Archive for July 2013

II – LEADERSHIP AND UNLEADERSHIP (Tuesday’s Tribute)

July 30, 2013

This Part II will be quite short,  but it is essential for us to understand what good leadership is as I alluded to in Part I — and then to analyze what we see around us.

In 1920,  H.L. Mencken,  essayist, observer, journalist observed a growing trend in our nation, and he was concerned when he projected this trend into the future.   In his own words:

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”

—-H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

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I – LEADERSHIP AND UNLEADERSHIP

July 30, 2013

I’ve just been reading, studying, and taking notes on a very good biography of Samuel de Champlain, and If I didn’t have so many other good books waiting for me, I’d read this book again right away.    The author *  was able to use contemporary accounts,  eyewitness reports, and Champlain’s own journals and essays to put this biography together, and in doing so avoided the late 20th century ideological “necessity” of tearing down the reputations of those who came before our times.

ch shallop  Champlain, as you probably know was the French explorer who traveled all over the American coastline in the very early 17th century, from the Caribbean to the northern Canadian Atlantic coast, and on into the Great Lakes region.   Because of political factors,  France ended up with what we  now call Canada;  French Canada,  Nouvelle France.   Europeans were fascinated with the Native American nations that were discovered, and Champlain was among those who admired them, respected them, and wrote about their many good qualities.   These people also thought the Native Americans were as human as they were, and thus had souls to save.

Champlain was one of the most successful explorers, achieving good relations and mutual respect with the Native Americans.   It was thought that they both could live together on the same land, since there was plenty of open and unclaimed land to go around.   The details of this relationship were interesting to read about in this biography, but one of the several things that struck me most was Champlain’s skill and talent as a leader of the men involved in French Canada.

By all accounts,  Champlain evidenced:  “Principled leadership in the cause of humanity.”

We’ve probably all been called upon to be a “leader” once or twice or more in some temporary circumstance.   What kind of leader did you make?    What kind of leadership did people see in you?    Or perhaps, for the future,  how would you want people to speak of you after you’ve been “leader” for a while?  (Me too!   I ask these questions of myself.)

ch himself

From Champlain’s journals and from the writings of men who knew him:

“Above all, leadership is an ethical idea.   A good leader keeps his word in any agreement, for anyone who does not keep his word is a coward and forfeits his honor and his reputation, however a valiant fighter he may be,  and no confidence is ever placed in him.”

“Leadership is about treating other people with humanity.  He should be liberal according to his opportunities and courteous even to his enemies, granting them all the rights to which they are entitled.”

“He should not practice cruelty or vengeance.”

“He makes use of his success with courtesy and moderation.”

That’s just a little of what Champlain wrote in his letters and in his essay on leadership.   A very thoughtful, self-aware man, dedicated to the principles taught to him by his Church and faithfully applied, to the best of his ability.

May we all live such “principled” lives! 

* The book is Champlain’s Dreams and the author is David Hackett Fischer.

 

WIDE OPEN SPACES

July 29, 2013

Wide open spaces!   Our planet is overwhelmingly full of wide open spaces,  undeveloped and unpopulated, and although some is jungle, mountain, desert, and swamp,  a very large part of it is, simply, arable.   Suitable for growing food and pasturing our herds.

I’ve been thinking about our country a lot lately, because I’m still putting my summer travels in an album.  I want to do a good job and tell the story right. Go To Album  jp

Wide open spaces is what I saw.   Sometimes four, five, six hours of driving before I’d come to a little town, during two and half weeks of driving!

Now, I live “east of the Mississippi,”  where it’s supposed to be more populated.    And it’s true,  there are a lot more people here, and some of them do live all crowded together.  Our nearby little city has about 500,000 people in its “greater” area.  Of course, I grew up in a giant city of, maybe six million at the time,  more now,  but these vast empty lands I saw still really exist.

Sometimes I think, “What if I lived out there in the wide open spaces?”

And then I had to pay my land taxes.   Property taxes we call them around here.   So I got in my car with my tax bill, drove up the street, and turned a corner:

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Then I followed the road to our township office:

SAMSUNGI was thinking about what it would be like to have to go to work every day – to your office out here!   No traffic jams!   No long red lights!   No bumper to bumper. . . .

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Just a few miles,  past pleasant homes….it wasn’t far.

Then the “big” building up ahead –

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A busy little office there, ready to take my money.   They were relaxed and friendly.  I wished for everyone, right then,  a pleasant drive to work and an unhurried, pleasant office to work in.   And I felt happy because I DO live in the middle of “wide open spaces.”

But I came home a little bothered, because I am haunted by another trip Hubbie and I took once.    We stopped off here:

Guidestones and KrisIt’s in Georgia.   It really exists.  I’ve written about them before,   the eerie, super-quiet feeling that surrounds the place.   Out in the middle of “nowhere,”  – or “wide open spaces,” as I like to say.   They’re the Georgia Guidestones, and ironically they scold us for their imaginary idea of “overpopulation”  and they recommend that the population of earth be reduced to five hundred million people.

