1248. I am forced to conclude that God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment, just to prove that all that diversity could be crammed into one section of earth… ~Author Mary Lasswell

The stars at night – are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas.
The prairie sky – is wide and high
Deep in the heart of Texas.
The sage in bloom – is like perfume
Deep in the heart of Texas…
~Excerpted lyrics from a song
by June Hershey

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Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession.
Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.
Like most passionate nations, Texas has 
its own
history based on, but not limited by, facts.
~John Steinbeck

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I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study and the passionate possession of all Texans. ~John Steinbeck, 1962

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And, “Texans for the most part have never learned to be dull,” accurately quipped Randolph Campbell.

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As I’ve said repeatedly the intense heat of the Texas summer has always been difficult for me to tolerate. It forces me to stay indoors much more than I like, and being separated from the earth and God’s voice in the natural world starves my spirit. However, I have come to love much of the unique Texas experience, and I am thankful that the Lord created the man or woman who invented air-conditioning. I’m grateful too that our house has lots of windows so I can at least see my yard during times when it’s just too miserably hot to be out in it.. Also after I bought a digital camera, I’m able to save the garden’s glory in photographs that help me make it through the times when the summer heat temporarily robs the landscape of much of its beauty. How blessed are we that the work of His hands is as apparent as ever in His world.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:19 ✝

**Images found on the Internet, Pinterest, and Pixabay; collages by Natalie

 

803. The prairie sky – is high and wide deep in the heart of Texas.

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The sage in bloom – is like perfume deep in the heart of Texas.

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The stars at night – are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas.

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And after 16 days in Europe – we’re finally back home, safe and sound, deep in the heart of Texas. However we’re exhausted, have mountains of dirty clothes to unpack and wash, and there are over 7,000 emails in my inbox. Sadly, I don’t think I could never catch up with all that, so I’m just going to start from scratch today reading your new posts and comments. I pray that all of you are well. I’ve missed you and your posts and am looking forward to re-engaging with “y’all,” as they say down here in Texas. Love, Natalie

We praise you and thank you Lord for all your tender mercies and protection these past sixteen days!  “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.” ~Psalm 69:30   ✝

*All images via Pinterest.

719. His Labor a Chant – his idleness – a Tune – oh, for a Bee’s experience of Clovers and of Noon! ~Emily Dickinson

Give and Take…
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love
And to both, the bee and the flower,
The giving and receiving is a need and an ecstasy.
~Kahlil Gibran

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…store of bees, in a dry and warme bee-house
comely made of fir boards to sing and sit,
and feede upon your flowers and sprouts,
make a pleasant noyse and sight.
~William Lawson

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The men of experiment are like the ant;
they only collect and use.
But the bee…gathers its materials
from the flowers of the garden and of the field,
but transforms and digests it
by a power of its own.
~Leonardo da Vinci

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To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee, And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
~Emily Dickinson

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No matter whether it hops, crawls, runs, wriggles, slithers, swims, flies, buzzes, chirrups, grows from the ground or lives in water, we, mankind, need nature. And those of us who garden know that what we as stewards of Creation must supply feeding stations and safe havens for the bees, the birds, and other wildlife. Therefore our flowers, berries, seed heads, etc. should be free of toxins. And among other things in autumn we need to resist disposing of things like hollow plant stems because tiny bees may be hibernating inside. All this is why years ago I started meeting the requirements for my yard to be certified as a habitat, and now that it is I proudly display my National Federation of Wildlife signs on the gates.

There are so many joyous components that go into what a yard and it flowerbeds and gardens are, and for me the buzz of the bees is one of the most essential of those elements. I love my bees and over the years I have intentionally planted things to attract them, especially after I began reading more and more about the alarming and widespread decline of bee populations as well as the collapse of beehives here in the US and all over the world. For instance, there are places all over our country where too many pesticides have been used over the years and as a result their ecosystems are void of bee populations. That’s why nowadays hives have to be transported from state to state by 18 wheel trucks so that farmers and growers can pollinate pollinate their crops and orchards.

What mankind desperately needs to realize is that should bees completely vanish from planet earth, there would never again be peaches and almonds(two of my favorite foods by the way) and so many other things, things we desperately need and depend on to support human life. So I always advise people who have a growing space to please consider planting things that will invite these amazing creatures to sup at their table. And as for being stung by one, let me just say two things: first, it’s a small price to pay for the preservation of our species; secondly, I have hundreds of bees in my yard, and I walk among daily among flowers to work in the beds or to take photos, and in the 20+ years that I’ve been doing I’ve not been stung once. A couple of times I have gotten a loud, warning buzz, especially when it’s a bumblebee that has been offended by my presence, and I just get up and walk away until the “grumbling bee” moves on. Ya know, now that I think about it, that works well in human relationships too. Hee hee!

Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and you will not be cut off. ~Proverbs 24:14   ✝

**All images via pinterest and the internet; opening collage created by Natalie

494. Every dew-drop and rain-drop had a whole heaven within it. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How cunningly nature hides 
every
wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity
under roses and violets and morning dew.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Earth’s liquid jewelry, wrought of air.
The dew ‘tis of the tears which stars weep, sweet with joy.
~Philip James Bailey

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Angels in the early morning
may be seen the dews among.
Stooping, plucking, smiling, flying.
Do the buds belong to them?
~Emily Dickinson

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That breath you just took; it was a gift! The day that lies before you; it’s a gift!  And it’s a unique gift, a new creation of God’s ageless story. Twenty four hours a day, 7 days a week, His promise of renewal is delightfully visible especially early in the day when everything sparkles with the kind of magic that sometimes can be seen in the dew on roses and other things.

It’s easy to believe in magic when you’re young.
Anything you couldn’t explain was magic then.
It didn’t matter if it was science or a fairy tale.
Electricity and elves were both infinitely mysterious
and equally possible–elves probably more so.
~Charles de Lint

I may no longer be young but while birds call to one another and bees busily work, it’s easy still for me to imagine that garden fairies are blessing the flowers and sprinkling them with dew because they  glisten and shine like Yahweh’s glory.  And it is when I sense His Presence in the light and  the sweet aromas that arise from the flowers and the soil that I fall in love with the Lord of Life all over again.

Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants, I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! ~Deuteronomy 32:1-3    ✝

Thank you, Lord, for my piece of Eden here on a small portion of the Texas prairie and for Your redeeming work on the cross at Calvary.

** Images via Pinterest

 

428. Summer looks out from her brazen tower, through the flashing bars of July. ~Francis Thompson

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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The round, golden face of the great sun began flooding our prairie with its wide showers during June’s infancy. The siege steadily intensified until it broke like a fever a few days ago and our temps fell below the century mark. Then with only a fortnight left in July, clouds moved in, thunder rolled, lightning flashed, and blessed rain fell. The showers didn’t last long, but the landscape soaked up what there was of the precious liquid and things seemed discernibly greener within minutes. The next day the thunder grumbled shortly after daybreak, and following close on its heels rain began to fall off and on. For the first time in months the fierce summer sun has been shrouded all day in the soft grayness of this drippy day. There were no high winds nor hard-driving downpours, just moments here and there of a light rain to drizzle.

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Peace was prevalent inside the house and out all day long, and rest became the order of the day. Though there were household chores that needed to be done, I found myself guiltlessly sitting and staring at the grass and flower beds out my big patio window. Even the yard cats remained listlessly curled up in a corner of the porch and only meowed twice for food. They were apparently as content as I to do next to nothing. Few birds moved around the yard while it was raining, and the ones that did venture out were much less lively than usual.

DSC_0036Thankfully, after it was all said and done, the temperature climbed only into the high 70’s. That level of coolness won’t last, but as long as it does the “blue and glowing days” of summer will be significantly more tolerable hereabouts. So I praise God “for the wisdom that fashioned the universe” and that our misery has again been tempered by His mercy.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. . . ~2 Corinthians 1:3   ✝

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.