Monthly Archives: January 2019

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Rose

I can’t decide which is more fun when it comes to a photo challenge:  grabbing a camera to take a new picture OR browsing through digital photo files.

Frank Jansen Photography’s photo challenge this week is rose.  I’m sharing three pictures from my files and one from trying to come up with something new.

First, a yellow rose in our yard from a few houses ago.  I think that may have been the only place we lived with roses in flower beds.  That is only because the prior owners had planted them!

rose - yellow

Photo:  TLClark, 5/30/08.

Next up, a rose with an interesting center.  I can’t tell from the series of pictures I took if the rose is in a bouquet or was a single stem.  Nor can I tell you what the occasion was – although it was part way between Christmas and my birthday.

rose - pink

Photo: TLClark, 1/15/12.

Finally, a rose of another color.  It’s clearly from a bouquet on the dining room table.  The bouquet may have been on the altar at church – but that’s a guess since other photos taken that day are all at the church.

rose - salmon

Photo:  TLClark, 1/22/17.

I wanted to do a new picture for the challenge but there are no roses in the house.  So I started thinking of the word “rose” as the past tense of the verb “rise.”   While baking frozen rolls for supper I couldn’t resist this last picture.  The dough rose before I put it in the oven, then rose more while baking.

dsc01314

 

Shelter from the Cold

We have a resident rabbit.  Or maybe it’s a bunny (is there a difference?).  Long ears; fluffy little white tail.  I startled him (her?) the other night when I peered out the window to see how much snow had fallen.

shelter for a bunny

Rabbit hole (lower left); he lives under the sidewalk leading to our front door. Photo: TLClark, 1/29/19.

With snow on the ground, it’s easy to see where the bunny has been and where he takes shelter.

shelter - bunny tracks home

Bunny tracks heading to/from shelter.  Photo:  TLClark, 1/29/19.

Record low temperatures and even colder wind chills are in the weather forecast.  We are being advised to take shelter.  Stay out of the wind, out of the cold.  Stay home if possible.

It is not possible, of course, for so many.  Police, firefighters, EMTs.  Doctors, nurses, aides, janitors, cooks, and all who keep a hospital humming.  Road crews.  Utility workers.  Staffs of nursing home, care centers, and homeless shelters.  Those who must go to work or go without pay.  Those who must go to work or face losing their job.

Schools – including universities – are closed.  Some small business owners are opting to shut their doors for a day or more.

Other businesses will be open and are likely to have customers.  Gas stations.  Grocery stores.  Pharmacies.  Medical clinics.  Some (most?) eating establishments.

The Lord will protect you from all evil; God will protect your very life.  The Lord will protect you on your journeys – whether going or coming – from now until forever from now.    – Psalm 121:7-8 CEB

Guide us all, O God, with your wisdom that we might make good and sound decisions about our coming and going in dangerous weather.  Shield from harm all who serve to keep others safe.  Amen.

Birthday Book

As soon as I read about it in November, I knew I wanted it.

I suggested it as a Christmas gift.  But the book wasn’t officially available until December.

So I ordered A Velocity of  Being: Letters to a Young Reader edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick for my birthday.  It arrived Friday – along with four other books in three packages.

dsc01296 - smaller

Birthday Books 2019.   To share with my beloved.  Photo: TLClark.

I’m the sort of person who likes books about books.  A Velocity of Being is not quite that.  It’s better:  letters about reading from authors and artists, musicians and scientists, actors and others.  Each was asked to “write a short letter to the young readers of today and tomorrow about how reading sculpted their character and their destiny.” (Maria Popova, “Introduction,” A Velocity of Being). 

As if that were not enough, every letter is accompanied by a work of art created in response to that particular message.  The works by illustrators, graphic designers and other artists are exquisite, adding a rich layer of interpretation to the letter.

Just a few examples:

  1. In the first letter Jacqueline Woodson writes of reading to her young son and impulsively kissing “the top of my son’s mohawked head.” (p. 16)  Lara Hawthorne captures the moment beautifully.
  2. Leonard Marcus encourages us to pack books carefully when moving. “Not many things in life can be counted as ‘permanent possessions.’  But a few things can, and our favorite books are among them.” (p. 158)  Julia Rothman’s illustration shows the chaos of boxes being packed to move with one carefully marked “PERMANENT POSSESSIONS.”
  3. “The world itself is all beautiful” Andrew Solomon writes, “but sometimes it can be hard to see that, and books let you understand moments of beauty you might otherwise miss.” (p. 100) He writes about loneliness, justice, kindness, sadness, happiness and more, two sentences at a time.  Catarina Sobral used bright, bold, primary colors to portray a child whose world is upended by reading a book.

I haven’t read every letter – yet.  Nor have I spent time musing over every illustration – yet.  A Velocity of Being will take some time to absorb and to enjoy – one letter, one picture at a time.

