Sunday, April 04, 2021

The Desert, the Cross, and Easter

Easter Jonquil Daffodil
Screen capture: Desert Sonoran Easter, ground zero
Pascal daybreak: Lepus sits tamed at Orion hunter's feet
evoking the kairos past when
Noah's God hung his weapon bow
high in the sky, surrendering disarmed
Divine capitulation to creation
for earth to claim covenant
Desert dawn's eastered hues quietly course throughout creation
equal desert's constant colors
Friday's cross seemed desolate
but from mortality's tree
on Sunday's morn bursts forth the Tree of Life:
earth all-living breathes again!

© Leah Chang 2007
desert bloom

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March 2021

March blog rundown header
• All of March 2021 has been within the soberly somber reflective season of Lent that helps prepare for the surprise of Easter.

• The COVID-19 pandemic continues; despite worldwide vaccine rollouts, too many people in this country have been acting with almost no consideration of anyone else, so I don't have a lot of hope for economic and social revitalization.

• My March header features three pictures from Carla's Tucson place and a ceramic cross with a descending dove from church. I have no idea when I'll feel safe enough to fly again, but early March I started back at real life church and it's been wonderful to reconnect with the handful who attend.

Four weeks of Sunday School notes from my lectionary blog.

• For almost a dozen years I've designed for UN-sponsored World Water Day—an easy to remember one month before Earth Day. Due to COVID I didn't get to a live event, but created a flyer for the Green Team's virtual one and adapted some of it into a blog about #Water2me and Celebrating Your Watershed because everyone lives in a watershed!

buildings and foliage along Santa Monica Blvd Route 66 Los Angeles
• I've long loved how reflections and sunlight bounce off the glass curtain wall of this office building along Route 66. Assembling the triptych was tough because I got many excellent shots.

buildings and greenery along Santa Monica Blvd Los Angeles late March 2021
• Also for more than a short while… I've had this thing about red doors – red chairs, too – and get obsessively drawn to take their pictures. Left panel of this triptych features Red, White, and Blue; next is a slice of the DTLA skyline; finally verdant succulents along the way to the other image captures.

urban windowbox greenery Sunday 21 March 2021 West Los Angeles

Sunday, March 28, 2021

March 28 • Day

Palm-Passion Sunday roses in West Los Angeles
Lenten Snapshots 2021

A Palm-Passion Sunday Snapshot to April's prompt.

Sunday 28 March • Day

Bill Wither's Urban Psalm

When the day that lies ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always seems to know the way

Then I look at you
And the world's alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it's gonna be
A lovely day …
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Saturday, March 27, 2021

March 27 • Together

city porch with cat and word together
Lenten Snapshots 2021

A Saturday Snapshot to April's prompt.

Saturday 27 March • Together

Together because I love front, back, side, and wraparound porches. Urban ones. Farmhouse styled. Southern, midwestern, adobe, and undefined. Back stoops and every other way we can get together, be together, belong together.
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Five Minute Friday • Savor

5 minute friday savory fattoush
Five Minute Friday – Savor Linkup

I always associate the words savor and savory with food, though logically they can apply to anything that impacts our senses. I haven't researched it, but I assume savor in English parallels sabor in Spanish. When anyone asks about my culinary preferences, Mediterranean tops my list, with Mexican (Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, New Mexico-Mex) – Peruvian, Salvadoran – and fabulous memories of Caribbean fare that approaches the ultimate fusion cuisine next. If anyone then inquires about degree of heat, I tell them "around 7 or 8 by north of the [International USA-Mexico] border measurements; about a 2 by south of the border reckoning." Then I explain I appreciate a fair degree of spicy heat, but flavor comes first; I describe an ideal dish as loaded with veggies plus very "savory and succulent."

More than one person has assumed I don't care for sweets as I always (as politely as possible, though I know I can sound impatient) turn down all offers of generic pastries, candies, and desserts. But not liking sweets is far away from my reality. As with savories, my sugaries need to be high-end, rich, and decadent.

What do you savor?…
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Five Minute Friday Savor
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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

March 24 • Forward

sunset or sunrise for forward prompt
Lenten Snapshots 2021

On schedule today with another Lenten Snapshot to April's prompt.

Wednesday 24 March :: Forward

In this part of the world, last Saturday into Sunday clocks sprung forward. Most digital devices did that on their own; for clocks and timepieces that didn't, humans got to be aware of lost time. Did you ever notice days and months and seasons of many types – not only meteorological ones – seem to change and cycle on their own? Without apparent human prompts? Yet some haven't been acting as they used to, mostly because of too much human intervention of the wrong kind.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

March 23 • Impact

Impact font illustrating impact prompt
Lenten Snapshots 2021

Another Lenten Snapshot to another of April's prompts. On schedule today, though I've almost convinced myself this is supposed to be a diversion rather than a discipline.

