Category Archives: Nature

Mitchell and Floyd Aux – Vol. 3

Time for another collection of images from my road trip to Mitchell and Floyd County back in April. This is the final collection of images from this road trip. A few counties are covered in this collection. Mitchell. Floyd. Franklin. Hamilton. All covered. Well at least there are pictures from all of those counties in this collection.


Mitchell County - Osage
Osage

Mitchell County - Osage

Mitchell County - Interstate Park
Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Interstate Park

Mitchell County - Mitchell
Mitchell

Mitchell County - Osage
Osage

Floyd County - Colwell
Colwell

Floyd County - Colwell

Floyd County - Colwell

Floyd County - Colwell

Floyd County - Charles City
Charles City

Floyd County - Floyd
Floyd

Floyd County - Rockford
Rockford

Floyd County - Rockford

Floyd County - Rockford

Floyd County - Rockford

Floyd County - Rockford

Floyd County - Fossill & Prairie Center
Fossil & Prairie Center

Floyd County - Fossill & Prairie Center

Floyd County - Fossill & Prairie Center

Floyd County - Marble Rock
Marble Rock

Floyd County - Marble Rock

Floyd County - Marble Rock

Floyd County - Marble Rock

Floyd County - Roseville
Roseville

Franklin County
Franklin County

Franklin County

Franklin County

Hamilton County - Ellsworth
Ellsworth

I really love some of the auxiliary pictures from this collection. If my tentative plan to create a book from the auxiliary images comes to fruition (have to get the THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT book finished first) there is definitely some pictures from this trip that will make the book.

The next county we will visit for auxiliary images is Johnson County. It will be a smaller collection. This isn’t because Johnson County is full of Hawkeye fans. Truth is I love Iowa City and will one day make a trip to better photograph its campus town area. It is just because it was a weird, strange and abbreviated trip. I might explain later.

Mitchell and Floyd Aux – Vol. 1

Way back in April, I cruised around Mitchell and Floyd County harvesting their town signs. The weather and the lighting was great for photography and I took as much advantage of it as I could. There will be three collections of auxiliary images from this road trip.

Here is the first collection:


Mitchell County- Carpenter
Carpenter

Mitchell County - Otranto
Otranto

Mitchell County - Otranto

Mitchell County - Otranto

Mitchell County - Otranto

Mitchell County - Otranto

Mitchell County - Fort Severson
Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Fort Severson

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar
Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Mitchell County - Saint Ansgar

Fort Severson. This is a fascinating bit of history to me. For starters, it isn’t a fort. It is a barn. A cool barn. But not a fort.

Here is what the inscription says on the historical marker outside of the barn:

Built in 1867 by Nils Severson on his land with help of neighbor’s using limestone and mortar of lime & sand from Deer Creek. Severson’s design was a typical fort with small openings for rifles and larger openings for gatling guns. The Spirit Lake Massacre and uprising at New Ulm Minnesota prompted the building of forts across North Iowa. This is the only one left standing. Although Indians never came there were some scares. Settlers would come from as far as ten miles to stay here. The building was later used as a stage coach stop on a route between Northwood and St. Ansgar on the Kansas City, Rochester Minnesota stage line. As many as 20 people would sleep on the top floor, meals were served on the first floor. Immigrants would stay while looking for land to settle on. It became a farm building in the 1870’s after the railroad came through. Restored in 1972 by local people as a United States bicentennial project. Use of fort & site donated by David & Judy Goplerud. Placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in July 1976.

Seems straight forward. They were scared of the indigenous people in the area. They built a fort. Where they had gatling guns. This is the inscription that is on the historical marker. However, the Mitchell County Historical County calls BS on this marker. According to their website:

Actually, it’s just a barn but where’s the fun in that? It’s long been called Fort Severson by Mitchell and Worth County residents. Actually, the term “Fort” was a common designation on the American frontier for larger secure structures built by early pioneers. These included some churches, a remote farm house or other safe place to stay when needed. People often found themselves away from more populated areas on the prairie and needed good shelter. Sadly, it never actually acted as a “fort” for protection.

