The Technical Side of Green

Now for a little detour from my usual posts to a topic from my professional website on the benefits of viewing greenery in the landscape.  Be sure to take in some natural plantings this Winter wherever you are.  What evergreen trees and bushes are still leafed out or putting on a show from their peeling bark or knotty branches of interest?  Subtle hues of beige and cream, dark brown even red can pop against a fresh snowfall, glisten when covered in layers of ice.  Taking a moment to capture these scenes is good for us!

Here’s my article published this month in the Allen County Master Gardener newsletter and at Two Step Solutions.  Enjoy!

boy, under a tree, child, reading, book, green spaces, nature, benefits, viewing, attention

The Technical Side of Green

By Julie H, Advanced Master Gardener

There probably isn’t a person big or small that doesn’t like the view of a lush countryside, bubbling brook, or vibrancy of the Fall colors in the Midwest to brighten his or her day. “Natural elements grab and hold our attention in effortless ways, even in urban settings,” and this has a profound beneficial effect on us according to research by Dr. William Sullivan, Professor and Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture at University of Illinois.

In his book chapter* entitled, “In Search of a Clear Head,” William Sullivan shares research supporting the premise that:

It is clear that being in or looking onto a green space can improve people’s ability to focus their attention. But is the effect of green space on attention useful to a variety of people under a variety of circumstances? The evidence shows that a wide range of people benefit from exposure to green spaces. Studies have demonstrated links between green spaces and higher performance on attentional tasks in public housing residents, AIDS caregivers, cancer patients, college students, prairie restoration volunteers, and employees of large organizations.

Green spaces help us to recover from mental fatigue, help us make better decisions, and behave with less irritability. Simply put for our homes, work, schools, and communities:

We need nature at every doorstep!

Further, the more senses that are engaged, generally the more stress reduction occurs as well. In one study, students looking out a classroom window onto a natural space had the power to improve test accuracy TENFOLD! So why are we sending students into windowless classrooms? This is something important to think about as we craft study and workspaces at home and in our communities.

So you might ask if these benefits would include an adult playing golf? A child engaged in athletic team sports? “Yes” for the golf although probably more from the exercise than the putting “greens,” and “No” for outdoor sports. Although the playing field may be a green space and it is usually good to be outdoors, the benefits are better during unstructured activities. Better examples would include walking in display gardens (!), growing a few vegetables, viewing natural waterways, and even observing animals in their native habitats. Taking a walk outside is generally a good idea for many reasons yet in another study, only students who walked in an arboretum showed statistically better test scores than ones who walked in the downtown area of their college town.**

To boost the restorative benefits of everyday contact with gardens and green spaces, view and actively engage in those spaces around you. Such is the heart of the Master Gardener (and other community horticulture, 4H, gardening) programs isn’t it? Engaging the public in educational, exploratory, and experiential gardening activities is the fun and heart of what we do as Master Gardeners for persons young and old. A little “dose of nature” is a great low-tech idea for all of us.

*Fostering Reasonableness: Supportive Environments for Bringing Out Our Best; Edited by Rachel Kaplan and Avik Basu.

**Based upon William Sullivan’s lecture entitled “Attention Restoration” presented at Gardens that Heal: A Prescription for Wellness; Chicago Botanical Garden, 5.10.17.

 

The Children Cry Out

 

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this simply should not be and yet it is.

here’s the story if you have not already heard:  ISIS beheading children in Iraq.

no human could systematically do this to children without experiencing trauma oneself.  it is evil, pure and simple.  the answer?  follow Christ’s example (see Matthew 4) and combat evil with the Word of God.  please join me and conscious people throughout the word in the prayer that will combat this evil.

Matthew 25:40  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:45  “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

we pray in Jesus name who takes our prayers to our heavenly Father.  even our utterances of grief will be heard by the holy spirit in One with the Father.  thank you.  Lord have mercy on the least of these!  JJ

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Luke 18:16-17  But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Leviticus 18:1  “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

Deuteronomy 4:9  Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Deuteronomy 4:40  Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.  (Given before the grace of Jesus Christ at Calvary).

Deuteronomy 14:1  You are the children of the Lord your God.

2 Chronicles 25:4  Yet he did not put their children to death, but acted in accordance with what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the Lord commanded: “Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor children be put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.”  (Thus correcting the concept of generational sin.  These children are not dying for the sin of their parents!  And they are too young to die for their own sins.  See the grace given to children from Matthew 19:14 below.)

Psalm 72:4  May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor.

Psalm 103:13  As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Psalm 127:3  Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

Psalm 127:4  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

Psalm 139:13-18  For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Proverbs 17:6  Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Isaiah 43:5  Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.

Lamentations 2:11  My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.  (The Lord’s heart as reflected in the inspired words of the prophet Jeremiah, grieves for his children.)

Lamentations 2:19  Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner.  (We are to grieve for the children.)

Lamentations 4:2  How the precious children of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter’s hands!

Joel 1:3  Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.

Micah 1:16  Shave your head in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourself as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile.

Matthew 2:18  “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Matthew 19:14  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Mark 9:37  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Mark 10:16  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Luke 11:13  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Luke 23:28  Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.

John 1:12  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

Acts 2:39  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Romans 8:14  For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Romans 8:17  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 9:8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.

Galatians 3:26  So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,

Hebrews 2:14-15  14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.   (Christ was once a child and always our Savior.  As such he both grieves and overcomes the evil of the world.)

1 John 3:1  See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:10  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

1 John 4:4  You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 5:19  We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Revelation 21:7  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

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In these words and promises I hope you will find instruction, direction, comfort and hope.  Our Lord sees the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Christ, young and old.  In the words of a dear sister I find the most encouragement of all.  I will close with this and continue to pray for those persecuted for their faith.  Their reward is coming.  Take care,  Just Julie

In view of the tragic beheading of Christian children & adults by Islamic groups, the following, written 68-96AD (1,946 yrs ago) is enlightening: “… and [I saw] the souls of them that were BEHEADED FOR THE WITNESS OF JESUS, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Revelation20:4  (From Facebook August 8, 2014)