Archive for May 2013

CALIFORNIA BOUND 3.2 (Dinosaur country)

May 31, 2013

This posting will be in three parts: “On The Way In,”  and “At the Quarry”  and “Out On My Own (with Noah’s Flood).

1.  ON THE WAY IN

In the last two postings I already described being lost on narrow switchback roads with no markings or signs, but in some of the most beautiful mountain-and-valley scenery I’d ever been a part of.  As I left the Flaming Gorge area, the map indicated that I’d be traveling through a few little towns to get to dinosaur territory.

The towns were very little!   Most with “no markings” either.  I stopped in a friendly place called “Vernal”  (according to my reading of the map)  to ask for directions to the dinosaur quarry, only to be told ,”Oh, yes, you go that way for a few miles to the town of Vernal,  and when you come to a gas station and another building, there’ll be a road that cuts between them.   Take that road.  There might be a sign.”

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Now the roads and the towns weren’t labeled, but the hillsides were.  There were signs on the hillsides telling me the names of the Formation that created the big hills,  how many million of years old they were, and that they were made of “ancient sand dunes” and “bizarre sharks”  and reptiles and ancient marine life.

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And along the way, I stopped at this sign, which added a little drama to my day’s plans:

Black Bear signThose of you who know me, know what I think of being chased by black bear in the woods. . . .

Well, I probably found Vernal and I did see a sign to the Visitors Center for the dinosaurs.   I was no longer lost.   There were “dinosaurs” everywhere.   I got out and looked at one, just to feel the size.

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I parked near the dinosaur and went into the Visitor Center, where I learned there were no actual dinosaur bones there, but lots of interesting and “must-have” souvenirs.   I now own a genuine replica of a Raptor Claw!

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Couldn’t pass that up!    And another souvenir travel magnet for my refrigerator.   (And one for grandson Cooper)

There was one ancient display we were encouraged to touch:  a two-billion year old rock.    “Hoaky”  you think?   I sort of did too, at first, but I bent down to touch it anyway, and it was good, a good thing to do….

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I’m here to experience something and to learn and to expand my mind.   There is no learning without humility – even if you have to be humble to hoaky things.     Like a child, staring for hours at pictures of what dinosaurs could have looked like, and imagining a world full of them.

But now I came to see the dinosaur bones that were being excavated.  I had heard they were still there, in situ, sticking out of the rocks.   That’s what I wanted to see.  And they weren’t at the Visitor Center,  they were “deeper” into dinsoaur country.  How deep?  We had to board a shuttle to get there:

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Very comfortable and exciting to anticipate where we were going.  It was a good start to my imagination.  Especially when I saw the Electric Gates we had to pass through.  Remember those big imposing gates in Jurassic Park?   Whew!   The Real Thing coming up!

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The first thing we saw sticking out of the rocky hillside was a big glass building.  Once inside, I could tell that one of its walls was the actual digging site used by the paleontologists when they made their discoveries.

2.  AT THE QUARRY

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Same rock wall,  inside and looking outside:

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There were friendly guides that seemed to love being there and to love their jobs.   I think they genuinely loved dinosaurs, like many of us do.    I was able to share two of my favorite dinosaur books with one young lady:   Raptor Red and West of Eden.   (The latter being a book that explored the premise:  What if the dinosaurs hadn’t become extinct and they had 65,000,000 to evolve – just how intelligent would they have become?   just how dominant would they have become over all the earth?)

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Right now we were looking at a lot of dead dinosaurs, bones from all kinds, smashed against a box canyon many millions of years ago  in a massive flood.   The “official” explanation that you’re supposed to know is that there was a big sandbar in a big river, and after years of drought many dinosaurs began to die and their bodies got stuck along the sandbar;  and then a great local flood (climate change, I guess)  killed and washed  away many other dinosaurs and — here they are!    (Hmmmm.)

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Thankfully, we were invited to touch some of the bones.

D Please TouchFor perspective (my hand included):

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Helpful illustrations:

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Well, you get the idea.   Lest this become too long, I’m going to stop here and continue on with the last part in the next posting.

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CALIFORNIA BOUND – 3.1 (Gorgeous Gorge)

May 30, 2013

I’m not sure about my numbering system in the titles, but the 3’s are going to be Tuesday, just so I can keep track of my trip when I get home.    Tuesday was my play-day, so I got off-road a bit.  Actually, I got off-road quite a bit.  I didn’t always know where I was, but I knew where I wanted to be, and the first goal was The Flaming Gorge.

G Powell It’s good to know who discovered the rugged scenes I’m going to show you,  because this is a great American hero, scarcely remembered today, and he deserves our honor and respect.   I chose this picture of him because it shows how he got around:     horseback in the wilderness, with most of his right arm missing, shot off by a small cannonball during the Civil War.   In spite of the pain it caused him for the rest of his life, he explored the Green River, including the Flaming Gorge, and the Grand Canyon, and then made scholarly reports to the Smithsonian Institution.   His life is well worth looking up.   And he named most of the land formations that I saw yesterday.

I drove into the area, parked the car, and got out to walk the pathway to see the Gorge.   First thing was this important sign:

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Sometimes you should just pay attention to signs.    See the bottom line?    “Watch for rock crevices.”     In capital letters:

SAMSUNGWe are on a sandstone cliff,  a couple thousand feet above the river, and those cracks are deep into the sandstone!   As a matter of fact,  those people out at the edge seem to be on the wrong side of one big crack!

SAMSUNGThose sheer cliffs are not motionless, geologically speaking.   But the view is worth going out to the edge!    Tippy-toes, looking out and over:

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It was hard to get the camera to capture the color of the red cliffs which give the name “flaming”  when the sun shines  on them.    It was a mostly cloudy day, and every camera-shot made the colors different.

