Archive for May 2016

LOOKING SCARY REALITY IN THE FACE!

May 31, 2016

Boooo!!

Bee Face

Welcome to Reality.  A real creature in the real world!    Actually, it’s  a common   little created being — but thank goodness we don’t see him face on,  every day!

Ready for the name of this creature?

bee me cartoon

That’s a cartoon.   The first picture is a photo of a bumble bee’s mouth,  head on.

An associated summary of the scientific research tells us that all those little hairs around the bumble bee’s mouth pick up electrical signals from a flower.   The flower was made so that it gives out electrical signals!     And the bee is created so that it can pick up those electrical signals!   The bee recognizes what the signals are telling him,  and he attaches himself to the beckoning signal!

Bee Flower

There he is.   He’s doing it!   A bee can get quite territorial about which of the flowers in your flower garden he wants.   If you’re another bee,  you’ll just have to . . .   follow the electronic signals of another flower.

Scientists wondered for years just what makes a specific, actual bee go to a specific, actual flower.

I never have.     I’ve never wondered.    I’ve just made friends (I hope)  with the big bumble bee that rumbles near my front door – looking for the right flower, I guess.   Sometimes he hovers in front of my face until I back away a little bit.

I’ve  never questioned just how they decide which is the right flower to buzz into.  but it did make me think:

 smelling  Everything that is created works together with everything else.  All creation has a defined role to play,  based upon its created qualities.  On a biological basis,  I’m told that my nose has little receptors for a certain molecule to lock into which starts a cascade of electro-chemical events working up my olfactory nerve,  into my brain,  where another series of events interpret that molecule for me as a certain “smell”!!

Even me, as a whole,   my “qualities”  and characteristics and inclinations and likes and dislikes were created along with me to be a part of me yo interface with the real world, so that as I make my decisions to  fulfill my own  life  I will best reflect back the glory and power of my own Creator.

So, just like the bee,  although we don’t know all the secrets of creation yet,   what we’re finding is always astonishing us  — how well everything was made to  work together,  right down to minute little electronic signals picked up by heretofore unknown receptors on a bee’s tiny hairs!

Yes,   looking right down into a bee’s mouth can be startling!    Reality can be “scary.”        And for some,  Reality points right to the irrefutable existence of our Creator —   and that is a reality that makes us scary small in this universe.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

bar blue fancy line

If you have a thoughtful moment,  here is the way someone far smarter than I am stated this same idea:

The story is told of the late Samuel Stehman Haldeman, the distinguished naturalist of the University of Pennsylvania and the founder of the Natural Academy of Sciences, that when asked by his friends what brought him to the threshold of the Church,  he would reply:  “Bugs!”

Then with good nature he answered their astonishment  by explaining that even the smallest insect that was contained in his cabinets possessed the organism necessary for its proper activities.  Head and members he always found working together as one body.

His science thus led him to expect that if a church – as the embodiment of religion – were really part of a divine plan and so had its place within the world, that church would  be equipped by the  Creator with the organization and means of action proper to it, as carefully, at least, as is the beetle he has studied.

What his hypothesis demanded,  Profesor Haldeman had  found realized in Catholic Christianity.

 

(A little note from me –  Professor Haldeman refers to   the Church itself and its place in this world, not to its individual members who may disregard that organization, and who contradict in their lives and words the teachings of that Church.   Criticize them,  judge them, if you will;    but not the organic, ordained organization of the Church to achieve its specific purpose for us.)

The author who quoted this story:   Charles Alfred Martin,  a young man who has been educated for  far longer and more intensely than most of us have been.

Author Charles Martin

 

bar blue fancy line

 

 

MEMORIAL DAY MAJESTY

May 30, 2016

Just want to put some Memorial Day thoughts up here.  I’ve done it the traditional way many times before – honoring my family members who have served in the Armed Forces.

This time I’ll get a bit . . . philosophical.

EAGLE

Prettiest picture I could find today.  The bald eagle.  Our national  emblem.   Our majestic bird.     Head bowed.  Claws folded.

Of course, that’s an anthropomorphism,  but sometimes it’s useful to see ourselves in others.        Part of “majesty”  is being humble enough to gratefully acknowledge things greater than ourselves.   We hope our nation, we hope our people, we hope we ourselves can aspire to majesty.

Certainly,  the honor and duty and self-sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors, and marines who have given their lives to defend our country are also part of the majesty that describes our great nation.   And all of us:  knowing what’s right and wrong;  doing our duty;   willing to work and to sacrifice for a higher cause — we all make this nation great.

And a big salute to you who salute our Fallen Heroes:

Bikers

I love these people who make up Rolling Thunder.    They’ve inspired me from their very beginnings in 1988.    They remind us to think of those who are Missing In Action, dead or alive,    as well as those who are known to be dead.

It was odd to comb the news sources yesterday and today and find only photos that show a few bikers at a time.   They’ve been arriving in Washington D.C.  all week!  And there are most likely more than a half million of them!   Their parade from the Pentagon building to downtown Washington D.C.   took more than four hours of solid bikes,  four across the lane, to complete.   That’s a huge number!

Their patriotism:  majestic.   Their dedication to our country:  majestic.        The honor given to our military:  majestic.    Their sheer numbers – representing all of us who can’t make it to our nation’s capital this year:  majestic.     Their manifest love for our country:  majestic.    They  are honest, decent citizens,  living normal, honest, decent lives:  majestic.

We can all  be that eagle.    Humbly acknowledging a  great country that is worth defending.

 

 

 

INCIDENTAL BEAUTY

May 26, 2016

A little break from my rants against barbarism.

I’ve written about this before.  Twice a year I go into the little village where I live and pay my insurance.   I could set the payments up to be paid automatically through the Internet.   I could go back to the traditional way and write a check and mail the payment in.

But there is something about maintaining a face to face relationship with your insurance agent who knows you by name, and asks about my latest travels and is interested in my grandson!     A personal touch.     I know lots about her now too.

Well,  and it’s an opportunity to  take some good advice:  “Take time to smell the roses .”   Or the purple flowers, in this case:

Falls walkway 378

Behind the row of little small-town businesses,  there is a back-alley type of parking lot.  On the other side of that parking lot is this walkway.  I noticed the lovely purple flowers and it made me think.

I knew this beautiful little river was there.

Falls to crop 400

I actually pulled out of my parking place,   then changed my mind,  pulled into another parking place, shut off the motor, and got out of the car.     It doesn’t matter if I’d be a few minutes late for . . .   whatever.

The Spring air smelled wonderful, all  perfumey with flowers and tree blossoms.  A slight breeze rustled through the leaves and  the tall grasses.    It felt gentle out there.   And it was beautiful with a natural, pure sort of beauty.

Falls lovely left 378

The little river has a series of rapids, all quite photogenic.

Worth the drive into town  and worth the time it takes to stop and breathe in some incidental beauty.

There is a book called “The Evidential Power of Beauty.”     I’m not a brute beast looking at this scene with indifference.    I am human being,   fully aware that this beauty is evidence of the Source of all beauty, and I’ve been created to recognize it.

Deo gratias.

 

 

SO. A MAN STANDS UP

May 26, 2016

A serious problem.   And no solution will be easy.

It’s a different culture. 

Men are tightly restricted in what they can do;  but the women are greatly disrespected;  mistreated as second class citizens.  We here in the West don’t really understand this.   It’s because we are, as GK Chesterton observed,  still living on the momentum of a Christendom which used to exist,  with  its higher moral  values and social protections  –  and that gives us the appearance of public civility,   at least for the present time.

I wrote about the need for us to stand up against barbarity of a militant culture which is currently advancing across the world.

Well, it’s not an easy task:

In Pakistan, today, it was reported that a group of “militant-islamic”  men were menacing some girls;  crowding around the girls;   “teasing” them, the report says.

One man,  one Christian man,  intervened and made them stop.  A few days later those boys came after that man and fought with him,  pushing him around.   The police were called – and . . .  and . . .  the man was arrested!

