Category Archives: Photo Challenge

Photo Challenge: Wheel

With wheel as the photo challenge today I wandered through memories of growing up in eastern Montana, taking black and white pictures of old farm equipment.  Rather than digging through boxes of old photo albums, I pulled up digital pictures from an August 2008 visit.  I knew I had taken pictures at Neumann’s Ranch and was pleased to find photos of wheels.

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Wheel from an Old Plow, Neumann Ranch, Eastern Montana.  Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

Dad identified what I had via the screen-sharing option in a Skype call.  It was fun to hear him describe how various pieces of equipment were used and to have him help pick pictures to share.  He thought long and hard about the wheel in the top picture; unfortunately there is no additional context since it’s the only photo of that particular wheel.

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Wheel of an Old Buck Rake, Neumann  Ranch, Eastern Montana.  Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

The tines of the old buck rake drop down to pick up hay.  A lever is used to trip the rake, leaving hay rolled into a pile.

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Old Buck Rake, Neumann Ranch, Eastern Montana.  Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

When no longer needed on an old rake, wheels work as functional art!

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Bob’s Handiwork, Neumann Ranch, Eastern Montana.  Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Three of a Kind

Have you looked, really looked, at leaves on trees in the springtime?
As in walk over to a tree and examine the little bits of green growing on the branches?

New leaves are AMAZING!

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Tiny New Leaves. Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

Tiny and perfectly shaped.
Reaching for sunlight.
Connected to branch to trunk to earth.

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New Leaves Reaching Upward.  Photo: TLClark, 5/2/19.

Growing from branches old and new.
Unfurling as they expand.
Ready to dance in a breeze.

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*******

Thank-you, Nancy Merrill, for this week’s photo challenge:

… take three photos of the same subject, but from different angles or distances or whatever. This will give you the chance to look at your subject in a lot of different ways. This is the only rule, so have fun.

The pictures are from yesterday’s morning walk (to see post click here).  There are more leaf pictures to come!

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?

Photo Challenge: Connections

Connections - CROP

CROP Hunger Walk,  Mississippi Waterfront, Muscatine, Iowa.  Photo: TLClark, 10/2/11.

Searching my memories I finally thought of an occasion when I might have taken a picture that shows the connections we share as human beings on planet earth.  Searching my digital files, I found pictures of several CROP Hunger Walks [1].  I chose this particular picture because it shows:

  • people of all ages from a variety of backgrounds making connections to raise funds to stop hunger locally and around the world;
  • the Mississippi River connecting communities from its source (Lake Itasca) to its mouth (Gulf of Mexico);
  • and trees with roots connecting to the earth and branches reaching out reminding us of our connection to all of nature.

[1]  “CROP Hunger Walks help to provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training and micro-enterprise loans, the key is people working together to identify their own development priorities, their strengths and their needs… .”       – http://www.crophungerwalk.org  (click here to learn more.)

Photo Challenge: Worship

Where does one begin to capture an image of worship?  As an ordained pastor and teacher in the United Church of Christ, my mind went in dozens of directions – not all of them church related!  I settled on sharing photographs related to two Sacraments celebrated as a part of Christian worship.  The things pictured are just things until they are used by a gathered community to remember, to share stories, and to celebrate what God has done, is doing and will do.

EUCHARIST (‘thanksgiving’) – COMMUNION – THE LORD’S SUPPER

“O taste and see that the Lord is good.”  – Psalm 34:8a NRSV

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Communion Table, Psalms Retreat, Pilgrim Heights Camp & Retreat Center, Montour, Iowa.  Photo: TLClark, 9/11/14.

These first two pictures are from a one-day retreat I led based on the theme “Taste of God.”   We gathered for Morning Prayer, had a chance to work in the garden harvesting vegetables, and shared in a time of Worship with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

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After Sharing the Bread and Cup, Pilgrim Heights Camp & Retreat Center, Montour, Iowa.  Photo: TLClark, 9/11/14.

Did you notice the honey pot in the second picture?

“I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
– Psalm 81:16 NRSV

My preference for Communion ware is definitely not the shiny plates and wine/juice trays for individual cups used in every church I’ve served.  Nevertheless I am always fascinated at the way the surfaces reflect candles and lights and windows!

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Pastor’s View of Communion Table, Faith UCC, Muscatine, Iowa.  Photo: TLClark, 4/8/12.

My husband and I were in Seattle for a wedding last fall and dropped in for Sunday Worship at the UCC congregation nearest our hotel.  The chalice, paten (plate holding the bread) and cloth were beautiful.

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Chalice, Broadview Community UCC, Seattle, Washington.  Photo:  TLClark, 10/7/18.

