This year I am gardening with two other people who wanted to give John Jeavon’s Biointensive Gardening a try. One of the main ideas is that you start EVERYTHING from seed in flats, even corn, beans and peas. These are some marigolds I started quite a while ago. It really has made gardening a brand new experience for me. I’ve tried to start things from seed before and failed miserably. It’s going better this year due in large part to the grow light Steven put together for me, but I also have a very different attitude about it. In the past, I’ve always bonded with each little seed and plant, WANTING it to thrive, but you know, nature just isn’t like that. And the spiritual lesson for me has been: maybe God isn’t like that either. Most plants produce an abundance of seed and you wouldn’t want it all to survive. I get upset at myself for each little failure, sometimes making it monumental. But this week I’ve realized, I need to make lots of efforts, and only some of them will go on to grow and produce fruit, and that is just the way nature is. And God, the Master Gardener, knows that and has planned it that way.
In my mind at least, the perfect lilacs this year were over on Mortenson Road, not far from the intersection with University Boulevard. Lilacs always make me think of my mom. I was born when mom was 40, so unfortunately, I will always think of my mom as old (I know, 40 is NOT that old!). Most lilac bushes are old too, standing the test of time, you don’t fully understand where they came from or what they’ve been through, but you love their beautiful profusion, the intoxicating fragrance, their simplicity. My mom came from a simple background, she and her sister and her mom making it on their own by housekeeping and living with relatives. They enjoyed simple things, creamed vegetables on toast for supper, sprucing up a little black dress with a variety of collars and cuffs, going swimming in the rock quarry and singing duets. I don’t know where all the lilacs in Ames have come from, but I love their reminders that the best things in life don’t have to be complicated and expensive and that my mom was able to create a beautiful life in the same spirit.
It was a wonderful Sunday morning meeting today…one of those days where you just love every little teeny tiny detail of everything!
Having had a lot of stress in my past, I’ve learned to make little safe places to retreat to in my mind when the stress gets too heavy. Most people call it day dreaming I guess.
One of my favorite visualizations is to picture going to our yearly convention on an Iowa farm. The upstairs of the barn is turned into a slumber party of sorts for women! I’m not exactly sure what the men’s quarters looks like! This last August, I slept next to the slanty wall and loved propping my legs up against it to relax between meetings.
It was a little hard to do a proper bed making here though!
Mostly we spend four days hearing spirit inspired messages from the Bible, but we also eat our meals together and sleep either in transformed barns, tents or campers. I love the way rustic becomes comfortable, and how everyone fits and works together and reliving it all in my mind the rest of the year is such a pleasant retreat!
Sounds like winter might be blowing in here today in Ames, Iowa. We’re scheduled for some flurries at least. So far there has been nary a snowflake in our little city. I had to go to Hobby Lobby yesterday, just to get a whiff of holiday spirit, even though I didn’t wind up buying anything. It’s hard to think about the Christmas holidays without some snow blowing around!
That said, I am also kind of bracing myself for the prospect of the winter doldrums. It’s looking pretty gray out there today, so I thought I’d just give us a little shot of blue and green. It’s good to remember that spring WILL come, trees will be leafy again, they just need a rest. Our lives are like that sometimes too. We go through cycles of productivity, followed by cycles of what feels like nothingness, but like plants, there is still something going on underground. Our “winters” can also break bad habits, like a hard freeze can kill off damaging bugs. Cold shoulders and rough winds can also remind us of our need for the warm Sun in our lives. So here is to blue skies and greenness, on the other side of a good winter!
It’s the end of the gardening season. “Or is it?” she thought to herself. As she took thoughtful steps through the dried weeds and uneven clumps of earth, memories floated back to her mind. Late March…. spading the sweet smelling dirt to expose it to the sun’s warmth, later in April…. lost in reverie down on her knees, setting small hopeful plants into their loamy, wormy new home, June….simply sitting among the growing tomatoes gazing up at the sky and acrobatic dragonflies, July….. faithfully carrying pails of water to thirsty beans and cosmos, then August…. the harvest, baskets of pickling cucumbers, sprigs of intoxicating basil and rosemary, the taste of the sun in homemade pasta sauce, and now…. bouquets of the last sweet zinnias on the dining room table, gardening season lives on, in lovely memories of the mind.
Sometimes people ask what we DO at our religious convention. Most would know now that I am not a part of an organizational religion, no committees, no headquarters, no board meetings, no budgets, no collections, no group missions. All our effort goes into trying to know and love our God. So at convention, the workers talk about that and we listen, we visit, most people have a little job that contributes to our communal meals or sleeping arrangements for the four days we are together. And we try to let God help us understand the road we’ve been on and help us get prepared in our hearts for the road ahead. I would never have imagined living alone in Iowa, but here I am, and the road here was a little rocky, but not more than I could handle. Where tomorrow’s road will lead, I don’t know, but I trust that God is planning my way.
it was perfect. ” What do we do at convention?” you might ask. Well, we listen….and listen….and we’re together. And we feebly try to express our thankfulness. Not much, you might think, no activities, no business meetings, no tours….but we love it, because it’s what we believe heaven will be like. And if we love heavenly things now, maybe we’ll find ourselves there someday.