A brief pause for all of us . . .
. . . . a brief time to give thanks to Our Creator.
May the Giving Thanks have been a good one for you.
A brief pause for all of us . . .
. . . . a brief time to give thanks to Our Creator.
May the Giving Thanks have been a good one for you.
If a man says that he didn’t say something, but a young, passionately liberal media reporter says he said it . . .
. . . did the man say it?
That’s not a nonsensical question.
Today, without reflecting, we are more schooled by what we see and hear on the entertainment-news media than by our common sense.
It is a kind of surrender.
Now comes a period of some heavy introspection.
Seen through the eyes of autumn duties of a homeowner —
This is the story of my home:
Home: A man. Or a woman. Or a man and a woman. Man and woman and children. Later, man and woman, children moved out. Then . . . woman.
One day this summer Son “gifted me” with this beautiful lawn — or rather the nice, even stripes on the lawn. I was having trouble doing the whole yard by myself (for a while this summer) and he took over the hard outdoor work, setting up a nice lawn for me to enjoy.
I’ve learned that, for anything valuable, there is a lot of work to do, not just to set it up, but to maintain . . .
I like using this kind. It’s quieter and the lawn seems to like it, if you’re sensitive to “outcomes.” Our marriage was rather easy to “set up” but required constant, sometimes costly maintenance, and you had to always be sensitive to the results of what you were doing.
Eventually, sunset comes.
And the leaves fall off the trees.
And it’s time to pick up the pieces. You know?
One of my favorite photos of Hubbie is of him, several years ago, raking leaves. He shouldn’t have been doing it because he was already struggling with his heart condition, but I think he was enjoying a beautiful Fall day as much as I enjoy this season too. Besides, he was wearing my favorite shirt that I liked to see him in: a soft, light tan and brown flannel shirt. I could hardly keep my hands off of it! He liked it too, probably because of all the hugs he got! But I ran in and got my camera because I wanted to remember him like that, that day, raking leaves.
Last night’s work was just the light “cleaning up.” I had done a lot of the more serious, heavy leaf-raking in the weeks before. I enjoyed working in the evening. It was somewhat warm, a little windy. Good surroundings to do some thinking and sorting things out while I raked the leaves.
If felt like “clearing away” the last debris lying on the lawn, also lying around in my mind.
But I never rake leaves, now, without thinking of Hubbie, and the last Fall season of his life.
I had made an enormous leaf pile as things were getting darker. I love to rake leaves. Strange, huh? Good honest exercise, fresh air, and the repetitive work that is so good for thinking.
But Hubbie had a different idea. For some reason, he liked to use the very loud, very heavy . . . leaf blower! He bought it. He liked it. And that was okay until five years plus two weeks ago.
Beginning of November, 2010. His heart was so weak. He had so little strength yet, and he knew something that none of us knew, or wanted to know. I had become very protective of him, or of his heart. I told him that at this stage, “exercising your heart” doesn’t make it stronger, like other muscles; it makes it weaker, using up what function is left there.
And so that day, five years and two weeks ago, I went outside and got him to stop using that heavy, noisy, irritating thing; and he agreed to come in and “take a rest.”
I fed him — my “secret weapon” to make him sleep for a while. Oh, yes, I was all crafty ulterior motives back then, anything to protect that heart of his.
And a couple hours later, while I was busy somewhere else in the house, I heard a familiar sound.
The leaf blower again.
This time I rushed outside and actually grabbed the leaf blower out of his hands. I had never done anything so bold before; so decisive; so certain. I didn’t act that way around him. (Sensitive to the outcomes, remember? I know what my “lawn” likes.)
We had a talk. We were inexperienced and innocent about things like “terminal health.”
We decided to call his doctor the next day and ask for “a prescription for oxygen,” like the oxygen which saved his life a few years before when we were up on a mountaintop, attending our daughter’s wedding.
That’s us. 8,300 feet up, wedding site accessible only by ski lift. It suited the young couple’s lifestyle. But not Hubbie’s struggling heart. He needed an oxygen tank.
It worked then . . . .
One last look at some international affairs before I retreat into my yearly introspection, reliving the November of 2010.
Before I do that, there are a few more photos to “use up” on my desktop concerning the European invasion.
They say they are traveling northward to work. Some are.
But at this hotel job opening, in Germany somewhere, I think it was, hundreds were turned away because there were no jobs to give out to these young men of military age. In fact, the hotel itself was being closed as a hotel, to give the rooms to the newcomers. So . . . even fewer jobs for the Germans too.
