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

266. When hope is hungry, everything feeds it. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Though you lose all hope,
there is still hope,
and it loves to surprise.
~Robert Brault

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Goodbye January and hello February!  Whew, January is a long month, isn’t it?!  So much so that it makes my hope very hungry indeed.  Dada, dada da da da!  I said hello, February…well hello February…It’s so nice you’ve finally come around again.  You’re lookin’ swell, February…And time will tell February…That spring’s a comin’ February…  Okay, to appreciate my attempt here at “cleverosity” with the previous lines, you have to try to remember a song from a musical by the same name called HELLO DOLLY.  Okay, so maybe it was a lame attempt, but today is just that kind of day, one that puts a song in my heart.  Why?  Why you ask?  Well…

About the time the barrenness of winter starts putting asunder all hope of anything different, February saves the day by bringing forth visible signs of the new spring.  And so it did this year on its very first day.  After I’d watered and waited and watched the bulbs I’d started weeks ago in the greenhouse, I was rewarded today with several emerging buds.  The result: squeals of joy peeled forth inside its walls along with hallelujahs and praise for such glorious surprises amid winter’s gloomy, brown and beige drabness.  But they’re just flowers some might say, but pshaw!  They are pieces in the puzzle of Creation itself, blessed and holy and full of purpose.  They’ve been touched by the very hand of God and then ordained as part of the faithful and reoccurring provision not only for man’s needs but for his pleasure as well.  And if flowers are inconsequential why are so many poems and pieces of literature devoted to them, and why are they considered by many as desirable gifts, and why are their scents revered for use in perfumes, and why have they been worth at times more than gold?

“Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist, and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.  Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no flower of spring pass us by.  Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither…”  ~Wisdom 2:6-8  ✝

209. Bad weather always looks worse through a window. ~Author Unknown

Spooky wild and gusty;
swirling dervishes of rattling leaves race by,
fleeing the wildflung deadwood
that cracks and thumps behind.
~Dave Beard

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White, the world is still white, very white and very frozen!  And the only movements I see out my window this morning are leaves fluttering to the ground and birds coming to the feeders for breakfast and the bird baths for water.  Sadly all the birdbaths are so frozen that no matter how hard they peck at the ice, there’s no water beneath it to be had.  So after putting in enough chair time to be fully awake, I braved the cold and took them a bowl of water.  As I inched along on the frozen ground, I noticed that some of the fallen leaves from the red oak were striking lovely poses wherever they’d fallen.  One of them had even lodged itself quite prettily inside a large ceramic pot I’d emptied of its greenhouse-bound contents.  Once back inside after my errand of mercy and a few snaps of the camera, I heard on the news that there was a 30% chance of more sleet today and that the temperature would remain well under the freezing mark.  It really didn’t feel all that bad while I was out, but it seems we are in for another forced stay-at-home day.  I won’t complain though for like the birds I have much for which to be thankful.  The birds too have warmth and safety?  Indeed they do, for the ones who are cavity nesters, I’ve put in place plenty of birdhouses around the yard and for the others several kinds of evergreens have been planted.  If God stewards and provides for me, and he does so well, how can I not in turn steward and provide for all that He has given me?

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  ~Romans 5:17  ✝

185. For the wisdom that fashioned the universe and can be read in earth’s dark depths and in heaven’s infinity of lights, thanks be to you, O God. ~John Philip Newell

How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.
-Elsie N. Brady, poet

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As Brady points out, when leaves “come to rest upon the ground,” it is a completion, but the work of fallen autumn leaves is far from done at that point.  As they “rest upon the ground,” besides being a warm blanket for what lies beneath them and a life-saving provision for the trees, they become food for a host of soil organisms that are vital to the overall health of ecosystems.  As time moves on and the leaves decompose, they restock the soil with nutrients and they make up a part of the spongy humus that absorbs and holds rainfall.  At last “with the arrival of warmth and spring, insects, bacteria, and fungi gear up!  Leaves are chewed and rotted, releasing nutrients for plant growth.”  So it is that with another round of plant growth, Creation and its inhabitants are guaranteed what they need to survive until the recycling process begins again the next fall.  How comforting it is to know that the Hand of the Almighty is always near!  For, you see, it was after a stroke threatened my life and wholeness a year ago yesterday that the Lord’s mighty hands performed the necessary miracles to grant me another year of health and life.

 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  ~Psalm 40:3a  ✝