1446. Beauty is a nectar which intoxicates the soul. ~T.C. Henley

Beauty unites all things,
links together flower and star,
with chains more certain than
those of reason.
~Henry James Slack

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One spring years ago when the flowering trees were in bloom, we came across one of the most beautiful specimens I’d ever seen. I hadn’t a clue as to what kind of tree it was, but I knew I had to have one of my own one day. Thus began the search, a search as it turned out that was not so easy. First I had to find out what the name of the tree was, and once I found that out I discovered that none of the local nurseries had even heard of it before much less had one for sale. So I went online and found a few mail order places that had them. They were fairly expensive but I knew I’d never be happy until one grew here.

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One spring years ago when the flowering trees were in bloom, we came across one of the most beautiful specimens I’d ever seen. I hadn’t a clue as to what kind of tree it was, but I knew I had to have one of my own one day. Thus began the search, a search as it turned out that was not so easy. First I had to find out what the name of it was, and once I found that out I discovered that none of the local nurseries had even heard of it before much less had one for sale. So I went online and found a few mail order places that had them. They were fairly expensive but I knew I’d never be happy until I had one of my own.

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Then another year or two went by and I finally found one at a nursery in a small town close to where we live. It was autumn and the leaves were falling off but you could tell it was alive so we bought it and all winter my hopes ran high that come spring I would at last have my ornamental Peppermint Peach Tree. As the temps began to rise, I’d go out every day looking for signs of life only to find none and eventual heartbreak once again.

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So I told myself it just wasn’t meant to be and moved on until last spring when I saw another one in full bloom again. As soon as I got home I got online to try one more time to find one, and I did. It came on a late and cold wintry day which was not a good time to get out and plant it. It was packed in ice to keep it alive until we didn’t have to plant it immediately, so it lived like that for nearly a week until at last we could finally get out and get it in the ground. And then the waiting game began again. Every day I would make my little trek out to the back fence where we had planted it to see if anything was happening and sure enough green leaf swellings began to appear and what looked like a few blossoms too. Some of the little flowers are white, some are white with red stripes, and some are just red, and it’s all one one tree, thus the name, Flowering Peppermint Peach Tree.

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A week later, we had a late freeze and I feared the worst, but although the little blossom swellings fell off the green leaves did not and so all summer the little baby tree was filled with the sweet music of many leaves and I made sure it was watered well. Then autumn followed by winter came and the leaves vanished. Nevertheless, I waited with great faith that this, the third try, would prove fruitful and praise the Lord and hallelujah it did! I know, I know, it’s just a tree right?! And many would think me silly and that such really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but you see it truly does. It reminds me that God is still in His heaven and all’s right with the world!!! Mankind may be doing it’s best to destroy all that Yahweh made, but He, the Maker of heaven and earth, is still on the Throne of Grace and in control!

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Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. ~Deuteronomy 7:9 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; the first one is the tree when I first saw it years ago in another’s yard, and the remaining ones are what’s happening now in my yard on my own little tree

1442. Through the dancing poppies stole A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul. ~John Keats

That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful
means that we are less alone,
that we are more deeply inserted into existence
than the course of a single life
would lead us to believe.
~John Berger

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Years ago when I first began gardening, should anyone ask me what my favorite flower was, my reply as always was the rose. And I still adore them, but that was before I had seen a poppy or a morning glory nor clematis nor hollyhock nor lilies and on and only the list grows. Now I can honestly say it’s a toss up. It really depends on what’s blooming at the time. I would never have come to have grown either poppies or morning glories had I not seen them at a plant sale on a driveway in a neighborhood not too far from mine. I instantly fell in love with both of them. The owner of the house who was having the plant sale told me that morning glory seeds were easy to start, the trick was to soak them in what began as tepid water for 24 hours before I sewed them in the ground in spring. But she said, the poppy seeds must be sown in our area in the fall in order for them to germinate and grow roots deep enough to put up their tall stems and glorious flowers. (In colder climes with much later warm-ups, sowing them in autumn is not the thing to do.) So that summer I had my first crop of morning glories and the following autumn I sowed my first seeds for the poppies which bloomed the following spring. Since then it has been a love affair I never tire of. Why all of this now, you might ask, since it’s not spring yet and autumn has long since past. Well I hadn’t been outside in my yard lately, but today when I opened the back door to feed the cats, I saw poppy plants about 6 inches tall already, and of usual childhood squeals of joy arose from deep down inside and became air borne. I was a bit late sowing poppy seeds this last autumn and was fearful that perhaps I wouldn’t have any this year, but one of the things about seeds that I absolutely adore is that often all on their own they fall from a spent flower and lie in wait for the proper time to germinate and spring up anew with no help from human hands. So I went back into my photo archives and found some poppy and morning glory photos to dazzle you with this week. Why the heck not? I can as easily put a quote on a few of my favorite things as I can on ones I find on Pinterest and Pixabay, right?! Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my…

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…” ~Matthew 6:28 ✝

**Poppy photo taken by Natalie in her yard

1418. And all at once, Summer collapsed into Fall ~Oscar Wilde

Summer lingering in spasms,
She must abdicate with grace.
This is changing of the seasons.
Fall is slipping into place.
~Excerpt from a poem
by Joyce JohnsonScreen Shot 2017-11-08 at 7.52.45 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-11-08 at 8.26.32 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-11-08 at 7.53.43 PM.png
the air is different today
the wind sings with a new tone
sighing of changes
the harvest gathered
a flower, a nut
some mead, and bread
a candle and a prayer
returning the fruits
in thanksgiving
to the grove
and receiving
it’s blessing again
~RhawkScreen Shot 2017-11-08 at 7.55.38 PM.png

He(God) changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. ~Daniel 2:21  ✝

**Photos taken yesterday by Natalie

1412. Life, when it was good, was indeed pink. La vie en rose. ~Lydia Michaels

…the right kind of day is a jeweled balm
for the battered spirit.
A few of those days and you can become drunk
with the belief that all’s right with the world.
~Ada Louise Huxtable

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Pink is not just a color; it embodies a variety of attitudes, all of which are uplifting. There’s the cool and collected pinks, the bold and sassy hotter pinks, the soft and drowsy pinks, and the daring and dramatic deep pinks. In the spring I think of pink as a somewhat shy presence but as summer’s fiery temperatures rise, pink is anything but timid. In Texas the scorching days of July and August punish the flesh and the spirit relentlessly, but even the smallest touch of pink pours over us a soothing salve of goodness. The pinks of summer may not entirely keep me from walking “without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer,” but they do keep the flames from licking up so high that they completely snuff out my breath. While locusts screech, pink flowers murmur softer melodies taking some of the edge off the insects’ discordant harmonies and my discomfort. I’ve even seen ribbons of pink in spectacular sunsets at the end of “right kind of days” in all seasons and they, too, cool down the heat in the fiery glow of the summer sun. Studies show that colors effect the human psyche; that could be why when a person is well, he/she is said to be in the pink. Since Creation is full of colors, the Lord, Himself, must place a premium on them and their effect. So whenever I hear someone say, “How majestic is His name,” I perceive God’s majesty in a broad spectrum of the amazing colors I’ve seen on earth and in the heavens.

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People usually associate the colour pink with weakness and naiveté; but I associate this colour with the most beautiful parts of the day— dawn and dusk! And in my searching through mystical writings, I have found that pink is actually related to the utmost levels of the Tree of Life. I’ve also seen it in pictures of the sky surrounding the most magnificent Aurora Borealis! So pink is strong and wonderful. ~C. JoyBell C.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. ~Psalm 8:1 ✝

**Photograps taken by Natalie in her yard today

1411. Then summer fades and passes and October comes. ~Thomas Wolfe

Spring flowers are long since gone.
Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace.
The gardener’s feet drag a bit on the dusty path
and the hinge in his back is full of creaks.
~Louise Seymour Jones

