Sunday, May 24, 2015

Remembering on Pentecost Sunday

When I was a Political Science major at the University of New Hampshire, I was particularly interested in issues affecting Central America. One of the political figures I admired most was Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, who spoke out against the injustices and human rights abuses in El Salvador -- and who was assassinated in 1980 while he was celebrating mass.

Yesterday, I was happy to learn of his beatification ceremony, and pleased that this brave man was being honored and remembered. I am not Catholic, but I was moved by the images from the ceremony in San Salvador. 

I was ashamed to realize that as the years passed since college, I had forgotten some of my early heroes such as Archbishop Romero. In fact, during my college years, the words and deeds of these people led me to contemplate a call to ministry -- a call I stashed in the back pocket of my mind.

"He is not a distant God – transcendent, yes, infinite,

but a God close at hand here on earth." 
Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980)

Two university degrees and years of freelance writing later, that familiar stirring of the spirit from years ago has returned. I sat quietly in our garden this Pentecost Sunday afternoon, letting my mind become still as I watched the beauty of the day come forward. When I released the busy-ness and put away the to-do list, I heard and saw more and more sounds and sights that I had taken for granted:

Sometimes it was the rustling of the breeze or the splashes of light in the leaves

Or underfoot in brilliantly colored ground covers

Like an old friend, I am becoming reacquainted with this calling. I have many questions. Has my calling changed over the years? What does it want to tell me? 

"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, 
whom the Father will send in my name, 
will teach you everything, 
and remind you of all that I have said to you."
John 14:26 (NSRV)

 "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, 
and it filled the entire house where they were sitting."
Acts 2:2 (NSRV)

Pentecost Sunday reminds me of the constant presence of the Holy Spirit. An afternoon sitting still in the garden reminds me that the Spirit is always near, if I take the time to listen and look. I am grateful this day for the reminder of heroes, old friends and new adventures. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Second Spring in the Garden -- What's New

I'm taking a break to catch up on what's new in the garden. Will you join me?

"For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. 
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, 
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."
Song of Solomon 2:11-12

So it's been a little over a year since we moved from south Texas to Idaho, and we're enjoying our second spring here. We are happy to see the return of some favorites from last year, including the ornamental onion in the back flower bed. You can see its purple blossom (think giant chive) in the picture above -- and a butterfly even settled in for the photography session!

We were surprised to see Spanish bluebells in the front yard in mid-April. We honestly don't remember seeing these flowers last year, The honeybees love them, too...

Last fall, I cut the peonies to the ground, and they are growing even more abundantly than last year. Here are some buds reaching through the cage...

Cutting the peony foliage back in the fall is worth the effort. Can't wait till these buds bloom into showy, creamy white flowers that will look lovely in a vase...

We planted Montmorency cherry trees last year. They're beginning to bear fruit...

And so are our plum trees..,

Honeysuckle is blooming near the side of our house...

And another surprise in a hidden corner -- lily of the valley, the flower of my birth month, May!

"Sweetest of the flowers a-blooming'
In the fragrant vernal days
Is the Lily of the Valley
With its soft, retiring ways."
(from The Lily of the Valley, by Paul Laurence Dunbar)

I hope you'll take a break and join me for another stroll through the garden in the near future. The rose bushes and Lewis' mock orange have yet to bloom. The back yard will smell sweet, and the afternoon breeze will be delightful. See you then!