Not the Muslim boys.   The Christian man who had protected the girls and had just been attacked.

Someone had posted onto the Christian man’s Facebook page some words that were considered “blasphemous”   —  and someone just happened to “find” it — and so the police were arresting him for violating “blasphemy” laws.

Just an example.

To repeat:   A serious problem.   And no solution will be easy.

A 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL DIES (III) GOOD NEWS

May 25, 2016

(Who says “history”  isn’t interesting!!)

Well,  good news for you  in this third posting about the recent burning death of the little girl.   But the bad news is that the “good news”  happened a few centuries ago.

Everywhere the desert crescent-moon god  conquers, it’s accompanied by things like murder, burning, beheading,  crucifixions,  rapes, and slavery — as a policy of conquest.   You can read about new incidents every day.     They’re happening.

A thousand years ago, people of  three major  religions lived together in a peaceful arrangement in Jerusalem.   In Jerusalem!    They each had their section of the city and it worked.   Goods and information were traded back and forth.

A group of Christian men and women dedicated to taking care of the sick and wounded in the Holy Land built up hospitals in Jerusalem for residents and pilgrims.

kN HOSPITAL

They built hospices and hospitals all over.     Beautiful, clean,  open airy hospitals.   They came to be called The Hospitalers.   Otherwise known as the Knights of St. John.     They were dedicated to God and to the help of His poor and sick.   For two hundred years they did their work.

kn crusade map

This ended as  a militant variety of one of those three religions came and conquered the territory,  killing everyone off, taking over control of the city.   Although Christian Europe rose up in defense and created a safe “kingdom” in the area,  it was not organized or strong  or really very safe.

However, now once again pilgrimages were possible,  but not always safe, for the radical, militant conquerors threatened travelers.

 

And that didn’t last long, because another wave of militant conquering effort eradicated all Christian influence –  from their own Christian historic places.   No more pilgrimages!

(The equivalent outrage would be like IF Europe were to suddenly prevent all Muslims from visiting Mecca.    Terrible!  They have a right to visit their historic religious sites.    But so do Christians have a right to visit the land where Christ walked.)

The Knights of St John, the Hospitalers,   heard of the same things that we hear of today:  rapes and murders,  burnings and beheadings,  crucifixions,   enslavement,  forced conversions to the desert crescent moon god.

But they rose up and added to their work a second duty: the defense of Christian lands.

kn READY

First in Rhodes, then in Malta,  they kept guard.

kn only a few hundred

There were only a few hundred knights to guard Europe from this island outpost!   And less than two thousand other soldiers to help them in battle.

And one day . . .

kn came up that bay

 

. . .  one day  one hundred thousand militant islamic  soldiers sailed into this bay,  far outnumbering the Knights of St. John on the island of Malta.

100,000 men versus  about 2,000 Christian men.       One of history’s most dramatic, thrilling stories.

kn great enemy

This is Dragut,  the leader of the 100,000 —  legendary for cruelty, ruthlessness — and effectiveness.   I will not mention the name of the overall leader of this militant culture.  He is not “magnificent,”   unless you are trying to flatter him.

Now, you can find out how this story ended in books or on YouTube.  “The Siege of Malta.”   Or look up “The Knights of St. John.”      The weaponry alone is an  amazing story.

But  the whole era is good news –  good news because men rose up to defeat the advance of such a culture that was cruel and murderous at that time.   They heard of barbaric cruelty against innocent civilians — and they rose to act.

They knew about  babies born to Christian families were STOLEN from their parents;  then raised under severe spartan conditions; forcibly made to submit to that desert crescent moon god;    then trained to be the most violent and suicidal soldiers against the Christians. These are the  ghostly, ghastly  Janissaries you’ve read about in history books.

kn janissaries

The Christian men,  these knights,  understood that wave after wave of military advances needed to be stopped,  or all of Europe would descend into barbarism.

Here is a map of the advance of radical militant islam,  but the purple should be green:

MKn  Map Purple

They are aiming to fill in the rest of Europe with purple now.  They’re doing it first by the movement of vast numbers of their young men into European countries.   They’re doing it by using European laws – for a while.   They’re doing it by using the tools of socialism which promotes self-loathing among Europeans and Americans.     And they’re doing it,  they’re conquering,  by out-procreating the native Europeans.     They know it and they’ve spoken boldly about what they’re doing.  They mock and ridicule and insult their European “hosts.”

But they will also conquer by their former means when it is possible.

So this  “good news”  is that, once,  Christian men rose up to oppose a group dedicated to such cruelty.      Christendom reformed itself and rejected “cruel and unusual”  punishments.    The Church never allowed forced conversions — and condemned and excommunicated those who did, wherever possible.    (Do not expect “Christian kings”  or kings over christian nations to be restrained by the Church.   Some kings,  some governments,  were evil.   Don’t get distracted.)     

Good Christian men rose up,  once,  and halted the advance of the cruelest followers of the desert warrior crescent moon god.

We have work to do.    In my own country we can read of honor killings;    of acid being thrown in the faces of “disobedient”  wives;   of the commonly practiced  mutilation of female genitals;     of shootings and stabbings accompanied by the desert warrior cry stating their “god is greater.”

We have work to do.

We have learning to do.

Like,  “what do we really believe in?”

Anything worthwhile?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL DIES (II)

May 25, 2016

( A rant, of unanswered questions.)

In the last post I told you how this 12-year-old girl died.   And why.    You need to feel the impact of that story.     I don’t want to repeat it here in this post because I do;  I do feel the impact, even yet.

When I first read the story of the killing of this little girl,  I had some questions.    I wondered where is all the response?    Who is reacting to this story?  Where are the men who feel protective and want to rise up and avenge her death?

Where are the fists raised in defiance?

Where are the protestors?     Where,  at  least,   are the paid young demonstrators holding professionally made signs which they can’t explain?

Burning a little girl to death was barbaric and uncivilized.   Where are the civilized men who beat back barbarism and kept it at bay all these centuries?

Did God somehow invent a new type of human being that is guaranteed not to fall into barbarism?    Do good men now need to do nothing and civilization will just appear?

Or is our world at its end?

earth asteroid

Maybe we’re the same old human beings, fallen from grace,  full of sin and violence,  self-referencing in all our actions, in need of a Savior whom we cheerfully ignore. . .   and now in need of  a serious chastisement.

And maybe women are taught to act as though they were men;  and men act like women and  “get in touch with their feminine selves.”        And maybe children are not taught to respect and humbly  learn from those who have come before them;  their parents, for instance.

Maybe the enemies of Christianity have taught us to sneer at Christians:    “You’re supposed to luv everybody and turn the other cheek!”     

Even from  within Christianity,  her enemies say:   “Christians have military conquest in their history too!”     Or:    “We all worship the same God.”

And from without the Christian experience, placed as head of the US:  “Don’t get on your high horse.”

O presofus

And we cower and are afraid to respond.

And those who rise up to conquer in the name of a millennia-old desert warrior crescent moon god take notice.  

This week . . .  I have some examples.

 

And one more question, which perhaps should also be asked:     Are stories such as this little girls’  being suppressed?

Or stories like this?

burned-alive-12 yr old forgive them

Or stories like this poor man?

Our Own st thomas more

So many, many more . . . .

This happens every day,  by those who are on the march.    (That’s a military phrase, by the way;  not a literary metaphor.)

Good old news in the next post.

 

 

A 12-YEAR OLD GIRL DIES (I)

May 25, 2016

Here’s my involvement:

. 1.  Once I was a 12-year-old girl.  I know what it’s like to be a girl with her whole life ahead of her.

.2  I worked my way through college, four years, in a hospital.   Pediatrics.   We were very understaffed.  Sometimes it was only an RN and myself for 30 – 40  young patients.  If it became life-threatening, of course they’d send over another person;  a “floater”  who could do some of the routine things.  I got to learn a lot of medical procedure in those days.

One summer evening  there was a terrible accident on a lake shore.   Parents had tucked  their children into their sleeping bags;  hung  the kerosene lantern up high, out of reach;  and when the two children were sound asleep,  the parents left to go out for a short rowboat ride,  staying close to shore.

Not close enough.   Somehow the tent caught on fire and the parents couldn’t get there in time.  The 12-year-old girl and her 4-year-old little brother were rushed to the hospital,  to us.  

I saw them when I came in on my next shift.  They shared a hospital room.    They were burned pretty badly, but at this stage their burned skin was only pink.  The blackened skin had been scraped off, but even the pink skin was dying.   They had to be scraped down every few hours, and a silver nitrate solution poured over the open skin.

Many nerves had been killed, so they  felt horrifying pain only while the scraping was going on.   Brother and sister even talked to each other.   I don’t think they realized how seriously they were burned.

One day,  the little boy was talking to his sister, his sister answered,  but the little boy didn’t answer back.   He died – just like that.    Shock, they said.     The sister did not die,  but . . . .

I was young.  19 years old, I think.   I was in shock too, and I’ve never forgotten this event

. 3.  (of my involvement)   I am a Christian,  and here’s what happened last week to a fellow Christian, a sister in Christ:

Radical-Islamists in the Middle East have stated they want to wipe out all Christians who live in their territory.    Their words,  not mine.    Spoken fairly frequently.    Those who haven’t been exterminated yet are, for now,  paying a very, very high tax.  Ruinously high – unless they convert to Islam.

It’s called the Jaziyah, in case you aren’t familiar with that term or that concept.   Many Christians can’t afford to keep their homes or their businesses.

And one family  missed a payment.   They didn’t pay on time.

So their house was set on  fire with the family inside.     The mother and her 12-year-old daughter escaped out of their burning house and were taken to a medical center.

Now I have seen a 12-year-old girl who has been badly  burned, lying in a hospital bed,  quite close to death, and yet able to talk a little.   I can imagine . . .   this one.    She was about to die;  she wasn’t going to make it.

She  was a devout Christian.    She spoke a little to her mother.   And  “with her dying breath”   she spoke her last two words:

    (“Forgive them.”)

A Christian who is devoted to his Lord will say The Lord’s Prayer daily;  or twice or three times or more daily.    “. . . And forgive us our trespasses   as   we forgive those who trespass against us.”

I think this little girl in the Middle East got it.

Have  any Americans heard about this incident on their entertainment-news media?   Because it’s important.   Because it’s emblematic.     That is,  it’s a signal event, a symbol,  of what is happening   in general,  commonly.     It illustrates the dangers that Christians face all over the Middle East;  It illustrates the brutality of those who are intent on conquering the known world.

They are on the move again.

Which brings me to a question and to the next post . . . .

 

Bar Cross in middle

 

Many sources have carried this story:

One here.

Another here.

Another here.

There’s more, but it’s not necessary to dwell on this story.    Oddly – or horrifyingly – enough,  there are worse stories out there about what the Radical-Islamists are doing to Christians.

But I can’t let my imagination start going to “dipping Christians in acid.”

Et cetera.

 

AN UNGENTLE SPRING

May 23, 2016

Spring might be nice where you are,  but here in The Spruce Tunnel,  it is proceeding with much difficulty and many demands.   Only a few more weeks of Spring left.   

What I’m doing here tonight is “backing up” into my own domestic affairs before I take on some  horrendous current issues.   I’m  pausing to take a deep breath, so to speak.  One last look at the home front before I do some serious Reporting Duty.

It’s beautiful, of course;   Spring things:

SAMSUNG

It’s just another . . .  tree.  Or maybe bush.    In full spring bloom.  I walk by  it three times a week on my way into the church office.   It reminds me to be aware of all the other trees and bushes that are flowering now,  each in its own time.  One week the whites;  next few days the pinks come out;  then those bright yellow bushes;  then the purples and the deep purples.  Lilacs are in bloom now too.

I’m not much of a botanist.

But this year –  in  addition to the “spring”  garage sale which took so much effort and strength these last two weeks;  in addition to all the repairmen who’ve had to come to the house (four? in the last week?);  in addition to “spring weather”  toppling trees onto our power lines, so that we’ve had three power outages in the last eight days;  in addition to mowing a thick, enthusiastic lawn – frequently ! – making the lawn mower seem extra heavy;   in addition to an abundance of hearty weeds that are on the attack;  and in addition to my bi-annual spring septic tank maintenance which requires shovel and muscles (only one of which I have enough of) . .  .  in addition to all that,  I get THIS:

Yellow rain

Yellow Rain!     It’s coming from the trees above and landing on my cars that have to be parked out in the driveway, temporarily.   I’m not even going to flatter those overhanging trees with their dainty spring-green leaves  looking so pretty by posting a photo of them.  You’d think they were, oh, so nice with fresh young leaves. . . .

But during these two weeks they’ve been dripping yellowish something on every object down below.

Yellow side view

Can’t see out of that windshield unless I scrub it first.

Yellow blue car top

That’s the roof of the blue car, also thickly coated.

So to weeding and shoveling and mowing,  add washing two cars.

Only a few more weeks of Spring left.   

Then comes my least favorite season of the year.

A BIRTHDAY & A SAINT ALMOST MURDERED

May 22, 2016

The birthday celebration table:

BDay  Tab;e sr

Steaks.  Salads.   Presents.  Card.   Cake.   (  . . . and a big arm waiting.)      It’s fun putting on a birthday spread, especially for someone very important!

It was Son’s birthday this weekend.    (Oh, yes – the whole weekend;  three-day weekend, as a matter of fact.   Since his profession requires him to work some weekends, and since  so many people wanted a piece of him on his birthday the celebrations will take  three days. )

Which brings me to my point:  so many hours worked!   So many people to see!    Oh,  Son is not complaining,   but I do observe  people who have busy-busy lives.  I once had an impossibly busy life too.

Has time speeded up or are we trying to cram more into our days?

Or are we trying to avoid facing the deeper issues of Life by activity?

Or all of the above?

But this question is nothing new . . .

Complicated

Human life has long been busy and complicated with great challenges and no easy answers.     Many times everyday life prevents us from sorting out Good and Bad;  Right and Wrong;    Duty;   Virtue;  our relationship to God and each other.    We are distracted, willingly or not willingly,  from the serious issues of Life.

Son is an intelligent person, and sometimes he perceives this dilemma too.

Appropriately,   the saint we remember on the day of Son’s birthday is a man named St.  Hospitius.   (“hoss – pish – us”)      He left the high (and complex, busy) culture of Egypt, sometime after the fall of the Roman Empire, in order to find a quiet  place to understand the meaning of life and to work out his relationship with God.

He traveled to the less populated regions of Gaul,  what we’d call France,  today.    He needed time to think and to figure things out.   He chose to live in the ruins of an old tower where he hoped to see not very many people.      Peace and quiet and freedom.

st h and tower ruins

He had quiet time alone, away from people;  time to think, to learn, and to pray.      He knew this much:  that he was certainly a sinner before God, and he wished to atone for his sins,  to do penance,  and to develop a deep friendship with  his Savior.

And as often happens:  we seek,  heaven rewards.     St.  Hospitius was eventually rewarded with wisdom and understanding,  and the power to prophesy and to work miracles.  Once he warned the villagers around him that they had better flee,  because the fierce tribe of Lombards were on their way to attack, pillage, and destroy.

They left,  but he didn’t.   A small group of barbarian Lombard soldiers found him and saw the chains that he usually wore around his waist, to remind him of what a great sinner he was.   The soldiers thought he was some kind of criminal.

He agreed with them!     Yes!  In the eyes of God I am a criminal.    A great sinner.”   So since he was a self-admitted “bad guy” and an obvious outcast,  they were free to kill him.

