Sunday, January 24, 2010

A couple of vintage images to make your heart smile!

                                Can you resist just scooping her up?

             This one is obviously a boy!

Friday, January 22, 2010


There is a funeral service for young Ben Larson today even though they have not retrieved his body yet from under the collapsed building in Haiti. His young wife who escaped the crumbling building in time went back to look for him. She heard him singing a hymn from beneath the rubble so she knew where he was, but later there was no sign of life from him there. His music and his faith were his life.

Monday, January 18, 2010

 Son of former La Crosse, Wisconsin bishop presumed dead after Haiti earthquake

“Ben was a person that made the world a better place,” said Mike Esser, former choir director at Central High School. “No matter what he was doing, no matter where he was.”
    Ben Larson loved music but answered a greater call. A seminarian and son of former La Crosse ELCA Bishop April Larson, he went to Haiti earlier this month to help the newly established Lutheran church there.
    He is presumed dead after Tuesday's massive earthquake destroyed the building where he was staying, according to an e-mail the Rev. Larson sent members of her Duluth congregation.
    Larson, 25, was in his final year at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He had gone to Haiti with his wife, Renee, and cousin, Jonathan Larson, also seminarians, to teach lay ministers. All three were staying at the St. Joseph's Home for Boys on a mountain near Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck and the building collapsed.
    Renee and Jonathan escaped. Ben did not.
    The next morning, Renee and Jonathan went back up the mountainside but couldn't find him.
    The international Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in the magnitude-7 quake.
    Larson's parents said they learned just after midnight Thursday their son was dead. The church's global mission is working to find and bring him home, they said in the e-mail.

    Haiti Earthquake Relief

    Support the Haitian people as they try to find healing, solace and hope!

    Please donate to any of the following:

    Photos from the web. Please help.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    The Exposed Nest by Robert Frost

    You were forever finding some new play.
    So when I saw you down on hands and knees
    I the meadow, busy with the new-cut hay,
    Trying, I thought, to set it up on end,
    I went to show you how to make it stay,
    If that was your idea, against the breeze,
    And, if you asked me, even help pretend
    To make it root again and grow afresh.
    But 'twas no make-believe with you today,
    Nor was the grass itself your real concern,
    Though I found your hand full of wilted fern,
    Steel-bright June-grass, and blackening heads of clovers.
    'Twas a nest full of young birds on the ground
    The cutter-bar had just gone champing over
    (Miraculously without tasking flesh)
    And left defenseless to the heat and light.
    You wanted to restore them to their right
    Of something interposed between their sight
    And too much world at once--could means be found.
    The way the nest-full every time we stirred
    Stood up to us as to a mother-bird
    Whose coming home has been too long deferred,
    Made me ask would the mother-bird return
    And care for them in such a change of scene
    And might our meddling make her more afraid.
    That was a thing we could not wait to learn.
    We saw the risk we took in doing good,
    But dared not spare to do the best we could
    Though harm should come of it; so built the screen
    You had begun, and gave them back their shade.
    All this to prove we cared. Why is there then
    No more to tell? We turned to other things.
    I haven't any memory--have you?--
    Of ever coming to the place again
    To see if the birds lived the first night through,
    And so at last to learn to use their wings.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    How Lucky We Truly Are

    Upon sorting through my many vintage photos in my iPhoto Library (see previous post.) I thought long and hard about these three images. They each show three children of the same time period, early 20th century, but from different lives - the affluent and the penniless, the pampered and neglected, the shielded and the vulnerable, the assured and the dejected. As always, the luck of one's birth often charted their destiny. Many not so fortunate children were forced to work to help sustain their families and help determine their family's survival. According to the Bureau of labor statistics, in 1900 the U.S. workforce registered 24 million workers age 10 and above. The 1900 census counted 1.75 million workers age 10-15. By 1910 it was 2 million.

    In doing a little research online I came upon the name of the famous photographer, Lewis W. Hine.
    He was born in Oshkosh,Wisconsin in 1874. As a teacher at New York's Ethical Culture School, he promoted the use of photography as an educational medium. He frequently took his students to Ellis Island to photograph the thousands of immigrants who arrived each day. Eventually he realized that his passion was in photojournalism.

    In 1907 he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee where for the next decade he documented child labor in America. The purpose of his work was to help the committee's lobbying efforts to end the practice. He also worked as a photographer for the American Red Cross, the Tennessee Valley Authority and as chief photographer for the WPA's ( Works Progress Administration) National Research Project. After government and corporate patronage died out, Hine was consigned to live the rest of his days in the same level of poverty he had once illuminated. He died in 1940. The Library of Congress holds more than 5000 Hine photographs, with another 15,000 in several other repositories.
    Here are just a few of his photos showing a young spinner in a Vermont cotton mill, child laborers in an Indiana glassworks, a young girl in South Carolina, and young boys working in Macon, Georgia. Also there is a family of workers making garters, and seafood workers where children of all ages are present.

    Hine's work is still amazing and stunning today. It should make us stop and think as this new year unfolds how much we now have and the people - including children - of meager means who long ago toiled to get us here.

    Cold Poem by Mary Oliver

    Cold now.
    Close to the edge. Almost
    unbearable. Clouds
    bunch up and boil down
    from the north of the white bear.
    This tree-splitting morning
    I dream of his fat tracks,
    the lifesaving suet.

    I think of summer with its luminous fruit,
    blossoms rounding to berries, leaves,
    handfuls of grain.

    Maybe what cold is, is the time
    we measure the love we have always had, secretly,
    for our own bones, the hard knife-edged love
    for the warm river of the I, beyond all else; maybe

    that is what it means the beauty
    of the blue shark cruising toward the tumbling seals.

    In the season of snow,
    in the immeasurable cold,
    we grow cruel but honest; we keep
    ourselves alive,
    if we can, taking one after another
    the necessary bodies of others, the many
    crushed red flowers.
    I have been reflecting on what this time of year means, the culmination of one year and the birth of a new one. It is a new beginning, a fresh start, another chance, promise and inspiration, moving forward, looking back, being grateful for another year, it is hope. For me, 2010 means ecstatically the coming of my first grandchild!

    The new year always inspires me to go through the untidy areas of my life and refresh, reorganize and sort everything out. Since my server was down one day this week leaving me with no internet, I decided to start the long neglected task of organizing my iPhoto Library. The images and photos I collect and store there for my art work are to me like kernals of hidden potential waiting to reveal their stories when tapped by my imagination. But over time my photos steadily accumulated haphazardly in iPhoto although I managed to create smaller folders to sort out specific subject matter. Once I started the reorganization, I realized what an enormous task I had set out for myself, but I was commited to completing it. After 3 long thorough days I had sorted, arranged and saved a total of 3,493 photos and images. This past year I frequently have gone through the images eliminating many because I am also constantly downloading more. I continually have this fear that a window is going to pop up telling me it cannot take one more photo!

    When I started building my library, I paid for photos from sites such as and Dreamstime Stock Images where you pay for the rights to use the images in artwork and even to sell the work, just not the images. But soon I realized what a wealth of free photos and images are available online and in the public domain. So I seldom buy an image now rather I get them from sites like Wikimedia Commons and Flickr's Creative Commons and more. I am very pleased with my collection of vintage photos and document images - they hold the promise for me of new art in the future.
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