1401. Beauty…is the shadow of God on the universe. ~Gabriela Mistral

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health,
and quiet breathing.
~John Keats

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Yeh, yeh, I know it’s almost autumn, but I bought some more tulip bulbs to buy and plant this year. And I also bought a handy dandy little bulb bopper that’s driven by a drill to dig the holes for them. Not only that but it’s time to buy poppy seeds, larkspur, and holyhock seeds as fall is the time to sow them here in Texas. So in the next few weeks and months, I’ll be setting the stage, in my yard at least, for next year’s springtime. And my friends, that is such exciting stuff for this old girl. Despite all the rumors of Armageddon, the second coming of Christ and the rapture, and wars that will bring about the end of the world, I’m relying on God’s Word that says the end will come like a thief in the night and we will never know when that is. So life is yet for living joyfully and enjoying each and every day as the gifts they are instead of wringing our hands with worry and hanging our heads in despair. As they say here in Texas “it ain’t over til it’s over!”

God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds–
and I think that He has made them partly
as a balance for that kind of civilization that
would choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts.
He made the great open places for people who want to be…
away from the crowds that kill all reverence.
And I think He is glad at times to have us forget
our cares and responsibilities so that we may be nearer Him–
as Jesus was when he crept away into the wilderness to pray.
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. ~1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 ✝

**Mixed photos from my archives and Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1349. Before the seed there comes the thought(promise) of bloom. ~Adapted line by E. B. White 

I can hear, underground,
that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it,–
The small water seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet. ~
Theodore Roethke

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The dictionary defines a promise as: 1.) a declaration that something will or will not be done or given and 2.) an express assurance on which expectation is to be based. Therefore, it seems to me that seeds declare and express assurance of what the Lord has done and given, and as such is a promise of what we as His children can expect. For the mention of seeds and their promise is made on the third day of the Genesis story where we can see that plants and trees are manifestations of a sacred and prescribed “seed force.” The roots of this ordained and holy “seed force” reach down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths,” and therein they are sustained by water. That’s why in the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil is a “symbol of the waters of God that enfold and infuse all things.” Not only that but as J. Philip Newell says, “everything that was born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.” In so doing we mortals can see God’s goodness, deeper than any evil, at the inception of Creation and in the heart of all life.

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from my hand into the wind
one clings
as if to say there is in me
something yet to be
~Jeanne Emrich

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Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring. ~William Alexander

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And the sower going forth to sow sets foot into time to come…Like a tree, he has given roots to the earth, and stands free. ~Wendell Berry

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 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 1:11-12  ✝

**All photos of seeds and seed pods taken by Natalie; all collages created by Natalie.

1172. The word “miracle” aptly describes a seed. ~Jack Kramer

From one seed a whole handful:
that was what it meant to say
the bounty of the earth.”
~J. M. Coetzee

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What do you see in this photo? Obviously it’s a plant of some kind, but that’s not what I see when I look at it nor is it the true import of the image. Okay, so what more, you might ask, is there to see? Well, first I see a miracle, then I see God’s grace, next I see beauteous splendor, and finally I see a divine promise. Really, all that, in a nondescript, green cup-like object? Indeed I do! This large sunflower obviously has yet to open; nevertheless and even though the flower is not visible, I see great beauty in the fringed “cup” that’s holding what I know to be a stunning yellow sunflower. I also see great promise in it for I know that when the sunflower does emerge and mature, it will proffer an enormous amount of seeds which will not only guarantee ever-lasting continuance but also provide food to sustain living beings. The miracle in it is three-fold: 1.) it came forth from a small black particle buried beneath dirt, pain old, ordinary dirt, 2.) it’s growing in my garden although I did not sow it there, and 3.) it has not only survived neglect and lack but it has also thrived and grown to a height of six feet. As for grace, God’s amazing grace was promised us countless eons ago and this plant is just one more wondrous proof of life that He was and is still the faithful Steward of all that He has made.

Not all things are blest, but
the seeds of all things are blest.
The blessing is in the seed.
~Muriel Rukeyser

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. ~Genesis 9:11  ✝

878. TODAY!

Relax. Refresh. Renew.

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Play. Sing. Laugh.

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Enjoy. Forgive. Dance.

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Love. Hug. Kiss.

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Dream. Explore. Create.

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 Listen. Trust. Learn.

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Share. Hope. Dare.

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~Steve Maraboli

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. ~Henri Nouwen

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. ~2 Corinthians 9:6  ✝

**All images via Pinterest

737. Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. ~Rumi

Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of anger and resentment?
Did I forgive? Did I love?
These are the real questions.
I must trust that the little bit
of love that I sow now
bears many fruits, here in this world
and in the life to come.
~Henri Nouwen

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Give birth and life to your faith and dreams.
Let die all doubt and fear.
Plant seeds of hope.
Uproot all intolerance.

Kill off pridefulness.
Speak words of healing.
Tear down walls of indifference.
Build up those who are downtrodden.

Weep with compassion for those less fortunate.
Laugh long and often.
Mourn in your own way but not without hope.
Dance with gusto and sometimes in the rain.

Scatter stones that wall in and isolate mercy.
Gather stones in order to build bridges instead.
Embrace all living creatures.
Refrain from embracing ignorance and extravagance.

Search for your true self.
Give up on what the world tells you should be.
Keep your focus on the still, small voice inside.
Throw away words spoken in anger, resentment, and envy.

Tear away from those bent on destruction.
Mend broken relationships with forgiveness.
Be silent and listen to your heart’s sacred and sound goodness.
Speak words of comfort and concern and love.

Love the Lord with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul.
Hate injustice and prejudice.
War not with others nor yourself.
Pray for wisdom and peace.

1     There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens: 

2      a time to be born and a time to die,
    
        a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3      a time to kill and a time to heal,
    
        a time to tear down and a time to build,

4      a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    
        a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5      a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    
        a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6      a time to search and a time to give up,
    
        a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7      a time to tear and a time to mend,
   
        a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8      a time to love and a time to hate,
  
        a time for war and a time for peace.

~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

668. There is…an order of succession in the garden year which is deeply pleasing…seed time flows on to flowering time and flowering time flows on to harvest time… ~Edited lines by Susan Hill and Rory Stuart

A little seed for me to sow…
A little earth to make it grow…
A little hole, a little pat…
A little wish, and that is that.
A little sun, a little shower…
A little while, and then – a flower!
~Mabel Watts

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SEEDS
The seeds I sowed –
For week unseen –
Have pushed up pygmy
Shoots of green;
So frail you’d think
The tiniest stone
Would never let
A glimpse be shown.
But no; a pebble
Near them lies,
At least a cherry-stone
In size,
Which that mere sprout
Has heaved away,
To bask in sunshine,
See the day.
~Walter de la Mare

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” ~Genesis 8:22   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

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