Monday, July 31, 2023

July 2023

July summary garden header
• Clockwise from upper left: Sunday dirt dessert with edible candy butterflies; Monday corn in community garden; Tuesday sunflowers; Thursday apples; Wednesday plums

Urban Wilderness / City Paradise Lectionary Project for July

• No interesting outings this month, but July featured the annual Sunday evening through Thursday evening Camp Central. From the dozens of pics I took, here's some of creation's bounty for each day.

• Peaches on Sunday

wicker chairs conversation meeting place
• Conversation place on Monday

seeds waiting to sprout
seeds waiting to sprout
• Seeds waiting to sprout and bloom from Tuesday

watermelon wedges
• Best and juiciest watermelon snacks from Wednesday and continuing into Thursday

bright golden flower
golden apples
• Flowering beauty and golden apples on Thursday

urban greenery with white flowers
desert flora on Valerio
• Intriguing urban desert flora on Wednesday afternoon the 26th

living local 2023
purple lavender statice

Five Minute Friday :: Milestone

green plant

Five Minute Friday :: Milestone Linkup

Some milestones are the result of effort and exertion; others the outcome of the passage of time. Milestones can be mainly individual or primarily community or family. Our host Kate wrote about her daughter's eighteenth birthday, a major one that's about parental pride, about the offspring's, about society obtaining an adult citizen-participant.

Do you celebrate your baptismal birthday? Your physical natal day? Your name day? Maybe all of them or none of them?

Each instance of weeks, months, and years of one day at a time are stellar milestones for someone in recovery.

Needless to say, all achievements belong to the interwoven whole, yet some still tend toward personal or inner circle celebrations. Many encompass a larger group, from school graduations, to town or country founding centennials, to singular events that would include national independence, a congregation's founding, a company's going public on the NYSE, NASDAQ, FTSE, HKEX or…

When a workplace or organization undertakes a sizable project, the proposal typically outlines milestones, particularly when it's a weeks long or months long endeavor.

Talk about a prompt that can go in multiple directions! What are some of your important milestones?

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Friday, July 21, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Decide

not to decide is to decide

Five Minute Friday :: Decide Linkup

"Not to decide is to decide," my illustration quotes theologian Harvey Cox. Long ago I got a copy on closeout from The Printery House of Conception Abbey Press, but it's long since gone because a flood in the apartment upstairs from mine rained down on it and I decided it wasn't in good enough condition to save. The poster's background options are simple: up, down; yes, no, maybe; stop, go; left, right; in, out.

Some decisions at first may not look long-term consequential, although the sum of tiny choices sometimes adds up long term. Related to overall health, dietary decisions and exercise-workout habits can be major. But what's this decide prompt about?

We agonize and get stuck over major decisions. What college or university to attend, and what major if our heart and abilities aren't already passionately entwined with a field of endeavor. What person to spend the rest of your life with, and if the person has been decided because of interlinked circumstances God has used to bring you together, is making a lifelong covenant now or later the wisest for all involved? Although in the past it has been a fairly easy checklist decision, these days Buy or Rent your Housing can be seriously fraught.

But this week's decide prompt really is all about those countless run of each day, micro-decisions such as banana or berries for breakfast. Sourdough or multigrain bread for my lunch sandwich. These decides lack lifelong impact, yet haven't you noticed they're the ones we often second-guess and want to do over? Of course, some of them can be redone. Berries on Wednesday if it was bananas on Tuesday…

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Sunday, July 16, 2023

21 Years

late May butterfly
Another middle day of July means another blogoversary! What's been happening?

Ever since blogging about September 2015 during early October 2015, I've illustrated a monthly activities and highlights. Do the math! It adds up to ninety-four (94). I've participated in more Five Minute Fridays than not. Inbetween those regular features I've done book reviews, Earth Day art, and?—take a look at the What Do You Want To Read About array of tags. Not a whole lot more to say, expect I enjoy the sense of achievement even as I continue to expectantly seek a context that will yield opportunities at least somewhat related to my gifts, preparation, and sense of call that won't quit.

I'll also pridefully brag on what started as a "mostly lectionary" blog, city paradise/ urban wilderness and (so far) has become seven and a half years of weekly reflections on one of the lectionary texts.

Thanks for visiting!
golden poppies along the sidewalk

Friday, July 14, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Work

work mosaic
• Five Minute Friday :: Work Linkup

Work! Whether in exchange for pay (legal tender, in kind, or whatever) or what's badly referred to as volunteer, labor of our hands, minds, hearts, and imaginations can provide essential "meaning and purpose," although aspects of almost any job can drive us crazy at times. Our employment and our academic strivings can inspire and respond to high aspirations. I don't know if I'd preface the fact with sadly, but context and outcome of our work sometimes turns out far different from what we'd expected or hoped.