Stospitius in chains

A soldier raised his sword to strike,   but the soldier’s arm became paralyzed.   St.  Hospitius made the sign of the cross over him —  the soldier’s arm became “un-paralyzed”   — and the soldier realized this is a holy man of God, and soon converted to Christianity, along with his (military)  friends.

His life is over now.   He died in 581 A.D.      But the relentless demands of busy, everyday life is still with us, as well as the serious need to sort out  Life and Death issues and make our peace with our Creator before we die.

St.  Hospitius is in Eternity right now.    Our Eternity is still before us.  It’s coming.

 

THE POWER OF THE TRINITY

May 22, 2016

The  Liturgical Calendar has recently brought us through some of the most powerful events that affect Mankind:  The mighty Power of the Resurrection,  bringing Life from out  of death.   The incomprehensible Power manifested by the Son of God rising into another dimension.    The   Power  of the Divine Force pulsing down  into the inner being of humans.

And today is for the doctrine of the Triune God,  evidencing the Power of Revelation,  for Mankind’s finite mind could not have conceived of this mystery on his own.

Power.  Power.   Power.     One God of Power and Might.   Power to Love and to give  Life,  Power of Creation,   Power to permeate all of Creation.

So today, for Trinity Sunday,   I present here a meditation, written many centuries ago,   which will richly reward a thoughtful mind and feed the spirit in you.

If you’ve not had an encounter with Christ, the Son of God,  this may help you understand those who have.     It becomes for some of us . .  .  a prayer;   a prayer that connects us to the Power of the Trinity.

ST. PATRICK’S LORICA

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

 

TWO-BY-FOUR ICE CREAM

May 18, 2016

Life doesn’t make too much sense when you’re four years old.

My Skirt

But you do the best you can,  try to figure things out,  and experiment with the delightful new words you’re learning.

Adults do “random things”  – and only rarely explain why.

“Put your toys down and come over here.”

“Stand by that wall.”

“Show us your pretty skirt.”

“Now, smile.”

Hmmmmm.    Okay.     I actually remember the day that this photo was taken.   My Daddy and Mommy seemed quite pleased for some reason.    I think they liked using a camera.

We lived with my Grandma and Grandpa at the time.   ( I had no clue we were “poor.”)   And there were adults of all kinds running around the house carrying long pieces of wood and tools, running up and down stairs;  hammering, sawing, stomping around.

Grandma was in a tizzy.     Come to think of it,  all the adults were.    “Words” were spoken.   It seemed like not everyone agreed upon everything.    Probably too many strange men running around the house, making noise — and sawdust.

So one day Grandma took me by the hand and said,  “Come on,  let’s take a walk.”

ice cream .j

Hmmmmm.   Okay.    She walked us right to the ice cream store a few blocks away.   Then she and the nice man who owned the store asked me right out:  “What kind of ice cream do you want?”

They were asking my opinion!         Such a grown-up privilege!!!

 

beaver board

So, using my best grown-up voice, and my newly learned grown-up words, I replied:  “I want some two-by-four ice cream!” 

There!   That ought to get me something important!  My choice seemed to make all the grown-ups in the store very merry.

(I remember that day as well.   And years later when I visited the town where my Grandma lived,   apparently so  did others who lived there,  who often reminded me of my trip to the ice cream store.)

As a teenager,  that was a little embarrassing,  but now it’s not.    I was just not used to  all the ways that one can use “two-by-four” in a sentence.

There’s a point here, for us “grown-ups” today.  The world is complex enough and changing enough to still challenge us to “figure things out.”    All of Creation is so huge and wondrous that we can still be amazed at what we encounter.    (Even if it’s only on the Discovery Channel – or photo books –  or YouTube videos – but I recommend actually traveling and, if not,   reading.)

And so are human beings complex and marvelous . . .  and society . . .  and all the ways we can study human beings   . . .   like  character formation,  like virtues,   like civics,  like morality, and like the fascinating truth that our problems are not “political”  but rather they are spiritual.

So we’d better have the Vocabulary to deal with Life.

Remember all my posts that started with the word “Word” ?   Well,  here’s  another word:

INTRINSIC.

That’s one we’d better know.

“Intrinsic”  –   the qualities that are internal to an object or to a concept or to an act by reason of its very existence.   Or:   the properties which are natural to a thing,  which are always present in the thing,  and which help us to recognize the thing.

That’s not from a dictionary,  but I think I know how to use that word now.    There are certain things that are characteristic of an object, a concept, or an act that are always present because of what it is.

Let’s take a negative example:     stealing.     Stealing is taking from another what belongs to him.   As such, it is an intrinsically evil act.    Because of what stealing is,  it will always be an evil under every circumstance.    (It’s a violation of the Seventh Commandment, as originally numbered,  and it’s a violation of the laws protecting the right to own private property in a secular nation, like ours.)

I’ll probably be using  the word “intrinsic”  in subsequent posts,  but for right now, an example from history:

Robin Hood was a thief.

Robin Hood

You can portray him as a handsome actor,  a romantic lover,  a cartoon,  a hero;  but in the end,  you can’t make ice cream out of two-by-fours,   and you can’t change the intrinsic evil of what he did.

Robin Hood was a thief.

 

WHEN IT’S “UNEXPECTED”

May 17, 2016

 

(I write this post to commiserate with all of you who will some day,  probably,  have a week like this.)
The “lesson”  at the end of this posting is that we were created to be Self-Healing.  We can get through anything,  get knocked around a bit,  and then get up again.    Proof is:  I’m still standing.

 
I think I crammed a year’s worth of unexpected challenges into this one last week.

It was . . .

exclam 25 x 30. . . Unexpected that I would feel so “inadequate”  about holding a garage sale by myself.    (stress)    Usually I’m pretty plucky.    I made a mess of the house digging out all salable items . . .  then I wondered  “now what?”   (stress)     Thanks to Son’s help and his seemingly limitless muscle power,  the garage took shape;  I filled in the blanks;  and soon it began to look like a garage sale around here.
exclam 25 x 30Unexpected that a nice weekend in May would give us winter weather  for the garage sale!    Dark, gloomy skies,  strong cold winds,  and even a  little freezing rain, hail and a light dusting of snow.    One customer said: “Well,  winter is coming a little early this year.”    Trite.    But everyone was on board with him.   Well, it got up  into the forties that day.   That high.
exclam 25 x 30Unexpected to feel soooooo  exhausted on the second day.    Where’d that come from?

exclam 25 x 30    Unexpected to have a power outage on Sunday right towards the end of NASCAR!!!    Thanks to my young friend,  we were able to watch the end of the race on her cell phone.    I didn’t expect to start the generator a few hours later with her help, and  with no problem — and we certainly didn’t expect the power to turn back on before we even plugged   the first cord into the generator!

exclam 25 x 30Unexpected to BREAK my toilet on Sunday.    Ugh.

exclam 25 x 30Unexpected to need a car repair on Monday — but pleasantly unexpected that all it was was a cracked gas tank cap.    Did I do that?

exclam 25 x 30  Unexpected to discover that my water softener was not working.   How often does that happen?   Now?     This week?   Really?

exclam 25 x 30  It was totally unexpected to hurt my leg – a lot –  in the big store where I purchased my new toilet today.   My shin is now sporting an under-the-skin,  plum-like bump.     A person just doesn’t anticipate that an injury is going to sideline him for a while.
exclam 25 x 30   And – unexpectedly –  I actually purchased a new cell phone today.   Making conversation,  the nice young lady behind the counter asked me “And what do you have now?  A Samsung 6?”    “Nope,  I said.  I have a Samsung Nothing –  the first one they came out with.”       (I was really ready for a new one.    If I ever get that slow, they’re going to trade me in for a new one too.)
exclam 25 x 30   Unexpected  email from  a friend newly returned from her desert southwest winter home —  That was a nice one.      (I’ll have to get walking again soon for our visit.)     Sorry about the wintry welcome, my friend.
exclam 25 x 30   Unexpected desperate-sounding  text from my sister in Florida who is drowning in all the rain down there,   What ever happened to Sunny Florida?
Well,  I didn’t plan a week like this.      There’s more, but . . . .

