Archive for April 2016

HUMAN LIFE: SUPERLATIVE IN EVERY WAY

April 28, 2016

I’ve been home for almost 24 hours now, back from my photo-scouting trip,    and wondering why on earth I still feel so tired.

Not really physically, I realized,  although we did our best to wear ourselves out each day.  I’m mentally and emotionally worn out.    Mostly because of this:

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Inside a truck just like that was a very brave little boy,  trying almost successfully not to cry;   breaking  my heart because we had to say good-bye.     We had been together almost non-stop for two whole days, enjoying a “secret world” that only a grandma and a grandson can create.   We saw the world together;  were amazed at the same things together;  had the same shared feelings.   Bonded.

And then it was time to part and Daddy would be driving that truck  . . . away.    When you’re five years old, you know it has to happen,  but you feel sad about it.  When you’re many-decades + five years old,  you know it has to happen,  but you’re sad about it too.

map for snow

Daddy and Cooper had to continue westward along that red line.  Grandma had to re-trace the blue line.   (There will be  a southern swing to the otherwise straight shot across the country due to April snows along I-70 and I-80:    13-16 inches over mountain roads!   In a truck full of precious family cargo.

In that green spot in the middle there is where I got LOST in the woodlands of Indiana for an hour or so.   On foot.    Halfway through that little adventure,  every time I opened up my cell phone, it gave a pathetic little  “meeep”  and indicated it need a battery charger.    Which made me a little uneasy, being so far away from my car.

But the three of us had many interesting adventures in Terre Haute, Indiana, where we had met for a couple days.  Good stories and photos coming up here in the Spruce Tunnel, but I wanted to begin with that little “human” type experience of saying good-bye to your loved ones.

Because what I was doing out in the woodlands in the middle of Indiana, on foot,  is looking for Indian mounds,  from people who lived there about 2,100 years ago.   People just like us in almost every way.   Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Take a mental trip down the timeline of human history.    Make a mental stop every 2,000 years or so.      Technology changes.  What our clothes are made of changes.     What our buildings and homes are made of changes.   How information gets passed around changes.  How we obtain our food changes.   How we travel changes.

What doesn’t change is that we live in small family units within a larger tribe or clan,  or more artificially:  within a larger nation.    Again:     Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Put me in a shelter along a shore of a northern sea.   Put me in a cave in southern France.      Put me in a longhouse in the north American forest.  Put me in a fine stone castle.  Put me in a little suburban home.

But part me from my grandson  and I will have the same feelings in any Time.    Part us from our loved ones:  a grown child marries;   a parent dies;   a spouse dies;   a friend moves far away.   We will feel love and loss.

No matter what Time is your present Time –   it’s the people in  your family,  your close kin, and your close friends that matter to you; and  how you treat them and love them  that defines you as a person.

After I waved good-bye to Cooper and his Daddy,  I went backup to my hotel room and immediately began beating myself on the head –  “I forgot to show him this!”    “I forgot to tell him that!”      “I should have done this with Cooper.”      “I could have said more of this!”  

I could have – I should have –  I wish I did . . .

Silly,  I know.    But it’s because it matters.

 

(Fun stuff coming up in the next post.)

 

 

 

 

 

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SCOUTING MISSION

April 25, 2016

 

Off on a scouting mission.    

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Will gather up some good photographs for the end of this week.

 

 

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…con Dios.

PURPLE PAIN (On Being Awake)

April 25, 2016

Awaken.

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Not a good day to do yard work or take a “nice” walk around the block.

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You’re either “awake”  or you’re not.

He was:

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For those of you who are awake and aware,  you already know the connection.

A man of rare talents,  aware of some of what is going on around us,  and with the painful, fatal courage to speak out against these things.

May God judge him according to the Light he was given — and have mercy on his soul.

 

 

 

NOT KNOWING THE FUTURE

April 22, 2016

(I need to keep this focused.  A difficult task these past few hours.)

I always told myself,  if there were a Mack truck  barrelling down on me . . .

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. . . .I’d want to turn and face it and see it coming!

You know,  you’d want to see something big coming so you have time to prepare.

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But today,   the Blue Beauty and me had to go downtown for the class I was teaching.

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And afterwards,  we had to drive back home.     Familiar roads through the city.

About three-fourths of the way home I was rear-ended  — by a truck ! —  with a great big noisy Whumpf!     It was a tremendous jolt,  and somehow I crossed some lanes of traffic without getting hit again and found  a place to pull over.  The big truck followed me.

It was one of those big service trucks.  Kind of heavy.    The two young men got out of their truck to see if I was all right.  They were so sorry, so apologetic, so solicitous of my well-being.   Just honest, open, sincere,  honorable young men.

I got out of my car holding my chest and coughing a little, which seemed strange,  but I think the seat belt hit into my sternum.    I was also feeling “heat” on my neck and down my shoulder,  but just a little.    The young men’s attitude helped a lot, and I didn’t want them to know I was feeling a little shocked.     Dizzy . . .  or dazed, maybe.

So we cheerfully  examined the car, amazed that there was no apparent damage to the bumper.*     They insisted on giving me their  contact information; and I told them  I was fine,  I’m  healthy,  I’m pretty strong,  and after we were done making sure everything was all right,  I told them to “have a good rest of your day,”   which seemed to amaze them.

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Twenty-Four hours

(Something’s  going to happen in each of these coming 24 hours.)

On the rest of my somewhat shaky way home,   I thought,  “I wish I had known this would happen so I wouldn’t be feeling so shocked right now.”

