Archive for December 2018

SACRIFICE: A Jouyous Thought For Christmas

December 29, 2018

I’m too tired to do a long posting at this moment,  but today is still within the Octave of Christmas,  and I want to talk about Christmas some more.

Altar destroyed

I wrote last time about the disorienting” experience of being in a church building that says it’s Catholic,  but then not be able to see any sign of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that 2,000 year-old worship of God Almighty.    Why is that important?   Why is “sacrifice’ an important component of the worship due to our Creator?

You either do it the right way — or you don’t:

cain and abel

Abel did.   Cain didn’t.   So Cain had to kill Abel.  Those who worship God rightly can expect to be opposed.

I don’t know how many Ages of Man there have been,  but I know it is important to know that we alive today are Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve.

Les Ages de l’homme:

Les Ages


Following their break with their Creator (and ours) the system of sacrifice was set in place – for many reasons,  but chiefly to enact the Promise made to us that a Redeemer would come some day and provide the Only Efficacious Sacrifice needed by mankind for there to be peace with God.

In  all of ancient history,  you will not find a religious practice that did not include sacrifice – of something, somehow.   (And only since the 16th century have there been Christians who have rejected their own participation in Christ’s Sacrifice.)

The first sacrifice made was not by Abel or even Cain, of course.   The first ever sacrifice was made by and demonstrated by God.     That’s why “sacrifice’ is important.

adam and eve in skins

“Fig leaves”   are just not adequate to cover the sins of humans and the death of the soul that sin produces.        Life for Life.     Some day a Perfect Sacrifice will come to Earth for us, but meanwhile animals,  are substituted for  the life of a human sinner.

(In  a perfect world,  animals are not killed.  Animals are part of God’s  creation, precious to Him.)

That’s the system of sacrifice that was set up from the beginning;     a system followed by the earliest ages of mankind;   followed by Abraham and all his descendants who would be the channel for the coming Perfect Sacrifice;   followed by the Christians  who connect themselves to this One Perfect Sacrifice during every (authentic)  Mass.



“Some day a Perfect Sacrifice will come to Earth for us”  ––    “O Holy Night” —  that was the first “Christmas.”

And again:   Animals are part of God’s  creation, precious to Him . . .  but not as precious as his Only Begotten Son, which He sent to be our Perfect Sacrifice.

X carpenter shop boy

A joyous thought for Christmas.     We are provided for.      The Sacrifice happened.   Our sins are atoned.      We can be saved.

Quicumque:   “Whosoever will.”



December 26, 2018

X carpenter shop boy

The Holy Infant casts His shadow . . . .







merry christmas

Merry Christmas to all here in The Spruce Tunnel!      I did not forget,   and I am not late – technically:      Because,  see,  there are all the preparations and kind wishes for a Merry Christmas throughout Advent;  there is the Wonder of Christmas Eve;  there is the solid joy of Christmas Day;  there is the Octave of Christmas in which we take the needed time to absorb  the Enormity of the Christmas Event;   there are the Twelve (Happy) Days of Christmas, ending in Epiphany, in which the whole Gentile world is presented with the Incarnation of the Son of God through the visit of the Wise Men;  and there is the   Purification of the Mother which concludes the season of Christmas.

X star

So I’m not late!   But I just wanted you to know all the reasons why!     Throughout the many centuries,  the Church knows we cannot take it all in in just one festive day.  I hope we can all proceed through Christmas at a Human Pace,  not at the speed of a commercial, socially demanding holiday.

Xmas thru the ages

And a very heartfelt thank you for all of you who have wished me well, have wished me a Merry Christmas this year, one way or another.   I have chosen to take time with all the greetings and to take your good wishes to heart.    Thank you.   I’ve also chosen to re-visit in my mind all those whom I’ve greeted;  and to say a prayer for each of you.  I hope the “reality” of Christmas is real for all of us.



All my little family is here.   We are glad to be together, we love, we try to make each other happy . . . .   I hope my son-in-law doesn’t mind my posting this photo,  but his face seems symbolic of carefree happiness . . .

X Ho ho ho in red

Trying on his new red jacket . . .  it fits and feels so warm!    Ho ho ho!

Grandson got the Moon!

