Week 1 Day 7: Seeds

Week 1: Rule of Life & Rhythm of Nature
Workbook Exercise: Other Garden Plots

Watch: Week 1 Day 7: Seeds
What ‘seeds’ have you collected for your garden plot?
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Transcript of Video:

Over the course of this week we’ve introduced the idea of a Rule of Life and we’ve used the metaphor of a garden or a garden plot to think about our lives and think about the kind of plants that we want to encourage the growth of in these garden plots and perhaps also the kind of weeds that we might want to take out. So how can we make this garden plot flourish? How can we make it abundant and fruitful?

So at the end of this week you have a chance to look back over the week. We’ve talked about what a Rule of Life is and we’ve looked at some different kinds of Rule of Life. What are the ideas that have kind of stuck in your mind? What has grabbed your attention? And what are some of the suggestions or ideas or images or metaphors that have seemed useful to you? So gather them up now and think in terms of gathering these as “seeds” and putting them in a packet and you’re going to sow them in the weeks to come as we go through the process of developing this garden plot.

– Br. David Vryhof


  1. Jaden Marker on April 13, 2023 at 16:44

    My seeds are loving/serving myself with charity and patience so in turn I can do the same to others; live a moderate life in the present moment I am in; find saints to emulate and be inspired by; set time to practice my rule of life through prayer, study and meditation; and most importantly, prioritize healing from trauma.

  2. David Damon on September 11, 2021 at 08:37

    A number of ideas come to mind as I reflect back on this first week of the program. 1, a Rule of Life is like a trellis which provides support and direction for the plants in a garden to flourish. 2, I need to prepare the soil of my life before planting – remove weeds, turn over the soil, add fertilizer/compost. 3, I should use discernment to carefully select what I plant, to get the right balance of crops. Don’t overdo it – too much of a good thing is not a good thing(!) 4, I’ll need to maintain the plants as they grow, with daily care (water, sunlight). 5, I’ll need a fence around the garden to protect it from invasion of pests. I will need to remove weeds and pests when they (inevitably) enter. To me this boils down to setting good boundaries and expectations as I draft my Rule. 6, I need to remember that ultimately it is God who gives the growth, not me. I have my role to fulfill, but He is the one who makes things grow (1 Cor 3:6). In a sense this takes the pressure of performance (and outcome) off my shoulders. Let me end by offering my thanks to all the speakers who shared their thoughts in the videos this week – I appreciate your insights and wisdom and look forward to the coming week’s lessons.

    • David Damon on September 13, 2021 at 19:08

      One other important seed that I forgot to mention above. The idea that gardens (and nature in general) move in seasons, with times of preparing, planting, tending, harvesting, clearing out, and resting. Living my life with analogous seasons is quite contrary to my previous working life, which had one season only: continuously on with demands for more, better, and faster. I feel allowing my life to move through seasons (and in particular resting seasons) will be very beneficial for me and will be an important part of my Rule.

  3. Maureen Weaver on August 9, 2020 at 13:12

    I am grateful for the ‘seeds’ that have been planted in my mind and heart this week by the Brothers. It has been a week of reflection – exploring thoughts, values, obstacles, ideas, images, and the garden metaphor.
    Consistently throughout the week, it is the fruit of the Spirit that has ‘stuck in my mind’, that has ‘my full attention’. It is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) that I hope, and pray, to sow and have grow within me, for the benefits of others.

    • Chioma Nwaogu on January 10, 2021 at 20:21

      I am selecting the seeds of awareness, trying to key into the acts of being open to all those around me and getting to love and see God in everything around me. To live wholly is what I desire and sharing ones life is utmost in my list, how I live in union with God and neighbor; while understanding the natural world too.

  4. Michelle on May 16, 2020 at 16:31

    Some seeds I’ve collected are:1) pay attention to the pace at which I am moving in my life
    2) Become more aware of what is in front of me and around me 3) practice respect and honour what is before me.

  5. Elizabeth on March 3, 2020 at 11:49

    I’m just not sure on this one. The answer doesn’t immediately jump out at me. I think God wants me to prepare for Autumn. I’ve stopped working for health reasons. It’s time to downsize and enjoy a more simple existence. I’m not quite ready for winter! To this I need to:
    Purge what doesn’t bring me joy.
    Focus on my relationships that matter.
    Help my community in ways I could not when I was working full time.
    Reinvest in my relationship with God.

  6. Richard Fleming Stutz on January 5, 2020 at 08:07

    As I have thought about the Rule of Life and went through the exercises I came to the end and the bottom line is making time to allow the seeds to grow. Anything that is really important to us in life we make time for it. If this creation of a Rule of Life is important enough we will make time to tend this garden and grow the disciplines that will help us become more holy in our daily living. Like a farmer patiently waiting for the rains to fall and the crop to grow for a nice Fall harvest.

