Nature and Our Iconic Redwood Trees

10Jan
We have coastal redwood trees in our front yard. It's a beautiful, majestic tree that proudly stands out on our block. It is the only one on the street. There are some other redwoods up in the neighborhood hills behind our house which we visit on our walks. There are only three species of redwoods. California has two, coastal redwoods and giant sequoia. The dawn redwood grows only in a remote part of China. Coastal redwoods are native up and down the coast of northern California. Giant Sequoias grow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. They are so unique, you have to take your out-of-town visitors to see these incredible, natural wonders. Both my sons lived in the redwoods when they were at University of California, Santa Cruz. I grew up ...

Random Quotes Collected in 2016 for Your Edification

8Jan
Quotes have a way of offering a fresh perspective. I started seriously collecting quotes - or sermon illustrations as it was known in those days - almost forty years ago! I always had a stack of colored 3x5 cards with me. I never read a book or article without a few cards and pen nearby. I carried them in my purse and the diaper bag. That was the dark ages. No internet. No smart phones. No computers. I did have a manual typewriter, but was not going to waste any effort typing them up after I had already written them down by hand. Plus I usually had a little cherub sitting in my lap or sleeping in my arms, so typing was reserved for actually writing a paper. I had a ...

Spin Out on St. Distaff’s Day

7Jan
It's St. Distaff's Day. The official day ending the Christmas break and signaling the return to work. We can thank the medievals for this unofficial holiday. However, it's not really a holiday. The distaff, used in spinning, was a medieval symbol of women's work. In many European cultures, women resumed their household work after the Twelve Days of Christmas. Women of all classes would spend their evenings at the spinning wheel. During the day, however, they carried a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only way they could turn raw wool, cotton, or flax into thread for weaving. Alas, a woman's work is never done. Men also had a name day for returning to work after Epiphany. Epiphany doesn't always occur as the Twelve Days ends, so often the men ...