Monday, April 15, 2013

Awesome Book on Creating Prayer Gardens, esp for Catholics

It's April 15th! Margaret's "Amazon Day!"  (Check out my Monday blog for more details.)

Are you Catholic?  a gardener?  Do you know a gardener who is Catholic?  This blog is for you!

My friend, Margaret Realy has written a wonderful book on creating prayer gardens.  This week, some of her fans and I are trying to bump up her sales and get it on the Amazon Top 100.  Why?  Because it's Spring--a time for new growth.  Because it's the Easter Season--a time for rebirth spiritually.  Because Margaret is a lovely woman living on her disability and deserves some help.  Most of all, though, because the book is a fabulous gift to anyone wanting to create a more prayerful surrounding.

Today, our goal is to get Margaret on the Top 100 on Amazon.  Please consider buying A Garden of Visible Prayer today, April 15, Margaret's "Amazon Day."  Use this link. 

Margaret has given us permission to reprint this article where she talks a little about her book:

FAITH Magazine Interview, March/April 2011 Issue
Margaret Rose Realy, Author, Garden of Visible Prayer: How to Create a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time.

Why did you write this book?
About five years ago I saw a need for gardens at St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, MI. Specifically, prayer gardens where people could sit and draw closer to God who often speaks to us through nature. Retreatants would ask how I created these spaces and could I teach them to do the same in their own yards. Through this book I describe the step-by-step process of how to build personalized gardens that make prayer visible. In fact, that’s where the title comes from: “A Garden of Visible Prayer.” My hope is that the beginner or experienced gardener will use this book to create a personalized outdoor prayer space at home.
How does gardening integrate with our spiritual lives?
When working in a garden you cannot help but recognize the presence of God. To not feel God would be like standing next to a fire without feeling its heat. I read somewhere that to touch the earth is to touch the skin of God. One cannot but hope in the garden; we plant seeds and hope they sprout, we water and prune and hope for proper growth, we learn that winter always comes and we hope for rebirth. Here there are many similarities between gardens and gardeners, God and his children. Gardens are places of growth, not only for plants but for our souls as well.
How is this book an expression of your own faith?
There’s a quote I read in Magnificat; “Give me Lord what will rebound to your own profit,” which reflects my own faith in creating prayer gardens. What I do is done to promote His will, and to help other people quiet themselves enough so they too can find a way to communicate with God in His creation. There are so many ways to pray and each of us has our own. The question is how do we find it? I want to help answer this question, and that’s part of why I wrote this book.
What are one or two ideas from the book I can use in my own garden?
The book doesn’t start by telling you how to build a garden. Instead it tells you how to focus on your own intentions and faith.  I break the process up into three parts, “discern, design, and develop.” First you have to discern what type of garden is important to you by looking at your own spirituality and how you would translate your spirituality into an outdoor prayer space. For example, for some people rocks or boulders are great element to include in their garden because they are seen as solid or stable, and this is comforting to them. But because of those same qualities others could see them as cold and hard, not necessarily a loving reflection of God. Next, you design what the garden will look like while incorporating these spiritual elements. It’s helpful to flip through magazines or web images for ideas of how to arrange the things you want to include. Finally, the last step is developing, or constructing your outdoor prayer space.

Please consider buying A Garden of Visible Prayer today, April 15, Margaret's "Amazon Day."  Use this link. 

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