BEND AND BOW AND BU-U-U-U-RN!

Posted May 22, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Citizen of this world, Culture, Current Events, Islam, Truth

Tags: , , , , ,

(Ever read the book of Daniel in the Bible?)

Hey!  How about a rousing  two minutes of Gospel music!!!!

 

Well, the song tells you the story,  but in case you didn’t have patience to listen to it,  long ago  three young men were arrested  because they wouldn’t bow down to the culture’s god,    nor would they bend their knee,  so they were thrown into a fiery hot furnace (so hot that the king’s servants who fired it up were themselves killed by the heat) .    Well, the three young men wouldn’t burn either –  they were protected by a Fourth Man sent from the One True God  who kept them from burning,  from even being singed,  from even having the smell of smoke on them!

“They wouldn’t bend, they wouldn’t bow, they wouldn’t burn.”

Courage.   Truth.   Hope in God alone.

In the last post I contrasted the reception of two presidents in their trips to Saudi Arabia.   I noted that one president did bow to the Sunni king.

Barack Obama, Hu Jintao

Oh,  that’s different  Muslim leader . . . .

Obama Bow Copenhagen

Another Muslim leader . . . . fuzzy.   At a Copenhagen meeting of world leaders.

Here we are – bowing to a Saudi Sunni Muslim . .  .

O bowing again

Here’s the one we want:

Obama bow - Copy

Saudi.   Sunni.   Islam.

We have the school registration of this president.   He was raised as a Muslim,  enrolled in a Muslim school,  and learned his religion and how to get along in this world by studying the Koran.      The young boy in Malaysia learned how to respect the Sunni religion and its representatives.    (You bow.)

As an adult he stated  (it’s recorded on video)  thatThe most beautiful sound in the world is the sound of the muezzin calling out to evening prayer,”  (in which prayers to their god are chanted in classical Arabic).

Beautiful to his ears.

In case you’re wondering:\

ObamaIndonesia school regist.jpg circled

Legal Name:  Barry Soetoro

Previous Residence:   Honolulu

Present Residence:  Indonesia

Religion:   Islam

(By the way,  Islam does not allow for apostatizing to non-Muslim religions.)

So,  one man bowed.   But the other man  “bended.”   —

Trump nt bowing

There’s nothing wrong with being a Sunni Muslim  in this world.    And  there’s nothing wrong with being TALL.   It’s much easier for an older man to put a medallion of honor around your neck if you bend down for him –  that’s courtesy of a different kind.

Every once in a while it used to come up in my daughter’s  concert band which traveled abroad:  “What do you do if you are introduced to someone from some royal family?”   (Answer:  You’re an American.   You shake hands, if such royal hand is offered to you.  Otherwise, you stand politely and respectfully.   After the American Revolution was won,  American citizens do NOT bow – or bend – or hopefully  not “burn” !)

Please,  my readers,  don’t let anyone blur the difference between a bow and a  bending down so someone can slip something over your neck.    Use your own intellect.  Make honest distinctions.

______________________________________

Hey – you might be a Johnny Cash fan.    He’s got a great (almost)  bass voice too)

A TALE OF TWO PRESIDENTS

Posted May 22, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Current Events

Tags:

(A  photographic editorial):

One US president went to Saudi Arabia:

O bowing to many

(In case you can’t find him,  he’s the one with his back end facing us and his head LOWER than the Saudi officials,  king and diplomats.)

And now another president is in Saudi Arabia this weekend:

Highest Civilian HOnor

That is President Trump on the left, in  front, on a long red carpet,  given the highest civilian honors – by Saudi Arabia.     (There is no corresponding scene with the other guy.)

Who represents you?   Barack Hussein who bows to the Sunni leader on behalf of the United States?

Or President Trump who gives and receives diplomatic respect on his state visit?

Does America bow to other nations?

Or is America honored?

WEEKEND FUN WITH “MAMA-“

Posted May 20, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Recipe

Tags: , ,

I think my liver has recovered enough from my accidental dandelion poisoning this week.     Lost a day and  half out of my life,  but  I think it’s ready for a little fun    —

Mama Herbs and Roots

You can’t just walk into a bar here in the Far North and ask for a Mamajuana!     (Not that I would personally walk into a bar . . .)   You’d have to have ocean and sun and sand – and beach bars;   Boca Chica, for instance,  Santo Domingo.

Good thing Son took a trip to Santo Domingo recently.   Good thing he’s MY son!  —

Mama Root Bag

He brought me a “souvenir” —  the first step to making your own Mamajuana,  a tropical drink consumed widely, apparently,   and made from these tropical roots and herbs.

“Roots of what?”  I asked.

There was an attempted answer, I think,   “Something that grows down there   . . .  mmmmble …  mmmble…… ”   but I wasn’t enlightened.

“So how do I use this package of exotic roots and herbs?”    I asked.

“You have to soak them –  or maybe boil them —  and you have to make sure to drain the water after the boiling, you can’t use that   . . .  and  mmmmble …  mmmble……  and it’s made with rum!”

Pardon the “mmmbling,”     but that’s about what my brain heard.

I asked my friend who is from Central America about Mamajuana  —  but this is not in her experience.   I asked her to at least read the ingredients on the package for me.    She said, ”  . . .  mmmmble …  mmmble……   —  I don’t know what these things are.”

But I’m making the drink anyway!

Since I’ve just had a nasty run-in with dandelion root,   I’m  being cautious,  but, then again,    I’m not sure what constitutes “cautious”  when you’re using roots and herbs from another part of the world.

So far,  step one,  in the pitcher:   Unknown roots and herbs;   red wine;  honey.     It’s a several week process,  so it won’t be ready in time for Son’s birthday tomorrow,  but we’ll find an occasion.

