Cedar Hill in the news!

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The Gainesville Times hit the stands today with an excellent article about the fruit tree orchard Cedar Hill is setting its sights on winning.  Thanks to Brandee Thomas for capturing the essence of Cedar Hill!


Dreyer’s® Fruit Bars: Where Will You Plant Your Vote?

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Please help Cedar Hill win a fruit tree orchard!  Your votes count, so we’re asking everyone to vote daily and forward this message.  Thanks!

Dreyer’s® Fruit Bars: Where Will You Plant Your Vote?.

The Super Full Moon

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It was a cloudy evening, but still, we were lucky enough to watch the Super Full Moon slip in and out from behind the clouds.


At the end of the video, you’ll enjoy watching the moon dance behind the branches of Grandmother Oak who shares her shade and wisdom on the grounds of Cedar Hill.

Click Picture to View Video

New Straw Bale Garden Created at Cedar Hill

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New to Cedar Hill in 2011 is our Straw Bale Educational Garden.  The Forsyth County, Georgia Master Gardener’s volunteered their time and expertise in helping us establish this garden.  Our thanks go out to them – we couldn’t have done it without you!

We began by placing the bales end to end in two straight rows.  They bales sit on old newspaper that will help choke out the grass and weeds that lie beneath.  This is good for the soil as the decaying plant matter will turn into rich nutrients in the soil.

To see what happens next, click on our picture for our video teaser:

Click picture to view video


The concept of straw bale gardening centers on the desire to enrich and build the soil and not tear it down or destroy it.  Increasingly, agricultural experts have come to realize that plowing and tilling soil actually does more harm than good to the soil, depleting nutrients and enabling erosion.  Utilizing the straw bale approach allows a building up of nutrients without harming good enzymes and nutrients that already exist in the soil.

This video helps detail some of the straw bale methods:

Click picture for video

Whether or not straw bale gardening is for you, there certainly are some interesting and enlightening techniques to learn from it!

We will be recording this year’s garden throughout the seasons, through video.  We believe we will learn much from this project and hope you will too.

Our final video for this week is a fun look at the camaraderie that gardening with friends builds and also lends a number of useful tips as well as entertains!

Click picture to watch video



The Essential and Necessary Link Between Contemplation and Peace Making

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Carl McColman

Guest Blog post by: Carl McColman

“ Be still and know that I am God.”

This lovely affirmation, from Psalm 46:10, has become one of the most popular Bible verses; and it’ s easy to see why. Few statements in the Jewish or Christian scripture so obviously call for a contemplative embrace of restful silence, stillness, and awareness of the ever-available presence of God. But as popular as this verse is, many people do not realize the larger context from which it comes.

Psalm 46 is the psalm that Martin Luther used to compose his classic hymn, “ A MightyFortress is Our God.” Taken as a whole, the psalm calls us to acknowledge that only God— the Spirit of Love, the Holy One, the Divine Mystery — provides us with safety and refuge in the storms and chaos of life. In other words, our safety is not found in military might, or other “ worldly” ways of thinking about strength and power. Consider verse 9,the verse that comes right before the “ Be still” line:

God makes wars cease to the end of the earth;God breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;God burns the shields with fire.

So there’ s a lot more at stake here in Psalm 46 than just learning how to meditate! This is a psalm for reconciliation and peacemaking. With this in mind, is it any surprise that at least one translation of the Bible translates verse 10 as “ Cease striving and know that I am God” ? Indeed, while I am not a Bible scholar, a Jewish friend of mine informs me that the original Hebrew of verse 10 carries a meaning that suggests “ be still” actuallymeans “ lay down your arms.” The stillness that we are called to, by the Psalmist, is both an inner stillness — meditation and contemplation — but also an outer stillness,characterized by reconciliation, peacemaking, and surrendering our impulse to  , defend ourselves, and approach every conflict looking for a fight.
In today’ s world, it seems that the most serious threat to peace is the threat of terrorism.And while terrorism (in any form) is certainly a dangerous problem, one of the tragedies of our time is the way that so many Christian Americans generalize “ terrorism” to be a code word for “ radical Islam.” Just as how for a generation in Northern Ireland political and economic troubles were subsumed under conflicts that found expression along religious lines, pitting Catholic against Protestant, so today it seems that on a global scale we see too many people willing to understand the conflicts in our world in  : as a fight between Islam and Judaism, or Islam and Christianity, or even Islam and secularism. Perhaps, for ordinary Americans who want to take a stand against terrorism,one of the most positive and creative things we can do is to transform the way we think about people who are different from us — especially people whose religious identities are unlike our own. But how do we go about doing this? Here, I think, Psalm 46 is a sure guide.
Be still. Cease your striving. Lay down your arms. To become unarmored, and undefended, in how we relate to people of different religious or faith identities, requires,paradoxically, that we embrace our own faith, our own wisdom, more fully and deeply.Since I am a Christian, I’ ll speak of this in Christian terms. The more fully I immerse myself in the Christian tradition of prayerful meditation and contemplation, the more I become available to “ cease my striving” and encounter people whose faith is unlike my own — whether Muslim, Jewish, or some other tradition — with love and hope, rather than with fear and aggression.

To put it simply, I believe there is an essential and necessary link between contemplation and peacemaking. As the old song goes, “ Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Contemplation is a way of cultivating both inner peace (by “ being still”and “ knowing” the loving presence of God), and outer peace — in that the fruits of such inner peace include the ability to relate to those who are different in a spirit of hospitality,community-building, and reconciliation.

I don’ t mean to suggest that if everyone starts meditating that suddenly all our problems and conflicts will vanish. But I do believe that the more people engage in contemplation,the more we will have the inner strength and grace to respond to our conflicts and problems with creativity and hope, rather than resorting to the kind of violence and destruction that Psalm 46 speaks out against.

On April 2 I’ ll be at the Cedar Hill Enrichment Center for a day of reflection and respite.This will be a time for people to gather in the spirit of Psalm 46:10. I hope that people of any faith (or even no faith) will feel welcome to join us, for this is not about one particular faith tradition. Rather, my hope is that by sharing my own journey into the silence of Christian contemplation, I can inspire and encourage everyone who attends   a deeper spirituality according to the wisdom of your own tradition. We won’ tsolve all the world’ s problems, but perhaps by attending to the silence in each of our  , we can find a way to, as Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, “ be peace” intoday’ s troubled world.

To Register for The Day of Reflection and Respite, call: 770-887-0051

Click HERE to see Carl’s website.

The Newness of Every Day

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Springtime Comes to Cedar Hill