Archive for April 2009


April 30, 2009


Think about this:    There are a lot of elements that make up our “world”:  Our friends and family;   our home;   our work;    our plans;  our possessions ;  and more largely, how our society works, our place in society, our duties and responsibilities in society;  and even larger still, our culture, our history, our religion, our government and our participation in it,  and our language — or more accurately, our vocabulary within our language.

I’m reading a book right now called The Four Winds of Heaven, by Monique Raphel High.    I’m reading it more and more slowly because I’m almost at the end and I don’t want it to end.   It’s that good  (i.e., informative).

The setting is Russia, approximately 1900 – 1920.    The story is told from the point of view of several families of Russia’s lower nobility.   These are the working nobility, they work hard and long hours for  their money and investments,  much like the middle class of 20th century America — only with titles and with a sense of their own identity and self-worth.

And then the winds of revolution sweep across Russia.   Very few in Russia want the revolution.   They wanted reforms, yes, and their Tsar was working on developing a stronger parliamentary system, as his cousins in Europe had developed.

But revolution came,  and with murderous efficiency the Extreme  Left  established itself as the governing force of Russia — whose name the revolutionaries changed to reflect their dominance.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE that as the Extreme Left, the socialists, murdered and intimidated their way into dominance, nearly everyone else was at first unaware of their aims, their threat, and then unaware of how to oppose them effectively.   Nearly every citizen of Russia was the victim of the socialist takeover. Their world ended, and everything they had in their world was gone.

The Russians loved Mother Russia.   And the only world they knew had ended.


April 30, 2009

I’ve already “pouted” about the end of winter in the Spruce Tunnel, in a previou post.   No more skiing;   no more cool, crisp, refreshing air to breathe;   no more walks in the blue-white light of snowy nights…

Now we have wet, chilly days alternating with hot, humid days when it’s apparently too early to think of air conditioners for the stuffy buildings.

And we have muddy paths:  spring-muddy-path

And it’s too early for flowers (under my brown thumb):spring-tiny-plant

But —  I was posting yesterday about how a good Funk always ends, eventually, and it usually ends with the slow dawning of an “idea.”   After a long period of nothingness, the brain just starts getting drawn to something, and before long that “something” takes up more and more of your attention and you start coming out of the Funk with renewed interest and energy and purpose — and sometimes a with a new angle on life.    Life itself begins again.

The  backyward pond seems to be drawing my attention to this process.  Can’t see these in the winter, but they’re fascinating:  duckliongs-follow-out

And then the goldfish have reappeared.   We are counting as many as 18, which is far more than we counted at the end of September.  fish-in-a-bunch

They have SURVIVED the End of Winter – and they’re going places now!  fish-in-a-line

I guess when something Ends, something, then, begins.


April 29, 2009


That’s not my photo above;  it’s from my friend-with-the-great-camera.   And also a great view looking out over Mackinac Island.     This scene  reminds me of some things my mind is telling me right now.

One of the most useful words to come out of those misguided revolutionary decades of the ’60s and ’70s is the word “funk.”   It’s  just simply the best word to describe a common human experience.  Sometimes you can use some adjectives, like “a deep, blue funk,”  but mostly, when you are “In a Funk,”  you don’t even care enough to conjure up some adjectives.   Just….funk.

When you are In a Funk, you think you are feeling pretty bad, pretty depressed, we’d say today, and we clearly feel the meaninglessness of everything.    No matter how much “self-talk” you do to get yourself feeling better,  it’s all junk…clunk….funk.    

Feeling bad gets to feeling familiar and you don’t even care to get out of your funk.     There is a technique for this:   When an idea comes your way that might threaten your funk, you just open your eyelids slowly…and give a slight roll to your eyes.    Idea gone.   Who cares….  (This works for people who are bothering you too.)

But the thing is,  a funk will end.    No pills necessary.    Actually, no substances necessary.  You just start noticing that there are things going on in your brain that aren’t part of being In a Funk.     And then —  an idea begins to engage your brain.  It doesn’t matter who or where the idea came from.

In spite of yourself, that idea grows and grows until it makes more sense than the Funk you’re in,  and the meaningfulness of the idea dissolves the meaninglessness of the Funk you are leaving.

The reason for all this?   I think a funk is a spiritual condition.   Not a bad spiritual condiiton, but rather a necessary spiritual condition.    A funk erases all the distractions that have you stalled for a while, and that erasure feels like things have become “meaningless.”     Sometimes you can even find something or someone to blame for your funk, but it turns out to be rather irrelevant.

Once the distractions are cleared, your mind finds space to build and rearrange and clarify and focus.   Consciousness is slowly restored.    The “idea” or whatever “engages” your mind….your funk leaves….and you become rather fascinated with the new idea, the new direction, the new motivation, the impulse to continue.

As a Christian, having given over my life to Our Lord to use as He sees fit, I can see that this whole process is the Grace of God at work inside me.   

No matter how well I can get a funk going,  the Grace of God is guiding it and  brings it to an end – with a purpose in His Mind.   Always a sunrise.


April 26, 2009


For many, many centuries in a row, on this second Sunday after Easter,  Christians have heard John 10 read when they go to church.     This is one of my favorite Readings for the whole year.   The Gentle Shepherd who would lay down His life for His own sheep.    No one else would.     There is such an initimate relationship between this Good Shepherd and His sheep.

I’m familiar and grateful for these words:   “I am the Good Shepherd.”     And:  “I know mine, and mine know me.”     

In the sermon today we were told that one of the ways that we can show that we are hearing His voice is if we obey His commandments, and also if we love as He told us to love.   Do  I hear and obey my own Shepherd?     Do I keep my ear open for other shepherds too?      Or is Jesus my One and Only Shepherd, as St. Thomas says last week:   “My Lord and My God. ”       (I’m sure my Shepherd knew I needed to revisit  those issues this year.)

But, today I also deeply needed to hear this part of the Reading:     “…and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.”        Sometimes I feel like a jigsaw puzzle that is not quite put together yet.    I have good friends and good things to do, but my friends at church don’t know my friends at work who don’t know my neighbors who don’t know my friends I go out and do things with who don’t know my friends in my classes who don’t know any of my family members….none of those groups really know much about any of those other groups.   

I’m at the hub of a wheel with good spokes radiating out in all directions, but the spokes don’t have much to do with each other.     

Maybe this is what it means that this century has lost its sense of  “community”;  or maybe it is just me, growing up an only child with no one in particular to talk to – or to hear me if I ever said anything out loud.     Or maybe it’s because the post-modern ultra-materialistic society we live in doesn’t provide any way to actually communicate with each other if we all live within our own “truths” as we float around in a sea of relativism.

I want to be part of One Fold – with all His other sheep in it.     One fold that I can see and feel and talk to and be talked with….but St. John uses a future tense for his verb:   “…and they SHALL be One Fold…”       It is in truth, but not yet in experience.

Meanwhile, as in the old picture above, He picks us up, one at a time.   And I know I have things I’m supposed to do right now, before He puts me where all the sheep know each other.     “There.”     He points me to the patch of grass where He wants me to be.


April 22, 2009


Not too long ago I posted a blog called “Post hoc ergo propter hoc.”   Suzy my cat illustrated the point I was making.    A patch of  sunshine on a windy day.    Sunshine goes away.  Kitty gets mom.   Sunshine comes back.   Kitty is happy in the patch of sunshine again.   Unfortunately for me,  it WAS a windy day.     “Kitty” repeated the magic all afternoon, or tried to.   

Just because something happened after something else doesn’t mean one  something caused the other  something.

I thought I understood that pretty well.     Until yesterday….and today.    Yesterday, after twelve days of no work coming in,  I posted a happy little message about being all caught up on urgent things and there were six nice long hours stretching in front of me with  no specific thing to do.    Ahhhhh, leisure.

Today I’ve received five jobs, medium size and large size…and there is a promise of several more to come…all with deadlines within the next few days.    And two more classes I have to prepare for….

As soon as I say I have some free hours….

It’s not supposed to happen that I “tempt fate” by  talking about my “free time” !    I didn’t get that work because of anything I said.     It’s NOT about ME!       Now I’ll be thinking about the nature of  coincidence in an impersonal world.   

And for that matter, my friend, the nature of good things and very, very bad things in this impersonal world.      But we don’t always cause things to happen.

I’ll be thinking about that while I desperately try to keep up with all this work.


April 21, 2009


Right now I have six free hours before the next scheduled event.    There are many things to do, but there are no deadlines and nothing absolutely pressing to do.   If I sat down with a book for these six hours, it wouldn’t matter…much.    But it would matter, greatly, in the end, because there are many important things that I should be doing. 

It’s the kind of day that I need a scheduled routine for.   A daily check-list, flexible enough to be reasonable but definite enough provide a measure for the day’s accomplishments.   It’s not a matter of intelligence.   It’s a matter of discipline, by one’s own will.

Free will.   

Very difficult.

I believe that is part of the reason that the Christian monks “saved” civilization.   They lived and they taught a well-rounded day of prayer, work, and leisure.     I think I will start my six “free” hours by reading that portion of the Rule of St. Benedict assigned for this day.    Perhaps  the wisdom of the past centuries will help me redeem my time.

TUESDAYS:      Dedicated to the Holy Apostles.        Let’s see what St. Paul, Apostle, has to say about this.        “See, brethren, how you walk circumspectly:  not as unwise, but  as wise;    redeeming the time, because  the  days  are  evil.”   Ephesians  5:16, 17)   “quoniam dies mali sunt.”      

“Mali,”   indeed.


April 19, 2009


I shall know Him, I shall know Him,

And redeemed by His side I shall stand

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,

By the print of the nails in His hand.

How I wish I could hear my Grandma sing that old refrain again!   Here is the first verse:  “When my life work is ended and I cross the swelling tide,  When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;   I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side; And His smile will be the first to welcome me.”   And then the refrain again.

With so many strange stories coming to us from “the other side” and from “near death experiences,”  here, today, it is confirmed that Our Dear Lord has kept the precious mark of the nails in his hands, for Thomas, and for us.    Thomas saw them, and believed;  and Our Lord said He would be pleased with us who have not yet seen, but still we believe.  Of all the strange things we could choose to believe in nowadays,  only the Risen Lord carries  the marks of  what He has done for us.

nail-bl-whThe way the world sees it, these nails held our Savior to the Cross.   The way Faith sees it, it was His love which held Him there.   From our Readings:   “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater…because He hath testified of His Son.”


April 18, 2009


There are three ways to diminish our vocabulary to the point where we are incapable of intelligent analysis:      1.   Cease deliberate learning;     2.    Watch television and movies;    3. Read fiction and non-fiction only from the past 60 years.       I promise — your vocabulary and intellectual ability will lessen if you commonly do one or more of those things, and it is not accidental.

It  was as deliberate a deed as the recent coup d’etat (koo-d-‘TUH)  we have witnessed.    A coup d’etat is a usually somewhat sudden takeover of a legitmate government by some faction within that nation.    Usually that faction has been around for decades, and they do their plotting and planning in “dark places” — which today means out of the scrutiny by the media which should have delivered to the nation the information it  needed to know.

If you infiltrate the media and if you infiltrate the schools, then the “vocablulary” of the nation is simplified to the point where the citizens, as a whole, are unable to recognize what is going to happen.    With a simplified vocabulary any particular faction can easily appeal to the emotions of the nation’s people.   The people can be told they want, they need, they should fear, they should follow….

molech-2002When the time is right, the faction is ready to come out of its “dark place” and present itself as Just What This Country Needs.     They think they are in charge now.   But in reality, the Old Gods are coming back.

Perhaps I am excessively gloomy…..the road to the Spruce Tunnel has been closed for a few days.    Bridge repair.


April 16, 2009

We were pleased to hear the individual known to the media as Joe the Plumber speak to us of ordinary common sense.    This is the ordinary common sense that all 5,000 of us  at the Tea Party yesterday have that tells us that something is not right in our country.  The government that we have elected to represent us…is not. 

I seem to be “blocked” by security measures from uploading the short video of his speech, but it can be found among the videos offered by the Lansing State Journal.  Perhaps I can give you a link to the newspaper:

This is why I keep writing the word INDIVIDUAL:


Being an individual means I am not a “demographic unit” that the government has to deal with!
Being an individual means I am not the color fo my skin or the age or sex or health or ability of my physical body, 
Being an individual means my efforts, my hard work, my achievements matter.
Being an individual means I can freely offer what I want to do  for the good of others.
Being an indvidual means my character matters.


April 16, 2009


Our local paper reported 5,000 people at the Tea Party yesterday on the capitol lawn.   I will just have to remark, again, what a nice group of people that was!  It was a gathering of like-minded individuals who were informed, concerned, and aware of their worth as citizens of the United States!     Flags were waving and signs were displayed — and so were smiles and voices of enthusiasm!


There were speakers, there were shouts of agreement, and there was applause, but the thing I noticed most was the conversation among strangers, interested to find out about each other’s point of view.   I heard from the local radio news that the day was “good for downtown business.”  I know that to be true because my husband and I met a very nice couple, and it seemed natural to have a little post Tea Party lunch together, in a downtown restaurant that was new to us.   I don’t believe we exchanged last names, but the conversation was pleasant and our company together extended the experience we had felt during the rally.    We are thankful for their friendliness and hope they found us friendly likewise.    How good to be among normal fellow-citizens — all 5,000 of them!


Here is the meaning of a republic:  citizens of the local state, gathering together to express their opinions, publicly, and at the place where their local representatives meet together to do the business of governing that we have elected them to do.


April 16, 2009

“Red sky in morning; sailors take warning.”


That is  a  sunrise, looking east-southeast out of my window.    If I were a sailor, I would look upon that as a bad omen.  Something is coming.    Gather up all my skills, all my wits, all my equipment.  Life must go on in good times and also in very bad and dangerous times, but it stirs my ancestral blood.    It will be tough – but I can handle this!   

 There is a general sense that something bad is building up, something bigger than we are and it’s not under our control.    It’s not here yet but we can see it on the horizon.   Our sunrise is both beautiful and menacing.

Before I report on our doings yesterday at the Lansing Tea Party,  I want to say first of all that in spite of a beautiful and meaningful day with a couple thousand good-hearted, good-natured, intelligent, informed and concerned fellow-citizens, I also perceived an awareness that there is a storm coming.

viking-boat-j1To those Rus Viking ancestors whom I’m accountable to and whom I’m writing to, I may soon be confronting a challenge that will change the course of history, one way or the other. I don’t have oars for my longboat;  I don’t have my axe close at hand;  I have no sword.  Today I fight with words and pray I can sail the seas of change with the wisdom and courage which God and the Faith and my heritage requires of me.


April 15, 2009

No….not this one.


This one!


I’ve read the reports on the dangers of microwaving your food.  I’ve seen the cell walls of food under a microscope after the food had been microwaved.   I know that microwaving our food changes its qualities, destroys the nutrition in it, and gives us toxins that our bodies have to deal with.   I don’t heat up my food in a microwave anymore.

But according to Tips for Housewives, “when your honey begins to crystalize and harden up, just a few seconds”in the microwave will soften it again. . . .”   So I did this to some honey that was beginning to crystalize.  

A week later I noticed a change in my honey.     Honey – which is “sterile”;  it can be used to prevent the growth of bacteria;  it can prevent infections in a wound…this honey that was microwaved now has a thick film of bacteria on it!   

Is this visible evidence that it is no longer “honey” but just something that looks like honey?   Is it still nutritious?

A long time ago I read that the Soviet Union does not allow microwave ovens for use in the kitchens of its citizens.    I seem to remember they had another use for microwaves.  I believe they cleverly aimed microwaves at the U.S. embassy….and our officials began to come down with leukemia…and they died.   

honey-3For all my friends and family, whomI love:   I don’t know what happened to my honey.  I’m not a scientist.   But please be careful when you microwave your food with your ovens and your heads with your cell phones.


April 13, 2009











After our 40 Days of Lent and after the emotional and spiritual wrenching of Holy Week, the somber stillness of  Saturday, then comes Easter – joy and relief and gratititude — all the wonderful feelings a believer in Christ allows himself to celebrate.

We are indeed a Resurrection People!

But the Monday after Easter?    Well, around this house, two pipes broke in two different rooms in the house, exceeding my husband’s capacity for on-the-spot plumbing fixes.   So we had a plumber visit us this afternoon.   I also had a big work deadline.   And I had some errands to run….back to  everyday life?    I imagine it was the same for many of you.  Everyday life resumed.

And what about the joy and meaning of our Easter celebrations just a few short hours ago?

God knows the  Mystery of the Resurrection can be  quickly buried under the concerns of everyday life, so the Faith that was handed down to us has arranged that there are EIGHT days of Easter.   That gives us time to explore  different aspects of the Resurrection, and we can grow spiritually into a better understanding of what Christ has accomplished for us.

That means the Death and Resurrection of Christ has eight days to sink in — a much more human speed than the speed of life in this century!   

Next Sunday is the Octave of Easter, the eighth day, the time when we sum up and thank God for all the New Growth another Easter has given us.    With the world pulling us away from meditating on all that Christ has done for us, IT’S ALL UP TO US to make use of this week  in our daily prayers and study


April 12, 2009



Plilippians 2:8-11 –   “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross;  for which cause God also hath exalted Him and given Him a name which is above all names;  that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth;  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father”

John  10:28 – “And I give them life everlasting and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of the hand of my Father.”


April 11, 2009 inferos inferos

To Hell (inferos)   Is  THAT  where He went?    Ancient languages were a little unspecific about “where”  and the English language is a bit inadequate too.   But that’s in our Creed:  “He descended to Hell…”

So where is “inferos”?    If we think about time, chronological Earth time,  then those who died in Faith, from Adam all the way to the morning of Good Friday,  have died before the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which alone makes it possible for humans to enter Heaven.   So  then there was a state of existence in the afterlife for those dead who were made righteous by faith in the coming Messiah.   

This is what Peter in the Bible is referring to as a kind of shadowy place of the dead:  Hades, Sheol, where those souls are “imprisoned” until He comes for them:     “Because He died once for our sins. . . He could then offer us to God  . . .(I Peter 3:18)   and for those who had already died,   “He went and preached to those spirits that were in prison.”   (I Peter 3:19 -)   A kind of Joyous Easter for them!   Is this what they saw —

e-gate-of-heavenGATE OF HEAVEN !

We are taught that the merits of Christ have opened the gates of Heaven  for those who believe in Him.  

It can be poetically said that He is the Gate of Heaven!

Centuries ago our forefathers were praying to the Loving, Holy, Sacred Heart of Jesus:   “House of God , Gate of Heaven, have mercy on us!”

Tomorrow it is our turn to celebrate all this.


April 11, 2009


Saturday.   We are suspended between what happened yesterday on Good Friday and what we know will happen tomorrow on Easter morning.  

But it is still today.    Can we feel the desolation?   The loss?   Can we feel with the Disciples their loss and doubt and fear and uncertainty?   And can we feel their mixture of hope and faith and trust in their Lord Who has just left them in this horrible manner? 

I think that the degree to which we have united ourselves with Jesus, in each step of His Passion and Death is the degree to which we are able to feel that this day, Saturday, is different.   Lent has been preparation.

Hang on!   He will not forget any of His promises!


April 10, 2009



It  is the one that was struck and spat on and whose hairs were pulled….The Devotion to the Holy Face takes its starting point from this day, Good Friday.   In this Holy Face we can contemplate the entire meaning of this day.  We can contemplate but we can never fully comprehend.  

It starts with the choosing of Abraham.   Through his seed “all the nations of the world will be blessed.”    It continues on through a man called Jesse, who had a son called David, who became the King of God’s people, who said he would one day call his own descendant “Lord”    in Psalm 109:1  ( not the  Jewish numbering).    This is the Son of David to Whom the blind man called out, “Lord, that I may see!”

Then the prophet Isaias laid out the whole purpose in advance — in Isaias, chapter 11 —  “And there shall come forth a rod from the root of Jesse…and the Spirit shall rest upon Him…In that day, the root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign for His people,  Him shall the Gentiles seek, and His sepulchre shall become glorious….”

And back to Abraham….Genesis 12:3 “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee;  and IN THEE SHALL ALL THE KINDRED OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.”        Every son of Adam…justified.

John 12:32 – “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all things to Myself.”

I am of the Gentiles, of the Nations, one of those who is drawn to Him.     I,too, want to see His face.


April 9, 2009


After the Passover Supper  (“With desire I have desired to eat this last Pasch with you…”) and after the conversation and teaching that followed (see John 14-17) ; and after the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion (Matthew 26, Luke 22, John 6),   and after the demonstration of serving others in the washing of the feet of the disciples,  and after Judas had carried out his act of betrayal, then Jesus and His disciples left…for prayer in the Garden.   “My soul is sorrrowful even unto death…”  (Mark 14:34)  

The Lamb of God is coming close to His appointed Hour.

And the Full Moon can look very scary when evil seems to triumph.


April 9, 2009




molech-2001Our Overlords have designated this day, of all days, as the last day we can raise ourvoices against their plan to coerce doctors to act against their consciences. Under threat of losing their licenses to practice medicine, the Overlords will make it a law to force doctors to perform the most evil of deeds against innocent babies…and now in state after state, against the elderly, the senile, and the “severely handicapped.” Other healthcare workers would lose their jobs too. And hospitals will shut down. We all lose, but the Overlords win.

They have kept the deadline of this day fairly well hushed up.

THIS DAY ends in the remembrance of the Agony in the Garden. The cause for the Agony did not end 2,000 years ago.

This is why I posted yesterday not only about one Betrayal, but about Betrayals.


April 9, 2009


upper-room-south-wall2And He said to them:   With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you, before I suffer.”   (Luke 22:15)

You can still visit this place of His last Pasch today.


He had sent them out to find the man with the pitcher of water;  and the man showed the disciples where to prepare for this evening’s meal.

Everything is made ready.