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ISSUE No. 5 | JANUARY 2021


If you’re new to CULTIVARE we welcome you!  CULTIVARE is a monthly field guide for life and faith, brought to you by TEND.  Each month we explore a specific “field” – a topic or theme through which we seek to cultivate contemplation, engagement, and deeper understanding. Our guiding questions are:

What are you cultivating in your life?

What fruit do you want your life to bear?

Each issue of CULTIVARE is structured into three parts:

Cultivate:  Examines a specific “Field” or facet of life and offers questions to unearth and challenge our held perspective; along with concise kernels of truth which we call “Seeds.”


Irrigate:  Explores the ways we nurture our understanding, which varies from individual to individual. We offer six means of irrigation:  Art, Poetry, Profile, Film, Essay, and Books.


Germinate: Encourages practical ways to engage in becoming more fruitful and free in our lives.  

Our name, CULTIVARE, in Spanish means “I will cultivate.” We hope each issue of our field guide will encourage you to do just that – cultivate new thoughts, actions, faith, hope, and fruitful living.  We invite you to dig in and DIG DEEP!



For we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field.

(I Corinthians 3:9)

Our theme this month is ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS.  The arrival of January marks the end of one year (2020 - a memorable doozy!) and the beginning of a new year (2021 – what will it bring?).  For many of us, there is relief that 2020, with all its pain, chaos, suffering and uncertainty is behind us.  It was a year of extraordinary disruption and discord, where many experienced the loss of freedom, health, loved ones, and a sense of stability.   


Though our calendars clearly state that this is now 2021, the reality is that we are living in liminal space.  While 2020 is officially “behind us” we still live in the actuality of its consequences.  The beginning of the new year is an opportune time to pause, to reflect, to lament, to imagine, and to dream.  Where is my life heading?  What path am I on?  What are my hopes --and prayers -- for our world, our loved ones, ourselves?  


In this issue we take an earnest look at the impact of endings and beginnings on our lives.  We encourage our readers to set aside significant time to pause, be still, and reflect on the year past.  We also urge our readers to set aside equal time to pause, be still, and imagine and pray for the year ahead.  To inspire and invigorate that process, we have provided a variety of helpful resources in this issue:  A collection of artwork that creatively depicts “New Beginnings;”  a profile of a Templeton Prize winner and her efforts to bring dignity and loving care to those in hospice;  a humorous and heartfelt film that highlights family dynamics and the care of grandparents;  a book on the impact of political change on the life of an individual; and an essay that recommends New Year’s Daydreaming rather than resolutions. 


As we navigate this liminal space, this space between endings and beginnings, we do so with the confidence and conviction that God is sovereign, God is active, and God calls us to be active.  One action we can all take is to pray.  We offer this prayer from author Vanita Hampton Wright as a meaningful and helpful first step as we begin the new year together. (DG)


God of all time,
help us enter the New Year quietly,
thoughtful of who we are to ourselves and to others,
mindful that our steps make an impact
and our words carry power.
May we walk gently.
May we speak only after we have listened well.
Creator of all life,
help us enter the New Year reverently,
aware that you have endowed
every creature and plant, every person and habitat
with beauty and purpose.
May we regard the world with tenderness.
May we honor rather than destroy.
Lover of all souls,
help us enter the New Year joyfully,
willing to laugh and dance and dream,
remembering our many gifts with thanks
and looking forward to blessings yet to come.
May we welcome your lavish love.
May we cast off the small, vindictive god our fears have made.
May the grace and peace of Christ bless you now and in the days ahead.


(Prayer by Vanita Hampton Wright)

“Do not call to mind the former things; pay no attention to the things of old. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
(Isaiah 43:18-19)


"We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.  It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God…"

(Hebrews 6:18-19 - MSG)



A handful of quotes to contemplate and cultivate into your life

Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)


There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.  (Louis L'Amour)


We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.  (Joseph Campbell)


Much as we may wish to make a new beginning, some part of us resists doing so as though we were making the first step toward disaster. (William Bridges)


Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. (Rainer Maria Rilke)


Light precedes every transition. Whether at the end of a tunnel, through a crack in the door or the flash of an idea, it is always there, heralding a new beginning. (Teresa Tsalaky)

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. (C.S. Lewis)



New Beginnings Art

Manhattan International Art



What if you asked a group of artists to submit a piece of art that they felt represented the meaning of “New Beginnings?”  In essence, that’s what Manhattan Arts International did to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their online art gallery.  They invited their members to submit one work of art they felt represented the meaning of “New Beginnings” along with accompanying statement. As you will discover from this extraordinary collection from finalists, the result is a beautiful and inspirational showcase of art to start the new year.  