I’ll let you know.

mamajuana-photo

 

 

 

JOY AND TRAGEDY OF A 24-YEAR OLD

Posted May 17, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Bad Times, Culture, Current Events, Islam, War Against America

Tags: ,

 

(Turning serious, now, because it’s Wednesday. ) 

Wednesday 1.jpg Wednesday.  Our culture calls it “hump day,”  a term I don’t like,  but on some Wednesdays I write about the big “hump”  the Western World has to face, and to get up and over it,  or more “Joys”  will turn to “Tragedies.”

We have to face some differences.

______________________________________

There is nothing more joyful than watching  a 24- year old young man — (in general, of course) – – reaching the prime of his life,  the prime of his strength,  the prime of his self-confidence,  optimism, courage, self-assurance.  He’s so “full of himself” !!     Bursting with life.  And fun.       (Another reason why mothers have gray hairs.)

conga fun bl wh

It was with my young, approximately 24-year old Hubbie that I danced on a table in a German bar,  and we all danced the Conga, right out the door, into the parking lot,  and back in through the kitchen, snatching up kitchen staff as we passed through.

Oh, wait.  We didn’t do it in black and white:

conga 1

More like this.   In fact,   I was wearing a tiny dress like that which I had made – out of one yard of brightly colored material!     (Very long blonde hair covered the rest of me.)   Hubbie had fun too.   He eventually “matured” and life went on.

Ein prosit!!

ein prosit

 

A 24-year old man should feel young and joyful and full of life.  He has much to learn, and he needs all that courage and strength for the life that is coming to him.   He must mature and begin to help solve the serious problems  of the adult world.   He must soon know that some 24-year olds don’t live in a free and joyful culture.

______________________________________

It’s  different in a Different World.    Some 24-year olds are busy trying to escape their World:

sign says for sale

Here are young men;  told to wait out there in the blazing sun.    The white sign above them, the one with the Arabic letters,  says:  “For sale.”     Those young men are for sale.    In the Islamic world,  slavery exists.

One 24-year old escaped his captors, after physical hardship and torture, and he, Muhammed Yusuf,  was able to report this to people from the Western World.

As a matter of fact, although slavery has existed everywhere from the beginning of written history,  it was only in the Western World,  the Western hemisphere and Western Europe,  that people worked hard to abolish slavery.   The popes first called for its abolition from the 16th century  onward,  until finally it became a serious movement and men of European heritage — that would be Caucasian (white)  Christian people — finally enacted laws abolishing slavery in their lands.

The (Christian) Western World is a world apart from the Islamic world.

They have different values from each other.

Every day now I read of one or more attacks by “extremists”  against people of the Western cultures.   Here’s one that appeared in the news just today:

catedral-mexico_Muslim-attacker

This young man in his mid-20s is being detained on a cathedral floor, just after he has stabbed a priest in the neck, as the priest was saying Mass.   Mexico  City.    The young man is a Muslim.

A Different World.    They do not respect what we respect.

A few days ago we heard that Bin Laden’s son has declared Revenge on the Western World,  us,  and has called for our murder.

Meat Cleaver

Anytime.  Anyplace.

They do things differently.   It’s a Different World.

I wonder sometimes why the full implications of these differences do not motivate us more. 

But our government (through the entertainment-news media)  has given us a vocabulary that emphasizes a false sense of  Sameness,  obscuring deadly differences.

Our schools – and there are plenty of examples –  are teaching our children to accept the ‘differences”  that come from a Different World.

San Diego Pub Schls

These are California schoolchildren, learning that all worlds are “equal”  and “diversity”  means Sameness.

Leaders in government don’t seem to realize there are two Different Worlds.

Trudeau among worshipers

Here is the young leader of our neighbor to the north seriously practicing Sameness with the Muslims.

And tragically,  those leaders who should be teaching us the differences,  have just voted to welcome those adherents of Islam who are colonizing the Western World:

Toe the Mark Islam

As old as some of these men are,  they do not appear to have been given a classical Western education, or at least they have  rejected Classical education and are therefore unable to make intellectual distinctions between one set of values and another.

Appalling and deadly ignorance.    They cannot tell victims  of persecution from the Colonizers.      They call them all “refugees”  but accept only the Islamic ones.

Young men of military age from a Different World.

Poor Refugee

Call them refugees, but I don’t think they plan to assimilate into any Western nation that opens its doors to them.

 

 

 

 

MOSCOW MULE – (Improved)

Posted May 16, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Modern Culture

Tags: ,

(From time to time  I post a recipe —  not unusual  .  .  .)

There are so many variations of the recipe for a Moscow Mule.    But since I had no experience with any of them,   I think the one Son and I used on Sunday was – the best!

MM glass

We used glasses – that’s already a variation from the copper cups you’re supposed to use.

MOSCOW MULE

Ingredients:

couple ounces of vodka    (we used rum;  rum improves everything)
three ounces of GOOD ginger Beer    (it’s not beer, but a fizzy, boldly-flavored ginger ale)
juice of half a lime   (or a few tablespoons of  bottled lime juice)
a few sprinkles of sugar – to your taste
a teaspoon or so of maraschino cherry juice

Put ingredients in a shaker.      . . .  “shaken not stirred”   or blended

Shake it up,  . . .     (Please see added instruction in the comment below!   There’s a way you should do this!)  . . .   pour into your drinking vessel,  garnish with a lime wedge,   maybe  sprinkle with  a little powdered sugar

Keep it cold.   Somehow.    (That’s why you use a copper cup;  it holds the cold better.)

 

Well, maybe that’s a BIG variant from the original recipe,  but it’s summer!                     Hot weather makes you do strange things.