  7. Bryan Cook on March 9, 2019 at 11:26

    My seeds are to heed the wisdom of experience…my own and that of others. I now plant fewer seeds for a more healthy and productive small plot. I enjoy the fruits of others for the vegetables I cannot grow. I am thus more contented , less pressured and less fearful of failure. The yearly challenge is to resist the hype of the seed catalogue to sell me that which I do not need!

  8. Emily on February 22, 2018 at 14:12

    Alas, I am not a gardener, but find this a “fruitful” metaphor (thanks for the puns!) One of my great friends is a gardener and has kept a “garden book” for many years of her own plot. Each year she considers past years: consults the wisdom of other books and catalogs; considers her own limitations; dreams and plans; chooses plants (she chooses only flowers!) chooses the season, considering the time; prepares the ground; plants, perhaps even a new tree; carefully tends plants — she would no more neglect them than she would a child — guides the children of the neighborhood to appreciate not only their beauty but their care — and puts them to bed again in the winter. All the time recording it in the book, one of many over the years.
    Yes, she chooses and enjoys flowers, but it is the work and process of the garden that come first.
    When I think of a rule, this is what I think of: focusing not on the abundance of fruits that St. Paul speaks of, but rather on the work described by the Rule of the SSJE and the FSJ and St Benedict and so many others. I figure if I study those who have borne the fruit, I can develop a pattern of work in a “simple rule for beginners” adapted to my harsh season and rocky soil. Not too ambitious but fully committed, I am sure to bear some green plant.

  9. David Watkins on November 14, 2017 at 08:20

    I desire growth in my relationships with others. I need to be a better listener to those with whom I interact. I pray for humility and the ability to more easily let go of things I cannot control, and let God handle them. Through constant prayer and meditation, I want to more consciously carry knowledge of God’s presence throughout the day. I want to let go of self-reliance and ego-motivated thoughts and actions. I ask God to help me cultivate a more profound concern for the well-being of my fellow travelers in life. I ask for God’s guidance in showing me how to help others. I pray that the awareness God gives me of each seed for growth will lead to awareness of other seeds for growth.

  10. Richard A Dixon on August 20, 2017 at 13:04

    My seeds have to do with;
    Drawing near to God,
    Respecting all people,
    Respecting myself, Body, Mind and Spirit
    Limiting activities, but doing what I do well and on time,
    Don’t label and judge others,
    BQ2L, S2S, S2A. Smiles

  11. Andre on May 29, 2017 at 02:28

    The seeds I would like to grow and develop are:
    – To love God and to bring everything before him – including our imperfections and the pains and worries which afflicts us
    – To serve God in daily life no matter what we do and where we are
    – To bring God to others and to try and show love and charity even in the most difficult of circumstances and with the most trying of people.
    – To find joy in God regardless of how dark and desperate the situation is.
    – To find time to sit still and know that He is Lord.
    – To seek Christ in others
    – To study and deepen one’s devotion to God
    – To make time to pray

  12. Stan Lewis on February 14, 2017 at 13:40

    The beauty in simplifying seems to be a recurring theme for me this week as I think of “seeds” to plant in my garden. To live simply within a plan, a structure, one based on mindfulness, self-awareness, and balance is where I feel I am being led.

  13. Jaan Sass on August 30, 2016 at 09:17

    What seeds have I gathered hmm not sure. At times I pray the hours and am following my ideals other times I feel my seeds fell on Rocky soil and find myself anchorless and confused.

  14. Vicki on February 27, 2016 at 02:08

    I am trying to set aside time to pray or read the bible. I am attending the Lenten bible study at my church whether I have time or not. I am trusting that goodness will win out in my life I am acknowledging frustration and negative emotions and letting them be part of the mosaic rather than erasing them I will try to be creative and playful I will care about and for others and justice I will try to attain a moment of peace each day I will try to take care of myself.

  15. Patti on February 23, 2016 at 20:35

    My seeds are learning more about someone I know, keeping in touch with my friends better by planning on talking and contacting them regularly, looking at a situation in a different way -i.e. The shoe is on the other foot, find a purpose or cause to support that is meaningful to me, remembering to tell my family how much they mean to me, and learn a new skill during Lent that will expand my horizons. I want to be a better person and caring friend.

  16. Donna on February 22, 2016 at 23:10

    Plan and execute regular time spent with (list of names)
    Keep reading – write gist of meaningful passages to help remember
    Return to low net carb diet and resume regular workouts with coach to lose next 25 pounds
    Go on retreats as often as possible
    Keep only clothes (and shoes!) that fit and that I enjoy – purge the rest

  17. Alan Rollins on February 22, 2016 at 19:33

    I’ve had to pull the weeds, and clear the soil to plant new seed for my plot. I have reminded myself of the Rule of the Fellowship of Saint John, where I have recommitted my self to follow, closely, the Rule we are expected to follow. I have been neglectful of this, and have begun to plant a renewed sense of responsibility to the Rule’s tenets. My recent retreat with fellow parishioners to the Monastery re-opened my heart to what I have been missing in my life: silent vigil for the glory of God.

