Archive for the ‘Death’ category

JUST LIKE ME – BUT NO MORE

April 12, 2017

Gloomy Cloud

Bit of a funk tonight.   It’s what I read in the news this morning.  Good things happened today;  happy things happened;   and something very beautiful (in nature)  happened —  but the funk returned.

Appropriately.

It’s Wednesday,  the day when we must keep on fighting to get over the rest of the “hump”  of this week, or of  these times.  Our hump being the alignment of advancing Islam with growing  Global Rule  . . . .

So here’s what I read this morning:

A lady,  just like me, just about my age.

She’s a tourist,  just like I am  sometimes.

She was alone, by herself,  far from home, as I am sometimes.

Stopped off to see an interesting building in a suburb,  just like I’ve done at times.    Sometimes I choose a hotel in a  nice suburb off an expressway.  A nice suburb.

The interesting building was known for its graffiti, which we now call “art work.”  So she took her camera out . . .     Just like I do sometimes.

She was busy taking pictures,  probably intent on choosing the right angle, the right composition,  the best lighting.     Just as I like to do.

And someone came up from behind her and stabbed her several times in the back and neck – he got her carotid artery.    She died – just about right away.

The attacker was a man who had recently come into that country – as a “refugee.”

She was an American in Paris,  in a nice suburb in Paris.

Could have been like any other American woman you know.   Don’t think you can tell your Mom to stay home and be safe,  not if she wants to travel.   Or your sister.  Or your daughter.

This woman was probably a nice, ordinary lady , and now she is no more.

The attacker has been arrested;  but  the story is not over:  there are millions more to take his place.

___________________________________________

Oh.    Would you like  a picture?   Here’s one that connects me with that American lady in Paris.   It’s a sign that is not too far from my home.

Advancing islam j

 (misspelling in the picture not mine.)

About an hour and a half away from my home.

I’m thinking,  I don’t even have to be a tourist.

SPACE JUNK FOLLOW-UP

February 15, 2017

(Just in case any of you  like science   or technology or . . .   freedom.)

Remember the picture in the last post showing what all the space junk in orbit around our earth would look like?

space-junk-over-earth

That “space junk”  is doing things, we know.

Well,  there’s a follow-up in the news today,  kind of an “addition.”    The headlines for the article from Wired . com   reads:  “88 New Satellites Will Watch Earth All The Time  All The Places.”   

The 88 new satellites from the company called “Planet”  (and they’re buying more)  will be “imaging”   the earth and everything on it.   The article concludes by saying that every day the entire land mass of the planet will be photographed and databased.     Every day.  The whole planet.

And there is a long list of people, entities,  corporations, and government offices who are buying this information.

Word for the day:      Luddite  –   Not liking all this technology.   

I’m  not a Luddite, probably, but I just can’t think of one technological  “advance”   that has a net positive effect on human society.      (That is,  add up both columns,  positive and negative,  compare,  and the negative columns will be greater,  slightly greater or massively greater.)

Don’t tell me the medical industry is a positive.    We should have done it all differently,  focusing on  the health of the person ,  not on  the disease.    Health officials take care of the disease,  not the person.   How much do you think medical “advances” are worth?

How much of a price would you put on these cute little twins?

twins

Healthy little twins.    Just beginning to smile and get social.    How much do you think they were worth to their parents and family?

The world was recently  relieved of the presence of these little ones.

The medical industry declared that they were Sexually Active.     

They were vaccinated to death.    Routine vaccines.   Routinely too many at once.   Including the vaccine for a disease you catch  after  doing the “marital act”  with multiple partners – people  like lotharios,   prostitutes, and nymphomaniacs.

The medical industry thought these infants were a pair of immoral sluts.

Net positive effect?     Not if they were my babies.   America has the highest infant mortality rate of the industrialized  (technological)  world.

____________________________________

 

.*    (It can be found here, but take out the spaces:      https://www . wired . com/2017/ 02 /88-tiny-satellites-will-watch-time-everywhere/

(Take out five spaces, I think.   Copy and paste and then take out the spaces if you want to read the whole article.)

DEATH AT ADVENT

November 28, 2016

I should entitle this posting “Not-So Fun With Insomnia.”    Sometimes,  even though you do finally get enough sleep,  it takes a physical toll on your hoped-for activities.   Consequently,  I missed posting about the beginning of Advent.

But now I have another consideration to add to my Advent thoughts.

funeral-w-coffin

A dear friend,  a member of one of my classes who had become “elderly”  during all these years she had been a part of us,  has died,  on this first day of Advent.   I just found out a few hours ago.

Advent is a time of   anticipating the  long-promised coming of the Messiah, the Christ and the great promises that are given to us.

funeral

And so Advent is  a celebration of the actual  Incarnation of  the Second Person of the Trinity, True God,  mankind’s only Savior.      We “anticipate”  by making sure we are the kind of people, individually the kind of person,  we ought to be in order to worthily welcome His coming.

