1199.The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbert Platt

The ablest writer is only a gardener first,
and then a cook: his tasks are, carefully to select
and cultivate his strongest and most nutritive thoughts;
and when they are ripe, to dress them, wholesomely,
and yet so that they may have a relish.
~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

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I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it
nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun
glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is a dark
pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and
beautiful silence as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too
hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,
and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,
so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being
locked up in gold.
~Mary Oliver

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. ~Psalm 45:1  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1098. How can I stand on the ground every day and not feel its power? How can I live my life stepping on this stuff and not wonder at it? ~William Bryant Logan

A garden is the mirror of the mind.
It is a place of life, a mystery of green,
moving to the pulse of the year,
and pressing on and pausing the whole
to its own inherent rhythms.
~Henry Beston

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After the autumnal equinox passes sometime in late September the days begin to grow shorter and shorter so that light blesses the soil less and less. Soon with each new cold front that blows in temperatures start dropping more and more from the feverish pitch of their summertime highs. Then as the year’s last child draws near its end, the first freeze comes and the garden starts to wither and unravel. Soon afterwards another freeze arrives, harder than the last, and then another until the stage is set for ice or snow or frost to layer the land. With each onslaught winter’s sting strikes deeper and deeper at the remains of the garden. However, after the winter solstice occurs, the process of “pausing the whole” slowly but surely begins to reverse itself so that day by day there’s a little more sunlight and a little more and a little more until somewhere in all of that movement of the sun and the earth and the stars, the divine mystery and its miracles spark children of the soil into being once more. Faithfully in hidden wombs beneath soil or in bark, embryos have been growing and waiting for the elements to create the right catalytic mixture to push tiny tips upward or outward into the light of day. Following the first emergence of new life, earth’s sacred rhythms, which had been faint as we traversed winter’s veil of grief, become louder again until buds, nurtured by water, warmth, and sunlight, grow large and ripe enough to come into their time of blossoming. So it is that the “pausing” at last comes to an end, and spring’s first comers to press upward, outward and onward burgeoning into flowers and the “mystery of green” that’s a garden. And then in the mirror of my mind I can see clearly the countenance in the Face of all faces because as Robert Brault says, “As a gardener, I’m among those who believe that much of the evidence of God’s existence has been planted.”

Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. ~Psalm 85:11  ✝

715. God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars. ~Elbert Hubbard

Experience is not
what happens to a man.
It is what a man does
with what happens to him.
~Aldous Leonard Huxley

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As I become more and more thankful for the constancy of God’s Presence through moments not only “where He maketh me lie down green pastures” or when “He leadeth me beside still waters and refreshes my soul” or during the times He walks with me “through the valley of the shadow of death,” the Lord lays more and more blessings on my table. So it is and has been that the cup of my soul is filled to overflowing and the contents therein have been steeped in a mellow and ripe richness. The fact that God is good and all that He created is good has grown increasingly more apparent even in moments of darkest despair. Such trials have stretched me upward to His saving light where I am able to see the “scarred” Christ who calls me, flawed and scarred, to be more than I dared dream was possible. Much like the embryonic infant who has to push its way agonizingly through the narrow straights of a mother’s womb to be born, gratitude tunnels a way bit by bit through dark and adverse portals where His fruits of the spirit are forged by fire into being. As well, as in the eye of a storm peace can exist in the midst of the turbulence and greater patience can be acquired by relinquishing control to a God who has always dwelt not only within and without Creation but also within and without each of His children.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

I’ve tasted and seen, of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free, and my shame is undone
By Your presence, Lord

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness…
~Excerpted lyrics by Bryan Torwalt
**To hear a recording of this song click on this link:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~Romans 5:1-4   ✝

559. Here on gray paths of November like a trembling hand a beam of light caressing my pain and my soul breathes the sweet scent of God. ~Frédéric G. Martin

At no other time (than autumn) does
the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell,
the ripe earth; in a smell that is in
no way inferior to the smell of the sea,
bitter where it borders on taste,
and honeysweet where you feel it
touching the first sounds.
~Ranier Maria Rilke

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There’s a nip in the morning air. The willow leaves have turned yellow, and the once green lawn has now donned its beige coat. As autumn continues to morph into winter, the sun streaks across the yard from its more southerly stance. In the aftermath of recent rain and wind, the redbud tree scarcely has any leaves, and the Rose of Sharon stands naked in the chilled garden. Beneath her the rose hips are dressed in scarlet and above the oaks leaves are reddening. The whir of butterfly wings is gone, the hum of the bees is gone, the fragrance of the blossoms is gone, and yet something mysterious, something magical, something hallowed remains. But what is it? What is alway present in Eden’s haunts? Surely you must know for all around us the air sweetly speaks of the unmistakable, unending, undying, abiding aroma of El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty.

