Archive for December 2014

CHRISTMAS: NO, YOU CAN’T — YES, YOU CAN!

December 29, 2014

Christmas!   Finally it’s here.    Almost gone.

You probably have new things in your life now.   New books.  New gadgets.    New toys.

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At our house it’s new toys to keep our attention and challenge our creativity.

If you know the real Christmas story and if you know the real Child born at Bethlehem, and know Him now,  then you probably have new understandings to enjoy and be thankful for.

So,  Cooper,  up there on the piano bench offering advice,   is appreciating Christmas  and that is fun to see.    But he is doing Christmas with a four-year-old’s  logic.    Two days after Christmas Day, we were all enjoying the sight of the Christmas tree and  then Cooper’s Mommy said,  “I know what would be fun this year!   Let’s make Christmas ornaments.”

Like these:

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“We can all do home-made decorations for the tree.”

“No!  We  CAN’T!”   was Cooper’s response.      ( No?)        He explained to the stunned adults:   “Christmas is already over with!”  

Well, yes.   It was “over with.”     Traveling to Grandma’s house;  done.    Decorations;  done.    Christmas tree;  done.   Cookies;  done.  Presents opened;  done.     Done.  Over with.

I was thinking about this in church today.    We were reminded, just in passing,   that we are somewhere within the Octave of Christmas.   Thursday to Thursday this year.    Eight days,  one octave.

The Church,  throughout long centuries and in her wisdom,  has developed a time of peace and reflection after major events.    We’re not talking quick marketing cycles here;   we’re looking for time for the development of thoughts and ideas and new insights.    Time  in human terms.   Time that is compatible with the natural work of human minds.

Time to play with our new trains and discover what they can do.      Time to “play”  with our new insights — to find them first, then to play around with their meaning, and then to let them grow in us.

Creativity and enjoyment.    The Octave of Christmas.

Do it!     It’s for all of us.   A four year old would say No, we can’t.   When we grow up, we can say Yes, we can!

(God’s  own  Si  se puede for us!)

Deo gratias.

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CHRISTMAS: MAKING “MERRY”

December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas, all.

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Christmas evening at our house.

We hope you’ve found moments of merriment today:    being freely happy inside because you know there really is a God who really is a good father who really came to be with us to do what He must to bring real forgiveness and peace so we can really live in joy forever with Him.

Even though this life is short and full of problems,  there are really reasons to be freely happy.   Merry, merry Christmas.

 

 

CHRISTMAS EVE – “GOD REST YE MERRY”

December 25, 2014

“God rest ye”    —  God gives rest to you all.

Gentlemen.  Ladies.   Sons of Adam.  Daughters of Eve.   Rest and Comfort comes at last.

stable

“Comfort.  Comfort ye my people.”  (Isaiah 40:1)

Does any other ruler, does any other god care what goes on inside of us,  inside where we  laugh, love, fear, worry, live with ourselves?

I would   look deeply into the eyes of this Child.    Deep,  dark;  knowing me;  eyes of eternal peace.

Eternal God comforts ye;  God rest ye merry.

And who this night first received the comfort?

night light

Who did?    The least.  The lowest in status.   The poor.  The ones who worked alone .. in darkness.

Whoever you are, you are not lower or more unworthy than they.     But God knew them and He knew their work.   Their work was to guard and to protect the flocks outside of Bethlehem,  not far from the Great Temple in Jerusalem.   The sheep and the lambs they took care of were for the daily sacrifices– offered to God for our offenses.

Comfort.  Rest ye now.   The Lamb has come to be the one and only Sacrifice needed to bring the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve into Eternity.

 

Deo gratias.

 

 

CUBAN UPDATE

December 23, 2014

No photos.   You can imagine a picture of desperate faces yourself.

Just two posts ago I wrote about the tragic failure of some Cuban refugees in their attempt to find sanctuary in America with their relatives who were already here and willing to take them in.
Well, last week,  once again,  a boat load of Cuban refugees attempted to flee to America — and tragically failed.    There were 32 people on board.    They didn’t get too far when a big coast guard boat sent out by the socialist Cuban government began ramming them.  Some were lost at sea.   Some were “saved” and brought back to Cuba.

None had a pen (as in the last post)  but one woman had a telephone. . . .

People hope.  Pray for them.   It’s a problem bigger than us alone.

TUESDAY’S “MASTER AND COMMANDER”

December 23, 2014

 

Possibly the last Tuesday’s Tribute — because:    Those who know, know.    Those who don’t know, won’t.

All is well this month with our Master and Commander:

O So Cool hat tip
Master and Commander,  placed in the office of our presidency by our Rulers,  on an adulation-filled self-delusional reprieve from the “hard work” of office.    For seventeen days.

PenSword    It  IS  hard to go it alone on the job, I suppose.    “If Congress doesn’t ‘help’ me,  then I’ll get things done by myself.”    “I have a pen and a cell phone.”

It  IS  hard work thwarting the American Constitution at every turn.

But (his) pen is indeed mightier than the sword of protection the American people were given to fend off future dictators.

