Archive for January 2014


January 29, 2014

“He who controls the past defines the present.   He who defines the present controls the future.”

The socialist Soviet Republic has an unpredictable past.”


People in the West have, for the past three thousand years,  known something about governing that we don’t talk much about today.  Oh, some people still know and understand the political wisdom of these past millennia,  but those people just aren’t given a public voice in Western media anymore.

So, since this seems to be a week of metaphors,  I thought I’d post these photos of a kind of related “living” metaphor which I found myself in recently.


Brrrrr…it’s cold in the parking lot on my way into the building where we hold our classes.    I just meant to record the size of that snow bank,  but afterwards I noticed the state capitol building in the background.

When I saw the photo again,  I thought how interesting it is that the church building where we hold our Bible study classes stand next to the building in which civic affairs are determined.

I had also turned around, noticing the lovely light coming through the stained glass windows in the darkness.    SAMSUNG

And there I stood between the two:   state and church.   I, the human entity between the “state”  that has been there for about a couple hundred years;  and on the other side,  the Church, that has been there for about a couple thousand years.

And the three thousand year wisdom?   That natural and divine law is the foundation for the exercise of civil authority.   Any state without natural and divine law is like a body without a soul.    (Dead, and decaying.)

There is no restraint, then, upon the Rulers.    A governing force like that is monstrous, capricious, and dictatorial, ruling through personal force and persuasion.    The illusions of peace, prosperity,  the appearance of individual freedom are only rewards handed out to friends – for as long as they be considered friends.

So, the age-old Western wisdom, from Ancient Greece through to today,  has an easily understood premise:   God the Creator fixes the natural laws of the universe, of the natural world,  and of society which exists within the natural world.   This the Greek philosophers knew.    The Son of God, comes into this world, creates a Church in harmony with natural and social laws.    This christianity knew.   And governments in the West became stable and strong under the guidance of the Church.     That is,  all rulers are subject to a higher power, as are all citizens.   This Christendom knew.

Now,  suppress this knowledge.  Vilify the past!   Let our Rulers get out from under any restraining hand —

Well, our present Rulers are quick to claim that “History is written by the victors.”    We believe them, and we let them get away with ruling us without regard to natural laws and enduring social principles.

“He who controls the past defines the present.   He who defines the present controls the future.”

History is not fiction.

I see changes coming.    Like the oft-shown metaphor from the Vatican this week,   the black bird and the white bird attacking the ’60s Pacifist Dream Dove,   I see younger people rising up and questioning  the proposed godless utopia  presided over by powerful self-serving Rulers of no particular principles.    These younger thinkers,   thinking new thoughts about ancient wisdom,  are beginning to make a lot of sense.



January 26, 2014

I’ve been “On Edge,” as I wrote in the last post.  I’m sure you’ve all felt “on the edge” at some time before too.   One good thing about looking at things from the edge, is that you can turn around and look off in another direction:

Et respondens centurio, ait: Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur puer meus.


“Domine, non sum dignus. .  .”   Three times every Sunday we say these words first spoken by the centurion who asked Jesus to cure his daughter….but it was not necessary to come all the way to his house to effect the cure….and besides,  the centurion did not feel worthy that Jesus should “enter his house.”     “I am not worthy  (non sum dignus).”

(There is a good reason why “three” times  but that’s for another time.)

The words are from the Bible (Mt. 8:8), and that particular passage was our Gospel reading for today.   Of all the readings and verses from today that I thought the sermon could be about,  I was surprised that this one was chosen.

Surprised and edified.

Because I had always been focused on the “I am not worthy.”    A  “worthy”  thought,   but it also keeps me stuck on “me;”    seeing the story from “my” perspective.   We were instructed in our sermon today to see it from the point of view of Jesus.

Jesus the carpenter.

house bilding

Of course, the “house” is not the structure we live in.   It is our Self.    Our life, our soul, our hearts.    What a mess we can make of the “house”  we have!

Come into our house?  All we can think is, “No, Lord.   Not me.  Not my house.   It’s not ready for you.  It’s not . . . worthy.”

Of course,  He’s the carpenter.  He can see that.   But can you imagine, with a carpenter’s heart,  how much He’d like to come in and rebuild, repair, make the “house” all clean and new again!

Just like the problem in the centurion’s house, the sickness there,   Jesus did not have to go physically to the house because this is not a story about material things, it’s about spiritual things.   Jesus fixed the house,  cleared it of the sickness that was there.

He has this power.   He is the “carpenter”  for us.    And as I look out over the world from my “edginess,”  I know He is the carpenter in charge of the cleansing and the rebuilding and the timing of it all.

To know that we are not worthy is to let Him be in charge.   Come into my house.  (Please.)



