1440. I’d rather have flowers on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Edited quote by Emma Goldman

Natalie, Natalie ever so merry,
how does your garden grow?
With pinks and stock,
as well as tulips and hyacinth,
and a teeny, tiny daffodil.

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But wait, it’s January! It’s wintertime! And tomorrow night may bring bitter cold temps with freezing rain or sleet and snow into north central Texas. So how can it be that her garden grows anything at all right now? Well, you see there’s a table out here in Natalieworld that’s reserved for such things. So how does that work? Is it a lipped table laden with dirt like a flower pot? No, no, no, but there’s the grocery store where she shops, and this time of year, they sell little pots that have already been planted with bulbs and she buys flowers every Sunday because little Natalie Scarberry, like Claude Monet, “must have flowers, always, always” be they cut flowers or bulbs in pots.

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For those of you who are new to my blog or for those of you who may have forgotten, Natalieworld is the part of our house that we added onto the back of the garage for my mother when she could no longer live alone. It connects to the main part of the house only through a small hallway that leads to the laundry room in one directions and the kitchen in the other direction, and so there is a distinct sense of privacy about it. After Mom passed away, I thought  since it would make a bigger master bedroom and bath, James and I might want us to move out here from our bedroom in the main part of the house. But he said no; he wanted me to have it as a studio for all my creative endeavors. So out went Mom’s furniture and in came new desks and file cabinets and book cases and two recliner rocking chairs–et voilà, a marvelous studio complete with big windows and a French door looking out on my back yard with its greenhouse, numerous flower beds, bird houses and feeders. Now as my 3 grandchildren have grown and spent time with me out here they’ve all declared that one day they too will have a Natalieworld of their own.

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“What a happy woman I am living in a garden, with books, babies, birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them! Yet my town acquaintances look upon it as imprisonment, and would rend the air with their shrieks if condemned to such a life. Sometimes I feel as if I were blest above all my fellows in being able to find my happiness so easily. I believe I should always be good if the sun always shone, and could enjoy myself very well in Siberia on a fine day. And what can life in town offer in the way of pleasure to equal the delight of any one of the calm evenings I have had this month sitting alone at the foot of the verandah steps, with the perfume of young larches all about, and then moon hanging low over the beeches, and the beautiful silence made only more profound in its peace by the croaking of distant frogs and hooting of owls?” ~Elizabeth von Arnim

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…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…and work with your hands… ~Excerpts from Thessalonians 4:11 ✝

**All photos taken today by Natalie

1423. The greatest tragedies were written by the Greeks an Shakespeare…neither knew chocolate. ~Sandra Boynton

Chocolate makes
everything better!
~Author Unknown

Before the chocolate sauce was added…Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 6.42.07 PM.png
After the chocolate sauce was added….Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 6.41.49 PM.png

When we were in Paris two years ago we ate in Le Soufflé which serves main course and dessert soufflés. I was certain the meal would be fabulous, and I was not disappointed! The best part of all was the chocolate dessert soufflé which in and of itself would have been divine, but before we devoured it, they poked a hole in the already extraordinary confection and poured in what has to be the best chocolate sauce I ever had. Since then I’ve asked myself hundreds of times, why in the sam hill we opted to share one instead of each having our own. Ok, back to my story at hand. When we came home, I was sure that would the last time I would be able to enjoy such a unique and “délicieux” dining experience. But to my surprise a few months ago I found out that a woman whose mother was French and who spent every summer of her childhood in France has begun 3 such restaurants, although with a bit of a southwestern flair in some of its offerings, in three major cities in Texas. Yes, it is on the pricey side, but ask me if I give a tinker’s damn!!! Anyway, after having lunch today in the one here where we live and enjoying among other things their savory and incredibly delicious French chocolate soufflé for dessert, we were handed two little cards with their website and phone number so we could make reservations for holiday dining. As we walked out, we opened them up and found culinary quotes on the inside. Mine was written by Ernest Hemingway, a writer whom I’ve always admired, and his words read, “wine is the most civilized thing in the world” which despite my love for his work, I took immediate exception to for I believe chocolate to be the most civilized thing in the world. And I know some who might say that the most civilized thing is coffee and others who might add something else. So, what say you?

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. ~Psalm 63:5 ✝

**Photos taken 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

1406. Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me. ~Walt Whitman

Sometimes thou may’st walk in groves
which being full of majestie
will much advance the soul.
~Thomas Vaughan

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When I think of autumn I think of trees, all kinds of trees, and recently I ran across someone’s lovely thoughts about trees. However it wasn’t clear who wrote them or when. But I’ve decided to share some of them along with photos of trees I’ve taken over the years. And in the collection today is one that is blue, and just so you know I did nothing to make it so. There’s a phenomenon here in Texas called a blue norther which is a rapidly moving autumnal cold front that causes temperatures to drop quickly. Folk tales say they are the result of a norther that sweeps “out of the panhandle of Texas under a blue-black sky”–that is to say a cold front named for the appearance of its leading edge. And years ago I was fortunate enough to be out and about that day with my camera in hand and thus was able to capture a “blue norther.” I hope you enjoy this unknown writer’s thoughts about trees:

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.” ~Author Unknown

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ~Isaiah 55:12 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; collage created by Natalie

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

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