Archive for February 2016

Mirror Image – 3rd SUNDAY IN LENT

February 28, 2016

No banner today counting down the number of days left in Lent.   If you’ll notice,  the name of this Sunday is The Third Sunday IN Lent —  not OF Lent.       So — no  banner.    Joy and remembrance of the Resurrection.    Meat and no fasting.

It is a joy to be able to connect with great, saintly,  and giant minds by sharing our attention to the same Readings, for the same Sundays, over the centuries.

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On this weekend,  in 1622,  there was a sermon preached based upon the Readings for today.    February 27, 1622.

This is St.Francis de Sales, a mind humbly submitted to God and greatly enlarged by the grace of God;   also, a mind unaffected by the intellectual confusion of modern times.

Remember that great, slow movement of people following Jesus on His way to Mt. Calvary that I wrote about in the last post?      People-in-motion  comes up again today.

Crowds

Slowly moving crowd on the Via Dolorosa

A portion of the Epistle read for today is:    “Brethren : Be ye followers of God, as most dear children : and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, . . . Walk then as children of the light : for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth.”   (Eph 5:1,9)

“Follow”       “Walk”     These are words of movement.   Words of going someplace, in some manner.    Follow God during our earthly journey;  walk in the Love of Christ; and walk as children of Light from which fruits can follow:  goodness, justice, and truth.

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St Francis de Sales repeated often in today’s sermon that we are to “walk as Christ has walked. .  .”      by which he (and St. Paul whom he quotes often)  means we are to walk in love, as Jesus showed us how.  (His “new commandment”  to us.)

This picture is de Sales’ territory!    It’s likely he walked through that village in the French Alps,  stopping there to preach and teach and admonish people to live in the love of God,  and to walk in the love of God.

(Perhaps it was a tree like one of these that St.Francis had to climb after someone who didn’t like his message let the dogs loose on him!  Spent the whole night up in a tree in those cold mountains.)

But St.  Francis walked a lot and I’m sure he had time to meditate on our Walk and our walking with Christ and what that means.      “Walk in love, as dear children;  walk in love as Jesus showed us,” he says, and that means to love God and to love our fellow man.      Then St.Francis asks why does loving our fellow man exhibit our love for God?  Why did Jesus show us that way?

I’ll let St. Francis speak to you:  “Just as God, our all-good Father, loved us so dearly that He adopted us as His children,  you must show that you are truly His children by your loving one another dearly in all goodness of heart.”      “Bearing the  image of God in ourselves,  all of us are consequently the image of each other.   Together we constitute the image of one portrait, that of God.”   

If we are not loving (and caring and solicitous for) our neighbor,( those around us), ( other people),  then we are not loving God,  because God has placed His image in them.

Each person is the mirror image of God.   And we see ourselves in each other’s mirrors.

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Lake Geneva

I think this   insight shows a powerful mind that is at peace with God, made tranquil perhaps by using his intellect well — and perhaps by absorbing the Truths about God from the beautiful city, Geneva,  where he was sent by the Church to govern the affairs of Christians – and to preach to those who had left the Church.

I say that because the  things of God  can be known by common people because they are learned from His creation.   (Romans 1, of course.)

Let’s go back to the slowly moving crowds of people.   2,000 years ago it was a Motley Crew on that pathway following Jesus:   Jews and pagans;    Romans,  Palestinians, and foreigners;   those who knew Jesus,  those who didn’t know who that “criminal”  was up ahead of the crowd.

But today, after the whole Act of Salvation has been accomplished —

via dolorosa in three languages

—   today,   that Way is for everyone, all “tongues,”   all peoples,   slave or free,  man or woman,  rich or poor;  no exceptions,   no excuses.     Yes, we pick up our cross and follow Jesus,  but it is also a way of Love,  because as children of God, as brothers,  we walk together in Love.   There is a same manner, a brotherhood, among us.

This is what amazed the Roman world when the church was new in those first few centuries:     “How they love one another!”

We were reminded in the sermon we heard today that we are walking in this pathway of love,   but we are walking towards something.    We are heading towards what we call The Beatific Vision –  the full experience of God Himself  . . .   sanctus, sanctus, sanctus   .. .  the all-good God of love.

Stay on that pathway!

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Thank you, St. Francis de Sales.   Deo gratias.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A LENTEN FRIDAY

February 27, 2016

There are 26 more days to go . . .

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. . . on this 26th day of February.

I’ll bet those numbers don’t come together very often.

Every Friday is special for a Christian.   It’s a day set aside to pause and to remember that it was on a Friday that Jesus was crucified.  Fridays in Lent give us cause to think a little more deeply.

A Friday in Lent is an opportunity for us, then,  to understand the crucifixion of Christ.  As St. Paul says to his friends in Corinth:  “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”     (That was said after the cross,  after the Resurrection,  after the Ascension . . .we don’t ever forget the crucifixion.)

Jesus in garden

So on that Friday that we are remembering today, that 24-hour last day included the Agony in the Garden, and all that implies:   a good and holy God confronting internally, in Himself, in His human nature,  the full horror and corruption of sinful human beings.  “He bore our sins. . . .”    “He became a curse, for us.”

And then,  the heavy burden of carrying that weight —

Jesus carrying cross

Unbearable, unimaginable spiritual weight, and now it’s physical.

When we see a picture like this, it’s just one moment along the way, it is still; no one is moving.    But really, along this via dolorosa Jesus is slowly moving forward, and the soldiers are moving, and the crowds, . . . moving ever closer to Mt. Calvary.  We can look down on that narrow street and feel the forward movement.

When we “do”  the Stations of the Cross,  we meditate on Simon,  the man from Africa,  who helped Jesus carry the cross,  lifting up His burden ever so slightly.

We are to put ourselves in that scene,  and when I do,  I know He is carrying the weight of my sins and impurities and indifferences —    I’m not helping to ease His burden,  I’m standing ON His cross. . . and so He’s carrying me along too.

Jesus on the cross

And then He is there on His cross,  burdened with our cares and faults and sins.    He is weighted down not so much with gravity,  but with the sins and sorrows of the world.

This weightiness.  This burden.

If  we can take these Friday hours and allow a thought to seep in,  there is a lesson there as we see Him take on such a heavy load.

We know a Christian life is to be lived in imitation of Jesus,  our Lord and Savior.  We know that.    We are to take up our crosses . . . and follow Him . . .  whatever our “crosses”  will be.

But there He is,  bearing the heavy  consequences of our sin.   He is showing us that we must bear the sorrows of each other;   share the burden of the effects of this sinful, Fallen world;   we must lighten the load of our neighbor.     “Bear ye one another’s burdens,”  He would say.

He bore the weight of our sin;  we can help Him bear that weight.

But it’s not just a “pretty story,”   an “interesting insight.     As the Cross is physically real,  as the effect of the Cross is spiritually real,  so  the Power that comes from  Christ,  crucified,  died,  and risen,  is real.

We are not left as “orphans,”  He promised.   What would please Him for us to do He gives us the actual  power to do.   A person who is “in  Christ”  is a new creation, with new power.

We can do this.

Follow Christ on the via dolorosa,  the sorrowful pathway, on Fridays.  Lent reminds us of this.