Tuesday 23 March :: Impact

Background this time also comes from the "12-abstract-seamless-patterns" I got from Pine Art via Creative Market. For Friday's Intersection I mentioned how the retro late-twentieth century feel of the colours appealed to me, and no surprise I've illustrated today's Impact with Impact the Font. According to my Fontbook font management app, the design hails from 1965, the unique name "Impact" from 1992 when computing was making Word Processing a buzz phrase and Open Type with its 65,000+ glyphs and other refinments allowed anyone with the proper software to finesse their typography in ways no one ever had imagined.
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Monday, March 22, 2021

World Water Day 2021

World Water Day 2021
One month before Earth Day, United Nations World Water Day particularly emphasizes sustainable management of freshwater resources, according to one description. Since 2012 I've blogged for WWD; recently I've created graphics and helped plan what has become the church judicatory's annual celebration. Although I quit the committee, I was excited they asked me to design a flyer. With the happening predictably zoomed, though my phone is fine with zoom, the vintage 2010 iMac isn't, so I didn't attend this year.

The WWD website always has exceptional shareable graphics I've frequently used on this blogspot. They provided a bunch for this year's #ValuingWater and #Water2me themes and invited people to address questions they offered. There's nothing like combining everything into a single illustration or one blog post, right? Recycling the event flyer into a collage, I've kept our Water is Life – Blessing Our Watersheds and retained the Choose life, so that you and your descendants may live quote from Deuteronomy 30:9. I've incorporated a WWD painting that didn't have overlaid text and added the #Water2me hashtag.

Are you celebrating and blessing your watersheds year round? What other ways are you caring for fresh water in your vicinity? On Tuesday, June 8th, World Oceans Day festivities will center around Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean. Why not check into your local offerings or join the worldwide virtual one?!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

March 21 • Hunger

Bread Loaves for Hunger Sunday
Lenten Snapshots 2021

Another Snapshot to April's prompt.
Sunday 21 March :: Hunger

Hungry Feast

1 We come to the hungry feast
hungry for a word of peace.
To hungry hearts unsatisfied
the love of God is not denied.
We come, we come to the hungry feast.

2 We come to the hungry feast
hungry for a world released
from hungry folk of every kind,
the poor in body, poor in mind.
We come, we come to the hungry feast.

3 We come to the hungry feast
hungry that the hunger cease,
and knowing, though we eat our fill,
the hunger will stay with us; still
we come, we come to the hungry feast.


Song © by Ray Makeever
Bread photograph © by Couleur from PixaBay
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Friday, March 19, 2021

Five Minute Friday :: Redeem

FMF Redeem Linkup

Most weeks I semi-plan to write to the FMF prompt, but more often than not time gets away and then it's another Thursday evening. But I had to write about redeem! At first I wanted to beg God to redeem the time, to buy back, please to make good on all the years I know I've lost along with opportunities I can't know about but that well might have been there if I'd been present. Almost everyone would love to redeem some time, but even more, as partners with God, can we redeem the land? Climate change and environmental degradation remain major concerns for the future of Planet Earth—so much so they're in the daily mainstream news.

Unlike some people, I still have some compact discs, a.k.a. an optical music collection, and against random advice I've read, I keep them in their jewel cases and digipaks because cover art is 98% of owning physical copies of music. About ten years ago I fantasized a CD design for the Fifth Sunday of Easter and included part of the Jubilee text from Leviticus 25 on the back. This passage isn't one of the Easter 5 scripture readings in any lectionary year, yet beyond recounting salvation history during the Easter Vigil, readings during the Great Fifty Days don't emphasize the fragility, brokenness, healing, and integrity of all creation nearly enough.

23"The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me. 24And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land." Leviticus 25

The same word in Hebrew is ground, earth, terrain, land, and soil (etc.) in English. The land under our feet and beneath our built environment belongs to God, who lends it to us and charges us to "grant redemption of the land," a technical phrase tied into complexities of farming, tenancy, and stewardship arrangements in the ancient near east, yet at the same time words that connect us with God's gracious call to us to live as co-redeemers.

You probably know I could write a book about this and even planned to starting back in summer 2004. Maybe you realize I could compose a yearning story about an urban storefront church named Amen Jubilee, but time's up for this week, so I'll be back anon to redeem more of my life online. …

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19 March • Intersection

the Intersection of Church and World
Lenten Snapshots 2021

Reminder: Again this Lent April created a list of one-word prompts for social media, blog, church website, or anywhere. A snapshot can be words, a still picture, or a micro-video.

Friday 19 March :: Intersection

I've long wanted (since October 2000) to use one of the "12-abstract-seamless-patterns" I got from Pine Art via Creative Market. I love the nostalgically retro late-twentieth century feel of the colours. It's hard to believe almost any part of the twentieth century qualifies as vintage, retro, or—maybe even antique?

I'm finally using one of the designs for today's prompt I've expanded into the Intersection of church and world. Journalist Chris Hedges, son of a pastor, admits in words essentially identical to what I've said and written dozens of times, "The church was part of my daily rhythm. I look at the world through the eyes it gave me."

My unanticipated separation from full participation in the church to which I'd devoted years of my life and that had played a central role in shaping my goals, lifestyle, and my entire worldview is like experiencing my own death. Yet I'm still illustrating the intersection of church and world.
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Tuesday, March 09, 2021

09 March • Dream

Tuesday 09 March :: Dream
Hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die
life is a broken winged bird
that cannot fly

…Langston Hughes…

Sunday, March 07, 2021

07 March • Creative

Sunday 07 March :: Creative
From an old ad about one of my favorite activities:

In the beginning… a small bell chimed

Creativity! It chimes like a small clear bell at the heart of the human spirit.
Remember the first time you spoke to the world…?
Now that the quality of your message has changed
you really should know more about some of our professional products.

…for all kinds of grown-up people in the visual arts.

Columbia 1776 Illustration Board

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Five Minute Friday • Green

Backyard greens from 02124
• Five Minute Friday Green :: Linkup

"Green" occasionally suggests a newbie who doesn't know much; more often, calling someone Green means they're a planet-lover willing to let go of some druthers for the common good of all creation. Most of us have gotten progressively greener over the past decade, many since the turn of this century or earlier. Being in pandemic lockdown has hugely helped the green endeavor. As an energy-saver starter, almost everyone ventures outside less often and stays closer to home when they do go out. Back when COVID-19 wasn't even a whisper, I declared 2020 my year of living local, with a moratorium on amazon purchases part of that resolve. I realize Amazon supports small entrepreneurs and indie sellers, but did you ever rage over their hyper-excessive packaging and all that wanton wastefulness?

COVID-19 has made locally sourcing vittles and services, buying Made In This Country products, cleaner leaner energy, and reduced consumption of all kinds a little easier. Those are important aspects of greening up, but more than anything, the color green means spring is on the way. …

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06 March • God

Saturday 06 March :: God

Word of God for Saturday 06 March Lenten Snapshot

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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

03 March • Recipe

Strawberries blackberries Grapefruit Rhubarb photo by Brooke Lark
Wednesday 03 March :: Recipe

Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch

A few years ago I got a copy of this recipe in the weekly supermarket ad; they credited Michelle Davis and all recipes, and so do I. This serves 18—minuscule portions, of course. My search for an image I legally could blog didn't yield any Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch, but unsplash happily served up this gorgeous collage from Brooke Lark.

Ingredients
• 1 cup white sugar
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
• 3 cups diced rhubarb
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 cup butter
• 1 cup rolled oats

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, mix white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, strawberries, and rhubarb. Place the mixture in a 9"x13" inch baking dish.
3. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, butter, and oats until crumbly. You may want to use a pastry blender for this. Crumble on top of the rhubarb and strawberry mixture.
4. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp and lightly browned.
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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

02 March • Energy

Tuesday 02 March :: Energy
In the morning the city
Spreads its wings
Making a song
In stone that sings.
In the evening the city
Goes to bed
Hanging lights
Above its head.

…Langston Hughes…

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Winter & February 2021 Rundown

Valentine Heart Header for February 2021
• February is Heart Month in more than one sense; February is Black History Month. Black History belongs to all history, but it's great to celebrate a season of special emphasis. COVID-19 continues, yet happily updated with vaccines rolling out worldwide. As long as everyone continues to Wear-A-Mask and maintain distances of 2 meters – 6 feet, we may recover recognizable lives before long.

December 2020 Highlights

Still Living Local in January 2021

Sunday School for the Four Sundays of February

• In the interest of simplification, Emily P Freeman no longer hosts a linkup, but I'm giving her a shoutout because she's the reason I've been summarizing every single month. She also sends an interestingly helpful weekly email, so check her out!
Black History Month 2021 Poster by suntreeriver design
• My header for February is one of several versions I did for Valentines and Hearts; here's this year's poster for Black History Month.

southern California flora
• With ongoing statewide Stay Safe–Stay Home orders and smart people (like me, of course) not going very far (as my google maps prove), I don't have any extraordinary documentation from museums, zoos, or related venues, but I did capture some lovely local flora.

southern California flora
• Another group of three

Three tree photographs from urban park
• Some trees from the nearby park, simiar to scenes I've featured in previous months.

three camera views of a late February lily
• Three views of a lily from late February–Stella d'Oro, Star of Gold?

Blueberries and Blackberries in Ikea Bowl with plaid background
• I tried for quite a while but didn't yet create a good version of February's full snow moon, so this month ends with another Ikea bowl of blueberries and blackberries together forever.