The Great Country Caper or the Hundred Acre Rock and Weed Sanctuary

Eileen:

Another memory resurrected.

Originally posted on Laughter: Carbonated Grace:

Queen of Manure Tea

I’ve mentioned that my husband and I both grew up in cities and that our move to our own hundred acre paradise was a lot like the old TV series, Green Acres. Dreamer that I am, I had a vision of a bountiful garden, horses, chickens, maybe a cow or two.

My husband did not share this vision.

The kids bought into the animals, but not the garden part. But, by using the art of friendly persuasion, threats and bribes, I got them to all pitch in and with the help of neighbors with a tractor and plow, we put in a half acre garden that first spring living in the wilds.

It turns out that all those delightful forest animals the children enjoyed finding and watching, are not a gardener’s friends. We began to learn the fine art of warring with nature. Reading magazines on being earth…

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We Are Not Called to Just Love Others as We Love Ourselves or to Do Unto Others as We Would Have Them Do Unto Us.

An area I disagree with many Christians about is that Jesus’ ultimate call to love is summed up in, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” and “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” I think these are fundamentally limited ways to love. I have found from experience that, one: I often don’t love myself, and two: how I am able to accept and experience being loved is quite different from a lot of other people. I think at a later time in his journey, Jesus caught on to that too. Then he said to love others as He loved us. That greater love had no one than that they lay down their life for another. He laid down his desires, his gifts and ministries, his power, his limited vision of his purpose, his followers, even ultimately His awareness of God’s presence, as he hung on the cross. He gave up his self- hood. That’s a call most of us avoid hearing. Dying to self involves letting go of pretty much all of our preconceived ideas and natural inclinations in order to get outside of our own self and become able to hear/see/ respond lovingly and appropriately to those different from us. This dying to self is very very hard to do. It was so hard for Jesus that he literally bled in his anguish and then experienced deep despair in his feeling of abandonment by God.
Today, I think we get so nervous about something sounding like we are saying Jesus isn’t God, that we miss what we can learn from his life about our own journey. His life, God or not, was human. He didn’t spring forth fully grown, fully mature, completely understanding his mission, or knowing his future. He came as a baby, vulnerable, innocent, and ignorant. There are some obvious learning events in His life story, and there are also more subtle ones we often miss. Watch him as a twelve year old learn to wait on God’s timing and to consider his parents’ feelings and guidance. Watch him get pushed out of his comfort zone by his mother’s caring about a young couple’s embarrassment on their wedding day, watch him escape from his angry neighbors in Nazareth, but three years later, fully knowing the outcome setting his face toward a hostile Jerusalem, watch as he let’s a gentile woman convince him of his call to minister outside his own religious group as he recognizes the faith of even unbelievers, watch him weep as he recognizes that his own people will not accept his love and salvation, watch him test his power on a fig tree, but then recognize his own servanthood as he washes his disciples feet, watch him struggle in the garden with his realization that he must die young, watch him accept the agony of feeling abandoned by God on the cross, and yet still move to “Thy will be done.” Consider the difference in the difficulty of the moral code of the ten “Do Nots” and the spirituality of the “Beatitudes.” There’s way more to loving than most of us want to know.

Saved or Loved? Need or Love?

Eileen:

More retro posts…..Sometimes I need reminders….a touch of spiritual Alzheimer’s?

Originally posted on Laughter: Carbonated Grace:

Words have such different meaning for each of us. I’m not very comfortable with “saved.” For one, it sounds like I’m finished, so why am I stuck here? For two, it sounds like now I belong to the in crowd, instead of the rest of the human race. I never was much on being with the in crowd, because it seemed to require trading my individuality for a false sense of pride or security.

To me the message of Jesus was: Humanity is loved unconditionally. Loved unconditionally means you are of eternal value…..it is not a short term thing.

If I’m loved unconditionally, then why wouldn’t I just do whatever I feel like doing?

Because once I experienced that kind of love that is beyond human understanding, it changed everything. Nothing else comes close to that joy….no pleasure, no fame, no drug, not even a parent or spouse’s love. Life…

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Smart or Intelligent? Moral or Ethical? Religious or Spiritual?

Eileen:

Due to a bad case of writer’s block, I am reblogging more old posts.

Originally posted on Laughter: Carbonated Grace:

11:27am
Being smart and being intelligent are different in practice. Being smart is more about the present moment and the practical, being intelligent is about learning from the past, so humanity can live both free and humanely in the future.

Morals and ethics are different also. Morals are about not doing evil, while ethics are about not achieving reasonable goals evilly. Morals are immediate and personal. Ethics are long term and social.

