Archive for August 2009

KATRINA, UNITED AIRLINES, & TYRANNY

August 31, 2009

Katrina sat

This weekend was the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Even though we live more than a thousand miles north of New Orleans, Katrina touched our lives personally – and, technically speaking, forever.

Our own daughter, back from working in Europe for several years, decided to enroll in Tulane  for her MBA.    We were proud of her for getting admitted.    About a week before classes started, she had all her earthly possessions moved into an apartment in New Orleans, near the school. 

A young man she knew from San Francisco (which she has always called her home) had a birthday the weekend before school started, so she decided to fly out to be there for his birthday.

unitedTHANK YOU to United Airlines !!!!    They called their ticketholders and said, “Because of the approaching storm, we will honor your ticket, but only if you can drive to Houston within the next 12 hours.”      Well, hurricane  coming, a friend’s birthday,  a quick small overnight bag packed,  and off she went in her little Audi Quattro to Houston.

She would have never made it out of New Orleans in another twelve hours.  I can’t imagine what horrors she would have undergone as the government then closed all the roads and trapped people inside the city….Even those who were in cars on roads that were not yet closed by the storm were turned back and prevented from leaving.     I was constantly on the radio:  WWL,  the truckers’ stations, ham radio,  listening to every eyewitness report.

I spent my time also making cut-outs of the map of New Orleans, knowing where her apartment was, and updating the flooding reports. (A souvenir of those days):    Katrina my map

END RESULTS:      

 (1)  Daughter was homeless and without any belongings for several months.   Her neighboorhood, 16th Ward, I think, had about 8 inches of water flooding the streets – but she was not allowed into her apartment until several months later.

(2)  She married the young man out in San Francisco.     :  )

(Son and daughter looking out from Daughter’s new house in SF): SF Hse Across St(The IRONY is only the cars are crooked;  they keep the people straight – ha ha!)

(3)    One more  End Result –  I am permanently afraid of the power of the “government.”   One of our Founding Fathers said:   “When the government fears the people, that is freedom.   When the people fear the government, that is tyranny.”

READY TO PLAY BALL!

August 30, 2009

Football full field

          Okay, I’m going to be real lowkey here…(HEEEE!!!)                  The BEARS did real GOOD tonight!!!

Footbal really close

  I had forgotten what TV is FOR!       It’s football weather today.    53 degrees, sunny.    Had the husband eat well tonight and put him down on a comfy couch in his TV room…and then went off to find his other TV…figured out the remote…found a couple chairs, one for the body, one for the foot,  and just inhaled every play of the game for the next few hours.

Football CutlerWhen we receive a quarterback like Jay Cutler, we hold our breaths.    You know….is ALL of him coming,  personality and all?      Is he going to perform amidst all the boos and doubts?    Is he going to find any receivers?   yes,  Yes,  and YES!!!        Chicago’s had some rocky ground with its recent quarterbacks, and Cutler looks far more like a baseball player than a football quarterback.   But he played the right game tonight.  

I never realized how hard it is to find the right quarterback.     The season starts, and they were always just…there.

Just matter-of-factly, now,  low-key:  this is probably going to be an interesting season.

THEY LOOK READY TO TAKE ON THE WHOLE NFL !!!!!!

 

(sigh…..I’ll have to do Sunday tomorrow…)

IN AN ADORATION CHAPEL

August 30, 2009

E Gate of Heaven no peopleYour soul is cherished.     Heaven will last for eternity, and those who have gone there before us, are united to us  in love and care very much that we get there too.  With clarity of mind and tender urgency, the angels and saints intercede for us and form that great Cloud of Witnesses that is written about in the book of Hebrews  (Heb. 12:1)   

Meanwhile, for us here on Earth,   it’s only  God’s patience and mercy that gives us our length of days to grow the greatest possible capacity to  receive and utilize the graces of God so that we become the spiritual person God intended us to be. 

This process is full of beauty and worthiness and goodness.    It’s no wonder we feel drawn to thank God and give Him praise and worship and adoration.   Yes, we can do that “everywhere” — but there are also special places that magnify our adoration, for the sake of our humanity which needs “special” places and seasons.

Mark Ltl Red Car at ChapelHere’s The Little Red Car parked outside the small building which is the  Adoration Chapel.   Sometimes not too many people are there.  Sometimes I am alone in there. 

Oratory Sign

Just a little sign, telling what the building is.    The Chapel is called an “oratory” which signifies a place of prayer.

 

Oratory DoorguardIt’s in a bit of a dangerous place downtown, so we have an electronic lock during the night.     I’d just as soon let the “bad guys” in; seems like they’d need to be inside, not locked out;  but I suppose the “angels and saints” looking down would agree with this little safety device.

For my friends, fellow Christians, and the new people in my classes:   What do you DO inside the Chapel?      Well, it starts with this:    “This is my Body……This is my Blood….” 

Chapel inside

“At the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bend, every head shall bow….”         That’s what you do;  you walk in and you kneel.       And then you can move to a nice kneeling place, if you want, and then you do what you do in front of His Presence.

Here are some handy age-old instructions:      I.  Glorify God;   II.  Render thanks to Him   III.  Plead for pardon;   and  IV.   Ask things needful for ourselves and for the whole Church.    (The instructions are from so long ago that the numbers are in Roman numerals.)

Here is the thing I’m trying to comprehend, by writing all these things out:     I planned to do mostly Number IV tonight – bring some of my own concerns to the Lord, pray for some of my friends…just asking for things.     But I forgot to do that, and so – it seemed – it didn’t get done.

Instead,  “on a whim,”    I decided to “second” the prayers of someone who was there already and was getting ready to leave.   Kind of “interceding” for him,  doubling his effort.  Whatever he was praying for, “God grant him his prayers and allow him to feel happy and joyful that he was here in the Chapel tonight.”   And I did that for the few stray people who came in now and then for a few moments and for the people who later took my place.  

The whole chapel seemed like a sweet and holy place tonight.  

But  I had forgotten my little list of things;  it seemed like  my “mission” wasn’t accomplished… although it didn’t “feel” like anything was missing.      And when I got home, I think I found out why.  And I had to walk over to the piano to prove to my self how “…all things work together unto good…”

Piano over farther

Piano very close

 And this is the song that was open and waiting for me to come back to:   “Someone is Praying for You…”  It’s a great song, composed by Lanny Wolf, for the Lanny Wolf Trio.   I know — it’s someone else’s Faith Tradition, but it’s a wonderful song about how even though we don’t know it, when we’re busy or just burdened, God inspires others to pray for us.   

It may be the angels and saints in Heaven, always ready to help, or it may be someone who knows us who just happens to think of us,  or it may be a kind word of support in the Comment Box as appeared in my last posting —  We’re never alone!   That’s just the way the Communion of Saints works!   

To Him be glory and honor and praise – and run to your nearest Adoration Chapel!    The sweet, holy atmosphere there is made up of a swirl of real prayers!

SEASON’S END

August 29, 2009

I may be a little premature, but it looks like summer is finally ending!   I don’t think the outdoor temperature reached 60 degrees today.    It is 56 degrees right now, about 65 degrees in the house.   Feels cool and wonderful.   I’m pretty sure the sun shone for a few minutes, but I can’t remember  when that was. 

So, seasons end, just like in the last posting empires and nations end, and everything will one day come to an end.

Here is a sentence from the inspiring book:  The End of the Present World by Fr. Charles Arminjon.  It’s the one that brought so much longing to St. Therese of Lesieux to come into the Presence of Jesus.  “Temporal life had its principle and beginning in God; it must also have in God its consummation and destiny.”    

Man was created to know, to love, and to serve God in this present life;   Fr. Arminjon said it would be “monstrous” if there were no rational plan for an end to this world, and man could never come to the point of possessing God and being united to Him.  

Chapel Monstrance

In just a few minutes I have to leave for my time at the Chapel….I hope to advance the process of possessing God and being united to Him….while there is still “time” in this life.

FRIDAYS AS THE EMPIRE FALLS

August 28, 2009

Fridays call us back to 2,000 years ago, which is not 2,000 years old, but is new and fresh each new Friday, each new day, each moment a human soul reaches out to the Crucifixion.

But some things that are 2,000 years old ARE 2,000 years old.

ruins

What is this building?  What was it used for in the days of the Roman Empire?   Who knows anymore who trudged up the steps leading into that building, walked the corridors, did some business that was meaningful and  urgent for the day.   See, even if we know what that buidling is called and what it was used for, the lives of the people who lived at that time are over.   Their world, their Empire, their government…all over and done with.

Fridays around here mean I teach a Friday morning Bible Study.  It’s a lively group, far livelier than I in the morning, so my brain has to reach far and wide (and desperately) for enlightening things to present to them.   Last week we completed a study of all the verses in the book of II Peter.  They hadn’t decided where they’d like to go next, so I was free….to improvise.

Knowing my own brain and learning capacity,  “a review” – those dreaded boring review lessons – seemed, from a teacher’s point of view, like an important thing to do.

Well, with II Peter, there is plenty  of meaning to get out of each verse, so as we “reviewed”  it seemed like a new fresh look at things.   Peter’s main purpose in writing this little letter seems to be, “Okay, remember, now, all the things I taught to you.   You have everything you need to grow in grace and in knowledge of the Lord.   There will some day be an end to things, so knowing that this world will not last forever,  what kind of people ought you to be?”   

This little book of II Peter has  instructions for growing in your spiritual life so that the things of your worldly life, with all its false and disappointing enticements, will grow fainter.

(Sunset at Tahoe, after my daughter’s wedding, reminding us it’s also the sunset of this beautiful world):

Tahoe Twilight

Who knows when the night will fall, but there will be many other sunsets of empires along the way.  It seems to be the sunset of the United States right now.   As sorrowful as this is, St. Peter says things of this world WILL come to an end.

Today we remember St. Augustine.   If you have reviewed only an outline of his life, or if you have reminded yourself only of his great writings,  you may have missed the greatest sorrow of his heart for worldly things.  

St. Augustine lived as the Germanic tribes became more than just “allied partners” and more than just “illegal immigrants” – they eventually became successful armed invaders.   800 years of Rome!    The Eternal City.   With all it wickedness and corruption, it had kept the peace and held together a vast area of humanity.   

“When Rome fell, the shock was felt throughout the provinces and even beyond.  Augustine tells us how he, a descendant of the Numidians, groaned and wept in his almost inconsolable grief…”          (The Liturgical Year by Dom Gueranger, Vol. 14)

Ruins CrossAppropriate  grief.     But Augustine knew and we know, as St. Peter taught, that empires end, nations end, and some day this world will end.   Only the things of God-Most-High will last forever.

UPON THE DEATH OF A SENATOR

August 26, 2009

Yes, sorry,  may God have mercy on the soul of Edward Kennedy.   His poor mother….

My only comment would be this:      “Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters.”       Samuel Adams.     (Thank you Patriot Post for this quotation.)

“America is great because she is good.”     (The conclusion drawn by Alexis de Tocqueville in his 19th century inspection of America.)

May America quickly move on, now, and begin to do what must be done to return to goodness and strength and peace.

FEAR FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS

August 26, 2009

AMMONIUM SULFATE

AMPHOTERICIN

ALUMINUM

ETHYLENE GLYCOL

PHENOL BENZETHOIUM CHLORIDE

PHENOL (CARBOLIC ACID)

FORMALDEHYDE

NEOMYCIN

STREPTOMYCIN

ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE

POLYSORBATE 80

OCTOXYNOL 10

THIMEROSOL

SQUALENE

MF59

ISCOMS

QS21

AS02

AS04

With the *Star Ingredient*  prepared for you in the “diseased flesh of the African green monkeys —  (P.E.T.A.  should actually be notified because of the terrible condition these sick monkeys are held in) 

But it’s all “okay” because this mixture has been patented:  USP # 5911998

The patent is held by D*Y*N*C*O*R*P —  they are  private military contractors.

Mix all the above ingredients together, place in a syringe, and stick it in your little children, your pregnant wives, and you…..

If you want to look this stuff up, try some key words:   FIBROSARCOMA;  SYSTEMIC TOXICITY;  MOTOR NEURON DEATH;   CHRONIC INFLAMMATION; RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS;   MICROPHAGE MYOFASCITIS;  SEVERE  BRAIN INFLAMMATION;   LYMPHADENOPATHY; OPTIC NEURITIS….

 (Just keeping up with the news this week….)

INDEPENDENT AMERICANS

August 24, 2009

To my Viking Ancestors:   1,200 years ago there were probably women who looked like me and my daugher;  men who looked like my husband and son.  Swede-Finns.   What are we  doing in the United States of America at the beginning of the Third Millennium After Christ Our Savior?

Here’s one-fourth of the explanation:

Vierila Store cropped

The man in the center is Fred V., my great-grandfather.  He owns the meat market they are standing in, in 1929.    His daughter who submitted that photo to the newspaper many decades ago writes in the caption that she remembers her father wearing that white coat, carrying in heavy sides of beef, and getting to work on them, carving them up in familiy-sized pieces for his customers.    Then the pieces were wrapped in the white paper hanging from the ceiling and tied up with strings.  They also  sold enormous sausages, fresh bread, and biscuits. 

Who was this man?   An ordinary Finnish man who traveled to America about 120 years ago,with his twin brother, some friends, and the knowledge of a young woman also from Finland, whom he was to marry.   By the time of this photo, Fred and Ulriika had seven children, but Ulriika had died a few years earlier, leaving her many young children behind.

The mother spoke no English.  The children spoke no English until their first days of Kindergarten.   There were no government programs to help an immigrant start a business, no medical health insurance programs, no credit cards….It was “sink or swim.”     They had no one to rely upon for success, but they knew that in America hard work might be rewarded, and a man could keep the wages he earned for his own family.

