Photos Around Lima, Ohio

Buildings in Downtown Lima

On Sunday afternoon I was able to walk around downtown Lima just to take photos. Mark and I enjoy looking at buildings and houses, noting special architectural features.  This was also a time to learn about bracketing, using the camera to take several versions of the same photo but with different exposures.  Click here to view the photos in an online album in Picasa.

Barn Roof, Allen Co. Farm Park

We enjoyed a walk around the Allen County Farm Park Sunday afternoon, too.  Click here to go to the online album for these photos.

It is so common for us to just take photos of family events, but I want to encourage you to just take your camera, no matter what kind or how big or fancy – even your camera on your phone, and just take photos of places or things that are in your life. Take a walk, get out and enjoy the warmer air and enjoy the beauty all around you.  

Not only is the exercise good, the whole experience of capturing the moment, the common scenes of your life, will be entertaining.  


Beautiful Mess

Tracey Clark challenged us by asking: “Is there a mess you might consider visiting today that when appreciated for what it really is, can be seen in a new light? It might be a challenge, that’s for sure, but if we’re trying to re-frame our lives, there’s no better place to start than our messes.”

Initially I looked at my sewing table that is covered with craft stuff and various items. It is a mess, for sure. Then I turned and looked at a different corner of my little world and saw this frog that my son gave me long ago.  It sits on the edge of a bookshelf that seems to be a messy place because it catches stuff that I don’t know what to do with. Frog looks as though he is guarding the shelf, staring at me with his beady little eyes.  

She’s right. If I am going to re-frame my life I have to start looking at what is… and see the beauty in it.  Here on the shelf is a bunch of stuff, some photos, a rock, a piece of art.  And behind what you see here there are a jar with burnt matches in it from when I light a candle, some pieces of fabric, a collage I made at Arti-Gras, and little pieces of Stuff.  A mess, but also a treasure trove…to me. 

The best part is Frog. From my boy. I think he was in college when he gave me this. You can have all the other stuff on my bookshelf…but not my Frog.

The Little Things

A photo of a door knob seems odd I suppose, until you understand just where this door is and what is behind it.  It has caught my eye because of the beauty, the design, the worn place where hands have turned it countless times over the years. Your hand feels the tension of the mechanism inside when you turn it, and the beautiful oak door with leaded glass windows opens to allow you into a beautiful home.

Christmas Day found the hubby and I sleeping in a bit, then going to the home of dear friends to spend the day. Many times over the past eight years we have shared times like this with Chuck and Jan. They treat us like family, welcoming us to share their home, hang out with their family, and just relax.  And we always come away refreshed.  

Their door is always open, welcoming all who enter. There is always food in abundance, delicious, lovingly prepared, guaranteed to fill you up; however, this is not the most important thing that draws us there. For above all else is the love and warmth of of the home they have created.

Hospitality is “the relationship between guest and host, or the act of being hospitable” according to Wikipedia. To me it is opening your home, opening your heart, sharing, loving, and providing a place of comfort for others, treating them as you would want to be treated.  How grateful I am this day for the hospitality others have shown us, for the wonderful example Chuck and Jan have given.

Discovering What Is Important

Today I have been in a real funk about Christmas, the whole Hallmark Holiday thing, the consumerism, the almost anti-American thoughts I have about Not Shopping. While in a store recently the appearance of shoppers with loaded carts, the sheer crowds, the hurry up and get in line, all of it seemed like intense peer pressure. Come on, you should be doing this, too. It’s all about spending, getting those last minute gifts.

It would be hard to describe what it felt like this evening when it suddenly occurred to me that indeed it is not the gifts that I remember from all those Christmases of my past.  When I realized this I had to ask myself what is important about those holidays? If the gifts are not what you recall then what is?  Here is what came to mind.

There was Grandma and Grandpa. They brought us the best gifts, and seemed to be really delighted in giving them and seeing how we received them. Grandpa would arrive with camera in tow and take as many photos as he could. Grandma would cook, or at least help to clean up the turkey from the bone after the meal.  

Our parents were the host and hostess, sometimes including dear friends and relatives around the table on Christmas Day.  They had to keep all four of us in line, my older sister and my two younger brothers.  I know now that they worked closely with Grandma and Grandpa to make sure we had a nice Christmas.  (But I must confess to being 12 years old and looking out my bedroom window at midnight on Christmas Eve really hoping to see the sleigh and reindeer in the sky.  I did NOT want to grow up.) 

There was the dining room table and all the dishes, beautiful dishes with apples on them that were kept in the buffet except for special occasions. My sister and I learned how to properly set a table in 4-H, and we would help with this.

But there was excitement in the air about this meal. Special food. Cranberry relish, suet pudding, pumpkin pie, turkey and dressing and all the trimmings. The smells, the feast.  Ah, the feast.  (The Grinch would be amazed…)

The prayer at the meal would always be special.  As a young child I did not correctly understand a phrase that my Grandpa used in his prayers. I thought he was saying a word like “in-tend-did-use”. Later I discovered he was asking for our food to be blessed “to our intended use”.  Thank goodness I finally figured it out. 

In more recent years when my Dad would pray his words would bring tears to my eyes. He still does, as I write these words. His prayers always seem to be so true, so deep, and so heartfelt. 

Washing dishes and cleaning up (and trying to sneak out of it) came next. Then playing with new toys or trying on the new clothing. Or…the Nap.  The long winter’s nap of poetic fame.  Members of my family claim to be professional nappers now. This could be where that all began.

The perfect place for the nap? On the living room rug in front of the fire place. The smell of the wood smoke, the pop and crackle of the fire, the ambiance.  Just being so full of food and getting sleepy.  A little Christmas music playing on the stereo (LP’s, of course).  

What was important was that this was a family day, a day off, a time to enjoy being together. Yes, my Dad would sometimes have to go out on a service call since he was an electrician/plumber by trade, but we were still family, still able to be together in our home. 
This was all about family, friends, good food, a warm loving place to be.

This is that gingerbread feeling I referred to in my last post.  This is what I miss. I would do it all again any day – without any gifts.  In a heartbeat.