Ethics question whether an end, particularly the goal of our personal happiness,  justifies means that hurt people and that set precedents for corrupting society.

In trying to pass down values for a changing world, I want to challenge my descendants:

1. Morals: Don’t do it if you don’t want those you care about to read it on the front page or see it on U-tube.

2. Ethics:  Don’t do it if everyone else also doing it will make…

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Important Things I Learned from First Graders When I Was Forty

Eileen:

Reblogging some of my early posts written when I only had a handful of followers.

Originally posted on Laughter: Carbonated Grace:

Thirty-five years ago when I taught a combined first and second grade class, it was an unparalleled opportunity to see human beings in an unvarnished state. At that time children weren’t being sent to daycare at birth, and kindergartens were non-existent in small towns and rural areas like ours, so the strongest influence in most of my young students’ lives had been a relatively accepting and affirming mother or grandmother. The children hadn’t been lacquered with social conformity yet and their unique personalities and ways of responding to life hadn’t been labeled or graded.  It was an amazing experience of the delightful, though challenging, diversity in human nature. Seeking different approaches to teaching, so the explosive joy of learning could happen for each child, was a fascinating puzzle.

The effects of prior influences such as family economics were definitely identifiable, but still somewhat malleable.

When Larry, a well scrubbed youngster…

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The Delicate Dance of the Balance and Harmony of Paradox

To me, this is the key to personal and universal healing, transformation, wholeness, and peace. This is where grace can take us if we let go of the prejudices, fears and idols of our ego.

“The dichotomies of imagination and rationalization, intuition and intellect, heart and mind, heaven and earth, feminine and masculine need to be viewed less as polarities than as partners in a delicate dance of balance and harmony. Only by embracing all parts of ourselves are we able to know the wholeness of the world and our inherent inseparability and interdependence with it.”    Mini Farelly-Hansen
(Copied from the Blog: Make Believe Boutique)

Gifts of Age (Part Seven): Aging Like Fine Wine by Dancing in Our Hearts

Eileen:

I had forgotten this blog post. Rediscovering it gave me a much needed boost after this week of being iced in and my husband being sick.

Originally posted on Laughter: Carbonated Grace:

Dance of Youth

New bottles seldom hold particularly fine wine. Likewise, the gifts of age don’t come in teenaged bodies. On the outside I’m a short, plump, white-haired old lady on a walker. But inside me still live all my younger selves. And the imp inside has gotten braver with the passage of time, so I challenge other little old ladies on walkers to races and to consider themselves armed and dangerous. I plan to get tee shirts that say, “Bare Toes Beware” and “I Can Do Anything You Can Do, Just a Whole Lot Slower.”
Being in my mid-seventies, not only means that I’ve run out of a future full of possibilities, it also means that I’ve actually seen the consequences of some of my major screw-ups in my younger years. And part of my spiritual journey has involved developing enough self-awareness to recognize a self-serving element even in…

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Ashes

Eileen:

Wonderful description of the Lenten part of our spiritual journey, the seed dying so that it can be reborn….

I love the desert blooming visual for Easter.

Originally posted on dreamprayact:

ash
Ashes
earthy gray
dry as parched wilderness
symbol that we too shall perish

Dust to dust
ashes to ashes
each of us makes our humble return
back to the habitat of our origins

All that is false is allowed to die –
misguided allegiances
harmful compulsions
lingering resentments
ego-driven agendas –
dead on the ash heap of confession

Only then is there a new beginning
a reconciling
a turning toward wholeness
a desiring for God

Finally in the fullness of time
the desert blooms again
salvation comes
life triumphing over death.

Words (c) Mark Lloyd Richardson, 2015

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The Walls of Self

Originally posted on Laughter: Carbonated Grace:

More than walls of brick or thorn
our walls of silent words unborn
still keep us from becoming one.
Our walls of pride leave us remote
as if we wore a buttoned coat
of our own selfishness.
Until, ashamed of loss of heart
we seek, in faith, the grace to start
to risk ourselves once more.
To heal the hurt with words of love
and find a way to rise above
the lonely walls of self.

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The Broken Body

Reflecting on the Body,
you the hand, I the foot
Christ the head, perhaps the heart,
all at times the hidden part,
I let the Scriptures
flood my mind with images,
with suddenly one image,
a moving picture
so harshly real
I gasp aloud.

A person staggers
stumbles forward,
arms flailing, head jerking
back and forth in spasms,
body parts all pulling
different ways.

This then, reality,
Christ’s earthly body now.

God, forgive us.

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