Sunday Inspiration…

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A Meditation

O Holy Spirit of God, come into my heart and fill me. I open the windows of my soul to let Thee in, I surrender my whole life to Thee; Come and possess me, fill me with Light and Truth. I offer to Thee, the one thing I truly possess, my capacity for being filled by Thee. Of myself I am an empty vessel.

Fill me so that I may live the life of the Spirit. The life of Truth and Goodness. The life of Beauty and Love. The life of Wisdom and Strength. And guide me today in all things; Guide me to the people I should meet or help. To the circumstances in which I can best serve Thee; whether by my actions or by my sufferings.

But above all, make Christ be formed in me. That I may dethrone self in my heart and make Him King; so that He is in me, and I in Him. Today and Forever. Amen.


* Madame Chiang Kai-Shek’s adaptation of a prayer by Bishop of Bloomfontein of South Africa. She was said to have used this as a morning meditation while she was walking in her garden- the meditation should be said slowly, deeply felt, even brooded over in contemplation. This meditation is the epitome of the Hebrew psaltery command- ‘Selah’…a musical instruction to ‘pause and think calmly of that.’ Search the Psalms- you will find many which use the word ‘Selah‘. Here is one of my favorites….’May God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause His Face to shine upon us. Selah…Ps. 67:1

I hope you have had a blessed Lord’s Day- and will begin your week with this beautiful morning meditation.

Love y’all, Camellia

*photograph – St. Malachy’s –St. Malachy’s near Times Square, NYC

*I have had a copy of this meditation for many years- with a notation that it was found among Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s writings- no current reference has been found.

Front Porches of Alabama…

Welcome to the Front Porches of Alabama!

 

‘Friends are like the pillars on your Front Porch…Sometimes they hold you up, Sometimes they lean on you; Sometimes, it’s just enough to know they’re standing by for you…’

Yes, welcome to the Porches of Alabama… ‘How do you do’, ‘Y’all come up and set a while’ or ‘Tell me all about it, we’ll figure out what to do’…

We’ll sip a glass of sweet iced tea, sit and watch the sunset, blink with the lightin’ bugs and hear the crickets sing. Softly sing a song or two, a stolen kiss, a sweet embrace, a gentle breeze to chase the blues away…

‘We’re glad you came’- Are you sure y’all can’t stay awhile?’  with  gentle hugs, a tear or two-‘Now don’t be a stranger’ or  ‘Please don’t go we’ll miss you so!’ We’ll watch until you’re out of sight-from the Front Porches in Alabama._DSC0111-1


‘Friends are like Front Porch Pillars, Sometimes they hold you up, Sometimes they lean on you;  Sometimes it’s just enough to know they’re standing by for you.’


Love y’all, Camellia

A Heartfelt Thanks to Jeremy Miniard for almost all of these wonderful ‘Front Porches of Alabama’ – what would we do without him?? We have some more of them in the vault waiting! They do belong to him, and cannot be reproduced without permission.

 I’d like to claim it as my own, but the Front Porch Quote is Anonymous.

Statuary…

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This is Eleanor. She has graced a secluded place beneath a clump of dogwood trees in our garden for over ten years. The angel was given to us during a dark season of grief. I never called my husband’s mother by her given name- Eleanor. From the moment the statuary angel was put in place, she has been Eleanor to me. I look at her everyday from my kitchen window- from the street she is unseen- if you go to the side yard, down a long curved path, there is a round circle of purple irises with a large urn in the center- beyond a pair of fruit trees, your eye is drawn to Eleanor. My mother in law died in early spring right before the dogwoods begin to bloom. Tiny daffodils bloom at her feet. Statuary in the home or garden should have meaning, Eleanor does; she is a sweet reminder of my gentle mother in law every day. She was an angel.

The great cities of the world have iconic statuary. New York-

Santa Fe’s Canyon Road has incredible sculpture and statuary-

Great statuary, no matter where it is, should have significance, purpose and a sense of place.  What would the Statue of Liberty look like surrounded by gnomes, pigs, baskets, urns and rabbits?  IMG_0899 (Edited)

There is a place for whimsy in our world, yet even whimsical statuary should have significance, purpose and a sense of place. The statuary planter on the back porch is an example of whimsy. Whenever I have acquired statuary, the piece has found me, not the other way around. If you are shopping, don’t overlook local plant nurseries or shops, they will often have a good selection at reasonable prices.