Read about Maria Popova’s creative vision for the book and see some of the many exquisite illustrations by visiting her blog:  A Velocity of Being: Illustrated Letters to Children about Why We Read.

Cabin Fever on Another Snow Day

dsc01293

Snow drift through the sun room window. Glad for the sun. Not so glad for the wind – except to see the fabulous shapes being sculpted. Photo: TLClark.

My beloved suggested I could write about Cabin Fever.  We’ve reached the age where “better safe than sorry” guides decisions.  We’ve both driven enough miles on snow/ice covered interstates or in gusty cold winds to know that snow/ice covered plus gusty cold winds is a recipe for disaster.  So we’ve rescheduled today’s appointments in Iowa City which were the rescheduled appointments from yesterday.

What to do?

dsc01295

Photo:  TLClark.

  1. Play games on the computer (seems to have become the default option).
  2. Read a book (another common default option).
  3. Pull out an old fashioned board game or maybe a deck of cards.
  4. Memorize a poem.
  5. Work on the puzzle.
  6. Do some genealogy sleuthing.
  7. Sort those old pictures and get them boxed to mail to someone who will enjoy having them.
  8. Play the piano/keyboard.

    dsc01294

    This puzzle was a challenge the first time around – not sure why we decided to do it again.  Photo:  TLClark.

  9. Watch a movie.
  10. Bake cookies.
  11. Clean the bathrooms.
  12. Clean out a drawer or a closet.
  13. Write a sympathy note or a thinking of you card – with pen and paper.
  14. Be creative in the sewing room.

    dsc01289

    Clockwise from top right:  a) Hand sew the binding on scrappy strip quilt. b) Free motion quilt the butterfly quilt. c) Add sashing to the finished blocks and join them into a quilt top. d) Start an entirely new project using fabric from the bins in the corner.  Photo:  TLClark.

  15. Use the colored pencils to draw something new or color in a coloring book.
  16. Sort, discard or keep, categorize eleven years of digital photos.
  17. Plan another series of blog posts.
  18. Call Mom & Dad or Grandma Mary.
  19. Sort through a box full of old church papers; recycle most of it.
  20. Work on taxes.
  21. _________________________________

What would you add to the list?  What would choose first?

Snow on Window

dsc01283 (2)Good morning and welcome to another snow day.  I figure I can either grumble about treacherous roads and having to reschedule some appointments.  Or I can enjoy the view.  Today I choose the view.  And give thanks for all who are working to make the roads safe again.

dsc01281

 

Photo Challenge: Bank

Here at our house we save all our quarters for Little Bear, the gentle guardian of the bank on top of the dresser.

dsc01267

Little Bear on Bank. Photo: TLClark.

It’s no ordinary bank.  Made from solid oak with an old-fashioned mail box door protecting the coins, it was hand-crafted by my father.  Dad has made many over the years – mostly as wedding gifts or to welcome a new baby.

dsc01271

Bank of solid oak and an old mail box door made by my father.  Photo: TLClark.

I don’t remember when or even why we decided only quarters go in our bank.  But two bits here and $0.25 there adds up after awhile.

dsc01277

Little Bear counting quarters spilling out of the bank.  Photo: TLClark.

By the looks of it, it’s time to take it to a rather traditional banking establishment.  We’ll let them use their coin counting machine to calculate the total.  But having done it before, I know Little Bear is sitting on a nice little deposit.

So, should we spend it on a weekend trip?  More books?  Or a shopping spree at a quilt/fabric store?

This post in response to this week’s Tuesday Photo challenge by Dutch goes the Photo!  You can read about the challenge here:  https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2019/01/22/tuesday-photo-challenge-flow-2/ 

God delights in YOU

dsc01264 (2)

Pictures of my parents (center) and my grandparents. Photo: TLClark.

It’s Monday morning and, as is often the case, a snippet from Sunday worship lingers with me.  This week it’s from the sermon.  The Rev. David Sickelka emphatically said “God delights in YOU.”

For YHWH will take delight in you … as a newly married couple rejoice over each other, so will YHWH rejoice over you.  – from Isaiah 62:4-5 The Inclusive Bible

You.  Same as everyone else.  Loved in all your particularity.

You.  Beloved of God.  Delighted in by God.

When you look in a mirror, do you see a beloved child of God?

dsc01250

Mirrors.  Photo: TLClark.

 

“The Wonderer” (6th Stanza: God)

img_0347

Photo: TLClark

Robert William Service wonders at “my Hand … my Eyes … my Heart … my Brain” in the first stanzas of “The Wonderer.”  Then he notes “You’re just as wonderful as I” and invites us to wonder and marvel at Creation.  In the sixth and final stanza, Service turns our attention to God:

If wonder is in great and small,
Then what of Him who made it all?
In eyes and brain and heart and limb
Let’s see the wondrous work of Him.
In house and hill and sward and sea,
In bird and beast and flower and tree,
In everything from sun to sod,
The wonder and the awe of God.

Wonder and awe.  Of Creation and Creator.

