Saturday, April 24, 2010

Watering by moonlight

I did not get to spend as much time in the yard today as I hoped. The first large task of the day was taking the car in for servicing. As it turned it, it was getting on time to replace the timing belt, balancer shaft belt, and water pump. I am so grateful that yesterday was payday. I was at the dealer's for somewhere between four and five hours.

Fortunately, I took a good book to read: Simon Singh's Big Bang. Singh's writing reminds me so much of my astronomy professor in college, whom students adored. He assumes the reader is intelligent but knows little or nothing about the history of cosmological thought. So he provides a tour of that history, very easily readable, and one gains a sense of how we got from Eratosthenes to today. The principles of astronomy and physics are explained simply along the way with helpful illustrations. I only got about a third of the way through the book and know it will take me a long time to reach the end, but based on what I have read today I commend it to anyone who is interested.

I then headed to Trader Joe's to do grocery shopping and Home Depot for more compost and mulch. I went home and planted three more sections of the garden, then headed out to Lowe's for more compost and a look at their plants. I came home with herbs to plant in the two huge pots I bought a week ago. Then I planted around the cherry tree and watered the yard. The sun had set when I returned from Lowe's and by the time I finished watering the moon was high overhead, the solar lights in the garden were all on, and it was almost dark.

No time to take photos today but I promise I will take them tomorrow.

The blue and purple flowers are in now, along with the yellow flowers at the base of the yellow Lady Banks rose that is going to blossom tomorrow, just in time for my brunch guests. The orange and white flowers were looking at me reproachfully but their turn will come tomorrow.

Now it is on to laundry, some kitchen cleaning, a bite for supper, and assessing my aching body, soil-encrusted fingers, and scratches from rose thorns. Quite gratifying, actually. I am going to cut myself some slack and move the ironing to the guest room where it can hide until I have time and energy for it.

That's today's story and I'm sticking to it.

--the BB

White smoke: Habemus episcopum!

The Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Vono, Rector of St. Paul's Within the Walls, Rome, was elected on the third ballot to be the next Bishop of the Rio Grande.

Here are his "who I am" comments on the diocesan website (where you can also see the results of balloting):
I was born in Providence, RI, the second of four children in a close-knit family. I had a clear sense of vocation from an early age, and my sixteen years of seminary formation included Catholic, Protestant and Anglican theological training. I completed my doctoral degree in Congregational Studies in 1986. My spiritual gifts are pastoral care, community building, administration, preaching and evangelism.

As Curate in an inner-city multicultural church, I lived with people in crisis, transition, conflict, and confusion. I learned how to be a shepherd, counselor, and friend, as my parishioners struggled to recognize God in their personal wildernesses. My primary responsibility was to parish and local youth, mostly African and Spanish, as well as to newly married couples and the elderly, visiting hospitals and nursing homes. I came to understand how preaching the Gospel, the sacraments, pastoral care and building community effectively changed lives and inspired hope and faithfulness.

As its Vicar, the ‘bedroom community’ of Christ Church, Leicester taught me the value of living in a spiritually intimate community. I began to concentrate on congregational development, and studied at Hartford Theological Seminary. I learned that I had the pastoral gifts to bring an economic mix of people together, enable pastoral visioning and inspire positive results in conflict management situations. I learned how to be a priest, pastor and teacher at Christ Church. In my twelve years there I learned to appreciate the uniqueness of every relationship and love the complex diversities of the Body of Christ.

Now as Rector of St. Paul’s, Rome, I live and work with people of diverse cultures and religious backgrounds. My church is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, ecumenical and interfaith community. Our ministries include the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, a sizable Latin American community, service to the elderly poor of the city as well as displaced youth. At the center of our mission and witness is a profound ministry of radical hospitality.

My spiritual and physical disciplines include praying and studying Scripture/theology each morning and taking physical exercise each day. I meet with my spiritual director monthly, and make a monastic retreat each year. I love community gatherings, theatre, music, travel and writing, and nothing invigorates me more than a challenge.

I give thanks for his election and look forward to his leading this diocese into a new era of mission and ministry.
To you, O Father, all hearts are open; fill, we pray, the heart of this your servant whom you have chosen to be a bishop in your Church, with such love of you and of all the people, that he may feed and tend the flock of Christ, and exercise without reproach the high priesthood to which you have called him, serving before you day and night in the ministry of reconciliation, declaring pardon in your Name, offering the holy gifts, and wisely overseeing the life and work of the Church. In all things may he present before you the acceptable offering of a pure, and gentle, and holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and power and glory in the Church, now and for ever.

--From the ordination prayer for a bishop, BCP, 521.

--the BB

Friday, April 23, 2010

Heart thread - 04/23/2010

Susankay asks our prayers for her dear friend Lennie: "Prostate cancer and now metastases to bone cancer and lymph gland involvement. A year without chemo or two years with. He and long time partner are planning a celebration of their upcoming marriage in August and it would be nice of God to let him feel well for that. Prayers for Lennie and Nancy his about-to-be wife."

For Leonardo Ricardo recuperating from eye surgery, that sound healing and good eyesight may result.

For those who have evidently perished in the oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana, for all who love them, and for all who risk their lives in their work. [h/t to Mimi]

Giving thanks for Tobias:
While some play with distinctions between covenant and contract, I think we would do well to expend more time with words better suited to the music we sense deep within us: words like holiness and blessing, gift and grace, and above all, Love.
For all persons of color in Arizona, sobretodo por mis hermanos Latinos.

For all women in Oklahoma.

For the people of Thailand caught in civil turmoil.

For the people of Iraq as a wave of bombings strikes.

For the people of Nicaragua. [El conflicto político de Nicaragua se acentúa ]

For the people of the UK during elections.

For the Roman Catholic Church that it may experience healing, and especially for the victims of abuse in every church community. [Pédophilie : l'évêque de Bruges confesse et démissionne ]

For Kathy, scheduled for surgery next Friday, that she may be relieved of pain and anxiety until then.

For Scott, heading eastward to start a new chapter in his life.

For JimB following leg surgery that he may recover swiftly and fully.

For John and Raven while John is in hospital in transition between stages of clinical trials.

For St Mark's huge sale tomorrow that many local families will be helped with the proceeds.

For two of my friends named Susan celebrating birthdays.

For Göran, belatedly, on his saint's day (Friday).

Please add your own intercessions and thanksgivings in the comments.

Another great quote from Margaret

--the BB

I ask your prayers

O Holy Spirit, by whose breath
life rises vibrant out of death:
Come to create, renew, inspire;
Come kindle in our hearts your fire.

You are the seeker's sure resource,
of burning love and living source,
Protector in the midst of strife,
Thou giver and the Lord of Life.

In you God's energy is shown,
to us your varied gifts made known.
Yours is the tongue and yours the ear.
Teach us to speak, teach us to hear.

Flood our dull senses with your light;
in mutual love our hearts unite.
Your power the whole creation fills;
confirm our weak, uncertain wills.

From inner strife grant us release;
turn nations to the ways of peace.
To fuller life your people bring
that as one body we may sing:

Praise to the Father, Christ the Word,
and to the Spirit: God the Lord,
to whom all honor, glory be
both now and for eternity.
--Attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856)
Hymn 502 in The Hymnal 1982
Following is the agenda for the Electing Convention, April 24, 2010 to be held at the Cathedral of St. John:

Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande
Cathedral of St. John
Albuquerque, New Mexico
April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Noon – 7:00 p.m.

Convention Registration Opens (Cathedral Gallery)
Delegate certification, Distribution of badges