Advent is because all Promises from God finally do come to an end in their fulfillment.    Both the First Coming of the Messiah and  (soon?)  the Second Coming of the Messiah, our Savior.   And because our individual lives will also come to an end.

This could be very bad news.  Who wants to think about the reality of his own death?   Life is over.   Finis.    No more second chances;  no more do-overs;  no more  . . .  anything.    As with our friend today.

This could be very bad news –   but for the efficacious saving work of the Messiah on His Cross, pouring out Love and Compassion for us,  and offering the possibility of Life Everlasting.

Isn’t  Death  just a part of Life?     Well, not like that.     Life comes from the Living Creator of Life.      He gives us existence.  He gives us Life.

Wisdom   1: 13-15   
 God did not make death,
and he does not delight in the death of the living.
[14] For he created all things that they might exist,
and the generative forces of the world are wholesome,
and there is no destructive poison in them;
and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.
[15] For righteousness is immortal.

God did not make Death, according to the Bible,  and He’s not happy about it,   but He did conquer Death and defeat its power and “sting.”

Our friend knew this.    From our point of view, she is dead.    But she has Life now:   Life from Life.   Her Life from His.

My goodness!!      On this Advent,  this beginning of a whole new Liturgical Year,  our friend passed from this life into a whole new LIfe!!

Let’s go back to the Bible, to the book of Wisdom again:

Wisdom 3: 1-3

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
2 They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
3 and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.

THAT’S  what we’re doing during Advent.      Preparing for our End.     Preparing for Everlasting Peace from the Prince of Peace.

Only One,  for us men,   the Messiah,  Christ.

clip-advent-1

FUZZY MOON

November 15, 2016

My photo of the Super Moon:

super-moon

It wasn’t quite dark.   It wasn’t too high in the sky.   It was a little misty,  a little hidden behind branches, and it wasn’t super-sharp clear like some great  photos  I’ve seen on TV.

But I decided I like my photo anyway.

Soft and indistinct.

Like a lot of the things I know about.    So much I know about but don’t have a clear sharp understanding of.

Maybe I’m weary.  Maybe I’ve been reading too many of my favorite action-adventure spy-vs.-spy special forces kind of novels — where there is a lot of death and dying.    Maybe I’ve seen too many mean-spirited and violent people in the protest videos in the news.  Death and threats of death everywhere.

And now the coming of Thanksgiving week,  where birth met death in our family in 2010.  Cooper was born ,”untimely,”   unexpectedly premature,  but in time to be placed in Hubbie’s arms,  in his hospital bed,  as he lay dying.

SAMSUNG

Little Hand Holding Big Hand

We were “indistinct”   about that too.   Perhaps supernaturally protected from too many acute emotions,  like the soft, comforting lighting on the way to Hubbie’s room.

cc-tunnel-cr

Hospital Hallway

I don’t understand much about death.  I know we have to go through the process of death in order to  get to Eternal Life.    I know there will be a horrible state of affairs for many who die,  but a wonderful and glorious state of affairs for those who have come to know their Creator — before they die.

Our Creator didn’t create death,  but He made provision for all of us who have to face death.   Stick with Him,  on His terms,  and we’ll be all right.

But what is this process that causes so much grief and loss and uncertainty?  And people who bravely say they don’t fear death —   are they kidding themselves?    Even some of our greatest, most good and holy saints have gone through periods when they fear their own imminent death.     It’s a Crossing Over, leaving everything behind that we know,  into —

The Bible says don’t be looking into things that are above your understanding.  It’s  okay if things stay fuzzy and unfocused.

moon-betw-trees

So,  maybe death is one of those things.     It happened in our family at Thanksgiving time:  Hubbie (and devoted father to my children);    and then  my own Mom just before Thanksgiving a couple years after.

We’ll probably engage in our usual  “remembering” this year,  trying to make sense of something that was never meant to be but is a common experience of all humans.  There can be much that is beautiful and true  after our death.

Best left indistinct and unclear, I suppose,  because if we give ourselves too many answers,  we won’t be open to the loveliness of Eternity that a loving , caring God has provided for us,  as it comes into our lives.  Our thoughts can hide his thoughts.

I can know that the full moon was 8% closer this month.     The last time it was this close was 69 years ago.  the next time will be in the year 2030.     But that doesn’t help me know the beauty of the soft golden glow of a misty moon, and be touched by the wonder of it all.

Lovely.

Loveliness ahead.

There is more to human life than scientific knowledge.

7. THE GOAT DIES (IN NOVEMBER)

November 3, 2016

Well,  it’s Election Day minus 7

winning

Hard to keep that Steam Kettle boiling over at a time like this.      Hey!   Life goes on.  There’s  life apart from election news . . .  and Chicago has just won the World Series.     I’ve spent a little time in Wrigley Field . . .     but  never a  win like this.   ( If you know about the Cubs,  you’ll get the reference to The Goat.   Right now,  he’s history!)

As a matter of fact, Son just texted a pretty interesting comment.   “A few moments ago,  nobody could ever say they saw the Cubs win the World Series.”    A few moments later,  we live in a whole new world:   we are people who can say  WE saw The Cubs Win the World Series.

Just like that –   the World  changes.

But it’s not easy to change our world:

Try try try

      Work hard Work hard Work hard

       Fight Fight Fight

       Hope Hope Hope

And then the moment of proof comes:

You win the World Series.

Or you win the Election.

 THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER

Or you die and enter Heaven.   

The Church has not forgotten what time of   year it is.     November has begun and we  are directed to remember all those saints in Heaven, designated to be our examples  and helpers, as they’ve died in Christ,   with Christ in them,  and so they remain in communion with us.  (That’s what you say in the Creed.  “…. I believe in the communion of saints ….”

Remember them!    Get to know them!

The very next day we remember all those souls who have died,  “All Souls Day,”   on their way to Heaven,  diamonds in the rough, so to speak,   but within the communion of believers.

And so during all of November it is appropriate to remember the dead,  especially our dead loved ones.      God is outside of Time;  our prayers for them matter no matter “when” we pray.

Our dead loved ones are still loved by us.     They remind us that one day we will be like they are now.      In the blink of an eye, our world will change.

As a matter of fact,  the world we exist in will change from this world . . .   to the next.

tombstones

The Rose is red: the grass is green
The days are past which I have seen
As you are now so once was I
But as I am now so shall be ye
Prepare for death and follow me.

8. STEAM KETTLE DAYS – Something Cold and Wicked . . .

November 1, 2016

” . . .   This Way Comes.”

“Something Cold and Wicked This Way Comes.”    Most people know that phrase,  from the Stephen King movie.

But I’m adding “Cold”  because Winter is coming just as  something very wicked is coming along with it.

steam-kettle

Makes me so mad,  because just as people are going to need their furnaces, a matter of life and death around here and in much of our country,  our Rulers have decided to increase the pressure on us by raising our heating bills to unaffordable levels.

It’s a win-win situation for them;  lose-lose for us.

First of all, forget nuclear power plants.   ALL of them are expensive.  ALL of them are leaking radiation into the atmosphere and/or ground water.   Almost all of them are operating past their permitted time of 40 years – but we don’t know what to do with the aging power plants,and even if we did,  we have no idea what to do with the “spent”  fuel rods which are inconceivably dangerous to us.

(Remember what happened in the back areas of Carlsbad Caverns!!)

Humans!      “The gods give us toys that will destroy us.”    (See enenews on the sidebar if you don’t know what’s going on in Fukushima – no, it’s not over…)

The rain on my deck should not be THREE times the acceptable background radiation:

102.3.jpg

104-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These readings have gone up over 200 after some rainstorms.

I said “our Rulers have decided to increase the pressure on us”  and one of the ways to get our attention is to drive up the cost of heating and cooling.    When the Barack Hussein person was first put into office by them,  he announced that he would make our utility costs  skyrocket.         Skyrocket beyond affordability!

There!   That ought to make us agree with his plan to shut down coal plants,  prevent us from  using our own  natural gas and oil resrevs,  keeping us dependent upon Arab (Muslim) sources of fuels,    with the added benefit to his Rulers of being able to extend the myth of “global warming.”

The Barack Hussein person got applause for this from his own audience – and kudos of approval from the entertainment-news media.

coal

 

Just if you go by facts alone, the actual numbers,  coal mining has successfully implemented rules and regulations to make it a cleaner industry and safe.    Just statistically speaking.

 

power

Just if you go by facts alone, the actual numbers,  the nuclear power industry has implemented rules and regulations but has still not achieved safety nor efficiency nor cost- effectiveness.    Just statistically speaking.   Nearly ALL of your power plants have passed their safe age of operation.

 

We have “weather”    here in the Far North.   We have a  “climate.” 

It gets very hot here in our summer months – not for long,  but for long enough.  It’s natural in our summers.  It’s always happened.

One day this summer I was listening to our local news and item # 1  was that on this particularly warm day there were power outages, blackouts and brownouts due to increasing need for air conditioning.   This was unusual, so the news-reader read out the explanation:     So many power plants had been shut down recently by decree,  dictatorial decree,  that the remaining power plants cannot produce enough power that can  be distributed around our state (for cooling or heating) !

Without blinking,  this news reader then went on to read another part of her script:   Our state has received orders  to shut down 30 more power plants in the near future.       And the state government will do so.