MM copper

__________________________________________________

Hat tip to my Friday morning Bible study class –  who told me all about this drink.

Hat tip and a thanks to Son who already knew about this –  and made it for me!

“MOTHER’S DAY” DAY

Posted May 15, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Family

Tags:

(Just so The Spruce Tunnel has a record . . . )

I know,  it’s a day late,  but that’s because “it”  was Mother’s Day –  and I was kept busy!

The day started, as it should,  with a seriously good Mass – actual contact with the Creator!      Then Son had sent me a reassuring text informing me that he “had the whole day free . . .”  We weren’t always together,  but he was  . . .    here.

I,  the “mother,” did  “whatever I wanted to do!    I read,  I napped,  I puttered around in the kitchen,  I did a little sewing work on a new summer top,  I watched another episode of my very favorite video series from Italy, and from time to time visited Son who was keeping busy outside, on my behalf.

(I might have worked him too hard.)

A digger

He is closing up a long trench in which he laid drainage pipes.

A trench

I know I needed them.   Son understands why I needed them.

We had a visitor for a while:

A snake cr

He seemed to be enjoying the sunlight.   Fascinating.   We were also visited by a lively, happy woodchuck who was busy running here and there,  munching on the water weeds near the backyard pond.      Nice to have time to enjoy these little critters.

The lawn is nearing perfection this summer, under Son’s care:

A Lawn

I said I was puttering around the kitchen.   Son was taking care of the Main Course:

A grill

. . .  and we put our work together —

A dinner cr

. . .    just in time to watch some really good movies.

And Daughter?  

A cell

A very nice, very long distance phone call – and not at all rushed! (A mother can tell if you’re under time constraints.)         And then there was a Kazoo concert,  via cell phone –  from  Cooper!  –  followed by a lot of Kindergarten news!       (Thank you for sharing with your Grandma.)

 

_______________________________________________

 

Mother’s Day is one of the great highlights of my whole year, and I have to explain why:   For fifteen years I was an “only child,”  so I guess that’s long enough for me to have many “only child”  characteristics –  and feelings.    The Great Alone.   When I first became pregnant,  my world changed:  I knew I would never, ever be “alone”  again.   My daughter,  my son;   two other human beings in this world would always be a part of me, and I would belong to them.

This Mother’s Day was a good one.     Son and Daughter were both “present.”

a rose

Be good to your Moms.

 

 

A DIFFERENT KIND OF LIGHT – 100 YEARS AGO

Posted May 14, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Fatima, God, Holy Days

Tags: ,

 

“Like crystal,  when the sun shines brilliantly through it.”

It was hard for the little children to describe the brightness and purity of the whiteness,  the white light that the Lady was made of,  like she was made of the sun, but it didn’t hurt their eyes.

OL Fatima

As you’ve probably heard,  this is the 100th Anniversary of the First Apparition that occurred in Fatima, Portugal.    I’ll write much about it in the days to come;  six months we  have.   The Apparitions came once a month for six months,  with one big Fireworks of an ending!

fatima people

That it happened there could be no doubt.  In fact,  among the many in the photograph above who were there on that last day were many, many doubters, skeptics, mockers, and downright nay-sayers.    They were there to ridicule the so-called pious believers who believed the children’s tales.

But for  even those who were convinced nothing would happen – something happened to them!      Why were they so convinced nothing was going on?      Because the ones who were able to see or hear “something”  were the innocent,  the pure in heart,  the honest,  the open,  the pious, and the humble before God.

There were a few, even in this atheistic country!

According to the heart of each person,   some heard only a soft buzzing when the Apparitions occurred.  A few heard the booms.  A few saw the bright flashes.   Some saw a small, soft white cloud.    Two of the three children heard the words of “the Beautiful Lady,”  but all three saw her.

And that was exactly how they described her.    This Beautiful Lady, who was really appearing,   was a Lady with a face and with hair and eyes and clothing, but nevertheless “all made of Light.

In fact, later,  when Lucia, the eldest, was pressed to describe her,  she said even her gown was made of Light.  It was not “folds of white cloth,”  but where there would be folds, it was like the Light was thicker there,  the Light was draped in folds, and at the edges of the  Lady’s gown,  the brilliant white Light became golden,  like an outline of golden Light.

a white

The Beautiful Lady would not identify herself until October,  her sixth visit.

But remember –  she was made of Light.  Clothed in Light.  A Light that made everything beautiful and brought with it the presence of God,   Who is the Source of Majestic Light –

I Timothy 6:16 –  (God) . . . who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

 

SILENCE OF THE MIND

Posted May 14, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Backyard Pond, Christian Analysis, Finnish heritage, Nature Speaks

Tags: ,

Sorry I’ve been away for a while again.

House upo High

I’ve found a hideaway again,  or pretty close.   It’s been very silent and quiet around here for about a week.   No TV.  Not much radio.  Not much YouTube.    I’m not sure why —   I’ve just “retreated.”

I guess people do that once in a while.

Actually,  my back yard makes a perfect Retreat in the Spring.

BACK YARD I prefer

I just want to sit on my deck and gaze at this.     It makes it hard not to withdraw from the world when I want to even when maybe I shouldn’t,  not so much.

Tree in Bloom cr

It’s just so pretty out there.

I think I’ve been looking normal.    I’ve had two repairmen come to my house this week.   That’s normal.   Now I have TV,  if I want to.   And I have clean water again.    Things  . .  .  break down from time to time.   Normal.

I’ve had an epic Drapery-Fail.    Got free curtain material with a comforter I had bought awhile  ago.    Time for me to get those drapes put up . .  .

Sewing is nice silent work.   Normal,  but silent.

