1358. If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, THE SECRET GARDEN

Gardening about enjoying the smell
of things growing in the soil,
getting dirty without feeling guilty,
and generally taking the time to soak
up a little peace and serenity.
~Lindley Karstens

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However many years she lived, Mary always felt
that ‘she should never forget that first morning
when her garden began to grow’…I am sure there is
Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough
to get hold of it and make it do things for us.
~Excerpted lines from THE SECRET GARDEN
by Frances Hodgson Burnett

One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands out and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun–which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with the millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone’s eyes. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, THE SECRET GARDEN

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At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago…Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world,” he said wisely one day, “but people don’t know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment….And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles… Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraging thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable, determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place. ~Excerpted lines from THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. ~Genesis 2:8  ✝

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…” ~Jeremiah 29:5  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; text added to the collage by Natalie; collage created by Natalie

1336. Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. ~Charles Dickens

Although time seems to fly, it never travels faster than one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest. In each waking day, you will find scores of blessings and opportunities for positive change. Do not let your TODAY be stolen by the unchangeable past or the indefinite future! Today is a new day! ~Steve Maraboli

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Blessing
May you wake with a sense of play,
An exultation of the possible.
May you rest without guilt,
Satisfied at the end of a day well done.
May all the rough edges be smoothed,
If to smooth is to heal,
And the edges be left rough,
When the unpolished is more true
And infinitely more interesting.
May you wear your years like a well-tailored coat
Or a brave sassy scarf.
May every year yet to come:
Be one more bright button
Sewn on a hat you wear at a tilt.
May the friendships you’ve sown
Grown tall as summer corn.
And the things you’ve left behind,
Rest quietly in the unchangeable past.
May you embrace this day,
Not just as any old day,
But as this day.
Your day.
Held in trust
By you,
In a singular place,
Called now.

BY CARRIE NEWCOMER

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. ~Ephesians 1:3  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie; border and text added on PicFont

1210. If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again. ~Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us
to encounter everyday epiphanies, those
transcendent moments of awe that change
forever how we experience life and the world.
~John Milton

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When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry

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He (the Lord) maketh me lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. ~Psalm 23: 1-2  ✝

**Images of wood drakes and great herons via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

1115.Two of my favorite things are sitting on porch, smoking a pipe, and playing my harmonica. ~Edited excerpt from Abraham Lincoln

I return to my front porch to find
the place where the air smells sweeter and
the sun feels warmer than at any other
bend in life’s long road.
~John Sarris

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After the end of a long hot day
At the end of my rope – with nerves all frayed
I sat on the porch…to rest a spell
As the sun slipped…slowly behind the hill.
Calmed…by the lingering…after glow
I watched…the star-speckled night unfold.
Crimson streaks…on a sky of blue
Melted…in a thousand…different hues
That got lost…in the dark…without the light
Leaving…just their shadows…in the darkness.
And in fields…of clover…across the way
The crickets…began…their serenade
As fireflies danced…with sheer delight
Glowing…in love…with the ebony night.
And there…ahead…at the end of the road
Above the bridge…where the river flows
It rose – like magic – before my eyes
An orange moon…so big…it filled the sky.
~Edited poem by Elaine George

You(God) know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. ~Psalm 139:2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the internet; collage created by Natalie

1091. Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ~Desmond Tutu

We must accept finite disappointment,
but never lose infinite hope.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~Emily Dickinson

It has been my privilege to meet some incredible people through my blog. They are people I never knew to ask God for, but He has given them to me anyway. When I asked Him why He blessed me with their presence in my life, He let me know that it’s because they can fill my life in ways that no one else can. And it’s true. From places all over the globe they are the candles in my darknesses and the birds of hope that perch atop my soul when my days grow dark and I find myself in the “chillest” of lands and on the “strangest” of seas.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. ~Psalm 62:5  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1070. Dance is the hidden language of the soul. ~Martha Graham

May I stand amazed in the Presence of God;
May I stand in the midst of celestial fire
until my heart is molten gold…
May I walk everywhere on earth radiant, complete…
~Normandi Ellis

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I am the Lord of the Dance said he!
I danced in the days when the world began.
I live in you, and you live in me.
So dance on, then, wherever you may be
For I am still Lord of the dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be!

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I sleep in the kernel and I dance in the rain;
I dance in the wind and through the waving grain.
I dance in the constancy of waves in the sea,
For I am still the Lord of the waves’ mystery.
I dance at the Sabbath when it’s time to rest
For to live is to dance, and the dance goes on and on.

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The moon in her phases, the tides of the sea,
The movement of the earth, and the seasons that will be
Are the rhythm of the dancing and a promise through the years
That the dance goes on through both joy and the tears.
They took My life at Calvary, but I leapt up high,
Because I am the Life that will never, ever die.

**This is not a repeat of last night’s hymn that I quoted in part. It’s a heavily edited and adapted version of another rendition of the Lord of the Dance, and I love the new elements of it because I think they add depth and richness. I hope you enjoy it.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 4   ✝

***Images via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

1058. The poetry of the earth is never dead… ~John Keats

Let us love winter, for
it is the spring of genius.
~Pietro Aretino

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Scripture tells us that God  rested on the 7th day, and so we see that He deems rest as an essential element of well being. Earth’s life cycles would simply not be sustainable without rest, and that’s what winter is designed for. This rhythm of restfulness and  then liveliness is visible in more than just springtime’s revival though; for example, we see it in the yielding of daylight to darkness, wakefulness to sleep, and noisiness to silence. Relaxation leads to revitalization and health, and that’s why Creation’s repetitive patterns of repose and continuation have been described as the holy rituals of sacred restful sacraments. Although loving winter, especially when we are in its most extreme throes, is challenging, the good news is that Yahweh, the lovable Genius behind winter, built into it things that keep us hopeful. One such thing is this lenten rose that I found blooming near my back fence. In the already cleared ground and warmed by autumn’s leafy debris its pink flowers are rising above the foliage and standing there “pretty as a picture” as they say. Perhaps the hellebore bloomed a bit earlier than usual because what little winter we’ve had here has been mild, very mild so far. It’s just early February and yet there were days last week and more coming next week with highs in the mid-to-high 70‘s. Thus my wondrous, little lenten rose is truly a “verse” of poesy penned by the now sleeping earth, and it is manifest proof that “the poetry of the earth” is, as Keats said, never dead.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. ~Genesis 2:2-3  ✝