After a while, I thought again.    If,  when I was leaving class,  saying good-bye to everyone,  if then I had known   when and where that accident was going to happen,  how would I have acted differently?

“Six more miles to go….”      (I’m all right so far.)

“Just a couple more miles now.”      (hmmmm)

“Around that next corner . . . .”      (But I’ve got to go that way . . .)

“Up ahead at that next traffic light. . . .”     (It’s getting real close now. . . )

“There’s the big blue truck behind me in my rearview mirror.”

“There’s the traffic light coming up where it’s going to happen . . .”   (I’m out of time. )

“I’ve gotta stay stopped here. . . ”

“Yeeeeowwwwaaaaarghhhhh . . . .   whumpf!”

Yep.   It would have been a real tense ride home.    The present moment of that accident would have been my experience all the way home,  or maybe all day, if I had known this right away when I woke up.

Do we really want to know the actual bad things coming up?   Do we really want to know what difficult times are coming?      We’re supposed to live in the Present Moment.    “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”      “Don’t borrow trouble.”     “A coward dies a thousand deaths.”

Having intermittent “bad occurrences”  is part of living in this Fallen World.    They test us and allow us to “prove”  what kind of people we are.    The really bad things aren’t pleasant,  but they  let us demonstrate the strength of our character and the firmness of our faith.

We have to live freely and fully in the times in between the bad occurrences.

I saw this sad picture and it made me think about my own death:

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Will it be like that?   Will that be me some day?    In a bed?   With a concerned friend or family member nearby?

Maybe not in a bed.

No.  It’s best to not know the time and circumstances,  because if I did know,  knowing me,  I’d be thinking about it all the time.     Counting down the miles, so to speak.

I’m okay with not knowing,  because Someone does know , and He’s waiting for just the right time, the best time for my life here to end.     And I thought someone should write a poem about this idea. . . because a poem is “a transcendent thought, common to all mankind,  that is wrapped  in beauty.”

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Then I remembered,  someone did,  someone wrote some song lyrics that express this thought,  the knowledge that our Creator made us for Himself,  and will bring us back to Himself,  but He doesn’t tell us when or how.   We just trust Him.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

My Grandma used to sing this song.     She says:  “Just trust Him.    He’s working all things for your good.”

We don’t have to worry about each of our next 24 hours.

Bar Cross in middle

 

Just, if you’re interested,  here are all the words to that song.  It’s about Jesus.   That’s why there’s a reference to Blood:

 
I don’t know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to gray
I don’t worry o’er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I’ll walk beside Him
For He knows what is ahead

Chorus:
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

I don’t know about tomorrow
It may bring me poverty
But the one who feeds the sparrow
Is the one who stands by me
And the path that be my portion
May be through the flame or flood
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood

 

  •  Turned out there was damage  . . .

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That line across the bumper ledge shouldn’t be there.   It should be plain smooth blue.

But  “we”  have an injury now. . . .

Don’t know how we all missed it.

Let it go.

I love my car.

Let it go.  Let it go.  Let it go.

It could have been me.

 

AN OUTDOOR INTERLUDE – CARIBBEAN BLUE

April 21, 2016

Springtime in the Far North – finally –  and with it comes some annual chores:

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Kind of a messy overview of my annual spring task,  which is to add some kind of blue dye to the water to prevent an overgrowth of algae —  which uses up the oxygen that the fish need.   The dye prevents some of the  sunlight from penetrating the water, thus preventing the overgrowth growth of plants that shouldn’t be there.

I always worry about putting the dye into the home of the goldfish.   I know it mixes in after a while, and dilutes itself,   but I didn’t want to dump the dye onto the goldfish.       Little critters saw me at the edge of the pond and kept following me,  though.

It takes a while for the dye to spread out into the pond.    That’s not “sky,”  that’s just the reflection of the trees in the different colors.

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But then the pond becomes a beautiful blue in the sunlight:

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Blotchy blue at first,  then a nice Caribbean blue:

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Blue  +  gold = green?    Every year I fear I’m going to change the color of the goldfish.   But it never happens.   They just swim around looking like exotic tropical fish in their  newly “decorated”  habitat:

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They’re doing fine.

Deo gratias.

And thanks also for  this backyard pond which produces a sense of natural serenity for us here.

I’m the caretaker; the pond can be a lot of work,  but I don’t mind.

AN INDOOR INTERLUDE – RED BAROQUE ELGANCE

April 21, 2016

Baroque:

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This is a little blogging interlude – a break from all the harsh things that are waiting to be used  on my computer Desktop. 

It was Recorder day today,  a time when my Recorder Friend and I get together to play our recorders.

We don’t   “practice” together;  we play,  really perform our music, and today we managed to actually find the Baroque sound that we both love so much.   It was a wonderful feeling because there is an elegance in Baroque music that is its own blend of rhythms,  melody, and haunting harmony.

And there is a dignity in this sound that makes us want to participate in its elegance.

We play,  then have tea and conversation.  (Actually, we play and have conversation and then have tea and conversation.)

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My Recorder Friend always has the nicest, most interesting — most elegant napkins.

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If you have respect for yourself,  for your friends, and for the occasion,  these little details are so enjoyable.    I think they are a component of elegance;  going the “extra mile”  to make the occasion worthy of human dignity.

Now I laugh – at myself.   Such “details”  don’t come easy!    I received a big box in the mail a couple days ago,  courtesy of eBay.    It was for this week’s recorder session.  Inside, buried deep, deep inside foam peanuts and wrinkled newspaper were  —

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—   my new Ruby Red glass teacups!

And my new Ruby Red glass saucers:

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Oh, yes –  wrapped so well in bubble wrap and layers of clear packing tape,  and then tightly wrapped in newspaper,  that it took me 15 minutes to free the four cups and saucers from their binding!

But it was well worth the time and scissor pokes and chipped fingernails.

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The new cups and saucers match the beautiful Ruby Red cut glass dessert  plates I had snatched from a garage sale awhile ago –  for no other reason than that they were  . . . pretty.

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Happy little  springtime  Lemon Bars!

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Gee,  I hope the dessert matches the “elegance”  of the day!

A BRIEF WORD OF “WIT AND WISDOM”

April 16, 2016

“Wit”  is the fun side of Wisdom.

And I’ll be brief.

To repeat a photo I already showed you –

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–  young people,    taught to believe that marxism-socialism-Progressivism can actually work in the real world.

 

So here’s “the Word” :    “When a man stops believing in God,  he doesn’t believe in nothing.   He’ll believe in anything!”

Or,  as the modern saying has it:  “He’ll fall for anything.”

Remember that bumper sticker that says:  “Question Everything”  ?     Well, that includes everything everyone tells you.   Be discerning.

If you have even a suspicion that we have a Creator,   then you know that what follows is that He created things the way HE wanted things to be created.   Above and beyond all formal religions,   there is Natural Law.

Poor young people  . . . .

ADDENDUM TO THE PRINCE’S IRE

April 15, 2016

 

Here is a photographic P.S. to the last posting:

waiting to see a doctor

Waiting to get an appointment

The line wound down the block and around that building.      Look upon them with compassion . . . and a bit of fear.

Now,  I don’t believe for a minute that the Saudi prince of yesterday’s posting is truly “filled with ire.”   He has enough present problems of his own.   It is my own ire that I’m projecting, of course.

But nevertheless,  this is personal   I know that,   because of the generosity of this prince, the new state-of-the-art facilities at the Cleveland Clinic gave Hubbie two or three more years of life.    I know that.     You wouldn’t believe how precious those extra  years were.

I also know that when I myself need the services of the Cleveland Clinic,  I will be too sick to drive myself there, as I had driven Hubbie all those years,  but that isn’t what bothers me.    What bothers me is that those services which I would need won’t even be available  for me.

The photo above shows us a possible future for Americans.  It was taken a few months ago in China,  a nation of socialized medicine;  a  nation that is making great discoveries in the field of medicine;  a  nation that is creating technological  and pharmaceutical medical advances.

A nation  which is bankrupting itself because its government is trying to pay for all this – and it can’t.  No government can.

The people  in that line, so early in the morning,  are waiting for a chance to get a ticket for an  appointment to see a doctor at a major hospital in a big city.    The attached news article told about an “enterprising” young man who makes a  good living selling “tickets” for those appointments at a higher price.  We call it ticket-scalping.

He says if you are well off,  then you can afford to pay for  a ticket to be seen much sooner than all these people in line.    You can pay more for the privilege of having a doctor see you,   without weeks or months of waiting.

A socialist country.  A socialist-democratic society.   You need to be wealthy enough to get good and prompt  medical care — in every single country where it has been tried.

This is personal to me for another reason:    America will have its elections soon.   For more than forty years,  the “joys of socialism”  has been taught in American schools.   Without doubt,  marxist socialism has taken over schools and universities,  music,  movies,  and the entertainment-news media to such an extent that younger people do not even recognize the meaning of the political slogans they are taught to hurl.

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Follow the Slogans!

As one person put it in a lecture I heard:   “In Journalism schools,  socialism is so pervasive that it is invisible,  like the air we breathe.

“Huh?   Socialism?   Big Brother?    What’s all that?”

Young people at a recent    (American!)   political rally —

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He and his crowd don’t understand the consequences of what they’re promoting.

So that’s a problem.  Name-calling and catch-phrases are used to prevent free and open political dialogue.     And just try to oppose these young people!!    (And some not-so-young.   The  “aging hippies” called The Sixty-Eighters were Lenin’s “useful idiots”  in the ’60s cultural-socialist revolution around the Western World!)  Try to oppose them, try to assert another opinion  — and then duck!       All sorts of names and accusations will be thrown at you.

How did socialism win the cultural revolution?   Why is the American Constitution beside the point,  an annoying impediment to social change?

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…And if  not,  “Russia” will spread her errors.”  (1917-2017)

The Western World was taught, instructed, enticed,  tricked, and intimidated into giving up all those values which created its own civilization.    It was a prolonged and powerful process which promised great things – and besides,  it was sold to us as Fun!  and Freedom!

Who wouldn’t want to get on board – and try out some of these formerly forbidden social behaviors!!    (Ever wonder why the Leftists in this country are so fixated on reproductive activities?)   The Marxists promised to “sell us the rope that we will hang ourselves with.”

If you don’t know who this man is,  we are already lost.

Khrushchev and shoe

We will bury you!!!

So, no need to discuss the consequences of such imposed social changes –  just follow the Fads, the Slogans,  the Name-Calling, the Celebrities,  and the erroneous, immature logic.  ‘Cause then you’ll be free!  And the government will give you free stuff!

Like socialized medicine.

Get ready to stand in lines.

 

 

 

THE PRINCE WOULD NOT BE PLEASED

April 14, 2016

I’ve been thinking of this prince for a long time now, about six years since I first heard of him.  He is a prince of Saudi Arabia,  somewhat of an older man.

He is responsible for these magical hallways which I walked many, many times:

Cleveland Halls

Beautiful.   I think they change colors,  gently and softly.   These halls connect the parking ramp at the Cleveland Clinic with the main part of the hospital, and the main part of the hospital leads to the Cardiac Department — and that was not a “magical” walk for me because I was there to be with Hubbie – who was spending his last days . . . .

