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June 24, 2006
Four layers of newspapers on top of the weeds, with all their seeds snipped off, and a few inches of topsoil on top of that. Some mulch on top of that. Leave it for a few months and there will be nothing left but nice soil and happy worms. If I want to plant something there, I'll just cut through the paper layer and slip it in. That's my pleasant plan for the remaining small portion of what used to be the front yard -- the lasagna method. It is now all flowers and trees and plants. There is no grass.

What's so great about great expanses of green grass anyway, unless you run a golf course? It is flat, bland. Boring. And it lacks biodiversity: everyone, plants and animals alike, is healthier when you mix things up a little. A mutt is the healthiest dog you can get -- everyone else has problem hips, delicate eyes, timid immune systems.

But isn't a garden more work than a lawn?

Than what? Than mowing every week? Than edging? Than fertilizing? Than reseeding? Than digging up crabgrass? Not at all -- a perennial garden basically takes care of itself, in maturity: after the first few years, it's a world. You only go out there when you want to play. You weed a bit, but after a while, weeds mostly don't grow there. There's too much else growing there for them to get much of a foothold. The garden's just too busy to get very sick.

We are like that in our spirits, too. If we are on about serving the people of God, seeking out the poor and those who serve the poor and becoming part of that good work, sitting in the stillness of our mornings or our late nights and learning to listen for the loving voice of God speaking to us, singing at the top of our lungs whether we can carry a tune or not, we won't be on about other things. We won't have time.

Life is so short. Don't spend it nursing homogenous turf all over your life, so that at the end it is as uneventful as a green sea. Don't stay carefully within your own comfort zone all the time.

Mix it up a little.


In Ways of the World: Read Carol Stone on debt -- your debt, and how it works in your life. How it compares with national averages. What it means to you spiritiually, and how you can begin to work on it. The first in a series of essays on what our Convention called our "Culture of Debt."

In More or Less Church: Read DJ on her Convention travels -- and I do mean travels. And animal funerals. And Matt the Web Dude's wedding. And the Geranium Farm Brunch -- with a picture, so you can see what we all look like!

In the HodgePodge: Find your picture at the Geranium Farm Brunch. Or just find Elizabeth Cauthorn of Viva Books of Santonio, the Farm's official bookstore, or John and Jean Carson of Hillsboro, Ohio. Read a little love story about a caregiver and her elderly friend as she takes her leave of him -- not the usual depressing one, but a relationship lifegiving to both of them.

All at!
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