1385. The whole fabric of Creation is woven through the thread of God’s light. ~J. Philip Newell

How does one separate
the mystery of God
from the mystery of Creation?
Is the sanctuary of a church
more holy than the sanctuary
of earth, sea, and sky?

One of my fellow bloggers recently posted an article about his faith and churches, and as I read the comments of others about what he said, I was disturbed to see how many had negative feelings like I once did about churches. In my twenties I left the church, but I eventually came to realize it was not God nor a church per se that had let me down and hurt me. For God had not failed to be God nor had Jesus failed to be my Savior; it was the flaws and frailties of humanity that had caused my disillusionment. So I’m going to start a three-part series tomorrow about my take on the church and why I worship in one as often as I can. I pray you will read what I have to say even if you have a low regard for churches and then mull over the points I make. I know I am just another flawed human being who struggles like everyone else to make some kind of sense about this thing called life but now I’m also one who no longer questions God nor His truths. There are those who say that Jesus is a myth or a sort of “urban” legend, but for two thousand years no one has been able to prove that He wasn’t exactly who He said He was and is. I was just a proverbial lost sheep and He pursued me for decades until at last I became silent enough to hear His call and now know Him to be the way, the truth, and the life that will lead me home. And it is my most fervent prayer that you who read my thoughts over the next 3 days will feel a close connection to God and Jesus as well. You are on their radar; I know that for certain.

*Crepuscular rays (also known as sunbeams, sun rays, angel light, or God rays) are atmospheric optics that appear to radiate from a point in the sky…

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. ~Psalm 19:1-2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1184. I used to visit and revisit it(his garden) a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. ~Edited excerpt by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Now summer is in flower and nature’s hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done…
~Excerpt from a poem by John Clare

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Natalie, oh Nstalie, what can you say
About how it is your garden thrives?
Is it a labor of love that drives you
To keep these pretty flowers alive?

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Yes ‘tis so for despite the torrid heat
And in the face of pesky insect mobs
I daily venture out with tools in hand
To wage war against the weedy hordes.

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 But in return as I mosey back to go inside
I feel blessed to be able to work the soil
Alone  in quiet, solitude on flowery paths
Where nothing’s heard but muted toils.

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In the end my back is bent, my brow wet,
And my stamina all but entirely spent,
But ’tis when the grueling work is done,
That I rest in satisfied accomplishment.

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. ~Excerpt from Deuteronomy 2:7  ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard; collages by me

1144. It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. ~Ursula Le Guin

One day at a time–this is enough.
Do not look back and grieve
over the past for it is gone;
and do not be troubled about
the future, for it has not yet come.
Live in the present, and make it so
beautiful that it’ll be worth remembering.
~Ida Scott Taylor

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The Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know
what to do we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way
to go we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
~Wendell Berry

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. ~Excerpt from Deuteronomy 2:7  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1068. Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. ~Lindley Karstens

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A garden is a grand teacher.
It teaches patience and careful watchfulness;
it teaches industry and thrift;
above all it teaches entire trust.
~Gertrude Jekyll

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Garden Magic

This is the garden’s magic,
That through the sunny hours
The gardener who tends it,
Himself outgrows his flowers.

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He grows by gift of patience,
Since he who sows must know
That only in the Lord’s good time
Does any seedling grow.

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He learns from buds unfolding,
From each tight leaf unfurled,
That his own heart, expanding,
Is one with all the world.

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He bares his head to sunshine,
His bending back a sign
Of grace, and ev’ry shower becomes
His sacramental wine.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 6.35.06 PM.pngAnd when at last his labors
Bring forth the very stuff
And substance of all beauty
This is reward enough.
~Marie Nettleton Carroll

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The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. ~Genesis 1:15  ✝

**All images via my garden in 2015

1048. God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. ~Voltaire

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

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Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

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which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

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which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth
with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam…
~Excerpted lines from the poem, The Messenger by Mary Oliver

I am 73 years old and nearly six feet tall, and yet there are things in life that still make me dance a jig and squeal with joy like a child. And I’m not one bit sheepish about doing it either. As many of you know I absolutely adore Mary Oliver’s poetry. It’s as if she somehow managed to crawl around in my soul and heart and then spilled out what she found therein into her poetry. So I bought 4 new books of her poetry at Amazon last week and when they came today, they were greeted with none other than the same unabashed, joyful squeals. Afterwards there was a round of eeny, meeny, miny, mo before picking one of the four to open first. Then I turned to the first poem in it, read the one above, and guess what? I joyfully squealed some more. Damn, but I love that woman’s thoughts and poetry!!!

When I was in college, there were occasions when my friends and I tried to come up with the names of five people throughout history that we’d most like to meet and spend time with. I’m not sure who I would have picked or did pick back then, but at 73 I know for sure who the top 3 on my list would be now–Jesus(God), Claude Monet, and Mary Oliver. The remaining two are still up for grabs, but that’s not to say that they aren’t lots of splendid candidates to choose from. I pray that each and everyone one of you who’ve read this also have something or someone that thrills you to the point of at least wanting to squeal with animated pleasure!

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:3   ✝

805. Round and round it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows…

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Life’s just a merry-go-round.
Come on up.
You might get a brass ring.
~Mae West

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If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
~Nadine Stair

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Work diligently,
Live simply,
Think quickly,
Fight fairly,
Give generously,
Laugh loudly,
Pray faithfully,
Love deeply!

I’ve always loved merry-go-rounds, especially ones where you could reach out and try to grab a brass ring.  Why?  Because the brass ring could purchase a ticket for another ride. This one in the photos is in Paris just across the street from the Eiffel Tower.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. ~Psalm 17:6  ✝

754. It took a lone assent of self to get back up… ~Julie Cook (https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/about/)

A voice beneath the surface
Speaks
Echoes into my
Inner being
Inner heart
Inner mind
Blessing me
With
Strength to arise
~Yoshiko
(https://zyoshiko.wordpress.com/author/yoshikoz/)

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We are more than what people see on the surface. We are narratives, stories that make us who and what we are. And the stories are ripe with sorrows and joys, defeats and victories, love and loss, suffering and wellness–all those things each of us must face in life. And like my friend, Virginia, says “when you shed light on your past and how it affected you, it illustrates the transition that occurred to mold you into the person you are today.” So here I go with the next installment in my little story.

After being stuck in limbo the first semester of my sophomore year, I eventually found the strength to rise, albeit on wobbly and unsure legs at times, and I began the “lone assent of self” back into the mainstream of life. It was the summer of ‘62 and I had decided to continue working half a day for the Dean of Women as well as get a couple of courses out of the way in summer school. Since I only worked in the afternoons, I had some time on my hands after my morning classes were over, and what better place to go than the student center where food and friends awaited a hungry “climber.” The living was easy that summer and life was good. I had met some new friends who were teaching me to play bridge. And soon Keith, Danny, and I were playing bridge well enough to play in competition, and that summer would become one of the most memorable ones of my life.

…weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning. ~Psalm 30:5 ✝

**Image of old French, 1902 calendar page via Pinterest