There are a lot of other menacing ideas carved into these stones. . . .

Five hundred million people.   I wonder what they intend for the other six-and-a-half Billion of us?

Silence surrounding the Stones.   Silence from the six-and-a-half billion.   Silence of the Lambs?

 

SINKHOLES: THE MEATBALL EXPLANATION

July 25, 2013

Sinkhole alabama  A couple days ago I wrote about the sinkholes that have been forming all over the earth in recent times.   People have been telling me  that those photos were “eerie,”  “scary,”   and “unsettling.”     And I could have presented thirty more if I wanted to!

I wrote that I had heard an explanation that seemed to me rather plausible.   (Eliminating the underground landslides and the broken underground water mains and old wells and salt mines,  we are still left with an extraordinary number of sinkholes. )

planets forming

So.    The meatball explanation.   I got the idea for this analogy from the Cooking Channel.   There is a theory that the planets formed around our sun by cooling and condensing,   changing from gaseous blobs flung out from a new star into neatly orbiting consolidated, individual planets.    And so we have the Earth, a hard-packed ball of … dirt and stuff, at least on its outermost layers, a coalesced sphere of condensed raw planetary materials.    (above)

Below are the raw materials for my meatballs:

SAMSUNGI make meatballs and spaghetti every once in a while – and I’ve been doing it for so long that i don’t exactly have a recipe, however, as you know,  start with meat.   Good meat.   This is ground beefalo, grass fed, no hormones, quite lean.

Add whatever spices you’re in the mood for that day.  Let’s see, today was:

salt and pepper

garlic powder and onion powder

a little allspice

a little thyme

some roast beef rub

Then you need some “binders.”

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Italian bread crumbs

an egg

maybe  milk or half and half or cream, if necessary, (but it wasn’t today)

And now comes the Geology part:    Remember those planetary balls that coalesced and condensed down into hard-packed planets?        Well,   as celestial bodies (planets or stars)  age,  they get bigger.   Reasons have to do with speed of rotation changing slightly,  variations in star temperatures,  lessening gravity….other things we don’t know about too well yet.

We do know, from observation,  that even the outer planets, Neptune and Pluto (yes!  Pluto, still)   are increasing in size and also getting “fluffier”   and we think it has to do with increased energy output from our aging sun, although we haven’t decided quite why that is happening.

When a planet increases in size, but not in its mass,  the mass itself,  the planetary “material,”   isn’t packed as hard together as before.   Same mass,  bigger size;  so the planet begins to “spread out,”  forming pockets,  void pockets here and there.    From the surface they look like sinkholes.

It works for meatballs too.   You have two choices when you form the meatballs –  either hard-packed:

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Or you can make them a little fluffier:

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Here’s where the Cooking Channel comes in.   Different coloration there,  but the meatballs are pretty much the same size,  I just packed the one in the top photo harder together and the one in the lower photo is lightly packed.    The guy on the Food Channel said that in order to keep the meatballs tender,  don’t pack them too hard, just enough to form a ball.

Now, I just made a meatloaf last week, and I packed that really hard and tight because I like a dense meatloaf.  Makes good meatloaf sandwiches – and the slices are delicious reheated on a BBQ grill!   I used to tightly pack my meatballs too, but I decided to take the advice from the professional chef I had heard.

Now I had to work with these “lightly packed” meatballs – very gently, so they wouldn’t break apart.   And, as they were cooking,  much to my surprise –

SAMSUNG – as I gently turned them over from side to side,  I noticed that little “sinkholes”  had formed!

Now, I’ve made the sauce and meatballs and sauce have met each other, and in day or two it’s going to be really, really delicious!

I’ll just have to let Mother Nature take care of her own sinkholes;  and I’ll let the scientists come up with the “recipe.”

 

TRIBUTE TO TUESDAY – LOOK UP!

July 23, 2013

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s sinkholes – when we were “looking down.”   Today,  “lookup.”

 This photo was taken a few days ago at the time of the New Zealand earthquake with its accompanying sinkhole that I referred to yesterday.  (Thank you to someone for this photo, it was not  attributed in the article I got it from.)

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“And when you see these things begin to happen, look up!   For your Redemption draws near….”  

It is Tuesday, it’s the day I usually do my Tribute to Tuesday (11-06-12) and  —  I’ll get to the promised meatballs in a little while  —  but first,  I wanted to show you these clouds.   They are named asperatus  and they are rare and apparently somewhat new to scientists.

The caption-article said that scientists have been studying these only since 2005 – that’s really recent!     “New to scientists.”

I mean,  I came back from my travels out West with a souvenir poster of 35 common cloud formations.   Pretty cool, really.   But the cloud formation in the photo is not on the chart and not in any of my high school and college textbooks.

