lessons learned: ripples on a pond

This past week, I had the honor of accompanying our youth group on their Carolina Cross Connection mission trip.  It was a week that exceeded any expectations I had for their growth and mine.  I continue to be in awe of how God awakens us to this world when we are willing to put our faith into action.

Every morning before leaving camp, we engaged in Morning Watch, a time to be alone in nature and with our Creator.  Typically, during this opportunity, I spent time praying and journaling in preparation for the day ahead.  This week, I thought I would share some thoughts on the CCC experience.  ~cameron

 

July 7, 2014CCC.pond

As I sit here by the pond during Morning Watch, I am blessed by a simple but stunning view of the reflection up on the water. During my time of meditation, I notice bugs, fish and tadpoles creating ripples in the surface. The circles begin with one small movement and yet widen as they grow in size

My prayer this week for my Christian Mission Group (CMG) and the Skyland Youth is that they will appreciate the God-given opportunities offered to them during this mission trip—learning skills that challenge us all—humility, patience, and openmindedness. More than anything, I pray that their lives are touched by the people they serve—that they come to appreciate that we are all wounded or hurting or seeking God’s light, that we all want to be touched by the hand of God in some way.

I sit and watch the ripples on the water and think of my kids and the people we will serve today. We are not so unalike in the eyes of our Maker, for through Jesus, God showed us that we all have light to share within this world.

Before I depart, I look across the water’s surface and notice something. The circles beside each other grow wider and end up intersecting to create a common ground—a place where the ripples connect and combine to become one entity.

I close my prayer by asking God to allow each of us to share and receive this kind of connection with those we serve so that we create a common ground within our communities—a common ground founded in the love and light of God’s grace, a common ground that will awaken us to becoming the servants God has called us to be.

CCC Week 4, Day 1, Camp McCall

tips for your next trip to the farmer’s market

So you’ve found your local market, and you’re ready to head out–what’s next?

Seattle Farmers’ Market, Spring 2009

  • Give yourself plenty of time!  There’s so much to see and explore.  The market is not like the grocery store–it’s not about getting in and out with the necessities.  Take the time to get to know both the food and the folks.
  • Take a bag or two.  They may have some plastic bags from the grocery store or brown paper lunch bags, but it will be much easier if you take a “green” cloth bag that can hold several different items.
  • Take cash and preferably, in small bills, and keep it easily accessible.  It will make for easier shopping.
  • If your market is not covered, prepare for the weather.  Sunscreen and a hat might be in order on those warm summer days.
  • Be aware that farmers have different personalities and salesmanship.  Some will invite you to inspect the food; others will clearly give you the stink eye if you start digging through their peach basket.  Also, I never initiate bargaining with a farmer–I just don’t feel right about taking money out of their pockets.  If they offer to lower the price (like at the end of the day), I’ll graciously accept.
  • And speaking of the end of the day–want to go when there are fewer people and possible deals?  Hit the market at the very end of the day.  Want to  get the freshest choices and have first pick?  Head out in the early morning.
  • Remember that there’s not necessarily a traffic flow at the market like you’d find in a grocery store.  Be respectful of those around you and aware of how people are moving to see the food and make purchases.
  • Appreciate the farmer’s time–he or she may be the only person working the booth or stall which means he or she

    WNC Farmers’ Market from http://www.activerain.com

    will be answering questions, bagging food, making sales, etc.  Asking for special samples or asking a lot of questions may cause the farmer (and those around you) a bit of stress.

And what I consider the most important tip–thank the farmer who has grown this amazing food for you.  These folks are offering you the opportunity not only to live a healthy lifestyle but also connect with the community.   It’s a wonderful outing, and you’ll find it so much more enjoyable than rolling a cart up and down aisles of an indoor store.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run make my list–Saturday’s just around the corner!

the value of keeping quiet

Sometimes, simple poetry becomes my prayer for the day.  Here is one of my favorites~

Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.sitting in creek

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.

Life is what it is about…

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with
death.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

lessons learned: tomato cages and friendship

This week, I have experienced the unconditional care and support of friends.  Sometimes, if you are lucky, you find friends who take you as you are. I consider it “grace” when they see all that, love on you, and accept you in all your brokenness anyway.

I am reminded of this meditation from 2 summers ago.  Given that I just put in the tomato starts this week, I think it’s a good time to repost.  take care~cameron

 

Last night, a handful of us headed over to the community garden at our church. You see, our woman’s group decided to become the seed planters, literally and figuratively speaking, for a new ministry with and in the community where we live.  It is a “baby step” project with commitment, faith, and dreams that will carry it beyond this first year of poor soil, weeds and groundhogs.

My goal last night was to create chicken wire cages to prop up the tomato plants heavy with fruit.  You see, we’ve had rain the last few days, and if you know anything about tomatoes, all that water creates food filled with juice.  Between Saturday and yesterday, the plants appeared to be heavy in mind, body and spirit calling out to me, “Help!”tomatoes SUMC

I was the first to arrive and began working on the project on my own, and not so effectively I might add.  If you’ve never unrolled chicken wire, it can be a doozy to keep straight without the help of another person.  That statement doesn’t even capture what it’s like to cut it in pieces.  They snap off, flying every whicha way so that my legs this morning look as if our cat used my body for her scratching post.

After a bit, however, a friend arrived.  Yay!  In no time, we were working together to unroll, cut, and place the cages then tie up the tomatoes with twine.  With the help of two other women and two budding little farmer girls, we steadied 32 plants by the end of the evening.

Before we left, I stood at the edge of the garden.  I thought about those tomato cages and how they are like friendship.

Sometimes, life showers us with situations that leave us heavy in mind, body and spirit.  We become droopy and fatigued, wondering if we can bear the weight of it all.  Then come our friends.  They can’t take away the burden, but they gather around us and prop us up–through kind words, gentle hugs, quiet reassurance, and mindful prayer, helping us to grow and blossom and lighten our load.