And if you like to meditate with music,  go to YouTube and look up “Via dolorosa”   —  try the one sung by Sandy Patti.

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FLEETING WINTER BEAUTY

February 25, 2016

 (Just a little photo journal  . . .)

I’ve had one long 32-hour distraction!

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It started yesterday with the beginning of our little snowstorm.   Looked up about noon, over my computer keyboard, out the window — and that was the end of all my work.  Can’t concentrate when there’s so much going on outside!

It seems all day long I just went from window to window as though I had never seen a snowstorm before.  The snow and the wind made such beautiful scenes and patterns –

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The pond was no longer good for ice skating and hockey,  but all day there was a swirl of changing patterns.  I don’t know what the aquamarine color was,  but it was a nice touch.  No.    No blue sky to reflect into the ice.

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The little weed tree at the edge of the pond was getting coated with thick, heavy, sticky snow.   Rather artistic for a “weed.”.

I checked the azaleas just outside the bay window:

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Well, they kind of looked the same as the little weed tree at the edge of the pond.

I went to the front of the house:

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I have a Snowball Bush!       Bloomin’ snowballs.

The snow came all day,  sometimes heavy, sometimes light.  I thought in order to keep up with it,  I’d have to shovel the driveway two or three times while it’s falling, or else I’d never be able to move it all at once.  It was wet and heavy!

Of course, this heavy, wet, sticky snow is good for rolling and packing so now I have —

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—  a Snow Bear!

Okay, you can hardly see a white Snow Bear in a snowstorm,  but I had to alternate snow shoveling with . . . some fun.   Came in soaking wet,  just like when I was a little girl.

Today brought pretty much an end to the snowfall,  but we still  had wind,  shadows, patterns, and interesting things.   First I wanted to see how much snow this area got.

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Mid-morning light shows 9 1/2 inches on the ruler.

Everything was covered with snow or painted with snow.

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I think the neighbors across the street won’t mind if I show you their landscaping shrubs:

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Well, as seen through snow falling.

Then I turned to my backyard pond.   It didn’t look the same today!

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Same aquamarine color but darker in a different lighting –  and what are those circles!

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As I kept going back to check on the snow patterns in the pond,  the sun came out —

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So now we have patterns of gray shadows crossing the giant “lily pads.”

The sun added a whole new range of things to look at.    The temperature dropped,  the snow got lighter and dryer,  and as the wind swirled the snow into the air from off the rooftops and trees,  the sunlight lit up each of the tiny frozen particles, and it seemed like the air was filled with a million glittering little diamonds.

I’m not sure even the finest painter could capture the beauty of a bright sunlit snow scene, after a snowstorm,  with the wind still blowing.

You would have to start with paper that is light gray and blue, and then use brushes dipped in all shades of white, and maybe a little silver.

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The scene is no longer fuzzy and dark and subdued,  but bright and full of contrasts.  And if you were an artist,  you’d have to remember to save the brightest white for the forest floor where the sun shines down full onto it.

We’ll lose all this in a few days.   We’re going to have a warming trend.  40 degrees and more.   Not good.   These photos will be my only memory.   Fleeting beauty!

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Kind of a nice bright interlude in the middle of Lent!

 

 

 

 

PIETY, PATRIOTISM, AND VALOR

February 24, 2016

“When a man doesn’t see something, he cannot fear it.” (  from The Thirteenth Warrior)

“Fear precedes valor.”   (me)

binocluars

You have looked through binoculars.   You know the little wheel that you turn (slowly)  to bring things into focus.

Well, it happened to me today.   I was watching my favorite movie (2nd favorite?)  this morning,  “The Thirteenth Warrior.”

Muslim and previking

I believe the western world needs a good dose of this movie – perhaps “thirteen” consecutive viewings . . . until you get it. 

As I watched,  I was thinking of the history of northern Europe,  the timeline,  and these Scandinavians in particular.

And it was like my “binoculars”  clicked into full focus on this timeline.

What pushed the wheel was the juxtaposition of this movie with three recent news* articles  concerning Sweden –  the probable location of “The Thirteenth Warrior.”

1.  One headline read:  “Swedish Police Admit That There Are 56 No-Go zones”  for them in Sweden.   Swedish police are NOT ALLOWED to go into many places in Swedish cities and towns.    (Oh,  this goes on in other European countries too . . . )

2.   Then I remembered this recent  photo:

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Yes, the pre-Vikings in the movie wore “skirts” – or more properly what we’d call kilts — allows for much greater freedom — uh,  in battle, that is.   These are NOT kilts.  These are Swedish men (I think;  other northern men have imitated them recently)  – and they are showing their “solidarity”  with women.   They are marching down the street in women’s skirts and hose, in public,  while their own women are being attacked and raped – and killed  by . . . “foreigners.”      (I will spare you some of the photos)

(Doesn’t take much valor to talk and make signs.)

These “foreigners”  are the invaders who have publicly declared more than once  “YOUR WOMEN ARE OURS!”   And the northern European white men run for their . . . skirts.

3.   Headlines yesterday:   “Study shows that Swedish men will not come to the aid of a Swedish woman who is being raped.”

Huh?

Now please take note:   It is true that the foreign invaders of Sweden are from southern countries and are part of the barbaric Muslims which exist today.   Therefore they feel superior to any other race or religion or society.   (But it is not their religion, necessarily, which makes them barbaric.  At the time portrayed in this movie,  the Islamic world was advancing in culture and literature and visual arts and science . . .  a little bit – until it was brought to a halt….)  —

muslim among the vikings

Now, by contrast,   the hero-narrator of “The Thirteen Warrior”   IS a Muslim, one who is cultured, refined, educated, civilized.   His intelligence and valor saves the pre-Viking society from a barbaric enemy.

Presumably these (men in skirts)  are the descendants of the Warriors in “The Thirteenth Warrior.”       Although the movie takes place in a time of around or before  800 A.D.,   the roles and functions of people within their societies have not changed.

 

Any man is made greater by his piety,  his patriotism,  and his valor.

 

So what about that Scandinavian timeline?

The pre-Viking Warriors in the movie had patriotism,  they fought for their patria – their families and lands.   They had piety;  they had a simple, unwavering faith in their gods, and knew their place before the gods.  And they certainly were brave.

The movie takes place before St. Olaf came to them.  Before St. Urhu came.  Before St.Bridget and St. Catherine,  and all the other Catholic saints were born,  named and unnamed  –  but when the Faith came,  Scandinavians were no longer the  uncivilized, barbaric  “Vikings”  of our historic imagination.

Until another king came along — and by decree took the Catholic faith away from them — well, I  know how it happened in Sweden.   This king**,  with no piety or  patriotism, preferred the   approval of Important Men of   Northern Europe to the south,    and the wealth and the status that their approval gave them.   In order to be “in league” with them, literally,  he had to give up his faith and the faith of his countrymen.

Might makes right, eh?

And so we have the devolution of society today.   Patriotism is whatever your ruler says it is.   Piety is — a troublesome idea from the past.

And valor?

Why?  Why bother?

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This isn’t the end of our story, I don’t think.

