1359. Human beings need pleasure, as in to be thrilled, the way they need vitamins. ~Edited line by Lionel Tiger

thrilled

1. a. A sudden feeling of pleasure or excitement
    b. A source or cause of pleasure or excitement
2. a. A quivering caused by sudden excitement or emotion
    b. A trembling caused by pleasurable excitement or emotion

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O, money can’t buy the delights of the garden,
Nor Poetry sing all its charms:
There’s a solace and calm ne’er described by the pen
When we’re folded within Nature’s arms!
~Edited and adapted poem
by James Rigg

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Surely you’ve been thrilled by something that truly speaks to you, and when it does, your heart bursts with an adrenaline rush? I hope so! For me, is has happened time and time again in my garden during every season. And there is something about all of them that thrills and excites me through and through. But in spring the excitement ratchets up even more so especially when finding those first little green shoots pushing up through the soil or better yet that first bloom that makes me tremble with delight all the way down to my very core. As it sends pure elation racing through my veins, that spicy taste of something thrilling ushers along a sweet taste of hope. For in witnessing another round of earth’s sweet beginning in God’s Eden, I experience the richness of nature’s holy, ancient, and forever faithful design. In knowing that I am so filled with gladness that tears well up in gratitude for the privilege of being alive as well as for being granted time to lead a quiet life and work the soil with my hands in my tiny piece of Eden. Above and below are the first fruits of my labor this year; I planted these tulips last December, and their exquisiteness is taking by breath away day by day by day!

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To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…to be elated by the stars at night; to be thrilled by a bird’s nest or a flower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~Edited and adapted quote by John Burroughs

In trying to please God, we are asked in Scripture to: Make it our goal to live a quiet life, minding our own business and working with our hands… ~1 Thessalonians 4:11  ✝

1264. Pleasure is spread through the earth in stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find. ~William Wordsworth

Your legs will get heavy and tired.
Then comes a moment of feeling
the wings you’ve grown, lifting.
~Rumi

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Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.
~ Mary Oliver

I’ve definitely become slow and not as steady as I once was like this poet declares, but my heart still thrills to what I find in the garden. My love for flowers like these morning glories is yet deep and strong and steadfast. As the years move on, I may know that my days grow closer and closer to their end, but though I’m not as quick and fleet of foot as I once was, I remain ever grateful for gifts from God and the garden where I feel wings lifting my soul on high.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. ~1 Corinthians 12:4 ✝

**Photo of these two morning glories taken in my yard this afternoon at dusk.

1181. People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

[F]lowers… adorn our lanes, fields and fells, and…
smile upon us and cheer and bless us in our country rambles….
the lovely blossoms…
kiss the clear brooks and mountain wells…
~James Rigg

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I know someone who kisses the way
a flower opens, but more rapidly.
Flowers are sweet. They have
short, beatific lives. They offer
much pleasure. There is nothing
in the world that can be said
against them. Sad, isn’t it,
that all they can kiss is the air.

Yes, yes! We are the lucky ones. ~Mary Oliver

Greet one another with a holy kiss. ~2 Corinthians 13:12 ✝

**Image taken by Natalie

1121. I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation. ~Phyllis Theroux

My extravagance is my garden –
it’s the first thing I look at
every morning when I wake up.
It gives me so much pleasure.
~Ina Garten

