❄ The Notebook (Issue 23) ❄

The week of December 12, 2022

Often when we come to the year’s end and reflect on the last twelve months, we are tempted to demarcate the good days from the bad, the dark times from the light. In fact, it’s easy to chock up the year into one which garnered failure or success; love or loss; wins or losses. Yet, the reality, time and again, is that seldom are our years or days or even hours clearly as distinguishable as black or white.

Richard Rohr, in his meditation on Gratitude and Generosity, shares wisdoms from Lakota Author and Activist, Doug Good Feather. Within, Good Feather describes the need for curiosity as an antidote to judgment in our daily living. Curiosity, he describes, feeds a life powered by gratitude. 

"Frequently, when something that we perceive as “bad” happens to us, we let it affect us in a highly negative way. But if we interact with the world from a place of gratitude, when something happens that others may perceive as “bad,” we just see that experience as “interesting.” We are curious about why something happens the way it does, and in expressing that curiosity, we’re actively seeking the part of the experience that we’re grateful for."

So can we, in our reflections, maintain curiosity, too? Could we allow this curiosity to transform our temptations for judgment - judging good days from bad days, or losing months from winning weeks – into general gratitude for the year as it was… whatever that might have been? 

As you’re taking stock of the last calendar year, may this serve as a loving reminder to reflect with the graciousness of curiosity.

”Gratitude moves stagnant energy when we’re feeling stuck in life. The simple act of practicing gratitude disrupts negative thoughts and changes our mindset to see the world in a positive way. Not only are we more attractive to others when we live in gratitude, but the most ordinary things can become extraordinary, creating a fuller, more beautiful expression of our life….”  

May you, dear neighbors and friends, enjoy the holiday season with the spirit of curiosity and the warmth of gratitude.

Kelly Brown Douglas wins the Grawemeyer Award in Religion for
“Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter.”

The Dean of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Douglas is one of the first Black female Episcopal priests in the United States and the first Black person to head an Episcopal Church-affiliated educational institution. The central theme of “Resurrection Hope” acknowledges the suffering Christianity has caused Black communities, while also arguing that faith itself is the best hope for assuring Black lives are valued. The $100,000 prize is awarded jointly by the University of Louisville and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. To read more on the Grawemeyer Awards and Douglas, click through to this link.
Exciting News for Repurposing the Iconic Louisville Gardens!  
Louisville Metro has just signed a letter of intent to redevelop the Louisville Gardens building. Partnering with the River City Entertainment Group, LLC, the city intends for the W. Muhammad Ali Blvd building to become a sound and film studio. Formerly the Jefferson County Armory, the building has been used solely as storage since 2008 despite being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. We are thrilled to see such innovative investment and economic revival in historic downtown Louisville!
This news is joined by the exciting announcement that the Trager family has pledged $1 million to the University of Louisville to establish a micro-forest in Founder's Square. This initiative will allow the Envirome Institute to study the impact of intense urban greening on human health, economic vitality and the natural environment. This is a truly transformative urban greening project which we're thrilled to see become a resource for the city and citizens. 

Seeking Holiday (or Beyond) Book Recommendations?

The Berry Center has released its Book Recommendation List for 2022-2023. Ranging from childrens’ story books and adult fiction to agrarian guides and poetry collections, there’s something for everyone on your list

Two books in particular you may consider:

Archbishop Fabre Encourages Louisville’s Continued Interfaith Efforts.
During the 26th Annual Festival of Faiths, Archbishop Fabre offered wise words supporting interfaith work and his desire to bring moral values into public conversations. How wonderful to have such inspirational thought leadership right here in Louisville! For more sage guidance (and a moving inter-religious ceremony), look no further than the recording of the FOF Opening Celebration.

The Latest Land Management Project on River Road & The Bradford Pear Bounty

Protecting wild lands often does not appear obvious as we start the process. The associated activities can often seem long and arduous – full seasons’ worth of field observations – or, in some cases, less than ideal – hunting for fauna riddled with disease. In the plant world, maintenance of a healthy ecosystem is essential to the fauna and people which rely on it. In this case, protecting the land sometimes means destroying what harms it. 

In Kentucky, the highly visible Bradford Pear tree has waged a war on farmland and hardwood tree forests alike. In fact, earlier this year, the University of Kentucky launched a bounty program to help landowners across the Commonwealth replace their Bradford pear trees. On Louisville’s River Road, Bradford Pears were aggressively growing into a field of white flowering trees on River Road, resulting in the destruction of the much-needed native species and the surrounding  forest land. 

Ultimately, while it may be alarming to see so many trees uprooted, bear in mind that removing invasive species helps protect the biodiversity our River City relies on. In order to protect the resilience of our environment, we must protect the wild lands which enrich our health, culture, and economy.

Curious about the holiday happenings in your hometown? While you’re flexing that curiosity, visit these exciting holiday events in Downtown Louisville!

Also making its grand return, the Portland Holiday Bazaar! Check it out on December 18th from 12-4pm at the Portland Museum.
And to all our friends who celebrate the Festival of Lights,
we send joyous wishes for a very Happy Hanukkah! 
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