Category Archives: Rising to the Wordpress Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense


Over the past two months, I have had an opportunity to get to know and become friends with a local potter.  She worked for years in a variety of corporate jobs, but never lost her love for or desire to create pottery.  She finally made her dream come true in February 2012, when she opened a pottery studio and small consignment shop for local artists.

I live in the middle third of North Carolina.  This area is home to an extensive network of potters.  The area around Seagrove is a pottery lover’s dream.  You can spend days visiting all the studios and galleries, meeting potters and shopping.  The artistry displayed by some of these craftspeople is breathtaking.  My new friend clearly has the gift.

Creation in progressA lump of unremarkable looking stuff — this grayish, moist mixture of clay and sand — can become anything in the hands of a master.  I watched as my friend sat on a small stool, grabbed a clump of clay out of a bag and placed it on her wheel.  She used her right foot to start the wheel spinning.  She wet her hands and carefully placed them around the clay. A little pressure in just the right place and the lump begins to become something.

I wondered what she had in mind, but I didn’t ask.  I wanted to see it come into being as a surprise – like awaiting the birth of a new baby without knowing in advance if it’s a boy or girl.  In what seemed like only seconds, the shape of some type of column became visible.  Finally she told me it would be a stand for a larger plate that had already been made.

But with pottery, the making of the actual item is just part of the process.  What I have not seen is the detail work she may have added.  I haven’t seen the glaze colors she chose.  I am so looking forward to going back to the shop to see the final product.

It’s no wonder that our lives, shaped and colored by so many inner and outer forces, are often compared to clay in the hands of the Master.  No matter how we hard we work to mold our future, the truth is that our future can be reshaped at any moment. Fortunately, thankfully, the beginning is never the end.  It’s a promise of more to come.

Today’s Weekly Photo Challenge invited us to grab an image from our world that holds the promise or portent of the future.

For some of my friend’s creations, visit .


Living Vicariously


Mt. EverestStraddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared absently down at the vastness of Tibet.

Today’s Post a Day Challenge – start a post with the first line of your favorite book – is a perfect example of me living vicariously.  Isn’t that one of the qualities of a really good book?  Family and friends know that I am not a cold weather person and have never been to China, Nepal or Tibet.  What they may not know is this is the first line of one of my favorite books:  Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.   It is an account of a multi-team climb on Mt. Everest that included a crew filming for an IMAX production.  I  knew the ill-fated outcome of the climb before I read the first word.  That made no difference.  I was captivated from the start and could hardly tear the book from my hands when the plane landed.  I’m sure I was up reading into the wee hours of the morning.

The first time I read the book, I was flying to Chicago to spend a couple of days with my college roommate.  As the pilot announced the cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, I remember looking out the window and imagining I could see the crest of Mt. Everest, about 1000 feet down.  I had one of those hair-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck shivers.

When the IMAX production came to Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC, my husband and I went to see it.  What I had read in the book collided with the incredible footage on the screen.  Awe and agony; I knew what was coming but couldn’t force myself to look away.

I have no desire to climb Mt. Everest, but I was fascinated with the process one goes through to prepare for and climb it.  I read and re-read the sections on what happens internally when our bodies are in that kind of altitude and under that type of stress.  I felt the anxiety of the family members waiting at home.  I felt anger with the stupidity/narcissism of some climbers that endangered the lives of others.  I felt like I was there.

It was a great book and definitely worth a look if you haven’t read it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry


A couple of summers ago the husband and I decided to go to Minneapolis for a short vacation.  We had so many people ask us how we decided upon this particular location – usually with a head-tilted, very puzzled look on their faces.  It was really a combination of  enjoying visits to big cities and closing our eyes while waving an index finger over a map.  Finger down…eyes open…and voila!  Minneapolis.

We stayed downtown and one morning, walked a couple of blocks from our hotel to a sidewalk cafe.  We had a nice breakfast outside and were just enjoying the morning when I looked up at the buildings across the street.  As you can see in the picture, it was a beautiful start to the day.

Minneapolis downtown

Morning reflected downtown

I was attracted to how the bright blue sky and clouds were reflected in the windows.  As I studied them, I also wondered how the panels at the very top of the building on the right were secured, since they tilted outward.  I liked the angle of my view, looking upward, so I pulled out my cell phone and took this picture.  It’s another reminder of how different the landscape is in a large city.  I guess that’s part of why we enjoy spending time in environments so opposite to our own.

Who knew I would end up sharing this photo in the Weekly Challenge?


I Wish I Were…


My mother died in March 1983, almost 30 years ago.  She was 49 and I was 23.

A lot of living has happened in between then and now, joy and sadness and everyday stuff I would have loved sharing with her.  At what age do you get over the ache of wanting to put your arms around your mom, snuggle on the couch together and just be?

I wish I were able to bring her back for a visit.

If I could have 1 day for each year, I’d have 30 days.  Thirty days for her to get to know the outlaws (how our extended family refers to those souls fortunate enough to marry in).  Wanda, Don, Stan and Phillip have personalities and talents she would have liked and interests she shared.  And they could begin to know why we thought she was such a great mom.

Thirty days for her to wrap her love and laughter around the grandchildren she never knew.  Did she dream of having them when we were young?  Kristen, Alex, Emily, Heidi and Blair have heard the stories and seen the pictures, but none of that comes close to making up for not having been rocked in her lap, read to, and cherished as only a grandmother can do.

Thirty days for her four children to show her that her love, her tears, her prayers and her guidance were not given in vain.  I think she would be proud of who we have become, of how we have tried to live up to the standards she set.

And at the end of thirty days, I would let her go.  How could I keep her from the glories of heaven?  Dad would be waiting for her.  After being separated for 20 years after she died, I know he’d be waiting for her to get back to her rocking chair on the front porch of heaven, right next to his. And maybe, just maybe, this would hold me over for the next 30 years.

Weekly Photo Challenge


One of the many ways WordPress (the home of On the Sunnyside) makes blogging fun is with a weekly challenge.  There is one for writing as well as photography.  These challenges are a great way to inspire bloggers to work on improving their skills.  This week, the photo challenge is to take and submit a picture of a silhouette.

As I pondered the challenge, the first thing that came to my mind was Two Silhouettes on a Shade.  There is a song for every occasion!

However, a song is not a picture, so I had to move on.

Dog Silhouettes

Ready for the geese

My photo?  Actual stick-in-the-ground-where-needed silhouettes of dogs.  These have gained popularity in our area as a way to keep the Canadian geese off the property.  I certainly believe the South is a great place to live, but we have enough geese here year round to solve world hunger (if we were allowed to make them available for consumption).  Geese make a gross mess wherever they hang out, hence the effort to keep them from landing in the first place.  Maybe the dog silhouette is something to consider if you have your own goose problem.