We were back in Baker to help my parents pack fifty-some years of accumulations housed at the corner of 1st and George. Across the street from Lincoln Elementary School, allowing Mom to watch the kids – all the kids across the years – come and go and play at recess. Two blocks from Baker High School, where Dad taught math and computers.
Early evening, sun descending, feeling nostalgic and needing a break from boxes, I took a walk with camera in hand. This is my favorite picture of that day.
So much light and laughter and love emanated from that house. Friends always used the backdoor – knocking was optional. They knew to help themselves to a pop (aka soda) from the fridge. Teenagers soon learned they were welcome to make themselves a peanut butter sandwich or scrounge for leftovers. If supper was on the table, visitors were invited to pull up a chair. I could go on and on!
So many bright memories. So much love.
Picture posted in response to Becky’s Bright Squares challenge. Prose because this photo led me down memory lane!
I’ve been thinking about a photo challenge with the word “renewal” for a week. Music and prayer, walking and reading are sources of renewal. The buds on trees now growing more noticeable here in central Iowa remind me that spring, a season of renewal, is on the way.
But my heart continues to return to the day my best beloved and I renewed our wedding vows.
John had been receiving Hospice Care at home since March. We both knew his days were numbered and were cherishing our time together.
At some point ten or twelve months earlier we’d looked at a new wedding band for him since his original band had become too big, often sliding off his finger. Being the frugal sort we opted not to buy at that time.
When choosing to stop all cancer treatment in late February, we hoped to vacation along the Oregon coast together one last time. Visiting family on the way there or back was part of the plan. Covid-19 squashed those ideas.
By August, I was doing whatever I could to grant John’s every wish. Having not spent the money on travel, we had no qualms about buying new rings.
The words of my Facebook post that day sum it up:
Somewhat impromptu renewal of vows. Over the last month John has asked me to marry him more times than I can count. We ordered new rings a week ago. Picked up the rings this morning then drove by Urbandale UCC scouting a suitable location to renew vows. Pastor Dave was there and agreed to preside so we just did it.
– Facebook Post, September 3, 2020.
John died in October; I shared his Final Word in my post After All Souls Day; you can read it here.
The renewal of vows was less about the promises made and more about the love we shared every day for more than 25 years: a deep, abiding mutual admiration of each other with a longing and commitment to help each other become the person God called us each to be. While I truly miss the daily companionship of my best beloved, I am grateful beyond words for all John taught me and the way he encouraged me in life’s journey.
Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge the third Wednesday of February is to use her picture to pick a topic (or two or more!) for your pictures. Click here to see her picture; it shows yard/gardening tools as well as a portable outhouse on a trailer with trees in the background.
In my search for a picture (just one!) with a garden tool, I discovered photos of an old outhouse that had been hauled to the ranch dump. Tipped on its side, it’s definitely no longer in use!
Besides just general messing around with a camera in hand that day, Dad intended to dig a few potatoes. So here’s a picture of a shovel in use.
Same ranch, same characters, same intent and maybe the same shovel four years later. This time with trees in the background.
Switching things up, I remembered an outdoor cleanup day at a church that might show some tools. To my delight, I found a photo that shows a bit of fun while getting the work done with a rake.
Finally, for a little winter work, here’s a broom and a snow shovel being put to good use.
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.
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.
Posted in response to Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge – November Pick a Topic from [her] Photo. Such fun!
In this strange time of pandemic, what brings you joy?
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.
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.
Posted in response to Nancy Merrill’s challenge “A Photo a Week Challenge: Joy.”
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!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 designedan 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.