Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Herb Garden

I grew up with herbs.  My mother had an extensive herb garden that I loved to play in as a child.
My own herb growing has mostly been sticking to what I would use in cooking.  My herb garden is a small plot beside my doorstep, inhabited by marjoram, chives, coriander, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  The kinds of herbs I’d use in a casserole, home-made pizza, omelette or salad.  On the other side of my front doorstep is an area swamped with peppermint, spearmint and lemon balm – which make pleasant tasting herbal teas in summer.  And a wild neglected lavender bush on the other side of the house is the sole survivor of a planned shrubbery that never happened.

My interest in herbs beyond the “simples” was rekindled after the earthquakes.  When I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, and not-coping, my front doorstep became a refuge, where I could sit surrounded by the fragrant herbs on either side.  The scents of sage and mint were surprisingly soothing and calming when I needed it the most.  I loved sitting and weeding or trimming my herbs, breathing in their different fragrances. 
I’ve never really been much of a gardener.  Usually I tell my husband what veges I’d like to have in the kitchen and leave it up to him to grow them.  But now the herb garden has become my domain.  I’ve planted more herbs: camomile (both English and German), curry plant, lemon grass.  And I’ve been re-reading my herb books for the uses of the different herbs, culinary, cosmetic and medicinal. 
I love the idea of things traditional and home-made.  I like cooking with seasonings I’ve grown myself.  I like knowing the provenance of the ingredients I’m using for home-made cosmetic and cleaning products.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bookends of the Day


I blink open my eyes as my alarm clock chirps at me.  I reach for my cell phone.  I open my “Pocket Prayer Book” app and while rubbing sleep from my eyes I read the Morning Prayer.

Cycling to work, I repeat “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me” to the rhythm of the pedals. By the time I get to work the refrain has stuck itself into the back of my mind, and continues throughout the day.

I climb into bed, and reach for my cell phone again, praying Compline, or Night Prayer just before going to sleep.  Then as I lie in the dark I breathe in and out.  Inhale: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God.”  Exhale: “Have mercy on me.”


Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer have become the bookends around my day. I think it’s no coincidence that I’ve found myself in a good place emotionally and spiritually since I’ve been taking this prayer journey more seriously. I’ve found the missing part of my soul again, I feel whole, filled. A little niggle tells me this is too good to last, so I’m soaking in as much as I can, storing up against whatever challenges will be around the next corner.

Thanks to a certain Church Administrator (wave to SH), a small group is now working together through Kneeling with Giants by Gary Neal Hansen (A big thank you to Gary from all six of us).  So far, I’ve been practising both the Daily Office and the Jesus Prayer.  I’m looking forward to the chapters ahead, and the depths that might be discovered there.