526. Heat lingers as days are still long; early mornings are cool while autumn is still young. ~Po Chu-i, Chinese poet who lived from 772-864 during the Tang Dynasty

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


~Excerpt from i thank you God for most this amazing… (65)

by e.e. cummings, a poet whose peculiar syntax
and lack of or strange use of punctuation
conjures up as lasting and as memorable
images as this photo

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I think it curious when I read another’s perfect description of my current reality, especially when it is one like Po Chu-i’s that was written so long ago and so far away from where I am. When it happens, I can’t help but wonder what the writer was like, what he was doing when not writing poetry, and what the landscape looked like that inspired his thoughts and rhymes. Was he young like the autumn of which he spoke, or was he like me, one who has weathered many an autumn. I also  wonder if in China today the heat lingers again in Lady Autumn’s infancy. It’s certainly lingering hear in Texas in the 21st century. However, I’m not complaining because for some time now our early morns have been deliciously cool as have been the evenings that draw the days to an end. So cool in fact was it again this morning that after last night’s watering, droplets yet bejeweled the rose in the photo. That in and of itself is cause for thanksgiving since it wasn’t too long ago that all such surface water would have evaporated before dawn’s first light brushed away night’s obscurity. Actually, despite the lingering heat, this fall has been filled with more than a fair measure of splendor, a smattering of its usual intimations of holy mysteries, and now the first expected touches of nature’s autumnal poetry have been penned. Speaking of poetry, some poets like e.e. cummings write lines that challenge easy interpretation, but often poetry which defies easy understanding endures through the ages because the words and thoughts resonate in the deepest chambers of the human heart. Perhaps that’s why today I’m captivated by cumming’s poetic imagination as well as nature’s magical images and the Lord’s amazing genius.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4   ✝

518. It is necessary to find the infinitely large in the infinitely small, to feel the presence of God. ~Pythagoras

Winter is an etching,
spring a watercolor,
summer an oil painting,
and autumn a mosaic of them all.
-Stanley Horowitz

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Before one season passes into another, some of what has been comes along with the new blessings and before long the coming one begins easing its gifts into place. For example ripening rose hips are a part of winter’s etching, roses are a continuing bestowal of springtime’s watercolor epic, the now sighing-in-the-wind ornamental grasses appeared on summer’s brush-stroked canvas, and little purple asters aswarm with bees are securing their place in autumn’s developing mosaic, a mosaic not too different from the section of a pieced quilt like the one in the photo.

…the discipline of blessings is to taste
each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet
and the salty, and be glad for what does not
hurt. The art is in compressing attention
to each little and big blossom of the tree
of life, to let the tongue sing each fruit,
its savor, its aroma and its use.
~Marge Piercy

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. ~Ephesians 1:3   ✝

** Image is a piece of a Barbara Olson quilt pinned on Pinterest

448. A blue jay’s feathered back holds spots of white clouds and soft, glistening blue. ~From a poem by Gayle Sween

We saw–through milky light, above the doghouse–
A blue jay lecturing the neighbor’s cat
So fiercely that, at first, it seemed to wonder
When birds fought the diplomacy of light
And met, instead, each charge with a wild swoop,
Metallic cry and angry thrust of beak.
Later we found the reason,
Near the fence
Among the flowerless stalks of daffodils,
A weak piping of feathers.
Too late now to go back
To nest again among the sheltering leaves…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Paul Lake

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Photo posted on Flickr by Brian E. Cushner

Noisy blue jays screech in the alley calling for help because a baby has been snatched from the nest by a prowling cat. Alarmed I look up at one of my cavity nests where I recently heard the tiny peeps of newly birthed baby sparrows. I’m relieved to see Mom and Pop sparrow sitting close by in attentive, watchful vigilance for they’ve spotted the cat wandering back inside the yard. But they too have been seen and in a flash the cat charges ready to pounce. The sparrows quickly take to wing, however, and make a clean getaway fearing not for the safety of their children for they know that having just been fed the hatchlings will lay quietly inside the nest till their return. And so now whilst the feline huntress sleeps under her favorite lawn chair she can only dream of better days when she’ll once again have her way.

Hardly a day goes by when one cannot find something engaging or new being birthed in a garden. Even in late autumn and winter there’s a hopeful progression of captivating events. Our lives are like that too, I think. Since it’s a bit harder sometimes to realize much variation or progression in our day to day living, I love to go out and walk or sit in my garden so I can feel the thrill of moving constancy, intrigue, and rebirth.

