Tag Archives: Community

Fruit That Lasts

“A man watches his pear-tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap!” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.”  That may sound like an exaggeration, but as I have watched the fruit on our pear tree ripen I’m beginning to believe his point.  Soon after the snow melted the tree stood alone at the crest of the hill wrapped in spring green leaves, beautifully dressed in her frilly white blossoms.  By mid-summer the branches dripped with the promise of buttery fruit as blossoms took the shape of tiny pears.  As August ended the limbs of the tree bowed with the weight of the fruit and now I watch like a sentry waiting for that day when the fruit is perfect for picking.
But each day brings new threats that the fruit will not last until that ten minutes of perfection.  It seems that others also have been watching and waiting in hopes of a taste from the tree.  Little by little I am noticing the fruit I have guarded is disappearing and I have spotted the thieves!  One evening as I passed by the window overlooking the fruit tree I noticed a beautiful young deer nibbling some of the fruit that had dropped on the ground.  I watched as she munched away clearing the ground around the tree.  And it was ok when she nibbled a fruit off of a lower branch.  But when she suddenly danced up onto her hind legs to reach a little of the higher fruit I felt conflicted.  The tree was loaded and I was glad to share with nature, but my less-than-generous side felt alarmed and afraid that she might go tell her friends of her find and there would be nothing left for me to enjoy.

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And tell her friends, she did.  The next evening she came back with a friend.  The following evening there were three of them.  Others have been coming, too.  Several evenings a doe and her wobbly fawn dined at our tree.  Other times a red snarly-looking fox cleaned the grounds.  And when none of the others are there I have noticed the rabbits nibbling on left-overs as well as large black crows taking their portion from the top.  You would think that with all these visitors having their meals for the past few weeks that there would be little left for human consumption.  But, ironically, as I let go of the fear of “not-enough-for-me”, the pears in the middle branches are beginning to ripen to a perfection that I would not have enjoyed if I had hoarded the fruit from the animals.  The joy of sharing is making that portion all the more sweet.
I love that pear tree in every season, but it is most enjoyable at harvest time when I can share the abundance with the animal community that surrounds GraceStone Sanctuary.  I have learned much about nature as I have observed these evening dining rituals.  And my belief in fearless generosity is expanding as I am learning to graciously share with my human community as well.  My prayer is that I, too, may bear fruit that will last.

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You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. – John 15:16

If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com
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A Timeless Mission

“The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom—a surefire way to accomplish more for the glory of God.” ― Brett Harris

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My father was a minister for more than sixty years. Sharing Christ in Community was his mission. After he passed away I was given the briefcase he carried to church every Sunday. I consider this one of my “holy belongings” that has found a new home in the Peace Chapel here at GraceStone Sanctuary. In it are all kinds of papers.  There are prayer lists and ministry plans, worship services and lesson outlines.  I found articles about the Kingdom of God and old church bulletins from the 1950s.  But what I am most drawn to are the hand written notes…his words recorded on paper….his thoughts for a sermon or class or for congregational needs. As I read the words on the pages he wrote, I realize how the message of mission is beyond the limits of time.
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My Father’s Writings

To me his old leather briefcase is a sanctuary, a holy place, containing a sacred story. What is contained within it reveals a deep and somewhat hidden part of my father.  I knew him as “Dad” and all those things, good and bad, that go with that relationship.  But when occasionally I pull out one of the random papers from this sacred satchel I feel quite in step with the minister side of my father.  It holds a history of one man who had a desire to understand God’s message and mission, who had a desire to share the love of Christ in his community.  My father wrote about it decades ago. I write about it now. Jesus’ disciples wrote about it thousands of years ago. The Good News is eternal. The call to mission…timeless.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.  Psalm 145:13

If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com

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God’s First Temples

Day 153 June 2, 2014
New Beginnings

The groves were God’s first temples. -William Cullen Bryant

Baby Anjou Pear Ripening

Baby Anjou Pear Ripening

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life…When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult… Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. …Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. …Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”  ― Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible. -Welsh Proverb

The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky. -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands

 


Into The Future With Hope

Day 152    June 1 2014
New Beginnings

“In a spirit of hope and new beginnings, we linked arms like a couple of kids. Pushing aside sad thoughts, we strode off into our future.”  ―A.B. Shepherd

Home Sweet Home at last

Home Sweet Home
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“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”  ― L. Frank Baum

What a journey the last few months have been.  My “Five Year Plan” to prepare for moving into a smaller house somewhere in the country after my husband’s retirement suddenly became God’s “Eight Week Plan” to move into a new, but familiar, community 100 miles away!  So after a whirlwind of preparing and selling our old home in Northern Virginia, and buying and moving into our “new” home (though it’s almost 100 years old) across the state Max and I finally have re-entered the atmosphere of technology once again.  

Max spent the day unpacking and matching up equipment with cords and plugs and devices, until he finally emerged with a grin and  announced “You have internet”!  After his hard work I find myself surprised at my own reaction to his annunciation.  In one way I felt sheer joy at the thought of being connected to the cyber community once again.  I can blog and “google” and “Facebook” and shop Amazon again!  Hooray!  And yet the moment was bittersweet as I realized deep in my soul the sanctity of the time I have spent away from my daily rituals connected with the computer.  The past few weeks of not connecting electronically have pushed me into other ways of connecting with people face to face.  Relationships have been deepened.  Adventures have been taken into places I ordinarily would not go.  Being “unhooked” from the virtual cyberspace has allowed for deeper, authentic, “soul” conversations with others, myself, and God.  I am grateful for this time.

So now, still getting settled in and making this house a home, I’m back to putting some thoughts “out there” to you.  We are heading into the future with hope and anticipation!

“Home is the nicest word there is.”― Laura Ingalls Wilder

 


Peace Be To You

Day 117 April 27, 2014
PEACE

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. John 20:21

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“Peace-making is a healing process and it begins with me, but it does not end there.” – Gene Knudsen Hoffman

“One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Peace, to have meaning for many who have only known suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health and education, as well as freedom and human dignity.” – Ralph Johnson Bunche 


Unconfined Joy

Day 113 April 23, 2014
JOY

“…let joy be unconfined…” ― George Gordon Byron

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“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”  ― John Calvin

“Children take joy in their work and sometimes as adults we forget that’s something we should continue doing.”― Ashley Ormon, God in Your Morning

“So there was great joy in that city.”  -Acts 8:8


Easter People of Joy

Day 111 April 21, 2014
JOY

 “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”  ― John Paul II

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“Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.”  ― Seán O’Casey

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”  ― E.E. Cummings

 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. -Matthew 28:8

 


A Time to Build

Day 73 March 14, 2014
A Lenten Make-Over

 …a time to break down, and a time to build up…Ecclesiastes 3:3

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“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” ―Marvin J. Ashton

“He must trust, and he must have faith. And so he builds, because what is building, and rebuilding and rebuilding again, but an act of faith?”  ―Dave Eggers


A Fence Conversation

Day 70 March 11, 2014

FENCE CONVERSATIONS

“Build a little fence of trust around today; Fill the space with loving deeds, And therein stay. Look not through the sheltering bars Upon tomorrow; God will help thee bear what comes of joy and sorrow.”  –Mary F. Butts

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“Some of us may just, in one-on-one conversations with our family, with our friends, over the back fence with our neighbors, talk about the reality of our lives and realize that we’re not alone.”  –Patricia Ireland

SILLY FENCES

If we could only see the irrationality of  a fence

We would soon come to know what complete nonsense

It is to think that we could hold close inside

Behind a gate those things we wish to hide.

Or that sharp pickets fail to defend

Against relationships we do not wish to mend.

So break the lock, open wide the gate

Reach out, reach in for those that wait.

-Trish Hernandez


Let Us Celebrate Together

Day 57 February 26, 2014
CELEBRATE ONE ANOTHER

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!'”  Luke 15:4-6   The Message

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“Friends don’t get jealous of each other or begrudge the other for finding success. They celebrate every victory together.”―Karen Kingsbury

“Celebration is a kind of food we all need in our lives, and each individual brings a special recipe or offering, so that together we will make a great feast.  Celebration is a human need that we must not, and can not, deny.  It is richer and fuller when many work and then celebrate together.”  -Corita Kent and Jan Steward

O God, Thank you for our troubled times,  for they make the fine times a feast worth celebrating together.  Amen.