Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Enchanted Cottage

Over the past ten years, Roger and I have literally planted hundreds of trees, bushes, flowers and herbs around our home.  When we first moved into The Enchanted Cottage, it was less than enchanting.  Literally, it was a Cape Cod style house on grass.  

Above is an aerial view of the house (red roof) just after we began planting trees and shrubs.  As you can see, it was pretty much open to everything.

Now, however, our home is very enchanting.  We have hidden gardens and beautiful greenery all year round.  Friends and relatives love to come sit in our yard.  Animals - birds, butterflies, bunnies, frogs, possum and even the neighbor's chickens - come to visit, enjoying the flora as much as we do.

Here are some pictures of our Enchanted Cottage, now.

 The backyard filled with herbs, roses, flowers and a cherry tree

 Path to the secret garden!

 Wind chimes and prayer flags

One of our many critters - can you see him?

The "Ladies" on their stroll through the yard.
Creating our gardens has been a work of love, spirit and wonder.  Often, we have "rescued" plants that others were throwing away.  For instance, the local nursery had the cherry tree in their pile to be chipped.  When I asked the owner about it, he said the tree was dead.  I could tell it was very much alive and asked if I could have it.  He said sure, but it wouldn't live much longer.  That was ten years ago and as you can see here, our cherry tree is doing great!

 Our Cherry Tree in full bloom - April 2013

 This week - all the blooms are gone but lovely and green

Our Cherry Tree Tunnel

As spring slowly slips into summer, may you all find a place that is "enchanted," where you can nurture your soul, relax your mind and connect with the beauty of Nature.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Annual Memorial for Those Who Died Homeless

English: On U.S. 99. Near Brawley, Imperial Co...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, May 22, I participated in an interfaith memorial service held on the town commons in Greenfield, MA.  I have attended many memorial services, but this was the first time I had attended and participated in a service for those who had died homeless.
Reading a prayer for those who died homeless

The Interfaith Council of Franklin County (ICFC), of which I am a member, has held this service in May for close to 15 years.  Each year, we pray will be the last.  Nationwide, the observance is held on the winter solstice. But, for those of us in ICFC, the observance is in the spring.

These are the words I wrote and read at the service. I ask that as you read them, you hold the the memory of the homeless - men, women and children - in your heart.

We gather here today to remember - Remember those who have no homes - Remember those who have found no comfort - Remember those turned away - Remember those who are our brothers and sisters. 

We gather here to ask that these beloved forgotten find, in death, the peace they could not find in life. 

May the memory of these beloveds, whose names may not be known to us, or forgotten by others, be etched in our hearts. 

We ask that the grace of resources be expanded so that our brothers and sisters will no longer wander cold dark streets - No longer shelter under bridges or in tunnels - No longer scrounge for the cast offs of our bounty. 

Great One, we ask that you hold the spirits of all the homeless - all the nameless - all the forgotten close to you.

May they rest in Peace.


Statistics in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless


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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Road Not Taken

 Me and my dear "soul sister" Nancy 
at the 2012 UN Women's Sacred Circle
I have, always, loved the Robert Frost poem, "A Road Not Taken."  The last few lines resonated with me, even as a child.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."  
Something in the idea of going where few have gone before appealed to my young sense of adventure.  As I grew, experiencing life, I realized that this was much more difficult than simply deciding to go in another direction.

The lure of the material world, the world of fame and fortune, the insidiously fabricated world of "you-must-have" and "you-must-do," is often hard to resist.  In addition, sometimes this world is so simply packaged that we don't even realize we are traveling down a slippery slope until we come crashing to the bottom.

Thankfully, age, experience and wisdom can often times carry us to a crossroads where we can make that choice.  

As many of you know, I have been traveling down the road towards ordination.  In a few short weeks, I will be ordained and will begin a new journey as an interfaith minister.  This is most definitely a road less traveled!

To say that I know exactly where this road leads would be untrue.  I have no idea what will be around the next corner, but I do know that whatever lies ahead, my life will be richer for the experience.  I have learned so much in the last two years, about myself as well as others.  I have found affirmation of my calling, after years of being told I wasn't listening correctly.  I have developed skills that will enable me to be the best minister I can be.

To quote from another favorite Frost poem, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep - and miles to go before I sleep. And, miles to go before I sleep."

Please hold me in your thoughts and prayers during the next few weeks.  Ordination is on June 15th.  I will be away from the blog until that time.

Blessings to all!  Namasté!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Living Your Dreams

When Adam Shepard contacted me about his book, I was cautious.  After all, here he was contacting me out of the blue.  We had no connections - that I know of then, anyway.

So, I did what any cautious writer would do, I researched him.  What a surprise!  I learned that Adam is a young man, who has taken life seriously enough to live his dreams without apology, risking comfort, the familiar and security to learn about the world around him as well as to discover who he is.

I, also, learned that we did have some common ground.  Adam Shepard attended Merrimac College in Andover, Massachusetts, graduating with a degree in Business Management and Spanish. (OK, I can claim this as a slight connection - I have relatives that attended Merrimac and I was on campus, once.)  He was also a basketball player, which I must confess is the one sport I enjoyed in my high school/college days. (Another connection!) Shortly after graduation, he set off with literally $25 in his pocket to see if he could make a living for himself - in other words, get a job, apartment, car, savings - within a year. He left home and after a year had the makings for his first book, Scratch Beginnings.

I was impressed, to say the least, but I wondered, what had he learned from this adventure?  From what I could see, he learned that life isn't always easy, the some people can't get out of the hole they find themselves in and that perhaps there was more for him to learn out there in the world.  Something kept coming back to him - an incident that happened at school.  

Back on a snowy day at Merrimac, when everything came to a halt, he sat down and created a list of things he would do in his life if he ever got a chance.  Over the years, he refined the list until the day he read about an old man that had such a list and actually did the things on it. (Morgan Freeman, one of my favorite actors, actually starred in a movie, a few years back, about just such a list called, Bucket List.)

 Adam, however, thought why wait until I get older to do these things, why not do them now?!  So, he took his savings, got a map and headed to the countries around the world that were on his list.  The result was a book, One Year Lived, which is part memoir, part travelogue, and part ethnography. 


Check out Adam's video trailer to see what I mean.


One of the best parts of Adam's book, for me, was his realizing that he had met the woman of his dreams.  I can only imagine the adventure they will have together.  

Thanks for sharing your year, Adam!  May we all learn to take that leap of faith into the world, hopefully leaving it better than when we first arrived.

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