My Love Affair with God the Gardener

It’s true, and it’s been going on for a long time: the longing to plant the earth, to dig and scrape, to enrich the soil and make it bring forth its beautiful beings, its peculiar creations, some for tasting, some just for looking and smelling.

Many layers of learning have been added since my first encounter as a teenager with a garden in upstate New York. It was sensory overload, and I succumbed, but had no chance to practice in my own earthly space until I landed in Big Sur many years later.

I had received an invitation from God to join Him in the ongoing work of creation. At first, I didn’t recognize the sacredness of that call, that summons to his side until I discovered the excitement of seeds!! They were miniature forms of life, unrecognizable to our eyes, until we placed them in the womb of mother earth. We had to hide them, bury them, and trust them to nature’s power. They were wrapped in a cocoon of warm earth, water and sunlight that contained all the ingredients for reproducing life. But first they endured death. What emerged from that burial was a new creation that bore no resemblance to the seed placed in the ground. God gives it a new body, a new kind of flesh. And so it will be with us.

…he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we shall see him as he really is.” (I John 3:2)

I think of Mary weeping at Jesus’ tomb, looking for her lord. Jesus was buried in a garden, and then she sees someone she thinks is the gardener. The Son of God, a gardener, the last Adam, the second man, the heavenly man?? Yes, and so much more. ” …the first man, Adam, became a living person. But the last Adam-that is, Christ- is a life-giving spirit.” (I Cor. 15:45) Jesus was  the “first fruits” of a new creation.

 

But gardening with God is more than a sweet love affair. It is also war. The tender seedlings need protection from many hostile hungry creatures. As soon as they are born they are exposed to attacks. It wasn’t always this way. The battle for survival began as a result of Adam’s sin, that deviation from perfection, that marring of the divine image within us. And so it is with us.

This Spring I broke out in full scale “plantmania and gardenitus”. I had a vision of wild abundance, things growing everywhere! I even forgot what  I had planted, and discovered that what I thought was a cabbage was really a cauliflower. I just needed to look more closely. And so I do now, as I tend, hover, water, feed and guard these little creations. When I handed John our first ripe zucchinis, he succinctly said, “You’re a mother!”

 

 

 

 

How to help your Indie Author Friends like me

How to Support your Favorite Indie (Independent) Authors

Promoting a book is almost as hard as writing one. Publishers only promote their high-profile authors.  Lesser known authors promote at their own expense. You can help the cause of good books and authors you love, with little or no money and very little time. If you genuinely enjoy a book and want to support the author, here’s how: 

  • Friend and befriend: Check out and “like” fan pages on Facebook, author profiles on Goodreads, and Amazon and other online booksellers, as well as LinkedIn.  The small task of “friending”, “liking”, “endorsing”, or “following” seems trivial, but it helps indie authors and their books become visible.
  • It takes a village to promote a book: A book becomes a commercial success when people tell others about it.  If you enjoy a book, tell friends.  Use your own social media outlets to mention and link to the book or the author. Ask your local bookstores and libraries if they’d consider stocking the book because you know others will enjoy it.  Invite your book club to read an indie.  (Lots of authors will visit book clubs to chat about their book either live or via Skype).  Giving indie books as gifts is another way to share the love.
  • Help make connections: Authors will often have giveaway download periods or big discount days on Amazon and other sites.  This is essentially free advertising.  If you hear about these, tell friends and they can get a free or very discounted book.  If you want to go the extra mile, download the freebie yourself (even if you have the book). If you are in the market for another book of a similar genre purchase that one at the same time.  This couples the indie book with the established book. The two books become linked and automatically promoted by the engines that do such things on that site. Magic!
  • Offer endorsements or reviews:  Write an honest, positive review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online retailers. This is how a book grows legs. A positive review or endorsement is more valuable to the author than a single sale because it makes the book visible. Even a sentence or two is a giant help.  Tip: Don’t refer to the author by her first name in the review. Sounds like you’re her mom or dad! 
  • Subscribe to and interact with writers’ blogs and tweets: Blogs and tweets are another free (other than the labor) way for authors to gain visibility.  Good blogs don’t just hawk books. They provide information, inspiration, or entertainment for the reader with occasional information about a book launch or event. (Bad blogs are just ads.) Follow, like, friend, endorse…you’re getting the theme here.
  • Show up and bring friends: Attend book events for authors.  Bring friends.  The support means a lot. Readings and book events almost always free. They benefit the author, the bookstore or coffee house that’s hosting, and can actually be a fun way to spend an hour or so.

 

San Francisco Book Review

Love Song of a Flower Child
By Mary Stewart Anthony
WestBow Press, $17.95, 236 pages, Format: Trade

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

//LOVE SONG OF A FLOWER CHILD// is a very earnest and candid portrayal of a woman’s dire journey for purpose, fulfillment and self-realization through the times of bohemian culture and lifestyle and with several spare plunges into occult studies and practices; Mary Stewart Anthony’s loaded and viciously charged tale of her downward spiral, from dropping out of college, uprooting and separating completely from her New York home, an abusive marriage and substantial experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and renouncing her early days of religion, is startling and truly outrageous: “I felt hemmed in by this thick concentric circle of dope smokers, pimps, and madmen, an onlooker who was a prisoner of her own rebellion (76). The book gradually moves along three parts in the various stages of this dysfunction and, for the most part, operates in a rather linear craze stemming from Anthony’s childhood and adolescence, manifesting itself in college years and fully actualizing in her love life and well into the birth/rearing of two daughters. Despite Part 1 dragging out with an unclear timeline and a lack of natural transitioning between the family and their back stories, particularly due to the few instances of dates for grounding this section, the confusion subsides and the reader is engulfed wholly in the continuing narrative.

Mary Stewart Anthony is articulate and well versed in the power of literature and poetry as she sketches her shaky trajectory in the flower children. //LOVE SONG OF A FLOWER CHILD// is thus entrancing and enthralls until the last emotionally ridden page. Not only is the plot thick with a psychological rendition of “what does it all mean?” with “brutal soul-searching…, probing and questioning…” but the added influence of marijuana, wine, LSD, impacts the distortion of said hippie generation (40). There is a lot of big name dropping like Timothy Leary, Jackson Pollock, the Beatniks like Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsburg, Janice Joplin, among many others, which definitely speaks to the times and motions of this generation. The beauty of this memoir is that despite the wretched “dark side of those days,” there is a revival of self ultimately with a powerful discerning and reflection (77). In trying to secure a place in the world, the direct community and within self, Mary  Stewart Anthony travels in search of a simple life and she finds it full circle in Christianity.