Sunday, August 21, 2011


Now you know who you are.  We run in to each other and you say, "I really need to make it down to your place for a retreat someday."  I say, "Yes, that would be great," not wanting to put a lot of pressure on you because I know life is hectic and it's hard to get away.  But now, girlfriend, I'm going to have to publicly embarrass you by telling, in front of all these readers, that your last chance of the year is coming up soon! 

This spring Heart By Nature offered women a chance to Explore what the Psalms call their "innermost being."  In summer the theme was Encouragement-ourselves and one another. This Autumn retreat focuses on Empowerment in our everyday lives, as we create a personal plan for the upcoming year, built around:

Our passions
(What do I REALLY want next year?)
Our limitations
(How can I learn to say No or This will have to do?)
Our own rhythms
(School, work, family, holidays?)
Natural rhythms
(Daily, monthly, seasonal, etc?)
Our Spiritual Gifting
(What is God calling me to in 2012?)

Yes, my friend, October is the PERFECT time to leave the routine, change your venue and come to a place where the colorful hills will wrap you in their beauty and give you a gift to take home.  This is the PERFECT time of the year to review last year's successes and not-so-much's, and plan the coming year's days and months in ways that make more sense and create more meaning.  This is the PERFECT time of the year to don that comfy sweater and hang with your girlfriends in the woods...or on the back deck...or inside on the couch...depending on your degree of Wild Woman-ness.  

So, I'm sorry I had to bring this up in front of everyone...but I did it because I care about you.  Call me.

Find out more
Friends enjoying last Autumn's Retreat!

Monday, August 8, 2011


When we bought the cedar house and 27 acres we now call Prairie Pond Woods back in 2006, there was no way of knowing what a gem we were purchasing.  Almost everything except the woods had been mowed down to the ground, so it seemed mostly like pastureland surrounding the house. But looking back, we must have had an inkling that good things would spring from the ground because it was never on our radar screen to buy just fields of fescue.

The Saturday the state botanist and two others from Ohio Wesleyen came to do a survey of the flora, our suspicions were confirmed. I'm not sure what prompted the call asking if they could come down from Columbus, but I'm glad they did.  While it is not going to be designated a national landmark or turned into a state nature preserve any time soon, the land possess some notable features...and more abundance of diverse beauty.
I know it may be hard for some to understand how people such as us could be so interested in a plot of land that we would spend 31/2 hours in 90-plus degree weather walking at a snails pace staring at the ground...but it is actually more than an is a love.  It is the love of ecology...knowing how life fits together and is interdependent. It is the concern for preserving species after the that knowledge has been gathered.  It is the joy and art of developing a "sense of place" and understanding the rhythms of the habitat we share with God's other created things.
Over the last 5 years I've learned many things about my little plot of land - from what kind of bedrock is under my feet to what forages in the high canopy of oaks.  I'm learning the dynamics of when the wildflowers bloom and under what conditions. Or when they set seed and how they're dispersed.  I take note each year of the date the Yellow-breasted Chat shows up with its crazy mating call.  I wait patiently over the winter for the magical evenings when the spring peepers at the pond are so deafening, fifteen minutes is about all I can take.

Now I've learned how rare the Tall Larkspur are in Adams County, and so maintaining the little patch on the shady slope they're thriving on is a new priority.  One new discovery was also made on the property, an inconspicuous vine called, Green-Passionflower and another one was correctly identified as Angle-pod, a vine in the Milkweed family.
All in all, 160 species were identified, nine that are on the state Watch List and three that are considered Potentially Threatened.  I'm really grateful to these good folks for taking time out of their weekend to come to Prairie Pond Woods.  I'm also grateful to be able to take care of this land and continue to fall in love with the beauty and joy it brings.