Grow Your Own

8 06 2012

One of the great things about this time of the year is the access we have to fresh produce. And while there is plenty to be found at the grocery store, local farm stand and farmer’s market, I need to go no further than outside my door to begin enjoying nature’s bounty. We have several small garden’s going this year and delicious organically grown veggies are quickly on the way.

I recently tried one of our homegrown strawberries. It was tiny but packed such an amazingly intense and sweet flavor, I could not believe it. The giant strawberries purchased at the store have nothing on these little wonders. Since I can remember, I have always loved strawberries. They are my favorite fruit. My grandmother told me a year ago or so that when she and her mother immigrated to the United States from Italy in the 1930’s, they initially went to work picking strawberries. So you see I’ve been genetically programmed to love them. it’s in my blood. I really hope though that we get a decent yield because the few that we have gotten so far have been an absolute (and fantastic tasting) tease!

Speaking of grandparents, mine have their garden in full swing again this year. This means that when I go over to visit them, I always leave with fresh, home grown produce. My grandfather, though in his 80’s, spends a huge amount of time in his garden. It is his pride, joy and therapy. I’ve been enjoying some of their sweet leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and several other varieties. I also am adding fresh dandelion to my salads. While I admit that i’ve never been much of a fan of it, since going plant-based I now try to eat a wide variety of different things in order to keep meals interesting.

The only downside to all of this fresh produce is the washing. I think I had to quadruple wash this latest batch. The piles of dirt at the bottom of the sink were the proof that all of the effort to clean had been necessary.

There is a certain satisfaction that comes from growing your own food both in the taste and the quality. I know that in our garden, the use of compost, compost tea, occasional garden maintenance and regular conversations with the plants goes a very long way towards bigger yields. And the act of gardening itself can be a really nice stress reliever. Admittedly,I have not been the guy who has toiled out in our garden this year. But when I have gotten my hands dirty, I have continued to find a peace that comes with it. As if the generations of landscapers and gardeners of my family have smiled down on me. My great grandfather used to say “a cool breeze is God’s air conditioner”. I think of that often when a slight wind picks up in the midst of harvesting our bounty on a hot summer’s day. I’ll probably never be the gardener that my grandfather is or that his father was before him. But I’m happy to grow what I can. I’m fortunate at the age of 37 to have three living grandparents. Growing your own food and enjoying vegetables and fruits was one of the great things I have learned from them.

Look Within, Without and See God

6 03 2012

I personally feel that there is a spiritual component to all things in life and this is also true for health, wellness and dieting. I’m not posting this to push my beliefs on anyone but instead because it rings very true to me. The fact that an independent catholic priest (and friend of mine) wrote it makes it that much more special. I subscribe to the idea that the Creator is not separate from us but is found in all things. When I see life this way, I feel more connected to everything around me and also to myself. I hope that this will resonate with some of you like it does for me:


Imagine. . . Image if all that we have been taught about the presence of God as being “in heaven,” different from us, always other than us is totally wrong? What if the incarnation is real — real like my monthly mortgage payment? What if God is totally enwrapped in us and we in God (as St. Patrick’s Breastplate suggests), now, all the time — in us and in everyone else in every circumstance and happening (including my mistakes and my hidden shames)?

What if mortal death is an awareness of this realization and a more immediate participation in this ongoing nearness? What if our dead relatives and friends and neighbors and everyone else are still with us (love is eternal), just in a different presence, but still with us? What if the Eucharist that we hold in our hands is just as much about our hands as it is the Sacred Bread?

What if we have taken the stories of Jesus “going up into heaven” and his return in glory (Matt 25) far too literally? What if the question of the “two men dressed in white garments” that we read in the first chapter of Acts is the same question asked of us: “why are you standing there looking at the sky?” (Acts 1:11)

Rev. Fr. Bill Freeman

Inherit Your Destiny

14 02 2012

Received this in an email today:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we
are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most
frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented,

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small
does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so
that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine,
as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within
us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light
shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As
we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson, author

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