It is thought that the light within the hollow pumpkin is meant to be a spirit, and for the night of Halloween, and for all soul’s day, it is important to remember the souls and spirits that have gone before us in history. The carving of vegetables and decoration of food is a practice that spans many cultures worldwide, and gourds have great properties which make them a fun medium to work with.
The candlelight in the pumpkins is believed to ward off evil spirits. One might react to the symbolism and meaning behind any culture or practices – as pirates do…
But one thing is true, it is important to remember that you have a soul, and that there is a spirit that can lead you to the ends of the earth to guide you on the mission and journey and purpose you were born to fill.
Not only can pumpkins be carved, but they are also fun to eat. Join in the traditions and try out these delicious pumpkin recipes from Gimme Some Oven:
Click Here For 15 MORE Pumpkin Recipes from Gimme Some Oven.
Questions? Comments? Carving along? Feel free to share with us below:
Preparing for dinner-time, I can remember standing in the kitchen and peeling nearly whole ten-pound bags of Idaho potatoes, to make enough soup to feed the many that came to our dinner table.
We made several comforting soups, and – of course – mashed potatoes, too.
And fried potatoes.
My mom would tell stories of how her mother also did the same, as a struggling single, to feed all seven of her children. It was my mother’s job as the youngest to peel the potatoes.
I knew of yellow, butter potatoes because my other grandmother like to make potato-pancakes for breakfast in the morning before school.
But it wasn’t until I was a student in Mexico, that I was introduced to red potatoes – which of course, I referred to as purple or violeta.
In my childhood kitchen, no potato skins were allowed – the skins and debris from the gritty Idaho/Russian potatoes were not pleasurable consumption, but the center was creamy, caloric and comforting.
One of my grandmother’s insisted on the skins of the butter potatoes, which could be scrubbed clean without peeling, although as children we were not fond of the extra texture, as we were used to our mother’s creamy and flawless potatoes.
I wasn’t introduced to the red variety of this root vegetable until I lived in Latin America. It turned out that the red potatoes were just like the golden potatoes, and diced nicely into hash-browns before becoming additions to wonderful soups like picadillo – or this butternut-potato picadillo that I accidently made a few nights ago.
Mashed potatoes were one of the first joys that I brought to the children in the village. The first packages were dehydrated from my suitcase for travel until I was able to find the right ones in the market – which were harder to peel than others produced on different continents. Imagine mossy rocks, and you might be close.
Potato soup recipes are easy to make, and can differ by number of ingredients that you happen to have access to – and the type of potatoes that you have access to in different regions of the world, but – like apples – you never seem to have to look too far for a potato – or a candolo – a sweet potato – which provides a different kind of flavor, texture, and vitamins for the children in the village.
Potato soup can be flavored with meat – chicken broth, beef broth, or even vegetable. We like to add celery to ours, which provides extra vitamins – and lots of black pepper – which is our Indian addition.
My son and I love to cook up some beefy potato soup and stay up late watching good movies together, curled up on the couch in our pajamas, pillows and pets.
If you don’t know the difference between the potatoes, and don’t have a lot of time for peeling – this would be a great recipe for starters –
The children in the village love to fill their hungry bellies with potato recipes – and some of our favorites are listed on the left side of this post for you to also enjoy! Try out your potato-recipe-making talents today!
Like potatoes? Like potato gardens – or buckets? Have potato stories? Share with us here:
— is one of the reasons why there are so many orphans
— in the village.
Sometimes barefoot isn’t an option.
Did you know that there are viruses in the soil, which damage children’s health?
Help us to raise awareness by sharing this post on your social media. Also, you are welcome to contact any of the companies below on behalf of PinterestingAgainstPoverty to restore any or all of these functions.
