1356. The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within. ~William C. Bryant

yellow jasmine and
daffodils too have I seen
springtime harbingers

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poppy progeny
grows where seeds fell from dried pods
as summer drew nigh

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tulip foliage
as well as anemones
break ground ‘neath the oak

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new leaves appear on
roses that survived the first
hard, too early freeze

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This is what the Lord says to me: “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat…” ~Excerpted passage from Isaiah 18:4  ✝

**All but two images taken by Natalie; collages created by Natalie; haikus written by Natalie

1289. There is a purifying power in laughter. It is truth in palatable form. ~Eugene P. Bertin

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung
into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.
~Jean Houston

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Heavy
That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying
I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had his hand in this,
as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,
was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel,
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry
but how you carry it –
books, bricks, grief –
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it
when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?
Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?
How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe
also troubled –
roses in the rain,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?
~Adapted poem by Mary Oliver

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

**Photo by Natalie

1281. Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking. ~Khalil Gibran

Everyone is overridden with thoughts; that’s why
they have so much heartache and sorrow.
~Rumi

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The Gardener
Have I lived enough?
Have I loved enough?
Have I considered Right Action enough.
Have I come to any conclusion?
Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?
Have I endured loneliness with grace?

I say this, or perhaps I’m just thinking it.
Actually I probably think too much.

Then I step out into the garden,
where the gardener, who is said to be a simple man,
is tending his children, the roses.
~Mary Oliver

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. ~Romans 1:21  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1215. We are all farmers tending a little part of the Lord’s vineyard. ~Sheri L. Dew

One of life’s gifts is that each of us,
no matter how tired and downtrodden,
finds reasons for thankfulness:
for the crops carried in from the fields
and the grapes from the vineyard.
~J. Robert Moskin

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So James and I are driving along headed for lunch one day last week, and I just happened to glance down a cross street in time to see a house with a large side yard that has established its own tiny vineyard. Fascinated by the prospect, I asked James to turn around and go back so I could get a better look and take some photos. There on 4 rows with 7 vines on each of the rows, whoever owns the house has created what appears to be, at least for the moment, a healthy and prospering vineyard. Sadly however there are no roses at the end of the rows. Why roses? “In wine regions around the world, roses are frequently planted at the perimeter of vineyards. Roses typically require the same type of soil and sun requirements as grapevines and traditionally, rose hedges were planted as an early warning system to protect the health of the grapevines. Early detection of disease or stress on the roses alerted winemakers to take the necessary precautions to protect vines from damage. Roses also add beauty to the vineyard landscape, provide food for bees and offer habitat for beneficial insects preying on undesirable insects that can damage the grape crop.” Unfortunately this is not being done much any more as toxic pesticides are being used instead to control what would harm the vines, and I fear that this is what may be the plan here. But we shall see for I plan to make regular visits to this little suburban vineyard and will be praying that the owners are earth-friendly gardeners.

Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? ~Excerpted line from Deuteronomy 20:6  ✝

**I already knew about roses and why they were planted at the end of vineyard rows, but I opted instead to use this snippet from an article I found on the internet to explain it. Also as you can see, the leaves on the grape vines, as are leaves on most things in Texas, are a bit wilted at midday this time of year due to the intense heat .

1164. Drip, drip, drip in cadenced rhythm fall the rain’s dotted silver threads from heaven above. ~Natalie Scarberry

I looked out the window at the falling rain
and gave myself over to the compelling urge to put
myself entirely in the keeping of this rainy day.
~Edited lines from a poem
by Raymond Carver

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Drip, drip, dripping from on high it falls
Not in torrents this time, but in a tender grayness.
Fall, fall, falling through space it comes
Traveling from who knows where and what source
Yet it brings familiar scents and thoughts of yore.
Would I, could I, unravel such things!

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Puddles, puddles, puddling everywhere
Making pools of water like bits of glassy mirrors.
Hang, hang, hanging are leaves and flowery faces
Weighed down by the heaviness of daylong showers
Born of lowering gray clouds leaden with water
Yet there is loveliness in their blurry, drooping poses.
Would I, could I, paint such things.

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Memories, memories, making their way through the rain
With smacks of this fragrance and that, places and people,
Joys and pain, good things and bad things all tied up
In “raindrops on roses” and more of my favorite things
That sparkle and forever accompany rainy days and quiet ways.
Yet there’s gladness in it all for it’s the sum and magic of a life.
Would I, could I, understand such things.
~Natalie Scarberry

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Last night the rain spoke to me
slowly, saying, what joy to come falling
out of the brisk cloud, to be happy again
in a new way on the earth!
~Excerpt from a poem
by Mary Oliver

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“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” ~Job 11:7  ✝

**All images taken by me in my yard today while holding an umbrella in one hand and trying to manage the camera with the other one.

1155. A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. ~Victor Hugo

I haven’t much time to be fond of anything…
but when I have a moment’s fondness
to bestow, most times…the roses get it.
I began my life among them
in my father’s nursery garden, and
I shall end my life among them, if I can.
~Wilkie Collins

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The garden is the place I go for refuge and shelter, not the house. In the house are duties and annoyances, servants to exhort and admonish, furniture, and meals; but out there blessings crowd round me at every step — it is there that I am sorry for the unkindness in me, for those selfish thoughts that are so much worse than they feel; it is there that all my sins and silliness are forgiven, there that I feel protected and at home, and every flower and weed is a friend and every tree a lover. When I have been vexed I run to them for comfort, and when I have been angry without just cause, it is there I find absolution. Did ever a woman have so many friends? And always the same, always ready to welcome me and fill me with cheerful thoughts. Happy children of a common Father, why should I, their own sister, be less content and joyous than they? ~Elizabeth von Arnim

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Gardens and chocolate
both have mystical qualities.
~Edward Flaherty

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

**All flower images taken by me in my yard; lower most chocolate image via Pinterest

1133. Where does reverence arise in your life? ~Gratefulness.org

So often and especially this time of year, both reverence and gratefulness come forth from my ability to see. So I put together some words and collages of places, images, and/or ways that never fail to arouse reverence. As I sat looking out my window, I found great joy in finding the holy in the small and the sacred in the ordinary. Enjoy and count the ways reverence arises in your days.

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the sacrosanct lay on spring’s flowery altars

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the hallowed bloomed atop roses, old and new

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the sanctified twined and climbed on sundry vines

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the holy wafted forth from fragant berries and herbs

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the sacred was carried on the wings of pollinators

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the consecrated could be seen in a wide array of colors and hues

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But I, by your(God’s) great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. ~Psalm 5:7  ✝

**All images were taken in my yard