It’s hard to put human nature down for long.   And human nature is made for piety, patriotism, and Valor!

.          Bar Cross in middle

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*Because   the Rulers of America have given up our right to the Internet,  it may soon be illegal according to international law to link to news stories.    I will begin now, by refraining from giving you original sources.    I will “paraphrase” from personal knowledge and memory.  (56 places?  53 places?)

**Gustav Vasa    You could look up how he and his kind did this.

The word “fear” of course is the healthy, necessary fear one must have for those determined to conquer you.   But what you don’t know about the enemy,  you cannot fear.

This movie is similar to the book by Michael Crichton called Eaters of the Dead –  which in turn is inspired by Beowulf, which informed the character of Europeans for many, many centuries.

We have apparently forgotten . . . much.

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KALAMAZOO SHOOTING IN ONE WORD

February 23, 2016

 

 

         TELEFON

 

 

 

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A CHILD’S THINKING

February 22, 2016

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Jesus said “Unless you become as a little child,  you will not see the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Okay.  Start there today, on this Second Sunday in Lent.    “As a child.”   But not childish.  a little tricky,  but my grandson can help.    When he’s being childish,  he’s just being silly and unpredictable and a little annoying.  He’s not himself.

But when he’s being a child, something he does brilliantly,   he displays childlike simplicity,  directness,  honesty,  affection, courage,  tenacity,   and much to my delight,  he sees the Obvious,  which I often miss.

glory

Now, I have several sermons written more than a thousand years ago on this day of the Liturgical Year:  The Second Sunday in Lent — the Lesson has always been  The Transfiguration.   By reading these sermons I enter the minds of great men who came before me,  and yet we are in agreement and in communion, across the years.

It’s a familiar Bible story,  but first I want to demonstrate  some of these childlike qualities which Jesus prizes so much.

Cooper and I exchange pictures sometimes.  Pictures that we draw.  Today I received this one:

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(“Today” — Sunday.  I’ve been sick for a few days and only made it to the mailbox today.)

That picture is a little more sophisticated than it would appear at first glance.   For one thing,  it is a Mixed Media picture, and I complimented him for using mixed media to achieve such an interesting result.    (I was a first grade teacher, remember?  This takes planning,  foresight, the ability to see a result and work your way to it, and stick to the theme. . . .)

But look at the water.   That is stroke after stroke of blue crayon.  He stuck to it until the fish had enough water to safely swim in.   I thought of what it would take for ME to keep at it like that,   concentrating,  achieving the result I want.

Dedicated.   Focused.  Single-minded.    Persevering.

I know,  because I’ve done this recently for him.

A short time ago I sent to him a little meteorite.  A genuine, actual  interesting little meteorite.   He and I share a love of “things” up there in the heavens.   He called to thank me and then proceeded to tell me where meteorites come from:   “….and then a big fireball smashes into an asteroid and the pieces fall to the ground! !!!!!!!!!!”     (Well, it’s an exciting concept.)

Can’t improve on that explanation.

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I made a picture of his words.  Here’s part of it.   Cooper lives in the mountains, in a forest, near a beautiful lake.   I wasn’t sure how to make a “fireball”   but after a long, long time,  I think I had it right,  just like he explained it to me.

And so now I know for sure what it’s like to be “childlike”  with  pencils and paper.

Back to today’s  Transfiguration.   It’s the very important story  of Jesus taking three close friends to the top of a mountain where He then proceeded to show to them some of His actual glory.

transfig

This was a very important lesson for them because they had begun to dimly perceive His Divinity,  but they were grown men and it was getting “complicated.”  They needed to have this knowledge affirmed and their faith strengthened  before they witnessed the next events in the life of Jesus,   which will soon be His Passion and ignominious death.

The presence of Elijah and Moses for a brief time also confirmed for them that this was the work of God.   No room for  complicated, tricky theological explanations;  this IS the Son of the God of Moses, the Lawgiver,  and Elijah, the great prophet.  It is a simple, straightforward conclusion, profound but uncomplicated.  Even a child could understand that Jesus is of God.

Why don’t more people know this?     With a childlike mind,   look at the obvious.

The Transfiguration happened here:

view from the top

I have a friend, “My-Friend-With-The Camera” that I write about once in a while,  who jogged up the winding road of this mountain,  Mt. Tabor.  I still remember how he talked about that view!   You are so high up that you can see amazingly far in every direction!  It rises out of that plain like one huge bump.

While the “bump” is Mt. Tabor,  that plain you’re looking at unfolds itself near Mt. Megiddo — which some of you will know is the location of Armageddon.

“You are so high up”   . . .”that you can see. . . ”

And that’s the obvious thing to spend some time with.    The Transfiguration had to happen at the top of a mountain.     It’s not for the man whose life is lived among lower elevations, content with earthly things.

Experiencing the Transfiguration is not for those who are reluctant to climb.   Climb upward.   Understanding takes willingness and effort and purpose and focus and persistence and you keep at it until you’re there.

Like a child.

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OF INNOCENT PILLOWS

February 18, 2016

(A modern tragic soap opera story today):

Some observations,  for the record, starting with the Pillow.

The Pillow is innocent.

Innocent pillow

It’s not really about a pillow which was found on  Justice Scalia’s face –  and then — you’d better not say that! — I mean,  it was just near his face — it was just above his head — it was between his head and the headboard.

Nobody knows anymore.   Only a very few were there right away at the “discovery”  of Justice Scalia’s death anyway.

Let’s say the pillow is Innocent.  Or at least a very minor player.

But there will remain some serious unanswered questions:  and my prediction is that they will remain unanswered because . . .  answering these questions would open too  many cans of worms . . .   and other filthy political things.     We shall stick with the preferred answer:   Nothing happened.   It was “natural.”

Although,  human minds being what they are,   some observations are natural.

Justice Scalia was invited to the luxury hunting ranch of a major Democratic donor and supporter of the president.    His son backed out for some reason,so the Justice was alone.   The bodyguards,  US Marshals, everyone,  backed away.   The Justice is really alone.

But he had a good time at dinner that evening.  He was “engaged and animated”  in the conversations around him.    He makes a good guest!    He’s naturally good-natured.

And then the body is discovered “the next morning.”      Somehow.

The president and his chief assistant (brain) Valerie Jarrett, a Muslim,  are notified.   They are already meeting together, planning some things about “image.”

Hours later the public is notified.

Somewhere in between  a phone call is made to the county official   (Cinderela Guevara)  and she is told to write a death certificate.  She says the equivalent of:  “Tell me what to put on the death certificate.”     Heart attack?     Okay.    (“Change your public statement.”)   Natural causes?   Okay.

Against local law,  she doesn’t even come out to see the body.   Just a phone call.   No coroner is sent.  No official authority is allowed to come.    (They’re covered.)

Objections?   Well, quick:   Embalm the body.    Absolutely no possibility for an autopsy. Toxicology evidence gone.

A little possibility of some kind of an examination?    Well, was he or was he not cremated?    It is against Catholic teaching to cremate a human body.   (For those Catholics who follow Catholic teaching.)   Anyway,  absolutely no possibility of examining the body now.

Doctors,  judges, attorneys,  coroners, and medical examiners from around the country speak up and say “something’s wrong here.”

Nope.    He’s gone.     Nope.  No need.

Now the funeral. . .

Someone who was raised a strict Muslim as a child in a strict Muslim country and a recorded citizen of that country (Malaysia)  and whose school records record him and his family as Muslim –would feel very uncomfortable in a big, beautiful Catholic church, even for a funeral.   

Especially when we remember this same child,  now grown up,  had to have every single image and evidence of Christianity removed from Catholic Georgetown University BEFORE he would consent to stand on the stage there.    And this happened again in Notre Dame University.    Remember that?  

So why would he feel comfortable in a Christian Church for a Christian funeral Mass?  Let’s give this man a little slack – and not force him into an uncomfortable situation that his childhood didn’t prepare him for.

After all,  the religion of Justice Scalia has been marked out specifically for destruction by the Islamic State.    Their ultimate goal is to totally destroy the Vatican.  

Give the guy a break.   Biden will do.

The Left will massage this story until we’re okay with it.

Move on.

Those on the Right can be nice and pray for his soul. . . .and remember Antonin Scalia as a great man and a justice who preserved the meaning of the Constitution.   We owe him a great debt.

And we all might as well just put an – innocent – pillow lightly “near” our own . . . faces,  and just move on.

ELECTION 2016 – BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE

February 18, 2016

I think this just about shows my opinion of current American politics:

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We’re pretty much burning down our own house.

I was actually there at that house, once a few years ago.  Hubbie and I visited South Carolina and we stopped in to see the lovely Boone Plantation.   Well cared for, gracious,  and beautiful.    Civil.     Of course, it wasn’t on fire  then- and it never was.   This is a scene from a Hollywood movie that was filmed at that location.

But it feels like a terrible loss anyway.

If we have a thousand or so years left on this planet . . . (which some doubt – but I think it could be possible)  then historians at that time in the future will look back on America circa 1800-2100 and write us in as footnote, perhaps;  a footnote to a discussion about “democracies and republics after the tradition of Greece and Rome.”

That’s all.   Republics don’t last much longer than a couple hundred years.   But our immortal souls will,  and whatever political system we’re born into will not help determine our everlasting destiny.

Just so you know I’m not too alarmed by all this political mess.

So,  who’s running for the office of the president in the 2016 election?  I have two philosophical enemies:   One is the philosophy of Revolutionary Men:

That would be the French Revolution – the one that gave us the political terms  “Left” and “Right”  — sitting in the chairs on the Left side of parlement, or on the Right side.  It’s an old term that seems to linger . . .

Not your next pres

She, on the Left,  is currently the favorite of our Rulers.    I don’t know if she’ll make it.  There are some very bad reports of her ill health that just don’t go away and just keep increasing.  She might not make it.  She calls herself a Progressive,   which is about a deceptive a term as you can get.   (What does she want us to “progress”  towards?  If Americans were educated in their own Constitution and History,  they would not vote for her . . .  words.)

The other Leftist candidate at least is honest about his intentions:

O Bernie

(I’ve left the attribution in there.)

Socialism came right out of the French Revolution too (and it’s antecedents) and it has never worked anywhere it has been tried.  As a matter of fact,  wherever it has been imposed,  there has been increasing misery, poverty,   loss of freedom,  and historians have even had to invent a new name for the results of socialism:  Democide!    Well over 100,000,000 people have been killed intentionally by their own socialist governments, mostly in the 20th century.   Killed, punished, dimished,  and impoverished  their own citizens.

Astonishingly,  people either are unaware or unconcerned.   Socialist words are powerful -= because they appeal to human needs.  They don’t answer human needs,  they just appeal to human needs.      And good people hear that appeal.

But just so you know:  if the State sees to it that you get everything you need,  then the State will tell you what you need.   And what you can’t have.   What you need from the State will be defined by the State.  (Not exactly the American ideal of freedom.)

Maybe that’s why the deceptive “progressivism” wins votes too –  they’re a little more subtle about their methods.

But it’s all about gathering your votes.

How about the “other” side?    Those on the “Right”?

Really not much difference, I think, except for a few.   Our Rulers have the one or two that they will permit us.    If we put up too much of a fuss  with our ballot boxes,  then they risk being caught out in the open,  so  they may have to back down for a term or two.   Most of their “dislikes”  have had to drop out of the race;  they got very, very little media coverage, even though some of  their ideas were pretty good.

There is one remaining towering  (ahem!)  figure of defiance.     Just for fun, you may want to listen to how he is treated.   Everyone is talking about him.   If you know what an adjective is,   write down the adjectives you hear describing him on TV, radio, in newspapers, and in social media.    Then put the adjectives in two columns, one for negative, one for positive.

One of those columns will have zero words or phrases.     

You can do that with images too,  images of him and images of people talking about him.  Two columns . . . .

The pope has apparently – today –  called this man “not-a-Christian” —  but since this comes from a man who says “we’re all God’s children” and “we’re all on the road to Heaven” —  then I guess that’s pretty meaningless.  What does it matter if you’re not a Christian, beyond some sort of traditional insult.      Well,he’s  “not one to judge” anyway.

Socialism appeals to human needs, to human emotions,  to human feelings.

So there is much in the various information sources about these characters in the 2016 presidential race;   all kinds of opinions.     You can find your way around them.

I  love the United States of America.   I think it was a good idea.    I just really wish enough people will rise up and put the fires out.

burning us

But we’re going to need a lot of intelligent firemen.

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REITERATION – RECONSIDERATION – RESTATEMENT

February 18, 2016

Or . .   whatever R word in the  title above applies.   (A week of high fever does not leave one with a facility for vocabulary.)    Nevertheless,  I’ve been just wanting to repeat something.

Remember this pair of pictures?

Jesus children cr                  LOGOcr

One is a simple presentation of consistent Christian teaching;    one is a distortion of that same teaching  (presented to us in the name of “mercy”).

One attracts.  One repels.          One is respectful.  One is mocking.

So,  in light of the Celebrity Religious Spectacle in Juarez City this week,  I just want you all to know that many Catholics pray for the conversion of the present pope, from one of these images . . .  to the other.

It’s the business of the Catholic Church to point us to Jesus, and to His Kingdom.  

Not to go around border-busting,  blessing old dirty  shoes,  and arranging to have yet another random baby available for a kissing photo op.     

Pray for the conversion of this pope and of his group in the Vatican.    Immortal souls are at stake.     One of those little pictures can lead souls to heaven.    The other one cannot.

Just – another R word:    Reject! –   Reject this new version of Christianity.    Jesus said His Kingdom is not “of this world.”

“This world”  is not going to have such a happy ending.   As St. Paul said:   “If in this life only we have hope,  we are of all men most miserable.”    (I Corinthians 15:19)

 

 

 

UNREASONABLE – TO NOT WANT REVENGE

February 17, 2016

If I go back to bed I’m going to know how much I hurt all over…   it’s not just “laryngitis”  — it’s whatever comes with a 101 temperature – and it’s not coming down yet, and so I just want to go away from my bed where I feel so terrible.

Might do a little feverish rambling tonight.    But this posting has been waiting,  and I’m going to mean what I say.

