Saturday, April 30, 2011

sprout 30: success!

30 days of sprout blogs
As that therapist advised me and as I nearly always (wisely) attempt to do, appreciate the little things: freshly fallen powder; a savory sandwich; surprisingly hearing a fave song being played in the background... and this time it's daily topical blogging for the 2nd time ever, and most of my posts had a degree of substance and none were really contrived in their approach to the topic.

This image was one of the 2 badges I made for the NaBloPoMo site, so it's really small. Next time I'll start with a larger version to feature on my own "I did it!" blog post.

april blogging sprout

Friday, April 29, 2011

sprout 29: royal wedding

Westminster Abbey
Today Prince William and Catherine Middleton
got married at Westminster Abbey. This is the next to last in my series of daily "sprout" blog posts, so in sprouting terms what can I make of that local event between two people and two families that also watched by as of now an estimated 2,000,000,000 (that's 2 billion with a b) worldwide? I'd guess that for the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United Kingdom it means monarchy and royalty will continue as ceremonial and functional parts of their lives and worlds.

I searched for actual wedding photos with reuse/reuse with or without modification rights but there weren't any – yet – so this picture of Westminster Abbey seemed apt and so does the Bishop of London's wedding sermon (that's no longer online).

april blogging sprout

Thursday, April 28, 2011

sprout 28: homestretching

sprout day 28

moving into the home stretch of 30 consecutive days of blogging... I'd expected to use more of my sprout images than I have thus far; so here's one in a fave color palette hyper-edited with pointillist and other filters.

april blogging sprout

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

sprout 27: freedom!

South African Flag

Happy Freedom Day, South Africa!

Freedom Day commemorates and celebrates the first truly democratic elections held on 27 April 1994, but that date feels so very recent! In line with this month's sprout blog topic, it's about freedom, about enduring hope, about a real, open-ended future...

april blogging sprout

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

sprout 26: origins

Since today, all day, is Tuesday, here's Wikipedia on Tuesday's meaning, origins and history. "Tuesday's child is full of grace!

april blogging sprout

Monday, April 25, 2011

sprout 25: sorrow

Today is my cousin Torrie's birthday. We last got together when she visited this area in fall 2003 and haven't heard from her since fall 2005. thinking about it and remembering so much we did together, my genuine happiness (actually feeling something for a short while) at being reunited with her, beginning a new friendship phase and having it fade out is sad. It's really hard to change something you don't acknowledge and Walter Brueggemann insists, "only grief makes newness possible," which is in a similar vein. So it's not only about acknowledgment sprouting the sorrow I need and want to feel for another ending (or hopefully, simply a long interruption) it's about admitting it's so, after all, getting out of rationalizations and denials and the truth helping me move through to newness.

april blogging sprout

Sunday, April 24, 2011

sprout 24: easter!

easter sprout

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love Whom we had slain,
Thinking that He’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

words: John M.C. Crum
most often sung to Noël Nouvelet, 15th century French,

april blogging sprout

Friday, April 22, 2011

sprouts 22b: earth day!

earth day 2011 square

Today is Good Friday and today is the official and formal Earth Day—what a great juxtaposition of redemptive and potentially redemptive activities! Consider ways both days and events sprout creation and new creation?!

april blogging sprout

Earth Day 2011: Leviticus 25

earth day 2011 Leviticus 25:23-24

Earth Day 2011 • A Billion Acts of Green

23The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine;
you are but aliens and sojourners with me.
24You shall grant redemption of all the land of your possession.

Leviticus 25:23-24

sprout 22: redemption

Good Friday 2011

april blogging sprout

good friday 2011: psalm 22

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.
All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
"Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!"
Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled;
I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me;
they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.
But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion! From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.

april blogging sprout

Thursday, April 21, 2011

sprout 21: remembering

Maundy Thursday 2011

It's Maundy Thursday … and this article by James Faulconer explains in beautiful detail the lives of service remembering Jesus – especially Maundy Thursday – will begin to sprout.

april blogging sprout

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

sprout 20: social context

Not surprisingly, I'm becoming increasingly distressed at my near total lack of social context which has become more severe over the past few years. The trio of churches where I'd become somewhat involved to a degree reasonably appropriate no longer are part of my life, for a bunch of reasons. I've said I'm seeking "a community of recognition, acknowledgment and participation: a place of embrace."

