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

1309. O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

So I like best of all autumn,
because its tone is mellower,
its colors are richer,
and it is tinged with a little sorrow.
~Lin Yutang

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If I had to pick a recent, appropriate emblem for deep November, it would be the mellow richness of this rose. Though a wild west wind has blown today, the day I found it, dawn had broken under a heavy fog, and when the mist lifted, this rose and everything else in the garden was left completely soaked. It was as if the heavens had rained down a multitude of tears and tinged the landscape with more than the little autumn sorrow of which Yutang speaks. I for one have to wonder if, with daybreak coming later and later and darkness falling earlier and earlier, a garden knows that the year has almost completed another turn around the sun. If so and because the longing to be, to exist as an expression of the Divine Presence, can be seen in all Creation, that longing is not easily given up.

As this year draws to its end
we give thanks for the gifts it has brought
and how they came inlaid within,
where neither time nor tide
could touch them, and we also thanks
for the days when the veil lifted
and the soul could see delight;
when a quiver caressed the heart
in the sheer exuberance of being here.
-Excerpted and edited lines
by John O’Donohoe

When we take time to look beyond the trials of life, we see God’s blessings and realize that daily we continue to be given endowments of grace from the Host of the universe. From unmistakable “quivers that caress the heart” we know that we are not alone. We know that we belong to God and recognize a longing within us to touch Him. We know that He sits at the heart of life, and from there works at bringing to fruition that which He inlaid in us from the beginning. We know too that He is beside us in every moment and that our sadness is His sadness, our joy His joy, our loss His loss, our victory His victory.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done. ~1 Chronicles 16:8  ✝

1245. The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. ~Eden Phillpotts

One who not merely beholds the outward shows of things,
but catches a glimpse of the soul that looks out of them,
whose garment and revelation they are–if he be such, I say,
he will stand, for more than a moment, speechless with something
akin to that which made the morning stars sing together.
~George MacDonald

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A new day woke to dawn’s sweet song
Winged creatures warbled to rejoice
Sunlight chased the night shadows long

Blue skies bow as day’s colors hoist
Hued symphony of the new dawn’s might
Winged creatures warbled to rejoice

Nature’s perfection in our sight
Creation gives salutations
Hued symphony of new dawn’s might

Rivers and streams sang oblations
Watery praises raised on high
Creation gives salutations

The sun marched across the sky
A glittering parade in stride
Watery praises raised on high

The light grew stronger as the night died
A new day woke to Dawn’s sweet song
A glittering parade in stride
Sunlight chased the night shadows long.
~A terzanelle by Kristen

Wake up, my soul! Wake up, harp and lyre! I will wake up the dawn. ~Psalm 57:8  ✝

1241. The strongest force in the universe is a human being living consistently with his true identity. ~Tony Robbins

No one else on the planet has the same face as you. No one else has the same heartbeat as you. None other has the same fingerprints as you. You are completely unique and made so to fulfill a purpose that only you can achieve. No one else can be you or do what you are capable of doing. So, why, why, why instead of embracing that truth do we give power to others to decide what is “normal” and whether we fit into their definition of that. That’s why I’ve always had an enormous disdain for critics because they are essentially “judging” that which they are not themselves and so have no right to do. Nor do they have any idea whatsoever what it feels like to be who and what we are. So again why, why, why do we give others so much power over how we feel about ourselves and/or our abilities???

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For example, as a child I was much taller than others my age; I had lots and lots of freckles; from the time I was 4 years old I had to wear glasses; I was extremely thin; I was very clumsy; I was very sensitive; I was above average intelligence. Sadly all these were things which made me a target for young and old critics alike. And so I endured hurtful words and behaviors which unfortunately I allowed to diminish my self-esteem for some time. In other words I gave over authorship of my destiny and happiness to the hands of others instead of holding onto the pen in my hand that would write my life story. What a HUGE MISTAKE that was and is!!! We must learn to love ourselves for who and what we are so that we can open ourselves to the world in our authenticity and shine! We must never let other people stop us from being ourselves and from doing what we do best. Or we will be betrayed in the end by what is false within us and put locks on the door to wisdom. I’ve read that a rattlesnake, if cornered will become so angry it will bite itself. And that is exactly what harboring resentment about our past and what others have said and done to hurt us is — a biting of ourselves. As Henri-Frédéric Amiel said, you must “learn to…be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.” Self-hate and loathing is “a fire that consumes only the altar upon which it burns.” Please don’t any of you allow that fire ever to burn or let such things cage your uniqueness and all the good things that reside within your truest selves.