To view the collection of New Beginnings Art visit the Manhattan Arts International site:



I Teeter On The Brink Of Endings

Ted Loder



O God of endings,
you promised to be with me always,
even to the end of time.
Move with me now in these occasions of last things,
of shivering vulnerabilities and letting go:
letting go of parents gone,
past gone,
friends going,
old self growing;
letting go of children grown,
needs outgrown,
prejudices ingrown,
illusions overgrown;
letting go of swollen grudges and shrunken loves.
Be with me in my end of things,
my letting go of dead things,
dead ways,
dead words,
dead self I hold so tightly,
defend so blindly,
fear losing so frantically.
I teeter on the brink of endings:
some anticipated,
some resisted,
some inevitable,
some surprising,
most painful;
and the mystery of them quiets me to awe.
In silence, Lord,
I feel now the curious blend of grief and gladness in me
over the endings that the ticking and whirling of things brings; 

and I listen for your leading
to help me faithfully move on through the fear
of my time to let go
so the timeless may take hold of me. 

From Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle, Ted Loder (2005)



Dame Cicely Saunders

Founder of modern hospice care

By Billy Brummel



Dame Cicely Saunders is the founder of St. Christopher’s Hospice, the first facility in the world to administer modern hospice care as she envisioned: an integrative practice that controlled a patient’s pain while providing care for their social, emotional, and spiritual health.


Dame Cicely was born June 22, 1918 and later began studying philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford. In 1940 she became a student nurse at the Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. A back injury forced her to leave nursing, so she re-trained as a social worker in order to remain close to patients. In her new role, she encountered David Tasma, a Polish refugee who had survived the Warsaw ghetto. He shared with Cicely just how miserable he was due to insufficient care, and during their time together a vision was born for a place where those in situations similar to David could receive a type of care that would allow for comfort and peace in a patient’s final days. When David died in 1948, he left Saunders £500 as seed money for a care facility that would serve those who were approaching the end of their lives. 


Her encounter with David propelled her to learn all she could about end of life care. She began serving as a volunteer at St. Luke’s House, a home for the dying, from which sprung her decision to study medicine, beginning in 1951. She finished her Medical Doctor studies in her late 30’s and then commenced work as a Research Fellow at St. Mary’s School of Medicine in 1958.


On June 24, 1959 Cicely opened her devotional and read: “Commit thy way unto the Lord and he shall bring it to pass.” She knew with complete certainty that this was the time to do something practical about the vision that had motivated her for so long. She created a charity and gathered a team. In 1967, nineteen years after first receiving the £500 from David Tasma, St. Christopher’s Hospice was opened.


In a talk regarding the faith that shaped and sustained her life’s work she said: There is no safe trust for us in the impassible, the unmoved, who sends help from above, we can only commit ourselves to the one who comes into the midst. And He who has the still wholeness within Him will absorb the long cry of a world’s agony and so redeem it. The crucifixions which show nothing but agony and those which only illustrate quiet triumph are both true—but the darkness does not overcome finally. Sometimes we see glimpses of how this may be. I remember a few moments with someone much loved who was dying and how a visiting friend said, ‘They look so awful when they are so ill, don’t they?’ But I did not see that at all—I saw only someone so nearly transparent to the God whom he loved and trusted. But that was a gift of love.


For her extraordinary vision, work, and care Saunders was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1979.  In 1981 she was awarded the Templeton Prize, the world’s highest value annual prize awarded to an individual.  In 2001 she received the world’s largest humanitarian award, the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize on behalf of St. Christopher’s.  


You can learn more about Dame Cicely Saunders at the following website:


You can watch an interview of Saunders at the following website:



Each month we recommend films focused on our theme

Feature Film


Directed by Lulu Wang

(100 minutes) 

In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to China to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai-Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken. With The Farewell, writer/director Lulu Wang has created a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, masterfully interweaving a gently humorous depiction of deception in action with a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us, often in spite of ourselves.  The movie begins with the words -- Based on a true lie – as the story draws on writer/director Lulu Wang’s real-life experience, making the film all the more poignant.  



