Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
Send emails to: or add a comment on an existing post.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Other Truth about Cats and Dogs

As I may or may not have mentioned in these pages, I am a massage therapist...... yes, among other things. I have a small but loyal clientele which I'm just going back to since my bout with cancer last year. Although massages should be scheduled optimally every two weeks, to make it affordable as a maintenance regime, most of my clients have a massage every three/four weeks.
Have table will travel. The day of the massage in goes the table with the trademark cut-out for the face, sheets, towels, oils and often some relaxing CDs to my faithful ministry mobile. After work I boogie off to the appointment.

D is a relatively new client of mine in New Jersey. Like many, many of my clients she is an avid animal lover - she owns two adopted cats (or two cats own her), namely Billy and Buddy. They are similarly orange and white striped, 'though Billy has a little more heft to him.

At the get-go, 'the boys' were stand-offish staying safely in another room. The longer I worked on D, quietly massaging, listening to her muscles and tissue tell me through touch what kind of pressure different spots needed the more courage the guys mustered. Although trying to concentrate on the matters at hand (so to speak) I became aware of where the B boys were, slowly moving outside of sight lines staying close to the wall or around furniture yet drawn to find out what the heck was happening to their Mom.

OK, refocus! says I to myself as the palms of my hands apply soothing oil to shoulders and lower back. Just then I thought I felt something touch my left leg. No, this is no apparition - Buddy is checking me out, giving me the sniff test. Oops - for sure and certain Miss Emmy Lou has marked whatever clothes I'm wearing.... but that does not shake Buddy. Eventually he moved on, holding his tail high while passing under D's nose exposed through the face hole in the table.

"Oh, look at this! Look who's visiting! This is amazing... he must feel comfortable!" D questions whether they are bothering me. No, not at all. Well, that might be 95% true. Their little beings are strong and I feel them and their presence.

While Billy will be more likely to do the risky thing, Buddy is the lover of the two. He needs to be near D, no matter what.... and his favorite spot is first sitting and then laying down, nestled between her knees as she lays face down on the table.

The other truth about Cats and Dogs is.... they aren't so shy about honoring the holy in life.... the whole-ly in life. They are unperturbed by the fact that they - without our dependency on language to communicate - can sense danger and fear and disease and... healing. Given the opportunity, I have found that any dog or cat would much rather be near - or on top of - their caregiver during a massage. On the whole, dogs - regardless of their size - will lay either parallel to or underneath the table. Cats try to get even closer and will often get up (and stay there) on the table.

It takes some human beings a lifetime to understand the enormous and mysterious gift that is the ministry of presence. We want to do, to fuss, to organize and arrange. Any cat or dog seems to know that the rule is: show up. That's their job....... and they do it so well.


I got back from another massage with D last evening and the B boys have finally decided I'm not an intruder. As soon as D hit the table, Billy was up and onto the table, eventually leaning on D's left leg. He was content, peaceful being there. He could feel me praying as I work and settled quickly into a low, grinding purr that I could feel even up at D's shoulders.

The ministry of presence, of healing, is part of us all to one extent or another. Perhaps all you need to do is to get in touch with your inner pet!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It all adds up

For all of us who, at one time or another, have felt a twinge of discouragement because... we are only one, have limited resources, have no connections... and are of the belief that in the vast cosmos of things our singular efforts don't matter much..... please go to the home page for The Geranium Farm ( and check out Pennies from Heaven.

Debbie Loeb's seedling of an idea has sprouted and the fruit will be the real difference it will make in the lives of those who are in catastrophic need.

Pennies from Heaven is a marvelous way to train our kids to view and experience the world from a different perspective. A world that includes both the people they know and ones they have never met along with a bonus geography lesson so that foreign places and peoples will take on real place in their minds and lives.

A penny here, a penny there. As anyone who has ever had a change jar can attest to, that change can and does add up. What a marvelous thing it will be if even one of our children decides to fill up that potato chip tube and send it off to educate a child her age rather than to buy for herself the latest most disposable piece of plastic ever touted by an TV ad campaign.

Give a penny... give a hoot.... give of yourself.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Church Signs..... Farmer's Favorites!

One of our readers, John Hamner from Fayetteville, TN sent this to me the other day:

"I attend a small Episcopal Church in Southern Middle Tennessee. The church was destroyed by a tornado in the early 1950's and with no insurance in place the parishioners built back a much smaller "chapel-like" building which lacks some of the more familiar features as side aisles or a narthex. Before the 10:30 service, our small choir assembles on the front steps as the acolyte awaits the signal from our rector to ring the bell. On one particular Sunday, I found myself staring across the street at the sign of the Baptist church. The sign read:

This Sunday
Jesus Ascends to Heaven
at 8:00 and 10:30"

Thanks, John! Don't forget to send in your own gems of inspiration and humor to for us all to savor!

Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.