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

1153. He who reigns within himself and rules passions, desires, and fears is more than a king. ~John Milton

I follow three rules:
Do the right thing,
do the best you can, and
always show people you care.
~Lou Holtz

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**Watercolor image found on Pinterest; text box added by Natalie

The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. ~Psalm 103:19  ✝

1019. There’s not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice. ~John Calvin

We were always intoxicated with color,
with words that speak of color,
and with the sun that makes colors live.
~Andre Derain

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By filling the earth with color the Lord has painted a kind of portrait of himself, and in so doing He has revealed an intentional path to His throne. This is no less true in winter for color is a continuous, rhythmic part of the mystery of God’s life and thus is deeply rooted in all four seasons. Winter may allow periodic breathing spaces for garden and gardener on forbidding days, cold and lacking in sunshine, but on days when the sun does make an appearance, there’s the usual soft, golden glow at sunrise, the sometimes pinky/purply bands low on the eastern horizon at day’s end, and the random blazing red and orange streaks of intensely tinted sunsets in the west. On occasional cloudless nights, there’s the white glow of the moon at times illuminating the deep indigo canopy overhead; on days when the bright yellow sun shines, there are the china blues of daytime skies, and when the sun doesn’t appear, there are the lovely, velvety grays of clouds filled with rain or  in rolling fogs or mists. I’ve heard winter called the season of drabness of the spirit yet I find bliss and hope not only in the things I’ve already mentioned but also in the reds of winter berries and the cardinals at the feeders, in the white of snow when it falls, in the silvery sparkles of icicles and frosts, in the constancy of green on hollies, conifers, spruces, and such, in the beiges and browns of dried grasses, autumn leaves, and seed pods, in the magenta of hyacinth bean seed pods or ornamental grass seed heads, and on and on it goes, the glorious, never ending sacred voice of color.

Of all God’s gifts to the sighted man,
color is the holiest, the most divine…
~John Ruskin

…for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. ~Romans 11:29  ✝

**Images and collage 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

771. The flower has opened, has been in the sun, and is unafraid. ~Paula Cole

How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free
down to its root, and in that freedom bold.
~William Wordsworth

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Today is your day to
paint life in bold colors,

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set today’s rhythm with
your heart-drum,

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walk today’s march
with courage.

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Create today as your
celebration of life.
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Let us therefore come boldly unto God’s throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  ~Hebrews 4:16   ✝

749. It has been said, “time heals all wounds.” I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind protecting it’s sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone. ~Rose Kennedy

The love of Christ reaches
to the very depths
of earthly misery and woe…
It also reaches to
the throne of the eternal…
~Excerpts from Ellen G. White

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Oh, misery, what’s gonna become of me?
It’s raining,  a-rainin’ in my heart again
‘Cause this awful pain keeps me alone and awake.
The heavy, tearful rain’s a-fallin’ even though
I hear Your voice, Lord, a-callin,’ “It’s all right.”
But this salty, rain of teary sadness mixed
With desperation keeps a-fallin on my pillow
While outside it’s another rainy night in Texas.
And it seems like both rains are never gonna stop.
Lightning bolts a-flashin’, thunder booms a rumblin’
And the distant moanin’ of a train seems to play
A sad, sad refrain on this hard and rainy night.
Oh Lord, it’s such a rainy night in Texas,
It’s like it’s a-rainin’ everywhere in my world.
And no matter how many times I wonder
The story still comes out the same…
Whichever way one looks at it or thinks on it
It’s life and one’s just got to play the game
.
So I tell my pain-filled blues they mustn’t show
But these tears tonight I cannot keep from flowin’
‘Cause it’s rainin’ in my sad, despairin’ heart.
~Edited and adapted lyrics from a song
by Tony Joe White, and another song
by Bouleaux Bryant, and Felice Bryant

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. ~Psalm 31:9   ✝

692. Could life so end, half told; its school so fail? Soul, soul, there is a sequel to thy tale! ~Robert Mowry Bell

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices…
~Charles Kingsley

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These realities, of which Kingsley speaks, are meant to stir in humanity an ancient sense of belonging and in turn spark a desire to seek Yahweh, the Ancient of Days, but should they not, finding God in Christ is something even the blind can do. Our Creator sent us His son over 2000 years ago to be our memory and remind us of who we are and to whom we belong. Jesus is a revelation of our loving Father, of His amazing Grace, and of His Kingdom’s intention. And as the Messiah, Christ offers mortals, all of whom are subjected to detrimental temptation by malevolent forces in a fallen world, salvation, and then He, as their spiritual leader, directs those, who accept His offer, into righteous rhythms of life, into a willingness to serve others, and into the dance of life–a dance in which the whole universe can be seen as a partner.

“Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove life eternal.  It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown.”  ~Author unknown, as quoted in the Lewiston Tribune

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:2 ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage by Natalie