1230. Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. ~Author Unknown

To have and to hold
from this day forward
for better or for worse,
for richer or for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish
until death do us part.
~Author Unknown

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He was a he, a man seven years older than she, and she was a she, an ingénue about to complete her final year in college. And 53 years ago today, the he and the she became a we. Having met in January and becoming engaged in May James and I were married on August 17th, l963 by his college roommate, best friend, and ordained minister, Ron Engle. Since that day James and I have traversed side by side the valleys of better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health and struggled through times good and bad. But thankfully, as of yet, nothing has put asunder what God joined together so very long ago.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” ~Matthew 22:2  ✝


716. Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light. ~John Ruskin

The peonies bloom, white and pink.
And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl,
A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation,
For the flower is given to them as their home.
~Czeslaw Milosz

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This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly, 
and there it is again —
beauty, the brave, the exemplary, 
blazing open.
~Excerpt from Mary Oliver’s
peom about peonies

My mother and her sister, my Aunt Johnnie, had a knack with peonies.  Theirs always bloomed year after year, even when they moved them around the yard even though the experts say they need to be put in the ground and left alone.  I, on the other hand, have done exactly that and yet mine only seem to bloom when that have a mind too.  And I was thrilled to see that this was the year for two of them to actually have a few blooms.  But all the rains and storms we’ve had have taken a toll on their beautiful blooms, and so I was able to get only a few pictures as you can see in my collage above.  The lighter one has the most heavenly fragrance, and it’s such a delight to go out in the morning or the late afternoon and be greeted by its sweet aroma.  Sadly it suffered more from the rain and storms, and so I blurred the outer edges a bit to cover up some of its browning spots.

Awake, north wind, and 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. ~Song of Songs 4:16 ✝

267. God waits to win back His own flowers as gifts from man’s hands. ~Rabindranath Tagore

Flowers don’t worry about how they are going to bloom.
They just open up and turn toward the light
and that makes them beautiful.
~Jim Carrey


Small children pick flowers for their mamas, men bring flowers to women they love, flowers are thrown on a stage after a stellar performance, a bride carries flowers down the aisle at her wedding, returning warriors were once showered with flower petals, a coffin may be surrounded by flowers at a funeral, and on and on go the roles that flowers play in our lives.  We adore them and deem them worthy tokens of admiration, love, respect, and honor.

I’ve tended the soil and planted flowers for my own enjoyment and because I feel close to God in my garden, but until I read what Tagore said, I’d never thought about it as being a way to give gifts to God.  I’ve known that how we live and what we do with our lives is to be an offering to the Lord and done for His glory, and now the thought of presenting Him with my posies as gifts adds an even greater level of joy to my labors in the garden.  Although the time has not yet come for a miraculous flower like the one in the photo to bloom, I offer up this one from last year’s bounty as a thank offering to the Holy One for the coming of another spring and for His continual presence in my life and for all the ways He blesses me.  I chose this Star Magnolia because it lights up whatever darkness surrounds it in the same way the stars light the heavens and Jesus lights the darkness around us.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  ~Colossians 3:15  ✝

**Over the past 10 years, a plethora of research has shown that flowers increase the levels of positive energy and moods, reduce the likelihood of stress-related depression, and help people feel secure, relaxed, optimistic, and happy.