  18. Jennifer on February 20, 2016 at 14:02


  19. Bob Smith on February 18, 2016 at 20:56

    In our Lenten study group it was suggested that these Rules are things that I want to do, not things that I should do. I accept that someone thinks I have the spiritual maturity to want things that are good for me. I want to continue my loving relationship with my wife, son, and daughter-in-law. I want to continue to support people I meet, to “make” them smile, to let them know that I care for them. I want to continue the service in El Hogar (elhogar.org), IHN, and various committees in my winter and summer churches. I want to continue my weekly gospel meditation group. I want to continue my exercise routine and hopefully my good health. (I am not bragging, I am realizing the blessings I have.) The two rules I want to add are:
    1. to live fully in the situation of the moment. To see God in the moment and the world around me. To seamlessly do this is the moments that I currently call spiritual and material moments.
    2. to spend time at the beginning and end of each day reviewing my day with God; preparing myself to the day to come, thanking God for the opportunities, asking for help with the challenges, and receiving forgiveness and encouragement for my shortcomings.
    I will look at the Ignation Examen (Examen Prayer in Apple App Store). Pray for me

  20. Debbie on February 17, 2016 at 15:05

    Right now I am planting the seed of a holy lent. With prayer and meditation and self awareness for forgiveness of self for personal failures .

  21. Debbie on February 17, 2016 at 14:42

    I am resisting reading what others have said because I do not want to be persuaded to think a certain way. After reading your examples. I want to say that yes I am doing that. If I had not dropped working would I even have the time to devote to myself. If I can not give to me I can not give to others. At night if I have something that I really have to think about that is causing me to loose sleep. I open my eyes. Remind my self where I am and why I am here. Where are these people whom I think about. How are they having these imagined thoughts which I give them too much credit, remember it is not all about me.

  22. CH on February 16, 2016 at 21:43

    I need patience in developing a rule of life and letting it work and play out, to counteract the attitude – “I want change. I want it now.” I want to think more and make connections between natural rhythms and spiritual growth – it is such a rich metaphor! A rule of life can bring order to my unruly self. Growth requires movement – the opposite of the status quo. Growth can lead to character development, to grow into the likeness and holiness of Jesus. I want to respond to the seasons – of life in the long run, and in the day-to day. In my following of My Lord, I want to swim upstream.

  23. Russell on February 16, 2016 at 10:15

    What I seek most desperately to grow in my garden is simplicity and peace. So, some of the seeds I am gathering are silence, solitude, letting go, compassion, scripture, and service. I find myself resisting planting these, in favor of long lists of things yet to do. I sense my own reluctance to leave the world I know and that sends me headlong into the next thing. I am having trouble being the patient gardener.

  24. Jan on February 16, 2016 at 09:33

    Seeds that I am gathering and would like to sew in my garden are: commitment, Prayer/meditation, study, nurture relationships, and self control. These are all things that I would like to make more abundant in my life.

  25. Jennifer on February 16, 2016 at 07:08

    Patience is probably the most important “seed” for me. I need to have patience with everyone, most importantly with myself, as I think it will flow naturally to others if I can take time with myself. After that, acceptance and forgiveness, and love. They are intertwined really.

  26. Sarah M. Braik on February 15, 2016 at 16:28

    Silence, prayer, attention, presence, focus. What I really need to work on is to do only one thing at a time. I am a terrible multi-tasker, and I can see how destructive it is. I am wondering if there is anything else in my life that is non-essential and could be eliminated, as I am way too busy. I am going off a board in April, which will free me up a good deal. Though I wouldn’t call my work with the board non-essential–I’ve just taken on more than I should have. Prioritization is another seed I need to keep for planting.

  27. Jim Foley on February 15, 2016 at 15:03

    I am not much of a gardener or outdoors person, so this exercise is quite challenging for me. I think one of the seeds that I have discovered over the past few days is the growing strength of my relationship with God. I joined a church a little over a year ago, and I am a lay reader and an usher. This church has provided me with a strong spiritual home. The seeds I need are in my dealings with others. I would like to be more outgoing and more understanding of others, and to think of the needs of others before I think of my own needs.

  28. Debbie McMahon on February 15, 2016 at 08:24

    I want to weed out feelings of unworthiness and fear in favor of the seeds of loving others and finding moderation. Seeking not the love of everyone, but the love of those strongest and closest to my heart. Seeds of discernment, seeds of trust, seeds of confidence, seeds of humanity (seeing God in others), seeds of strength and growth which will cause me and all around me to grow.