They have ears, but cannot hear, noses but cannot smell. ~Psalm 115:6   ✝

553. As autumn passes one remembers one’s reverence. ~Yoko Ono Lennon

Jack Frost
~By C.E. Pike



Look out! Look out!
Jack Frost is about!
He’s after our fingers and toes;
And all through the night,
The gay little sprite
Is working where nobody knows.

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He’ll climb each tree,
So nimble is he,
His silvery powder he’ll shake.
To windows he’ll creep
And while we’re asleep
Such wonderful pictures he’ll make.

Across the grass
He’ll merrily pass,
And change all its greenness to white.
Then home he will go
And laugh ho, ho ho!
What fun I have had in the night.

Frost performed “its secret ministry” as sleep held us close in the night, and when I awoke it lay twinkling like stardust atop things in the garden and on the lawn. Then as dawn’s early light kissed our few colorful autumn leaves, it turned them into glowing golden nuggets or the color of crystalized, reddish ripe persimmons or the usual, splendid oranges of advancing autumn. And as some of the leaves tumbled to the ground, winds blew them into little swirling eddies that played like happy children upon the lawn and in the street. O Autumn, your magic does indeed bring a sense of spectacular glory even as Spring and Summer’s progeny perish.

There is a playful side of nature, and there is a playful side in us which tells me that the Lord too knows something of playfulness since we are made in His image. Anyone who has seen or heard how breezes play in rustling leaves, how raindrops splatter and play on rooftops, how squirrels chase each other round and round a tree trunk has witnessed God’s sense of playfulness.

“Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?” ~Job 38:28-30   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

469. The ripest peach is highest on the tree. ~James Whitcomb Riley

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:
This is luck made round. Frost can nip
the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,
a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,
the burrowing worm that coils in rot can
blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.
~A verse from a poem by Marge Piercy

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Abracadrabra! Hinkety, pinkety! Jiggity, jog! Poof! Oh wouldn’t it be lovely if with such a simple incantation we could go back in time to a place where one of our life’s greatest treasures lie! For me it would be a place filled with the sights and sounds of the sea, the fragrances of beautiful flowers, the tastes of luscious fruits, and the magic of innocence. That place would always be my childhood home in southern California where sanctity fell from on high and oozed up from the ground, and the air was charged and ripe with God’s goodness.

It was when I read this verse today that the poet’s words actually took me back for the briefest of moments to that time and place. For you see in our backyard we had a large peach tree, and I remember so well reaching up, grabbing one, though it might not have been the highest, and eating it with joyful abandon, letting the “juicy sun” drip right down from my mouth. And then there were my mama’s peach pies!!! My oh my oh my but they were the best I have ever eaten!

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 1:12   ✝

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. With all Creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything, and I will adore you!” (From Revelation Song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean)

366. If an apple blossom or a ripe apple could tell its own story, it would be, still more than its own, the story of the sunshine that smiled upon it, of the winds that whispered to it, of the birds that sang around it, of the storms that visited it, and of the motherly tree that held it and fed it until its petals were unfolded and its form developed. ~Lucy Larcom

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Potentially violent thunderstorms began to move in over us from the western and southwestern counties this afternoon. As they did, the normally busy birds disappeared first, and then the dogs began to bark up and down the alleyway. Before the rain started to fall, the sky darkened considerably, and we could hear thunder rumbling in the distance. At that point the innocents in the garden seemed stiffly poised as if to brace themselves against the nasty, threatening storms that carried with them the threat of hail and/or tornadoes. Neither they nor I had long to wait however because soon the heavens opened up, and rain began to pour down harder than it has in years. With the rain legions of lightning bolts filled the skies; at one point TV reports said our area had had 2000 lightning strikes during a 15 minute period. Talk about the potential for violent storms!  Now other than hearing water continue to drip from the gutters and thunder growl occasionally in the distance, the storms seem to have passed unless of course they build again as the evening progresses, and that they well could do. For such is life on the Texas prairies in May, but in the midst of a decade long drought me and the peach trees can’t help but sing praises to the Lord for today’s blessing of abundant rain. At the same time I’ve lived here long enough to be prudently praying that we continue to be sheltered from the nastiness that a tempest like this could yet spawn.

I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm. ~Psalm 55:8  ✝

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!

** Image via Pinterest.