“In the beginning God created …”  Genesis 1:1

I understand the first chapter of Genesis as ancient poetry – beautiful, evocative, imaginative.  It is an invitation to take another look at the world and to wonder at our very existence.  As a person of faith in the current era, I am quite willing to stand in awe of the ‘Who’ of creation and not worry about the details of the ‘how.’  Nature is.  And God was at its beginning, is in its midst now, and will be present in all the days to come.

“Consider the lilies of the field ….”  – Jesus, Matthew 6:28

I invite you to look at a few flower photos (sorry, no lilies).  Notice the color, the texture, the raindrop or the shadow and to see the wondrous work of God.  Then gaze – perhaps at a person or pet near you or at the scene out your window – and notice other beautiful, marvelous works of God.

img_1424

Photo:  TLClark.

img_1111

Photo:  TLClark.

img_0377

Wildflowers of a restored prairie on a rainy day. The Morton Arboretum. Photo: TLClark.

This is the last in a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking here.

 

“The Wonderer” (Stanza 5 – You/Creation)

In the first four stanzas of “The Wonderer” Robert William Service wrote of

  1. “the moving marvel of my Hand”
  2. “the wonder of my Eyes”
  3. “the wonder of my Heart”
  4. “the wondrous wonder of my Brain”

Lest you and I  think we are any less marvelous than he, the beginning of the fifth stanza of the poem assures us otherwise.

But do not think, O patient friend,
Who reads these stanzas to the end,
That I myself would glorify. . . .
You’re just as wonderful as I,
And all Creation in our view
Is quite as marvelous as you.

The pastor in me immediately remembered the words of the psalmist:  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Ps 139:14a NRSV)  Not just me.  You, too, are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Nothing less than a marvel.

The rest of the fifth stanza – the way it is printed makes it look like it is not a new stanza – is an invitation to wonder.

Come, let us on the sea-shore stand
And wonder at a grain of sand;
And then into the meadow pass
And marvel at a blade of grass;
Or cast our vision high and far
And thrill with wonder at a star;
A host of stars — night’s holy tent
Huge-glittering with wonderment.

I searched through my digital photographs looking for sand and grass and stars.  I took time to marvel at the variety of unique flowers and wonder at the shapes of many individual leaves.  But flowers and leaves aren’t mentioned in this stanza of the poem.

I don’t take many landscape pictures.  Nevertheless I found a few photos that sort of reflect the fifth stanza of Service’s poem.  Hope you’ll take a moment to wonder or marvel or thrill – not so much at the pictures but of the memories you have of a sea-shore, a meadow, and the night sky.

img_2020

Beach, Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, Washington.  Photo: TLClark, 10/7/2018

grain of sand

Sand on Fingers and Rock, Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, Washington.  Photo: TLClark, 10/7/2018.

img_0373

Meadow, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois. Photo: TLClark, 6/29/2013

blade of grass

Blade of Grass after the rain.  Photo:  TLClark, 6/29/2013

img_2586.jpg

Epiphany Stars, Faith UCC, January, 2013

This is another in a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking here.  The first stanza is in my first post found here; the second is here, the third is here and the fourth is here.

“The Wonderer” (4th stanza: Brain)

dsc01148

This is the fourth of a series of posts in response to the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert William Service.  Read the whole poem by clicking hereThe first stanza is in my first post found here; the second is here and the third is here.

Now, the fourth stanza of the poem “The Wonderer” by Robert Service:

Then oh! but how can I explain
The wondrous wonder of my Brain?
That marvelous machine that brings
All consciousness of wonderings;
That lets me from myself leap out
And watch my body walk about;
It’s hopeless – all my words are vain
To tell the wonder of my Brain.

A few observations about how the brain operates.  There is the “Eureka!” sort of moment; a realization of discovery.  There is the “Wow!” of wonder, of being taken aback at how another is thinking.  There is the pondering, the imagining of what might be.

EUREKA!  As a brand spanking new Computer Programmer in the “real world” in 1987 I was amazed at how my brain worked.  Computer coursework in college had not taught me exactly what I needed to know.  But it had taught me how to think to learn what I did need to know for using particular programming languages in a specific computing environment.  I marveled at how my brain made connections.

WOW!  My oldest nephew was about 4 years old when I pulled out the book God’s Paintbrush by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso.  Upon hearing the title, B responded in a matter-of-fact tone, “It must be really big.”  It took me a moment to realize that God, who is pretty big to a preschooler, would have a really big paintbrush.

IMAGINE.  Ponder.  Contemplate.  Wonder.  About a creative endeavor.  About a career move.  About the words of a poem, the lyrics of a song, the phrases in a text.  About a relationship.  About God.

Holy God … assure us again that ear has not heard, nor eye seen, nor human imagination envisioned, what you have prepared for those you love you.   – From Book of Worship, United Church of Christ.

God has prepared things for those who love God that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being.  – 1 Corinthians 2:9b CEB