We are Raising the Roof.

Garden seminar Port Townsend

Garden seminar Port Townsend

This last weekend was one of the busiest I can remember for a long time. On Saturday we were in Port Townsend where I conducted a garden seminar in the morning followed by an evening with my husband Tom on Port Townsend 2018. Tom has done this type of creativity workshop for many years and I am always impressed with the results. Participants came up with some wonderfully creative ideas on how their community can respond to the changing times and changing ways of where they live.

Sharing creative ideas Port Townsend 2018

Sharing creative ideas Port Townsend 2018

And as I walked around the beautiful garden our hosts Coe and Janet Hutchison have carved out of the overgrown mess they inherited I could not help but think of my current blog theme “Creating Sacred Space” . This is indeed a sacred space that they have created – a place of joy, serenity and closeness to God for them and for those who visit. And special for us to get together with friends we have not seen for a while. Check out more photos on facebook 

The team from Bainbridge arrives

The team from Bainbridge arrives

That evening we dashed back to Seattle so that we could drive up to Camano Island early to help with the raising of the beams for the roof of the our first Mustard Seed Village building. This too is a sacred space for me what the Celts would have called a thin space where heaven and earth seem to meet. I love to wander the land soaking its beauty and rejoicing in its serenity. I also loved being there for this next step in the development of the Mustard Seed Village. 

Huge bolts to hold it all together

Huge bolts to hold it all together

Working hard to get the beams up

Working hard to get the beams up

It is slow but awe inspiring progress and each step overwhelms me with the generosity and faithfulness of God. A dream that was lodged in Tom’s heart over 20 years ago is slowly coming to fruition. The dream has grown, changed and been shaped by the hands of God over the years and we are excited about its future. And the community that is forming around this dream as new volunteers come to help, is both encouraging and astounding. It seems that God brings exactly the people we need at the right time – experts who can get the job done properly. We appreciate your prayers as we work to complete this first structure. And hope you can join us for the 22nd Annual Celtic Retreat when we will dedicate the building. Lots more photos on Facebook

Beams are up and ready for the roof

Beams are up and ready for the roof

Spirituality of Gardening Seminar this Weekend

Last chance to sign up for the To Garden with God seminar at the Mustard Seed House on Saturday. Or contact me for details of the seminar in Port Townsend May 25th.

garden.seminar.2013

Practicing Resurrection – Get Out into God’s Creation

Spring has come

Spring has come

Spring is here – at least in the Northern Hemisphere and it makes me realize how important it is to connect the rhythm of our faith to the rhythm of God’s world. It was only when I sent Easter in the Northern Hemisphere for the first time that the wonder of the resurrection burst upon me. And even now I am awed by the blossoming of God’s world in a way that assures me resurrection really has happened and God’s new world has begun.

At lunch today I will once again be speaking on Spirituality and Gardening. The increasing popularity of this topic makes me realize how much others crave the same kind of connections between their faith and the world around them. As I always say in these seminars: In the Bible I read about the death and resurrection of Christ, in the garden I experience it. In the Bible I read about the abundance of God’s provision, in the garden I experience. The story of God is constantly being lived out God’s world, affirming who God is and who God intends us to be. 

Like me many urban dwellers have discovered the joys of vegetable gardening in the last few years and in the process have grown in their intimacy with God. Hopefully, they start small and then as their taste buds explode with the delight of vegetables straight from the garden something strange happens and they become obsessive about converting their lawn into edible vegetation.  There is nothing quite like the wonderful sweet flavour of tomatoes picked straight from the vine or of corn that has gone straight from plant to the pot.  And to experience the delight of leeks and carrots that have been dragged out of the frosty ground is out of this world.

Why has it taken us so long to discover what people in most other parts of the world have always known – store bought food just doesn’t taste real even when it is organic and “picked from the vine”.   Even a friend of ours who is a well known celebrity chef has just discovered in his 70s that food grown in your own backyard is better than any restaurant gourmet meal.

There are many other benefits to growing your own food too. Working in the garden gets us outside into God’s good creation.  As I mentioned in a previous post on nature deficit disorder, I don’t think that we realize the consequences to our health – both physical and spiritual of lives that are spent inside under artificial light.  Insomina, depression, and of course obesity are all linked to sedentary indoor lives.   A growing number of people are talking about nature deficit disorder. Kids in particular suffer from nature deficit disorder and as I talk about in this post: attention deficit disorder can be alleviated by encouraging kids to spend more time outdoors.

There is also evidence that exposure to soil bacteria could improve our health by boosting our immune system.  And believe it or not even Sniffing Compost Makes You Happy – Literally

Other studies suggest that just looking at nature can improve our health and reduce the time it takes us to recover from surgery.  So imagine what a difference a whole afternoon outside can do.

Getting our kids involved in the garden can have even more benefits. In her article Go Outside and Play: Four Reasons Why Exposure to Nature is Essential To a Child’s WellbeingSuzy DeYoung talks about the amazing health benefits of getting kids outside.   According to the EPA indoor air pollution is the US’s number one environmental health concern.  They encourage kids to get outside and play but I think that working in the garden can be even more beneficial.

There is also evidence that spending time outside in nature stimulates our creativity and imagination.  And gardening certainly adds to that creativity – because once we have produced all that food we need to work out what to do with it which means that we become more creative in our cooking and our preserving of food too.  At least that has been my experience.

 

Garden Seminar is Over

today I conducted my annual spirituality of gardening seminar at the Mustard Seed House. Had several people cancel because of sickness so a small but enthusiastic group.. I always learn so much from others who attend.

Spirituality of Gardening Seminar is Almost Here

Its almost time for the spirituality of Gardening Seminar May 5th at the Mustard Seed House and with the beautiful weather we have had in Seattle the garden is thriving – Register Now

This year’s Spirituality of Gardening seminar at the Mustard Seed House will be held May 5th. This year we have special discounts for students and alumni wanting to gain new spiritual insights and share gardening advice. It would be a great opportunity to check out the Mustard Seed garden, interact with our growing garden community and hear about the developments at the Mustard Seed Village.

Join in discussions about connections between community, spirituality and gardening. Explore the wonderful ways that God and God’s story are revealed through the rhythms of planting, growing and harvesting. Spiritual insights, practical advice for organic backyard gardeners and time for reflection will all enrich and deepen our faith. Come prepared to get your hands dirty as we will spend some time in the garden or in the greenhouse if the weather is inclement.

Register HERE today before all the spots are filled!


Spirituality of Gardening Seminar is Coming

Garden seminar is Coming

Garden seminar is Coming

Garden Seminar is Coming

I have been so focused on Lent, Holy Week and Easter that I have almost forgotten to mention the garden seminar coming up at the beginning of May.

This year’s Spirituality of Gardening seminar at the Mustard Seed House will be held May 5th. I love facilitating this seminar and the opportunity to discuss how the story the story of God unfolds in the garden.

Explore the wonderful ways that God and God’s story are revealed through the rhythms of planting, growing and harvesting. Spiritual insights, practical advice for organic backyard gardeners and time for reflection will all enrich and deepen our faith. Come prepared to get your hands dirty as we will spend some time in the garden or in the greenhouse if the weather is inclement.

Bishop Gregory Rickel, Episcopal Bishop of Olympia says:

“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.”

This year we have special discounts for students and alumni wanting to gain new spiritual insights and share gardening advice. It would be a great opportunity to check out the Mustard Seed garden, interact with our growing garden community and pick up some garden starts.

Register HERE today before all the spots are filled!

There is still time to order garden starts too. The front porch of the Mustard Seed House here in Seattle is already bulging with plants – some germinating on heat mats, some under grow lights, others outside in our green house. Yesterday  was busy transplanting over 100 healthy looking tomato starts – red, yellow and even green and chocolate. Friends told me that our tomato plants were the best they have ever grown. We will also have a selection of other plants available for purchase when you pick up your vegetable starts at the end of April or beginning of May.

Plants are all grown using organic soil and fertilizer. They come in 4″ coir fiber pots that are biodegradable. Proceeds from plant sales will help us establish the Mustard Seed Village.