January 26, 2014

horse up

Aaaaaargh!   I know it’s Sunday…a day of peace and rest and time spent with our Creator.   Then why am I so On Edge?

Sarek 70  I have my reasons.      And I’m sure the Ambassador would say again:  “The cause is sufficient.”


First,   Son is  M.I.A –  as in missing.    Again.      After spending several days across the country beyond the reach of  cell phones, he is now overdue….(by a Mom’s schedule.)

He does not do Return Homes  very well.

I checked his final Arriving airport –  all planes are “on time” except the ones from his Layover city.   Those four are canceled.   I go to the site of his Layover city.   There are only three flights canceled:   the three from his Departure city.   On two long lists,  only seven flights in this country are Canceled –  Son’s !!

I’m on edge.

Which reminds me of other things that put me On Edge:


It’s going to be all downhill for a while.   These are big things which I will experience,  but I can’t affect the course of the “experience.”

Here are a few:

World Finances:     The men who are managing Hubbie’s Trust tell me to expect a 5% “correction”  soon.  Other places tell me 5% – 20%.  That is a serious downturn for all of us to experience.

It just might expose for us the worldwide financial collapse that many see is already happening….  We are ill-prepared for shortages and rises in prices. . . .

Upcoming Media Events of Possible Unpleasant Outcome: 

1.  The Olympics at Sochi;

2.   The Superbowl in New Jersey;  and

3.   The State of the Union speech ordeal, outlining how great socialist principles would be for this country.   (Socialism 101:   The government has a plan for you.)

My ancestors from Finland passed down to us the realities of socialism.

The Overall World Dominance of Socialism  (known to some as The Errors of Russia)     Do you see the dominance?    There is a call for a socialist revolution – in America!     Here, at this link, for instance.

FLAG  AmerComm

The new socialist high school  “social studies”  textbook being used in several places now is getting quoted by people who ought to know better, and by young people who don’t.     See Howard  Zinn,  here, for instance.

There is a Marxist-trained person elected to sit in the “Chief-Seat” in the Vatican – and oft quoted.    (His order and their New Theology was once condemned by the very Vatican that he now heads.)   Enough said.

There is a Marxist-trained person placed in the “Chief-Seat”  in my country.    (The media proclaims he is not a Marxist, but then freely proclaims the Marxists who were his most crucial mentors,)   Enough said.

There are plagues and pestilences building up,  just waiting to go global,  just at a time when medical care in this country is being curtailed.

There are “earth worries” of increasing earthquakes, severe weather outbreaks,  newly discovered asteroid threats, food shortages, and the ongoing noticeable poisoning of the planet by the Fukushima accident.

I’ve sometimes read that when the End Times are upon us,   and when this world system is brought to an end, under judgment,  the circumstances will be very terrible.   And just at this time, when Good seems to be defeated, a special kind of saint will be created…that is,  men and women with special graces for the strength needed to give help and light to  as many as possible.    These will be saints stronger than have ever been needed before.   Saints able to stand up for the true Christ who saves.

The view from the edge:

So, since I can look over the Edge at all kinds of world events that seem to be reaching some disastrous climax, and after  becoming aware that I as an individual cannot affect the course of these events, nor their outcomes,  then I can at least hope for and work for and ask for the special graces that God is so willing to give – to those who ask.

(I still want Son here, to talk to him about this.)   Talking about these things freely and openly takes the “edge” off.


January 22, 2014

I’ve been zambonied!


That’s my nice neighbor, out there on my pond with his personal zamboni machine.     He’s clearing the bumps off the ice and creating a very smooth surface.    He and his family will be playing hockey out there and I’ll be … oh, dear. …  trying to find my ice skating muscles.

The pond has been looking very inviting.


It beckoned to me last night,  but late at night, with single digit temperatures,  it occurred to me that if I fell and cracked my head on the ice – all alone –  I probably wouldn’t be found until a day or two later. . . .


So I waited until today, in the daytime,  to lace myself up.

As a young girl growing up in the city,  as a  busy young wife and mother,  all throughout my adulthood — I never would have imagined that some day I’d have an ice rink just outside my back door.

And right down the stairs:

SAMSUNGI’m very, very thankful for this.

Even though I’m still very unsteady.

SAMSUNGThat ice just has to be shoveled.   There is not much snow, but it looks better if the surface is cleared – and the shovel provides a nice “support.”

SAMSUNGI worked on the perimeter, and then did one wide path across the middle.   It was an overcast day and the temperature had gotten up to double digits:   11 to be exact;  11 degrees.   Good enough.

