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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.
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Applying "The Daffodil Principle" To Your Parish

I hear it over and over again....

'.... our church isn't growing and I don't know why...'
'.... somebody used to do that but nobody does that any more....'
'.... I have an idea but I don't know if anybody else would be interested in....'

Initiative, creativity, imagination in action. Engaging in these things not only benefits our minds (and there is clinical research to back up that statement!), it benefits our bodies for the activity generated and it benefits our souls by opening us up more to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.

The following article was forwarded to the ever-productive 'Hodgepodge' Debbie by her Aunt Sylvia. I'm sharing it with you and want you to read it in the light of the foreward written above. Enjoy, plant and grow!!

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren. "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!" My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."
"Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," Carolyn answered.

"She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!" My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way: "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of discipline or vision a celebration instead of a cause for pity or regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?" Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting..... postponing.... waiting.....
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die.............

There is no better time than right now to set a goal, set upon achieving that goal and
being happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Lessons about War from an 11-Year Old

The following article was sent to us by Farmer Mary Hicks of Worcester, MA. Thank you for the contribution and Pastor Woodley for writing it.!

The Rev.Randy Woodley is a Keetoowah Cherokee Indian teacher, lecturer, poet, activist, pastor in the American Baptist Church and the author of Living in Color: Embracing God's Passion for Ethnic Diversity (InterVarsity Press). website:

I picked up my 11-year-old son from school the other day. The conversation was business as usual, until he shared how he was bored in class and wrote a letter to the president of the United States. Flabbergasted, I asked him if he would read it to me.

He was against the war and any escalation of troops. He asked for an immediate withdrawal and politely chided President Bush for sending other young people to war when he would not send his own children. Finally, my 11-year-old cautioned the president that he did not want this war, or any war, in his future.

Today my son is back to riding a skateboard and watching cartoons, but what he said the other day was important, and caused me to take his words seriously and re-think some basics from his perspective. My 11-year-old son barely knows that he has hit upon a governmental principle of our Iroquoian nations (Mohawk, Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, etc.). The principle is that before any course of action is taken, we must consider how it will affect the next seven generations.

I see short-term thinking as a great malady in American society, especially in government policy. Instead of thinking through the consequences of our actions and policies, we sell out to short-term solutions and pragmatic compromises. This propensity for making decisions for immediate political gratification or corporate profit influences all areas of life.

But for my son's sake, I want to consider just one of the major concerns on his and many others' minds as it relates to short-sighted solutions - namely, war as a means to resolve conflict. While the first casualty of war is truth, in an atmosphere of spin and disillusionment, the human casualties are immeasurable - the so-called "collateral damage" that is inevitable in modern warfare.

Human beings were not created to rule over (or kill) one another, but rather to love one another and to respect one another - even when they hold ideologies that are very different. War takes away human dignity from both the winner and the loser. For the loser, hatred just goes underground and resurfaces in later generations. Hatred takes many forms, of which aggression toward the old enemy is just one. Self-hatred is another. Both the winner and loser end up hating themselves for their breech of humanity. This form of self-hatred leads to self-abuse and abuse of others, and like ripples on a pond, the abuse follows through to subsequent generations.

It is short-term thinking to disregard these natural consequences of war. The only people who prosper from war are those who can make money from it. These companies are able to secure public policies that allow them to continue disastrous environmental violations and an unhealthy dependence on unsustainable fuels. As long as we allow these corporations to shape government policy, war will forever continue. I could go on with this subject for a while - but I think the point is made. I owed it to my son to say this much.

Our actions leave our children, grandchildren, and subsequent generations with a debt that they will eventually have to pay, if they are able. We can change the future for our children by reasoning through our actions and re-thinking government policies for the next seven generations.

In the meantime, my son is waiting for the president's reply.

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