Note: Our link our online donation center is disabled and we are struggling to find a company to process our donations online. We also struggle with affiliate marketing, while many companies have agreed and approved us, we don’t get our earnings, they seem to disappear after we have earned them. We created an volunteer affiliate marketing link with buttons and images that others could add to their sites, but that also failed to work properly. We used to have a button where people could and make a general donation to support children’s rights – including shoes for their feet, and we are disappointed with several companies for not keeping their promises to our NGO. CJ, Content Ad and ShareaSale and Abebooks.UK (not US, which explains a shortage of sales – yet our website has been offered a trustworthy certificate from the UK, and I am not sure if that applies to the USA.) and Ratuken. All required w-4’s and approved some of our posts for affiliate marketing income but that never worked. We were set to recieve a commission from sales at Better World Books, which would also provide reading materials to the United Nations in exchange for the referrals. As many of you know, building libraries in villages has been a long-time passion of mine. Intermedia phone lines had trouble for weeks connecting us with international calling but eventually did so, but when we were unable to keep up the phone bill because of the failure of the online processing. Sprint and Verizon could not connect us to international calling- to be fair. T-Mobile couldn’t give us our phone number back, and several other pay-as-you-go services were not able to meet our needs. Evalon services by Costco failed, although there was great efforts put forth by the customer service team at Costco to encourage stable services. Evalon approved our financial application and insisted that 3DCart Store or another online plugin must be added to process online, but then the plugin service claimed Evalon’s services were not needed after we chose a company. When we were not able to processs donations, we lost our contract. 3d Cart representatives were interested in discounting our donation services and noted that extra code was added to our item processing which stopped donations from going through. We also purchased identity theft protection and also struggled to keep the contract when we were not able to protect my son’s identity, which was a part of the package and benefit offered by the company, but did mysteriously manage to regain access to a lost email account after also making police reports for the safety of children’s information associated with the account. We lost the identity protection when we could not collect online support. We lost our bank cards after a hacking and security incident, which made it difficult to pay for the online services, but fortunately another service was offered to accomodate the loss of that. We have a discounted Photoshop subscription, but are mysteriously charged about $2 extra per month. Photoshop is necessary to protect the images and identity of the people we serve. We do not have social media pages at this time associated with this blog, because of the difficulty in monitoring false accounts and due to the overpricing and underserving of advertising charged to our company bank accounts by Facebook, as well as disturbing messages on profiles and comments. We do not use Amazon because pinging made our important expenses bounce. To be fair, several people clicked on the links to donate, and complained when they couldn’t. On the first day that we accepted subscribers we had databases full but then subscriptions somehow seemed to become disabled and never received a subscription again to our knowledge. Our paid gallery services by Supsystic seem to work mysteriously every other time they are opened. We were informed by others about legal threats and dissolving of assets letter that we were never able to read as soon as it looked like we might have gotten this human rights project off the ground after receiving a generous product grant by Google. We are aware that our posts are screened for medical advice and drug-information as well and have agreed not to share medical advice as professionals on our blog, as advised by Google. One of our trusted volunteer developers was offered a huge deal by another company at the same time as we were getting ready to start this blog and did the work ahead, and then could not collect from the company, causing him great financial distress and leaving less time for volunteer projects like ours. We entered a grant contest for a web-development grant opportunity, but did not get approved or chosen. Sometimes the cursor goes crazy on the edits and the writing of posts, and we lost about three weeks of content when we upgraded our hosting account, that the children put a lot of effort into. Media on WordPress takes a generous amount of time to load, and sometimes there are grammatical mistakes that might take an hour to fix just because of the revolving gears on end for no good reason. We have been unable to fund any developers, and struggled to sort through several mixed messages as soon as we referred to online sites for web development, so please bear with us as we are learning and doing the best we can to share projects and ideas that will benefit human rights in third world nations, and are struggling to present content that will hopefully be able to somehow support us eventually.
We are grateful for all of the services that are available for use, and just don’t know how to explain how sometimes those services don’t work for us the way they do for other people and pray to have the same respected rights someday, soon.
Life is made difficult for people who are denied citizenship, and that can be all the more frustrating if they are legal citizens.
For example, children may be denied the right to play on sport’s teams, to travel, to receive regular medical care, work a job, have a savings or bank account, or be treated equally by court authorities or police – even in the United States of America.
Your name and your home are sacred places and spaces.
It is against the law to deny citizenship in the United States of America. If
a citizen has a child, and the child holds a birth certificate in the parent’s name – the child IS an American Citizen.
The child has a right to a passport, and also to a passport card, and through those proper forms of identity, along with their birth certificate, a passport.
Is it easy to get a passport?
A passport cannot be denied if two forms of proper identity are present.
If two forms of identity are not present, you can have a witness sign as an affidavit of identity-authentification. Note: Sometimes this can be denied by a passport office, especially if someone claims to ‘disbelieve’ the witness, so make sure your witnesses are trustworthy.
It’s easier to get a passport when you have two forms of identity and the signature of a federal witness – for example, a birth certificate and driver’s license, for an adult – or a birth certificate, and a passport card for a child.
A child can receive a driver’s license in the state of Kansas at the age of 14 if they are working for their parent’s business, can present a need for medical reasons, and have a completed application and is one acceptable form of identity.
To get a passport card, the state requires the mother to be present with the child at a Post Office. The child must present passport photos and both the child and the parent must present original copies of their birth certificates.
Proof of citizenship is one of the first steps of getting a United States Passport. A passport card is $15, for an adult, it is $30. (Note: A passport card only approves one for travel in the USA, a full passport is needed for an international identity) an adult’s first passport is $80, and for a child’s it is $80.