We don’t have enough power –  so shut down some more power plants.

gloomy-cloud

No local input.   No local control.   No citizen input.   No citizen control over our own well-being.

Apparently this is happening in state after state.

Something very cold is coming:  Winter in the Far North.

Something very wicked is approaching:     Global socialism . . .  the control mechanism of our Rulers.

 Election 2016:           Them versus You.

Laws that benefit Americans?   Or Rules that make our Rulers stronger?        This is truly War Against America.   Slowly “transforming” America.     Vote to continue that – or vote to stop it.

Flag don't tread.jpg

“BY THE SHORES . . .”

July 16, 2016

  Just for my own record,  I made it.

 

3 Shores whited 350

“By the shores of Gitche Gumme . . .”

3 shores of gg 400

By the Shining Big-Sea-Waters –

3 ShiningWaters

It  might look like all “water” to you,  but I spent the day flitting from this spot along the Lake to that spot,  like a butterfly,  sipping in sweet experiences; all varied, all blues,  all waters.

The shores were different from place to place –

3 red shores 400

I climbed down to these red  shelf-rocks,  and then I walked way out onto a breakwater to get more views –

3 out into waters 400

The forest back there covers a partial island,  a “presque isle” in French,  and it holds the grave of  an Indian chief who lives there.    I’m  in   Hiawatha’s native land.

Doesn’t that passageway just seem to beckon a canoe to travel forward into it?

3 canoe there 400

Forth upon the Gitch Gumme
On the shining Big-Sea-Water
With his fishing-line of cedar
Of the twisted bark of cedar
Forth to catch the mighty sturgeon
Mishe-Nahma, King of fishes
In his birch canoe exulting
All alone went Hiawatha.

‘Though Hiawatha can exult as his canoe speeds along,  he must be skillfully aware of hidden dangers.   The lake holds many  hidden boulders, sandbars,  floating  tangled logs,  shipwrecks, shoals,  islands,  and snaggy inlets.

Here’s one very noisy seagull island.   At times it is covered in white (seagulls)  as though there were snow on it  –

3 sea gull island 380

He looks like he has many tales to tell –

3 Ready to Tell380

And, as I said a few posts ago,  I’m here to tell myself my own tales.  Tales of my own life.  Tales that will make sense of my own life.

This is the Lake that I first saw when I was a newborn baby.    I come back to sit by its shores.

Ah, my son, exclaimed the Old Man
Happy are my eyes to see you!
Sit here on the mat beside me
Sit here by the dying embers
Let us pass the night together
Tell me of your strange adventures
Of the lands where you have traveled;
Then I’ll tell you of my prowess
Of my many deeds of wonder . . .

 

 

WATCHING THE MESSAGE MORPH

June 13, 2016

Morphing can be fun.   Some of us having a morphing function on our cell phone photo edits.    One thing turns into another.

Which can be the problem, if one thing shouldn’t turn into another.  And if something that is quite clear can be made to seem, well . . .   “fuzzy.”

LIGHTS 22

We all saw these pictures (more or less)  from early Sunday morning’s mass killing in Florida.

If you read newspapers from around the world,  you would have read that an “ISIS fanatic” killed 50 people in a night club early Sunday morning.”     (To quote some headlines:  “Islamic Terrorist Kills 50”“Ramadan Massacre in Orlando”)

Like most of you, in the aftermath of the terrible shooting in Orlando, Florida,   I watched a couple entertainment-news channels on Sunday,  flipping back and forth between at least two of them (and also a sports channel . . .) .

LIGHTS 11 325
I observed an interesting thing.     For the first couple of hours the information was pretty much the same.  Different witnesses,  different speakers,  but the same news story.     A little bit of new information trickled in from time to time but it was the same message:  Americans had been attacked in a night club.   The killer was a  Muslim, increasingly devout and religious over the past few years.    The killer had contacted ISIS before (or during)  his shooting spree.   ISIS had made a public statement of approval  just after the killing.

Message:  How can America  protect itself against future attacks?   How could this have been prevented?    Could it have been prevented?    Was the killer “inspired by”  or  “directed by”  ISIS?        (I don’t know,   he made two trips to Saudi Arabia . . .  anything could have happened there.)

As I watched   one entertainment news channel,  these questions were explored by various guests,    and eyewitnesses continued to be found and brought before their cameras.   Like the “free and open debates”  so necessary for a free society.

However, on the other entertainment-news channel,  I watched in fascination as the Message changed;  America was attacked so why does America deserve to be attacked?     After a brief time raising the question of how adequate our intelligence is in the “war” on terrorism  –  Nope,   didn’t matter.      This became a possible “hate crime.”   This was a hate crime.   (I knew where that was going then.)

It was a hate crime.  A lone wolf hate crime.   Not connected to anything else except victimizing the night club people for how they identify themselves.    Nice innocent night club people, “just like any other American.”    So the PC drumbeat goes.

