Monthly Archives: June 2015

Rose and Strawberry Moon

  Full moon June 2, 2015
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I settled the strap of my camera around my neck, stepped off my front porch, and crossed the yard to a treeless spot. I strolled across the lawn of mixed bluegrass, rye, and sweetly fragrant clover, whose white blossoms lie sprinkled like stars across the deepening green. Climbing the darkening clouds in the east, the full moon of early June began to cast shadows as the sun collapsed into a golden puddle in the western sky.

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As the moon rose higher and brighter and as the sunset glow grew darker, soft shadows of darkest green began to form, twinned shapes of sentinel ash trees, motionless bushes, and fence posts at attention.  A moving feline-shaped shadow padded up to me and leaned her black, silky shoulder against my shin, twining around my ankles.

The breeze had dropped to a whisper of shushing ash leaves.  I could hear the neighbor’s cattle lowing from their pasture and the peeper frogs trilling in chorus. The peace and beauty of this moonlit evening wrapped around me like a blanket.

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Native Americans called this full moon the Strawberry Moon, for the time of not-quite-summer when wild strawberries ripened in the meadows at the sunny edges of woodlands.

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Watching the same full moon sail across the same gentle spring skies, the Europeans named it the Rose Moon, for the time when roses  began to unfold their fragrant blossoms from thorny stems.

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So which is it, Strawberry Moon or Rose Moon?  Sweet fruit or sweetly scented flower?  The choice is a false one.

When searching for full moon names and scientific names of fruit and flower, I found unexpected family ties. To the botanist strawberries are rosaceae fragraria and roses are rosaceae rosa. Both are in the rose family.

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I read the news about the nine from Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, who were shot and killed in their own church. I don’t know what to say or what to do, and the fear of stumbling awkwardIy in my response to such sorrow and such noxious hate can paralyze me.

Perhaps I can start with this: there is no “their church” and “our church,” no “them” to our “us.” There is only “us” because we are all family, brothers and sisters in Christ.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.   Ephesians 4:4-6   NIV

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I can cry with those who cry, recognizing that I will never truly understand the pain another suffers.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.   Romans 12:15   NKJV

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I can call sin by its name:  hate, violence, racism.

Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.   12:9   NKJV

I can celebrate the spirit of forgiveness that is Spirit born.

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I can pray for the families of those who were killed and ask the Lord that sweet fruit may come from bitter actions.

 Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family.  I Peter 2:17   MSG

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In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.

or black church and white church . . .

Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.   Galatians 3:28   MSG

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Emanuel AME church, I send you my love and prayers. You are family.

GPS and Squirrels’ Ears

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 Have you ever wondered how farmers know when is the best time to plant each crop? Do they consult the Farmer’s Almanac and pay attention to the signs of the moon? Do they wait for the subtle clues in nature, codified in sayings like “plant corn when oak leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear?” Or do they get their guidance from crop experts?

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According to an Iowa State University agronomist, the temperature of the soil is the key to planting field corn. 50 degrees F at a depth of four inches is the “magic number.” Another agronomist from ISU compiled data from years of research and concluded that April 15 to May 9 is the best corn-planting window for our part of the state. Of course, farmers are also guided by field conditions. For example, is the soil still soggy after the last rain?

This year we planted soybeans in the field south of our house in the second week of May and corn in the field by the windbreak the last part of April. The oak trees and the scientists agreed.

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That’s the when of planting, and here’s the how:

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The large yellow bins (called bulk hoppers) on top of the planter hold the corn or soybean seed. Seeds are delivered to individual row units by a computerized system that controls the rate and depth at which kernels of corn or soybeans are  planted.

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The planter isn’t the only piece of computerized farm equipment. The fields have already been mapped out with software utilizing the GPS (Global Positioning System), and that information is used by the computerized steering system on the tractor while planting.

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The GPS guidance uses signals from four or more satellites to pinpoint exactly where the tractor is, enabling the tractor to drive itself while planting. The result? Perfectly straight rows with no hands!

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When we have a decision to make or a task to accomplish, where do we get our guidance? Thankfully, we have a God who is able and willing to help us.

The Lord will guide you always;   Isaiah 58:11   NIV

If we’re smart, we’ll seek and wait for His advice.

let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance

Proverbs 1:5   NIV

Sometimes I wish I could have my instructions for the day appear each morning on my computer and hear a loud beeping when a course correction is needed.

How do we receive guidance from God?

The Lord guides us

     through the wisdom and common sense He has already given us;

     through the advice of wise counselors, friends, and family;

     through Scripture;

     and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Just as the GPS uses signals from four or more satellites, we may be directed by more than one source. God guides us with love and kindness, desiring to maintain His relationship with us, which wouldn’t happen if we simply read instructions on a computer screen.

 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

  I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.   Psalm 32:8   NIV

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in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:6   NIV

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but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course

Proverbs 15:21   NIV

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Squirrel photo by Patricia Hunter at pollywogcreek.blogspot.com
GPS educational poster from GPS.gov
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