Weekly Photo Challenge: Grid

The I-24 Bridge over the Ohio River is a two-span tied arch bridge, connecting Kentucky and Illinois. The southern arch span measures 730 feet in length, while the northern arch span measures 630 feet in length.

IMG_20150921_183010721What I especially like about this bridge is that it marks about the half way spot on our trip from Iowa to Florida.

Balloon bumpClick HERE for more examples of “grid.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic


Jen Hooks makes this challenge by saying, “A powerful monochromatic image is composed of a gradient of a single color, and has an emphasis on texture and composition.” Sitting in my living room yesterday afternoon, I was intrigued by the sun’s illumination of the tree leaves and the lawn across the street as viewed through the window’s patterned sheers – the exterior, green hues causing the interior, white sheers to appear green.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Monochromatic.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Connection


I didn’t think long about the most appropriate pictures for this challenge. Two weeks ago today (August 24) my mother graduated from this earthly plain to the heavenly realm. Over the next week we gathered in three locations – three significant places of residence: Creston (IA), Benton (AR) and Memphis (TN) – holding two memorial services and the graveside service.

We gathered as a family almost 10 years ago at the First Baptist Church, Benton for my father’s memorial service. Mom stood on the bottom step in purple in this photo.2005.10Almost 10 years later I updated that picture, connected by event (memorial service), place (church steps) and family (the growing and older connected progeny of Charlie and Grace) in grief and celebration that our matriarch is with the Lord, my father, a granddaughter, my grandson (who I didn’t meet in this life), and many other loved ones who have preceded us.

Family at BentonLooking at the photo with all the smiling faces, you might think we had just attended a wedding. Rest assured, we are grieving, but with hope!

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NASB*)

And who couldn’t smile at the sense of humor of a 95 year old woman’s final wish to have this picture and caption on the back of her memorial folder!


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Connected.”

*New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Weekly Photo Challenge: Creepy

I’m not necessarily afraid of spiders, but when I inadvertently walk into their webs, it does “creep me out.” This time of year seems to bring out the orb-weaver spiders, who love to weave their webs on my entry door to my garage. As I was about to leave my house this morning, this spider almost greeted me outside my kitchen door.


I chose to leave the house by the front door and not disturb the spider. Upon rounding the side of the house, I found what looked like a Halloween display with webs strung from the flower pots, and three other large orb-webs that were at least two-feet in diameter.


Eating breakfast

IMGP8233 IMGP8238

So, I’m watching where I walk and carefully avoid being the victim of wearing spider webs to work.

Check out this other examples of “creepy.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet


My mother continues to be cared for in the local hospice home and every day my feet pass over brick pavers as I arrive and leave. On each brick is the name of a donor or an individual memorialized by loved ones.

IMGP8014Every block represents a significant contribution that helped to build this facility which is staffed by a competent and caring staff.

IMGP8015So, every day these bricks, which are beneath my feet, cause me to be grateful for those who saw the need and helped fund this homey setting for those who are facing an end of life illness.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Beneath Your Feet.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration – Night Sky

The night sky has been the inspiration for poetry, prose and praise.


Northern Lights in Iowa -6/22/15

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Selected Essays

Blue Moon - 7/31/15

Blue Moon – 7/31/15

“It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.”  – Galileo Galilei, The Starry Messenger, Venice 1610: “From Doubt to Astonishment”

Thunderstorm – 10/2/13

“37 My heart pounds at this and leaps from my chest. Just listen to His thunderous voice and the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He lets it loose beneath the entire sky; His lightning to the ends of the earth.Then there comes a roaring sound; God thunders with His majestic voice. He does not restrain the lightning when His rumbling voice is heard.” – Elihu Job 37:1-4, the Bible (HCSB)*

First Quarter Moon - 10/1/2014

First Quarter Moon – 10/1/2014

When I observe Your heavens,
the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You set in place,
what is man that You remember him,
the son of man that You look after him?
You made him little less than God
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him lord over the works of Your hands;
You put everything under his feet:
all the sheep and oxen,
as well as the animals in the wild,
the birds of the sky,
and the fish of the sea
that pass through the currents of the seas.
Yahweh, our Lord,
how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!

King David, Psalm 8:3-9 (HCSB)

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

*Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up


I have one apple tree, but it is prolific and drops more apples than I can keep up with. They are usually picked up, placed in a bucket and composted. Last August, I was fascinated by the flies, being attracted to a bucket of the fermenting apples.


While following a fly deeper into the bucket, I saw antennae emerging from a leaf among the apples.


Finally, the grasshopper emerged for a better look.


Not sure if it was the same one from the apple bucket, but a month later, I found this guy sunning himself on the underneath side of our deck steps.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Close Up.”

Preparing to See the “Ivory Palaces”


Saying goodbye to two of the hospice nursing team members as she “graduated” in March.

I sit in a hospice family room this afternoon, hearing the raspy breathing of my mother in the other room. We’ve already been through this once when back in January she was placed in hospice for palliative care because of uncontrollable seizure activity. After a two month stay, she improved enough to “graduate” to assisted living.

