BookNotes: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack

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Oh my! I learned so much science reading/listening to this book. I also learned how much science I simply assume all people understand. It was eye opening to learn about people who do not have that fundamental knowledge.

This is so much more than the story of HeLa cells and Henrietta Lacks, it is a story about presumption that occurred (and still occurs) in the medical and scientific communities. I’d like to hope these things don’t happen anymore, but I am uncertain.

February Habits and Goals:

  • 28 days of yoga I managed 27 days. One day I had a terrible migraine that required medication and made moving a problem.
  • 24 days of walking  24 days!
  • 8 days of strength training 10 days, included Pilates, Kettle Bells, and FWFL prep week workouts
  • continuing Welsh practice (bring section 2 levels up to 5, SSiW #6 and #7, and listening practice #1 each day.  Yes!  All these done. I even moved into Section 3 on 4 levels, and started Challenge #8
  • 24 days of writing — something, anything, for my class, for this blog, just on paper, whatever, but 6 days a week. Yes!!
  • 2 retreat days (after my Spiritual Companion Group, I’ll walk, and get lunch and then sit and read or think, but not work, until Hannah picks me up. Get ’em! This was surprisingly difficult. I felt like I “should” study, or write, or do more Welsh, or  . . .. , but the 2nd day was much easier than the first try.
  • read 2 fiction books and 2 non-fiction books Circe, Cherringham, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Atomic Habits  (+ audio books at night that I don’t really listen to so much as listen to until I fall asleep)

 

 

BookNotes: Educated

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I have a new reading plan for 2019: 2 fiction (1 read, 1 audiobook), 1 non-fiction (educational), and 1 memoir (or biography) all going at the same time.

  • Cluster 1 consisted of Artemis Fowl (fiction, on audiobook) and Kingdom of the Blind (fiction), New Celtic Monasticism (educational), and Finding Saint David of Wales (biography).
  • Cluster 2 was just completed with Circe (fiction, audiobook) and Cherringham (fiction), The Celtic Way of Praying (educational), and Educated (memoir).

I can’t say I enjoyed this book and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t written for us to enjoy. It did cause me to do a lot of thinking about fundamentalism (in all its various shapes and sizes) and how very vital education is both for children and even for adults.

My own life experience teaches me that the more I learn, the more I grow and change, and the more I grow and change the more I love those around me, the more I see things from their perspective, and the more capable I am of avoiding judgment and simply loving.

BookNotes: Forest Church

Forest Church: A Field Guide to a Spiritual Connection with Nature
by Bruce Stanley

Read October 2018

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This might be the most important book I could ever recommend to a Christian environmentalist or someone wondering what we ought to be thinking and doing when it comes to creation care.

It isn’t technical. It doesn’t lay out the answers. It doesn’t tell you to change your lightbulbs (although you should).

What it does is inspire you to take your connection to creation one step further. Just one step . . . But, my goodness where that one step might take you.

Ch 1 — Why Go Outside?

  • thin places = places where the boundary between heaven and earth is at its most transparent.
  • First Nations — mountains, water, woods, rock, and river
  • The Food Story and The Sacred Land — This might have been my favorite section. It breaks down belief, lifestyle, and impact of forager/hunter/gatherer vs food producer. I actually got a lot of good ideas for our little farm from this section.
  • Eco-mindedness and biophilia –embracing  our environmental challenges is an urgent issue that we must address.
  • NDD — Nature Deficit Disorder the only cure is go outside
  • Flow — the end of activity where your skill level in in balance with the challenge lever
    • gapped for air we;;-being
    • walking, cycling, drawing, climbing, foraging, playing, gardening, reading, knitting, journaling, photography,

Cha 2 — Reading the Second Book of God

  • Nature-a wild place, “other than human place,” but size is flexible.
  • 3 ways into Nature/Creation:
    • awe: Isn’t it amazing? deep sense of connection, as we is the beginning of wisdom
    • study: academic exploration, “What is it?”
    • meaning: search for insight and relevance, imagination.

