Join in the great company of those who make barren places of life fruitful with kindness. Carry a vision of heaven in your hearts…Your success and happiness lies in you…The external conditions are the accidents of life. The great enduring realities are love and service. Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. Your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulty. – Helen Keller
The Garden School is a small home program in San Rafael, California, owned and operated by Rob and Tracey Harrington. Like so many programs across the country they are now closed until the pandemic wanes and ends. This week Tracey Harrington created Care Baskets for each of the families who have children in their care and included a newsletter:
“I made up the word ‘humblement’, this week, for lack of a better word to describe the experience we are going through right now with the world pandemic. Each day requires a new response, adaptability and capacities to bridge our lives in new ways.
“This is my offering. A care basket, a chore, a muffin recipe, and a prayer practice. So I took my hands and started to make the eight children in our care little peg dolls called The Seed Children to go with the therapeutic story of being held in Mother Earth’s arms under the roots of a great tree…that is how the story starts. The creation of each doll was a meditation on the child this doll was for. I called to mind their features, the sound of their voice, the gesture of their hands, the way they walk and express themselves. And after a while, I felt them in my heart. All the connection was there, and I put each of these Seed Children dolls together in a soft bed of wool and allowed a lot of space to just be there.
“Then a song came to mind to share with them along with some practical work for their families in an article on Chores from my LifeWays training resources. This is our first care basket along with a newsletter and email correspondence with the families.
“Each morning there are signs of a new miracle. One morning a father brought groceries to us, another morning we delivered a care package to a family who was ill and feeling anxious. One family sent photos of the children playing with the dolls and making little houses for them.
“Other families sent photos of being out in nature with their children, building fairy houses or touching wildflowers. Some families send a text, a love note on some days and one asked for The Garden School Muffin recipe today. The reaching out has helped my heart. I hear that they are finding their own rhythm, they are mostly well, and are slowing down.
“What I want to say is this: find what helps you relax, to re-center, come in touch again with your own rhythm, and what helps you feel a sense of well being; it might be cooking, it might be hanging out in the garden, it might be a walk in nature. For me it is crafting, using my hands in meditation. Children will feel your connection to yourself and they will feel every ounce of your well-being. This is my offering. A story, a song, a gift, a recipe, a prayer.”
The Seed Children Story
“A little seed for us to sow, a little earth on which to grow, a little hole, a little pat, a
little wish and that is that …a little sun, a little shower, a little love and that is when seeds turn into flowers.” (Spring finger play)
All winter long Mother Earth slept under the big billowing blanket and safe in her
arms were her little Seed Children. The tall trees kept watch over them and Mother
Earth dreamed of a gentle moon and bright stars in the night sky.
The Gnome family watched over the seedlings. They were waiting for the day when
Spring would come and they would feed the seedlings after their long winter nap.
One day when the sun fairies returned and the birds began to sing in the garden, the
gnome family sent a message to the tree tops asking, “Is Spring here yet?” The tall
trees creaked and moaned in their sleepy branches and said, “Oh no, not yet, the sky
is bluer but the winds are cold. Let us sleep a little longer,” they said.
One day the gnomes saw a bird singing with a chest as red as a cherry and it sang a
most cheerful song, “Cheerily, Cheerily”. They sent their messages to the tree tops
again asking, “Is Spring here yet?”, Little Robin Red Breast answered back, “Not yet,”
dear children. You will need to wait until Sparrow comes to sing.” And Mother Earth
rolled over, yawned and went back to sleep, and so did all the little Seed Children.
Then one day at last when the Gnome family went to ask the tree tops their
question, “Is spring here yet?” The trees called out cheerfully, “Listen and you can
hear a happy song.” “Who is that singing?” asked Mother Earth. “Oh my, it is little
brown Sparrow,” said the Gnomes.
“Good Morning to you”, said Mother Earth, “It must be time to wake up the seed
children from their long winter’s nap”. She began to stretch and to stir and all the
little Seed Children stretched and yawned and opened their eyes, then they began to
cry, for they were very hungry.
The Gnomes heard their hungry cries and had been gathering herbs to make soup
for the Seed Children. The Gnomes began their hard work of carrying bowls of soup
to the roots of the trees and to the seedlings. The sun fairies came and splashed
about in the rain water and a wondrous thing began to happen.
The trees began to slowly wake up and they stretched and stirred until their tiny
buds on their branches pushed off their winter caps. The seed children pushed off
their winter caps too, and started their work with Mother Earth of washing the bugs
and beetles, brushing the bees and making new clothes for themselves, made of all
the rainbow colors for the special day when they would make their procession out
of the roots of the trees and into the meadow, with Mother Earth and all her
children, all the while the Sparrow sang its sweet song welcoming Spring back to
Snip, snap snout this tale is all told out.
“I have heard a mother bird singing in the rain
Telling all her little ones, Spring has come again
I have seen a wave of green down a lovely lane
Making all the hedges glad, Spring has come again
I have found a patch of land, golden in the sun
Crocuses are calling out
Spring has just begun ”
The Garden School Muffin recipe (everything is organic )
1 ½ cup oat/coconut flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
stir in another bowl:
¾ cup sunflower oil
2 ripe bananas
1 cup applesauce
Mix in the love; bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes in muffin tin
Allow silent space between everything
Be in the not knowing
Light a candle if you can, or just imagine warm light
Ask “What is most needed right now?”
Fill the space with your heart
Listen, pay attention, do what you alone can do,
do what is necessary
Love wholeheartedly all that is with you,
This is prayer.