I discovered interesting things about this ice:

SAMSUNGThis is one of those years that the ice is multileveled.    The cracks are on the surface, but that white spot is an “ice bubble”  about six inches deep beneath the surface.   Then you can just about make out some brown leaves there, frozen now but used to be floating on the water, maybe 10 or 12 inches down below the surface.

As I glided across the ice,  I could feel a slight “rise” in the ice, like a mini speed bump.   That happens in very cold weather as the ice is freezing more and more, but since it has already met the edges,  there is no more room to expand outwards.   If this continues, we might hear a big  booming “crack” as the surface will have expanded as far as it can go  and then the little “rise”  shatters into a long new crack.

Meanwhile,   I was beginning to feel like this is “good exercise” — but I still had a long way to go to shovel over to that “hockey goal”  over there –

SAMSUNGFresh air and exercise for another day.

This is a fun world.

Deo gratias.


January 22, 2014

I said in yesterday’s posting that “my mother’s heart is scared”  today.

m  1  sun going away

Well,  it’s because my Sun (Son) is going away.       Anytime there is anything out of the usual I can be afraid that anything can happen.

m  2  b lowup

An airplane has him right now —  in the sky somewhere —

m airplane over the world

And I hope … you know…

m airplane

So Son is going off to have some fun on a well-deserved vacation from his long twelve-hour days.  He and the young men he is with all work these grueling twelve-hour days.   Statistics show the job is more dangerous to his heart than anything that can happen on this vacation.

But I’m still a Mom.  And he’s going here:

m big sky

12,800 feet up high in the beautiful state of Montana.    I was there just a few months ago.   Lovely place to be.  But I wasn’t skiing.

m skiing off edge


He’ll be gone all week…. And he’s not skiing,  he’s snowboarding.    And I’m sure he’ll come back, just fine.

m  5 broken leg


(I can be really good at worrying.)

You don’t need to remind me to have faith in God.    I do.

You don’t need to tell me to put my Son in His hands.  I did.

You don’t need to remind me that God is in control.  I know.

It’s just that I might not agree with the God…who has my son….in His control.

Faith.    It’s not for cowards.    I’m probably the one who needs the prayers this week.


January 21, 2014


My mother’s heart is scared tonight,  so I just want to speak plainly, without pulling any punches, as they say.   (Why I’m scared I might talk about tomorrow.)    What I write tonight is true,  but it’s not politically correct,  and may be overly (impulsively) detailed.   So:

eye closeup

Good picture?    Nope.

Today’s technology can do much better:


In his cornea,  technology can see the people who were standing in front of him when his picture was taken.    We all know what pixels are…or at least how to use them and manage them.

The cornea of your eye can reflect an image of 150 pixels….10 X 15.   From this small image, law enforcement agencies can retrieve from a photograph the image that the subject was seeing at the time he had his picture taken.

I’m not surprised.   My favorite kind of movie is a really good high tech, spy-vs-spy,  action adventure thriller. . ..   Well, it has to be high, high tech to be good.

(Like Thor’s hammer,  my skeptical friend.  Magic is merely technology that we haven’t discovered yet.)

So, given my choice of movies,  this new technology that allows us to retrieve images from a living cornea, therefore, is not too surprising to me,  and I do understand some of the implications although I don’t know all of the possibilities.

Since I can’t discuss what I don’t know about,  I like to remember when this “technology”  was last known  (five hundred years ago)  and its results given to us human beings, first in Central America, and then to us in the whole world.

pupil whole lady

This is a familiar image to many.    It is Mary, the Mother of the Son of God,  as she appeared on a hilltop in a murderously pagan empire that was about to end.    Here is a close-up of her eyes:

pupil two eyesGod sees all things, and through the eyes of an apparition of Mary, He saw and  she saw what she saw  –   and now we can see it too.  What exactly was seen?

I once read  a chilling series of journal entries from a European man who was lined up with hundreds of prisoners along a dark pathway.  The line wound through the thick jungle in Central America, but the men didn’t know yet where it was leading.

poisoned arrow

The line moved slowly during that long dark night.  Escape seemed impossible for they were very well guarded with spears and poisoned arrows.   By men, that is, with spears and poisoned arrows.


Escape successfully from these men and you face countless other poisons from insects and plants or you may become prey to the jaguars whose screams were heard in the long night of terror . . . near the terrified line of men.

As the night wore on and the line moved forward, human screams began to be heard, screams of mortal terror, mortal pain.   Then cheers of an enormous crowd.


We know this now to be the Mayan practice of assuring strength and prosperity by  (poisoning,  dismemberment)  ripping out the hearts of their sacrificial victims from on top of their step pyramids.

sacrifice at the top

That is where the man who wrote these journal entries was going.

Somehow he escaped and he was one of the few who made it back to the ships that had brought him to this “New World” and then he could write his journal.      Some (some!) of the Europeans knew a different God,  and they had brought missionaries to tell everyone about a kinder God who loves the world and all the creatures that He made.

About forty years later, when many more Europeans were living among these New World men with their savage gods,  one of the native people, named Juan Diego,  saw this messenger,  this lady,  this Mary, Mother of the Son of God, who in a miraculously created image stood out victoriously in front of all the recognizable Mayan/Aztec symbols.    In a short time many, many millions of native Americans converted and were baptized.   The human sacrifices ceased.    (For a time.)

The details of this story are easy to find everywhere on the Internet,  but here is where we can double back to “today’s” technology.   Using a similar idea, several years ago,  the eyes of the image of the lady that was left behind,  were examined.

That close-up of her eyes.

pupil two eyes

And moving in even closer….

pupil image

When the image on the “cloth” was unfolded before the church authorities, the cornea on the eyes of the image  had recorded those men standing in front of it.   This is one state of the development of that image.   We think it might be Juan Diego himself.

The “technology”  needed to record and to retrieve the corneal image seems to have been well-known by our Creator —   who has created all this.

Separated by almost five hundred years,   human corneas reveal the image they’ve seen.

Separated by almost five hundred years,  human sacrifice –  for the sake of personal strength and prosperity —  still exists in our nation.   This is a story you won’t hear on your television news this week,  but it’s  the story of 55,000,000 Americans.

It is easy to believe that the next “appearance” of Heaven’s messengers will not be a beautiful, gentle lady,  looking at four men, standing calmly before her.


Perhaps this is a good Tribute to Tuesdays.  Hats off to our Rulers who somehow found a way for us to pay for ongoing human sacrifices.


Corneal images from five hundred years ago – found in books about Our lady of Guadalupe

Corneal images from today – found in several news articles (Search terms:  “retrieving”  “corneal”  “images”  — sorry,  I can’t “retrieve”  the exact article I read today)

For harrowing images of Mayan sacrifices –  see the movie Apocalypso   (if you…can)

For harrowing images of  . . .   never mind. …   They are kept from you in the name of “good taste.”



January 20, 2014

This will be short because my little laptop seems to be heating up.  (I’ve been busy – heh heh.)

So, not necessarily my own choice of words, but . . .

Dogs save

First,  I don’t understand dogs….

Second,  the writer uses the word “was” in spite of the subjunctive mood. . .

But, third,  this little bit of humor is offered to all my friends who are on their way to the Right to Life March this week, to all my friends and readers living in difficult  and dangerous situations,   to all my friends and family who don’t realize they are living in difficult and dangerous times….to all those who wonder if God is still in charge. . . .

Take courage.    However we understand it,  God is on his Throne ,  “let all earth keep silence before Him,”  (Hab. 3;19) — and make sure you’re on His side!   He’s got a Plan.



January 17, 2014

I  make reference to “my classes”  once in a while.     It’s my job on Fridays to help my people gain a deeper understanding of the Readings they will hear on Sunday morning.     bethlehem

This week’s Readings all point to not only the prophecies of the Messiah, the Christ,   but the dawning realization that this man, Jesus, is the Messiah,  the Christ of God-Most-High.   The certainty of this knowledge is a stroke of sanctifying grace that comes to a willing heart.

Suddenly life becomes different.    Previously,   we knew that  no matter how hard we work, no matter how successful we are, the only reward from this planet is …   a 3 foot by 6 foot hole in the ground.


“No U-hauls attached to the back of a hearse,”  my Grandma used to say.   We take no earthly rewards with us into the next life.

But for the one who has growing faith in the Christ who came to us centuries ago,   the reward  is a full and abundantly joyful  life that never ends.   Come what may to us here on earth,  each event,   each experience,  each challenge is but a stepping stone that creates our pathway to Heaven.   Our crosses, big and small, our happinesses, our enjoyment of the wonderful things in this physical world — all these are stepping stones given to us.  They are given in hopes that we will use them to follow Christ into Heaven.


After class one lady kindly reminded me that our local PBS station is presenting Eugen Onegin tonight on its television station.    This is one  of my favorite operas;  so beautiful, so Russian!    I noticed a line in it tonight.   One of the kitchen maids said (sang):  “God gives us habits, not happiness in this world.”

So very Russian.   So very true.  It is our habits that will save us, not our occasional happiness.

Habits of our hearts:  to be cynical or hopeful;   to be open or to be rejecting;  to be trusting or to arrogantly close our minds to truly Good News.

It begins in our God-given intellect:

Sow a thought,  reap an action

Sow and action, reap a habit.

Sow a habit, reap a character.

Sow a character, reap a destiny.

The opera,  Eugen Onegin,  speaks of the Baby at Bethlehem and reminds us to consider what is the happiness we are looking for.


January 17, 2014

Life in modern America:

com[uter user  It starts with research.

Noooooo.   It starts with pureed asparagus flying all over your kitchen cabinets,   across the countertop,  into drawers,  and under the refrigerator.

And then you bewilder yourself with all the research.   I need to spend Hubbie’s money well and responsibly,  so I parked myself in front of my keyboard and checked out all the blenders that are currently being offered – brands, sources, prices, styles, features,  functions, capacities. . .   and I narrowed it down to three possibilities, three brands, two price ranges, and one nice store that periodically sends me 20% off coupons for “anything” I might choose to buy.

When all the good omens arranged themselves favorably:    light snow, well-salted  roads,  moderating temperatures, time, energy,  and the entrails of a Mongolian lizard  all favorably aligned,   I went out to make my purchase.

. . .. Only to discover that the store offered many more varieties of blenders:     The Bullet blender,  nice convenient features for people who want to drink their smoothies “on the go” — me.     Smaller;  larger;    lots of accessories;   and even a blender that doubles as a soup cooker!!!   I could imagine myself feeding vegetables  and  adding broth,   pushing a button and then the heating elements create soup   —  all in one neat place, all in 30 minutes!

But …. no.     The very helpful young man – who seemed to make my blender-buying his special project that day –  explained some downsides of this blender/soup maker.    I saw his point — although I still think it’s a clever idea.

After fifteen long minutes,  I chose a blender, one that I had already had on my short list.   It had metal parts, a metal gear encased in plastic, which won’t wear out after a year or two, easy-to-clean buttons:  SAMSUNG

The cords came with their usual overly-cautious warnings.   Even the plug was cleverly locked down  –  to protect me from . . .  something ??


And now the new blender sits happily next to my fairly new juicer.


There should be no reason for me now to eat anything but raw fruits and vegetables.


V hunt  Until I remember what flows in my blood —


V kettle

— and how I love to take my food like this:



Well, God meant us to be  omnivores . . . with moderation in everything.   I think my new appliances will get along well with my ancestors.


January 16, 2014

“Mom!  Mom!   Do you have any glycerin?????!!!!!!”

B Bubbles transparent

Oh, yes,  I understood the question.    But I had to tell my grown (my very grown-up) children that my ever-abundant kitchen  treasure chest is out of glycerin at the present moment.

They disappeared for a while.

And came back.     “Mom!  Mom!   Do you have any dishwashing liquid????”    (yes)    (how else would I hand-wash my dishes?)

” . . . . and corn syrup?”    I happened to have an old unopened bottle of genetically modified corn corn syrup which I just hadn’t thrown away yet.

So there you have it:  the recipe for making bubbles.    I’ll spare you the scavenger hunt that followed next to find something to blow the bubbles with.      Let’s just say I’m impressed with their inventiveness.B Scissors

Single digits outside.

B all of them

They were shivering and their fingers froze.   We  were shivering.  I was out there too.   But we’ve all heard what soap bubbles do in freezing temperatures….   And they really do those things!

B crystal forms bubble round

Someone would blow a soap bubble, and then we’d all watch, transfixed,  as the surface slowly crystalized, as beautiful  crystals floated all over the bubble.  More and more  tiny crystal “islands”  migrated and grouped themselves together until the entire surface of the bubble was crystalized.

B Happy

So beautiful!    Only the temperature kept us from doing more — but then only the temperature allowed us to do it at all!

Two days later, Son and I had to prepare for our long trip to the Far Far North.   But first –  son had located some actual commercially-made bubble solution.


They were beautiful and delicate outdoors in the daylight,  so delicate that if you touched one with your finger,  you made a hole in the bubble,  but the rest of the bubble was frozen in place.SAMSUNG

The bubbles could rip and tear with the lightest touch. . .


. . .  but with more pressure,  the bubble shredded into tiny fragments of thin “plastic”  pieces.   I have many photos of the inside of my garage,  but none show  what was left of the bubble shreds.SAMSUNG

Bubbles are fun. We expect to know what kind of fun we can have with bubbles, because we know how they act according to their nature.    I just didn’t know that their “natures”  can change under differing circumstances.


Can there be a lesson here for how we treat people – as their own circumstances change and then require a new sort of appreciation from us?      Bubbles.   Not trivial at all!


January 14, 2014

Yes.   Tuesday.   My day to send off a “tribute”  to our rulers who tell us they won on that infamous Tuesday,  11-06-12.

My message for this week’s tribute is:   “You are not entitled to what other people have.”   

That’s all.   Repeat twenty times    If you’re not sure of the truth of that statement,  repeat one hundred times.

Don’t worry,  it’s not a trick;   it’s not propaganda;   it’s a true statement.   The United States of America was not built upon individuals taking money from others, because we know that simple “redistribution”   diminishes everyone,  even the one who receives the unearned money.

It lowers the morale,   the dignity,   the wealth,  the character, the morality of all citizens.

“You are not entitled to what other people have.”

The end.

Unless you want a “funny”  example.    I heard a truck driver call in on an all-night radio show, telling everyone that he had had a great insurance policy.   He is 61 years old, not married,   fairly healthy, and his affordable  insurance policy worked for him.     He called in because our Rulers took it away from him.    In its place, he has to buy a more expensive (unaffordable)  policy,  one “above his budget,”  he said,   and one that doesn’t cover very many of his medical expenses.    By law, he must pay more for less.

Why did he have to lose his policy?    Because our Rulers told him his policy did not cover him for gynecological check-ups and  pregnancy.

old manSince that night on the radio I’ve heard other old men (and older women)  talking about similar reasons for losing their insurance policies.    These retired people now have to pay for pregnancy care,   birth control pills,   the elective killing of their own unborn babies,   and sterilization procedures.

old ladyThese nice little old men and ladies will never, ever ask their insurance companies to pay for such procedures.  It would be physically impossible to ever need such services.     But they’re not allowed to have affordable insurance policies that don’t provide these unneeded services.

I began to ask myself why?  Don’t our rulers know that little old men can’t have babies?   Don’t they know that little old women will never need —

Oh.   I realized they do know.    It’s not about “substandard” insurance policies.   That term is just to make us feel nice about protecting people from something that is called “substandard”  by our Rulers’ definitions.

According to them,  if the 61-year-old truck driver doesn’t ever use the birth control pill coverage,   then he SHOULD pay for it for other people.   His money goes to those who don’t  pay for the results of . . . recreation of that kind.     They CAN’T pay,  so the one who has money SHOULD pay for them — and our Rulers will see to it that they do!     Taking money from one group and handing it out to another group.

Message to our Rulers:   “You are not entitled to what other people have.”

Please.   Men of Valor.     Stand up against this Health Control Bill.   Redistribution of our money is not even the worst of it.




January 13, 2014

A day for some of those “random thoughts in the Spruce Tunnel.”

I still must be tired after the holidays.  Everything needs to be picked up, cleaned, organized, put away, put out…..and everything is looking “heavy.”     Like my dear “Heavy Metal”  in the living room:


It was fun to see the room turned into a train station with lots of trains and tracks,  “city” roadways with lots of cars and giant Tonka trucks.    But the little one has gone back to his mountain home,  and it’s time to lift everything up and make the dozen or so trips up and down the stairs and store all the vehicles away.

King Solomon tells us that there is a Time and Season for everything:


That’s the Christmas tree.   Way down there.     I got it down there.    Whew!     Its Season is over.

I uncovered some “metal” under the snow;  it was a cupcake pan put out there to cool before cleaning, but it got encased in ice, covered with snow, and forgotten.   It should have been easy to clean,  but first the 3/4 inch layer of ice had to be chipped away and then the metal pan had to be scrubbed – hard.      Whew.


The little pan felt like Heavy Metal when it was over.

I’m nearly done with all the holiday and visitor cleaning.   It feels like I could use a little “reward.”    Like maybe some  homemade butter pecan ice cream.   The metal freezer bowl is waiting in my fridge:


But that’s looking like a lot of work right now.   More “heavy metal” to work with. . . .

“I still must be tired after the holidays. . . .”





January 12, 2014

(No photos,  because this is for your intellect, your soul.   Your own mind can furnish the pictures.)

Today is the last day of the celebration of the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, the revealing of His role as Divine Savior to us Gentiles who are personified by the Wise Men who actually did travel from the East, following a strange “star” thing in the heavens.    Then,  after their visit to Bethlehem, after their own epiphany concerning the Child,  they returned home.

Consider the contrast!   Consider the before and after!

These men had left their privileged places in the great halls of learning in the East.  Perhaps these were opulent places, associated with the palace complexes of the Eastern Emperors.   (picture that!)

They traveled to Jerusalem expecting to find an infant king,  occupant perhaps of another opulent palace complex.

But we know that they didn’t find the Christ Child lying on beds of silk among the riches of kings.    (picture that!)

Instead they found Him (the Good Shepherd) in a small sheep-herders village,  and  He who was supposed to be King of Kings, Master of the Universe, all-powerful,  lies restricted and tightly swaddled in rough cloth, helpless and vulnerable.    (picture that!)

