Life Is Short

Gerbera Daisy. Photo: TLCLark, 12/1/19.

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us.  Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”

–  Henri Frederic Amiel (Swiss Philosopher, 1821 – 1881)

Last week did not go according to plan. Not that we had any specific plans. But instead of staying home, we dropped everything to go be with family. Short story: Mom fell. Brain bleeds, broken cheek bone, and lots of facial bruising.

The good news: she’s doing really, really well.

It could have been otherwise.

Now that we’re home and getting back to our regular routine, I’ve been thinking about a Commissioning/Benediction I’ve used at the end of many Worship services. Based on a quote (above) by Henri Frederic Amiel, it goes like this:

Life is short
and we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.
So be swift to love,
Make haste to be kind,
And go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

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It’s more than a flower picture, but since it is a flower I’m linking to Cee’s Flower of the Day Photo Challenge! Thank-you, Cee, for sharing beautiful flowers and encouraging the rest of us to do the same.

Photo Challenge: Fantasy

Butterfly, Nature Connects Exhibit, Reiman Gardens, Summer 2016. Photo: TLClark.

If you had all the LEGO(c) bricks you’d ever dreamed of having and more than enough time to create whatever you might imagine, would that be a fantasy come true?

Pansy with Bee, Nature Connects Exhibit, Reiman Gardens, Summer 2016. Photo: TLClark.

Or are you more the sort to just enjoy another’s creation?

Dragonfly, Nature Connects Exhibit, Reiman Gardens, Summer 2016. Photo: TLClark.

Pictures are from the 2016 exhibit “Nature Connects: Art with LEGO(c) Bricks” at Reiman Gardens, Ames, Iowa. The sculptures were created by Sean Kenney.

Go to https://www.inside.iastate.edu/article/2016/04/21/legos for a more information about the 2016 exhibit. Visit https://www.reimangardens.com/exhibition/2020-wild-and-whimsical/ for information about the exhibit scheduled for 2020.

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Posted in response to Tuesday Photo Challenge – Fantasy by Dutch goes the Photo!

Photo Challenge: Fantasy (Books)

A personal library. One big, beautiful room filled with every book I’ve ever read, every book I want to read, and every book someone else thinks I should read. With comfy chairs and good light for reading. Pure fantasy.

Set aside every time we have boxed books to move.

Nevertheless we have books aplenty.

One shelf of Fantasy and Science Fiction books in our home begins with Frodo’s adventures in Middle Earth as told by Tolkien …

… and ends on Pratchett’s Discworld with Mort.

Why, I wonder, is Fantasy shelved with Science Fiction in one area of Barnes and Noble …

… while Fantasy is shelved with Adventure in the Young Adult Section?

In our local library, Fantasy is simply shelved with most of the other Fiction. As is Science Fiction. No trying to figure out if a particular book is one genre or the other!

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Posted as a different sort of response to Tuesday Photo Challenge – Fantasy by Dutch goes the Photo!

Photo Challenge: Slope

Slope, Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

One of my first thoughts to this photo challenge was mathematical: slope equals rise over run. My dad – a retired high school math teacher – chose the top picture because it clearly shows a slope of about 30 degrees. I’m definitely my father’s daughter!

Rock, Sagebrush and Tree, Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

All three pictures are of Dry Land Pasture in Eastern Montana. It’s pasture, according to Dad, because “there’s grass and they run cows on it.” Dad may have been a math teacher, but he was always glad to help friends out on a ranch: milking a cow if they had to be out of town, branding calves in the spring, haying fields and stacking bales in summer, feeding cattle in the winter.

Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

This particular August day Dad and I and one of my nephews were out at the Neumann Ranch to check the garden and to play with our cameras. Glad to have a chance to share a few shots. Thanks, Frank, for the photo challenge!

Revelation: To Encourage

Headstone with Book. Photo: TLClark, 9/2019.

I know there are some beautiful images in the book of Revelation, but I seem to have bought into the idea that the book was written to frighten and condemn. In rereading and reflecting on what is actually written I’ve come away with a new appreciation for this last book in the Christian canon.

John’s revelation is written as a letter to encourage and to challenge other followers of Jesus. The world as he knows it is in shambles. Churches are struggling. Members of the body of Christ are trying to do the right thing but it’s so hard, so confusing. Does it matter? Who cares?

Chapters two and three of Revelation are a series of shorter letters, one each to seven different churches. I was surprised by the notes of encouragement. For example, five of the churches are assured that their patient faithfulness has been noticed and is not in vain.

Ephesus: “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance …  I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary.” – Rev. 2:2-3

Pergamum: “I know …you are holding fast to my name, and you did not deny your faith in me…” – Rev. 2:13

Thyatira: “I know your works—your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first.” – Rev. 2:19

Philadelphia: “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” – Rev. 3:8

“Hang in there,” the author is saying. “You’ve got this.”

During a particularly nasty time in one of my pastorates I led a funeral at a local funeral home for someone who was without a faith community. Making small talk after the service, the funeral director turned to me and said “I see the nonsense at the church is causing a few gray hairs.” It was nearly a throw-away comment. But it meant the world to me. Someone who was not in the fray had noticed and was cheering me on.

Whatever your difficult situation, especially one that is not what you wanted or is not what you expected, hang in there. You’ve got this. It will be OK. You’ve been noticed – by colleagues, by friends, by God. Don’t give up. Keep the faith. We’re cheering for you and believe you will make it through.

Photo Challenge: Steep

Gibbon Falls, Yellowstone National Park. Photo: TLClark, 10/10/2018

I don’t remember taking family vacations as a kid growing up in eastern Montana. I do remember camping trips – to Medicine Rocks State Park, the Long Pines, the Beartooth Mountains, and Yellowstone National Park.

As a young, single, professional adult working in Helena, Montana, I took a Girl Scout Troop (Juniors) to Yellowstone National Park (with other adults to help drive and supervise).

But as far as I can remember, last fall – when my husband and I were doing a little sight-seeing on our way home from a wedding – was the first time I stopped to see Gibbon Falls.

It is as steep as it looks – straight down on both sides of the Gibbon River! Gibbon Falls itself has a drop of 84 feet (26 m).

Thanks, Frank, for the challenge!