As I said,  I’m still standing.    (With a temporary limp.)   All my bruised expectations for a smooth week will heal up.

Bar Cross in middle
We were made with self-healing bodies ,   if    we give our bodies the right ingredients to use.   (You know,  the right biologicals:  plants,  herbs,  nutrients, vitamins, minerals,  etc.   Plants   and   meats, that is.)

And we have self-healing minds:  we can fix our own stupidity and ignorance; no one else can;  we can fix our emotional  problems without pharmaceutical crutches;  we can fix our attitudes with self-control;  we can fix bad habits with our wills;  we can repair our broken hearts and our loneliness by  loving others.

And, in a way, we have self-healing spirits.    With our willing acceptance of Grace from heaven,   our willing cooperation,  that which is most fundamentally wrong with us . . .  can be healed.    We can be co-redeemers with our Redeemer.

The power comes from the Cross.

Deo gratias.

A BRIEF 99TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY REMEMBRANCE

May 13, 2016

It’s  99 years after,   which means it happened in the recent modern past.

It’s a remembrance because it still has significance for us and is therefore important – (nay,  vital)  to remember.   Life is like that – full of anniversaries and milestones,  some with personal importance,  some with  significance of universal application.

It’s brief because I’m currently pretty overwhelmed with daily schedules, with matters of health,   family thoughts,   and the added duties of holding a garage sale – which I’ve never done by myself before, and although I severely doubted my ability,  this first day turned out pretty good.    But exhausting.

It’s   99th anniversary, which means it happened in 1917,  and  next year will be a  hundred-year span of time which is an interval which  reminds  us to assess how we’ve done, whether we’ve heeded the Warnings,  and what happens next.   The hundred years will be up.

F tree

The Holm Oak Tree

So,    “It”    is the 99th anniversary of the first of the messages given to us through three little children in Portugal, during the height of the horrendous War To End All Wars.

Did you know we had one of those?  A War To End All Wars?

This war was also called World War One.

We thought we were too smart, too advanced,  to technologically brilliant to have a war like this.     The messages we remember have a lot to do with wars – of all kinds.

We’ll deal with these in just a little while here.

 

 

LESSONS IN SMALL WONDERS

May 10, 2016

(continuing adventures in Indiana)

Wonder is the happy astonishment at what comes before you, either an occurrence, a sight,  a word.
It is happy because it increases  intellectual pleasure of a new insight  and at the same time it’s  delightful to the senses.
It is an astonishment because it came to you through no effort of your own.   It’s a bit humbling.      It came from some place higher,  a Higher Power, a Higher Force, a Higher Person, and it was gifted to you because Goodness and Good Pleasures draw you to Him.
    Therefore, wonderment is an act of Love from your God to attract you to Him – and as such,  a created being responds with humility, awe, love, and gratitude.
I’m writing about “Small”  Wonders,  because Our Lord God said:  Unless you become as a little child,  you won’t see . . .  (see the Kingdom of Heaven,  now and forever.)    You must have in you a childlike openness to Wonder.
Wonderment is available to all ages, races, material circumstances, conditions,  and geographical locations!     All you have to be is a created human being.

Ch Museum outdside

Four-Storied Children’s Museum

I could tell you about all  our adventures at the Terre Haute, Indiana,  Children’s Museum,  but you, like me,  have probably seen children’s museums:    “been there, done that.”     I went because Cooper, my grandson,  wanted to go  (and so did his Daddy, actually).    I confess  I was prepared to be  slightly bored.

But I have some photos –   and after pondering them in The Spruce Tunnel for a while,  they became  lessons to myself.

SAMSUNG

There were stars to learn about, of course.  The picture on the back wall of the display is easily recognizable as Ursa Major – you can see it every clear night – and only in the Northern Hemisphere!      But the bigger white dots are a representation of the stars as they actually exist in space, relative to each other.

So – from another perspective,  say if our space ship were coming in from a different angle,  it wouldn’t be a big bear (or a Big Dipper)  at all!

Nor would it have entered our minds to even think about grouping these stars together to make a picture of a familiar (earthly) object.

The Ancients knew,  the Greeks scientists knew,  the  Church philosophers knew,  they all knew that Mankind is only a small speck within a vast cosmos.   And they wondered at it!   Humans have dignity and infinite value only because God made us and cares for us.  And that’s a wonder too.

As a corollary:     It is another kind of wonder that Modern Man thinks he is the sum and summit of knowledge and importance;  and so much so that his reasoning must be separated from Faith and his attempts at science must be separated from the vast scientific learning of the Church.  

Ch Museum weather report
The museum had a Weather Station –  fun for me and Cooper,  except I love thunder and he doesn’t.     There was a television “studio” there where you could sit behind the desk and be televised as you give the weather report.

I refused.   I realized how “shy”  I still am.   Cooper refused.   He’s shy too.    What a happy little astonishment  to realize how alike we are — and how our traits and characteristics are passed down into our grandchildren — and how MUCH we love them for it, for being familiar to us.

Did you know that when God looks down on this planet,  He looks for and recognizes those humans who are like Him, and who are becoming more and more like Him?    He is Holy and Good, and only those who are like Him can survive  (can exist)  in Heaven where He is.

SAMSUNG

Cooper and I share a fascination with music too;  or maybe it’s more a sensitivity to sounds.  Like his Mommy too.

They say the universe vibrates with energy and sounds.   The Music of the Spheres, the Ancient Greeks used to call it.   Everything reverberates with energy, within and without, making beautiful sounds which we can only hear a small range of.  Harmonious vibrations because they all have one Source.

If you’re “small”   —

SAMSUNG

—  you can put yourself into a giant soap bubble and wonder how it happens.   Fun for little ones.   But interesting for “big ones”  when you think about all the forces that hold things together:  surface tension of the soap bubble;   gravity;   strong and weak atomic forces;  gluons;    . . .   and the ongoing will of God to keep it all together – for now.

I don’t.   We don’t.  No one knows how to “keep it all together.”   I live!   But I am not the One keeping my self alive!   Astonishing!

Okay.  Fewer words.

SAMSUNG

Little boys love big . . .   things.  Vehicles and such.    Machines.

SAMSUNG

If your heart stays  “small”  you need to try things out.  Get involved.     I had a turn in some of the farm machinery.  I sat in a huge … farm thing, and through the window was a display set up so you could see what a farmer would see if he were out working in that machine.

It was fun.    I was astonished at how much work there is to bringing our food to us.   The whole process of tiny little seeds growing into tall plants –  parts of which we can eat!   And we must eat food from plants!  

I’m reminded too about how much space it takes to grow our food —  and I remember observing how very much “space”  our country has.    It is astonishingly EMPTY of people and towns and cities!

It is we who turn our backs on all this wonderful open space and choose to live in costly, crowded city situations.   There is so much space available for us, but we think we don’t want it.       A small two-acre plot with a nice house costs a half or a third or even a quarter of a dwelling place in our cities!     Astonishing what is available for us – if we avail ourselves of it!

I’m going to eliminate, oh, about twenty other photos and get to this fun adventure in the museum.

SAMSUNG

Little Blur

See that little blur?

SAMSUNG

Big Blur

How about the big blur!

The blurs were Cooper and Daddy, and it’s called Run With An Animal.   And see if you can run faster than that animal!!!

SAMSUNG

That’s the Display Screen.   You touch the planet earth . . .

SAMSUNG

. . . .then you choose a continent.  Then you choose your animal.

The animal (and you) begin to run when you press a button — and the squares on the floor light up as the animal is “running.”

SAMSUNG

There he goes!   He’s beating that one!    I think Cooper got smart and picked a turtle that time,  but I can assure you,  he and his Daddy could not beat most of the animals they picked.

Animals  are astonishingly – fast!

Animal life is not like our life.   There really is a “jungle out there”!!

Here is my standard advice to all my classes:   Go to the public library  (or buy books if you have to) — and see all the picture books,  the photographic books,  the science books about . . .   pick a topic:  Animals of the World.    All the Birds of the World.  All the Flowers of the World.    Alpine Flowers.   Desert Flowers.   Flowers Mankind Never Sees.   Ocean Life.  Microscopic life.    Stars.  Mountains.   Rivers and Seas.   Forests.  

Then don’t let anyone disturb you.   Be a child, with that book.    Be amazed.   Be astonished.   Be very, very small.   Be humble . . .  and grateful that you got a glimpse of this vast Creation!

I don’t think I want to stop.      So  I think I’ll go and grab a book now.

HAZARD DAYS OF MAY

May 8, 2016

(Last year it was flowers for every day in May;  this year has taken a more “hazardous”  turn.)

I’m beginning to hope this month goes by quickly.     There’s been death and dangers in varying degrees of  seriousness frequently – already this month!    Tomorrow is the first day of a new week.    I intend to make it a normal week.  (As if I had anything to do with it.)

Of course the death of a family member gets people thinking about . . .   well,  death.   (Two posts ago  — May Days Become “Personal”)

As some of you know,  Son is  a pharmacist,  an occupation  which is known to be so stressful that “heart attacks at a young age”  is an occupational hazard.   Pharmacists are crushed between red tape of government bureaucrats;   ever-changing, never-helpful corporate policies;  as well as insurance companies’ labyrinthine rules;  and many times a day they’re confronted by cranky customers who have only the pharmacist standing in front of them for the target of their wrath.     *

Sometimes the wrath is truly deadly, as happened to a friend of my Son, who had the pharmacy just a little down the road.     The pharmacist was a young man,  husband, and father — murdered.         It happens.   

I sometimes think pharmacists should receive Hazard pay.

Sometimes the “hazard” takes an almost humorous turn.

 

Drive thru pharmacy

When Hubbie and I first visited  Son’s new pharmacy,  we hoped no one would take that sign seriously.   At least, don’t “Drive Thru”  right there.      But someone almost did a few days ago.   Brakes didn’t work.    The gas pedal did.

Bent column

Not too much damage to the outside of the wall,  but it made a mess inside.   Bent out one of the supporting columns.

No one hurt.   That time.

More has happened to Son this week, something that could have been a lot worse if not caught in time,  but he’ll be fine (I think) –   it’s more a mother’s lingering worry now.

However – Son and I do have a project going on over here that should remind us all that danger can lurk – even in our own homes.    (No photos),  but my front yard and driveway look like a tornado hit us.  The house is still standing,  but the contents of the garage are spread out all over – outside of the garage.

See,  we’re having a garage sale soon.  My first one ever,  by myself.    So Son emptied out the garage, removing things that hadn’t been seen in three decades!    We found “occupants”  of the eight-legged variety.   Bad enough!   (no photos – ick ick ick))    But Son identified one as a possible  brown recluse.   Or close enough.    Bug bombs, sprays,  hoses and brooms later,  we are reasonably sure the garage is reasonably safe.

But it makes you think.   It was a brown recluse which nearly took off the leg of Billy Graham several years ago.

And then there’s tonight’s  “hazard.”    I did it to myself.    If I ever have snacks,  like during a good NASCAR race for instance?   like tonight . . .   it would be nuts and seeds and dried berry things.    I tried a new variety tonight.  One known to be healthful.   Bitter,  but healthful.

SAMSUNG

Well, here’s a photo,  but there won’t be a label — wouldn’t want you to “try this at home.”

I mixed a generous handful in with my trail mix type of snack.

Felt something.

Read the instructions on the container.

Discovered I’m supposed to be very cautious.

“Take one ( ONE ) piece in the first hour.”

“No more than three per hour after that.”

Now I had to figure out what to do with that “generous handful” working away in my stomach.   I had some options,  but none seemed too attractive.      My head did feel a little funny.   Was I dizzy?  Was I getting faint?    There could be a dozen other reasons for that.  Was that a stomach ache developing?  Something in my back?   Oh, yes… there was  a lumpy sort of sore spot deep in my back . . .  .

Or maybe I was just panicking.   Not thinking too clearly,  I wrote a text to Son saying “I just did something silly.   I’m going to wait a couple hours and text you again at 10:00.   If I text you, everything is all right.”

I couldn’t decide if the text itself was silly,  so I thought I’d wait before I send it.   After all, NASCAR was on.    I drank a lot of water and iced tea.   I ate anything I could think of with a lot of fiber to soak up the . . .  uh . .  overdose.    I even made some oatmeal –  yuck –   not a good snack.    I had some Bolognese sauce simmering on the stove for tomorrow’s dinner.  I ate some of that too.

I’m glad I didn’t get around to sending that text.   The race was so good that I didn’t notice when 10:00 came and went.     My head began to clear up. but now  my stomach doesn’t feel so good.   I’ll probably be too sick to go to church in the morning.

bear seeing you

“Hazards” – lurking nearby

We all are going to face hazards of varying degrees of seriousness.   Life itself is a “terminal condition.”      We’re on a journey,  but we’re not exactly walking on a Red Carpet.

Hazards are everywhere!     Sometimes close to home.    Sometimes lurking, unbidden.

Sometimes self-inflicted.      Like  trying out some new snack food.

Who  ever would think that “food”  comes with “instructions”?

 

________________________________________

.*       Be kind to your pharmacist.    He’s usually not the cause of long waits,  denials,  and confusions.       The Spruce Tunnel has some suggestions:    “How To Talk to Your Pharmacist.”

 

MAY – DAYS OF SAD AUF WIEDERSEHENs

May 5, 2016

From the last posting . . . a fond  Auf wiedersehen to my aunt.

May is not only a month of interesting celebrations but also of sad partings.   There will be others dying in this month   too.     Do you say a hopeless good-bye to them?   A doubt-filled good-bye?      A frightening good-bye, knowing it might be you,  next,  this month?

Will someone be saying a sad auf Wiedersehen to you?   Will you be saying  auf Wiedersehen    from a hospital bed?  from the middle of a car wreck?     . . .

Realistic;    realistic and sad,   but not necessarily gloomy;  not if you can say it and mean it:  “auf Wiedersehen:  good-bye until we meet again.”       For a follower of Christ,  auf Wiedersehen is only good-bye for a while.

This year,  today,  May 5th,  we remember the Ascension of Jesus;  ascending away from this planet,   and “up” into Heaven.   For a while.    Until He sees us again. . . .

SAMSUNG

Second Person of the Trinity-One God.   The  Son.

He came to teach and He came to die for us,  creating the only possible Peace between us and our Creator.     Our only hope.      The only Name given by Heaven . . . .

He had the power to give up His life and to take it up again.   And after  that resurrection,  He had the power to return to Heaven,  which He did:

SAMSUNG

Jesus is teaching,  teaching,  teaching, last minute instructions, and then He began to go Home . . .    This would be from His point of view as He rose, still looking  at his people down there.

Way down there . . .

SAMSUNG

He is moving upwards, into the clouds, where a cloud obscured . . .  Him.

I don’t know how this can be,  but I know some Beings nearby said He’d come back in this same manner.    I don’t know what that means either,   but His friends are sad to see Him go:

SAMSUNG

“Sad though you are,  I won’t leave you orphans.  I won’t leave you comfortless.   Go back to Jerusalem and wait.  Pray and wait.”

Wait for something.    Pray, as you experience this puzzling loss.   Nine days.   A novena.   and you will see. . .

Meanwhile,  “Auf Wiedersehen!”

 

Bar Cross in middle

 

Oh,  P.S.  –    If you’d like to see the whole story or the credits for these photos,  you can go to YouTube and Search for  “The Gospel of Luke  (rare movie)   —   It is a good, faithful telling of the story of Jesus, for the beginner and also for one who loves Him.

