Garden Seminar at the Mustard Seed House, Indiana, Hood River and others

This Saturday I will be conducting a Spirituality of Gardening seminar at the Mustard Seed House.  The front porch is bulging with lettuce, Chinese greens, cabbage, cauliflowers and broccoli all anxious like me to finally get out into the garden.  Each time I conduct one of the seminars I learn more about God and the story of God as it is woven through our world.  Come join with the many others who are connecting to God in the garden.  Would love to share with you.

Bishop Rickel, Episcopal bishop of Olympia comments : I am pleased to recommend the work of Christine Sine. Over the last of couple years, I have grown to deeply appreciate her spiritual insights and knowledge. Community gardening has been an important faith based response to the recession and her work on spirituality and gardening is important for anyone who wants to engage their spiritual practice with stewardship of the land.

Or you might like to consider one of these other options

Goshen Indiana – half day seminar at AMBS – Contact Janeen Bertche Johnson – for details

Hood River Oregon April 30th

Camas WA May 1st (half day)

New York May 14th (full day)




Thanking God for the Gift of Water

Yesterday was baptism day at our church and I wast struck by profound meaning of the words for blessing the water from the Book of Common Prayer.  It is part of the service that we say together as a reaffirmation of our baptismal vows.

I could not help but think of these words again as I took my morning shower and made my morning cup of tea.  These too are baptismal moments, refreshing, renewing and bringing life.  And as I go out with my watering can onto the porch, here too I experience baptism as I sprinkle them with water and give them life.

Water is essential to life.  In so many ways it cleanses and gives life to us each day and in every moment.  Yet we can so easily take it for granted, missing the richness of these sacramental moments that remind us constantly of our covenant with God and reassure us of the cleansing of souls that has taken place through baptism.  So as sit with your cup of tea of coffee this morning, give thanks for the gift of water.

We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation.  Through it you led the children of Israel our of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise.  In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life.

We thank you, Father for the water of Baptism.  In it we are buried with Christ in his death.  By it we share in his resurrection.  Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. …

Off the the NW Garden Show

Yesterday I spent most of the day at the NW flower and garden show.  Some of the display gardens are phenomenal with huge trees and logs that take cranes to lift and place them.  I came home wondering how on earth it is all put together in the 72 hours they have before the show to do so.  So thought that you might enjoy these videos of the setting up of a major flower show

This second video is a time lapse slideshow of the entire set up and tear down process.  Well worth a watch.  Makes me feel that my gardening is totally effortless and boy am I glad for that

Prayers for the Week

Here are the prayers from Light for the Journey for this week.  Most of the prayers this week were inspired by reading Ann Voskamp’s A Thousand Gifts or by my heartache over the loss of a friend in the Christchurch earthquake.  I am finding more and more that writing and reciting prayers when I am both filled with joy or overwhelmed with pain intensifies my sense of intimacy with God.

God may we savour what each moment holds
Precious time that urgently calls us to slow
May we enjoy each cathedral moment before it bursts
May we give thanks and see God

God may we live fully in the present moment
Hungry to taste the life that is now
To see in every sight a cathedral giving glory
To hear in every sound angels singing Alleluhia


Enter today what God places before you you
Do not hurry, do not worry do not let busyness consume you
Do not waste God’s greatest gift
Make room for the One who is the source of life


May I know God’s love in my heart
Bringing truth, showing justice, freeing from oppression
May I choose wisely making decisions with justice in mind
And go forward into the paths of God’s commandments


Pour out your peace O God, may it seep deep into my mind
Pour out your love O God, may it seep deep into my heart
Pour out your life O God, may it seep deep into my being
and make me whole


Merciful God may your love rest on us today
Compassionate Christ may your life flow through us today
Forgiving Spirit may your power transform us today
God of the universe rest on us, flow through us, transform us


God we give thanks for you are always with us.
You are comfort the aches of our hearts
You stay close in the pain of our suffering
You are present in the lostness of our abandonment
We praise you God for when the going gets tough you are always with us


Life is too Urgent to Live Fast

I continue to savour Ann Voskamp’s book A Thousand Gifts. In fact I am reading through it for a second time, savouring the wisdom.  Life is too urgent to be lived fast, too important to be consumed in a blur of activity, too precious to not take notice of the God moments, the God love that bursts out in an unexpected hugs and unanticipated beauty.