Saturday, April 24, 2010

7:00 a.m. Convention Registration Continues (Cathedral Gallery)
8:00 a.m. Convention Convenes with seating of delegates (Cathedral Nave)
Introduction and Explanations of procedures
Quorum Report
8:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist, beginning with Confession and Absolution (Cathedral Nave)
9:00 a.m. Liturgy of the Word (Cathedral Nave)
Collect and Prayer for discernment
First Ballot, followed by hymn
9:45 a.m. Report of First Ballot (Cathedral Nave)
Break/Prayerful Discerning Conversation
Reading of the First Lesson and Psalm
Prayer for discernment, Second Ballot
10:30 a.m. Report of Second Ballot (Cathedral Nave)
Break/ Prayerful Discerning Conversation
Reading of the Epistle and the Gospel
Prayer for discernment, Third Ballot
11:15 a.m. Report of the Third Ballot (Cathedral Nave)
Break/Prayerful Discerning Conversation
Nicene Creed and Prayers of the People
Prayer for discernment, Fourth Ballot
12:00 p.m. The Peace (Cathedral Nave)
Break for Lunch
1:00 p.m. Report of Fourth Ballot (Cathedral Nave)
Balloting Continues, as needed
The Holy Eucharist begins at the election of a Bishop.

The signing of acclamation documentation occurs during communion as electors come forward to receive communion.

May the grace and mercy of the Holy and Lifegiving Trinity descend upon the clergy and delegates of the Diocese of the Rio Grande as they prayerfully elect a new bishop. May God the Father, Wellspring of life and goodness, sustain and uphold them. May God the Son, Word and Wisdom, illumine them and draw their hearts together in charity. May God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the faithful, purify their passions and turn their hearts to seeking the divine will. May their thoughts be of the reign of God, the mission of the Church, and the suffering world beloved of God and in need of Good News and healing. May the diocese love, support, and pray for the new bishop and may the next Bishop of the Rio Grande be attuned to the heart of God, the health of the Church, and the sanctification of all things. Amen.

--the BB

God does not like this

Our neighboring state of Arizona has waded into the deep end of the racist pool:
Key provisions of Arizona's immigration legislation, signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday:
_ Makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally by specifically requiring immigrants to have proof of their immigration status. Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Repeat offenses would be a felony.
_ Requires police officers to "make a reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of a person if there is a "reasonable suspicion" that he or she is an illegal immigrant. Race, color or national origin may not be the only things considered in implementation. Exceptions can be made if the attempt would hinder an investigation.
_ Allow lawsuits against local or state government agencies that have policies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws. Would impose daily civil fines of $1,000-$5,000. There is pending follow-up legislation to halve the minimum to $500.
--Associated Press

Allow me to cite my authority for saying God does not like this:

One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
--Exodus 12:49

Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
--Leviticus 24:22

One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.
--Numbers 15:16

Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
--Numbers 15:29

As Stephen Colbert so aptly observes:
Harassing Latinos with racial profiling isn't an inevitable side effect of Arizona's anti-immigration law -- it's the entire point.

The Colbert Report

--the BB

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flush from physical exertion

Let's face it: I'm a slug. A couch potato. A desk jockey. So tonight I can actually feel that I am flush from working in the yard. Much like the feeling after a good workout.

It rained this afternoon but mercifully did not rain this evening when I got home. The sky was dark and gray and the air cold but the fierce winds and rain held off. So I did what I had planned to do: finish planting the north wall border. Very intensively, crowding those little planties together. I know that as they grow some of the smaller ones will lose out but that's OK. The idea here is a solid mass of growing stuff in lovely colors.

There are orange Asiatic lilies and orange dahlias, pink dahlias, pale yellow snapdragons, two Spanish lavenders and three roses (a pink Meidiland, Peace, and Miss American Beauty). A white salvia and a pale orchid pincushion flower, crimson dianthus and even darker red sweet William, red verbena, a couple of calibrachoa (small flowers like miniature petunias), and probably a couple of other items.

I also put three cleome (spider flowers) at the base of the jasmine. The color and shape seem like a nice complement to the jasmine blossoms.

There are still about thirty plants waiting in my kitchen to go into the yard. You need not wonder what I will be doing with my Friday night. Saturday will probably involve pruning, deadheading, mulching, tidying, and taking photos. Sunday I am just going to enjoy it all with a friend who is coming to brunch.

A nice soak in the tub is coming up shortly to wash off the dirt, compost, and blood (there is no beauty without sacrifice).

Yes, I have been manic about the yard for the past couple of weeks. It is one way to get a slug to accomplish something. Sluggitude will return soon enough.

I can hear the rain resuming outside as the wind drives the droplets against my windows. Drink, little plants, and thrive!

