Wednesday, May 13, 2015


We have officially been welcomed into spring this year in Elgin! Ben and Kristen have done a lot of work in the garden and around the house, making room for new and fresh plants. As space has been created from the removal of grass, onion grass, and weeds running amok, we discovered lots of possibilities. Most of these photos are of the areas around the house that have undergone extensive work. We are able to get out most weekends and even some nights after work. It helps that the light is staying around longer, too!

This magnolia is at its peak blooming stage in the photo and that was two weeks ago. It's still blooming even as it has dropped most of its petals! 

The rest of the photos are from our projects of landscaping. Ben, especially, has been very proactive and creative in acquiring and arranging plants from various generous souls. 

This Iris is the only one of our plethora that 
has bloomed yet this year. 
This bed is well established.

Ben thinned the hydrangeas, moving them various places strategically around the yard.

This space actually looks quite empty. Don't be fooled. Ferns keep coming up, we planted some Russian Sage, Echinacea, and daylilies there, and we have rescued and transplanted a forsythia in the corner, that previously had grown up in the lilac bush and in the crack of a neglected piece of cement. The plants in the foreground are simply taking off! They have clearly been well-established and produce purple flowers sometime late summer, early fall. We have yet to learn their name. Can you help us? Any guesses?

Lillies around the house are out of control, so they were thinned and given away. Ben pulled out five major stumps, which is part of the reason we have so much space now.

We have been gifted so many plants and would like to express a huge thank you to several of our generous neighbors for splitting their hostas (among other plants) for us. Ben rescued a group of hostas from the middle of the street and planted them last fall (pictured above.) They look great!
We were also gifted dozens of plants by a generous co-worker and would extend a special greeting to he and his wife. All of the transplants are finally looking healthy and happy! 

Ben also started a lot of garden veggies and many are already 
growing well in the garden and there continue to be starts
of flowers also finding their way into the beds around the house.

As we have mused this spring, there is something enchanting about fostering growth for others coming to the house after us. Many of these plants will only have a good beginning, thanks to hard work and some TLC. I hope that in the few years it takes for the majority of them to become established, future houses of BVSers and our neighbors will be able to appreciate our efforts and feel compelled to add their own creative and nurturing skills. While we may not see the bounty of our labor, it is exciting to know that the effort we have extended can be noticed and enjoyed by many to come. Perhaps this is a bigger lesson for all of us than just simply planting some random plants because "it just feels good." 

It does feel pretty good to play in the dirt, too. :)

I'll leave you with this:
      In the spirit of reflection on friends made here, in past life connections, and in relationships to come, I will share a calligraphy note I penned and mailed recently to a couple of graduating friends of mine. 

With love,

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Labyrinths and Sabbath

Hello friends!

For those of you who may not know, as a house (like many houses before us) we have Spiritual Direction meetings once a month, led by David Doubt. Every month we try out different spiritual practices, have journaling time, and discussion. During Spiritual direction this week, we walked the labyrinth in David's backyard. I have a serious affinity for labyrinths, so this was my favorite Spiritual Direction that we've had so far. I don't think I'll be around for any further meetings, so it was nice to end on a special one. Below are some photos of Laura, Kristen, Hannah, Jessie, David, and I walking the labyrinth.

Tonight Highland Ave. COB is having a special evening service to celebrate the spiritual gifts of its members, and to allow for an intentional sabbath all day tomorrow. As a house we decided that we wanted to take advantage of a true Sunday sabbath  and have come up with a list of things that we're going to do tomorrow. I'm pretty stoked about it. We're going to cook and have a special brunch, go for a walk (weather pending), write cards to church members, and have a hymn-sing. For a few of us who are getting ready for a seriously full summer, this next week or two has been dubbed the calm before the storm. It will be nice to have tomorrow for rest and celebration of our community, before we part ways for a little while.