MAY DAYS – BECOME PERSONAL

May 5, 2016

So many special days in May!    Here is a personal one:

May 3rd,  my aunt’s birthday.   May 3rd,  my aunt’s wedding anniversary.  And now,  just a few days ago, May 3rd,  my aunt’s death.      One aunt;  one date.

My Aunt Marcy:

SAMSUNG

That would be my uncle and my aunt, on the left.     (Dad, Mom, and me on the right.)

Aunt Marcy was a beautiful woman,  I think  she  (and my Mom)  could  be called glamorous, the way beautiful movie stars set the standard in those days.    Always well dressed,  well groomed,  ladylike,  gracious, efficient,  kind, friendly,  and above all,  good.

Aunt Marcy was like that, in person and in all  her photos.   I can tell you from observation that both ladies were a civilizing influence on their husbands.  Not that that was an easy task,  but I and my cousins are better off for it.   Civilized behavior and high moral standards –  which I suppose are two ways of saying the same thing.

Aunt Marcy was 90 years old, exactly, as it turns out.    She will be missed by her family —

—  and she and her kind will be sorely missed by our culture,  unless we step up and take their place.

I thank God for her life and for her example.    Condolences to my cousins and their children.

Deo gratias.       And Requiescat in Pace.

 

Bar Cross in middle

 

 

 

 

 

MAY THE 4TH. BE WITH YOU.

May 4, 2016

….  and other May Timing.

(May the Fourth be with you;    and of course, a greeting like that from me would mean the Force that is that inexorable and constant force of Grace from your Creator,  calling us all back to Him, and to a life lived well, in His will, and with the help of His Grace.)

But I like Star Was too.

May is a month of many significant occurrences.    Let’s see if I can do them in order.

May First is the day Christendom remembers St. Joseph,  the foster father of Jesus,  spouse of Mary, who watched over the Holy Family,  guiding them through danger  and   providing for them.   It is necessary for a (Jewish) father to train his sons in some skill so that they can make a living and in turn provide for their own families.

Hence, we can say that Jesus, too, was a carpenter,  as St. Joseph was.   (a  “technon”  in Greek:  a builder, a general contractor, perhaps, as well as carpentry skills.)   Joseph’s trade skills and his labors are part and parcel of his dignity.   Our work, our labors, our jobs,  give us pride and dignity.   ( If you have a job,  you are not being “oppressed.”)

And so on May First we honor the dignity of workers through the example of St. Joseph.  It is said of Joseph that he was a Just man.   Learn from him,  learn fatherly skills from him; learn to respect the man in your house,  the father of your children, the head of your household.

May the First is also the world’s celebration of  burdensome and murderous  forms of governments that oppress “Workers”   by using and ruling over the Working Class.  A celebration that is sometimes called “May Day,”   and ironic cry for help.

May 2nd is the day we celebrate the life of St. Athanasius,  who fought tirelessly for the Truth of Church teachings,   in spite of almost universal opposition, several exiles,  excommunications from weak Church leaders. . .  and still he persisted –for the sake of succeeding generations.

May 3rd we celebrate the Finding of the True Cross – an interesting event, but hardly recognized as significant in today’s busy, distracted, and skeptical  world. (and, no,  the Emperor Constantine was not quite a Christian at this time, and he did NOT force the Roman world to become Christian, nor did he change Church teachings by mixing them with pagan religions.  If you want to refute “history,”   start there.)

May the Fourth . . .  is fun.   But it is also deadly serious for me, personally.   Today is the day we remember St. Monica.    Mother of unceasing prayers and tears.   Mother of Augustine,  saint eventually.    For those of you who know me,  enough said.

Yes, each day in May has some significance.   The whole month is the Month of Mary.    Dedicated to her and her attractive attributes.     Last year I did a series of  flowers, one for each day for her,  each one exemplifying a lovely attribute of the Mother of Jesus.   When the series was over,  I discovered a month was not long enough.   If you’d like to be charmed by some loveliness,  you can check out the archives:  2015, May.

We have Mother’s Day this month.   I hope some sentimental tears are shed by sons and daughters.

There are several birthdays in my  immediate family.

May 13th will be the next really huge Remembrance.    It may have utmost significance for our world.   This year is the 99th anniversary of a strange and important visitation from Heavenly beings to the three children in Fatima, Portugal.   These “beings”  were St. Michael,  the head of the Armies of Heaven who fight against the enemies of God;  Mary,  herself, with most important information;  and then a glimpse of Jesus and of St. Joseph.

99 years ago.    Next year will be 100, a significant and common grouping of years marked out by humans to signify a discreet and identifiable period of time.    Instructions were given 99 years ago.  Prophecies were made.   Proofs were given, witnessed in the end by 70,000 people,  photographed, and not all in the immediate vicinity.   And then Warnings were given if instructions weren’t carried out, individually and by the Church.

As far as I can see, in these past 99 years,   few have heeded the Instructions . .  . and warnings.

So what comes next year when the 100-year period has ended?

Finally, and appropriately,  the month ends with Memorial Day, where we remember those who have died defending our country in times of War.  Most likely we will not be in a world war in this year’s May.

I hope this won’t be the last peacetime Memorial Day.

Just . . . plant some flowers and vegetables somewhere on your property.    It’s time for that here in the Far North.      Plant some Beauty and Joy and Peace and, above all:   Hope in God, that He is in charge of things.

 

A SMALL ADVENTURE

May 3, 2016

Small.  Inconsequential, really.    But our lives can be a series of small “adventures” if we invest a little time and attention.    Here’s a “small adventure”  from my recent trip to Indiana.

So . . . how interested in baking powder are you?     Ha ha ha ha.     Me neither:  not much.

clabber can

My mother-in-law was looking in my kitchen cabinets one day  (looking for something, it was okay),  when she called out in surprise, “Oh, you buy Clabber Girl too!”    Our  mutual choice of the Clabber Girl brand was one of the few things she and I had in common  (other than her son).

She said her own mother always used Clabber Girl.   That would make it about a hundred and twenty year old tradition!

I had a six hour drive home from Indiana and about twelve hours to do it in.   And I discovered that Terre Haute had a Clabber Girl museum.  Indeed, it was the headquarters of Clabber Girl.     It was easy to find . . .

I told myself to be interested.   Kind of like a “forced field trip”  when you were in school and someone told you where to go.   I’m my own schoolteacher.

Found the factory!

SAMSUNG

This is the real deal:  a whole big factory for making baking powder.

Parking was a problem though.   They had a parking lot nearby —

SAMSUNG

—  but I didn’t know if I qualified as “approved.”      Might not be.    But I had my pedometer attached to my body,  so I didn’t mind racking up a few extra steps.   Eight city blocks worth!

SAMSUNG

I walked past several factory buildings along those blocks.

hulman name

Anton Hulman, Sr.   Founder.   The Hulman name is prominent around Terre Haute.   Of such details a successful game of Trivial Pursuit is made.    Or maybe Jeopardy. . . .

This is the entrance I wanted:

SAMSUNG

That was some bake shop inside!     Soups,  sandwiches,  and the most desirable baked goods!   And then the museum.

It was huge – and delightful – inside.  The exhibits were made with care, using actual  objects and furnishings from olden days.  And someone kept walking around with a tray of warm cookies,  made with  Clabber Girl baking soda,  of course.

Here’s part of an authentic Pig n Whistle:

SAMSUNG

Yep –  a tavern.   Looked inviting,  except for a photo of a “floozie” on the wall.  I’m not that kind of girl!     Apparently,  everyone knew what  a Pig n Whistle was:   the “boy”  employee had to go down to the basement periodically to bring up more whiskey in a pigskin container.   And to prove he was not taking a nip or two on the way up,  he had to keep whistling so his employer could hear that he was being honest!

A store –  with  ration coupons available:

SAMSUNG

My grandma shopped in a store like this.    Come to think of it,  my great-grandfather owned a store just like this –  although with more meat available.  He was a butcher.

