Category Archives: People

CMMC: November Pick a Topic

Judy, Julie and Snickerdoodle. Photo: TLClark, 11/10/2020.

It’s another photo challenge and I get to pick the topic based on a picture! Click on this link to see the picture and the guidelines of Cee’s challenge.

Walk. I’m visiting my parents and we walk with dear friends every day. The picture above is definitely a candid shot, another possibility for the topic of the day.

Fence. More than one fence keeps folk on the foot bridge and out of the water. I’m intrigued by stripes and the grid in the shadow.

.Foot Bridge, Shiloh Conservation Area, Billings, MT. Photo: TLClark, 11/19/2020.

Orange. The only orange I could find outdoors in central Montana in mid-November is on Snickerdoodle’s scarf. After I looked a the challenge photo again, the topic for this picture could also be fuzzy.

Snickerdoodle. Photo: TLClark, 11/21/2020.

Posted in response to Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge – November Pick a Topic from [her] Photo. Such fun!

RDP Saturday: STEPS

Steps – Not Quite Done. Photo: TLClark, 11/21/2020.I

Though I read the Ragtag Daily Prompt for bloggers daily and sometimes even think about what I could write, the day usually ends before I do anything about it.

Not today.

I’m at my parents’ home. Dad is building new steps to go out the back door. And the prompt is steps.

Dad posing with his new steps. Photo: TLClark, 11/212020.

When I asked if I could take his picture with the steps, Dad straightened right up and said, “cheese.” (Not exactly. But it looks like he said, “cheese.”)

Working on the Steps. Photo: TLClark, 11/212020.

Sometimes a project goes together as planned.

Other times, it takes making just the right face.

Dad Working on Steps. Photo: TLClark, 11/21/2020.

Whether it’s new steps or something else, may you make just the right face to have it go together perfectly.

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Posted in response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt (RDP) SATURDAY: STEPS. Click here to see the challenge; then scroll down in that post to find links to other responses.

A Photo a Week Challenge: JOY

Longtime Friends. Shiloh Conservation Area, Billings, Montana. Photo: TLClark, 11/6/2020.

In this strange time of pandemic, what brings you joy?

Julie and Judy. Shiloh Conservation Area, Billings, Montana. Photo: TLClark, 11/6/2020.

For my parents, it’s a walk and a visit with longtime friends. The walking started as rehab for Mom. In this time of social distancing, it’s grown into a (nearly) daily habit – good for body, mind, and spirit.

Tom and Don. Shiloh Conservation Area, Billings, Montana. Photo: TLClark, 11/6/2020.

The gals stay on level ground. The guys take a longer loop. The dog would like to go with both but is forced to choose.

Snickerdoodle. Photo: TLClark, 11/12/2020.

Posted in response to Nancy Merrill’s challenge “A Photo a Week Challenge: Joy.”

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.

Photo Challenge: Connect

Clasp of Bracelet. Photo: TLClark, 3/27/2020.

There are so many ways to take the Tuesday Photo Challenge of connect this week! I finally settled on a piece of jewelry. Every time I wear it – or even just see it – I am reminded of love and laughter and relationships that persist across time and place.

We were all together for Thanksgiving about eight years ago. Tanya had an empty bracelet chain for each female in the clan. And dozens and dozens of beads.

Beads. Photo: TLCLark, 3/25/2020.

One by one Tanya handed each of us two or three specially chosen beads that said something about our connection, our interests, our family. She then instructed us to choose as many additional beads as we wanted to fill out our bracelets.

I picked glass beads based on my favorite color and how they would match the PROSTATE CANCER RIBBON bead Tanya had given me to honor my husband.

Glass Beads. Photo: TLClark, 3//27/2020.

Those who know me will easily guess the meanings of some beads.

  • CROSS – I’m an ordained minister.
  • SIS – Tanya is my sister.
  • TEAPOT – My husband and I drink tea (not coffee).
  • BELLS – I have a bell collection.

The CAROLERS take me back to my childhood. We looked forward to Christmas caroling as a family every year. Dad would instigate it. Mom would have treats prepared (with help from the kids!). All five of us would go because it was a family thing. We would stop at friends’ homes, sing a carol or two, and invite them to join us. More often than not, they would drop what they’d been doing and go along. At the end of the evening everyone gathered around the fireplace at our house with mugs of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies in hand.

In this time of physical distancing, may you find ways to connect with others (a phone call? a text? an e-mail? a card?). And may you be reminded of love and laughter and relationships that persist across time and place.

Colored Pencils for Praying and Playing

Broken Colored Pencil Tips. Photo: TLClark, 3/15/2020.
Colored Pencil Shavings in Trash. Photo: TLClark, 3/15/2020.

After getting out the colored pencils on Sunday, we’ve used them everyday this week! So grateful to have found FREE RESOURCES to help us pray and learn and simply pass the time during this period of staying home for the good of all. Note: click on the name of the each organization below for more information.

Praying with Mandalas. Photo: TLClark, 3/16/2020.
  • Tuesday: Watching and Learning to Draw with Paula Rotschafer in her public Facebook Group The Creative Quarantine – my cow just makes me laugh!
Drawing a Cow with The Creative Quarantine. Photo: TLClark, 3/17/2020.
A Prayer from Illustrated Ministry. Photo: TLClark, 3/18/2020.

Be well, Friends!

Musing: “Bear Traps”

Shoes on Rug at Front Door. Photo: TLClark, 3/8/2020.

Everything in its place.
A place for everything.

It’s not just about being neat.
It’s about being safe.

You must not insult a deaf person or put some obstacle in front of a blind person that would cause them to trip. Instead, fear your God; I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:14, Common English Bible

I led a memorial service not so long ago for a man who became blind at the age of 18. He participated in programs at Iowa Commission for the Blind and quickly learned to read and write Braille. He also learned to cook, do laundry, keep house, get around on his own, be independent.

One day he arrived home to discover his mother had rearranged the furniture. She’d unwittingly designed an obstacle course which they quickly dubbed a “bear trap.”

Shoes by the front door are a bear trap.
Throw rugs are bear traps.
Moving the spices in the cupboard makes a different sort of bear trap, but a bear trap all the same.

Any obstacle that might trip one up is a bear trap.

The more I consider the verse from Leviticus (above), the more I think that it’s not just about the physical stuff that might block another’s way. It’s also about the obstacles we set up that, intentionally or not, make life more difficult for another.

Steer clear of bear traps, friends.
Don’t set up obstacles that cause another to fall.
And remove bear traps for others.
It’s not only kind. It’s faithful.

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: 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.

Life Is Short

Gerbera Daisy. Photo: TLCLark, 12/1/19.

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us.  Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”

–  Henri Frederic Amiel (Swiss Philosopher, 1821 – 1881)

Last week did not go according to plan. Not that we had any specific plans. But instead of staying home, we dropped everything to go be with family. Short story: Mom fell. Brain bleeds, broken cheek bone, and lots of facial bruising.

The good news: she’s doing really, really well.

It could have been otherwise.

Now that we’re home and getting back to our regular routine, I’ve been thinking about a Commissioning/Benediction I’ve used at the end of many Worship services. Based on a quote (above) by Henri Frederic Amiel, it goes like this:

Life is short
and we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.
So be swift to love,
Make haste to be kind,
And go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

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It’s more than a flower picture, but since it is a flower I’m linking to Cee’s Flower of the Day Photo Challenge! Thank-you, Cee, for sharing beautiful flowers and encouraging the rest of us to do the same.