Author Archives: Teressa

Putting the Pieces Together

Stringing a few words together to make a sentence,
A few sentences to write a paragraph,
And a paragraph or two to create a post
Seems tough going for me this week.

But piecing fabric into quilt blocks has happened!

2020 Stash Buster Challenge – Sunshine & Shadows layout plus fabric yet to be cut and sewn.

The 2020 Stash Buster Challenge has been a bit addictive. Whether it is yardage purchased for a project that never got made or pieces that just had to be taken home, most quilters have fabric stowed away. The goal of the challenge is to turn some of that stash into a quilt. (Find more information and the pattern here.)

The little four-patches just make me smile.

3.5″ unfinished Four-Patch

The larger four-patches are made with two small four-patches and two 3.5″ squares.
The blocks can be put together at least nine different ways to make interesting patterns.

First blocks for the 2020 Stash Buster Challenge – Strong Streaks layout.

In other piecing news, we finally finished this jigsaw puzzle! It has lots of irregularly shaped pieces that made the trees with snow fairly difficult. So difficult, in fact, we talked about putting it back in the box without finishing it.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing,
may the pieces fall together easily today.

Photo Challenge: Transport

Our wheelchairs are here for your usage and convenience.”

– Sign at the entrance to the Skyway to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics from Parking Ramp 4.
Wheelchairs All in a Row UIHC. Photo: TLClark, 1/16/2020.

Wheelchairs to the right (above) and to the left (below) as you enter the skyway from level 2 of parking ramp 4 at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.

I’m always struck by the number of wheelchairs here. With an early morning appointment this week, they were still neatly lined up and ready to roll when we arrived.

Wheelchairs Ready to Roll, UIHC. Photo: TLClark, 1/16/020.

Noticing how the arms of one wheelchair wrap around the one in front of it (see below), I thought of a hug. These particular chairs require a companion to transport the patient. It is a caring act – whether the designated companion is family, friend, or hospital employee.

Wheelchairs Hugged from Behind, UIHC. Photo: TLClark, 1/16/2020.

Posted in response to Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Transport.

Musing: Baptism and Buttons

Bowl of Water with Blue Buttons. Photo: TLClark, 1/12/2020.

For local churches who follow the Revised Common Lectionary last Sunday was “The Baptism of Christ.” It is one of those holy days on the liturgical calendar that I rather like. Not only does it go without notice in the wider world, it has few – if any – expectations associated with it.

Remembering Baptism. Photo: TLClark, 1/12/2020.

Since I was leading worship for a colleague, I wanted to use water in some way to help us remember our own baptisms and the promises we have made to follow Jesus.

Plain bowls of water seemed boring (i.e., not visually interesting). Buttons have no liturgical significance. But I wanted something in the water and was reluctant to buy blue “stones.” And I have plenty of blue buttons on hand!

Blue Buttons. Photo: TLClark, 1/12/2020.

One image of baptism is to “take of the old and put on the new” – symbolized by the baptismal candidate wearing a white gown. I refrained from suggesting it Sunday, but maybe the buttons could be used to secure the new.

On a more serious note, here is a prayer from the Confirmation liturgy adapted for use on The Baptism of Christ Sunday.

By your Spirit, almighty God, grant us love for others, joy in serving you, peace in disagreement, patience in suffering, kindness toward all people, goodness in evil times, faithfulness in temptation, gentleness in the face of opposition, self-control in all things.  Then strengthen us for ministry in your name.  Amen.

Adapted from Order for Confirmation: Affirmation of Baptism in Book of Worship, United Church of Christ.

Photo Challenge: Portal

Beardshear Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Photo: TLClark, 6/25/2019.

make the climb
open a door
for higher education

Wandering on the Iowa State University campus while my beloved participated in a study, I was pleasantly surprised to find Beardshear Hall. From the stories he tells, Beadshear was his home away from home back in the day he was working on his Ph.D.

Tulip Garden, Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Photo: TLClark, 5/4/2018.

step through the gate
to enjoy the tulips

I’m more inclined to take pictures of flowers than I am to photograph gates. But this gate caught my attention on a beautiful spring day at Reiman Gardens.


Posted in response to Dutch goes the Photo! Tuesday Photo Challenge – Portal.

Musing: Beyond Christmas

Christms Elf with Book. Photo: TLCLark, 12/2019.

Christmas has come and gone. Except for Orthodox Christians who are celebrating today. As I get ready to pack up decorations two memories and a poem come to mind.

My favorite new memory: the cheering of a child at the end of every Christmas carol at the family friendly Christmas Eve service we attended. It felt like a celebration of the music. But could easily have been a cheering of the lyrics. Joyful and absolutely appropriate.

Another lingering memory: the Peace Candles at both Urbandale United Church of Christ and Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church (Ankeny). Each had been lit from a flame that began in Bethlehem and was carried to Austria and across Europe, flown to New York City and passed throughout the United States. So many, many prayers for peace.

Peace Candle on Communion Table along with a Menorah used during the Time with Children as the pastor read the book The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate. Photo: TLClark, 12/24/19.

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

by Howard Thurman

Photo Challenge: Retrospective

Old Wagon Framed by Old Truck Window, Neumann Ranch. Photo: TLClark, August 2012.

Having used neither a wagon nor an old truck as a primary mode of transportation, the photo itself doesn’t make me feel particularly retrospective. But it illustrates that times have changed!

On a personal level, the location of the photo – the ranch of family friends – reminds me that I will have to be very intentional to ever take pictures there again. The 2010s were when my parents moved from a small town in far eastern Montana to Montana’s largest city. We’re grateful they have better access to medical care and to an airport. But it means they now live 260 miles from a favorite place to play with the camera. Times have changed!

The wheels in the photo remind me that in 2019 my husband and I traded two cars and some of our savings to become a one car couple. We rarely need to be in two different places away from home at the same time so it works for us. Since the new car is a hybrid we feel a bit better about our carbon footprint. Times have changed!

Posted in response to the Tuesday Photo Challenge – Retrospective where Frank wrote: “Feel free to look back across 2019 or the 2010s, or whatever comes to your creative mind, when you are feeling retrospective!”

Flower of the Day Challenge: Advent Flowers

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

We bought a bunch of mixed flowers several weeks ago, choosing purple and white because we were still in the season of Advent. Just a few of the blooms remain.

While drying dishes last evening I noticed the stigma of the alstromeria (commonly called Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas or Parrot Lily). Though the flower is nearing the end of its vase life, the stigma was still standing straight up.

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

Though the flower is nearing the end of its vase life, the stigma was still standing straight up. Wondering if I could capture it in a photo, I left my husband to finish the dishes while I played with the camera. I’m pleased with the result – the automatic flash highlighted the flowers and completely darkened the background. The only editing of the photos was cropping.

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

Posted in response to Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge.