Late Summer’s Verdant Path…

D4E1475A-AC7F-4E3D-90FE-43D32B92985EThe best ways for me to find enjoyment in late summer’s neglected garden, is not in hacking away in disgust or to yank and pull or sweat and swear – though I do admit to a bit of that mingled with my worst complaints…

  • “That’s right let me go out of town and you decide to run wild!’
  • ‘ Choking out your companion plant is as coarse and common as talking religion or politics!’ or…
  • ‘Okay, really? Staging a hostile takeover in this heat? What’s gotten into you?’

Now, as amusing as it is- to talk to our plants this way…it doesn’t work, the damage has already been done! Faced with difficult and mundane jobs like pulling weeds, I enjoy taking a stroll, framing a view, documenting with a few photographs, thinking of my best words, waxing poetic even humming the sweetest melody, in fact- it surprises me that I usually don’t do these things first! But when I do…

I find crisp cool ferns, an unusual view through an errant Mimosa,

13B44B76-0C30-4A74-B0F3-545A80506EFBHydrangeas, this time several on the wane and one amazing fresh green one made even more beautiful in a hazy light.

Views through a garden bench, beauty entwining itself up and around wherever it may find the opportunity…

 

Soft and sweet Lamb’s Ears and an iron bird hiding in rampant rose canes and even Autumn Joy beginning to bloom.

Now, normally I don’t use words like verdant in the course of everyday conversation- but the word did come to mind… ‘Verdant means- Abundant, green vegetation, lush green lawns or rich forestation.’ Weeds or not- that’s what we have!

2CA12AE5-AEE0-4B44-8F90-2D8991616A7EStill.  Verdant was one of the good words… followed by Decent, Fresh, Trustworthy, Wholesome, Bighearted, Devotion, Wholehearted, Loving and Kind.

My good words were followed by Phrases like- Cool and calm, Soft and tender, Milk of Human Kindness, A sweet embrace… Try it! Good words and gentle phrases usually bring forth the Poetic!

‘Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms…So doth the woodbine, the sweet honeysuckle Gently entwined. Oh, how I love thee! How I dote on thee!’ from A Midsummer’s Nights’ Dream-

Or what about these?‘In life’s uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them.’ Timon of Athens and  ‘Beauty lives with kindness.’ Two Gentlemen of Virona  – and a personal favorite…

‘To me, fair friend, you never can be old.’ Sonnet 14 All by the poet emeritus of good words….Shakespeare

87F1B149-CA3A-4654-81D4-5417384F49D7It was time…The gazing at pictures, the doodling, dawdling and daydreaming had to stop or nothing would get done. I must admit, my greatest gardening challenge became one of my sweetest musings…

390DD5C5-0D91-48EF-9890-C55C5D71AFA1The Angel Vine had become rampant squalling baby – crying out for immediate attention. A pair of water meter readers couldn’t even find the meter since the Angel Vine had completely covered it over… fiercely verdant? Perhaps not a good phrase… I pulled it back to show them where it was…and decided I could amuse myself no longer. I began pulling and outright hacking and cutting…. and then it happened again…Ah yes, a song… a lullaby… okay really I thought of Willie Nelson’s ‘Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground’ about an angel with a broken wing that Willie fell in love with, that was my first thought. Kept in check, Angel Vine is such a sweet planting…tiny brown vines dotted with tiny green leaves. Angel Vine is a native of New Zealand also known as ‘Mattress Vine’ … so yes, as overgrown as it was- eventually a Lullaby came to mind. May I pause here? I’ll admit it- at first a gardening song starts as an annoying hum…I can’t put words to the tune… but when I do? I am amazed at how perfectly it does fit the situation. Angels, mattresses for cradles and little children…came to mind. The neighborhood is quieter now….children have gone back to school when I’m at my gardening chores…. I began thinking of the times I sent my first graders off to school- it never got easier, I always cried and prayed….counting on these beautiful and promising words for children-

 ‘Become as little trusting loving children. Whoever receives and welcomes one little child is greatest in the Kingdom of heaven… and also welcomes Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones to stumble, whoever entices him or hinders a child’s progress from right thought and conduct… Anyone who causes suffering to a little child- a millstone should be hung around his neck and be thrown in the depths of the sea… Beware that you do not despise or demean one of these little ones… See that you do not offend one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven are always in the presence of and earnestly watch the face of My Father’…’Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to Me.’ 

Stern warnings concerning treatment of children from the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of St. Matthew. So yes, pulling back that Angel Vine I thought of Guardian Angels…prayers for all little children-the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

F81C0824-BDC4-490C-9955-972A1041A154I found myself humming an old Welsh lullaby …Sleep my child let peace attend thee, all through the night.  Guardian Angels will defend thee, all through the night.’