Recognition: we know who you are!

Acknowledgment: we are happy you're here and, in fact, we consider you a gift rather than a threat or a nuisance.

Participation (the big one): ideally, I'm looking for somewhere people will be able to say, "Leah designed the bulletin cover (or the new banner or even paraments)!" Leah is preaching next Sunday!" "Are you going to attend Leah's upcoming bible study series?" "Leah wrote the liturgy for our upcoming celebration!" "Are you going to hear Leah's organ recital this afternoon?"

It seems as if it needs to start with the first parameter, and admittedly I'm far from the most talkative person when it comes to myself; a lot of that stems from disgust at those people who go and and on for hours on end about nothing but themselves, because I actually love talking about myself, my dreams and my experience. For a small example, at Wednesday evening soup supper last week after I mentioned to someone I'd drifted for years, she said, "Sometimes people need to drift in order to discover what they want to do next." I replied, "Oh, that wasn't the case; I've always known what I wanted to do." However, part of knowing a person includes where they've been and what they've done—basic facts. It would have been helpful if I'd added a few sentences or even an entire paragraph explaining what I'd been doing before starting to drift and the steps I then took in order to maintain and build skills to attain my dreams. That kind of talk puts flesh on an acquaintance, helps make them less strange; it begins sprouting some kind of relationship, possibly even a potential friendship and for sure it starts establishing that essential social context.

april blogging sprout

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

sprout 19: awakening

Friday, 22 April will be Earth Day—here's a quote to consider—from Brooke Medicine Eagle:

"There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet."

april blogging sprout

Monday, April 18, 2011

sprout 18: creative bean sprouts

bean sprouts

this image came with re-use rights; among other enhancements I added—
filters: film grain, cutout
layer style: vivid light

april blogging sprout

Sunday, April 17, 2011

sprout 17: palm sunday offertory

 Palm Sunday sprout

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit. If anyone serves me, he must follow me, and where I am, there shall my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
John 12:24, 26

april blogging sprout

Saturday, April 16, 2011

sprout 16: starting the 2nd half

sprout 01

15 out of 30 blog posts for April's sprout topic all done and published, so I'll start the second half of April with another of my sprout illustrations.

april blogging sprout

Friday, April 15, 2011

sprout 15: quilted comfort

Sprouting cozily quilted comfort for people and kittehs; the topic explains itself.

california colors quilt

fish swim quilt

april blogging sprout

Thursday, April 14, 2011

sprout 14, yeast: communion bread 2

I found these recipes on a friend of a friend's blog, Lindy's blog. This recipe and the recipe I blogged for Communion Bread 1 are from Wartburg Seminary, and Lindy gave me permission to re-blog them.

april blogging sproutCommunion Bread 2

Thoroughly combine the dry ingredients:
  • 2 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1 c white flour
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp salt
  • Stir in 4 tsp oil. Set aside.
Mix wet ingredients together until dissolved:
  • 1 Cup very hot water (about 115˚ F)
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Dough should be slightly sticky. Do not knead.

Divide into eight balls and flatten each into a 1/4 - 1/8 inch thick disk.

With a knife, score the top of each loaf into eight pie-shaped sections, so that the sections can be more easily broken off while serving. Alternatively, you could score a cross onto the loaf.

Lay the loaves on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the tops of the loaves with oil. Bake an additional 5-8 minutes. Let cool.

