1151. Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth. ~Stewart Udall

Life has loveliness to sell,
all beautiful and splendid things,
blue waves whitened on a cliff,
soaring fire that sways and sings,
and children’s faces looking up,
holding wonder like a cup.
~Sara Teasdale

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Wowed! When was the last time you were wowed, really, really wowed? I love being wowed! I’ve always loved being wowed! And for awhile after becoming a grown up, I spent some hard years when I wasn’t wowed by much of anything! I was frequently overwhelmed but not wowed! Then I started a garden and now seldom does a day go by that I’m not wowed by something. And I know I’m an easy mark because I adore flowers and birds and butterflies and bees and sunsets and rain and oceans and such. Nevertheless, easy mark or not, I still maintain that the Lord has made incredible things and that they are meant to wow us! So don’t just look at my flowers; notice the colors, look at the shapes, and the amazing details like the pistils and the anthers.

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Beauty is nature’s brag, and must be shown
in courts, 
at feasts, and high solemnities,
where most 
may wonder at the workmanship.
~John Milton

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He who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead;
his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

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The point is that when I see a sunset
or a waterfall or something,
for a split second it’s so great,
because for a little bit I’m out of my brain,
and it’s got nothing to do with me.
I’m not trying to figure it out,
you know what I mean?
And I wonder if I can somehow find
a way to maintain that mind stillness.
~Chris Evans

Only those who look with the eyes of children
can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.
~Eberhard Arnold

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

**All images taken recently by me in my yard.

649. This is My Wish For You. ~Charles Livingston Snell

This is my wish for you…
That the spirit of beauty may continually hover about you
and fold you close within the tenderness of her wings.

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That each beautiful and gracious thing in life
may be unto you as a symbol of good for your soul’s delight.

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That sun glories and star glories
leaf glories and bark glories
flower glories and glories
that lurk in the grasses of the field
glories of mountains and oceans
of little streams of running waters
glories of songs of poesy of all the arts
may be to you as sweet, abiding
influences that will illumine
your life and make you glad.

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That your soul may be as an alabaster cup,
filled to overflowing with the mystical wine of beauty and love.

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That happiness may put her arms around you,
and wisdom make your soul serene.

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This is my wish for you.
~Poem by Charles Livingston Snell

Dear friends, since God so loved us we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. ~1 John 4:11-12   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

594. The wise still seek Him. ~Author Unknown

The media is increasingly devoted to fear-inducing subject matter: terrorism, serial killers, environmental catastrophes, and so on. And yet, every day the Lord’s grace is made manifest in countless places and situations, and He showers blessings and outright miracles on our planet. ~Edited excerpt from JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young

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Let us remember that He has given us
the sun and the moon and the stars,
and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–
and all that live and move upon them.
He has given us all green things
and everything that blossoms and bears fruit–
and all that we quarrel about
and all that we have misused–
and to save us from our own foolishness,
from all our sins,
He came down to earth and gave us Himself.
~Sigrid Undset,
Nobel prize-winning Norwegian novelist

God is our refuge and strength,an ever-present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,  though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. ~Psalm 46:1-3   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

269. Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world and leave only a margin by which we see the blot. ~George Eliot

You shall see them
on a beautiful quarto page,
where a neat rivulet of text shall meander
through a meadow of margin.
~Excerpt from “School for Scandal” by
Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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Margins–our lives are lived within all kinds of marginal edges.  In botany and entomology scientists talk of margins when they cite data about borders around leaves or the borders of insect wings.  The earth itself has what I think of as margins.  For example, phenomena like mountains, rivers, forests, or oceans hold things within or without; walled constructs built by the sea are held by nature and man.  Even our written documents and texts are kept inside a border of blank space called a margin.  In literary works poets and novelists speak of garden walls as the margins around growing spaces.  The margins around my backyard gardening spaces as well as the ones in public gardens I visit are fences.  Interestingly, at one time the margins around my yard were solely the fence lines, but now it is contained within its confines in places by an assortment of trees, some planted by human hands, others that sprang up by their own devices.

In the scriptural passage below God is telling the people of Jerusalem that although they are in a city without walls, He will protect them by being the barrier between them and their enemies.  The Lord does that for His children even when they misuse the reins of free will to wander poorly chosen worldly paths. Fortunately for us we never get so far down those potentially dangerous paths that we are out from under the spread of Yahweh’s mighty wings of grace.  When asked, He will pull us into a walled sanctuary where His forgiveness is an ever-standing offer for contrite hearts.  And as a fellow blogger noted, He walls our hearts with His love.

“And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,” declares the Lord, “and I will be its glory within.  ~Zechariah 2:5  ✝

Music’s Mystery

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I’ve heard it said that only human beings have been given the gift of music; that only people create songs, sing and serenade their souls with this most magical and uplifting form of communication and communion. Yet, should we not consider the song of the lark? The haunting ballads of the whales? The mournful call of the wolf? The robin’s lyrical laugh at dawn and dusk? The crickets that serenade the nighttide? The burbles of monkeys swaying in the trees? The laughing of the hyena?

Who is to say that in their melodic tunes, caterwauls, howls, wails, and other worldly vocalizations there is not some measure of music. Why should we be the only ones to sing praise, to croon our love, and to bewail our distress? How can we know, in truth, in honesty, that the deliberate scree of the hawk, the piercing bugle of the elk, the chattering of raccoon and ferret, and the murmurings of infrasonic elephant calls is not music to their ears?

Music is a form of communication that lifts the soul, expresses emotion, and brings one being into contact with another being. If this is, indeed, the definition of music (of which it is a form) then can that being not be one other than human? Does not one wolf join another when it sings? Does not the whale song change season to season and year to year, picked up by another whale to be carried on? Does not one roaring lion inspire the entire pride by its lusty cry?

Consider what the morning would sound like without the sweet music of the birds. Contemplate what the summer night might be when not a single chirrup, trill, drone or buzz lilted through the air. Ponder how deep and lonely the oceans would be without the drifting, breathtaking songs of the whales. Can you even imagine a mountain landscape without hearing the echoing howl of a wolf or the bubbling laugh of the loon?

If these sounds, that can captivate us and uplift our thoughts, our hearts and even our souls, are not music and do not do the same for all those who hear them, regardless of race, than perhaps, we must follow that course of logic and say that cave paintings are not art, tap is not dance, improvisation is not acting and free verse is not poetry.

Or perhaps, Music Teaches the Soul what the Heart Feels and Guides the Heart with what only the Soul can Truly Know.

Music’s Mystery is by Morgan at:  http://booknvolume.com

24. Within the seed’s case a secret is held. Its fertile whisper shapes a song. ~Joan Halifax

When I see that first, miniscule, curled, pale
green wisp of a sprout poking up between a couple of
grains of vermiculite, I hear God speaking.
~June Santon

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Seed plants date back about 365 million years ago to the Paleozoic era.  These wondrous pieces of antiquity vary greatly in size: the smallest being the dust-like seed of orchids and the largest, weighing as much at times as 50 pounds, being the fruit of the coco de mer, the double coconut palm.  A typical seed is composed of 3 basic parts: 1. an embryo, 2. a supply of nutrients for the embryo, and 3. a seed coat that protects the embryo from injury or from drying out.  Seeds have two points of growth, one which forms the stem of the plant and the other where the roots of the plant form.  Some seeds have wings or hairs and are dispersed by the wind.  Others are buoyant and float in rivers to the oceans and wash up on beaches; then there are those that are dispersed in various ways by animals.   Given the fascinating science of seeds, how they work and how tiny some of them are, how could one not hear fertile whispers from God in them.

Each seed, regardless of its size, is a sacred promise.  The dictionary defines a promise as: 1. a declaration that something will or will not be done or given, or as   2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based, and seeds definitely declare what the Lord has done and given and what we as His children can expect.  Special mention of seeds and their promise is made on the 3rd day of the Genesis story where we can see that plants and trees are profuse manifestations of “this seed force.”  Plants and trees have been coming forth for millions of years and come forth yet.  During the unseen holy hours of nurturing, the “seed force” reaches down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths” therein to be sustained by water.  In the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil is a “symbol of the waters of God that enfold and infuse all things.”  God’s goodness, deeper than any evil, then can be seen at the inception and very heart of life.  J. Philip Newell says that “everything that is born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.”  The image which Newell’s words paint of all life reaching deep into God’s life is what, for many of us, shapes songs of joy and praise, for there is no more comforting, good, or safe place in the world than the heart of God!

As the rain and the 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 desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  ~Isaiah 55:10-11   ✝