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Lesson from the Garden


It’s nice to be back with you again. I do hope you enjoyed last weeks’ Message from Rev. Pamela Whitman. She always enjoys returning to Unity Spiritual Center. Maybe next time around she can be with us live and in person!
Well, I also hope many of you took advantage of our FUNraiser flower sale. The spring part is over in a few weeks and then later this summer the fall sale will begin. I have most of my purchases in the ground or growing seeds. Just need to get the bulbs planted.

With that thought in mind, maybe a little Lesson from the Garden would be good for our topic today.

Have you ever thought of what the gardens teach us as we move from spring through summer to fall and then winter? There is much to teach us. Let’s look at that today.

And keep in mind that gardens go through all the seasons, yes, all four.

Have you ever thought what your gardens would look like through all the seasons? It’s something to consider…especially taking into consideration what plants and flowers have color or striking seed pods, or dry leaf colors and formations. Many serious gardeners plan for color and variety through the entire year.

For instance, how striking red-twig dogwoods look in the winter landscape…with or without snow.
Anyway, it’s something to consider beyond spring, summer, and fall. If I had space, I would definitely have one. I’ll have to consider my landscape and see if there can be a space for one or two.

So, consider the gardens, no matter what form they would take, what could/would be the lessons we could learn from them?
We can easily think of some lessons… patience, being a huge one; flexibility and perseverance too, to name a few. These are the easy lessons we can recall from our experiences from our gardens.

Here are some things I found as I researched this topic:
Plan Ahead: Planning in life, planning in the garden – both pretty critical if you want to succeed. You must know what your goals are, so you make a plan to achieve them. In a garden you don’t just scatter seeds about willy nilly…not usually anyway if you want to have any real results. You make some sort of plan out for where each seed will be planted, at what depth and how far apart…if we only gave our lives such detailed thought. What would that entail, do you think?

Beauty Isn’t Everything: Beauty is to be appreciated, sure; but some beautiful stuff is down-right deadly. In life we must learn to appreciate beauty but know it isn’t everything. Ask a vegetable gardener about gorgeous butterflies and birds…they are a wonder to see but can wreak havoc in your garden. And that mis-shaped tomato usually tastes just as sweet as the perfectly round one.

Learn from Your Mistakes: If you haven’t made a mistake in your garden, you must not have been gardening long. Every garden will have pests, underwhelming harvests, and death. But I know I’ve learned something from every mistake I’ve made, in the garden or out. I have also learned to reach out to other gardeners (as we should reach for wisdom in life) and ask for help. I’m not saying I’ve never repeated a mistake but I’m getting better all the time. And not just gardeners. I have reached out to my mentors and guides as well as you. And of course, the God of my understanding.

A Good Foundation is Key: The bible talks about building your house on a rock for a strong foundation. A garden’s foundation is good soil. Without a healthy foundation it won’t matter if you have organic, non-gmo seeds; you can’t throw those babies in sand and hope they’ll grow. In life, as in the garden, we need a strong foundation to grow and achieve our goals. Many of us didn’t get that growing up but we can bring in some healthy people, faith, books, classes, and such to “fertilize” our foundation until it is ready to support life.

You Reap What You Sow: Cliche of all cliches but it is a cliche because it rings true! If you sow good organic seeds in that healthy foundation you are going to grow amazingly healthy food to nourish you and your loved ones. In life we need to sow the sort of goodness we want to grow (love, respect, charity, goodwill). Plant those seeds in your heart.
Timing is Everything: Some people can’t grow, say lettuce in the spring as we can (or at least try to). They must wait till the weather is cooler in their area. In the same vein, if I based my garden (aka my life) on everyone else’s timing, my garden and efforts could possibly fail, if based on say the weather in Phoenix. Those tender greens would literally burn up in the scorching 110 (+) degrees and nothing, but frustration would be grown. In the garden, as in life, we need to know the timing for our pursuits may not be the same as someone else’s. Like they say, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.

Variety is the Spice of Life: Diversity is key to a healthy and vibrant life. And a healthy and vibrant world. In the garden if we continue to plant only one or two things in the same space, year after year, it will cause disease and pests to become rampant. Variety in vegetables, fruits and herbs brings vibrant life to the garden by feeding in what the last crop took out. Life gets boring in black and white – add some color and diversity to spice it up!

Location, Location, Location: Location isn’t just important in real estate – it is everything in gardening. Some plants crave all day sun, while others need a little shade to grow properly. We need to be in the right location in life to grow and succeed just like our vegetable gardens. Sometimes you must play around with the perfect place to put that raised bed; but once it is right you just know it. The same goes for your life, sometimes you must look for where you fit in…and when you find it, you know.

Stop and Smell the Roses Dang It! Sit on your porch, sip your coffee or tea, and admire the beautiful flowers of your zucchini, chives and tomatoes. Sure, they might not smell as good as the roses, but they should be admired for the stunning displays they make. Even a purple cabbage can be ornamental. Life is short, don’t be so busy that you miss the stunning awesomeness all around you!

Crap Isn’t the End: Garbage will come and go. But if you know how to compost it, well crap can make some pretty awesome soil full of rich microbes to feed your garden. Life will hand you some crap; that’s a given. But handle your crap with grace and you never know what amazing thing will come out of it in time. Remember: respond, not react! Just know what to toss in your compost and what to shovel in the garbage while holding your breath.

Generosity: My garden has given me many lessons in sharing my abundance. There is nothing like sharing tomatoes, zucchini, beans or other garden deliciousness with friends and neighbors. Sure, I worked hard for that harvest but sharing it with someone who is blessed to enjoy it gives me a lot of joy.