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According to Margaret Atwood, “Gardening is not a rational act.” And though I like to think of myself as a fairly rational person most of the time, I’m given from time to time, like most folks, to a little irrationality especially in the garden. So here goes today’s saga about my most recent fall from rational grace, as it were. The only thing I needed at the nursery was a bag of planting mix, but as always I wanted to stroll up and down the rows and rows of flowers before making my purchase. The first thing that caught my eye was this amazing white clematis with its chocolate colored anthers. As I stood admiring it, I kept saying to myself, “No, Natalie, you do NOT need to buy another plant.” So even though I’ve grown very fond of clematis, I walked away with great resolve to resist the urge to buy anything and went on down the way to look at the roses. Of course there were some gorgeous varieties of those too, but I told myself that I didn’t need those either and then headed back to the front to check out. On the way, as chance would have it, I heard someone call my name and when I turned to see who it was, my next door neighbor was standing right next to the pots of those white clematis. Nevertheless, I went ahead and walked on over to chat with her for a few minutes, and then I turned resolvedly to walk away. That was when I could swear I heard the white clematis speaking to me and saying, “you’ll regret it if you don’t come back and take me home.” And darn it, I knew I would. So I walked back one more time to see how much it was and read the information about it hoping that either or both would deter me. Despite the fact that it was a little pricey however, how could anyone walk away from anything described with the word chocolate for heaven’s sake. Okay! Okay! I’ll admit it! I’m a bonafide, pocketbook-carrying, irrational flower “junkie!” So shoot me! But I’m really not extravagant about anything except my garden-not jewelry, not clothes, not shoes, not cars, nothing but my pretty flowers. And ya know, I don’t regret it for one second. I worked hard and for long hours for nearly 40 years; I’m in my 70’s, I’ve survived a stroke; so I guess I can live with an occasional lack of restraint. With what years I have left, I think I deserve my one and only extravagance perhaps because it is as Theroux said, “it is the closest I’ll ever come to being present at creation.” And oh how I would have loved to have been there and witnessed that!

The human soul is hungry for beauty;
we seek it everywhere – in landscape,
music, art, clothes, furniture,
gardening, companionship, love,
religion, and in ourselves.
When we experience the beautiful,
there is a sense of homecoming.
~John O’Donohue

The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor could the juniper equal its boughs, nor could the plane trees compare with its branches—no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty. ~Ezekiel 8-9  ✝

1035. To give vent now and then to his/her feelings, whether of pleasure or discontent, is a great ease to a woman’s/man’s heart. ~Edited quote by Francesco Guicciardini

Clouds open up into rain,
You too should release your pain.
~Terri Guillemets

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We are dealing with the probability of something very, very sad for James and I. Our daughter’s husband quit his job before Christmas, and he has applied and interviewed with a place in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a job that he really, really wants and for which he is well-qualified. After the interview last Friday, they told him there were 3, including him, that would be considered for the job and that they would let him know this week. Nikki is our only child and so this is an extremely difficult prospect for both James and I, but my husband is taking it harder than I am at least for now. We feel like we’re just waiting for an axe to fall that will cut us off from them and our grandchildren. At this point James can barely talk about it or consider their suggestion that we move there with them if Chris gets the job and they decide to go. What makes it traumatic in a way for James, is that he and his brother were abandoned by their mother after she and his dad divorced. She just didn’t come home one day nor did she leave a note of any kind. So the two of them were taken in by their grandparents where they lived until they finished school. Needless to say, what his mother did left a deep scar in James’ heart and psyche which keeps him from dealing well with any kind of separation, and I’m hurting as much for him in this as I am at the possible move of our daughter and her family to Colorado. Intellectually we know that they have a right to their own life wherever that might be, that we truly do want them to be happy, and that things will work out for the best, but right now our hurting hearts are overriding anything our mind has to say about it all. So if I seen distant or not too responsive this week, please forgive me, but aching hearts sometimes struggle just to breathe.

…“Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” ~Excerpt from Nehemiah 2:2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

955. My sun sets to rise again. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The sun does not shine for a few trees and
flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.
~Henry Ward Beecher

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Have you ever seen anything
in your life more wonderful
than the way the sun,
every evening, relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea, and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness, every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower streaming upward
on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early light,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt
for anything such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere,
in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure that fills you,
as the sun reaches out,
as it warms you as you stand there,
empty-handed–or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too gone crazy
for power, for things?
~Mary Oliver

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. ~Deuteronomy 4:19  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

711. And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. ~William Shakespeare

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
~George Gordon, Lord Byron

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Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

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Oh, how I love the sea and at no time more than when I’m there at dusk or dawn.  I took these photos on a visit to Galveston several years ago, and they still speak to me as much of God as does my garden. While the bird and I walked along the “lonely shore” together, you’ll notice that it stopped twice as if waiting and watching and listening.  I believe it’s because in the dim quietude we both clearly heard the sacred songs of the spheres and the music of the deep sea’s roar.  So let us drink a cup of the “good in everything” today as we celebrate the earth, its bounty, and its beauty.  And let us not forget to praise the Lord now and always for all His gifts and goodness!

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  ~Romans 1:20   ✝