Christmas, for my husband and me, means gathering with other Christians to hear the old, old story of Jesus’ birth and to sing the old familiar Christmas carols.
When serving as a pastor in a church, Christmas Eve worship is a holy celebration I’ve considered skipping (not that that was an option!). Too many expectations. Too many traditions to be kept. So many memories held by the community. So many stories that could be told – some bittersweet, some heart warming, some simply silly or fun. So much love and joy. And always, always, a moment of wonder and of hope (which is why I’d never skip it!).
Candles on Christmas Eve are part of the tradition. The top photo shows the Advent candles – symbolizing hope, peace, joy, and love – with the Christ candle in the center; they were lit at the beginning of the service. The bottom photo shows a much cherished traditional end of Christmas Eve worship: holding a lit candle and singing “Silent Night.”
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 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.
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.”
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!
One of my first thoughts to this photo challenge was mathematical: slope equals rise over run. My dad – a retired high school math teacher – chose the top picture because it clearly shows a slope of about 30 degrees. I’m definitely my father’s daughter!
All three pictures are of Dry Land Pasture in Eastern Montana. It’s pasture, according to Dad, because “there’s grass and they run cows on it.” Dad may have been a math teacher, but he was always glad to help friends out on a ranch: milking a cow if they had to be out of town, branding calves in the spring, haying fields and stacking bales in summer, feeding cattle in the winter.
This particular August day Dad and I and one of my nephews were out at the Neumann Ranch to check the garden and to play with our cameras. Glad to have a chance to share a few shots. Thanks, Frank, for the photo challenge!
I don’t remember taking family vacations as a kid growing up in eastern Montana. I do remember camping trips – to Medicine Rocks State Park, the Long Pines, the Beartooth Mountains, and Yellowstone National Park.
As a young, single, professional adult working in Helena, Montana, I took a Girl Scout Troop (Juniors) to Yellowstone National Park (with other adults to help drive and supervise).
But as far as I can remember, last fall – when my husband and I were doing a little sight-seeing on our way home from a wedding – was the first time I stopped to see Gibbon Falls.
It is as steep as it looks – straight down on both sides of the Gibbon River! Gibbon Falls itself has a drop of 84 feet (26 m).
Groceries. Who takes pictures when grocery shopping?!! I did today! Just because Frank issued a groceries photo challenge on Tuesday. My husband John agreed to be photographed as we did the weekly shopping. Come along to the store with us.
First, a list!
Next, decide on a grocery store. John had a prescription ready for pick-up at the Hy-Vee Pharmacy so the decision was easy. Our other choice is Fareway – it’s closer to where we live. Fareway stores are smaller than Hy-Vee stores. If you want lots of choices and don’t mind adding a lot of steps to your pedometer, go to Hy-Vee. If you just want to get the basics and prefer to be done sooner rather than later, go to Fareway. (There are other choices, but it’s Fareway or Hy-Vee for us.)
We almost always start on the end with the produce section. I was going to take a picture of the Honey Crisp apples but as I pulled out my camera three other shoppers appeared. What you can’t see is the Starbucks stand behind me and a salad bar and a Hy-Vee Market Grill to my left (less restaurant than it used to be but still a place to sit down to eat).
The bakery – or, more precisely, the bread – is one reason I like shopping in this store.
Since having all of his teeth extracted this summer, we’ve been supplementing John’s diet. Here he is trying to decide on which flavor of protein shakes to buy.
It’s the cereal aisle! Did you know you can know get peanut butter and honey flavored instant oatmeal?
Ah, yogurt. So many choices.
Always glad to walk by the in-store florist shop. Flowers make me smile. Just because.
John picked-up his prescription while I paid for the groceries before we headed out the door.
Only after going out with camera in hand in search of a picture of a stone for this week’s Tuesday photo challenge did I remember these stone structures in a park attached to a church I once served as an Interim Minister. I found pictures in my digital files so the post I had in mind will have to wait!
Krueger Park, established in the 1930s, is just behind Bethany United Church of Christ, a country congregation two miles east of the small town of Baxter, Iowa. The church and park are surrounded by farmland.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
Psalm 36:7-9, NRSV
Some time in the past there was a pump so water could flow into a little stream from the fountain, under the bridge and into a small pond below.
Next to the pond is a lighthouse.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12, NRSV
The congregation holds worship services in the park on the first Sunday of summer months. The grounds are perfect for games during Vacation Bible School at the end of July. There’s a fire pit that is used for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows after the annual hay rack ride in October.
I left the camera at home when heading out the door for a walk this morning. It looked like it could rain and I wasn’t very hopeful about finding anything fuzzy for Frank’s Tuesday photo challenge. After noticing cattails and milkweed and a few other potentially fuzzy subjects I circled back home, grabbed the camera, and headed out again.
Spiderwebs were the surprise of the day! I definitely did not see them until getting off the path. With prey as big as the predator the spider web in the next photo caught my eye first. Just beyond it was a web that had caught all sorts of fluffy, fuzzy stuff(top two pictures)!
Neither the cattails nor the milkweed were particularly fuzzy. But here are two other plants ready to spread their white fuzzy seeds.