It occurs to me that there may be some who don’t really know the dangers in that motto:  “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Pen Fencing Sword

It is a triumphal cry of the Revolution.   Especially the Progressive Revolution (transformation by incremental changes).  Before the changes in our education system (incremental changes, of course, so no one would protest),  before those changes,  this motto was common knowledge and a cautionary,  for us to be watchful of those who Rule over us with their pens.

Pen Becomes Sword

The subtle, secret changes wrought by mountains of rules and regulations become a force for our transformation.

43 Bibles.   Have you read the Bible through once?  How about 43 times?  43 Bibles.   That’s how big is the stack of rules and regulations from just one governmental ruling arm,   the Environmental “Protection” Agency;  and it’s a powerful source of federal control.   It’s not the environment that is being regulated — it’s us.   Surely the Pen is mightier than the Sword.

For you mathematically inclined:

Pen greater than Sword

Anyway you slice it,  today’s Pen wielded by a certain sunni freemason of unknown parentage, multiple names, with a “borrowed”  social security number,  has probably irreversibly “transformed”  us without our consent and without our full knowledge.

Those who don’t know,  won’t know.   They don’t need a pen of their own.

Those who know,  know.  Do they have a pen?

So, maybe this is my last Tuesday’s Tribute,  that cynical “tribute” to our Rulers on all our election Tuesdays.    What’s the point?    

Our pens have points.      And that’s the point.

 

TIME BETWEEN TWO PARTIES

December 19, 2014

“Garbage in; garbage out.”     Input, not only for computers,  but also for human minds.      Song lyrics come to mind. . .come into our minds.

The Christmas Season!   Time for parties!  At this moment as I write, I happen to be between  Party #2 and Party#3 at my house. . .  People will be coming within the hour.    I ought to be running around right now. . . .

But I stepped out onto my deck and noticed this:

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The “artist” left his name:  Jack Frost, of course.   Three different boards, three different sets of patterns.   I had to Take Time with this.  Pause.  Get the camera.    It was adding value and a bit of “certitude”  for me.

How is it that this arrives into my mind as Beauty?    It’s stunning (in real life)  and exquisitely beautiful.   And it points me to the author of Beauty.     It points me there because of what I’ve read in my past,  what I’ve listened to,  what I’ve thought about,  and what lyrics I remember:

“Take Time”

1. Take time to be holy,
 speak oft with thy Lord;
 abide in him always,
 and feed on his word.
 Make friends of God’s children,
 help those who are weak,
 forgetting in nothing
 his blessing to seek.

2. Take time to be holy,
 the world rushes on;
 spend much time in secret
 with Jesus alone.
 By looking to Jesus,
 like him thou shalt be;
 thy friends in thy conduct
 his likeness shall see.

3. Take time to be holy,
 let him be thy guide,
 and run not before him,
 whatever betide.
 In joy or in sorrow,
 still follow the Lord,
 and, looking to Jesus,
 still trust in his word.

4. Take time to be holy,
 be calm in thy soul,
 each thought and each motive
 beneath his control.
 Thus led by his spirit
 to fountains of love,
 thou soon shalt be fitted
 for service above.

 

It’s the things you choose to listen to and what you choose to pay attention to.

Thanks to my early teachers who understood the importance of songs like this to a child’s development.

Thanks to my Grandma who made her pump organ available to me — and her songbooks.

Thanks to God for bringing his holiness into the world and making it available to us.

No “garbage” here.

Deo gratias.

 

 

PURSUING HAPPINESS AND FAILING

December 18, 2014

In the last post I wrote that achieving happiness indirectly makes this a strong and great nation as you pursue your own goals with your own unique likes and dislikes, doing what you do best.    And we find our own unique identities in the context of our families, so building and maintaining strong families is good for us and good for the country.

Sometimes we can understand an idea better when we find out what happens when things don’t work out, and so since “Cuba”  is in the news this week,  I thought I’d remind us about what happened one year when a very young boy and his mother took a perilous journey to come to America to pursue their own happiness with relatives in Florida.

refugees on ocean

Their journey might be only  90 miles long,  but it was taken on a boat-raft sort of contraption like the one pictured above.  Along the way, something terrible happened to it,  and the young boy was found adrift, alone, near our shores,  clinging to the rubber tire portion of the raft.

Hurray!   He was united with his relatives here in Florida.  Right?
His relatives were glad to see him. They took him in,  bought him clothes,  gave him his own bedroom, and had him involved in church and school.   He probably would have grown up  like other American children,  learned to read and write, taken part in school activities,  obtained a car and some spending money when he was a teenager…maybe college and a profession in his future.

Right?

But it didn’t happen that way.   The enemies of the American dream in Cuba and in America,  the ones who think GOVERNMENT gives us our rights and makes us happy,   decided that this little boy should be sent BACK to the land he had fled from,  where the socialist government would take care of him and give him a better life.

Their news-entertainments-media told us that he “belongs” to his father,  he shouldn’t be separated from his father back in Cuba, even though the little boy hadn’t lived with him there.     They searched for the man who was his father, they told him the situation,  told him he wanted his son back, and had him agree to be filmed with his son.   We were told the family would be “re-united” and the little boy would have his whole life taken care of by Cuba’s government.

The reality?   We know now  that the little boy,  Evian Gonzales,  if I remember his name correctly,  was returned to Cuba,  had a couple photo ops with his father,  and then was sent on to the state run government school  where he lived with other children his age, in dormitories, going to their respective homes, if any, every few weeks, sometimes months.

All day long the little children had a few hours of schooling,  and then spent long afternoons working in the fields to take care of crops, including tobacco,  on state-owned land.  In this way the children “earned” their right to all the things the government gave them.

No, there wouldn’t be any American-style family life for the young boy.   He would be warehoused and treated like many other children in tight socialist-style societies.  He would not have great medical care.  He would not have much education.   He would not have much freedom to pursue “happiness”  for himself nor for his family, which he probably has by now.

And he would be given NO freedom to pursue a relationship with his own Creator.

So much better when the government decides what makes you happy.

Right?

MAKING AMERICA GREAT – 4, PURSUING YOUR HAPPINESS

December 17, 2014

(I’m cheerleading here today.  Encouraging.   Showing good things we may have forgotten or despair of ever finding.  I hope to magnify your thinking.)    America fostered building  personal happiness.

The Pursuit of Happiness

log cabin build

Along with a recognition that all people have certain God-given rights is the firm belief, set in motion by our Founding Fathers, that all citizens are treated equally by the laws of this land;  and that all individual citizens are free to pursue their own personal goals.    Therefore,  the Constitution guarantees to American citizens Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

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In America,  these rights common to all are  called “God-given”  because we are created human beings, and the rights are based upon our human nature and natural law.  Note that this statement has been treated long ago by the classical pagan Greek philosophers,  independent of the religion of the early Jewish people and of Christianity which developed therefrom.

Religious or not, a person can still understand that there is Something bigger than mankind and there are principles that apply to each individual person, based upon human nature.    Our Founding Fathers were educated in classical philosophy  and then said,  ” . . . AND . .  .   and therefore . . . all citizens are to be treated equally before the Law.”  No castes.  No elites.   No royalty.

Our rights as individuals do not come from our central government.  All are safe and protected by limiting the central government.

This has been imperfectly manifested in American history.

Imperfectly manifested.

But equal opportunity to pursue one’s own “happiness”  has never been so misunderstood as now — and because it’s misunderstood, it has been greatly diminished.

Family 275

The basic unit of any society is the family unit that its people live in.   Everyone has come from a family.   It’s how we are defined and trained.  “Such as they are,”  your mother, father, sisters, brothers, cousins make up your family.

We have a  right to  strike out on our own,  marry, and create a new family, if we so choose, working hard to maintain a healthy and stable material and immaterial home, training the next generation.   We pursue our own happiness in the context of our family identity.

The picture above is “idealized,”  of course.     But it existed.     It doesn’t represent my experience – at all! –  but it served me as a child to illustrate a goal, a hope, something to work for,  something to strive for:   A working, intact, mutually loving human family.   It can happen today, though in somewhat different “costumes.”

However —

From out of the family comes (can come) a  sense of identity based on your own individual uniqueness,  male or female  — and your God-given dignity and self-worth as such,  such as He made you.   Dignity and worth are a happiness.

From out of your family experience comes  (can come)  a knowledge of what you like in this wide world.    Freedom of choice is a happiness.

From out of your family experience comes (can come) a knowledge of how to do things and how the world works.   Competence is a happiness.

From out of your family  comes  (can come) a knowledge of human society, how people get along and cooperate and learn from each other and find companionship in each other, each individual with a value of his own.   Society with others of your choosing is a happiness.

From out of your family comes the knowledge of the wide array of occupations you can choose from – pursue your own dream!     Work is a happiness.

A unit of one or of many:   Your “pursuit of happiness”  may mean living as a single individual, a “family unit” of one, we could call it.   (It becomes increasingly hard today to find a spouse who understands the meaning of family.)    But you may choose to  begin a new family within your own generation.   A unit of one or of many — these units make up a good society.
Your own dreams, your own place in this society,  free to live all your good choices or choices you hope will turn out well!

Yes, again, the picture I used for “family”  is idealized.   It’s meant to be,  because “happiness” does not depend upon numbers or on economic circumstances.   These are  superficial, accidental qualities — much of the rest is up to each good citizen.

bar green xmas type line

Want a personal To-Do list to choose from?

It serves an alien agenda to produce discontent and divisions among us,  to produce envy and helpless victimhood,   to break down our family units, to diminish and confuse the meaning of family,  to  misdirect our education,   to hide our origins, to look to government for our happiness,  to give to government our Privacy and our Freedom.  It is in their interest for us to treat them as “experts,”   and to obtain all our knowledge from  their media elite.

Actively opposing these unhappy trends should give you some ideas for your patriotic To-Do list!

Pursue your genuine happiness;  you’ll build a great nation!!

 

MAKING AMERICA GREAT – 3 (“WHO ARE YOU?”)

December 14, 2014

writing lady

I’m not sure if my writing skills are equal to the thoughts in my head,  so since I really care about the topic  — restoring, if possible, the strength (greatness)  of a nation (specifically America since I’m an American) —  I thought I’d clarify my first two points before I add a third.

1.  Duty.  

 SAMSUNG     The posting about the Thank You Note written by a four-year-old was meant to illustrate that the citizens of a great nation must first know their public and private duties and also feel responsible for carrying out those duties, no matter how tedious or difficult,  how trivial or momentous.   (Since the four-year-old is part of my family,  I’ve since found out that his Mommy and Daddy didn’t ” make” him write the note.  Rather,  he saw his Mommy and Daddy writing thank you notes,  and he really, really wanted one of his own to write on.      He didn’t want to be left out of what he understood to be an important task.   He’s not a baby!)

2.  Compassion.

chimney boy with bag    The posting about the little chimney sweeps, and the poem by Blake, was meant to locate empathy and compassion and pity inside the reader — if any.     Read the poem;  do you feel compassion?
We consider men great if they have contributed to the welfare and advancement of society, and the same is true for nations.   Generous nations are admired and looked to for aid.  Strong-peaceful nations are admired and looked to for help.    The laws of good nations are looked to for example.   But –  first! –  the majority of the citizens of that nation must  be compassionate and generous — and then act on their compassion.

As Jesus said,  “What good does it do if you come across someone who is hungry,and you say to him, oh, that’s too bad;  go get something to eat!  but you give him no food?   Or if you see someone cold, and you say to him Be warm!  but you dont’ give him a coat?”

Know the good inside of you,  and then be ready to act on it.    On your own.   A great nation is made up of good people.

Honesty.

3.  I think this naturally leads to a  third essential quality for citizens of a great nation:  being honest with oneself — and, of course, with others.

All over Christendom,  we heard Readings today in which John the Baptist was confronted with that one important question:  “Who are you?”    (You’ve got a public image.  You’ve got a lot of rumors running around you.   But who are you,  really?)

John the Baptist
Each of us is made with individual, unique characteristics, so you are you and I am I.    However, in this age we experience the constant bombardment of information,   entertainment,  music all the time,  words all the time.  While constant background noise has deleterious physiological and psychological effects, the real danger is that we succumb to the resultant “mass identity.”   A right way and wrong way to think and feel.  Check what the polls are saying.    Check what the majority thinks.    And don’t make an idiot of yourself by disagreeing.

Group-think will destroy honesty, as well as integrity and clear thinking.

The Majority Opinion  — or what people can be convinced is the Majority Opinion — has led to the demise of many good societies.   Be honest with yourself,  and you’ll be able to recognize propaganda.   Be honest with yourself, and you’ll be able to recognize the agenda behind certain Political Correctness. . .
. . . And then oppose the damaging, foreign agendas.

. . . And then honestly  see what’s making this nation weak and restore the goodness.

Alexis de Tocqueville:   “America is great because America is good.”      (1831)

 

EGG MEETS AXE

December 13, 2014

 

Just a short supper break from my “Great America” posts.

What’s for supper tonight?    Egg.

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That one,   on the left.

Son came to do more log splitting and wood chopping this afternoon, and  he knew he’d be hungry later.      No chicken egg for us — he had brought over an ostrich egg!    It came in a cube-shaped cardboard box, plenty of bubble wrap,  and this cute extra padding:

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It was heavy, and the shell felt thick and textured.   It reminded me of a . . .   well,  you know . . . a dragon’s egg.   Really cool!     While Son went out to turn our logs and tree trunks into firewood,  he assigned me the task of going to YouTube to figure out how to cook this thing.    On the menu was deviled egg;  deviled ostrich egg, we hoped.

From all the Internet stories of “best guesses”  and varied attempts to cook an ostrich egg, I finally assembled a vague sense of instructions and got to work.

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My very biggest cooking pot wasn’t quite large enough to completely submerge the egg.    Over the next two and a half hours I would be returning to this pot every fifteen minutes or so to check on the rate of boiling and to turn the egg over so all of it could take turns being under water.

When we hoped we had a hard-boiled ostrich egg,  the challenge was to OPEN it.       We are told that the shell is made to withstand a 300-pound ostrich mother sitting on it.    That has to be one tough egg!       Pictures on the Internet showed all kinds of ingenious ideas,   including a chisel and an electric drill and dropping it onto a tile kitchen floor.

Son and I decided to use the most logical “tool”  which just happened to be sitting on my kitchen cabinet.    Handy.

SAMSUNGStraight down with the blade,  right?

Nope.

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Pounding with the back of the axe head got results.

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Then with a lot of fast  hand-magic,  the egg shell began to peel off.

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We were eager to see the yolk inside.

Son’s hands are huge,  but even the pieces of the egg were big in his hands.

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The yolk was firm and smooth and tasted very, very good.    Tasted the way you hope a yolk would taste.  Rich and “meaty.”

The whites  surprised me.   The cooked whites were firm too, and creamy colored,  but they had a gelatinous look and feel to them.   It was different from a chicken egg,  but it really didn’t feel any different in your mouth,  nothing to fear there,  and it  tasted the same as a chicken egg white would,  but slightly more tender and pleasant.

