Archive for May 2012

TSAH-ee too voo-NOO

May 31, 2012

Quite a class we had  tonight!!!      I never know what I’ll “take away”  from my classes.   I can honestly say I always bring out of  class far more than I put into it, no matter how many hours of preparation I’ve done.

Tonight I’ve come home with some TSAH-ee too voo-NOO!

Here’s what it is:

And here is a close-up:

These sprigs, or sticks as they’re more commonly called, have the most delicate and exotic fragrance.   It took me immediately back to … somewhere …  in my childhood.   It was a most emotionally difficult time of my childhood but this fragrance speaks to me of a place of comfort and of deep red velvet-brocade upholstery with a faint scent of mysterious incense or perhaps a very expensive tobacco.    I’m still puzzled … there is something very attractive about this fragrance.

So what is this?   The explanation was it is “tea from Greece.”    It was from a kind neighbor who had received a large quantity from relatives in Greece.    WordPress does not give me the Greek letters and it would take too long to get the letters into this blog, so I’ll just have to be happy with a transliteration:  TSAH-ee too voo-NOO.    But if you call it “Greek Mountain Tea”  you will be understood by tea sellers.

The instructions are to place two “sticks” into a cup of boiling water and keep it simmering until it … well, until it resembles tea.    That sounds easy.   I hope it tastes like it smells, but I feel I might start to cry, like a child finding a quiet, secret place of safety…..

It is said to have medicinal benefits for just about everything.  It grows in altitudes above 3,200 feet and is ready to pick just at the end of winter — when one needs a good spring tonic.     It’s common in the Greek Isles and is also quite well-known  in Crete.     Most recipes came with stories about the tea and grandparents from Greece.

I can’t wait to tell my friend, Mary,  who is Greek.   Mary is the one who taught me that it’s still very important to know whether your family came from Sparta, or Athens,  or Samos,  or….  whatever ancient Greek place-name we can remember.  Never, never say you are Greek if you come from Macedonia.   And now Mary found out her family came from “Asia Minor” through Crete and then into (somewhere in) Greece.

In our class tonight we read that “all nations will glorify God.”  I attempted to lead the class into an understanding of “God, in His holy house, atop a mountain,”  and “all nations will flow into it…”  (Isaiah 2:2) and that we are in the Last Age of human history, the Last Days.   How hard could that be?   Herding cats, as they say, would have been easier than trying to keep all their minds together tonight.

I think I’ll brew some tea … and have a little cry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CAREFUL WITH YOUR “OLD FENCES” !

May 30, 2012

This is a posting about honesty, and with a little help from a catechism class about 75 years ago,  I think we’ll see that we all have the ability to be honest, we just need to allow ourselves to think things through.

Watch where you put your old fences!

What is Actual Sin?   “Actual Sin is any old fence against the walls of God.”   

An old fence is not very useful unless you examine it and spend some time and effort repairing and replacing parts that are missing and corrupted.    You don’t want to be placing your “old fences”  (your offenses) over against “the walls” (the will) of God, but our faulty and dishonest thinking could stand in the way of God’s good will for us.

One morning Friday’s class was having a lively discussion.  They were trying to connect the part of the Bible that we were reading to certain current issues in the news.   But they found they stumbled over the words they needed because these words mean something different now than they used to.  Sometimes the words had been given an opposite or upside down meaning.  “Oh,”  they’d say, “you can’t say that anymore!”   Finally one lady said,  “They’ve taken all the good words and changed the meaning!”

And she was right.   It can be a deliberate and effective tactic to use when you need to change people’s thinking and win the propaganda war.  You can read the names of many of the unfortunate and freedom-limiting bills that Congress passes, but if the words in the titles of these bills mean what they seem to say, no one in his right mind would oppose the bill.  I wonder if it’s a tactic that works because we let it work.    We don’t make the effort to examine and “repair”  the meaning of the words we use.   It takes so much effort to keep explaining ourselves, clarifying our meaning.

Does God know all things?     “God knows all things, even our most greasy thoughts and factions.”

Yeah,  if we’re not honest with what is happening right in front of us,  we can get a little “slippery” in our thoughts.

Try to “pin” this down and examine it:   I wrote a little while ago about the “Illusions” surrounding the new eco-friendly light bulbs that release mercury vapor and other chemicals harmful to our health and to the environment when used.    The science facts are against the light bulbs,  but we are being encouraged to use them anyway.  We don’t question this,  and the truth of this matter slips away as though our thoughts are a little “greasy.”   People begin to take sides on the issue and try to defend their opinions.  Maybe the children are right:   God knows our most greasy (grievous) thoughts and also sees our  factions (actions).

Does God see us?      “God sees us and washes over us.”

This could be a beautiful prayer.    God is Truth and Life and Reality, so perhaps as God watches over us he really can “wash over us” and inspire us to examine things honestly and courageously.    We can sense that our country is in trouble. The children’s words are funny and inadvertently true, but there is very much at stake here.   The American form of government, set up by our Founding Fathers, is in grave danger.  We know that Christianity, which formed the character of our nation, is also under attack.   If we were honest,  we’d declare that we are in a battle to preserve America.

T.S. Eliot tells us the consequences of losing this battle:   If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready-made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. We should not live to see the new culture, nor would our great-great-great-grandchildren: and if we did, not one of us would be happy in it.  T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

We have a lot to lose by not being honest.   We have that next generation to save from a dangerous and chaotic future  —  you know, the ones who learned to say:  I believe in God, the Father Almighty, decorator of Heaven and Earth….  He suffered under a bunch of violets….”