X Cooper the Moon 200

Grandson Cooper contemplates the Moon, which is  a night light that can glow a soft gold or a “full-moon” white in his room at night.  It is a 3-D  print-out of the actual moon,  which appeals to his scientific inclinations.   Very cool.  And a Big Thanks (again!) to my Recorder partner who told me about the book To The Moon and Back — a big hit with Cooper.  He got it – he understands that Grandma loves him “to the moon and back” !

Every boy needs a good uncle to explain things and help him make sense of the world.  Here they are,  uncle and nephew,  in a serious moment.

X Cooper and Uncle


I hope you all paid homage to the Infant King by attending church.   Better,  adored the Holy Infant who came to be  our Sacrifice for us.   Christmas is not all about you or me;  it’s not even all about   family love . . .  It’s all about the Son of God who came to us to seek us out and to save . . .  and to wait for our response.

X carpenter shop


Many thanks to Son who reminded my weary body that it is still important to go to Midnight Mass . . .  or attempt.   Our regular Mass was not held this year at Midnight,  but in the early, early morning.   Way too tired at night,  but even more tired in the morning – Midnight Mass was the best decision.   We attended not the “regular”  Mass,  but the new modern version of it.

There was beautiful choral Christmas music, complete with brass and drums,  entertaining and inspiring;    there were accolades, thanks, and applause given to apparently worthy people;  there were traditional carols sung;  there was a “script” to go through, a liturgy said alternately between priest-leaders and the people to the sound of newly-composed pseudo-chanting –   – –

– – –  as you can tell, I’m not exactly describing a Catholic Mass,  but it does describe what is called a Catholic Mass today.

There was lots of glitz and glamor in the cathedral building –

X Glitz and brightness 370

Bright, pretty lights.


But as you can see,  no altar *   . . .

X No Altar 370

No altar,  just a table.  In some places they call this an altar,  but  neither the people nor the priests acted as though it were an actual altar.     People did not genuflect before the Real Presence   (way off to the side anyway);  some wore t-shirts and other common clothing.

As the priests were doing their thing at the table pictured above,  the people conversed with each other,   some combed their hair (during the words of consecration!);  they played with and chased their adorable little brothers and sisters and children;  they got up and down many times and went who knows where . . .   And when the Consecration was accomplished,  instead of adoring Christ,  they turned away and faced each other and “made merry” . . .  greeted each other and shook hands . . .  and after a while quieted down,  and the . . .  “service” . . .   went on.   People “communed”  with each other,  giving each other the . . .  items.

Altogether appropriate for non-Catholics . . . .

A little disorienting to those who anticipated a solemn and joyous Mass.

But we honored God in our hearts and adored the Infant King and tried to comprehend what we kneel before on Christmas Eve.  


Banner Christmas Red and stars

. *   For my Protestant friends,  yes,  of course there is only One Holy Sacrifice accomplished for us by Jesus.  It is the One Same Sacrifice which all the Jewish sacrifices in the Old Testament looked  to.  And it is the One Same Sacrifice that all the (actual)  Catholic Masses look to;  only One, and we re-present it in a personal way at each Mass.

It is supernatural, holy, solemn, awe-some, deeply spiritual, a little overwhelming at times, and vital for us to connect to throughout our lives . . .  because we will one day, when our lives are over, meet the Sacrificed One . . .

And that’s why all the fun and Joy.

Christmas Reindeer






December 21, 2018

50 golden years

Whenever there is a long gap between postings, there always is an underlying reason bubbling under the surface of my emotions . . .     this week, no different.  


This week, the reason:

50th Anniverdary 380

A snapshot of my Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration.  Family and Friends and neighbors attended.  Picture in the newspaper.   For my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary there was a smaller celebration.

And for mine, today, a very small one indeed.   Hubbie didn’t make it.

Hubbie didn’t quite make it to that age.    Son and I will celebrate.  We’ll celebrate mostly his life,  his life in this marriage,  and life itself which takes so many twists and turns, and only by seeming coincidence are we born of parents who managed to find each other  . . .  and marry.

Our very, very early years together are more vivid to me than all the rest, so I will just share those early times for The Spruce Tunnel record.

I had a bachelor party, of course.   (I’m the blonde.)

Kris Bachelor Party 380

I don’t know what all the others were doing,  but a couple hours later I didn’t look so good.   I drink my rum by the Tablespoon now,  not by the glass.

