Archive for November 2014

TWO HOLIDAYS – IN TRANSITION

November 30, 2014

(First Holiday)   –

Well, the “transition” is partly the drive home from my parents’ home in Florida, where my parents are “no more”  to my home in the Far North, where I am “more.”      That is, God has decided that there would be some more of me here on earth, and I sit, now  in the foggy wonderment of gratitude.

Meanwhile,  two holidays have occurred.     I’m honored to have been within 20 miles of the very first site of designated thanksgiving on these shores,  near this river, here, in Florida:

 

thanks river site

This was one of the sites in North America where it was reported that there are precious living souls that have never heard the name of Jesus,  and good young men rushed off to bring material help and spiritual aid to the native peoples.    After a propitious start,  a Thanksgiving to  the Most High God was decreed, and that was near St. Augustine, Florida, in the mid 16th century.

thanksg priest

On my way out of Florida I decided to stop at a history museum to see what I could learn about this era.   It was the Brevard Museum of Science and History.    The building didn’t look like much from the outside,  but inside I was entranced and captivated by the informative displays — i.e.  “I learned a lot” !

thanks river site

Near that river in the  photo above is a large area of bogs:

windover bog

Desolate, dark, swampy areas with compacted biological and mineral matter  —   Perfect for preserving the details of life as it existed long ago.   If you were a scientist digging into those bogs,  you would see exciting, promising walls of bog like this:

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Really!   If that doesn’t excite you,  you ought not to be an archeologist or a paleontologist!

Slowly, with toothpick and toothbrush, and other such fine tools,  the scientists uncovered the details of life among the native American people here in Florida.    I was looking at the Windover Tribe.    I’m afraid I moved slowly from area to area with open mouth and slack hands at my side – not conducive for much picture-taking –  but I managed to take  a couple photos, out of great respect for these people:

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Actual cloth  woven by the tribe (preserved in bog color, of course).  The weaving was exquisite and of great variety, more variety than we have in our clothes today.

And then there was this child, lovingly and carefully buried:

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She is about five years old and she is buried with some toys.   They cared about her.    She is buried  in a water grave;  literally laid to rest under a few feet of water,  covered,  the body tied down with those triangles of sticks,  covered again, and weighted down by rock so tide and predators won’t take her away.

These water graves were not used anymore by the time the missionaries came to the Florida shores,  depicted in this mural:

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Here is the truth about what those first missionaries found:     Archeologists found that the people were about the same height as the Europeans, averaging 5 feet 6 inches to about 5 feet 8.    They were subject to many nutritional deficiencies and  degenerative diseases, often including degenerative arthritis and tooth infections leading into the jaw.  Ouch.

The Windovers were one of several small tribes up and down the coast of Florida, and there is evidence of deep wounds,  bones scarred and shattered by arrows, spears, and clubs;  and so in spite of the standard obligatory museum statements that the natives were “peaceful” and lived in harmony with their world,  evidence supports the conclusion that they were no different from people who live anywhere in this Fallen World.    They waged war, and as Columbus had found a few decades before,   they  kept slaves, they murdered and tortured each other to quite an alarming degree.

There is evidence of fear, superstition,  and magic.   Here is just one glass-enclosed case of their personal-size,  hand-held idols:

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It is to these people that the missionaries came.

thanks mass among

Yes, of course,  other kinds of Spaniards came,  but the Church decreed in several papal bulls that the indigenous people were not to be harmed, and that their culture was to be respected and kept intact.   On pain of excommunication.    (The Vatican had about as much power over the Conquistadors as the Vatican today has over the likes of a Ted Kennedy,  Nancy Pelosi,  or a Tony Blair…. or other names we know who publicly claim to be Catholic.)    But even villains have souls;  and is there anyone beyond hope?

I’m becoming rambly now.    Rambly:  my mind is beginning to ramble, because I’m a historian by nature, and I know of myriads of cultures and societies that have come and gone on this planet;  like these Windover people.    Like the Rus Vikings in my own heritage,  no longer Christian,   degenerated now into a bunch of bewildered Swedes who are being beaten down  (literally, physically)  and overwhelmed and overcome by the African Muslims who are busy overtaking Sweden .

If I can ramble one little step further:  I love my Swedish heritage,  but  without the knowledge of God,  they are subject to all the ordinary evils of this world, including confusion,  weakness, , and displacement.

So I arrived home with the knowledge of another small society which some great young men had attempted to impart the knowledge of  the One and Only True God.       Then it was my opportunity to give thanks, with my very small family,  with turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes, happy that though we may be just  one temporary culture along the stream of Time,   there is preserved in us the knowledge of God.

…and happy to learn and obey this:  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. . . .”   (I Thessalonians 5:18)

So thanks to all those missionaries who settled both coasts of Florida;    and northwards up the Mississippi;  and southwards down the Mississippi;     across Mexico;  upwards along the coast of California;  downwards along the Pacific Northwest coast;   all along the Great Lakes;  down the St. Lawrence River;  Upper New York state;  Vermont;  New Hampshire.

East; West;  North;  South;  and right in the middle of our nation,   the missionaries brought the news of Jesus Christ. . . .

. . . .   the missionaries soaked the ground with their blood.

Perhaps we do have a mission in this world.

Deo gratias.

 

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COMING BACK TO MYSELF

November 28, 2014

Well.    As I said in my last posting,  it was time to go home.

So I did.

And there was little opportunity to continue brooding:

driving rain

I left the constant spray of the ocean surf and spent the next 22 hours of driving through the constant spray of an apparently nationwide rainstorm.         Heavy downpours alternating with foggy drizzle;  poor visibility;  strong, cold winds;  wet, slippery roads;  fast traffic.   Strong thunderstorms and an F1 tornado escorted me through Georgia.    I  saw two pretty bad accidents in the Smokies,   arriving perhaps just minutes after they had happened.

And then,  about  three hours from home, late at night, I experienced a ten-minute episode of  a dangerous road game — I was the chosen target, two young men were the perpetrators  ( although if I had done what they were trying to get me to do,  I would have received the traffic  ticket — if I  survived.)

I was relieved to finally arrive in my own home state where it was somehow easier to drive in the bad weather.

It was good to see that some in my neighborhood had begun decorating their homes with Christmas lights.       And then, there was my own house – it was not dark, it had been decorated too!!

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A BIG THANKS  to Son who wanted to surprise me in such a bright and cheerful way!!!!    He  couldn’t have known just how much that meant to me.   Something wonderful and cheery to get ready for….  some reason to get engaged again in the world around me.   The long drive home was over;  maybe the long period of dull brooding was over too.

I didn’t unpack the car that night,  but I began the next morning.

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Now I know why I like the color yellow so much.    Right there is  the most color I’d seen for a long time!     Florida the Sunshine State?   I brought some home with me in my trunk –

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Look  —   There are some lessons for us from my week or two of dull,  brooding introspection.      If your friend needs to do that for a while,  let him.  Let him!   Without advice or anxiety.  And if it happens to you, let it happen.    I learned something during this time.   Or I think I did.   I changed a little.   Or I think I did.    The death of someone near and dear to you will do that.   Or I think it should.

Second lesson is this:   Look again!    All the way home during that dark, rainy, dangerous road,  I had had those wonderful sunshiny bags of citrus with me, after all.   And I arrived at an unexpectedly cheerful home with the lights pointing me to Christmas!      Goodness,  cheer, hope, and God are never far  away.

One more lesson:  when I first came back to my emails,   I saw that many had wished me well after the death of my Mom, and many had been praying for my safe return.    That’s significant.    I had been supported.     Receive from others;  give to others.      We’re not in this life alone.      No one around us should be alone.

Deo gratias!

 

(And thanks for the time to brood.   I think I’m done.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALONE AND UNSEEN

November 28, 2014

That’s not really a sad title.   Nor a happy one, of course.     Just no emotion (yet);   just . . . matter of fact:

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Thanksgiving week;  part of it in Florida.   That’s looking out my living room window in my ocean “home away from home.”   It’s off-season and so there was no one on the beach.  Florida was having its version of “winter,”  overcast skies, cool and strong winds flowing down the beach.

It was good for me to be alone.    When Hubbie died four years ago this week, the shock and grief was pretty devastating,  but we are carrying on for him in the manner in which he intended us to live, even though he is now unseen.      He would want us to eventually be “okay,”   not feel too alone.       When my father died two years ago, that was devastating in another way.   So many things I need to tell him and show him,  but he is unseen now too.    And now two more years have passed, and I’ve just lost my mother.   She is unseen now too,  but as I wrote here before,  everything she is I carry within me.    In a way,  I’m not alone.

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So here I am, in my   “front yard” — a.k.a. the beach —  sitting by the water,  in my orange “water shoes”  and my orange skirt,  wrapped around my legs by the wind.     I was  thinking about these three people in my life,  trying to feel how it feels to be alone in the world without Hubbie, Dad, or Mom.

But I didn’t know.   All I “knew” that day was  the sand and the cold wind and the noise of the pounding surf.    And a little visitor.   One of those fast-running little sandpiper-type birds that feed at the edge of the surf.  One of them became very curious about  my shoes.   He ran up to me,  I picked up my camera . . . slowly . . .  but he retreated as I snapped the picture.

Then he ran completely around me and my chair, about 18 inches away from my foot –  and I took another picture!    And a second time, running completely around me — and another picture!   And then he circled me a third time, a little closer — and another picture!

But all those pictures show only my shoe;  there is a lag time between the time my finger clicks the camera (on my cell phone)  and when the camera actually snaps the picture.    So the little sandpiper remains unseen by my camera;  he’s unseen,  but I wasn’t alone there.

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I stayed yet another day at that place,  needing to hear the commotion of the surf  that seemed to drown out unnecessary thoughts.       It was another mostly overcast, cold, windy day, alone at the beach.

I moved back up to my “back patio”  to  read and pray and think, still looking out at the ocean.   And then something moved near me.   Not a bird at my feet this time,  but something whizzing  above my head, sometimes twenty, sometimes thirty, sometimes ten feet away — up there.   It was a little airplane.  Someone’s remote-controlled airplane.     So of course I took a picture:

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Like the little sandpiper,  it was mostly too fast for my camera.   I have about fifteen more  of these photos, all different angles.   For a while I thought maybe this is a “drone.”  a drone with a camera!    So I waved.   And smiled and waved again.   But  I think I was unseen there on that patio.

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The clouds broke a little,  and this time I was lucky with the shutter — I caught that little airplane.      Some young guys having fun with their airplane. . . . and so I wasn’t really alone.

A little more staring out at the beach —

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I’m not sure if I’ve seen enough of it,  but I was feeling like it was time to go.    I’d been alone, and it had felt good.   I’d been free and unseen for a while, with the little bird’s attention,  next to the young men  with their airplane fun.

I’m going “nowhere” with my feelings, but there are people waiting for me “somewhere” at home.

It’s . . . just . . . time to go home.

“RIP CURL WATCHES GREAT WET SUITS TOMMY BAHAMA”

November 21, 2014

 

That’s what the sign said.

Indi pretty storeIt was on a building here, next to this pretty store that I like to go into.     I wanted to take a picture of the sign,  but it was lit up too brightly in the dark night, and my camera didn’t know how to compensate.   It couldn’t understand the lighting, just as I couldn’t understand the words.

“RIP CURL WATCHES GREAT WET SUITS TOMMY BAHAMA”    –   I don’t know what that sign is saying.   I don’t even know if it’s saying something legal.   Or decent!

I sat looking at it, staring out the window of the little seafood restaurant, not making much sense of the sign or of anything else.   I know things.  I know what happened to our family this week,  but I don’t understand that either. . . .   but what do I really know?

I came “home” –

SAMSUNGMy “home away from home”  this week.  Sat on that sofa and moped for a while.      The doorway to the left of the table looks out into the black night and the sound of the surf pounds into the room;   too loud to hear the radio,  to loud to think.

I went outside there, stood right by the big waves, in the dark night.  All I could see was the tops of the waves as they broke and the white foam rushed towards me,  landing on the wet sand and  then gets blown all over by the strong, warm  winds.   18 to 24 knots, they said.   But what do I know?  I think in m.p.h.

I took a little flashlight with me because my sister says little creeping things come out of the sand at night, like crabs and sand fleas.    I’d  shown the flashlight at my bare feet once in a while, but didn’t see any.     But what do I know?     Everything looks creepy by flashlight on the beach.

I went out to think about things:  about death;  about my Mom being dead now;  about family life and being an individual.  But I didn’t come up with any thoughts.  Just stared at the huge dark ocean.

What do I know?

 

I think TOMMY BAHAMA is up to no good.

 

AT LIFE’S ENDINGS

November 19, 2014

 

I came down here to Florida to visit with my Mom.

cross and man

I wish I could show you many photos of my Mom, but even the pictures wouldn’t say it all, so I won’t post any right now.  Maybe later.  

Just picture a blonde, curly-haired little toddler with a happy, perky face.   She was described as a happy, loving, very kind child,  giving help or giving things to people to try to make them happy.  She’s frequently shown with puppies or kittens or her beloved big sister nearby.

I haven’t seen photos of her as a young girl or in high school, because she was the victim of a broken home.  Very broken up.  Not because of immorality,  but because of diseases and disabilites that were not understood in those days.   My Mom has been described by the people of her hometown as “neglected”  and “abandoned,”  and “malnourished.”   She used to tell me about the mornings in the Far Far North when she and her sister would wake up with their toes dark blue from the cold, and they would hurry to light a fire in the coal stove to warm up.    I’ve never heard any words of malice come out of my Mom’s mouth about these terrible years.

But that life  came to an end.

Now she becomes a young woman.   Picture my Mom as one of those glamorous Hollywood types, only with a softer, kinder gentler face.  Happy and good, like Deanna Durbin,  but without the singing ability.  Or perhaps a young and lovely Donna Reed.  My Mom understood acting, and she had a short modeling career in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Then she moved on to Chicago to study art at the Chicago Art Institute.

Then that life, too,  came to an end.
My father came into the picture then.   He was a young Marine at the end of World War II and he was from her hometown.    I had forgotten, until my sister reminded me,  that he had been compared to a young and very handsome Frank Sinatra. 

Picture a cold, dark winter night in Downer’s Grove, Illinois.  My Dad in a tuxedo and a fashionable white wool scarf, changing a flat tire, in a snowstorm,  while my Mom and the two mothers and the minister wondered how much longer they should wait for “the groom” to arrive.  And then the minister went home.   Two hours later they had to get him up again to administer the wedding vows — only to find out that the marriage license had been signed in Cook County, not in DuPage County where they were.   A quick drive over to a very sleepy judge in Cook County — and I guess my Mom and Dad were legally married.

But that’s over now, and World War II ended,  and a couple years later I came into the world with a blast –   literally.    My 20 year old parents had a wild ride to the hospital where I was born.    The horn  on their old car got stuck and blared the entire 45 miles to the hospital.  I can’t imagine what was going through my Mom’s mind during that car ride.
I remember my Mom as a pretty, young professional “career woman,”  and arriving home at night, dressed in her beautiful city clothes, usually a pretty feminine blouse and soft swishy skirt,  or a lovely dress, high heels, and standing at the kitchen stove,  hurrying to make dinner for her family, and  then later – the best time of the day  — standing by me as I ate my “midnight snack” before going to bed.

She was a loving, kind, and gentle Mom to me.   Never an unkind word about anyone.    I never heard a judgment or a criticism.   She hit me once, though,  on the shoulder,  and I soooooo much deserved it.  I had talked back to her and you just never, ever talk back to your mother.     (Not even if your immature brain thinks it’s justified.)    Even that “hit”  was a firm and loving instruction from her.  She really, really did love me.

Now that phase of her life came to an end.   We moved from Chicago to the wilderness in the Far Far North.

She became a mother of two more daughters,  but just two short years later I left home,  and she became the person who answered my letters or   who talked on the phone with me. 

