Journey 131: Mosses for Mindy and the Connectedness of All Things

Mosses with fountain

I have been looking for a thistle type plant to add to my garden, in memory of my cousin, Mindy, who passed in January. We shared Scottish blood and family roots and a wonderful trip to Scotland with her son William last August. It seemed very fitting to grow thistle in the garden for her. However, I’ve looked everywhere for this elusive plant and have not found it in the Joplin area.

This afternoon I seized the opportunity, during a trip to Arkansas to visit Greg’s dad, to enlarge my search parameters. I asked Greg if we could return to Joplin via Bentonville, AR, so I could stop by a large garden center there, Garden City Nursery. With high hopes, I asked the first sales person who approached if he had any thistle or thistle type plants available. I was disappointed when the answer was no. I decided to look around anyway before we left, hoping I would spy something else that I could use.

Mosses Irish and Scottish

As I was wandering about, I saw a display of beautiful, mossy plants. These typically wouldn’t have caught my eye, but I have been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “The Signature of All Things”, and the main character, Alma, is a bryologist, meaning she engages in the scientific study of mosses. As I admired the velvety plants, I thought Alma would love these. I noticed suddenly that the emerald green plant was called Irish Moss. Oh my! My heart beat a little faster. If only there was a Scottish Moss as well. There was a golden green plant next to the Irish Moss. I turned the container so I could see the name of the plant. Scotch Moss, which is also called Scottish Moss.

I was so excited! I bought one of each. If I ever find a thistle plant, I’ll purchase it too. However, I was quite pleased with my discovery, thanks to Alma! On the drive to Joplin I mulled over where I would plant the mosses when I got home and had a plan when I arrived. I have two fountains that I purchased the year before I started my backyard garden….great bargains at the end of the season. Greg is preparing to run electricity for me along the edge of the Japanese Garden so I can install one or both of the fountains.

Mosses close up

Tonight, I carefully set up the larger fountain, between a Japanese fern and burgundy Calla Lilies that are just pushing up through the mulch. It was a perfect fit. The new plants, which aren’t true mosses but behave and spread like mosses do, earning them the name, hug the ground and put out tiny star shaped white blooms briefly in the summer. They can bear foot traffic without being crushed or destroyed. I planted the mosses in front of and on either side of the fountain. I even poured a bucket full of water into the fountain, watching as the water cascaded from pool to pool, collecting at last in the reservoir at the bottom. I love it. I can’t wait until I can sit in the meditation area and listen to the sound of trickling water nearby. How soothing and uplifting that will be.

As I stood looking at my work, I laughed and thought, Well, I’ve muddled up my Japanese Garden by adding Irish and Scottish Moss. I decided to be okay with that. This was in honor of Mindy. I thought she would approve of my eclectic gardening. As I was preparing to write my blog, I looked up the plants. Scrolling down through the articles Google brought up, I noticed several that stated that Irish and Scotch Mosses are perfect around pools and fountains, tucked between stepping stones and rocks, and for JAPANESE GARDENS.

Mosses in Japanese Garden

I love these reminders of how life flows and everything is connected. I had come full circle in my thoughts because I was back to Liz Gilbert’s book, The Signature of All Things. The central theme of the story is the connectedness of all things and how nature has the signature of the Divine coded within it, offering proof of our Creator’s love. I believe it. I can’t believe otherwise when events happen as they did today, leading me ever onward if I am willing to follow. When I am aware, when I am paying attention, I am rewarded with glimpses of the Divine everywhere…even in my search for a plant to honor my cousin. There isn’t anything in my life, in all of our lives, that is too insignificant, or that does not matter. I will remember that, and dear Mindy, every time I look at my Irish and Scottish Mosses.

Mosses with bird

Journey 95: An Eclectic Meandering Path

day of reading

Today was Easter Sunday, and a cool, rainy one at that. It was the perfect opportunity for a day of reflecting on Life and Joy, feeling gratitude for the One who defeated death and tore the veil in two, and spending time reading in a wide variety of books. With various cats nestled in my lap throughout the day, and both iced and hot tea at my side, I had a sweet time of rest.

