Monthly Archives: May 2019

Photo Challenge: Tower

With a field of TV and Radio Towers not far from us, we can get (nearly) all the TV we care to watch using an HD Antenna.  This first picture was taken about a mile north of our home.

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Photo: TLClark. 5/30/19.

It was so good to see blue sky and sunshine!  We’ve had A LOT of rain in Iowa.  There is major flooding on two of Iowa’s ‘coasts’ – along the Missouri River to the west and the Mississippi River to the east.  The other night it seemed the whole state was under a flash flood warning.  Farmers are struggling to get crops planted, adding heartburn and headache to the hurt from tariffs.  Some families in southwest Iowa haven’t seen their homes in a couple of months.  If you’re the praying type….

The pictures were taken from the side of the road – no trespassing and no traipsing through mud!  The first photo was looking due north.  These middle two are from the southwest, looking northeast.

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Photo: TLClark. 5/30/19.

The reflecting pond (above) is not a pond at all – just a low spot in the field.

The power line tower in the foreground (below) gives a bit of perspective at how tall* the TV towers are.  The town of Alleman is in the background.  You can see an array of satellite dishes on the ground, the sphere of a water tower, a school and the town’s grain elevators.

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Photo: TLClark. 5/30/19.

The last two pictures were as close as I got to the TV towers.  You don’t see all the guy-wires from a distance!  It’s the same anchor in both photos.  (Note:  those are power lines in the top right of the last picture.)

 

*The tallest tower is 2000 feet.  Click here for information on the WOI tower, here for the specs on the KCCI tower, and here for a 2007 article (with pictures) about the towers.

Photographed and posted in response to the Tuesday Photo Challenge found at Dutch goes the Photo!

Late Spring Leaves

No lightening, no thunder, no dark clouds this morning.  So I went for a walk down the neighborhood bike trail, pausing to take pictures of late spring leaves.  I’m always a bit surprised by the colors and continue to be amazed at how new leaves unfold.

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Silver Maple.  Photo:  TLClark.  Woodland Reserve, Ankeny, Iowa.  5/30/19.

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Swamp While Oak.  Photo:  TLClark.  Woodland Reserve, Ankeny, Iowa.  5/30/19.

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Photo:  TLClark.  Woodland Reserve, Ankeny, Iowa.  5/30/19.

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Quaking Aspen.  Photo:  TLClark.  Woodland Reserve, Ankeny, Iowa.  5/30/19.

Monday Musing: Gift

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you;
but the kind of peace I give you is not like the world’s peace.
Don’t let your hearts be distressed; don’t be fearful.

– John 14:27 The Inclusive Bible

Peace, it seemed to me, would be the theme of the sermon Sunday morning.  It wasn’t.  The theme was gift.  I always like it when the preacher take a text a direction I hadn’t considered!  While I don’t remember much of the sermon, I do remember it began with this video.

Gift.
Freely given.
No strings attached.
No expectation of reciprocity.
For you to do with as you see fit.

It’s hard, giving freely.  I want the recipient to smile, to be happy or pleased, to be grateful.  I hope the gift will be used, appreciated, maybe even cherished.

And there’s a risk.  What is given might offend.  It could be ignored or re-gifted or simply tossed out.

Gift.
Because we don’t want people to stay sad.

Do Not Worry

John (my husband) and I were co-liturgists today at our home church, Urbandale United Church of Christ.  I did the Greeting and lead the Call to Worship.  He read scripture.  Pretty typical liturgist tasks in the United Church of Christ.

But Urbandale UCC has a custom I’ve not seen anywhere else.  Led by the liturgist, it’s called “Presentation of Our Gifts.”  It’s often a time when a particular program or outreach effort of the congregation is highlighted:  Vacation Bible School (with a plea for volunteers) or the Youth Mission Trip (with a list of ways to support them) or the latest project of the Green Boat Crew (solar panels for the church).  Sometimes it’s about an organization in the wider Des Moines area that serves people in need.  Much less frequently it’s a personal testimony.

We decided to focus on one of our favorite scriptures – one that John has been teaching me how to live for 25 years.  I read the verses from Matthew; John wrote and presented the rest.  With his permission to share, here is the script we used this morning.

 

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life.”

  – Matthew 6:25 NRSV

It was the third of June 2011.  Eight years ago next week.
The doctor came into the room with his hair on fire.
“You have metastatic prostate cancer. Stage IV.  Spread to your bones.”

