Giving Back

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 In the area of East Texas where I grew up, lavish blooms of a vigorous climbing vine grew not only in back yards and trailing over porches, but also in the woods, where it draped over tree branches, adding clouds of light purple clusters of fragrant flower clusters to the late Spring landscapes. When I go back there even now I watch for the extravagant (if invasive) Wisteria that is loved by many.

A number of years ago I began to admire another vine that grows in our part of Southeast Texas that is also called Wisteria.  It is named Evergreen Wisteria because of its hardiness and its ability to bloom summer through fall.  Its smaller clusters of  deep, rich purple make it a spectacular garden plant.For support, ours shares a small gazebo with a Peggy Martin rose.  As much as I like these lovely purple blossoms, I recently learned something about the plant that makes me admire it even more. It doesn’t just soak up soil nutrients and water – it gives back!

This vine is not in the same family as our Wisteria in the woods, which some call Chinese Wisteria.  This plant is a legume, and much like other legumes, evergreen wisteria fixes nitrogen in the soil, which enhances the amount of nitrogen available for other plants growing nearby, It is a good companion plant for others which are heavy nitrogen feeders.

IMG_0737Along with the many other lessons learned in the garden, my lovely Evergreen Wisteria reminds me of the value in perserverance, the joy of sharing beauty, the need for being trained on a Trellis that does not fail, and – that as I have been given, so I must give so that those who share my garden space can thrive.

“Beauty, youth, and strength are flowers, but fading seen.

Duty, faith, and love are roots and evergreen,”

~fom the Old Knight,by George Peele

 

Organic

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I am one of those people who likes to buy organic foods. I look for fruits, vegetables and other items that I think are grown as naturally as possible. The other day while I was grocery shopping it struck me that I feel the same way about my spiritual values. I like organic. I like my religion to be natural, simple, and without a lot of additives. I believe my faith should nourish me with the basic elements for a healthy spiritual life and not mask its flavor with a lot of sugar or disguise its intentions with misleading packaging. For me, faith is organic. It grows from the earth, from the rain, from the light of God. This matters because, after all, we are what we eat. ~ The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw

I was drawn to this comparison of food and faith.  I believe tn addition to avoiding adding unhealthy ingredients and misleading packaging, I must know what tends my garden of faith, and take the time necessary for planting and tending.

rooted and fed

faith flourishes and sustains

turning always to Light. 

You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. —Psalm 16:11

Don’t Wait to Celebrate

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tissue paper ruffles

unwrap scarlet star

releasing arc of fireworks

today alone is mine

IMG_0724folded petals crumple

fireworks fade into the night

don’t wait to celebrate

 

Please see a related post from last year:  www.stonesandfeathers.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/i-have-this-day/

 

Silence

IMG_0585One of the disciplines that is hard to achieve in our bustling, hurrying, sound filled lives is that of silence. But if we do not know how to practice silence, if we do not make space for it, we may miss the time we are offered the chance to give that gift to one who needs us to listen. I love the silence of early morning – sitting with my cup of coffee as darkness opens to soft light. It is as if I am stilled in the lap of God, resting in the dawn of a new day’s hope.

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Talking always comes much easier than listening, but it is in silence that I can tune my ears and learn what it means to really hear. In my recent reading, I found the words from Rachel Naomi Remen as well as the poetry by John Fox. Both speak to the value of learning silence and deeply listening.

“Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.”

~ Rachel Naomi Remen,

 

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.WWhen someone deeply listens to you
ithen it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered.

When someone deeply listens to you
your barefeet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

~ John Fox

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