Ch 3 –Participating with Nature

  • Pg 53: Ps 115:16, but “Im not sure were up to the responsibility.
  • Permaculture–people care, earth care, and fair share
    • value in nature should be recognized and protected
    • higher value –>primary use
      • example: pure water –> cook, drink, wash :: grey water –> flush, etc
      • example: energy –>solar or wind ::  No to fossil fuels
      • example: tree –>oxygen, shade :: limbs, dead wood –> heat home
  • Be with nature rather than going “into” nature.  i.e. participate
  • From Dominator to Participant
    • Dominator–nature exists to support humans, raw materials for profit
    • Steward — still seen from human perspective, recognize that their are limits to natural resources, entrusted with use not consumption
    • Partner –nature as ally. Animals as allies. life as an interplay of life forms.I am separate but conscious and ethical. Sustainable, organic, ecological care
    • Participant — I exist within the mix of interdependent and interwoven life forms, I am part of nature, respect because of intrinsic value, eco-centric, set limits. Be regenerative not just sutainable
    • Which am I? How can I move toward participant?  It is imperative that we move to being a participant.
    • Regenerative because we have a long way to go to get back to where our systems were actually sustainable.
      • pause before you enter a wild space
      • slow your soul
      • be aware when you intervene in nature

Ch 4–Developing Your Wild Side

  • well being accumulates daily through nature connection
  • more by walking, eating, sitting, working, reading outdoors
  • sit spot, journaling, giving thanks, wild camping, distance hiking, growing your own
  • following nature’s rhythm: day/night, lunar months, Light Half/Dark Half of year (equinox and solstice)
  • The only equipment you really need is;
    • comfortable footwear
    • decent jacket
    • water bottle
    • snack
    • first aid kit
    • phone / camera
    • notebook with pen or pencil

 

I am planning a series of posts where I explore these ideas more in depth.

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What I’m reading:  Harry Potter 3 in German, Cherringham #11, The Celtic Way of Prayer

What I’m listening to: Arthur

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who, The Good Place

What I’m learning in Welsh:

  • Yn well
  • Yn waeth
  • Gwych
  • wedi blino
  • Pwy dych chi?

What I’m thinking about:  regenerative eco-mindedness . . .

BookNotes: Thomas Merton & The Celts

Part 2 of the book notes

Celts, even before migrating to Gaul and the British Isles, highlight devotion to nature and a world inhabited by Spirits.

  • The Greeks called them “mysterious neighbors” who preferred living in natural environments rather than urban cities.
  • a sacredness to everyday place
  • a great sense of imagination
  • seasonal rhythms (Nov 1 = new year, Feb 1 = spring, time for planting)
  • God + humanity + earth = a trinity of social interaction
  • divine harmony — no split between matter and spirit
  • “this=ness” of each animal — glorifying God in the dogness of a dog
  • “this-ness” of hills, woods, grasses, waters
  • thin place = where the “this-ness” collapses and heaven and earth are 3 feet part.
    • groves of trees
    • stone walls
    • mountains
    • springs of water
    • island, peaks, cliffs, valleys
  • Rhythms of 3
    • shamrock — 3 leaves, yet 1 shamrock
    • 3 splashes/drops of water
    • love for neighbor, friend, and foe
    • “to save, to shield, to surround” the household
  • Celtic Knot
    • timeless nature
    • interlacing
    • spiritual and physical, birth and rebirth
    • closed path = eternity, ever-present love of God
    • the “zen” of doodles
  • Not creation entered, but creation filled: “Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, and our our destiny.”
    • intelligence, not learning or education, to understand art
    • work against ugliness by resorting beauty.
    • Welsh poetry–a striking sense that God’s grace is present and at work now, evident in the diversity and richness of creation, and in the way in which apparent opposites belong together and are at one.
    • Creation and redemption are one. Together they are the outpouring of a loving God.