1139. If it’s drama that you sigh for, plant a garden and you’ll get it. ~Edward A. Guest

‘Tis like the birthday of the world,
When earth was born in bloom;
The light is made of many dyes,
The air is all perfume…
~Excerpt from a poem by Thomas Hood

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One of my favorite poems in all of “poemdom” is this one below by Robert Browning. In fact I recite it to myself at least once every spring.

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn; God’s in his Heaven—
All’s right with the world!

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Spring began very early here, almost a month and a half ago, but this morning was the first one exactly like the quintessential spring morning of which Browning spoke. A heavy dew had blanketed everything that lay before my eyes making grass and flower sparkle, and in the sparkle was the sort of magic that thrills this old gardener’s heart beyond measure. So I sat spellbound forever so long in my chair watching the birds feed and the squirrels play and the breeze ruffle petals and leaves. My little piece of Eden was gloriously alive as well as all of her adoring paramours. What a  magnificent sight to behold it was as light oozed into all the dark corners, not only outside the window but also in the windows of my being! What had been created in the beginning continually points to the Creator, and oh what a Creator He is! My eyes were filled, my ears were filled, my cup of life was filled, and in and of it all was Yahweh, that Holy Presence, who continually fills my soul with His goodness and grace. Oh how I adore Him and His wondrous Eden!!!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. ~Psalm 23: 6  ✝

1069. On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined. ~Lord Byron

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun
Next I came down and danced on the Earth
For I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And  now I’ll lead you in the Dance with me!
~Edited and excerpted lyrics
from the hymn, Lord of the Dance

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This day had begun with a
dollop of golden light in the east.
And then up, up, up recoiled
the night’s dark shade
so that the space all around me
was filled with wondrous light,
holy light,  warming light.
And in the light was a sparkle;
’twas a glittering hint of spring’s
advance upon earth’s stage.
In the midst of the morn’s litany
Yahweh’s familiar footsteps could be heard
as he moved along the garden’s paths.
~Natalie

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Sing and dance did we,
the birds and I, with
the Lord of the Universe,
the God who won’t let go of
all that He has made and loves.
~Natalie

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Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I till turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. ~Jeremiah 31:13   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1023. Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish. ~John Jakes

We have to dare to be ourselves,
however frightening or strange
that self may prove to be.
~May Sarton

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Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before-”
(What? Before you reach the morning…)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
Now there is time and
Time is young.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by May Sarton

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood… ~Excerpt from Ephesians 4:25  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

912. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. ~Elie Wiesel

Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest,
to be completely present to the moment,
to taste the here and now, to be where we are.
Help us then, Lord, to be patient and
trust that the treasure we look for is hidden
in the holy ground on which we stand
and apparent even in the absence of light.
~Edited and adapted excerpt by
Henri Nouwen

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O, Ancient of Days, as daylight splits the veil of night, I praise Your holy name and wonder if you come to my garden still. If you do, do you come only in the early hours as I sensed at dawn today? Or do you come as well at dusk when light bedecks, with a touch of quicksilver sparkle, only the very tops of things making out of ordinary beauty that which is extraordinary? Is it in praise of your divine glory that the birds linger and chatter before their daytime forays and then again as they return at day’s end to find rest for the night? Are the gentle breezes I feel upon my face your very breath and the flowers I see fallen jewels from your holy crown? Do the bees and butterflies yet nectar in autumn to guarantee Eden’s resurrection after winter’s wrath consumes them. O, God, I want to know more of you and do believe you are here with me always; for if not on the lawn, I find your footprints upon my heart.

Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~Hebrews 4:16  ✝

**Image of titmouse and autumn berries via Pinterest

502. The morrow was a bright September morn; the earth was beautiful as if newborn; 
there was nameless splendor everywhere, that wild exhilaration in the air… ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Did you hear them? Of maybe see them?! Did you? I didn’t either, but I know autumn fairies played upon the lawn last night; dew from their pixie dust was shining like diamonds upon the grass this morning. They must have worn themselves out in their playfulness, however, and vanished with the dawn because now where once they romped all I see are avian wings crisscrossing the yard.

