Universal Gifts of Beauty

Lan Tau IslandAre you wild about flowers? I am!!  Shanghai flowersEverywhere we go, I’m pausing to admire and photograph brilliant flowers, Orchids. Singapore 2 and I never cease to wonder at their delicate textures, exquisite forms, Busan, South Koreatantalizing aromas, and luscious coloring. Hong Kong Alan, on the other hand, has a bit of motor mania.
(Can you tell who exclaimed over what in this picture?) Nagasaki Peace Memorial Over time, I’ve learned to recognize many garden flowers Azaleas. Hong Kong and have found to my delight that the vast majority of these beauties Daisies in Nagasaki seem able to flourish almost universally around the world. Vietnamese Flowers at Palace All these pictures were taken on our Southeastern Asia cruise Flowering Crab. Temple of Heaven. Beijing (from the equator to near the 45th parallel), and yet—if you’re a flower lover—Orange Tulips. Japanyou’ve probably noticed most of them growing in some garden not far from you. Viet Nam Lotus Of course, many of these flowers— such as the gorgeous lotus
(national flower of Vietnam) Orchids in Singaporeand orchid (national flower of Singapore)— Flowers in Vietnam have been transplanted from various countries where they are indigenous, Orchids. Lan Tau Island and they have to be maintained with great care in their new environments. Poinsettas Hong Kong Have you ever considered that foreign people are like foreign flowers? Flowers in Hong Kong Mountains They have been transplanted, and if they are to thrive in our culture, Spring Blossoms Shanghai they will need special care. Singapore. Bouganvillea Do you know people who’ve moved from another country to your neighborhood?Wedding party on steps of Reconcilliation Palace. Vietnam May we reach out to them in love, Tianamin Square Flowers in Spring appreciating that they’re also universal gifts of beauty
to be treasured and nurtured! Camellia. Shanghai“But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).

Faithful Fall Flowers

So, are you in full blown celebratory mode now that Obama is in for a second term? Alan and I woke up at 2:00 am and checked to see who won, and I have to admit that I felt like I was trapped on a 747 headed straight for the twin towers with my last hope of rescue gone. But, I have friends and relatives who think Obama is great, so…what can I say? I was out for a walk down our lane after the first frost and noticed that there were still a few hardy flowers that had survived winter’s first blast and were bravely blooming. “Very valiant little flowers,” I thought to myself, “and I would like to be just like them. I want to bloom even when life gets harder and the future looks bleak.” So, I took pictures to make a tiny hall of fame for steadfast flowers, and I thought perhaps you might be encouraged by the pictures and verses I gleaned while pondering the presidential news. Because, despite my angst, our job in life—and what God desires for each of us—remains unchanged.

(Butterfly Bush)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”    (Micah 6:8)

(Chicory)

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:1-5)

(Wild Sweet Pea)

“He [God] does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?'” (Daniel 4:35)

(Salvia)

“He [God] changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Daniel 2:21).

(Purple Coneflower)

“This matter is the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will” (Daniel 4:17).

(Goldenrod)

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil.”  (2Thessalonians 3:3)

(Crown Vetch)

“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Thessalonians 5:15-18)

(Clover)

“For I the LORD thy God will hold your right hand, saying unto you, ‘Fear not; i will help you'” (Isaiah 41:13).

(Asters)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,  for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

(Frost Aster)

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

(Queen Anne’s Lace)

“‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:24-26).

(Primrose…which is also one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring)

“And even to your old age I am he; and even to white hairs will I carry you; I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4).