In one way this was a step-down from her earlier independent living, but it was two steps-up from hospice. She adjusted well, but the seizure activity began again, resulting in a nursing home placement for 10 days. She showed some improvement with rehab but with another round of seizure episodes, she was ready to return to hospice for tender loving care, almost exactly three months from her previous discharge.


“Bunny” holding #31 of 32 great-grandkids

We were grateful for those three months. It allowed us to celebrate her 95th birthday (see Celebrating the Gift of Our Matriarch); she made new friends and caught up with a few old ones, who had moved from her retirement apartment to assisted living; and, she got to meet her newest great-grandchildren, my daughter’s twins. Additionally, she continued to serve the Lord through her witness of faith in church and community. I am on a rotation of ministers who go to the nursing homes, and though I usually accompany myself on the guitar when we sing hymns, she played the organ for me at assisted living while she was a resident. It was nice to have her play for me one last time.


The “Proposal” recreated!

Mom was a music teacher. A graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, her first teaching assignment was in Seymour Iowa, where she taught music. It was there she met my dad, who taught business classes in the high school. He joined the Navy in 1943, and they were soon married. She never taught school after that, having begun to raise a family of five, four daughters and a son. However, her music training was not wasted as she sang in church choirs and ensembles and played piano and organ in a several churches.


Mom and “Chucky Baby” (not to be confused with Chucky’s baby)

Additionally, she supplemented the family income by giving private piano and voice lessons in our home for a number of years. Almost every day, I came home from elementary school to hear the sound of inexperienced pianists playing their scales and struggling through simple songs.

Her playing and singing, however, were exceptional. I remember lying under the baby grand piano while she played, watching the action of the pedal as it moved the dampers up and down and letting the melodies cascade down from the sound board onto my ears. There were other times when I listened from my room to her rehearsals with my sisters, who formed a gospel quartet and occasionally sang at the local V.A. hospital chapel services on Sunday mornings. She even accompanied me as a child, though never for public consumption as I recall. My earliest recollection was at age 5, singing the chorus of the ragtime love song, “O, You Beautiful Doll”:

Oh! you beautiful doll, You great big beautiful doll!
Let me put my arms about you,
I could never live without you;
Oh! you beautiful doll, You great big beautiful doll!
If you ever leave me how my heart will ache,
I want to hug you but I fear you’d break
Oh, oh, oh, oh, Oh, you beautiful doll!

I’m sure I would have been a YouTube sensation if it had been around in 1961.


“Bunny” giving a great-granddaughter a piano lesson.

As my voice matured, she encouraged me to sing a few songs at church with her as my accompanist. One of those songs was on my mind as I awoke this morning after spending the night close to her bed at the hospice house – “Ivory Palaces.” Before singing it with her

I had never heard the song, but it became a favorite. The writer, Henry Barraclough, wrote this song after hearing a sermon on Psalm 45, a royal wedding song with a secondary application to the Messiah. As with most hymns, there is a progression – a story told. The song speaks of the glorious nature of Christ, but acknowledges the suffering He bore on the cross because of humanity’s sin. However, the new life in Christ brings salvation from sin’s bondage and leads to an everlasting presence before the Jesus Christ the Lord. The last stanza speaks of that ultimate hope and reward for the believer. These are the words to which I awoke and hope for my mother’s imminent awareness:

In garments glorious He will come,
To open wide the door;
And I shall enter my heav’nly home,
To dwell forevermore.
Out of the ivory palaces, Into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love Made my Savior go.

And so life goes. We prepare for the death of our “great big beautiful doll” of a mother, for whom our hearts will ache when she leaves. However, we know that we will sing together with her again as we look forward to the fulfillment of our hope in Christ Jesus and His promise of eternal life.

Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.

1 John 3:2-3 (HCSB*)

*Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half

These “half and half” pictures were taken on our annual trip to Florida last October. Returning from a day excursion to see my sister on the Alabama Gulf coast, I passed this cotton field with cottony clouds overhead.


Back on the Florida beach the next day, we found that the coastal dune lake, Alligator Lake, had breached the dune and was emptying into the Gulf. Its brackish water provided a real contrast with the clear Gulf water.


That evening, our last vacation sunset provided a beautiful contrast between sky and sea.


For more examples of “half and half” click HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol

When my wife and I were married almost 38 years ago, we had a jeweler place diamonds from her grandmother’s ring in both of our wedding bands. Believing that Christ was to be the central part of our relationship as husband and wife, we chose to have the symbol of his sacrificial love – the cross – as a constant reminder of the type of love we should have for one another.

Wedding Rings

Because I lost my band about 25 years into our marriage, I wear what we felt was a suitable replacement; a band that has three crosses and diamond chips. Though we now wear different styles of bands, the common symbol of the cross serves as a reminder of God’s significant role in our lives as individuals and as a couple.

“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,” and He also said: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one fleshSo they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”    Matthew 19:4-6 (HCSB)

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symbol.”