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February 21, 2008
If you just Google "geranium," the Farm comes up fourth. On an AOL search, it's ninth, following a few horticultural sites. If you Google me, it's number one. If you Google "HodgePodge," the Farm comes up eleventh. If you Google "Debbie Sharp Loeb," we're number one again, which is also what happens if you Google "Joanna Depue." Google "Fr Matthew" and we're fourth, and second if you Google "Buddy Stallings." Google any more than that and you should probably find meaningful work.

But how do people find the Geranium Farm? Debbie, over in the HodgePodge wants to know: when did you find the Farm, and how? I don't imagine it was through a web search, but then what do I know. Who told you about it? Why did you look it up, and why do you keep coming? How do people find out about the things that will steady them through life?

Mostly, they find out through other people. Someone sees something and thinks of you, clicks "forward" and there you are. Someone hands you a book. Someone takes you to lunch. You screw up your courage and approach someone with a question. The children of God are one another's best teachers; we learn almost everything we know from each other.

And yet, none of it takes root unless it clicks with what who we know ourselves to be. The book that changed my life may not change yours. The best prayer for you may not be my way at all. There are many, many spiritual practices available to us, and no one person will use them all. Some of them, though, have your name on them.

This is why we should not hold back when we encounter something new. Keep an open mind: its either for you or it's not, and you'll know soon enough if it's not. It is also why you can change your spiritual practice: life changes us, and it's not surprising that spiritual practice would change, too, when that happens. People often feel guilty when something they've loved for years suddenly ceases to satisfy, but there is no need for guilt. Something else equally worthy will take its place; there are many ways of being in God's presence, and all of them are good.
Drop Debbie an email if you've got a good "How I Found the Farm" story. She wants to know.
This weekend, Feb 22-23: Barbara Crafton at St. James, Baton Rouge, LA. Visit or telephone 225-387-5141.

March 8-10: Barbara Crafton at St. Paul's by the Sea and Christ Church San Pablo in Jacksonville, FL. or telephone 904-249-4091.
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