I can’t even begin to imagine the long days of working hard – every day but Sunday.   I wish I could ask them about their lives.     I am inclined to think very well of them and try to imitate their better qualities.    

These “better qualities” in my mind are courage, fortitude, strength of character, self-disicipline,  high moral standards, independence, self-reliance, and attention to duty.   That last one, duty, is simply doing what needs to be done because it needs to be done.  

Map Finland Kemijarivi

I’ve used this map before.  This time I put a blue K on it where some of our family still lives.   Just above the Arctic Circle, Lapland, near the Swedish-Finnish border.    It can be a rugged, harsh place to live, producing grim and no-nonsense people.   Each of those “qualities”  I listed above also have a dour, darker  side too, but I think the modern world has tempered that a bit. 

Most of all, I think the Faith I chose requires me to temper the harsher side with true Charity – for God first;  and then when that’s all in order, with His Charity in me, to relate to others with compassion, understanding, and kindness.    I’ve got to add – with curiosity and openness too!

So that’s how I “got here.”   People of good character came over to combine their hard work with American freedom — a very small but typical success story of our country’s past.

LIGHT OF MOSES, 12TH SUNDAY P.P.

August 23, 2009

It’s always a surprise, and a pleasure, to hear how many times my classes bring up the Glory of God that radiated from Moses’ face when he came down from the top of Mt. Sinai.

Moses

Unfathomable benefits for the human race resulted from these meetings at the mountain top.  The event is 2,300 years old now, give or take a century or two, however you’d like to date the time of Moses.

We still remember the outward sign of the truth of this historical encounter and the effect it had on Moses.   He was suffused with the Glory of God, and as he descended the mountain to return to his people, his face shone with streams of holy light – an awesome, eerie, overpowering sign of the Glory of God-Most-High.

Moses headA close-up of Michelangelo’s magnificent sculpture of Moses shows the “horns” on the head of Moses.   It’s interesting to learn that the Hebrew word for “streams of light” can also be translated as “horns” in some contexts.  Perhaps it’s easier to sculpt horns out of marble than light rays out of marble.

Our Epistle for this day, the 12th Sunday After Pentecost, reminds us that the proper translation is indeed “streams of light” — that when Moses came down with the Law, written on tablets of stone,  “…the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance.”

What happened to that Light of Moses’ countenance?   It gradually faded away, and it did not transfer to the people.   Think about the meaning of that, for a moment!

Under this original covenant between God and man, Moses taught and administered the Law, the precepts, and the means of atonement for sin.  And that was a great Glory to Israel.

Moses Lamb slainThe means of that crucial atonement   is the system of animal sacrifices that would continue until  God Himself,  the “Anointed One,” would come down to His people and – with the Cross as His altar – would offer Himself, an infinite Sacrifice to atone for the infinite offense against an Infinite God.

And every Sunday we make ourselves present to that One Infinite Sacrificial Offering.

So where is God’s Glory now?     One young Jewish man, John, writes about Jesus in his Gospel, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men…This is the True Light which enlightens every man that comes into the world.”   Jesus exhorts us to:  “Let your Light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Mt. 5:16)

The Glory of God is not only in Jesus, True God and True Man, but it also makes it into each person who opens his heart to  Jesus.     Jesus the Promised One, the Anointed, dwells in the heart of each believer, and that is where the awesome Glory of God is.

SIGN FOR AN AMBULANCE

August 23, 2009

My daughter and I were out for a happy shopping trip one day when we came upon this.  One red car off to the left, one car upside down off to the right behind the green sign.

Bad Day Wreck

As  we were passing the car wreck with ambulances coming, she said:  “Every day is a seriously bad day for someone, somewhere.”      This ambulance in Cleveland is a sign of someone’s “seriously bad day” too:

Ambulance

I’ve been trying to think why I won’t bother a doctor with my little foot problem, because I have kind, caring friends, whose opinions I value highly, telling me to ( insist that I)  “go see a doctor” for this little injury. 

Why do I not go?  I need to assure myself that I’m not just being a Stubborn Swede.    The word is actually “conservative” – “no sudden movements” – “glacial” –but  I understand the choice of the word “stubborn” — it can be exasperating to others.     So….

First, I’m not inexperienced with broken bones, having cared for many in my hospital-working days, having seen son and daughter and other family members deal with broken bones,  and having had a minor problem and then a very major problem with broken bones myself, previously.   It’s not like this is some mysterious event.

Second, I consulted with another person whose medical opinion I trust very much – my son’s.   He has an educated, intelligent, common-sense, conservative (a Swede, you know) approach to life and life’s little problems.   As he said to me, bottom line, a doctor is good if you need surgical intervention. 

Well, actually, he asked me:  “Is anything protruding?”   (A rather direct bedside manner, but he and I speak the same language, so I found that funny.)    He and I both believe God gave us self-healing bodies.   So, no, nothing’s “protruding”,   no unusual sensations, and rest seems to be doing miracles right now for my foot.

Third:  But maybe the main reason I didn’t see a doctor is that this all happened in a larger context — our trip to the Cleveland Clinic.   When you spend the day in a such a huge hospital complex, you can’t help but walk around with a heavy rock in the pit of your stomach when you consider all the misery a human body can produce.  Lives are changed forever.  There are patients (and their families) facing impending death;   there are patients enduring excruciating pain;  there are patients experiencing mortal fear.  

So, you know, a tiny little line in a tiny little metatarsal pales in significance to what humans must deal with.

I have a good friend who continues the old custom of making the Sign of the Cross  and saying a little prayer whenever an ambulance goes by.   There is good reason for this.

That is the best “Sign for an Ambulance.”

P.S. – And then there’s always my husband’s helpful comment while I was hobbling around at the Clinic:   “Do like the Marines would do:  just put one foot in front of the other…..”        : )

 

CLEVELAND CLINIC TRIP

August 20, 2009

CC Big Bldg

State of the art; beautiful;   the newest Cleveland Clinic building;  an unfortunately familiar place to us.  My husband’s doctors are here.  If it’s being done in medicine today, it is being done here;  cutting edge research and doctors experienced in advanced techniques.

My husband’s appointments went well.   Treatment plan:   “Active Watching”  — or something like that.   One of the doctors spent over an hour with us, teaching us, explaining, talking, answering every single question we could think of.  Then he promised to call us at home the next day with some test results.   And he actually did.  We can’t say enough about the wonderful doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.

Here is a close-up of that amazing acrylic fountain in front of the building:

CC Left closeup pond

Here is a closer close-up of the other side:

CC right closeup pond

The fountain is a fascinating part of the beautiful art work, inside and outside of this hospital.

I would have taken more photos, but I had a little problem myself.   About 5 minutes before we were to leave our home state and drive to Ohio, I most likely broke a small CC Bruisebone in my foot.  We had to leave, couldn’t wait, but it was a terrible experience trying to walk on that all day.   I don’t know if I should put my “foot”  up here, but this is a “hospital posting” — so there it is.    That’s part of my left foot, not looking normal.   SO GLAD to be home today so I can often elevate that foot and stop the pain a bit….bad timing.

A spider did it.   Or, more accurately,  proximity to a spider.

Ever been to Ohio?

CC Ohio field hosue

Here’s what you’ll see out your car window.   And also this —   Some crop ripening to a rich golden yellow:

CC fields ripening

We stopped for an “adventure” on the way home:

CC mt goats

I think they’re mountain….goats….or sheep….or rams.     You may recognize that as the inside displays of a big Cabela’s store.   My husband and I hit the gun section right away.  That’s where my Glock  9mm is waiting….or else the Rueger….My husband was looking at the .22’s until I told him “That’s just a big brother to a BB gun!”  — and so he moved on over to the shotguns.    Much more helpful if you need some protection.    Feral dog packs are on the rise, everywhere.

CC Ostrich

 

Cabela’s “went out and shot” some ostrich for us.   Very tasty.CC Kens ostrich Or a close-up of my husband’s – best with lots of mushrooms!

FAWN FUN

August 18, 2009

Had an interesting experience today:

Hummingbird fuzzy

I went out to the deck to feed the birds this afternoon, and since my deck faces East, it’s a good reminder to stop and say a prayer or two or three….I moved away from the deck railings so I wouldn’t scare the birds and stood there for a while with my eyes closed.

All at once I heard a loud buzzing, like a rapid and VERY CLOSE flapping of wings but it sounded more like a hummm….and I could feel a little breeze on my face.  I opened my eyes — and that picture is just about what I saw a half inch from my nose!    I’m pretty sure it was a hummingbird….just a tiny little gray  blurry thing.   Poor thing.   I think I scared it as much as it scared me.

I have to take my husband to the Cleveland Clinic tomorrow, just an appointment but it’s a very long drive;   I might not get back to blogging for a little while.    Meanwhile, enjoy some more of my backyard wildlife, just being plain GOOFY!

A blur to the right…

Fawn blur right

A blur to the left….

Fawn not touching

Little helicopter feet:

Fawn helicopter feet

Too quick for the camera….

Fawn missed

Fawn back in pciture, trees in motion…

Fawn Motion Got 'im

Time to go home for supper….

Fawn and Mom eating

Wish I could have captured some of his bucking up like an antelope and twisting around in mid-air.  What joy!    What fun!

THE HEART IN US

August 17, 2009

In the past two weeks, I’ve been grappling with Overload, Desperation and a sense of Disconnection, but I’m going to put the brakes on before I descend into  Despair.   In fact, yesterday’s news article about the man that survived the 10,000 foot fall when his parachute didn’t open got me thinking about the non-inevitability of certain outcomes.

Verontius aerial view

This is an aerial view of Vesontio.   It is the location of a severe test of the hearts of some Roman soldiers, all the way up the ranks to the centurians.   That black “ribbon”  that curls into almost a circle is the oxbow of the river Dubis.    I’m sure if you will dig deep enough into the earth at this location, you will find some of the things these soldiers carried around with them. 

Vesontio caught the attention of Julius Caesar because, although all the people in this region had been pretty much subdued by his armies,  he heard that his biggest current enemy, Ariovistus, was on the march, with the objective of sezing this city.

Vesontio was a propserous city with natural fotifications.   Anyone who commanded it would have a strategic advantage in the overall war.  

Caesar did one of his almost-miraculous rapid forced-marches and got there first.  Then he stationed a garrison there to hold it until he tried negotiating with Ariovistus while  at the same time preparing his whole army to fight, if negotiations didn’t work.

Here’s the thing.   Imagine you are one of the Roman soldiers assigned to protect this city while everyone is waiting to see what would happen.  The ODDEST thing happened – a PANIC occurred among the Roman soldiers!

The origin of the panic?   While the situation was being assessed for military analysis,  the men were talking about the inquiries that were being made;  information was being passed around and discussed;  rumors were flying;   second-guessing and doubts all produced uncertainty and fear in the hearts of those who had nothing to do with the decisions that would be made.   Some very unsoldierly-like hearts were being disturbed.

To quote Rudyard Kipling:  “Ours is not to reason why….Ours is just to do and die.”    That’s the duty of a soldier.     (Until fortune or the hand of God puts the soldier into a position of command.)

The entire Roman garrison panicked, from top to bottom.  Some even wrote their wills.   Each man was conscious of the shame of their fear, each man tried to cover up their shame with plausible-sounding  reasons and excuses why the garrison should not stay there.   Some petitioned to leave, but many stayed only so that their cowardice would not be known.

Some  “could neither control their features nor at time restrain their fears;  hiding in their tents they either bewailed their fate, or together with their intimate friends deplored the common danger.”   That is, they griped about their situation.   Book 1, Chapter 39, Caesar’s Gallic Wars.    (Bedtime reading – ha!)   But let’s stop here and think about all the ways we deal with fear of the future.

In the city, in that aerial map above, there was once a whole garrison of men , experienced soldiers, who, the more they heard about the situation they were in, the more they feared.     Information overload.  A big life-and-death task before them. 

I started this out with “the non-inevitablility of  certain outcomes.”     I wonder where I would have fit in.   Would I have a heart for duty or would I have a panicked heart?   How would I have expressed my duty?   Or….what are all the ways I could have cloaked my fears?     Could I have found the Virtue of Courage in me, which is the ability to do one’s duty in the face of great fear?

I’ve read more chapters now, so I know how this ends, but I am compelled to go back to that chapter of fear over and over.       In our Faith, it is called Examination of Conscience:   What’s really  in my heart.

Vesontio is now Besancon, France, near Switzerland;  Dubis is now the river Doubs.   But it’s not necessary to travel there today.  We live in our own Vesontio.

SURVIVING THE DISCONNECTION

August 16, 2009

 Good grief!   Even when a person feels “disconnected”  it is possible to survive!     This article  in today’s newspapers tells about a lucky man who survived a 10,000 foot fall when his parachute didn’t open.

2 fall

So my little  “disconnected man”  of  two postings ago will probably be all right when he finaly returns to Earth.  

The man in today’s newspaper article was “rescued by firefighters and treated for head and neck injuries.”       I think he will probably be in a neck brace for a while unable to swivel his head around, looking at this and that.

A good lesson there for me (for us).     Focus.      Focus on what you know is important.     

This lesson didn’t come from me.     It wasn’t my idea to follow up my little parachute man with  this parachute story.   

IN THE ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST (today), Jesus heals a deaf and dumb man, enabling him to now see and hear what he wasn’t seeing and hearing before.   Uh-huh.     

 And He’s still healing…..

DUMBER THAN A CAT

August 15, 2009

I am, that is.   She’s smarter than I am.

Suzy TuckI figured, after a heavily-burdened week or two, I’d better take care of the physical body.   Pretty sure some Comfort Food would be a good idea.

But I forgot the melted butter on the mashed potatoes and Suzy licked all my gravy and tucked herself into a nice soft quilt.

She already knew what to do about Comfort.

NEXT. . .DISCONNECTION

August 15, 2009

I’m wondering if  a week or two of discouraging exhaustion is followed, quite commonly, by a huge Disconnect:

Parachitist disconnected

Oh, that’s a parachutist…disconnected.

At every turn today, I tripped over a big disconnection between the reality I observe and the expectations of how we’re supposed to “act”   as though that reality did not exist.

Sarek, observing

Sarek, observing

 This isn’t going to be a big “introspection” about me; I’m not even that interesting to myself.  

 But I am fascinated with what I observe.

Small examples – food again.    We’re having Comfort Food for supper today.  Big pieces of chicken in gravy over mashed potatoes.   Buttered mashed potatoes.   The only potatoes in my grocery store are genetically-modified potatoes and our government passed a law saying that grocers aren’t allowed to label them that way.  Every single study has shown they are harmful to humans and animals, the latest research is that they cause cancer in humans… The Disconnect is the FDA who protects our food supply hides what is harmful.

I’m supposed to eat my Comfort Food and feel …”comforted.”

Yesterday we had tuna fish sandwiches … Cans in my pantry are 6 ounces for 50 cents.    The new can I opened yesterday is 5 ounces for 89 cents.   The cans are smaller, the prices are higher.   The Disconnect is I am constantly being told that inflation is A LOT LOWER THAN THAT!!

Big things?   An elite female Senator who lives in a multi-million dollar mansion and flies her own private jet anywhere she wants to  told the public that she wants state control of our health, our medical care, and of all our private financial and personal information –  and the people who disagree with her are acting like Nazis and Snitch E-Mail sites are set up so you can report to the Authorities if you hear anyone saying anything “fishy” against them.  

The Disconnect?  The command then goes out to the media to say that those who diagree are calling the proponents Nazis…which, for anyone paying attention, is the exact opposite of what occurred.  

I’ve got about twenty  more Disconnects that are bugging me now.    You’ve probably observed them and many others.

Reality versus “how we’re supposed to act.”  I really, really had hoped The Matrix was just science fiction.  

I think I’ll be better tomorrow.   I think the Disconnect stage is followed by Detachment.   I’ll write this again:  St. Anthony Mary Claret did NOT become a great saint by saving his queen, and his government, from the Leftist Revolutionaries of his day.   Many, many of his friends begged him to get involved.  But he didn’t.   He became a great saint by opening himself to the graces of God……and following God’s will for his very own soul.   

claretThere he is, St. Anthony Mary Claret.   Looks pretty focused, doesn’t he?   That’s because he’s not the smiling Hollywood poster boy type.   

They say his body  lit up and was surrounded by light whenever he was at the altar….

You don’t get that way by being “connected” to everything that’s going on around you.  You get that way by being “disconnected” and “detached”  and focused on your own business.  Primus tibi caritas!

FRIDAY EXHAUSTION

August 14, 2009

Bread&Fish-color

Two food postings in a row, almost.  This isn’t about food, even though simple Friday fare seems awfully…well, simple and uncomplicated right now.

I am experiencing the Perfect Storm of exhaustion with physical, mental, and spiritual concerns.   I’ll be all right soon.   But for now,  I’m just going to feel the buffeting for a while.  

And dial down my “performance expectations.”   

I have often said “Five Easy Pieces” is in my Top Ten favorite movies.   5 Easy Pieces

It’s not a very good movie, really, kind of a downer.    Jack Nicholson is born with talent, money, opportunity, and a willing teacher/mentor.   Most of us have zero of those things, or maybe one or two.   But he is on expectation overload and chucks it all for a low class life….he refuses everything that any of us would wish to have.   He does it for the sake of rebellion and deliberate self-destruction.   That’s what passed for “freedom” in 1970.

See why I keep liking that movie?   It’s like standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon and knowing you can take that one more step that will . . .

Exhaustion.  Information overload.   I know too much.   I found out too much this week.   I’m trying to do too much.   People get like that sometimes.    I’ll get over it, after a little retreat.  People are like that too –  a little rest, and they’re ready for more.

Did I write before how the “bears” are a symbol for everything I fear?   

While I’m resting, it’s coming.

Bear on Path

AMERICA -LAND OF THE FREE

August 12, 2009

Bison grazing

O give me a home

   Where the buffalo roam

      And I’ll make buffalo-burgers for you…

Burgers grill

Grazing bison are seen

    And their meat becomes lean

       Natural living brings health it is true.

Buffalo B urger  Our first human parents ate from the fruits of the Garden.  When we humans decided to revolt and turn our backs on our Creator, the breach this produced affected our physical world as well.  The physical world changed and humans began to eat grains as well as fruit.   

The next recorded change in our diet comes after the Flood, and humans are now able to eat meats.  Humans had proved themselves vulnerable to temptations of great spiritual evil — and so again our relationship with our environment changes.   Genesis 9:2,3 – “And let the fear and dread of you be upon all the beasts of the earth….and everything that moves and lives shall be meat for you…”

And Noah looked up and for the first time, mankind saw a sky like this:

Burger sky

That’s the sky over our buffalo burgers at supper tonight.   It may not have that protective canopy of water anymore, as in the days beofre the Flood, but I still think it’s beautiful.  It made me think about why we’re eating meat….and how IN THE LAST DAYS rulers will come along  and teach great errors, many will leave the Faith, and they will forbid marriage, forbid the eating of meat….(I Timothy 4:1-5)

I always wondered about the meat part.   What do dictators care about meat-eating?   Well, the BBC just reported that it is being suggested that a law be passed, requiring the British to become….vegetarians.   For the health of the planet, of course.

Why does the Bible always have to be right!

“OKAY BY ME”

August 12, 2009

There are different kinds of Caesars.    Here is one who is elegant, dignified, dictatorial, arrogant and elite:

Caesar bare chested

One who is not elegant and dignified….

Obama Toke

REAL SIMPLY NOW:   When the State has dictatorial powers over you, they have power over you, your children, your privacy, your activities and choices of everyday life.

Stomping -  It's what they do

Stomping - It's what they do

 

Controlling you by their laws is what they do without any input, oversight, or veto power by you.   At the beginning of our nation, the rallying cry was: “No taxation without representation!”   What is being proposed against us today goes much further than a  matter of taxation.

 

Is this okay with you?

Inaction says “Okay by me!”

(BTW:   I don’t know much about smoking, but I think the second guy is  holding his “cigarette” the “other way.”)

WITNESS TO CHANGE

August 10, 2009

Scool with Kris

Well, sounds like I’m copying the title of some book with the title of this post, but those three words are really what I mean, and they’re from my own brain.    And, at the risk of exposing too much, that’s me in the photo, and that’s my classroom.  I was teaching the wee little ones that year, first grade.  I loved them and I loved teaching them.

Here’s my class again.  I think I made it grainy enough so no one can be recognized, although School Kris classthat’s a pretty hilarious idea — neither the teacher (me) nor the children look like that anymore!    But my point is to affirm that what I said in the last post about the schools being changed by foreign, socialist forces emanating out of  the Far Left is something I actually witnessed, as it was happening, and while the most obvious changes were being made.   We teachers, back then, in the ’60s and ’70s were targeted to be the “Instruments of Change.”

Now, I was a young teacher.  A young, young teacher!   But when we were told not to teach spelling anymore, or punctuation, or grammar, or arithmetic facts, or proper handwriting (printing for my class) — and when I saw the older teachers saying…”Oh….hmmm…all right,”  then at that point, I balked.  I looked at the older teachers who had been fine mentors up to that point, and I couldn’t understand why they would lay aside  their teaching skills and go along with the nonsense of non-teaching.   

But I was the new teacher, what power would I have over the experienced teachers?

The contrast between common sense and the new pedagogy, if it can even be called that, was so striking that it alerted me, for the rest of my life, as to WHO is doing this?   WHY are people going along with it?   WHAT’S going to result from all this?

Now I have my  answers.

But, see, I just wanted to let you all know, I do know that our public schools have been changed to produce good, non-thinking, citizens of the new socialist order – children and adults who don’t know the principles of American self-government, who don’t even know the names of their Representatives and Senators, state or federal, so that they can dialogue and participate.  

I witnessed the change.  

I don’t watch TV or buy newspapers, but I assume they have the same agenda.  

Entertainment and the fashion industry seems to have followed the socialist plan to corrupt the morals of a nation and so make it easier to intrude itself into the nation.    A corrupted and immoral society has caused so many problems to itself, that socialist solutions seem to make sense.  A corrupted and immoral society doesn’t have enough money to pay for the problems its behavior produces.   

But it doesn’t matter.   When you corrupt the educational system, the people won’t know what you’re doing to them anyway.

These children:

School class bl wh

……produced some of these children:

Goth Couple

I think I’m watching a Revolution-in-slow-motion.    The slow but steady takeover of our country.     A free-fall now.     32 feet per second per second.