Have you seen the movie yet?      The“Revenant”?   I highly, personally recommend it.  (As long as you have a strong stomach —except, you’d better,  because the themes in this movie are as real as real life and we all must deal with them,  eventually.)

You know the movie has a grizzly bear in it:

Grizzly Drawing

I saved this picture because it’s a drawing, and I want to draw.   Draw a bear.

But those of you who know me,  know my history with  bear attacks, and you know why I consider bears to be  a metaphor for those things which stalk us, and then all of a sudden rush out and attack.      (Like a few million viruses in me right now.   Trillion?)

bear talking to you

You can’t always see the bear,  but by the time you do,  they’ve decided that you’re prey.   You’re the victim.

No way to fight:

Bear Trees a Man

Just endure,  for the duration.     Whatever the “bear”  are in your life.

Now, you know the story behind the Revenant movie is a true story.   There really was a Hugh Glass,  he really was a trapper;  he really did get attacked by a grizzly,  and two of his friends were really ordered to stay behind with him until he died (real soon), in order to give him a burial.

cowboy  Glass was featured in a recent issue of my Cowboy magazine:

Since the two companions were hungry and cold and being pursued by a small group of Indians who were intent upon revenge,   they really did leave Hugh Glass out there in the wilderness,  more than half dead.   And they buried him, slightly,  and moved on.

A lot of the movie is spent on Mr. Glass kind of getting himself out of his grave,  and then with determination and grit,  motivated by revenge and hatred for the men who left him behind,  he crawled and then limped his way to Fort Kiowa,  where he’d find out where those men are – and go after them.

If that’s all you see in the movie,  then it’s a pretty good,  sort of an okay adventure movie  with beautiful scenes of the wintry rugged West.  (Mostly Montana and South Dakota.)  I’ve driven through there.  It’s all true.   The scenery is beyond description.

(Not South Dakota,  but the scale is right.) —

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But along the way there are some pretty powerful Christian themes.

For those of you who know the Bible,  doesn’t St. Paul say that this life is a very hard journey,   and you have to undergo many hardships and much pain and loneliness,  and you’ll have many enemies in this world, who’ll wish to do you harm.   We suffer in our Christian life as Christ Himself suffered,  humiliated, abandoned, and bruised.     (Is the servant better than the Master?)    If we don’t have it so bad,  we just shake our heads at how really tough and desperate some people do have it.

Hugh Glass just keeps living.  He just keeps going.  A lesser man would have laid aside his goal . .  . .

But beyond that just general and vague sort of metaphor,   there is the accompanying theme in this movie of revenge – and the choice between revenge and forgiveness.  That conflict actually drives the images and the action in the movie.

Hugh Glass was married to an Indian woman.   One of the more peaceful tribes.

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Their enemies were the French trappers and soldiers,  the English (Americans),  and most of all, the other Indian tribes who bore down on them in frequent massacres.   The more violent tribes were in the process of driving out the gentler tribes during this time.

And so his wife was killed.   But she didn’t “leave” him.   She was a gentle soul, loving and  protective of him, and– she was taught by the Catholic missionaries.   She often “hovered” over him during his trek back to Fort Kiowa,  whispering to him both encouragements and restraints on the hatred in his heart.

Unreasonable!   Unreasonable to not want revenge!  After all,  that was the only thing that kept him alive.

And then she came to him once in a vision;  and this time she brought the unconditional love of God, the deep love upon which their (sacramental Catholic) marriage was based.     His vision took place in the ruins of a Catholic chapel – right out there in the midst of the wilderness.

 

desmet ruins

When his wife led him further into the ruins,  (they looked worse than this in the movie), he had eyes only for her,  but behind him you could see the ruins of beautiful and instructive paintings at the front of the church –

Michelangelo frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, Rome

You could see the crucifix,  in dark, faded paints,  Jesus,  angels,  Mary nearby, and many other images that help us remember and meditate on our teachings.   I knew instantly that this was a ruined mission chapel left behind by Father DeSmet.

(It’s worth taking the time to learn about this episode in American history:   Some of the Plains Indians had received powerful visions from the Great Father Above.    He told them that He would send men who came from far away to teach them the “whole truth” about Him.  The “rest of the story,”  as we say.    The Great Father Above showed them what the men would look like:  they would be dressed in black,  black robes,  and they would wear crucifixes on their chests.  The Plains Indians kept this in their memories and in their drawings.     Many generations later,  some English  (American) missionaries came to them,   ready to teach them,  but the Plains Indians rejected them.   They had a “book”  but they didn’t have a crucifix.   A little later,  Father DeSmet and his companions, from Belgium,  came to the Plains Indians.  Father DeSmet was instantly recognized and received,  and many Plains Indians became Catholic.   — And this was before the routine slaughter of the Indians by the  . . .  Americans.   They took out many Catholic missionaries too. )

So there, in the movie,  was the evidence of Father DeSmets’ visit and of the beautiful wilderness chapels that were built,  and evidence of the gentle, Catholic teaching of forgiveness, coming through the vision of his wife’s “visit.”

While I watched the movie I saw this loving, too-gentle teaching of his wife who was accompanying him on his terrible journey,  and I also saw the determination for all-too-human revenge inside of Hugh Glass.

As the movie ended,  he had his opportunity, and no one would have faulted him for what he was about to do.

A parallel story of revenge among the savages was playing out too, at the same time.   The movie brilliantly brought together these two parallel stories.

“Do  not   take   revenge.    Put   it   in   the       hands   of    God.      Justice    belongs    to   Him,    not     to   mankind.”    

Father DeSmet brought Catholic teaching to the Plains Indians.    Glass’s wife lived out those Catholic teachings for her husband.     And the savages were the Hand of God.

The word “revenant’ refers to someone who has returned from death, or just as good as death.     He has revived.   Been resurrected.      But see:  what did he “revive”  from?   The physical death he should have experienced,  but for his hate-filled determination?

Or did he revive from the spiritual death that had made him hate-filled and full of vengeance in the first place.

Sure would love to “teach” more about this movie —  but I think you can do your own thinking.

I’m all in . . . .

Bed is looking a little better . .  . .

 

 

 

A VISUAL FOR PRESIDENT’S DAY

February 15, 2016

Well,   close to George Washington’s Birthday…  close to Lincoln’s Birthday…(But if they don’t want us to look too closely at these American heroes,  they combine the two into some sort of amorphous “every-president-is great- day.) 

Please, my “fellow Americans” –  don’t let them take your heroes away . . . .

Going along with my last posting,  here is a telling picture of George Washington — telling us, that is,  much about the man:

Washington's Prayer

President of the United States of America.

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Saint Valentine’s Day of Contradictions

February 14, 2016

Technically,  it’s not a Lenten fast day today. The purple banner countdown will resume tomorrow.    It’s still Sunday,  just not . . .  a day for fasting or abstinence.

So I had a day of contrasts and contradictions.    A day in Lent that is not “lenten.”

A beautiful Mass in which the True Presence was truly present.    We Christians are followers of Jesus, the long-promised Christ.   He is “gone” for a while,  but He comes in the Mass, in the manner in which  He promised, each time.   Gone,  but here.  How great a contradiction is that!

In the midst of this 40-day fast,  then, today,  I took  a young friend out for lunch.   She is going on a long trip and I really wanted to hear all about it.   Besides,  I like her company —  and we had a delicious  “feast,”   complete with dessert, which I rarely order.   Menu?  roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings,  and a Chocolate Silk pie!

But after all that activity,  and when I got home,   I noticed I was quite warm.  Hot, even.   Burning up with fever, actually.       So on this day that my outdoor thermometer registered  0  degrees,   as in ZERO!,   my body chooses to contradict our cold spell with a fever.

I am prepared for  class tomorrow,  but the teacher  (me)  will not be there.

But some “little things” did arrive:       Robins!    Robins are Spring birds around here.  That’s how we know Spring has arrived,  the robins come back.   But today, out back by the frozen pond,  in single-digit winter weather,   one of my bushes was filled with fat, puffy,   red-breasted robins, playing and keeping warm, I guess.  (No picture…. I don’t feel well enough to get their photos out of my camera.)    So warm-weather birds contradicting their migration orders!

One more contradiction…   We have the Saint Valentine’s Day remembrance — in the midst of a most contradictory culture which seems to have forgotten what marriage actually is –  at least in its public statements and practices.

The man,  Saint Valentine,  didn’t die for Hallmark cards, candy, flowers, and chocolates.   He died in the late Roman Empire* because he was helping the soldiers who were Christian and who wanted to be married.   The Emperor had issued a decree forbidding soldiers to get married, although they were, of course, encouraged and expected to  act “married” with a series of willing and equally immoral young women, whenever they felt the “urge.”

Christian men in the army rejected this and St. Valentine, priest, secretly married them –  and was imprisoned,  cruelly tortured, and died for it  (as did many young soldiers).

So St. Valentine’s Day is all about marriage,  real marriage,  a sacramental marriage that is aided and made more beautiful by the grace of God.

This is not, it seems,  what today’s public culture celebrates today.      May God preserve us from facing further martyrdom to uphold the real meaning of marriage.

heart

.*.      “St. Valentine died in 269 AD, which you may or may not call the “late” Roman Empire …. depends on where you are in Rome’s timeline ….   my thinking is really fuzzy right now . . . . .

 

 

 

 

LENTEN LESSON: GOD AND ONYX

February 13, 2016

37 more days:

Lent 37

When I was in high school, one of my friends received for a present a  beautiful onyx ring, set with a little diamond in the middle.  I thought it was so beautiful.   I never did manage to buy myself a pretty onyx ring like that,  gleaming black stone in a silver filigree setting – with that shiny little diamond . . . .

Ever since,  I’ve thought of onyx as being black.    Gleaming black.   Hard, impenetrable black.

onyx for ring

So I was interested, as an adult now,  to read more of the story of the Exodus and discover that onyx plays an important part in the relationship between God and man – and it’s not hard and black!

We all know that it was atop Mt. Sinai that Moses received the?   . . . Ten Commandments, of course.   But he also received many other “commands” and instructions regarding social interaction among people, as well as the proper worship of a God so utterly “other” and majestic and holy  that He had to reach down to mankind in order to communicate the Truth.    We couldn’t guess it ourselves.

Moses was told to instruct the people to build a proper place to worship,  what to do,  what kind of vessels to use,   where to place things,  what the priests should do,  and how they should be dressed.

threads

It was the amazingly detailed and beautiful garments of the priests that would put forth into our minds the glory and beauty of God.   It was the best we could do.

The out garment was to be embroidered with threads that were double-dyed, red and gold and blue, violet, scarlet  – each color had meaning –  threads of gold . . . .

 

Here’s another was to think of these garments:

threads 2

Now, over the breast was to be placed an object with twelve gems, arranged in a square, representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel — but what is often overlooked is that over the shoulders of the priestly robe two onyx stones were to be taken and the names of the Tribes were to be written on them,  six on each side.

[9] And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and shalt grave on them the names of the children of Israel: [10] Six names on one stone, and the other six on the other, according to the order of their birth.    [11] With the work of an engraver and the graving of a jeweller, thou shalt engrave them with the names of the children of Israel, set in gold and compassed about: [12] And thou shalt put them in both sides of the ephod, a memorial for the children of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon both shoulders, for a remembrance.   (Exodus 28)

Maybe like this?

shoulders

Or maybe much more beautiful.

You see,  an onyx is not only a gleaming, hard, black stone.   It can also look like this:

onyx green

And like this:

Onyx

Quite beautiful and swirly and mysterious and deep.    Almost alive with warmth!   The placement of these onyx gemstones with the names of all the Tribes  (families)  of God’s own people on the shoulders of the priests, representing truths and mysteries and the thoughts of God is really quite remarkable.

Touch your shoulders.   (You have to cross your hands.)  Or think of a time when someone came up from behind you and caressed your shoulders.   Or, okay,  just rubbed your shoulders.   These are all pretty intimate acts because your shoulders, on top of your chest,  guard your heart.

Symbolically speaking,  God is bearing His people on His shoulders because He loves them, He desires closeness with them.   He will bear them up on His shoulders, taking them on, all of them,  even some day bearing their sins while the Cross is placed upon His shoulders.

holy cross

And that is the Lenten-Lesson part.   From the time of Moses we see the detailed, complex,  many-layered love that God has for us, His people, as He bears us on his shoulders (through the medium of the priests and their holy garments);  He “wears us” close to His heart,  and He gathers us all up into Himself.

He guards, guides,  protects, and instructs.

And during Lent,  we examine ourselves . . . to see how we’ve responded.

Our honest answer leads us to Calvary.

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LENT . . . THE REASON

February 11, 2016

Ashes Lent

(A brief thought after Ash Wednesday):

 

Lent Himself  Black

 

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Lent 39

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LENT, BECAUSE . . .

February 11, 2016

 

Lent —  because we are beings which are both physical and spiritual.

We are Body-and-Soul together;  everlasting.

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And because our time on earth will be up . . .  soon.

One of us at a time.

 

 

 

PHOTO DUMP 2 – PUTTING POLITICS AWAY

February 9, 2016

Last chance for indulgence!   Food!  Parties!   Busy-ness!  Hysterical focus on issues of the World!   (Or something like that.)

Mardi Gras beads

 

The origin of Mardi Gras (which, as you know means Fat Tuesday)  is the rather serious task of emptying your kitchen of all the “fat” things that you may not eat during the rather somber period of Lent.    A kind of last chance to enjoy rich foods before the necessary fasting and abstinence.   A last chance to enjoy . . . and indulge . . .  and party,   etc.

It escalates into a time of self-indulgence.

But it can also be a time of “emptying”  without the overindulging – if your emptying is a preparation for simplifying and making room for the serious work of penitence.

It can be a welcomed time of putting  away all the complex, perplexing things of our society, and turn inwards for a little while.   Just for forty days.

With that in mind,  I’m going to say good-bye to politics for a while.   I tell myself,   in five years,  this political election cycle will not be so acutely important.   We will have known the outcome of this election —  the day-to-day details will no longer matter — but I will be five years closer to my own death — and what I do now will matter for that eventuality.    A sobering kind of “Lenten”  thought.