A day or two later I was being attended by my bridesmaids just before the wedding:

Kris and Bridesmaids

It was a winter wedding, of course.  December 21st.   Blizzard outside for two days before,  no snowfall on that day, then big blizzard again the next day.  Bridesmaids dresses were royal blue velvet trimmed in white fur.

Shortly thereafter I was being led down the aisle by my Dad.

Kris and Dad at aisle 380

“Helped”  down the aisle, more like it.    I was holding together until he patted me on the arm and said everything was going to be all right.   I so much remember every moment of that day.

My  Dad in that picture is the same age as my Son is now.   I don’t understand this Passage of Time thing.

Then we are at the altar:

Kris Ken at altar 380

We were married High Church Anglican,  An Anglo-Catholic wedding ceremony, complete with Mass for the wedding party, beautiful liturgy, beautiful music, and an exquisite soloist singing Ave Maria.   It felt so perfect.

Then we did the Cake in the Mouth thing:

Kris Ken Cake Thing 380


And then the Search For the Blue Garter thing:

Kris Ken Garter Thing 380

Dear New Husbands:  It’s a bit embarrassing.  don’t take too long….


Shortly after our wedding, two weeks later,  I graduated from college.   Hubbie caught me walking  down the hallway with my new diploma:
Kris after graduation 380

Then I began teaching my new  class:

Kris teaching 380

Our honeymoon was spread out over the next few months because of our immediate teaching duties, but we hit the highlights:   Niagara Falls with my handsome new husband:

Ken at Niagara 380

On the  ferry  (the Staten Island Ferry?)  on our way to see the Statue of Liberty:

Kris on Ferry 380

And then on down to Washington D.C.

Kris at capitol steps 380

We settled into our new life.   We continued to travel, all around the country.  Our early albums are filled with photos of mountains, plains, caves, fun hotel stops,  Mt. Rushmore, Las Vegas, and Disneyland.    It was like we were on one long “honeymoon” adventure.

Hubbie bought me a piano and let me adopt my Grandma’s cat:

Piano Kris n Mitzi 380

We taught school,  watched all the societal changes and learned what tear gas smells like.  (Our wedding wasn’t the only momentous event that happened in ’68.)     We had two children, traveled more, visited our parents regularly, the ordinary things of marriage happened, Hubbie got sick, and passed away several years ago.

He didn’t “pass away”  very far.

All those of our family who have died in recent years are not  truly “away,”  but they are “away” in the cruelest, most difficult way  —    not “away”  but inaccessible.

I will have an inaccessible husband at dinner tonight.   We will go to one of his favorite restaurants.   I will have something he liked to eat, within the restrictions of Friday abstinence.  I will aim for a strawberry kind of dessert, because he liked strawberries and one time he communicated to us through strawberry ice cream — don’t ask.

All this was what was on my mind during this past week or two.   I couldn’t  post about ordinary things.

Christmas baking now.   Preparing for our little family to be together for the holiday season.   Because life goes on and time passes.

I don’t understand this Passage of Time thing.   But it must happen.

The Present is what’s important.

Deo gratias.





December 11, 2018

“Important people” in American politics and their handling of large sums of money.   Let’s look at three:


Just a short observation right now.  After all, I’m not a president or an almost president, and even though I handle my own money and I handled other people’s money when I was treasurer of our local city orchestra for a few years, when it comes to big, big money?   I hire some experts to keep an eye on that and do everything in a strictly honest and legal manner.

So to keep it short,    I’m not an expert.   I’m merely a citizen voter who ought to pay attention to what our Rulers are doing.

So how do the big guys stack up?

In one of the presidencies of our country, his 2008 political campaign’s mishandling of money led to a fine of $375,000 that had to be paid.   That’s “mismanagement” of monumental proportions.    That’s the largest punishment for an event like that.   The money amounted to about $2,000,000  of “other people’s money” that had gone astray.   That’s big!    Public trust was betrayed.
In the political life of an almost president, there were payoffs, pay-for-play payments received, and the commingling of funds from a slush fund self-identified as a “charitable” organization; and it seems presently unlikely that we’ll ever know the magnitude of financial laws that were broken in the attempt to become president, but it is surely well over $2,000,000.   There was the illegal use of “other people’s money” of  stupendous proportions.