. . . . his last days in this building:

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Gorgeous,  right?  State of the art, architecture and furnishings and medical equipment.   All the patient waiting rooms are along the outside walls,  looking out through that glass.  Absolutely anything a cardiac doctor could desire to help him do his job, to help him help his patients,  all that was inside his examining  rooms practically at his fingertips.

Young interns  from all over the world walked around in groups,  excitedly and intensely talking with each other about the best way to handle their cases.

If you were a patient there,  nothing would be missed that could help you possibly get well, or at least extend your life a bit more.  If you were a family member of the patient,  you were respected and listened to.

How did it get to be this way?

When Hubbie and I first had to go to the Cleveland Clinic for treatment for Hubbie’s heart condition,  there was an old building in this place;  not too bad, just medium brown brick,  several decades old, small,  a bit dark inside – but  . . . nice.  And they did good work.

At the same time, when we were there,  this prince from Saudi Arabia came to be treated at this same old cardiac wing of the hospital.    He had a serious heart condition and  the excellent doctors there saved his life.

For a thanksgiving offering,  the prince said he would have built a state-of-the-art cardiac center at the Cleveland Clinic.    He sure did!  And the photos up above are just a small sample of what a wonderful building he had built.

Once we were using that new building I noticed that every doctor,  every nurse,  every technician,  every receptionist glowed with pleasure, pride, and happiness.  It was a cardiac department that worked!

Until Now

The new cardiac building cost nearly a billion dollars of the prince’s own money.    It was to show his gratitude to the doctors and nurses and to all the American people.

But back then the vast majority of Americans had medical insurance.   (Forget the propaganda;   not everyone wanted medical insurance, not everyone needed it;  and the very, very  poor were never being turned away from medical emergency services. )

“Until now.”  Today, many tens of millions of Americans have lost their medical  insurance.     There are as many, if not more, people uninsured today as there were before the disastrous Unaffordable  Health Control bill was  passed under false pretenses.   I can’t tell you how many of my friends have told me they can’t afford the premiums they are required to pay now.   And when they have to use this “insurance” they find out they can’t use it anyway because they haven’t paid enough out of their own pockets first.

They tell me that they are struggling to afford a mandatory product that gives them exactly nothing.

And they live in fear of incurring unaffordable fines –  or losing their ability to pay their own mortgages.

Costs of medical care are skyrocketing out of reach of many Americans.

Needed tests,  needed medications,  needed help is routinely denied because Government officials say they’re not necessary.  Doctors are required to do futile and irrelevant “tests”  because this follows the protocol devised by Government non-medical officials.

And the Cleveland Clinic itself?  Not only can fewer patients go there, and not only are their costs rising above sustainability,   but doctors learned quickly that they cannot keep up with the Government bureaucratic procedures and paperwork – and still see patients. And the fines are ruinous.

Doctors have been quitting.  Or moving to other countries.    And the hospital has been firing personnel by the thousands.

THE PRINCE WOULD NOT BE PLEASED.

He gave a gift of gratitude to the American people — and the Government (Rulers)  have diminished it.

I heard a presidential candidate say tonight that, if elected,  he would repeal “every word”  of this health Control Bill.

This is a “bill,”  an unconstitutional law,  that is not about health care, but is rather about health care delivery – and controlling people and money through health care distribution.

It’s about gathering our data and our money – and in return, parceling out a little bit of medical care by their doctors.

The momentum of good health care in America is carrying us through for a little while,  but I am now getting too old to receive  Government sponsored health care —   who is it that’s promising to repeal this “bill”?

I’m listening.

 

LUCKY MOM

April 12, 2016

 

 My Son makes me the luckiest Mom that I know.  (I don’t think he reads this blog very often.)

He presented me with a gift the other day.   Then he said “Guess what it is!”

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Dead mice?

He dumped the contents of a small box onto my counter-top —  I took a step back,  and made a few . . .  guesses.

Finally,  “Are they biological?

I got that one right.

No little feet, so they probably couldn’t be little mice.

I’ve received several other “interesting”  and initially unidentifiable  presents during the past years.   Some come with a warning.   “Don’t bring this upstairs.”      “Don’t stay too close to this. ”    “Don’t let water touch this.”         “Keep this away from matches.”    “This won’t last very long.”      And:  “Just be careful.”

This one came with no warnings.   But  I think it came with an implied request.

Okay,  the answer is,  these are Saffron Crocus bulbs!!!!     So excited!    “How in the world….?”      Then,  soon as he said they’re from Turkey, we both instantly ran into our front room where I keep the big globe;  we found Turkey, then drew a line with our fingers through Spain  and into . . .  Our State in the U.S. !!!!   Yes!!!  Same latitude.

Like Spain and Turkey, we can probably grow these bulbs.   We just have to do something about the average temperature,  which is thankfully NOT  like Turkey or Spain.

And Son’s implied request?    Just think of  a fresh loaf of warm, fragrant yellow bread, dotted with little currants and raisins,  and shiny butter melting down the sides of the crust…..

I’m sure he was.

 

 

PALE SUN – PALE WORLD

April 10, 2016

Here it is,  here is what I woke up to a day or two ago:

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You can just about make out the small disk of the sun.      The early morning pale far-northern early spring sun, reflecting in the pond.

My pond.   For which I am so grateful and full of thanksgiving that God worked my life out this way,  and that there is such beauty to see.

I’m going to miss this world.