I happen to love statuary in great cities, in shopping areas, in public gardens, in cemeteries, on battlegrounds or playgrounds- in public buildings, homes and in cathedrals…

Let me show you how we have used some statuary in Camellia’s Cottage

Each piece follows the design principles I believe in…significance, beauty, whimsy, mystery, scale, focal point, texture, purpose, emotion and a sense of place. To find a few small birds beneath a big basket of homegrown hydrangeas, to have a muse looking over my shoulder as I read a book, to perch a facepot on a pedestal as a whimsical reminder to save for a rainy day, to discover a bird in hand or a tiny bird poised in flight beneath a map of our home county, to bring the outside in with a heavy urn and a wise old man- those things have a place of significance without saying one word. The statuary, large or small, are gentle memories and peaceful inspiration for our sweet home in Alabama.

Love y’all, Camellia

*This post is written in loving memory of my mother in law, Eleanor McKinney Wyatt.IMG_0666

 

 

 

Sunday Inspiration…

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A Collage of Verses which Guide me for your Sunday Inspiration

‘You are His Masterpiece…’ Ephesians 2:10

There is only one you- you are an incredible work of art-  a Masterpiece! You have gifts to offer us that no one else has; things only you can do for mankind. Please remember this, we need you. Bless our world with what only you can bring to us.


‘Do not neglect the gift which is in youpractice, cultivate and meditate upon your gift…throw yourself wholly into them…look well to yourself, your own unique personality…persevere in these thingshold to them as if your very life depends on it..’ 1 Timothy 4:14-16

Your best life depends on the gifts that are within you! What we do with our lives is not even half as important as what we become. Live wholeheartedly using your own unique personality, for in truth? Your very life depends on how you choose to live it each day.


‘I am calling up memories of your sincere faith, passed down to you from your grandmother and your mother- reminding you to stir up your gifts, re-kindle the embers, fan the flames keep the inner fire burning of the gracious gifts of God that are in you… 2 Timothy 1:6

If you don’t know where to start? Get historical– remember that which was done well with passion from the most creative places within you- when your inner fire was burning and what came out of the forge was useful and beautiful. Don’t allow the gracious gifts of God within you to simmer on the backburner. The world needs every gracious gift only you can bring.


For God has not given you a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a calm and well-balanced mind, of discipline and self control.’ 2 Timothy 1:6-7

God has not given you a spirit of fear! Anyone or anything who provokes fear in your heart- is not from God. Those who would stir up fear render us helpless and unsettled. Self controlled, loving, calm and well balanced minds are powerful forces for good. What will you choose? Fear? or Calm and Well Balanced Minds? Use those qualities as a yardstick to measure character.


 ‘Let no foul or polluting language, unwholesome or worthless talk come out of your mouth; but only beneficial to the progress of others, as is fitting to the need and of the occasion, that it may be a blessing to those who hear it.’ Ephesians 4:29

‘Let all bitterness and indignation, wrath, rage, bad temper, resentment, anger and quarreling, contention, slander and abusive language be banished from you, with all malice, spite, ill will of any kind- And become useful, helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted, compassionate, understanding, and forgiving with loving kindness as God in Christ forgave you’.  Ephesians 4:31-32

Words are powerful– spoken or written- either cause bruises or heal them- your choice. Folks that get others ‘riled up and angry’ or folks that help us ‘settle down and be hopeful’; these are two more measures of mankind for me- Learn along with me to reject angry voices- Heated, mean spirited quarrels have never built a better mankind.


‘Whatever your task, work at it heartily- from the soul, as something done for God…making the very most of your time…’ Colossians 3:23 and 4:5

No matter what-make the very most of your time. Live wholeheartedly, life is too short for  halfheartedly living, accepting the mediocre is unacceptable. Make the very most of your time.