She (and my Dad)  raised their second family, lived in a few states, and ended up in Florida.  Mom is working for a small university,  but she is still wife and mother.    Working.   Knitting.  Quilting.  Reading.   Getting used to Florida.  Making friends.   Going to church.    And then my two “baby sisters”  had grown up and left home. 

That phase of her life came to an end.     And even my beautiful young parents eventually began growing old.

As it was happening,  their declining years seemed to be lasting a long time… a couple decades?   But the illnesses started, and the treatments —  the treatments that convinced me never to go to doctors.    Almost never.    I watched their health being managed downward into an irreversible spiral.  

The years of independent adulthood were over for my Mom.  Eventually, due to one treatment commonly given to women,  her brain was impaired, her thinking disrupted.

Her husband died and her life as a wife came to an end.

All these phases of my Mom’s life,  all those parts of her life were actually and really over and done with,  locked into an almost dormant memory.
The doctors called me recently and told me my Mom was sick, and it was “urgent”  that I come to Florida to see her. 

I didn’t know what to expect.   One nurse called and kindly “warned” me to expect a tiny, frail woman lying in bed.  Another called and said she was doing so much better on the new medicine.  Another phone call told me there is nothing more medical science can do.

I found her sitting up in a wheelchair, IV tubes,  oxygen tubes.   That’s all right;  I’d become used to seeing people like that in the years I worked in a hospital, in the years I saw Hubbie “attached” to things like that.  They are still the same person they are.   Mom was still Mom.

What I treasure the most, is that when Mom finally recognized me, her face lit up with a mother’s joy.  She was not only alert,  she was interested,  engaged in our conversation.  We talked about old times, and she laughed – she even giggled at one point.  She asked questions – or tried to, and then seemed to gather patience, resigning herself to just hearing me chatter on.   But she still made “comments”!

For two and a half hours we conversed. 

Then this last conversation, too, came to an end.   She became “sore” from sitting in one place so long.  Her throat hurt from the dry, cold oxygen running into her nose.    We laughed together and decided it was way past her bedtime.  

We looked forward to talking more the next morning, and seeing the old photographs I had brought with me.    The nurse came in . . . .

The next morning my sister and I met and made our plans to see Mom . . .  and while we were talking the phone rang.

Mom had passed away a few minutes ago.

No.    No.     No.     No. . . . .

No.

This last, elderly, physically debilitated phase of her life came to an end.

My sister and I talked — non-stop — for the next 15 1/2 hours.   Keeping Mom here, I guess.  Keeping her anchored in our lives.   Finding all the places in us where she had formed us    We know she lives on because of her faith in Jesus, and she is in the hands of the King.   But my sister and I live on here, hoping to find all the things Mom gave us;   hoping to stay true to all the things Mom made us to be.
 
What she was and the lives she had lived have all come to an end, and all we have in this present time are precious memories of it, in this present time.  The present is all any of us really have.

You know?   Until this present time comes to an end.

 

 

 

A BIRTHDAY – AT LIFE’S BEGINNING

November 19, 2014

Cooper:  God made a wonderful you.

Cooper Balls

Grandson’s name  — in seashells:

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November 19th.      Happy Birthday, Cooper.

FUTURE UNCERTAIN – FLORIDA

November 19, 2014

I must be in Florida:

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The pretty blue car doesn’t usually get to park under palm trees.

I’ve arrived.   I can hear the surf pounding outside my window.

And I don’t know what the next few days will bring.

No one can know.    Where do we get the courage to step into those days ahead?

Bar wavy

All I can do is thank God for the safe drive down here,  and expect to have more things to thank Him for in the near future.

 

ATLANTA GAME DAY – THE DRIVING GAME

November 17, 2014

(A photomicrograph of Brownian Motion) –

Brownian colored

Remember studying Brownian motion in high school science?   It’s the fascinating discovery that particles dropped into a fluid seem to disperse evenly and orderly,  but under a microscope,  what is happening is totally random:  molecules clacking into other molecules, careening off in random directions, only to crash into other molecules.

brownian chart

Yeah, that’s driving straight through Atlanta on I-75.

Billiard balls come to mind too,  like you find yourself in the middle of some gigantic crazed game of billiards gone awry —  only you’re driving one of the brightly colored balls.

billiard balls

Your task is to drive through the north side of Atlanta, straight throught the city center, and come out on the south side.

The rules of the game are:

Keep your eye on the signs that say  “I-75 South”  –

Atlanta Signs

You find your lane from the six or eight or eight and a half lanes that are in front of you;  set your pace with the flow of traffic; and whoosh!

Atlanta lanes

Now you have to move over two lanes to the right,  through all that traffic…

Now three lanes to the left, through all those other cars….

Now get in that turning lane, way over there…

Then merge with three other lanes.

Atlanta close cars

You know you’re about halfway through the city when the lane changing pretty much stops, but the speed of the  lanes picks up to about 25 m.p.h. above the posted speed limit.   (Who is that 55m.p.h. posted limit for,  tricycles?)
Once you get used to the speed of Atlanta whizzing past,  you’ll notice your lane is now called  “Air Cargo.”    That’s all right.  Keep following the Air Cargo lane, and you’ll soon see a “show” —  50 feet above the road are all kinds of giant airplanes suspended above you,  ascending or descending in slow motion.

(Thanks to these photographers of Atlanta traffic.)     I would have taken some photos of my own,  but I couldn’t pry my hands off the steering wheel.

Good thing I’m not really “air cargo” because I’ve never actually seen the exit ramp for the airport.

