863. When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad. ~Lyrics written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein

 Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.

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Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

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Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

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He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21  ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage by Natalie

738. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

It is a golden maxim to
cultivate the garden for the nose,
and the eyes
will take care of themselves.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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May the fragrance
Of a breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the earth.
~John O’Donohue

The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing. ~Psalm 65:13   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

633. Red is the great clarifier – bright and revealing. ~Diana Vreeland

 Red is the first color of spring.
It’s the color of rebirth,
Of beginning.
~Ally Condie
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WHAT IS RED?
Red is a sunset
Blazing and bright.
Red is feeling brave
With all your might.
Red is a sunburn
A spot on your nose.
Sometimes red, is a red red rose.
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Red squiggles out
When you cut your hand.
Red is a brick
And the sounds of a band.
Red is a hotness you get inside
When you’re embarrassed
And want to hide.
~Mary O’Neill
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. ~Psalm 106:9-10   ✝
**Images via Pinterest and Natalie; the collages were created by Natalie

561. If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. ~Rabbi Harold Kushner

Above me and below me
Hovers the beautiful.
I am surrounded by it.
I am immersed in it.
~Native American Saying

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I thank God for the ways of Creation–
For eyes to see Creation’s beauty,
For ears to hear Creation’s sounds,
For a tongue to taste Creation’s savory delights,
For a nose to smell Creation’s sweet aromas,
For arms to embrace others with a loving touch,
For a heart to understand the ways of the Lord,
For words to praise the triune God, Maker of heaven and earth.
~Edited and adapted from a Native American prayer

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. ~Psalm 69:30   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

388. The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion

How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?
~Andrew Marvell

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Then the heart, the poor jaded heart, that must etherize itself to endure the grimness of city life at all how subtly it begins throbbing again in unison with the great symphony of the natural. The awakened heart can sense in spring in the air when there is no visible suggestion in calendar or frosted earth, and knowing the songful secret, the can cause the feet to dance through a day that would only mean winter to an urbanite.

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The sense of taste can only be restored by a constant diet of unwilted vegetables and freshly picked fruit.

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The delicacy of touch comes back gradually by tending injured birdlings, by the handling of fragile plants, and by the acquaintance with different leaf textures, which finally makes one able to distinguish a plant, even in the dark, by its Irish tweed, silken or fur finish.

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And the foot, how tangibly it becomes sensitized; how instinctively it avoids a plant even when the eye is busy elsewhere. On the darkest night I can traverse the rocky ravine, the thickets, the sinuous paths through overgrown patches, and never stumble, scratch myself or crush a leaf. My foot knows every unevenness of each individual bit of garden, and adjusts itself lovingly without the conscious thought of brain.

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To the ears that have learned to catch the first tentative lute of a marsh frog in spring, orchestras are no longer necessary. To the eyes that have regained their sight, no wonder lies in the craftsmanship of a tiny leaf form of an inconsequential weed, than is to be found in a bombastic arras. To the resuscitated nose is revealed the illimitable secrets of earth and incense, the whole gamut of flower perfume, and other fragrant odors too intangible to be classed, odors which wing the spirit to realms our bodies are as yet too clumsy to inhabit.

~Excerpted paragraphs from Let’s Make a Flower Garden
by Hanna Rion (1912)

For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. ~Job 5:6 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

** Images via Pinterest

308. All was silent as before – all silent save the dripping rain. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One by one great drops are falling
Doubtful and slow,
Down the pane they are crookedly crawling,
And the wind breathes low…
~Excerpt from a poem by James Russell Lowell

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Rain!  Deliciously glorious rain finally came for the first time in many months from the grayness of a late winter’s day, and the drought-ridden soil soaked it up like a sponge.  Thankfully this rain was not the child of violent clashes of hot and cold air which can, this time of year, spawn rushing winds or tornados charged with electricity and loud claps of thunder.  Instead it tapped softly on rooftops and windows beating out long-awaited, haunting harmonies accompanied only by occasional rolls of muffled thunder and flashes of distant lightning.  After the parched ground had drunk in enough, puddles began to form, and from them rain’s captivating smell rose to bless my nose.  Scientists may say the scent in rain is petrichor, which is an oil produced by plants, absorbed by rocks and soil, and then later released into the air during rainfall, but I personally think it’s the alluring scent of the Holy One, Yahweh Himself.

Oh, how I’ve missed the rain!  I adore it; I always have!  And now that I live in a place where rain can be absent for long periods of time, my spirit experiences an aching hunger when it’s gone.  So I envy those who live in areas where it rains regularly.  There’s just something very comforting and inviting about the sound of rain, the sight of it, the feel of it, and the unmistakable fragrance of it.  It  has a way of reassuring me that “God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world,” and if rainy days bless my soul in such a way, I can’t help but believe the earth feels the same sweet joy.

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In time of silver rain
The earth puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow
And flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain
The wonder spreads

Of Life,
Of Life,
Of Life!

In time of silver rain
The butterflies lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,
And trees put forth new leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky
As down the roadway
Passing boys and girls
Go singing, too,

In time of silver rain
When spring
And life
Are new.
~Poem by Langston Hughes

As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I(God) desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  ~Isaiah 55:9-11   ✝

189. Every single story nature tells is gorgeous. ~Natalie Angier

How little note is taken of the deeds of Nature!
What paper publishes her reports?
Who publishes the sheet music of the winds,
or the written music of water written in river lines?
Who reports the works and ways or the clouds,
those wondrous creations coming into being
every day like freshly upheaved mountains?
And what record is kept of nature’s colors – the clothes she wears
– of her birds, her beasts – of her livestock?
~John Muir

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When life is lived close to nature, one sups at banquets the earth lays upon sacred plains and holy, high altars.  These moving, kaleidoscopic feasts are found in or on waters, woods, hills, mountains, meadows, fields, deserts, even rocky, jagged cliffs.  Therein or on the planet’s vistas and colors bedazzle the eyes; her shapes and textures fascinate the hands; her scents and fragrances thrill the nose; her rhythms and symphonies seduce the ears while through it all and all the while the human heart is comforted by God’s faithfulness and His divinely appointed seasons.  Simply put, under the sun, moon, and stars and in haunts where breezes blow, grasses grow, and waters flow the human spirit and the soul are nurtured while his life is sustained by the Creator’s grace and lavish spreads.

He (God) performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.  ~Job 5:9  ✝