Archive for August 2013

MARS – Sun Moon Stars….Mars

August 30, 2013

Looks like I should add one more celestial body this week.

mars pl

I’ve always thought the planet Mars is beautiful.   I loved looking at pictures of Mars in my Dad’s Percival Lowell books when I was a little girl.    When I got my own telescope and actually focused it on Mars, it was about as exciting an experience as I’ve ever had.  The “real” Mars,  right smack in front of my eyes –  I could even see the ice caps.

For reasons I don’t understand,  Mars has been associated with the god of war.   Oh, I’ve heard many, many explanations of the origin of this association,  but I don’t really accept any of them, no more than I’d accept that the god of my ancestors,  Thor,  actually threw thunderbolts at his enemies.

Nevertheless –

mars godMars is the god of war, in human legends.

And there is war in human history.

And we might as well speak metaphorically about the god of war rising again to influence our Rulers, right up to this present day.    Current events.    I can hear the voice of Mars speaking through American mainstream media outlets.    I can find no one who wants a war, not even a missile strike against Syria.   I can find no one who thinks the president of that country is responsible for using the chemical weapons against his own people.

I can find no one, that is,  except in the American mainstream media.    And they have found a few of our Rulers, a few associated in government with our Rulers,  just a very few who speak with the voice of Mars.

Mars is a very powerful god indeed.

I have more to say if we actually strike another sovereign country with our missiles.  Maybe “we” won’t.    But right now,  it’s probably good to remember that Mars is never far away from us, and so we’d better learn all the ways he has caused us to go to war in the past, and all the reasons why war – except for actual physical self-defense – is a human evil to be avoided.

And if we don’t learn, and act,  well, you know what happens to people when they forget their history lessons.

(Sun Moon) STARS

August 28, 2013

“Let there be lights made in the heavens, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days and for years.”  (Genesis 1:14) 

stars in night

Stars are a big conversation killer!     At least verbal, audible conversation is stilled and hushed under the stars.  

stars purple

Under the full force of  a clear night sky, talking slows and falters;  whatever seemed important to chatter about fades away for a while.   Alone or alone together with a friend,  the stars impose their silence on us.

 stars kissing

Once in a while, when  friends leave my house in the evening, I’ve discovered I have to accompany my guests out to their cars because there are no street lights, and  I live enough out in the country so that the stars are actually a walking hazard!   Eyes just are attracted upwards to the myriad of twinkling lights that hint at various colors and size and vast spaces. Over the years I’ve grabbed the arms of a few guests to gently steer them away from the edge of the driveway!

 st glob

They’re not just “there” in the night sky;  they’re compelling.   They’re so much “more” than we are, in this material universe,  that we don’t even have adequate words for the effect they have on us.

But the stars can be comforting when we consider they, too, have a Creator even greater than they are. The psalmist speaks so charmingly of this Creator   “Who tells the number of the stars: and calls them all by their names.”    (in Psalm 146)   No, He doesn’t “name”  them with a name, but naming in the Bible means that He knows their characteristics and  qualities so well, so intimately that He knows them individually, as though they each had a fitting name that He gave them.

Yes, they’re there for “signs and seasons” too, like all the heavenly lights.  All humans, for tens of thousands of years have found their way through the dark with the help of the position of stars at their various positions throughout the night.   Ships have sailed the seas at night, navigating by the position of the stars.  

 stars orion

Marking times and seasons.  One time, many years ago, terrible things happened to our family in the late Fall.   I intensely remember where Orion was in relation to a big window in our house.  I’d look up at Orion and sob and sob….     Two decades later,  Hubbie was sick for his last time;  and Orion was back in that same position, reminding me of “all the trouble in the world.”  And yet – it is beautiful and mysterious, even when we know the names of the stars and nebulae that make it up.  

My little essay about the stars is not so very good.   Reach down inside of you and make up your own essay.  Write about the stars, what they mean to the world, and to you.    

No matter what happens to our world in this present generation, the stars will remain.   Later generations, who have no memory of us,  will look up at the same stars that we can see tonight. 

 

(Sun) MOON (Stars)

August 27, 2013

“Let there be lights made in the heavens, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and  for seasons and for days and for years.”

Blood Red Moon Yesterday (8-19-13)

Beautiful blood red moon.   It gets like that once in a while.

My-Friend-With-The-Camera, whom I mention here sometimes, sent me this photo, taken way up north near the Mackinaw Bridge of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.   I had emailed him a few days ago  to “go out and look at the full moon!” — hint, hint — and he took my hint, grabbed his camera,  and sent me this.

I wonder if that’s good for humans, though.  Is it good for the human mind to “have” a somewhat rare blood red moon anytime you want it, just by looking at a picture of it?   It’s not mysterious, anymore.  We hardly take time to remember the event, and to ponder.

To us,  in an  ignorant,  arrogant and dying culture,  it’s no longer a symbol of approaching doom, catastrophe. . . .impending war.

We see the physical science of the object – and miss the import.

SUN (Moon Stars)

August 26, 2013

“Let there be lights made in the heavens, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and  for seasons and for days and for years.”

How about a little science today?   (Actual science.)

Beautiful, isn’t it.

solar

Our sun is an active electric ball of plasma gases, perhaps a little fusion going on at its center, and sometimes throwing off bursts of superheated matter in arcs and rings and blowouts of charged matter that eventually affect us here.

Here’s one filament arc that was seen recently.

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It may affect us a little bit in a day or two, distorting and “exciting” our ionosphere.   I live too far south from the pole to see any aurora that could occur, but my shortwave or AM radio may pick up a little sizzling or static.