So good-bye to New Hampshire tonight.  I have no idea whom I will vote for.    I’m trying very hard to want to vote in this election in the Fall.

It seems, however, that one man has taken up a lot of our attention, in spite of the media’s attempt to take him down.

Which of the candidates do you think the media wants to defeat?

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Easy to figure that out!    It makes me curious why they always show one man at his worst and put the worst possible spin on all his words.

Even when he’s not at one of the media’s main events,   they still seem to focus on him:

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(Thanks to Patriot Post for this one.)

People seem to be speaking up and voicing their discontent with the way things have been going.  Here’s a poster I saw recently:

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Is it true?      Donald Trump is different from the usual kind of politician.

Could he really fix our country?

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Or do we believe what the media personalities tell us to think:  that this is a “very scary”  man?

I didn’t intend this to be a Donald Trump Message.      But it just seems as though every other candidate is measured against this man.    He is the “pivot point” of this year’s election.

40-some days from now I’ll take another look at how things are going.   Lent will be over.     The Holiest season of the year will be past.      We will have refreshed ourselves and renewed our relationship with our Savior.

Perhaps we will have grown in some knowledge and insight during this season of Lent.

The world will still be there — and perhaps we could take another look at politics with new and wiser eyes.

I will cook my Fillet Mignon now,  my last “indulgence,” and eat it while I watch the live Webcams from Bourbon Street,  New Orleans.  It’s always astounding and instructive to see how quickly things clear out at Midnight tonight.

Midnight comes.   The season turns.   And we can take a break from our complexities.

Good Lent to you all!

 

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PHOTO DUMP FROM A LAPP MIND

February 9, 2016

Ahhhh,   Lapland.

Lapland

This scene from Lapland calls to me.   I understand it.  I want it.   It soothes me.   There is a goodly portion of Lapp blood in me;  and there is also Sami blood from the other side of my family.      Maybe that’s why I’m attracted to vistas like this:    lean, fresh,  free, calm, uncluttered . . . .breathable.

My biggest complaint takes the form of  “Too much.  Too much.   Too much.”    So that’s where I’ve been these past few silent days on this blog —  trying to swim my way out through “too much.”   Remember the scene from Star Wars when the heroes were trapped in the garbage dump of the Empire’s ship?   It’s like that.

So I have to get rid of all these photos and ideas and half-written blog postings.   I have to simplify.   Lent is coming – and right quick!!

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I’m getting ready!    I found all my Mardi Gras beads, put them on,  took a Selfie and sent it on to my Grandson — who had just returned from New Orleans.    Grandma and Cooper,  sending each other pictures of the beads around our necks.

Like you, probably,  we’ve had cold weather and warm weather, and now cold weather again.   I used up all my kindling, and then we had warm, windy weather.

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So now, just in time for more cozy night in front of the fireplace,   the lawn was littered with fresh new kindling.     As well as “Drone Debris”  from Christmastime.

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Trees are hard on those drones.

I finished yet another picture puzzle.   At my age!??     They’re NOT a waste of time:  I find them “restful.”

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This one was way harder than it looks.   1,000 pieces.     I liked the picture, although  all the while I was wondering where this photo was taken.   If you have ever traveled to France, you’d probably recognize it.  It’s the inside of Notre Dame Cathedral.   Amazing amount of detail in there.

We’ve changed over from January to February, and among the new-month duties I had to give up my January picture about friendship on skis:

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It looks so much like my skiing experiences in The Spruce Tunnel that I felt these ladies were someone I could have met . . . .  serenity within and without.  Like a Lapp forest.

I got a lot of new gadgets this past month — and then had to learn how to put them together.   Speaking of a “Photo Dump”   today,   here is one of my new “gadgets”  with a little “dump” of its own for me:

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Apparently the carpet you’ve just tried out your new vacuum on is NOT the best place to learn how to EMPTY the new vacuum.    (I could get mad and swear;   or I could run for my camera and laugh!)

Another challenge:

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I finally made my choice.   This one.    “Could I put it together myself,”  I asked the young lady in the store.    “Well ,”  she said, after looking at me for a moment.   “It comes in many little pieces. . . .”

As much as I hate three-dimensional objects,  I took this as a challenge.   A nice young man put the huge, heavy box up into my car for me —   one of them:

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Identical!    How fun.    I picked mine,  but all the way home I wondered how I’d be able to lift that big box out of the car and into my house.

But I had an idea:

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I didn’t have to lift the big box out of my car:    I just emptied the box right there:  piece by piece by piece by piece by . . . .     And two hours later,  I had a new desk chair.

Then it was time to get ready for the Super Bowl.     Food.    Part of the treats would  be Tiger Popcorn!     (There’s a funny story about that.)    We have a gourmet popcorn store nearby so I thought I’d buy some there.

But I didn’t.

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Just some Nehi Grape and . . . plain caramel popcorn.

So this story is my unspoken comment on the young products of our school system.  But it’s still kind of funny.

I walked into the popcorn store, and the pretty young, young lady came over, very friendly and helpful —  and asked if she could help me find anything.  I said, actually  I did have something specific in mind:  tiger popcorn!

I explained to her blank look that this is caramel corn with chocolate drizzled over it.   Then I explained to her still blank face that the chocolate drizzle looks like tiger stripes —

You know,  brown stripes on caramel colored popcorn?   She thought that was a great idea, but there was nothing like that in the store – although I could have samples of the various caramel popcorns they sold.

I told her this was for the Super Bowl,  and I would try to make it at home;  melt some chocolate chips . . .  drizzle it over the caramel corn.     So as I was at the cash register, we chatted;  I asked her about their online services . .  .  she told me I could find their weekly specials there too.

As a matter of fact,  there is a table with their weekly specials, right here in the store.   So, after I had paid for my little bag of caramel corn (and the Nehi Grape),  she took me over to the table and proudly showed me that this week’s special is “drizzled popcorn.”

“Here is some cheesecake popcorn with strawberry drizzles.”   And here . . .   here . . .  ” is some caramel popcorn with chocolate drizzles!”

I looked at her in amazement.   No expression.    No recognition  that that is EXACTLY what the customer  (me) had  just walked into your store asking for.   No connection with our conversation about “just having to make it at home . . .”     But she was pretty, and young,  and helpful,  and friendly . . .    She might go far in today’s world.

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“Tiger popcorn.”    Not so pretty,  but it tasted really good!

And the Super Bowl was just fine.   I do hope Peyton Manning knows to step down in a blaze of glory,  at the “top of his game.”   He’s a good man.

And now the long trek across the Desert of Months – with no football.

Mardi Gras today.   It was a chance for me to “cross some things off my list”  and purchase a few last-minute indulgences.

It started with a reluctant trip to my CPA’s office with all my tax papers collected for him.     I was annoyed,  irritated, petulant, put-upon,  and a bit defiant — however, I used all the self-discipline I  could muster and kept my mouth shut — and then I was treated so well, so respectfully,  that I really learned a good lesson and  forgave them for all the inconveniences . . . .  Besides,  my cabinets and files are “cleaned out”  and emptier now.