To get a passport, and a global identity, visit a Post Office, as soon as you can. You will be issued a Passport Number, and your own Passport and/or card can be available by express services within 24 hours.
Any who can show efforts at bettering their own life conditions is legally-approved work, and must pay US taxes, and also have the right to work for change, without fear.
The post office is closed on Sundays, but any day of the week most appointments are walk-in if you have your paperwork previously-prepared.
Questions? Comments? Did you know you have the right to work forchange, without fear? Tell us your passport – or what’s hot in the investigative world today – the denial of the right to vote stories – below:
On a hard day, peppers in soup can be like powdered candles, putting warmth within warmth that burn like hope in your heart, with prayers of days that are
better to come.
Many of my favorite soups just happen to have peppers in them, which is why I thought it would be nice to bring them to the ends of the earth – although many have shown that they cannot handle or appreciate the combination or the heat.
You mean like spicy peppers -in soup? Are you kidding?
No. Maybe some people don’t need peppers in their life – but if the soup calls for them, you will always note the absence of the flavor if you’ve learned to appreciate it.
What kind of peppers taste good together in soup? Sometimes the answer is unexpected – because not all peppers taste alike. Each brightly-colored pepper has a distinct taste and flavor of it’s own, as if they each have their own story to tell. That’s why you need a variety of them.
Especially for the ones who sleep on the floor at night, who feel a little bit more discouraged when the storms leak in through the windows, as they try to breathe in the dark – waiting for the morning. What’s keeping you from sharing your story with your loved ones over a steaming cup of peppery soup?
To the ends of the earth, that kind of love and those kinds of ‘peppersations’ is what our leaders are needing on their tables these days. A heated tongue can also be a happy one.
My soul felt a little bit cold when I had a dream about a river this weekend.
It made me miss home and my children so much that I could only go to church and light two candles for them in the sanctuary – because one just wasn’t enough.
I craved soup after church, and for the first time ever steamed my own rice – and sprinkled a few deep red drops of chipotle powder in the steamy soup – and remembered better days with great sadness. I missed the smell of rotisserie chicken and the sound of the boy practicing his gifts behind me as I worked.
Do we grow peppers in the village? Isn’t this little eggshell cute. We’re baby-stepping too much for leap-ers, but the people of the village are learning to love their peppers, too. May warm bowls of chili peppers reach the far corners of the earth tonight to warm the heal the souls of the frozen.Praying for an end to all of the obstacles that keep our tables lonely, and keep these ‘peppersations’ from happening. Go ahead, reach back into the ruthless darkness of that cellar – and get those peppers into your soup and your life today – and get those ‘peppersations’ on the table, too.
Maybe not all need peppers on their plates, but for some – they matter, are best when shared sooner rather than later. A life without peppers – is like a like without spirit. Peppers don’t last long in the dark, and they need the light just as much as your soup needs flavor.
I think about the song by Aurora – Winter Bird – and wish I could bring them all a warm bowl of soup would crack the ice that brings the tears.
Until you are comforted, you can sing this “Soldier” song by Fleurie.
How do you stay warm during the winter season? Do you enjoy warm bowls of nourishing soup, too? Feel free to share about your experiences here:
— are a strange phenomenon in international mission.
They seem to pop up — everywhere.
You could be in Asia, at a business meeting, and someone may offer you an apple.
You could be in Latin America — or even South Africa, and be offered an apple-flavored drink.
In Europe? …in France, Germany and England alike — you
wouldn’t have to walk too far — to find an apple on a shelf.
So — how did this relation to the rose — (Yep — did you know that?) Apples are actually the cultivated fruit from the rose family tree — come to stretch to all corners of the world?
The love of apples has stretched so far — that even in a far off village, someone can be found off the side of any major highway selling apples — in places where they can’t even be cultivated.
Part of the answer — is spiritual. Apples are symbolic in many religions. The spread of religion, and missionaries, brings the fruits that help them to explain their beliefs.
Part of the answer, is nutrition. Apples offer great nutrition. (That is a future post in it’s own right.)
Wherever you find yourself — an apple is usually not that far away.
For that reason, sometimes we cook with them.
Apples are a good-feeling, peace-keeping opportunity. Apple Pie, Apple Cider, Apple Sauce, Apple Cake, Apple Bread, Apple Cookies — are all wonderful ways to celebrate distribution networks that make something so simple as an apple — possible — in all corners of the world.
Stay tuned for international apple recipes and projects to come, like this Apple Cider Cups Recipe that the children of the village enjoyed:
Help us to do more projects in the village by donating, click here.
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“Are you brave enough to go to a monastary after school?” Asked my new friend.
I lifted my glance to look him in the eye.
“What makes you think I wouldn’t be?”
