Do you take time to remember the people you loved who have died? American Christians often get lost in our own grief–or worse do not know how to grieve well. The economic demands of capitalism and customs of limited time off for bereavement get in the way of remembering. Our faith suggests that a Christian burial is all that is required. We do not have rituals around remembering the dead other than the few days leading up to and including the funeral–and these days, many are choosing not to have a funeral at all. Occasionally, people will choose to honor their loved one year after they have died by spreading their ashes or gathering for a meal.
In Hindu Iyengar traditions, the rituals around remembering those who have died, especially our parents are quite specific.
The garden teaches us many things about life. It teaches us about patience. It takes time for a blackberry bush to grow, to flower and to produce fruit. My blackberry bush is three years old and I think this year I may harvest 20-30 blackberries. Last year we picked 4. Another lesson the garden teaches us is discernment. We must learn to distinguish between plants that will produce food, and plants that will not–of course I am referring to weeds! If we allow the weeds to grow, they will choke out the young tomato and pepper plants. These two lessons are fairly obvious. The third lesson the garden teaches us is a much harder lesson. Continue reading “My Blooming Garden (Part 1)–Thinning Seedlings & Making Space”→
I get this question all the time. Long after I became vegetarian, a memory from my childhood surfaced. It is a surprising story about Sundays on my grandfather’s farm. I know that my love of vegetable gardens comes from my dad and grandpa. Every year we plant a garden at my home. This past year, during the heat of August when the tomatoes were fresh off the vine, I wrote this short story at a Spiritual Women’s Writing Retreat. I share it to you below.
Some of my progressive pastor friends may think I am vegetarian because of the original commandment from God to Adam and Eve in the garden--“God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29. Much to people’s dismay, I wanted to marry someone who was vegetarian. At the time I was vegan, until I was introduced to paneer–indian cheese often served with spinach and an amazing blend of spices. Yum. I became vegetarian because my friend Adrienne shared with me health statistics of cancer rates among those eat meat and those who don’t. The vegans had the lowest rates of cancer, and so I gave up meat and dairy at that time. So that is why I became vegetarian. It’s because of my husband being Indian that I gave up being vegan…the paneer and ghee was just too delicious.
A better question is why I stayed vegetarian. As I learned how to prepare a vast repertoire of international vegetarian dishes, I craved less and less the dishes of my childhood. When I did crave them, the vegetarian market for protein substitutes worked well with traditional recipes. Then, when I met others who chose to be vegetarian for religious, health, or animal rights reasons, it just seemed to continue to be the right decision for me.
Yes, our kids are veggie too. I still believe it is a better health choice overall and I hope that our children are more compassionate and conscious of what they eat because of it.
Whether you eat your veggies or not, I hope you enjoy my short story below! Be warned, there is a surprising ending…
Silver Buttons, Pink Pigs, & Innocence Lost
by Rev. Tanya Sadagopan
The car didn’t seem to go fast enough down that country road lined east to west with corn taller than the station wagon my dad was driving. I did not like that corn—it was too high to see around. I was afraid that someone would steal me away if I wandered in between the corn-rows, so I stayed clear. Nose pressed up against the window, I watch for the corn to end and the farm-houses to begin. Sunday’s at Grandpa’s farm were the best! Grandpa lives on county road J. A funny name for a road, just a letter of the alphabet, but there is a K and L road too. I wonder if roads A, B, and C start in some other county. But I only care about county road J and how long it would take to get past this corn. Continue reading “A Child’s Memory of the Farm, before I was Vegetarian”→
As we think more about going green, buying locally, healthy living, and eating our veggies, now is the time to veggie up your Thanksgiving.
I grew up with the traditional turkey and fixin’s on Thanksgiving. When I became vegetarian over 17 years ago, Thanksgiving became a very difficult holiday. People were reluctant to join us for us for the holiday because we would not have turkey on the table, and others were timid about inviting us because so many of their traditional recipes were not vegetarian. So over the years I have adapted all the traditional recipes to be vegetarian and we have created our own Thanksgiving rituals.