And I thought, “so this is the way it ends.”

I remembered Bobby Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.”

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day…
…Billie Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

The song is a downer.  It’s not happy.  The people are hurting.  Relationships are failing.  It’s not good.

After my cancer diagnosis, I had to decide how to live with it – an unwelcome companion. That thing was going to be with me for the rest of my life.

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”

– Matthew 6:26-27 NRSV

Another song came to mind.  By Bobby McFerrin.

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now.

Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

“And why do you worry about clothing.  Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”

– Matthew 6:28-29 NRSV

One more song.  From Monty Python.  By Eric Idle.

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
And

Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the light side of life

If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

Eric Idle, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

“Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink? Or ‘What will we wear? … But strive first for the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

– Matthew 6:31-34 NRSV

One day at a time.
Don’t borrow trouble.
Don’t worry. Be happy.
Look on the bright side of life.

And keep a song in your heart.

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Selfie with John after Worship!

 

A.A.Milne: Wind on the Hill

Wind on the Hill

No one can tell me, / Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from, / Where the wind goes.

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Dancing in the Wind.  Photo: TLClark, 5/24/19.

It’s flying from somewhere / As fast as it can,
I couldn’t keep up with it, Not if I ran.

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Taking Off.  Photo: TLClark, 5/24/19.

But if I stopped holding / The string of my kite,
It would blow with the wind / For a day and a night.

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Going Up.  Photo: TLClark, 5/24/19.

And then when I found it, / Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind / Had been going there too.

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Sailing Away.  Photo: TLClark, 5/24/19.

So then I could tell them / Where the wind goes . . .
But where the wind comes from  / Nobody knows.

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Coming Down.  Photo: TLClark, 5/24/19.

Poem by A. A. Milne, “Wind on the Hill,” in Now We are Six.

Monday Musing: Joyful Noise

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”
– Psalm 100:1 NRSV

John (my husband) sings with the Magnificat Choir of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic parish.  They led the music at the 10:30 a.m. Mass yesterday, so I worshiped there.  The music was beautiful, joyful noise unto the Lord.

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My favorite hymn of the day was Ubi Caritas.  Here are the refrain and the first two (of five) verses.

Refrain:
*Ubi caritas est vera, est vera;
Deus ibi est, Deus ibi est.

1.
The love of Christ joins us together.
Let us rejoice in him,
and in our love and care for all
now love God in return.

2.
In true communion let us gather.
May all divisions cease
and in their place be Christ the Lord,
our risen Prince of Peace.

*Where there is true charity, God is present.

Text and Music by Bob Hurd, based on Ubi Caritas, 9th century.

But that wasn’t the only music of the day!

The joy culminated with The Pines of Rome by Respighi played by the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra.  They let out all the stops; it seemed every member of the orchestra was on stage.  (Except the regular Concertmaster.  I’m guessing he had a family obligation not be missed, something like a college graduation.)

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In the final movement, six additional musicians appeared.  They were at the edge of the audience, 25 rows up, each juggling an instrument, music, and a music stand with its own miniature light.  Though they were as unobtrusive as possible, those of us above the 25th row couldn’t help but notice.  The three on the right turned on their lights.  As they lifted their instruments – a trombone and two trumpets – the three on the left – another trombone and two more trumpets – turned on their lights.  Soon all had joined the orchestra in playing grand, glorious music.

May you have a song in your heart,
a smile on your lips,
and nothing but joy at your fingertips!
– Irish Blessing

 

 

 

A Photo a Week Challenge: Squares and Circles

I’ve been looking for squares and circles every where I go since reading Nancy Merrill’s photo challenge.  These pictures were taken at the supper table today.  Bad manners, I know.  But I was enjoying myself and my table mate didn’t seem to mind much.

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Pink Lemonade.  Photo: TLClark, 5/19/19.

Looking straight down, the rim of the glass of lemonade was circular.  The ice cubes weren’t cubes, but they were square’ish on one side.  Did you notice the straw?  I forgot to say I didn’t need – or want – one.

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Salt & Pepper.  Photo: TLClark, 5/19/19.

The tops of the salt and pepper shakers are round; the bottoms are (nearly) square.  I opted not to tip them on their sides for pictures.

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Salt & Pepper with Reflection.  Photo: TLClark, 5/1919.

Intrigued by the reflections on the table, I asked my dinner partner to pose.  The plate was not round and I didn’t like the result of cropping the photo square – so it doesn’t really fit the challenge.  But it makes me smile!

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