Garden Blessing

 garden beauty is not always found in flower beds

among our vegetables nestle shining yellow jewels

 scalloped, frilled, filled with goodness

making us laugh because they are named Pattypans

Among the most unusual of our garden produce, pattypans squash are beautiful and delightful to gather.  The name “pattypan” derives from “a pan for baking a patty”. Its French name, pâtisson,[1] derives from a Provençal word for a cake made in a scalloped mould. I love knowing that my grandchildren help to grow and pick foods for our table. When we sit down for a meal, Nora sings the table blessing she learned at school called the Johnny Appleseed prayer.

Oh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord

for giving me the things I need – the sun and the rain and the appleseed

The Lord is good to me. Amen!

Windswept

 

 

I often speak of lessons I learn from my garden. I learn, too, from my grandchildren – all of them. My favorite lessons (and photographs) come suddenly. If I am not quick with thought and camera, I may miss the moment entirely.

Nora, like me, loves to be outdoors. Our back porch and yard face north, and the past 2 months have been unusually windy. The wind pushes over waters of the small lake behind our house,whipping tender foliage and flower petals and Nora’s long hair. She does not like the way the wind gets her hair in the way of what she is doing. On the day I took this picture, she had just told me she was mad at the wind, shook her fist at it, and yelled “Go away, wind!”

Of course, the wind did not go away I was not enjoying the wind myself, but when I look at this photo, I see much that is often missed in posed photography. Nora learned focus and determination in imperfect circumstance. The same wind that blew pillows off the porch rocker, snatched petals from the roses, and caused the tousling of a chlld’s hair was responsible for tears a grandmother shed over beauty.

 

 

 

Eastering

Centering

“Christ eastering within us means we have a new center and core from which we live. We now live Christ’s life. Easter is more than a day, an event, a remembrance. It is a way of life”.  ~Michael Marsh, in his blog  Interrupting the Silence..

My life gathered new meaning when I began to understand the word Easter as a verb, not just a noun.

So what would it mean for you if you knew Easter as a verb rather than a noun? How would your life be different?

“Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us.” Gerard Manley Hopkins

Starting Over

 

There are countless things that bring my observance of Lent and the daily changes in our garden into side by side meaning for me – changing my heart in the simple practice of being open to wonder. We planted this small Red Baron peach tree less than a year ago. Flooding in our back yard from a hurricane and unusually long hours of severe freezing temperatures during wintertime appeared to defeat the young fruit tree. It stood, a forlorn stick we thought had not pulled through the trials it faced with roots so newly sunk into our soil. Then came a day when leaf buds tentatively swelled and one small blossom appeared as if dropped onto a twig of a branch, followed by 3 more. I see that small wonder every time I look out the windows near my desk. This morning I read excerpts from a book by Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest.. Good words that settled and helped me. The tiny peach tree tells the story too.

“Lent reminds us…conversion is a lifelong process…We never stop starting over.

I fall down. I get up.

Keep marching to the end. Don’t shed your equipment. Keep starting over..”

And when the country priest (who had started over many times in his life) lay dying, he said, “Does it matter? Grace is everywhere.’

 

What Do You See?

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

I was reminded of these words when I looked out my bedroom window this morning and reached for my camera. What I saw was not what I usually see in early morning light. I had not traveled elsewhere or changed my perspective in any way. But what I saw depended on what I knew as a person. It also depended on my imagination.

I knew that our weather had changed dramatically overnight and what I saw was thick ice covering these windows on the north side of our home. That is unusual for us on the South Texas Gulf Coast so I took a photo through the ice.  When I looked at the pictures, I saw an impressionist’s rendition of a mountain range covered in snow!

What do you see?

Advent Wonder

 First Baptist Church, Richmond, TX  December 8, 2017

A few days ago, a rare (for this area) snowfall briefly covered our homes, our gardens, and our church. Young and old rushed to the windows to watch as flakes began to drift down.  Later, the rushing was to go outside, to lift faces and palms to the wonder. I often think just when I need the sense of wonder quickened, a gift like this comes to do just that. Wonder at snowfall or the tiniest dewdrop glistening on a rose petal is a nudge to be open, to remain open-eyed, to be receptive to the fullness and expectancy of Advent.

Wonder is the only adequate launching pad for exploring this fullness, this wholeness, of human life. Once a year, each Christmas, for a few days at least, we and millions of our neighbors turn aside from our preoccupations with life reduced to biology or economics or psychology and join together in a community of wonder.The wonder keeps us open-eyed and exceeds our calculations, that is always beyond anything we can make.  ~ Eugene Peterson