In a third situation, also involving a president, consensual but immoral private acts were done and then after a bit of extortion the man used his private money to make a private payment to satisfy the extortion-like demands of the “partner.”   There was no involvement of “other people’s” money.   No public trust was betrayed.   And to all evidence, such immoral private behavior has been stopped for nine years. . . . and counting.
The man has since married a good woman and changed his political party.   The extortion-like behavior has gone unpunished.   (But President Trump changed into the “wrong” party,  right?)

no right turn

No “right turn”  permitted?


I don’t know about you, but I think I know who all ought to have the word “impeach” by their names.



December 10, 2018

Under the category of How Does This Even HAPPEN ???


Do you know what you’re looking at here?   —


It is a  “set”  of left-handed gloves.    Some are Hubbie’s;  some are mine.  All unable to become a pair.

I wanted to take a long walk tonight after suppertime, not too late,  but very, very dark here in the Far North,  so the stars were brilliant, the constellations were identifiable.

It was my intention to walk 2 or 3 miles in the crisp, cool air —   Well, crisp, very cold wintry air — walking, as I looked up into the sky trying to find that new comet Son told me about.

Comet Wirtanen!  A Finnish name if I ever heard one.  And we are all half Finnish here.


Comet Wirtanen

Photo is from Norway, I think,  not our Rocky Mountains.

After the first mile of walking,  I had to come in to get warmer gloves.    My fuzzy-lined knit gloves weren’t enough to keep the two fingers on my right hand from freezing into a block of ice, so to speak.    And I wanted to get back outside –  fast.

I looked into the small totes on the top shelf of my coat closet and impatiently grabbed a  leather glove.    Fine.    It seemed warm.   Left-hand glove,  no right-hand.

Grabbed another  leather glove with a lining.  Left-hand glove,  no right-hand.

And another.   Left-hand glove,  no right-hand.

And another.   Left-hand glove,  no right-hand.

Yes, insanity:  you keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

I got mad enough to put a left-hand glove on my left hand and one on my right hand.  After all, I just wanted two  fingers on my right hand to be warmer.     I’m not going to be doing any fine-tuning with gloved hands.

Meanwhile, outside again,  I was watching a “fuzzy”  slightly cone-shaped patch  in the sky.   Possibly the Pleiades.    Or maybe the new comet.     They say ancient peoples, even ancient “Native Americans”  could see all the stars of the Pleiades, the seven main ones and the little cloud of smaller ones.


We know this from their writings, drawings, and legends.    In general, ancient people  were stronger and clearer thinking than we are, and they had better  eyesight than we have,  and so they could see The Seven  Sisters.

It probably wasn’t the comet I was looking at.  But I still wasn’t sure.

I got in 2.8 miles of peripatetic-skywatching, and then came inside to check out where in the sky Comet Wirtanen could actually be seen.      Well, here:

where wirtanen

See Orion?   See Orion’s arrow, almost dead center of the sky map?   Wirtanen is straight across from the point of the arrow,  just across the middle. . .   A fuzzy gray, slightly cone-shaped formation.    And the Pleiades?   About 20 degrees above the comet,  just under the B of December.

Was I sometimes looking at the comet and sometimes looking at the Pleiades?

I’d like to go back outside to see.  But I think I’d better be back in my coat closet, looking for right-hand gloves.

And amending my disorganized, hoarding lifestyle.


December 7, 2018

Trying hard to keep up with notable days, such as this one, December 7th,  Pearl Harbor Day.    We all know the story.   Or I hope we all do.   The bombing of our naval base in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941 is what got us into World War II.

Conspiracy theories abound, of course,  but what matters is the Japanese did bomb us,  we did enter the war,  and our participation in the war was necessary for the defeat of National Socialism born in Germany and echoed in Japan.

The history is interesting, but my family was touched by the event on December 7, 1941, in two ways.

First, my father’s brother was stationed in Pearl Harbor before the strike, serving in the Marines in the military police.    He was ordered to stay on as a military policeman in Hawaii for the duration of the war.    Can’t fine the photos now.

Utah in Hawaii

USS Utah in Hawaii


Second,  my grandfather served on the USS Utah in 1918 during the Great War.   This ship patrolled the waters off the coast of Ireland to protect against German ships.    Later, way later,  after other non-wartime duties,   the USS Utah was brought to Pearl Harbor and (sadly)  used a a target ship for the next generation of sailors.