‘Love one another, as I have loved you…By this shall all men know that you are My Disciples, if you have love one toward another.’  John 13: 34-35  

I hope you have stayed with me- this is the most important of all of the verses! Read it again- ‘by this shall all men know you are Mine’… There it is! The Distinquishing Mark! This is: how you will know what is authentic and what is a poor imitation of almost anyoneHow we view others, how well we treat other human beings says everything about true character.  All of us are human beings- far too many are broken, beaten down by life and shattered dreams. The true test of our humanity is how well we show love to one another. This old world is heavy handed- hardened and sore in too many places… How much better would the world be if we chose to walk softly and leave that big stick behind? Look for the distinquishing mark, the engravings…resolve to live your best life, make the most of your time, use your words carefully, keep the measuring tape with you and don’t forget what a masterpiece you are!

 Love y’all, Camellia

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*The beautiful beginning and ending scenes- were photographed at the lovely Hotel St. Francis in the historic district of Santa Fe, New Mexico- a very inspiring place to be.

*Verses originate from the KJV-Amplified Version of the Bible.

 

 

Glorious July Miracles…

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Just when the heat of July slows me down to a southern drawl… a miracle happens. It sneaks up on me every year. When hydrangea blossoms look like tight pincurls, when roses sulk- fed up with the humidity; the front porch ferns whine for church fans and ice water; even impatiens lay down their heads and weep…that’s when the Glory Bower trees quietly begin to bloom.

Hummingbird wings whir around her. Butterflies flitter on her pale green shoulders. Fat bumblebees stir slowly around her like plump fairy godmothers- coaxing the lacy summer ballgown onto Glory. Her ladies in waiting, the Crepe Myrtles, have on shocking pink and raspberry corsages. But Glory is a real Southern Belle, never breaks a sweat, not one bead of perspiration. Glory Bower trees put down deep roots- they are my sweet homebodies, staying close to the windows so I can chaperone and gaze as the Miracle of July unfolds.

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When every other flowery thing begins to close up shop for harvest, the Glory Bower is just getting started; dabbed with honeysuckle fragrance, she’s a subtle reminder of another July Miracle– one that got her start, early one sunny summer morning in July. Like the Glory Bower she seems to thrive on sunshine but her real secret is her deep roots close to home. A fifth generation southern belle of St. Clair County, she is named for her father and grandfather. She is a true miracle. Before her mother turned twenty the doctors said she would never bear a child. After seven long years of waiting…this child was born, a true blue miracle. Even the doctors said to her momma and daddy- ‘Take her home and enjoy her, you’ll never have another one.’ She was so tiny, her long name didn’t seem to fit so she was nicknamed for the southern sunshine she was born under. Her momma sang ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ as she rocked her miracle on the porch swing. Her daddy played his guitar and sang his baby girl to sleep to-‘You are My Sunshine’. The pediatrician noted the baby hardly had a hair on her head but made up for it by having the longest eyelashes he had ever seen; a neighbor said- ‘It’s a sign of good breeding when a baby is bald headed’…her momma just smiled and made batiste bonnets with ruffles and lace.

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She could talk before she could walk at ten months! She was a born teacher-lining up dolls and stuffed toys, she would ‘teach school’ when she was barely three years old. Her teachers  remarked that her ‘sunny name’ suited her just right! Always an honor student, with a beautiful voice that was rivaled only by her skill on the clarinet, she was voted, ‘Friendliest’ in high school, and graduated with full honors from college, before earning her masters degree in education. She grew up so fast her parents felt as if she blinked her long eyelashes and was all grown up! She has taught hundreds of school children how to read and to love school like she always did. She is a fine Southern lady and a wonderful teacher! Camellia’s Cottage can’t imagine life around here without children in it- we’re glad she’s one of them.

If you ever find yourself wondering if God still performs miracles just look to the Glory Bower tree, which miraculously blooms so cool and sweet in the heat of a July summer and remember our July miracle.  Today’s her birthday, join us in wishing her a day filled with sunshine, the faint fragrance of honeysuckle and perhaps a gentle rain…

Love y’all, Camellia

p.s. Those doctors don’t always know everything… 21 months after this miracle? Another miracle baby girl was born on a sweet day in May! Believe in miracles, watch for them…they are all around you! Can I get a Glory Hallelujah?