But that takes away nothing from the structure itself. Solidly and skillfully constructed of local limestone and timber from surrounding woodlands, it has survived since the mid 1850s.

The website goes on:

Rumors of the structure being used for Indian protection and being a stagecoach stop have made for good stories over the years. Many will say the small openings were for defense of the “Fort” during anticipated attacks but that was not the case- No rifles or Gatling guns (as one account speculates) ever extended through those openings. The Spirit Lake Massacre in 1857 and the New Ulm Massacre in 1862 were over long before the “Fort” was built and the Indians that passed through the area, scouting along Deer Creek, were not a threat but were known to approach the settlers’ homes seeking food. These framed openings were in fact for ventilation of the barn. Not near as exciting as the rumors. The stage line to Northwood did pass by the Seversons. Tradition said that the “Fort” was used as a stop with the wagon teams staying below and the passengers stayed above on the loft space. Again, another good story. There was no chimney or heating source in the “Fort” and this was not a regular stage stop but weary travelers were likely accommodated in a nearby frame structure, now long gone, that was the actual inn and only the teams would have been sheltered in the Nels Severson Barn.

I assume the historical society is correct, but makes me wonder why the historical marker is so completely inaccurate.

More from this trip still to come.

FAT MUM SLIM – AUGUST 2022

Another month done in the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge. Think there is some good work in there this week. Having so much going on in August certainly helped. We’ll see how September goes.

Here are the August images:


August 1
August 1 – I AM…

August 2
August 2 – I LOVE THIS COLOUR

August 3
August 3 – I WALKED HERE…

August 4
August 4 – I LIKE TO…

August 5
August 5 – I LIKE THIS TIME OF DAY…

August 6
August 6 – I LOVE…

August 7
August 7 – I MADE THIS…

August 8
August 8 – I WORK HERE…

August 9
August 9 – I HELD THIS…

August 10
August 10 – I WROTE THIS…

August 11
August 11 – I SAW…

August 12
August 12 – I LIKE TO DRINK…

August 13
August 13 – I STOOD HERE…

August 14
August 14 – I DO THIS ON SUNDAYS…

August 15
August 15 – I ONCE…

August 16
August 16 – I NEVER…

August 17
August 17 – I WENT TO…

August 18
August 18 – I READ THIS…

August 19
August 19 – I DID THIS GOOD THING…

August 20
August 20 – I LOVE THIS VIEW…

August 21
August 21 – I DON’T LIKE TO…

August 22
August 22 – ON MONDAYS I…

August 23
August 23 – I SAT HERE…

August 24
August 24 – I LIKE TO EAT…

August 25
August 25 – I HAVE TO…

August 26
August 26 – I WORE THIS…

August 27
August 27 – ON WEEKENDS I…

August 28
August 28 – I WATCHED THIS…

August 29
August 29 – I CAN…

August 30
August 30 – I CAN’T…

August 31
August 31 – I BELIEVE…

Remember you can follow these as they drop on the daily on my dedicated FatMumSlim Instagram account @FMSBENNETT.

Here are the prompts for September:

September 1: Something I Saw
September 2: Plastic
September 3: Paper
September 4: Somewhere I Went
September 5: Hobby
September 6: Green + Blue
September 7: Before Bed
September 8: An Emotion
September 9: Opposites
September 10: I Can Hear…
September 11: Paint
September 12: Symmetry
September 13: Tasty
September 14: Odd One Out
September 15: A Food Shop
September 16: 12:34
September 17: Lucky
September 18: Car Park
September 19: What’s on TV
September 20: Texture
September 21: Nature
September 22: Tree Trunk
September 23: Crunchy
September 24: I Can Smell…
September 25: Laneway
September 26: The Moon
September 27: Open Door
September 28: My Culture
September 29: Not My Style
September 30: Sentimental

Should be a good month. I think there are some good prompts in there. The woman who runs this challenge is Australian. There must be some Australian things in here cause I have no clue what a “Car Park” or a “Laneway” is, but I’ll find out.