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That “pale sun” haunted me all day.   I moved my books and my studying to the window that overlooks the pond,  but I was very distracted from my work.

So, my work paled too.   All the important things I thought I had to accomplish.

They say the beauty of Heaven is so overwhelmingly and satisfyingly beautiful that we will not miss the beauty of this earth.

So,  I’m working on understanding that.

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Sludge –  I’m held down by sludge.    Prepare for a “data dump”  this week.   I’m getting rid of all the intangible thoughts that are weighing me down,  all the things that caught my attention,  all the photos that illustrate what had held my attention, for a while;  it just feels like something I have to do.      To free up my thinking.

Here’s the Lesson.   You can’t think “Up”  when you have so many distractions keeping you “down.”     What is it that I really care about?

Remember the old Annette Funicello  Walt Disney series called “Follow Your Heart“?  (The Horsemasters.)  annette side

Annette played a kind of city girl who loved to ride horses,  but when she went to an equestrian camp and took lessons with a friend,  she found that she didn’t have the courage to jump over the fences.

Try as she might,  she could only gallop up to the fence, and then to our great disappointment,  she just couldn’t complete the jump.    We were all cheering her on.    It was a Walt Disney production.  Surely she will overcome her fears in  the end!

Well,  her best friend finally thought of something.

She said, “You know you love to ride,  you know you’d love to jump over that fence.   Next time, as you approach that fence,  just throw your heart over that fence first, and follow your heart.”

And of course, it worked.

Where is my heart?

What you love you will treasure.    And Jesus told us “Where your treasure is,  there will your heart be also.”

With your treasure in front of you,  everything else on the side,  everything else behind you,  will seem very pale.   Even a sun.   Even the whole world.

A passing, pale world is not worth the price of one human heart and soul.     That’s what my pond with the pale sun taught me.

A LITTLE WEATHER HUMOR

April 6, 2016

Weather humor:  as in “this must be a joke.”

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Every Spring  the ducks come back and  bring such  a sense of serenity to my back yard.     When they’re swimming in the pond or resting on the bank it seems that everything must be all right;  no problems;   peace and safety.  Nature  at its nicest.

But . . .   they’re usually not resting on snow.   Sometimes they are.     I’ve seen snow on their backs as they swim in a surprise spring snowstorm.    But not usually.

The weatherman has a big job here in the Far North at this time of the year:

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He’s got to be prepared for everything.   It’s kind of fun.

We had sunshine yesterday,  and it rained too;  and snowed;  and I think there was a little ice storm or sleet after midnight.    Same thing a couple of other days last week:  rain, snow, sleety stuff,  sunshine for a while …  and the weatherman threw some hail in there too on one of those days.      The days are windy – and not windy.

No,  it’s not “climate change.”  It’s not “extreme” weather.   It’s just typical.

And it’s fun.    You might as well give up planning what to wear.   If you go outside you’re going to get rained on, then you’ll get hot;  and you’ll have to hold your winter scarf around your neck when the wind blows the snow around.

If you don’t mind all that,   it really is a funny sort of weather joke.

Seasons changing;   the world is fully alive.   And fun!

 

CHRONOLOGICAL SNOBBERY, ELVIS, & the F-35

April 5, 2016

Okay,  I promise to tie this all together;   and don’t reject the remedy until you think about it — for a few years.   Ha!     Sorry for the length – this is almost “stream of consciousness,”  a literary form that made some people famous, right?

campaign

Things aren’t working right and we’d better hurry and find out why —  before our politicians tell us how to fix things,   according to their own agendas.

Time to go to Confession.

But before you can do that,  you have to make a good Examination of Conscience.  I mean,  some wrongdoings come right out and bother you.    But others are hidden there, and you have to learn and think about it before you acknowledge you might be guilty of these other things too.

Well, the sin,  the defect,  the wrong-thinking,  the missing-the-mark, the stupidity,  whatever you want to call it,   can be called Chronological Snobbery.   It has devastating consequences to the individual, to the friends we have,  and to the society   which we live in.   It’s a sin that truly causes harm.

And picking the right presidential candidate is not enough to fix it.

I’m going to ramble a bit –  and start off with a photo of a Scorpion:

air base

Yeah!

We all grew up in an atmosphere that fosters this wrong-thinking, so much so that it’s like the air we breathe, invisible and “normal.”     The “air I breathed in” as a child was on the edge of the Illinois Prairie –  I love this place — and right near our home was O’Hare Air Base!  We could roller skate or bicycle to the fences around the air base and watch the newly invented jets take off.   Try to identify them.   (The Deltas were the easiest, of course,  but I’m sure we saw these Scorpions.)

And we also tred to retain our hearing after a jet screamed off a few hundred feet overhead.   (They didn’t have to turn off their after burners in those days.)    It was a chest-pounding, ear-splitting, almost overwhelming experience.  Loved it!   Vivid memories!

In this area, on the outskirts of Chicago were many factories, and many fathers came north with their families to find work and make a decent living.      In our area, most came from either Mexico or from the hills of southern Tennessee.

Elvis

That’s where I first heard of Elvis.    My friends from Tennessee had such a strong accent that it was hard to understand what they were saying for the first few months,  but after school — oh, my —  it was easy to “understand”  the music  they sang on the bus ride going home.

It was a sound I had never heard before, but it touched us all deeply.   Emotional,  religious,  family songs and love songs.   And these Tennessee friends talked about someone they knew from the region they had come from,  some were even related to him, cousins,   second cousins,  and all that complicated complex inter-relatedness of southern families,  a someone named Elvis, and they sounded proud of him.     (His home was Tupelo, not that far away.)

