The Borrowed landscape – Shakkei

The Mendip hills has some stunning views across the Somerset Countryside. Last weekend’s walk was no exception. After a long climb, we were rewarded with the most breathtaking view.
The view made me smile. I saw the perfectness of nature, I felt the power and space of God .The view was limitless- God is everywhere. There are no edges or limits to God’s presence, nor are there places where God is absent. God is all-knowing. God is infinite.

The view inspired and excited me. I wanted to walk more, explore this landscape, wonder, climb higher and look harder into the landscape that surrounded me.
Obviously, this view was not available to all. Even good health would not guarantee the same view. The view changes throughout the seasons and alters by the weather and the time of day.
But what if we could expand that view so others might see it? See the landscape that inspired and surrounded me.
That’s exactly what the gardener does. This inspiration is nothing new and using it has been practised for centuries. This Asian concept of Shakkei is very simple. The gardener uses their surroundings to expand the view.

How exciting is that!- Using what surrounds us; what’s already in place and what God has already given us. To pull the eye outwards, to look beyond what we normally see.

The challenge is to make full use of what we have, looking at ways to incorporate the landscape that surrounds us. When we look further, we find space. We see views we have never seen and mountains we have yet to climb.

When we keep looking beyond our horizons, we find God at work in the community that surrounds us. Instantaneously, everything just gets bigger.
When we expand our landscape, we look beyond our boarders and create an infinite space where God makes the impossible possible.
It’s taking the awesome view that made me smile, taking that view to those that can’t climb the hill. When you take the view and share it with God’s love, we strengthen the relationships between ourselves and the landscape in which we live. Looking outwardly into the landscape, we expand not only our horizons but the horizons of those that share and live in our community.
As a gardener, when I look from my garden to the distant and adjacent landscape features, my garden expands exponentially.

We are called to live outside of ourselves. Called to by Jesus
into the landscape that surrounds us. We are called to love and serve one another, to be authentic, exciting and embracing.

My six this Saturday are 6 borrowed landscapes viewed from my own garden.
IMG_1056.JPG

Upward borrowing – The evening Sky.

IMG_1054.JPG

Adjacent borrowing – Mature trees in the nearby cemetery.

IMG_1053.JPG

Adjacent borrowing –  Tress in the neighbour’s garden expands our garden view.

IMG_8269.JPG

Adjacent borrowing – Corylus avellana Contorta(  Twisted hazel)  is high on my wish list for my own garden. I love its twisted branches and enjoy looking at this plant from over the fence.

IMG_1058

Adjacent borrowing – Tress in the neighbour’s garden expands our garden view.

IMG_8270.JPG

Adjacent borrowing – Betula pendula, ( silver birch)  This tree is a few gardens away but its stunning and makes my Ginko tree in the foreground  look rather small.

Mark 6-15
And he said to them, ” Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”.

Advertisements

The Happy Prince.

Last weekend I watched Rupert Everet’s film “ The happy prince”, the story of Oscar Wilde’s last few days.
Wilde’s body ailing and his mind spinning from past to present day we learn something about this poet and how during his time in prison he found God. A spiritual renewal, a fresh start – to be reborn.
Wilde upon release planned to turn his life around. Be a father to his sons, live once again as a family with his wife Constance. The film showed that while Wilde had faith he had hope.
Living in France Wilde’s old vices soon turned his life upside down, leaving him broken and in poverty.
As death becomes closer his friend/ lover Robbie Ross called for a priest at Wilde’s request. The priest spends time with Wilde, baptising him just before he dies. It showed how grace can transform and redeem us even when our pain is self-inflicted.
One question from the film has stayed with me. The priest asked the dying Wilde “ where did you lose your faith?”
I have been asking myself this all week, When did I lose my faith?
I have eventually found what was possibly my moment when things started to change, I was aged about 7. It was a baking hot day as it is today ( maybe that helped the memory ). I was dressed for the weather wearing shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops.
My sister I were playing that silly game of ringing the doorbell and running away. I can’t remember which one of us rang our front doorbell. I can’t remember my angry mum answering the ring.
I do remember running in flip-flops on a gravel path and falling over.
I remember the two bloody gravel filled knees, and the blood-soaked pillow from the large bleeding gash on my head. I was very scared and frightened.
I remember being told God was paying me back for ringing the doorbell and running away.
As a child I heard:  I’m bad and Gods mad at me, God made me fall over, God is why I am scared and hurting, God is causing me all this pain. I am so scared.

