Aug 12 2011

Friday Florilegium

On a recent visit to the Seattle Art Museum, I enjoyed their exhibit, “Beauty and Bounty,” featuring 19th century west coast landscapes by artists such at Albert Bierstadt, George Inness, and Frederic Edwin Church. These paintings were instrumental in gaining support for conservation projects and the formation of national parks.

Mountains Albert Bierstadt

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. –J. Lubbock

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Happiness is sharing a bowl of cherries and a book of poetry with a shade tree.  He doesn’t eat much and doesn’t read much, but listens well and is a most gracious host.  –Terri Guillemets

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Nature has spread for us a rich and delightful banquet. Shall we turn from it? We are still in Eden; the wall that shuts us out of the garden is our own ignorance and folly. –Thomas Cole

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A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship.  But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.  Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves.  No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself. –John Muir

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Friday Florilegium 1


Jul 29 2011

Friday Florilegium

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I’ve listened to and sung this hymn for years, but recently, it finally took up residence in that deep space of my heart where only a few songs gain entrance.

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

(Rev. Maltbie Babcock, 1901, wrote this song inspired by a place he would hike in Lockport, NY)

Friday Florilegium 1


Jun 20 2011

Answered Prayers

Mondays are for counting thanks to 1000 and beyond

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While I love Seattle, I need to get out of the city every so often to a place with more grass than concrete and more birds than cars. My ears long to escape from city sounds and I want to smell the earth and trees and sea. A couple months ago I had a talk with God about it. Not being a driver, leaving the city (and public transit) behind requires a little more planning, and I’ve loved seeing how God has been working things out without me thrashing about trying to orchestrate it. He’s been teaching me trust and patience–inviting me to tell him what I need, then step back and see what happens.

392.  On Friday I leave for the high school mission trip. Leave may not be the right word since the students will be staying in Seattle for the week working with, mostly, inner city ministries. When I said yes to helping out, I knew that this was not going to be one of those times to get out of the city, but I felt both a call and joyful excitement to be involved no matter what.

Without my saying anything to anyone, I was placed with the team of students going to Tierra Nueva, a ministry reaching out to migrant farmers, 90 minutes outside of Seattle. Most of the week will be spent working on the farm there.  I am thrilled!

393. An wonderful invitation to spend some writing time in a rural house on the peninsula.

394. The gift of a pile of beautiful garden magazines.

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395. A lovely day at the Nisqually Estuary with friends, seeing so many different kinds of birds.

(for more photos of the wildlife refuge, look here.)

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396. A balcony sanctuary, where I can listen to the mingled sounds of city and nature.

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397. A spontaneous day in Bellingham and journaling time on a rock at Larrabee State Park.

“If I spend too much time in these wild places, I will shed the trappings of what I wear in the city and slowly meld into the rock, and sea, and woods. These words even now are full of the waves and foam and splash, no longer empty, no longer easily erased. Words written on my heart.”

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398. Pots of growing things now blooming.

And while not about getting out of the city, two more amazingly wonderful answers to prayer:

399. The long-term loan of a piano keyboard from my friends Cathee and Brian.

400. Fifty one pages done toward my dissertation first draft, and no more anxiety as I write.


May 3 2010

Date with a Fox

Mondays are for gratitude…counting to 1000 and beyond.

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My days have been filled with the future as I prepare to leave my job of 4 years and the Boston-area after 5 years to return to my community in Seattle.

In this in-between time, I’ve found my emotions so conflicted–overjoyed to go home, but sad to leave.

The other evening I took a walk to my favorite rock in a nearby cemetery and just sat in the woodsy quiet, breathing.  I felt like my past memories and future anticipation started to come to rest in the present moment.  After the sun dipped down and I started home,  I walked along the edge the hill, looking for a new cross-forest short-cut, and came face to face (well, 10 feet or so) with a little she-fox.

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Camera-less at the time, I spent a few moments with my new friend, talking to her as she decided whether to scamper back into the den, or learn more about this curious two-footed creature making soft-sounds (the psss-psss and pshsh-pshsh I make to cats).  The little one finally disappeared into her home and I left for mine.

The other night I went back with my camera, fully expecting to wait for hours on a rock, for the little one to appear. But no, there she was and ready to pose for photos.

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I spent an hour snapping pictures, fully present, fully engaged, the past and the future quietly taking second place to the little creature in front of me.  When I finally got up to leave, I felt rested and ready to go back to packing and good-byes.

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163. Thankful for a four-footed reminder to live and enjoy the present.

164. For the wonderful group of friends, colleagues, and co-workers I have so enjoyed these past years.

165. Dear friends and a place to go home to.

166. The ability to take this concentrated time to study.

167. My camera and the attention and patience the practice of photography is teaching me and,

168. For the friend who inspired me and got me started.

holy experience

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