“…because there’s a crypt below the monastery.” He said, watching my reaction carefully.
“If you go by a certain hour, they might let you crawl through it.” He finished.
“Are there monks?” I must have asked. “Do they sing?”
“Tal vez. It’s kind of a museum now. It was built by the Franciscans trying to evangelize los indigenes.”
“How much is this going to cost?” I asked.
“Your student id…” I glared at him, as our guide he often got free admission from our tuition, waiting “y la gasolina.”
I thought I had enough change to pay for the mileage split with a Norwegian and Mexican passenger.
We arrived to warm, melty quesadillas which were often filled with un-identifiable vegetables like this mystery squash I picked up in a refugee market a few weeks ago – and we were greeted by rainy stones on the mountainside.
“Are you afraid?” Asked my friend.
“No. I am not.” The stillness of the air was somber, as we walked through the stagnate arches.
“Ese monasterio” began our real guide, “fue construyido en el Siglo 16, en el principio del tiempo de evangelizacion que vino inmediatamente despues de la conquista.”
I looked at las plantas that were were crawling up the stone-based atrium as if spirits that wanted to ring your soul to their attention themselves, and one could hear the echos of the bells that had not rang for probably centuries from the towers. It smelled like mold, and the murals on the walls were at times indecipherable and needed restoration – but were by no means uninteresting.
“Don’t touch the paint!” I jumped away from the wall, not realizing that I had gotten too close, and breathing in the alabaster and plaster-esque materials that mixed with the moss on the walls.
I had a tendency of getting too close, and rolled my eyes at the allusion to the curator at the art musuem last week, who was insanely paranoid about the painted works, when I was trying to get nearer to see the mixture of the colors that made up the strokes.
“Joven,” asked my friend, “do you have any objection to my guiding these two young women through the crypt below.”
The guide did not.
We were each handed a small candle and we went down underneath the earth and stone.
The guide decided to follow us through the dark.
We had to lower our heads in the dark, because the stone above us was low to the ground. Rainwater dripped, and moist earth and soft concrete surrounded our feet. The historical monks were to our right and our left. I could smell mold, but not bodies.
I felt as if we had invaded a sacred space, looking for an opportunity to be brave – and I wondered what kind of prayers and spirits protected the soul that caused this spiritual fortress to last centuries –
– just as our candles saturated out.
The air was too moist to support them.
It wasn’t as if we were being judged by ghosts of the peace-seeking monks – but that the place was empty and the light was gone – that caused my fear.
I wasn’t claustrophobic, but I wasn’t unafraid either, and I reached for the people who brought me there, and slowly the guide helped us to make our way back to the door and to the open air.
It seemed wrong that churches were allowed to die.
The art on the walls was meant to last for centuries. They were expressions of the holy one. A call for justice – and peace.
Soldiers broke into some of the monasteries, and put graffiti on the walls and desecrated the murals-
-but it was the moss that outlived the strongest of them, and the vines that wrapped themselves around the stone and the bell towers – intent on keeping the holy spirit alive even when the cathedral was falling down all around them.
Sanctuary – was meant to be sanctuary.
Sometimes today when I see stories on the news, and hear about unrest and political battles – and other injustices, I get that same, cold, dark, muerto-s feeling that I got in the bottom of a crypt of a rotting Franciscan cathedral, and my nose fills with memory of the mold, my skin the cold humidity of the rain, and I know that someone has to stop the soldiers from entering until they can understand and respect the sanctuary of holy places.
Spirit cannot be contained within walls, but I believe it can take up a home and rest between them. There is much need for resources in this world to sponsor the restoration of such historical spiritual sites that have valuable historical lessons to generation-after-generation.
There is so much hurt and growing division in our world today, that even the black and white of a newspaper article is like the cold grey of falling stones, dangerous to the head and the thoughts, and the hearts that seek refuge through the pages.
In many ways, just like this video – the world has gone too far, and it is time for the people of spirit to find and develop the holy places and spaces that arise between nations, until our hearts are healed again.
Otherwise the spiritual mold of stagnation is just as bad as the moss of a cathedral, or the barnacles on a ship. If only the voice of the oppressed could innocently sing out – and rise above the control of the spiritless law.
From the Asian jungles, to the hunger and disease of subsaharan Africa, to the wars of ignorance and pride in the Sahara, to the labor exploitations of Latin America – the laws of the lands have gone too far – and have forgotten to recognize the children of God – as innocent children of God.
We’ve come too far in ways of communication to fall back into greedy colonialsim. It’s disappointing to see how quickly a vibrant colorful fabric can be washed into a dull monochromatic rag worthy of only the dust.
Find a cause that is near to your heart – find the oppressed – and defend them in one way today.
The message given to historians on the subject of the evangelization of the indians, along with the conquistadores?
For those who don’t think dreams change history – they do. So be careful to follow the prompts and warnings of your unconsciousness as you seek social justice for the people, and sanctuary for yourself.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to share your thoughts with us, below:
I was a silly little mid-western girl, living in Latin America.
Our housemother was an adorable, hard-working economics professor. She had an eye for what was real and balanced – and as a single mother, she was the champion of her four children.
One studied in London, one became a pediatric specialist, one a business woman and the last a social entrepreneur.
And I – was sad about pumpkins.
I totally got the whole college and cultural skinny about el día de los muertos –
– but I had a little brother that loved to carve pumpkins, – and I missed him, and another little one that I could have taken cute little pumpkin fotos with.
My financially savvy Spanish and French-speaking, chili-pepper loving, financial professor of a single mother looked at me as if I were the nuttiest creature she’d ever seen.
“You want to carve a pumpkin? What for?”
I blushed. “It’s tradition.” [In Spanish]
“Hija.” She said, looking at me meaningfully in the eye, “I am convinced that when you die – and you open that gate – that one of the saints is going to show you a pile of all of the good things of the earth that you’ve wasted in your lifetime. Now – tell me, what good is it to carve a pumpkin and how do you do it?”
“Well, first – you have to cut a handle into the top – like a lid. And then you use a spoon and you scoop out the seeds.”
“Do you eat the seeds?”
“Not all of the time.” I squeaked.
“Do you know that there are hungry children right outside of our door who don’t get fed on your holidays because the parents hope that some estadounidense will feed them?”
It was true, the poor were walkable distance and I rode the bus with them almost every day.
Her comment gave me an idea, but I stayed quiet.
“Now, it takes forever to prepare our pumpkin soup -” she continued on, “and you don’t know how to make it – and I don’t have time today – but I can’t open that fridge and watch you waste a whole good fruit.”
I was going to be obstinate. I was going to have to find a way around these obstacles to keep holidays holidays.
I nodded as she cleared out the kitchen satisfied with her reasoning – and headed off to a meeting – I grabbed my sneakers and ran down the steep mountainside to the store. I purchased a great big sandia and about $200 worth of candy. Poor children in make-shift costumes came out of nowhere and began to follow me up the street.
Trying to make spiritual amends, I carved the holy figure of La Virgin de Guadalupe into the watermelon – and the colors of rosa mexicana y verde were vibrant against the dinner table. I carefully cut up the inner fruit and placed it in a bowl in the fridge. Nothing wasted.
“What’s this?” (maybe with a diablos mixed in there) when my housemother tried to return from work. What was this commocion in the streets?
Poor children jumping up and down, painted with candy bars. They kept coming back to the gate all night long.
“Que hiciste!” (What have I done?)
I grinned. La Virgen de Guadalupe shined from the face of the watermelon on the table.
“I have a reputation to uphold,” I explained. “but you can’t say I didn’t listen. Nothing’s wasted.”
“Even I would waste the money for paint on you.” She said, shaking her head and laughing and shooing.
“Now, have you eaten dinner? Come, let me teach you how to make this calabaza (squash) dessert soup.”
What can you carve – if you can’t find a pumpkin in the right season? Butternut squash, apples, and acorn squash are other options.
Mushrooms are another wonderful – non-sacrificial – protein source that can easily be found around the world.
Mushrooms can be sauteéd into tacos, breaded-and-fried, or chopped into beautiful salads, or cooked into soups, and taste well with most grains – and pastas – and range in price according to variety.
You can’t go wrong with mushrooms on your plate.
As a child, my family would look for wild mushrooms – called morels – which were difficult to grow – but pop up during certain seasons in the midwest. Morel mushrooms can also be found in France and Germany, are considered a delicacy, and can be sold for twenty-or-more dollars per pound. Fortunately, some varieties of mushrooms are much more conveniently-priced.
When I worked in a Mexican restaurant as a teenager, I was introduced to portobello mushrooms, which were the main-ingredients of one of our specialty street tacos.
Portobello mushrooms provide slices of protein comparable to chicken breasts in size, but these cute little baby bella mushrooms such as the ones featured on this post are a little bit more economical – and just as taste-friendly. 😉
If you are going into a meeting with inter-faith groups or international organizations that have food-specific or plant-based food requirements – mushrooms are a great option.
When I started to work with HIV+ children around the world, I was introduced to shittake mushrooms – which are good for those who suffer from different forms of immuno-deficiency, and are a fresh option for a protein source – especially when refrigeration is not an option.
The widows in a village would gather, just as I did with my family as a child, and go to the hills with their long skirts to gather the mushrooms that appeared like amaranth to feed them, with a flavor so rich they smack their lips in memory of it while they tell of the blessings of the season.
Almost any meal that you could make with beef or chicken, can also be made with mushrooms – in a food shortage, or as a protein-source for vegans – or just because you enjoy the savory flavor and nutrition these delicious little fairy-like veggies have to offer.
About a year ago, I learned how to grow a specific variety of white mushrooms – from the concept of the Mushroom Mini-Farm product you can pick up at both Whole Foods – and Natural Grocers.
The children of the village were surprised to learn how the mushrooms grew, and were pleased with the subsequent results on their dinner plates. Growing mushrooms is a great learning activity for children – even for young children, as mushrooms produce food rather quickly, there fore making them a great nutritional resource for hungry nations.
In the right conditions, many – but not all -mushrooms can be grown at any time – and offer inspiring nourishment -especially for the children around the world who suffer from hunger and malnutrition.
Here are a few great mushroom recipes – for mushroom lovers around-the-world.
Love Mushrooms? Share your favorite mushroom stories and recipes with us here:
In my dream, I was miserable in a church built of stone and I went outside the doors. Someone pleaded with me not to leave, but that person couldn’t console me because they didn’t know me.
I walked up to a clearing near a bridge and sat down near a river and prayed for my friends and loved ones.
To my surprise, the ground began to shake, and succulents began to pop out of the earth – like mushrooms – making a fairy ring all around me. The little desert flowers were red and green and gold in color.
I watched them rise slowly out of the ground and my heart was filled with prayers for the blessings and company of my loved ones.
My grandmother taught me how to plant succulents about four years ago – when a friend asked me to take charge of birthday party favors for a close friend.
“What am I supposed to do with them?” I asked my grandmother.
“Oh, just get the right dirt and throw them in there. They’ll be fine.”
“And I – don’t have to water them? Because they are desert plants – right?”
“What makes you think that?!” My grandmother turned sharply. “They need water just like every other plant does.”
“Oh.” I said feeling stupid.
“The water will help them to form the roots.” She said.
That year, I planted about seventy little succulents – a variety of them. I watched them take root and grow in the light that came in my window – and have kept them, ever since. Few of my winter plants are ever as beautiful as these little fairy-esque desert flowers that cheer whatever space we happen to be in, as a reminder of better days.
There are a lot of fun projects that people can do with these little plants. I found a bunch of new succulents on discount earlier this year – and planted them into a windowframe, for the memory of my grandmother.
All plants need water, even these little ones.
Here is a quick, yes – photoshopped – image compilation of the fairy ring scene of my dream.
There are 39 verses in the bible that reference dreams. It is possible that dreams are just a relaxed image of your subconscious – or – to the faithful, they might actually mean something. Click on the picture above to interpret your own dreams.
She sat with her hand in the air, in the quiet sanctuary.
“They’ve already taken questions.” Explained a woman a few columns away from her. “You can put your hand down.” And another nodded over her shoulder, pleadingly.
The girl didn’t speak out loud, but didn’t take down her hand either. “I think they need to know that I have a question.” She whispered back to them.
Older women shepherd the younger women in the church – fearing their own voices might not be respected – if they don’t respect the forces that silence their gender.
People around the girl’s raised arm shifted uncomfortably, and the people on stage turned away. She couldn’t tell if they couldn’t see her – if her question was too much in the shadows of the awning – or if they felt like her question had already somehow been previously represented.
She knew she wasn’t the right form of personality to demand attention, but she also somehow did not feel unnoticed.
The people around her who cared about her were holding their breath, and the ones that huffed were the ones who would keep her silent and unknowing forever if they could.
It was like God wouldn’t let her take her arm down. Too much leadership training, and being the primary caregiver of so many little babies from all over the world kept her arm in the air. Did they know what they were doing?
Above them had hung a vision – which was as ugly as a black man hanging on a Southern Baptist Cross.
She looked at the faces of the white men on the stage – and realized they didn’t see the demon in it. The stained glass shone brightly behind them over the ill-fated sample of hopeless impossibilities.
She was going to try to keep my question short, God-willing.
“Can you put that picture back up for a moment, please?” She wanted to ask them. They wouldn’t have expected her to make a request like that, but the graphics guy was high-tech, and probably wouldn’t have refused either.
She needed them to put the ugl-y-ness back on the screen, to call it out, and get it from hanging over their own heads – unaware of what they were talking about – there was a second layer to the visual aid that hadn’t crossed their experience. What – wasn’t being said – was more dangerous and looming – than the silent speakers which loomed over the heads of the musicians – and which blocked the rainbow prism on the floor.
The picture was a devil’s reasoning – with devil’s images. How much suffering went into the production of cane sugar? Only if you’ve ever worked on cane would you know how it shreds your hands and beats your body, how it burns and glazes – to get the ‘perfect’ ‘pure’ refined product that destroys your body, causes dislike to the sweet taste of fruit – and ruins your teeth, your appetite – and your words. There was no hope in any of their reasoning or their chosen representation of the church.
It was like an infant Jesus was lying in a manger and Herod himself was leaning over looking with doubt – and premonition – upon the child – trying in a worldly way to wonder what was so special about this little holy creature – and wouldn’t it be better to starve him or exile him – than find out? To decide whether the rumored child could be allowed to live – or serve – by easy identification of his parts – or much more difficult to see inside of – spirit? The only way Herod could maintain control was to trouble Jesus by creating blockages – like laws, which were the only commands within Herod’s power. You could argue with Herod all day long – but Herod wasn’t meant to give the permission they were meant to demand the freedom of their neighbors, it wasn’t by dis-invitation, but rather by love that the church was meant to be solidified and purified in the presence of the holy -one- a holy solidified one.
Fortunately, the glass was above it, and it wasn’t the slavery – or supremacy that the panes were representing.
On the picture were four scenarios:
“So, this is what they fear.” The girl thought to herself.
And the speaker explained with fine language the destruction of all four scenarios.
The Progressive, Non-Compatible-ists want to break – – think inclusion is worth fighting for – so much so – that they would break – to be included. There were only a few grains scattered amongst them, but those grains would change the color of the group if added, like the rainbow shards in the window, they were already in pieces. Next to them was a sugar packet that was broken open as if it were somehow impure.
The Progressive-Compatiblists wouldn’t break to include them, they want the church to be united. Next to their – was – a broken sugar packet packet. They were not whole until they decided to leave or stay – or would break individually – or at least, that’s what the devil convinced them was their scope of decision.
The Traditional-Compatiblists wouldn’t leave to break, but they wouldn’t stop others in the church from accepting promises from the people to God in front of their congregations, but they wouldn’t unite them in holy matrimony – either – which was the same as not inviting them to the Christ vision as God created them to be. The former categories besides theirs – were also broken open.
And… Herod… didn’t want to come, didn’t want to live that way, and threatened to leave if he couldn’t look under the sheets and ensure in all of the worldly commands his mortal power and reign for the future. But Herod sent emails disguised from every good person he convinced to leave with him – which were painful to the pastors, because – they were invited and loved the same community, too, to maintain Herod’s privileges and power, and didn’t know of a better way. The leadership had to make the decision isolated because the crowds weren’t presenters when – they did not feel welcome, but needed to be included.
“That cannot be the vision of a church that calls themselves united and is supposed to be a representation of the Kingdom of God on Earth.” She wanted to say. “The people from every option are all bleeding and they are not united – some merely because they are wishing for permission they will never receive from Herod, but – like Ruby Red Slippers – have always had it – in Christ. There are so many references in the green-background of the black-and-white example – to slavery and supremacy and oppression – that’s spiritual assassination any way you go. That is only a vision that the devil would want you to believe. Each projected possibility is… bleeding – white.”
“There are fourteen percent that wouldn’t be able to move forward if we let these people in.” Said the speaker. The girl imagined a geriatric ward trying to roll their way out of the church if the balances of the youth were allowed in the door. Most of that division would probably stay and enjoy the company, and not notice any major differences in their worship anyways.
Those fourteen percent would still be invited. And the people who were being fought for were already welcome and loved.
How could they be so confused? She wondered.
Then she remembered the comment about the emails – and knew how the devil would make them think that they were kicking out those who were blocking the gates – not guarding them. If leaders only speak to leaders, nobody leads and everyone fears. Those emails don’t represent the opinions of the future. Is that what they are taught to believe – that the complaints of one who takes the time to twist a heart for love – is the one that matters more than 100 people who quietly huddle in support of the rejected whose voice is denied? The ones who short of laying their loved one’s naked bodies out on the stage and publicly shaming them – could only represent them with confusing metaphors – loving them like mothers, when they needed to be loved like neighbors. Anyone who’d ever changed enough diapers – around the world – would have been able to know that diversity works – and can only be explained by God. A wise spiritual teacher wouldn’t disrupt those blessed partnerships when they come – they would celebrate them. Isn’t that what God made clothing possible for? God has no problem with nakedness – but men have problems with judging – and shame for what they don’t understand. Not enough men change diapers, and not enough women are allowed to speak in church to make up the difference in their knowledge, babies are innocent, and cannot represent themselves or their differences – the same as these children of God.
Did the church belong to the intentionally rainbow-faced Christ in the window? Or did it belong to the vision of the impending spiritual-assassination below them?
“Can you raise the image of the Book of Discipline?” She knew that even when they raised the book, it was still going to appear below the Christ figure.
“What was the most important rule we were given?” She wanted to ask. “If the text doesn’t honor that, then why use it to judge anyone’s freedom of actions? Wouldn’t it be more dangerous to our faith to keep them out – than to allow them in, and to make and keep their promises to their partners, their children, and to their creator, Himself?”
Did we need to divide in order to make a space for these people? No, the beauty of their representative broken-ness was already represented in the face Christ above them. Nobody would be forced to stay, but all were welcome.
“Where is the hope in this situation?” She wanted to point out that it could not possibly be contained possibly be contained in the starch-white slavery-produced sugar packets – she had been to enough leadership conferences to know that the hope was in the fused shards of above them. Four broken sugar packets could not possibly be God’s hope for the world.
The leaders seemed to need permission from each other – or some silent non-present presence – more than they needed permission from God.
Yet, it was a brave Pastor, who turned to the others, and explained, “I’m kind of in fear for my mortal soul… [if we don’t let these people in]”
She waited for someone to be brave enough to say – “Nobody left. Everyone’s welcome. That’s the way it always was. Can I introduce you to my neighbors? And remind you how we all fall short every day? And these are not the promises they made to the pastor – these are the promises that the pastor recorded in their community that they openly made to each other and God.” Was what she felt like the true representation of Christ would say in regards to the Herod’s that would keep them out. Thank God there was a pastor who understood how important this issue was.
The girl was looking up at the shards that made the rainbow in the holy face above the leaders.
But they wouldn’t accept her hand, and the light from the glass protected her heart from their rejection.
It is the colors in the glass that will protect the church and enable it to make the right decisions. Were they really discussing this on the raised platform where the people sing,
“Nothing can separate – even if you ran away – cause your love never fails.”
A celebration of diversity is what this sanctuary was meant to stand for. The healing of the broken fused together into a vision everyone is welcome to participate in. All of those little shards of glass that want to be neighbors and be treated with the dignity and respect with which they were created ought to feel invited to come to Christ’s church. None of them are perfect as a whole – but together and baptized by fire they fuse into a spirit that fills the room – and is meant for a greater kingdom with fewer boundaries and more freedom.
God already made those design decisions – of what would be beautiful when he made the people by the head of the hair. Do you want stained glass when you go to church? Or are you trying to fit your faith inside of a paper packet of slave sugar, hoping that someone will serve you disproportionately?
It was never the church’s decision. It was the God who designed them fearfully and wonderfully. Their inner workings and chemistry were never meant to be judged by a crowd – only celebrated by their goodness and promises kept, and loyalty to values which allow others to be accepted and blessed as well.
She had about as much ease in leaving the sanctuary as she did taking her hand down.
It was a question that needed to be asked, the same kind of spirit that caused her to fail a college ethics class years ago. (Subscribe – I might have a chance to write more about that, later.) She felt like her question could not be answered – until it was asked in a more supportive atmosphere where light could enter.
You don’t have to be black to care about civil rights in your world and nation. You do not need to be a woman to care about women’s rights. And you do not have to be LGBTQ to care about their rights – or inclusion either. You do not need to be Jewish to uphold their religious freedoms, or be Muslim to care about their well-being – or old to care about the young. Or respected as a leader – in order to feel the call to lead, and protect spiritual values unapologetically. Some of the most powerful advocates in the justice movement – are not the people who are oppressed in our societies – but the people God called to love, protect, and support them.
I feel like everyone in the world who wants to live as Christ commanded us to live – should be invited to our church and given the choice to be fully-embraced members.
And everyone – in the world – who prays for social justice – should feel like neighbors, there.
(I’d feel a bit rude to post the picture of the sugar packets but I modified it – so it’s legal, but I’m going to try to get permission of the artist – to be fair, although I need to point out that the speaker didn’t seem to take any pride in the example and it does seem to accurately present the fears of each group. The speaker was using the permitted example that someone else synthesized down into a visualization that explained the groups and the topic on the church’s table. The Elders felt like the visualization accurately described the arguements of all sides – and the future of the church. The elders approved and raised this example of their condition – without seeing the demon in it, or their responsibility to change it. It describes what they see and understand. The Elders couldn’t build a monument or a Sistene Chapel to attract the youth of the world, based on green posterboard with black and white scenarios where everyone dies, so they wanted this poster to be carried around the world as an example to raise over the heads of the church leaders – to let them know what kind of thoughts they are willing to consider. Small churches may only face one or two in a generation – but the point of having united church is for the world view, wisdom and perspective that a far-reaching and wide congregation of believers is supposed to be able to provide. I’d feel the freedom of Christ to boldly post the making of the face of Jesus in the window – without permission, with a link to the creator.)
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