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

1279. The reflections on a day well spent furnish us with joys more pleasing than ten thousand triumphs. ~Thomas à Kempis

Is anybody happier because I passed this way today?
Does anyone remember that I spoke to them along the way?

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The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through.
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of me?

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Can I say tonight in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That I helped a single person of the several that I passed?

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Is a single heart rejoicing over what I did or said?
Does one whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

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Did I waste the day or use it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did I leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word!
~Proverbs 15:23  ✝

**All photos were taken by Natalie as this day drew ever closer to its end.

1251. We strain to renew our capacity to wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again. ~Shana Alexander

What
if you were
a beetle,
and a soft wind

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and a certain allowance of time
had summoned you
out of your wrappings,
and there you were,

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so many legs
hardening,
maybe even
more than one pair of eyes

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and the whole world
in front of you?
And what if you had wings
and flew

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into the garden,
then fell
into the up-tipped
face

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of a white flower,
and what if you had
a sort of mouth,
a lip

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to place close
to the skim
of honey
that kept offering itself –

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what would you think then
of the world
as, night and day,
you were kept there –

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oh happy prisoner –
sighing, humming,
roaming
that deep cup?
~How Everything Adores Being Alive,
by Mary Oliver

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~Isaiah 40:29  ✝

**Photos 1, 4, 6, 7, 8 by Mandy Disher; images 2, 3, 5 via Pinterest

1187. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape. ~Excerpt from an article by David Whyte@gratefulness.org

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Stop what you are doing right now! Just stop for a minute! Close your eyes and feel the in and out movement of your breath. Keep your eyes closed, stay still a little longer, and feel your heart beating. Now open your eyes, take in all the colors and sights around you, and recognize the blessing of sight. Then listen to any sounds you hear and be thankful for you ears and the blessing of both sound and silence. Next reach out your hands and touch something, anything, and become aware of its textures or smoothness, hardness or softness–all those things that come with the blessing of touch. After that find something to take a bite or sip of, and as you chew or swallow, savor and enjoy the flavor and taste of whatever it is. Last, before you return to what you were or were not doing, try to wrap your mind around the “many millions of things that had to come together and live together and mesh together” for all those gifts to be realities in your world. Almost 4 years ago, a day came when all that was threatened to be over for me as the result of 2 clots in my brain. Never, ever take for granted the gifts, the blessings, the miracles, and especially the Giver of the “many millions of things!” Thank you Jesus for this day, these gifts, and your faithfulness!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5  ✝

**Image via Pixabay; text added by Natalie

1106. Everything in heaven and earth breathes. Breath is the thread that ties creation together. ~Morihei Ueshiba

Every breath we take,
every step we make,
can be filled with peace,
joy and serenity.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

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Breath
Breath, the mindful breath,
the rhythm, out and in,
the wave that washes
through our days,
creating space for stillness,
sorrow, joy, or exaltation.
Full, then empty,
ebb and flow,
breath accompanies
each step into the unknown.
In the breath, the soul
finds an opportunity to speak.
Images or intuition,
poetry or wordless wisdom
come and go — no effort but
to breathe and listen.
~Danna Faulds

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. ~Psalm 33:6  ✝

**Image found on Pixabay; text added by Natalie

1065. Let God’s promises shine on your problems. ~Corrie Ten Boom

February is a quiet month in the garden…
But just because it looks quiet
doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
~Edited and adapted quote from
Rosalie Muller Wright

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The dictionary defines a promise as: (1. a declaration that something will or will not be done or given, or (2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based. Isn’t is amazing that something as tiny as seeds declare what the Lord has promised, done, and given, and what we as His children can expect from His covenants. Special mention of seeds and their guarantee is made on the 3rd day in the Scriptural Genesis story. And the plants and trees God created have never failed to produce profuse manifestations of this “seed force” which has been been emerging for millions of years and comes forth yet from earth’s vegetation. The roots of this holy “seed force” reach down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths.” Therein they are sustained by water, and in the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil was seen as a “symbol of the waters of God that enfolded and infused all things.” God’s goodness, which is deeper than any evil, can be seen then at the very inception of and at the heart of all life. J. Philip Newell puts it this way: “Everything that is born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.” And I love the imagery these words paint of the seed and humanity’s roots reaching deep into our Maker’s life. What a comforting and safe place is the sheltering heart of Yahweh!

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10-11 ✝

**In the collage are a collection of seed pods I found in my winter garden.

1016. For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. ~W.J. Ronald Tucker

Let us remember that He(God) has given us
the sun and the moon and the stars,
and the earth with it forests and mountains and oceans–
and all that lives and moves upon them.
He has given us all green things
and everything that blossoms and bears fruit–
and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–
and to save us from our own foolishness, from all our sins,
He came down to earth and gave us Himself.
~Sigrid Undset,
Nobel prize-winning Norwegian novelist

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The babe born in a manger in Bethlehem was no mere human.  He was the fully divine, blessed Messiah who was sent to restore the rhythm in Creation’s rhyme and to save the lost.  Tonight as we worship and celebrate when the Word became flesh, I’d like to share with all of you an excerpt from a Max Lucado book.  I pray that it touches you as it did me and that in so doing you feel the Breath of Heaven blow through your world.

MARY’S PRAYER
God. O infant-God. Heaven’s fairest child.
Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds.
Enjoy the silence of the crib…
Rest well, tiny hands.
For though you belong to a king,
you will touch no satin, own no gold.
You will grasp no pen, guide no brush.
Lie still, tiny mouth.
Lie still, mouth from which eternity will speak…
Rosebud lips–upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness
to those who believe you…
Rest, tiny feet.
Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power.
Rest. For millions will follow in your footsteps.
~Edited excerpt from
IT BEGAN IN A MANGER by Max Lucado

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.  ~Luke 2:11  ✝

**Image via Pinterest