And I was so relieved after that appointment that I bought some pairs of shoes,  some books, some gifts for a couple people,  and lots of meats, including a Fillet Mignon.

It’s Mardi Gras!     These were the last-minute indulgences!    I will be very serious in just a few hours…    and this blog will take on a whole new “feeling.”

But first —   a political sort of photo dump in the next posting.

 

 

 

(ENGLISH) CHILDREN: A RIGHT TO EXIST?

February 3, 2016

This is a  serious post,  with a little self-mockery first.   Serious, I say!!   It’s also a serious matter related to but larger than the American elections.

I am apparently more than what I seem to be.   (As are we all. )    As a matter of fact, I learned this again today during a meeting with my financial advisers, who are very competently managing some of Hubbie’s funds for me.  They’ve done well for us and so far our funds have out-performed the market.

Pie 65

But they check with me from time to time to inform me what their plans for these funds are, get my approval, and then we have time to talk about general economic issues.   That’s when I learned that I’m thinking in macro terms, they told me, whereas it’s their job to think,  well,  more locally, so to speak.   They’re thinking of the performance of my specific portfolio,  not in terms of world currency dislocations, or IMF policy, or the coming world debt bubble collapse, or my current favorite indicator:  the  Baltic Dry Index.  We have good conversations,  and they forget for a time that I’m not a professional.

But I have a right to be there, in their office.   Macro or not.

rollerblades 75      And then, speaking of a “right to be there,”  sometimes I sweep into our local “Puck n Pedal”  shop with my Rollerblades,  demanding that my ‘blades be fixed or the worn-out wheels be replaced – right away.   It takes a few moments for the young men to realize that the little ol’ lady standing in front of them wants her Rollerblades back right away!

But I have a right to be there in their little store.   I have Rollerblades, not a cane.

whip 75    Sometimes in my classes,  I illustrate a point by making reference to something that they don’t immediately think I have any experience with.   I recently referred to a good article on Hugh Glass (the real man behind the Revenant movie)  that I had read in the latest issue of my Cowboy magazine.   I didn’t have time to copy down the paragraph, so I brought the whole magazine in.   The evidence was irrefutable.    “She really does like cowboy stuff.”  

But in  spite of  being a midwestern suburbanite who grew up in a large city, and appearing to be calm and quiet (I think?),   I have a right to enjoy the rowdy, active, masculine world of the true Western cowboy,  right?

So it’s about  the right to exist, as a person,  who you are, in all your complexity.

You too have many funny little seemingly contradictory complex points of your life that you enjoy.

You have a right to be who you are.

God made you to be a unique individual with your specific set of characteristics and preferences for a reason.

So here’s the serious part.   I was reading some historical-fiction books on the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, a bloody time just made for young warriors who could put down uprisings and rebellions –  in the 11th century.    Some of the action took place in an area they named as  ” . . . (well, see name in poster below)

And then I remembered I had just read an article in a European newspaper about the very same small town of (name in poster below)  and its probable soon demise.   Here are some residents:

 

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They live there with their parents, and some other English families, maybe 200 or so  people in all.   Small village.    I’m sure they are typical and normal people with lives full of complex desires, dreams,  and characteristics – like you and I have.

So my question again:  Do they have a right to exist?

The World Rulers think not — not quite.

Without  acknowledging the consequences,  the people of (this little village)  were suddenly given this announcement:

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There are no “facilities”  at this village’s  “concourse.”   They have no room for 200 newcomers on top of  the population that is already there.   There is no money.  No housing.   And the people  here have no recourse, no way to protect themselves nor their way of life,   the “200 men of unknown origin”  being, of course,  islamic men from Africa.   Of warrior age,  just like these childrens’ ancestors who protected their land.

Do those lovely little children of   (this village)   have the wrong color of skin?  The wrong religion?

Do they not have a right to exist – as they are?

Does this old historic area of English people have no right to continue on?

Or do we just kick them out and ruin their little village —

SAMSUNG

Do people who look like them have no right to be who they are?

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There plight is small.   But this is going on all over European and European-derived nations.

You should know.

 

 

 

 

IOWA HEADLINES – AND A REMEDY

February 3, 2016

There’s nothing wrong with working in the administration of any kingdom, nation, or  local political entity;  someone has to do the work of leading and governing, with all the minute details of administration.

But because of the opportunities for acquiring money and power,  governing attracts those who are far more interested in themselves than in the general welfare of the public at large.

That’s just the way it is when the leadership does not feel that it is subject to the same higher power as the people they seek to rule,  be it a written constitution or all the way up to God who is King of all the kings.

If the leadership (all those involved)  are not subject to the same laws as the people they govern,  then the leadership gets confused and self-serving and downright dangerous to the freedom and well-being of the people.

Check out the Confusion which came out of the Iowa caucus last night — both parties.  Here are some headlines that I’ve gathered,  and I’ll give Drudge Report a note of thanks for gathering many of these:

So, who knows who won?
“WE MAY NEVER KNOW THE ACTUAL RESULT”   From the Sanders people.                       Video shows dysfunctional counting . .  .
DES MOINES REGISTER:    Was correct winner called?
MICROSOFT App used to tally votes falls short…
Hillary wins 6 precincts — by coin tosses…Probability: 1 in 64…
Sanders wants raw count released…
Missing precinct scrambles to report he won…
Rally chant: ‘She’s a liar!’…
Virtual tie raises doubts: Can she close deal?
Coronation turns into race…
TRUMP: ‘Honored’ With Second-Place…
RUBIO: This Is Night They Said Would Never Happen…
MSNBC F-BOMB…
DIRTY: Carson Accuses Cruz Camp of Foul Play; Told Voters Carson Was Dropping
Jeb Spends $2,884 Per Vote…
Political cover up at State Dept. to benefit Hillary Clinton during primaries                     Cruz apologized to Carson for mistaken “drop-out”  report                   

Um . .  .  I really can’t post a lot of headlines –  they’re full of bad language….

Is this really the “leadership” we deserve?  Do we really have to worry about false election results  (again!) and about  future leaders who will take away our right to privacy,  to own  private property,  to bear arms,  to be the primary educator of our children,  and who will curtail our right to freely assemble and to freely express our religion in public?

Good men must step forward –  to lead and to govern.   It’s not my talent in life,  but I think there might be many with the gift of governing and who want to do it honestly.

Meanwhile,  for those politicians who will become our enemies once they take office,  then I would offer this remedy.    From the Catholic portion of this nation, it’s a short prayer to make use of all that confusion and incompetence that was expressed in those headlines:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the instruments of His Holy Passion that Thou mayest put division in the camp of Thine enemies, for as Thy beloved Son hath said, “a kingdom divided against itself shall fail.  Amen. *

That’s it.   Just a little thought.   (You can update the language,  make it more “common.”)

Abraham Lincoln appealed to the nation with this same biblical thought and sought to keep the nation together,  not divided.    A little division, however, might be a good idea for the nations enemies –  internal and external!

Now is indeed the time for prayer as well as votes.

 

Bar Cross in middle

 

* Given to Sister Marie de Sainte-Pierre in the 19th century, France.

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