A few years later,  he “exploded” onto the Big Screen and then everyone knew about him;  but I remember him for   how  he was talked about before….  a “cousin,”  a member of an extended family.    A family member.  A good boy with a lot of talent.

But  Elvis was crushed by his fame . . .  because we were in a new era.

skirts two

These girls are a little older than I was,  but my friends and I did  our best to imitate them.  I loved wearing these skirts!    We were all told we were special because we were “teenagers.”    Now, that was fun.   Exciting.  “Important.”   Flattering to our growing egos.

But “teenage”  was also an absolutely ARTIFICIAL and cynically-created demographic group   which not only aided “Madison Avenue”   and kept the money flowing,  but it was also a powerful aid to  the “progressive” revolution.    Flatter us,  we’ll follow the trends,  tell us how we’re supposed to have fun,  what attitudes we’re supposed to display — and we’ll join your side for “Progress.”

Such emphasis on “Progress” is a tool for World Domination.

Dumb kids, we were.   Never before in the history of families have 12-20 year olds been separated out from their family and told they were different and special and misunderstood and therefore they ought to feel separate and apart from their own family,  rebellious,  rejecting the guidance of their own parents.

Don’t take away our fun!

dance

We’re not “like” our parents.   Families are there only to serve us until we’re old enough to leave.   Walt Disney told us  “You are the Leaders of the 21st Century!”   I heard that over and over again.   I never asked “why?”

We were now dancing to a deformed and fame-crazed Elvis,  no longer a good boy,  no longer acting like his family would have wanted him to.     His end is a reflection of our present-day culture:  self-indulgence,  materialism,  immorality . . . .

bad elvis

Was Elvis harmless fun?    Compared to what has inevitably developed now,  it seems harmless.   But it wasn’t then, and it certainly isn’t harmless now.

We know the downward roller coaster Elvis was on.   As was all of our society, all our culture.     We simply let go of values.

Chronological  Snobbery

Being  aware that you are a “teenager” –  whatever they told us that meant,  whatever fun and privilege  that idea gave us —  being aware of this,  is snobbery:   “My age is the best.”  “My era is the best.”     ” My demographic group is the best.”

Chronological Snobbery means that you think your Times are the best, most progressive, most beneficial to mankind era that ever was.    You are the culmination of all of history;  your Era is what history has been leading up to — and the past must be repudiated completely.

The F-35

That’s a real heart-breaker.     I’m not even going to put a photo of it up here.  It’s a real embarrassment to the people of America.

Like Elvis,  the F-35 is a bloated, costly, unworkable product of a period of time that has jettisoned all the Good Values that had made our country great –  all the wisdom of the past;  all the wise restraints of the past;  and all knowledge of how humans should live together.

We think our age is so wise,  and in our snobbery (our conceit)  we have become really, really dumb – like children without parents,  harmful to ourselves and harmful to others and we do not accomplish what we set out to do, but only make things worse.

(I’m thinking of a few presidential candidates here.)

Before this decade,  we had built powerful and effective fighter jets that actually did help protect our country.  Now we cannot even build this super-dooper,  ill-conceived,  poorly planned,  all-purpose fighter jet.   It is, so far,  three times over cost  (recently estimated at more than $160,000,000 per jet — how would you  like to be responsible for flying one of those!)   and it is not yet safe to fly.

Elvis.   The F-35.    Teenagers.      Society broken down into separate demographic groups which have nothing to do with the character of the individual and which cannot accomplish what it needs to.   Progressive Politics that is trying to lead us to a bigger, better,  super-dooper, ill-conceived world governance.

That is:    The needs of the individual be damned.     Personal Freedom be damned.  Families be damned.   National sovereignty be damned.   Christian values be damned with all its old-fashioned care for the poor and the weak and the helpless,  the talk of equality before God,  its clinging to the principles of Natural Law which apply to all mankind, its strength and cohesiveness . .  .  and its ability to prepare us for the next world.

Ooops,  I’m getting long.

Oh.  The “Remedy.”

Recognize our “Chronological Snobbery.”   It truly is a “sin” that causes harm.    Admit we don’t know much because we have rejected the values and wisdom of the past.   The way, way past.    Realize that pop culture has nothing to teach us, and only corrodes our thinking.    Accept that none of our Rulers,  none of our leaders, none of our politicians will be the source of our  healing and possible resurrection of our society.

Values and wisdom of the past.   The way they did it.

If you understand a little about the “sinfulness” of Chronological Snobbery,   and IF you are an atheist,  an agnostic,   or a Protestant,  I guess you can pretty much excuse yourself,  pronounce your own forgiveness –  and continue on.

But those “isms”  didn’t build up Western Civilization.   Just a historical fact.    You know that Western civilization is rooted in the Catholic Faith –  until the break-aways in the 16th century . .  .  and then you can  read in history books what happened to us.

For me,  GK Chesterton told it best:     “The Catholic Church is the only thing that saves a man from the degradation of living in slavery to his own century.”

I don’t like slavery,  mental or otherwise.    Building a civilization takes constant hard work, effort, purpose,  and self-lessness,  based upon traditional, universal values.

Otherwise,  there truly is “degradation.”

Observe it all.   Sheeeesh!    We really can’t build a decent workable fighter jet anymore!

 

WHAT THOMAS TOUCHED

April 4, 2016

The story told of St. Thomas is so rich and full of meanings that I need one more posting. I want to add a thought about what it was that Thomas touched that made him believe.

What did Jesus invite him to touch?

scars

His scars.