It’s imperative to examine ourselves and admit where we haven’t taken the effort to be honest.   Then we can all humbly say with the children:   “I confess to Almighty God … to Blessed Michael the dark angel; to Blessed John the Baskets; to the old imposters feet and all . . .”

I’m ready to tackle some more of our Illusions this week.

Childrens’ quotations taken from June 1953 Fold magazine, Ireland.

MEMORIAL DAY – TWO SOLDIERS

May 28, 2012

A soldier –

18 years old.    Married.     Marine Corps.     Called up for duty in the Pacific, 1945.    His unit never deployed as planned.  Our government decided on another way to end the war, quickly, and with far less loss of life for both the Americans and the Japanese.

He and his brother are both Marine Corps veterans of WWII.      Neither was killed in the war.

I visited his brother recently:

Looks like just about every other American small-town cemetery.       Then I found the right place –

And then I zeroed in on my uncle’s place … and stayed a while –

The one with the flags.    (Great job,  cousins.)

Memorial Day is a personal family day for many Americans.    Those who served in the armed forces, those who died for us,  all those in uniform have made it possible for us to have “family days”  now.

So,  I guess Memorial Day is a day we can all take personally.

 

WEEKEND FUN

May 28, 2012

Took time out for some fun this weekend.

Waited for the checkered flag…..and here they come!

 

Full speed!

180 m.p.h coming out of that curve and accelerating. . . .

From a driver’s perspective:

 

All alone. . . . .

Everything else is just a blur.

 

 

 

WHAT CAME DOWN AT PENTECOST?

May 27, 2012

All the disciples were waiting for was some kind of “power.”    Jesus had told them, just before he left them, “…but stay  in the city till you be endued with power from on high…” (Luke 24:49b)

Power?   They were going to get “power from on high.”

They were to go back down the Mount of Olives and into the city, somewhere, probably back to the Cenacle, where Jesus had spoken so beautifully during that Last Supper with them.   They were to pray and to wait,  wait for that “power from on high.”

My Friday’s class were preparing themselves for Pentecost.    They knew the story.  They had heard it many times before.  This time I wanted them to think about just “what” it was that came down that day.

When “It” came down, It had a rushing, roaring sound, like wind, heard by those inside and thousands of people outside the building.   “It” appeared as Light so intense that it looked like, maybe,  fire, and It divided Itself and appeared over each of the 120 or so people inside the building.  And then the disciples arose with “It” inside of them and felt a surge of confidence and glory and strength and a need to share the Love of God with everyone they could.   And they had the power to speak to everyone and to be understood, that day.

The Love of God, intense, like a flaming fire that doesn’t consume but engulfs and fills and draws the loved one into Itself.     The disciples experienced it then, and saints through the ages have experienced and written about this union of Love.  Here is a brief sentence from St. Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God:    “…when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.”

Then I repeated to my class these words:  “Love loves the object of its love and seeks to arouse in the loved one a return of love in a union of love that is alive.”  

The Holy Spirit is that Love that is the Trinity in the form of  Power that comes down to us from on High and dwells in the believer.    That Power comes in the form of Gifts from the Holy Spirit which give us the ability to perfect Virtue.

Let’s tie all this together:     God desires a loving union with Him.   Virtues are those spiritual habits which enable us to act in union with God’s will.   The Gifts of the Spirit enable us to perfect our Virtues.   And at Pentecost,  the Power from on High delivered those Gifts to us all.

As Jesus said,  “Be ye perfect even as your  Father which is in Heaven is perfect….”      Working on our Virtues is the way to union with God.

You are working on the Virtues, aren’t you?   You do know what the 4 Cardinal Virtues are, don’t you?   The 3  Spiritual Virtues?    You can list the Gifts of the Spirit?

 Virtues:  “Don’t leave (your earthly) home without them!”   

It begins at Pentecost.

What came down that day of Pentecost is Power made available to us by a loving God who waits.

HOLIDAY WEEKEND

May 27, 2012

Lying low this weekend.    I needed a “retreat.”

Wasn’t being lazy, though:

Learned to love  tools this weekend – anything that’s sharp and strong and cuts and pokes and whiffs things away.

My favorite –

Kept me real busy these last couple of days.   Anything that grows on trees was not safe!    Anything that grows…like twigs and  branches and vines and  leaves … and spider webs and nests…

If it was UP – and I could reach it –  it’s now DOWN.    Brush piles of all sizes, every ten feet.

Good news is  —  Hubbie will be proud that our yard is not being overgrown like some scene out of “Life After People.”     I think I added about a quarter of an acre to our property.

Bad news  is —  I forgot to think about what to do with all those brush piles.

 

Does this come under the Category of “Gardening”?

$30 per 1,000 miles (prepper alert)

May 23, 2012

Maybe I have a little bit of Prepper mentality in me.   If so,  I caught it from my Grandma.

You all know by now that I have a great new little car –

Here she is by some spring blossoms.    I just love to drive a car that loves to be….driven!   It surges forth when the light turns green,  it sails down interstates, and it twists and turns without effort.    And today she needed her oil changed.

The mechanic I know and trust came out with a tiny little bill, but then went on to inform me that the next oil-change-and-check-up-and-adjustments would be —-aaargh! —–   well, at the rate I drive, it will come out to be about $30 per every 1,000 miles I drive.   And at that rate, that will be in just a few months.

I thought of how few things we can do on our own cars nowadays.  I remember when Hubbie came home from the auto dealers after an unsuccessful attempt at changing a light bulb on a headlight.    He said (he grumbled)  that they needed special equipment to take apart the front end in order to reach where the manufacturer had put the compartment for the light bulb.      It wasn’t a place meant for the consumer.

So we have computers that attach to our cars, and then our check-ups and repairs reflect the cost of these computers and the small team of technicians that have been educated and trained in auto diagnostics.

But for us it’s “Don’t ever try this at home!”    If you do, you won’t get anywhere anyway, because our cars are way too complex anyway.   We have long passed the Mechanical Age, when every family had someone who was good at “auto mechanics.”   I think we’ve even passed the Electronics Age.    We’re hopelessly and helplessly reliant on the mysteries of the Digital Age.

I had a hint this was coming a few decades ago.

Remember this guy?    He’s a character in the original Tron.    He’s a byte, actually.   Cute little thing that can say only Yes or No.   On or Off.    He’s there or he’s not there.    And he lives inside computers, which turns out to be a not very safe place for humans to go –

With his limited mentality “he can say only Yes or No…”     But we entrust our entire culture to little bits and bytes.

I’m not the only one feeling a little vulnerable.

I’m a little uneasy about the unknown complexity that stands between us and our necessities.   And that leads me to my Grandma.   In a  less technologically complex age,  she knew that the world is always full of unknowns and necessities, but she didn’t have bits and bytes standing in the way of meeting the challenges.

This looks a lot like the place she used to send me down to before a big family meal.

And so does this.   These photos could be two walls of her root cellar,  filled with food that she had prepared “ahead of time.”    When there is a sale,  when there is an abundant harvest, when things are okay –  that’s when she prepared for the unknowns of the future.

Doesn’t sound too complex, does it?

When the bits and bytes disappear from our food industry, from our trucking industry,  from our grocery industry, from our banking industry,  from our satellite and communication industries —  you wouldn’t need a high tech digital expert to provide your next meal.

I hope all my friends and loved ones are preparing for some low-tech days ahead.    It’s a calmer, easier, less fearful way to live — and it sure should cost less than $30 per 1,000 miles.

A WEEK OF SON

May 23, 2012

It was Son’s birthday this week.

He is older now than I was when he was born.

I don’t  know what that means, really.   It doesn’t seem possible.     I just know that we’re both adults now, and I’m so lucky I can enjoy his company these days, adult to adult.

But even so,  I’ve discovered that a mother’s heart keeps all his days, all together, all at once….so I can enjoy all of him, now, that ever was.

And yet I’m still wonderfully astonished by him

I wish that Hubbie could see him now, although  sometimes I think that he already has.   Hubbie kept teaching  him so much, and he  knowingly and deliberately  took from Hubbie what was most meaningful and important and then used it to become his own man.

  Here he is on his birthday day.     I think Hubbie would appreciate what he can see in our Son.

I know I had a good time preparing for his birthday.   There were so many ways  my appreciation could flow out to him too, from making a “not-too-sweet”  birthday cake, to selecting his presents so that he can continue to do the work he likes to do,   along with a few DVD’s that I just found out are freaking out his friends —  Ha Ha —  and an easy-going timing all day that worked for us both.

 

And then we had a nice birthday dinner at an old Italian  family restaurant downtown, complete with modern day urban mural. . . .

. . . . for all-you-can-eat- RIBS !

And all these photos of beautiful roses?     That was the “flow” in the other direction,  from him to me:    My Mother’s Day Roses –

I told you there was much to appreciate in this young man!

 

 

 

 

 

ECLIPSE FROM THE “FAR NORTH”

May 20, 2012

We’re not really in the direct pathway of the annular eclipse;  maybe we get to see less than 20% of the effect.    The circle of the sun is still nearly a perfect circle, maybe just a tiny bit flattened on one edge, no sign of the moon in the middle.

I did what they said to do:

Cardboard.  Aluminum foil.   A tiny round pinhole.  White  poster paper  to project the sunlight onto.   And the sunlight from the window, a bit diminished.

The sunlight did seem to have an odd feel to it;  not quite as shiny silvery reflecting off the leaves as we’re used to, even for this time of the evening.

The sunlight on the trees was yellower and duller.

Even the big tall trees that stand high and bright in the evening sun were less brilliantly lit than usual:

There should be quite a noticeable contrast between the sunlit part of the trees and the shady part of the trees, but there really wasn’t for a while.

So that was fun.     I think we experienced a bit of the effect of the annular eclipse.

But people from outer space got an even better “experience” !!

Thanks, Son, for sending the photo!

 

 

ASCENSION DAY – AND UP

May 18, 2012

This is the time of year when Christians remember the Ascension of Christ back into Heaven.  It’s one of the most important historic events that we will celebrate until the end of Time.  Rightfully and necessarily, the Church underscores its importance by presenting for us “the Vigil of the Ascension,”  “Ascension Thursday,”  and the Octave days of the Ascension.

If you let it slip by with a wink and a nod, you will have missed so much joy and hope and depth in our faith.  Come into Friday’s morning class with me,  and take a peek at just a portion of our discussion:

We start with Love.   Love itself.  An element of Love is to want to know and to be known by the loved one.   As a matter of fact,  “Love loves the object of its love and seeks to arouse love in the person so that it flows back to the Lover, in a union born of love.”  This is an alive kind of love, a relationship that is a union.

God waits for our response so this union of love can begin, but He started lifting us up to Him with a series of upward motions, beginning about 2,000 years ago.  

Nine months after being conceived by the Holy Spirit  in the womb of the Virgin Mary,  it can be said there was an “upward movement” out of the womb, into our world. 

Twelve years later there was a trip from Nazareth “upwards” into Jerusalem,  where Wisdom manifested Itself at the Temple.

There were frequent travels up hills and mountainsides to feed the multitudes with spiritual and physical food.

There was a walk up Mt. Tabor, perhaps, with three of the closest disciples, to strengthen their faith by His Transfiguration,  giving them a hint of the glory of His home above.

I had sketched out a few of these examples;  the class surprised me by having so many more “upward movements”  during the Life of Christ, right at their fingertips, so to speak.  

We understood together that Jesus solemnly walked “upward” into the garden on the Mount of Olives, to the Agony of submitting to the Sacrificial Act of Redemption.  

We understood together that Christ was “lifted up”  on the Cross, where  He said He could draw all men unto Himself.

Three days later He rose upwards from the place of the dead, and returned to His loved ones.

And forty days later, He ascended upwards into Heaven, upwards past all the distinctive levels of the choirs of angels.

The whole of the Christian faith is a series of upward movements, upward towards God who loved and then created us.   Jesus told us that we are in this world, but not of this world.  And He told us He has gone to prepare a place for us up in His “World of Glory,”  to be united with Him, in Love, forever.

All this we try to comprehend during this time of remembering the Ascension.

FOOD ILLUSIONS

May 18, 2012

(Just a couple more “Illusion” posts.  They’re going to get more and more dire….)

I was working in the library a week or so ago, working with my laptop.   Now, when you live alone and have full rein over your day’s schedule,  you have to be specific about your To Do list.  I mean you have to be doing “something” next or else you’ll end up doing “anything.”   And getting “nothing”  done.

I had a lot to do that day, so as I ended my work, I decided to stay online and check the menu at the sandwich shop I planned to go to on my way to my next task.  Saves time if you can decide before you’re standing in line.    I won’t tell you the name of the sandwich shop, but it’s a nice one, and Hubbie had a gift card for it, so I planned to make use of it.

As I was browsing their menu at the library,  I noticed a tab to click that said “ingredients.”

Clicked it.   Big mistake.  Or maybe not.

I had picked the most nutritious (and delicious) sandwich I could find:  a chicken avocado asiago panini.    Mmmmm.    Until I read the ingredients.   Three paragraphs later I marveled how they could name this sandwich “chicken”  and “avocado” and imply that it had a good “sauce” inside.    I read the description of the sandwich.  I read the ingredients.  Back and forth in an exercise of increasing cognitive dissonance.

In the end, I simply couldn’t put the unpronounceable chemicals in my body.

I’m sure there was a decided pout on my face as I added a stop at the health food store for some “real” chicken to roast, an organic avocado,  some gluten-free organic millet and flax-seed bread, etc., etc.

Six hours later….I did have a delicious sandwich, made with real food.

I suppose I’m pretty angry about the delusion we are under when we walk into a restaurant or a grocery store.   We have an illusion that we are purchasing wholesome, healthful food, especially if we’re careful to choose non-processed food and  especially if we pride ourselves on “cooking from scratch.”   But healthy food is more and more of an illusion in our present world.

It would take as long to read this post as it took me to make my little sandwich — if I listed, explained, and sourced all the ways our food is not really food.

It’s up to you to research for your own health, but here are a few  things I learned when I realized my health was “up to me.”   These can be Search terms, for when you have a moment.

Genetically modified, gene-spliced – this not the same thing as the age-long method of hybridization that farmers used to do.   There are toxins and unintended consequences resulting from GMO foods and all, all, all results are harmful to animals and humans.  Nearly all oils used in our foods are genetically modified (except for olive and coconut oils);  increasingly our potatoes, our wheat, our rice, and those funny tomato things that smell and taste like they belong in a wax fruit centerpiece.    And so many more foods belong in this list.

Adulterated with toxins, hormones, antibiotics, pus,  glues, and thickeners such as sawdust and mineral material (that would be  cellulose and silicone dioxide) are:  dairy products, meats, eggs

Sprayed with Agent Orange ingredient, 2,4,5-T,  dioxins, sulfites, pesticides, herbicides, rendered cow waste… is:  our produce;  anything grown in the fields.   Broccoli, for instance is sprayed with chemicals I’m allergic to, sprayed when just maturing.  The cells incorporate these chemicals into the edible portion that is harvested for us to….”eat.”

Our bodies can’t escape these things.

(A little aside:  there was once an independent lab that tested the safety all of these things and published their results.   They were just recently bought out by….Monsanto!   Now they can continue their illusions.)

Yeah, it took me a while that day, but in the end I think I had a real chicken avocado asiago panini – at home.

 

“FORWARD” FROM FATIMA

May 16, 2012

This is the Season of Fatima, so to speak, the time of the year in which for six successive months, on the 13th day, an apparition returned to three little children with certain messages.  You can read about it in old newspapers or secular history books or religious accounts and even in far-out New Age books.  Peace, Brothers!

But something did ccur then, beginning on May 13, 1917.

  One aspect of the information given to the children is a general warning that seems to have much to do with our present time.    The children were innocent,  secluded, and ignorant of world affairs, and the message, thus, was untainted by  preconceived ideas.   As a matter of fact, the children thought the warning concerned a particular “bad woman”  who plied her trade in and about their village, but the children weren’t allowed to know how exactly she  was “bad,” nor even to talk about her.

During this apparition, the children thought the Beautiful Lady had revealed the name of the “bad woman”  to them.  They were told that if people don’t turn back to God and start living as God wants them to,  then  maybe “this bad woman”  would be able to spread her errors through the whole world.   The name they heard was “Russia.”

All right.  If people don’t repent and turn back to God, sincerely, and change their ways,  then there would be bad consequences:    Russia will spread her errors to the rest of the world.

So what are these errors of Russia?

The ancient Greeks would recognize the errors.   “For of the gods we believe, and of men we know , that by a law of their nature, wherever they can rule, they will.”    This is the Will to Power, as described by Thucydides concerning the Athenians.     “Wherever they can rule, they will.”

Power and Power Over others.  Present in our very natures.   “Might is Right”  as Plato put it.

These early Greek philosophers also observed the principle of Hubris.  When a man or a nation or a system of thought goes too far in its quest for Power Over, then he or it will inevitably come to ruin.

Our long train of history not only proves them right, but testifies to the fact that many innocent people are caught up in their ruin.

Back to Fatima and the reference to the errors of Russia:  in 1917 Russia was undergoing a Revolution in which a minority of people, a small minority, were imposing their system of Socialism onto the Russian people.

It was part of their program for the whole world.  Eventually, the whole world would be Socialist,  was their anticipation.     Socialism would spread to the whole world, they planned.

Always posters and demonstrators

It will spread to the whole world if, according to Fatima, the world rejects the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,  the God of the Bible,  the God of the Church.

A world without God is where we find the Will to Power;  the drive to have Power Over other people;   the system in which the State takes care of everything and everyone — governing by the principles of the Man of Power:

 

This is what the Socialists mean by “Progress.”

This is moving “Forward.”

Watch for these words in 2012,  95 years after our warning.

THE ROBIN HOOD ILLUSION

May 15, 2012

A little story, belonging to this series of Illusions:

You’ve worked hard.  Too hard sometimes.   Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.   You’re doing all right now, your little trading business is doing well, you can employ about 25 people from your little town.  They’re glad to have employment, but your family still says you work too hard.

You send them off for a little vacation.   You put your wife and your little daughter in the vehicle, and the little girl next door is with them.  Shy little thing, but she’ll be all right with your wife and daughter.   You won’t see them for a while, but you have lots of work coming up in these next two weeks.    They should be safe.  The town banker is already in that vehicle, in that public conveyance.  Your neighbor sold his property, and the banker is taking the money to someone who will purchase a new house for your neighbor.

The vehicle leaves.   It will be a nice trip through a pleasant forest, over a few meadows…The precious cargo, your wife and daughter, the others…

  ….should be safe.  Until —

Someone confronts the vehicle.

He is a “professional”  who knows the roads.    He doesn’t have regular employment.  He doesn’t want to have an “ordinary”  job.   He likes fun and risk-taking and relying on his luck; and now he’s putting your family at risk and he’s relying on the passengers in the vehicle to be quiet and passive and cooperative, because he wants what they have.   He doesn’t care what they have.    He just knows that your family has more than he has, and he wants it.    Your family seems rich enough to him and he doesn’t think that’s fair.

In another century it was these guys who confronted ordinary citizens as they went about their business:

The legend has come down to us that “Robin Hood and his Merry Men”  were robbing only the rich and distributing what they stole to poor people.

Legends are powerful.   Legends,   fiction, novels,  movies, the whole entertainment media temper our just condemnation of these men.    The Highwayman is turned into an object of romantic desire for girls, a dashing, daring hero for the boys.    And Robin Hood has become the quintessential do-gooder,  redistributing the wealth as he sees fit.   How can he be bad?  Little John, Friar Tuck, and all his other friends like him so much!

In this century, taking from the rich and giving to the poor has become fashionable again,  at least according to the entertainment industry, which today encompasses the actors and actresses on television who sit in front of cameras and read “news scripts”   handed to them.

Some people are even telling us that Jesus would approve:

Two things go wrong here usually.   First, it often comes up in my classes when we speak about charity and loving our neighbors, that Jesus pointed the way to taking care of our neighbor in the parable of the Good Samaritan.    With the full weight of the media and the culture coming down on us, it’s hard to remember that Jesus was not speaking about huge international charitable corporations;  nor was he speaking about a government,  our Rulers, taking money away from successful people and giving it to those who….well, who don’t do the things that make people successful – but who could.

( Those who can’t do the things that need to be done in order to have a  chance to be successful,  those people are being taken care of now in our country.  We could make improvements, of course, but we are indeed taking care of them here better than any other place in the world.   But you already know that and can answer such critics.)

The parable of the Good Samaritan was the answer to “who is my neighbor.”   Turns out my “neighbor” is not only my family,  my actual neighbor, the people I know and live and work with,  but it is also, according to this parable, anyone in my near vicinity,  anyone next to me, stranger or otherwise,  who has …  some need …  that I can help him with.    That’s my duty.  God loves that person.  So must I.   But it must be I, myself,  who aids the needy, not someone else, on my behalf.    Jesus wasn’t speaking of Proxy Samaritans.

The second thing that usually goes wrong is the people who are in charge of taking away what rich people have and giving it to the poor are nearly all the time very, very, very wealthy themselves.     How’d they get that way?

 In every socialist society the Rulers are very wealthy;  the rich get poorer or they get away, if they can.    Is it the co-founder of Facebook that has recently renounced his US citizenship?    French newspapers are reporting many wealthy French are leaving their country after the last elections there, in which a socialist was elected.

I  don’t have any examples of socialist leaders not becoming fabulously wealthy, but there are plenty of examples of very wealthy left-wing “influential” people.   You can read about them everywhere.   In fact, you can start with Mssr.  Hollande.  He is a socialist who won the elections, but he is also a socialist who is extremely wealthy and own three wonderful villas and a yacht…..

Remember the presidential candidate with a 12,500 square foot house that requires as much electricity as any small city in America?    And he makes billions, now,   telling us that we must use less and do without.   He appears to have failed ninth-grade general science, but he does have powerful left-wing Rulers promoting him.

And then there is this news item entitled “The Soros Summit”:

“A secretive network of left-wing billionaires and their political operatives descended on the luxurious Biltmore Hotel in Miami over the weekend to discuss strategy for the coming elections.   The location of the conference had been kept a closely guarded secret by the members and guests of Democracy Alliance (DA), a collection of ultra-wealthy liberal donors formed in 2005, and is reported here in a Washington Free Beacon exclusive.   Attendees roamed the grounds at the 150-acre tropical resort on their way to cocktail gatherings, salsa dance lessons, and workshops such as “Occupy the Voting Booth” and “The 1 Percent Rule.” Local police guarded entrances as members attended a “partners only” meeting in the hotel’s Country Club Courtyard. . . .”

You can actually read more on this informative story at this link,  but you can find many examples on your own.

Our Rulers want your money.  More of it, that is.   Our Rulers want more money from the people who employ us.    A few articles are written about those who finally have to leave this country because they can’t afford to stay in business here anymore.    Business is suffering.  Unemployment is rising.   And there is not enough money to take care of those in actual need.

This is the Robin Hood Illusion in action.    Take away from those who are successful –  give to the poor ones who will vote for the takers.     The wealth will concentrate into the hands of the few,   who will then. . . .

BUSY TODAY

May 14, 2012

Been busy. . . .

                . . . . . reading my mail today:

See those beautiful swirly lines?    That’s from Cooper’s own hands.    Cooper Kenneth…wrote to me!      He’s 18 months old now, and I’m privileged to be his Grandma.

May our men  continue to defend and protect … families.

May our women continue to rock those cradles.

In the end,  our families are what we have left. 

God bless our families.

 

                                                      Happy Mother’s Day !

FIRM FOUNDATION OR ILLUSION?

May 10, 2012

You want the ground beneath your feet to be firm and trustworthy.   You want a firm foundation to rely on,  whether it’s the ground beneath your feet or the truths you base your life on.

I don’t have to make lessons for you out of today’s posting.    I just want to share a news story that hit close to home — far from my home,  but close to my life anyway.

The “truths you base your life on” —   like the assumptions that the Interstate Highway that will take you home  is trustworthy.    Especially when  you’re driving high up in the mountains!

That’s  I-75, the very road that took me from Tennessee into Kentucky, about the midpoint of my journey home.  The last thing on my mind is that maybe the road isn’t as permanent as I thought it was.

There is the edge of the road.     Seems the mountain had a landslide this week.    Quite normal for a mountain, I guess.   Pretty discomforting for a driver.    That drop-off goes a thousand or so feet down, and it’s right at the side of the road, getting right up close to the pavement.   I KNOW this area!   I’m pretty fond of that pavement, actually.

So how would you stop a landslide from eating up more of the Interstate?   How would you keep the mountain from falling apart any further?

How about NAIL IT back together again!

Soil Nails!

That’s really what they’re called.   Forty-foot long narrow steel cylinders that are driven into the ground with thousands of pounds of pressure by that nail-driving machine that shoots out smoke.   They’re going to put about 300 of those nails into the side of the highway.

I don’t know.     I’m going to have to drive down to Florida again some day.

I’ve already had the illusion that that mountain was firm and strong enough for an Interstate.    Am I ready for another illusion that forty-foot nails can hold that mountain back  together?

Oh, how  clever we  humans are.   How advanced is our technology!    That’s not just an illusion, is it?

 

 

 

 

ILLUSIONS OF SUCCESS

May 7, 2012

So who’s successful?  Who’s the winner?  Who’s right?

(Note to my new readers, below*)

Throughout history there have been many followers of the One God.   For our strength and benefit, the Church gives us the Martyrology to read each day,  it contains tiny little statements that record people who, on this day, remained faithful to the One God.    (This is not to be confused with the highly fictional Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, a book which I’m quite familiar with.)

 One of the martyrs today is St. Stanislaus, a bishop in what is now Poland, during the time of the great and successful King Boleslaus II, the Bold.   The king was powerful and victorious over many battles and many enemies.  The king lived under the illusion that his good luck and numerous victories made him successful, and he began to use his “success” to his advantage.

A king must always act for the good of his own people, but this king began to take from the people whatever he wanted.  He became rich and powerful and feared.   The bishop counseled  him many times, but why should a successful Ruler listen to the teachings of the Church?

Finally, St.Stanislaus publicly and strongly rebuked him.  He warned the king that if the king didn’t change his ways, repent and become a good king, he would be separated from the supernatural benefits that come through the Church.

It was easy for the king to arrange a way to put a stop to this bishop.   The friends of the king manufactured evidence against the bishop;  a trial was held;  but with God’s help judgment couldn’t be pronounced against the bishop.

And so the king produced another “victory.”   When the bishop was in Church one day,  busy praying, the king and three groups of soldiers came to kill him.   One by one, each group of soldiers came back out, frightened by a supernatural light which they saw protecting the bishop.   Finally the king himself rushed in and killed the bishop.

By the power of his own hands, the king had produced the illusion of success for himself.

So as we look at our society this week, at our nation, our Rulers and the illusions they have produced for us,  may the Spirit of Truth that Jesus spoke about (yesterday’s posting)   help us discern truth from nonsense, and perhaps boldly withstand the illusions.

And where is King Boleslaus the Bold now?

He is justifiably a minor hero of Polish history.   Locked, now,  in brass and stone and tied to one brief  period of time.      The illusion of success covers over the heartbreak and harm that he had done to his own people.

St. Stanilaus still inspires us to faith and courage.

___________________________

*(A note to my new readers:   You may have ascertained that I know there is One God and only One God, and that as our Creator He is so high above us that we cannot understand everything about Him.  He has given us knowledge that He is Triune, but when we focus on or think about one “aspect”  of His Trinity, that does not make Him “three.”   He is One God.   That is why He could come to earth to be one of us and to do what had to be done to redeem us.  And He did that out of love for each of us.   A man cannot become God;  but could not God become a man?  We must not put restrictions on Him!    And so I choose to follow this Good and Loving All-powerful One God.)

THE INNER SOURCE OF ILLUSIONS

May 6, 2012

I thought today how easy illusions are to come by.    Takes no effort at all for one to develop.   Here’s where I was today, this Fourth Sunday After Easter,  when that thought came to me:

See what the sign says?

Yep, the sign says I went into a crypt this morning. I went down that stairway into that dark hole that suggests dark, creepy…uh…dead things.   But that perception is just an illusion.   I went there to find the True Light that came down from Heaven to illumine our hearts and minds…and redeem us from this world of dark confusion and sin.   I did find Him there…some very private, spiritual things happened,  and we heard His words during the Gospel reading and we heard a very fine sermon that “illumined”  the words for our minds.

 

And my mind wandered a little bit, way over to the Spruce Tunnel and what I’ve been thinking about there lately.   The wandering began when I heard the words:   “At that time Jesus said to His disciples: I go to Him that sent me, and none of you asks me,  Where do you go?”

A bit earlier Jesus had told His disciples that He has to go away soon, and where He’s going they can’t go.  It made them sad.   So once again Jesus tells them He has to go away, and He notices,  He remarks,  that although they received this information,  they are not asking questions.  They have no understanding of what Jesus means, and they’re not asking for understanding.

Is this a gentle rebuke to them?    Is this what His disciple James will refer to a few years later in his epistle:   “You have not because you ask not”   ?

Whatever illusions they are under because of His words, He promises that when He goes away He will send to them the Spirit of Truth.

“None of you ask….”    I know Jesus wasn’t teaching His disciples about illusions just then,   but I did take a lesson from these words.  Why are we so easily mistaken about things in our society?  Why are we able to be so often and so thoroughly propagandized about things?   Remember yesterday’s posting?  CFL light bulbs are “good.”   And they’re not, in so many ways.   How did we fall for that?

What is “healthy” for us?   What saves us money?   What “saves” the planet?   What things do we accept from our Rulers in the name of “security”?    How sound is the foundation of our society?  What part of the information that streams into us each day is true?   What is harmless and what is a sign that things are becoming dangerous and need our attention?

Sighhhhh.   I did go down into the somewhat darker and quiet and peaceful “crypt”  this morning, and I found refuge in the One who sent the Spirit of Truth to us, just as He promised.   But I came away realizing  I need to “ask” things.  I need to be engaged.

My illusions come from inside of me, but so do the questions.

The man needs to wash his car,  but I’m beginning to like that bumper sticker.        It does take a little effort to ask questions.     You are the watchman of your own heart and soul.

Or not:

ILLUSIONS OF LIGHT – BUSTED!

May 5, 2012

All right!   Ready for a week of illusions?    I’ve been waiting for a long time to do this one!

BUSTED!!!

There are some things I observed on my driving trips,  things that I knew about but I  wasn’t sure how many others knew.    Turns out,  no one really knows the “story behind the story.”    Turns out our society lives in  layers of illusions.   

I’ve spent many days in hotel rooms recently.       Pretty nice ones.   Up to date and — you know,  “modern.”     Probably “trendy.”    Unthinkingly trendy.  

One night I was reading in bed, but after about twenty minutes I noticed an itching on my arm, and then a burning on my face and arm….I kept reading, it kept getting worse.   When I stopped reading, I noticed the discomfort was on my side facing the bedside lamp.    I looked up into it, and sure enough,  they had one of the CFL’s in there….those curly  compact fluorescent light bulbs.

To my dismay, both of my families on both coasts of the country were using them too – inside their houses!      — Where these “light bulbs” can do the most harm to people’s bodies.

We have enough experience with these things now to know that they do not always last longer, in general, than an incandescent light bulb.  We now know they are not “cheaper” to use for the consumer.     We know people complain about the odd light that they cast, the apparent dimness, the flickering.  My Dad was unable to read his mail under these light bulbs.  

Many others, besides me, notice the burning and itching.    We know that exzema-like skin problems worsen or begin to develop.    We know that the flicker rate has induced headaches and epileptic like seizures in some people who hadn’t known they were susceptible.   Children are most affected.

European Scientists study the CFLs and found that they “pulse out” poisonous materials when switched on. 

We now know that they produce poisonous fumes.     Here is more from a *German study:  

“While it was known that harmful amounts of mercury are released if one of the new “green” bulbs breaks, experts have now discovered they also emit several carcinogenic chemicals.   These include phenol – a poison used by the Nazis to kill concentration camp victims – and the toxins naphthalene and styrene, which are released as a form of steam when the bulb is switched on.  The German scientists behind the report advise that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, especially near a person’s head.

Researcher Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the independent Berlin Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”

He said the bulbs could be especially harmful if left on near a child’s head all night or used to read by for long periods near an adult.

Andreas Kirchner of the Federation of German Engineers, said: “Electrical smog develops around these lamps. I, therefore, use them only very economically. They should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head.”

We know that breaking one of these in a structure, a building or a home, is  matter for  EPA guidelines.   It is recommended that the room with the broken CFL bulb be sealed off!    Professional help be called.  And under no circumstances can you use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the little broken glass dust particles.     Disposal must be done under hazardous material guidelines.

The Australian Department of Environment offers the following advice:

– Open windows in the room to air out fo 15 minutes before cleaning up – Don’t use a vacuum as this could spread mercury into the air – Wear gloves when cleaning up – Use a disposable brush to gently sweep up fragments – Use a moist paper towel to help pick up remaining tiny fragments – Wrap the pieces up in layers of newspaper and place in a sturdy sealable bag or container along with anything used to clean up the mess.      Treat this as Hazardous Chemical Waste take it to a hazardous chemical disposal facility.”

We know that very few people will dispose of these mercury-containing light bulbs “properly.” 

So what has the Man Behind the Green Curtain told our society about these light bulbs?     He has given us a pretty illusion.  

And where is Dorothy when we need her? !!

_______________________________________

*    My information is from a variety of sources.   I can link to the German study   here,   but it’s very easy to find out about these CFLs on the Internet.    The articles are disappearing fast, though, especially the critical ones.   Scientific studies are “going away.”      It’s best to use a lesser known search engine, perhaps a more private one like Start Page.  

 

 

 

ILLISIONS OF INFORMATION

May 4, 2012

Well, I don’t need to put the word “shock” in all my titles now, even though I’m still reverberating from what I observed in my nearly 12,000 miles of driving during these past four months.      The “shock reverberations” were still apparent this morning in our Friday class;   and between their questions and my too-willngness to answer, it was very difficult to get us back on track to focus on the day’s lesson.

One of the phrases that came out of our discussion is  “Illusions of Information.”   We wondered why so few people protest the latest developments in our country, and then we realized it’s because very few people even know about these developments.

An example:  how many of you know that the votes for our November elections will be “counted”  by a socialist corporation located in Spain?    It is a foreign corporation that will decide who won our presidential election.    Uh-hmm.       28 states have signed on so far.   Any protests?   Anyone know about this?   Are the television cables news presenting this to you?  Discussing it?     Where is the information about this?

This is only one example of Thing You Should Know…but probably don’t.

 

Like that pretty green curtain there in the photo, we are dazzled by all the information-bits we receive every day through all the various media, electronic, print, person-to-person.    So much information!    But look again at that pretty green curtain….It offers both a distraction and a veil to reality.

Who’s in charge of what we see and hear?

The pretty green curtain is from The Wizard of Oz.    Dorothy and her friends discover the man behind the curtain who is presenting all the illusions that held their attention.    In a flash, they realized they hadn’t been  seeing the whole truth — and then the Big Voice said:   Pay no attention to “what you think you see.”     The source of your information is irrelevant.    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

“The illusions are real!”   

And the illusions are deadly –  they are harmful and deadly to the soul and to the body.

Harmful and deadly?   Souls and body?     These last two cross-country driving trips of mine resulted from requests for help, requests from two different families, for two very different reasons.  But while I was in California and while I was in Florida,  I observed things.  I observed people.     On each end of the country people live distinctive cultural lifestyles,   but on both coasts there was a serious lack of knowledge about the harm that is being done to them by their everyday  choices.     And the “help”  that was needed arose out of the harm being done to the family I love. . . . I take this very personally.

Everyone seemed to think they were well-informed.  I think that’s when the phrase “illusions of information”  developed in my mind.

I know I”m being wordy here,  but for the next few posts I want to rid my computer of all the “illusions”  I’ve been collecting,  just say them once and for all – and then I will retreat behind my “knitting needles”  for you.

And I’ve downloaded A Tale of Two Cities into my Kindle,   just for this purpose!

STORM APPROACHING (Storm Shock)

May 3, 2012

I love a good storm.  Shocked at how green everything became during our thunderstorm today –

The green was greener than green, this spring green in the rain.

Looking out through my back window . . . .

. . . .I could only think of that lovely novel of so long ago, Green Mansions, where a British (civilized) gentleman falls in love with Rima, one of the primitive Bird People maidens, so sweet and graceful, and with her lovely bird-like language she was so much a part of her jungle home. . . .   That was the stuff Romance is made of!   W.H.  Hudson is the author, and although we may find him tedious to read today,  he actually writes “at the speed of human thought.”    That is,  it is good that we linger over pages of description that can evoke mood and mystery and meditation….

But immediately I thought of another “green” setting.   It was the green rippling mountains of the lower Appalachians.    I think.     And it was the setting for the movie Hunger Games.

Unsettling setting.   Unsettling movie.   

Please dont’ say “It’s just a movie.”   Please don’t ask “Who did you root for?”    And don’t say: “Wasn’t that a good ending!”

It wasn’t “harmless entertainment.”  It looked more like Predictive Programming, a tactic that our rulers have used on us time and time again whenever their next move was ready to be implemented.   Oh, so gently, like a giant supertanker, a society is steered and directed and has its course changed when its people have been trained to recognize and accept the new direction.

Winners?   Losers?    There were neither in Hunger Games.  

The system had taken over and everyone conformed to the system.    What was most unsettling to me was that both the controlling class of people and the controlled mass of people were compliant and obedient to that system that had developed.    They were compliant, obedient,  conformist, and politically correct.

There was no challenge to the system.

The unsettling, chilling, shocking things about Hunger Games is that it showed me a system that I can already recognize.

Everything is in place for us.  The technology is there.  The laws are there, although we call them “executive orders” now, so we can by-pass our legislators.    The mentality of entertainment exists.      Reality shows give us a gladiator mentality.   The degradation of human dignity and worth is in place.     The  “fear” of some unknown attack by some unknown enemy  is in place.    Uneducated conformity is in place.      The training of the enforcement agents are in place.   The plans are in place.   Even the places are in place – and supplied and stocked.

The system is building. . . .

Soon its thunderclouds will pass over us, and my lovely “green mansions”  outside, in my backyard,  will become a true jungle.

 

Let me show you in the next few days what we aren’t seeing.