1240. And in her secret garden, reptiles raised their faces high, and blessed the cooling water that came pouring from the sky. ~Excerpt from a poem by Danielle White

Walking the Garden After the Storm

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Such delicate green tatters,
the hail-shredded leaves of chard.
I am not surprised,
beneath my disappointment,
to find them beautiful,
not surprised that the heart
should recognize itself here
in the lace. The storms
come, come again.
Beauty is not what
has not been battered.
All around us, resilience,
new life emerges
out of its own destruction.
Already, only two days
after the hail,
a dark wrinkle of new green
forms in the center
of the chard.
I pull away the old leaves.
It doesn’t matter
if the heart asks for a second chance.
There is no limit to the chances,
though they may
not look like anything
we ever thought we wanted
and most of the time
we don’t notice them.
Beauty is the willingness
to offer our attention,
to wander the world
forgetting to want
something more
than what we find.
~Rosemary Wahtola Trommer

Instead, beauty should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. ~1 Peter 3:4  ✝

1027. Everyone can identify with a fragrant garden, with beauty of sunset, with the quiet of nature, with a warm and cozy cottage. ~Thomas Kincade

Many miles away there’s a shadow
on the door of a cottage
on the Shore of a dark Scottish lake.
~Sir Walter Scott

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Let there be a cottage….a real cottage…a white cottage, embowered with flowering shrubs, so chosen as to unfold a succession of flowers upon the walls, and clustering round the windows through all the months of spring, summer, and autumn—beginning, in fact, with May roses, and ending with jasmine. Let it, however, not be spring, nor summer, nor autumn—but winter, in his sternest shape. This is a most important point in the science of happiness. And I am surprised to see people overlook it, and think it matter of congratulation that winter is going; or, if coming, is not likely to be a severe one. On the contrary, I put up a petition annually, for as much snow, hail, frost, or storm, of one kind or other, as the skies can possibly afford us. Surely every body is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a winter fire-side: candles at four o’clock, warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without… ~Thomas De Quincey

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Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars… ~Psalm 148:7-9   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

751. What light through yonder window breaks? ~William Shakespeare

A single sunbeam is enough
to drive away many shadows.
~St. Francis of Assisi

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Birds sing after a storm;
why shouldn’t people
feel as free to delight
in whatever sunlight remains
to them.
~Rose Kennedy

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The top picture above was taken a month ago of a river in our area.  The photo beneath it is that same river now, a month later.  But today the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all’s right with the world. Praise the Lord! Thank you for the rain and for the end of this awful drought here; thank you now for the sun that’s blessing this Sabbath.

The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted. ~Isaiah 30:26  ✝

**Top photo via Pinterest; bottom two aerial photos via local news station

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   ✝

714. A few minutes ago, every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like in worship. ~John Muir

The little reed,
bending to the force of the wind,
soon stood upright again
when the storm had passed over.
~Aesop

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What was that? Did you see it? There it was again! Late in the day yesterday lightning began flashing high in the eastern sky. Soon we heard distant thunder grumbling west of us as the heavens grew ominously darker and darker. Overhead cold northerly air was colliding with warm southerly currents, and with that always comes the potential for dangerous storms and high winds that spawn tornados. Even the birds who are normally chattering and feeding at that time of day were becoming silent or absent from the yard. The cat inside as well sensed a mounting threat and anxiously headed for shelter under the bed. Before long the winds began picking up, heavy rain started to fall, the lights inside flickered off and on and off, and we scrambled to find candles. And then, wham bam, all hell broke loose! Winds in excess of 70 mph blasted the yard and pushed forcefully against the house testing the fortitude and flexibility of the mightiest of trees and the sturdiest of structures. At first all we could do was stand there staring out the window almost in disbelief at what we were witnessing, but when the warning siren went off, we headed for shelter in the hallway. So it goes sometimes in the spring here in Texas; the usual peaceful hush of twilight evolves into the worrisome madness of turbulent extremes. Fortunately this time around the tornado that was seen about 5 minutes from our house did not touch the ground, the winds that huffed and puffed did not blow our house down, the rains that rushed in brutal, sideways torrents did not wash us away, the power was only off until the next day around 10 AM and then again around 5 for a couple of hours instead of days on end as it has before, and it didn’t take us but about half a day to clear away all the leafy, twiggy, and branchy downed debris. As for all the rose petals that were blown off before their time, they laid a lovely, colorful layer over patches of the green grass. So thank you Lord for these and all your tender mercies.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. ~Psalm 25:4-6   ✝

**To all my readers: because of the storm and our subsequent power outages, I’m way behind now on reading yours posts and answering comments and/or emails.

577. Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A handful of patience is
worth more than a bushel of brains.
~Dutch Proverb

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A black bird outside pecks slowly at the ground as is his calling, and squirrels steadily dig holes for burying acorns in the flowerbeds as is their timely task. And I, I sit watching and foraging though my mind’s limited storehouse of knowledge to find understanding of a contrasting human frailty. It seems we, humans that is, are forever in a hurry, searching for and wanting something else or something more while still unsure of what to do with who and what we are and already have. Yet, above leaves float down without dissent as they always do in autumn, rain drips unquestioningly off the roof as it does after every storm, and the Lord speaks without fail in the silence about His perfect plan and faithful provision for everything and everyone. Throughout the whole of life, God tries to teach His children to be patient and to yield to His will and timing. He asks that we submit thankfully to and accept with gratitude His provisions and plans for our lives, and He also requests that we develop unfaltering faith in trusting Him to be faithful to His promises and accepting of His timetable for bringing them about.

We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand –
and melting like a snowflake.
~Marie B. Ray

So, if crows, squirrels, leaves, rain and such do this, isn’t it time for us to quit frantically looking for more, to be accepting of what already is, to be grateful for all that we have and are, and simply to listen as well as comply like all else in the natural world?

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve of what God’s will is–His good, perfect, and pleasing will.” ~Romans 12:2   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

477. With finger in her solemn lip, night hushed the shadowy earth. ~Margaret Deland

Night is a dead monotonous period under a roof;
but in the open world it passes lightly,
with its stars and dews and perfumes, and the hours
are marked by changes in the face of Nature.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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A black and white cat has leisurely strolled across our patio for several nights in a row now, and it, like all the other felines who wander by, doesn’t seem to be the least bit interested in or fearful of us as long as we’re on the other side of our patio doors. Actually some nights it’s like a holiday parade out there, only it’s peopled by cats, possums, and raccoons, all of whom are the suspected culprits of destructive mischief such as the broken rose stem I discovered this morning. Then some nights, in addition to all that activity, there are the gecko lizards who like to run up and down our patio doors chasing bugs. So it is that though the enchanting yard and gardens have disappeared into the darkness, even in our absence life and the living prevail in the hush of night.

I call our glass patio doors, our big screen TV because the indoor cats and I have wiled away many an hour just watching what goes on outside. In so doing I’ve witnessed a wide spectrum of good and bad, feast and famine, and life and death over the years. And I’ve always found a comforting harmony and balance in those opposing forces. For example it’s easy to lose a sense of how beautiful a garden or the earth in general is without a picture of the kind of devastation that a storm or a drought or some such can do to it. That’s why I think the beauty of spring is so breathtaking; it comes after the landscape has been ravaged by winter’s often harsh and cruel assaults. In the same way, who among us could ever begin to bear the brutality in the world without having also witnessed life’s abundant goodness.

I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.  ~Psalm 26:8   ✝

 **Image via Pinterest