Tag Archives: sunset

A Great Thought and a Great Name for a Bike

Campus Ministry and Mount Mercy University President Laurie Hamen hosted a prayer service in the Chapel of Mercy Thursday—an afternoon ecumenical gathering meant to emphasize respect for all faith traditions.
An Imam from the local mosque was the featured guest. That was by intention, as rhetoric in our public discourse has turned dark, with one presidential candidate even calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. I liked the service, partly because I agree with the sentiment behind it. It also included this video from Pope Francis in which he calls for respect among religions.
And, during the service one of my favorite hymns, “The Prayer of Saint Francis” was sung. Sadly, I sang along, and for that, universe, I apologize.
Following the service, I took advantage of the chance to sign the Mercy Door in the chapel, a replica of a special jubilee door opened at The Vatican in honor of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I felt a little funny signing, because I was putting my name under a “pledge” to do an act of mercy each month.
Door signing

Another MMU faculty member signs the Mercy door.

Today, its Jan. 15. Half a month is left and I have to figure out how to be deliberately merciful, and then try to carry that on throughout 2016. I’m sure my CO 101 students could suggest an idea, but of course “giving” a good grade is not a true act of mercy because it doesn’t aid the recipient. Still, it wasn’t an intention to do an act of mercy, it was a pledge. That feels like a serious promise. I’ll have to think about that.


Anyway, I was glad to be there, to hear from Pope Francis, to sing a song that reflect the ideas of Saint Francis and then to hop on my bike—Francis—to ride home. Somehow, the pretty sunset on campus seemed to fit the whole mood. Where there is mercy, let there be hope.

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Spiritual Sunrise Signals Some Hope for Spring

Sunrise seen at Blair's Ferry Road, around 7:45 a.m. Jan. 13, 2014.

Sunrise seen at Blair’s Ferry Road, around 7:45 a.m. Jan. 13, 2014.

I saw a God sky this morning on my bike ride to work.

You know what I mean—shafts of light peeking from beneath and between clouds.

I’ve been a bit down this January. Fall semester was rough for me—I felt very overwhelmed, and I am again slipping behind this term. I am struggling, a little, to stay focused and “fresh.” And the winter doldrums don’t help.

So it was a nice bit of weather break this week when we had two days of thawing. It’s just a normal, short respite from winter, which has many more weeks to go, but I’ll take it.

I don’t know why, but the beauty of the sky was drawing me today. After the pretty sunrise, later in the ride I was startled to see an eagle in a backyard tree on a random residential street along my route.

An eagle in a tree near Eastern Avenue. I saw it on my morning commute Jan. 13, 2014. Crows were in an uproar, and one brave crow is getting close.

An eagle in a tree near Eastern Avenue. I saw it on my morning commute Jan. 13, 2014. Crows were in an uproar, and one brave crow is getting close.

I had to stay on campus late today, due to a musical practice. And when I was heading across campus late in the afternoon, I was briefly entranced by the waxing moon, which was rising as the sun neared the horizon. I took a photo that looked like the moon was the fruit of a winter sleeping tree.


The moon is not full get, but growing. I like how it look like it grew on the tree, and also how tree branches are reflected in the MMU Peace Pole.


A slight shift in angle. Moon rising on Jan. 13, 2014 at Mount Mercy University.

And then I shot the sunset. It was pretty too. Not quite spotlight beams like the morning God sky, but stirring nonetheless.

Sunset at MMU, view one.

Sunset at MMU, view one.

Seeing a pretty moonrise or sunset or sunrise doesn’t exactly solve my life problems. But even these transient gifts from the universe can remind me of transcendence, and help lift my mood.


Another view, sunset at MMU Jan. 13, 2014.

The next few days will be busy. I have two classes running right now, in a term where faculty usually teach only one. I am again (surprise!) behind in grading. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Still, universe, thanks for the reminders that spring is eventually on the way. In a few weeks, we’ll see what all those fall bulbs added up to! Several plant catalogs came in the mail this week. I’d dearly love to put in a new garden in front this year, but must work on convincing the boss.

Maybe I should show her a sunset or two.


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The Glow of the Evening Light

Weeping cheery tree

Weeping cherry flowers glow in the low early evening sun May 3, 2011.

I went out to water new grass in my back yard in the failing light, and, of course, had my camera with me.

I love early morning and late afternoon for the way light makes things outdoors shine and shimmer. The day started grey, as I noted on my bike blog, but ended up in bright light.

That may be a bit scary—there is a freeze warning tonight—but it made, I think, for some nice pictures.  More on Facebook.


Daffodils are still in full swing May 3, 2011.


Leaves on young (8 foot tall) maple are back lit by setting sun May 3, 2011.

Fern and shadow

Tiny baby fern casts shadow in pink early evening light, May 3, 2011.

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