How I thank my Grandma for going around the house singing:    “I shall know Him,   I shall know Him,  I shall know Him by the print of the nails in His hands.”

She had a pretty “vivid”  voice,  but then some of her songs had some pretty vivid images.  But even as a child I used to wonder what His hands and feet and His side would look like.

Now that I’m older I ask:  “Scars?”    ” There’ll be scars in Heaven?”      Apparently,   yes.   Those scars will cause the angels in Heaven to fall down and worship Him;  and so will we, with gratitude and joy because those “scars”  are a cherished everlasting testimony to His love for us.

Kiss the wounds;   they will be scars for our sake.

But there’s more;  more scars in Heaven.  They are the ones that we will bear,  figuratively, but really,   because they’re  the scars from the wounds and hurts that we experienced here for His sake.   “Blessed are you who are persecuted for My sake. . . .”

Perhaps they won’t look like “scars”   that we’re familiar with,    but they will be the bright shining glorious spots on us that testify to the “works, joys, prayers, and sufferings” of each day that we “consecrated”  to Him in our Morning Prayers – and that we were called upon to endure –  pains and sufferings and little martyrdoms that were offered to us throughout our lives, because of our Faith in Him.

St. Thomas saw . . .  and put away his doubts . . .  put away his reluctance . .  .  and believed.   And then,  he went out to tell others . . .   and then he was put to death for having Faith in  the Risen Jesus, his Savior.

Tireless effort,  weariness,  hunger,  thirst,  inconveniences,   imprisonments,  tortures, and beheading.    What a glorious testimony to his faith.    St. Thomas carries all that testimony,   all those “scars”  with him into Heaven.

Jesus and Thomas   can share the scars they acquired for each other.

 

 

FOUNT OF PROCRASTINATION

April 3, 2016

Doubt:   “Fount of Procrastination”   Well, maybe one of the founts.

You’ve seen the famous paintings of St. Thomas:

thomas

Or “Doubting Thomas”  as he is well-known to us.    Thomas, one of the Twelve,   wasn’t with the others on Easter Sunday when the Risen Jesus first appeared to His Apostles.   We can’t know what they told Thomas about seeing the Lord that day,  but we do know  that he really didn’t believe them.   He had a “good”  reason to wait to believe.

Thomas could have started a whole philosophical; movement with an attitude like that!   You know,  “If I can’t see it or touch it or measure it,  then it doesn’t exist!”    Perhaps all you people stuck in Logical Positivism  can adopt St. Thomas as your patron saint.

see.jpg     But we must remember that after Thomas   touched the sacred wounds, the scars now where the wounds had been,  he one hundred percent totally realized that the Resurrection of Christ is true.     His astonished cry was “My Lord and my God!”     A joyful cry every believing heart spontaneously imitates from time to time.   How often we do so is a barometer of the amount of Saving Faith our soul has.

A matter of ultimate concern.

Thomas’s life was transformed and he became a true Apostle,   “called” to tell many others about Jesus.   It’s said his certainty and enthusiasm  carried him all the way to India, where there are still shrines today in honor of his name.

But had he remained in  doubt, perhaps had he missed the next appearance of Jesus too,  he would not have been changed,  not saved,  not carried a Gospel he wasn’t sure of into far foreign lands.       Not being sure of something is one  reason for not having to do anything about an issue.

“Not sure.”      So, what am I supposed to do if I’m not sure about something?     Nothing.  Nothing yet.     I’ll work it out later.

What to do about Jesus?    Procrastination for a “good” reason.    I’ll make a decision later.

Presuming I have a “later.”

Procrastination can become deadly.     At the moment we die,   that’s it –  that’s who we are.    What we think, what we believe,  the kinds of things we were doing, the kind of persons we are, the amount of Faith we have, if any –   that’s it.

Procrastination can become our  condemnation.

 

SCIENCE AND THE RIVER STYX

April 2, 2016

(This is for you, Dear  Friend-With-The-Camera, Air Force Academy Graduate, and DEQ  Scientist for our state, retired):

I found it !    I finally found it!     I have at times brought conversations in my classes to a screeching halt by asking the “simple”  question:  “What is Time?”   Now I’ve found a definition.

It wasn’t one of those “teaching questions.”      For decades,  I really wanted to know.    And now on this Saturday in  Easter Week,  the satisfaction of having a good definition for Time helps me understand what happened on this day so long ago.

Banner Easterthur

Because here’s what happened on the day after Good Friday, almost 2,000 years ago.   We say it in the Creed,  after Jesus “was crucified, died, and was buried.”  Then:  “He descended into hell. . .”

This “hell” –

limbo

Not the Hell of the damned, as they say,  eternal banishment, punishment, and the horror of “flames” and torture —  but the  unspecific word “hell”  that is the Place of the Dead –  a state-of-being which is before our Judgment that we don’t know.     The book of Jude calls it the “prison”  where souls go after death . . .  shadowy,  unspecific,  indistinct,  not “lively” like human souls are supposed to be.

Before Christ died,  Heaven was not open to human life.     Wasn’t appropriate yet.   Wasn’t possible yet.      But human souls who looked for and hoped for the Messiah,  longed for the coming of Christ,  would not be lost in Hell,   yet what happened to them?

We don’t know.

The Greeks had it figured out:  when humans died,  their souls were transported across the River (the River Styx)  into a shadowy,  dimly conscious frozen state of being.

styx

 

The teaching of the Church, though, is these souls went to a kind of “limbo” –  neither here nor there;  specifically the Limbo of the Patriarchs,  those faithful souls who lived their lives according to the promises from God . . .  and then died.