New Year’s Daydreaming

Marina Berzins McCoy



“What if instead of starting with New Year’s resolutions, we began with New Year’s daydreaming?”  The question is posed by Boston College philosophy professor Marina Berzins McCoy, author of The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness.  In this short and encouraging article, McCoy draws upon Ignatian spirituality to help us engage our imagination as we envision the new year ahead of us.  For those unfamiliar with Ignatian spirituality, McCoy writes:


Ignatian spirituality encourages us to allow our imaginations a playful kind of freedom. Jesus said that one must be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). I think he must have had in mind the spontaneous and trustful nature of children, who are happy to daydream.


Below is a link to the essay.  As you begin 2021, we encourage you to ask yourself the question:

What are your dreams for the new year?



Each month we recommend a book focused on our theme.


Book of the Month


by Amor Towles



The story of how an historic chapter in one man’s life abruptly ends and a new transformative chapter (and life) unfolds. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. The life he was accustomed to has ended.  He must forge a new life. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.


The novel spent 59 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List.  “There’s something about the Count that, to me, stands in stark contrast with the breakdown of civility of our current times,” Leigh Haber, Books Editor at O, the Oprah magazine, says. Towles “writes intelligently about a past that was kinder, where true elegance counted.” Book critic Ron Charles agreed. “In a time of such acrimony and lack of taste and decorum, a novel like this that celebrates graciousness and good manners is such a salve.”

  • Amazon


Practical suggestions to help you go deeper into our theme


As you begin the New Year set aside significant time for silence, solitude, and reflection.  Take a notebook and begin to write your thoughts on the following reflective questions:  What are my hopes for the new year?  What is one change I can make in my life that would bring me greater peace?  What brings me the most joy and how might I do more of that?  What is a loving service I can offer this year?  What three (3) tangible actions can I take to cultivate deeper spiritual growth this year?  What piece of unfinished business would I like to bring to a close this year? By the end of the year, how would I like my life to be transformed?




Drawing from his long-time marriage and its origins, singer/songwriter David Wilcox advises:

When there's no pretending, then the truth is safe to say. Start with the ending. Get it out of the way.  (5 minutes)




 A TED Talk by Joe Macleod on why ignoring endings actually promotes consumerism and life issues.  (16 minutes)




C.S. Lewis wrote:  I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. For individuals grieving the loss of a loved one, below are two resources to encourage you in the process:


a) website:


b)   Short video for children grieving (3 minutes)




An interview with film writer/director Lulu Wang on her life and her film The Farewell.

(27 minutes)




Professors of Psychology Sreenivasan and Weinberger of USC’s Keck School of Medicine offer insights on engaging in new beginnings.  Focus on that which is optimistic and encouraging.

dig deeper


But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit

(Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV)


CULTIVARE is a ministry of TEND and is offered free to our subscribers.  We are grateful to our donors who help underwrite our costs.  If you would like to support the ongoing work of CULTIVARE, please consider us in your giving. All financial contributions to TEND (a 501c3 ministry) for CULTIVARE are tax-deductible.  

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Images used in order of appearance:


1.   FIELD:   Igor Paley, Genesis Creation, 1991-2006


2.   SEEDS:   Jason Miller, Homeroom, 2012


3.   ART:  Leanne Fink, Zero, 2018


4.   POETRY:  David Caspar Friedrich, Woman at the Window, 1822


5.   PROFILE:  Ellis Wilson, Funeral Procession, 1950


6.   FILM:  Emperor Huizong, Auspicious Cranes, 1112


7.   ESSAY:  J.M.W. Turner, Norham Castle, Sunrise, 1845


8.   BOOKS:  Peder Severin Krøyer, Hip, Hip, Hurrah!, 1888


9.   DIG DEEPER:  Victor Bregeda, A New Dawn, undated.


10.  ROOTED:  David Caspar Friedrich, Winter Landscape, 1811

TEAM CULTIVARE:  Duane Grobman (Editor), Lori Andrews, Billy Brummel, Ben Hunter, Eugene Kim, Rita McIntosh, Jason Miller, Jason Pearson (Design:



We welcome hearing your thoughts on this issue

and suggestions for future issues.

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