  29. Linda on February 15, 2016 at 08:07

    My seeds: Regular worship each week, service in worship as a chorister and verger and Eucharistic minister, service in community with Magdalene house, love and support of family and friends. But still long to plant the seeds of deep faith and prayer. Thus, I want to grow a fuller, richer garden.

  30. Eugene Wright on February 14, 2016 at 22:24

    The seeds I have chosen for my garden contain seeds that I have planted before and some new seeds that are needed in my garden. The seeds I have already planted are: Love, Patience, Charity, Reading and studying the Bible, Meditating and praying. Seeds I need to acquire are: Listening for the voice of God. Put all my hope in God completely and without hesitation. Get wisdom and understanding as well.

  31. Shane on February 14, 2016 at 21:23

    What seeds have I collected for my garden? Seeds of hope; willingness to surrender to something new. Seeds of empowerment; desire to tend my garden. Seeds of things to grow; like laughter and joy, in balance with my comfort in places of sadness. What will become of my seeds? I’m sure they will turn into something much different than they look now.

  32. Dorothy P. on February 14, 2016 at 20:04

    I first started collecting these on Ash Wed, while looking through the Workbook exercise “other garden plots.” Another I added after reading a reflection yesterday from “Lent: Springtime of the Soul,” a publication by Monastery Greetings (highly recommended, by the way). So here are My seeds (as of 2/10/16):
    1) Posture – “hollow”/open my chest. Consciously raise my head when driving, working on computer. Take deep breaths from my dan tian (abdomen ~2in. below navel). This is from my tai-chi practice, something that needs to be worked on because it spills over into everything else.
    2) Journal – at least 5min daily (bedtime)? Use key word/phrase from day as jump-off point & just write. Use pink journal Mother’s Day present from Daycare (refer to “Warrior Writing” workshop notes). Collect potential words/phrases throughout the day on mini pad or phone. Haven’t gotten this one going yet — but found the pink journal! 🙂
    3) (2/12/16) – Maintain Balance – between a Rule and letting go/being open to receive God’s grace in the moment

  33. susan zimmerman on February 14, 2016 at 18:08

    …collecting, sowing, and harvesting ‘ones’ seeds is something about self-formation, which is important in the Episcopal Church

    …the love seeds are the most important, which come from
    …My Choice Seed Company
    …New Infant Love Seed Company
    …The Heir Loom Seed Company
    …The Crushed Flower Seed Company
    …The Found and Sniped Seeds (always given much attention and prayer as one wonders, and awaits the unknown)

  34. Stan on February 14, 2016 at 16:59

    I’ve been slowly cultivating a fairly respectable-looking garden over several years, but I realize that it’s time to make some changes. I’ll keep my love and understanding, for they have deep roots and are thriving. But I need to pull out my deeply rooted pride and indifference, and plant some compassion there, then see if I can tend it well enough for it to thrive. And I think I’ll try planting patience this year rather than impatiens. (Sorry, the puns are growing like weeds.) But I think the best seeds I can plant are the magic seeds of listening. If I plant them deeply and care for them well, their magic can unlock my gate for others who carry good seeds, and allow them to enter my garden and plant some good seed there. The harvest is always best when it is done communally and shared.

  35. Paul on February 14, 2016 at 13:33

    I know little about gardening, but I do know that it’s easy to scatter seeds, not so easy to help them grow. You need fertilizer, you need rain, you need something to keep out the predators. Gardening forces you to look ahead, to be in for the long haul, and not just to do the easy work, or easier work, at the front end.

  36. Linda on February 14, 2016 at 12:09

    In connection with the Rule of Life the seeds are: to Love one another and do unto others as you would have them do unto you; Thank God every day for all of your blessing; Happiness is a choice; Ask Gold for Help; and know that what happens is “Necessity, It couldn’t be other wise.”

  37. Debbie McMahon on February 14, 2016 at 08:04

    I want to be more courageous in extending myself in community. I want to move beyond the fear of people and judgement that has plagued me over the last few years to be the example of strength God has set me up to be-strong, confident. God has given me strength and ommittment-now it’s time that I use those gifts to show myself. God, I pray for the knowledge of your love for me to penetrate my psyche so my experience can be used to inspire others to follow you.

  38. Kathy on February 14, 2016 at 00:57

    I also am reading some of Charles Swindoll’s writings. One writing talks about we need three bones, which ties into support from another view- the bones of our bodies. Anyway, in addition to my seeds of patience, trusting God, and letting go and letting God do his will, I also want to grow stronger my wishbone, backbone and funny bone so to dream God’s dream for me, to stand fast to God’s purpose and to be filled with joy of God’s presence.

  39. Bertita Graebner on February 14, 2016 at 00:32

    I have a *Regula-21 Day/Plan beginning at sundown each day and cycling through to dusk — This is up for adjustments every 21 days . . .
    I have a set intention for each day of doing.
    I have a set intention for each day of not doing.
    The garden I tend is my own. I do not tend the garden of others. The garden I tend is the one I am given. That is sufficient and enough. That is what I am asked to tend, what is mine to do. Gratitude.

  40. Alice on February 13, 2016 at 18:46

    Most importantly is that I have selected seeds, not full grown plants. I will plant them, tend them and they will grow. I want to resume a daily habit of meditation/prayer. I am starting with 5 minutes and will work up to 20. I want to tend to my health. I will eat better and track my food, eventually I will be loosing weight. I want to live more intentionally, I have a chart of things I want to do and will do at least one a day to start and build gradually until all become fully integrated into my daily routine.

  41. NA on February 13, 2016 at 18:24

    My problem is not a scarcity of seeds but that my enthusiasm often carries me away causing me to procure FAR more seed than I need. Some I save from last year’s harvest. Some I buy. Some I buy too much of because I simply cannot resist a seed packet winking up at me in the dead of winter!

    What I need most is to simplify my seed packets and scale back to only what I have the energy to tend well in my garden, things like Sustainability, Focus, Creativity, Peace, Listening to what God is saying to me, and Openness to the new direction He is showing me.

    • Emily on February 22, 2018 at 13:53

      I agree! It is far more important for me to plant a few seeds I know I will tend.

      Some I know will not grow for me. Alas, I am not an experienced gardener.

      I once went to a plant store and asked the clerk “I would like to buy a few new houseplants. Sometimes I do not have good luck. Can you recommend a few varieties I might do well with? I always find my pathos and dracaena do well.”

      She looked at me very doubtfully and said “why don’t you stick with that then.”

      It is important to me not to set my aspirations too ambitious lest I wind up with wilting plants and disappointment in myself. I like to get a little counsel, nurture a few likely candidates, commit, and congratulate myself if I have a new, thriving friend or two at the end of the growing season.

  42. Paul on February 13, 2016 at 17:47

    As a lifelong city boy who never got much into the country, I am having trouble with all the garden-related imagery, but I am hanging in there. I want to be a channel of God’s peace and love, seeing Jesus in everyone I meet (even a politician I would otherwise revile) and loving them unconditionally. What a challenge! Truly a seed I pray will grow.

  43. Neil Ellis Orts on February 13, 2016 at 15:27

    This question has taken some consideration. I believe the answer may be that I have a good collection of seeds, but I’ve been sowing them a bit haphazardly. More careful tending may be in order.

  44. Dave on February 13, 2016 at 15:25

    I like the idea of a trellis. Something that allows me do more fully develop and not get lost in the mire. This lent I am thinking a lot about kindness – when am I kind, when am I not kind, marking times I receive kindness, and thinking kind thoughts. I am also thinking about moderation in my life.

  45. Caroline homer on February 13, 2016 at 13:36

    I want to grow Patience, a bigger patch of Thankfulness and Appreciation.
    I have an idea that landscape drawing where I live in the warmth of Tenerife could be a spiritual meditation on creation.

  46. William Spies on February 13, 2016 at 11:46

    What I have come to understand is the need to take time to stop doing daily human things and instead take time to just look at nature and reflect on how nature has seasons – time for a starting to grow, time to bloom, time to drop its seeds and a time to go dormant. All this based on first being watered by rain, heated next by the sun’s rays, then as the season changes and the weather goes colder dropping new seeds that will find soil and fresh nutriments from the falling leaves of the plants that they came from to be plants by the winter rains and snows to grow new plants as the sun heats up the soil in a new spring. All this is done not by us humans but by God’s creation.

  47. Julia on February 13, 2016 at 11:15

    1. Asking for help – I forgot that one until your video reminded me. I didn’t even know I needed to ask for help until I did – metaphorically – in an exercise at my son’s rehab facility that I would ordinarily have considered cheesy and emotionally manipulative. He was in rehab, I learned through his experience to ask for help.

    2. Discipline in meditation/prayer – and asking for help!

  48. Amy on February 13, 2016 at 10:57

    A practice of releasing:
    ♡ physically by minimizing possessions,
    ♡ socially by downsizing commitments,
    ♡ mentally by deliberately choosing which info streams to pursue, and
    ♡ spiritually by forgiving myself and others past wrongs and current missteps.

    A practice of receiving:
    ☆ physically by entering into nature and the outdoors more,
    ☆ socially by allowing others to gift me,
    ☆ mentally by listening with open mind and heart to all, and
    ☆ spiritually by actively living in God’s presence and abundant love.

    Need to flesh out what these 2 practices will like in my environment. In my current garden, i have some issues to consider:
    ◇ Which bushes do I need to prune?
    ◇ Which trees need to be pulled out to let more light in?
    ◇ Which plants need more mulch?
    ◇ Which seeds need to be germinated indoors?
    ◇ Which seedlings need to be planted in community?
    ◇Which ones need to be protected from gophers and pets?

    Need to continue praying in the spatial and temporal aspects of this holy garden.

    • Debbie McMahon on February 15, 2016 at 07:59

      Thanks, Amy. You’ve reminded me to DO less, MEDITATE more.

  49. Kathy B on February 13, 2016 at 10:42

    Be aware of the rhythms of nature, and keep your heart there. Attend to those rhythms and don’t try to rush or delay them. Don’t look for exotic seeds – what you need is already there within you – look for it, and weed out the invasive species.

  50. Lizbeth Videau on February 13, 2016 at 10:38

    My husband and I work a farm in addition to our “real jobs.” The bold-faced resilience and determination of life to come forth and bear fruit in the face of drought, blistering Southern heat, hard freezes, pestilence, and attack from animals and from other plants pulls us up in silence and awe. It is life-changing to watch, season after season. Turns out God is even more determined than we hoped or knew.

  51. Rhode on February 13, 2016 at 10:33

    ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. –The first thing to come to my mind after this lesson. I quickly thought, yes, of course i need the seeds of love, joy, peace etc to be able to bear that kind of fruit. Then while looking back at my life of many years, it occured to me how the first seed of love in my garden was given and planted by my mom and dad. How a seed of unspeakable joy was given to me after a great deal of pain in childbirth. How the seeds of peace, of true peace, were gifts of the Holy Spirit after a long journey of struggling with God. Over and over I noted the seeds in my garden or still in my hand were given or extracted from the ripe fruits of others, from the decaying fruits of sorrow, from the last breath of flowers of love and forebearance. From pain, death and resurrection — the seeds of eternal hope. Thank you for provding this excercise!

    • Sharon on February 13, 2016 at 14:20

      Beautifully put….we cannot grow in a vacuum and so we learn from others, as well as from prayer, scripture study, etc. to include those seeds given us by others.

  52. Robin Weisbrod on February 13, 2016 at 10:33

    Planting patience, though many think I am a patient person, I am far from it.

    Weeding out judgement. I try hard to not be judgemental, but aren’t we all?

  53. Mike Seymour on February 13, 2016 at 10:31

    Insights into the habits of mind, emotion, relational patterns and attitudes can liberate, and these are some of the seeds I have been gathering these past few weeks. Each morning upon awakening, a useful seed for me is to lie in bed and intentionally envision the day and its purpose for me. Even before moving my body I pray about growing more in wisdom and compassion and understanding. These are good seeds.

  54. Terry Gay Puckett on February 13, 2016 at 10:11

    I don’t have a garden. I do have a xeriscaped y fairly large yard, full of plants that survive pretty well independently. Still, my landscape needs upkeep and planning, just the same as a well- lived life. I am an artist, and time must be given to creating art and sending art out into the world, since this is the talent God gave me. However, even more than my art, I want to tend the seeds of relationships and let those people in my life know that I love them. I want to do away with some of the clutter in my life that takes up time and space. This means cutting back on stuff, and activities that are not so important, and concentrating on those that are. I want to cultivate my God given talents and my relationships with family and friends that I love. I want to walk with God, and listen to what he is telling me to do. He knows what is really important, and I want to listen to Him.

  55. DP on February 13, 2016 at 10:06

    I am enjoying reading what folks are writing here. Thank you all! I especially appreciated Carol Ward’s observation that each plant in her garden needs what it needs — we are all different and we need different things to grow. Thanks, Carol!

    Also, I liked what Jane said — we are talking seeds. Just seeds! Focusing on seeds reminds us that all of this takes time.

    Finally, thanks to Michael Bartlett, who reminds us of the need for an almanac: Plant this seed in spring? Okay, but then I need to know when spring has arrived. We might consult “Poor Richard’s Almanac” to know when spring starts (maybe that could be the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, or even “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” or something by CS Lewis?!)

    The thing that sticks out for me is that the first prayer of the day is actually from Evensong — as sons and daughters of Judaism our day starts at sunset the day before — and that first prayer is key: “O God make speed to save us.” Want to GROW a garden? It helps to NEED a garden. It took me decades to realize that I NEEDED a garden, and I often forget this need and am in danger of paving over my garden and putting up a parking lot (to paraphrase “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell).

    Here’s to a day of taking stock of what seeds we have gathered.

  56. Donald Sutton III on February 13, 2016 at 09:44

    Through this week’s videos and conversation I have realized my desire to live a religious life and that I might not have given my all when I was in formation with BSG. I realize I want to keep doing the daily office, learn the right meditation for me, take a retreat once in a while to connect with God in a deeper way, get back to studying scripture or other books on spiritual life, and to do something to protect nature. After watching these videos it has brought back the realization of my passion to protect nature because it’s through nature we experience God in a different way and an important way. Another thing I have realized is I want to learn how to right better spiritual and theological papers.
    It sounds like a lot to put on my plate but I feel somehow I will find one practice that puts several of these into one task that I can do everyday.

  57. Sally Baynton on February 13, 2016 at 09:16

    Again and again, I am drawn back to last year’s study on time. I would love to have a garden…I just haven’t made “time” to develop one. Sure, I have a lot of reasons why I don’t plant one…at least they “seem” like reasons…but the bottom line is that I haven’t prioritized doing it. I do have the time…I can make time to do anything I want to do as long as I give up something else. And, that is always accomplish-able.I lack the “stick-to-it-tiveness” to get it done. It is like starting a new prayer regime. I’ll start it and then suddenly I find I am trying to catch up and I finally abandon it all together because I get behind. After the study on time, I quit doing that. I made sure everything I did was “doable.” Now, I don’t have shame or guilt over things left undone. I’m still plotting out my garden, but I want to promise that it will be magnificent in the Kingdom’s eyes. I will not abandon it nor will I let the weeds grow up in it. I can’t wait to see “how my garden grows.”

  58. Sarah Coke King on February 13, 2016 at 09:03

    I love the work we are doing in our gardens. I am weeding out judgement, busy-ness, waste (of time, food, resources), and planting seeds of patience, intention, love, transformation. I realize that my garden takes daily tending by me but I also must depend on God’s provision of sun and water and good soil. God’s provision of grace has little to do with how harder how sparingly I work in my garden but the results in my garden are so much more abundant and nourishing if I stay connected and committed to the work.

  59. Kristi on February 13, 2016 at 08:56

    In my garden I would like to have lots of perennial seeds which could come back each year and thrive, getting stronger each season. I need to be careful with my selection, taking good note if the roots are deep enough, if they’re getting enough nourishment and if they’re becoming overrun with weeds. I’d rather have fewer healthy and thriving perennials than lots of annuals that don’t last. I want my garden plots to be full of things that nurture my health, giving spirit and spirituality.

  60. Michael on February 13, 2016 at 08:56

    I worry that I will not carry through and eventually wind up with a garden. I start with great seeds and then somehow it all get scattered in the wind. I realize I simply need to start before I’m concerned with harvesting the garden, but it is where I am at the present

  61. Jim V on February 13, 2016 at 08:45

    The big seed that stuck with me is the notion of being one with nature and one with God, like that point on the infinity symbol where all lines cross. How does one behave as a child of nature and a child of God?

  62. Robert Corey on February 13, 2016 at 08:45

    False starts of the past haunt my thoughts. I need to move more. Do I want to? What, among things I want to do, can get me to move more? Some of my favorite places to me, I’m in motion. Sitting mostly, as I tire from standing. But I’m active on the chair and moving my chair from place to place. This is tending books on the shelf. I do it at the recycle center. I do it at my antique mall booth. I do it at the church thrift store. There are nice people around all these places. Bible study is mostly sitting still. I’m in 4 groups in 4 different churches. Again, good people. I never have persuaded any to be a regular walking companion. I’ve not persuaded anyone. I do morning office in a group from time to time. It’s a long enough way to travel that I only go when I have other business. And it’s early enough that even with other business, I don’t. I’ve given thought to the office in my local church… planted seeds that remain dormant.

    Seeds grow. Or they don’t. Initiative other than mine makes them grow. Mostly they don’t. Do enough grow to enjoy a harvest? Plant 40 and reap one head of 20. Folks say I’d reap more if I were a better person. I can’t be that person. Shrinks say I WON’T be that person. I’m not persuaded. Time to go fetal.

    • Debbie McMahon on February 15, 2016 at 07:56

      I fee you pain Robert. For some of us, peace is fleeting. Who are we if we don’t try? I pray for peace for you.
      It is generally my expectations that kick my butt. Life is worthwhile-trying is worthwhile, though I would never begrudge one’s right to go fetal from time to time. God made you perfect-perfectly human, no better or worse than anyone out there. Take heart. He/she is with you.

    • Leslie on February 16, 2016 at 10:08

      Your comments have really made think hard about my own seeds. When seeds don’t grow, perhaps it means we’ve chosen the wrong seeds to plant? Are we choosing seeds that others say are the “right” seeds? Are we choosing seeds based on what we think God would want us to plant? Maybe the seeds I choose should be very different from those around me, and that’s ok. We are unique, after all, and that can be a strength. And I’m now being very mindful of choosing seeds that only I can grow, as opposed to seeds I plant that require being nurtured by others. God has given us the ability and responsibility of being the gardener of our own personal gardens, so it only makes sense that I should only plant seeds that I alone can nurture. Thank you for your words, Robert.