Human souls had no power to leave.   That’s why it was called “a prison.”   Not even Orpheus with his exquisitely beautiful music  could really release any soul from Hades.

Until  Jesus.  Jesus died, in His Human Nature;  but in His Divine Nature He had power to “lay down His life and to take it up again”  —   He has power over life and death,  His and ours.  He is the Resurrection (from the dead).

So it is, on  the “day”  after Good Friday He went to this Place of the Dead, to Hades,  to Sheol  (in the Hebrew language),  the souls there woke and saw the Christ they had believed in when in this life  and  recognized Him and were able to follow Him —  out of Hades. . . into Heaven with Him.

Now here we have to stop again, because we know so little.  Not much has been revealed to us and we can’t know this on our own — and certainly not by experience.

sand dial

Since the moment of our conception,  we’ve experienced only Time.      We’ve never been outside of Time.    So those souls who died still looking for their coming Messiah?   Where are they  “now”?     “When”  did they see Christ?     “When”  is their Judgment?

They are with the One who has always been apart from and outside of Time.

Here’s the definition which helps  us think about this:

Time is a measure of motion in reference to “before”  and  “after”   and therefore applies only to those things that are capable of being in a state of potency.

(Sorry to get all Aquinas-y on you,  but you must use the powers of reason and its vocabulary .)

There is no “potency” in God, the Eternal Trinity.     He never changes into something else.  He has no “before” or “after.”   He always is Who He is,  so much so that He is Be-ing itself:    His Name is  I AM.

Since the Son of God is outside of Time — even during the “time” He spent  here on earth —  then everything that He does is also done in Eternity.

Therefore,   every moment of Time can connect with the One who upholds all things and keeps them in existence,  moment by moment.    Those who are “dead and gone” in Christ are not really “gone” from us.    In Christ, they are here, at this moment.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the One Self-Sacrifice of Christ, as were all the sacrifices made by the Jews before Christ died.    All sacrifices in Time including Masses participate in  this same Eternal Sacrifice.

Every Saturday we remember that Jesus too was “dead and gone”  from us  but not really absent.    While His mother and all the disciples were feeling His absence,   He was visiting our brother and sister believers and inviting them to live with Him for-ever,  without any ending.

And tomorrow —   He is back on Earth, visiting the most famous unbeliever in Time!

 

EVIL CHILDREN

April 1, 2016

 

I didn’t know what to call this posting.    But, yeah,  it’s Friday in Easter Week –

Banner Easterthur

–  so I was doing what I was supposed to be doing:  thinking back on the whole Easter thing, and specifically one week ago,  not only a Friday,  but Good Friday.

And why did it all happen?

Why did it all have to happen?

Did you see this on the news this past week?  —

SAMSUNG

America.   Near Philadelphia.   People sitting on a commuter train,  subway thing,  when all of a sudden a small group of six year olds began shouting obscenities,  punching, kicking,  and otherwise threatening the passengers.  This picture is from the video — the words of these vicious six-year olds had to be bleeped out.

The story is here.   

It is a scene out of Lord of the Flies.     It’s a scene from the Passion of the Christ where those devlish little boys chased Judas out of the city.   It’s a scene I’ve posted before, showing tiny children being taught how to behead teddy bears;   a 5 year old holding a little machine gun;   a sweet little 4 or 5 year old girl holding a large knife yelling “Stab! Stab!  Stab!”

And we don’t realize how common scenes like this occur.      Little children fighting, slapping,  swearing at their parents in a store.   We don’t pay much attention anymore.  When I spent a year teaching 4 and 5 year olds in a well-known Kindergarten type school,  I was astonished at the sexual activity among some of them.   As well as their language. As well as their defiance towards any adults,  most especially their own parents.  “Normal”  suburban kids, without any knowledge of God.

I have in my memory so many actual news stories of dangerous children . . . .

Oddly,  this was predicted for our century in the early 1600s, when the intensity of such moral depravity was not ever suspected.    *.

quito

In around 1635,  from this building,   it was predicted that there will be a  time when the world sinks into moral depravity so widespread and deep that the very innocence of  children will be corrupted —  which indicates it’s going to go deeply into the next generation when they grow up – and don’t know how to live and don’t know what to teach their children.    The whole culture is depraved and unworkable.

(By the way,   when the passengers on that Philadelphia train pleaded with the adults who were with those out-of-control children to “do something,”   those adults became defiant and aggressive towards the victims!)

The century for when this deep moral corruption resulting from a repudiation of the True Faith was named:   it is the 20th century.

We’re living it now.  Our world is  a fulfillment of that prediction.   We don’t even understand what it means that “the innocence of children will be lost” —   what “innocence” ?   What innocence are they supposed to have?     Other centuries would be astonished that we can’t even answer that question.

The prophecy said: A time “when the world sinks into moral depravity . . .”   It will become as bad as it can get – and such times will illustrate the danger and murderous insanity of sin,  where no one is safe.   And children can be evil too.

This is an illustration why we had to have a Good Friday.    An  illustration of the stark contrast between a world living without its Creator and a world that can choose to live in obedience to its Creator –  Who is also its Savior.    Dying in  propitiatory sacrifice because of  these sins.

. . . . An act which offers the Hope that if we turn back to God, we will be given the power to overcome sin and intellectual darkness, and to reform ourselves.

 

Bar Cross in middle

*.   I write of the visitations of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito,  Ecuador.     That’s enough words to use in any Search engine if you’d like to know more about  the descriptions of our Age,  what’s going to happen,  what the remedies could be.

But I’ll write about it more later on too,  maybe in a month or two.