It seems like a lot of activity,  but in reality the sun is well into its 206-year cycle of less activity and decreasing energy output   Solar scientists  met recently, this year in Florida to discuss and pronounce what the effect would be on the people of this earth.  There is another cycle going on too, something like a 65 or 61 years of up and down activity, and it seems that the timing is going to magnify this current 206-year cycle.

Their meeting was called:  Causes and Consequences of the Extended Solar Minimum Between Solar Cycles 23 and 24.

The sun began this cycle about 15 years ago.  It will result in colder average global temperatures which we’re already able to measure.  The weather will become increasingly cooler and wetter.  There will be crop failures (hunger and famine), southward migration (in the northern hemisphere) of land and ocean creatures, and, as already is occurring,  increasing size and extent of glaciers, perhaps blocking shipping routes.

Earthquakes and volcanoes will increase, although scientists don’t know quite why this happens as this cycle proceeds.    We can see some of the effects now, as the new volcanic activity and superhot geysers under the Arctic Ocean warm up the waters and melt some of the ice – regionally.

Overall, the effect on ocean waters of the cooling phase of this 206-year cycle is to contract the waters, resulting in a drop of ocean levels.   Scientists estimate 7 or 8 inches lower.  I don’t know what effect that will have on us.

Our sun, a star, and all the other “celestial bodies”  have cycles like this, regular and predictable.   We can tell time by their cycles and navigate  our way home by their positions.

In the early middle ages, the monks and priests of the Church believed in the existence of regular, predictable, and discoverable natural laws,  and, encouraged by the Church and studying ancient Greek manuscripts, they worked with the theory that the earth revolved around the sun. By the time of Copernicus,  mathematics had advanced to the point where he could describe the movements with numbers and equations.   Only he didn’t, accurately,  because he hypothesized concentric orbits of the planets….

If only he had some of the instruments we have today!   How accurate he would have been!  Today we have good instruments, and now we know why the climate is going to change.

“Let there be lights made in the heavens, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and  for seasons and for days and for years.”    (Genesis 1:14)

TWO MASTERS: 14th SUNDAY

August 25, 2013

Probably NOT the “hand of God”  –

2 masters mural

A master is a master because he is the driving force of your life.   And there is room for only one driving force;  your inner “steering wheel” can take you in only one direction at a time. 

On this 14th Sunday after we celebrated Pentecost,  the teaching today is that we can’t serve Two Masters;  we can’t serve God and serve material benefits (mammon) at the same time.   We’ll either disregard the one and pay attention to the other, or we’ll pay attention to the one and disregard the other.  

2 masters jesus fr

And yet, oddly enough, while at first glance (at first hearing this) we may think the goals of the two masters are mutually exclusive,  in reality,  Christ tells us that if we sincerely, honestly choose the right one,  all the benefits we seek in the other master will be “added onto you.”

It works because of this:    God created us.   He knows our “operating manual” – the one for our very own “serial number.”    If we choose Him and all His ways,  then, knowing full well what is best for us,  He adds on to us all those other things of the material world.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”

In technical terms:   First install God in your life;  then He gives you a whole bunch of add-ons.

A SIKH SEEKING

August 23, 2013

Or  (alternatively):  “Seeking a Sikh”   because it happened both ways.   I don’t know if my writing skills are up to the task of describing a very pleasant occurence a few days ago in my local library, so please have “mercy”  and fill in the gaps.   It could happen to you!

I’m not totally innocent of reality;  that is,  I know that not all Sikhs gingerly tiptoe around  ants lest they inadvertently step on one and kill it.  I know that there are Sikh warriors who are quite adept with  the use of their culturally historical daggers, and I’ve seen photos of a Sikh infantry, sometime in the past century.

sikh at prayer cr  However,  their philosophy/religion has an ideal.   They are seeking truth in the unity of all living things, and they are trying to live out the teachings of their prophets and wise men.   From their own self-description:  “Sikhism preaches a message of devotion and remembrance  of God at all times, truthful living, equality of mankind, social justice  and denounces superstitions and blind rituals. ”

All the Sikhs I have seen are gentle men who seem to be quite kindly and sensitive to the world around them.

It is the “seeking”   that I identified with, there at the library table a few days ago.

I saw the the Sikh sit down at the table next to me.  He didn’t look exactly like this picture,    he sikhwas a little older but had the same eyes,  a similar face.   We live in a multicultural university  community, so he didn’t look unusual,  but what did catch my attention was the expression on his face.  I had time and opportunity to look up from my own computer screen and (secretly, I hoped)  observe him, and what I saw was a man who was there (1) willingly, (2) open to learning, (3)  observant of his surroundings, and (4) apparently sincerely open to all the people around him.

He seemed happy and at peace with himself, and there was a fascinating combination of boyishness and ancient wisdom in his expression.

Library

Much more attracted me to this man.   His tutor came soon, though, and kept him busy learning how to pronounce English words.   He was there to study the English language, and I admired his concentration and sincerity….and our eyes met, once or twice.    So much for my “secret” observation,”   but perhaps he saw the  open curiosity and approval and kindness in my own mind, and he seemed to mirror them back at me.  The tutor seemed oblivious to his multiple focuses of attention.

Inside myself I wished that I could meet him, talk with him,  find out about him….I don’t know why.   He just seemed to be not  like a person who is closed up inside himself by the American culture around him.   He seemed…open and honest…and totally unshielded.

Unshielded.

And then the Tutor left.   And the man got up and walked around the stacks of books for a while.   And on his way back to his table,  he stopped at my side.  I looked up, and he smiled down at me as though he had a very good secret,  and he said, “I am learning English!”