  63. alma on February 13, 2016 at 08:28

    This past week helped to re-confirm that trying to live a Christ like life, brings us to that place of accepting that we are all a “work in progress”. Also realizing, that besides our prayer life, fasting and studying the word, there exists a great need to listen to each other’s stories and experiences about the different gardens of life. At the end of the day we are all -whether seed or plant- in need of living water, sunshine and nutrients: the so needed “garden-treatment” by the all-loving, all-giving, all-merciful and all-forgiving and liberating Gardener of the Universe.

  64. Michael Bartlett on February 13, 2016 at 08:25

    I need an almanac to follow on when to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water and nurture, weed the bed, harvest and allow the seeds to die. This almanac is the rule.

    Along with this almanac, I must identify in nature the seasons of my existence. If my rule says to plant in the spring, it’s imperative I know when spring is.

    I cannot be a lazy gardener. To invest the time preparing and planting means little if I am not diligent in watering, etc. This has been the struggle with my previous attempts at successful gardening.

    • Emily on February 22, 2018 at 13:59

      Amen! I love your almanac metaphor.
      I am at a very busy season of my life (work, young children, etc) and my rule must be less about results than about practice.
      I am recognizing that I must honor this season and its limitations.
      Like you, I am finding that focusing on the practices of my rule (consult, plan, plant, water, prune, rake, record, consider), and faithful work are much more my speed than dreaming of my bountiful harvest. If I follow the wisdom of those who have harvested greatly, surely I too will harvest.

  65. Suzanne on February 13, 2016 at 08:22

    My seeds: rest, hold, abide & wait. In this winter season, I rest with the Lord, staying the course. I hold onto him, my Lord and my God – there is no other like him and I can trust him because he is always with me. I abide in him. I make the Lord my dwelling place. And I wait. And in the waiting, he renews me and he leads me and he speaks to me.

  66. Lauren on February 13, 2016 at 08:14

    I choose the seed to be fully present to the Indwelling Spirit–to received the seeds of unconditional love, joy, peace, wonder, insight, wisdom, light wherever they are manifested in my life -my garden so that the might be integrated into my life -my garden and I might act form that Love and Light that surrounds, enfolds and infuses all creation. I believe it is the seeds of unconditional love, joy, peace, wonder, insight, wisdom, light that empower me to know my seed of enoughness– it is that enoughness that I am working on this Lent– enoughness meaning full to overflowing with all that is needed to live the full and meaning purpose that I have been created to live.

  67. David Andrews on February 13, 2016 at 08:00

    Not being a gardener I love the metaphor of a rule of life being packets of seeds. The parish group gathered for the first time and after the discussion about the samples of the rule of life were shared they began with the seed packets. Seeds that they shared included: structure, daily prayer and reading of scripture.

  68. Jane on February 13, 2016 at 07:44

    I’m glad that we are beginning with seeds – helpls me realize that whatever we hope to include in our rule of life takes time and nurturing, and doesn’t just spring into action overnight

  69. Carol Ward on February 12, 2016 at 18:20

    I think the thing that has struck me the strongest this week has been the number of people who see the manifestation of God in nature. Many were not gardeners but walkers or runners or campers or simply folks who took the time to stick their head outside the window long enough to breathe deeply. I feel so blessed to have been actually gardening for the last 65 years because every day in the garden has been an opportunity. And, every day in winter as I await planting time I’m thinking about gardening & it gives more reasons for gratitude. I live in a rainy place. It can get tedious after two weeks of continuous rain, low clouds & wetness. But, the silver lining in these clouds is the water we need when it is time to water in July! That’s easier to say when you are a gardener instead of a bicyclist getting road spray in your face! In any case, it all causes me to remember that we are more alike than not. It is sometimes hard to hold onto this commonality when you are in 5:00 traffic. The second thing that struck me is how different people need different things. Sometimes it has to do with what’s happening in your life or your age or your world view. It doesn’t matter how you get to your better relationship with God, it matters that you are trying & hopefully making a little progress. All these are principles you could observe in your garden. No plant needs the same nutrients or the same amount of water. No one plants the same things as the next person. No one tends their plot in exactly the same manner. And, some how, the seeds spout, the plants rise up & produce a wondrous crop! We are blessed by both our commonality & our uniqueness.

  70. gwedhen nicholas on February 12, 2016 at 14:22

    I have collected seeds which I feel are tailor-made for me so that I might be the person God intends me to be. I want to follow the rhythms and seasons of nature;develop the gifts that God has given me;pray and read my Bible every-day;journal and read spiritual books;seek Gods’ light and wisdom so that I may grow;pull up the weeds of pride, self-reliance and self-absorption.

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