Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the return

On this Tuesday, I've had a good night's sleep after a grueling day of travel (smooth-sailing logistically, but too long to have to stay awake). Now, I find myself mourning the loss of our time in China, something I'll do for several days now, I'm sure.

Until a time when I am ready to write more, some lyrics:

11 days long, and I'm carrying you with me
the sound of your voices, the stories we keep
and though we cannot go back there as much as we want to
you're my Family forevermore... forever and evermore.
(written in Chengdu airport)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

gardening: signs of God's attentiveness

This marks our third year as urban gardeners, tilling soil, shoveling manure, and turning our food scraps into compost. Each year we learn more. Challenges? How to get the tomatoes to actually grow; how much water is too much water?; fungus; grubs; and just generally how to keep stuff alive and get a good harvest from our plants.

Here's some pictures of the beginning...

[Cool weather crops that will see the end of their season in another month]

lettuce with a name I can't pronounce

and we're growing a LOT of it!

red kale, graciously given to us from the GrowMemphis folks who had too many seedlings
to plant in their own gardens

actually, it has purple tones instead of red; so pretty, nonetheless
(Jeff likes to make "kale chips", thanks for Michelle Forlines. Just bake the leaves in the oven!)

this cilantro plant was a surprise

We've been gathering up bits of gardening wisdom every chance we get. Farmers from the Urban Farms outdoor market; friends whose brains are very science-y and know what nutrients come from what plant and what should NOT be planted in that same spot, lest those certain nutrients be too much for that second plant to handle. (see? too science-y for me already.)

tomato plants we couldn't fit in the garden (they found a good home.)

bell peppers, leaning from the big Memphis storms

And we're so thankful. Even after these 3 years, where there's evidence of change in us, more commitment, we still rely so much on the wisdom of others. But really, we rely on the miracle of life, the order of Creation, God's attentiveness to all that is real Life.

"Gardening, in other words, will teach us to trust less
in our own might and to rely more on the grace of God.
As every gardener knows, we are not the ones who control life.
We can only prepare the way, through humble attention to the demands of
weather, plant and insect life, topography, etc. and then
let the grace and power of God take over.
[from p. 145, "Mark 10: Care for the Plot of God's Earth..."
in School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism]

Thursday, May 12, 2011

We all make art...

Art House America: my new favorite place, where I believe that I belong.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

'Of Gods and Men': a lesson in staying

Since last night at 9:30pm, I've not been able to let go of the images, the whispers, the "decision table" as I'll call it, where a candle is lit, presumably a visible witness of the Holy Spirit's presence at that table.

To go or to stay? This question swims underneath the chaos and violence of Islamic terrorists who are nothing like the Muslim village which they are currently terrorizing, along with the rest of Algeria, in this story of a group of French Cisterian monks.

My dreams were filled with images from the movie; during today's sermon, I was flashing back to the film; and when I awoke in the night, my mind was trapped by the decisions of the monks. The decisions to love, to stay, to speak truthfully when hatred started them in the face, machine gun in hand.

I've never been so moved by pictures of community and grueling honesty; I'm ready to re-examine much about my life and my commitment to the Prince of Peace.

A review says this ("spoiler alert", if you read this review): "The theme may be piety, but Mr. Beauvois and his cast do not address it piously." I disagree. The theme is love - gut-wrenching love.

You must find this, and you must watch it. But before you do, ask for eyes of love.