I answered something inane and vaguely approving.   He was about to move on – you know, “Americans are so shallow” —  but I asked him just where in India he was from, because I erally wanted to know, and he brightened up and told me.   A couple more sentences back and forth.   And then, we knew we could talk for a long time, but we both knew that the very possibility made it not necessary, for we had made a connection.

Two living beings,  seeking reality and truth,  finding unity in the value of all living things.

Funny.  I think we were both confirmed in the truth of our differing philosophies.

A LITTLE EUCLID, PLEASE

August 21, 2013

pathway

I don’t know where this posting is going to go,  but if you don’t mind taking a rambling walk in the Tunnel with me, I sure need to think my way through to some peace and order around here.

It all started with a little phone call from my C.P.A. last week.  He wanted me to answer One Simple Question.  And so for two days I’ve followed my now-absent Hubbie down the rabbit holes of his mind, trying to retrace his steps and locate that “one simple answer.”

paper

I’ve tunneled through his files and boxes of his files,  creating numerous piles of papers everywhere in the house. I’ve driven to three offices which generated more paper, and then paid dearly to have some of those papers faxed across the country. . . .   I’m not sure if the answer has been created yet,  but I’ve left a trail of disorder and messes throughout my house.

 

Which is why this photo seemed so attractive to me tonight:

LH Collider bj

It is, of course,  the Large Hadron Collider in Europe where they’ve been trying to find the Higgs boson,  and just like me,  they’re not sure if they’ve created an answer yet.  I enjoy watching them try, though.

gluon green blue antiblue Here’s the graphical representation of the blue-green-antiblue, etc.  motion of  one of the quarks in question.      You may not have read the latest comment by Krauss and Dent, two scientists in Louisiana who said enthusiastically: “The standard model says that the fields of all fundamental forces should merge at extremely high energies, meaning there is also a unified, high-energy field out there. The new scalar field would have zero energy density, but it can use the Higgs to link up to this high-energy field, and in the process it acquires energy of its own.”      “Should merge” !!    Amazing!   (If true.)   (As reported in New Scientist today.)

Well, if you can’t muster up enthusiasm for that,  maybe you can “see” the beauty of a representation of a  gluon plasma.

gluon plasma

Or if you skipped high energy physics in school:

gluon mr gluon

(I’m teasing you, of course.)

The field is exciting, though.   Really.    And if you just look again at the Collider, you can see the beauty of the machine they’ve built.   Some journalists who don’t know what they’re doing call the Higgs the “god particle.”    Looking for the god particle that holds us all together.

And the big irony of it all is:  the scientists built a beautiful machine to look for “god.”

Where’s my next step?   England.   And the Church.   Faith and reason, working together, creating Beauty, to find God.

salisbury inside

Pythagoras and  Euclid and other great Greek mathematicians, as well as Plato and other philosophers understood that mathematics, geometry, and music are all linked to the reality of God.   When the Church scholars,  the religious scholars,  of the Middle Ages studied their writings closely,  they recognized that link, and went on to apply such relationships to their architecture, among other things.

The above picture is England’s Salisbury cathedral, built over 700 years ago.   It doesn’t look quite like the Large Hadron Collider,  but you can – or at one time  you could – reach God there, where He was physically represented in the beauty of geometry and proportion.    The below picture is the outside. . . .

salisbbury out

In fact, the cathedral is geometry and mathematics set in stone, and is, then, a place where the reality of God meets human intellectual endeavor.

It’s not a place to “feel” your way to God, but to use your intellect and reason to discover the God that reveals himself to you.   If you could only “hear”  the mathematics inside the cathedral –

salisbury down

 “The primary dimension is 39 feet by 39 feet (at its main transept at its easts-west axis…)  and is the basis for all the cathedral’s remaining dimensions.   Both the length and the width of the nave’s ten bays is 19.5 feet, exactly one half of “39.”  The nave itself consists of 20 identical spaces measuring 19.5 feet square and another ten spaces measuring 19.5  by 39 feet….”   You’d have to see the blueprint to get the full impact.  Or be there, inside.

Or at least try, with your mind,  to reach a God who combines our faith and our reason to apprehend such Eternal Beauty….

I think a little Euclid tonight is just what I needed.

 

HAY AND STRAW

August 20, 2013

(I heard something on the news this morning and sat down and wrote an angry rant about it, which I might share with you here.   Since it’s about ten minutes to Tuesday,  I might as well make this my Tribute To Tuesdays and ask “what didn’t we know and when did we choose not to know it?”)

I grew up in the big city, so I don’t know much about farm life.    I saw my first cow in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.    I think I remember it was a live one, because they also showed us live chicks hatching out of their eggs.

When I was a teenager, my Dad moved my Mom and me off-planet because he was afraid of all the things a girl might get into in the city.    Our new home was a tiny clearing in the middle of a  dense northern forest.  It might as well have been “off planet” — but I didn’t learn about farm life there either.

SAMSUNGSo that’s my beautiful new little blue car.  I still don’t take her out of the garage much;  don’t like her to get dirty — but there she is, stuffed with a load of messy. . .  .  well, that’s where I get confused,  because when I was a child, and my brain retained everything it ever heard, I never learned the difference between “hay and “straw.”

Didn’t even know there was a difference until a few days ago.   My friends told me I needed some to keep my big pumpkin and cucumber leaves clean  in my garden.    When I went into that Tractor Supply store   that I blogged about two postings ago,   I asked for some hay.   The lady’s eyes lit up and said, “We’ve got some good bales all ready to go!   It’s good alfalfa hay, and your animals will love it.”