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Fall has come but her red leaf and her gold have not. And so though the year is growing long in the tooth, the sparkle of life’s spark continues to pulse audibly to the beat of Yahweh’s heart. His Eden is still very much alive; spring and summer’s glory have not been vanquished. I know because I can hear it and see it bursting forth in the red of rosy faces, the yellow that sits atop the Maximillian sunflowers, the white that calls out from the Angel’s trumpets, the pink that plays on in phloxy mounds, the blue that paints the sky and the morning glories, the orange that echoes from the echinacea, the purple that mounts the ruella, and the green that continues to flesh out in grass and fern.

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. ~1 Chronicles 16:27   ✝

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of this amazing day as well as the power and strength that fills this aging, ailing body with enough oomph to praise you and rejoice in another day!

** Image via Pinterest

272. I love snow, snow, and all the forms of radiant frost.  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,–
the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes,
noiselessly transforming the world,
the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter,
and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery
all objects upon which they fall.
~John Burroughs

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Yesterday was a double, good whammy kind of day, and the whamminess began and ended in the heavens.  Right after first light little, bitty snow flakes began to fall, and by noon the frigid, gray day had been punctuated with a lovely smattering of snow.  The north wind was a contributor in the snowscapade because at times it seemed to be blowing down even more of the “exquisite crystals” from the white clouds of heaven’s expanse.  The second whammy played out when sparkling stars and a slender slice of the ancient moon punctuated heaven’s then blackened dome and prettified to a greater extent the frosting of snow on the ground.

Most nights I go for a short walk before bedtime.  Walking alone at 9 or 10 o’clock at night is a delicious experience.  The streets are empty of traffic and most folks are inside watching TV or getting ready for bed.  Especially in wintertime for some reason, it feels like I’m the only one left in the universe except for God.  And His presence is so large and close I feel like I could just extend my hand and feel it slip into His.  When I see my exhaling breath as one can when it’s terribly cold, I feel as if He’s just breathed those first breaths of life into me once again.  The air is so cold and crisp and invigorating, and the solitude is filled with His holy peacefulness.

–then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  ~Genesis 2:7  ✝

270. Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. ~Hugh Macmillan

She (nature) withers the plant down to the root
that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger.
She calls her family together
within her inmost home to prepare them for being
scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.
~Hugh Macmillan

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Early morning light steals across straw-colored grass and slowly warms the biting chill of a February dawn.  Splinters of sunlight glisten and sparkle as they move over the garden’s frost-laden, bare bones.  From my vantage point inside I can make out a lone, reddish leaf, not quite ready to be a memory, clinging tenaciously to a branch in the ornamental cherry tree.  It reminds me that a wellspring of life lies dormant below in nature’s “inmost home” where “her life is gathered into her heart.”  My attention is diverted next to the dogs I hear barking up and down the alleyway.  The feral cats must be on the move in search of food.  Then birds begin to show up at the feeders and high above their flutterings I see the first squirrels running the high wires.  Soon birdsong breaks morn’s silence, and lights start coming on in the once darkened houses around us.  The neighborhood is coming alive and gearing up for the day, but no, not I.   Since retirement I’ve been able to linger as long as I like most mornings and from my well-situated chair watch the days and the changing seasons pass over my yard.  Nature’s recurrent patterns and rhythms have always comforted me, and it’s delightful to be able to partake of her daily feasts.  Though evidence of God’s grace is readily apparent in the spectacular moments of life, perhaps sweeter are the ones ferreted out of day to day, ordinary living.  These are blessings that are not unlike the contrast of a mass of diamonds scattered out on a dark piece of velvet in which all are lovely but none seems particularly more special than the other and that of a singular diamond’s loveliness on the same piece of fabric which in its aloneness is brilliantly stunning.

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.  ~Psalm 33:4  ✝