BAPTISM

More reflections on shiny church things!  The pictures were taken before Sunday morning worship in two different congregations.  Each had a silver pitcher from their early days that we used to pour water into the bowl for a baptism.

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Window Reflections in Baptismal Bowl, Bethany UCC, Baxter, Iowa.  Photo: TLClark, 5/29/16.

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Rose Window Reflected on Pitcher, Faith UCC, Muscatine, Iowa.  Photo: TLClark, 4/17/13.

Just because I like it, here is a picture of me introducing Elle – a newly baptized “child of God, follower of Jesus, member of the church” – to the congregation.  

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* * *

Following the news of the devastating fire in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Frank at Dutch goes the Photo! wrote, “it was immediately obvious to me that the theme for this week’s challenge is to be Worship. Regardless of religion, faith or belief system, we can all worship; whether it’s a universal being, nature or the love of our life… Please take this challenge into the direction of Worship that speaks most to you and share it creatively!”

Thank-you, Frank, for encouraging a broad definition of worship.

Photo Challenge – Cake

A made-from-scratch pumpkin cake was my first thought for this week’s photo challenge.  The picture is from my husband’s birthday and shows some of his favorite food.  Must have been soup for supper that night!  (We probably went out for fish & chips another night.)

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He once made a pumpkin cake for a cake auction and I ended up in a bidding war to take it home.  It would have been ever so much cheaper to just make a second cake!  But the money was going to a good cause:  Bag of Blessings (see below for information about this fabulous program).

Just for fun, here are pictures of two cakes I made for the first cake auction for Bag of Blessings. Cake - Pretty in PinkThe doll is not edible – but her skirt is all cake! A preschooler absolutely insisted her mother get the cake for her.

Cake - Circus Train EngineConducted by a bear, each car of the Circus Train is a mini-loaf cake; all the decorations are edible.Cake - Circus Train

* * *

In case you’re curious, here is part of an old news release about the Bag of Blessings program which began when I was the pastor at Faith UCC.

Bag of Blessings News Release
Faith United Church of Christ, 3307 Mulberry Avenue, Muscatine, IA  52761

August, 2011

As summer drew to a close, members of Faith United Church of Christ, Muscatine, prepared for another semester of “Bag of Blessings.”  This program sends a small paper bag of food home each Friday with elementary age students who might otherwise go hungry on the weekends.  Having served 62 students at a cost of $3.00 per child per weekend last spring, the goal this year is to serve 70 children at a cost of $3.50 per student per week.

Bag of Blessings began in October 2009 … Faith United’s middle school students took up the cause.  Their initial goal was to raise $1200 for 30 children to receive food each Friday during the second half of the school year. The youth decided to hold a telemarketing campaign and told the congregation about it the first Sunday in December.  …  The following week youth called church members and made their pitch.  By the time they were done, 56 families had pledged more than $2200.  A cake auction after worship in mid-January raised an additional $1055.

Other monetary gifts were received from First Presbyterian Church, a fourth grade class at Bishop Hayes Catholic School, employees of Muscatine Physical Therapy, and employees of HON.  Grants from the Iowa Thank Offering of the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ and Operation Rice Bowl of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport have also helped fund the program.

As the new school year began, elementary school principals were asked to identify children who were coming to school too hungry to learn. More than 55% of Muscatine students in kindergarten through fifth grade qualify for the free/reduced meal program.  A small portion of these students (30-75) rely almost totally on the school meals for their daily nutrition.  The parents of these children are asked to complete a simple application giving permission for their children to receive a “bag of blessing” every Friday afternoon of the school year.

… The students in Tammy Ales’ class at Madison School gain life skills as they pack the bags each week.  With a little help from fourth grade buddies, they read the menu for the week, do inventory, and pack the food into paper bags.  Each bag contains two breakfast items, two entrees, two fruit items, two fruit juices, a snack item and a seasonal beverage.  …

The Bag of Blessings program is now under the auspices of the Muscatine Community Food Pantry, a 501.c.3 organization.  Moving the program away from Faith UCC’s Benevolent Fund allows more funding opportunities – particularly from organizations whose policies prohibit giving money to a church. …

Photo Challenge: Roll

It’s his favorite time of year:  Baseball Season!

Once upon a time, many years ago, he was a catcher.
Truth be told, he’d still like to be able to play today.

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He played plenty of catch with his sons.
And enjoyed teaching his grandson how to play.

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When I first met him, he’d leave work early to coach a Legion Baseball “B” team.
The day after a game, he’d roll his eyes and talk about the “groupies” (girls) who had a way of showing up for games and distracting his players.

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He was surprised – and pleased – to discover I could find his old glove.
And a great sport when I asked if he’d pose for this post!

NOTE:  You’re welcome to gently roll a baseball in our house, but please do not throw it.

My entry for the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Roll.