1349. Before the seed there comes the thought(promise) of bloom. ~Adapted line by E. B. White 

I can hear, underground,
that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it,–
The small water seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet. ~
Theodore Roethke

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The dictionary defines a promise as: 1.) a declaration that something will or will not be done or given and 2.) an express assurance on which expectation is to be based. Therefore, it seems to me that seeds declare and express assurance of what the Lord has done and given, and as such is a promise of what we as His children can expect. For the mention of seeds and their promise is made on the third day of the Genesis story where we can see that plants and trees are manifestations of a sacred and prescribed “seed force.” The roots of this ordained and holy “seed force” reach down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths,” and therein they are sustained by water. That’s why in the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil is a “symbol of the waters of God that enfold and infuse all things.” Not only that but as J. Philip Newell says, “everything that was born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.” In so doing we mortals can see God’s goodness, deeper than any evil, at the inception of Creation and in the heart of all life.

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from my hand into the wind
one clings
as if to say there is in me
something yet to be
~Jeanne Emrich

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Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring. ~William Alexander

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And the sower going forth to sow sets foot into time to come…Like a tree, he has given roots to the earth, and stands free. ~Wendell Berry

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:11-12  ✝

**All photos of seeds and seed pods taken by Natalie; all collages created by Natalie.

1065. Let God’s promises shine on your problems. ~Corrie Ten Boom

February is a quiet month in the garden…
But just because it looks quiet
doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
~Edited and adapted quote from
Rosalie Muller Wright

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The dictionary defines a promise as: (1. a declaration that something will or will not be done or given, or (2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based. Isn’t is amazing that something as tiny as seeds declare what the Lord has promised, done, and given, and what we as His children can expect from His covenants. Special mention of seeds and their guarantee is made on the 3rd day in the Scriptural Genesis story. And the plants and trees God created have never failed to produce profuse manifestations of this “seed force” which has been been emerging for millions of years and comes forth yet from earth’s vegetation. The roots of this holy “seed force” reach down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths.” Therein they are sustained by water, and in the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil was seen as a “symbol of the waters of God that enfolded and infused all things.” God’s goodness, which is deeper than any evil, can be seen then at the very inception of and at the heart of all life. J. Philip Newell puts it this way: “Everything that is born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.” And I love the imagery these words paint of the seed and humanity’s roots reaching deep into our Maker’s life. What a comforting and safe place is the sheltering heart of Yahweh!

As the rain and the 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 desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10-11 ✝

**In the collage are a collection of seed pods I found in my winter garden.

632. A garden is a bird’s dinner table bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries. ~Anne Raver

That little bird has chosen his shelter.
Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds.
Yet he is rocking himself to sleep
without caring for tomorrow’s lodging,
calmly clinging to his little twig,
and leaving God to think for him.
~Martin Luther

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Red–bright, bright, glorious red! How easy it is to find in the winter landscape! Yahweh not only provided birds with sheltering places, but He also formed plants that produce colorful, and therefore easy to spot, feasts of red berries. In Scripture, we are told that we needn’t worry about what we require either because the Lord promises to provide for our needs too. However, since youth is an opiate that leads many a “fledgling” like I once was to a) believe that he/she is infallible and b) to believe he/she is the only one on the planet with a clue about anything, I foolishly thought for a time that my life was only what I was making of it. Then as time passed I began to realize there were doors that did not have to open, but they did; there were opportunities that didn’t have to present themselves, but they did; and there were misfortunes that could have occurred, but they didn’t, and so on. It’s our God-given free will which allows us to make choices that determine the outcome of our lives, and even poor choices can and do sometimes lead to a path that eventually merges back into the one the Lord wants us to travel. Looking back at such things I realize now that it’s only because of the intervention of God’s divine and saving grace that advantageous things happen. And who knows perhaps even the detours are gifts of His divine providence meant to protect the unwise sojourner from harm. Though prudence and patience are lessons I’m still trying to master, at least I’ve become more aware of the importance and necessity of listening to the Lord, consulting Him before making choices, yielding to His will and plan for my life, and living more like the birds who worry not. So on I go these days putting one foot in front of the other. In the meantime God keeps His eye on me and the sparrow, the birds feast upon the garden’s berries, and I rely more and more on the Lord, letting my little piece of Eden continue to feed my soul and remind me of His faithful provision and promises.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…” ~Matthew 6: 25-28   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; overlay created by Natalie

577. Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A handful of patience is
worth more than a bushel of brains.
~Dutch Proverb

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A black bird outside pecks slowly at the ground as is his calling, and squirrels steadily dig holes for burying acorns in the flowerbeds as is their timely task. And I, I sit watching and foraging though my mind’s limited storehouse of knowledge to find understanding of a contrasting human frailty. It seems we, humans that is, are forever in a hurry, searching for and wanting something else or something more while still unsure of what to do with who and what we are and already have. Yet, above leaves float down without dissent as they always do in autumn, rain drips unquestioningly off the roof as it does after every storm, and the Lord speaks without fail in the silence about His perfect plan and faithful provision for everything and everyone. Throughout the whole of life, God tries to teach His children to be patient and to yield to His will and timing. He asks that we submit thankfully to and accept with gratitude His provisions and plans for our lives, and He also requests that we develop unfaltering faith in trusting Him to be faithful to His promises and accepting of His timetable for bringing them about.