As an adult, I understand that God never dressed me in flip-flops that morning.  It was our free will that started the silly doorbell game.
As an adult, I have seen how God uses the circumstances we find ourselves in for good. It does no matter how impossible these circumstances seem.
God heals our wounds, brings us comfort and guidance. But best of all he brings love. Holds us in our pain so we in turn can hold others in pain and distress.
Everything does happen for a reason. I feel over as I was running scared in flip-flops.

My parents knew nothing of Gods grace and how that grace changes everything. It would be another 36 years before I would become transformed and my life enriched by God’s love and Grace.

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 14.28.38

Ephesians 2:8-10 Good News Translation .
8-9 For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. 10 God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.

Just Being.

Emotional stored up energy.
Focused and realised.
Freedom giving.
Boundaries broken.
Just being.

Mind wanders to silence.
Paths form and grow
Boundless and limitless.
Love Intensifies the silence.
Just being.

Spiritually connected
Phisically contained.
Hedges, fences.
Familiar paths.
Safety in the knowing.
Secure
Just being.

Would I.
Could I break out.
Smashing paths, trampling fences, distorting dreams.
Hurting all.
That’s not me.

Could I.
Should I be wild and reckless
Selfish.
Boundaries would be lost .
love would be hurt.
That’s not me.

Silence beyond just being.
Prayers that never utter a word.
Peace and freedom.
Love that pulls me, beyond my boundaries.
Thats me.
IMG_8147

June Drop

My garden is a big part of who I am, it’s complicated.
My moods and temperaments, my hopes and dreams are all reflected in the garden. It’s my visual soul. My garden connects me to Jesus,to my thoughts. It helps me sort out and understand the questions that wiz around in my head,

Six on Saturday. Six things, in my garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a tool, a job completed, a flower, a leaf, wildlife, a pest, a success, anything at all!

Here’s my Six for this week.

Brassica nigra. (Black Mustard)
As an outward sign of my faith, I wear a mustard seed set into a pink heart necklace.

“Matthew 17:20  (GNT)
“It was because you do not have enough faith,” answered Jesus. “I assure you that if you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this hill, ‘Go from here to there!’ and it will go. You could do anything”

I used to visualise Black mustard as this massive plant with sunflower-like flowers tall and showy almost beyond reach, packed full of seed.
This year I sowed Black mustard seed.
As you can see from the picture it’s no giant. It looks like rape seed that litters our hedgerows and spreads from the farmer’s fields into our gardens.
My disappointment was short lived when I realised it’s not the size that makes the mustard seed so special. It’s what the mustard seed does – it spreads and grows easily.
If we live our faith as a mustard seed we don’t grow upwards and flower out of reach,
We flower where all can see, sharing and spreading our faith as far as possible.
That’s what I found so amazing: the potential of that one little seed.
I am going to spread mustard plants all around my neighbourhood. I might not be popular but I will be a conversation starter.

IMG_0929

Aruncus dioicus
(please correct me if it’s not)
I inherited this from the previous keepers of my garden.
It’s stunning this time of year so deserves a mention today.
4292F17C-4D3D-4D6F-9065-775397CE895D

Malus Domestica – Bradley’s seedling.
My apple tree will be on a mission to self-distrust during June ( June drop ). Dropping what it knows it cannot hold.
I am holding to much, trying not to drop, trying not to cry and just carry on. I need to stop pray and drop my pains and offer them to God.
I need to take advice from my apple tree.

IMG_0926

Phacelia tanacetifolia
It’s amazing how we are subconsciously drawn to what pleases us. Plants in the Boraginaceae family always attract me. They also attract the bees.
This little pot bound beauty will be found a space in my garden.A place her roots can grow and she can thrive.

IMG_0927

Actinidia deliciosa

deliciosa means ‘delicious tasting’ with reference to the fruit.

This kiwi is planted in my garden at the point where I journey and move from one garden room into another.
The kiwi is that fruitful gateway.
The trouble is the kiwi it needs support and training. At the moment it rambles in its own direction. I am constantly pulling it out of trees, encouraging it to grow in a less wild way. Without support it will never be fruitful.