We’ve all seen the photos of uncounted thousands of people marching across fields and across the country roads of rural Europe. It’s hard to imagine the magnitude of the mass movement of human beings.
And then, where do they “live” now that they have left their own land?
Have you seen these encampments?
Eastern Europe somewhere. I remember the article had said this was one of several giant encampments. How many ?
There have been strife, wars, revolutions, coups, civil wars, and deadly disturbances in the Middle East for many decades in the modern era, six or seven or eight decades. There has never been a previous mass migration into Europe. Why now?
Most major cities in Europe have No-Go zones now where Europeans are not safe – or welcomed in their own land. Can it be true that the population of Brussels is now 30% Muslim?
Instead of a conquering army of men on horseback wielding Saracen swords, the conquering is done by the mass movement of men who then occupy the cities of Europe and claim territory as their own.
There have always been non-Europeans living in Europe.
But this is a different matter. Many of the “migrants” are giving messages to the countries they have come to, such as this video directed at France:
I mean, a photo from the video. The video was recorded in French. Here’s the transcript:
If you are sincere to Allah in your worship and in your creed and are unable to make Hijra
Then operate within France. Terrorize them and do not allow them to sleep due to fear and horror.
There are weapons and cars available and targets ready to be hit.
Even poison is available so poison the food and water of at least one of the enemies of Allah.
Kill them and spit in their faces and run over them with your cars.
Do what ever you are able to do in order to humiliate them, for they deserve only this.
America has this “matter” to think about too. One night I listened to the truck drivers on the radio comparing their experiences at truck stops. They would be taking care of their trucks, and then buses would pull in to the truck stop, let the passengers out, the passengers would not talk or look around but just “use the facilities,” buy something to eat, and go back into the bus. The passengers were Middle Eastern men.
The American government is also flying them in on our large passenger planes. Into our country.
He has plans for lots and lots more.
And using the Liberal Fiction called “vetting.” Vetting many thousands of young men whose country of origin keeps no databases: no financial databases, no educational databases, no medical databases; no centralized recordkeeping. They are going to vet them . . . how?
I guess that will be the job of the news media, to find out who the men were, after they have made themselves “known.”
Now I turn away from such serious matters, for a while, to matters closer to home.
Well, that was an interesting message, not from Western Civilization, not from France, but from the “other side.” The ones who are attacking Western Civilization in the current phase of their centuries-long war against us.
Here’s a second message, just to drive it closer to home. Did you hear about this? In case you can’t read the language as written, it’s translated right below —
The “other side” has a message for several American locations. They’ve given us more than a year’s warning.
In one more recent message five specific states are mentioned: California, Virginia, Maryland, Illinois and Michigan.
I guess we are their “GOALS.
Whatever can that mean?
(Oh, the note was held up in front of an identifiable building in downtown Chicago, just so people would know they’re here for sure.)
Well, sitting still for hours and hours with an unaccountably sore foot is a bit vexing, but it has given me the opportunity to check out all the pictures I’ve been “saving” for The Spruce Tunnel.
Time to use them.
So I thought I’d start with a little message from the Attackers in Paris last Friday, just in case you wondered what they thought they were doing.
And who’s the “Greatest”? (They tell you at the end.)
Who’s the Greatest?
(Note: WordPress has given us a New-Improved Editing version to use; I’m already missing some familiar features, but we’ll see how this looks.)
No photos today. Can’t quite manage that.
I’m suffering from an injury which is a little more severe and bothersome than I expected, and life has narrowed to a strong pain in my foot and whatever perimeter I can gain around a pair of crutches. “Yardage,” so to speak.
It happened during a football game. Oh, yes, we won, great, thanks guys. But somewhere in the third quarter an enormous pain sprang up from my right foot, right on the outer edge. I had been sitting down, but leaning forward because I was also knitting (during commercial breaks) and I must have had weight on my right foot — all that time. Like an hour or so, without moving.
The pain actually increased over the next few hours and it was clear I couldn’t bear any weight on that foot. Saturday activity had come to a screeching halt. No more errands; No finishing up the Saturday housecleaning . . . No yardwork on this beautiful sunny Fall day . . . No nothing.
After a few hours that side of my foot swelled up and turned red near my little toe. A distressed phone call to Son, and a few aspirin and a magnesium footbath later, I thought of . . . what? a slow motion break? a slow stretching of the tendons on that side of the foot? a dislocation of the toe joint? Or am I developing some deep inner infection and I”m going to have to have my foot cut off like my Grandma did and like my Dad did and now it’s my turn?
Once I recognized the hyperbole, I got myself into bed, turned on my favorite radio stations, clutched my Holding Cross, said my prayers… and woke up many, many hours later … with the pain not quite so acute, just as Son said would happen.
Now, today, Sunday, I am facing two more football games.
And I have only one more foot to give.
As King David said long ago in his Psalms: I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: wonderful are thy works, and my soul knoweth right well. (Psalms 188:14)
And I don’t understand anything about how I’m made or what happens to me.
There are two streams of information to watch tonight as we become informed about the attacks in Paris. One is just “what happened.” Just the official facts, as they are released. The other stream is the eyewitness testimony from people who were there or who have loved ones that were there tonight. They make it real for us, and immediate.
I’m thankful to hear these reports. I’m glad people from all around the world have access to these reports.
But. Well, maybe . . . “he” doesn’t.
So he may not be seeing the same news reports that we are. What is he doing instead?
The Man-Who-Was-Placed-Into-The-Office-Of-Our-Presidency proclaims today: “ISIS has been contained . . .”
The Man-Who-Was-Placed-Into-The-Office-Of-Our-Presidency declares: “I do not want to speculate on who did this.”
The Man-Who-Was-Placed-Into-The-Office-Of-Our-Presidency plans publicly:
The Obama administration is moving to increase and accelerate the number of Syrian refugees who might be admitted into the United States by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon, administration officials told Reuters on Friday.
The move comes after President Barack Obama pledged in September to admit an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, torn by four years of civil war and disorder.
Spokesmen tonight from all the various security agencies have stated on television interviews, each in their own way, that we have no way to know who is coming into our country. They’re all agreed that these men, misnamed “refugees,” are 90% or more young, strong men of military age. Yeah.
Maybe it’s time to scroll down the headlines offered by Atlas Shrugged.
Writing while people are being murdered.
Many dead; many wounded; many in a severe state of shock. Attacks and explosions — followed by a pause — followed by attacks on the Rescue Teams that respond, just as they do in Jerusalem. Seven locations as of this writing.
Hostages in the concert hall are being killed one by one. People begging the police to attack; a police assault on the theater begins.
French borders are closed; Paris under their first curfew since 1944, during the last world war.
My writing won’t change anything, but I want to “participate” by paying close attention. There is no specific action I can take, but I pray because I think this is a time to plead for supernatural help and I believe we have a God Who Sees, and will act if we make the effort to request.
And then, as the old saying goes, God helps those who help themselves. I hope the Western world will awaken to the war that is being fought against it on so many fronts: legal, cultural, as well as with armed attacks. If we know we are in a war, perhaps we will rise up and fight back.
Tonight’s “news story” is ongoing. The war is ongoing.
Finally what most have known: the truth that “dare not speak its name.”
Eyewitnesses. Childhood companions. Chicagoans who know him. Fellow members of his gay bath houses. The “underclass” of society. International diplomats know. And news readers everywhere.
Will we be strong enough to neutralize the ridicule and deception of the mainstream news-entertainment media? Are we to continue to be ruled by their intimidation? Will America continue to choose to be hoaxed?
On the cover of this disgraceful magazine, they acknowledge their own:
2,800 years ago, people knew that wars, economic failure, and weak leaders are all a punishment for a nation’s collective immorality.
One writer from those times said that God would remove from the nation the leaders who are experienced, wise, strong, valiant, and men of good judgment. In their place would be . . . Well, read his words:
And I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them. And the people shall rush one upon another, and every man against his neighbour: the child shall make it tumult against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.
That’s the prophet Isaiah, in his book, chapter 3, verses 4 and 5. As a matter of fact, he starts off his book by saying “Even the ox and ass know who their master is,” unlike the people who don’t know their own God. Think of that when you choose Christmas cards this year. Why is there an ox and an ass in manger scenes?
Because those two animals are honored for being smarter than a lot of nations who reject God’s good and masterful leadership.
And look who we’ve got in positions of leadership in this country.
From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli . . .
Happy Birthday, Marines.
Dad included –
Established by the Second Continental Congress , November 11, 1775; re-established by the United States of America, July 11, 1798.
Semper fidelis — Always faithful, always at the service of our country. . . .
Happy Birthday, Marines, and thank you.
This isn’t what I was planning to write about on a Sunday afternoon, but . . . well, I had all the ingredients waiting and I took some pictures . . . .
Gator is “ordinary” meat like other meats, and like other meats, it’s often better as part of a larger recipe.
Then I added slices of chicken sausage and shredded cooked chicken.
