617. Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. ~Anne Frank

Life is full of beauty.
Notice it.
Notice the bumble bee, the small child,
and the smiling faces.
Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
~Ashley Smith

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Oh, the green, green, green of fresh growing things; the scent, scent, scent of fragrant flowery things; and the buzz, buzz, buzzing of little, busy bees. But wait, wait, wait! Back that “wagon” up and hold on just a minute! It’s still January and therefore wintertime. So what’s up with the green, the flowers, the aromas, and the buzzes? Ah the joyous blessing of a greenhouse filled with thriving, flowering, sweet smelling things! The only downside to such is that the bees seem to think the greenhouse is solely their domain and so object to a human interloper’s pottering visits. But then again, I seem to be developing a history outside the garden of adverse encounters with the wee buzzing folk. In my recent tale about a trip to Paris two years ago, I neglected to mention that on the very first day of our long-longed for visit to that magical city, we got off the metro, walked to the Pont Alexandre, and as we turned to walk on the gorgeously adorned bridge where I would get my first view of some of the city including the Eiffel Tower, I was stung on my face by a bee. But let me assure you that the subsequent outpouring of tears had absolutely nothing to do with the bee’s assault and everything to do with the legendary marvels that now lay before my very own eyes. And ya know, it didn’t stop me from the joy and the journey then and there nor will it keep me from the same in my greenhouse for both were and are filled with unforgettable beauty, fabulous fragrances, breathtaking spectacles, and beguiling allures.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-26   ✝

**I took this photo in my greenhouse.  The bee was nectaring on a gorgeous anemone.

282. Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living. ~Soren Kierkegaard

Crowfoot, chief of the Blackfoot Nation, once asked, “What is life?”  He then answered his own question with haunting and graphic wisdom.  He said, “it is the flash of the firefly in the night.  It is the breath of the buffalo in wintertime.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

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Life, that spark, that whispering breath of God over the void, grows faint in winter.  Cloistered behind the grays and browns of gloomy veils, its glow, its hum, its buzz, pales and lowers, but as we near the vernal equinox, Eden’s heartbeat becomes a little more perceptible each day.  It has been said that “God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled,” and today I’ve discovered right here in my back yard that through dark, seemingly dead branches life into the lifeless has been poured again without any wasted spillage.  It is on the trailing tendrils of a “Clematis armandii” vine that life has flowed silently and secretly until it could no longer be contained.  As it burst forth into the newness you see in my photos, it is proof that the Holy One tends His Eden still.  His divine, hidden forces of life have become tangibly visible, and a new spark has ignited a tiny flame.  Soon a steady succession of similar sparks will fuel a blaze, a blaze that will spread like a wildfire lighting the world anew with evidence of God’s never-ending glory.

Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.  ~Job 12:9-10  ✝

272. I love snow, snow, and all the forms of radiant frost.  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,–
the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes,
noiselessly transforming the world,
the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter,
and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery
all objects upon which they fall.
~John Burroughs

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Yesterday was a double, good whammy kind of day, and the whamminess began and ended in the heavens.  Right after first light little, bitty snow flakes began to fall, and by noon the frigid, gray day had been punctuated with a lovely smattering of snow.  The north wind was a contributor in the snowscapade because at times it seemed to be blowing down even more of the “exquisite crystals” from the white clouds of heaven’s expanse.  The second whammy played out when sparkling stars and a slender slice of the ancient moon punctuated heaven’s then blackened dome and prettified to a greater extent the frosting of snow on the ground.

Most nights I go for a short walk before bedtime.  Walking alone at 9 or 10 o’clock at night is a delicious experience.  The streets are empty of traffic and most folks are inside watching TV or getting ready for bed.  Especially in wintertime for some reason, it feels like I’m the only one left in the universe except for God.  And His presence is so large and close I feel like I could just extend my hand and feel it slip into His.  When I see my exhaling breath as one can when it’s terribly cold, I feel as if He’s just breathed those first breaths of life into me once again.  The air is so cold and crisp and invigorating, and the solitude is filled with His holy peacefulness.

–then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  ~Genesis 2:7  ✝