1348. Man is his own most vexing problem. ~Reinhold Niebuhr

To allow oneself to be carried away by
a multitude of conflicting concerns,
to surrender to too many demands,
to commit to too many projects,
to want to help everyone in everything
is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.
Frenzy destroys our inner capacity for peace.
It destroys the fruitfulness of our work,
because it kills the root of inner wisdom
which makes work fruitful.
~Thomas Merton

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My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. ~Thomas Merton

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake. ~Psalm 23:1-3  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest; special effects created by me on iPiccy

1295. A writer lives, at best, in a state of astonishment. Beneah any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all. ~William Sansom

How can I stand on the ground
every day and not feel its power?
How can I live my life stepping on
this stuff and not wonder at it?
~William Bryant Logan

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The many gardens of the world,
of literature and poetry,
of painting and music,
of religion and architecture,
all make the point as clear as possible:
The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.
~Thomas Moore

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A garden is like the self.
It has so many layers
and winding paths,
real or imagined, that it
can never be known, completely,
even by the most intimate of friends.
~Anne Raver

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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  ✝

1184. I used to visit and revisit it(his garden) a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. ~Edited excerpt by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Now summer is in flower and nature’s hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done…
~Excerpt from a poem by John Clare

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Natalie, oh Nstalie, what can you say
About how it is your garden thrives?
Is it a labor of love that drives you
To keep these pretty flowers alive?

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Yes ‘tis so for despite the torrid heat
And in the face of pesky insect mobs
I daily venture out with tools in hand
To wage war against the weedy hordes.

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 But in return as I mosey back to go inside
I feel blessed to be able to work the soil
Alone  in quiet, solitude on flowery paths
Where nothing’s heard but muted toils.

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In the end my back is bent, my brow wet,
And my stamina all but entirely spent,
But ’tis when the grueling work is done,
That I rest in satisfied accomplishment.

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. ~Excerpt from Deuteronomy 2:7  ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard; collages by me

1130. Who hath a garden, he has joy, however small his plot may be. ~Excerpted lines by Thomas Curtis Clark

My garden is a pleasant place
Of sun glory and leaf grace.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Louise Driscoll

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What pure delight a garden bring–
What joy in watching growing things
Upspringing from the sodden mould
Their wealth of beauty to unfold–
‘Tis here my spirit soars and sings!

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To note the flash of painted wings,
And hark the bees’ soft murmurings
In quest of sweets the blossoms hold;
Where all gray days are days of gold,
Strolling its paths bright wanderings,
What pure delight!
~Louella C. Poole

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. ~Genesis 2:8  ✝

**All the flower “babies” were blooming in my yard today.

1113. Spring comes: the flowers learn their colored shapes. ~Maria Konopnicka

Spring makes its own statement,
so loud and clear that the gardener
seems to be only one of the instruments,
not the composer.
~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

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In the great gardens, after bright spring rain,
We find sweet innocence come once again,
White periwinkles, little pensionnaires,
With muslin gowns and shy and candid airs,

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That under saint-blue skies, with gold stars sown,
Hide their sweet innocence by spring winds blown,
From zephyr libertines that like Richelieu
And d’Orsay their gold-spangled kisses blew;

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And lilies of the valley whose buds blonde and tight
Seem curls of little schoolchildren that light
The priests’ procession, when on some saint’s day
Along the country paths they make their way;

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Forget-me-nots, whose eyes of childish blue,
God-starred like heaven, speak of love still true;
And all the flowers that we call “dear heart,”
Who say their prayers like children, then depart

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Into dark. Amid the dew’s bright beams
The summer airs, like Weber waltzes, fall
Round the first rose who, flushed with her youth, seems
Like a young Princess dressed for her first ball.

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Who knows what beauty ripens from dark mould
After the sad wind and the winter’s cold? —
But a small wind sighed, colder than the rose
Blooming in desolation, “No one knows.”
~Edith Sitwell

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I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live. ~Job 27:6  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

 

1069. On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined. ~Lord Byron

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun
Next I came down and danced on the Earth
For I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And  now I’ll lead you in the Dance with me!
~Edited and excerpted lyrics
from the hymn, Lord of the Dance

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This day had begun with a
dollop of golden light in the east.
And then up, up, up recoiled
the night’s dark shade
so that the space all around me
was filled with wondrous light,
holy light,  warming light.
And in the light was a sparkle;
’twas a glittering hint of spring’s
advance upon earth’s stage.
In the midst of the morn’s litany
Yahweh’s familiar footsteps could be heard
as he moved along the garden’s paths.
~Natalie

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Sing and dance did we,
the birds and I, with
the Lord of the Universe,
the God who won’t let go of
all that He has made and loves.
~Natalie

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Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I till turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. ~Jeremiah 31:13   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

610. Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. ~Mike Greenberg

Every gardener knows
that under the cloak of winter
lies a miracle–a seed waiting to sprout,
a bulb opening to the light,
a bud straining to unfurl.
And the anticipation nurtures our dream.
~Barbara Winkler

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Miracles! Miracle after miracle after miracle! Where would any of us be without the existence of miracles. Bad things definitely happen on planet earth, but miraculous things also occur on a daily basis. Moreover, many times out of the dust and devastation of catastrophic disasters arise changes for the betterment of life and living conditions as well as uplifting examples of the amazing goodness that exists in the human heart and soul.  Looking for evidence of the miraculous is precisely the reason I’m so in love with the small piece of Eden the Lord granted me. I may have started gardening for the love of flowers and color, but it wasn’t long before I began to find day to day evidence of God’s eternal faithfulness and His supernal miracles. Spending even a small amount of time in my garden repeatedly unveils the Lord’s abiding presence, and I have to wonder if the poet who spoke of “fairies at the bottom of the garden” wasn’t actually “entertaining angels unawares.” In spite of Creation’s brokenness and my own heart’s sufferings, miraculous wellsprings of life and hope open up whenever I spend time outside, either as the gardener in residence or simply as the mindful beholder. And time spent within my garden “walls” also teaches me how to respond to life and its sometimes terrifying circumstances with a spirit of peace and love. Holy Writ tells us that understanding is not promised unto us, but peace that transcends understanding is granted to those who seek the Prince of Peace and search for the true heart of life. Thus even in the dead of winter, I often go out, even if I have to hobble around on a cane, to putter in the flowerbeds or stroll along the garden’s paths in search of its sustaining “holy food.”

May the lights of the heavens, the delights of the earth, the flowing of life-giving waters, the warmth of the sun, the wind, that like Yahweh, can be felt but not seen forever bring you peace and an awareness of the miracles all around us as well.

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 9:10  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ~Hebrews 13:2   ✝

**Image via Pinterest