Sunday, October 31, 2021

October 2021

October header collage
• Clockwise from upper left: red church door on Reformation Day; Keep Calm and Mask On kitteh; patio wall lizard; red flowers and cross on Reformation Day

Lectionary Project for October

community garden october
• A splendid vision from the community garden

Sunday 24 October real life church
• Real-life church on Sunday 24 October

West Los Angeles Street Scene
• Overcast morning street scene in West Los Angeles

Reformation Day 2021
• My design for Reformation Day 2021 again. Psalm 46 scripture reads, "Be still and know that I am God."
Living Local 2021

Reformation Day 2021

Reformation 2021 Be Still and Know that I am God
#Reformation #ReformationDay #Reformation2021 #Reformation504

#Psalm46 Be Still and Know that I Am God • God is in the midst of the city

Reformation Day 2021 on my Lectionary Project

Friday, October 29, 2021

Five Minute Friday :: Morning

Morning sun aginst dark sky color halftone
Five Minute Friday | Morning Linkup

My favorite time of day! And my favorite time of morning is watching and feeling sunrise glow the world – or my part of it – into hope for newness and ambition and achievement and contribution. You probably remember the resurrection account in John's gospel: While it was still dark, Mary went to Jesus' tomb and discovered the stone had been rolled away. The somber stillness of Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is that necessary interval when nothing (apparently) happens but everything (really) happens.

Most humans have a fair amount of head knowledge, yet we truly need sensory evidence of day breaking radiance in order to gain life-transforming heart knowledge. Okay, that's about me and quite a few others, because I realize some people prefer to bask in close of day when the sky folds up another one and makes space for stars to shine.

I don't know how many sketches and drawings and paintings I've done that include morning—did I mention my favorite time of day? I've illustrated this blog with one version of one of them.

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Five Minute Friday Morning
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Friday, October 22, 2021

Five Minute Friday :: Still

snowy evergreens
Five Minute Friday :: Still Linkup


Many weeks for Five Minute Friday we need to choose a definition of the one word prompt; when there are several possibilities, it would be fun to write to more than one! For today's still I considered both silent, motionless, and ongoing, persistent. Musically? The first could relate to Bob Dylan's "The time will come up when the wind will stop, and the breeze will cease to be breathin' like the stillness in the wind 'fore the hurricane begins…" The second could be Lionel Richie's song with the title Still the Commodores sang long ago: "but then most of all, I do love you … still."

Take Five

These branches were one of several illustrations I considered for "still." Some were even snowier! Forests, canyons, meadows, deserts, and many of creation's venues often become retreat havens for individuals and groups who need to escape everyday stresses and crazy routines. Although I did well as an undergrad music major in a required 3-credit acoustics course, the way snow absorbs sound always amazes me because it even creates near-silence when noisemakers like vehicles, machinery, and conversation are nearby. I wonder how that even happens, and I wonder if snow could be the best solution to trial and error efforts at designing effective freeway sound walls? But of course it could! Especially in places like the desert southwest and the beach cities of southern California.

Along with still natural surroundings, we experience other options for still—sometimes forced upon us, sometimes as part of life's natural rhythms, at other times because we choose them. These include slowing down at close of day and hopefully sleeping for a few hours before waking up at least reasonably ready for a new day. Observing Sabbath stillness as a community and as individuals is one of God's commandments. When an entire Saturday or Sunday isn't possible, wise people have learned to designate a regular time to cease or somewhat still ordinary endeavors because human bodies, minds, and spirits need the respite of stillness, as do non-human creatures, farms, and fields. The Exodus version of the Ten Words or Commandments explains we need to keep sabbath because God rested ("ceased") all activity after six days of creation. God created us in the divine image, so sabbath belongs to claiming our imago dei.

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• I had to edit after publishing because I mis-remembered and then recalled correctly. Deuteronomy says we keep sabbath because God liberated us during the exodus; the book of Exodus says we keep sabbath because God rested on the seventh day, so it's the opposite of what you might expect.

• The winter evergreen header image comes from The Jungle Photo team of photographers on Creative Market and based in Poland. I did some edits as suntreeriver design.
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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Five Minute Friday :: Treasure

Los Angeles community garden
Five Minute Friday Treasure Linkup

"Segullah" – סְגֻלָּ֔ה – in the Hebrew Bible is a valued possession or belonging, a special treasure. A few years ago I included a brief word study when my adult Sunday School Class considered Exodus 19. Six of the eight times segullah occurs in the Hebrew scriptures, it refers to God's people Israel: Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6, 14:2, 26:18; Psalm 135:4; Malachi 3:17.

Writing for five:

To read scripture and take even a cursory look at history shows how God holds the people and all creation close to his heart as a special possession, precious treasure. But what do I treasure? Conventional wisdom might suggest what a person spends their time on, expends their money to buy, could be most important to them, yet an individual doesn't need to have achieved much chronology to realize circumstances sometimes prevent a person from pursuing their interests, so I won't go the elapsed time or budget line time route.

What do I especially treasure or hold dear? What passions have moved me so much I've consistently focused my hopes and whenever possible invested hours and sometimes dollars? If you've recently met me or if you knew me way back when, you'd reply "cities and the city." The overall well being of the city. The people of the city. Urban diversity and well-functioning infrastructure. As a little kid I determined I'd spend my life beautifying especially the inner city. I haven't done a whole lot of public art, but I've done a lot of creating and designing on the micro level.
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• Header image is natural glory in a nearby Los Angeles community garden.

I'm watching Major League Baseball Playoffs, so won't write more about my urban-focused education and experience that's already scattered throughout this blog and elsewhere on the interwebs.
Five Minute Friday Treasure
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Sunday, October 10, 2021

Five Minute Friday :: Complete

Open Door Coffee carry out only covid special
Open Door Coffee bright lights corner view

Five Minute Friday • Complete Linkup

My first response to "complete" was Jesus' description of us as branches that abide or remain in him as our vine, when Jesus tells us his joy will be in us and our joy will be complete when we stay anchored in his love. Here's the complete John 15:1-17 scripture. Instead of complete, some translations read overflow or full.

Writing for five, more or less

In last week's Five Minute Friday I wrote to "Need", my header was another picture of Open Door Coffee Company. In the outro I explained, "I've collected a couple dozen public domain images of Hudson, Ohio and I've enjoyed photoshopping them. Open Door is such a cool concept for a business, church, community, eatery, or any entity. I need more open doors. I need to open my own doors wider and more often."

The top picture this week clearly happened during Covid Tide, yet during those not very long ago days it felt good and it was good to stop by a restaurant or coffee shop, choose a menu item or two or three, have a quick conversation with the masked server or cashier, and go back home with a connection to another person, a bit of hope toward a future time when we'd be able to enjoy a meal or snack or beverage inside the restaurant—or al fresco in the courtyard.

The second brightly lit corner view of Open Door is about my longing and looking toward a time my life will feel more full, will be easing toward completion, though more in a now and then sense than in a constant, enduring one. Complete will be as simple as people leaving the light on for me when they know I'll be getting home late.

Last week I wrote "I need more open doors. I need to open my own doors wider and more often." Will more doors opened wisely in both directions lead to both sides being more complete? I don't know, but I can dream.

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five minute friday complete
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Five Minute Friday • Need

Open Door Coffee sepia version

Five Minute Friday • Need Linkup

It's Sunday three days after this linkup ended. Ten days ago I needed to write to this prompt because I needed to feature host Kate's succulents picture, never got to it in time to link because I hadn't a clue what to say regarding need, and then decided to write late when her picture for the following FMF that's now current also included succulents. And so? I'm taking five on this old one and then on to the next, timely one.

Taking five:

What's easier than confusing needs and wants? I need, I want, I wish, I desire. My basic needs are not being met, haven't been met overall for a very long time. I know my gut and my heart and my vision cannot truly differentiate needs and wants these days. Without a doubt I've survived, I've always had shelter, usually enough reasonably okay food, for the most part a marginally sufficient income. But I remember NB (RIP) saying at the choir party over a decade ago, "If I'm to be well, I need to use my gifts, skills, and education, and that's not vanity." That's where I am—or more accurately, where I'm not. Not using more than a very small percentage of my… gifts, skills, and education.

Now what? A few months ago I'd considered beginning spiritual direction for the first time ever. Talked on the phone with a Ignatian-trained director a friend recommended. I told her when I was fully vaxed (I had my second jab in June) and we could meet in person I'd be ready to start. But my more basic needs continued to overwhelm my desire for spiritual direction, and I'm back in discernment about the next step forward to meet my basic needs.

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About my header photograph of Open Door Coffee Company:

For the most part I prefer using my own pictures everywhere, though I've collected a couple dozen public domain images of Hudson, Ohio and had fun photoshopping them. Open Door is such a cool concept for a business, church, community, eatery, or any entity. I need more open doors. I need to open my own doors wider and more often—using appropriate discernment about where and when, of course.
five minute friday need
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