I don’t have animals right now,  and it’s a good thing because each bale cost $17.99.    A little high priced for a  pumpkin bed, I thought.     I don’t remember which friend – or how many friends! – explained some things to me,  but the next day I drove home with that nice bale of straw:  $5.49.  (Although I labeled that photo “Hay and Car.”)

Although I didn’t harm any animals in the process and although i didn’t pay more than I had to,  and although I have no one to blame except my own lack of curiosity in my younger days,   the fact remains that I hadn’t known the difference between hay and straw.  My education was lacking.    My self-education was lacking because I didn’t even know there was such information to be lacking of.   And I certainly didn’t “look it up” on the Internet, on Google,  on Wikipedia, or even in the dictionary.

Which takes me to that news item I had heard this morning.

It  concerned the imposition on our schools  —  by some unknown entity  — of something called The Core Curriculum.  It’s the same thing that was tried in the ’60s and ’70s and eventually tossed out.   It was the same thing that was tried in Russia and a few European countries and was tossed out.   And here it is back again, to harm the schoolchildren in our own country.   I’m glad to hear a few parents are resisting and a few states have begun to reject this Core Curriculum.

As a public schoolteacher, I saw the results of the first state-imposed curriculum like this.   We were told to not teach the children anything.  No facts.  No learning.  No memorizing.   If they need to know something in the future, they can always “look it up.”     I remember that pointless, boring  “dictionary drills”  were a key part to a week-long teaching unit which was given to us to use on the students.   They knew the intricacies of looking a word up in the dictionary within three minutes.    You can guess how much time there was still to be wasted that week, although a “good teacher” made it seem like fun (or so the instructions said).

And so began my rant this morning.    I had seen, close up and personal,   the devastation done to education in the name of these new state-imposed educational theories which contradicted everything we know about good pedagogy.    The kids had a vague idea that they should “act right”  and “not make trouble.”   Conform.   Be a good part of the classroom society.    Collaborate and cooperate,  but don’t stand out from the group.   You’re all the same.  No Gold Stars for getting the answer right.

They were left with empty brains, no information,  no knowledge to work with, no particular goals in mind.     It was a deprivation that borders on abuse.

To tell a child that he doesn’t have to learn something because he can always “look it up,” is a cynical disrespect for his and for all children’s  minds – and a deliberate and purposeful dumbing down of a whole generation – or two or three.

What is purposeful?   What’s the purpose?  I suspect that if a child is deprived of facts and information, then he is unable to analyze what he observes and make meaningful personal and independent choices.    I suspect it would be very easy to insert a set of desired “facts” and attitudes into a whole generation of such deprived children, now grown up — and responsible for making really important decisions.

Hay.  Straw.   I’m glad I know a little more now.    Knowledge is interesting and enjoyable on a personal level – and vital for the citizens of a free country.    But that’s the end of my little rant.   I have to go look up something about “alfalfa.”

 

 

 

(13th SUNDAY p.p.) PLEASURES! Celestial and Terrestrial

August 18, 2013

Live deliberately !   Go ahead, make your day!   Or, as the Romans used to say:  Fit via vi !!!!

11 gloriesToday is Sunday and it’s a good day to practice such things.   I did the first and foremost important duty of a created being:  gave honor and worship to the Creator.   The Celestial Pleasures were not my goal,  but He was there…..  Oh, my,  He was….

And because, in Christendom,  we are taught that this is also a day for rest, renewal, and re-creation, I deliberately chose to enjoy some terrestrial pleasures too.   After all, they are a “pledge and a promise” of our everlasting Rest.

(I am a teacher.  I write this by way of example only.  You fill in the blanks with your own – licit – pleasures.)  I chose some rather ordinary pleasures today:

Bison burgers!

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Burger.    I live alone, after all.

And vegetables!   (For the burger, of course.)

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Dining outdoors in the company of many little hummingbirds and my growing tomatoes, the deer, the herons, the  fat little brown animals that rummage among the weeds. . . .

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Then the pleasure of a little healthy competition:

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That’s Jimmy Johnson in  there, #48.

Here’s the track today,   right in our backyard, almost, and where Son and his friend enjoyed a day in the sun – and the noise of roaring motors.

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A little Rollerblading,   a little reading,   and a little herb gardening.  (I don’t know how to grow herbs, but I put them where I wanted them, and they seemed to know what to do next.)

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There you go.   It’s not so hard to be grateful to God for little pleasures.

Now you go and make Sundays special days.  Fit via vi !

11 glories

And now, there’s still a little time left for this Sunday.   There is time for me to return to my “celestial pleasures,”  more time with the Creator.    From today’s Offertory prayer:   “In thee, O Lord, have I hoped.  I said,  Thou art my God, my times are in thy hands.”  

INSTRUCTIONS NEEDED

August 17, 2013

Instructions for little things;  for medium things;  for the really big things.

Since Hubbie is no longer here, I’ve had to learn how to do a lot of things around this household that I never even knew had to be done.   You might say I’ve been on a “steep learning curve.”     I had to drive back to my local tractor supply store yesterday  –

tractor store

–  and ask for some instructions.  I had already been there to  buy fencing for my growing garden –  and I remembered to get fence posts too,   and as the man was helping me lift the heavy roll of fencing into my car,  he kindly said, “Here,  you’ll need these;  I’ll just throw in some free packages for you.”     Packages?

hook  What he gave me were some little things that looked like those old chinese puzzles.    This little picture isn’t quite the same,  but I don’t want to go outside in the night (with the spiders and moths and bats, maybe)  to take a picture of the little hook-puzzles that  I  received.