We couldn’t slice the cooked egg easily, nor take the yolk out of the whites as you would when you’re preparing deviled eggs.   It seemed the whites just weren’t strong enough.   That was okay.  We kept testing the bits and pieces of white and yolk…  eating, testing, sampling, eating . . .  It didn’t look like we were eating much, but this was a BIG egg!     I think we sampled quite a lot!

Eventually I deviled that egg.   It was okay.  Pretty good.    My fault, though.   The added ingredients seemed to add too much flavor to the egg which was already rich in egg flavor.    Next time I’d only “suggest”  some added ingredients;  you know, mix in just a very little bit of everything.

Toasted bread worked best:

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The cooked egg whites showed up very “gelatinous”  in the photo, but they really didn’t really looks strange on the plate.

It wasn’t long before we were very full!

Recipes say one ostrich egg equals about 12 to 15 chicken eggs.   “Scrambled eggs” made with an ostrich egg could feed a dozen people!

Such fun!  Ostrich eggs are easy to obtain (via Internet if you don’t have an ostrich farm nearby).    They’re not hard to cook.   Just treat them like you would a chicken egg.  A big chicken egg.

And keep your axe handy.

 

 

MAKING AMERICA GREAT – 2 (ANOTHER LITTLE BOY)

December 10, 2014

I do hope the Chimney Sweeper in the last posting had meaning for you all.    It’s been a part of my “literary memory”  for many years now.

Here is another “literary” endeavor:

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I can read it!!   I’m sure you almost can too!

It’s a Thank You Note written by my grandson, Cooper, who has just turned four years old, about three weeks ago.

This is a thank you for  his birthday presents from me.    His Mommy and Daddy are teaching him to do his duty and fulfill his social obligations by writing thank you notes for whatever people give him.   In Cooper’s World,  he is so young that he will never know a time when he didn’t do this;  this will seem normal in his World  and will be second nature to him.

So –  “Making America Great”   again –   In a “great society,”  there are rules of  courtesy and consideration for others, based upon Christian kindness and  caring for others.   We may express gratitude or sympathy or concern or mutual happiness.      This is a “good” thing.   We learn etiquette  to help us manifest these expressions of our mutual humanity.

The rules of courtesy are the same for everyone;  for the very poor orphan in the last post  (we have to say “disadvantaged” now) and for the economically privileged child with parents who are present and loving and for everyone in every situation in between.    There are no excuses.  It has nothing to do with being rich or poor, educated or uneducated.     So much can easily happen between people that it’s essential to affirm our own dignity as human beings  by respecting the rules of a good society.

Somehow my grandson was born into a home with the most loving, attentive, and responsible parents.   I thank God for that.  It’s not easy to write a thank you note (especially when you’re just four years old)  but his way in the world will be easier for having learned such things.   He will gain self-respect, and the more he respects others,  the more self-respect he will gain!

Is this an unusual situation?   I don’t know.   But where our society has broken down, where we are cynical and suspicious about others and expect the worst,  we can make repairs.    We can teach and insist and demonstrate the importance of building and maintaining a civil society.      There are little social niceties to practice.     There are ways to speak to each other.     There are civil ways to disagree with each other.     And there are firm, respectful ways to disengage with those who insist on bad social behavior.

The responsibility lies with individuals.   We are each responsible to for the quality of our society.

 

 

MAKING AMERICA GREAT – 1

December 9, 2014

 

Yikes!   Given the spike in readership from the aforementioned country in my previous post,  I will not delay beginning my observation on what there remains in Americans – though dormant – to restore a nation that was once “great”  and “good”  (as described by a foreign observer named Alexis de Tocqueville). 

“Great and good.”     It requires some work.     This blog posting may require some work  to figure out the worthwhile part on today’s post.

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It begins with the chimney cleaners I hired this week to inspect and clean my fireplace.   We are clever, we moderns.  We can clean fireplaces and chimneys with a minimum of fuss.   Trucks.   Videos.    Giant vacuums.   Long-handled scraping things.

ch Montacute_House_Apr_2002

But once upon a time, before our technology,  chimneys still had to be cleaned, or eventually your house would burn down.    Many dark, dirty, very narrow chimneys on each house.

That beautiful estate is the Montecute House in England – beautiful, green England, whose Anglo-Saxon blood is mixed with the blood of the Danes, the Norse, the Irish — and whose children are historically often blond-haired, blue-eyed, and rosy-cheeked.

It is those children who were sent to clean the chimney — the orphaned and the very poor.

chimney boy

Here is our part –  the hard part,  the worthwhile part.    Here is a test to see what is inside of us:
The Chimney Sweeper     by  William Blake

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue,
Could scarcely cry weep weep weep weep,
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.

There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head
That curled like a lambs back was shav’d; so I said,
Hush, Tom, never mind it, for when your head’s bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair

And so he was quiet. & that very night.
As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight
That thousands of sweepers Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack
Were all of them lock’d up in coffins of black,

And by came an Angel who had a bright key
And he open’d the coffins & set them all free.
Then down a green plain leaping laughing they run
And wash in a river and shine in the Sun.

Then naked & white, all their bags left behind.
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind.
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,
He’d have God for his father & never want joy.

And so Tom awoke and we rose in the dark
And got with our bags & our brushes to work.
Tho’ the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm
So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

chimney boy with bag
The “test” –

Did you see little Tom, orphaned and scared?

Did you see him cry when his heavy blond curls were cut, his head shaved, for the sake of his job?

Did you feel his fright, like that of a lamb in a hard steel trap?   That will be his life.

Did you enter his dream and see only little boys like him, enshrouded in dark coffins of soot and coals?

Did you experience his version of what Heaven would be?

Did you feel his resignation to a dark, ugly, short life that he could never change – on his own – without help?
If,   deep down inside you, you felt outrage and pity and compassion while you read this poem,  then there is that “good and great” somewhere dormant in you . . . .

If this poem has nothing to do with your life,   then look to your own happiness,  keep away from things that disturb, for as long as you can, and watch your country become cold and corrupted, weakened, and “defeated from within.”

This poem is Hint #1 for what lies dormant in us.

This isn’t about Russia and America,  nor about socialism and capitalism.     It’s about the Christian individual,  a whole nation of Christian individuals,   living with compassion and pity and love,  it’s being individually responsible to be our brother’s keeper,    bringing about laws that conform with the love and compassion of our Creator, and it’s about rejecting a cold, dispassionate power-hungry State that would impose its own values upon free men and women in order to increase its power, stay in power, rule over us as though this State entity knew what is best for mankind.

The Church teaches us The Corporate Works of Mercy.      Have you heard of them?      They give specific direction to our feelings of compassion so that we can take effective action.    We learn them;  we do them;  then we love to be doing them!   The Corporate Works of Mercy  encourage the participation of good individuals in a good society.

Would we let a large State rule over us and promise us “everything”  so that we don’t have to really . . .  feel — and disturb our own lives?   If compassion, love, and caring lie dormant within us,  then a large State rises up to fill the vacuum with its own self-interest.   That’s not really the American Way.

A TUESDAY’S TRIBUTE FROM RUSSIA

December 9, 2014

(For new my new readers,   on Tuesdays I often write a cynical little “hats off!”  to our Rulers who once again pulled a fast one on us on 11-06-12.      So for  that Tuesday and all those other Tuesdays:  a dark, sardonic, and sarcastic Tribute.   It’s not really funny.)

“From Russia With Love”  –

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I saw this on television when I was a little girl.   He was surrounded by lots of dignified, important looking men  (at the U.N.),  and I was awestruck seeing a grown man hold his shoe  in his hand – in public – and banging it on the podium!    He must really mean what he’s saying.

And what he was saying was an angry, scathing, threatening rebuke against us Americans.   Me too.  I’m a little girl and this man has more power than anyone I knew.    This man is Russia’s prime minister: Nikita Khrushchev.

He promised some things for us in his day:

We will defeat America without firing a shot!!!!

Your American children will be Communists!!!!

And, quoting someone else:  We will give America enough rope to hang herself!!!!

“Perestroika”  completed the “enough rope”  because some of our liberal/progressive/left-leaning leaders assured us that this means “communism is dead”  in Russia.        Whew!    Communism is over!

We just have to get back to the business of making the FEDERAL government more powerful than any other force in our country.  Expand the bureaucracy!  Expand the power of the State!   Expand the enforcement powers of the I.R.S.!  Expand the number of regulations waiting to snare the Americans!   Expand the amount of taxes!   Expand control over free and open  land – by the hundreds of millions of acres!        Expand Federal control over the schools, the teachers, and the curriculum imposed upon each local school authority!!   Expand!   Control!

American Government Schools:    Your American children will be Communists!!!!        (Remember,   I was a public schoolteacher when all this began to be implemented;  I saw it.)

How odd that the one thing the entertainment/news media is reporting about student rebellion is the poor and limited quality of their free lunches.     Not the poor and limited quality of their “education.”

Now we are told we are bad people.  We deserve to be a second-rate nation.    We have oppressed people all over the world.  And, oh, by the way,  we’ve destroyed the planet too.

We don’t deserve to even be  !!!!   We will defeat America without firing a shot!!!!

Darn.    Khrushchev  scared me then.    He scares me now.

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Where is our John Paul Jones today?      “I have not yet begun to fight!”     

Hats off to our Rulers —  they have trained our John Paul Joneses  to be “good citizens.”   (and believe what they’re told.)  (and play video games)   (Sit!   Speak!  Demonstrate!   Be quiet! . . . )

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I’m feeling optimistic today.   Or at least not totally pessimistic.     In the next few posts,  I’ll point out the one thing lying dormant in Americans that can prevent us from collapsing into a confused heap of puzzled defeat.

 

ADVENT – GOOD-BYE TO THE ELEMENTS

December 7, 2014

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The Second Sunday of Advent, the season of preparation.   Two candles burned today and throughout the week.

Tradition is nice.   It forms the foundation on which we build our activities.    It structures and makes sense out of our days.

It’s traditional to have Readings that go along with each Sunday.   Some of you may have heard the word “elements”  in your Readings today.

Elements.   Remember when we studied the elements in our high school science?

Periodic Table

“Element  –    a substance which contains only one kind of atom.”     And there was a Periodic Table to sort out all the atoms.