IMG_0925

Persicaria affnis

This little plant quietly flowers for most of the summer. It’s simple leaf and pink flower spikes grow around the edge of my pond. I like its simpleness and its dependability.

IMG_0930

Love is Patient.

My garden is a big part of who I am, it’s complicated.
My moods and temperaments, my hopes and dreams are all reflected in the garden. It’s my visual soul. My garden connects me to Jesus,to my thoughts. It helps me sort out and understand the questions that wiz around in my head,

Fellow blogger off the edge gardening has just shared her six on Saturday. Six things, in my garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything – a tool, a job completed, a flower, a leaf, wildlife, a pest, a success, anything at all!

Here’s my Six for this week.

Echium Pinnana
This giant Bi annual should have flowered. It’s two years old healthy great big leaves but no flower spike.
It’s a good reminder that we flower and fruit in Gods time not our time.
IMG_8145

Ginkgo Biboba
This is one of my favourite trees. It was the first tree I planted in my garden when we brought the house. Extract from the leaves are said to prevent age related memory loss.
That’s just one of the reasons I love this tree.I need it in my life and in my garden.

IMG_8148

Captalpa Bignoniodes
Another big tree, the latin name Bigniniodes sort of gives this away.
Yesterday’s blog was about how I am scared of the big. Today looking at the plants in my garden Its obvious that I enjoy the challenge of growing big. I embrace the unusual, the bigger the stranger the better.
This tree is planted totally in the wrong place but I love the statement that it makes “ Big is good “.

IMG_8149
A reflection on today.
It’s a picture about journeying going from one place to another trusting God. Even through I can’t see the destination it’s ok. Even if that distinction scares me it’s ok.
Even if the light is two bright for me to see with my eyes that’s also ok. It’s my heart that sees and feels Gods light. And it’s that love in my heart that I follow and listen to.

IMG_8147

Ficus Carcia
Yesterday this Fig tree was being deprived of light from a very overgrown Rowan tree.
In Pruning the Rowan tree I removed its fruit. The pruning will gave the fig tree light so it’s fruit can ripen.
Following Jesus means I have to make sacrifices. I can’t be fruitful if I’m being chocked by others and deprived of light.

IMG_8146

Leucanthemum Vulgare.
In plant symbolism the ox eye daisy represents patience.
I love all what this plant stands for. The beauty in the normal. Finding beauty in what others may see as Vulgare ( common ).

IMG_8142

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Good News Translation (GNT)

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud;  love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs;  love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

I’m scared.

Its the enormous hugeness of God, asking me to step out of my comfort zone. That vastness and endless seam of love overwhelm’s me.
I’m scared.
My heart beats so fast, my eyes fill with tears. I know God loves and believes in me. That’s what scares me. God who sees all believes in me.
I don’t know how to do this.
The old me would just slip away into the distance, remain silent and hidden.
I can’t hide and I don’t want to hide.
Yet I can’t join up my own thinking, I fumble my words. My brain goes runny, I say the opposite to whats in my head. I look at the emails: the words, the process of exploring vocation, my mind going into a panic. It’s beyond my thinking, but not beyond God.
I want to find the courage to embrace the feelings that I have instead of being scared of them.
God is calling me to “be more” and “do more” with my life than I could ever have imagined. God’s dreams are bigger than my own. I know that I can’t do this by myself. I am being challenged and stretched. I want to be the person God wants me to be and that petrifies me.

image1.JPG
Jeremiah 29:11 (GNT)
I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus.
Last year I pledged to pray for families; children in the care system and those involved in adoption. ( Thy kingdom come 2017)

This year I pledge to pray for five people. Praying that they will know Jesus. That their lives will be transformed just as Jesus has transformed my life.
I have decided to buy 5 roses one for each of my special people. A rose bearing their name. As  I grow and nurture the rose I will pray for the named person.
Praying for these people starts today. The journey and adventure of sourcing the roses the love and care I give to each rose will be reflected in my prayers. Prayers that will go far beyond the 10 days of Thy Kingdom Come.

SARAH VAN FLEET
Rugosa Rose

IMG_8001

PLEINE DE GRÂCE
Rambling Rose

IMG_8002

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Floribunda
IMG_8003

Auspoly
CHARLOTTE
IMG_8005

 Rebecca – Patio Rose

IMG_8004