I know this isn’t the greatest of pictures, but I was trying to find something that illustrates my thoughts this morning on unity. I was glad for what I heard at meeting yesterday about unity and how important it is in God’s family. Thinking about unity in decorating helps me think about this concretely. Unity does not mean “everything the same”. That would be boring and non-functional. In ecosystems, we talk about everything having a niche, a place it fits into where it performs a function, and when everything does its part, there is unity in the system. Here are just a couple of my thoughts this morning:

1. Color Several colors blend together to make a nice atmosphere. You don’t want everything exactly the same color, but then you don’t want a color that just screams out and doesn’t fit in either.

2. Spacing Some things need to be close together, but if everything is crammed together really tightly, it just creates a feeling of chaos and clutter. Things and people need room to breathe, to be themselves but they also need to be close enough to feel like a part of the whole.

3. Balance Dark and light, day and night, easy and hard, big and small, left and right.

4. Texture I like to use different materials to achieve some variety of textures. I appreciate a rough piece of pottery when I can see it next to a smooth piece of glass. I can appreciate the whimsy of a child when I can also have access to the stability of a strong adult.

5. Tone To me, tone is like the message. This scene around one of my shelves is meant to say: rest. There are many, many different elements there, but it all leads to the whole of rest.

Does a tree exist alone?

I love this picture I took last year of the new growth popping out of a dead-looking, dry-looking, thin, flimsy, gray branch. Where does this froth of new life come from after the long winter? The potential was there all along, the plan for new growth, the instructions inside the cells of the tiny, infant buds, and then when the conditions are right, the explosion of life begins. I was thinking this morning that there is so much more to a tree than meets the eye. That branch has connections. It abides in the rest of the tree, the tree has unseen roots that stretch deep into the earth. A tree is indeed its own entity, and yet, it is part of a bigger world. It has so many connections. They say that trees talk to each other, under the ground, sending out chemical signals to other trees, telling them when there is a stressor, a disease, an insect invader. Through these released chemicals they tell other trees to beware, to start their own chemical reactions to thwart the current threat. A tree has a history, an embryo nut that came from a mother tree who also had a parent tree. We too, have to stay connected in order to produce new growth, in order to keep life going.

Secret Gardens


Do you have a secret garden…a place you wander to in your mind? We’re hunkering down for another snow storm here, but tonight I’m thinking about this garden I visited near San Francisco and a fragment of a poem..”it’s always April in my mind.” Would you like to walk here with me in your mind tonight?

This is Filoli:    a historical estate and botanic garden. 

Nature’s Beautiful Snow Sculptures

Driving home from my weekend in Peoria at my sister’s proved to be quite a challenge last Monday. When I hit Iowa City, Interstate 80 turned into an icy washboard with bumper to bumper trucks driving 2o mph. I learned how to drive on snowy roads in northern Illinois and just couldn’t see any reason to be going so slow, so I headed off to the north to take  the country roads and was rewarded with some beautiful scenery. I also got to check off something on my life list: visit the town of Belle Plaine. I love the area on I80 around the exits for Belle Plaine and What Cheer and have wanted to see these Iowa towns ever since I first drove to Ames from Indiana. The farmland here is so sensuously rolling, dotted with grazing cows and sculpted with contour farming. Not far from Belle Plaine, I even saw a winter rainbow to the side of the setting sun!