1393. Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness, and radiate light into the world. ~Author Unknown

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Do you remember the last time you squealed with joy about something? Or do you at least remember seeing a young child squeal with delight? How about an almost 75 year old? Well it’s true; I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact I’m elated that just months away from my 75th birthday, there are things in this world that still can make me squeal with joy and amazement. I’ve long admired photographs of lotus flowers and knew a little of their history, but it never dawned on me that I would actually ever find one here in Texas. And yet just last week as my husband and I made our periodic run through our local Botanic Gardens that to my amazement I spotted from the car what I thought were the pods of a Lotus plant. And so camera in hand, I screeched for him to stop and jumped out of the car to go take a closer look. Not only were there the remaining pods of previous lotus blooms, but I actually spotted a bud. That’s when I squealed because it was almost like standing in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time, so much so that I half expected to see Adam and Eve eventually stroll by. So for days I went back to photograph the bud as it slowly opened. At long last it appeared that it would fully open last Wednesday, the day my sister and I had chosen for our weekly quilting get-to-together. But rather than cancel at the last minute I went on to her house since we both look forward to our quilting days and time spent together. Sadly it did fully bloom that day and by the following day when I went back most of the petals had already begun to fall away. But I had seen enough to remain fully thrilled and enthralled by the experience. And I know that where there once was one there will soon enough be more. The opening photo is a collage of lotus photos I found on Pinterest, but below as I reveal some of the fascinating information about the Lotus Flower here are the photos I took last week. They are not the best photos, but it was very hot so I was shooting fast, and I couldn’t get very close to them.

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The Lotus Flower is one of the earliest and most spiritually meaningful symbols in our world ever. It spans various thousand-year-old Eastern cultures and to this day holds enormous symbolic weight.

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So what is it about this mysterious blossom that people find so enrapturing? Its colorful bloom is an obvious suspect, but the lotus also has a life cycle unlike any other.

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Late in the evening the petals close and withdraw beneath the surface, then at daybreak, the flower again lifts up to the sky and unfolds its majestic crown. With its roots based in mud, it submerges every night into murky river water, and—undeterred by its dirty environment—it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals.

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Although cultures have their own interpretations of this daily process, there is a general consensus among ancient texts that the lotus symbolizes spiritual enlightenment and rebirth.

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The lotus stunned people with its ability to dip into the grime and revive itself unscathed—an incredible daily cycle of life, death, and a sudden immaculate rebirth that can only be described as spiritual. But the flower also has a fascinating will to live. A lotus seed can withstand thousands of years without water, able to germinate over two centuries later.

“O Lord, by these things men live, And in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health and let me live! ~Isaiah 38:16  ✝

694. I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
~Ruth Stout 

I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become,
I will always plant a large garden in the spring.
Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy
that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?
~Edward Giobbi

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If your purse no longer bulges
and you’ve lost your golden treasure,
If times you think you’re lonely
and have hungry grown for pleasure,
Don’t sit by your hearth and grumble,
don’t let mind and spirit harden.
If it’s thrills of joy you wish for
get to work and plant a garden!



If it’s drama that you sigh for,
plant a garden and you’ll get it.
You will know the thrill of battle
fighting foes that will beset it.
If you long for entertainment and
for pageantry most glowing,
Plant a garden and this summer spend
your time with green things growing.
~Edgar Guest

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21   ✝

The photo is of my cherry tree in bloom against the backdrop of my neighbor’s blossoming redbud tree. It’s such as this that weds my heart forever to a garden and my soul evermore to the Creator of all that is.

633. Red is the great clarifier – bright and revealing. ~Diana Vreeland

 Red is the first color of spring.
It’s the color of rebirth,
Of beginning.
~Ally Condie
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WHAT IS RED?
Red is a sunset
Blazing and bright.
Red is feeling brave
With all your might.
Red is a sunburn
A spot on your nose.
Sometimes red, is a red red rose.
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Red squiggles out
When you cut your hand.
Red is a brick
And the sounds of a band.
Red is a hotness you get inside
When you’re embarrassed
And want to hide.
~Mary O’Neill
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. ~Psalm 106:9-10   ✝
**Images via Pinterest and Natalie; the collages were created by Natalie

534. The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. ~William Blake

A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.
~Starhwak

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Irish immigrants fleeing from the Great Famine of the 1840’s brought versions of Halloween to North America. For them the celebration had its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian “All Saints Day” on November 1st. The festivities of the centuries-old holiday began at sunset and ended at midnight on October 31st. Samhain meant roughly “summer’s end,” and it was a celebration of the end of the “lighter half” of the year in which the daylight hours steadily increased and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year in which the daylight hours steadily decreased.

As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.
Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.
~Excerpts from a blessing by
John O’Donohue

The land yields its harvest; God, our God blesses us. ~Psalm 67:6  ✝

**Images via Pinterest

448. A blue jay’s feathered back holds spots of white clouds and soft, glistening blue. ~From a poem by Gayle Sween

We saw–through milky light, above the doghouse–
A blue jay lecturing the neighbor’s cat
So fiercely that, at first, it seemed to wonder
When birds fought the diplomacy of light
And met, instead, each charge with a wild swoop,
Metallic cry and angry thrust of beak.
Later we found the reason,
Near the fence
Among the flowerless stalks of daffodils,
A weak piping of feathers.
Too late now to go back
To nest again among the sheltering leaves…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Paul Lake

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Photo posted on Flickr by Brian E. Cushner

Noisy blue jays screech in the alley calling for help because a baby has been snatched from the nest by a prowling cat. Alarmed I look up at one of my cavity nests where I recently heard the tiny peeps of newly birthed baby sparrows. I’m relieved to see Mom and Pop sparrow sitting close by in attentive, watchful vigilance for they’ve spotted the cat wandering back inside the yard. But they too have been seen and in a flash the cat charges ready to pounce. The sparrows quickly take to wing, however, and make a clean getaway fearing not for the safety of their children for they know that having just been fed the hatchlings will lay quietly inside the nest till their return. And so now whilst the feline huntress sleeps under her favorite lawn chair she can only dream of better days when she’ll once again have her way.

Hardly a day goes by when one cannot find something engaging or new being birthed in a garden. Even in late autumn and winter there’s a hopeful progression of captivating events. Our lives are like that too, I think. Since it’s a bit harder sometimes to realize much variation or progression in our day to day living, I love to go out and walk or sit in my garden so I can feel the thrill of moving constancy, intrigue, and rebirth.

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. ~Ecclesiastes 7:8   ✝

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

315. Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

A garden spot may be a noisy place
Where droning bees
Seek honey, spiders weave their silver lace
Upon the trees,
And little birds sing songs the livelong day.

Or it may be so silent that it seems
The flowers sleep,
And shy, mysterious virgin dreams
Their vigil keep,
And God communes with earth the livelong day.
~Pringle Barret

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Spring, ever so splendid springtime!  God’s glory colors the arms of barren trees, the unfolding petals of flowers, and the fanciful wings of every creature in flight.  Rebirth and renewal explode from soil seemingly laid waste by icy months of freezing temperatures, and the sunshine charges the air with invigorating currents.  The hum of the bees and the song of the birds fill ears with melodies, sweet and grand, while spiders do indeed weave sticky lairs of “silver lace.”  Then there are those splendiferous moments at dawn and twilight when a tranquil hush pervades the space between heaven and earth, and in the silence sacred whispers cross the thresholds of listening ears.

Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.  ~Song of Songs  2:8   ✝

May your salvation, Jesus, be with us always!

293. I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth? ~Edward Giobbi 

The flowers of late winter and spring
occupy places in our hearts
well out of proportion to their size.
~Gertrude S. Wister

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Small for sure on earth’s vast stage are the first flowers of late winter and early spring, but large is their scope.  They, like the day’s first sunlight fractures darkness in the physical world, shatter darkness int the spiritual world.  And when any light breaks spiritual darkness, joy and hope can be sparked and subsequently release from any imposed bondage the light of God which is at the heart of all He created.  Thus I believe it is by Divine intent and for sacred purposes that these flowers occupy places of disproportionate size in the human heart.  Humanity lives with dreadful darknesses in this fallen world, and it could be that the Lord purposely built into Creation’s fabric the repetition of such sparks to keep igniting anew the glow of His Light.  J. Philip Newell proclaims that the light of God “dapples through the whole of creation.”  He declares that it can be seen “within the brilliance of the morning sun and the whiteness of the moon at night and that it issues forth in all that grows from the ground and the life that shines from the eyes of any living creature.”  Thus like cracks in a dam weaken the structure so that flood waters at some point may no longer be able to be contained, crack after crack in spiritual darkness eventually lets in more and more of God’s holy light.  Hence when the fullness of His Light breaks through into the world and the human heart, there is the potential for amazing floods of grace and healing as well as salvation.

You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  Psalm 18:28   ✝