Have you seen that T shirt motto?  “Never trust an atom;  they make up everything!”   There are atoms in everything and everything is made up of atoms.  They are the elements that make up everything we see, including ourselves.

So.    We hear today in the Advent Readings that this world won’t last forever.   Something Big is coming:    But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;   in  which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. ”  (II Peter 3:10)

These are the words of Peter,  St. Peter,   the leader of the Apostles of Jesus.     He is reminding us that one day all the elements will “go away”  with a Big Bang!     He goes on to ask us,  seeing that this is true,   that this “Big Bang” is coming,  what kind of people ought we to be?

What kind of people should we be and how should we prepare ourselves for that  coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat”?     (II Peter 3:12)

That’s not meant to be metaphorical.  All those elements in the Periodic Table will be burnt up — because this world is in rebellion against God and most of the humans who live here do not care to even  think about their own Creator.      It’s a spoiled, ruined, wasted world, and it is marked for Judgment.

Of course, this world has a Savior who says “Behold, I make all things new.”   A new Heaven and a new Earth.   But that’s for then.    We live now,  with these elements –  these elements that are  ripe for judgment  —  and doomed.

All we can do now is Prepare.    As St. Peter asked:  Seeing that these things will come to pass,  what manner of men ought we to be?

. . .  ex mandato Dei. . . .     We have no other chance.

  

ADVENT: “ANOTHER DAY – ANOTHER TRUCK”

December 7, 2014

Another day, another truck appears in front of our house.

SAMSUNGAnother workman stepping out of his truck.     Tree cutting, clean-up, maintenance, and winter prep have kept us busy lately!

This time it’s a cleaning and inspection of our chimneys.    SAMSUNG

With all that “deforestation” going on around here, we’ve amassed huge amounts of firewood.     We’ll be using the fireplace a lot in the coming years, so it’s a smart idea to prepare for such heavy use by having a thorough cleaning of our fireplace and chimneys done.

For those of you who know what Advent is all about,   you’ll see that all this preparation is necessary.    Examination;   inspection of what you have;  looking for cracks and imperfections in who you are;   cleaning;  scraping off the harmful or heavy accretions;  re-reading and learning better the “manuals,”  which might remind us of the Bible and other good writings from those who have gone before us;  and then consultation with the experts – a visit to the confessional, perhaps?

Something is coming.,   Something Big is coming.   Someone is coming for us.

I’ll be more explicit in the next posting.

 

 

 

DEFORESTATION BEAUTY

December 6, 2014

 

I told you we are beginning to see the open skies overhead, now that some trees are gone. 

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Here was the beautiful almost full moon above us last night.    I could stand right in my driveway and see this now.

Then Son and I watched a  DVD about the Hubble telescope that I had purchased from that science museum in Florida of couple of weeks ago.    Then we watched YouTube video after video of more Hubble photographs of deep space.      Kind of had the colorful gaseous clouds like the ones that surrounded our own moon.

Our tree cutting revealed other hidden beauty for us too:

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And this one:

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Lots of patterns like this revealed by the axe.

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We found almost “playful” surprises during our woodcutting.    A “tree inside a tree”   –

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Beauty and delightful surprises.   This is a reward of Husbandry –  pruning away overgrowth so the remaining trees can stay healthy.    “Dominion over the earth” —  it means taking care of the planet as though it were a valuable and beautiful garden.   That’s our job as human beings.

(Be careful you don’t let anyone confuse you about Christendom and the destructive greed of unregulated corporate capitalism.    You may confidently reply that the two sides are opposed to each other.)

Here,  have  another Milky Way:

Timelapses Of The Night Sky

Even though we’ve taken down many trees we can only see a portion of this from my front yard.     But it’s enough for us now.

DEFORESTATION WOW

December 6, 2014

 

Well, the business end of our “deforestation”  project is over.    That is,  the costly part is over.    All those stumps had to be removed; ground down below ground level.    $40 apiece.

The tree cutters seemed impressed with the guys who did this work, and warned me they’d have a heavy truck that would make more deep depressions in the yard.    My yard already looks like a green version of heavy rolling seas – I just worried about my poor neighbors dealing with another early morning noisy heavy-truck crew.

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But this is all that appeared on my street yesterday morning.  Just one truck.  One guy.  And his  . . .  yellow thing.

His job was to grind down those stumps  and he was quick!    I asked him if he could possibly save Hubbie’s special shrubs, and he said he could.  But then I couldn’t see how he took care of the stump.

 

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So when he went to the other side of the house,  I peeked out the bedroom window.

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Interesting that he doesn’t  sit on his . . .  thing,  but stands outside it as he . . . does it.

So now we are left with  several piles of “stump debris.”    Piles of finely ground wood.     Lots of debris and deep holes and tire tracks in our yard.

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There will be a lot of yard clean-up in the days ahead.

“Someone” left a comment:

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That’s our Cable Company flag,  posted by Miss Dig.

25 years ago Hubbie and I had about six large trees taken down.   This week I found an invoice for four more trees and some limb trimming, in 2004.     This year Son has taken down  three large and several medium and small trees.      And the tree company came back to take down four more.