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Patches of sunlight and color.   I’m sure a professional phtographer would make artwork out of this:

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I know these are a lot of pictures of almost the “same thing” –  but it’s just a hint of what the scenery does to a person – it mesmerizes you.  It hypnotizes you.    You stare and stare and stare and seem to see more each moment.   You are absolutely captured by the  scenes in front of you and you don’t think of anything at all,  you just “be” there.    The scale of these cliffs is so much larger than a human being.

As I watched the inhumanly immense world in front of me,  I noticed a small human element in the scene:

SAMSUNGThat’s a big tourist boat down there.   What a wonderful boat ride that would be!

Well,  this wasn’t the main attraction of the day.   I was off to recapture an important bit of my childhood.

I returned on the peaceful pathways under the ponderosa pines:

IMG_1809In the car. . . and under a stylish little bridge, over the Green river. . . .

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I feel very , very small.    The world is so large and more beautiful than I can even comprehend.

CALIFORNIA BOUND – 3.0 ( “Lost in America”)

May 29, 2013

No Internet last night…or at least not one with a strong enough signal to reach The Spruce Tunnel.   Sometimes that happens.     I spent today without Internet too – and not much cell phone connection,  no radio,  no restaurants,  no Interstates…   In short,  I spent nearly the whole  day on two lane roads —  and  less than two lanes:

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Really.   The road I was on just . . . ended.

There wasn’t much of anything in any direction.

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I had started out on a two-lane paved road,  but there were construction cones all over and absolutely no signs.  No signs telling me where I wanted to go,  no signs telling me the name of the road I was on, just the memory of a cheery young lady behind a gas station counter assuring me that what I wanted to find was “that way” – which I had just about figured out.     But first I had to figure out a way to get out of the desert – literally.      The  purple sage was beautiful,   but that’s not where roads continue on:

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My Tom Tom couldn’t find the “point of interest”  that I had requested.     What I wanted was somewhere  in the vicinity of Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado – where those three kind of come together.

I did eventually find a paved road again, but all there was  to see was plenty  of nothing — gorgeous, beautiful “nothing”  –

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You just have to experience the “vast vistas”  that you can drive through for a whole day, hours and hours on end without seeing towns or stores or even signs of people.   I did, however, see signs made by people.   Entertaining signs for the driver.

“Loose Stock.”    I’m from the Midwest, and “stock” is what you put on grocery shelves, and if it gets loose,  you put the stock back on the shelves where they belong.

“Blasting.  Stay on road”      That’s what I was trying to do!      The narrow, winding, mountainous road got more and more difficult to drive on –   my focus was absolutely trying to stay on the road.

“9% – 10 switchbacks – 9 miles”      And then all my attention was on forcing the steering wheel in the right position and  keeping my foot pressed firmly on the brakes!    It took a lot of effort and after about ten minutes of  right angles, back and forth, pointing downwards,  I saw another sign that actually said:    “Nine more to go” —   This was going to be a countdown to the pit of you-know-where.     More than once I wondered what it would be like to just let go and go flying off into the . . . scenery.

“Carmel Formation Contains Cannonball Concretions”        How’s that for a puzzler!    But it told me I was getting closer to my goal.

“Earth’s Oldest Extinction Area”     (I took that as a comment on the roads.)

Well,  sorry,   I’m way too tired to get to the best part of my day,  but I did eventually find a map of where I was going:

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The blue line is the river of the beautiful Flaming Gorge that I was roughly paralleling.   This is just a map.   The photographs are stunning.  The reality takes your breath away.

So that’s one place where I was today, and now,  looking out my car’s front window,  over the dash,   here’s a hint at where I was heading  –

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I found them!    But, oh, not even a car could go where I had to go today!

CALIFORNIA BOUND – 2.1 (Nebraska Beef!)

May 26, 2013

So…it’s time for Sunday dinner!  Sunday dinner in Nebraska!!!   If you had just driven past tens of thousands of big healthy Angus grazing in the fields,  what would you be thinking?

I knew I’d be in around Grand Isle, smack in the middle of Nebraska, in time for dinner, so I went to the Internet and looked for some good Nebraska steak places.    I found:   The Sin City Grill  (Isn’t that Las Vegas?);   and Shady Blend -(- are we still in Las Vegas?);   Tao Sun Li and Wahabi  (what continent are we on?);    Nathan’s Detroit.   (wrong state ! )

Finally I found Whiskey Creek, where the….uh….”where the smoke is on the grill”  or  “where the  grill is always smoking,”   . . . “where there’s smoke there’s grill.”   Well, I forgot their motto,   but it sure sounded good on the Internet.

SAMSUNG Besides,  someone who called himself  “The BBQ Sensei”  had posted some really good things  about their ribs –  and I know what a sensei is!!

I arived there  for an early suppertime.   .  We’re starting to get into some good Western cattle territory here.   It had a beautiful dark wooden bar  –

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But I couldn’t make use of it because I’m my own designated driver today.

Whiskey Creek has some Rules, though:

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And of course you’d expect the rest rooms of Whiskey Creek  to have a little “Western Flair” –

SAMSUNGThat’s the WC’s WC, if you know what I mean.

(Ha Ha —  that’s my photo of a photo they had in their hallway.)

I watched “the cook”  for a while,  manhandling the beef –  I mean that in the nicest way:   He was handling all his implements like a man who’s familiar with his beef.

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It didn’t take me long to make my choice for Sunday dinner!

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The “sensei”  said the ribs melt in your  mouth.   I  stuck the fork in and they just collapsed off the bones into soft shredded piles of the best ribs I’ve had in a long time!

Make Sundays special, my friends!

