Jake Sprinter’s Sunday Challenge — ‘Captivating’

Jakes challenge this week is “Captivating.” http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/sunday-post-captivating/

I took the following photo of my neighbor’s tree during our last big snow storm this year. For some reason I find it delightful and can sit and look at it for a long time —  enjoying the texture, the shape, and the ‘whiteness’ of it. I guess you could say I find it “captivating.”


Jake Sprinter’s Sunday Challenge: Simplicity

I haven’t been able to get to Jake’s challenge the past couple of weeks, but yesterday I came across this photo I took from my front porch some months ago and thought it would be “simple” enough to fit the theme.

The Moon At Sunrise

Exif JPEGHop over to Jake’s place and join in the fun:

Jake Sprinter’s Sunday Challenge: City

I certainly agree with the definition of a city as it’s explained on Jake’s site. But I sometimes look at cities — and nations — from another perspective.  I like to concentrate on the ‘heart’ of a city — and that’s its people. So this week, I’m taking Jake’s challenge in that direction and offering a slide show that tells the story of the heart of my city: Herrin, Illinois, U. S. A.

Herrin is a small city, a little over 100 years old.  We have a population of a little under 12,000,  made up of people whose roots can be found in nations all around the world. Even though we are small, we are very aware of the diverse cultures inherent in our citizens, and we embrace that cultural variety with honor and affection

One of the most significant events in which we interact takes place every year on Thanksgiving Day. The city of Herrin has a huge community Thanksgiving Dinner — free to everyone who would like to participate — at our city civic center.  It is not a meal prepared only for poor or indigent people — although most assuredly they are welcomed and appreciated. But this meal is for the entire citizenry of the city — as well as any surrounding neighbors who would like to be involved. (And there are usually scores of those as well.)

A small group of about three people take the responsibility of organizing the event and bringing all the various organizations and individuals together each year to carry on the work of providing the food, the decorations, the entertainment, and the atmosphere. Numerous civic organizations, churches, businesses, families, and individuals invest their time, energy, money, and resources so that everyone in our city can share their hearts on this day that we in the U. S. set aside to express our gratitude for God’s blessings. 

Many people have personal family events that take place that day, of course, so obviously not everyone in the city can take part freely. But a large number of people do participate in the meal. Last year alone, the team cooked and served 56 turkeys (1127 pounds), along with mountains of dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, salad, pie, ice cream, and fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies.

Most of the people come to the civic center and eat — where they are also entertained with live music, activities for the children, and sometimes large screen TV’s for the sports fans. People can also come to get carry-out meals. In addition, we have a team of people who take meals to home-bound residents, on-duty firemen and police officers, and to other citizens who have to work on Thanksgiving Day.

Everyone who comes enjoys the experience immensely.  As a newspaper reporter for many years, I have had the privilege of interviewing hundreds of the people who come to eat and visit, as well as those who volunteer to do the actual work.  Every single person I have interviewed has been lavish in his praise of the event and in his gratitude for how much joy he received personally by taking part in it.

So I’m offering this little slide show of photos that will give you an idea of some of the preparation activities as well as the big dinner itself. These photos give a small peek into the heart of my city, and I hope you enjoy them.

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To take part in Jake’s challenge, hop over to his site at this link:

Jake Sprinter’s Sunday Challenge: Toys

I’m offering two different pics for Jake’s challenge this week: one that demonstrates the joys of toys from a kid’s point of view and another that lets us take a peek at how even adults can be blessed by something as simple as a “teddy bear.”

This first photo is of me: Miss Bed-head of 1954. But Christmas morning does not allow for time to comb your hair and look neat, after all. An interesting note about this photo is that the doll cradle behind me — and the doll in it — were my sisters gifts.  This year, I went searching on the Internet for some old Christmas catalogs and found a site that offers complete copies of them from many years back. The site posts every page of several Christmas catalogs covering a period of 8 decades.  My sister looked in the pages of one of those catalogs to see if she could find the doll and cradle she had asked for that Christmas — and that our parents had ordered for her.  She found them exactly where she expected them to be.  It was a real treat for her.

Now, this next photo was taken about a year ago, when my dad was in the hospital. He had been through a rough year physically, but the Lord worked some wonderful miracles for him, and this picture shows him the day before he got to go home.  It was about a week before Thanksgiving, and I wanted to give him one of his Christmas gifts early.  I had found this Marine Teddy Bear at the gift shop in the hospital, and knowing my dad has always been proud of his service as a Marine during WW II, I knew it would really bless him.  It is musical, and when you push the button, a full chorus of men sing the entire first verse of “The Marine’s Hymn.” He loves it, and so does every child, grandchild, great-grandchild, and adult visitor who goes to his home.  He proudly displays it and plays it for all of them. It cheered him greatly while in the hospital and has given many happy hours of fun this whole past year.  My dad is back into his full life now, ministering for the Lord all the time, and we are all deeply grateful. I hope you enjoy this photo.

To take part in the challenge go to this link: