is enough ever enough?

Food for the body is not enough.
There must be food for the soul.

Dorothy Day

At first you think you are merely looking into a flower.
A bloom from a rose of sharon plant.
But upon further inspection, there happens to be a bumble bee deep inside, covered in sticky pollen.

And not only was there one pollen covered bumble bee, there were several…

It was as if the bees simply couldn’t get enough.
They were gorging on nectar while becoming completely covered in sticky pollen.
So much so that many of the bees had become lethargic.
So overtly satiated, that they were almost catatonic…
and yet they kept on with their quest of consumption…

Happily miserable with themselves.

And who among us has not gone after something equally tantalizing with a
similar gusto and vigor?
Gobbling up our fill until we can barely move, able to go no further…
as we are full, engorged and yet unable to push back, calling it quits…
Pressing on until we actually make ourselves sick…

Yet what if we sought God with a similar desire?
With an unabashed hunger…
seeking to fill the bottomless void of our hearts?
As we eventually bask, being happily full and
deeply satiated, in all that is of Him….

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and
into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into
ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
Some people, eager for money,
have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But you, man of God,
flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
endurance and gentleness.
Fight the good fight of the faith.
Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made
your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus,
who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the
appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which God will bring about in his own time—God,
the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light,
whom no one has seen or can see.
To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:8-16

(al pollen ladend bumble bees in various Rose of Sharon blooms /
Julie Cook /2017)

The gift of a peach

“The nectarine, and curious peach,
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.”

Andrew Marvell

Dwell not upon thy weariness,
thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire.

Arab Proverb

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(my very own little peaches / Julie Cook / 2015)

I watched you today.
I knew you didn’t feel well.
You were quiet.
Not yourself.

I saw the worry on your face and heard it in your voice.
I could feel your preoccupation with the heaviness and grief.
I watched you take the last couple of pills out of the bottle
to help soothe your stomach.

Yet I knew you were still keenly aware of your surroundings.

I heard you mention how deep blue the sky was today as it was
accented by the new green growth of all the towering trees.

I watched as you ambled up and down the aisles of the garden shop,
snapping pictures of the blankets of new blooms exploding on every young plant.

I saw you plant the new little lime tree,
watching as you hoisted sack after sack of dirt in order to fill the pot.
I noticed how you forgot to put on the gloves,
growing agitated that the dirt got under your nails.

I watched your excitement when you noticed the tiny peaches sprouting out on the equally
tiny peach tree.

I’ve watched you labor with the tiny tree, ever since you brought it home two years ago.
It was a sad stick of a tree sitting in that hardware store.
You’d asked your husband if you could buy two of them hoping to eventually have your
own peach trees.

I felt your frustration when you unwrapped them and one of them was already dead.
I marveled as you planted the sole remaining little tree anyway,
offering it your care and your hope.

I watched as you watered it.
Fertilized it.
Moved it in and out as each season dictated.
You’ve defended it from the spider mites.

I’ve watched you over the years relish in the peaches you’d bring home from market.
Gently feeling each one for ripeness.
Placing your nose to each peach, breathing in deeply for that distinct scent.
I’ve watched you as a little girl bite into a ripened peach,
as the juice dribbled down your chin and the fuzzy skin tickled your tongue.

I had hoped you’d see the buds.
I wanted them to fill you with anticipation and excitement.
I’ve known things haven’t been easy and that you’ve felt lonely and overwhelmed.

I wanted you to know, through the tiny bud of a peach, that I am here. . .
That I do see you,
hear you,
feel you,
Love you. . .


“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:18

“For He looks to the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.

Job 28:24

Budding and Blooming

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
Guillaume Apollinaire

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
Lady Bird Johnson

“Let us not go hurrying about and collecting honey, bee-like buzzing here and there for a knowledge of what is not to be arrived at, but let us open our leaves like a flower, and be passive and receptive, budding patiently under the eye of Apollo, and taking hints from every noble insect that favors us with a visit.”
John Keats

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(a beginning bud on a peach tree / Julie Cook / 2015)

Birthing
Budding
Blooming
Becoming

Unfolding
Unfurling
Unabated
Unapologetic

Magical
Mysterious
Miraculous
Mystical

Fragrant
Fantastic
Formed
Flowering

Perfect
Priceless
Pretty
Peachy

Delicate
Determined
Decadent
Defiant

Hopeful
Hardy
Handsome
Heady

Life
Living
Lovely
Luscious

Gift
Grace
Great
Grand

God

Waiting

“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

Wait on the Lord” is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.”
― J.I. Packer

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(a few rain kissed quince buds waiting to bloom / Julie Cook / 2015

We are a waiting people are we not?
It seems, since the beginning of time,
We, humankind, have waited.

We wait for birth
And we wait for death
Living, falls someplace in between

The Israelites waited and wandered,
Wandered and waited for years. . .
As it seems they continue waiting. . .

We Christians wait. . .
We wait for answered prayers,
We wait for signs,
We wait for good,
We wait for justice,
We wait for peace
We wait for the final judgement

Society waits. . .
It too waits for justice
For peace,
For answers
For change,
For better, never worse
For instant
For perfect

I wait. . .
I wait for the happiness of those I love
I wait for a closer peace
I wait for answers
I wait for direction
I wait for truth
I wait for righteousness
I wait for healing

Waiting
Through the yearning
Through the tears
Through the frustrations
Through the anger
Through the impatience

Tempering the anguish
Trying not to dwell
Not to obsess
Fighting the whys
the why nots

I cry out in the silence
How much longer oh Lord?
Can’t you see?
Do you not know?
Why don’t you do something?!
NOW!
Do you not care?
How can you let him hurt?
Please
Hear me
Do you hear me?
Please

“Wait”
is the single reply. . .


Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.

Psalms 27:14

A prayer of the penitent, yet thankful, heart

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
Mother Teresa

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
Søren Kierkegaard

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(the opening of a tulip / Julie Cook / 2015)

O Lord, I beseech you, in your great compassion,
Hear my prayer and look upon me, having mercy. . .

I come before you Father, lowly and meek,
As I know that I am a sinner who is unworthy to stand in your presence. . .

Yet, Father, I know that you are a God of both Mercy and Grace
I know that you hear my cries,
I know that you see me and know of my needs,
even before I was given breath to utter the concerns of my heart. . .

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As the bud of a flower longs to open, stretching toward the light,
I too find myself longing to fully open my arms to you.

I first came to you Father in the exuberance of my youth
I was full of the often misguided energies of zeal and righteous indignation
I banished my sword and expected overwhelming compliance. . .
And yet, my heart ebbed and flowed.

There came a time when I cast myself adrift,
Relishing in the selfish satisfaction of ego and pride,
trusting in my own abilities to cut my own path.
I became what I thought to be my own savior.

My life tumbled and spiraled out of control
I couldn’t understand why things were all so wrong
You watched as I demanded to try it all on my own,
In my own time and in my own way.
Greedily I gobbled up the things I thought would make me complete

Yet you patiently waited and watched through your own tears,
As my chosen path of frustration grew more difficult and wearisome.
In spite of myself, hidden in my heart all these many years, remained a tiny piece of You.
Because of your Grace, somehow I found the strength to shed the falsehood of self,
removing the barriers I had built which separated me from You.

Today I stand before You, striped of pretense and bravado,
having thrown off the cloak of lies and deceit,
My heart is full within me, beating quickly and
welling up in my chest, yearning to love not me, not the world,
but You, just only You. . .
As Mercy and Grace have brought me home. . .
Alleluia,
Alleluia,
Alleluia. . .

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A curative for the wintertime blues

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.
Plautus

“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.”
― Sinclair Lewis

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”

― Claude Monet

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(the varying stages of a hyacinth bloom / Julie Cook / 2015

Do you smell that?
Oh. . .
no. . .
I’m sorry, I forgot. . .
sadly you cannot.
Hummm. . . lets see. . . what to do. . .
Wait!
I know. . .
Quick!
You must get thee to some sort of store, shop or greenhouse, post haste. . .
Some place which has flowers blooming!!
Yes, I know it’s the dead of Winter.
Yes, I know some of those varmints out there, aka groundhogs, saw their shadows, but here’s the thing. . . there’s a bit of a dispute brewing because some of their kin claim to have seen no shadow.
Talk about an axis shifting conundrum!!
For some of us, Winter is not about to let up. . .
Snow
Nor’easters
Rain
Sleet
Ice
Grey
Cold
Mist
Drizzle
Fog. . .
You get the picture right?
It’s almost enough to drive the most winter hearty of us over the edge. . .unless you are part yeti or abominable snowman.

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(you remember this guy right, form the 1964 classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?? The dreaded Bumble)

So therefore, the only recourse you have is to quickly find a flower sporting some much needed pop of color accompanied by a bouquet of fragrance.. .It’ll be just the thing to chase away those winter blues—you’ve got to trust me on this. . .
You must stand before said blooming flower, closing your eyes, never mind what those around may be thinking, trust me, they’ll join in soon enough.
Now bending over ever so gently, get as close as possible, just until you feel the slightest twitch to your nose. .
There, hold that pose!
Now you must breathe, breathing in deeply of the heady floral aroma. . .
Light, exotic, flavorful.. .drinking in the intoxicating scent which speaks of far away lands, or perhaps conjures up the sweetest of memories from times long past. . .
Now there, exhale. . .
with a long audible drawn out soul refreshing, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh”
. . . you’re now feeling better aren’t you?
Just what the doctor ordered for every sense deprived winter overloaded soul out there in need!

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:7-10

Very soon

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions – the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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(faded, frozen and spent crepe myrtle and loropetalum buds and blooms / Julie Cook / 2015

Somewhere ’round a corner, in the secret garden of my mind
I thought I caught of glimpse of things that now are hard to find.

What stands before me now is simply lifeless browns and greys
Yet soon this empty landscape will bask in sunny rays.

Lifelessness and emptiness will soon be long departed
As hopefulness and happiness are finally getting started. . .

Here’s to the secret garden within all our winter weary hearts and minds. . .

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(hyacinth and tiny garden buds / Julie Cook / 2015)