I put the meat in the bowl while I made the creamy, spicy (somewhat-Cajun) sauce in the saute pan. When the sauce was slightly thickened, I put the meat back in the pot and put the lid on for a short time, “smothering” all the ingredients while they blended themselves together. “Smother” is the source of the French word “etouffee,” so I guess it’s a cooking method rather than a flavor or a meal.
Meanwhile I cooked the rice. I used Basmati rice since it is fragrant and also has the least amount of arsenic in it. It also holds up well to such a heavy sauce.
A few days ago we celebrated All Saints Day, and a few posts ago I wrote about saints. Like the light that shone within the tree across my street, so does the Light of Heaven, the True Light of God, shine inside each saint.
I had written that the saints are our models to show us just how to live in that Light. We’ll need good models if we expect to live in that perpetual, holy Light which is in Heaven.
So here’s a saint who died on November 3rd, a few centuries ago, but there are plenty of people who are born just like him in today’s world..
Born of a black woman, a former slave, and a white man – who were never married. Illegitimate. Half-breed (or do we call them “mixed race” today?) Father ran off for good when a second child was born. Poor and disrespected. Lived in abject poverty before there was any welfare state.
Went to work at 12 years old for the town barber. . . but learned the trade, both haircutting and bloodletting, two activities of the professional barber. He’d be able to support himself as he grew older.
But there was more to him than that. He had been taught the teachings of the Catholic Church, and believed in God. He sought out good company,and rejected the crime common to desperate people. By age fifteen he was helping the local Dominican missionaries. He worked with them among the poor, the poorest of the poor, and among the sick, the sick and the dying.
But there was more to him than that. He was not a glorified social worker.
He turned his thoughts to God and to God’s greatness and glory and holiness, and worshiped and adored. He prayed often throughout the day. God’s majesty was always in his thoughts, and he lived in true humility before God and in service to other people. This is what a saint chooses to do; this is how a saint chooses to live. These are choices we all can make.
For the sake of God he continued to use his talents to serve the poor and the sick all around him, both from the city and in the Dominican residence where he lived. He became known for his skill with the sick and also for his personal kindness and holiness. People sought him out and found wisdom in his words.
His name is St. Martin de Porres.
The Light of God was within him and he nurtured his faith and the Light grew.
It is said that at times people could see him surrounded by a light. He is said to be able to appear where he was needed, even through doors that were thought to be locked, even when he was thought to be elsewhere at the time.
He need not have become a great saint. He started off with much less than most of us have; he came from a broken home and he endured the ridicule and insults from his own society because of his mixed race. And yet, we have the same choices to make as he did, and we have the same opportunity to become great saints.
God is good. November is good! It’s the month set aside to remember all those saints and all those believers who came before us. It is a great communion of friendship. That Light of God is ready to grow within each of us.
I didn’t have much time to spend this weekend when we had to set our clocks back an hour. And all but two of my clocks are analog — for a reason.
However, the clock on my stereo system is digital and flashes brightly and annoyingly at every power outage. And then came the Time Change:
Press CLOCK until time flashes.
Rotate MULTI-JOG to set the hour
Press SKIP FORWARD to shift to minutes
Rotate MULTI-JOG to set the minute
Press SET to save settings
Press STOP to quit settings.
But not all knobs and dials and little indentations were labeled; and the ones that were labeled were medium gray embossed onto lighter medium gray — in microscopic print.
On a shiny surface.
So a flashlight didn’t help much.
The following day I received an email from my bank which informed me that the bank was changing its online automatic bill paying system, so all E-BILLS will be suspended for two weeks, and I’d have to make “other arrangements” to pay my bills for that time, and then come back and set up my online bill paying in the new system.
So I looked at my bank statements. I had less than a week to do this for some of the bills. The bills that my bank handles automatically are listed on their statement variously as E=PAYMENT; E-BILL; AUTOMATIC WITHDRAWAL; AUTOMATIC PAYMENT; and one just ended with the company’s phone number.
So . . . ?
When I followed the link in my email and got into my account (don’t DO that from an email message), I discovered that in order to see an overview of what bills the bank paid automatically for me, I’d have to “sign up” for E-BILL payment. Which — wasn’t I already signed up if they’re already paying my bills? And now I had to agree to a new set of privacy statements. And I didn’t want to. But a few minutes later I got an email “welcoming” me to their online bill paying service.
After a trip – in person – to the bank today, it was mutually agreed that the unhelpful instructions which I had printed out is their fault. They weren’t seeing it from the customer’s point of view. See, all those words in capital letters, that wasn’t the bank’s designation, it was the label the different companies put on the automatic payment. In other words, the “E=BILL” on my bank statement wasn’t the bank’s “E-BILL.”