Scuttlebutt is that these clouds are sometimes formed by the energy of H.A.A.R.P  — if you know what I mean.   (The CIA does –   this week’s news headlines said that the CIA has just invested $630,000  into studying  the security implications of weather modification. )

But,  that’s really none of our business, is it?    We can’t do anything about this multi-national “science project.”   Our Rulers control it.   And that’s why I list it among my Tuesday Tributes..and wonder what we do to ourselves every four years. . . .

“And when you see these things begin to happen, look up!   For your Redemption draws near…..”     This world is meant to prepare us for the next.    And maybe we’re creating the Signs of the Times ourselves.

FUN WITH GEOGRAPHY

July 22, 2013

Well,  deadly “fun with geography,” I guess.    

When I went to high school,  fortunately for my brain they had not yet started the “social studies”  nonsense that was imposed on younger American students.      Therefore,  one year one of our interesting textbooks was called Physical Geography. . .

geo text not mine

 . . .and then next year we received a book called Cultural Geography,  which in turn set us up for the following year’s  study of Economics, for which I’m also grateful.

strata   It was a new concept to me (at fourteen and fifteen years old)  that geography was so vast a subject that it was divided into the physical and the cultural categories.  From all that “vastness” of facts and information and research,  I developed a real interest in geology: landforms, what’s under the land that we see,  the development of the continents, what’s in our oceans, what’s in the various layers of our atmosphere.     

I’m curious about everything.  I love maps and I love to travel.   By car.   And when I read the news,  I usually look for “earth changes.”  So I took note today of the large number of very strong earthquakes over the past three days.   Much destruction, many injuries, loss of life  (75 so far in China, this weekend,  and more than 600 missing.) More, stronger earthquakes, with greater frequency in recent years.

The one in New Zealand was described as being accompanied by an unusual number of sinkholes…..and that got me thinking about all the sinkhole photos I had been collecting on my computer’s Desktop. 

Sinkhole Atlanta

 And the photos are getting in my way,  so I’ll dump some of them here

Sinkhole alabama

 

You’ve probably seen the sinkhole in Florida that swallowed a man’s bedroom – while he was in his bed.   They never found him.   Heartbreaking.   Shocking.    And that sinkhole has now expanded to their neighbor’s home.   Here are some more pictures.

sinkhole road

Sometimes in the middle of a city!   

sinknole guatemala

Sometimes they eat a  car.

sinkhole car

Sometimes more than one car at a time.   (These near my old hometown, near Chicago.)

Sinkhole chicago

One tried to swallow a Lowe’s truck.

Sinkhole Lowes truck

I think they’re looking for someone here:

Sinkhole China

When I was planning all my road trips this year I began to wonder if I should include some “contingencies.”   Here’s one that was determined to be a sinkhole, not a landslide:

sinkhole highway

 

I’ve heard a very interesting explanation for all these sinkholes happening so frequently in our present time.

sinknhole china farms

I’m inclined to believe that explanation,  but it’s just going to rattle around in my head for a while  until I get more confirmation.   (There is an analogy with making meatballs) . . .

sinkhole portugal

. . . .  And I just don’t have the math nor the sources to verify on my own why these are happening now.

Be careful when you’re golfing.   There are man-sized sinkholes too.   Someone had half fallen in.   But don’t worry.

sinkhole don't golf there

They got him, and then they inspected the hole:

Sinkhole Bye bye

Bicycling isn’t so safe either.   Here is a sinkhole (or “earth subsidence” – maybe a sinkhole in the making )  –

sinkhole not a hole in spain

Getting tired of sinkhole pictures?   I am, too.    I was going to write about sinkholes a couple of months ago, and I easily found about a half dozen recent sinkhole photos.     Then each time, every couple of weeks,  when I thought about sinkholes again,  there were many more examples for me to “collect.” 

Three, four, five new sinkholes every week.      New ones are not hard to find!

They’re probably happening every day somewhere.

Sweet dreams!

 

(I’ll do the meatballs tomorrow.)

 

PLEASE EXPLAIN TO SON

July 19, 2013

Son has a question. 

ch white ;lab

About events in the news recently,  Son and his friends have a good question.  They’re all  self-supporting, self-sufficient,  intelligent,  and analytical — and they’ve inherited the kind of society  that we’ve allowed.

So Son presented this to me today:

A Hispanic guy shoots and kills a black guy.

A jury of six women find the Hispanic guy not guilty.

So now black guys are mad at  ……  white guys.

Right?

puppy friends

Please explain to us!

July 17th – ONE LAST SMALL SONG. . .

July 17, 2013

Do you know the history which formed you and your culture and its thinking?   Do you know the rights and wrongs of history well enough to form reasonable, logical, and true judgments today?

 Here is another “serious” posting, aimed at your mind, but one which may enter your heart.