In keeping with the laid back day, I am writing a simple blog tonight, sharing a quote from each of the seven books that I read in today. I am a multiple book reader, preferring to have several books going at the same time. Rather than finding that practice distracting I find that the themes in the books often flow together in unique and amazing ways, often meshing together to highlight a message through repetition or combining to elevate my awareness. I normally grab the book that I feel drawn to in that moment, so it was a special treat to have time to read in seven.  I continued in five books that I had already begun to read, and started two new books today. Five are non-fiction while two are fictional tales.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon Book 2 in the Outlander Series

I’m loving this series set in Scotland and France during the 1700’s. As I read in this book, I begin to speak with a Scottish accent…in my head! In this quote, Claire is explaining to the head of the local hospital why her husband allows her to volunteer. It made me smile.

“’So, you are not only a milady, you are with child, but your husband does not object to you coming here? He must be a most unusual man.

‘Well, he’s Scottish,’ I said, by way of explanation, not wanting to go into the subject of my husband’s objections.’

‘Oh Scottish,’ Mother Hildegarde nodded understandingly. ‘Just so.’”

Trowel & Error: 700 Shortcuts, Tips & Remedies for the Gardener by Sharon Lovejoy

A great find at Cracker Barrel, this book is full of wonderful advice for gardeners and home spun remedies for creating and maintaining a healthy, vibrant garden.

“Go outside today (pajamas permitted) and visit with your plants. Just a few minutes of this quiet time of reflection and inspection can change the way you look at and tend your garden. You will begin to discover not only problems, but also the small miracles (often overlooked) quietly unfurling, blooming and hatching everywhere around you. Cultivate wonder in your garden, and expect the unexpected.”

Love from Heaven by Lorna Byrne

I have had my awareness raised and my eyes opened concerning the presence of angels as God’s messengers of hope and love to mankind, as shared by this precious woman from Ireland. This is the fourth book that I have read of hers and I am touched each time by her messages.

“When we allow ourselves to love life we get energized mentally and physically, and start to see more purpose in our lives. We become happier and healthier people, more able to cope with whatever life throws at us. We become more compassionate and loving, less judgmental.”

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I have read a couple of non-fiction works by Liz. This is my first novel by the author of Eat, Pray, Love. I’m enjoying this story about a young woman who is a botanist. In this passage, 16 year old Alma has been assigned the task of organizing the estate’s library.

“She was also physically strong enough to carry about the heavy crates and boxes. Too the weather was so poor in 1816 that there was little pleasure to be found outdoors, and not much benefit to be gained by working in the garden. Happily, Alma came to consider her library work as a kind of indoor gardening, with all the attendant satisfactions of muscular labor and beautiful unfoldings.”

Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels

I have enjoyed following Melissa’s blog, The Inspired Room, and looked forward to digging into her first book, which just released. It offers simple ways to embrace your style, get organized and delight in where you are.

“Home is right where you are. As for those dreams you have about what a home should look like? They can come alive wherever you are, in any size, shape or style of house, with all its limitations and frustrations, once you embrace who you really are, what you love, and your own authentic style at home.”

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Life-changing Lessons from Heaven by Theresa Caputo

Yes, this is THAT Theresa Caputo, also known as The Long Island Medium. I have attended two of her live events and I am blessed by her ability to share messages from Spirit with those who are grieving or lost in their journeys. This is the second book of hers that I have read. The chapter I read today was titled, Nobody Wins the Blame Game.

“Address a situation and move forward without being defensive or slinging blame. You can make every excuse in the world, but how will you make things better?”

A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World by Thomas Moore

I so appreciated Moore’s book, The Re-Enchantment of Every Day Life, that I moved on to this book of his when I completed it. I am not fond of the word “religion”, preferring the word “spiritual”, however, I like this quote:

“Religion is our creative and concrete response to the mysteries that permeate our lives.

When you are religious in a deep way, you sense the sacred in things, a faint and mysterious pulse. Both in the world and in yourself you catch sight of the numinous, a hint of something more than human. In developing a religion of one’s own, it’s important to cultivate an eye for the numinous, a sacred light within things or an aura around them, the feeling that there is more to the world than what meets the eye.”

What a beautiful and a restorative time of reading. The interwoven themes today centered around being who I am and doing what I love, which includes all things Scottish, gardening and puttering around my home, and letting go of what doesn’t serve me on my journey. Thomas Moore says reading is a spiritual practice. I agree. I had the privilege and joy of practicing much spirituality today.

day of reading with cats

Angel’s turn to curl up with me