This is when their epiphany occurred.   Before they had a chance to reject the improbability of what they saw,  their minds were opened and illuminated by the Heavenly Truth that lay before them.

Certainty.  Assuredness.   Confidence.   They recognized the Brilliant Truth and rejoiced at the deeper meaning of the Incarnation of God into the world in order to be its Savior.

On their journey to Bethlehem, they knew of the great Messiah that had come from God to be king over the whole world.

On the journey home they could now understand that mankind would not accept a Savior and Emmanuel (God truly with us) unless Emmanuel could experience everything here,  all the squalor and want and cold and hunger and weakness and vulnerabilities which are the results of the sins and follies of mankind.

There are no Buts and Loopholes with this Savior.   He can know all the circumstances that may befall each person born to this world.

Quite a contrast with the Great King above all the world that the magi had first expected to find.


January 10, 2014

It doesn’t go away by itself!


That’s my red shovel up on the deck railing.     My afternoon was spent shoveling about two and a half tons off my deck, the benches, the railing.    I got away with not doing it when it was so very cold around here, because that kept the air dry.    Now we are expecting warm weather,  up into the 30s, and the air will be humid and even rainy.    The snow doesn’t go away safely when it gets warm.   There will be lots of moisture for the snow to absorb, and the weight will become an issue.

But then there’s the roof.


Deep snow doesn’t go away by itself;  it compresses and forms ice.   I’ve seen more snow on our roof at other times,  but there’s enough there right now to begin forming ice dams in the eaves troughs.      And ice dams don’t stay put;  they increase in size and back up in and under the shingles,  doing their own version of de-construction.

SAMSUNG  The dark gray “snow” is actually very hard ice.  It melts from the bottom, increasing the size  and area of the ice dam as it refreezes, and producing some pretty stout icicles.      I’m trying to stay ahead of the game by attacking these baby icicles and cutting and hacking very fine channels into the ice.

Like with a butcher knife.

Not recommended.

No, the snow doesn’t go away nicely “by itself.”    It gives you lots of opportunity for some outdoor exercise.


January 8, 2014

I have many thoughts about the Epiphany,   but for right now  I’m stuck on a thought.    I make no point here, no conclusion;   I just point out something that I don’t fully know the reason for.

This area is commonly called the Cradle of Civilization.

star cradle

It is the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers associated with the names Akkadia, Sumeria, Babel, Babylon, Chaldea —  early civilizations which reach back five or six thousand years ago, and further.

It is the region from which Abram was called to leave his prosperous trade in a  civilized world and directed to travel southward into the Holy Land to become “Abraham,”  through whose great-grandson the Jews were descended.   It was those Jewish descendants  who eventually formed the Church after the Resurrection of Jesus, their Christ.

It’s also the region from which some of the Magi came.


After long study of sacred texts,  they too were called to travel to the Holy Land, directed by a star of some kind.   The Magi have been called the Fathers of the Gentiles, all those Gentiles who were eventually allowed to come into the Church, as the Gospel spread and the Church grew and more and more people shared in the “epiphany”  of who Christ really is.

“I am the Light of the World”  star holy

Today, that Light  calls each of us to join those who came before us, first from the region of this Fertile Crescent,  then from all over the world.    Christ, the Light, is “the life of men.”    He is our Enlightenment and our Epiphany, so brilliantly symbolized by the lovely Christmas Star.

I’m trying to think of a reason why this Fertile Crescent was so significant that the call of the Jews to the Light and the call of the Gentiles to the Light began there.

It’s said that the Tigris and the Euphrates are two of the four rivers that flowed out from the Paradise of Adam and Eve, the region of our human origin.   The human race willfully left the Light from that region.   Is this why that region was chosen to begin the humanity’s march back toward the Light of its Creator and Redeemer?

In great divine mercy humans are given the chance to “redeem” themselves, to choose better.   Perhaps it works that way for places too.



January 7, 2014

Right in the midst of all these happy thoughts of the Light that came to enlighten the minds of men —

      Surge, illuminare, Jerusalem!!!! 

      quia venit lumen tuum  

       et ambulabunt Gentes in lumine tuo!!!

  — then I noticed it is Tuesday.

I hate to mar the celebration of this Epiphany with the thought of giving another “tribute” to Tuesday,  that infamous day of the week in which every four years, we Americans commit a further act of national self-suicide.

But we do.

But I’ll only give one small quotation here – in  tribute to our Rulers.

“Nations are born stoic and they die epicurean.   As wealth and luxury increase,  the pursuit of physical pleasure saps the vitality of the race and weakens their will to live,  or to defend themselves.”

Written by Will Durant, historian,  in “The Life of Greece.”