Black Hawk County Aux – Vol. 1

Several months back I cruised around Black Hawk County harvesting the balance of their town signs. It was somewhat of an abbreviated trip because I had to be in Marshalltown for supper with my friends from The Witch Hunt. Therefore there wasn’t a ton of auxiliary images from Black Hawk County. In fact, a good portion of the pictures from these posts are going to be from Buchanan County and Marshall County.

Here is the first collection of auxiliary images from the trip:


Black Hawk County - Cedar Falls
Cedar Falls – I did not.

Black Hawk County - Cedar Falls

Black Hawk County - Cedar Falls

Black Hawk County - Cedar Falls

Black Hawk County - Dunkerton
Dunkerton

Buchanan County - Fairbank
Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank
Their attempts to cover up some of the graffiti cracks me up.

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Fairbank

Buchanan County - Littleton
Littleton – I feel like this used to be a town sign that these people appropriated.

Black Hawk County - Jesup
Jesup – How is all this incredible stuff still up for grabs!

Black Hawk County - Jesup

Black Hawk County - Jesup

Black Hawk County - Jesup

Black Hawk County - Jesup

Black Hawk County - Raymond
Raymond – Purple Hawks

Black Hawk County - Raymond

Black Hawk County - Gilbertsville
Gilbertsville

Black Hawk County - Gilbertsville

Black Hawk County - La Port City
La Port City

There is still another collection of images from this road trip to share.

Osceola County Aux – Vol. 1

I have big news! Big, big news! I would say news of a comeback, but don’t call it a comeback. I been here for years. Rockin’ my peers. Puttin’ suckers in fear. Makin’ the tears rain down like a monsoon. Listen to the bass go boom.

What I’m trying to say is for the first time since 2019, Baby Got Rack is dusting off their fedoras. Putting on their Hawaiian shirts and competing in the rough world of competitive barbecue! How do you like me now!


Baby Got Rack - 2019 - iowa State Fair

We will competing at the Boone County Fair this Saturday! So you should probably figure out a way to get there. And try some award winning barbecue, cause I can’t promise it won’t be another 3 years before Baby Got Rack is in full effect again.

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A few months back I went up to Osceola County to harvest their town signs. It was a trip that ended with me calling it a day prematurely because I ran into some sever weather. I originally intended to also harvest the town signs of Lyon County, but weather.

Here is the first collection of auxiliary images from the trip. Many of these taken in Clay County.


Clay County - Greenville
Greenville

Clay County- Royal
Royal

Clay County- Royal

Clay County - Everly
Everly

Osceola County - May City
May City

Osceola County - May City

Osceola County - May City

Osceola County

Osceola County - Harris
Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Harris

Osceola County - Ocheyedan Mound
Ocheyedan Mound

Osceola County - Ocheyedan Mound

Osceola County - Ocheyedan Mound

Osceola County - Ocheyedan Mound

Osceola County - Ocheyedan Mound

Osceola County - Ocheyedan Mound

Osceola County - Ocheyedan Mound

Osceola County

Osceola County

Osceola County

Osceola County

Osceola County

One thing I’ve discovered one these trips is that if you want to leave a legacy behind after you die, create bizarre art in a small town.

Ocheyedan Mound was long thought to be the highest point in Iowa, but then Hawkeye Point was discovered a few miles away. That being said, Ocheyedan Mound is more impressive looking. But Hawkeye Point is more touristy.

There are still several images left to share from this trip.

Fat Mum Slim – May 2022

On Tuesday I completed another month of the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge. It was month of random prompts and I think for the most part, there is some good work mixed in with mediocre work. The kind of thing you get with a Photo A Day Challenge. This month I took pictures in 3 different states. Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota. I’m not sure how many different towns I took pictures in, but for sure it was Boone, Miami, Miami Beach, Des Moines, Ames, Nevada, Alta Vista, and Minneapolis. A few in rural areas as well.