The attack on Americans was turned around into a scathing criticism of “haters”  and of  Christians and of any  American citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.

LIGHTS 33

The morphing of the Message:

The message on one entertainment-new channel was how to prevent more attacks like this in our country,  starting with let’s identify the enemy, lets identify our own weaknesses,  let’s identify a better strategy.

On the other entertainment-news channel  it became   let’s attack the hateful Christians and their guns.

The message had morphed.

Who does your thinking for you?

bar dissolve er

Perhaps a public statement by those close to the murderous deed would help: 

 Islamic State reiterated on Monday a claim of responsibility:   “One of the Caliphate’s soldiers in America carried out a security invasion where he was able to enter a crusader gathering at a nightclub for homosexuals in Orlando,” the group said in a broadcast on its Albayan Radio.

bar dissolve er
So,  O thou Crusader,  who you gonna believe?

 

THE DAY I THOUGHT I KILLED MY DAD

June 9, 2016

Well, it’s been 60 degrees inside my house for the past couple days.    I feel the cool air more when I move through it.    If I keep moving, of course, I warm up, but my first inclination is to find a nice cozy quilt-cave to wait out this cold spell.    (Was  it just yesterday that I called my goldfish the Sissies?)

So,  me –

ME

It’s fleece jackets, quilts, and books for me for a while.   And thinking.  (If you lived in my head, I think . . .  I really think you’d have a lot of fun.)

The thinking that my mind does comes from many angles, and sometimes the thoughts converge.     Today:  (1)  –  It’s Thursday, and I’m reminded by my common daily prayers that this is the day of the week that the Last Supper occurred;  and Christ told us:  “This is My Body.”   and then (2)   just a week or so ago was the Feast Day of Corpus Christi,  reminding us to think about  what This Is My Body really means.    And (3)   Thursday leads to Friday, the day which Jesus actually gave His “broken” Body in self-sacrifice for us . . .  which leads to Saturday,  Our Lady’s Day, alone with her thoughts,    and then Sunday . . . what it was all for.

Thursday to Friday to Saturday to Sunday . . .

Like climbing a  beautiful mountain,  beginning with Thursday leading all the way up to the summit of Sunday!       (Because we don’t just “remember”  these things;  we’re supposed to internalize them in amazed wonder . . .  and gratitude, if we really understand everything.     I’m running out of years, Dear Readers,  to get this right.)

(4)   So – my Dad?   My poor Dad?

A long, long time ago I enrolled in Arizona State University.  Wa-a-a-a-y   across the country.     My parents,  in a surprising gesture of generosity,  offered to drive me out there — because they needed to see that part of the country too.

LP  station wagon cr

I was 19 years old and the proud  “owner”  of two baby sisters, 2 and 4 years old that year.

We posed them in front of all the interesting scenery during that trip.

LP  sisters i front cr

I put them on top of everything,  so I could take their picture;  rocks, barrels, roadside signs,  touristy objects,   fake mules  :

LP Sisters on Top cr

And we, the whole family,  traveled through strange-looking territory:

LP strange places cr

Funny,  I do actually remember taking all these photos.   Like the proverbial  yesterday.

My Mom was often busy taking care of the little ones,  and that left my Dad and me free to explore the sites more intensely.      We were strong and adventurous.     I was 19, as I said,  and my Dad was an “impossibly” young 38 years old.

I thought he was invincible.

Somewhere along the trip we came to Long’s Peak, Colorado.      14259 ft.

Long's Peak

And there were signs all over about Hiking Trails and Climbing Long’s Peak —  and it sounded like a good adventure.     I don’t know if we went right to the very peak, where the mountain comes to a small point,  but we came pretty close.   I remember seeing signs for  “12,000”  feet and then “13,000”  feet, with arrows pointing onward and upward.

Here,  if you want to do it:

Long's Peak Trail

At about that 12,000 feet sign my Dad said something I thought I’d never hear him say:  “Let’s  stop and rest for a  little while.”

Oh, sure –  a chance for me to take lots of photos!      But my Dad didn’t.

And then, we went farther on,  higher and higher … until my Dad said something again.   Something like “Do you think we’ve gone far enough?”    He  sounded very much out of breath.

(Something I understand now whenever I visit my grandchild who lives  in the high altitudes of the Sierras.)

I said I wanted to take his picture, a photo of his accomplishment, so he put on a smile:

LP  Dad on Peak 400 cr

Right after that photo,  he plopped down hard on the ground – and shook his head in a rather frightening way but he didn’t say anything.   And I looked at him and he looked kind of funny.   The skin on his face was blotchy, white patches and red patches.  I’ll never forget those colors.

We had climbed longer and farther than most of the other people on the mountain that day.     It occurred to me that my Dad was in trouble and there was no way I could get him down the mountain and back to our car by myself.    My mind just went blank at the thought that my hiking enthusiasm  … might … have ….   killed him!