Sewing

I hit snag after snag after snag  (no pun intended)  but it looked like I was solving the problems.  Son even moved the drapery hardware for me on the walls near the windows.    But then –  I had misgivings.

I sewed for many hours this week, but I will now have to  redesign the whole project.  And the hardware will have to be re-done.    —  Well, it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow.   Can Son refuse. . . ?

Had a normal scheduled recorder session this week.    I hope I was a “good conversationalist,”  though I was struggling with paying attention sometimes.

And I’ve been going to class off and on,  I mean whenever classes are scheduled.   Nobody would know that in between activities I retreat into deep solitude and don’t want to talk.      It’s like a Funk  without feeling anything.

But I think I’ve been normal.

Books

Been studying.  As usual.   Normal for me.   Got another problem I’m working on:      How did the assumptions of  univocal metaphysics arise out of  equivocal  categories   . . . ?   It’s the old Aquinas vs. Scotus thing.   But it’s not made any easier with Avicenna’s use of the word “being”  which tripped everyone up.   You can’t make good Latin from Greek via Arabic!

Owls

But I’m working on it.    I don’t always agree with this author,  so maybe he’s the one with the problem.

(How could I have been so busy these last few days when all I wanted was Silence around me?)

Opened up   a new laptop and got it  going . . .   Easy.  No brainer.  No thinking.    Then  I really didn’t want to   go   anywhere on the Internet.

But I did go somewhere a couple days ago.  I went to a good site, and there was a review of a book that presents exactly what I’ve been doing this week –  and what we’re all going through,  and it’s consequences, perhaps a remedy or two.

It’s a new book written by Cardinal Sarah-   one of the Good Guys   – a minority in Catholic thinking today.   Here’s a bit from that review:

We are in an age of increasing social madness. Cardinal Robert Sarah, in his new book, The Power of Silence, reveals this to be symptomatic of a widespread spiritual illness in modern Western culture. This illness, according to him, is largely caused by an absence of crucially needed, God and truth-revealing periods of silence of the ears, of the eyes and of the heart in the life of modern men and women.

“Silence of the ears, of the eyes and of the heart.”   *

He also talks about the    “tyranny of destructive external and internal noise.”

All that noise,  All that information.   All those words demanding that you pay attention and make some sort of decision.     It becomes a tyranny.    That’s what I’ve been shutting out, I think.

Because of all the noise experienced by our eyes, ears and hearts, modern man no longer hears, experiences and knows God. He is unable to comprehend the purpose and even the value of his life and the lives of others . . . Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking, at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet.

Quiet.   Silence.

Everything that enters the mind and heart through the senses, emotions and memories can create howling internal “noise” and greatly disturb our internal equilibrium, sense of being and relationship to our Creator.

Howling.   No TV howling.  No radio howling.  No music howling.  No Internet howling . . . Not much talking in the Spruce Tunnel either.   And sorry about that,  because today was an important anniversary for the whole world.    I’ll get to that in the next post —

—   but meanwhile,  one more glance backwards here.  I wonder if my craving for silence is coming from the Blood of my Forefathers.

sami sign

I’ll go visit them there, in Samiland, ,  once again,  before I move out into the “howling”  world where there is that “tyranny of noise”  and everyone is expected to comment on everything.

No.

SONY DSC

Solitude.

sami mountains

Nature, being quiet.

sami reindeer

Oh.    I guess it’s usually winter there.

How about a quiet cabin,  all alone . . .

sami in snow

______________________________________________________

.*  If you want to read the article about Cardinal Sarah’s new book,  it can be found here by removing all the spaces when you use this URL:

http:// angelqueen .org/ 2017/05/13/cardinal-sarah-reveals-surprising-cause-and-remedy-for-the-fears-and-anxieties-of-our-time/

A BRIEF COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Posted May 9, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Current Events, Modern Issues, RF pollution

Tags: , , ,

(I have these once in a while,   commercial announcements.   Usually they’re about something I’ve just found out about and am delighted that it exists. )   

wi fi jiggly  This has been me for the last few weeks,  sitting at my computer with a tangle of RF fields around me.   I know that’s a cell phone signal strength photo,  but it feels the same on my body.  It hurts if I’m there too long.

So there’s something  wrong with the electrical fields in my house which magnifies signal strength and electrical surges.    My TV got zapped once again, and I’ve been without television- watching for almost three weeks.  (It’s all being repaired right now as I’m writing, so I’ll soon have a TV again…..)

However,  what I learned,  being without all the entertainment-news that the alphabet channels present to us,  is that nearly all the news is  not  accurate,   or it’s  distorted, or flat-out not true.    And overwhelmingly against the president (and any conservative, somewhat Republican, viewpoint).

(Now I don’t think that President Trump is any kind of Savior for our country.  Maybe.   But likely not.   It’s just that the alternative would have been so destructive to all of us that we’ll settle for what President Trump might be able to do . . . )

A recent study, however,  by some independent communications outfit showed that 89% of all news programming showed President Trump in a negative light –  nasty things said about him;  suspicions;  innuendoes;  criticisms;  opposing views;  supposed errors;  and accusation after accusation after accusation – without any supporting proof.   The American public and the world is being trained to “hate” Trump and all he stands for.

Check out, for instance,  the “images”  of Donald Trump that search engines will give you.  (See below.)

I’ve gotten used to hearing a news segment and then mentally “ducking”  for the anti-Trump onslaught that is sure to come.

So,  without my TV,  I’ve been “forced” to watch the news over the Internet –  and there is a LOT there to choose from!!   Streaming everything from every country you’d want!  It takes only a few moments of watching local news (on the Internet)  to  remember how awful the Mainstream Media News is.