But that’s not what finished her off.   On December 7th, 1941,  she was hit by Japanese torpedoes.   She turned over on her side and sank.  There are photos of this event, and I’ve posted them before on previous December 7th’s.

Now . . .

utah memorial o tipped

.  .  .   now, she’s a Memorial near the bottom of Pearl Harbor.

That’s my Grandpa’s ship down there.



December 7, 2018

It’s just a couple days after eyewitnesses gave testimony to the (hitherto) hidden virtues of George Herbert Walker Bush, a Christian (of the American style).    Whether intrigued or astonished,  the many anecdotes from this man’s life inspires Americans with an open mind, and an open heart.

You’d remember the adjectives:  kind, gentle, generous,  giving,  good,  decent,  true friend, loyal,  self-effacing,  and also competent, smart, ambitious, competitive,  constant,  courageous, and unchanging in his beliefs.   .   .  all this with a firm faith in Christ.

He is known as “Bush 41,”  the 41st president of our country.   We of his contemporaries know him well;  his enemies know him far less well,  (but that’s all right.   Negative people have closed minds and will not accept any new thing outside of their safe enclosure).

I’ve almost missed December 6th.  I knew what it was, but I got too busy to visit up here in The Spruce Tunnel.  Sorry about that.    There is an important  Feast Day on December 6th,  an important and noteworthy man to celebrate, to be intrigued by, to be astonished by, and to learn about with an open heart:


St Nicholas

It is St. Nicholas of Myra.    He lived mostly in the 4th century, and as the title of this posting hints at,   he has much in common with Bush 41 —  although I don’t mean to imply that they are of the same kind,   simply  that there are similarities.    Bush 41 will never become a saint;  St. Nicholas became a saint for many, many reasons.

The most commonly known deeds of St. Nicholas  is his generous giving  of dowries to three young sisters, whose lives would be ruined without his largess.


Here is an image of him, in his bishop’s robes,  shown with three bags of gold:

gold image

Each of those three “bags” of gold, given anonymously to each of the three young sisters, when each had achieved the age to be married, saved the sisters, one by one,  from a life of wretched poverty or immorality.

This ancient act of generosity gives rise, through the twists and turns of historical customs,   to the use of three golden balls as the universal sign of a Pawn Shop!

gold pawn

But I’ve written about that many times before in Decembers’ postings.

There is so much more to his life than this act of anonymous generosity!!   He had been giving away his money to needy people all his life.   His way of life was generosity!  He did not hold back money, nor time, attention, prayers,  counsel, admonition, nor his love.

And he was beloved, in his times, in return.

He appeared to emperors and governors, to set them on a more correct course,   to soften their hand, and to release prisoners unjustly imprisoned.    He appeared to many others, to heal them, and once, excitedly reported by eyewitnesses,  raised a man who had died —   I wish we knew more of this story:

Once,  a prosperous and devout Jewish man had much of his fortune stolen from him.    The thief, as luck would have it, died soon after.     St. Nicholas, as bishop, was made aware of the theft, and came to that city.   The outcome of St. Nicholas’ attention is that the thief was raised from the dead,  confessed,  received forgiveness, and  gave back the money.  the Jewish man . . .  converted to the Catholic faith,  a miracle also.

And once, Mariners who were caught in  a terrible  life-threatening storm appealed to St. Nicholas for help, knowing his virtues and his close life with God .    They attributed   the sudden calming of the sea to their appeal and to his intercession.



One more thing to mention here:   After St. Nicholas was buried in the city which loved him as their bishop,  there came from his tomb a kind of oil, or clear liquid,  which had a lovely smell and which applied to people who were very ill, cured the diseases.

And this went on for many, many centuries.   His bones have been moved,  dug up and moved and re-packaged (or whatever they do)  and yet the bones themselves after almost 17 centuries still give off some kind of clear liquid,  not a lot  (about 50 ml. per year).    A clear liquid with healing properties.   “Clearly”  a holy liquid.


The life of St. Nicholas is not, however, centered on physical health,  but on spiritual health.   The revelation by God to us of His existence as a Trinity,  implied in the Old Testament,  more explicit in the New,   made necessary a striving after understanding of what Trinity means.

Bishop Nicholas of Myra was one of the 318 bishops who gathered at Nicaea to affirm the Triune nature of God, and more importantly the dual natures of the Son of God the Second Person of the Trinity,  one in Substance,  but two in Natures:  human and divine.