Here are May’s pictures:


May 1
May 1 – This is Me

May 2
May 2 – Good Morning

May 3
May 3 – Free Choice

May 4
May 4 – Trees

May 5
May 5 – Mirrors

May 6
May 6 – Leaf

May 7
May 7 – View from Here

May 8
May 8 – Love

May 9
May 9 – A Seat

May 10
May 10 – Where I Stood

May 11
May 11 – Something Small

May 12
May 12 – In Nature – See the turtle?

May 13
May 13 – Green

May 14
May 14 – Sunshine

May 15
May 15 – Upside Down

May 16
May 16 – This Season

May 17
May 17 – A Shape

May 18
May 18 – A Door

May 19
May 19 – Creative

May 20
May 20 – I Read This…

May 21
May 21 – Waves

May 22
May 22 – Flying

May 23
May 23 – Stairs

May 24
May 24 – A Pair

May 25
May 25 – Something Warm

May 26
May 26 – Pink

May 27
May 27 – Lucky

May 28
May 28 – Horizon

May 29
May 29 – A Car

May 30
May 30 – Sky

May 31
May 31 – This is Also Me

The plant that is in the picture for May 6 is also the plant in the picture for May 17.

There is only one prompt for the month of June. That is Grateful. The instructions are simply take a photo each day of something you’re grateful for.

This could be a very difficult month or a very easy one. I have a ton of things in my life to be grateful for, so in theory it should be pretty easy. But on the other hand, it is actually coming in to contact with those things (or more directly people) to get the pictures that I want in my head. I’ll at least try to make it happen. Or maybe my Instagram feed will just be filled with 30 pictures of nonsense. It could break either way.

Remember, you can follow along with this project on the daily at the Instagram account I’ve created just for this project at @fmsbennett.

Here’s hoping June goes well and that you are grateful you get to see those pictures.

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This is your reminder that this week’s theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is FLOWER:


WEEK 351 - FLOWER
FLOWER

FLOWER! What a great theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what is a FLOWER picture? Simply put, a FLOWER picture is any picture where a FLOWER is a major compositional element of the picture. The FLOWER can be real. The FLOWER can be fake. The FLOWER can be a artistic rendering. There are so many options!

Happy photo harvesting!

The Best Way to Find Yourself

Many of my post titles come from the titles of songs or from quotes. I don’t usually reveal the source of the post title, because I hope that the reader thinks on it for at least half a second.

To share how I get to where I get, so you can get a small inkling on how my mind walks around this planet, I thought I would share how today’s title came about.

The pictures I am sharing today were taken near Lost Lake in Ledges last November. One of them you have seen before because it is the September image of the 2022 Photography 139 Calendar.

Because they were taken near LOST lake, the basis of the title is from the following words about being lost:

Sometimes being lost is the best way to find yourself.
-LJ Vanier

Here are some pictures that helped me find myself:


Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake
Can anybody figure out what this says?

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

A quick thought on graffiti. I am a big fan of graffiti. One of the things I like about living in a railroad town (besides it provides jobs to a few of my friends) is because every day when the trains roll through town it is like a mobile museum. Now much of the art isn’t great, but usually I see at least one thing that I enjoy. In fact, when I work at the Ames Computer Mine, I frequently head down 17 and then take Old 30 into Boone, even though it takes longer, just to check out the graffiti on the parked railroad cars that are usually by the Jordan elevator.

With all of that being said, I can’t stand graffiti in nature. The sayings here that are drawn in this with chalk or a media that will quickly fade away. I’m cool with that. But using spray paint. I’m not down. Tag up a railroad car or the side of a building or a bridge. I’m down with that.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is #INSTAGOOD:


WEEK 346 - #INSTAGOOD
#INSTAGOOD

#INSTAGOOD! What a great theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what is a #INSTAGOOD picture? #INSTAGOOD is the second most popular hashtag used on Instagram. As of this morning, it has been used on Instagram 1,531,803,168 times. You might be thinking, “Well, that is an interesting statistic, that doesn’t tell me what it means!”

Don’t worry baby birds, I’m gonna feed you.