I should have been watching over him!   I should have been aware!

Well, he recovered.   He was young and strong – Viking stock.    We made it downhill and back to my rather concerned young mother . . . .

My Dad and I have talked about this incident occasionally.   He remembers how he felt,   but most of all what he remembers, and what he talks about,  was how glorious it was near the top of Long’s Peak.   What magnificent scenery.   How  beautiful, how lovely —  an amazing, thrilling adventure with no regrets.   And he was glad I had gone with him!

Climbing a mountain –   like  Thursday, Friday,  Saturday, and Sunday.

Honestly –  the thrill is so similar.  So real.   so life-and-death.

CASSIUS CLAY – AND FATHERING

June 4, 2016

 

My tribute to Cassius Clay   

cassius clay

–    the given Christian name of Mohammed Ali.

I have no comment on his personal life.      And I suppose if I changed my name to something that represents a new religious identity,  I’d want to be known publicly by that name too.

Nevertheless,  I first “met”  him as Cassius Clay,  the greatest boxer I had ever seen — second only to  Rocky Marciano, of course,  Undefeated American Heavyweight Champion.  I can’t remember if Cassius Clay ever went undefeated for long, but it doesn’t matter –  he was one of the greats too.

Every Friday night,  my Dad and I watched the Friday Night Boxing Match,  on a  small TV;  black and white pictures.    This was when boxing was still a sport, long before it —   well, changed into something I wouldn’t spend time on today.     We had our favorites back then, of course,  but we saw  some of the greatest matches of that age.

But the wonder of it all was that it was my Dad and I watching those games.

A wonderful miracle, really.

I was a little girl, and he was . . . a Marine –   an “ex”-Marine, he called himself,  of the WWII variety:   big,  strong,  masculine,  and very, very sure of himself and the righteousness of his opinions.      I spent most of my life alternately scared of and cautious around my Dad –  all except for Friday nights.

Then he wasn’t scary.  He wasn’t dangerous with incomprehensible bouts of “masculinity.”   He was like a friend,  a fellow fan of the Friday Night Fights.

And this did a lot for my growing sense of femininity.

“My big, male,  Daddy”  —  liked my company, during these boxing matches.    His respect for me  gave me a  sense of being valued.      His friendship for those few hours a week  healed a thousand wounds.

A Dad, a daughter, and some of the greatest boxing matches this world has ever known!

And my thanks to “Mohammed Ali.”  May God have mercy on his poor soul.

 

 

 

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 . . . .

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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:

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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.

 

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PURPLE PAIN (On Being Awake)

April 25, 2016

Awaken.

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

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You’re either “awake”  or you’re not.

He was:

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

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

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

 

 

 

PALE SUN – PALE WORLD

April 10, 2016

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

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

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

I’m going to miss this world.

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

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

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

So,  I’m working on understanding that.

bar dissolve er

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

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

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

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

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

Well,  her best friend finally thought of something.

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

And of course, it worked.

Where is my heart?

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

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

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

GOOD OMENS

January 20, 2016

With the loss of my mother-in-law last week,  death on my mind,  grieving,  missing out on the funeral,  issues of past family history,  I needed to take a few days off to get some perspective.   I was open.   And the “perspective”  came.

On Monday morning,   I made eggs for breakfast.   Morning:  “sleepytime”  for me.   I clumsily turned the eggs over in the frying pan and stared down at this, staring back up at me:

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I could have chosen to say,  “Well, hmm,  look at that!  I couldn’t have done that if I tried!”   But instead I chose to take it as a good sign,  a good omen for the time ahead.    My choice;   a Rohrschach pan.  My choice to be reminded of love — God’s love!

A step forward this week with a new understanding of Life and Death and the Meaning of Being Alive, and being loved.   Going forth in a world so full of love and caring from God,  that it can manifest in a pan of eggs!

Sometimes “signs” are repeated, as if to say you’re on the right track.

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I cleaned the kitchen after breakfast,  dusted the shelves… and there I discovered two little coins that Cooper had given me.   Cooper is my five-year-old grandson,  rather remarkable for maturity and spiritual insight.  (His early birth and his presence had brought an aura of peace into  Hubbie’s hospital room during his final days.)

Cooper was visiting here at Christmastime.   We enjoyed each other’s company.   But one day,  in the kitchen,  he stopped and reached into his pants pocket and said,  “Here, Grandma,  because you’ve been very good.”   And he handed me the contents of his pants pocket —  30 cents.

My first thought of course was to say, Oh no, that’s your money,  you keep it!   But he was very solemn.  He was serious.  He knows how things work.  In his mind, I had deserved his coins.  This was not the time to contradict what was going on in his mind and in his heart.  It was his gift to me.