So here’s my “commercial announcement”  —     OAN news.  Streaming 24/7* on YouTube.   You’ll get a few short  commercials between news segments,  but you’ll also get some well-done segments showing some great event in American history — and you don’t even have to “duck”  for the cynical comments that would normally follow.  Just really nice informative spots that showcase something good in American history.

OAN   –   One America News:     news without the attitude adjustment.

 

_______________________________________

 

.*    Actually I found it by searching on YouTube for “F o x N e w s  s t r e a m i n g.    Then I clicked on the Fox News Streaming 24/7 –  and got  OAN news.  Maybe there are other ways to find it.

Try it out.   What a relief not to have to listen to how you are supposed to “feel”  about each news segment.

 

________________________________________

(Search engine results for images of Donald Trump.)

 .**    “Fair and balanced,”  I notice:

trump 1

 

trump 2

 

trump 3

Are we, the public,  being manipulated?

 

 

FRIENDSHIP

Posted May 8, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Humor

Tags: ,

(That is,   “Friendship in General”)

I came across this old cartoon which is one of my all-time favorites:

Math Joke cr

It never fails to make me smile – and even laugh along with these guys – and it always makes me think.   (Well, I’m not a mathematician;  I don’t think like that.)

I was cleaning out yet another box of old papers —  I mean if I’m going to be removed from this earth soon enough,  I’m thinking at least the Good Lord has given  me time to remove the detritus that has accumulated around me so I’m not a burden to others . .  .

And as I went through all these old favorite things I’ve saved,  I also thought about the years that I had first saved them, what I was doing, why I saved them,  and the people I knew back then . .  .  and some of those people whom I still know.

The two gentlemen in the cartoon speak their own language – perhaps a language only they understand!    But it is their mutual understanding of the world,  their bond of friendship,  the glue of similar outlooks on life that holds them together.    From such things can friendship grows –  if what they have in common is stronger than what might keep them apart.

Everyone can annoy anyone at sometime in their lives.    So, the advice ought to be:  just don’t!

But that’s impractical.   Better advice for forming and keeping and enjoying a friend is to not let your friend’s annoying things  matter.

See the two gentlemen in each cartoon panel.   One is not doing any speaking.  Who knows how long it takes the first guy to get each thought across!   The second guy is showing patience  . . .  3/4 of the way through he is showing patience and is listening, kindly and attentively.

And then it’s worth it!   What a joke!  How funny!   What a surprising point he has made!    They have a foundation of mutual understanding,  similar experiences and observations, which have given them an attitude that is familiar to each of them –  the bond of friendship is strengthened — and appreciated!

And I am humbled.  So many elements to friendship!   I’m not sure I’ve been that good a friend, through the years.  Such moments as these two men enjoy are rare, I think.

Awwww.    Look at the cartoon again – and  just enjoy!

 

 

 

TWO PERSPECTIVES

Posted May 4, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Culture, Current Events, News Media

Tags: ,

I’m into my third week of having no TV.   The system components are broken.  Or else all the HDMI ports are fried again.    Someone is going to come to fix the ports next week, and then I’ll be able to tell what else went wrong.

One gets a different perspective on the world without TV.

Here’s something I saw on my way in to class this evening:

Ducklings cr

Right downtown, in our little city which is the capital city of our state,  in busy traffic,  6:10 p.m.,   someone had gotten out of his car and stopped all traffic to allow this mother and her little ducklings to cross the street.   The streets were full, cars coming from all directions,  and yet no one even beeped their horns.   Lots of smiles and thumbs up to the man who was out there guiding those ducklings across the street.

It reminded me of how many “nice” people I see every time I drive in this area.   There are groups of people on the street,  men and women talking together,  men of different races carrying briefcases and walking together or discussing something on the street corner.   Race, age or sex,  it doesn’t seem to matter.    Rich people poor people;  people are just . . .  working together,  living next to each other.

It’s not like you see on the television entertainment-news.   Not like the Soros-funded staged “protest”  riots, protesting everyday American things.

I think there was an attempt at that this week, though.  On Monday,  our local news announced over and over again that there would be protest meetings and demonstrations on the capital lawn for – I forget what all, but one of them was the legalization of marijuana.

cap

Here’s our capital building,  just one block west of where those ducklings were.   When I heard about the scheduled “protests,”  I thought,  oh, oh,  I have to drive that way right in the middle of all that.    May Day protests – all around the world, the news said!!

Well, as I drove by,  I saw some people.  Maybe about 18, maybe a little more,  standing near those steps.   Didn’t look like much.  Less than a busload of schoolchildren gathering for a tour of the capitol building.

I’ve seen bigger crowds there, of course.  I was part of really big rally once.    That crowd was concerned and alert, but friendly and peaceful.  When one young man waved a poster and shouted out some bad language in imitation of what he’d seen on television,  people around him formed a circle and one man said, “We don’t do things like that here.”   The circle kind of edged toward the side of the capitol lawn and the young man “dispersed” himself and walked away.

Without television programming and “news,”  I forget we’re supposed to be a “divided” nation on the brink of civil war.     That’s not what I see when I look around me, at my neighborhood,  my town,  our little capital city.    It’s not what I see when I drive cross-country through many other little towns and cities.

We have problems, of course, and sometimes local politics get “hot,”  but you win some, you lose some,  and you come back to fight another day.    We don’t destroy our political opponents.

So what’s real life?   Raging cities,  burning, rioting cities?   Or everyday life,  like I see most commonly,  wherever I go?    I wonder about that.

As long as it lasts,   these days are okay.   We can work to solve our problems.

I hope the hyped-up drama we see on television doesn’t produce a new reality.

GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES

Posted May 1, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Liturgical Year

Tags:

(Good Shepherd Sunday this week)

Every once in a while, when I get into a discussion of sheep,  someone in the group tells me the story of the farm boys who tease their father’s sheep by getting them to follow each other — around in  a circle!

(Here’s a sketch; sorry it’s so light. I used mainly a grey pencil.)

good sh in acircle

Around and around and around;  “because sheep are so dumb they’ll just keep following the one in front of him”   —  around and around  .  .  .   Great joke!     Then the farm boys would get into trouble because — well, it’s just plain mean to take advantage of dumb animals.

So is that story ever true?     Really?     That dumb?

But maybe.

I’ve read about sheep.  Here are two great classic books describing the behavior of actual sheep with the not-so-subtle suggestion of the many ways we are like the sheep too.

good shep books

The books are entertaining.   The author is a real shepherd and has intimate and detailed knowledge about the care of sheep.    What a job!  They can’t take care of themselves like, say, a herd of beef cattle.    Or trout in a trout pond.    Chickens in a coop . .  .

Sheep stray.   They have no idea how to find their way back.   They eat things they shouldn’t.   They get pretty sick and easily  die.  They get thirsty, but have to be led to the nearby watering hole.    They don’t wander home when it gets dark.

good shep on a hill

The shepherd pretty much has to do all the thinking for his sheep and lead them along, staying alert and attentive.

But he has to lead them gently.   They spook easily.   A harsh voice will spook them.   They get confused easily.    A stranger’s voice will spook them.

One spring day when I was a teacher,  a student’s mother brought in a baby lamb.   She warned me ahead of time that lambs are extremely sensitive to sudden noises, bangs or shouts.  Any sudden change in volume would be enough to shock the little lamb to death!

god little lamb

She said it sometimes happens in their barns.

Try keeping 32 seven-year-olds   still and quiet when a  tiny little lamb appears in the classroom!     That day is impressed deeply in my memory, I was so worried.   (Nobody died that day!)

We are taught that we are like sheep.  We people.   We who think we know so much.  We who think we know what we need.  We who think we know where our lives are taking us.   We who think we can find our way,  but, really, we’re merely following.

Here’s what the Good Shepherd would like us to know about ourselves:  “All we like sheep have gone astray.  We have turned  everyone to his own way.”    He told the great prophet Isaiah to teach us that.    We have a fatal flaw;  we’ve strayed away from the One who made us and  turned to our own ways.

In all my decades of life,  I’ve never found that not to be true.

The Good Shepherd knows everything.     We’d all be lost in the end,  if we didn’t have a Good Shepherd inviting us to follow Him.

good shep holding little one

The pathway is Narrow.   Cliffs and quicksand,  cunning wolves,  sheep rustlers   (thieves),   bad weather and misfortune,  hunger, thirst, and sickness, enticing shadows, fake shepherds  — all  distract us and lie in wait for us.

Think how dangerous it would be for these sheep to leave their Shepherd!!

“I am the Good Shepherd; my sheep know my voice and I know them.”    Nobody can get to Heaven without Him.

 

 

 

 

HUNCHBACK REDUX

Posted April 27, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Christendom, Current Events, saint

Tags: , , ,

 

Anybody remember who this man was?

jimmy pic

He was a celebrity, to be sure,  but he was a kind and wise fatherly figure to me . .  .

Well,  wait a minute.

_____________________________________

Yesterday I wrote to you about two ugly people,  hunchbacked, blind, hobbling around, apparently useless — indeed,  rejected by society.   The story of the  first one, the hunchback who lived in Notre Dame cathedral, packs a powerful punch and it takes courage to read that book.

The second hunchback is a real person,   Margaret of Castello,   and her story will fill you with outrage and pity –  and astonishment.

The first figure displayed heroic Christian courage,  constancy,  loyalty,  love and tragic action. marg  The second figure,  Margaret,  all her life showed wondrous Christian  love and forgiveness,  wisdom,  virtue,  goodness and kindness.

I wanted to revisit their stories a little bit because I’m not sure if I told their story well enough.    The one common point that these two figures have is that their interior lives were both made good and wonderful and valuable by the power of God which they allowed to work in them — in spite of great difficulties. 

Our world is full of serious, even life-threatening problems,  and maybe in our personal lives we have serious problems.    That old saying is pertinent for our difficult world:  “Change the world?  Change yourself.”

The effect that Margaret of Castello had on her surrounding world was profound and life-changing for many, many people.

Okay,  the man in the first photo above?     Jimmy Dodd!

jimmy

Even as a child I could tell that he was a good man,  a wise man,  and that he genuinely cared that we grew up to be good and caring people.  He sang to us, as he taught us and he taught us his lesson by teaching us to sing.  Here is “Doreen”  from  the original (and very good)  Mickey Mouse Club singing his song.     It’s less than a minute:

 

 

“Beauty is as beauty does.”        To the one who follows Jesus —   who knows Him and loves Him, and so therefore follows Him,  there is a real change inside,  no matter what the outside appearances are.

It comes out like this:   (Galatians 5:22,  23 ) –  “. . .   the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. “

A follower of Jesus gets some “gifts” too.  Among them are wisdom and understanding, discernment.    With these we can help solve the problems around us.

Here’s Blessed Margaret of Castello now:

marg incorruptible

Her body is incorruptible after several centuries.  But it doesn’t matter what her body used to look like.

She’s no longer ugly,  hunchbacked, and blind.

She’s beautiful.

 

 

 

THE HUNCHBACK HAS HIS DAY

Posted April 25, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Liturgical Year

Tags: , , , ,

Yes.  Well.     Back to the real world.   But let’s go into the real real world, where sometimes bad things happen and bad people exist.    What then?

hunchback

Sometimes babies aren’t born perfect,  and in an imperfect (Fallen)  world,  the imperfect baby is not loved.   In fact, the birth of this hideously deformed baby boy horrified his parents.    Hunchbacked and mostly blind.

