Category Archives: Family

Musing: Named

Christmas Bouquet. Photo: TLClark, 12/22/19.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet;

– William Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet

My birth certificate, my driver’s license, and every legal document I’ve ever signed show my name is Teressa. But when I’m with family, I’m rarely called by that name.

“… you will call him Jesus … “

“… they will call him Emmanuel …”

from Matthew 1:21 & 23

Jesus is the name given to the baby whose birth Christians celebrate this time of year. But it’s not the only name he is called.

In the novels of The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin each character has a name known and used by others. But each also has a “true name” known to very few.

The names we use for one another matter. They carry connections to particular people. They may recall a specific place (my Girl Scout camp counselor name was “Louie”). They might speak to a season of life (nicknames of athletes on a sports team).

Names can be used to build up or tear down, as an endearment or a taunting, for expressing affection or ridicule.

Beloved, may you be called by name today – a name that strengthens your spirit and brings a smile to your face. And may every name you use for another be a word of encouragement.

Photo Challenge: Common

Pincushion and Scissors. Photo: TLClark, 12/17/19.

Once upon time – when I was but a child – my mother had common sewing tools. I have similar tools today: a red pincushion and a pair of orange-handled fabric scissors. Those who own fabric scissors share a common rule: THOU SHALT NOT USE THE FABRIC SCISSORS ON PAPER (OR ANY OTHER NON-FABRIC MATERIAL).

When my mother started quilting, her tool kit expanded. I have followed her lead, becoming a quilter and acquiring modern tools of the trade.

Common Tools for Quilters. Photo: TLClark, 12/17/19.

Common quilter’s tools include:

  • Cutting mat (background), rotary cutter (bottom left), and specialty rulers (three shown);
  • Thread in neutral colors;
  • Long, thin pins on a magnetic pin holder;
  • Small pair of scissors;
  • and a good seam ripper (for un-sewing, sometimes called Jack).

Q: What is the difference between a beginning quilter and an experienced quilter?
A: The experienced quilter keeps her seam ripper handy.


I used most of the tools – plus a few others – earlier today making quilted Christmas cards.

Quilted Christmas Cards. Photo: TLClark, 12/17/19.

Posted in response to this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: “… it might be interesting to go for something rather Common… Whether it is the every day, common object or the things that you have in common, or crossing the town common.”

Candy Dish

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On the left:  Dad’s latest gizmo.
On the right:  Grandma’s candy dish.

My father fills his candy dispenser with jelly beans.
His mother always had lemon drops in her dish.

The candy dispenser arrived in the mail a month ago.
Mom rescued the candy dish at a garage sale after Grandma Marion died.

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We always have m&m’s at our house.  They’re my husband’s favorite. When I’ve tried keep lemon drops in Grandma’s dish, the candy becomes a sticky blob.

Whatever is in it, I remember visiting Grandma Marion on my to and from college.  Columbus was about half way between Baker and Missoula.  Sometimes I’d spend the night on her coach; sometimes she just fed me lunch.  By that time she was on oxygen 24/7 – cigarettes have a way of ruining lung function.  She still worked her crossword puzzles, kept a few plants, and would liked to have gone fishing on Yellowstone River.

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Turn the knob, get a treat.  Or not.  This was Dad’s first attempt at making a candy dispenser and it tends to jam.  So sometimes you have to tip it or shake it or both;  he says he has now perfected the design.  Not matter, it’s still fun.

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Photo Challenge: Technology

Last week when Frank’s photo challenge was connections I thought about posting this picture of yesteryear:  an old rotary dial telephone.  It might be old technology but it still worked when I noticed it several years ago!IMG_1045

My mom has talked to her mom on the telephone at least once a week for as long as I can remember.  She used to give strict instructions whenever one of us kids went into the Post Office to get the mail:  leave the phone bill in the mailbox if Dad was in the car.  (We lived in a small town where everyone got their mail at the Post Office.)  Long-distance phone calls added up but she managed the money and always made ends meet!

As a college student I talked to my parents by telephone every Sunday morning.  I’d “one-ring” them from the dorm by calling home and letting it ring just once.  They’d call back immediately.  It was the cheapest way to have a phone conversation.  For years I thought it was Mom who wanted to talk; then one day I was with them when Dad asked Mom to call my sister so HE could talk.DSC01731 (3)The rotary dial was replaced by buttons but the phone was still plugged into a wall socket and still had a twisty, twirly phone cord!  As teens we’d stretch the phone cord as far as we possibly could to get around the corner from the kitchen for a more private conversation!

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My husband and I entered the cordless phone age when we moved into a house with very few phone jacks.  At least two houses later – and in an era where landlines are going away – we still use a set of cordless phones.  Every once in a while the question “where’s the phone?” comes up.

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I resisted cell phones until going away for two weeks of continuing education a dozen years ago.  My husband still uses an old flip phone – although we’ve been talking about getting him an upgrade!  Meanwhile I have a semi-smart cell phone which works just fine for phone calls and text messages; in a pinch I can use it to check my email.

My mom now talks to her mom via telephone every other day or so.  I usually talk to my parents a couple times a week.  When Dad wants to talk he’ll phone (or ask Mom to call) and suggest visiting via Skype.  Being able to see each other while talking means he can show off the latest creation from his wood shop or Mom’s sewing room.

Communications technology.  What will they think of next?

Love does not … Love does …

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Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.  – 1 Corinthians 13:5b-8a  NRSV

Love insists that every way be loving.  A person acting with love – living love’s way – will not insist on his or her own way.  Usually.  Particularly when the other options available are expressions of love.  But sometimes love means speaking up or speaking out or speaking against a way that is not loving.

Love does not believe all things.  Especially if we are talking about believing everything you hear or everything you read.  Real love believes the best about another, looks for the good, seeks out the inspiring.  True love harbors doubts about second-hand stories and rumors that in any way disparage another; love grieves when such stories and rumors are accurate.

Even if we are talking about believing as giving our heart to and orienting our lives toward, then love still does not believe all things.  Love believes – sets its heart on and orients its life toward – all things life giving.

When one is treated without love in the name of love – say, being beaten or belittled or isolated or controlled – love does not bear it or endure it or simply hope for better.  Love leaves.

When you share life – in all its glorious messiness – with one who truly supports you and wants only the best for you, who would do anything to see you smile or hear you laugh, who can sit in the silence with you when there are no words and share your tears in the midst of the heart-wrenching, then love does indeed bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things.  Whether parent or partner or friend, that kind of love that never ends.

May you love and be loved in all ways life giving.

Photo Challenge: Bank

Here at our house we save all our quarters for Little Bear, the gentle guardian of the bank on top of the dresser.

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Little Bear on Bank. Photo: TLClark.

It’s no ordinary bank.  Made from solid oak with an old-fashioned mail box door protecting the coins, it was hand-crafted by my father.  Dad has made many over the years – mostly as wedding gifts or to welcome a new baby.

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Bank of solid oak and an old mail box door made by my father.  Photo: TLClark.

I don’t remember when or even why we decided only quarters go in our bank.  But two bits here and $0.25 there adds up after awhile.

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Little Bear counting quarters spilling out of the bank.  Photo: TLClark.

By the looks of it, it’s time to take it to a rather traditional banking establishment.  We’ll let them use their coin counting machine to calculate the total.  But having done it before, I know Little Bear is sitting on a nice little deposit.

So, should we spend it on a weekend trip?  More books?  Or a shopping spree at a quilt/fabric store?

This post in response to this week’s Tuesday Photo challenge by Dutch goes the Photo!  You can read about the challenge here:  https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2019/01/22/tuesday-photo-challenge-flow-2/ 

God delights in YOU

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Pictures of my parents (center) and my grandparents. Photo: TLClark.

It’s Monday morning and, as is often the case, a snippet from Sunday worship lingers with me.  This week it’s from the sermon.  The Rev. David Sickelka emphatically said “God delights in YOU.”

For YHWH will take delight in you … as a newly married couple rejoice over each other, so will YHWH rejoice over you.  – from Isaiah 62:4-5 The Inclusive Bible

You.  Same as everyone else.  Loved in all your particularity.

You.  Beloved of God.  Delighted in by God.

When you look in a mirror, do you see a beloved child of God?

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Mirrors.  Photo: TLClark.