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  • Debbie Cowles

Beauty. Abundant, extravagant beauty.

I told Steve we were surrounded by cancer, chemo, and Covid. And that we needed three positive C’s. I had Christ and His comfort and I needed one more. He said “creation”! So I’ve been focusing, noticing, rejoicing in the abundant beauty God has all around us. All of these pictures and videos were taken this spring within a 30 minute walk of our house. I hope the beauty feeds your soul, too.

The beech leaves are unfurling. I watch their progress. Have I ever really noticed before? Is my soul, my entire being unfurling during this process, this new season for me, or is it shriveling up? I want a new freshness like this…

Even the ferns are unfurling.

I did an online Christian retreat here in our backyard and there were times that there were no human sounds at all unless my stomach rumbled. Sometimes the loudest thing was the buzzing of insects. I watched tiny blue and yellow birds eating in the tree next to me.

And the wild bluebells. Planted by God at creation. A wild carpet in a stunning shade which changes a bit depending on the light and if we have had rain. An indescribable abundance of beauty and scent.

They remind me of this from Matthew 6:

...I tell you not to worry about everyday life.... Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? ... Look at the lilies of the field [and the bluebells of the woods] and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and [gone] tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry... your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and his righteousness, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

And the path of life ahead, unknown to us in this strange time, but perfectly clear to our God....

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

The thick moss, forget-me-nots, wild poppies, and even the perfect sphere of the dandelion gone to seed. Also a tiny, beautiful, white wildflower I don’t know the name of. And wild garlic which Steve uses to season our wild venison.

And in our garden/yard: English primroses, Solomon’s seal, lily-of-the-valley, and an old apple tree and a cherry tree bursting with blooms.

And the tree roots...

They are an illustration of this, Paul’s prayer for spiritual growth…

”When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen”

(Ephesians 3:14-21, NLT, emphasis added)

Amen and amen!

And some very short videos, just for fun. Cross-shaped stars in the river! And you can’t have too many little lamb videos, can you?

Can you tell that spring is my favourite time of year? :-)

Beauty. Abundant, extravagant beauty.

How can I keep from singing?

by Audrey Assad

My life flows on in endless song;

Above earth's lamentation,

I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn

That hails a new creation

Through all the tumult and the strife,

I hear that music ringing

It finds an echo in my soul

How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?

I know my Savior liveth

What though the darkness gather round?

Songs in the night he giveth

No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that refuge clinging

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth

How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes, the cloud grows thin

I see the blue above it

And day by day this pathway smooths,

Since first I learned to love it,

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart

A fountain ever springing

For all things are mine since I am his

How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that refuge clinging

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth

How can I keep from singing?

For those of you who are praying for me, thank you so much. The third infusion was Thursday, my first one at home, and it went very well. We had wonderful conversations about spiritual things with the nurse from Eastern Europe. I am now in the super achy stretch of time afterwards, and it is tough. Thank you for your prayers.

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