The hopeful young parents had waited so long for this baby to grow in the womb and be born — and then . . .  this –  this unspeakable thing was born!   Its presence would be a curse on the poor parents and on everyone around them.   What to do with it?

You can’t just kill it because it’s “human.”   And so, since it’s human,  just throw it on the Mercy of God –  throw it back where it came from, so to speak:

notre dame

And so on Low Sunday the ugly baby was found on the doorsteps of Notre Dame Cathedral.

We often name our Sundays after the first two or three words of that day’s Introit,  the opening prayer as the Mass begins.   Here is the Introit for Low Sunday,  the Sunday after Easter:

Quasi modo géniti infántes allelúia: rationábiles, sine dolo lac concupíscite, allelúia, allelúia, allelúia.

Or  (English):  As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

“Newborn babies” ?  What to call that abandoned newborn baby?   Call it by the name of the Sunday on which he appeared:  Quasimodo.

Little Quasimodo found mercy and love among the Christian hearts within Notre Dame’s walls.   He was fed and cared for and as he grew he  joyfully fulfilled the task of ringing the bells in those great towers.

Victor Hugo wrote the fictional story of Quasimodo and made it a deep study of love and hate,  of rejection, betrayal,  rescue,  hypocrisy,   innocent love and cold-hearted lust — and of the noblest act of self-sacrifice.   Even though we may know “what happens” in the story,  it’s well worth reading, especially as we grow older.

A few days ago it was Quasimodo Sunday.  We didn’t hear about The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the sermon,   but we  did learn  to become like the little children that Jesus held up before us as our models;  and we did learn to become eager for the new, nourishing milk of the whole story of the Gospel.  Every bit of it!

Yes,  we should want Him that much;   in the same way as (quasi modo) that a newborn baby wants his mother’s milk,   because it’s there that we find  mercy and peace and life that doesn’t end.

A fictional story that demonstrates the love of God?     How about a factual story of the same kind that also demonstrates the power of the love of God?

Once there was born an ugly little girl baby –  deformed,  hunch-backed,  and blind.    True story.

castello

Her parents were wealthy nobles and her birth would bring shame to them –  if anyone ever saw her.    The little baby was named Margaret and she was kept locked in a back room of her parents’ castle – out of sight! – with only a maidservant to care for her needs.      And because she was human and because this was a  Christian  country,   they sent a priest in to see her at times.

Like the good people in Notre Dame Cathedral,  this priest took care of her spiritual needs,  taught her the truths about God’s love and mercy –  and Margaret grew up to be kind and loving – and forgiving,   trusting in God.

margaret

Not so her parents.    When they thought she was old enough,  they took her to the nearby town  for a “shopping trip.”       And they abandoned her there.   Cold,  hungry,  weary of waiting for her parents all day,  she was taken in by various families, until months later finally she was brought to a convent –  which was a bad one!     Being blind and crippled,  she brought them no money so they soon  kicked her out,  back onto the streets.

But remember,  she had been taught right from wrong by that loving priest in her early life.  She knew how God wants us to live – with kindness and forgiveness given freely to all.     She chose the love and mercy of her Heavenly Father and never wavered.  Her life was an instruction to everyone,  to everyone who would see.    Good people loved her.

(You can read her story in the “Read the rest. . .”  part below.)

These are two examples for us who are “blind” in some areas;  who are unformed in good works and deformed in our actions;  crippled morally in some small way;  who secretly feel we could be rejected if people knew the truth about us . .  .  .

Blind and deformed and crippled.   Quasimodo knew and Margaret of Castello knew —  that it’s  for these kind of people that Jesus died  (Good Friday)  and rose again  (Easter) that they may become His followers, like dear children (quasi modo . . .)

The real world that we live in can be ugly and unfriendly and dangerous.     But the Real real world can also be a place to dwell in God’s unchanging love.

 

______________________________________________

 

Read the rest of this post »

DOWN FROM MY EYRIE

Posted April 24, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Holy Days, Holy Days Resurreciton, Liturgical Year

Tags: , , ,

 

It’s been an intense and  “difficult blessing”  lately, here in my eyrie:

Here:

Panagia_Sumela_monastery_in_province_of_Trabzon,_Turkey_

I’ve been “up there”  for a couple of weeks and I’m so reluctant to leave.

eagle nest

The eagles build their eyries high up in tall trees or on the side of a mountain so they can be still and safe and alone while they participate in the (pro)creative work of their Creator.   They are isolated and productive.

 

eagle soarer

The  eagle descends so swiftly and smoothly, down from his hidden home– but for me, these last weeks have been a slow and reluctant climb downward,  with frequent looks backwards . . . .

 

All this,  a metaphor, of course.    I had an intense and deeply personal  Holy Week and Triduum,  followed by a surprisingly glorious Easter and following days.   (It’s still the Easter season,  I suppose just for experiences like this . . .  we need a couple of weeks to take it all in.)

I tell my classes   “The better Lent that you have,  the better your Easter will be.”    Well, that backfired on me this year.    I mean,   the words just turned around and fired right back into me.  But  this is not unique to me.

We are all so much more than our everyday lives!

We are all capable of experiencing, knowing,  being so much more than we’re used to!

eagle soar

Two births:

We who are born alive can know and interact with many things,   (We can read, for instance.)     And we know that from the moment of  birth we do, in effect,  begin to die.  Might take six or seven or eight decades,  but we’re on the pathway to our deaths.