Now, Son was over and we put the fence up together.  He can wield a sledge hammer better than I can.   So now my pumpkins are safe from raccoons and deer and other small critters that eat people food.

SAMSUNGBut no hooks holding the fence to the fence post, you may notice.    Neither of us could figure out how to get the hooks to hook the fencing onto the posts.     That’s why I made that return trip to plea for some instructions.   Which I received.   I think I can do it now.

Instructions are needed for the very big things in our lives too, the big things of everlasting value.   Given what I know about myself and given what I know about God,   I’m not going to have a “happy forever” just because I’m a nice person and I exist and I deserve a break.   I know that God is Goodness and Truth and Beauty and Love and Holiness and Righteousness,  All-Powerful, Mighty, and Eternal.    And I’m not.

woman in church dress

 

So I need instructions.

 

 

I know where to go for those ‘instructions.”   Again,  with the help of God and by His grace, “I think I can do it now.”

But mid-way between the trivial everyday challenges and the big everlasting issues,   are the growing problems of our poor nation which has been overcome.    My major in college was not just teaching,  but also history – early modern European history.   So I know how Revolutions are started and I know the various ways that they can proceed and I know how nations disappear from this world and are changed into something. . . very different.

fr rev

Notice the Red Flag of the (French) Revolution – the flag of revolutionary socialism, Marxist socialism,  progressive socialism, liberal socialism.  This revolution goes on today, spreading throughout the world.   Their slogans are pretty their actions are tyrannical.

So, I’ve studied this revolution and others like it, and I know how they begin and continue and how they win –  but I don’t know how they can be stopped before  a formerly free people discovers they now  live under a totalitarian State.   I have no instructions.     Do we  have instructions on how to turn back the revolution once it begins?

o gestures

(This whole paragraph deleted by me because I’m afraid to post it.)

 

(This paragraph deleted also. )

 

Is it possible to let the revolution go so far that there is no turning back?

I have no instructions on that.    And, unlike my previous statements,  “I don’t think I can do it” because I don’t know how.

 

AUGUST 13TH – REMEMBER THE MISSING CHILDREN

August 13, 2013

August 13, 1917 – an important day in our history.   It was the day when the Mysterious Lady was to come back again and speak to three children.  The people in the town had questions to ask of the Lady.   They wanted to know is she real?   who is she?  what does she have to say?  what does it all mean?

Reasonable questions.   You don’t want to believe just anything.   You ask questions, weigh the evidence.

And so the people gathered at the spot where this Lady had been appearing to the children.

The people were there – the children weren’t.  They were missing, and no one knew where they were, not even their families.    Some of the people thought they might have seen a little flash of light out of the corner of their eyes, seen a rippling of gentle wind in the tree near the apparition site, and some even heard a low humming for a brief moment.  This was to be the fourth time the Lady had come,  but without the children, there was no vision, no message, no answers.

What happened to the children?   Today, we like not to believe what was going on with them,    but always, everywhere, at every time,   the godless revolution that is sweeping over the world has brought with its advance brutal power, lies,  tyranny,  false arrests  ,imprisonments,  intimidations, torture, and death – at the hands of governments.

And that’s what happened to the children.

They had been lied to, imprisoned, interrogated, threatened with death by boiling oil (!!), and commanded to lie to all those people who were waiting, commanded to say they had not seen what they had seen.

Why did the government care?    It was an attempt to  suppress religion.   And these people,  still in power today,  went after the children.

……we like not to  believe what is going on when godlessness rules….

 

TUESDAY’S TRIBUTE – “TO HEALTH !”

August 13, 2013

It was 60 degrees at 1:00 this afternoon here in the Far North – and it felt wonderful!    I spent most of the day outdoors, doing necessary maintenance work  with shovel, hoe, rake, and sledge hammer — with a little help from Son.   It was a good day for work, and I felt strong and healthy in the cool weather.

Which reminded me of the world “out there” and of the fact that  the consequences of that one Tuesday,  11-06-12, are still unfolding on us, consequences that were chosen by many of my friends on that day.

Storm over earth

I think a lot about many of my friends who long ago were told to defy conventional, traditional wisdom – and they believed.   They were told to protest “war” – and they believed.   They were told to give up their femininity and to adopt femin-izm – and they believed.   They were told that society has no right to restrict sex, drugs, and rock n roll – and they believed.    They were told religion is no longer relevant – and they believed that too!

And with enough of these “believers” our culture was destroyed so that it could become changed (or “transformed,” as they like to say now).    My friends have had their logical and analytical questioning diminished;  they’ve had their divorces and blended families and other people raising their own children;  they’ve had their STDs, their health ruined, their consciences wounded, their religious faith confused, and their artistic tastes corrupted.

They’re not happy and they’re not healthy, but they were told that Big Brother would take care of their safety and their health care – and they believed.

And they voted that way on 11-06-12.

Ironically, just when they will need health care the most,  they  voted to have it restricted and costly and rationed and no longer available to them because they are too sick and too old.

Now I wonder,  at what point will they come to “believe” they did it to themselves.

KNOW THE SCORE

August 12, 2013

There was a fine rain this morning, soft and gentle.   I don’t mind being out in the rain, so I didn’t mind filling the bird feeders on my deck.

But I “know the score.”   I know the numbers in my area, because I’ve been checking them for a couple of years.    Something made me check them again this morning.   In the rain.   Because of the rain.

Because rain “cleans”   the atmosphere.

SAMSUNGOoops, got my foot in there.

