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Posts tagged ‘nature’

Mere Christianity

a beautiful, blue tinged early morning lake scene

shhhh- don’t spoil it.

We went camping last weekend at Allegany. I took the opportunity of safe, largely car free roads to do an evening bike ride. As I was peddling along, enjoying the breathtaking view, I grew very philosophical. I was thinking how this was the closest I could get to experiencing the sacred. There is something about both ends of the day that are completely unlike the rest of it. The quiet hush, the muted light, the feeling of quiet expectancy, are unique to dawn and dusk. They are more awesome, when experienced in nature, than anything else I can think of.

When the bible talks about “the holiest of holies”, I think of this. I do see the most holy in nature, in those moments that so impress us. I thought about church, and how it is asked of us to not refrain from meeting together. The reasons for church are legion (pun intended), from support and comfort, to accountability, but I don’t find that most sacred feeling around other people.

To me, our highest expressions of Christian life are like really bad crayon drawings of holiness. I thought of this while looking at the breathtaking beauty in front of me, and how well or badly it can be depicted in paint on canvas. The greatest painters of the world, can only evoke memories of beauty like this, not truly capture it. Most painters only embarrass themselves and us, with rude attempts. I thought that a good analogy of our attempts at a Christ-like life. Have you ever seen a poor attempt at a water-color sunset? It just looks sad. In the past, Christianity has gotten a bad rap for many things, but we are just attempting to capture what so few can. We see it, we experience it, we want so much to share what is so beautiful with others, but our attempts are clumsy and amateurish.

Maybe some people will see this as another criticism of Christianity. I don’t mean it that way, I only mean to express what I see as the gap between us and God, between our mundane daily life and the beauty which is around us, in us, yet always a bit out of reach.

My Love Affair with Kale is Still Going Strong

Head of dark green kale.

A thing of beauty

How could it not?

Look at this. This was harvested from my garden on December 19, 2012. It’s still growing! Granted, this is an extremely mild winter so far, we’ve only had two hard frosts and a dusting of snow. The rest of the garden has long since gone to sleep. The broccoli might have survived, but I pulled it all up when it bolted so badly.

In case I needed reasons.

How can you not love a vegetable that is so hardy and productive, and so good for you? I had expected to be using what I had frozen by now. I have so much in my freezer that I can’t find other things. I have used some of what I froze, I made a lasagna with chopped kale instead of spinach. Believe it or not, my husband even liked it! In any case, this one vegetable, planted in a ring around the garden, has fed me every day since last spring. I have become addicted to kale added to my oatmeal. I did try the frozen in it, but it is not as nice of a texture, so the fact that those little powerhouses are still going strong makes me so happy. If it was a bad year, the deer would have eaten them all. The two days we did get snow, they immediately came in the yard and topped the whole back of the garden. I harvested a whole bunch then, assuming I was salvaging what I could before they got it all, but they haven’t been back and the rest are still growing.

Just a reminder

In case you can’t figure out why kale makes me so happy, here are some reasons, I copied this from an article on webMD:

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

Ok, so maybe I should be eating more cooked kale, but I have the rest of the winter to do that.

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