I will never forget the eggs, which my clumsiness had formed into a heart, a message of love.  And I’ll never forget the burst of love that came out of my grandson that day.

I will pay him back manifold, someday, somehow.   And for the rest of my life I will try to live up to his opinion of me that day.

Those two little coins will never be spent at  a store.

 

A PRAYER

January 14, 2016

The death in our family;  the funeral;  the lingering duty to pray for mercy for the soul just departed — and for all souls in their many needs.

A prayer, well-thought, gives comfort when emotions intervene, and lends words for a heart touched by mankind’s situation:. 

 .

Watch, O Lord,  with those who wake,
or watch, or weep tonight,
and give your saints and angels charge
over those who sleep.
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones;
bless your dying ones;
soothe your suffering ones,
pity your afflicted ones,
shield your joyous ones,
And all for your Love’s sake.

.

 

Bar Cross in middle

A DEATH

January 13, 2016

(a political post)

So,  I’ve been gone a few days,  a lot on my mind.  A death in the family.

a coffin

To talk to you about “who” died, would reveal too much about me personally, and would expose struggles with all the variegated and complex memories that were stirred up.  Suffice it to say that I did love her.

And she was nearly a hundred years old.

She was born in a different world, a different age,  a different culture.     She was born shortly after Civilization had taken a tumble down a few stairs, finding itself on a lower level in new circumstances.     The  Titanic,  that crown jewel of human defiance against Nature, had just sunk.    The Great War had just ended,  further proving that we were not only not invincible through our scientific and technological achievements,  but showing us that  our science and technology had given us the ability to be savagely and horrifically murderous against our fellow human beings.

This was such a huge psychic blow  that it can be said the Twentieth Century started around this time.   No more wide-eyed innocent “progress.”

The Twentieth Century began as a decadent and degrading mish-mash of sexual immorality,  political brutality,  and the institutionalized economic  oppression of citizens to a scale never seen before in (recorded)  history.

This is not a symbol of “evil” —

a a highclere

It’s actually a symbol of achievement, and of a society in which the various social classes  had a working relationship – employer and employees.    Some of you will recognize this structure as Highclere Castle,   the home of George Herbert,  Lord Carnarvon,  who discovered King Tut’s tomb, so to speak,  and which was also the setting for Downton Abbey.

And so  we learned there were more issues that went on above and beyond the employment of 60 or 80 or 100 people who would otherwise be destitute.    There were issues of social change.

There is a connection between the death of my particular family member and the residents of this castle during the time of Downton Abbey.    The connection is all the social changes that  both  a real person  and fictional characters experienced.

As it turns out,  the social changes in this clueless, soul-less century did not come about naturally,  but were imposed from outside each society by those looking for power.   I like to read about this post WWI era because the radical social changes then were every bit as shocking and unnatural as the social changes imposed upon the world I grew up in, social changes which plummeted Civilization the rest of the way down those stairs.

As a young teenager I asked the same questions as the fictional servants asked of their world.     “Why is this happening?”    “It makes no common sense.”    “People are getting hurt.”   “Why is there so much social unrest?”

So let me quote Daisy,  the young kitchen helper at Downton Abbey:   She said:  “It’s the way of the modern world.   If more and more of us protest,  then things will change, won’t they.”   

Protest for the sake of change.   Change for the sake of change.

It’s what my almost-hundred year old family member saw in its first stages.   It’s what I saw in the ending stage.

a power fight

Although good social changes were already occurring naturally,  certain elements saw their opportunity and imposed their slogans and their methods onto some people, and produced revolutionary changes to their own liking.

“Power to the People!”

And when it was done,   Power was exerted in the name of the People:

a army

Once the people were stirred up with slogans,  and marched to create a new social order,   that’s exactly what they got.   A new social order of imposed social changes.

A new social order, a People’s government;  a People’s republic –

a chinese army

Those “useful idiots,”  as Lenin called them had served their purpose  —

a rev dead

Today,  social order is not  often imposed through rioting and revolution,  but gradually, slowly, softly through the means of programming,  conformity, political correctness, authoritative watchfulness of ubiquitous surveillance,  fear,   quietly herded into the proper direction through unlimited rules and  regulations.

The servants tried to make sense of why the majority of people were allowing this to happen.   I wondered why my parents’ generation were allowing this to happen.

It looked like everything had come apart.   Society had lost its mooring and didn’t know where to turn for answers.   People were conveniently  told there were no answers,  no objective truth that applied to all mankind, no natural law, no divine law that made us all equals.     An immoral,  uneducated self-referencing populace is so easy to control.  Convenient, and oh, so clever.

Behind the changes was not the guidance of a loving Creator,  but the subtle hand of imposed social and political changes.    A “hand”  that killed more than a hundred million of its own citizens worldwide in the process of “social change.”