All the while thinking of angels. The pile of trimmings was quite large, I wound the Angel Vine into a verdant wreath and hung it’s delicate form on the Front Door knowing it would stay fresh for only a few short days. My Late Summer’s Verdant Walks, like childhood-   don’t last long, but the memories will be cherished a long while.

Love y’all, Camellia

*All photographs are obviously mine. *The Scripture is from Matthew 18- my interpretation- alongside the Amplified Version of the KJV *Please don’t get any grand ideas that I’m an expert on memorizing Shakespeare! It’s a trick I employ to try to match up my ‘best’ words with poets or quotes from famous folks!  *’All Through the Night- a Welsh lullaby is generally sung around the Christmas holidays- but so beautiful I couldn’t resist. I found no author credited for the song.

The Problem of the Eggshell…

0A6F795E-CDE0-459B-9C00-026306A1C4AFIf Winter is the season of sleep, dreams and faith- then Spring is surely the season of miracles… miracles unfolding before our very eyes as the sap defies gravity and rises up to bare tree limbs- proof every year of the Resurrection! Even, as intricate nests hold delicate eggs, Spring brings the miracle of new life heralding the proof of Easter’s Promise.

‘As many as received Jesus,  to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.’ John 1:11-12

Let that sink in…our position with God is a gift– we are re-born with the position as a child of God- with the power ‘to become’ – to reach our full potential. Becoming is a process and often living in this old world is a struggle…right? Recently, our friend Sally Smith sent some adorable photographs of baby ducks and birds…

1A725CC6-F9B2-4CBA-8086-716A70D69813I started thinking of Spring as the time of new birth but also of these tiny creatures’ struggle to emerge…the Problem of the Eggshell- and I was reminded of this story…

‘As a child, I loved to go to the county fair- I particularly liked the incubators in which eggs were becoming baby chickens- it was messy. The shell would be slightly cracked or maybe you could see part of a baby chick. The shell was restricting the little bird’s progress, the egg would roll around… a little kick and the crack would become larger. I could see damp feathers and perhaps little feet. I admit it was a struggle to hold back- I knew I could help the baby chick. Why, I could break the shell open myself …! The baby chick wouldn’t have to work so hard. The chick wouldn’t have to struggle breaking the shell it had outgrown… the instructors at the show explained- ‘If you break open the shell, instead of letting the baby chick do it alone, the little legs will not be strong- the baby chick’s whole body is being strengthened by the struggle to get out of that shell’. The Problem of the Eggshell’ is a lesson in the ‘Power to become’ – the struggle strengthens us! Without it, we will not be strong. (Jesus) invites us to struggle. He gives us ‘Power to become’…

B75CBFBA-CF0E-41EB-973E-80C0B99E4209One of the most profound lessons of Springtime comes through tiny creatures who have struggled and solved the Problem of the Eggshell…and dared to become!  Jesus said- ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible…’ Mark 9:23

Have a Blessed Lord’s Day!

Love y’all, Camellia

*A big thank you to Sally Smith from Camp Creek Creations for giving us permission to use her wonderful photographs! Visit their website at www.CampCreekCreations.com

99754824-A0E6-4A0C-8346-4FCAC3F6CAEE** Peep! (photograph obviously mine, not Sally’s!) The story of the county fair is from- ‘Four Days- the Lazarus Principle’ – pages 25-27 and is available on Amazon.com

Flowering Quince…

BA4C50A3-9B7B-4E25-9B76-115643026FEBThe Flowering Quince, symbolic of Love, Prosperity and Blessings coupled with Energy in the midst of Adversity blooms in early Spring. The spiny shrub bursts forth in exuberant color after winter’s chill. To bloom, bring beauty amongst the thorny issues of Life seems to me a worthwhile aim and a reflection of God’s Grace within…

Wishing you a blessed Lord’s Day.

Love y’all, Camellia

B46475F6-06D2-42BC-A81C-0FEFC62BDDBF* Photographs of the Flowering Quince here at the Cottage, are obviously taken by me this week, during an unseasonably warm February.

Roses speak of Love…

055A03E8-DF37-4282-87B9-542C8669F4F1In the language of Flowers, Roses speak of Love…

Whether in Spring Bud- full of sweet possibility and promise…

Or Winter’s gently fragrant comfort, speaking with wisdom, beauty and age.

