678. Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion. ~The Talmud

Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists
in the elimination of non-essentials.
~Lin Yutang

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The best things in life are nearest:
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of right just before you.
Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life’s plain,
common work as it comes,
certain that daily duties and daily bread
are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” ~Psalm 142:5   ✝

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   ✝

304. The sun has come out…and the air is vivid with the coming spring’s light. ~Adapted excerpt from Byron Caldwell Smith

Let me arise and open the gate,
to breathe the wild warm air…
To let Life in, and to let out Death.
~Violet Fane

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Blow, Breath of heaven, blow!  Blow through the land and over the waters.  Carry away death’s dark vapors and let life in.  Let every mountain, plain, and valley break forth in gladness.  Let the “wild warm air” of coming spring spark life in every nook and cranny.  Let the ceaseless waves of the seas and the rushing currents of rivers roar with renewed passion for life.  Let the clouds suckle earth’s waters and send rain from heaven to moisten the earth and let loose her flowering.  Let life, whole and vibrant, dazzle us anew.  Blow, sweet Breath of heaven, blow!  Blow through Your children and take us down to the bottom of our souls where You, O God, the Breath of all things, are present “deep within all that has life.”  We who have traversed icy winter’s dark domain yearn to feel your warmth and vitality course in us and all of life again.  We long for earth and sky’s vast array of bright colors to take away winter’s preponderance of grays and browns.  O Holy One, come; let us see You “in every emanation of Creation’s life.”  We give you glory and thanks for all that You are, for Your ever-lasting goodness and never-ending love, “for creatures stirring forth,” “for plant forms stretching and unfolding,” “for the stable earth and its solid rocks.”  O blessed Breath of heaven, arise and blow life afresh through Eden’s gates!  (Quoted phrases from SOUNDS OF THE ETERNAL by J. Philip Newell)

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth.  ~Psalm 33:6   ✝

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