We’re finally starting to see the sky up above.

“Wow!”

 

MY DEFORESTATION INTERLUDE

December 4, 2014

     –   Just briefly – because my “interlude” is taking all my attention:

Tonight is my last Bible History class for the year 2014.      I’m giving them a Surprise Exam on “Lot in Sodom.”    (This ought to be interesting.  We don’t generally have exams.)

In preparation –

Jesus reading           –      I’ve been studying and reading and learning all I can.

(That would be me, among His hearers.)

 

 

THE LADY PULLS DOWN A TREE

December 2, 2014

“The lady”  would be me — and Son gave me the most fun part of the job!

Tree Pulling Event

My job was to tug on this yellow rope until the tree fell down.   Well, to tug on the rope in order to steer it while it fell down.

Son — sometimes known as Chainsaw Man —  appeared yesterday ready to take down that last doomed  pine tree before the professional crew came.   He sawed through the trunk —  and I tugged  —  and suddenly the rope went slack as the distance between me and the tree rapidly decreased!   I have a  feeling the tree fell where it wanted to.      But I helped it.

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I’ve never seen anyone zip through a tree so fast.  This was late yesterday afternoon, which means darkness was coming fast,  but Son made that whole tree  practically “disappear.”

And then, early this morning,  the Crew arrived.

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A whole bunch of noisy trucks, and one of them had to squeeze into a narrow space on the side of my house.

I wondered how they’d drive a heavy truck back there.

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They made their own “road”  and backed slowly into that narrow space to take down a dead wild cherry that threatened my garage.

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We had several tall trees to take down and two to trim overhanging branches from.

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Really, really tall trees.

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And then the big one, our longtime “friend”  —  Piece by piece it came down, each piece dropping to the ground with a great thud.

 

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And there it lay . . .  in giant pieces.     It was blocking the view right as you go out the front door.   It did seem like an obstacle.   It was getting crowded out by the bigger oaks around it.      But…       For thirty years.    For thirty years I’ve had to peek around it in order to see straight out….    It was always there, in the way.     There’ll  be a big void there now.     A big empty space.

I can’t put it back.    And it’s what we wanted, when we weren’t feeling sentimental.

It was fun pulling down trees.     Just not the one that was ten feet from my very own front door.

Son and I worked late into the evening to move these big logs out of the way —  I mean,  to move all this firewood out of the way.

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This was a noisy day.      Truck engines.    Roaring chain saws of all sizes.      Impossibly loud chipping machines turning the branches into tiny bits.     Thuds.  Cracks.  Crashes.   And then there was Son, bursting into the house, with his outside voice:   “Where’s my axe?”   “I can’t find my axe.”    “Have you seen my axe?”       “I looked all over for it.”     ( Truly,   a man without an axe.)

I was going to offer him my Blue Axe,  but . . .   it’s lady size.    I came out to the garage with him.    He suddenly lurched forward and shouted out: ” There it is!!”     He picked up his huge axe.  It’s size would have embarrassed my Blue Axe.     He turned to me with a big happy smile:   “I looked there before and here it is!!!”

Spoken like a true Viking Son.

Chop!  Hack!   Bang!   Thud!   Chips flying all over.       We’re in business again.      A man and his axe.

Viking Axe

 

COMING . . . COMING . . . COMING

December 1, 2014

And the second holiday in my foggy brain over this last week:  Thanksgiving . . .  and now Advent.    The Season of Advent began this Sunday; it is the First Sunday of Advent.   One candle lit.

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Advent means coming.   Coming of what?  to whom?   to where?    Coming of whom?  to what?

The answer is threefold.   

The coming of God into the world,   His birth at Bethlehem.   It is impossible for a man to be God;  but would you limit the power of God and say He could not take on our human nature and become a man . .  .  if He wanted to?     So during Advent, we in this part of the world, scurry around cleaning our homes, decorating,  writing out Christmas cards,  making lists,  shopping, baking.    Advent is preparation for our Christmas Day.

God is not satisfied with merely coming into this world, this dimension,  leaving Heaven to come to our world.    He comes to be able to dwell within us.    He comes to do the work He has to do, as a human,  to die as a human, in order to come in actuality and in reality into our hearts.   Deep inside us is where He wants to come to, as our Savior.      Deep inside us,  if we make room for Him.  And so there is inner preparation to do too.  That is private, individual, quiet, and profound.      It is like an inner housecleaning, making ourselves fit for our Creator’s notice.

And there will be one more coming of God to our world:  Advent tells us to remember that God will someday, probably soon,  come to us as our Judge, because He won’t have patience with us forever and ever.   As long as we’re alive,  the clock ticks.   The time that is ticking is very precious because it gives us the opportunity to prepare for our own judgment.     But the clock will be out of ticks someday.    Just as we all have so many heartbeats allotted to us,  so this world has so many “tick-tocks”  allotted to it.

 

Advent is a Coming.  

The Coming of Whom . . . to what?       Of the Son of God to His world.

The Coming of Whom . . . to whom?      Of the Savior to us humans.

The Coming of What . . . to what?      The Coming of Judgment to this World.