Wednesday, February 26, 2020

26 February • Cling

April Fiet is hosting a daily word prompt for Lent! I'm on Facebook sabbatical, but you can find her there or connect on twitter as I've been doing during my FB fast; I predict you'll enjoy April Fiet's website! In Lent 2013 when I followed Slate Speak's rethink church Photo-A-Day, most days I blogged something visual and wrote something, and that's what may happen this year. Or not.

Ash Wednesday CommunionClingy kids, clingy pets. Few would be surprised that cling wrap immediately popped into my field of vision when I considered today's prompt. As it attaches itself to whatever surface it encounters, sometimes smoothly, often with bubbles that won't quite smooth out, cling wrap forms the ultimate model for clinging. Given everything that has and hasn't been happening in my own field of dreams, my first thought was to cling to those dreams, particularly to cling tightly to the resurrection hope Jesus provides for their future fulfillment. Good one for this season that glances toward longer days, warmer weather, and easter's glory. Excellent for this season of Lent whose name means slow, just as the music tempo lento instructs us to go slow.

However... today is Ash Wednesday, Lent's annual season opener. Mid-afternoon a friend texted and asked me to attend church with her—a simple soup supper – a cross of ashes on my forehead to remind me I am not immortal (though I will be resurrected!), to assure me I'd been forever marked with the cross and sealed with the Spirit – a simple meal of bread and wine.

So what do I cling to? My dreams and hopes? Yes! The word of life, bread of life, cup of salvation? Amen!

February 26 Cling Lenten snapshots button

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Five Minute Friday :: Experience

five minute friday experience

During Lent 2013 I wrote, "I fear more months, years, decades of aimless drifting."

This week's Five Minute Friday Linkup: Experience

Started Friday, posted Tuesday.

Loving myself on this Valentines Day weekend by reclaiming the hope I felt on the back stoop in Koreatown 4 years ago.

In real life? that's "Trying to love ... Trying to reclaim"

A prompt like "experience" can take you anywhere; this time I'll reflect on the overall perspective getting some years behind you adds to the quality of the years in front of you. In some ways the world feels as broad and bright as it did talking on the Koreatown stoop with Suzanne about 48 months ago. Yet every day I fight hard to identify what might make continuing on this planet worth while. My answer usually includes sensory experiences like the taste of a savory meal, the smell of the sea, the touch of a breeze, the sound of a song, the sight of a sunset.

5 minutes abruptly ended here. That was quick!


From a recent article by David Brooks: "For those who have the human capital to explore, fall down, and have their fall cushioned, that means great freedom and opportunity—and for those who lack these resources, it tends to mean great confusion, drift, and pain."

How can I reclaim hope in solitude? "Human capital" sounds vulgar, but everyone needs the value added of other humans who will cheer for us, pick us up and push us back into the game, connect us with others when they don't have the resources a person needs.

Walter Brueggemann insists much of life is sabbatarian, spent on the threshold between Good Friday afternoon and Easter Sunday dawn. We hang suspended in time waiting for gifts of birth, of spring, of new life to ready themselves.

And at best we wait fully prepared.

telling the story button life stuff button

five minute friday new button

Thursday, January 30, 2020

January 2020 • Porch Story

porch stories icon winter 2020
January 2020 desert spirit's fire

• Aside from the urban wilderness-city paradise lectionary blog I update every week (though Reign of Christ notes still await), I mostly blog pictures these days but expect to circle back to writing soon.

• I'll be sure to join Kristin Taylor's next Porch Stories linkup—watch this space!

living local 2020

living local 2020 salad bowl

• I've declared 2020 my year of living local: fewer amazon purchases (I do almost no amazon these days, anyway, and along with hundreds of others I got kicked out of the vine program after six years); more fruits and veggies grown nearby—at least not further away than northern Mexico. When there's a choice? One-of-a-kind community owned restaurants and retail emporia. Etc.

star word 2020 stillness

• Stillness is my #Starword #OneWord for 2020. I need this one!

Natural World Market & Café on Artesia Natural World Market & Café Natural World Market & Café on Artesia

• Saturday January 11th evening dinner at family-owned Natural World Market & Café was an excellent reinforcement of my #LivingLocal2020 and #Stillness #StarWord / #OneWord themes for this calendar year.

stained glass first church glendale
Reg's Retirement Cake
cookies and cake squares
charcuterie tray

• Pastor Reg retired from judicatory staff! Now he gets more time with grandkids and gets not to drive so much. The festive retirement party on Sunday January 12th {Bap-J} featured a few short memories from a few key people, a candle procession (I was a candle-bearer), an extremely slow and leisurely Holden Evening Prayer, good eats. I've long loved the entryway stained glass at the former First Church Glendale; admittedly these food pics are far from my best, but I wanted be able to say charcuterie, and included what passes as such.

Trinity Hawthorne tree and nature murals
MLK day 2020 program cover
Trinity Hawthorne church chancel
Trinity Hawthorne stained glass Trinity Hawthorne stained glass Trinity Hawthorne stained glass

• The afternoon of Sunday January 19th marked another celebration of MLK Day—again at Trinity in Hawthorne.

poppies group poppies group

• From the afternoon of Saturday 25th January, an everyday poppies event splendidly illustrates #LivingLocal2020. In addition, these multicolored poppies will be stellar design project additions.

Kristin Taylor porch stories button

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Stillness :: Word for 2020

Around the feast of the Epiphany, some churches prayerfully provide a word for that year to anyone who requests one. Like the heavenly stars the magi who visited Jesus at epiphany followed, the individual tracks the word throughout that calendar year by looking around for evidence of it, writing about it, talking it up, dreaming of it...

star word 2020 stillness

Thanks to the pdf Margaret Feinberg created and offered everyone, stillness will be the oneword or starword to guide me through 2020.

Previous words for my years have been:

2018 – freedom
2017 – faith
2016 – daring!
2015 – grace

Saturday, December 28, 2019

December 2019 • Advent-Nativity

porch stories icon winter 2020

December summary 2019

• My December 2019 highlights feature Advent and Nativity.

Heather's sled 2019

• The sled painted by Heather Bolinder of painting pain dot com (her website's waiting for action); over the years I've added decorations, including a few this year on the left side as the sleigh faces the world.

December summary 2019

• Program cover design for this year's Lessons & Carols on Advent 2. Covers for Lessons & Carols, Neighborhood Outreach, and Christmas Eve have some common elements but don't quite equal a campaign.

Chancel decor at Torrance church

• Late afternoon of Advent 3, I attended a wonderful concert at a friend's church in nearby Torrance; she sings in the choir, so was part of the presentation. It's a big church with many musical groups, and they did up everything splendidly. Here's some of the chancel decor.

Advent 3 Program cover 2019

• Program cover from 1st Church Torrance Advent 3 concert. Tasty snacks afterwards, too.

Christmas tree bokeh lights 2019

• Bokeh style lights are pretty much obligatory this time of year, so here are some for my blog readers.

• I didn't get a picture, but on Sunday Advent 4 our weekly brunch featured Ye Olde Fashioned Christmas Dinner. So many wonderful dishes I couldn't sample everything—I doubt anyone did!

Christmas Eve program cover 2019

• Nativity Eve worship program cover. The choir music was close to another Lessons & Carols in splendor and extent.