Yield: eight 4 oz. loaves.
"And many shall come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and feast at the table in the kingdom of God!"
Luke 13:29

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

sprout 13: community

It's the Wednesday after Lent 5, the Sunday in the liturgical calendar traditionally called Judica, from the first words of the traditional introit for the day.
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly nation; from wicked and deceitful men deliver me, for you are my God and my strength. Send forth your light and your truth; these have led me and brought me to your holy mountain and to your dwelling place. ...from Psalm 43:1-3
On Wednesday evenings in Lent, the church where I've been worshiping off and on – mostly on – for the past 2+ years hosts a typical, tasty Lenten soup supper before we pray Compline. In my long experience I've found sharing meals is a great way to start friendships and form community, so for blog day 12, I'm thinking about how tasty food in an informal, casual atmosphere often leads people to share (divulge!) experiences they wouldn't in other settings, helping initiate friendships and form community. Remembering "this tastes like the soup I had in that little Florentine Café"; "these cookies remind me of a recipe I want to make for the next potluck"; "the salad dressing is amazingly like the house special at Urban Coastal Cuisine (actually a semi-parody review I wrote for one of my blogs). So today's blog is about food and about community.

april blogging sprout

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

sprout 12: cities

Introducing a short article about Remembering Nature and the City that's no longer on The Nature Conservancy's conservation gateway dot org, the authors remind their readers:
"Today, great conservation success has often been associated with saving large tracts of rural land and wilderness devoid of human development—places with uninterrupted natural vistas and thriving wildlife. Yet in the United States there is a hidden history of conservation rooted in cities and towns, a history that has driven significant change over the past century for what "conservation" means in this country as a set of ideas and practices. As we contemplate the challenges of an increasingly urbanized world, understanding and shaping the city's changing role in conservation will be crucial if we are to create and manage habitats that can sustain our growing population without destroying our planet's biodiversity."
tri city sliceI'm staying with the suggested April blogging topic sprout, and I love cities (in fact, I minored/concentrated in Urban Studies at UMass Boston and would have made cities my major if it had been an option), so what have cities sprouted?

Cities are home to an economically and culturally stratified society, that includes a so-called middle class. Commerce in the city typically happens with brokers, or "middlemen" rather than barter and exchange, implying higher-ups and lower-downs on the economic ladder. Very significantly, cities are a crossroads of commerce, culture, language, transportation and ideas. Historically, most cities have been situated alongside a river, providing a waterway and a gateway of commerce, immigration and importation. Most of the world's great universities originated in cities. Urban religion? Famous churches (St Patrick's – New York City, St Basil – Moscow, Riverside – NYC, Westminster Abbey – London for a scant handful) have been beacons of light as well as havens of refuge and safety; in seminaries, conversations with a plethora of diverse populations and with other faith traditions help contextualize the gospel into life-affirming and justice-making interactions and outcomes for all creation.

A well-tended garden grows into a city! The biblical witness begins with the story of the first creation and a garden in a place called Eden – עֵדֶן – with the possible meaning delight by the conjunction of Four Rivers; the biblical canon concludes with the city of the new creation, the city called the New Jerusalem – ירושלם – a legacy or birthright of peace, or more fully, of shalom. A garden well-stewarded naturally grows into a city, and that city sprouts and generates countless worlds...

As the article tells us, "Cities are the biggest environmental challenge of this century, and we think it is helpful to pause a moment and remember that environmental policy and urban policy are not only one in the same, but they have been one and the same for quite some time."

april blogging sprout

Monday, April 11, 2011

sprout, day 11: monday

slice of spring

technically these sprouts are shining against the sun rather than the full moon, but the springy colours and the narrow slice of the entire original image seem appropriate as the season of spring continues making its way toward Earth Day and Easter and as the typical work week starts making a way to another Friday. again.

april blogging sprout

Sunday, April 10, 2011

sprout day 10: land

1If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; 2all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God: 3Blessed you shall be in the city, and blessed you shall be in the field.