Both as vibrant and vital to our well being as Love…

‘Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.’ I John 4: 11 KJV

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

Love y’all, Camellia

*Photographs of Dried Roses obviously taken by me. The roses were grown here, clipped to adorn our Cottage Christmas Wreath, when dried, the amazing colors and calm fragrance were an inspiration. Pottery tray by Earthborn Studios in Leeds, Alabama, Tena Payne- Potter. Find them at earthborn.net Amazing story and products!F7E34875-1EC4-41BA-B449-FEF066E9BF5F

Away in a Manger…

‘Away in a Manger, 

No crib for a Bed-

The Little Lord Jesus lay down His Sweet Head.

The Stars in the Heavens look down where He lay-

The Little Lord Jesus Asleep on the Hay.’

83FFBA76-D5F9-4937-B981-1141A62DC83D*The lyrics of this beloved Children’s Christmas Carol have an obscure history.  Long thought to have been written by Martin Luther for his children in the late 1400’s- with variations of the first two stanzas being referred to most often in the late 1800’s. Since that time researchers haven’t found anything like it in Luther’s Writings and could have originated with the Lutheran Church instead- it remains a mystery to this day.  Apparently, numerous publications recorded the prose in the late 1800’s right here in America. The composers of the melody have not been fully established, but all agree ‘Away in a Manger’ is thoroughly American.

Luther’s Cradle Song, as it was called- is known to have been recited in Children’s Sunday School Classes  in Nashville Tennessee in 1893. Widely acclaimed thereafter, Away in a Manger was most likely set to music in the early 1900’s using only the first two verses. Starting in 1955, when Bing Crosby recorded ‘Away in a Manger’- many well known recording artists have performed this sweet song. The Christmas carol became very popular in the United States, Great Britain and Worldwide and remains so until this day.

Whenever and however the sweet song came into being… it epitomizes the humble Heavenly Miracle Birth of the Christ Child and continues to be one of the world’s most beloved Christmas Carols. I love this Divine Lullaby, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Love y’all, Camellia

*read more about ‘Luther’s Cradle Song’  here-   *photograph is obviously mine.

Abundant Fall…

For the Beauty of the Earth… for Seedtime and Harvest…

 

for Fields and Farms…

 

for Vines and Orchards…

 

And for Those who heard and answered the Ancient Call- ‘Be Fruitful and Multiply’…we are grateful. To the Creator of All, for Your faithfulness to provide the Beautiful Abundance of Fall, we thank You.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day! Love y’all, Camellia

*all photographs are obviously mine

Glorious Clouds…

‘…Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know how the clouds are balanced and poised in the heavens, the wonderful works of Him Who is perfect knowledge?’  ‘The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The sky proclaims His Handiwork.’

IMG_3257

Clouds- Glorious Clouds are Earth’s Icing on the Cake, Heavenly Meringues, Floating Islands- Angelic Desserts- Glorious Gifts from God which make us pause, cause us to marvel and contemplate what lies ahead. If such beauty exists here, what glories must lie beyond?  When we raise our earthbound eyes heavenward, Glorious Clouds lift our spirits and nourish our souls beyond the bounds of Earth.

‘In All Things of Nature- There is Something of the Marvelous’

This beautiful photograph of Glorious Clouds was taken from his boat, by our friend, Dow Hill, at sunrise on Lake Guntersville, Alabama. What a dramatic wondrous show of God’s Handiwork! If you find yourself Sailin’ Troubled Waters or Traipsin’ through the Glen of Gloom- Lift up your eyes and contemplate the Handiwork of God…Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

Love y’all, Camellia

* Scripture from Job 37: 14, 16 (Amplified Bible) and Psalm 19: 1 (NIV) ‘In all of Nature…’ quote is credited to Aristotle, Greek Philosopher

Thorns- a prayer…

IMG_2583Thorns, in Scripture symbolize troubles. Troublesome people, troublesome habits and troubled people.

  • And, being cast out of the lush Garden of Eden- God told them..’ Thorns and thistles shall the earth bring forth…’ Gen. 3: 18-19
  • ‘Other seed fell in the midst of thorns and the thorns grew up alongside and choked the good plant…The seed that fell among the thorns, these are the ones who- as they go their way are choked and suffocated with the anxieties, worries, cares and responsibilities of this life…’ Luke 8:7,14
  • ‘And you, son of man, be not afraid of their words; though briers and thorns are all around you…be not afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks…’ Ezekiel 2:6-7
  • Three times the Apostle Paul asked for his Thorn in the Flesh to be removed, ‘a thorn… a messenger of evil, sent to rack, buffet and harass me’ ..ultimately the thorn remained. Paul changed his mind: ‘I am quite happy about the thorn, and about the insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then He is strong…the less I have, the more I depend on Him’ 2 Cor. 12:10.
  • A blind and heartbroken George Mattheson wrote: ‘My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorns, I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my Roses, but not once for my thorns…Teach me the value of my Thorn.’
  • ‘…and weaving together a Crown of Thorns, they began to mock him, struck His Head and spat on Him, making sport of Him…’ Mark 15:18-19

IMG_2591Lord Jesus, as daffodil trumpets herald the beginning of Spring and the Dogwood dares to bear blood tinged white blossoms centered with a Crown of Thorns- we know that it not right for so many of us to be wracked with mental agony, fearful of the future and plagued with anxious fretful minds. Too often we are tired, worried with the strains of life, burdened with responsibilities, splintered by hurtful words, choked out and suffocated by prickly concerns in lives too full and complicated. Thorns…stunt our growth, halt our progress and reduce our growth and productivity. So we pray with heavy hearts, bringing burdens we have tried to shoulder on our own- yet even as we lay them before You, plead for relief, recount the burdens once again…something strange inside of us begins to gather our troubles back up again-

  • re-packaged belongings,
  • re-purposed fears,
  • thick envelopes of worry,
  • bags of the same old anxieties

Believing our concerns are not worthy of Your Glorious attention or- worse without a mustard seed of Faith or the Patience to wait, we wonder if we ever really believed Your Divine Power would be exerted on our behalf.  Why is it Lord, we are caught in thickets of calendars crammed too full, bristling while we wait in a line, harassed in heavy traffic, suffocating from social obligations, drowning in debt or choked out expecting too much out of life? We are worn out trying to organize what we already have. Will we ever be free of the need for more when there’s no time to take care of the gifts You have already given?

We live in a briar patch of stress and strain, fretting foolishly, harboring broken promises, words spoken in haste, small slights or outright rejection- jeers of foolish beings who feel superior only when they’ve put others down; these are Thorns in our flesh, Splinters in our hearts-Dry parched lips from sweat filled nightmares- we’ve all felt them. How can we ever think our Cross-Slain Savior doesn’t know how it feels? Yet, our Divine Friend, You do, if Anyone ever has known, You know. IMG_2589

As the earth begins to thaw… as Easter draws near, we see the everlasting sign- the Crown of Thorns within Dogwood blooms. Let every sense available bring forth Golgotha- the odor of sweat mingled with fresh Blood, bitter gall, vinegar and dried spit, the agony of humiliation; loud boisterous gaming for a White Robe, heinous laughter and coarse jeers. The sky darkens, You know- if anyone knows, You know deserted loneliness when Heaven’s Angels turn their backs on You; You know rejection-even Your own Father has forsaken You; Yes You know. Let us remember anew, throughout all Eternity…You know exactly what humanity feels. Of all of the suffering wounds, perhaps the most worrisome encircles Your Head- A Crown of Thorns…

  • ‘John, take care of My Mother’
  • One thief accuses, ‘You saved others, You can’t save us!’
  • Another pleads- ‘I’m dying, Lord…don’t forget me..’

Even in the Sacrificial Dying- the constant strain, the needs of others were piercing Your Mind…In every way, You understand the human dilemma. We ask You then, to teach us how to live in the thicket of thorns, how to grow in expectant joy- right in the midst of stress and strain; and as we exist in this troubling human condition, help us to find ways to be gentle, affectionate toward one another and always thankful for our thorns. Give us strength to explore the depths of pain and find blessings there. Teach us the value of our thorns. Allow us not to be strangled by circumstances and suffocated by life. Provide ways, in quiet stillness, to find our peace in Thee. Fill us with the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of our chaotic thorny paths fraught with worrisome distractions. Help us to do our part to simplify our lives. Teach us the secret of serene living: Each day has potential to bring so much joy among life’s aggravations. May we know without question that You are an understanding Savior, in Whom we have:

  • unfailing Mercy,
  •  Divine Strength,
  • abundant Grace,
  • eternal Forgiveness-
  • Divine Love
  • perfect Peace

All of these gifts help us to live as kind, grateful Children of God. May our lives resemble the fleeting beauty of the Dogwood Blossom and the fresh renewal of Springtime. Take us in Your Loving Arms-

  • apply Your Healing Balm to every piercing, every scrape and every scar-
  • smooth out the life lined worry-wrinkles,
  • relieve our feverish anxieties,
  • lift our burdened hearts,
  •  heal our fear-filled, doubt-ridden minds,
  •  place Your cool Hand of Mercy on our wounded souls and
  •  be refreshed as we find our Rest in Thee.

To the One Crowned with Thorns on Calvary’s Cruel Cross, the One Who has overcome Tribulation and is now and forever The Living Water and Earth’s Divine Oasis. Amen. IMG_2591


Blessings from our briar patch to yours…Love y’all, Camellia

*photographs of waning Dogwood Blossoms are obviously mine.