1265. The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. ~Flora Whittemore

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The fact that I’ve been unhappily dealing with an intense, killer migraine since 4 AM this morning has reminded me of an incident that happened years ago. It was a day when I had been grappling with physical pain like I’ve had to do off and on throughout my adult life, and I was feeling quite sorry for myself even grumbling inwardly about it. So when it was suggested that we go to a movie which would include a long walk to get to a downtown theater, I wasn’t particularly interested in going. But I was eventually talked into it, and because I am slower these days, I was trailing along somewhat behind the others. As we rounded the last corner I almost bumped into a homeless man of color with no legs who sitting on the sidewalk in a wheelchair. His head was down but all of a sudden he looked up and smiled the most engaging, warm smile, looked straight into my eyes, and said, “God bless you!” I replied in kind but perhaps without the same warmth and walked on to catch up with the others After mulling it over I knew for certain it was no accident that the man was there at that exact moment in time for a Divine reason. So I glanced back with thoughts of running back and saying thank you as we entered the theater, but he was gone. Nevertheless, in our brief encounter this nameless, homeless disabled man had driven a clear message straight into my heart–I had a home, I had legs, I was not confined to a wheelchair nor was I having to endure hard days and nights living on the streets and going hungry. And so if he could ask God to bless me when the differences between our circumstances were so vasrly different, then it was time for me to rise above my trials and do the same.

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. ~1 John 4:12  ✝

**Top image by LilAS and LOlAS found on Facebook; text box created and written by Natalie; collage by Natalie

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

1125. Flowers heal me. Clematis make me happy. I keep myself surrounded by it… ~Edited excerpt by Rebecca Wells

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Natalie, Natalie, oh so merry
How does your garden grow?
With a vine here, and another one there,
Of pretty clematis climbing on high.

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Clematis vine boasts vibrant hue,
now seeks acclaim for ocean’s blue,
and strives to catch the morning dew.
~Cona Adams

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If I had grown up in that house
I couldn’t have loved it more,
couldn’t have been more familiar with
the creak of the swing, or the pattern of the clematis
vines on the trellis, or the velvety swell of land
as it faded to gray on the horizon…The very
colors of the place had seeped into my blood.
~Donna Tartt

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On the warm stone walls, climbing roses
were just coming into bloom and
great twisted branches of honeysuckle and
clematis wrestled each other as they
tumbled up and over the top of the wall.
~Meg Rosoff

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Happiness is remembering my wild and lovely garden,
Arbors of white roses and purple clematis;
Pretty yellow daylilies and daffodils beside a rail fence,
Placing carefully flowers, I create a soul-soothing retreat.
In my beautiful garden all my old favorites grow,
No color does not have its place to welcome birds and butterflies;
Even wild flowers and vines, and kittens grow,
Seeding themselves the purple larkspur and rosy phlox;
Such beauty, O such beauty, had rested beneath the snow.
~Edited acrostic by Broken Wings

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Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4  ✝

939. Silence is the universal refuge… ~Henry David Thoreau

When I am alone I can become invisible.
I can sit on top of a dune as motionless as an
uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned.
I can hear the almost unhearable sound
of the roses singing.
~Mary Oliver

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You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free. Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
~John O’Donohue

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. ~Matthew 11:15 (ESV)  ✝

770. The flowers are nature’s jewels, with whose wealth she decks coming summer’s beauty.
~Edited excerpt by George Croly

“Summer is coming!” the soft breezes whisper;
“Summer is coming!” the glad birdies sing.
Summer is coming – I hear her quick footsteps;
Take your last look at the beautiful Spring.
~Dora Goodale

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And every stone and every star a tongue,
And every gale of wind a curious song.
The Heavens were an oracle,
and spoke
 Divinity: the Earth did undertake
The office of a priest; and I
being dumb all things did come
With voices and instructions…
~Edited excerpt
by Thomas Traherne

See how wide the mouth of this gorgeous asiatic lily opens to declare God’s glory! Have a blessed weekend, my friends.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. ~Psalm 19:1-2  ✝

726. All of earth is crammed with heaven and every bush aflame with God, but only those who see take off their shoes. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird,
could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself.
When you look at it or hold it & let it be
without imposing a word of mental label on it,
a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you.
Its essence silently communicates itself to you
and reflects your own essence back to you.
~Eckhart Tolle

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Some time in March here in this part of the world the garden begins its ascent out of winter’s “vale of grief.” By the time March has gone, the flowering quince has already quit, the daffodils have departed, the tulips have been toppled, the crocus have concluded their blooming, and the hellebores have halted their show. April brings more delights, but after it has gone, the foxgloves have fallen by the wayside, the peonies have been pummeled by the rain, and the hyacinth have handed over their pink and blue scepters. And somewhere amid all that other splendor, the jasmine climbed, the penstemons’ purple bells appeared, and wisteria fell from on high while white bridal wreath spirea cascaded daintily down long, arching branches where bees and bright butterflies searched for flowery nectar. All the while, the crescendos of spring’s symphony were increasing, and the blankets of cold, laden with death were slowly but surely being consumed by spring’s warming nights and days. Then as the music of spring reached it frenzied rhythms, the melodious strains mounted garden walls and pushed past garden gates to fill busy streets where mankind pursues its harried madness. And there her music captured the inclined ears of some to draw them into her web where for eons she has recanted the magical mystery of life, ever hopeful and opulently abundant. So loudly does springtime declare the glory of God, in fact, that it’s hard to believe that anyone who is not deaf or blind could disclaim God’s existence for it’s His unmistakable voice that calls out from every stone, every leaf, every flower, every insect, every bird to the inheritors of Eden.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. ~Psalm 19:1   ✝

**All images via Pinterest are of species named Eden; collage created by Natalie

723. Bee to blossom, moth to flame; each to his passion; what’s in a name? ~Helen Hunt Jackson

I wanted to know the name
of every stone and flower
and insect and bird and beast.
I wanted to know 
where it got its color,
where it got its life…
~George Washington Carver

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The real name of this beauty is Tradescantia, but it’s commonly called Spiderwort, a name not my favorite for two reasons. First, I’m not a big fan of spiders and secondly as a kid I had lots of warts. And so to put those two irksome things together for such a colorful and interesting bloom seems to me to do it a terrible injustice. But then it’s real name is a tad hard to spell and to remember for that matter too. So what’s one to do? Though it got its color and its life from the Lord, it was mortal men who gave it such a dreadful name; perhaps now it is time for a change, and one day I shall just have to come up with a name of my own for this lovely, small, but fetching flower.

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Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear much fruit with seed in it, according to the various kinds.” And it was so…And God said, “Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” ~Genesis1:11 and Genesis 1:20  ✝

**The top photo is one I took in my yard yesterday; the others I found on Pinterest.