About twenty minutes of driving later,  the traffic lightens up a bit,  and you can now  reduce your speed to the posted 70 m.p.h.    Which is good.  Because in the middle to the sourthern part of the state is where all the Georgia road patrol works.

I’m writing this . . . because I made it through.

 

THE LADY TRAVELS ON A SEE-SAW

November 15, 2014

75 see saw

That “lady” would be me — on a see-saw, a week and a half of extreme ups and downs, and now I find myself on the road again.

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This is where “the lady”  is writing from right now.   Everything on that hotel bed that I could want to unwind with after several hundred miles of driving.   TV,  Nook,  laptop, and knitting.

Two rooms to relax in.

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And I have a lot to think about.

I didn’t plan to travel this month.    As I pulled out of my driveway, all packed and ready to go,  I looked long and hard at my home, wishing it could hear me say “Bye, house”  —  wishing it would make sense to say good-bye to a house.     I’m going to miss being home. . . .but I have to make this sudden trip.   Yes, no.  Go, no go.  Like a see-saw.

Well,  I’m leaving the frozen Far North, where the nights will be 16 degrees this week,  and I’ll be staying here instead:

75 Tuckaway Beach n Scrub

Literally, staying there.    It’s Florida, and that’s where I stayed last time I was there.  I opened my door and – boom! —  that’s what I walked into.  My mind is still gearing up for winter. . . .

I haven’t blogged much lately because so much has been going on in my life;  good and bad, like  being on a see-saw.   (Although unlike that cartoon in the top picture, we called them teeter-totters at school and nobody liked the two-seaters anyway.)

I’m traveling because I got a call from my mother’s doctor.  He told me that she was very sick, and although he didn’t say it was an emergency, he called it “urgent.”    Mom is 88;  pneumonia and fluid build-up in the lungs is drawing me to her now,  no matter what it’s called.

The latest word is that she is doing much better.     See-saw.   But I’m going south anyway.

Just before I left, I came down with some sort of laryngitis.   The bane of schoolteachers.   I’m feeling a little sick, but the laryngitis is annoying.   Especially because  tonight I am staying here:

75 renfroRenfro Valley.  Home of the Saturday Night Barn Dances.   Home of the sound of Appalachian Gospel music — all over the radio.  It’s wonderful!!  But I can’t sing along now.

But it’s a serious “see-saw”  that I’m seeing on this trip.    Missing home lasted for about fifty miles.    Anything left undone at home will be all right.   All my minor personal stuff is just that:  “minor.”

It’s the major goods and bads, ups and downs, dangers versus signs of hope that give me the sensation of being on a see-saw too.

Just to name three issues:

1. Our country is staggering under the unsustainable weight of social programs and social regulations that the socialists multiply onto us, and we have an avowed and obvious marxist on our throne attempting to finish us off.    But is the good news that we are still “America”  and some people may bring us back to our Constitution?   So what now?  Are we “up” or “down”?

2.   In my Church,  we have a secularist, materialist utopian ideology that has taken control for the past fifty years, with an avowed and obvious marxist on the throne, apparently oblivious of the fact that he is “different”  from the teachings he is supposed to uphold.     But is the good news that no one can really change the teachings of the Church, and there have been unworthy  popes and bishops many times before – and they are NOT the Church itself?  So what now,   are we hopeful or not hopeful?

3.    One more issue:  I can’t decide whether it is ridiculously little because it’s about those old-fashioned little floppy discs that no one uses anymore;  or if this is a big issue because what came out in the news today is that our big   (n* uc*  clear  )  weapons that we have are run on computers that still use floppy discs.     So what now?  Is that okay because we don’t have many left anymore and Russia has far more than we do anyway?

I’m going to need both those rooms tonight to relax and think and sort things out.  And if my Mom gets better,  then I’m really going to enjoy visiting with her and taking a little vacation.

But I don’t know if I’m off that see-saw yet.

CHINESE COSTUME PARTY

November 12, 2014

Halloween costuming lingers on.

But it’s not a “costume”  when that’s your native, national dress.

O Halloween O

But it seems that it’s fun to wear.

The gum-chewing adolescent launched himself right into China . . .  and unaware, apparently, of the scorn, annoyance, and ridicule that he left in his wake.

It would be embarrassing,  but it’s worse.    This gum-chewer doesn’t seem to remember his adolescent (high school)   science;  that is, he doesn’t know physical science,  rudimentary atmospheric science,  botany,  perhaps not even the basics of photosynthesis.     If he knew any of this,  he would know that CO2 is truly a boon to our planet and to the plants that grow on this planet and to our crops –  the plants we eat.   In ancient times past, before men,  if that’s your belief,   when this planet offered far more CO2 than it does now,   plants grew happily and abundantly.     Huge jungles of plants to eat and admire!

Today, we try to re-create those happy times for our greenhouse plants.

greenhosue

We grow crops and  flowers and decorative plants  in greenhouses where the CO2 levels are kept 30% or more higher than outdoors.   Maybe those scientists know something that this visitor to China in the photo doesn’t know.

Nevertheless,  he — and his minions who work in the media and who work in the capital of our country — have announced that a “treaty”  was signed requiring our country to “reduce”  its output of CO2, thereby  wounding our economic health even further, slowing production, and raising the costs of almost everything for us citizens  ( i.e., subjects of the gum-chewer).

What does China promise to do?    Nothing!   No halt to their industrial pollution!   No clean-up of the atmosphere!   No reduction inCO2  “output” !     (For the next 16 years, they never have to think about this treaty again.)   We give everything;  they give nothing.