We have wonderful customer service people at my bank. She explained it all so clearly. I’m pretty sure she knew what the bank was doing. Their IT people just weren’t aware of actual Customer experience.
I once bought a cheap digital watch that I liked because you could set a chime to ring at every hour. The salesman showed me how to do it. But when I had to set the time back, I couldn’t figure out from the instructions how to do it, . So I bought another similar one which was set to Daylight Savings Time. So I alternated throughout the year. But after they each needed new batteries . . . well, I’m not using either one for now.
And so, I’m just blowing off steam. I think we need writers who write for real people who are going to read their writings. If you know what I mean. So many instructions and memos and letters are written without knowing what it will sound like to the reader. I once sat down just for fun and “corrected” a letter that a teacher had sent home with our daughter. ( I was a teacher too once! ) But letter after letter, through the various teachers — it just got to be too sad. Too alarming, actually, as the years went by.
You all probably know by now where I think we are in the great cycle of civilization. This is more than a mere fin-de-siécle *, it’s an absolute collapse of civilization. Reading and writing are marks of a civilization. Our local news reported recently that an assessment of Detroit school children shows that 93% of children are not proficient at reading; and 96% are not proficient at math. That means they can’t read or do math as expected. But that’s old news. Twenty years ago there was a study in some big eastern state that showed that a little more than half of the graduating seniors could not read their own diploma. And again, another eastern state, something like 70+% of teachers could not pass the high school proficiency test needed to graduate from high school.
The majority of people I know say they “don’t like to read” or don’t spend any time reading — or the great cover excuse: “I don’t like to read fiction, I only like to read about real things.” Which reveals an enormous misunderstanding of what fiction is. But as a teacher, I recognize an excuse when I see it.
But let’s have fun with mangled English.
Trying to navigate written instructions reminds me of that great Website called engrish . com. You can get to the Website using that URL, no spaces.
Try these instructions:
It’s international —
I’ll take good humor wherever I can get it.
“ALL HALLOWEDS’ DAY — Simply another way of saying All Saints Day. Today, November 1st.
There was innocent fun this weekend, Halloween costumes and candy; like Santa Claus and the Christmas trees; like Easter baskets, bunnies, and chicks.
These are “accretions” over time — fun, folksy things added on to the more serious Feast days which they are associated with.
So this “serious:” Feast day today is All Saints. My Friday class had their discussion of what is a saint, and the common theme seems to be this: Since the word “saint” is associated with the word “sanctus” which means “holy,” then we can talk around the idea that a saint is a person who has the holiness of God in him, in greater or lesser degree.
We are told that “nothing that is unholy” can exist in Heaven, because that is God’s abode. And that’s what sets the saints apart. Like the light shining within the leaves in the tree above, saints are imbued with holiness from God that gives them the power — the virtue — to live a life perfectly pleasing to God. The holiness is inside of them. Sometimes they seem to glow with a holiness that can’t be seen with our physical eyes.
The Church has a method of thoroughly and meticulously examining the life of someone who is acclaimed as a saint. They are looking for a life of consistent heroic virtue on this earth which enables a soul to be so closely united with the work of God, (the Son of God here on earth) that he can continue that work in Heaven. The person’s compassion, love, prayers, and intercession work with the power of God to produce miracles, sometimes when the person is still alive here, and sometimes when the person has gone on to Heaven.
Those are the saints we honor today. They confirm for us: the reality of a holy God, the reality of Heaven, and the reality that some humans can be made worthy to be in Heaven, because they have lived with God’s holiness during their earthly lives.
See, when a person makes a conscious decision to be a follower of the Son of God, Jesus, the Christ of God, it’s not like being loyal to a person because he’s a worthy leader and you want to be associated with him. And it’s not like joining a club whose ideals you agree with.
It’s more like coming back to your origins, your own Creator, who then forms a loving, caring, fatherly, personal relationship with you, right down to the core of your being. He makes you clean, He dwells within you, His love and His purity and His holiness begin to grow in you, and you become . . . a holy, created human being. Worthy of living forever with Him. A saint. That’s why we pray for “final perseverance” ! Let us live this way till the end!
He is the source of our life and the source of our joy and the source of all our contentment and peace. Anything else turns out to be so much “less.” As St. Augustine said: Our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.
Accompanying the Readings about Heaven today is the reading of the Beatitudes, which are a pattern for those who are becoming saints. When the Beatitudes are your pattern, you are slowly changed inside into a likeness of God’s holiness.
The Beatitudes are our pattern; the saints are our models.
And this is the day we get to think more on these things.