Secular Republics have been proved by their historical actions to fear or eventually come to fear the Christian God Who alone can thwart their Will to Power, to Absolute Power over the citizens (and, by the way, yes,   He opposes those “Christians”  who become tyrants).

And so it was on this day, July 17th, just about 220 years ago, that the mentality of secular republicanism turned against a quiet group of Carmelite nuns.   Nuns such as we have  among us today.

1.  Fr Carmelite at prayer

These are the kind of vulnerable citizens which any moral governing body should seek to protect from the variances and  riots of politics.   (I appeal to the protective nature of  men here.)

But on July 17, 1794, the Ruling Forces of the new secular republic turned its fury on these gentle ladies.   They were arrested  –  for not supporting the thinking  of the Revolution.   I suppose today we would call them guilty of Thought Crimes.   The penalty was execution.

3. Fr Carmelites around priest

The trusted leader of this group,  Mother Henriette of Jesus, seen here at their center,  tried to keep her daughters safe by explaining to the Rulers that the Carmelite sisters were innocent and remained outside the political partisanship and activism of the French Revolution.   They were no threat to the Secular Republic.

She was denied her right to continue to speak her defense with these words:   “The Republic has a machine at its disposal that will leave (you) somewhat short of breath!”

(A recently built “machine.”)

3. fr guillotine

This man continued to interrogate the very youngest of the nuns, a teenager, really, full of faith and joy and innocence and vulnerable femininity.   The Ruler’s man told her:  “Young citizen, you have nothing to fear from us, who are your liberators! “

She was given a choice.   She chose God over the secular republic.  She was told to march up to the guillotine awaiting her.   The streets were crowded with spectators who then became silent.   Thousands and thousands of people, silent, watching.

And there arose from this young lady a thin, sweet, song of faith  and praise….up the steps, one by one, singing,  up to the platform, singing, laying herself face down….sing-  ….

One by one.Fr Carmelite martyrs

….Here is an eyewitness report:  “. .  . I watched as the youngest of these good  Carmelites was called first and that she went to kneel before her venerable Superior, asked her blessing and permission to die. She then mounted the scaffold singing Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. She then went to place herself beneath the blade allowing the executioner to touch her. All the others did the same. The Venerable Mother was the last sacrificed. During the whole time, there was not a single drum-roll; but there reigned a profound silence.”    . . .

Just when the horror had ended and the crowd began to recover its breath, another small,  young, feminine voice was heard approaching the guillotine in song.   Stories say she was singing the Salve Regina….which Christians used to know by heart.  It’s a song that testifies to the Order of things that God has willed for his servants who are humble and open to Him. The singing continued and the crowd now watched one more young Carmelite nun, full of fear and faith and determination, take her last ride and mount the steps.

She had been “out on an errand”  when her sisters were arrested.  She had been hidden away  safely by friends, and the Rulers didn’t know about her.

But she came forth.

If she had not,  the rest of her life would have been a life of deception and disloyalty.    I do not criticise her free choice.  It is as she saw it.   “Save your head or save your soul.”

Can you get on board?

A small handful of nuns had also been away at the time of the initial arrest.   They did not or were not able to come forth on that day.   They were preserved so they could write the story of their sisters and to give us testimony to the events of that day.

Perhaps we can draw our own conclusions.   But in this century we have learned:   Godlessness leads to the Gulag  (and/or the Guillotine) .

The library and the  Internet have many sources of information for this story.   I suppose that information is there for those who do not want to repeat this history:  The Republic versus Christianity.

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?

July 16, 2013

(If you don’t have time, just skip down to the African part.)

The old, well-loved Christmas carol comes to mind tonight.   “Do you hear what I hear…..?”   And I ask you:   Did you hear what I heard tonight?    I wish everyone did.

Mopping my still somewhat fevered forehead and resting my aching body gave me an excuse to sit on my couch today.   That meant I could look out my bay window and watch the deer and squirrels and occasional fox – and ponder  my new “lawn ornament”  down by the pond:

SAMSUNGThat “lawn ornament” is the blue heron down there, hunting my goldfish, and he could stay motionless for .  .  . for far longer than I could.

Evening Project

So this evening, I got up and got busy on a post-traveling project I’ve been fixing to do for a few weeks now.     I’ve never done it before –

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It’s called “scrapbooking” and, as you can probably tell by the mess,  other than a few friends and a lot of tutorials on YouTube,  I don’t have too many examples to go by.   Nevertheless,  it’s more fun than I thought  it would be because I’m putting  into it  what I loved about my travels.  I can put in this scrapbook exactly what I want to remember for all time.

And while I kept my hands busy,  I kept my ears busy too.    I heard things from other parts of the world.  I heard how people in those other parts of the world think of us in this country.

Radio shortwaveThis is how I hear the news, on a shortwave radio.   There are many informative programs on the Internet and on  shortwave radio.     American radio and television doesn’t really tell you what’s going on in the world, except as our Rulers interpret it for us and give permission to the television channels and radio talk shows to tell us about it.

Technically, it’s Tuesday right now,  so I guess this could be another  Tribute To Tuesday,  11-06-12, and all the other such Tuesdays at four-year intervals.

Did you hear what I heard?

The program I heard tonight was an interview with an African.   He was born and raised in one country and I think he lives now in South Africa.   I forgot his name, but I think I could look it up if it became important to me.     He’s an author,  he’s educated, and is apparently somewhat well-known.

He spoke of the reputation America, our nation, has in the world today.    Although he remained gentleman-like in his speaking,   it seemed he could hardly contain his dismay and anger and disbelief.   He repeated the oft-heard warnings from people in formerly-communist countries that America is now fully accepting the tyrannical system that they have finally freed themselves from.   They fought – with great cost – for their freedom.   We are slouching into a dictatorship, thoughtlessly giving up all our freedoms.

Actually, according to many,  we are now living under a dictatorship.    We have fewer freedoms than the citizens of many African nations, and more to fear.   We fear to speak out.

They recognize what’s happened to us.    We don’t,  as a nation,  generally speaking.   And whether we do or not,  we are doing nothing to stop it.

They are furious with us for promoting communist-socialist dictators all over the world.   We demand that socialist dictators are put into office, we demand that immorality is legalized and promoted in their countries, and we demand that their economic system blends in with ours –  or else we withhold vital monetary aid or food aid or medical aid,  and  if that doesn’t work,  we ship arms into their countries and pull down the leadership that is resisting what our own Rulers want.

That is,  we support the “rebels” who will take down legitimate leaders by giving the “rebels”  money,  technical support, and actual arms in the form of fighter jets,  submarines, and all sizes  of war armaments.

The world thought we were a Christian nation, tolerant of other religions, but now we are supporting those systems which persecute Christians.   That’s too nice a word.   The Christians are being killed, enslaved, raped, in all the most terrible ways we can imagine.   One day ago 35 Christians wer killed  in what used to be Iraq, but is now a battleground for two rival Islamic religions.     Coptic Christians are living in fear and terror, as they lose their daughters, their families,  their homes, and their lives.

Africans seem to blame us.

Africans demonstrated in the streets by the thousands with anti-American signs recently when a large group of our Rulers spent untold millions of our tax money to make a self-serving trip to their continent.   Gay people were collected from anywhere they could find them in order to join the American group, according to witnesses.   But as this speaker noted,   homosexual actions are ILLEGAL in every country   (or “just about” every country, if you’ve been trained by the socialists to use such a conversation tripper) –   every country except for the countries that used to be the civilized Western world.

There is a reason to protect the most basic unit of society from all kinds of activities which tear apart a family and harm children.    And the Africans recognize us as the leaders in family-killing legislation.

We do not recognize that some religions  are harmful and aggressive, but we pretend to wring our hands about Christianity.    We do not recognize political systems which are harmful and aggressive,  but instead we adopt their methods,  happily committing suicide and homicide wherever we go.

Our Rulers are shutting down our energy production, coal mines are being shut down,  copper mines, farms,  many small businesses and manufacturing  companies.      We seem to be blind to what our own Rulers are doing to us.     But this is seen and commented on by people in other nations and they look on us in wonderment.     Maybe we’re just helpless and weak, not blind.

As is commonly known:   “Godlessness leads to the Gulag.”

Whew!   That’s not even a half of what he said, because he made other points and he had  examples and references and resources for everything he talked about.

Did you hear what I heard –  about the demonstrators in several African nations expressing their anger at our Rulers?    Did you hear about the three African countries who would not allow our Rulers to enter – including the one that is known in Africa to be the birthplace of one of ours?    Did you hear that it is generally recognized by the rest of the world that we have become a dictatorial-socialist nation now?

My ears were busy tonight…..  And I can’t get to sleep,  because this is not the first time I’ve heard all this from other sources.

I can’t get to sleep tonight because not too many of my fellow citizens…..”heard what I heard.”

And, of course,  all that I wrote is the opinion of the one man I heard tonight.   I declare no opinion of my own.

 

 

 

ST. PAUL IN MONTANA

July 14, 2013

Well, short writing tonight, I think,  because I feel lousy and I hurt all over.  I’m apparently officially “sick” with something, according to my “official” thermometer.

But I have a photo for you.   It’s Sunday.  And I have recently been in Montana,  Land of the Free, Home of the Brave:

(and beautiful)

Missouri river

What kind of people ought we to be to  call a planet like that our home!   Imagine driving on that little road!

That’s the Missouri River, and when I drove by it in Montana last  month,  I nearly drove off the road trying to get good pictures of it.   And I didn’t.

This picture made me think of the Readings the Church gave us today,  this Eighth Sunday after  Pentecost,   some verses in the Bible that were first written to Romans.   Whatever our sermon was got burned away by my fever,   but this is what I thought of when I saw this photo, two things:

1.   Rom 8: 13  For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.    (You can look at that photo and think “I need a better camera!”   Or:  “Great fishing!”   “Great boating!”   “Great hunting!”     And then you die, and then…so what?)