The same goes with the lessons we learn about life, whatever we learn brings others up too, in knowledge and vibration. So, keep working on understanding yourself and that will help you understand others.
Think about those weeds as you pull them: each weed could represent those areas in our lives that must not be allowed to “take root” and, for example, like bitterness, should not be allowed to grow unchecked.

Each labor of love in the garden has a spiritual counterpart…a lesson…

Consider the parable of the sower…

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.
3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Then he continued….
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

So, think, where do you fit into the parable of the sower?
Was your heart snatched away by the negative thoughts found in the seeds of knowledge found along the path?

Are yours the seeds that fell among rocky ground, with no roots because of the lack of fertile soil, of a strong foundation? Was your heart easily given away when trouble came around?

Maybe you fell into ‘the wrong crowd’ and lost your footing in the brambles and thorns. Negativity can do that. So can participating in many of the negatives of our lives in the realm of the physical.

But joyful is the soul who has heard the word and brought it into their heart for it to grow in abundance. They heard the word and understood it. And therefore, they have prospered a hundred, sixty or thirty times.

“Every problem contains in it the seeds of its own solution.” Norman Vincent Peale.

And we can sow things that will build up our spirit, and this is like sowing good seed into the soil of our hearts. Sometimes thinking of what we can plant as good seed is so simple; it merely takes a friendly reminder to start doing it, things like:

Daily reading and meditation, teaching out to help others, sharing resources, time, and to be a blessing wherever there are needs,

Praising and thanking God, Thanking others for their kindness to us,

Listening to uplifting music, Taking time to pray for others,

Sending a card, a note, or a letter to someone who needs our love,

Making a phone call to a friend, loving those who are your enemy, or who demonstrate hatred towards you,

Forgiving others when they wrong you; never holding a grudge against someone,

These are some of the things we can do to help keep us on the path.

I like gardening — it’s a place where I find myself
when I need to lose myself. ~Alice Sebold


Happy Mother’s Day


GREAT Morning my friends. And welcome to another Sunday Service at Unity Spiritual Center here in Long Neck, Delaware.

And a Happy Mother’s Day to you all, Mothers, and all of us who wore the Mothering hats in our lives….fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, mentors…many, many people who never bore a child but still had the Mothering instinct for others as needed.

It’s tradition that I read the book, “Love you forever” by Robert Munsch to celebrate Mother’s Day and really lead us to Father’s Day in June. Normally, I read the book at the end of the Service, but I thought I’d start our Message this year with the book. 

Why, you may ask? Well, it has been a very different time this year not just for Mothers but for all. And so, what a better way to celebrate our new normal than to change things around a bit.

So, this is for you MOM ….I hope I don’t cry:

Mother’s Day is so iconic, isn’t it? Who doesn’t know what it’s supposed to represent?

Wait, you may not know what it started out as…

One of the earliest Mother’s Day celebrations was in Ancient Greece.

The Greek would have spring celebrations in honor of Rhea, the goddess of fertility, motherhood, and generation.

According to Wikipedia, the history of American Mother’s Day starts with peacemaker Ann Jarvis.

During and following the Civil War, Ann Jarvis made a concerted effort to foster friendship and community between the mothers on both sides of the war. She started a committee in 1868 which established the first glimmer of today’s holiday: “Mother’s Friendship Day.”

Ann’s daughter Anna continued her legacy by creating the official holiday. Anna Reeves Jarvis sought to honor her own mother by establishing an intimate day of observance that is very obviously the basis of today’s holiday. The very first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908.   Woodrow Wilson signed Mother’s Day into law in 1914.

Anna Jarvis would later try to stop what Mother’s Day became. The holiday quickly became a commercialized opportunity for producers to sell flowers, candies, and cards. Anna Reeves Jarvis felt this was detracting from the personal and intimate aspects of the holiday and defied this by starting boycotts, walkouts, and even condemned first lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using the day as a means of fundraising. Jarvis would eventually use all her money in this fight and died at the age of 84 in a sanatorium.

Mother’s Day was, in part, about peace and community in the beginning. And even though Anna Jarvis’ attempt to reverse the success she had by making Mother’s Day a National Holiday was unsuccessful, I’m guessing many of us have had some of the same thoughts about the commercialism of this and many of the holidays that we celebrate in this country and often around the world.

For instance, more calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year, Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, and it is the third highest selling holiday for flowers and plants. All those things are a good thing!

Carnations have a special meaning on Mother’s Day. Anna Reeves Jarvis used the carnation on Mother’s Day to symbolize whether your mother was living. A red carnation meant she was living, and a white meant she had passed.

The first thing a baby can vocalize is the ‘ma’ sound, which is why in almost every language the word for mother begins with the letter ‘M’ or is some iteration of the ‘ma’ sound. Ma, Mom, Mother…all from that first baby sound.

This past year, with the onset of the pandemic, many Mothers have had to face a new reality. Not only with the often-real possibility of losing a loved one to the COVID-19 virus and its many iterations, but many Mothers have had to be the teacher to their children while still trying to maintain their responsibilities at their jobs. Some even stepped away from their jobs to spend all their time with the children, especially since childcare was not available in most instances.

It became a new reality that mothers faced – moms are either super-overworked or super-lonely from being sheltered.

 Even though Mother’s Day is celebrated every year on the second Sunday of May, we could probably agree that we should be celebrating Mother’s and those who take care of us as our Mothers do/did many more days than just one.

Call your Mother and/or those folks who cared for you when you needed a Mother.