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. ~Ecclesiastes 7:8   ✝

Sweet Jesus, fill us with the mercy you bled and draw us back unto Yourself!  Let us be aware of You in all that we see and hear in Creation!

407. Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light. ~Theodore Roethke

At first a small line of inconceivable splendour emerged on the
horizon, which, quickly expanding, the sun appeared in all of his
glory, unveiling the whole face of nature, vivifying every colour
of the landscape, and sprinkling the dewy earth with glittering light.
~Ann Radcliffe

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I took this photo late in the day and yet it is obvious the sunflower is still holding the light. And whether it’s in the soft radiance of this flower, or in the dawn’s “unveiling the whole face of nature,” or in the blazing streaks of sunset closing down the day, or in the white glow of the moon illuminating the night there is a “line of inconceivable splendour” in all light. And it is this “splendour” that yields insight in the mystery and nature of the Lord. We emerge from the darkness of a mother’s womb, but from our inception we too hold light within ourselves for we are of the light’s Maker. Notice that Radcliffe said the light vivified (enlivened) color. She recognized that light gives of itself and in so doing gives life. With a smile we are capable of lighting up our whole countenance, and it has been said that “if one life shines, the life next to it will catch the light.” James M. Barrie, author of PETER PAN, added to that by saying that “those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. ~2 Corinthians 4:6-7 ✝

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.

365. Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

The moment a child is born,
the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed,
but the mother, never.
A mother is something
absolutely new.
~Chandra Mohan Jain

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In everyone’s life,
at some time,
our inner fire flickers
as if to go out.
It is then burst into flame
by an encounter
with another human being.
We should be thankful
for those people who
rekindle the inner spirit.
~Edited and adapted quote by Albert Schweitzer

This is an old photo of my daughter and I; she was about 2 years old when it was taken by her dad who was experimenting with special effects in his dark room. It has always been one of my favorite captures of the two of us, and so I’m posting it today as a tribute to all the “special effects” she has brought and continues to bring into our lives. It was her birth 5 days before my 30th birthday that rekindled my imperiled inner spirit, and so I celebrate her life today and every day! What an amazing gift from God she was and is!  Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord. ~Psalm 113:9  ✝

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!

300. Gardens are a form of autobiography. ~Sydney Eddison

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My Garden is a pleasant place
Of sun glory and leaf grace.
My lilac trees are old and tall;
They send their perfume over trees
And roofs and streets, to find the bees.

I wish some power would touch my ear
With magic touch, and make me hear
What all the blossoms say, and so
I might know what the winged things know.
And I would sing them all for you!

My garden is a pleasant place
Of moon glory and wind grace.
O friend, wherever you may be,
Will you not come to visit me?

Over fields and streams and hills,
I’ll pipe like yellow daffodils,
And every little wind that blows
Shall take my message as it goes.

A heart may travel very far
To come where its desires are,
Oh, may some power touch my ear,
And grant me grace, and make you hear!

~Excerpts from a poem by Louise Driscoll

I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees.  ~Ecclesiastes 2:5   ✝

**photo via Pinterest

281. There are defeats more triumphant than victories. ~Michel de Montaigne

I found this image on the internet, and I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated with it, but I am.  Perhaps it’s because the rose, though now damaged, remains exquisite in color and form or because the spraying bits of freeze-dried petals create a stunning scene.  Or maybe I’m intrigued by the photo because it somehow reassures me that human brokenness touched by God’s grace can produce valuable and worthwhile fruit.  Whatever the case may be, all this pondering about the fragmented rose triggered the memory of the profound story below the photo.

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A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.  For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house.  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.  But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.  “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”  “Why?” asked the bearer.  “What are you ashamed of?”  I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house.  Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don’t get full value for your efforts,” the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.  But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path but not on the other pot’s side?  That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it.  I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.  For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table.  Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”  ~Author Unknown

Every human “pot” becomes “cracked” in some way, but that does not render the flawed man or woman ugly or useless.  The Creation story in Genesis tells us that each day God looked back at what He had made and saw that it was good.  So, although we humans are imperfect, we started from a place of goodness that is still in us.

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.  ~Psalm 25:7  ✝