122.   That’s my radiation meter;  its a good one and it’s calibrated correctly.   Everyday, normal, background radiation is about 30 CPM.   Maybe a range of 25 – 35.        We  are 400% of normal today.  4 times the acceptable, safe limit.

I wondered about inside my house,  like even where I slept last night:

SAMSUNG32 CPM.   (Counts Per Minute.)    I’m okay indoors.

But then I use a pretty big air purifier.  A Honeywell TrueHEPA something something something,  I forget the numbers.  The filter inside is about 40 – 60 CPM, so I guess it’s doing its job….

But I worry about these guys who are stuck outside:

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And I wonder about these, not yet ripe:

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I was pretty happy to find out I could grow them on my deck in “homemade”  containers, but I left them out on the deck all summer.   I know I can wash them off when I bring them in,  but how do I wash the “unwanted”  contents inside  each of their cells?

Counts Per Minute.   Beta radiation.    It’s only harmful if you ingest it….or absorb it through your skin.

You are checking www.enenews.com from my column on the right?   It’s the category of links called “Radiation News.”   It’s been there for two years, long before our “news” media discovered last week that “Fukushima is big trouble.”

No, we don’t know how to stop the radiation spewing out of the damaged reactors.   No one knows what to do.

12th SUNDAY P.P. – CONFIDENCE!!

August 11, 2013

When Son and I traveled to the Far, Far North a few weeks ago, we walked in the forest, and I fussed about the black flies getting stuck in my hair biting and hurting, leaving behind very itchy, bloody bite marks;  and I still have some welts left on the back of my neck.   And mosquitoes. . . .

isaacBut here is a man who really knows the bites and stings of black flies and mosquitoes.   And other buzzing, swarming things.   And lice.  And other vermin in his clothes and blankets and robes.   Snakes, worms, and maggots.   Foul water and stale food.   He tramped off into the deer paths of the northern forests in Quebec, Ontario, and New York state, up and down hills,  slipping and sliding on the wet leaves, the mud, the uneven ground, fording ice cold streams with soaking wet shoes and wet, muddy leggings, and skin shredded by the thorns and scratchy underbrush.

15, 20 miles a day.    He must have had a powerful reason to continue on that way.

It was to get somewhere,  to get to the villages of the American forest dwellers, because he had something wonderful to tell them.

He didn’t write about the itches and bites and cuts and infections, discomfort and fatigue.   Instead,  his words are full of eagerness and happiness.    He tells of joy and  light and the wonderful Truth that gives to each man eternal life, eternal peace with God, and he could hardly wait to tell the Huron people and the Algonquins and the Iroquois nations.     He knows that they are just as likely to take him prisoner as to hear what he has to say, and the imprisonment would be surely followed  by days of extreme torture and then being burned or sliced to death.

And this all eventually happened to him, but he never lost his confidence in God’s loving care, nor his confidence that some, just some, of the forest people will hear him and believe, and their souls would come to know the love and peace and joy of God’s saving grace.

And that’s the story that went through my mind today as I heard the beginning of our Readings,  which are the same Readings that this man,  St. Isaac Jogues,  would have heard on this same Sunday:   “Brethren!”  (St Paul writes)   ” Such confidence we have through Christ towards God.”   (II Corinthians 3:4)

He was called to be a missionary, and I am called to a different station in life,  but here is the same confidence we should have that Christ has made peace with God for us, and wherever we go,   we need not be timid to speak nor ashamed of what we know.

St Isaac Jogues heard these words and made it a part of his character – to speak to people with confidence in the words he was speaking.

We have the same Faith.

He lived as our nation had just the earliest possibility of developing and growing,  with all its new and raw and dangerous problems.   I live as our nation has given up all the wonderful things it had, and is now content with devolving and dying, with all the dangerous and deadly problems that that produces.

But we have the same Faith.

I’ve been in a little funk lately, as I wrote last time….concentrating on the bug bites and fatigue, so to speak, getting lost in the problems.     Now, thanks to our  Readings today,  I remember that I also have  the Faith,   the answers,  the wonderful Truth of Light and Life and Peace and Hope, and there is no reason I can’t approach these problems with confidence.

The same confidence available to all.

A MELANCHOLY SUNSET FOR FRIDAY

August 9, 2013

From the Stations of the Cross, said on Fridays:  “…And Christ fell for the third time.”   (weary and burdened down….)

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This was sunset this evening.    It seemed to me it was very melancholy.  Pastel.    Kind of pretty,  but not bright and booming with color.    Fading out.

Maybe I was the one feeling melancholy and kind of faded out.   I’m weary of reading the news.  

The sunset occurred as the day was ending, of course,  and I am living as our country is ending.   

From 1917:  ” If the world does not   (…….), then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world.”      And the world didn’t  (…….),  and the errors of Russia did spread throughout the world.     The “errors”  were the principles of socialism that were taking down Russia in 1917, and as the Soviet state developed,  these deadly, totalitarian principles spread – by force, at first,  to nearby countries, and then by deceitful promises to help the poor and needy in many third world countries,   and then by infiltration and subterfuge and successful propaganda in the  “first world”  countries.   

A bloodless coup, so to speak, here.     

Our country is ending, and, like that dull, pastel sunset tonight, there doesn’t seem to be the “bright and booming”  energy needed to recover.

What is good is being outshouted by the bad “new good.”      What is right is being outshouted by the wrong “new right.”   What is reasoned, logical thinking is being outshouted by the irrational “new logic.”      And what is free is being dominated by the tyrannical “new freedom to conform.” 

I hear words of protest,  words of opposition, words of reason,   but they are fading. . . .

