all year long to those new boxes of crayolas and the pleasurable hours of coloring, but I was not then nor am I now able to draw images very well from scratch. So later in life I replaced my box of crayons for a camera and bought a house with a large yard so I could have lots of growing spaces for flowers. And now it is the pretty flowers and their luscious colors that move me daily to make “offerings” of praise and gratitude to the Lord.

Praise Him (God) for his mighty deeds; praise Him according to his excellent greatness. ~Psalm 150:2   ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! May I dwell in Your holy presence and praise Your name for all that you have given and done.