Please download the order form, fill it in and return it to us as soon as possible so that we can get your plants started.

A Feast for the Eyes and Heart

This weekend spring finally came to the Pacific NW and I had the blessing of driving down to Hood River from Seattle – supposedly for work but it was such a feast for my eyes that it did not feel like work at all

 

Mt Hood in all its glory

From Hood River we drove down the Columbia Gorge on Sunday morning to Camas WA and the garden seminar at Camas Friends church.  I always learn something new at these seminars and this one was no exception.

Columbia Gorge

Much of our discussion revolved around the forming of community in the garden.  Gardening breaks down barriers across generations, social strata and ethnic divides.  It brings us together with a sense of co-operation that is in stark contrast to the competitiveness of most of our culture.  It is good for our health physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It encourages us to be generous and to recognize that we live out of God’s bounty rather than out of our own endeavours and it often brings out the childlikeness in all of us.

The childlike wonder of planting

As part of the afternoon we planted seeds.  Everyone participated, everyone laughed and joked together.  Everyone came alive with the awesome wonder of doing something so simple but with the potential for such growth and productivity.

A community of planters

Recognizing that God has created all of us to care for creation and make it flourish is an important reminder for all of us and miss out on so much when we ignore this mandate which is at the heart of our relationship to God.

Gardening makes strangers into neighbours

Planting gives hope to all of us

A big thanks to Wess Daniels for organizing this and to Andy Wade for all his hard work in making it happen.  We are already planning for next year – thinking of Hood River, Portland and perhaps even southern Oregon, so if you are interested in hosting a garden seminar let us know

Brokenness Transformed to Beauty

Yesterday I held a spirituality of gardening seminar at the Inhabit conference.  We had a chance to wander the Belltown P-Patch community garden and reflect on the amazing transformation that has taken place not just here but in many other once vacant lots not just here in Seattle but around the world.  As I have said before, I believe this is a move of God.  Something new that God is doing to transform our world.

Sherry Maddox from Lexington shared about the vacant lot next to them where broken bottles, syringes, needles and other garbage have been dumped.  They have spent long hours cleaning out the lot, bringing in good soil and compost, planting trees, preparing raised beds and making a chicken coop.  Soon a couple of beehives will be added.  People are excited not just because what was once an eyesore has become a beautiful site but because it will provide fresh vegetables and hopefully even an income for those who tend the garden.

This seminar was a great opportunity not just to interact with people who love gardening but also to reflect on what is happening on once deserted and often toxic vacant lots in cities around the world.  They are being transformed.  God is taking what was broken and despised and turning it into something beautiful.  At one point we stopped to contemplate the cactus that was growing up through a seemingly solid rock, a wonderful metaphor for what God is doing.  No rock is too hard for God to penetrate.  Nothing is too damaged for God to transform.

To Garden With God – A Video Reflection

Easter is just over a week away but with spring blossoming around us it is hard not to have my attention divided between the full celebration of the season and my passion for gardening.  The spirituality of gardening seminars in Hood River Oregon and Camas Washington just over 2 weeks away make it even harder not to be focused on the garden.   I thought some of you might appreciate this video I made to share some of my reflections on encountering God in the garden.

Garden Seminar In Seattle

Tomorrow is garden day at the Mustard Seed House and we are all busy getting ready for the Spirituality of Gardening seminar in two weeks.  We already have peas, spinach, lettuce, and Chinese greens ready to brave the cold under row covers and are getting ready to plant tomatoes and peppers on heat mats this coming week.

Levi and Robert are getting an early start on all our preparations and will soon be experienced urban farmers.

We would love to have you join us for a garden seminar –

here in Seattle March 5th, (full day)

March 14th AMBS in Goshen Indiana, (half day)

March 25th St Albans church Edmonds Washington (half day)

April 30th in Hood River Oregon (full day)

May 1st in Camas Oregon (half day)

May 14th in New York City. (full day)

We are still working on other possibilities for Port Townsend WA & Connecticut