The #INSTAGOOD hashtag is used when an Instagram user thinks that the picture is particularly good. Not just your average picture, but a good picture. For our uses, this week’s theme is to send me you best picture you took during this week. From between 12:01 PM today and 10:59 next Monday.

So that brings me to the new rule for this week’s theme:

SEND ME ONE AND ONLY ONE PICTURE!! THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE BEST PICTURE YOU TOOK THIS WEEK! DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT SENDING ME MULTIPLE IMAGES AND TELLING ME TO PICK THE BEST ONE. I WILL NOT DO IT!! I WILL COUNT THAT AS ZERO SUBMISSIONS! I’D HATE TO SEEN ANY STREAKS ENDED CAUSE OF A TECHNICALITY!

This is one of two themes that will have special rules this year. The other one is also coming up pretty soon.

Surprisingly, I’ve already received a couple of submissions. I love the bravado! It isn’t even the weekend yet and people have decided, this is it! This is the best picture I can take this week! I mean it is possible that I have already taken the best picture I will take this week already. But I’m also arrogant enough to think the next click of the shutter will be the best picture. Then the click after that will be even better.

Happy photo harvesting!

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Back in October I picked up a new Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD lens. I always meant to right and in depth piece on it, and well, here we are… almost seven months lately and I haven’t even gotten to look at the first set of pictures I took with the lens. Until today!

Here are some of the specs of the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD lens:

Focal Length: 28-75
Max Aperture: f/2.8
Aperture Blades: 9 (circular)
Minimum Focal Distance 7.1″ (Wide)/15″ (Tele)
Filter Size: 67mm
Minimum Aperture: f/22

Here are the first pictures I took with this lens. Mostly pictures of Naima:


Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2021

Digging for God - 2021

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens

So far I have loved this lens. It is a good standby lens since it covers the focal distances that are used the most. My lens philosophy is still that it is best to use a prime lens over a zoom lens, but zoom lenses have come a long way. I do still enjoy giving somebody a camera with a prime lens and asking them to take a picture, just to here them ask, “How do I zoom?”

To which I always get to respond, “With your feet.”

In My Own Eyes

Happy Maundy Thursday! I struggled a bit to find a devotional for Maundy Thursday. I found a website I really liked called Heretical Methodist Ministries, but nothing has been posted on there in well over a year now. So what I’m going to share as my devotional isn’t really a devotional at all, in the main sense of the term. It is actually the “Preaching Notes” for Maundy Thursday from the UMC Discipleship website. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

John 13:31-35 (NIV)

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him,[c] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.


34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

It is a bit odd that we always go back to the thirteenth chapter of John for Maundy Thursday. Because John is the only Gospel that never really discusses or even depicts the Last Supper. There is no “this is my body” in John, no “Drink from this, all of you.” The very thing we have used to institute this sacrament that we call Holy Communion. How odd is that? It is as if John has a completely different agenda than the other three Gospels. It is as though he missed something vital in the story. Instead, he spends time on this odd little event, a neglect of hospitality, a detail that was overlooked in the party planning. Surely that shouldn’t be the central focus of this moment. Should it?

I know it is useless to try and ascribe inner thoughts to the actors in the gospel drama, but I can’t help but wonder what was going through Jesus’ mind when he got up and grabbed the towel and the basin. Was it a sigh at how such an important cultural greeting was missed by those who were charged to prepare the meal? Was it light-bulb moment where he thought, “Maybe if I show them what I mean, they’ll finally get it?” Was it yet another opportunity to present his incarnated message, to be the words that he spoke? Or was it just a matter of course—he saw a need and got up to fill it, not thinking for a moment about how they would respond to such an act?

In the minds of the disciples, there was something demeaning about kneeling to serve in such a humbling way. That’s why they all managed to overlook the opportunity. But for Jesus it wasn’t demeaning; it was an opportunity to serve. More than that, it was an opportunity to be who he came to be, to fulfill his purpose. After all, he said, “The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served.”