CALIFORNIA BOUND – 2 (Silly and Serious)

May 26, 2013

Day Two:    I wrote yesterday that the stress is falling off and the humor is coming back.   I’m in a strange new city on a Sunday, found a church, punched in its address on my Tom Tom, and dutifully and seriously started on my way.   Well, the Good Lord wasn’t going to let me be serious for long.   I turned on the radio and there was  “The Mississippi Squirrel” !

squirrel berserker    For those of you who like parody, hyperbole, and a good, fun hillbilly song,  you can YouTube Ray Stevens singing it or Google the lyrics about the squirrel that got loose in church. . . “The day the squirrel went berserk. . .Well, what happened next is hard to tell. . . Some thought it was heaven others thought it was hell. . .   It was a fight for survival, that broke out in revival.   They were jumpin pews and shouting Halelujah!  

Well, I appreciated the fun, but I was heading for a place where there would be no squirrel chaos, no surprises, and I wanted it that way.   I needed to be quietly with Someone today.

The church complex on the edge of town was huge, with many buildings, I counted eight;  hard to tell which one to enter:

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But once you get inside,  you’re rewarded with some beautiful artwork:

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An impressive ceiling:

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And lowering your eyes a little, you’ll see more beauty:

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Ironically, the modern-types who think all this is unnecessary do their worshiping there, in that beautiful space. . .

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. . . and as usual,  “our type,” to whom tradition and expressive art work means so much,  is relegated to a lesser space.   Still it was tastefully and nicely done.

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Although the sermon is not the most important part of our Sundays,  it is the most “variable.”   When you’re on the road, and it’s a Sunday,  you never know what you’re going to get.   First sentence of the sermon:    “as the old saying goes, “There is only one god,  and you’re not Him!”    He told a couple stories with good, gentle humor and then finally drilled down into his main point, which was the fact and reality of the Triune God,  which only He can understand because “we’re not God” !

Nice people there.   Many were young families.   Lots of children in little suits or dresses.   One wee little one stretched himself out on a comfy carpeted kneeler and went to sleep between his parents’ knees, but most children were attentive and participated as best they could.   The Faith has a good future.

On to Sunday dinner next!

CALIFORNIA BOUND 1.1 (Re-inventing Myself)

May 26, 2013

As this Road Trip begins to relieve the stress  that had built up,  so does the humor and good cheer  flood back in.

One of the morning tasks of being on the road is to find yourself a good breakfast – one that is compatible with a day’s driving.   I’m not going to flood you with Food pictures during this trip (unless I find that good Nebraska steak I’ll be hunting for today)  but I will show you this hotel’s breakfast room, because that’s where my epiphany occurred.

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Nothing too unusual about it.   It smelled nice:  waffles and maple syrup,   oranges, coffee, oatmeal (other people’s oatmeal smells pretty good), and sausages. . . .

The room was full this morning, so I had to take an empty seat at a table already occupied by a nice-looking couple.   I told myself I was too old to be shy,  so I nodded to them,  raised my eyebrows, and they nodded and smiled back.  I placed my boiled eggs and coffee on their table and got me and my chair organized.  

I had already found a good church, and all I had left to do was eat, pack, and go.  Such is the simple life of an ordinary Road Trip.  

But we talked, that couple and I.   We were all on the road because of family business.   They were here in Iowa for their son’s graduation from medical school, and we talked about sons and daughters and grandchildren.   Uh – they win:  they have seven children and 22 grandchildren (so far).    They are Mormons from Utah.  

As we talked, they asked me questions about myself.   Now, I’m not too inventive in the morning,  but I heard myself “inventing”  a lot of nice things about my life, about my children,  Hubbie,  my house — comparing Utahan desert “lawn” work with lush, green, overenthusiastic midwestern springtime lawn work….   I could have “re-invented” my life in any way I chose.

But as I heard myself talk,  I realized my stories were all true.   I wasn’t “inventing” anything.   Spoken to these two strangers,  my life sounded pretty good.    

 The couple from Utah seemed happy and full of good cheer.    I’m sure their lives sounded pretty good to them too.

I could re-invent myself to a whole lot of strangers  during these next couple of weeks,  but I don’t think I want to.   This trip might be more of a re-discovery.  

Dear Lord,  please give me a little more time to repair the damage I’ve done to others and to complete the task which you’ve set out for me.   I love the world you put me in.

And that was my epiphany in that breakfast room this morning.

 

CALFORNIA BOUND – 1

May 26, 2013

I wrote about fighting “dragons” in the last post.  I do hope you’ve been able  to recognize  your own dragons and, most especially,  the dragons of others.    We don’t talk about them much;  we shouldn’t;  but we should know them well so that we do good work in our lives and “fight the good fight.”

I’m escaping some “dragons” of my own, temporarily, because getting away,  regrouping,  revitalizing your efforts is important too.

USA

So….just draw a line from somewhere in the northern midwest (also known here is “The Far North”)   and take it all the way to the High Sierras of California.    I’ve completed the first leg of my journey, but more about that later.

I left a time of great stress.   A few of  my friends said I was “burned out.”    I didn’t know, but it makes sense.   I was strained and snappy.     Lots of stress, tension, problems  and,  as it will sometimes,  the difficulty of everyday living came down like unstoppable rain — or like the pollen in the air.   Ha!

SAMSUNGI was sweeping my driveway one day, not too long ago, and usually I’m just sweeping up rocks and twigs and debris from my crumbling asphalt driveway.   But I couldn’t help noticing that line dividing where I had swept and where I hadn’t.    That thick yellowish dust is pollen!     The trees have been especially busy this year, enthusiastically spreading their pollen around, enough so that sometimes,  when the sun is low, the air looks foggy.

And we’re sneezing and coughing and itching and feeling very, very tired.    So many things coming at you at once like that can be overwhelming.     We’re only human.

Whether it’s troubles or pollen, we can be overstressed.

“One man’s beauty is another man’s debris.”

All that pollen made me think of trees and of how little I know about trees.  I seem to have a mental block about learning the names of trees.   I can go “oak,”  and “maple”  and…lilacs, if they’re blooming,   but beyond that I usually call them “big tree,”  “nice tree,”   or “weed tree.”     So I took out my little book of trees with pictures and diagrams,  little explanations — and names.

One kind of tree that is apparently abundant in my yard develops clever little “flowers” (so they’re designated scientifically) that form small strings of tiny blossoms 4 – 6 inches long.    There was an attractive little diagram to illustrate these strings of “flowers.”

Which then rain down on us –

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And looking like great clumps of debris sometimes a foot in diameter.     And they have to be dealt with, otherwise they form heavy, damp clumps that stain and kill other vegetation.    Not a broom, but a rake, for scratching and gathering  –

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So you know me. . .   there’s a lesson here:    Whether it’s pollen or “tree flowers”  or the many, many little problems of everyday living,  we’ve got to deal with them or they’ll “climp up” and overwhelm us.

So that’s why I’m out here in Iowa today – part way to California – far away from the debris of my life and maybe getting a little perspective on things.

It’s Sunday today.    I’ll let Our Dear Lord in on the process.    After all,   what comes my way is His doing, because He knows what’s best for the development of my soul.

Who am I to call His “flowers”  my debris?!!!

 

 

DRAGON FIGHTING FOR ADULTS

May 23, 2013

Dragon Fight

I taught eighth grade for a little while.  Many in the class were huge 13-year-old farm boys with more testosterone and big muscles than they knew what to do with.   Frequently there were playground fights.  Or hallway fights.   You get to recognize the signs that a fight is brewing by listening to the way they talk to each other.    Insults.    Irritation.   Put-downs.    Bullying.   Soon as you recognize any of that it’s about too late.

So I took to sitting on my desk as the class came in after lunchtime, available for talking and listening.   They were usually growly, drowsy, and eager for some diversion (i.e., trouble).  Whatever they ate slowed them down enough to be able  to listen, sort of, and sometimes they talked:  complaints,  problems. . .  trouble.

The one thing that seemed to make sense to them was when we got to the point where I defended the underdog and I’d say, not in these words,  but in meaning:  “Don’t pick on him – (don’t add to his problems) –  you never know what dragons he’s fighting all by himself.”

These boys understood that.  At home they were often yelled at, sworn at, smacked around, dissed;  things were unfair and life was hard.   Common to them all were injuries, sickness, heartaches, shame,  loss, and grief.

(A turning point came after one day’s fight and they found out that the wimp they  picking on had “wimped out”  that day because the night before his father had been arrested for something.    Shame and shock.     I didn’t report the fight.  I didn’t even ask for confessions, exactly.   But between the bloody nose and the dragon talk,  I really perceived a change in attitude from the class — and the “wimp”  walked home with new friends that day.)

It was the first time many of them realized that other people could be hurting too, and the “dragons”  that were attacking  made a kid look weak and vulnerable – ripe for picking on.    Easy targets.

But life can throw huge dragons at everyone – even the big bullies – and they knew it.

Love Prayer Need

To make life better takes hard work – and that’s what I was getting at in my last posting about the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes.   Normal people want to  “do something” to show their caring and compassion, their love.

I had written that even prayer was a kind of work of compassion, and not too easy at that.  That’s why I was glad to see that photo above on the Drudge Report a couple days ago, and others like it.   The victims are asking for prayer too, because they know they need a little more than money and material goods.

They need. . . they have needs. . . they have their dragons. . . .we’re all vulnerable to the hardships of this life.

Love Thy

Our Creator knows that, and that’s why one of the first rules of his “manual for the human race”  is Love Thy Neighbor.    Love him and help him fight his dragons.     Prayer is effective against dragons.   It’s our “work.”

Or do you think you’re a tougher eighth-grader than anyone else!!!?

200 m.p.h.

May 20, 2013

This planet is not a safe place to live.   It’s not paradise.   It’s not Heaven.   It’s not what our Maker has in mind for us. 

And now, there is much work to be done. . . .

 devastation

 . . .work of comforting, work of caring for physical needs, work of rebuilding….   And for those of us not nearby,  the work of prayer. 

For Christians, prayer is a duty and a work.    What do you think we’re praying for when we say:   “Thy Kingdom come,  Thy will be done, on earth as it is (done) in Heaven”  ?

We’re praying for an end to chaos and death, and for the time when God is All in All and we are alive forever in Him.   

Until that time, there remains our work to be done,  turning our concern and compassion into effective “work.”    Whatever we can do.  

THE REDS AND WHITES OF MAY

May 19, 2013

The Month of May:  First came Mother’s Day.

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Can you think of more perfect flowers than these?    Can you think of a more perfect Son that thinks to give these to his Mom?   (Well, I can’t, anyway.)    I doubt if he knows what flowers do for a woman,  but he gives anyway, on faith that I’ll “like”  them.   Oh, boy!

violets

And then, in May, there are these sweet little purple violets, bravely spreading out over my lawn.  So beautiful.  So vulnerable!!  (to my lawnmower)    Soon I’ll have to mow right over them, and eventually they’ll stop blooming.

White Flowers

These beautiful white flowers cascaded down over my head one evening as I left “the crypt,”  (the deep dark catacomb-like basement place that we are assigned to when we worship God.  A little quirky idea from “on high.”)   I came up into the early evening stillness and smelled the fragrance of spring flowers.

The sweetness seemed to fill the air and come from everywhere.   Then I looked up.  Right above me were these gorgeous blossoms, bearing down on me with their bright beauty.   The camera didn’t do them justice.

A wonderful season “in the air.”   I don’t believe these colors are accidental.  Everything that was made leads us to the Creator that made them.  “So that we are without excuse….”   as Paul wrote in his letter to the people in Rome.

Today we can think of Red and White again!   Red all over the altar and on the vestments.    It’s the red of fire, because on this day of Pentecost we remember when the Holy Spirit (often imaged as a pure white holy dove)  came down to humans in the fire of His love, and appeared as little flames of something like fire over each of the disciples of Jesus who had been told to wait for “something”  — something that will bring down upon them power and strength and confirmation of their faith.

