Tiny picnic park

There’s this unusually landscaped area in an open-air mall in Mt. Juliet, TN.   This is near the movie theater and Fulin’s restaurant.   What is unusual is that it looks like a tiny park.

The sidewalk goes from the fenced-in courtyard of a now-defunct restaurant.

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This place is begging for a picnic…

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Notice the stepping stones.  They were added in after this area was built.  People kept walking across the grass to get to the other side.  People walk along the path of least resistance.  These paths are known as “desire lines” or “desire paths”.  (Definition from Wikipedia – A path that pedestrians take informally, rather than taking a sidewalk or set route ; e.g. a well-worn ribbon of dirt that one sees cutting across a patch of grass, or paths in the snow.)

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Some colleges and apartment complexes are now realizing the futility of putting in sidewalks first.  They wait to see how people use the area, and then pave the desire lines, rather than paving un-used areas first.

A small park bench would look nice here – one like this

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or maybe this –

Lackford Lakes June 2010

but never this –

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There will be a picnic here one day, and I’ll add that here.

Pilgrim

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The country
versus
The city
city

How interesting to consider that the pilgrim feels welcomed and safe in the wilderness, and an anomaly and a target in the city.
How those in the countryside will minister to a stranger in pilgrim’s clothes – feeding, first aid, a drive to a hotel or a dentist – yet those in the city will harass or rob the same person.
How in the countryside the biggest danger is a pack of wild dogs or thunderstorm, but in the city it is people.

People in the city see pilgrims as weak, as helpless, as fools – as relics of a bygone era. They are mocked at best. Assaulted or robbed at worst. They are looked at as the strangers they are and ignored – while in the country they are sought out. The best food and entertainment is provided even if they do not share a language or the same culture. There is respect, admiration.

I had thought that the country would be a problem – no amenities, no resources. A long walk without access to food, water, shelter. I must carry everything and trust in the providence and mercy of God. Yet I read that you can relax in the country as a pilgrim. It is the city where the danger lies. While it has food, water, and shelter, it also has people. Perhaps those in the city live there because they have lost faith in God – they think they must provide for themselves, while those in the country are reminded of God’s grace and mercy every day.

God provides – drum class

There is this drum class that I’m planning to attend. I heard about it months ago, and I felt really called towards it. I had no idea how I was going to justify the cost of it, though.

It is $500. This is for a two-day class. I’m kind of gasping at how much money the teacher is making. I wonder if I can get in on that kind of action. It is hard enough to get people to accept the prices I have on my jewelry, and they never approach three digits, much less close to rent-payment amounts.

Plus, I wasn’t sure what I’d do with this class. I’m not very good at drumming. I’ve never hosted a drum circle at all. I only have four drums, and I’m not really hot on lending them out.

But I felt called to this. It kept gnawing at me – sign up for the class. I feel that God is calling me to it. It isn’t something for me, really. It is interesting, sure, and I guess it goes along with some of the other classes I’ve taken recently.

I figured I’d pay for it and then earn the money with jewelry, and that hasn’t quite happened – but something else has.

I’ve earned $100 with my jewelry, and that is nice. But some surprising things, some unplanned things, have happened.

I got a raise at work, that amounts to $600 extra a year.
We got a discount on our YMCA membership that amounts to $72 off.
We changed car and house insurance, and that saves us $300 a year.

So unplanned, unrelated to this, we essentially are up $1000. I only needed $500.

Normally, when I sign up for a class that I feel led to, I earn the money first. That wasn’t possible with this one – they wanted the money right away. I trusted, and God provided.

This really lets me know that I’m on the right path, and that I really am supposed to take this class. God always makes a way.

Now I wonder what God wants me to learn out of it. That will be amazing to see. Perhaps this will be a stepping stone to something else. Perhaps I’ll meet someone who will help me with one of my usual projects.

I’ve got a lot of projects.

I’m not worried about it, just curious. God is always surprising me. That is one of the best parts about trusting that God is in control.

On manna and writing

I have more “seeds” for posts than I have time to write. I carry a notebook with me all the time. I have a list of ideas in my phone as well. Any time I get an idea that I think is worthy of expanding on later I’ll put in one of those places.

Sometimes I get to write from these idea-seeds.

It seems that I never run out of things to write about. While I have those storehouses, I don’t often need them because when I find time to write I always have another topic to write on. Sometimes two or three.

It is like I am storing them up in case I hit a dry spell.

And then I’m reminded of the story of manna in the desert. God provided food for the Israelites in the form of manna. Yet he provided only enough for one day, except right before the Sabbath, where he would provide enough for two days. Every day they were to gather up just enough for that day. Every day after the gathering time the rest would disappear. They had to trust that God would provide for them the next day, and the next day, and the next day.

If they gathered up more than they could use for the day, they got sick.

So by saving up all these ideas, am I hoarding? Am I not trusting in God’s providence? Or am I being a good steward of what I am given, by keeping it for later?

Anne Lamott says to keep a notebook at all times, and write down any and all ideas. She jokes that if you don’t, she will, and she’ll get the idea and make money off of it. She also says that by keeping a notebook you are letting the Universe know that you are open to ideas and are a good place to send them too. I certainly can attest to the truth of that. The more I keep a notebook, the more writing ideas come to me.

I don’t always use them, but when I do, I’m grateful. Sometimes, just keeping a notebook helps me stay focused. Sometimes an idea will just not stay quiet until I write it down. I tell it that “I’ll get to you later” by writing it down. Sometimes I’ll use the idea in a post with a few other ideas and not even know I’ve already jotted it down in my notebook earlier. That is OK too. Better to have it in two places than none.