May 2018 E-News
Awe and Wonder
"It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility."
-Rachael Carson-
Lumunos staffer Dan Quinlan offered a great invitation on our last Zoom call:  Tell a story about an early experience in nature where you felt a sense of awe or wonder .  Everyone had one. Didn’t matter if you grew up in the city, country, or suburbs; east coast, west coast or Midwest. Everyone could remember a time of wonder in nature. For me it was swimming in Lake Michigan. For others, it was the mountains, a starry night, or an encounter with an animal. 

As kids, we don’t have language for those kinds of experiences. As adults, we don’t really either, but we fake it. Later in life we come to understand how precious these moments are. In some strange way, seeing how small we are in the scheme of things is oddly comforting. This Psalm puts it well: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him." (Psalm 8:3-4)   It is good to know, even a relief to know that I am not the center of the universe.
There are a whole bunch of good reasons to care for the environment, not the least of which is that we are making our home uninhabitable. But awe and wonder isn’t talked about as much. It’s a little higher up Maslow’s hierarchy, but is still essential. We humans are spiritual people that need awe and wonder. For our own sake, we need to be put in our place.   
Reflection Question:
When did you first have an experience of awe or wonder in the natural world?
Small Wonders
This past week I drove up to Michigan with my 17-month old daughter, Maya, so we could spend time with my dad and stepmom. Truthfully, I always dread this 12-hour drive from my home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina to the windy plains of the Midwest. I mean I was a Midwestern girl who moved to Asheville for a reason . The mountains call to me with their extraordinary beauty and grandeur.

Rarely does a week go by when I don’t take several hikes or runs on the trails nearby. The views, the peaceful sounds, the deep breathing of climbing a hill, the wonder and awe of it all – these are the things that renew my spirit, refresh my mind, and inspire my ability to love and be patient.

So, I thought to myself as I embarked on my journey (alone with a toddler in the car seat behind me), without my mountains, how will I keep it together for the next six days?  

We split up the drive by stopping in Indiana to visit some of my husband’s family. As we drove up the driveway of Aunt Jenny and Uncle Jim’s house, I saw a flash of orange fly through the air. And then, there were several more flashes of orange. Oh my – these flashes were Baltimore Orioles. I took Maya out of the car and she started pointing at all of the beautiful ‘birdies’. She was delighted by these magnificent little creatures. I was in awe . I had never seen anything like it. There were close to ten orioles flying all around us and stopping to eat the fresh oranges Aunt Jenny had put out with the bird feeders. Apparently, Baltimore Orioles love oranges.

No matter where we live the natural world is a powerful force that surrounds us, but I had closed my heart to the more subtle forms of natural wonder. On the drive I had dreaded, I ended up learning a lot from watching Maya. We took our time and stopped often. We walked around the gas stations and fast food restaurants that punctuate our highways and interstates. Maya danced and chattered with excitement at the ants and crows. She picked up trash (Maya can’t leave trash where it doesn’t belong) and splashed in muddy puddles. These small wonders were both completely ordinary and utterly divine.

"Hidden Miracles of the
Natural World"
Louis Schwartzberg
"Music and Majesty"
Hymns of Praise and Wonder
Discovery House
"Wild Geese"
a poem by Mary Oliver
Prayer for What's Under Our Feet

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. When Henry David Thoreau penned those words in Walden, he had just dug through a foot of snow and cut through another foot of ice in search of fresh water.

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The Lessons of Amazing Azaleas

Yes, my child, go out into the world; walk slow And silent, comprehending all, and by and by Your soul, the Universe, will know Itself: the Eternal I. ― Jane Goodall, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey This spring is the first one we've enjoyed ...

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Spring Appeal
 In-person gatherings and retreats allow participants the time and space needed to really slow down and connect without distraction. We’re excited to tell you that this year we are adding a retreat for educators working in low income and under-resourced school districts. Our goal this spring is to raise $30,000 . We're almost half way there, but we need your help in funding the growth of our retreat mission! Click on the video below to learn more.
Denver Women's Retreat

Considering the way God's call spirals through our lives, we will engage with the story of Lydia in Acts 16:11-40. Expect to share, journal, play and pray your way through the weekend.

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May 2018 Zoom Call

In this month's Zoom call, we'll continue our conversation about Lumunos' 2018 "Me & We" theme and how that fits in to your thoughts about the state of the natural world. Whether or not you joined us last month, we invite you ...

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Keep in Touch
Please contact us. 
Let us know what we can do for you.

Doug Wysockey-Johnson     
Dan Quinlan  
Alice Barbera  
Rebecca Perry-Hill