May the beauty of nature touch each of you with joy, peace, healing, and delight.

--the BB

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday of the Myrrh-Bearers

When they heard
the words of holy joy
spoken by the Angels there seated
within the tomb of the Word,
they set forth and ran their course
with earnest effort and zeal.
And thus leaving their former rank
of myrrh-bearing women,
they were seen as heralds
who proclaimed good news to all.
Therefore the arising from Hades
of Him Who for our sake became man
did the women preach
to His initiates.

--Wednesday of the Third Week, Vespers, Pentecostarion

--the BB

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Plant your feet in the earth and grow

As I noted earlier tonight on Facebook, I did not even look at the roses on the way home from work. The perennials: well, they were precisely why I stopped and shopped. Columbine, coreopsis, scabiosa, spider flowers, marguerite daisies, and a few other items came home with me.

The jasmine is planted in the northwest corner now. You can smell it from fifteen feet away. For that matter, you can smell the lilacs out front every time you walk anywhere near my front porch. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.............

I am working now on the border along the north wall. I dug a trench this evening along about 40% of the area I want to plant, filled it with compost mixed with some of my sandy soil, and planted about nine species. Even that section is still rather incomplete and by the time I stopped it was getting dark and had been windy with a few raindrops. So no photos yet. Tomorrow I will dig and amend soil the rest of the way, provided I do not come home to a possible thundershower. There are many plants in the garage just waiting to be planted. I also have a few for the west wall, providing some color and substance at the base of the vines.

This, by the way, is what my back yard looked like when I moved in:

Sand and more sand. There were lots of tumbleweeds to deal with also.

Makes me appreciate more what it looks like now.

--the BB

Monday, April 19, 2010

Still at it

There will be a new gardening report in the not-too-distant future. I have decided to let myself run amok with intensive planting. It gives me too much joy not to. Planning the north wall now, which should end up being a border of lavender, roses, dianthus, snapdragons, and verbena. I picked up a jasmine vine to replace the bower vine that did not make it from last year. (I truly do want the west wall completely hidden by foliage in the summertime. I realize it will mostly be brown twigs in the winter.)

I also picked up two large pots that will hold a mix of herbs and showy flowers. These can "frame" the small concrete pad outside the dining room door.

I deadheaded roses planted a week ago and pruned vines a bit this evening. I also watered everything planted yesterday and a few other plants that looked as though they could use it.

Now I await that moment when I go to a garden center or nursery and hear voices in my head: a chorus of friends saying, "Step away from the rose bushes."

--the BB

Tuesday of the Myrrh-Bearers

The Deposition of Christ
attributed to Benedetto Caliari, c. 1577
via Wikimedia Commons

The noble Joseph,
taking Thine immaculate Body
down from the Tree,
and having wrapped It
in pure linen and spices,
laid It for burial
in a new tomb.
But on the third day
Thou didst arise, O Lord,
granting great mercy
to the world.


--the BB

Monday of the Myrrh-Bearers

Why do ye mingle tears
with the myrrh-oils,
O women disciples?
The stone hath been rolled away,
the sepulcher is empty.
Behold corruption
trodden under by Life,
the seals bearing clear witness,
the guards of the disobedient
fast asleep.
Mortal nature is saved
by the flesh of God,
Hades is lamenting.
Hasten ye with joy,
and say unto the Apostles:
Christ, the First-born from the dead,
Who caused death to die,
goeth before you into Galilee.


Χριστός Ανέστη εκ νεκρών,
θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας
και τοις εν τοις μνήμασιν,
ζωήν χαρισάμενος

--the BB

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heart thread - 04/18/2010

For Tammy who has surgery on her right eye tomorrow.

For Kathy who is scheduled for surgery at the end of the month, especially that she might be relieved of pain between now and then.

For Dennis recovering from surgery. Continued healing for Mother Sandra, Bruce, Dave, Mark, and so many others.

For John returning to the hospital tomorrow to complete the first phase of his clinical trial and transition into the second phase, that he and Raven~ may be well cared for and have grace throughout the various trials of such a process.

For young Declan and his family, let us continue to offer prayer. This seven-month-old boy is fighting cancer and he and his family need our love. You may follow their story here.