Or maybe I’m just projecting my melancholy onto a beautiful sunset.

 

 

 

LIGHT: LIGHT UNGODLY AND A GODLY LIGHT

August 6, 2013

glory-sunset cr

Today,  the world is given two events to commemorate.   We forget them at our peril.   Earthly peril.   Eternal peril.      I don’t want to forget either.

hiro b

And so light is on my mind today, Aug. 6, this day in 1945 when the first atomic bomb was detonated in an act of war.  I’ve read perhaps a half dozen books about this day, and even more eyewitness accounts.   They speak of the strange light that filled the sky  as the bomb detonated.

It was an eerie light, full of unearthly, ungodly colors.  They were colors that didn’t have names and colors that just shouldn’t be.   In an instant,  the light flashed as though it were going to be lightning,  but it was diffuse, filling the air around them, filling even human bodies, allowing the bones to be seen;  skeletons that fell to the ground or disappeared, sometimes leaving only a shadow.

shadow

I had a neighbor, once, who was on duty during one of the nuclear bomb testings, the one at Bikini Island.   On the day of the test the soldiers were told to turn their backs to the test site, close their eyes tightly, and put their hands over their eyes.   They did,  and when the bomb detonated,  they saw, with its light, the bones of their own hands, covering their eyes.

There was light from that spectrum at Hiroshima, on this day, and more.  Colors developed in the air and boiled and roiled around, changing to  something like  yellows and greens, purples and browns and nameless colors;  and the light seemed to move through the air and through things.

The ungodly light illuminated objects and gave the understanding that something is very, very wrong here.   Something harmful and deadly has just been unleashed into the world,  like the living personification and sum total of all human evil.   That impression has never changed.

And so the debate continues:   These were innocent casualties in a war fought against totalitarianism.   How many lives is freedom worth?   Or do we even really know what living without freedom means?   How do we defeat and contain evil without becoming evil ourselves? Or perhaps a better question should be:   What are the consequences of governing  and waging war when the Rulers (the leaders and decision makers)  are not subject to a Higher Authority?  

Which brings me to the second event we commemorate today – and we forget at our own peril.

That is the Transfiguration.    Christendom remembers the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on the top of a mountain in Israel, where he had taken three of His closest associates to be witnesses.

Transfiguration

The three friends had become drowsy but then woke to a light all around them, gentle yet penetrating, illuminating and sharpening their senses.   At the center of the light stood Jesus, now become a Being of Light.   “I am the Light of the World.”

In  words better than mine:  “They were enthralled and enraptured and carried out of life, and yet made to feel in the very essence of their own being the utter joy of living!  It was the Light that was the Light of Men, the Light shining in the darkness, the Light that enlightens every man that comes into the world.  Jesus Christ, the Light, the Life, the Son of the Living God…”   “….in Whom the fullness of the divinity exists, and which is meant to overflow into us…”

A Heavenly Light that is both powerful and benevolent, full of favor and goodness towards us,  the source of our own life and the End towards which we hope to obtain.   Eternal Light.

There is a “wrongness” to things and there is a “Rightness”  to things.

(Search Engine Key Words:   Hiroshima;  shadows;  8:15 a.m.;  physical effects of atomic bomb;  Bikini Atoll test site;  The Transfiguration;  Abp. Alban Goodier – The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ;  Blessed Abbot Marmion – Christ the Light of our Soul;  papal decree against crossbows. . . )

NOT-SO-GOOD IN THE MORNING

August 5, 2013

My friends know that if they want a “good laugh,”  just give me a phone call in the morning.    And it doesn’t do them any good to remind me of the dumb things I said, because I won’t even remember that I had a phone call in the morning….Larks and Owls, as they say.

carrot juice

I tried to be a Lark this morning.     Tried to get my juicing out of the way, early,  so good juice would be available during the rest of the day.   Took a shower.   Got dressed.   Peeled those carrots.   Started up the juicer…..and looked down at my orange feet.   Somehow….somehow….the little thing that receives all the juice got put in there … uh ….  upside down, as they say.

And since the juicer is at the end of my countertop,  next to my refrigerator,  I spent the next half hour lying on the floor on my stomach with a long knife and paper towels,  trying to get the carrot juice out from under the refrigerator.    And that’s not my photo of juice….can’t find the camera in the morning either.

Well, that little stint on the floor cleaning under the fridge led me to do some cleaning in the fridge where I found some leftover meatballs;  and it’s been bothering me, because the last time I wrote about making meatballs  it was to illustrate a theory about the cause of all the sinkholes we are experiencing around the earth.  “Sinkholes:  the Meatball Explanation”   — and I’m quite sure I didn’t really make my point clearly enough.

In case you’ve forgotten all about sinkholes,   they’re still occurring.

Sinkhole KansasThis one has been picked up by all the news media.  It’s in Kansas.   200 acres of pasture land lost.   No underground pipes burst, no old wells or old mines,  no limestone formation collapses.

SAMSUNG   No explanation –  unless you remember the meatballs.  What I had meant to conclude was that if you take the same amount of meat, pack it hard into a little ball,  you get hard, firm meatballs.      Fluff up that meat and  you’ll get “sinkholes”  as you cook them.     Same with the material that makes up the earth.      As the earth expands, the “stuff’ the earth is made of gets “fluffed up,”  and there is  less pressure holding the earth matter together:  sinkholes form.

Well, lest you think I’m going around in circles, repeating myself,  there is a new point to all this.    Seriously,   with our Rulers taking away our medical healthcare,  making it super-expensive and putting permission for getting health care into the hands of a politically-appointed panel of non-medical bureaucrats,   some people have advised a new way of thinking about our health.