Thus was affirmed   the  teaching that the Virgin Mary is Mother of Jesus,  Mother of the Christ,  Mother of God,  who is both Man and God.

The salvation of souls was St.Nicholas’s primary concern.    But he worked through his own kinder, gentler, attentive,  generous,  loving actions to give us an example to follow.

What a wonderful way to begin our Christmas thoughts — 


“For God so loved the world that he  gave . . . .”\.


December 5, 2018

My poor words can add nothing at all to the power of the magnificent Christian and Patriotic ceremony we saw today on television,  the funeral of George H W Bush.

The audience witnessed sincere,  touching personal  stories, firmly Christian prayer, beautiful and uplifting music.

Most of all I want my grandson to hear  all the words that were said today.   They were words of courage, faith, duty, love and gentleness, hard work, friendship, generosity, family values, respect for our military services, and love for country.   These are the kinds of things I wish were still taught to American children.

These are the kinds of things that should continue to mold our character.     (And still can if we believe in them.)

We, the audience,  also experienced the finest performances of oratory and music and architecture.

(I had forgotten about the spectacular, soul-stirring voice of Ronan Tynan.  He is God’s gift to our ears, nourishing our spirits.   He will be a part of my music listening  now.) 


I almost missed all this.  I almost thought the funeral wouldn’t have anything new to offer.     Why?

  1.   The entertainment-news media on the Far Left disliked this man, mocked him, ridiculed him, and generally denied or  ignored  his achievements.
  2.  Those on the Far Right were deeply suspicious of President Bush’s endorsement of and involvement with “The New World Order,”  although it seems unlikely that he didn’t understand the truly anti-Western World, anti-Freedom,  anti- Christian nature of a one World governance.

The entertainment-news media has a definite depressing, mind-numbing. and paralyzing effect on our thinking.  I’ve been staying away from it for a while, and so I was able to put aside its powerful influences and make the decision to turn on the TV “just to see what the funeral is going to be like.”

So glad I did.

And I don’t want to hear what “they” have to say about the funeral.   I want my own thoughts.





December 4, 2018

(As Advent begins,  clear the clutter and open your mind.)


I’m going to be a little goofy tonight,  but, well . . .  interpret this —

Blank Sign

Okay,  I see interesting things during the day, and sometimes those things lead to a whole long string of thoughts.   My mind is ever busy.  I have ADHD of the brain.  Well,  just the (H)yperactive part.     A day or two ago I was driving along in my car, when my eyes scanned a sign on a telephone pole.    “RENT EXCAVATOR SKID STEER.”     A second or two later my mind said,  “Huh?”



I know what a steer is.   But as busy as my mind was being, I couldn’t make sense of that sign and I couldn’t stop the cascade of thoughts that followed.  And that got me observing all the trivial things going on in my head and thinking about how easy it is to get so preoccupied with minor things that you scarcely have time to think – deeply – about serious things that are actually meaningful  to your whole life.  Deeply enough.

In this time of Advent,  we vaguely feel that we should be preparing for something important that we celebrate in a few weeks.  

But we’re  busy people and we spend our life distracted.

Too much to do!

Too many places to go!

Too many commitments!

Too many choices of entertainment!

Too much information!

too many words

Too much . . . too much . . .

Now, this posting was brought on by the fact that I’m going through old papers in my house — all those “great things” that I read and saved from, oh, so long ago.   It made sense to hold on to interesting articles many years ago when I was a teacher and needed handy material or needed to present some “evidence” of what I was saying;   but now, not so much.

These “great things” should all be in my head by now,  so much a part of me that when I teach, the information flows out seamlessly — as though I had thought about it, meditated on it, discarded the superfluous and only the best part became part of my thinking.

That means concentrating, paying attention, and thinking about what I read on all these saved articles, so the information has enlarged my thinking.


I don’t need the actual pieces of paper.     Right?

too many papers

One of the old articles I had saved was good advice for parents:     Do not give your children an abundance of toys.   Many of us can afford to do so, but don’t.   It will teach them to value things less and it will teach them to be wasteful.

too manytoys

It was a very convincing article.

And I am guilty, guilty, guilty.    Dear Cooper, my grandson, I will try to not to give you so much from now on…   (Starting after this Christmas.)