Well . . . here.  Someone sent me an old newspaper clipping —

Vierela's Store.jpg

Interesting?   Well. . . . .        Well,  if you’re ever going to imagine what it was like to live a hundred years ago,   now’s the time,  while you’re in this museum.

Vehicles were prominent displays –

SAMSUNG

Baking powder –  right to your doorstep.

And a genuine Hansom Cab –

SAMSUNG

Sorry,  I’m not too mechanically inclined, and I can’t explain to you all the wonderful new technological  advances this cab represents –  gears and cranks and levers and lower center of gravity for increased stability . . .   but I remember that the driver rode on top – and he was the only one who could open that front door to let the passengers out.    It was the height of comfort and luxury.    I just can’t understand why.

But I can understand this one!!  —

 

SAMSUNG

Gorgeous!!!   Turns out Anton Hulman, Jr. bought the Indiana Speedway   from Eddie Rickenbacker   –  The World War One flying ace hero!

cl eddie in his plane

You know what the cross decals on his plane are for.     Western Civilization owes him a lot.

I think he’s sitting in the same car that I was standing in front of  —

cl eddie

He loved flying in planes and flying in  racing cars!

(And how about that NASCAR race this weekend at Talladega!!   One man said they ought to have had an air traffic controller there because there were so many cars flying airborne in a record number of crashes! —   So who would have guessed that I would have become interested in auto racing?!)

Well,  you get the idea of the museum.  It was soon time for me to find the Powder Room.

SAMSUNG

An actual “powder room”  !!      Museum exhibit?      Of course I tried the door and went in!

SAMSUNG

Gleaming shiny new —  not an antique!  I think I was glad.

It’s almost time to leave the museum,  but first we must pay some respects.

The Hulman family brought the Clabber Girl company through hard economic times that caused many other big businesses to fail.     No government bailouts then.  Through careful management they came through a couple national depressions and two world wars.

SAMSUNG

One of the Hulman young ladies was in the army, WWII.  They did their patriotic duty in every way possible —

SAMSUNG

Take time to consider this sign.   Everyone participated in the war effort.    It wasn’t fun,  but it was sacrifice for a bigger cause — and Americans thought their country was worth saving,  worth fighting for.

Hats off to you, old man. . .  Mr.  Hulman.

SAMSUNG

I left the museum and began the long walk back to my car,  out into the present-day world.

I won’t call it the modern world;    we are post-modern now.  We have left the greatness and bigness of the whole  modern world far behind.     We are not growing,  inventing,  solving problems,  living with confidence,   celebrating our greatness. . .

But once we celebrated —

SAMSUNG

A hundred years ago, America was great, growing, strong, optimistic,  individualistic, self-confident — and we came out by the thousands to celebrate the opening . . .  of a baking soda factory!!

 

THE MOUNDS ADVENTURE

May 1, 2016

Indiana.  Who would have thought Indiana would offer so many of these “superlative”  experiences!     Or maybe it was just me.

Leaving my car and getting lost.

SAMSUNG

It started with this inviting and modern visitor center at the Mounds State Park about 45 miles north of Indianapolis.   I’m very interested in archeology, paleobiology,  and Ice Age people.     But the Mounds State Park offered a tourist’s eye view of some mounds built by people who lived here about 2,100 years ago.    Good enough.

I had a nice talk with a park ranger in the gift shop inside, and then obtained a map for a short trail walk to see the mounds.    Short.    Short.     I was heading home and eager to be on my way . . . but   a 0.5 mile walk shouldn’t be much of a delay.

SAMSUNG

Trail Map

I discussed my route with the nice park ranger  and went over it a second time:  so,  just down those steps and a little to the left,  then take # 1 trail back to the Visitor Center,  right?       0.5 miles.

Found the beginning steps easily:

SAMSUNG

They were steep, but sturdy.

And a lot more of them than the trail map indicated!

SAMSUNG

Was it six flights of steps – downwards?   (At this point I was still innocent of any “upward”  thoughts.)

And actually it was getting quite beautiful.

SAMSUNG

There was an “atmosphere” here.  It was cool and moist, the air was fresh,  but beyond that there was that sense that you are entering into a different world.   Five minutes into this and I was already feeling the people who had lived here so long ago;  and respecting them for who they were.   This was their Home,  their air I was breathing.

SAMSUNG

It was an  ancient place, with trees of all ages.    I’d have to duck under that one.  (Did young women wash  clothes in a stream like that?)

Here is an innocent bystander:

SAMSUNG

See that?    A much older tree fell.  For whatever reason,  its time was up.   But when it fell, it took a young, healthy tree with it.   An innocent bystander just got in the way, and now its life is over too.   I stayed there for a few minutes,  thinking about what that means.  It was just an accident.   But the healthy young tree will be dead.

SAMSUNG

I was not finding any mounds,  but after a half hour I found a river.   I was thoroughly disoriented by now and the Trail Map was no help.  There were intersecting pathways of all sizes,  but nothing was labeled,  no arrows, no trail names.     The labels were all on the Trail Map.

The longer I stayed alongside the river,  the noisier it got, almost like a waterfall up ahead.

SAMSUNG

It wasn’t a waterfall,  just a change in the river somehow.   I really couldn’t figure out what was causing the change.  No elevation difference.   No protruding stones.   I just stared at the river for a while,  enjoying the negative ions   (which are “positively”  good for you.)   I shouldn’t   have been this relaxed and happy —  because I was quite lost.

Farther on I found some fly fishermen —  they don’t like to be too near civilization.    That means I wasn’t either.   Time to make a turn at some next intersection.   Hopefully.

Cute little valleys all over the hills –

SAMSUNG

By now I’m remembering that,  yes, indeed,  this was once someone’s Home —  but not mine.     Some of the random turns I was making was taking me up very steep hills.  I passed these steps, then after ten minutes came back and decided I’d better take them.

SAMSUNG

A little more rustic here, deeper into the woods.    I thought if I could get to higher ground,  maybe I could “see something,”  get my bearings.     But all I found up there was a  young lady just as lost as I was.   We discussed where we thought we were on the Trail Map,  but we couldn’t even agree which way to hold the map, so we parted company – in opposite directions,  wishing each other well.

Found some interesting things along the way:

SAMSUNG

My cell phone was starting to beg for a battery charge, so I knew I couldn’t take many more good photos.   By this time seeing the Mounds was becoming less of a priority.    The young lady did mention that she was afraid the park would be closing soon.   I hadn’t thought of that.

At last – a fence!

SAMSUNG

A fence and a sign!!   Someone has been here before me!    That little rise in the green grass is the side of the “big” mound.      It was slightly anticlimactic when compared to the huge hills I had been struggling upwards for the past hour or so –  but nevertheless,  here are the mounds.

My cell phone and I used what energy we had left and dutifully walked around and in the mound area.

SAMSUNG

A left view.   And then a right view:

SAMSUNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really.

After my long “walk in the park,”  I decided you’d have to be an archeologist to get really excited about this.    It was good.   It was good to be there.

My T shirt from the Gift Shop explains much more:

SAMSUNG

There is a lot more to the mounds than meets the eye.   An alignment with the stars.   That’s an aerial view of the  Mound I was standing in front of.    I was standing just about     . . .  never mind.  I’m still not sure.

And I still had to find  my way back to the Visitor’s  Center.   A young couple came up behind me arguing about where they were on the map and how to get out of there.   They   stopped to  read the sign by the mound –  which didn’t have a map on it to give a hiker any help –  and then they  turned around and went back in the direction they came from.

I persisted.     Persistence can be really dumb when you’re lost in the woods,   but I just couldn’t face all those same trails again.

Let’s just say:  I got out.

I bought another souvenir for myself  –

SAMSUNG

A  pencil that looks like a twig!   How fun is that!

And so . . .  I began to enjoy this long walk in the woods.

Glad I saw the mounds.