1066. God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed it is the purest of human pleasures. ~Francis Bacon

A garden is a delight to the eye
and a solace for the soul.
~Sadi

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Who hath a garden, he has joy,
However small his plot may be.
Wide his horizons; in his demesne
Master of beauty and life is he.

God has gracious smiled on him,
Made him a helper in His great task–
Building a glorious world in time;
What finer task could anyone ask?

Who hath a garden, he has friends–
Lilies and roses will not forsake;
When they depart, ‘tis but for a time;
They will return when the spring winds wake.

Let him rejoice on his kingly throne
Who hath a garden of pink and gold;
Kings bear burdens and soon are gray–
Who hath a garden shall not grow old.
~Thomas Curtis Clark

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. ~Psalm 47:1  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1027. Everyone can identify with a fragrant garden, with beauty of sunset, with the quiet of nature, with a warm and cozy cottage. ~Thomas Kincade

Many miles away there’s a shadow
on the door of a cottage
on the Shore of a dark Scottish lake.
~Sir Walter Scott

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Let there be a cottage….a real cottage…a white cottage, embowered with flowering shrubs, so chosen as to unfold a succession of flowers upon the walls, and clustering round the windows through all the months of spring, summer, and autumn—beginning, in fact, with May roses, and ending with jasmine. Let it, however, not be spring, nor summer, nor autumn—but winter, in his sternest shape. This is a most important point in the science of happiness. And I am surprised to see people overlook it, and think it matter of congratulation that winter is going; or, if coming, is not likely to be a severe one. On the contrary, I put up a petition annually, for as much snow, hail, frost, or storm, of one kind or other, as the skies can possibly afford us. Surely every body is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a winter fire-side: candles at four o’clock, warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without… ~Thomas De Quincey

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Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars… ~Psalm 148:7-9   ✝

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734. Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small, simple things like the scent of rain, the taste of our favorite foods, the sound of a loved one’s voice. ~Joseph B. Wirthlin

Sense the blessings of the earth
in the perfect arc of a ripe tangerine,
the taste of warm, fresh bread,
the circling flight of birds,
the lavender color of the sky
shining in a late afternoon puddle…
~Jack Kornfield

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The day has come.
It is already full of beauty
and blessings, good and holy.
Take time to notice them–
Behold the flowers, even
the small and unassuming ones.
Hear the hum of the bees
as they taste the nectar’s sweetness.
Look around for smiling faces,
and listen to the sounds of joy
in childen laughing at play.
Smell the fertile earth and the rain,
and feel the wind upon your face.
Then rejoice in the myriad pleasures
sensory perceptions offer you.
~Natalie Scarberry

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. ~Psalm 128:2   ✝

701. Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today; and give us not to think so far away… ~Robert Frost

I love the spring.
For every day
There’s something new
That’s comes our way.
Another bud
Another bird
Another blade…
~Author Unknown

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Came spring on warm wings
but the hotter pinks arise
as sweet April advances
~Natalie Scarberry

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. ~Psalm 51:16    ✝

645. And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, new created. ~D. H. Lawrence

In slumber we fall into the deep, silent waters of consciousness, and then something, somewhere beneath the surface stirs us back to wakefulness. The same thing is happening now in my slumbering, wintry garden. A divine force or spark is stirring life back into seemingly lifelessness.

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A spark.  A flame.  A fire. A seed.  A plant.  A flower.  An egg.  An embryo.  A life. What is it that stirs matter and spirit?  What is it that stirs us?  What moves us?  What is it that makes life taste bitter or sweet upon the tongue?  What things do we feel that can’t quite be put into words?

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The following poem was written by Wallace Stevens. In it, his is the voice of questioning meant to refute religion/Christianity, and yet his images are the kinds of things that stir me in the opposite direction by rousing and impassioning my faith and belief in Christ. So it seems to me that Stevens, even in his attempt at denial, was himself somehow stirred by things in nature not wholly of this world, And I also have to wonder what exactly he thinks a soul is? Is not the soul that which connects mortal man to the Holy One who made us? Isn’t it the piece of God in us?

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Sunday Morning

What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch,
These are the measures destined for her soul.
~Wallace Stevens

For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction. ~Job 33:14-16   ✝

325. I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls off a string. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery

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No one knew the name of this day
Born quietly from deepest night;
It hid its face in the light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.
The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.
We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And the wisdom of the soul become one.
~John O’Donohue

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. Psalm 19: 1-2 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!

306. What is there beyond knowing that keeps calling to me? ~Mary Oliver

Go to your bosom:
Knock there,
and ask your heart
what it doth know?
~William Shakespeare

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We run; we stumble; we fall; we get up; and somehow we find the stamina to move on again.  That same scenario plays over and over again in our lives; so what is it that get us back up on our feet willing to do it all over again?

Is it the hope of wealth or at least sufficiently comfortable numbers in our checkbooks and bank accounts to buy whatever we need and/or want?

Is it the hope of owning a nice car, having a roof over our head, finding food in the pantry, or clothes to put on our backs?

Is it being able to travel wherever and whenever we want?

Is it the hope that scientific theories will one day answer the questions that disturb us?

Or it is instead because we seem to know somehow that a divine power much bigger and smarter has set all this in motion for a reason and that He cheers us on in the face of troubling realities and difficulties?

And isn’t it also because His imploring little voice within us encourages us to finish the race set before us because that is what we are really here for?

At some point in time, do we not begin to perceive divine threads in the fabric of life?

Do not these threads in the tapestry gather together enough gladness and joy so we that can find the strength and courage to face trials, disappointments, and defeats?

Isn’t it the perception of these divine threads that keeps us willing to run again, stumble again, to fall again, to get up again, and to move on again even when we are hurting or become disheartened or grow weary?

Do we not come to realize that life is not just an end in itself but instead a preparation for something more, even if the something more is not clearly defined?  And as strange as it may seem, after a while in our heart of hearts do we not become aware of a sense of awe of and growing gratitude for the very “race” that often torments us?

Life just has to be worth more than material gain, more than temporal pleasures, more than the noisy, senseless endurance of the perverse, violent, and/or mundane.  In moments of utter silence and stillness in an emptied mind we can, can’t we, hear that reassuring little voice that calls to us urging us on because all this isn’t some pointless game, a worthless hour upon a harsh stage, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  And does not what our heart “doth know” tell us something of a loving Creator’s sacred purpose.  Don’t we do it because as Marianne Williamson says, “We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.”

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.  ~Exodus 9:16   ✝

**Images via Pinterest