Author Archives: Teressa

Photo Challenge: Lock

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Three Padlocks. Photo: TLClark, 8/15/19.

With the Tuesday photo challenge of lock in mind I headed for the junk box in the coat closet.  We have a pseudo junk drawer in the kitchen – repository of stuff that doesn’t quite belong elsewhere.  But it’s unlikely to contain things like locks.

The junk box, on the other hand, has all sorts of treasures.  It’s the place to find a hammer and some nails, batteries of all sizes, a large flashlight, packing tape, electrician tape, Duct tape, superglue, string and (hopefully) locks.

But the box wasn’t in the coat closet.  When our floors were replaced in July the junk box was stashed in the garage.  I found it near the tool box and was not disappointed:  three padlocks with keys, a bike lock and a PowerLock tape measure!

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Locks in the Junk Box.  Photo: TLClark, 8/15/19.

Meanwhile, my husband was looking for his combination padlock from 1958.  We’d both seen it as things were sorted and discarded or repacked and moved for the floor project.  But the lock seemed to have vanished.

Until this morning – when it was found hiding in plain sight!

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High School Padlock (1958) – front.  Photo: TLClark, 8/16/19.

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High School Padlock (1958) – back.  Photo: TLClark, 8/16/19.

What do you routinely lock?
Your phone?
Your home?
Your car or bike?
What about your mind?

“There are no walls, no bolts, no locks that anyone can put on your mind.”  ― Otto Frank

What have you opened today?
Your mind?
Your hands?
Your heart?
What about another’s heart?

Smile, it is the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart.   ― Anthony J. D’Angelo

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Padlocks Locked and Unlocked.  Photo: TLClark, 8/15/19.

May what is locked be unlocked today
by a smile, a word,
your kindness, your love.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Yellow

It’s Thursday already!  I bought a new cup and saucer at the Iowa State Fair the other day and was thinking I should photograph it for Nancy Merrill’s challenge Still Life (sort of)  But it’s Thursday and she has a new challenge:  Yellow.

Since the cup holds plain old Lipton tea in the morning and there is an open package of lemon sandwich cookies on the counter, here’s one effort.

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Tea and Cookies.  Photo: TLClark, 8/15/19.

Another thought:  add honey!

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Tea with Honey plus Cookies.  Photo: TLClark, 8/15/19.

Looking at the pictures after-the-fact, I realize I should have experimented with some different light.  Always learning!

Having finished my attempt at Still Life Sort Of plus Yellow, I took the cup of tea to my desk.  It’s my favorite picture of the morning.

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Morning Tea.  Photo: TLClark, 8/15/19.

FOTD: Zinnias at the Iowa State Fair

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Zinnias, Discovery Garden, Iowa State Fair.  Photo: TLClark, 8/13/19.

One of our customs when attending the Iowa State Fair is to stop and enjoy the flowers in the Discovery Garden.  Click here for information about the garden.

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Zinnias, a Marigold and a Fly, Discovery Garden, Iowa State Fair.  Photo: TLClark, 8/13/19.

The zinnia with a fly isn’t a dahlia and a bumble bee as shared by Cee in her Flower of the Day photo challenge (click here) but her rules are simply to post a picture with a flower.  It’s a great challenge to follow for a little color, a little happiness no matter what your day holds.

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Zinnia, Discovery Garden, Iowa State Fair.  Photo: TLClark, 8/13/19.

The red zinnia caught my attention when at the garden but it wasn’t until looking at the pictures at home that I realized it was the rolled-up edges of the petals that made it look red and white.

Photo Challenge: Overhead

“Looking up” is what I remember.

But “overhead” is the actual Tuesday Photo Challenge this week.

A rather literal interpretation struck my fancy this morning.  My husband was willing to model: hat, umbrella, and clouds overhead.  Too bad it wasn’t raining.

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Overhead.  Photo: TLClark, 8/7/19.

He had a little fun spinning the umbrella as I looked up.

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Umbrella Overhead.  Photo: TLClark, 8/7/19.

Another LQQK at the patterns on the underside skeleton of an umbrella:

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Underside of Umbrella.  Photo: TLClark, 8/7/19.

After playing with the umbrella and the camera, I went for a walk.  Here’s the sky overhead – to my left and to my right!

Hope things are looking up for you this week!

Photo Challenge: Rectangles

I’m late to last Tuesday’s Photo Challenge – Rectangles photo challenge but Frank hasn’t posted the round-up yet so I thought I’d try to sneak in a picture of this old country school.

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Lame Jones Schoolhouse, Fallon County, Montana.  Photo: TLClark, August, 2008.

The school was a landmark for getting to the Neumann Ranch.  Directions: from town (Baker, Montana), head to Ekalaka on the highway, turn right at the Willard store, turn left at the school, and turn left at the second mailbox.  If I remember right, it was about 26 miles total.  I know the only paved road was the highway.

I’d remembered taking pictures of the curtain billowing out the window and so searched the digital archives to see how rectangular the windows were.  Discovered I’d also taken  photos of the old house on the Neumann Ranch before it was torn down.

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Neumann Ranch House.  Photo: TLClark, August 2008.

Rectangle shaped siding and windows and doors!

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Neumann Ranch.  Photo: TLClark, August 2008.

Musing: Prayer

“[Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'”  – Luke 11:1 NRSV

Who taught you to pray?

“My sister,” was the quick, first answer when I asked the congregation last Sunday.  I have to admit that I was a bit surprised.  But I shouldn’t have been.  Our siblings – biological or spiritual – teach us all kinds of things when we pay attention.  Why wouldn’t a sister be a teacher of prayer?

Other answers were more along the lines of what I expected.  More than one mother taught the bedtime prayer “Now I lay me…”.   At least one father made sure the family said grace at mealtime.  A grandmother was mentioned.  And a Sunday school teacher.

Earlier in the worship service the three children in the small crowd, their father, and I enjoyed Tim Ladwig’s beautiful interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer.  Ladwig’s illustrations in this children’s book are exquisite and a great way to talk about the meaning of each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer in ways younger children – and the rest of us – can understand.

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Whenever I preach on the prayer, I remember one question from the old Evangelical Catechism:  “What is prayer?”

101.
What is prayer?
Prayer is the conversation of the heart with God
for the purpose of praising [God],
asking [God] to supply the needs of ourselves and others,
and thanking [God] for whatever [God] gives us.
Ps. 19:14. Ps. 34:3. Ps. 103:1-4. Matt. 6:6. Matt. 7:7- 8. Matt. 18:19-20. Matt. 21:22. Ps. 92:1. 1 Tim. 2:1-2. 1 Thess. 5:17.

Evangelical Catechism, https://www.ucc.org/beliefs_evangelical-catechism

“Prayer is a conversation of the heart with God.”

A conversation.  Speaking and Listening.

For praise. For help. For giving thanks.


I didn’t use it last Sunday, but here’s my favorite prayer by Saint Francis.

The Prayer before the Crucifix by Saint Francis

Most High,
glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me
true faith,
certain hope,
and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge,
Lord,
that I may carry out
Your holy and true command.

May it be so.

Waiting for the Dust to Settle

For basic safety reasons, we had to replace our hard-surface floors.  The expert we called in thought the original laminate must have been improperly installed.  He was right.  But it was worse than that: there were ridges at every join of the plywood sub-floor that had to be sanded down.  There was fine dust EVERYWHERE before they were done.

The good news:  the floors are finished, the furniture is back in place, and over half the books are back in bookcases.

But I’m still waiting for all the dust to settle.

It’s made me think about disruption and displacement in a larger sense.  Even when the worst of it is over, there’s still dust to deal with.  For good or for ill, there are little reminders of what has happened.

Dealing with actual, physical dust is one thing.

Metaphorical dust is another matter.

Floating in the air
haze of uncertainty
cloud of confusion
concealment of potential.

Settling on surfaces
sweet reminders of blessing
pointed memories of pain
unveiling of opportunities.


 

As whatever dust settles in your life, may you discover the opportunities.