Nurturing Galaxies

Summer's Lazy Days

Outside my window, where I write, I have this view. Rosemary, morning glory, and a red geranium (it's a one-legged straggler!) peeping from the corner.

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I also have water available for the birds. The official blue water bath in the corner of the deck and then the black rectangle of water beside the morning glory box. 

This rectangle of water attracts sparrows. Is it something about it's shallowness compared to the bowl shape of the blue birdbath? 

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You can see, in this photo, the drops of water from where several of them had had a refreshing bath before they took off when I invaded their domain! 

Hm? Yes. Back to the writing! 

What are your favorite summer lazy day images? 

  

Summer Days

Tis summer and it's difficult to focus on work, on writing. Lawn work calls, the flower garden calls, and there are chats with the neighbors, and driving to see Mom and help her with some yard work.

My back yard and deck are looking pretty good! 

My back yard and deck are looking pretty good! 

Bird Feeding Tasks

Mom loves to feed the birds so my task consisted of potting her flowers while she refilled the bird feeders!

What birds flock to her home? Sparrows, robins, red-winged black birds, and grackles are common birds in our area as are goldfinches, house finches, purple finches, cardinals, and mourning doves. She also has woodpeckers-either downies or yellow bellied sapsuckers and nuthatches. Usually there's also a jenny wren, in one of the little birdhouses attached to the shed.  

Yesterday, though, something a bit different sat on the finch feeder. A couple of birds with lots of red on their bellies and black or dark gray on their backside. Very territorial. It's not a tanager. It's not a bluebird.  I need to search more.  

Writing and Worksheeting

The writing? My focus there has been on worksheeting, layering in, and building up my story. 

When I feel stuck or it seems like the story needs something more, then I create worksheets to help me sort through the logistics. A novel can be so unwieldy and it's helpful to see all the birds of a habitat on one page (ha! see what I did there). 

Fiction University

Most recently, I came across Fiction University's guest column titled Four Pillars by Jeff Seymour. It's rather amazing how blogs can essentially say the same things but the examples used in one work better than examples used in the other. 

I have known for a awhile now, that to have a successful story, we need a plot. Essentially answering the questions:

  1. what does our main character want?
  2. what or who is stopping her or him from getting it?
  3. what is s/he doing about it?

I've seen variations on these questions and examples listed on many blogs geared towards writers of fiction. I've studied it. Tried to wrap my head around it. 

Then I see this blog on Fiction University. Seymour lists four pillars and gives examples from Pride & Prejudice and from Star Wars:

  1. What does the main character value?
  2. What does the main character want?
  3. What's in the main character's way?
  4. What is the main character doing about it?

I've seen these questions and examples before, somewhere, but for some reason my brain and the words used in his column brought it all together for me.

Beautiful. So I'm off and running! It's a Saturday. With rain predicted.

Time to work on the story!    

 

on death

Does the title sound depressing? 

Its inspiration came from some wonderful mind-meanders as I read Quinn Caldwell's daily devotional from the United Church of Christ website.

United Church of Christ logo

United Church of Christ logo

At the beginning of each daily devotional is a Scripture reading.

the prophets: Ezekiel vs Jonah

Caldwell's use of Ezekiel 33:14-15 reminded me of Ezekiel's hospitality towards people who repent, in direct contrast to Jonah's pinching at people who actually did repent. 

Now I'm not putting this up as one is better than the other. We need the diversity of the prophets.

  • Ezekiel speaks to Jewish people who are in need of encouragement and sustenance. They are living in exile and having a difficult time. The inclusion of Ezekiel shows us that even during difficult times, even when we live in exile in a foreign land or find ourselves in a foreign place, God is there with us. Always.  
  • Jonah speaks to the Israelite's northern neighbors, the Ninevites. He doesn't want to share God's mercy with them. The inclusion of Jonah in the canon of the Bible shows us that God does not belong to any of us. We are all children of God, who come to God by way of many paths. 

death itself

Have you ever had thoughts that you just didn't share with other people because you wondered if you were being a bit too radical for people to understand? 

Death is actually absolutely necessary in our world. Without it, there is no way for nutrients, for minerals, for energy to cycle through the system.
Quinn G. Caldwell

Isn't that quote an amazing thought? Or perhaps you do find it depressing. Caldwell has a lot more in-depth to say about this subject, how we think that death entered the world through sin, when Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

That recycling or cycling through death, that's what also makes us children of the dust of long dead stars! Caldwell also wrote that we do not own our bodies but are merely borrowing the bodies we live in. 

The Cross and The Empty Tomb

I've often wondered too, why the symbol of Christianity is a cross. It's a symbol of torture. Too often it was used as a disguise for a sword or a knife. Why the cross, which focuses us upon death? Why not the empty tomb? 

What does the empty tomb symbolize? Just a few thoughts...

  • New life that springs from violence, from death. 
  • God, through Jesus, reigns over death
  • Easter
  • God's love and laughter overcomes the bonds of human sin, human weakness, human pride

Could we wear this symbol as a necklace? The letter "t" symbolizes the cross. The letter "O" could symbolize the empty tomb. An upside-down "U" could also.   

What do you think? 

Wonderful Cosmos

A few years back, my son saw the title of a book I was reading.

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As a pastor's child, he attended church weekly because it was an expectation I had of my children when they lived at home.

Adults now, my children are philosophical and thoughtful, each in their own ways. But they do not attend a church. When my son saw the title of this book, Prayers to an Evolutionary God, he said something to the effect of, "if that's the kind of God churches talked about more often, I'd be interested in going." 

It's a great book. I return to it often. 

 William Cleary is a former Jesuit priest, filmmaker, and composer and is married to a Unitarian Universalist minister. 

Diarmuid O'Murchu is a priest and social psychologist whose books include Quantum Theoloy: Reclaiming Spirituality and Our World in Transition. 

Blend of Faith and Science

In the table of content, the chapters are listed as:

  • Prayers of Listening
  • Prayers of Questioning
  • Prayers of Ambiguity
  • Prayers of Intimacy.  

And each heading has a quote from Diarmuid O'Murchu and from Albert Einstein. There are 80 prayers and each prayer has a page accompanying it that speaks to the wonder of nature, the mystery of God, 

An Evolutionary God

This is not a traditional look at our own personal salvation. It is much more community oriented and not just a church or faith community. The prayers focus on God, on our attempted understanding of the sacred stories of the Bible and of our place in the cosmos. We are not the center of the universe. It is huge. 

What books do you continue to go back to, which inspire you, and give you a sense of hope?