For we are His Creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God ordained ahead of time so that we should walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:10  ✝

1203. She savors each bite: the meringue is perfect crispy brown on top, melts in the mouth; the lemon tart, custardy; the crust breaks away. ~A.M. Homes

A Lemon
Out of lemon flowers
loosed on the moonlight,
love’s lashed and insatiable
essences, sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow emerges,
the lemons move down
from the tree’s planetarium

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Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
bazaars for the light
and the barbarous gold.
We open the halves
of a miracle, and
a clotting of acids
brims into the starry
divisions: Creation’s
original juices, irreducible,
changeless, alive:
so the freshness lives
on in a lemon, in the sweet-smelling
house of the rind, the proportions,
arcane and acerb.

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Cutting the lemon the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets, altars,
aromatic facades.

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So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
wells to your touch:
a cup yellow with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.
~Pablo Neruda

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What is it about lemons that go so well with summer? The taste, yet tart, if mixed with sugar or honey is incredibly refreshing on a hot summer’s day, is it not?! It’s almost as if it has a way of taking the bite out of the heat as we eat or drink its “golden, barbarous” juices in pies or cakes or cookies or lemonade or whatever concoction one chooses. My encounter with a lemony delight came at lunch today as the restaurant’s dessert for the day was lemon meringue pie. It hadn’t been out of the oven long and was still warm when the waitress brought it to the table. And oh my gosh, was it to die for, as they say! Even now 3 hours later, the luscious taste and aroma of the yellow “miracle” that is a lemon has faded not.

…come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. ~Excerpt from Song of Songs 4:16  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie

1109. The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

It is a glorious privilege
to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love.
To look up at the blue summer sky;
to see the sun sink slowly beyond the line of the horizon;
to watch the worlds come twinkling into view,
first one by one, and the myriads that no man can count,
and lo! the universe is white with them;
and you and I are here.
~Marco Morrow

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Morrow mentions only the summer sky, but isn’t it a privilege to look up and behold the wonders of the heavens whenever given the chance? I certainly think so, and it’s especially breathtaking in the spring when looking up through the branches of flowering trees because the view then is even more spectacular. But then again, I find that staring heavenward, regardless of the season, is always a wondrously delightful pastime. And as I sit looking up, I wonder if, like me, others are filled with the same sense of sanctity? And if so, do the firmament’s mysteries and majestic beauty bring them too to an awareness that something in its mystical vastness transcends ordinary knowing? I would like to think that everyone begins to recognize the handiwork of the Holy One to whom we’re all inextricably and lovingly connected. And as people look and listen, that they may hear, in the deepest part of themselves, God’s still, small voice telling them that the sky and earth and life are not the result of a random happenstance but are acts of His divine and loving grace poured out for mankind. In the sky and all else which delights the senses may we seek the Maker’s face, a face the eyes have forgotten but the heart yet remembers. Indeed, what a glorious privilege it is to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, and to love! And how wondrous it is that those privileges are free and available to everyone!

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made… ~Excerpt from Romans 1:20  ✝

**Collage by Natalie of images she took of flowering trees…

1069. On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined. ~Lord Byron

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun
Next I came down and danced on the Earth
For I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And  now I’ll lead you in the Dance with me!
~Edited and excerpted lyrics
from the hymn, Lord of the Dance

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This day had begun with a
dollop of golden light in the east.
And then up, up, up recoiled
the night’s dark shade
so that the space all around me
was filled with wondrous light,
holy light,  warming light.
And in the light was a sparkle;
’twas a glittering hint of spring’s
advance upon earth’s stage.
In the midst of the morn’s litany
Yahweh’s familiar footsteps could be heard
as he moved along the garden’s paths.
~Natalie

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Sing and dance did we,
the birds and I, with
the Lord of the Universe,
the God who won’t let go of
all that He has made and loves.
~Natalie

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Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I till turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. ~Jeremiah 31:13   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie