Garden Retreat

I’ve dotted my ‘i’s
and crossed my ‘t’s
restless
for a spot of afternoon tea
in my garden retreat


Disclaimer: This photo’s from my neighbor’s garden. So many of my neighbors are dedicated gardeners and it’s a pleasure to admire their lovely gardens on my walks. I have no garden, but a lovely balcony. It’s good for a spot of tea too!

For Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge: “Don’t forget that my FOTD challenge accepts leaves and berries as well as flowers.“ And Sammi’s 19-words-only challenge using “restless.”

You Have Been Good to Me, LORD

I’m loving the Psalms this morning, especially those whose words have sunk deep into my heart. Of them, Psalm 121 always comes to mind. And how it causes me to say, in the words of Psalm 13: 6, “I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.”

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121 (ESV)
Audrey Assad, “Good To Me” (lyrics below)

Good To Me (Audrey Assad)

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

And I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night – raise my head up to hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, yeah

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Yeah, Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I trust in Your promise

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

Because You’ re good (You are good to me, good to me)
So good (You are good to me, good to me)
You are good to me

Year’s End: Share Your World

Melanie’s Share Your World 12-28-2020

Well, Santa’s reindeer have made it back to the North Pole, and we’re rushing into 2021 just around the corner. But 2020’s not done with us yet, so we’ll give it a last goodbye, with more than a hint of irony, on a “Share Your World” note. After all, for most of this year, we were physically avoiding sharing each other’s world, six feet apart, masked and socially distanced, though Melanie kept us connected by asking us to lay bare what lay behind our closed doors. So here goes with 2020’s last inquiries from our charming hostess!

Melanie’s #SYW QUESTIONS

Pick three words to describe this past year.   (please keep them PG. Thanks).
Dark. Devastating. Disillusioning.

What were the best books you read this year?   Or the best movie you saw?  
In fiction, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy (Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, and The Mirror anf the Light) simply carried me away! It’s a masterfully written journey into the world of sixteenth-century England and into the life of Oliver Cromwell. For me, it was an unforgettable ride, and Hilary Mantel is rightly hailed as having written as the literary masterpiece of our day. When I first began reading Wolf Hall, Covid-19 hit and it was disconcerting to be reading of how a far more dire plague affected people some five hundred years ago while undergoing one in our own time. Some thoughts on this trilogy in previous posts here: “Reflections on an Un-natural Decay.” and “Well Met, Jude: Mann & Mantel.”

A wonderful science fiction novel I re-read is The Understudy. It isn’t a Frankenstein’s monster story exactly but, dealing as it does with AI’s, it raises questions about what it means to be human, as I write about here.

In non-fiction, a Commentary on 1-3 John by Marianne Meye Thompson which I just finished, and Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves, which was an absolute joy to read.

Two movies that turned out to be unexpected treats: The Dead (1987) directed by John Huston and based on a James Joyce story from Dubliners and Greyhound (2020), a true story set in the winter of 1942 during the Battle of the Atlantic, directed by Aaron Schneider and starring Tom Hanks.

And I have to give a shout out to Mitch Teemley’s Healing River (2020), which as far as inspirational movies go, especially this year, ranks among the best. As I say in my review, “Healing River socks it to you with its fluid cinematography, character psychology, acerbic, no-holds barred dialogue and – here’s where the inspiration comes from – brutal honesty about what it means to be a Christian.”

Because there was lots of time for looking inward, what is one big personal lesson you learned this past year?
Putting your faith in people, government officials or health professionals/scientists, to act responsibly, is fruitless for any semblance of confidence or peace in the middle of a (manufactured or non-manufactured) crisis. Placing your trust in God is the one unshakeable source of strength.

Do you think Covid has strengthened or weakened societal bonds?
What societal bonds we had before Covid-19 were strengthened, but those we lacked were weakened. Those who thrive off of division were able to use racial and political turmoil to their own advantage and gain more power over social and cultural institutions as well as in government. Individual rights have shrunk accordingly. But I think we’ve discovered collectively what really matters in life, bonds of love that transcend all discord. I hope we never forget.

GRATITUDE SECTION (Optional of course): What is a New Year’s Wish You’d Like To Share With the World?

I am so grateful for the creative blogging community I have discovered during this year. Y’all inspire me no end! Thank you for the thoughts and encouragement you’ve shared with me this past year. May 2021 be fruitful and bring each one of you the desires of your heart! And above all, may you find “the peace that passes understanding”! Sláinte!


It Begins . . . with Joy!

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3: 21-23

This unfurled bud, precursor to a beauty that can now only be imagined, will one day cause our glance to linger on its warmth of color and its uniquely fashioned design. And it will bring us joy that our world contains such bursts of beauty, radiant under the sun’s gaze.

So it is with human souls. Many of us go through each day like unopened buds, self-contained vessels of worry and apprehension, busy with thoughts, chores, the daily pressures of life.

But what if we began each day unfurling our petals? What if our day’s beginning was one of consciously seeking joy, the light of heaven’s gaze upon us, rejoicing in the God who loves us and hears us?

If you’ve ever studied the face of someone who is in the throes of an unadulterated joy that spills out of every pore of their being, what strikes you is how in that instant that person seems to be the very embodiment of what they were created to be. You see them as they “really” are, unique in beauty, uniquely created to enjoy and be enjoyed. Their joy becomes contagious.

Yet such joy has to have a beginning somewhere, a source. That source is God, our Creator. When we like unopened buds, turn our gaze to Him every morning to drink in His love in thanksgiving, our joy in Him floods our hearts. We begin our day fully ourselves, free to praise and adore the God of providence who has blessed us with life and all its beauty, free to confront our worries and our circumstances with courage and fresh joy.

These daily beginnings are monumental. And they give us hope and strength for each new day. More than that, they spread hope in every beholder’s heart. We begin to spread joy and give comfort.

There is nothing more exciting than such a beginning. And any one can do it because it’s simple, priceless, given freely by the God who endowed us with this capacity to rejoice.

So begin again, begin with joy!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4
For Cee's FOTD. Join in!
Michael's Tale Weaver – #302 – "Beginnings"

Spatial Encounter

Hubble Telescope Image

I am not averse to reimaginations
Given you walked out of my conversation
As a noetic effect of its distillation

I am not chained to inharmonious juxtapositions
When salubrious angels gather in celebration
Of a desire prayed and given manifestation

I am simply thankful for your gravitation
Towards me, bindingly, irradiate sub-atomic fusion
Where once I envisioned only solitary annihilation

Yet this I wonder, and this in never-ending fascination
How in moments your eyes gray meet my brown it’s recreation
Of a space-time-matter continuum of conflagration

For dVerse's "Poetics:Look into my Eyes"
Click on Mr. Linky and join in!


A Beautiful Fall Day

For Joseph’s Home Photo Challenge 11-7-2020

Nothing communicates the fullness of “autumn joy” like a fat, well-formed pumpkin waiting to be admired.

Swallow it up, ladies and gents, in pies, in meditations, in orange fury of sunshiny glow!

How grateful I am for pumpkins on this beautiful fall day! Thank you, Lord God of heaven and earth, for all things bright and beautiful!

Share Your World/FOTD 9-14-2020

We’re into week six of SYW’s two-parter, with Share Your World meeting the world of Harry Potter and answering Melanie’s muggle-themed queries alongside those of Roger this time with The Half-Blood Prince in mind. Check out everyone’s answers and join in.

Continue reading “Share Your World/FOTD 9-14-2020”

Share Your World 9-7-2020

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

We’re into week five of SYW’s two-parter, with Share Your World meeting the world of Harry Potter. We’re answering Melanie’s muggle-themed queries alongside those of Roger, this time with The Order of the Phoenix in mind. Check out everyone’s answers and join in.

Continue reading “Share Your World 9-7-2020”