Monday, March 7, 2011

#19:  I am now in Highlands Texas, which is a tad east of Houston.  The journey from Dade City to DeFuniak Springs, Florida to Livingston, Louisiana to Highlands has been excellent.  In DeFuniak Springs I had no meetings but in Louisiana I had dinner with Virginia and Charles and watched the movie “Inception” on their big screen TV.  While in Louisiana I did a bit of exploring and went to two Study Group meetings, more on them later.  In the last posting I threatened to include a picture of me with a Sea Gull perched on my head as I walked the beach at Lake Worth Florida with the Bird Lady, well this time I carry out the threat.

All true love is from God, and man receives the divine affection as he himself bestows this love upon his fellows. Love is dynamic. It can never be captured; it is alive, free, thrilling, and always moving. Man can never take the love of the Father and imprison it within his heart. The Father’s love can become real to mortal man only by passing through that man’s personality as he in turn bestows this love upon his fellows.”  The Urantia Book (1289.3) (117:6.10)

The first Louisiana Study Group I went to met at Vianne’s Tea Shop in Mandeville Louisiana; I met with the group last year at Vianne’s house but since then she has graduated to the Mansion Worlds and her daughter allows the group to meet at the Tea Shop.  As usual I had some difficulty navigating the narrow streets; I spotted the place just as I passed it but I could not see the driveway and the traffic would not allow me to stop.  It was several blocks before I could turn the Monster (Ford F350) around and get back.  When I got there Peter was there and said he heard me coming and waved but I did not see him.  The Tea Shop is a quaint little shop with a few tables and dozens of kinds of tea; Peter was kind enough to make me a pot of Irish Breakfast Tea.  He also brought some King Cake in honor of Mardi Gras; this is a kind of cinnamon bun decorated with Mardi Gras colors.  We read Paper 56, Universal Unity, which is a heavy paper.  After we finished reading Peter, Ed and I sat around talking for at least an hour.

The next day I drove back to Mandeville, then went a few miles further on US 190 and explored the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Reserve where I took the above photograph.  The buildings of New Orleans are in the distance through the haze and that is as close as I cared to get to the city during Mardi Gras, although Peter did offer to take me to a night parade.  I took 255 pictures that day as I explored, I was in such a photographing groove that I even took pictures of a fresh thistle plant!  I found Boy Scout Road; I walked along it through open Pinewoods and towards the marsh for about two miles. At the end of the road was a bench overlooking Bayou Lacombe.  In the waterway there was what appeared to be the upturned root system of a tree that had blown over many years ago.  It had such character that I couldn’t help but take a few dozen photographs of it.  It was a most enjoyable day.

The other Meeting was at the lovely home of Virginia and Charles, but the above photograph cannot do justice to the tranquil space they have created (yes, that is the Monster in the background through the trees).  Charles is a Master Gardener and it shows in the grounds.  The meeting was supposed to be broadcast live on the web but they had software problems that were solved only when we were nearly finished.  We read Paper 167, The Visit to Philadelphia, which was just before the resurrection of Lazarus.  I will visit them again on my way back from Texas, hopefully the software will cooperate and the next meeting will be broadcast.

By the way, after the meeting Koto (I hope I have his name right) even sang for us; in the photograph he is sitting on Charles’s lap.

It is now time to get ready to go to a Study Group meeting in South Houston.

“Is unselfishness — the spirit of self-forgetfulness — desirable?  Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor.  Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake.  Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast.”  The Urantia Book (51.12) (3:5.13)

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