As Kate our host pointed out, sometimes we need to take any job that comes along; sometimes we have the privilege of holding out for something that matches our abilities, our hopes, and/or the opportunities for service and societal transformation a position might offer. It's a topic for a separate blog, but (in my vast experience) I've discovered "get a job, any job" isn't always great advice. However, somewhat related, a while ago I mentioned to a conversation partner that sometimes a person doesn't want a "good job" because whatever may be going on in their life and world can't accommodate the time, effort, and commitment high end employment usually demands.

No matter what, we need to stay aware that taking care of our families and maintaining our living environment technically falls under the "work" umbrella, so a person can say they "don't work outside the home" or contracted to an external employer or entity, but almost no one can say they do not work.

Theologically I'd seriously hesitate to claim Work Is Life, but life without at least some ways to contribute to the greater good with our gifts and efforts feels deadly because if it continues too long, it truly is death-dealing.

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Friday, July 07, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Impulse

california golden poppies spring 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Impulse Linkup

An impulse is an inclination, force, instinct, motivation that does what it does, with logical results or outcome. Is the impulse built-in and natural, or does it come from outside? Is it negative, neutral, or otherwise value-laden?

Without a particular inspiration (ummm… "impulse") to create my own header graphic this week, I scrolled through my recent pictures and noticed I captured a lot of California golden poppies this past spring. God's natural, non-human, non-critter creation has built-in impulses coded perfectly with how to be, how to act, and how to grow instructions. For the most part a backyard or community gardner, a family or industrial farmer can learn what crops to plant when in what kind of soil with what sun exposure, how to fertilize and water, what harvest to expect and when.

We usually categorize flowers, berries, fruits, and veggies into annuals that must be planted every year, and perennials that typically regrow year after year, but a select few perennials rock only two or three seasons, and some behave like annuals in certain climates. Although they're technically classified as perennial, golden poppies are one of those. When circumstances are warm and to their liking, they'll impulsively reseed and regrow themselves. In colder climes you need to plant them again to enjoy their beauty again.

It's no secret that like planet earth, people have seasons. Beyond cycling through seasons with their mostly predictable characteristics alongside occasional surprises, it can be helpful to identify aspects of individuals and communities as annuals or perennials. Our built-in perennial impulses cause us to keep on keepin' on in certain ways without provocation or reminders; other impulses sometimes must be re-programmed and replanted because how to be, how to grow, and how to act situations and needs have changed.

What internal or external impulses have you found helpful? Unhelpful? For your family? Your workplace? Your church? Other organizations and entities you're connected to?

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five minute friday impluse
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Saturday, July 01, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Music

Psalm 63L7
Thou hast been my help
and in the shadow of thy wings
I sing for joy.
Psalm 63:7

Five Minute Friday :: Music Linkup

When it comes to music, who on earth wouldn't have countless ideas to write about—and to sing about? Although for many reasons I've never made music a more or less full time pursuit, I have an extensive classical music repertoire, I love to perform in public and lead music in worship. I even have a

Music Blog

and a

Music Website.

• Ephesians 5:18b-20a …be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with [in, from] your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things…

For only five minutes? I'll remind you it's easier to memorize by singing than by speaking. I don't know if it's a case of "I'm so old that…" yet at least back in the day, kids unforgettably learned the English alphabet to a folk tune. The psalter was the hymnal of the temple and later of the synagogue. Although chapters labeled psalm are far from the only songs in the bible, for many centuries scripture's 150 psalms or songs made rounds during festivals and sabbath assemblies by being sung and thereby committed to indelible memory.

Not until some of the exiles returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem city and a new temple structure, to revitalize human essentials of agriculture, commerce, trade, community, and worship did the psalms get written down and assembled into somewhat of the canonical collection we're familiar with. The psalter was the hymnal of John Calvin's Geneva Reform. Open any denominational or free church hymnal and you'll have trouble counting how many hymns are metrical or florid psalm settings or sometimes textual paraphrases.

In addition to sung psalms, music is an enormous part of Christian worship. Almost countless forms of vocal and insrumental styles!

What are your best and favorite hymns or praise songs? Do you tend toward more traditional or contemporary stylings? How many can you sing from memory? I wouldn't dare make even a long list of faves, but I particularly resonate with Joachim Neander's "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation" (tune: Lobe den Herren) and Marty Haugen's more recent "Here in this Place" (tune: Gather Us In). For a psalm setting I'll go with Psalm 100, "All People that on Earth do Dwell" (tune: Old 100th or Old Hundredth) and refer you to Ralph Vaughn Williams' choral version that's accessible even to a small pickup choir, and that many festal celebrations in Westminster Abbey have proclaimed with very large mixed choir and very full symphonic orchestra.

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