Thanks goodness the treaty is unconstitutional.

I do hope Americans remember their basic high school science.   (Are they still teaching it?)

 

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 11 – ORDINARY MEN?

November 11, 2014

Honor and  thanksgiving to all those who served our country in the military.

Dad in Dress Blues

Here is my Dad,  in his Dress Blues.  Marine Corps.   1945

Looks like an ordinary 19 year old, like so many others.    Ordinary people make up our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.   My Dad.  Many dads.  Many sons and  brothers,  cousins and uncles.   To us they are our family and our friends, from our ordinary lives.

All our soldiers  look like ordinary people, I suppose, but given an extraordinary task to do.    And that’s why they get to wear the uniform.

At the beginning of the 20th century we signed the armistice, ending the Great War To End All Wars.     This Great War was so shockingly  horrendous that it shook up the whole world, and so this armistice  was the world’s “last chance”  to end all warfare.  It was our “Eleventh Hour.”   The armistice was signed on the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour.

That war began in 1914, one hundred years ago.      We’ve called on a lot more ordinary men since then.      It is apparent that we need to learn our history and learn the lessons from history. . .  and then live the lessons our fathers and grandfathers would teach us.

It seems we would best honor our men in  uniform by asking them to guard our freedom,  but not making it necessary for them to fight for our freedom.

WE’RE MISSING A WORD

November 6, 2014

In the English language we seem to be missing a word:

The election is over.  We’ve seen some good people running for office and some bad.   I believe the good ones are sincere about the career they’ve chosen and if they’ve been elected to office this time, I think they really do mean to do good.   But the bad ones we call “politicians,”  and we have a feeling they’re deceiving us about wanting to do good for us.  We think they’re out to gain power and position for their own benefit and we don’t trust their words.

They both have to get elected.    Once elected, they both have the same job description, so to speak.    We call the bad ones “politicians,”  but  what do we call our good elected officials?

I’ve got election fatigue, and lots of other “fatigues,”  and I’m sinking  into that Slough of Despond  (for those of you who know your Paul Bunyan) which occurs at this time every year and I don’t want to think about politicians who deceive us with their words —

—    so how about a little humor?   —

Politicians are like atoms.    “Never trust an atom.    They make up everything!”

*                   *                        *                        *                     *

(my thanks to the newest Christmas catalog at this house)

ELECTORAL EMOTIONS

November 5, 2014

Electoral emotions:  probably shared some of these with other people today.   Up.  Down.  All around.

(Pretty satisfied)

Sure, I voted.

I voted
I felt good about doing it –  I’m a Romans 13 kind of gal —  (up to a point) —  but I felt pretty gloomy for most of the day too.  I was being pessimistic about all the issues facing us and all the damage that has been done to our nation in the past few years.

(Pretty gloomy)

black cloud thinking

How on earth can we get back to our Constitution?   How can we get back to the values that made America strong and good and trustworthy?   What’s going to happen . . . ?
And then, somehow, I came across a blog that I read occasionally, written by an Englishman.    There are no elections there today,  but we live in the same world, and he had something very interesting to say about things; just what I needed to hear.

(Pretty strong)

Fr Hunwicke  60x80      Yes, he says, we are in crisis.   Our way of life might disappear:   Our nation;  the Church in our nation.  There is no guarantee that anything is going to last forever in any one corner of the world.   (*)   We do our best work to preserve what is good, but, even so, circumstances change.
He wrote further, giving good perspective and comfort, and then he told us what some other person had written to him.  I’ll copy just one of the sentences here.  It’s a sentence I’m familiar with because I’ve said something similar to my classes from time to time:

Here is the sentence:   “It may be that, in the great workings of Providence, a crucial part is designed, destined, for you, for me, which is not meant for anybody else, to do in this period of conflict. Our assurance of the Church’s indefectibility is no justification of inactivity.”

It doesn’t matter!    Do what you can.  Do what you should!    No matter the outcome,  you are here for a purpose!

je suis prete

je suis prete

Yes:  “Je suis prete”!   (If you can stuff the feminine gender into that suit of armor.)   “I am prepared!”

And then – I must have gotten my sense of humor back:

(Pretty funny)

Marie Antoinette I read a news story about “Her Magnificence” Marie Antoinette giving her permission to Black voters in Maryland to go out and vote today and then reward themselves with some good fried chicken — even though she knows it’s unhealthy food.    I guess she gave a sort of dispensation.   Astonishing.  But  kind of funny.

The actual wording of the news article  (New York Post, I think):

 (The)  First “Spouse” . . .  has a message to black voters:   “Don’t worry about what candidates have done or said– just vote for the Democrats.”   (And if they do, can they have some soul food?)

“Absolutely. I give everyone full permission to eat some fried chicken after they vote.”  

Ouch.

Now the election is over and it’s back to work with what we have given ourselves.     And we have Duty.      God may have put you here at this time for some special purpose which only you can fulfill.

Up.  Down.  all around.   We have a duty, nevertheless.

 

Bar wavy

(*)   The full quotation from the Englishman, if you like:

A correspondent remarked to me that the Church is guaranteed; the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against her. That is most wonderfully true. But I would remind you of two things.
(1) It may be that, in the great workings of Providence, a crucial part is designed, destined, for you, for me, which is not meant for anybody else, to do in this period of conflict. Our assurance of the Church’s indefectibility is no justification of inactivity.
(2) The Gates of Hell, indeed, cannot prevail against the Church, that great body spread out through all time and space, terrible as an army with banners, ut castrorum acies ordinata. But I do not recall that the English churches (or whatever your nationality is) have a specific guarantee of their survival. Time was when the whole of North Africa was fertile with great churches. We English recall an earlier age when Catholicism was all-but extinguished in our own land. “It took a long time to do this thoroughly; much time, much thought, much labour, much expense; but at last the work was done. Truth was disposed of, and shovelled away …”
_________________________________________________________________________

 

 

ELECTION NOTES – 3

November 4, 2014

I wrote all morning today in The Spruce Tunnel.

Looking at my notes here,  I actually have 23 little “notes”  to choose from;  short ones, but all written with reference to this election.   But as I read these notes, a deepening gloom arose.   I can’t look at those notes anymore.

vote blackboard

Bottom line seems to be this:    Be aware of all the issues out there;  then vote locally, for what you can influence and monitor, and then hope your local leaders can keep the Big Brother of federal government agencies in check and hold back the dominance of Global Governance over our national sovereignty.

But I despair.   It is too late today to learn all the issues that are engulfing us.

black cloud nature

Too late to examine these issues.   Too late, today,  to find out what to do about them.  Too late to discover viable candidates who could help our nation.

Vote.  

And worry with me (in my next posting)  about what happened to your vote.
…………………………………………………………………
The increasingly dire economic collapse approaching quickly;    the growing use of technology that is harmful to human life;   the black cloud of evil, immorality, and the occult that is engulfing the movers and shakers of this world;  the forced flow of money from out of our hands into the federal and global leaders;  the enforced migration of third-world countries into Europe,  Canada, and the U.S.;  and the continuous, ongoing, purposeful dumbing down of our intellects;  the hijacking of our own children for their indoctrination[   vital news stories and information being withheld from you until after this election;  the firing of our most experienced military commanders,  including our nuclear commanders, so that we are unable to defend ourselves with the leadership of those who know how. . . . 

I’m not done with that list yet,  but it made me think about the Big Question:  So what is life all about?

A PHOTO STORY: THE LONG JOURNEY TO CHRISTMAS

November 3, 2014

Every state in this country has one:  a Christmas tree at their state capital.    It’s not a SURPRISING !!  story;  it’s not AMAZING!!     But it’s just a charming, normal tale of how one state capitol building got its tree.   My state.

The story starts in the Far Far North . . .  and a charming video with local pride, complete with that “northern accent”:

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Screen shot from the town of Kingsford local news,  with the Perfect Tree on the left-hand side.    The event drew quite a big crowd around that truck where the speaker was standing.    Wish I had declamatory skills like he has.

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Time to cut that tree.  uh . . .   80 feet tall, I think.    He made a complete circle with that chain saw, but the tree was already tethered to booms.

 

Timber-r-r-r-r-r-!!  as they say up there in Paul Bunyan country.

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Every stage was captured by the local TV station.   There’s the beautiful soon-to-be-Christmas-Tree on the street.  I was surprised it was taken from a residential area.  I thought they  got these lovely giants from the forest.

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Now it’s on its way to me.   Or – well –  to the state capital.

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And this is where our local news picked up the story:

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That’s a screen shot from our local online newspaper.   A BIG thanks to Cousin Lois for alerting me to this event.

Today our Monday class met, and as you may know if you’ve been coming to The Spruce Tunnel for a while,   our classes are in the cathedral,   right across the street from our capitol building.   As I left class,  I looked out over Hubbie’s car in our parking lot:

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Time to do the photographing from my end of the journey.    It was an overcast day,  but warm-  55 degrees.  Good day for a little walk.

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It was such a beautiful walk that I could be showing you a dozen beautiful pictures.    There are paved walkways all throughout the capitol lawn:

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After a nice little walk,  I finally stood in front of the tree….

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Well,   that’s some of it.

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There’s most of the rest of it.   It really looks majestic close up like that.   You see it’s not decorated at all.  In fact,  they’re still working on it –

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There is a lot of work to do before it’s ready to do its Christmas duty:  shaping, trimming . . . cleaning up the debris when they’re done, I suppose —

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So there it is, soon ready for the citizens of this state, soon ready for our public Christmas gatherings.

I walked back  over the capitol lawn, feeling contented — safe that we can still openly express our religious faith, and happy with the fact that the State doesn’t force us to express any sort of belief at all.  We are free to do so, if we want to.  The State doesn’t prevent us from gathering nor force us to gather.    I looked up from those leafy walkways on the way back and saw  evidence of the  strong, varied religious beliefs of our citizens.

There’s the Methodist church building,  with the old Baptist church building tower peeking at the back corner.

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There’s the Episcopalian church building right next to it,  with the crosswalk I’ll be walking on.

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And there, across the street, I’m back to ours –

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The state capitol building and these churches.

streets signs 2

A nice intersection of Church and State.

We are free to express ourselves, without forcing others to do so just as our Founding Fathers intended.

 

 

ELECTION NOTES – 2

November 3, 2014

fam cartoon

Guard your family!      Mother-Father-Daughters-Sons  –

The basis of any strong, coherent nation is the Family Unit.      Families, then related families,  then related families and friends,  then neighborhoods and villages,  then building on up to larger units with limited and well-defined roles to play over the local areas.     Family groupings in rural areas and villages  willingly and wisely give a bit of their money to a larger unit for the sake of protection,  police,   fire departments,  building roads and bridges, delivering mail. . . .   Perhaps a few more roles for these larger units to play.  But local families know best how to govern themselves.

vote blackboard

We vote soon.

