Towering Lines

The Theodore C. Butz Memorial Carillon was installed at the Chicago Botanic Garden in 1986 and quickly became a popular landmark. According to the informational sign placed nearby (yes, I took a photo of it so I’d remember the details!), it was crafted in Holland and is one of the few hand-played carillons in the U.S.

Carillon musicians come from around the world to play evening concerts here during the summer months. The carillon’s bronze-cast bells have a range of four octaves and are activated via a large keyboard. The smallest of the 48 bells weighs 24 pounds; the largest, 2.5 tons!

Note: This is my interpretation of Lines, the WordPress Photo Challenge for the week. We’re tasked with depicting lines, whether straight or curved, natural or man-made. It’s not too late to get in on the fun. Here’s how.

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End of an Era

Shopping is a woman thing.  It’s a contact sport like football.  Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.  ~Erma Bombeck, American humorist and writer

Last week we learned one of our mall’s major department stores was closing its doors for good.

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Abundant Gratitude

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” — Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet, writer, and visual artist

Tiny grains of sand

Circling this ocean basin

Prolific beauty.

 

Note: In this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, we’re to portray “Prolific.” To me, that means large quantities, abundance, even fruitful. Since this time of year around here is hardly lush with spring flowers yet, I’m opting for a photo from a few years back, back when I was on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Discouraged, Not Defeated

Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier. ~Author Unknown

You were meant to stand out,
Blessed with a beauty unbounded.
Destined to sparkle, to astonish,
To share your uniqueness with the world.

Yet here you stand
Buffeted by gale-force winds of change,
Assaulted by frosty words of criticism,
Struggling to find the sun beneath clouds of doubt.

Yet here you stand
Having shed your pearls of wisdom,
Seen them tossed thoughtlessly away
In favor of louder, more confident voices.

Yet here you stand
Still trying to triumph
Still hoping to claim your place
And recapture bits of past magic.

Yet here you stand
Discouraged, but not defeated.

Note: April is National Poetry Month. While poetry as an art form probably should be celebrated every month, perhaps it’s a start to set aside 30 days to recognize poets and their works.

New Life Emerging

Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot little puppies. ~Gene Hill, American writer

Dallas and his siblings, December 2006

A puppy’s whole life

Wraps around his litter-mates

And his mama, too.


Note:
The theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Awakening. Yes, I thought about a nice photo of Mother Nature emerging from her winter’s sleep, but that’s lagging a bit this year. Thus, you get puppies … three of them, to be exact! Dallas and his siblings were just about two and a half weeks old at this point. Hard not to fall in love with a tiny animal, right?!

Smile for the Camera

Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist (creator of Peanuts)

Hugging a best friend

Brings a smile to both faces

Love without limits.

Note: For the WordPress Photo Challenge this week, we’re asked to show something or someone who makes us smile, whether it’s a literal smile (ours or another’s) or something that’s brought joy to our lives. I snapped this shot of my son (who doesn’t want to be identified) and our dog Dallas (who’s a shameless camera hog!) back in 2014. These two make me smile!

Spring Ups and Downs

Nature has many scenes to exhibit…. — Henry David Thoreau, American poet and essayist

Mother Nature pulled an April Fool’s Day joke on Central Illinois Easter Sunday.

Sure, the calendar says ‘Spring,’ and we’ve been hoping for the warm and blossoming season for weeks now. It wasn’t to be, not yesterday anyway.

Take a look:

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A Blushing Sunrise

Sunrise Nov. 2, 2016, 7:12 a.m., Central Illinois

Blessed to be alive

Enjoying a spectacular sunrise

Giving thanks to the Creator

In all ways bounteous and wise.

New beginning, new day

New shades of pink and gray

In the heavens a feast

Never tire of the splendor

Glorious gobstoppers of color

Sticking around for mere seconds.

Note: This is my take on Rise/Set, WordPress’s Photo Challenge for the week. We’re supposed to feature either a sunrise or a sunset, trying to show what that time of day means to us. I’ll be taking a few days off to celebrate the upcoming holiday — Happy Easter, my friends!

Now It’s Spring

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb

Look who decided to bloom!!

Shamrock (Oxalis) plant

And remember this one?

Geranium overwintered indoors

Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful. ~Jim Carrey, Canadian-American actor and comedian

Maybe we should do more of the same — Happy Spring, everyone!

Favorite Place … to Pray

Come humbly to pray

Ask for faith, light a candle

Leave in complete peace

Note: This is my interpretation of Favorite Place, this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme. The idea is to share a photo of our “happy place” or a spot we love returning to over and over again. Officially called the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, this shrine at the University of Notre Dame is one-seventh the size of its French counterpart. I took this shot when my son was a freshman there, and I never failed to visit it when I came to campus thereafter. I’m told it’s the site of many a marriage proposal, an urgent prayer for help on exams, and daily Rosary.