One day, an intelligent, well-educated man on the leadership council in his society learned that there is another birth – an actual, real, second  birth into full and abundant life.   His name was Nicodemus,  and being a private person and maybe a little embarrassed,  he came to Jesus one night, in the cover of darkness,  to ask some questions about this true life.

He was surprised to learn that to enter Life one must be born again and from above,  it is God’s work in a man –  and without it,  the man simply proceeds with a dead spirit on to his own death — living  his everyday life, enjoying the ups and suffering the  downs, but proceeding on to his death.  Into deep darkness.   A just and deadly separation between God and sinner.

But Jesus went  on to explain  that a man receives this new birth by the work of the Holy Spirit,  through the means of water,    hereby indicating baptism –  which soon the young Church will understand to be a  re-birth of the already naturally born person into new and actual,  abundant life –  truly and everlastingly alive.    The “dead” spirit of the person is vivified!

The person is no longer on his pathway to  death and everlasting separation from God.  A person, then, is capable of so much more — more Life! —  than before.

And it all doesn’t work unless there is  a Good Friday and a day of Resurrection.

That is why these recent holidays are called the defining event of Christianity.

 

green

I needed to go up into that truth,  way up,  into a personal eyrie to experience more of that truth,  because  it’s necessary for us  humans to remove ourselves from this world and its turmoils and noise and complex confusions; to  find a  place of solitude where you can hear the voice of God.

You might not choose that  beautiful monastery in Turkey in the first photo above,  high up in the mountains,  but your imagination is capable of creating another place of quiet beauty where it’s safe for you to . . .  think . . .  to grab onto that second birth.

____________________________________

 

Down from my eyrie,  observing, once again, things going on around me.

 

 

THE CHARM OF BOYS

Posted April 20, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Cooper, Humor, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

(An update on Cooper)

(Boys and girls.   Nothing like having one of each to appreciate the differences!)

When Hubbie and I were expecting our very first child,  we didn’t know whether we’d have a girl or a boy.    I wanted a boy.    In my naivete I wanted a whole basketball team full of boys – and then maybe a girl later.

Well.     After knitting little blue sweaters,  I got a  girl.

Appreciated having a girl.   So when we were expecting another child,  I though how nice it would be if she had a little sister!    So I knit little pink sweaters.

And then we got a boy.

I will have to say that after each birth, my only thought was “How perfect!”

Now,  I was more used to girls because  as I was growing up,    I had become the big sister of two little girls.     I understood them,   I knew all the subtle little things to expect.

But boys!    That was a new experience!    Straightforward.  Direct.  Practical.   Honest.   Not afraid to show delight.   And their sense of humor is really funny.

So I offer you two “boy”  samples.   One is a joke.    But it’s a boys’ type joke.    Non-sentimental.   Non-fussy.    Just plain funny.   (It’s all over the Internet, associated with the name of  Corden,  that’s all the attribution I can make.)     Here it is:

A 16-year-old boy in Bosnia broke a world record this week by smashing 111 concrete blocks with his head in 34 seconds. When asked how it felt to break the world record, the boy said, “Lampshade tricycle is my favorite flavor of pizza truck.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha . .  .  really appreciated that!

And now there’s  another little boy in my life,  Cooper,  my grandson.     Just returned from a trip to Portugal.     Here he is,  straightforward,  direct, and matter-of-factly enjoying a visit with the pilot:

Cooper Pilot

He excused himself from his airplane seat and knocked on the “pilot’s door”  and had a nice long conversation about flying airplanes.    He knows quite a bit about airplanes — he’s on his SECOND passport book right now.  The first one got all filled up with stamps.    The pilot came out after a while and gave his email address to his Cooper’s Mommy, offering to help   in any way possible should Cooper ever want to become a pilot!   He called Cooper “remarkable.”

My word exactly.

This little boy takes on  the world exactly as it comes to him,  an attitude that is frankly quite charming.

Hawaii?    Just a place to express your joy.

Cooper Dancing Ocean 300

I think he’s ready for the whole world.

_________________________________________

(There’s a lot of “girl”  still in me,  but  I’m learning a lot from observing the boys!)

AT LAST!

Posted April 16, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Liturgical Year, Uncategorized

Tags:

 

The other Easter joy:

 

peeps one gone

 

(once a year)

ALIVE! – WHAT TO SAY

Posted April 16, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Liturgical Year, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

HAPPY EASTER TO THE WORLD!!!!

akive

 

What can we say to the God of Love, Our Father,  who planned this all along so that it would be possible for us to enter into His Heaven?

It was so unexpected.  It is so above our means.

jesus risen

 

 

We say this prayer.   Repeated throughout this day.     Repeated throughout our lives.  This prayer of gratitude:

 

Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi,

Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.   Amen.

 

English:

We adore Thee, O Christ,  and we bless Thee,

For by Thy Holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.   Amen.

________________________________________

 

And to each other:

“Christ is risen.”

“He is risen indeed.”

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

BY MEANS OF MEN

Posted April 14, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Holy Days, Liturgical Year, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

(At the 9th hour):        “It is consummated.”           It was.

CROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

“By means of men and their actions,  God governs the world.”*

___________________________________

.*  “What Jesus Saw From the Foot of the Cross”

by  A.G. Sertillanges

JUST . . . LOOK UP

Posted April 13, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Liturgical Year, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

The “beautiful thing” of this week:

3 Moon 1

Moon and moon-in-pond.

My camera could not capture its lovely golden color.  

3 Moon 3 with effects

 The Paschal Moon shines down through my back yard trees.

The first full moon after the first new moon of the first month of the year, Nisan.

The Paschal Moon shines down on all of us this week, because once, 2,000 years ago,  it rose over Jerusalem:

3 moon above.

And Jesus died.