SUNDAY THANKS

Posted August 19, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Liturgical Reading, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

 

Here is a good “Sunday School” lesson which everyone should know.

The Ten

This lesson has been read in the Church on this Sunday of the year for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years.       The yearly repetition is wise.    I heard it and read it as a child and learned the basic story.

Each of the following sentences or phrases has layers of meaning that a child can discover as he matures:

Jesus is walking with his friends on a pathway that takes him into some rough areas between towns.     From afar stood ten lepers who dared not get close to Him, but called out to Jesus for mercy.   “Jesus,  Master,  have pity on us!” 

Jesus came to the lepers,  and before He did anything else, He told them to go into the town, find to the priest,  and present yourselves to him.  

They weren’t healed yet,  but they went.  They weren’t supposed to go into a town near people,  but they did.    

On their way, they discovered they were healed from their leprosy!

One of the men came back to Jesus,  got down on his knees,  and thanked Jesus . . . .

Only one.

jesus and the one

There’s a bit more to the story,   Jesus remarked that this grateful man was a foreigner,  he asked where the other nine were,  and he told the one grateful man that it was his faith that had made him whole.

In our sermon we were reminded that “leprosy”  is a metaphor for the action of sin on  our soul.    As Hansen’s disease (leprosy) eats away at the skin, the victim loses fingers, toes, ears,  parts of the face,  and the sores are ugly,  repulsive and smelly.

 

In the same way,  doing something “wrong,”  or  sinning,  defying or ignoring God turns one’s soul into an ugly mess of stinking sores — if you could see it with spiritual eyes.     Committing a sin,  a big one or a little one,  is a big deal to your soul.

When Jesus heals,  it’s for the purpose of making that person “whole,”  again and holy.   Healthy,  whole, and sweet-smelling,  spiritually speaking.

What deep healing went on inside of that  one grateful  man who came back to be in the presence of Jesus and to thank Him profusely!!

I understood this story as a child,  but each time I hear it  I see so much more in the story.     How easy it is to be “thankful”  like the other nine.    Healed,  happy,  superficially pretty thankful,  but unchanged interiorly as they continued on their way, without the presence of Jesus.

How deep was their gratitude?    How long do you think their gratitude will last?

That  one grateful man was deeply changed inside.   We can tell,  because he came back to be with  Jesus.

 

 

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SUNDAY NUTS

Posted August 19, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Civilzation, Transforming America, Vocabulary

Tags: , , ,

Nuts #1 –     The English language is not only funny, but it’s versatile . . .  uh,  “flexible.”  The meanings are  elastic,  and they change a lot over short amounts of time.

Patton

Remember   General Patton’s one-word answer (by telegram) to a demand from his German counterpart during WWII?     The one word was “Nuts!”     The Germans were not quite sure what he meant by that,  but they were pretty sure it was both negative and insulting.

Given General Patton’s salty language,    there was probably a whole lot of negative, obscene, and scatological words wrapped up in that one-word reply.

Just one word with a literal meaning can mean so many other things.

Nuts #2

Nuts

That would be my kitchen floor a little while ago.    And, yes, those are literally nuts all over the floor.     It’s what happens when you pick up an open bag of shelled pistachios upside down . . .  And, yep,  I said it:  “Oh, nuts!!!!”

(Of course I ate them,  if you’re wondering.   Shelled pistachios are too expensive to waste!   You can eat off my kitchen floor.    Anytime you want.     Just don’t put the word “clean”  in that thought.)

Last week, as I had written here,  was  a bad week.  This week is starting off  . . .  better.  At least the problems like this seem more manageable.

Nuts #3

But most of the world’s problems are not – not manageable, that is.   I think I’ll go back to posting “world problems” this week, take a break from telling you about my own troubles.     You will begin to see that there not only is no easy solution, it looks like there is NO solution to a majority of these problems, because the will to solve the problems correctly and permanently is just not there.

The will to “rock the boat”  and solve serious problems is not there in our leaders, and it’s not there in the vast majority of the population who could have motivated our leaders.  Many of these serious problems are the result of the success of the culture war against  Western civilization waged by those “Sixty-Eighters,”   the ones who think 1968 was their defining moment.

culture war

Certain values, principles, and practices built up Western Civilization and it was these very values, principles, and practices  that were systematically torn down in the last five decades, ever since the Sixty-Eighters got old enough to attain positions of power and decision-making and dominance over all forms of communication.

Since it’s Sunday today,  here is one example of the final results of this cultural revolution that affected Christian churches and eventually eliminated any use of reason and any appeal to common sense or to history.

So this is the example — know what these are?

Costumes

These are the  sacred vestments  costumes  designed for the “priests” who will be attending the so-called World Meeting of Families this month in Ireland.   Probably officiating at liturgical celebrations too.

The Meeting is sponsored by the catholic church that began in the 1960s.   They were moved along by the cultural revolution.   Dignity,    solemnity,  the sense of the sacred,  moral authority,   maturity,   steadiness,  reliability,  reality,  truth,   history,  tradition,   common sense —  all overthrown in that cultural revolution, and instead of dignified priests in traditionally meaningful vestments, we have these pastel beauties for the men to wear.

That’s okay, though;  the featured and most talked-about speaker is James Martin, a priest ordained by this new church who preaches and promotes the practice of homosexuality.    He’ll be speaking to “families.”    According to their Website,  the main book  (booklet)  will be a “catechesis”  called “The Joy of Love.”

Uh-huh.

As I said, one word can mean a lot of things.       Love . . . .

And to all this new thinking promulgated in the modernized church and especially to those pastel costumes above,  I say  “Nuts!”

That’s the #3 use of Nuts!  — and it covers a whole lot of thoughts of mine!

BEAR TALK

Posted August 17, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Bears as Metaphor, Funk

Tags:

(An unsettling post.)      It’s been a heck of a week.

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If you’ve been visiting The Spruce Tunnel for a while,  you may know there are bears here.     And you may remember what they mean.

bear paw bracelet

I wear this bracelet a lot. Even more often than a watch.  It’s a bear paw, in case you can’t tell.   One day Hubbie and I were walking on some paths overlooking Lake Tahoe.

 

tahoe and trees

Very isolated, but not too far from our parked car.      The path was enclosed by beautiful mountain woods; pine trees and only a little scrub, and soft sandy ground.
tahoe hike

We came to a bit of a clearing and there on the ground were the unmistakable prints of bear paws.    Huge ones!    I honestly couldn’t picture in my mind the size this creature must have been.   And so ended our pleasant little time outdoors, as we had a quick, focused walk back to the car.     We are not Western adventurers!

Of  course Hubbie said the usual:   “Well, the bear is probably far away by now.”     “Bears are more afraid of humans than humans are of bears.”    But  Hubbie was uneasy too.   He knew well my story of having been chased by a bear as a child in the (open) woods of the Far Far North.    The chase lasted a long time and it was not at all certain that my Mom, Dad, and I would win.

bear seeing you

Both times taught me that all of life is like that. You’re walking along, thinking you’re safe, thinking things are as they seem to be, not even realizing that you are being stalked; and then — whoosh! — out of the trees a bear comes rushing at you.

Bear snarl

So I wear the bracelet to remind me that normal life is not only uncertain, but that it’s full of sudden unexpected, unwanted challenges, and some of them will be life-threatening. And I wear that bracelet to remind me that sometimes people I know will be facing similar frightful times in their lives — and to have compassion and companionship with them.

People who  don’t want to think about their own hard times will tell others:   “Don’t worry about ‘bear’ jumping out at you. ”     “Worry won’t help.”

Well, it might.     It might move you to someplace new in your thinking.

See, worry is thinking, ruminating, mulling things over, imagining what might happen. All these can be preliminary to taking action or making a decision or changing your course in life, because that’s how the human intellect works.

As that first analytical process is going on,  emotions are involved too.   Remember the old saying —  Happiness shared is happiness doubled;  sorrow shared is sorrow halved.  That goes for worries and fears too.    That’s where companionship comes in.

Companionship is not just “being there”  for your friend,  but being there with compassion and patience.   The Bible says:  “Bear ye one another’s burdens.”      It’s not fair to tell them just don’t worry, it will all work out.    You can tell that to yourself,  but don’t tell it to the people who cross your path.

Because we’ll all have bears to fight.

As I said,  it’s been a heck of a week.     It’s complicated.

______________________________________________

 

I need to watch a football game tonight.   Thank goodness for pre-season.

THE “BIG” DEMONSTRATORS VERSUS PROTESTERS WAR

Posted August 13, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Cultural Marxism, Current Events, Socialism

Tags: ,

 

  Just a brief account of the latest  Fake Fail.

pravda and stalin

I first learned about Pravda, the Soviet newspaper, when we were studying Socialism in high school.     I remember our class being amazed, then amused to find out that the word Pravda meant “Truth”!    Anything but, in that tightly controlled socialist world!!

So, how about America’s news reporting today?

I was watching the reporting yesterday about Sunday’s Leftist-sponsored, so-called “Alt-Right” demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville.  In this whole country of over 300,000,000 people, all this group could muster was 21 — that is, Twenty-One people who self-identified as white supremacists.   That’s how many one on-the-spot reporter counted.   This  little group was a Leftist-sponsored “Unite the Right” demonstration, but they couldn’t  “unite” many Americans.
(I think one of my Girl Scout groups was larger than the amount of demonstrators who showed up! I do hope my Girl Scouts are now being a force for good in their families, in their communities, and by extension, then, a force for good in our country.)

Protesters versus the Demonstrators

On the other side of the demonstrators were several hundred of the Leftist-sponsored “Antifa” movement “protestors,”   pretending by their Fascists tactics that they are against Fascism.

(I think it was Churchill who said that the Fascists will rise again some day  but they will call themselves “anti”-Fascists.)

Several hundred radical Leftists showed up to protest just about everything.   They shouted, agitated, they were violent, rude, insulting, disrespectful.

They had taken lessons on how to inflict pain on their fellow-Americans:

antifa teaching

Antifa training

 

The Leftist news reporters went nuts over  those “United the Right” people, small though the group was, because they thought they could prove their point here: that Americans are racist!    But what the Leftist news reporting actually  did prove is that they are blind.  Or maybe biased is the better word.    Untruthful.   the entertainment-news media is untruthful about Americans.

The entertainment-news media tried so hard to make a big deal of this little gathering that didn’t really mean anything to Americans, in general. Perhaps the media are licking their wounds today, justifying their attention  and  verifying their efforts to “expose” this “controversy” that exists in a few small-minded people.

There are some good journalists out there. There are some good news reportings, and there is some actual “pravda”  out there.    Not all of it is Fake News.

Just the kind which own our newspapers and television channels.

CATTLE

Posted August 12, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

I’ve been writing about Bryce Andrews, the young man who left his home in cool, wet Seattle to head east to find the West as a  cowboy in Montana, where it is dry,   windy,  stormy,   very hot and very cold.  Also breathtakingly beautiful;  open, boundless, and free.

mon scale

You can take the deepest breath you want to in land like that.

And there is work to do.

Mon angus hills

That about looks like Montana (and Wyoming),  and that’s the reason for all the work:  Cattle.    Beef cattle.

mon bull

You may not see much in the eyes of an Angus bull,  but you have to be able to know them well in order to move them where they should be going and to care for them.

mon walking cattle

How do you get them to walk straight down the road like that?

There are mothers,  newborn calves,  yearlings,  cows, bulls . . .  each with its own particular needs pertaining to where it is in its life cycle.   Tagging, counting, vaccinating, inspecting, doctoring, feeding, moving to fresh pasture, and protecting —

mon black

This is not as peaceful a picture as you would first think.   See that row of trees behind them?  The edge of a little forest.   In that forest are wolves, coyotes, bear,  and whatever other predator stalks and feeds on cattle.      These cattle are not at ease.    They are all facing the same way.     Something has alerted them.    (Probably the photographer in this case.)

And when cattle are “alerted,”  they sometimes bolt;   that is they take off running.  They either run in all directions, and then you have a big job finding them and putting them into a herd again.  Or else they take off in the same direction and you’ve got a stampede on your hands.   A mass of hundreds of thousands of pounds of mindless, frightened animals.

So it takes skill to watch over cattle.  But I’ll let the wonderful words of Mr. Andrews describe his job with the cattle.

Flight Zone:

In July  we moved cattle almost every day.   More than any other chore on a ranch, herding is an art.   when approached correctly, and if the animals are willing, a cattle drive becomes a complex, intriguing dance.   I’ve always believed that cattle understand the steps  a lot better than all but the most practiced and attentive humans . . . The movements are ruled by two interrelated principles:  flight zone and herd instinct.

To understand the flight zone,  imagine of rough circle around each cow in the herd.  Certain animals,  mostly other familiar ruminants, are allowed inside the circle.  The rest of the world’s creatures, including cowboys, are personae non gratae!

Walk toward a bunch of contented, grazing cattle.  At first they’ll watch your progress with dull interest . . .  Draw near to the edge of the flight zone, however,  and you’ll quickly have their full attention.  Worried glances fly back and forth within the herd.

Press the issue by taking another step or two forward, and the animal nearest you will react, generally by moving away. . .  I learned to picture the circle as an elastic sphere;   when the sphere is pressed from behind,  the animal springs away, forward.   Direction matters.  Pressure from the left rear would cause cattle to bend their course obliquely to the right, and pressure from the right would send them yawing to the left.

The principle is not as simple as it sounds.   The circle can vary infinitely in size, based on the mood of the animal and the condition in which it finds itself.    Yearlings often skip all the steps between curiosity and full-on panic.  Older, more dominant cows will force you to prove that you’re serious.  They’ll sometimes stand their ground until you’re close, then toss their heads and paw the dirt to test your nerve.  Make one wrong move with a cow like that, or hesitate one little nervous beat,  and she’ll charge right over the top of you.

Terrain matters too.   The past experiences of the herd matters.   The temperature and the barometer can make or break a day’s work. 

Herd behavior:

Mon dusty herd

Nobody wants a stampede,  neither humans nor cattle.  Controlled, sustained motion was our goal and we tried to be judicious where we applied pressure . . .   A cattle drive has to stay calm.   It also has to be comprehensive — every member of the herd must arrive at the intended destination.  Failing at this task even once or twice leaves stock scattered across the ranch, created unnecessary work down the line, and gives the neighbors something to talk about.     Leaving a heifer behind amounted to offering her up as a sacrifice  (to predators).

When we wanted to turn our herds, we simply exerted pressure to one side or the other.  If we did it right, the effect was striking:  without anyone out in front to guide them, the cattle found a new trajectory.   There always seemed to be something magical about the way they swung around like a compass needle finding north.

In cattle, the desire to stay close to each other exerts a subtle but undeniable magnetism.   Move one animal, and the cow alongside her will almost always follow. 
When everything was working well, it was possible to gently steer a herd across the land,  ford creeks, pass in an orderly fashion through gates, and settle the cattle on new pasture with a minimum of stress.    An outcome like that depended on a lot of things going right, some beyond our control, and some within it.

It’s July/August right now.   This is what our cowboys are doing every day this summer in Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming,  Idaho, Montana,  and everywhere else in our Western states where ranches are often measured in the millions of acres.

It works.     We eat meat.     Something is going right.    So far.

 

 

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. *   Excerpts these past three days from Badluck Way:  A Year in the Rugged Edge of the West  

by Bryce Andrews,  2014

HANDS

Posted August 11, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Duty, Travel

Tags: , , , ,

Okay,  this posting may be a little gross, so be ye warned.

barbed line

Yesterday I wrote about the country that young Bryce Andrews* drove into  (taking my heart along with him!),   but he went there to work,  not to be a tourist.    He went there to be a cowboy, to work the cattle that feed us  (and  give us other useful products too).

I’ll do Cattle in the next post,  take you right among the herds with Mr. Andrews, but here I want to tell you what I found out about being a cowboy.   Most of a cowboy’s time is  not spent with the cattle,  rounding up cows, keeping them moving,

After you have the cattle put where you want them,  they pretty much take care of themselves for long hours, long days at a time.    You don’t ignore them,  but  your time is taken up with a lot of other tasks.

mon fencing

Keeping pumps repaired, for example,  that bring water to the herd.    You’ve got to be a small-motor man and be able to trouble shoot the little motors that are exposed to the elements and in almost constant use.     You’ve got to be toting salt for the widely scattered salt licks that are so important to keep our cattle (and elk)  alive.     You’ve got to patrol for predators.

Most of all,  your time is taken up with an endless round of fence inspection and repair.  Some fencing is electrical,  but  fences are still mostly barbed wire:

barbed spikes

What takes down fences is age,  storms,  cattle plunging through when they’re panicked, and frequently the elk herds and the moose.

And then you have to know whether to repair broken lines or cut them apart and restring the fences or build them up from scratch,  starting with  the fence posts.

How do you put up a fence post?    With great strength and persistence, a little knack for it, and good luck.

mon postbhole

(That’s not a cowboy in the photo!     You can’t have bare legs in the Western scrub and you can’t go without good, strong boots!)      But you don’t carry a motorized auger  on the saddle of your horse either, so you have to use other tools:  a strong steel pointed mallet,  a heavy hammer,  and once you’ve worked your muscles sore,  then you use a shovel to take out the small broken pieces of stone-hard earth.   And then you pound again. . .

Ever drive in Wyoming or Montana in the summertime?    It’s often  90 degrees or more with a strong, dry enervating wind blowing against you.    And that’s when much of the routine  fence repair occurs, occupying you with long solitary hours,  sunrise to sunset.

Fence building is hard on your body, and it’s hard on your hands.

THE FENCE

(If this gets too long, just skip down to the last quote-box.)

After a hurried lunch, I loaded all sorts of fencing tools into my work truck and headed out to fix a handful of broken H-braces on a fence . . .   An H-brace consist of two upright posts, usually eight feet apart, with a stout rail, spanning the distance between them . . .   An H-brace is pinned together by a pair of heavy spikes which are driven through the posts at each end of the rail . . .

An H-brace is a masterpiece of applied physics.  Properly built, it stands strong as a rock for many decades.  The secret is the wire.   Picture the low H of the brace’s wooden frame.  Upon it superimpose an equally wide X formed of two loops of wire.  One loop connects the lower left and upper right corners, the other angles from lower right to upper left.  At either end,  the loops are secured to the posts with fencing staples.

What he isn’t telling right now is the strength it takes for a man to work these “heavy” tools, post staple guns, the stout and  heavy parts of the wooden frame, and the strength it takes to position and move these fence parts around.

And then he sees the fence line that needs to be redone:

For the most part, I could tell very quickly how long digging posts would take and how difficult it would be.    If the shovel,   when stabbed down, slid into the ground a few inches with a satisfying crunch,  the dirt was cooperative,.   If on the other hand, it clanged like an off-pitch bell and bounced back through my hands, hard hours were in the offing.

. . .  I stomped on the shovel, giving it all I had to little avail.   A spasm of all-out work yielded just a six-inch crater around the old post.   I looked down  the fence line at the rotten, shattered braces that needed to be dismantled,  dug out, and replaced.  I was in for a long afternoon.

Setting aside my shovel,   I pulled a rock bar from the back of my truck.   A simple, brutish tool, made for unforgiving soil . . .  it was a heavy steel rod, six feet long and tipped at one end with a flat, tempered blade that looked like an oversized screwdriver.   The blade was used for shattering rock and dry compacted earth into pieces that could be shoveled out.

The rock bar was never fun to use.   It weighed twenty pounds and tended to peel the skin from my palms with shocking efficiency.  I beat steel against embedded stone until they broke or loosened, mining downwards.

The first hole took an  hour . . .

He inserted the post, part of the H-brace,  then stapled the barbed wire to the posts,  then strung loops of wire by sticking a piece of wood about two feet long,  twisting it in circles until the wires began to twist around each other, pulling the barbed wire lines taut  . . .

That’s working in close contact with the barbed wire!  When he was learning the job,  his hands and arms were all cut and bloody,   but he  noted that the more experienced man next  to him had no bleeding cuts from the barbs, only old scars.

 

The HANDS:

But then, after this day’s work, he walks back to his truck, and as he goes in, he first gazes at the beautiful open land stretching out to the horizon before him .

After drinking in deeply from it, I noticed my hands were stained an unnatural yellow.   Sweat had mobilized whatever noxious chemical was used to tan my gloves and it had stained my skin a dead, unsettling hue.  It worried me, so I flipped my hands over to take a look at my palms.     They looked even worse.      In addition to being yellow, my palms were torn to pieces.  A number of callouses, softened by sweat or the tanning agent,  had torn loose.    The raw, new skin beneath them oozed a clear liquid with a slight reddish tint.   I peeled off the biggest sloughed pieces and threw them in the grass at my feet.

As  I looked down at the jaundiced wreckage of my palms, I felt a strange surge of pride.  These weren’t city boy hands.  They weren’t delicate by a long shot.   From the elbows down, the skin of my arms was covered with a chiaroscuro of barbwire scratches.  The older ones had healed, peeled, and turned a dark, bluish color from the sun.    More recent marks were zippered shut with lines of cracking seals.   A few spots, either sliced open today or bumped hard enough to reopen, were smeared with small patches of freshly dried blood. . . .

 

This is the life of a cowboy.   Strong,  hardy,  solitary,  hard-working, rightly proud.     He has earned his self-respect.

So, see what I mean?    I love to drive through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.   I drive through easily, as a tourist,  inspired and spiritually elevated by the scenery,   making a few stops here and there,   but quite aware that I don’t belong to this land.     These young men do.

mon steak

And think on these young cowboys when you have your next hamburger or that big, juicy steak,  tender, full of flavor,  marbled miraculously with good tasty fat.

And next time I’ll tell you about how the cattle got that way.

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVELING FROM HOME

Posted August 11, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Travel

Tags: ,

Mon vista

I got away to Montana this week.        So to speak.

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After I voted, as described in the last post,  it seems I heard a lot of “voting” stories –  too many;  too much confusion;  too much arguing.   Not from the people I know;  not anywhere around me.  But on the public airwaves, as we used to say.  All the media gleefully created as much noisy controversy as possible from this year’s Primary elections.

I needed quiet.    Turning off the radio and Internet news helped.  And so did a certain book.

I didn’t realize it,  but after being told I couldn’t travel very far  this summer (to avoid the development of more pulmonary embolisms)   there developed an “ache” in me, deep down where I hardly think about it, but it’s there.    I ache for the traveling I’m missing.

Mon hwys

I love the Open Road.  Two hands on the wheel and wide open horizons stretching out in front of me and no reason to stop the car for a very long time.   Openness.  Freedom.   Beauty.

There is scenery so vast that it takes your breath away as you round a  curve or come over a rise and the land drops away further than you can see.

 

mon rock

 

After I turned away from all the entertainment-news media this week,  just by luck I picked up a book from my shelves that took me out to the Open Roads that I’m missing so much.     It takes place in Montana.  A young man becomes a cowboy.

Mon ranch

Fortunately he has a talent for describing his first year out there in Montana.   He describes the world I only see through my windshield as I drive past — but he belongs there and can tell what it’s like from the “inside” of all that scenery.

The young man left his home in Seattle,  packed his truck with a few things,  scuffed his new cowboy boots so they wouldn’t look so new,  and headed east on I-90 to go out into the West where his new  job was waiting.

Ahead,  the horizon was wide and empty and the sky a clear blue.   I sped through  wheat fields and orchards . . .   and crossed into Montana by way of the Idaho panhandle.  By four in the afternoon I was at the foot of Norris Hill.   If Norris Hill were someplace flatter  than southwest Montana,  it wouldn’t even be considered a mountain.  Out here, though, it’s unremarkable and probably wouldn’t even merit a name if it weren’t for the fact that Highway 287 climbs it to a saddle from which the whole Madison Valley is visible.

The view on the far side is distracting enough to cause a wreck.  I pulled to the edge of the road to take it in.  Two mountain ranges strike south from  the hill, keeping roughly parallel to each other.   In the foreground they are at least  ten miles apart, but father off the ranges bend inward, pinching off the valley like an hourglass waist.    Though the valley is symmetrical in shape, the mountains that flank it could not be more different.

On the east side the Madisons leap suddenly toward the blue sky.    Sharp, sheer, and rocky . . .  from the top of Norris Hill they look like a solid wall with broken shards of glass along the top. . .  forming a line of glinting canine teeth.

(On the other side of the valley are)  the Gravellies, a many shouldered swelling of the  earth.  The  fallen-down range humps up from the floodplain grass rising into a maze of timbered ridges, flecked from top to bottom with open meadows of various sizes.

Rangeland begins where the foothills end, and the valley is wide enough to hold an ocean of grass.      From atop the Norris Hill the landscape resolves into a series of descending benches, regular enough to look from a distance like a massive green-carpeted staircase connecting the mountain to the rivers.

The most striking part of it all was the Madison River, which reflected the afternoon sun and drew a golden line through the heart of the valley.  Curving smoothly  across the floodplain like a snake navigation stony ground,  the river issues from the south end flanked on either side by dark thickets of willow . . .

Mon WY

 

So,  this is the country the young man is driving into.    It makes for difficult reading — unless you’ve ever driven through it and  past it.    But it gets more interesting:

“Hands”  come next,  what happens to your hands when you do the work.

And then the cattle.  Working the cattle.

But I’m not going to do the wolves. . . .

 

And the name of the book is Badluck Way.  The author is Bryce Andrews.

VOTING FOR SUBSIDIARITY

Posted August 7, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Election, Freedom

Tags: , ,

Subsidiarity:    Getting things done on the smallest, most local units of government.

________________________________________________________

Kind of silly,  but I got my little sticker:

Vo sticker

I decided that since I have to rack up Steps anyway  on my pedometer,  that I’d walk to the voting place.   It was a hot,  muggy day,  with a rainstorm pending,  but  I wanted those Steps.

And I enjoyed the walk.  Gave me time to think and to look around.

Vo Blue Flowers

I love those blue flowers — or weeds.  Nobody grows them in their gardens,  so they must be weeds.   Some day I’ll stop and dig some up and plant them in my yard.   Maybe I’ll be sorry,  but if they’re really weeds, they’re awfully pretty.

It’s just short of a  mile-long walk along a country road.    I was really hoping they still had us vote in the same place as in the bigger elections, or else it would be a long walk for nothing.  I had plenty of time to think about that too.

Vo sign

Very glad to finally  see that sign up ahead!

For a very small population,  it looked like there was a good turnout.

VO parking

 

I entered, registered,  showed my photo ID and got my ballot:

Vo ballot

There it is.  Not too much.   Easy and uncomplicated.

As I left, I asked one of the precinct workers if there had indeed been a good turnout and she brightened up and said, “Oh, yes,  about twice as many as we expected!”

Apparently that was the case today in a small precinct in Georgia.  They had only 276 registered voters for today.  Must have had a good turnout.   They counted 670 ballots.    That reminds me of the various Pennsylvania precincts in 2012 where 102%  and 112%  and 106%  etc.  of the population voted.   (And strangely, on the record,  all voted for one person:  the Barack-Hussein person!)

Georgia is a place that doesn’t require voter ID and voting is all electronic, with no paper trail.

(In reading about voting machines today,  I came across this little item:  In Las Vega,  ALL  gambling machines are required to submit their software that runs the machines to state authorities,  the state gambling commission.     But nowhere in America is it required to submit voting machine software to any oversight authority.  You might want to check the owners of the three voting machine companies.)

After I voted,  I went to see a movie.   It was a good one to see on this day when Americans exercise their rights as free citizens.  The movie was  Death of a Nation.

vo death poster

 

How does a nation “die”?     Either (1)  by attack and defeat from outside forces, or (2)  implosion from within when the nation forgets its founding principles.

I’ve studied history for a long time;  history major in my university days and an abiding interest in history . . .  I did not find one inaccuracy or  false statement in the whole movie, but maybe I respect Abraham Lincoln a teeny tiny bit now.

I especially enjoyed the short segment about the White Rose in Germany in the 1940s:

vo the white rose

True story.  Lovely young lady who decided to lead a truth campaign against the National Socialists in her country.  She and her brother and friends printed leaflets with information about what they were really doing.  Hitler’s government had her killed, as we see in a rather harrowing guillotine scene.

And then, the movie showed us her gravestone.  Sophie Scholl.  1923 – 1945.     She is now an example of what “one person” can do in the face of socialism/fascism/progressivism which threatens free people everywhere it rises up.

These three Far Left threats propose a powerful Central State which governs all aspects of society.     Most notably,  the State controls and regulates all business and industry,  controls and “manages”  education and the dispensing of information, and is in charge of healthcare.     It is the State which gives (or withholds)  rights to a person, who is merely part of the “collective.”

All this is the very opposite of the principle of Subsidiarity where the God-given rights of the individual are recognized and individual citizens have the freedom to govern themselves.

I’m glad I could vote today.     Freely and without fear.

 

 

WHY I’M VOTING TODAY

Posted August 7, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: American History, Necessity of Virtue, Socialism, Transforming America

Tags: , , ,

vote sign

I’ll confess.   I haven ‘t voted in very many primary elections in  my life.   I’ve never missed a presidential election and I haven’t missed many “mid-term” elections,   but the primaries?

I don’t know,    maybe my attitude was   “Why study candidates and take the time to vote when the person I voted for may not even be on the next ballot?”      And:   “Let them decide for me who is going to be on the ballot, then I’ll look at those candidates.”

Well, that last sentence is exactly what got me motivated to vote today.   I want to participate in who’s going to be voted for in November.     I ought to.

As an American citizen,  I ought to.  That’s the first reason.

The second reason is that with the  news media  (the entertainment-news media)  working harder and harder to divide Americans into two or three political/social spectrums,  whipping up violent words and actions against  those who are not “progressive”  like they are,   and, plus,   the almost total saturation of media with political views,    it has become easy to know which side of the fence you’re sitting on.

Like me.    Now I know for sure:  

_______________________________________________________________________

v charter

Written by a convicted traitor to the United States

I will vote against any candidate who promises to make the United States conform to the “sustainability”  mandates of the United Nations, or other foreign, global entities.

v soldiers

UN soldiers enforcing  anti-United States, anti-Freedom ,  anti-Religious policies around the world

 

__________________________________________________________________

v soc needs fistsSocialism needs fists and anger

I will vote against any candidate who promises to promote socialism in any form in our government;    that is,  any candidate who acts and believes that the State can solve all our problems,  without  creating policies that allow us, the people,  to pursue our own form of Happiness,   be it employment,  choice of career, what to believe,   where and how to live,  what to own,  how we raise our children, etc.         (State-mandated solutions will inevitably lead to socialist extremes of Fascism and Communism.)

vote forward

Democratic “Socialism”

_______________________________________________________________________

I will vote against any candidate who proudly states they will promote sex-identity confusion  (‘gender’ confusion, as it’s erroneously called) in our schools, our medical world,  our public face.

Then there is the problem of gross immorality promoted by those who have taken over our culture, according to the instructions and mandates of Marx, Engels,  Lenin,  Alinsky, etc.     These people knew that they must destroy morality and the family in order to weaken and confuse citizens,  who will then look to the State to fix the resulting problems.   Read their actual writings concerning this program.

v queens

Teaching our children in libraries and schools

__________________________________________________________________

 

I will vote against any Hate candidate.   And that would be any candidate who aligns himself with hatred-sponsored actions, especially that Hate focused on our president and on anyone to the right of the political aisle.      It isn’t left-right;  it isn’t Republican-Democrat;  it  is exaggerating,  lying, propagandizing,  distorting  for the purpose of hating anyone who differs politically from these people.  Remember in the 1990s when the “Politics of Personal Destruction”  was perfected?

vote and keep calm

(The politics of Hate)

 

Oh.    Yes.      It looks like I have a lot to vote for    I want to do my small part in saving my country from hatred and extremism and global dominance and  censorship and socialism and immorality.

 

Is my one little vote going to make a difference?    Not in the great scheme of things.  Philosophically,  maybe esoterically,  yes:  “all votes count.”    But down to the everyday practical level,  the answer is no, not much.   But at least I can cancel out the vote cast by a hater or a globalist or a progressive or someone who is promoting immoral behavior –  that great menace which weakens any nation.

“I regret that I have but one life  (vote)  to give to my  country.”      (young man, Nathan Hale)

Let us not vote this year to continue the attempted “Transformation of  the America”  that Nathan hale and so many others fought for.

________________________________________________

 

 

Personal Updates

Posted August 5, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Cooper, Family, Travel

Tags: , , ,

When you’re old, old, old, old like me — well,  this is the oldest I’ve ever been anyway —  you kind of want everything settled and everyone in their place.   You don’t mind a little kerfluffle now and then,  but these last three months . . .  my goodness!

So,  just to make a record in The Spruce Tunnel,   here are some updates for my family and friends before I can go on to other topics.   Let me see if I can give an accounting of everyone:

In no special order,  I’ll start with Cooper.     Not too many hours ago today,  Cooper was on the Staten Island Ferry,* and on his way to the Statue of Liberty.

Cooper on Ferry 300

Don’t mind the squint.   He’s got light blue-gray-hazel eyes and the sun is very bright.  He’s also just returned from a several day spelunking tour and hopefully enjoyed the deep dark caves of eastern America.    Can’t wait to get a letter from him describing the caves!

Cooper apparently made it out to the Statue.     His daddy asks the question:  “Where’s Waldo?

Cooper tiny 330

That’s my “tiny little’ grandson in front of the Statue of Liberty.   Or is that a camera trick?

Daughter is vacationing in New York City too, along with Cooper and Daddy,  so that side of my little family is all happy and accounted for.       That’s fine with me!

Now, Son . . .

se us

Son is somewhere on that map,   having left Florida yesterday and on his way home  here in the Far North.     But I don’t know his route.  His texts are  not too specific.    All I know is that it took  not 3 1/2 hours,  but about 7 hours for him to go one-half inch up the eastern coast of Florida yesterday.   Apparently there are some pretty nice beaches along the way.

I am glad for him.  He’s had a lot on his mind, a lot to worry about, a lot of decisions to make, a lot of new people to meet, a lot of tasks . . .  and now he is alone for three days  in a pretty nice car,   beautiful scenery,  only his own thoughts to guide him.    He’ll be fine.

Nancy and Dusty 90  Dusty:     This has been a 3 or 4 month long concern,  but Nancy’s horse has finally found a new home.    I’m a bit confused because it doesn’t sound today like he’s going to the same place people talked about yesterday;  but although the destination is different,  both locations are described as “wonderful”  places for a horse with caring people . . . .   I hope everyone is as happy as Dusty will be.   He will be just fine now.

 

Our young friend M.       —

5/24/11 Aerials of UM Campus and Hospital and Ann Arbor area.

This week I took her to a big university hospital where they are supposed to know everything and be able to do everything.    They don’t.    And they didn’t.

M preop 330

She was patient #1595201 on the board.  All for nothing.  They went in – and they went  back out.

My young friend M.  is back to square one and rather beyond disappointed.   We have to wait.  Wait and see.    Wait and see what the medical industry will do to her.   And I’m very scared for her too.   Son and I and all her friends stand by her.  We hope and pray she’ll be fine.

 

The bat and the bird.     Well, I took care of their possible entry point:

Fireplace Screen

A little duct tape and some metal screen.    Okay, a guy would probably smack his forehead and say,  Why on earth . . .?         But it works for me.    There was about a 3/4 inch gap between the fireplace insert and the fireplace opening.  Now there isn’t.   I have peace of mind and I don’t have any birds and bats tonight.    That’s just fine with me.

 

Me.    Update on me?      Well,  I still covet your “butterflies.”    Or else I won’t be here to give you any more updates.     I read today ** that when Jesus walked this earth,  He lived His holy life for our benefit;    He lives today for our benefit.     He did miracles of healing back then;  and His miracles of healing  still exist for our benefit.    Because Jesus is also the Son of God,   True God and True Man,   His goodness and love and power are not confined to any one generation,  but are here, now, present for us all.

If prayers surround a person like graceful little butterflies,   then I too am just fine.

 

___________________________________

 

.*  If you’re from New York and  I got the name of that Ferry wrong, well,  sorry,  I’m just an Out Of Towner —   Pretty good movie!

Out of towners

 

.**      From  “Christ in His Mysteries  by Dom Columba Marmion   (A very valuable and highly recommended book.  I wish I could buy all of you a copy!)

BAT, BIRD, AND BUTTERFLIES

Posted August 4, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Death, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

 

Spooky stuff  tonight. 

___________________________

Is there really such a thing as signs and “messages”  that portend the future?  Should I file this under Humor?   Or perhaps  “Horatio”?  *

Several weeks before Hubbie died  a few years ago I was awake in the middle of the night,  just thinking about things in the dark.     Suddenly a “formation” of three very  dark birds  appeared and flew very rapidly right past me.    Now,  that seemed impossible,  but it also seemed like an actual vision and a vision that portended something.

As I said,  several weeks later Hubbie died,  unexpectedly sooner than everyone thought.

 

Just a few weeks ago I arrived home from Florida.   A little tense and worried after taking care of my very sick sister during June and then a long, long drive home —  and not feeling too well.

And then, to make matters worse  —

bat

—  as I was lying in bed waiting for sleep to come,  out of the corner of my eye it seemed  that something moved.     And then it swooped by again,  making a perfect circle over my bed.  It was a bat!    Probably.    It didn’t flutter up and down like a bat and the sound of its wings was very loud,  but it was live and flying.  It was a bat in the house.

I ducked under the covers for a little while,  long enough to think about a bat we had once before,  thirty years ago!,    and thinking “It’s a BAT,  not a BIRD.”   No evil omen here.  No portent of death.

Soon I made a dash out of the  bedroom,  dragging a quilt with me, and stationed myself in the bathroom with the door closed and the light on all night.     By morning light there was no more sign of the bat,  but I was on high alert.

During the  next several days I had my hospital adventure and then spent time  at Son’s house and by the time I returned home I had almost forgotten  the bat.

My sister died two weeks after I first saw the  bat.

 

Last night, I was standing in my kitchen, next to my table,  looking over things before I went to bed.     As I stood there, seemingly out of nowhere  another “bat”  (I think)  flew towards me and then made a perfect circle over the table and disappeared into the next room (I think).

bird

I yelled, ‘No !  Not again!”    and ran around a little,  got a blanket to hide under, and turned off the lights and opened the sliding glass doors to the deck.    I sat (under the blanket)   and watched in the dim light to see if the bat would fly outside.   After ten minutes — and a bigger fear of raccoons or other critters walking in — I closed the door and went to bed behind closed doors.,

But —   I remembered that this bird didn’t fly quite like a bat either.  Or else it was a very big one.  And its wings fluttered loudly.    It seemed more like a solid gray color,  not black,.     It just came so close to me that I couldn’t think clearly.   It could have been a bird that had somehow come into the house . . . .   And maybe it flew out when I had the door open.

But I got the impression that the circular flight right in front of me was deliberate — like I was supposed to see that.

No sign of the bird today, and t doesn’t even feel like it could be in here anymore.  But . . .

Now what?

 

 

butterflies

Well, now a good word:       Tragedy has struck our family, bad health news for many of us,  family and close friends.      These things happen.  They’re difficult,  but they happen to all of us fellow-humans.    For those of you who have helped us with your prayers,  I give you a heartfelt thanks.

One abiding request for prayer has been my own health;  healing . .  .  sometimes when things get dark and uncertain,  there is a feeling of something “fluttering”  around me,  just out of my range of knowledge,  but it’s there, nevertheless.     It feels soft and benevolent and spiritual.   It could be your  prayers,  around me,  fluttering like the soft wings of sweet little butterflies.

Of course that’s fanciful.    But it’s good.  It’s a good way to  say that I believe in your prayers and I can almost feel the effects of your prayers.      God will hear.   He will hear because e are all connected.

An ongoing thank you  and Deo gratias.

 

______________________________________________________

Where the natural world intersects with supernatural thoughts:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

.

 

PATCHING UP CRACKS

Posted July 31, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Death, Remembering Hubbie

Tags: , , , ,

 

Patching up our cracked-up world with goldfish and sailing.

 

ground cracks

The ground does seem to be cracking up underneath me.  Nothing I can’t handle.  It’s just . . .  difficult and uncertain for now.

It’s still Tuesday here tonight.  July 31st.   Hubbie’s birthday.     I know he’s been gone for a few little years,  but it’s anniversaries and milestones,  his milestones and ours,  that brings everything back, fresh again.    There are things we must remember and things we must do to make our memories alive and healthy.

One thing that we  feel we must do is our  annual  Goldfish Pond Dump in honor of Hubbie.

Each year  (after Hubbie’s death) Son and I add goldfish into our backyard pond, on his birthday.   How many?    We add as many goldfish as his age would be!

Fish with Son

It was a great tradition begun the very first summer after his death.

Fish into pond

We get them used to the temperature and the water of the pond for a while.

And then they’re ready to meet their new home:

Fish in Pond

Most of them make it just fine throughout our long, icy northern winter. And many of them escape our hungry kingfishers.    But we need to add more fish again this year;  we see only one old goldfish swimming around.

We’ll do it.

Hubbie’s  death was a major crack-up in our lives *,  but the cracks are coming together,  getting smaller; we’re stepping around them.    New traditions patch them up a little bit.

And good things will come out of this difficult summer, if only a deeper knowledge of how rare and  precious each life is and how important we are to each other.

_______________

Well.  Well!!     The phone rang just before I clicked “Publish.”        Daughter called from her California home —

donner lake

—-   wishing her Dad a “Happy  Birthday.”     But more!    Her husband was delayed from coming home by a traffic accident on I-80 tonight, so she decided to go out on her paddleboard —

paddleboarding

—  and then paddle on over to her sailboat   —

sailng

—   And then she paddled home again.      (Sigh-h-h-h,  such is the life when you live on a lake)

Daughter and Hubbie loved to sail on our little nearby lake.    Daughter left home and  took her  skill further, learning  some ocean sailing too,  but tonight she did it for her Dad.

Above all, after our world “cracked apart” when Hubbie died,   we understood that Hubbie worked hard to give us the opportunities we have now, and he would have wanted us to use those opportunities, to keep on living, to enjoy our lives.       My sister also  knows, for very sure now,  that we have things left to do in our own lives,  things to learn, things to enjoy.

It’s what my sister would want.

It’s what I will want after I leave this world too.

 

_________________________________

 

.*  (Spruce Tunnel Archives,  November  2010)

PRAYER AND PERU — CRACKING UP

Posted July 31, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Death, Family, Four Last Things, Heaven

Tags: , , , ,

(Prayer over my sister Nancy) –

________________________________________________________

 

The world around me is “cracking up.”     Jesus told us “Heaven  and Earth shall pass away but my words will never pass away. . .”       Normally, that would be comforting.

Peru crack 1

. . .  Comforting words because it means you can absolutely rely upon  the words of Jesus  (and that they have been pretty closely and faithfully passed down to us)  — but upon taking a second look,  Jesus has referred to the world “passing away.”   Not exactly rock solid ground we’re standing on.

Whether it’s the world of men we live in or the planet earth we live on,  we can’t trust that it will always remain the same.    Storms happen.   Tsunamis happen.    Tornadoes happen.   Earthquakes happen.

Here is a before/after photo of what happened this month in Peru:

peru crack 4 beforeafter

That was a pleasant, medium-size village in Peru on the left;  what’s left of it after the earth cracked apart on the right.

Peru crack 2

A close-up of one of the fissures.    In case you haven’t been paying attention,  there have been cracks and fissures in the earth all over our planet in recent years, happening with increasing frequency.    Sometimes they are preceded by immense  groans and howls and roaring noises from deep in the earth;  sometimes the strange sounds are reflected up into the atmosphere.

peru crack 3

The surface, the ground we stand on seems to be undergoing “some changes.”

My yard seems to be okay right now.

But not my life,  not  my world,  not the people in the world around me.   Because of what happened to my body in Florida,  I now have to see a doctor — that is an earthquake of a change for me,  one that keeps me up at night.  But enough of that.

Our dear young Friend (in Son’s life),  our dear young Friend M.,  must undergo surgery for a rather serious cancer.   This week.    We just found out.     Her health is no longer “firm ground” to be counted on, though she is so very young.

“Fissures”  and incisions:

Operating theater

 

Son is on his way to Florida to close out family business after my sister’s death.  We are her only surviving family.     Sorrow that he just missed seeing her alive.   Uncertainty, as he closes out her house,  makes thousands of little decisions,  meets new people,   perhaps attends a memorial service among people he doesn’t know — oh, yes, and all this in the extreme heat and unusual traffic patterns in that crowded little city, hopefully being able to afford a somewhat unplanned-for trip.

And worst of all —

plane off he goes

—  worst of all, he’s not driving.

I didn’t know it would happen,  but when you become a mother of a son,  every thought and action of that son,  every event,  every experience, good and bad,   squirms around in the mother’s heart.       What happens to him happens to me. *

Because I have a son,   I now understand the relationship between Our Lady,  the Virgin Mary,  and her son,  Jesus.     Even more  “better,”  I understand the Gospel  —   the Annunciation, Birth,  Passion, and Death,  Resurrection,  Ascension, etc.  of Jesus,  (almost) through the eyes and heart of His mother.

Both Rosary mine 70men and women who experience the prayers and meditations in the Rosary have been moved deeply,   broken,  during prayer;  broken,  fractured in their spirits,  cracked apart by the actions of the Holy Spirit,  in the process of being shown new insights,  and growing.     The rosary  can move you to a meltdown,   in today’s  vocabulary.

So —  sister,  son,  young friend,  and me:   my whole world cracks apart around me.   I’m standing on . . .  what?   What to trust?  What to count on?

In the last post I promised you I’d copy down the Last Words that my sister Nancy heard on this planet earth.   I have the permission of the speaker of those words now – with the condition that I do not give him credit for the words,  but that he was only speaking words from heaven that came through him..

Therefore,  these are God’s loving, comforting, encouraging  words to a dying person:

The . . . hospice nurse had the curtain closed, the lights dimmed and a soft, sweet, relaxing aroma in the air.  From Nancy’s ragged breathing and posture, we knew she was close to her journey.  I calmly reassured her that she has no unfinished business here.  (I)  am . . . good, (My Son)   is good, M.    is getting her treatments, Dusty has a home, it is only up to her.  It is okay to stop fighting, to go and join Jesus.  I know she could hear me, she just couldn’t respond.  So I read Psalm 122 to her.  Talked to her and stroked her forehead a bit, then read Psalm 23.   I prayed private prayers of encouragement to her, assuring her that everything she had learned as a faithful servant is true.  Jesus is waiting for you.  He won’t grab you and pull you, He will wait for you to reach out to Him.  There is no need to fight or be in fear of leaving the pain to go to the joy and peace Jesus promises us.  He is God and God keeps all his promises.  The only fear we have as Christians is that of leaving what we know and have lived, for something we cannot touch or even understand.  This, Nancy, is the ultimate display of your faith.  One day you will see all of us again.  And you will see all your friends and relatives who passed before you.

 

Oh, my.    Deep fissures and cracking apart again as I reread that.    Amidst all the uncertainties and during all the “bad” events in our lives,   the Good God does break in and show us that He is there, waiting for us to turn to Him.

Like the Prodigal Son,  there comes a time when we must  “come to our senses.”

_______________________________________________

Please.  You have a soul that is everlasting.   You   ( your soul, your whole you)  are on a journey from this life to the next.    Read the words again . . .  that is the pathway that is Solid Ground.   It won’t crack apart and disappoint.

bar dissolve er

.*   Son is quite capable.  He is strong and intelligent and has resourcefulness and equanimity that will see him through.    I’ve no doubt.     But —  he’s still . . .  vulnerable.

 

WELL . . .

Posted July 29, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Death, Family

Tags: ,

The day has come.

Chart in Blue

 

My sister Nancy passed away this afternoon, July 29, 2018, at about 2:10 p.m.

Well,  just a few hours ago.      Still feel a little numb;  nothing much to say.

. . .

Well,  I have the last words that were spoken to her.    I’ll get that copied down later.    You need to know what she heard during her last hour.   We all wonder what will be happening to us during that last hour, that last half hour, that last minute or so before we die.

That separating point between this world and the next world.

white feather rising.jpg

The soul is mostly up and leaving,  the memory of earth is mostly fading.

………………….

Well,  something like that.

 

THE BOOK OF LIFE AND OTHER BOOKS

Posted July 27, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Creator, Death, Four Last Things

Tags: , ,

All time seems to be suspended.  Or all activity suspended while my sister in Florida struggles to die.

Death nis a Feather Rising

It doesn’t always come quickly.    Sometimes it’s a days-long process.   That little white feather rises upwards ever so slowly.

It flutters back down, rests awhile,  then flutters up again.   One time it will just keep rising.

________________________________________________________

Though my sister has expressed her wish to have known different things,  known more,  done more,  made different choices,  still her life could fill a book, just as all our lives could be written into a book.

Horses would figure prominently in my sister’s life.

Nancy and Dusty 380

Nancy and Dusty

This photo was taken just a few years ago.  Nancy had always had horses.    I guess she got it from our Mom:

Mom on Horses 325

Nancy and our Mom on horseback,  both looking like teenagers.

There is much more to Nancy’s life, written in her Book.   It’s like the Book that is being kept on all of us —

book of life

A  “book” is a good metaphor for the record we are making while we live here on earth.  A record book that will be used in our Final Accounting.  And we hope we are written in the Book of Life.

Our lives not only could be written in a book,  our lives are being written in a “Book.”

We have been watched all our lives —

been watched

If our eyes were opened,  if the veil could be lifted from our eyes,  we would be able to see the spiritual world which permeates our physical world,  all around us and through and through.

Nothing is hidden from that spiritual world.

Of course our misdeeds and unkindnesses are not hidden,  but so too are all the other aspects of our lives an open  “book”  to our Creator and to all the intelligences of that spiritual realm,  including what we call the angels.   Nothing  hidden, good and bad.

It is a good idea to think about “writing”  a “book” about your life.    You could write it and rewrite it,  many times, until it feels right and until you know yourself and until you feel ready for your own Judgment.     Be prepared.

God is love —  but He is just.     You will stand before Love and Justice.

“Search me, O God . . . ”     Prove me, O God, and know my heart: examine me, and know my paths.    And  see if there be in me the way of iniquity: and lead me in the eternal way.    (Psalms  138:  23, 24  — or Psalms 139 in the Jewish numbering)

My sister Nancy’s book is just about all written.     She is nearly out of time to make amendments.

But that’s what our “Book” is for.    You are not the person you were years ago,  weeks ago, days ago —   you are only the person you are at this moment.     You have time to write your  Book the way you really want it to be when you return to your Creator in the  next life.

And I thank my sister for teaching me this lesson.

Angel sad 75

.

“BABY SISTER”

Posted July 25, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Uncategorized

 

Angel sad 75    Well,  this week is turning into a Watch.     I don’t want to give the Watch a name,  what kind of Watch,   but news about my sister in Florida was not good today.    I wait now,  I wait tomorrow,  and will continue to wait for the inevitable even worse news.

 

_______________________________________________________

ruby red

I wrote yesterday about coffee.   Sure, it’s a nutritious drink,  but it also is a good mood elevator.    So,  this ruby red cup and saucer  was near me today.    It didn’t work.   The approach of death trumps a cup of coffee.

I grew up an only child.   And then my Mom had a baby girl.  Just as I was about to leave home in a couple years,  I now had a sister!

Nancy baby in my arms 380

I had become a sister!

Nancy Mom and Me 390

Mom, Nancy, and me

I even got to be the one to pick out her name.  I chose Nancy Lee because I thought that was such a pretty name.    I was Nancy Lee’s sister,  but I was more a Mom to her, because I wanted to do just about everything one does for a baby.

I didn’t know it at the time that photo of my Mom was taken, but . . .  there was another sister on the way,  eleven months after my first sister:

Nancy Baby Cheryl Me winter 380

(We lived in the Far Far North at that time.)   So,  double good!   Now I have two sisters,      Nancy Lee and Cheryl Lynn.      I did twice the mothering of these two little live dolls.

I never really actually learned what it was like to be someone’s sister because I was too much their “second mother.”    In fact,  the summer after I left home —

Nancy Cheryl Kris rocking chair

—    Nancy recalls that she thought every family had a two mothers,  and she didn’t understand why I went away.  I didn’t know at the time that she missed me so much.  I didn’t understand how close we had been.

Nancy and I took separate paths.  I  graduated from college,  got married, had children, and Hubbie wanted to stay in the Far North;  the rest of my family moved to Florida – a move that I could never understand.     Nancy did this and that  and made a life for herself in Florida.

It was only a couple of years ago, when both our Mom and Dad had died,  that Nancy and I became reacquainted as adults – and most of all,  as sisters.    I was just learning that feeling,  just learning what is was like to have someone know my family background in an intimate way, with all the insight and understanding and pleasure that that adds to one’s life.

And then came the sudden diagnosis about three months ago.   Terrible diagnosis.  The worst.    There is no treatment, and Nancy had a couple months at the very most to live.  Not anyone is ready for that,  when it comes out of the blue.

Not the person who receives that diagnosis.    Not the sister.

CANT do this

The phone call today indicated that she is very much worse than when I was with her in June.  (You can check the archives for my trip to see her.)    But I can’t do what you see in that picture.  I can’t be with her to hold her hand,  and that’s about all I want to do right now.   I want to sit at her bedside  — to talk . . .  to smile . . .  to pray . . .  to pat her hand  . . .  to give her hands a squeeze when necessary . . .

I’ve been told not to travel for a while.

So I keep Watch, up here in the Far North.

Angel sad

 

Keeping watch, and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the angels are keeping watch with us.

 

 

A REFRESHMENT BREAK

Posted July 24, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Christendom, Uncategorized

Tags:

c perc

 

“What’s this blog all about?”    Well, I don’t know,  you can read the column to the right:  it says  “random.”  Random thoughts.    That’s because my mind is like a kaleidoscope —  it’s made up of a thousand bright sparkly colors, each representing something very interesting in this life!  And each one taking “center stage” for a while.

My favorite childhood poem:     (by Olive Beaupre Miller)

The world is so full of a number of things

I’m sure we could all be as happy as kings!

I wish you a kaleidoscope mind too!

So –  some refreshment tonight,  thanks to the good Pope Clement VIII a few hundred years ago. . . .

C outside door

A “necessary”  trip to one of my favorite stores.

And just to the left of that photo is the actual entrance with welcoming signs:

c welcoming entrance

Much to my surprise, the insides had been totally scrambled around  since I was last there.  That is,  they moved the tables and chairs towards the front, so it looks more like a comfortable coffee shop;  and where I was heading is now in the back section:

C whole shelves 380

Hundreds of little white bags of every flavor of coffee you can imagine!     Here is a sample from a previous trip, a few years ago, actually:

coffee-trip

This time I got only three bags:  Toasted Almond,  Mackinaw Island Fudge,  and Almond Coco  (which says it taste like an almond joy . . .  and kind of does.)     With the Toasted Almond, I can slant the flavor to the almond side with a few beans.  Or I can make it taste slightly more chocolate by adding a few Fudge beans.

Oh, I like plain coffee too.   Guatemalan is my favorite –  and Light Roast to retain the good enzymes and antioxidants that coffee beans offer.

Before I left I purchased a treat for my young friend which is also sold there —

c smoothie

Peach-Pear smoothie.    With  whipped cream.

They’re delicious!  But I didn’t get one this time.

Although I didn’t drink coffee until I was really old,   old enough to . . .  well, to be someone’s grandmother,   Daughter started me out on espresso, which is still my favorite.   Regular coffee is fun.    But I’m more into juicing nowadays:

c juicing

Blueberry juice today.

I need every bit of concentrated nutrition that I can get.   Everyone does, really.    How grateful we should be that in this country we can get a wide variety of fruits and vegetables,  eat them, juice them,  use them to heal our bodies and give us health and energy!

Coffee beans are vegetables.   Or a fruit.   Or plant material, at least.  Full of nutrition!

And, yes,  at one time, when coffee was new in Europe, it was controversial.    How can something this good and this energizing and coming from the Arab world be  anything less than sinful?

So when coffee finally reached Venice in the early 1600s,  1605-1615,  these scaredy-cats brought their coffee troubles to the pope who refused to condemn the new drink until he had first sampled it.

It gave him a good smile, just as it does with many of us today!    He blessed the rest of the  beans they had brought to him and pronounced it Good.

Deo gratias.