All the teaching about the action came after, when the disciples were confused. “Do you know what I have done for you?” Nope, he could read it in their eyes; they didn’t get it. They were still looking for the best seats; they were still looking for their rewards in heaven, or on earth. They didn’t know what he had done, which means they didn’t know him. At all. We sometimes envy the disciples, because they got to spend time with him; they got to hear his voice and see his eyes; they watched his hands; they were right there. And they didn’t get it. They didn’t have any advantage.

Later on, Jesus says “I give you a new commandment” (13:34). That’s where the word Maundy comes from. The Latin maundatum or command. The new commandment, he says later is “Love one another as I have loved you.” Except the commandment wasn’t new, not really. He had already acted it out in front of them: “As I have loved you.” By serving, by getting on his knees, by bending to a task that even fishermen thought was beneath them. “Love like I loved,” says Jesus.

It wasn’t supposed to be a once-a-year command. The church has turned Maundy Thursday into quite a ritual over the years. The Pope would find some beggars—or his people would find some beggars—and then very publicly would wash their feet. The monarchs of England would do the same, until it got too uncomfortable for them; now they hand out some money: Maundy Money, it’s called.

But it was never supposed to be a ritual. It was supposed to be a way of life. Oh, foot-washing isn’t a part of our culture; that isn’t necessarily what is supposed to be carried on. It is the willingness to serve that is the command. The Maundy. On Thursday or Monday or any day. Sometimes it’s a good day, all you hoped it to be. Other times, it seems cruel, not what you expected. That’s a part of the risk of service. Sometimes it doesn’t turn out like you hoped; sometimes it isn’t received as you intended. And our inclination is to stop rather than risk doing it wrong. Or maybe we remember that Maundy comes again and again, every time there is an opportunity to serve.

Not just a good idea, not just a clue to better living, not just a suggestion for health and happiness, no, he made it a commandment: “Love one another.” And not only that, but it is also the sign that we belong, that we are a part of the fellowship, a part of the family—not by how many Bible passages we read, not by the acts of charity that we perform, not by the hours of pew time we put in throughout our lives, the lives of pure moral character—none of that is the sign that we belong to Christ. All of that is good stuff, and stuff we ought to be doing. But the sign is something else entirely: “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (13:35). It is not about what is inside of you, but what comes out.

How do you show your love for one another? That’s the question in front of us. And who has shown you love like Christ’s love? The question in our “Extravagant Generosity” series for this week is “Who in our church family has made a difference in your spiritual life? Who has been the ‘one another’ for you? How has been teaching you how to be the ‘one another’ for someone else?” For some of those “one anothers,” it is the words that you say; for others, it is the deeds that you do (like picking up walnuts); for some. it is the gifts that you give; and for others, it is the presence and attention that you give. It is in our plans to spend some time in 2022 talking more about how we do this loving one another thing—as spouses, or co-workers, or neighbors, or friends and strangers. But for now, we hear it as an invitation.

It is not an easy one, to be sure. Loving takes time, takes sacrifice, takes effort, especially when we look back and see that what Jesus actually said was not love the best you can, love with what is within you. No, what he said was, “Love as I have loved you.”

Here is where we come back to being gathered up in Jesus. On our own, loving like he loved is beyond our abilities. But when we let that love work through us, it becomes possible, at least a small step at a time.

If you are looking for a Maundy Service to attend, we are having one at “my” church. Boone First United Methodist at 7 PM tonight. As of now, I’ll be there, if you care to join me. You are more than welcome!

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Sharing another collection of flower pictures from last year. I took these pictures in my backyard on September 16, 2021. These pictures were taken a little late in the evening so they are a touch lousy with digital noise.


Nature's Amen - 2021

Nature's Amen - 2021

Soul Expansion - 2021

Soul Expansion - 2021

Soul Expansion - 2021

Soul Expansion - 2021

Soul Expansion - 2021

In My Own Eyes

In My Own Eyes

Pretty soon it will be time to get out and start taking flower pictures this year. I hope to make it down to Pella this year and get some tulip pictures, but we will see what my schedule dictates.