NRSV: Deuteronomy 28:1-14

here's a more neon version of my interpretation of Deuteronomy 28:3 I blogged for day 3:

Deut 28:3

april blogging sprout

Saturday, April 09, 2011

sprout day 9: quiet

double sprout

Today, for Day 9 of Sprout Blogging and Day 32 of Lent 2011, I'm trying to quiet everything within, about and around me. I hope silencing the usual noise in my head, habitat and environment will lead to sprouting ideas for renewal and participation in life; it's more about potential sprouting than actual sprouts.

april blogging sprout

Friday, April 08, 2011

sprout day 8: alfalfa

alfalfa sproutsfor sprout day 8, here's a Coastal California Sandwich with 8 ingredients.
  1. 2 slices multigrain bread (I like it toasted)
  2. mayonnaise or aioli
  3. thinly sliced fresh tomatoes
  4. thinly sliced red onions
  5. 4 slices cooked bacon, if desired
  6. avocado slices
  7. sliced Monterey Jack or other easily meltable cheese
  8. fresh alfalfa sprouts
stack ingredients in desired order, toast under the broiler or not, and top with ingredient #8.

april blogging sprout

Thursday, April 07, 2011

sprout 7, yeast: communion bread 1

april blogging sprout

I found two recipes for Communion Bread on a friend of a friend's blog, Lindy's blog. Both recipes are from Wartburg Seminary and Lindy gave me permission to re-blog them. Here's the first; the second will be later in this April "sprout" blog series.

Communion Bread 1
  • 2 1/2 cups very warm water (although too hot will kill the yeast). For best results you will probably want to have a thermometer and a specific temperature. That information can usually be found on the yeast package or the website bread world.
  • 1 Tbsp dry yeast (not rapid rise)
  • 1/4 cup soft shortening
  • 1 1/3 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup honey, brown sugar or light molasses
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour (or 2 cups whole wheat flour & 4 cups white flour)
In mixing bowl, proof yeast in water with a pinch of sugar. When ready (should look foamy... takes about 10-15 min.), add the shortening, salt, honey and 3 cups flour. Beat 2 min. at medium speed using dough hook (or 300 vigorous strokes by hand). Scrape bowl frequently. Add remaining 3 cups flour and blend on low speed. Scrape batter from sides of bowl. Cover bowl with a dish towel or cloth, and let rise in a warm place until double- about 1 hour.

Stir down batter by beating about 25 strokes or punch down by hand. Batter will be sticky. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Can add a little flour while kneading, if desired. Split dough into 4 parts (for about 100 people/loaf) or up to 6 parts for smaller loaves. Let rise a second time in a warm place for about 10 min. Roll out each loaf with a rolling pin into a 4" round shape. Mark each loaf with a deep cross (+) in the center. Place loaves on flat cookie sheet, lightly greased. Let rise again in a warm place for about 40 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool slowly, away from a draft.

Use within a day or freeze immediately, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Lindy says, "I have had great success freezing this bread when it is partially cooled, then removing from the freezer a day in advance (i.e. Saturday morning for Sunday morning)."

"Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!"
Nehemiah 8:10

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

sprout 6: asparagus

asparagus sprout

I found this beautiful photo that gave re-use with modification permission on google images; in Photoshop I used glass, film grain and shadows and highlights filters.

april blogging sprout

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

sprout 5: advent hope

sprout 02 left
We're more than halfway through the penitentially purple liturgical season of Lent, but today I'm blogging in a blue that's closer to the contemporary color for Advent, a periwinkle-hued blue. So often a tiny evidence of new life appears just about when we'd decided to give up forever, and even when that doesn't happen, remembering better times, recalling what it was like and probably could be like again helps keep the future alive; it's as if a future begins sprouting just perceptibly! In the northern hemisphere Advent marks the start of a new liturgical year and church geeks will refer to its being lectionary year A (Matthew), B (Mark) or C (Luke), but all three open with a touch of apocalyptic hope to help ignite (sprout, maybe?) our imaginations with dreams of a future. The light of Christmas sprouts through at the darkest meteorological time of all. Was that contrived? Not at all!

april blogging sprout