Weed?

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It was growing where it didn’t belong.  More accurately, it was growing where it wasn’t wanted and would never thrive in that narrow span of rocks between two driveways.

The ground was soft following the rain, so I pulled it.  And was surprised to get the full root system with the casing of the seed still attached.  No more than six inches long from the leaf tip to root end, it reminds me of the tenacity of life.

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Monday Musing: Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me.”
– John 10:14 Common English Bible

Good Shepherd Sunday.  The Fourth Sunday of Easter.  (Did you know that Easter Season in the church lasts 50 days?)  Every year there is a reading from John 10. 

“I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen.  I must lead them too…there will be one flock, with one shepherd.”
– John 10:16 Common English Bible

Although it wasn’t part of the reading this year, I found myself thinking about the “other sheep” mentioned in verse 16.  It may be my favorite line in John 10.  Jesus has other sheep.  I find that strangely comforting.

Jesus’ fold is ever so much larger than what I see in any of the communities in which I worship.  People – Christian and non-Christian – who don’t believe as I believe.  People whose faith experiences are unlike mine.  People who worship God in ways foreign to my experience, who call God by other names, who follow entirely different religious paths.  People who don’t look like me or dress like me or think like me or speak like me or  (fill in the blank)________________.  I cannot, must not count anyone out.  Jesus counts them all in.  One flock with more variety than most of us can imagine.

“The Lord is my shepherd.  I lack nothing …
“You set a table for me right in front of my enemies.”
– Psalm 23:1, 5a  Common English Bible

Here’s the thing about this table in front of our enemies: our enemies are at table, too. And they’re probably not at another table.  There are no clear lines of separation; there is no segregation.  The Good Shepherd is host; friend and foe alike are all seated at the same table.

“Yes, goodness and faithful love
will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the Lord’s house
as long as I live.”
– Psalm 23:1, 5a, 6  Common English Bible

Good Shepherd Sunday and Mother’s Day coincided this year here in the U.S.  It reminded me of Bobby McFerrin’s beautiful version of Psalm 23 – a tribute to his mother.  Here’s one I found in cyberspace.

 

Candy Dish

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On the left:  Dad’s latest gizmo.
On the right:  Grandma’s candy dish.

My father fills his candy dispenser with jelly beans.
His mother always had lemon drops in her dish.

The candy dispenser arrived in the mail a month ago.
Mom rescued the candy dish at a garage sale after Grandma Marion died.

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We always have m&m’s at our house.  They’re my husband’s favorite. When I’ve tried keep lemon drops in Grandma’s dish, the candy becomes a sticky blob.

Whatever is in it, I remember visiting Grandma Marion on my to and from college.  Columbus was about half way between Baker and Missoula.  Sometimes I’d spend the night on her coach; sometimes she just fed me lunch.  By that time she was on oxygen 24/7 – cigarettes have a way of ruining lung function.  She still worked her crossword puzzles, kept a few plants, and would liked to have gone fishing on Yellowstone River.

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Turn the knob, get a treat.  Or not.  This was Dad’s first attempt at making a candy dispenser and it tends to jam.  So sometimes you have to tip it or shake it or both;  he says he has now perfected the design.  Not matter, it’s still fun.

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Photo Challenge: Wheel

With wheel as the photo challenge today I wandered through memories of growing up in eastern Montana, taking black and white pictures of old farm equipment.  Rather than digging through boxes of old photo albums, I pulled up digital pictures from an August 2008 visit.  I knew I had taken pictures at Neumann’s Ranch and was pleased to find photos of wheels.

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Wheel from an Old Plow, Neumann Ranch, Eastern Montana.  Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

Dad identified what I had via the screen-sharing option in a Skype call.  It was fun to hear him describe how various pieces of equipment were used and to have him help pick pictures to share.  He thought long and hard about the wheel in the top picture; unfortunately there is no additional context since it’s the only photo of that particular wheel.

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Wheel of an Old Buck Rake, Neumann  Ranch, Eastern Montana.  Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

The tines of the old buck rake drop down to pick up hay.  A lever is used to trip the rake, leaving hay rolled into a pile.

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Old Buck Rake, Neumann Ranch, Eastern Montana.  Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

When no longer needed on an old rake, wheels work as functional art!

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Bob’s Handiwork, Neumann Ranch, Eastern Montana.  Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

Monday Musing: Alpha and Omega

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,
who is and who was and who is to come,
the Almighty.
– Revelation 1:8 New Revised Standard Version

Sometimes, in the space where I’m drifting off to sleep,
texts I’ve heard recently,
words I’ve just read,
and songs I’ve sung in the past
meet up in my mind.
They’re a bit shy, a little nervous,
not sure they should be in the same place at the same time.

That summer was a new beginning, a new end.
When I look back, I remember my slippery
hands of paint and the sound of Papa’s feet
on Munich Street, and I know that small
piece of the summer of 1942 belonged to only
one man.  Who else would do some painting for
the price of half a cigarette?  That was Papa,
that was typical, and I loved him.
– Markus Zusak, in The Book Thief

Alpha and Omega.
First and Last.
Before the beginning and beyond the end.
Always there.  Always here.
Always now.
Past.  Present.  Future.

Yet we measure time in discrete bits, distinct seasons.
That was then.
A new beginning.  A new end.
This is now.
Also a new beginning and a new end.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing, in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
– Natalie Sleeth, “In the Bulb There Is a Flower,” verse 3

Linear.  One thing after another.  Never to go back.
Circular.  One thing after another.  Back at the beginning again.
Timeless with God.

Spring Leaves

A few more leaf pictures from Thursday’s morning walk.

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Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

So little!
So colorful!

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Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

Such strange flowers / seeds hanging below the leaves.

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Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

Such shapes!
Such texture!

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Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

Leaves and sky and water.

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Leaves over Woodland Reserve Pond, Ankeny, Iowa.  Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Three of a Kind

Have you looked, really looked, at leaves on trees in the springtime?
As in walk over to a tree and examine the little bits of green growing on the branches?

New leaves are AMAZING!

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Tiny New Leaves. Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

Tiny and perfectly shaped.
Reaching for sunlight.
Connected to branch to trunk to earth.

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New Leaves Reaching Upward.  Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

Growing from branches old and new.
Unfurling as they expand.
Ready to dance in a breeze.

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*******

Thank-you, Nancy Merrill, for this week’s photo challenge:

… take three photos of the same subject, but from different angles or distances or whatever. This will give you the chance to look at your subject in a lot of different ways. This is the only rule, so have fun.

The pictures are from yesterday’s morning walk (to see post click here).  There are more leaf pictures to come!