September 3, 2018 Cheryl's Youth Message

The Vulnerable Edge: The Gift of Wilderness Journeys

In our culture we swim in messages about personal safety and taking control of our lives. There is, of course, some truth in these messages but what they steal from us is the deeper understanding that all of life is a gift, a deep mysterious gift of Divine Love. After a time of reflecting on the challenges and gifts of a wilderness journey we each imagined ourselves on such a journey and wrote a journal entry about our first day in a beautiful wild place we've never seen before.

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Excerpts from journal entries

This is my first night in Alaska. There are so many stars, it is unbelievable. I am very cold and some of my food is frozen so I warmed them up over the fire. The lake during this brief daytime showed a perfect reflection of the sun as it came up over the horizon...

Day 1 of my trip into the wilderness. I arrived last night at the lake across from the mountains and set up camp before drifting off. I awoke to the sun gleaming between the mountains and the red gold reflecting of the snow-covered peak of the great mountain directly across from my site...
June 3, 2018  Cheryl's Youth Time Message

The Gift of Divine Imagination

"Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, but imagination embraces the whole world."   -- Albert Einstein

Creative Divine imagination is the seed from which everything comes...Following a time of reflection on the gift of imagination, we each wandered on this misty, rainy day out into the fields below the Retreat Lodge.  "Imagine you were here for the very first time...what do you see, hear, feel?" Listen to this message at --

February 4, 2018   Cheryl's Youth Time Message

The Firekeepers  

On a morning of sleet and freeing rain, we retold parts of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s story “The People of the Seventh Fire” beginning with the exquisite image of “the firekeeper fungus.” After the story we walked in the winter woods searching for the different kinds of fungus that grow here. Coming in from the cold to a warm hearth fire, we lit candles to remember the promise in each of our lives to become a “firekeeper,” one who shelters and protects the spark of life.

September 24, 2017  Reflection at the Autumn Equinox Ceremony

At Dayspring in these troubled and troubling times we do a deeply radical thing. We pray. We build containers of silence, of beauty, of gratitude -- containers that can hold all the trouble and the terror. As the seasons turn, may our hearts turn to the good way, may our feet walk a way of beauty and deep thanksgiving.

Why do goldenrod and asters grow together? Botanist and wise native Elder Robin Wall Kimmerer says it is because that combination makes a display that pollinators find irresistible. As our hearts turn to prayer, may the beauty and gratitude we display prove equally irresistible to our troubled world.

September 6, 2017  Cheryl's Youth Time Message

Follow Me -- A New and Ancient Trail

A recording of the Earth Sunday for Children and Youth message at at Dayspring Church worship on 9/3/ 2017 given by Cheryl Hellner.  Listen at --

            Cheryl's Youth Time

July7, 2017  -- The Simple Gifts Permaculture Garden and Greenhouse at Dayspring is now in its Eighth Year

From our new Permaculture Garden and Greenhouse Guide --

Construction of the Solar Straw-bale Greenhouse began in March 2008 and was completed in March 2010 at which time the long garden beds in front of the greenhouse were added -- two for growing crops, one for growing compost, and one for a mix of  wildflowers. Drip irrigation by gravity from the cistern in the greenhouse was installed, and the first blueberry/cranberry bed created that summer. In the fall the keyhole beds in the greenhouse were built and winter crop production began. In the spring of 2011 the fencing enclosing the space around the greenhouse was expanded to make room for planting of an edible forest garden. Fencing is provided to exclude deer, rabbits, and groundhogs. Fruit trees, nut trees, and a variety of berries were planted with a variety of perennial plants for fixing nitrogen, providing other nutrients, and attracting beneficial insects. The garden design plan created then has now been fully implemented. Photos of the greenhouse construction, and gardens are posted in the Image Gallery.

What is permaculture?

Permaculture is a design system which observes and mimics the patterns and relationships found in nature, with the goal of meeting a variety of human needs, including food, community, spiritual fulfillment, and justice, while enhancing the health of the natural world.

Permaculture is often seen as simply a method of gardening, or organic farming with a twist. These elements are only a small part of designing, creating, and inhabiting a resilient human culture and a healthy planet.

Why is this project happening at Dayspring?

Dayspring has long carried a deeply contemplative way of being in the world with a passion for peace and justice. Permaculture is a way of embodying those values in a visible and active way in this time of great distress.

Some permaculture principles --

Stacked Functions:
Parts of the system serve more than one function; functions of the system are served by more than one part. In this garden, in a drought, plants may get water from either a well or a large cistern in the greenhouse. The cistern serves both to supply water in drought and, in the winter, to capture heat from the sun during the day and release it at night, keeping the greenhouse temperatures above freezing. Rain from the north roof is collected in the cistern. When needed, a valve is opened, and water flows by gravity through a drip irrigation system into the root zone of the plants.

Guilds: Plants with different functions are planted in groups or guilds so as to be mutually beneficial. By this apple tree, Comfrey brings up nutrients from deep in the soil, Red Clover fixes nitrogen, and Yarrow, Bronze Fennel, and Purple Coneflower attract beneficial insects.