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Well October did indeed come and the summer heat dropped about 10 degrees ONLY which does NOT indicate fading as much as frying because the “heat beast” is still breathing his nasty, fiery breath upon us. And most of summer’s bloom is more crunchy than it is limp. So where oh where is my beloved Autumn and it’s divine cooler temps??? Is some grumpy old troll-like curmudgeon holding it back??? We may get a taste of fall tomorrow and the next day but then after those two days we’re going right back up into the high 80’s and low 90’s AGAIN!!! Daily I read blogs about autumn’s splendor and first frosts and see lovely photos of it all. I have waited patiently, well maybe not so patiently since patience is NOT my strong suit, to wake up and find that the colorful leaves and a first frost have at long last arrived here. But alas and alack, zilch, nada, nuttin’ even remotely resembling autumn has been able to penetrate the armor of the Texas “heat monster.” And I know this about Texas because I have lived here over 50 years now. But being the ever-hopeful woman that I am, I keep thinking that just once maybe the “monster” will “shuffle off to Buffalo” when it is supposed too!!! But it won’t and so this is the time of year when I have to make lists reminding me that there is goodness in each and every day even if it’s not “packaged” the way I expect or want it to be. So please allow me to express my envy of those areas where autumn has come as well as vocalize my loud, obnoxious, and whiny ARGHHHHHHHHHH about summer’s lingering and stifling continuance one last time!!!

For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. ~Psalm 32:4 ✝

**Photos taken in her yard by Natalie

1397. August brings into sharp focus and a furious boil everything… ~Excerpt from a quote by Henry Rollins

“Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here,
that I found there was nothing left for it
but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”
~Sydney SmithScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.34.53 PM.png
The month of August had turned
into a griddle where the days just
lay there and sizzled.
~Sue Monk KiddScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.24.55 PM.pngEvery year, August lashes out in volcanic fury,
rising with the din of morning traffic,
its great metallic wings smashing against the ground,
heating the air with ever-increasing intensity.
~Henry RollinsScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.26.38 PM.pngAugust is one of the great and awful tests
of one’s endurance, sanity and stamina.
~Henry RollinsScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.27.53 PM.png

Mr. Rollins has also said that August is the summer’s last messenger of misery, but I would have to beg to differ with him on that at least here in Texas. Our heat “misery” can and often does extend into September, sometimes even into October, and upon occasion it has also been known to infiltrate part of November. And so try as I have all day, I can think of nothing else to say about July’s departure and August’s arrival but goodbye and good riddance and a begrudging hello to the year’s longest month. For me August moves at a snail’s pace and seems to go on forever and ever. And though I never fear that summer will be short, I love this quote by Emerson as it reminds me that the next season is autumn, and I rely on the Word of God to be as faithful about that and all thingsas He always is!

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.30.38 PM.pngWhen summer opens, I see how fast it matures,
and fear it will be short; but after the heats of
July and August, I am reconciled, like one
who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.
~Ralph Waldo EmersonScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.32.33 PM.png“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
~Genesis 8:22 ✝

**Sunflower photos taken by Natalie in her yard

1394. I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. ~John Steinbeck

There’s a vastness here(Texas) 
I believe that the people who
 are born
here breathe 
that vastness into their soul.
They dream big dreams 
and think big thoughts,
there is nothing to hem them in.
~Conrad Hilton

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I wasn’t born here in Texas although my mother was, and we didn’t move here until I was 13 years old. Then in college I met and married a born and bred Texas man who put an end to any dreams I might have had of ever leaving here. But I’ve come to love much of the mystique and the vastness of the unique Texas experience just NOT the intense summer and sometimes into autumn heat. It has always very been difficult for me to withstand these excessively sweltering temperatures as well as their often accompanying high levels of humidity. So until it begins months later to subside again and being ever-so-thankful for air-conditioning I incarcerate myself indoors. Unfortunately my self-imposed imprisonment lasts much longer than I would like. However, the Lord in His goodness always answers our calls of distress and finds ways to provide that which we need in some way. So it was when I bought a house with lots of windows so I can still see outside and then later purchased a digital camera to record outdoor scenes and store them on my computer for indoor viewing. Now at least I don’t feel so totally cut off from nature. How blessed are we that the work of His hands is as apparent as ever in His world.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress… May He send you help from the sanctuary… May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your praise offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy…and…lift up banners in the name of God. May the Lord grant all your requests. ~Excerpts from Psalm 20:1-5 ✝

Well it’s bulls and blood
It’s dust and mud
It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd
It’s the white in his knuckles
The gold in his buckle
He’ll win the next go ’round
It’s boots and chaps
It’s cowboy hats
It’s spurs and latigo
It’s the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo
These are excerpted lyrics from a song
by Garth Brooks entitled RODE0

**All but two photos in my collage above were taken by me