For the repose of the soul of Milton Singleton who died last Wednesday. His memorial service will be at San Gabriel this Tuesday at 10 AM. His sister Joyce Smith is a faithful member of San Gabriel and we want to hold all her family in prayer as they mourn this loss.

For Clay and Harold (read the story here). For the heartless bastards who treated them so shamelessly I pray a judicial two-by-four upside the head that will send witnesses reeling and warn others far and near never to do such a thing.

--the BB

Sunday of the rose-planting bear

In the category of "things left undone" we have a lavender plant and three Asiatic lilies that did not get planted today.

But I did put 57 plants in the ground in my back yard this afternoon, including all seven roses.

So here is a garden tour, starting with the lilacs blooming up above. All the photos in this post were taken this afternoon after a brief thundershower.

Angel Face rose planted last week.

China Doll rose surrounded with snapdragons, petunias, and one lone tulip.

I forget the name of this climbing rose. It is surrounded by Lemon Zest petunias (a new variety that I really like), marguerites, and sweet William.

I played with brightness and contrast on this one more than the slight adjustments I usually use so you can see features on the blog. These are Methley plums, little tiny bitty ones.

Circus rose surrounded by sweet William.

Marguerites. I think I need to get some more of these. They are so pretty.

This is a close-up of the climbing rose the name of which I cannot remember.

You will notice that though they are small there are lots and lots of peaches. I will have to thin them.

And this is an angled shot looking diagonally from the northeast toward the southwest corner of the yard. You can see most of the roses, of only partially, in this photo.

In a few more weeks it will be time to plant vegetables. They are available but I don't trust our frosts. I'm not even relaxed over my set fruit yet. We shall see.

I am enjoying this immensely and, being a greedy fellow, I will probably purchase and plant more flowers this week. For now I am about to enjoy an adult beverage and go soak in the tub. Thanks for joining the garden tour.

--the BB

לִרְאֹות֙ הֲפָֽרְחָ֣ה הַגֶּ֔פֶן

אֶל־גִּנַּ֤ת אֱגֹוז֙ יָרַ֔דְתִּי לִרְאֹ֖ות בְּאִבֵּ֣י הַנָּ֑חַל לִרְאֹות֙ הֲפָֽרְחָ֣ה הַגֶּ֔פֶן הֵנֵ֖צוּ הָרִמֹּנִֽים׃

I went down to the nut orchard,
to look at the blossoms of the valley,
to see whether the vines had budded,
whether the pomegranates were in bloom.
--Song of Songs 6:11

I took, and loved, folk dancing as an undergraduate. I memorized the songs in languages I did not understand and learned the steps well enough to teach them to others. I still sing some of those songs to myself when I am alone. One that I especially love is "El ginat egoz" (to the nut orchard) and though I have forgotten the steps I can still sing it. Having taken Hebrew in seminary I also know what the words mean, though I had very limited understanding when I memorized the song by rote.

I think of it today because of the phrase "lir'ot haparchah hagefen" (to see whether the vines had budded). As you can see in the photo above, the vines have indeed budded. You may need to click on the photo to enlarge it but we have little baby grapes already! Hard to believe we barely had emerging leaves by Easter Day.

I need to go take more photos as the rain has stopped. I unfortunately had the camera on the wrong setting as I rushed about taking photos of this weekend's handiwork while it started to sprinkle.

Be right back.

Here are two more shots: first of the flame seedless new leaves, then another closeup of the budding grapes on the Thompson seedless.

--the BB

Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women

At deep dawn,
the myrrh-bearing women
took sweet-smelling spices
and came unto the Lord's tomb.
And finding that which
they had not expected,
the stood piously pondering
the removal of the stone,
and said to one another:
Where are the seals of the sepulcher?
Where are Pilate's watchmen
and the secure sentry?
And and Angel, radiant as lightning,
proclaimed to the women
that whereof they were ignorant,
saying to them:
Why do ye with lamentation
seek Him that liveth and hath given life
unto the race of mortals?
Christ our God hath risen
from the dead,
since He is Almighty,
granting us all incorruption,
life, illumination, and great mercy.

--the BB