In that coffin,  almost a hundred years of life that witnessed  almost a hundred years of godless change.

Many complex and variegated memories.

There is a lot to mourn for today, as we attempt to rebuild . . . .

TODAY IS LIFE

December 22, 2015

(A little posting of explanation for my absence) –

Almost finished preparations for Christmas.  Just a few more pieces to go:

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But I had a little setback.    Blindsided by a 5-year anniversary.

We think we  “know ourselves.”   But the “knowing”  is really just  familiarity.  After “many”  decades of life,  you’d think I’d know myself by now.   I thought I knew me:

Descendant of Vikings.  Daughter of a Marine.   Rough and tough tomboy, playing football and “war” with my friends.  Emperor Frederick II of Prussia was my hero during high school;  he’s the reason why I drove myself to manly excellence in academics and physical strength and  . . .  well,  flute.  I can intellectualize my way out of anything.  and I thought I was pretty well self-disciplined . . .  .

But I had an unexpected setback.  Blind-sided.  Emotionally.

The 5-year anniversary?    Is this:

Grandpa and Cooper

I write about Hubbie here.    I write about Cooper.    Five years ago,  one of them was just arriving;  one of them was just leaving.   An unexpected early arrival;  a very unexpected early departure.   (Again,  I chronicled all this in the November 2010 archives here.)

So I’ve pieced my life together;  reinvented my household, as all of us have to do from time to time.   Stayed true to the one who departed and “inserted” into my life the one who arrived.

That’s how December began,  with the residue of “feelings”  I had thought I had managed fairly well but had to wrestle with again.

And then I put some old photos up on the wall —

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Yep.   Me.   And Hubbie.    (A “few” years ago.)   December 21st is our Anniversary.

A lot of years were to follow on after that photo was taken.

And then it’s . . .   history.   Just history.

I was a history major at the university.  I still study history,  but somehow I didn’t expect my own life to become . . .  history.

So that’s where I’ve been lately – away from The Spruce Tunnel.    Perhaps I should get back in and get on with things.    Some busy cheery things have happened this month too.

Today is Life.

There are still a few more pieces to fit together in my puzzle.

 

Bar Cross in middle

 

 

LEAVING NOVEMBER

December 1, 2015

Yes, good.    We’re leaving some dark thoughts:

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I must have been in a Deep Blue Funk in November,  more affected by the memory of Hubbie’s death than I realized.  I wanted to write about our last weeks together, I really did,  for they are not only sad, they are sweet — and, well,  very precious.

I wanted to write about the surprise miraculous premature birth of Hubbie’s first grandson —  whom we all acknowledge came early so he could meet his grandfather . . .  and so his grandfather could pass on to this tiny baby all the things that a man passes on to his sons and grandsons, just by being near, living and  breathing in the same air, holding on to each other, which most surely happened during Cooper’s time of nearness with his grandfather, in his grandfather’s hospital bed.

You can read about these remarkable times in the archives, over on the side.  You can even see them “holding on to each other.”  Just go to November, 2010.

I didn’t review all this though in this blog.   Not this year.  Son and I are still going through “adjustments” that I know are perfectly normal, but it just turns out they are darkly internal and personal.

Hence,  the Deep Blue Funk.   I can funk really well.  I can be good at funking.

And then it becomes . . .  over.   It lifts.    I took that deep blue photo from my front yard yesterday, as November was ending.   Son and I were outside in the dark,  doing “yard”  things.    Darkness comes early up here in the Far North in November,  and sometimes there’s still outdoor work to do.

I was doing this:

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Putting up our Christmas lights.  A little less elaborate than in years past,  but they’re pretty.  (Especially when seen in focus.)   I was surprised how the camera brought out the beautiful blue left in the very late twilight.

My eyes saw only a dark, black sky.   The camera pointed out the beautiful dark blue.

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So what do I “learn” from this dark November night?   That there is beauty from darkness.   Beauty out of darkness.  Beauty after darkness.

Beauty waiting for us, after this life.    Because Beauty is eternal and good and holy.   God the Creator is not “beautiful,’  He is Beauty itself.   As St. Augustine cried out, “O Beauty, so ancient and so new!!  Late have I (come to) love thee!!”

What else comes out of these dark November nights?    Advent!   This year as November passes,  Advent begins.

The first candle, of course.

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Hear the admonition of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, of a few centuries ago when men’s minds were strong and vigorous.  He tells us to think about what we’re doing during this season of Advent:

 “Consider who He is that comes,  whence He comes, to whom He comes,  for what end He comes,  when He comes, and in what manner He comes.   This is undoubtedly a most useful and praiseworthy curiosity, for the Church  would not so devoutly celebrate the season of Advent if there were not some great mystery hidden therein.”

 

(Taken from “Sermons of St. Bernard on Advent and Christmas.” Easily accessible on the Internet.)

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