And I like their idea.

Farmacy

(We’re going to need all the farm land and pasture land we can keep !  No more sinkholes!)

I juiced my carrots (and other vegetables) tonight.     Right there, in the upper right-hand corner — right side up.

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I’m all ready for tomorrow morning.

 

SUNDAY FACT CHECKING

August 4, 2013

Just one little prayer this morning exploded into my mind and held my attention all day….I hope you heard it too.  I hope you didn’t miss it!     It’s been heard and prayed by many, many people for centuries:

prayer card

It’s the Collect for this 11th Sunday after we celebrated Pentecost.  Pentecost being, of course,  that first time the Third Person of the Trinity entered deep into the souls of believers….   This Collect sent me back to some basic and wondrous “facts.”

“O Almighty and eternal God….”   It is a fact that the world began in the will of God and by His word, whereby we can conclude that God exists eternally before the world (the universe) began and that He had the ability – the “almighty power” –  to bring things into existence.

“…Who in the abundance of they loving kindness….”    By this phrase we are presented with the fact that God is Good, benevolent,  and treats us with more love than we can understand,  which we can only call “an abundance.”

“…and are known to give us good things beyond what we deserve and what we can desire….”    It is His habit to give us good things above what we even know we should be asking for….and certainly above what we deserve.  Yet it’s a fact that He is “wont to give,”  or “known to habitually give”  us unimaginably, superlatively good things.

“…beyond the desires of those who humbly pray…”    It is a fact that prayer is humbling.   It is pride which takes the reins and says “I know what I want!   I know what’s good for me!”  Not exactly the kind of prayer God would recognize.

“…Pour down upon us thy mercy….”    It is a fact that we need to start with His mercy.   Yet we dare to ask, humbly,  humbly, because it’s also a fact that we can trust in His goodness.

“…forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid…”    Is your conscience afraid?    That’s a good thing.   Fact is,  the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.   We need to be reminded of that from time to time.

“…and granting to us those blessings which we dare not presume to ask.”    It is a fact that we need those blessings that can come only from our Maker.   He knows us best,  He knows what’s best for us,  He’s so willing….but  our knowledge of how we have failed Him makes it seem like a presumption to ask…and yet it pleases Him that we do ask.

Listen to this:  “He is not terrible to those who love him.”  That’s what the saints have discovered, and now teach us.   St. Francis de Sales tells us:  “God is content with very little because he knows well we don’t have much.”

It is a fact that we “don’t have much,”  but we are still the “apple of His eye.”   You and I might not start with “much,” but we can put this whole prayer together and repeat it confidently.

prayer book

Putting it all together:    “O Almighty and eternal God,  who in the abundance of Thy loving-kindness are wont to give beyond the deserts and desires of those who humbly pray,  pour down Thy mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid and granting us those blessings which we dare not preseume to ask……..”

Whew!     That’s enough to meditate upon for the rest of the week!    And that’s a fact.

 

ROLLER SKATES AND WRITING DESKS

August 1, 2013

I think we all have an image of ourselves in our own minds.   It’s fun to think about what your self-image would be!

Key At most times my default self-image would be a kid on roller skates……For two or maybe three years I wore my roller skate key around my neck on a chain, just like that little picture.      My sixth grade school picture shows me in a white blouse,  with shiny long blond hair,  a big smile —  and a chain around my neck with my roller skate key in plain view.   My Mom was mortified.   I had forgotten to take home the note-to-parents that we were going to have our school pictures taken.  I wasn’t “mortified” at all.

Today, my roller skates are Rollerblades, and I haven’t gotten out this summer as much as I wanted to.    And truthfully,  this evening,  my own self-image is more like this:

BD letter

I need to quiet down and think and sort out my thoughts.   Get them down on paper, because there, in my writings,  I see what is important and what is not so important.   There are things to do and things that I can do nothing about.

In the past ten days I’ve had two deaths, one funeral,  one important wedding anniversary,  two “big”  dentist appointments where I learned how much damage and neglect  the young dentists of my past three years have done to my teeth, I’ve had health issues, including a strange skin disease in which I seem to be breaking out in very itchy spots all over my body…Hubbie’s birthday was just yesterday, and I (very  regretfully) had to miss his class reunion and seeing all his friends, but I miss him more. . . .

I forget all the other emotionally impacting things which have made me feel a bit overwhelmed,  but I can’t exclude the fallout from watching the increasing devolution of my country and my Church.

But I’m okay.   I’m not any different from many of my friends who tell me about  their equally distressing weeks.   I hope they can sit down and sort things out occasionally.     I hope they have resources they can go to.     I hope they know that the Good God is with them, too, watching and waiting to see what these distressing times will produce in us.

I turn to these words which were written centuries ago when men were much wiser and more thoughtful, and when they knew the truth of their wisdom in the actuality of their own lives:     “It is good for us at times to have troubles and adversities;  for often they make a man enter into himself, so that he may know that he is in exile, and may not place his hopes in anything of this world.” *

I get distracted by the troubles of this world sometimes.   But, again:  “There are things to do and things that I can do nothing about.”    

Roller skates and writing desks.    We are meant to enjoy the good things of this created world;   but we’re also meant to use our intellect to think through things and to know what is important.    If we “”enter into” ourselves,  we’ll know that the good things  (and the bad things) of this world are temporary conditions of our exile.   If we use our time to “enter into” ourselves, we can touch the order and peace and truth and love and joy that is offered to us eternally.   That “still, small” voice of God speaks to a quiet heart.

 

*  The Imitation of Christ, Book I,  Chapter 12

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