Now back to that cryptic sign I saw on a telephone pole in my town recently.    RENT EXCAVATOR SKID STEER (followed by a telephone number.)

I said I knew what a steer was (I thought)   but I looked it up and checked anyway.    From the Britannica  dictionary:

In the terminology used to describe the sex and age of cattle, the male is first a bull calf and if left intact becomes a bull; if castrated he becomes a steer and in about two or three years grows to an ox.

Did you know a male cow can become an ox?   As often as I have taught my classes about ox goads,  I never questioned what an ox was.     Or how it came about.

But the image of an ox – or a steer – skidding did not “compute” in my mind.

So I looked up “skid” and found some images of actual  “skid steers”  —


Or else:


Or else:


Doesn’t look like they all do the same thing,  but I guess if you needed one, you’d know which one to get.

Especially if you wanted to “excavate” like the sign said.

I said this is a goofy posting — but that whole chain-of-thought process illustrates what I was  trying to say.     “In this time of Advent,  we vaguely feel that we should be preparing for something important that we celebrate in a few weeks. “

What if we spend that much time, not looking up “skid steers,”  but looking up, discovering,  thinking about  Advent, and just Who it is that we are preparing for,  and why do we have to prepare, and what does that  mean that He had a First Coming and He will come back in a Second Coming?

It would enlarge our thinking.     We would value our thoughts.   We wouldn’t spend so much time on an abundance of trivial things, like a kid with too many toys.

It would make us different (and better) people.   We would be properly prepared.     And thankful.

Deo gratias.


December 2, 2018

lavender splotch

(A necessary “pause”  from current events today.)


A giant turn of the wheel on this day in the Christian calendar;   a big click!  into  the notch that brings the rotating gear back to its beginning point.


As you guys know,  a gear is for turning.  This may be a cog wheel, but I don’t really know the difference.    Things act on it and then it turns, notch by notch, each notch slipping for a moment into its proper (and useful) place.

And as we all know,  today is the first day of Advent.   Christians follow a Liturgical Year not too far in concept from a gear:

Liturgical Calendar Worksheet Worksheets For All | Download And with Blank Liturgical Calendar Wheel

As the world revolves around the sun, so have we devised calendars to mark the passing of time – with religious significance.    God, through various instruments, acts upon the universe, and with each revolution of our calendar year, there are stops or pauses as these divisions rotate to the top, and they are useful to us.

I put a blurry black dot at the top of this circular calendar where that dark vertical line is.   Proceeding clockwise,  this upcoming season is called Advent, represented by the four candles.

On this first Sunday in the Advent season, we light one of the candles on an Advent wreath.

Clip Advent 1

Just one candle.   It’s just the first week and there are many things to experience, to think about, and to learn during this first week of Advent.  You’d miss out if you don’t keep Advent.   You’d miss out on all the new insights and  wisdom that you could receive . .  .     You’d miss out on the possibility of having having faith,  increasing your faith, enjoying your faith in God.

So don’t.     I care for all of you.

You’d also “miss out” if you lump the whole season together without pausing at each week to see what the Church presents to you.

It can be  “clothing” I think, this week.   Advent (meaning the Coming)  is a purple (penitential) time to prepare ourselves properly for the First Coming of Christ.  According to the Readings from the Bible, we are to “clothe ourselves”  with Jesus Christ Himself:   “Wake up!  Pay attention!  The End is sooner than we thought!   So cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of Light.  .  .  Walk honestly,  not in immorality and sinfulness but put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

put on Christ

That’s what we heard in church today.   “Put on”  refers to an act like that of “putting on”  clothing.

What are we to wear now?


put on christ 2

Both the word “Light” and the words “Lord Jesus Christ” refer to the same Being,  the Second Person of the Trinity —  “I am the Light of the World.”


learn christ

Learn who He truly is.

If any of us are going to call ourselves a Christian and claim  safety and salvation at the end of our life,  then now is the time to learn of Christ,  learn what He is truly like, get to know Him,  form a relationship with Him so closely  that it is like we are “wearing” Him every day.

Because,  even though this is the “beginning” of a year and it seems like we have a whole year ahead of us,  we don’t.   In the full words of the beginning of our Reading today:

“Brethren, knowing that is is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is past and the day is at hand…” 



We’re really kind of just about out of time.   The Gospel Reading for today makes that very very clear.

That apocalyptic picture means that the Second Coming of Christ is approaching:

seeing his coming

It could be good — if you have a good Advent!



December 1, 2018


I think the title of this posting is the name of a book written a couple decades ago.    But the phrase seems more apparently true nowadays.

ICE Deer Hoof

We had a nice little snowstorm to start out this week and the high temperatures haven’t reached the freezing point all week – until today, when my car noticed that the outdoor temperature just after noon registered 40 degrees.

Oh, that top photo is a hoof print;   I see I had a visitor last night leaving a trail across my front yard.

Ice Deer Trail

I do enjoy winter.   At least I enjoy “normal”  winters.   However, we might be in for some pretty extreme winters for the next . . .  oh, say   250 years.

All over this planet there are signs that the world is reacting to the quieting down of the sun.      Scientists report that the Greenland ice pack has been increasing in the past few years,   the Arctic sea ice is thickening,   summer highs have been lower:

Ice summers getting cooler

And glaciers all over are increasing in size.    You’d think a glacier is a solid river of ice,  but it really  has quite a rough surface,  full of bumps and crevasses, sort of like this, if you were in an airplane looking down:

Ice Glacial


Well, I didn’t take that photo in an airplane looking down.  I was just reminded of glaciers when I walked past “the source”  of that glacier photo:

Ice glacial source

Your world can be kind of fun when you walk past your “frozen car”  and start thinking of glaciers!   And developing ice ages.

And lack of sunspots:

ice sun still doing it

Here is the sun a couple decades ago and a decade ago (approximately).    The number of sunspots comes in cycles.   They’re counted and recorded by observers around the world.

Scientists have noticed that the normal cycle is not manifesting, but rather there are fewer and fewer sunspots within the cycles.

ice sunspot chart

That’s a small segment of the sunspot cycle chart, just showing the most recent years.  (Does it suggest a  Super Grand Solar Minimum  developing?)

Here is today’s sun:

ice imnage of today nov 30

Nothing.     “Number of sunspots: 0”  —       The sunspot count is posted daily on  www .  spaceweather . com   (remove spaces), as well as other interesting measurements and space events.    (Such as:    We are expecting a mild geomagnetic storm, class G1, this weekend.  No big deal, but people like me who listen to AM radio all night will have a little problem listening to our radio stations.   And:  on Dec. 2nd,  there will be a very, very close pass of a little asteroid  ( .1 LD) ;  but it’s only 9 feet in diameter, so – no problem, probably. )

The climate  is  changing.   Our sun is in the process of reversing its magnetic poles which is accompanied by a lessening of its magnetic field – at the same time the earth is doing the same thing.   With the magnetosphere  (around our planet)  weakening,  more cosmic rays get through to us, right down to the core.   Cosmic raise cause more clouds  (I’m skipping some details)  which causes less warming from our sun, and increases earthquakes,  volcanic activity, which in turn causes more particulate matter to be thrown up into the atmosphere,  which causes . . .  less warming from the sun.

An ice age develops in cycles, short cycles, medium cycles,  long and very long cycles.  Sometimes they all meet at once.    It develops slowly,  then more quickly and scientists begin noticing it,  and then it cascades rapidly into a (temporarily)  irreversible lengthy ice age.    That seems to be where we are now.

There are consequences to Earth’s societies.  There are fewer resources, especially food and fuel, to go around.    Famine, disease;  kingdoms have fallen, in the past, during lengthy sunspot minimums and resulting earth cooling.

Add to the stress of lower temperatures the stress of lowering CO2 levels which we are recording now.   CO2 is plant food,  good food for plants, like trees and food crops.   CO2 is down to 400 ppm, and agricultural and forestry experts are reporting that the trees are growing more slowly, they are shorter in height,  and they are stressed which makes them vulnerable to disease and pests.    Crop production is noticeably down,  chiefly in grain and in produce.

So let us enjoy the “climate” we have right now.    If these observations are correct,  things may change!      If these actual measurements are correct,  things may change!    If these scientists are right,  things may change!


Banner icicles


Here’s a comment at the end of one climate change article:

“Don’t bother googling news about the vanishing sunspots, they too are vanishing.”

I never use Google for my searches,  but for some reason it sounds like Google   (and other search engines dominated by our Rulers)   are preventing these stories from coming up in your search engine results.     Sometimes you have to do the “searching.”