Author Archives: Teressa

Musing: Hands

Hands, Massage Therapy. Photo: TLClark, 6/10/2020.

Emily, an Hospice Massage Therapist, was here today. With gentle touch she provided some relief from the deep bone pain (related to metastasized cancer) experienced by my best beloved.

At one point John looked at me and asked if I was going to take a picture. He then proceeded to tell her about my interest in photography. So what could I do but get the camera?!!

Emily’s tools are her hands. As such they have their own special insurance policy. After all, if something happens to her hands she’s out of a job!

Massage Therapy, Hand. Photo: TLClark, 6/10/2020.

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Later I looked at several scripture passages that mentioned hands. This one, a prayer, stood out to me:

“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

Acts 4:29-30 NRSV

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p.s. When I started this post a week ago I thought about the simple act of holding a person’s hand – something we don’t do outside our homes in this era of COVID-19. Then I wondered about hands and healing in scripture. Before I knew it I needed to be taking care of other business. So, here it is a week later than intended with only a postscript added to complete it.

FOTD: New Needles

Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

I don’t generally think of conifer trees as growing new leaves. But they do – every spring!

Fir? Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

The contrast in color and the variety startled me when I saw these trees around a church in Ankeny, Iowa, U.S. My camera was in the car so I put it to use.

Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

“The needlelike leaves may be long or short, flat or round. … Most species are evergreen, keeping their needles all year. Needle leaf trees are also called conifers because most of them bear fruits called cones.”

– George A. Petrides, Peterson First Guide to Trees
Spruce? Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

In order to identify the trees with any certainty, I need to take the guidebook with me and go take a closer look at the trees. Using broad categories, I’m pretty sure there’s a pine, a spruce and a fir among these pictures.

White Pine? Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

Thanks, Cee, for the FOTD Challenge … flowers, leaves, berries and such!

FOTD: Ornamental Flowering Pear Trees

May 2, 2020.
May 9, 2020.

I don’t know about you, but for me these days of COVID-19 pandemic seem to run one into another. Just the other day I said something about going to a niece’s High School graduation. My best beloved asked, “Where?” He was genuinely disappointed when I said we would go virtually like we go nearly everywhere else.

Stepping outside the house helps keep – or restore – some sanity. Even on overcast, gray days the natural world is keeping its beautiful annual transformation.

THREE CONSECUTIVE SATURDAYS

One set of Ornamental Flowering Pear Trees.

Along 36th Street, Ankeny, Iowa. May 2, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
Along 36th Street, Ankeny, Iowa. May 9, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
Along 36th Street, Ankeny, Iowa. May 16, 2020. Photo: TLClark.

The trees are pretty when driving or walking by.
But I think the individual blossoms are prettier!

May 2, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
May 9, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
May 16, 2020. Photo: TLClark.

Even after the petals fall off, the remaining sepals, pistils and stamens have a beauty of their own. Notice the silhouettes against the sky.

May 16, 2020. Photo: TLClark.

Hoping you are able to step outside and see something beautiful today.

Posted, in part, in response to Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

FOTD: Flowering Crabapple

Flowering Crabapple Branch against Blue Sky. Photo: TLClark, 5/9/2020.

Though delinquent in posting anything to my blog, I have taken some photos in the last three weeks! These are of the same flowering crab apple tree on three consecutive Saturday mornings. Spring is fading into summer.

May 2, 2020. Photo: TLCLark.
May 9, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
May 16, 2020. Photo: TLClark.

Posted, in part, in response to Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

“Whatever Happens”

Forest. Soft Pastels Drawing by Teressa L. Clark.

A poem for these times from Wendell Berry.

Whatever happens,
those who have learned
to love one another
have made their way
into the lasting world
and will not leave,
whatever happens.

– Wendell Berry, 1998 I, in This Day: Sabbath Poems Collected & New 1979-2013 (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2013), 183.

The note I wrote in the margin is “love one another.” It’s the new commandment Jesus gave after washing the disciple’s feet.

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

– John 13:34-35, NRSV

Today I’d circle the phrase “whatever happens.” The pandemic has made life seem surreal. A month ago my best beloved said, “We are living in a science fiction story.” He’s right. Whatever happens isn’t likely to be what we might have expected two months ago.

I wonder…
Are we learning to better love one another?
Are we discovering the lasting world?
Have we experienced love that will not leave?

Whatever happens, dear friends, may you know you are loved.
And may you make your way into the lasting world.

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Note about the illustration: We have been doing art (or maybe just playing) with colored pencils, watercolor, soft pastels or acrylic paints every Tuesday and Thursday since social distancing and stay-at-home orders started. But not on our own! We’re following Facebook Live Instructional Art Videos by Paula Rotshafer. Look for The Creative Quarantine public group on Facebook or click here.

Spring Leaves

Leaves on Maple Tree. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

The wind is blowing.
Again.
Or, maybe, still.

Unfolding Leaves. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

I thought about taking pictures of new leaves today.
But the tree branches won’t stay still.

New Leaves. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

So these pictures from Saturday’s stroll will have to suffice.

Crab Apple Leaves and Buds. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/202.

Posted in response to Cee’s FOTD challenge.
And because flowers and leaves always bring a smile to my face.

Flowering Trees

Crab Apple Blossoms. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

The Crab Apple visible out our back windows is gloriously pink. So I took my camera when my beloved and I went for a short stroll on Saturday.

Easy on the Eyes but not the Nose. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

Since I had the camera I paused to take pictures of the white blossoms along our street. I have no idea what they are and am to lazy to try to find out. Just want to enjoy the colors and shapes and textures.

Another White Flower. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

Posted as part of Cee’s Flower-of-Day Challenge.

Recent Reads

I’d like to say that I’ve read more since stay-at-home orders were issued in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But I haven’t. I’m a reader at heart and have continued to read at about the same pace.

Two of the four books pictured have not been shelved because they each have something I might quote in a sermon someday (if I ever preach again!!) and I wanted to make sure I wrote them down somewhere. Here’s the somewhere.

KINDER THAN NECESSARY

“If ever single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary–the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.”

From Wonder by R. J. Palacio (pp 300-301)

HERE TO WONDER

I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ast. And that in wondering bout the big things and asting bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, he say, the more I love.

From The Color Purple by Alice Walker (p 283)

AN INSULT

Dune has a funny insult somewhere in those 863 pages. But I didn’t mark it and I can’t find it so I guess you’ll have to read the book yourself!

MOTHERS AND SONS

I read Pachinko after reading Dune and was struck by the complex relationship between a mother and son in each book. Very different genres but rich portrayals of the people in each.

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Be kinder than necessary, friends.

And take time to wonder.

Photo Challenge – Animals

Clyde says Hello. Photo: TLClark, 2/14/2020.

My quilting friend across the street has two cats – Bonnie & Clyde. Clyde nearly always greets me at the door; the one time I had a camera with me he was much more interested in what I had in my hand than in having his picture taken (above). Bonnie typically ignores me but had just enough curiosity to sit up to see what was going on (below).

Bonnie. Photo: TLClark, 2/14/2020.

My sister’s family also has a Bonnie & Clyde. Not cats, though. Dogs.

Clyde & Bonnie. Photo: TLClark, 10/27/2019.

All the dogs at that house are loved, but the favorite is clearly the English Bulldog. I was taking pictures of my nieces and nephews last fall when one of them insisted I take a picture of Gus.

Gus. Photo: TLClark, 6/9/2019.

So there you have it – a few pictures of animals that are keeping some of my favorite people company during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted in response to this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge.