Category Archives: Books

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Cat

Bill the Cat. Photo: TLClark, 1/28/2020.

Our cat
is a hairless model
needing neither food
nor a litter box.

Staying Warm. Photo: TLClark, 1/28/2020.

Bill usually hangs out by the gas fireplace.
Today he got to look out the window.

“Don’t Make Me Go Out There.” Photo: TLClark, 1/28/2020.

For this photo shoot only, Bill was allowed on the table with his favorite book.

Bill and His Favorite Book. Photo: TLClark, 1/28/2020.
“Wow! Look at that!” Photo: TLClark, 1/28/2020.
“I Like It Here.” Photo: TLClark, 1/28/2020.
“What’s In the Box?” Photo: TLClark, 1/28/2020.

Pictures and Post in response to Dutch goes the Photo! Tuesday Photo Challenge – Cat.

Photo Challenge: Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait. Photo: TLClark, 12/14/19. Taken with a Samsung Galaxy J7 smart phone.

For Khürt’s Smart Phone Challenge : Use your smart phone to “take a picture that tells us who you are, without actually showing your face.”

Those who know me well don’t need much of an explanation. Books, a camera, some quilting, and a paten and chalice paint a pretty good picture of who I am.

I am the daughter and granddaughter of quilters, but it it has only been in the last ten years that that I have become a quilter. The wall-hanging of flowers reflects my love of nature. The table runner shows my interest in music and states my firm conviction that “All Are Welcome” (song by Marty Haugen, words stitched below the notes) in God’s realm.

The paten and chalice are symbols of my being an ordained pastor and teacher in the United Church of Christ. Although not currently serving a church, I do pulpit supply (preach and lead worship) when colleagues are away on a Sunday morning.

The camera was a Christmas gift from my husband a dozen years ago. My first SLR camera was a combined Christmas and 16th birthday present from my parents. I caught the photography bug from Dad. He took pictures and developed the B&W film; Mom printed pictures in our home darkroom.

Thanks to parents who read to me, I have been a reader for as long as I remember. When I was in trouble as a child it was likely because I had my nose in a book. A common refrain from my teen-age years: “turn off the light, you need to go to sleep.”

Notes about the books I chose for the photograph.

  • Mister God, This Is Anna by Fynn. Be aware of wonder. It’s a big, beautiful world and there is much to be amazed by and marvel at.
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Listen to your heart. Follow your dreams.
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Be willing to take a risk. Know that things are not always what they seem.
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris. A beautiful description of the land and the people not so far from where I grew up.
  • Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. A wise and witty account of coming to faith in a “series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another.”
  • This Day: Sabbath Poems Collected and New by Wendell Berry. Who knew I’d like poetry!!

THIS DAY

After the long weeks
when the heat curled the leaves
and the air thirsted, comes
a morning after rain, cool
and bright. The leaves uncurl,
the pastures begin again
to grow, the animals and the birds
rejoice. If tonight the world
ends, we’ll have had this day.

“This Day” by Wendell Berry

Photo Challenge: Fantasy (Books)

A personal library. One big, beautiful room filled with every book I’ve ever read, every book I want to read, and every book someone else thinks I should read. With comfy chairs and good light for reading. Pure fantasy.

Set aside every time we have boxed books to move.

Nevertheless we have books aplenty.

One shelf of Fantasy and Science Fiction books in our home begins with Frodo’s adventures in Middle Earth as told by Tolkien …

… and ends on Pratchett’s Discworld with Mort.

Why, I wonder, is Fantasy shelved with Science Fiction in one area of Barnes and Noble …

… while Fantasy is shelved with Adventure in the Young Adult Section?

In our local library, Fantasy is simply shelved with most of the other Fiction. As is Science Fiction. No trying to figure out if a particular book is one genre or the other!

~ ~ ~

Posted as a different sort of response to Tuesday Photo Challenge – Fantasy by Dutch goes the Photo!

Thinning the Home Library

One by one.
Book after book after book.
Pull off the shelf.
Read the title.
Check for an inscription.

Haven’t read it?  Give it away.  (A very small pile.)

A textbook?  Have I used it since taking the class?
Can I imagine turning to it for any reason?
Keep?  Give away?

An old favorite?
Remember the story.
Remember the person who gave it to me.
Remember why I bought it.
Remember how it made me feel or gave me hope or challenged my world view.
Remember.

Keep? Give away?
Have I re-read it?
Will I read it again?
Have I quoted from it?
Was it a gift?
Does it make me smile?
Is it a connection to someone I love?
Keep?  Give away?

One by one.
Book after book after beloved book.


 

We have to have our floor replaced (it’s become a safety hazard).  Every piece of furniture, including all the bookcases, will be moved at least twice.  So we’re clearing the bookshelves, packing books into boxes, and taking the opportunity to thin the ever growing collection of books.  – Teressa

Tell Me the Old, Old Story

“Tell me the old, old story … of Jesus and his love.”  – Hymn by Katherine Hankey, 1866

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I’ve been clearing bookshelves, packing up books.  Every piece of furniture – including the bookcases and their contents – must be moved so the floor can be replaced.  We’re using it as an opportunity to thin our library.

The three books pictured came to me from my mother.  Two clearly belonged to her stepfather.  The inscription in Bible Picture ABC Book suggests it was a Christmas gift to him when he was three years old.

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A page from Bible Picture ABC Book by Elsie e. Egermeier.  Illustrated by Charles B. Millar and Ruthven H. Byrum.   Anderson, Indiana: Gospel Trumpet Company, 1924.

The Story of Jesus was also a gift:  “To Arthur for Ideas to Paint  – Mother -“.  Based on the copyright date (MCMXXXIX), the man I knew as Grandpa Art would have been a teenager.  He grew up to be a High School Art Teacher who painted, carved, made pottery and pursued other artistic endeavors.

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A page from The Story of Jesus.  Akron, Ohio: The Saalfield Pub. Co., 1939.

The third book does not have an inscription but considering the topic and the copyright date, I imagine it also came from the Lenz family.  Knowing they lived on a ranch in eastern Montana, I called Mom to ask if they could have afforded books.  Her reply was along the lines of “Oh, yes, Grandpa Lenz came from money.”  She also said that Grandma Lenz was a teacher so having books in their house made sense.

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Title page from Wee Folks Stories from the New Testament in Words of one Syllable by Elisabeth Robinson Scovil.  Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company.  Copyright 1921 by Howard E. Altemus.

Wee Folks Stories is a wee-sized book that is about the size of my hand – 4.25″ wide by 5.5″ tall.  True to its title, nearly every word in the book is only one syllable!

Rather than keep these books, I think I’ll send them to my Aunt Clara.  She’s just the sort who would enjoy having Bible story books that were used by her father.

Three books I won’t have reshelve!  (Is that three fewer or three less?  I’d look it up, but I’ve already packed the reference book and I don’t want to search the web.)

May you have time to read today!

Monday Musing: Ascension

Then [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hand, he blessed them.  While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.  – Luke 24:50-51 NRSV

Ascension.  Another weird story in Christian scriptures that I’d rather ignore.  Jesus – the risen Christ – carried into heaven.  Forty days after Easter.  A Christian holy day.  My guess is many Protestants don’t realize it’s come and gone.

So when looking up a quilt fabric store on the internet the other day I was surprised to discover the following announcement in large, yellow letters at their top of their web page:

Store is CLOSED Thur. May 30th for Ascension Day  

Really?  Here in Iowa?!!  I’ll try to remember to ask about it when (if) I get there.

Ascension was not acknowledged in any way, shape, or form by my home congregation this year.  If I’d been preaching last week, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it either.

But our local Roman Catholic church marked the day at weekend masses.
And the priest did something I like to do when preaching.
He quoted from a contemporary text.
Not a commentary.  Not an overtly Christian or specifically religious book.
A work of fiction published in my lifetime:
Jonathan Livingston Seagull: a story by Richard Bach.

They came in the evening, then, and found Jonathan gliding peaceful and alone through his beloved sky.  The two gulls that appeared at his wings were pure as starlight, and the glow from them was gentle and friendly in the high night air.  But most lovely of all was the skill with which they flew, their wingtips moving a precise and constant inch from his own.

Without a word, Jonathan put them to his test a test that no gull had ever passed.  He twisted his wings, slowed to a single mile per hour above stall.  The two radiant birds slowed with him, smoothly, locked in position.  They knew about slow flying.

He folded his wings, rolled and dropped in a dive to a hundred ninety miles per hour.  They dropped with him, streaking down in flawless formation.

At last he turned that speed straight up into a long vertical slow-roll.  They rolled with him, smiling.

He recovered to level flight and was quiet for a time before he spoke. “Very well,” he said, “who are you?

“We’re from your Flock, Jonathan. We are your brothers.”  The words were strong and calm.  “We’ve come to take you higher, to take you home.”

Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull: a story, (c) 1970

Do you know the story?  Jonathan, a seagull, had been cast off from the flock.  He didn’t fly simply to find food and eat.  He flew for the shear joy of flying.  And that was unthinkable, unacceptable, intolerable.  So he was alone.

And now he is not.

That’s not where the priest went with the story.  But it is what has caught my imagination after re-reading the book on Sunday.  Though physically alone in a particular time and place, Jonathan was not alone in pursuing a dream of perfect flight.  He had kindred out there somewhere.  One day, they found him.

When you’re feeling cast off from the crowd (whether a little or lot),
may you know you are not alone.
May your kindred find you – or you find them –
and together pursue a dream that brings beauty and joy into the world.

Monday Musing: Alpha and Omega

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,
who is and who was and who is to come,
the Almighty.
– Revelation 1:8 New Revised Standard Version

Sometimes, in the space where I’m drifting off to sleep,
texts I’ve heard recently,
words I’ve just read,
and songs I’ve sung in the past
meet up in my mind.
They’re a bit shy, a little nervous,
not sure they should be in the same place at the same time.

That summer was a new beginning, a new end.
When I look back, I remember my slippery
hands of paint and the sound of Papa’s feet
on Munich Street, and I know that small
piece of the summer of 1942 belonged to only
one man.  Who else would do some painting for
the price of half a cigarette?  That was Papa,
that was typical, and I loved him.
– Markus Zusak, in The Book Thief

Alpha and Omega.
First and Last.
Before the beginning and beyond the end.
Always there.  Always here.
Always now.
Past.  Present.  Future.

Yet we measure time in discrete bits, distinct seasons.
That was then.
A new beginning.  A new end.
This is now.
Also a new beginning and a new end.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing, in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
– Natalie Sleeth, “In the Bulb There Is a Flower,” verse 3

Linear.  One thing after another.  Never to go back.
Circular.  One thing after another.  Back at the beginning again.
Timeless with God.