That’s a lot of Christian Truth in that last sentence!    I can’t add to it, but I’ll just say how I love to think of red flowers and white flowers,  because eventually, if I take the time,  they lead me to the purity of a Redeemed soul and the God’s love like a  flaming fire that won’t ever go out for us.

And the purple violets?   That’s how you’d get from the red fires of love to the white purity of the soul – if you understand what the Crucifixion is all about.

purple cross

It’s okay if you don’t understand all of this process.   I can’t either.  It’s the way our minds are now, in this life.  “Now we see through a glass…darkly,”  St.  Paul tells us.   We can only dimly see the Truth of it all.   Like Son and me on Mother’s day:

Mom and Son

Here we are:  Son and Mom on Mother’s Day!   We had forgotten to take pictures throughout this day and decided to memorialize our time together by taking a picture of us both together in the reflection of the glass door.       We’re…uh…”seeing through a glass, darkly.

But just as with Truth,   the actual reality will be much clearer and much more wonderful some day.

AAAARGHHHH! NO PHOTOS TONIGHT !!!

May 16, 2013

Maybe not the most interesting topic tonight – my  camera ignored   and food –  but those are foremost in my mind right now, and  I’ll get a little serious in the last paragraph.

The class met at my house tonight.  Eight people here?    I think.   Since they’d be traveling at dinner time,  I told them we’d have a light sandwich supper.     I love any excuse to make Reubens, so that was the plan:  to eat and then on to our class discussion.    These are all great people – each unique and lovely in their own way — and kind of fun too.   Unique and gentle sense-of-humors.

I had good intentions!    I took a “before”  picture –

SAMSUNGBut then the “during” and “afters”  never happened.        I got too  busy.

As the people came, that empty counter top filled up with sandwiches and sandwich makings,(I couldn’t stop with “just”  Reubens),   fruits and salads, plates, napkins…..   It wasn’t neatly arranged,   but it was all pretty good.     Although I said “no one has to bring any food;  it’s just sandwiches,”   one of us brought  a great artichoke sandwich-filling, and although I didn’t plan to have a dessert, someone brought chocolate covered strawberries and bananas, so glad for that!!!   And we had a  very needed, refreshing, delicious jug of cucumber water, something I’ll want around all summer!

I had to juggle the Reuben makings:   corned beef, Swiss cheese,  Russian dressing,  sauerkraut, and rye bread.

Then the chicken sandwiches:   finely chopped chicken,  red grapes, celery, apples, pecans,  and “special dressing” on wheat bread.

Then grill the turkey flatbread sandwiches with avocado,  tomato, toasted sesame dressing…..

Ham and Swiss with the very special Henski’s mustard.

See?   A lot going on in my mind!      But nothing going on in my camera…..

I think everyone enjoyed the food.       It was a  do-it-yourself,  take-what-you-want kind of meal.    There were complaints.   Complaints about eating too much!     And for a while I thought I might not be able to get our class started after all.     We moved into the family room where the chairs are much more “comfortable.”

Now THAT scene would have made for interesting photos!!!!

Given the rather grim topic,   there was an unexpected amount of talking and laughing and joking…..     More than once I heard the question:  “What was in that food?”     “What was in that water?”

lasso

This is where I separate from my friends and pick up my lasso and attempt to keep them all firmly in the corral.      I had a lot of stray little dogies to lead back into the paths of discussion.

And a serious discussion it was —   it was supposed to be.    This is a Bible Study class.   The topic is the Apocalypse,  the book of Revelation.    Although we focused on the vocabulary of our readings tonight,   we finally came to the Bottom Line.     In the end there will be only two choices:    either Babylon or the Church.

In other words,  for each of us there will be the temporarily powerful but illusory Kingdom of this World or the Everlasting Kingdom of God, where we are meant to live on in Love.

Such a happy hint of that tonight.     Photos excluded.

A PHOTO RIDDLE FOR OUR TIMES

May 15, 2013

 

Well, as I said yesterday, my parents are indeed known.  Not only do I “Know their names,”  but I also continually plied them with questions…most of which they answered.   They were good parents but young;   young, young, young — and as two people from the Far Northern Wilderness  (Off-Planet, as I call it) they were rather unsophisticated, compared to me – ha!  – as their young daughter, growing up in Chicago.

So I remember writing to you here about their first experience with Chicago politics. They were picked up on that first election night along with two other young couples, by a van sent out to round up voters, courtesy of the Democratic Machine of Chicago   Everyone thought it was convenient to be given a ride to the precinct headquarters to vote.

Of course, it was expected that the “good deed”  would not go “unrewarded.”   One ride = one vote.    I don’t know what happened in that van on the way home,  but my father and mother never, ever voted in any election again.   Ever.   60 years later I still couldn’t get them interested in voting.

The other couples in the van were taken out to a little restaurant and then on to another precinct.   You know:  In Chicago it’s Vote Early, Vote Often.    That’s not a joke.

Growing up in Chicago, I knew the way things worked.  I knew what restaurants were for.    I knew what happened in the back rooms.   I knew what happens during elections.  I knew what Enforcers are.  (They don’t always kill people.)

So when we hear in the news today that the Tax People, the IRS is acting as Enforcer for the w hit e ho use,   I understood the way things worked.    You can read all this in the news.   Maybe the television entertainment news media is talking about it too,  but remember, they are also part of the Machine.

Right?

Here’s a little riddle to check that.

 

The Question is:   Which of these three people did something stupid and probably ruined further legitimate political chances?

Number 1 –

H2O H

Number 2  –

H20 whoever

Number 3 –

H20 R

If you know that all systems are part of the Enforcement, all are acting as Enforcers to one degree or another, the answer is easy:   Number 3.    Although taking a sip during a speech was identical in all three instances,  only the one who is NOT part of the Machine no longer deserves our respect, according to the television news.   He did something silly.

For additional fun,  just use a Search Engine for the words: Rubio. Sips. Water.  Political Slips.

Remember,  I was just a little girl in Chicago;    I cast no aspersions on any big names from Chicago.   I don’t know anything.   I’m not complaining.

And I’m out of politics now.   Like my mom and dad taught me.

APPARENTLY MY PARENTS ARE “UNKNOWN”

May 14, 2013

(Tuesday’s Tribute to the New Socialist Agenda for us)    (Tuesday, that is,  11-06-12)

I have unknown parents.  Apparently.   At least it’s unknown to me how to fill out the new Department of Education forms.

(Question on the form, if you need government help):

Please state your parents’ names, if known:

Parent #1____________________   Parent #2____________________

Well.

Surely our socialist Rulers don’t want us to admit that the father is the head of the household (number one).  They do not want us to cling to our guns and Bibles and mothers….so have a “number two”  instead!  Or “one” !

They have been working hard to eradicate the  concept of “family”  for the past several decades.     That’s so absurd that most of us sit back and say nothing to defend the family.  Meanwhile,   they’re teaching our children that “family”  can mean just about anything:  some adults, some children, no adults, no children,  foster families, blended families,  an old lady and her cat (that’s “family to her!) —  so the word “family” is just about useless.   So says the Progressive-type socialists.

But, no,  society is built upon stable families.  Always.    Families are not made of two biological entities, number one and number two.

And, no again:    Surely we don’t want to rank our parents.  “I liked my daddy the best, he’s number one in my eyes!”  “I liked my mommy the best;  she’s number one!”

As far as what our government (department of education) wants me to say …. I know the names of my parents.  I even know who my parents are.   But they are not and never will be parent number one and parent number two.

Having a mom and a dad is the norm.     They are important for a human child.

Our (progressive) Rulers attempt to diminish the meaning of mom and dad;   the attempt is demeaning and  destructive to the family,  but it will eventually be futile and foolish.

THE THIRTEENTH DAY

May 13, 2013

Short one tonight…. Nice afterglow from Mother’s Day,  “the best one ever!” …   but still a little traumatized by what I saw coming from our Rulers …. on  Mother’s Day.    But Tuesdays are the days for writing about that.    Tomorrow.

Today is the 13th of the month.   There is a movie called The Thirteenth Day which I can highly recommend.  And because the world didn’t know what happened on that 13th day of May and five subsequent months,  and because of those who knew  not enough  did anything about it,   we have today the socialist dictatorships all around us, while the citizens of our nations sit in Silence, like the Lambs, and religion is confused.

So.    This really happened:

Fatima

No controversy here.    It happened.   Six times in 1917.    Information was imparted, to the children,  but meant for all of us;  revelations were given to children that were far above their understanding or experience.

Why to children?   So that their understanding and experience couldn’t add to or embelish the information.      They felt compelled to tell exactly what they heard and saw,  but couldn’t tell us the meaning.    That was for mature Christians to handle.

Fatima thousands

I’m glad there were tens of thousands of witnesses, photographs in the newspapers,  and the confirmation of the Event at Fatima by many who were previously strongly opposed to the Church.

So far, all the things we learned at Fatima have come true or are still coming true.   There is meaning there, important things for us to know.

I just wanted to pay honor to Our Lady of Fatima today, and her concern for us.

 

INVISIBILITY

May 10, 2013

I see it’s been five days since I posted last.   Didn’t mean to be “invisible” here.  I did write – lots –  but didn’t manage to bring any writing out to the Tunnel.    Not with my Spring lawn calling for my attention,   pretending to be gasping out its last breath – but that’s another story.  

So.    There’s seeing;  and there’s “seeing.”

mt of olives

Yesterday, Christendom remembered and celebrated and thanked God for the Ascension of Christ.    After the crucifixion, after the Resurrection,  when Christ was done with His instructions, He led His disciples to the outskirts of Jerusalem and on to the beautiful Mount of Olives, and then just….went upwards, into the sky which is the first heavens,   and then disappeared as He continued to “ascend” into the Highest Heaven.

water in wine And thus bringing our humanity with Him.   That is, opening the way for humans to enter Heaven, since the Human nature He took on is “attached” to Him, forever.   This is affirmed each time the drop of water is added to the chalice….

So this morning, in class,  before we completely leave this important commemoration of the Ascension,  I read  to everyone a short passage from Dom Gueranger concerning this event.    His words eloquently summarized the words we had already spoken in our discussion, giving them a brilliance and a certainty that we were just groping for.

But one thing stood out for us.   This sentence:   “It is the last time Jesus walks through that faithless city.  He is invisible to the eyes of the people who denied Him, but visible to His disciples, just as heretofore the Pillar of Fire led on the Israelites.”

jesus leading

Tradition says He was invisible to the unbelievers.  Testimony from the earliest centuries says  He was invisible to those who rejected Him.   In this century we grapple with the idea that invisibility can be possible….until we think of it as a matter of the mind, not the body.

That is,  the intellect is different in a believer.  Faith in Christ enlightens and purifies the intellect and  frees its capabilities.

It’s the difference between slogging through the mud…

mud walk

. .  . and thinking about only what’s surrounding your feet —

. . . or instead, as a believer, having the faculties of the mind opened and usable

dove flying

. . .  so that you, the whole person, can soar up into higher understanding.

With faith,  you “get it.”     Without faith,  you don’t “get it.”

Well, again,  someone must have discovered a far more eloquent way of saying that.     Of course.     I believe in order to understand.   (St. Augustine.)    Or, centuries later in our history:  The believer does not seek to understand, that he may believe, but he believes that he may understand: for unless he believed he would not understand.   (St.Anselm, in his Proslogium.)

A short way to remember their words to us is this little phrase:  Credo ut intelligam.   

We don’t need to quibble over that idea of invisibility:    was Jesus really invisible to the unbelievers as he left Jerusalem that day?    Well, yes.   Their intellects were darkened;  much too darkened.

Dragging their brains through the mud.

CINCO DE MAYO TUNNEL FUN !

May 5, 2013

The Spruce Tunnel had some “tunnel” fun today.  I was invited to a cross-country Cinco de Mayo party this evening….    I didn’t even know there was one going on, but it happened this way:     Cooper and his family were having a little  Cinco de Mayo party today, complete with  friends and tacos, a pinata,  and ponchos!

And then:    Cooper, 2 1/2 years old, and his  little friends broke away and found Daddy’s I-pod.   And he knows how to use it!    He found a picture of “Grandma” – that would be me –  and he and his little friends used the picture to dial me up on Skype.     And so we all played and laughed together.

SAMSUNGWell —  it was a “blurry day.”      Lots of excitement and giggling – and playing with a big red ball.   That’s Cooper in the blue and white striped poncho.

And then they played with their tunnel, and I asked if I could go inside too.    (It was all blurry and colorful inside.)

So there it is:

SAMSUNG

The little kids fit, and I fit too, because, see,  I’m a little picture on a little phone held by little hands.   I go anywhere they take me.

What fun!

5TH SUNDAY – ALMOST “TIME ENOUGH”

May 5, 2013

40 is an important and meaningful number for humans, and it’s often applied to a length of time.   Days.  Days and nights.   Weeks.   Years.     In one sense it means “time enough.”   Time enough to complete whatever it is that was intended.  

40

Testing in the desert?   40 days.

Leading a new generation into the Promised Land?  40 years.

Destruction of a sinful world?  40 days and 40 nights (of rain from above and fountains of water erupting from below).

And now, today, on this Fifth Sunday after Easter,  we are approaching the end of the 40-day period of time in which Christ Jesus appears, here and there,  to His disciples, one at a time,  a few at a time,  and one time to several hundred people.    They thought they had lost Him after the Cross!

Apparently 40 days would be time enough for evidence of His resurrection and for the last important bits of His teaching.   

And then He said He’d be going away.   Going away,  returning to His Father.  “I go to the Father….”    The Church gives us these words to contemplate today, because the forty days are almost up.

Father.   In no other major religion is God known by His fatherhood towards us.  Intimate fatherhood:  “Abba.”  

daddy

You have a Father who is perfect, and perfectly capable and desiring to be a Father to you.   

“I go to the Father.”     And when you speak to Him,  say:  “Our Father.”

It’s your right as a human being.

 

MODERN . . . SOMETHING

May 4, 2013

Come.   Come join my friend and me on a trip to an art museum.    We’re mostly speechless.   Or wordless.

(I haven’t forgotten that it is Friday today.  This is the day that Christendom remembers our Crucified Lord.   As you have heard,  “Christ died for….”   mankind’s insanity.     And we found some….)

My friend and I decided to visit that new building that sprung up on campus, the one I showed you at the end of the last posting.      It was supposed to hold wonderful displays of  modern “art.”    So we drove to the university campus, parked our car,  and attempted to enter the building:

SAMSUNGYes.    That’s a building.

We searched for an entrance.

Pretty sure we were going to find a way in –

SAMSUNGSee?  Right there.   The door.

Once inside we were approached by nice smiling young people who were quite impressed with…the building.   They told us where to go, upstairs and downstairs….and don’t touch anything!    And there were only a few places where we could take pictures.

Inside,  there were large and largely empty rooms.    The walls were mostly empty too.    The ones that weren’t the tortured obverse of the outside walls:

SAMSUNGSee the pink?   That’s a portion of a piece of “art” work.

And from the second floor, looking down at it:

SAMSUNGPlastic tubes. . .

You know those beautifully woven Navajo rugs ,worked in V-shaped patterns in lovely earth colors?   Well…. pink plastic tubes.   And some gray ones “tastefully”  arranged….    …..    ….   They did float provocatively in the air….

Now, this was a fun one, a shiny, silver mobile, that seemed to pick up patterns from somewhere –

SAMSUNGSo I got down onto the floor and looked up into it –

SAMSUNGThe undersides of the pieces had the pictures….  That was kind of…..    Well, it wasn’t too much fun because we weren’t allowed to touch it.   To see if it would tinkle.   Or something.   Or just do….something else.

One, uh,  “largely empty”   room had maybe four, maybe five displays on its walls.    Seems like someone was into “patterns.”

SAMSUNGYou probably couldn’t afford to have this hanging on your walls.   There were three or four more to look at.

Use your imagination for this next “display.”    On a “largely empty”  blank wall, about 30 feet wide by fifty feet high (but not quite rectangular)  there was a very small grouping of four 6 inch by 8 inch pieces of paper.   On the first paper was a series of parallel, squiggly lines.  On the next paper was a series of parallel, squiggly lines, only squiggly in a slight different way.   …etc….     The name of this display of modern “art” ?    “Not straight lines.”    Probably couldn’t afford that little grouping either.

There were only two or three other displays, all with the intent to disrupt the senses and to violate the laws and logic that form civilized society.

Girls being girls, we needed a trip to the powder room.    We found the restroom.   Quite nicely done.     But we couldn’t help thinking of the word:    “trough.”

SAMSUNGWe wash hands and  share the same six-foot long trough.      All nicely done in aluminum, though.

When we were done and standing out in the hallway,   I looked up and saw my first real work of art!

SAMSUNGFrom every angle –

SAMSUNG

And from another angle –

SAMSUNG

Kind of a free-floating stairway to…back down again.

 SAMSUNG

There were other displays.    The invisible-to-camera  ones.    But we did manage to find a room with large screens showing test patterns from the early attempts at video-making,  around 1933 to 1962.

And they made a “display”  of them –

SAMSUNG

They were lovely slowly moving images, changing colors, accompanied by what we used to call “space music.”    It was not hypnotic.    My Dad did this stuff on his oscilloscope at home.     We were ready to leave.

We found a bench.   At least we thought it was a bench.    It might have been a display of modern “art”  but we were tired enough to take a little rest.

SAMSUNGI took a picture of my friend –  turned out that was a nice “artistic”  composition, my friend and her shadow.

I walked on ahead to get the car,  enjoying the beautiful spring trees on the pathways that zigzag across campus:

SAMSUNG

I took many photos of the lovely buildings on campus, full of grace and proportion, blending colors and size. . .

SAMSUNG

That’s the parking ramp where I was headed, the gray building in the middle.  Rather a nice-looking parking ramp.   Everywhere I looked there were beautiful signs of Spring and beautiful buildings amidst the greenery and the flowers.

Artwork, all around me.

 

 

MAY DAY TUG OF WAR

May 1, 2013

There is a tug of war going on between Christians and Socialists.   (I don’t mean mere cultural christians and socialists.   Unthinking, undeveloped human minds can certainly be dangerous, but they are hard to hold a discussion with!)

My “May Day Push Back” posting earlier today is a tiny example of that tug of war.    Some are told that a pope in the mid twentieth century proclaimed May Day to be a day of “Joseph the Worker”  in order to assert a Christian influence on the idea of workers.    There is a written proclamation   but no real evidence as to who influenced or encouraged  the proclamation…who behind the scenes, as it were.

Perhaps this was all part of the tug of war, and we’ll never know who was influencing who.

I heard recently on a random radio program the statement that “all the important institutions of our country are being led by the Elite (Progressives)  at the top of each of these institutions,  government, politics, entertainment, education,  even religions.   The Elite are the ones who are in charge.  They call the shots.   It seemed to be the only explanation for why so many new laws and regulations, ruinous economic policies,  immoral practices  are being imposed on a nation that is generally good, freedom-loving, and family oriented.

I’ll be driving out West soon, seeing lots of these mountains:

Mountain

Maybe that’s why my attention has been drawn lately to the phrase “The Seven Mountains of Culture.”    “Take back the mountains,”  I’m hearing.      I really didn’t know what that was all about until I did a little research.   Seems there are seven major cultural forces in a society, and they can be seen not only as the seven major categories of influence,  but seven major battlefields.   Who has control over these mountains can influence and mold the entire society.

Like a tug of war —  but a more serious battle.   And here are those Seven Battlefields – and they are apparently not in any particular order of importance:

1.Media Mountain

2.Government Mountain

3.Education Mountain

4. Business Mountain

5.Church Mountain

6.Arts and Entertainment Mountain

7.Family Mountain

I’m not sure if I would give them these same names or categories,   but  these are our battlefields, and from what I know of history,  these battles began long before I was born, long before my generation even knew we were in a serious battle.    As a matter of fact,  all these battles were presented to us in the most attractive terms: it’s  fun!   it’s modern!    it’s freedom!     it’s what everyone does!   it’s a better way!    etc., etc.    And before we knew what was happening,  our whole society was being torn down and rebuilt according to a whole different mold.

And it’s a serious and deadly matter if Americans  don’t take up the battle.

With great curiosity and openness,  my friend and I visited an interesting building today….that’s the subject of the next blog,  but here is a hint:

SAMSUNGI was stuck in traffic one day and just started to take pictures with my cell phone – for fun.   That building attracted my attention, and I planned right then and there to “grab a friend”  and visit it.       The building is located on the campus of our local Big Ten university …. ground zero for our cultural war.

And we did indeed observe a battle. . . .

MAY DAY PUSH BACK

May 1, 2013

This  is Post # 1,111 and it puts me squarely on the side of the American flag,  Fourth of July, hot dogs, and apple pie…. all those good things….

joseph statue  This  could  come under the category of a rant;  a gentle, ladylike (no cussin’) rant with just some related facts for this greatest holiday of global socialism:   May Day;  and it’s  also under the patronage of a kind and gentle Just Man.

It’s a bit of an occult day too.   Our local triple-goddess bookstore puts up a Maypole today — and presumably dances around it.   (No pictures this year;  they’re in the process of moving.)

Before the American mainstream media got Infiltrated, Defeated, and Directed, they used to show us the big May Day in the “other half”  of the world.

soviet soldiers

Such displays of government power and military might go on today too,  but I don’t know if the media will be allowed to show much of it.    It’s a bit blatant and in-your-face obvious now.

Chinese feminists:

China women in military

Global unions celebrate this day too as a day of progress and determination, proudly displaying some of the vocabulary words they have hijacked and now use with their own meanings.

union parade

Just this week we found out that American unions are financing the union movement around the world.    We know from reports that they were instrumental in training and financing the so-called “Arab Spring”  movement, revolts that were directed from outside those countries.   The mentality of unionism is on the march!

joseph and jesus

That thought brings me to what disturbs me so much today.    Christianity used to honor a “just man,”  who was chosen to be the silent but worthy protector of the Child Jesus, of Mary, His mother.   His steadfast watch over the Holy Family can be very instructive for each of us, if we were to take the time to think.   This is St. Joseph,  descendant of kings,  and the Church honors him in March.

….Until the “rulers” directed the Church to move his day to May Day and call him  “Joseph the Worker” —   you know,  he’s a carpenter, right?    What better way to swing the Christians over to thoughts of the proletariat (workers) who are happy because they are contributing to  a socialist society? !!     (“Think globally” to make this world a paradise.)

joseph and family

No!  I resist!   St. Joseph is an example of a Christian saint!    The character of St. Joseph has much to teach us of godliness, manly courage, humility and faithfulness.        St. Joseph worked,  but he is not a socialist “worker” !    Providing for your family is  a spiritual, religious duty, not merely a material matter.   Honoring him as the ideal of a socialist worker leaves little room for his spiritual patronage.

Celebrate the glories of global socialism, if you must,  but don’t use Christian saints — unless you in the Church  now celebrate the glories and possibilities of global rule,  leaving the salvation of souls to the imaginary realm.