Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Morning Quote July 27, 2014

To those who have not yet learned the secret of true happiness, 
begin now to study the little things in your own dooryard.

- George Washington Carver

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Julia Cameron on Blooming Where You're Planted

On July 4, I wrote about not feeling "at home" in my community and compared it to the Parable of the Sower. Listing my questions, doubts and uncertainty, I ended by stating that I would look more into this topic. I read today in Julia Cameron's book, The Sound of Paper, this paragraph:

"It is difficult to commit to living where we are, how we are. It is difficult and it is necessary. In order to make art, we must first make an artful life, a life rich enough and diverse enough to give us fuel. We must strive to see the beauty in where we are planted, even if we are planted somewhere that feels very foreign to our own nature. In New York, I must work to connect to the parts of the city that feed my imagination and bring me a sense of richness and diversity instead of mere overcrowding and sameness. In California, my friend must work to do the same. If we are not willing to work in this way, we become victims. If we become victims, we first become choiceless and then become voiceless. Our art dries up at the root. We must, as the elders advise us, bloom where we are planted. If we later decide that we must be transplanted, that our roots are not in soil rich enough for our spirits, at least we have tried."

Not speaking of the parable, but speaking about how I often feel, these words from Julia encourage me to do what I wrote I must do. Make sure my roots are growing and that I am flourishing to the best of my ability. Seeing God in all things because he certainly is there. I have been blessed with so much. I live in a suburban neighborhood, but when I am in the back garden or sitting on the back porch, it is easy to imagine I am in the country. I am so thankful for that.

Me in my backyard. Photo by Corina S. Alvarezdelugo

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Morning Quote July 20, 2014

Yesterday is a dream.
Tomorrow but a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday
a dream of Happiness.
And every tomorrow 
a vision of Hope.
Look well, therefore, to 
this Day.

- Sanskrit Proverb

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Morning Quote July 13, 2014

Saturday Iris by Susan Ernst. The first of what I hope will be an ongoing series.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

 - Rumi

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

From the Garden Today

 Last of the snap peas. Chamomile in foreground

The grapes are looking good. The birds think so too. They are already checking to see if they are ripe!

An heirloom hollyhock

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Morning Quote July 6, 2014

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station,
 through which God speaks to us every hour, 
if we only will tune in.

- George Washington Carver (1864-1943), American scientist

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A New Series - Sunday Morning Quotes

I posted yesterday, but it has been a while since I have done anything regular here. I've decided to do a weekly post entitled Sunday Morning Quote. My aim is to share quotes that I find inspiring or that speak the thoughts and feelings I sometimes have a difficult time articulating.  I will try to find a photo from the Hortus Conclusus to fit or compliment it.

Please feel free to add a comment if the quote inspires or speaks to you as well.

Friday, July 4, 2014

How Rainy July Fourths Lead to Comtemplating a Parable

From my Morning Pages:

It is going to be a rainy day today. Last year at this time Bob and I were in Asheville, NC. It rained heavily on and off that day too. We really like that town. The atmosphere is lively. It isn't "hipster" like the growing parts of Nashville. It seems sort of old fashioned. Maybe "retro" is a good label for it. I wonder if it would be easier to find like minded people there than it is here? The fine crafts scene is there as is fine arts. People wanting to be close to nature yet still in need of a job are there. It is a tourist destination, but it isn't chintzy. It seems authentic to me.

We keep talking about moving to someplace more affordable and where we can be with like minded souls. Will we ever? We have five years remaining on the mortgage and a few more after that I think to pay off the student loans. We should be able to finish renovating the house by then so that it can be sold easily. If that is what we choose to do. I really can't imagine staying here. There is really no good reason. But we will see when that time comes. In the meantime I need to continue to allow my roots to grow to the full extent that they are able to here. Hmm, is there any parallel meaning in the Parable of the Sower here? Could it also mean that in order to flourish in our lives (meaning to use our God-given talents and gifts) we need to be in the right environment? I would say yes, it does mean this. But what is the right environment? Do Bob and I need to move to Asheville, Abingdon or somewhere in Tennessee or Kentucky? (Or how about upstate New York?)

The parable does make it seem as though there are four fixed soil (heart) types and people fall into one of them and that is it. Jesus doesn't talk about cultivating the rocky or thorny soils. And he doesn't talk about transplanting the seedling. Are we doomed to live only the fate that has been set for us? After all, it is God who is the sower in the story. Is it a story about mental will and ability? That faith and a strong enough attempt at convincing yourself that all is good and you are in the place you are supposed to be? I think not. At least I have tried that and it hasn't worked. Where is the role of  community in this parable? Don't we need a nurturing environment? Isn't it part of our responsibility as Christians to help each other to grow and bear good fruits? Maybe this story isn't a once and for all, all encompassing summary of spiritual life. Maybe it was told to make one particular point. Are there other parables about cultivating the soil? Is it a broader metaphor for life and not just how we receive (or not) God's word? Can we go beyond what it says and apply the principles of good gardening practices to it? Or is that making it say something that it doesn't or wasn't intended to say? (On another topic I wonder: What is the correct way to read scripture? Is there a right way?) I shall look into this as well as the different spins on this parable that are undoubtedly out there.