We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand –
and melting like a snowflake.
~Marie B. Ray

So, if crows, squirrels, leaves, rain and such do this, isn’t it time for us to quit frantically looking for more, to be accepting of what already is, to be grateful for all that we have and are, and simply to listen as well as comply like all else in the natural world?

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve of what God’s will is–His good, perfect, and pleasing will.” ~Romans 12:2   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

565. Come, come thou bleak December wind, and blow the dry leaves from the tree! ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Through bare trees
I can be winter’s innocence,
unashamed needfulness,
the thin and reaching limbs 
of a beggar,
longing to touch 
but the hem of the sun.
~Lisa Lindsey

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It’s the first morn of December. It’s cold. It’s gray. Leaves are brown, dying, or gone. Branches already bare resemble arms reaching to the heavens for something or someone. A norther continues to blow open wider and wider the gates of the year’s Sabbath, and the wings and winds of change are palpable in the frosty air. In the garden’s resounding gong, in its tinkling wind chimes, and in its clanging bells I hear portents of the changes. I’m reminded not only by these sounds but also by the morning’s silences that December is a time of expectancy, a time of waiting, and a time of preparation; moreover, it is a time to share in the ancient longing for the Messiah’s birth as well as a time to look forward to His second coming. And since our time coin for this year is almost spent, it is time now more than ever to let love reign our hearts, to let peace be our constant prayer, to let compassion and giving pour our of our gratitude for another year of Yahweh’s gifts, blessings, fulfilled promises, and miracles. And it is also time, now and always, to reach for the heavens and praise God for all that He is, for all that He has done, and all that He continues to do for His children!

Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. ~2 Chronicles 6:40   ✝

** Image via Pinterest, but edited by Natalie

449. With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things. ~William Wordsworth

Bright flowers, whose home is everywhere
Bold in maternal nature’s care
And all the long year through the heir
Of joy and sorrow,
Methinks that there abides in thee
Some concord with humanity,
Given to no other flower I see
The forest through.
~From his poem “To the Daisy”
by William Wordsworth

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Daisies, these in the photos are not, but members of the same family they are. And I believe the sunflower and the two Echinacea blossoms on either side are as deserving of Wordsworth’s poetic description as the daisy since all are equally bold, bright, and beautiful. The best part is that none of them need much tending and can be grown with very little effort in a wide variety of soils. And methinks too that there abides in all three “some concord(harmony) with humanity” because they bring the “deep power of joy” to the eye and not only reflect God’s glory but also fulfill a portion of His promises. Another great feature of the beauties is that these members of a 40 million-year-old family readily reseed themselves. That means that a gardener or farmer can start with a single plant and at the end of a growing season harvest more than enough seeds to share with other growers or to start a plethora of new plants in his/her own garden. The English writer, John Mason Good, said it best of such flowers, “Not worlds on worlds, in phalanx deep, need we to prove a God is here. The daisy, fresh from nature’s sleep, tells of His hand in lines as clear.”

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:11-12    ✝

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

386. She is the world’s sharpest flower and when she blooms deeply she slices into my soul. ~Ronald Howard Moman

A bunch of glads,
certainly highly emblematic of creation,
remote from frills of working blossom with hope of fruit:
slow, durable, placid,
generous, sure of kingly dreams.
~Gottfried Benn

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The ancient Romans called the primary sword of their foot soldiers a gladius, and a smaller sword was a gladiolus, which was often used by the gladiators. Pliny the illustrious Roman author dubbed the flower with the long sword-shaped leaves gladiolus and the name stuck.

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Mother’s Gladiolas
by Anne Bach

Mother’s hands dig deep holes in soft brown earth,
watering in the tender seedlings —
teaching me of the promise of flowers.

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She was quiet about her thoughts and beliefs,
but I think she always believed
in the promise of flowers.

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When we moved
to the old house on top of the hill,
next to the gladiola field, she was even more quiet.

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She planted no flowers there.
But the man who picked the gladiolas
brought her a big bunch in all different colors every week.

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I think she still believed in flowers
a year later when we moved
to a rural farm house in New Jersey.

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She planted pansies all around the old tree
before the long days
when she took to her bed.

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I must have been born from her love of flowers
for I have planted them wherever I have lived
Looking for dark rich soil and a promise of flowers.

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. ~Psalm 119:48 ✝

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!

** Some images via Pinterest