 

 

 

“FLORIDA” UPDATE

Posted July 20, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Death, Family

Tags: ,

Events in Florida very much on my mind:

 

VISION

That picture is not far from what my younger sister described to me about a vision that she had quite a while ago.

As you may know, or remember from being here in The Spruce Tunnel in June,   I drove down to Florida to be with my younger sister after her sudden and surprising  terminal diagnosis.   She was not given much time.

I spent time with her,  did what I could for her,  but eventually I had to return home, leaving her safely in the care of Hospice.     I then ended up in the hospital with pulmonary embolisms, partly from “too much driving”  and told not to drive like that anytime soon.  I cannot be with my sister during her last days.

My sister believes in Jesus,  she is what a Protestant would call Born Again, what a Catholic would call Born From Above.   Her vision was of a private audience with Jesus, Who told her that “everything will be all right,”  among other things.

He is calling her home now – soon.

across the meadow

She is less and less responsive.  Her food has been untouched for days.    Today her visitor from her church texted me to say she did not open her eyes.

I have some serious health issues too, and I may be following my sister sooner than I thought, although not too soon.   If  I get through them, I will tell you how I did it.   But  all of you, dear readers,  all of us, will also follow my sister,  in God’s good time.

I’ve said many times before,   this Earth was never meant to be our permanent home.   If we want,  we all can have the saints and angels accompany us, teach us,  guide us,  comfort us.  Here are the words of one:

Life is Passing

She died at 24 years old — but, oh,  how much she learned while she was here. *

We were all created for God, and by His love he wants to lead us into “the very life of God.”

My sister can’t have that until she leaves this Earth.

I should feel  okay about that.

 

____________________________________________

.*    St. Therese of Lesieux.

CODA

Posted July 20, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: War Against America

Just a brief addendum, a kind of coda to the last post:

Apparently others are keeping an eye on the 2018 state and local elections. From WND:

As many as 100 Muslims filed to run for statewide or national office in this election cycle, a record number far exceeding the dozen that ran in 2016.

Many of the candidates say they were motivated by President Trump’s “anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies,” claiming America is experiencing growing anti-Muslim sentiment, reported National Public Radio. 

So, the increased number of M o s l e m s  running for office has been noticed.  These are men and women who are running as M o s l e m s,  not as Americans whose religion is whatever it is.     Actually, there are an increased number of candidates who are running as socialists and proud communists, too.

The second paragraph of that quoted news story is telling, though.   NPR parrots the idea that America “is experiencing growing anti-Muslim sentiment.”      But later in this news article it is reported that what is increasing, alarmingly, is growing anti-semitism:

However, the latest FBI statistics, which came out last fall, showed anti-Semitic hate crimes are more than two times more common than hate crimes against Muslims.

But NPR would not have reported that.   And who brings with them anti-semitism?

President Trump’s attitude?   There are six countries in the world – more, really –  but six  countries named by our administration in which the governments are in such chaos and record-keeping is so poor, that it cannot be determined what the background or intentions of any of the “asylum seekers’ is, and so there is to be  a temporary  ban on people coming in from those countries.

Those six countries are all torn by Islamic strife and civil tribal warfare.     This is the “blame” put on President Trump.  this is the excuse tocall him anti-M o s l e m.    This is the motivation for pushing back against our president by running for office.

This is repeated by National Public Radio, without context or comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIDING THE WRECKING BALL

Posted July 20, 2018 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Current Events, Lessons from History, War Against America

Tags: , ,

(Who  will be our new state attorneys-general?     How will they change the United States as we know it?)

_________________________________________________

According to an analysis presented by the JihadWatch Website,  the advance of Jihad around the world is due more to non-Muslims than to Muslims.   All things considered.

The West doing it to the West

Incoming in europe

Incoming (into Europe)

 

Those geographical areas in  Europe which are the sites of the most decisive victories over Islamic aggression in the past,  are now either overwhelmed  by Islamic “migrants”  or, as in the case of the location of the Battle of Tours,  there are plans,  government-approved plans, to build a big mosque,  right there.  (Please look up the significance of the Battle of Tours, if you didn’t learn it in “school”)

The West allows Invasion of the West

Incoming Greece

Incoming into southern Europe  (Greece)

 

In our country,  both the radical Global-Socialists and the M o s l e m s   are running for smaller local and state offices this Fall in a new strategy to dominate decision-making positions.    Not too long ago there was a news article about the many millions of dollars that George Soros is pouring into state elections –  chiefly in the positions of attorney general.    People were thinking that was odd, so much money into non-famous elections — until they saw a pattern behind the foreign promotion of Radical Leftists in our elections.

(Do you pay attention to who’s running for attorney-general in your state?)

 

United Sates doing it to itself

People in Mexico climb the border wall fence as a caravan of migrants and supporters reached the United States-Mexico border near San Diego, California

Incoming,  Mexican-American border – many found to be Afghanis 

 

Notice that the “Incoming”  are single men of military age . . . .

Oh, running for office:    Here’s a name that the entertainment-news media  shows us once in a while.  The name is “Keith Ellison”  a Congressman from Minnesota  (also nicknamed  Somalistan for the many influential settlements of M o s l  e m s from Somalia there,)  but his real name now is Hakim Muhammad.  And he’s not running for Congressman anymore  —  he’s running   for state attorney-general.     More influence in that position.     Just one problem —  he has let his law license lapse.    He can no longer perform in the position of attorney-general.

But that won’t be a problem, will it?    Just watch presidential politics:  if you are on the far and radical Left,  you can commit felonies,  break U.S. laws,  defy Congressional  requests for information . . .  smash your subpoenaed Blackberries . . . .   And life goes on for you.   Keep an eye on the campaign of Hakim Muhammad.

How do these  deciders of law in  America work?      One area of our law system just proclaimed that  FMG may not actually be illegal in America!               (That would be this) —

Holding her down

  Holding her down for FMG       (United States)

I think this opinion will be opposed for now.

Of course,  we’re allowing unregulated,  unchecked invasion into  our borders because there are “families”  among them.  We’re letting it happen “for the children.”

“Children” in Sweden:

A Swedish dentist has been fired and fined after revealing that 80% of migrant “children” referred to him turned out to be adults.

In a shocking discovery, Mr Bernt Herlitz, a dental hygienist from Gotland, in Sweden, found in 2016 that 80% of the “children” he was inspecting were in fact fully grown adults, determined from the fact their wisdom teeth were fully grown.

“Fired and Fined” —   for telling the truth.    “If you see something , say something.”

Scandinavia is kind of like the caged canary in the mine —  watch what happens to their little countries.    Here’s what happen when a “Child Asylum Seeker”   was domiciled  into a rural Norwegian village:

  • At just before 10 pm on Saturday night, police were called to an attack at the Coop supermarket in Vadsø,  said local media,  reporting that victim Håvard Pedersen was found with cuts to the throat, and declared dead shortly after emergency services arrived at the scene.

With the help of a private boat after the suspect jumped into the sea, police  arrested a 17-year-old Afghan at just before 8 am on Sunday morning. . . .

*(aftenposten.no)

 

The article goes on with several other “Children”  committing murders and rapes around Europe.

MACHETE 200.png       I don’t think the only threat is random acts of crime.  The main threat doesn’t even come from  Mo s l e m people like  the infamous anti-Trump John Brennan,  the Barack Hussein person’s choice for CIA Director, and a convert to Islam.

Maybe the greatest threat is the wrecking ball we have created  from so many small decisions, so many small ignorances and misinformations,  so many shrugs of our shoulders, collectively speaking.

It’s a serious situation.  But  maybe some humor will set the point in our minds:

 

Riding the WRecking Ball

 

____________________________________________________

While it is true that Russia provides a threat to us,  by all accounts,  China is an even  greater and more immediate threat.   If you keep an eye on  the “Norse Attack Threat”  Website,  which is an animated real-time map of where cyber attacks are coming from and where they’re going,  you’ll see why the latest report about China  making more than a million attacks a day on American institutions,  chiefly government and universities.   How many are successful?

And yet Islamic aggression  provides a different,  perhaps stronger threat — because we are helping them, ,  helping them to wreck us.

__________________________

(The Norse Attack Threat Map that I have bookmarked is not working right now.  Perhaps they’re under attack?   #522 Host Error)