It seems so important to meditate on things as I prepare for the season of Lent – not a time to give up but a time to learn to savour life in new ways.

I so need these constant reminders which I find embarrassing because you would think that by now I should have learned this lesson well.  After all it is what I speak and write about all the time – the rhythm of life that calls us to seasons of planting, growth, harvest and rest, the rhythm of each moment that calls us to take notice and praise God.

I realize that there are many depths to this understanding, they don’t all come at once.  They do need to be unfolded like the reading of a cherished book or the enjoyment of a favourite painting.  One of the amazing things about God is that we are never through being inspired, awed and humbled by the revelations that come to us often on a daily basis.  Our holy and eternal creator seems more complex and more difficult to nail down the longer I spend in trying to understand.  But that should not surprise me. My study of the human body should have prepared me for that.

On the surface the body is complex but in many ways fairly simple – the brain speaks as it were and the feet move.  It is only as we get into the complexity of organs and then into the even more intricate and complex workings of a cell that we realize it is not really as simple as that.  The hundreds and thousands of activities a cell performs are truly amazing.  And each cell must work together with many others – in the brain, along the nerves and into all the muscles of the body for our feet to move.  And the heart, the lungs and every other organ in our bodies get involved too.  Digging deep into the workings of a cell shows me that life is complex, interrelated and profound.  It shows me that just when I think I understand what is happening another process is revealed that turns all my thinking on its head.

So my lesson for today is – don’t hurry life is too precious not to take notice and savour of all that is happening, in and through and around us.

God may we savour what this moment holds

Precious time that urgently calls us to slow

May we enjoy each cathedral moment before it bursts

may we give thanks and see God

A Thousand Gifts from God

This last week I have been reading Ann Voskamp‘s delightful book A Thousand Gifts and have found it very hard to put down to get back to the other things I am meant to be doing. She starts with a dare: Could you write a list of a thousand things you love? Her recounting of how she puts this list together and what is on it is profound. – morning shadows across the old floors, wind flying cold wild in my hair, suds… all color in the sun.

Time is a relentless river.  It rages on, a respecter of no one.  And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of all my attention I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here… I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.  And when I’m always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter.  (p68)

We live so much of our lives distracted, thinking about the past, the future or what might have been.  Being present fully to each moment is not easy for us and so we miss the glory of God – God who is present in the rainbow colours of the suds in the sink, the crackle of pine cones in the fire, the whistle of the wind through my hair.  Unless we slow and take notice of these glorious previews of God’s presence and give thanks then we miss so much of the wonder and purpose of life.  Entering into the joy of the present moment completes the enjoyment and enriches our lives and our communion with God.

So this morning I started my own list – A thousand gifts from God – a thousand blessings that make me aware of the present moment and reveal the glory of God.  – snow on the rooftop slowly melting, a warm house on a cold morning, the smell of fresh ground coffee, a watery lick from my dog…. And as I sit hear reflecting on what I have written the world around me seems more alive, more translucent so that the glory of God shines through.  And I find myself wriitng a prayer:

God may I live today fully in the present moment

Hungry to taste the life that is now

May I slow don to look and listen, to give thanks

May I see in every sight a cathedral giving glory

May I hear in every sound angels singing alleulia

May I give thanks for the grandeur of God

Present in all that is, all that was and all that will be

Gratitude: A tribute to a Friend

Yesterday when I wrote my post Grieve with those that Grieve, I had no idea how close to home that would come.  I heard last night that a dear friend of mine was killed in the Christchurch quake.  He was working out in his garden when a rock from the nearby cliff fell on him.  He was 82 and had lived  rich life but it still makes me grieve deeply, not just for his family but for all that lost loved ones in this disaster.

Don and his wife Jocelyn were the first to draw me into a community of believers.  They rescued me from the austerity of the medical residents’ quarters at Christchurch hospital where I was working and offered me a place to live.  I was a complete stranger but they opened their homes and their hearts to me.  And I was one of many that they opened their home to.  The last time I was in Christchurch I stayed with Don and Jocelyn.  They had just had a Japanese businessman staying with them.  Jocelyn had met him while shopping in Christchurch and invited him home.

As I thought about this today I wondered Where would I be without Don and Jocelyn? Their welcome and inclusion of a stranger set my feet on an new path that eventually led to my call to the mercy ship Anastasis, my time in the refugee camps in Thailand and eventually my marriage to Tom and the wonderful life that I lead now.  I doubt that I would be such an advocate for community today if it were not for the foundations that they laid in my life.  And I wonder if my faith would have endured and become as strong as it is today without their open hospitality, strong encouragement and supportiveness.

Part of what this has done (and probably also a symptom of turning 60) is made me look back on my own life and ask the question:  What legacy do I want to leave behind? My prayer this morning is that when God calls me home I too can leave behind strangers as well as friends who have known God’s hospitality through my life.  May God welcome me as I am sure God has welcomed Don into a loving embrace with the words: Well done good and faithful servant


Selah Service on Camano Island

A special Lenten service featuring music, readings and silent prayer in the tradition of St. Patrick led by Jeff Johnson with violinist, Wendy Goodwin. St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church; 1318 E. State Hwy. 532; Camano Island, WA 98282. Childcare provided.
they will also present the service at St. Columba Episcopal Church the night before.
Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 7pm
26715 Military Road; Kent, WA 98032

Grieving with those that Grieve

This morning my heart is aching and I find myself grieving for all the pain and suffering ones of the world.

Last night there was an earthquake in Christchurch NZ where I once lived.  At least 65 people have been killed and many more injured.  What seems just as horrible is that the Christchurch cathedral, the iconic building of Christchurch has toppled.  For me this is very personal – I worked at the Christchurch hospital where people are being treated, i drove past Hagley Park where emergency shelters have been set up.  And I still do not know if any of my friends have been killed or injured.

This was not the only trauma to hit me this morning either.  The situation in the Middle East continues to boil.  The conflict in Libya is escalating and unrest is still spreading throughout the the Middle East and North Africa.  For some the main concern is that our gas prices will continue to escalate as long as these oil rich nations are in conflict.  Others grieve for friends and family caught in the unrest.  Yesterday we listened to a friend who works in the Middle East talk about the many followers of Christ he knows who are in the midst of what is going on – praying, hoping and participating as they feel led by God.

Of course there are other tragedies too that just don’t go away – the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake that still devastates the lives of millions, the starving families throughout the world whose plight is worsened by recession, rising costs and conflicts that destroy their ability to make even a small amount of money to provide for their families.

Strangely as I read through my twitter feed this morning this worldwide turmoil hardly seemed to exist – especially with many of those caught up in the world of church planting, youth work and Christian conferences.  Now I must be honest and admit that I did not spend long on twitter so I could have missed all the prayers and concerns that were being expressed but I don’t think so.  I know that in the midst of grief and heartache life must still go on but surely our focus and our concerns at this time should be redirected.

Following Christ is about engaging in the world in which we live – not just expressing its joy but entering in the pain, the brokenness and the agony as well.  Moving towards the season of Lent seems a good time to remind ourselves of this.  So my question for this morning is – how do the disasters and conflicts rocking our planet impact the way that you practice your faith, plant churches and develop new ministries?  How do we engage more fully in the pain and suffering of our world without burning out, suffering compassion fatigue or just losing our faith because we are overwhelmed?

Following Jesus – What Difference Does it Make?

Lent is almost here and we are fast approaching the season that most challenges us to reflect on our faith and the real cost of following Jesus.  Once again I want to invite you to participate with me in Lenten reflections that challenge us to take the call of God on our lives more seriously.  Last year we reflected on the theme Walking With Jesus Towards the Cross How Do we Follow?

This year my question is: Following Jesus, what difference has it made? Becoming a disciple of Christ is meant to impact every area of our lives so that we are transformed into the people that God intends us to be.  This is our opportunity to share with others the changes our faith has made and why we still follow Jesus.

If you would like to participate please email me or leave a comment below.  The rules are simple.   Please write an article of 500 – 700 words.  If you have your own blog please post your article there mentioning that it is part of this blog series and send me the link.  If you do not have your own blog but would like to contribute please email me your article.  I will post a new article each day with links to the appropriate blogs.  At the end of the week I will post  a complete list of posts that I have received with links to the appropriate blogs.  I ask that you also post this on your own blog each week.

I think that reflections like this can inspire, encourage and challenge others to take their faith more seriously.