2.   But you can look at that photo and have your heart rise up,  all the way to the Creator that made you and this planet and all the other glories we haven’t even seen yet, and know that you are a part of everything, even part of the Triune God that has always been and always will be because you have a spiritual nature too.   You can know that you are a child of God, and God is your own Father,  forever.

Romans 8:14, 15  – For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).

“Abba.”   Dear Father.    Such a beautiful picture.

‘BY THE BOOK”

July 11, 2013

 

“By the book” — It means everything our Rulers are doing to this nation is legal.   Such was the case about 80 years ago when another socialist dictator was made the apparent Ruler of Germany.   Absolutely everything that mustachioed man decreed was “legal” and “by the book” and upheld by his “courts.”

How are we losing our freedoms as formerly-free Americans?   “By the book.”

If you are able to read the following,   you’ll “get it.”

If you can’t read it all, then welcome to your world of mandatory  rules and regulations  … No one wants to read them anyway … and then skip down past the italics.

I quote two men, somewhat fictional:

“Hello everyone!  I’m sure you are all aware that the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations that will strictly control the ecological impact of the raising of large domestic ungulates.”  We “are here to help you determine the statistical data necessary to comply when these regulations take effect.   What we will do is survey your ranches so as to determine the methodology required to bring them to a functioning level of biological diversity.  We will do this by determining the biomass consumed and created, including the carbon and methane exhalations from the extant population.  Once this is accomplished, we will have the necessary data to provide you with an assessment of pollutants and a methodology for regulatory compliance   Are there any questions?”

Right.   This could be amusing when you realize it was spoken to a group of Montana ranchers, which, as I have witnessed recently, are the most free citizens of any nation on this planet.  They think like free citizens,   they act like free citizens, they are kindly and friendly like free citizens often are.   And they can see right through an attempt to impinge on their unalienable rights. These Montana ranchers don’t plan to roll over and play…carpet.

So many rules and regulations and amendments and “paragraphs” in all our laws that no one can possibly know them all – or comply with them all.   And that is the tool our Rulers can use against their enemies.

____________________________

The quoted passage is from a book called The Dinosaur Hunter….I thoroughly enjoyed the dinosaur action in modern-day Montana, and I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the “cowboy” way of life in territory I just recently traveled through.   But I cannot recommend the book, because of its casual portrayal of immoral activities among good-natured but clueless people.

You know,  just don’t read it.  But I just didn’t want you to think those well-written words were mine.

 

DINOSAUR TUMBLE

July 10, 2013

“Like dinosaurs, tumbling down a mountain pass.”

Wow, I haven’t written since the Fourth of July?   Much has been going on, full days, hot, sweaty busy days – July days!   I’m pretty sure I have the upper hand, now, on my little piece of property,  and as “hot and humid” gives way to “warm and dry” around here,  the lawn and garden maintenance will be a bit easier.

So, here’s the conundrum that I bring to The Spruce Tunnel today:.   My personal life is going well, and so it seems with my family and friends in our little corner of the world.    The Fourth of July set me off to thinking, with gratitude,  about our country and the freedom that it offers.  This is the freedom to work hard, possibly get rewarded and “get ahead” a little,  the possibility to fail and start all over again, and the possibility to keep what we’ve each worked hard for without fear of crime, civil war, interference by a king who spies on his citizens, ready to find reason to take away their property, money, rights, freedom, or lives.

Only that’s not our country anymore.   And that’s the puzzlement.   It feels like there are two realities, about to crash into each other:    the personal lives I see around me, locally,  temporarily at rest VERSUS the looming danger that is arising as our democracy ends and our Rulers demand – or try to demand – that we live according to their  needs.

“When the government fears the people, there is freedom.  When the people fear their government,  there is tyranny.”

herd

I said conundrum, and conundrum is defined as “a difficult problem that seems to have no solution.”    And here’s where I saw the dinosaurs.

One night, hot and sweaty, exhausted, hungry, then freshly showered and fed, I went into Hubbie’s television room and turned on his Cable TV system.   215 channels later I hadn’t really found anything worth using up all that electricity for — until I came across a channel that was showing a dinosaur stampede.

Now, I had just come from dinosaur country a couple weeks ago during my travels, so I was primed and ready to stay with these dinosaurs.   Turns out, the Cable Guide said the movie was King Kong, and although that didn’t interest me too much,  it also said that the special effects were really very….special.

Some dinosaurs lived and moved in herds, and these very realistic dinosaurs on my television screen were herding together in a panic and trying to escape something.   They stampeded towards an ever-narrowing mountain pass and began to bump and trip over each other, falling and rolling and squishing the smaller dinosaurs – and the men who had unfortunately gotten in their way.

Faster and faster and louder the herd came, boring through that narrow down-sloping pass, until their pathway  suddenly led to the edge of a cliff!     There the path made a sharp turn to their left, the viewer’s right,  and as the lead dinosaurs saw this,  they tried to make the turn, but momentum and crumbling rock edges took most of them right over the cliff.

Heart-stopping action (if you were rooting for the dinosaurs)!!

I watched their big feet and powerful stumpy legs scrabble for purchase, but it seemed hopeless.   I watched their tremendous momentum and power and speed and then their tremendous will to change course.  And I watched their defeat,  their down-fall,  their literal downfall.

I didn’t watch much more of the movie,  but I came away sad and pondering.

That old conundrum again.    What to do with this multi-front attack on our nation?   We, the herd, are beginning to get uneasy, we’re beginning to go down that mountain pathway, thinking we’ll have safety if we move along with the herd, as we always do.

But the momentum that is driving the herd is blind faith.     Meanwhile,  there is an “end” up ahead, an end that was engineered for us,  and our pathway is crumbling away.  Large chunks have fallen away:   Each of the First Ten Amendments to our Constitution have been eroded, large,  important “chunks,” one by one;   protections such as “no quartering”  and posse comitatus laws are gone, now.   The expectation of privacy has dissolved under the all-pervasive surveillance system.  Government employees are now supposed to spy on each other – and report! – and give an account for why you did not report when something goes wrong in your department.   Our cars will now be made with those little “black boxes”  that will report our location and speed, and allow Big Brother to turn off our engines, if it seems necessary.   Our expectation of receiving health care in our future is gone.  We will soon have to carry identification and/or papers with us wherever we go. . . . there are odd check-points all over…..and military and police drills….  And today, from British newspapers, we find out that our own Dept. of “Justice” has been sending people down to Florida to try to insert “racial issues”  into a local trial.  Race-baiting, this is called.  A despicable practice.    One that may foment a civil unrest that no one wants.   The once-legendary high moral standards of the American people have been overturned by outside forces.    And as crime and immorality increases,  we are being “ruled and regulated” into inaction.

The American dinosaur herd is being hastened to its end.

And I don’t know where our “tremendous will”  is, to try to change course and get back on safer ground.

HERE’S THE PROMISE I’M KEEPING

July 4, 2013

Before I run out for tonight’s fun,  I promised to be part of Hillsdale College’s  reading of the Declaration of Independence today.      I’ve heard about it elsewhere –  I think it’s a great idea.   A very good and necessary idea!    So here is what I read today,  with my comments in italics.  I tried to keep them to a minimum….

You can read this in two parts, if you like.   One is our declaration of intent, and two is the reason,  a list of all the tyrannical things that we Americans could no longer take.    First read the declaration –   then take a breath and later on read the list….

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

(Note:  For the sake of accuracy,  we did not overthrow tyranny.”    Not exactly.   We disconnected from the tyranny that was overtaking us,  we “dissolved the bonds”  that held us,  and we declared our rejection and independence from the tyranny of an English king.)

(Self-evident truths are not “opinions,”  and the truths can’t be changed some day by foreign influences,  other political theories,  or by our descendants.)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

(This is politics;  good politics.   All men are created to be equal before the law – which, if you understand that good and valid law conforms with natural law, you’ll understand that all were created of equal worth in the eyes of our Creator)

(The purpose of a government is to secure and safeguard and uphold our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  —  No other purpose of government should be accepted by us,  the people of the United States.  The government is not to get in the way of nor to manage our lives and our liberty,  nor to tell us what our “happiness” is.)

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

(And furthermore,  it is our DUTY to throw of a government which has become tyrannical):

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

(Let us not forget these following facts.   And let us not fail to recognize them when they arise again from the men and women in government who are tending towards tyranny.   Note how familiar these abuses would sound if we just changed the names.):

(But take a break, if you need to.  Take a break and rejoice in our Declaration of Independence.  And then when you’re ready,  for your own safety,  continue on,  read on into the list of abuses that a free nation may one day suffer under the hands of a king or of any other type of man or group):

stars

(Be reminded of “ruling by presidential directive;  by executive order;  by justices on the bench that you’ve appointed – because they agree with you;  by threats and intimidation. . . . )

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

(Be reminded of “ruling by presidential directive;  by executive order;  by justices on the bench that are appointed – because they agree with the king;  by threats and intimidation. . . . )

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

(Note the many foreign troops on our land  “in training’ at our  military bases.  Note the recent news articles that 13,000 Russian troops are here to help “keep the peace”  at public events….)

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

(Note the many attempts to bring “race” into the picture by our government celebrities and by their news media and “incite domestic insurrections.”.  Every major crime is supposed to have a “race” angle.   But Americans are not racist, and they don’t think of race first.  They think of issues first.)

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

(Have fun remembering news stories on your own that resemble the grievances that led our Founding Fathers to throw of tyranny.)

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

Thank you all, the above signed men.      Maybe we have some implied promises to keep to all of you too.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS

July 4, 2013

Yes,  birthdays, plural!

Happy Birthday, Daughter!!!

SAMSUNGThis from a birthday just a few years ago,  Red, white, and blue cupcakes for her friends.     Sighhhhh….and now she has a son just about that age.    She’s spending this birthday up in the sky someplace,  in airplanes between Israel and California.    “Home” will feel like one of her birthday presents this year, I’m sure.

And then:  Happy Birthday,  our nation, the United States of America!   Thank you to Our Founding Fathers!    What a beautiful place you gave us to protect and to care for!!

fireworksFireworks!  From a city not too far away from me,  and looking suspiciously like birthday candles!

Was it President Adams who decreed that on July 4th the nation shall honor the founding of our nation with  celebrations and fireworks!!!

Will do.

And will report seriously on just what this “founding” of our nation includes.

“LIVE FREE OR DIE”

July 3, 2013

Well, I found out why “the children” (daughter, her husband,  and little son)  needed to sleep with the Bedouins out in the desert.   It’s so they could hike down a desert trail in the morning. . . .

1. Oasis

. . . in order to be near this at sunrise.

2  Masada Butte

That is the rocky promontory upon which Masada was built.   Desert fortress.  Where 960 Jewish men, women, and children snatched victory away from the  Romans by refusing to allow their men and boys to be slaughtered and their daughters to be enslaved.   They all nullified the Roman victory by committing suicide.

I’ve thought about this episode in history many times.  I’ve relived it in books and in my imagination, as best I can.   I’m always left with the question,  “How?”   How can it be?  How could they do it?   How did it feel?

Tonight I imagine a Roman soldier, preparing for this day of battle.   The siege of Masada began in the year 73, and it ended when the Romans breached the fortress wall in 74.   However, the preparation began years before, with the training and experience of each Roman soldier.

4  roman soldierI imagine a man standing next to me in full battle armor, leather and bronze,  smelling of strength and  aggression and adrenaline.  He stands shining with sweat and a layer of oils and dust and another layer of sweat on face and arms, legs streaked with mud and dust.   His muscles are hard,  like springs wound tightly and ready to uncoil with dagger or sword or javelin in hand.

He is a dangerous instrument.

And there are thousands more like him, on the move, on the march,  with one objective: to kill me and my family and friends.

3 masada prom

It’s what nightmares are made of.   Because up on the mountain, inside the fortress, there is no place to hide as the Romans come pouring in through the breach.

The story is compelling and wondrous and some part of the story or another will make any of us think –  think deeply about what we believe, or if we believe in anything.   It is a horrible wound in Israel’s history, a wound that has scarred over and given strength and depth to its character.    “Live free or die!”    It’s a cry that echoes down through the centuries.

I can’t wait to listen to my daughter and her husband. . . .

TUESDAY’S TRIBUTE (To Our “Health”)

July 2, 2013

It was a pretty nice day today;  very nice, in fact, with a visit from Son and cooking and baking and  Son doing some house repairs and turning on the television together and seeing what’s going on….

But it’s Tuesday, the day when I pay tribute to that infamous Tuesday of 11-06-12 –  can hardly believe it’s gotten this bad.   Because, of course,  it wasn’t just that one Tuesday,  it’s been several Tuesdays, every fourth year,  in a row, for several cycles.

Such a good day……I hate to write  all the things that are making me so sad….    Just….one, maybe.     Then I can go back to “my children sleeping with the Bedouins,”  as in the last post.     And  then I might retreat to the safety of history on upcoming Tuesdays.    The present is getting a little claustrophobic.    And frightening.     I wrote several  blogs today on this topic,   but published none.    I’m not choosing to deal with what I’m reading and hearing.

So…just the one.

Know what this is?

bloody tumor

It’s a bloody tumor taken from out of a dog’s neck.   Sorry if you’re squeamish.    You’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the future.    That little black, red, and white cylindrical gadget is presented to us as a “good way to keep your pet safe.”   You get that put into your pet and then he can be tracked all over.   Great if you lose your dog or cat.

Not so great for the dog or cat.   Lab after lab have reported that after a while these little gadgets cause bloody tumors,  some cancerous,   in  animals… .in living beings.

Any science teacher ever tell you  that you belong to the “animal”  classification?

Why do I write about this on a Tuesday?   Because,  unknown to our congressmen who voted yes on the new Health Control law,   and unknown to the Supreme Court who ruled that it’s “okay” to impose that Health Control law on everyone,   there is a clause in that 14 foot high stack of rules and regulations that requires that provisions be made to implant everyone with a little gadget like this by the year 2016.

That little bloody tumor up there might become very familiar to every American citizen.     In just a few years.

Just….you know….read it for yourself.

Is  this going to be inevitable?

Socialist _sheep-forward crFollow your leader.