Hats off to our Rulers.    They understand this and are using it effectively against us.

(If we don’t know the history of Greece,  we are doomed to repeat it, to paraphrase another historian.)


January 7, 2014

January 6,  the day the Wise Men “get there” to the Christ Child;  the day we celebrate the Epiphany.

wise men

One day when I was little my Dad came home from work and talked about a man he worked with,  saying:  “I told him and told him and he didn’t listen.   I explained to him how it worked but he didn’t get it so he went ahead and did it his way and the whole thing broke apart in his hands and then he saw what I was trying to tell him and he had an epiphany and he finally understood what I was talking about. . . .”

That, in a nutshell, is what Epiphany is all about.

It’s more than finding out some facts.  It’s more than knowing something.   It’s understanding the manifestation of the true nature of the thing.

In this case,  January 6th,   it is the manifestation of the true nature of the Christ Child of Christmas.   The Magi from Persia had studied all the facts about the coming of the King of the Jews.    They knew that this phrase,  King of the Jews, meant a king like no other the Jews had had but was One appointed by the God of the Jews to be their Savior and Redeemer.

That’s why they had chosen their three specific gifts to give to the King.   And when they finally came before the Infant King, their knowing turned to understanding.   The true divine nature of the Child was manifested to them.     He is God the King over Jews and Gentiles, alike.

Aha!  The child before them is truly God, yet truly a human child.

The Christ, one small Child, two natures.

“And you shall call His name:  Jesus.”


January 6, 2014

But sometimes you just need to be on the roads so you can “go home.”      After the quick trip to the Far Far North  for our family funeral,  we just had to get home so Son could be at work the next day.    As pharmacist and manager,  there were just too many people depending upon him to be there for them.    A normally seven-hour trip on Sunday became  a ten-hour challenge.

We enjoyed the beautiful winter scenery at the beginning of our trip.   The Great Lakes that we passed were white, as far out  as the eye could see, and the shore was lined with huge white chunks of frozen churned-up waves.    The sky was white with overcast, and the forest was white, with  dark green outlines of the evergreens adding contrast and beauty.

But night came quickly:


We had a couple HUNDRED miles of this!

It was easier if we were able to follow another car:


Finally, near home, we took a “left turn”   at Michigan State University:

SAMSUNGWasn’t much “university” there.     In fact,  this Big Ten university closed down the next day, along with other colleges and schools –  and nearly everything else.    Many of the entrances to parking lots and side streets were blocked by cars hung up on the snow that hadn’t yet been plowed away.    People were trying to push their cars or shovel them out –  not very successfully, as we went by.

Leaving the bright lights of the city,  we found the “main road”  to my home:

SAMSUNG And then we pushed our way into my own subdivision where we found the snow a little deeper:


What was on our minds?     Home soon!   We can finally relax and get warm!

But it was not to be:


We had some work to do before we could even get into the driveway.

I was grateful to Son for doing the driving and almost all the shoveling, but – in this day of texting –  he knew what he had facing him when he got to his own home:   his own driveway would have to be shoveled and a friend next door was stuck in his driveway. . . .

When morning came, I saw the snow:


Snow drifts on my deck.   I know I ought to be worried about the deck collapsing,   but for now, it’s really interesting to look at.   I was curious to see how deep it was, so I stuck a yardstick in the snow on the table:


That’s 18 inches.

Yep.  That was a good snowstorm!



January 5, 2014

It’s hard to think  (and write)  about anything else when you have this ahead of you for the day’s driving –


This was our highway,   the road ahead,  two days ago.

Apparently, as we return home,  it won’t be much different.

Thoughts on the funeral and family, etc.,  way later tonight…..when we probably make it home.

Meanwhile,  God will know where we are on the road:   Son and I, and all our many family members who set out for their homes today.

Deo gratias.


January 2, 2014


That’s all we get.

2 degrees tonight.

Had to make a trip to the airport today.    It wasn’t a good day for driving.


I took that picture from behind the steering wheel.  That’s looking out the front windshield.    2 1/2 hours going there;  3 hours coming back.

Salt doesn’t work on the roads when it is that cold.    There were numerous accidents.   More than 20, coming and going.  Some had just happened.     People were getting out of their cars,   dazed.


When you see  “bare” pavement,  it’s even worse.   That’s where the black ice is.   Sort of like floating over the pavement, with no control.

Tomorrow, Son and I have to travel 400 miles north.    Very cold up there.   Lots of snow.

We’ve been having a difficult time in The Spruce Tunnel these past few weeks.    And now a funeral.    Hubbie’s own brother.

The roads are a life and death matter;  but now, with family,  we really have Life and Death.    Much to think about.

Deo gratias for the challenges.   This is the way we grow.