We vote, yes or no,   for the people who would like to “transform”  our families into . . .   whatever.

We vote, yes or no, for the people who would like to re-define our families into . . .  whoever chooses to live at the same address.

We vote, yes or no,  for the people who would like to take apart the family so that the individual family members don’t have their individual roles to play.

fam teaching own fam

We vote, yes or no, to give   money government schools where they are trained and indoctrinated with values that do not match our own.

fam mom teacher

We vote, yes or no,  for a big government to take more and more of the money that we earn and distribute it to wherever it will do them the most good.     They don’t tell us where our money is going,  why so much is missing,  why so many failed corporations began receiving our money,  why so many foreign banks and foreign interests are receiving money that Americans are earning, why so much of our money pays for issues local families don’t believe in.

fam bye bye mom

In most families now,  all the adults and all the teenagers have to go to work.   “Bye-bye, Mommy.”

Again, the basis of a strong nation is your strong, viable, stress-free, intact family.    Perhaps 10,000 years or more, since the ice age glaciers melted and modern history began,  family is man, woman, children, more blood relatives where necessary.    And the family is the first teacher of the children of a nation.     Skills and abilities and values and faith is passed down from parents to their children.

fam first teacher

A strong, healthy nation cannot be “transformed”  unless it is first BROKEN DOWN.    “They” cannot transform your family until they first break it down, whether they do it by redefining the idea of family and  rewarding those who demonstrate their new definitions,  or whether they do it directly,  by creating rules, regulations,  and taxation that makes it hard and stressful to live as a family.

Election Note #2 takes a lot of work and a lot of homework to find out which policies promoted by which candidates seem to be the most traditional family friendly.    Vote for a healthy local government.  Vote against a  Big Government  that is in the process of taking control over every issue of our family lives.

Big government  wants to transform — YOU!

 

ELECTION NOTES – 1

November 3, 2014

We’ve just passed the remembrance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day —  Nov. 3rd already???  —   and now we remember we have a temporary earthly home to take care of.

vote blackboard

While on this earth this means:   Taking care of ourselves, providing for our families,  preparing our children for adulthood, caring for each other in our communities, keeping our own homes orderly and clean  — and voting.

I see I’ve been writing down some notes for myself:

My first Election Note:     “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.”  That is, the more powerful a government is, the weaker each person subject to that government will be.   (The more government does for you, the less you are allowed to do for yourself.)
The words and expressions are partly my own,  partly from speakers I’ve heard,  partly from American history books  (not the kind they publish today), and from here and there, all supporters of the United States of America, who appreciate the freedom given to the Common Man.

(Do I need to state that I’m using English grammar here?   “When the sex of a person is unknown or the word can be applied to either sex,   use the masculine GENDER. ”   That would be “he” and “him.”     “Mankind.” )   
So again….  First Election Note:   “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.”     Are you really going to vote for the one who promises to give you the most?   To do the most for you?

Sugar Daddies get mean real fast.

CENSUS-TAKING ON ALL SAINTS DAY

November 1, 2014

 

There are many reasons to take a census — and one of them is to Collect Identities.  Taking the Roll.  See if everyone is there.

All Saints Day –   

saints in heaven

You already know that your soul doesn’t get destroyed when you die, right?   It goes somewhere,  one of two places, as the Creator of your soul decides.    Today, on All Saints Day we honor those souls which are in Heaven forever.

The Offertory prayer instructs us thus:  The souls of the just are in the hand of God and the torments of malice shall not touch them.  In the eyes of the unwise they seemed to die,  but they are in peace.  Alleluia!      So important is this to us  that the Church has said we must collectively and publicly honor those saints in Heaven once a year, on this day.

So who are the ones in Heaven?    I found it fascinating to hear one of the Readings appointed for today.  It comes from the last book of the Bible, and it says that the human occupants of Heaven are a “great multitude”   and then  a kind of Identification  Census is given to us:   The saints in Heaven  are described as belonging to the Twelve Tribes of Israel.    The Tribes of Israel represented God’s  people, of course, before Christ;  and after the Resurrection and Ascension,  God’s people are all kinds of humans who trust in Christ as the Messiah,  their Savior.  The  multitude seen in Heaven are all the people who belong to God.

So, sure, we know that at the Coming of Christ, when all this world ends,   all God’s people will be taken to Heaven and will be known and accounted for — but how interesting that there was also at Christ’s  First Coming,  another Census taken.    The Roman Emperor decreed that a Census be taken of all the people in his Empire.    We know that;  that’s what required Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem at a seemingly inconvenient time.

Taking a Census is a sign of   authority over a population.     The  King  wants to know His own.       We humans know about all kinds of “kings” —   why do they want to know us?     Well, today is All Saints Day.   Look again at the words of that little prayer:   “. . . and the torments of malice shall not touch them. . . .”

No malice.  No torments.   No torments coming from malice.    What, then, is waiting for the saints who are in Heaven?

Beatitudes

Goodness;  mercy;   comfort;  their longing for righteousness – fulfilled;  belonging;   peace and safety,  love and joy — everything in the whole Kingdom is theirs!

The Beatitudes come from the Gospels in the Bible,  Matthew 5, specifically.   It’s fitting that we heard them read today.    The saints in Heaven possess all this in perfect fullness.    God is good.     We can only hope that our names will be found on that final Census.

Deo gratias.