as long as you’re happy…

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not;
and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


(BayToday.Ca)

Happy?

That’s the goal, right?

Isn’t that what we’re always saying to or about people and their decisions and choices…
as long as they’re happy…as long as you’re happy…

Shave your hair off, just for fun…as long as you’re happy.
Color your hair purple…as long as you’re happy.
Marry someone of a different race…as long as you’re happy.
Get that massive tatoo…as long as you’re happy.
Marry someone of the same sex…as long you’re happy.
Runaway from home…as long as you’re happy.
Denounce your faith…as long as your happy.
Decide you want to be a different sex…as long as you’re happy.
Drop out of school…as long as you’re happy.
Go join a protest…as long as you’re happy.
Smash a storefront window…as long as you’re happy.
Take a few drugs…as long as you’re happy.
Leave your spouse…as long as you’re happy.
Sport those latest designer goods…as long as you’re happy.
Live an open sexual life…as long as you’re happy.
Do whatever it is…as long as you’re happy.

Write it all off as an ‘as long as everyone is happy’.

Go forth and be happy…right?

I don’t think it’s that simply…

Faith is not a feeling.

It is not about “as long as you are happy…
Faith is not a matter of what the world claims as happiness.
There is a deeper level of happiness that transcends both space and time…
happiness this world will never understand or truly know…

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 6

nip it in the bud vs the good bits

NIP IT!
NIP IT IN THE BUD”

Barney Fife


(Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith Show)

You remember Barney right?
Barney Fife?
From back in the early 1960s?
The hapless deputy helping to protect the imaginary town of Mayberry, NC?

Thank goodness for his even-keeled, laid back boss, Sheriff Andy Taylor.

When Barney wanted to make a point of how certain things needed to go, in what direction
his long-suffering boss should proceed…all the while emphasizing the need for
no further discussion on his part, he was famous for using the quip,
“Nip it…Nip it in the bud.”
“Ya got to nip it, Andy, nip it in the bud now!”

According to the dictionary, the expression means:
suppress or destroy something at an early stage

Meaning cut it off at the source before it, whatever it might be, spreads and thus
creates a deeper tangled mess.

Such an expression could be used, say, toward gossip…stopping idol hearsay before
it becomes so distorted that folks get unnecessarily hurt or unfairly maligned.

And so now we have it…we know our troubles…

Our trouble is that we are currently living in a sea of irony…
a sea of nipping things in the bud.
I hate to say it but we are living in a culture lead by those who are nipping anything
everything, anyone, and everyone in the bud.

As in, get rid of it, get rid of them… now!

In other words, cancel it out.

I’ve never really been a big fan of comedians, I think I’ve mentioned that before.
I’ve never been one to enjoy amusement derived at the expense of others.

Now I can be self-deprecating as the day is long…but I just find
many of today’s comedians and their schticks to be either laced with foul words
and or imagery and simply tasteless, offensive and irreverent dribble.

Of course, those like Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Sammy Davis Jr.
Dean Martin and even Flip Wilson were of a different generation of comedians.
They could make me laugh.
They often laughed at themselves or laughed at things we could all relate to…

But I must say, that whereas he’s never been high on my list, I am finding
that I can actually readily appreciate the British comedian Ricky Gervais.

He has not shied away from going after those whose circles he has run in
or at least run around.

Recently, he let loose on the Hollywood elites when he hosted the last Golden
Globe awards. Yes he can be foul and irreverent, which is why
I don’t much care to watch him, but he has, however, been candidly truthful.

And it is his truthfulness that I can certainly appreciate.

I caught a news story yesterday about Gervais speaking out
against today’s cancel culture.

I found his observation to be most telling…

“Everyone’s got a different definition of cancel culture,” the 59-year-old explained.
“If it is choosing not to watch a comedian because you don’t like them, that’s everyone’s right.
But when people are trying to get someone fired because they don’t like their opinion
about something that’s nothing to do with their job,
that’s what I call cancel culture and that’s not cool.”

He added: “You turning off your own TV isn’t censorship.
You trying to get other people to turn off their TV because you don’t like something
they’re watching, that’s different.”

“I did a tweet a month ago about freedom of speech, quoting Winston Churchill.
Someone came back with, ‘You know he was a white supremacist?’
And I wrote back, ‘Not in that tweet he isn’t.’
It’s like if someone did something once that’s wrong, everything they did was wrong,” he said.
“You are allowed to have things in common with bad people as long it’s not the bad things.
I’m a vegetarian and I love dogs, like Hitler.
But the only thing I have in common with Hitler are the good bits!”

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/ricky-gervais-speaks-out-cancel-culture

So it seems our culture has lost the notion of the good bits
while they mindlessly race to nipping both you and me in the bud!

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion,
that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29

when the world gets to be just too much to handle, find your quiet place and pray

Life can be magnificent and overwhelming, that is the whole tragedy.
Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live.

Albert Camus


(The Mayor is up to her neck in troubles–and yes she kept asking for more / Abby Cook / 2020)

I think most all of us can relate to feeling much like this picture of the Mayor.
Buried up to our necks in the world’s seemingly unending madness.

Helpless and trapped while our hands are rendered useless in fending off the unrelenting
troubles.

Stuck in the sand and helplessly relegated to merely watching the madness
without being able to do a darn thing about it.

And so it is during such dire times that our only option, our only recourse, is to simply seek the quiet– going to hide away, as it were, seeking solitude…going to that place of quiet and seclusion…as we lift up our voices in prayer.


(the Sheriff has a thing for cabinets / Julie Cook / 2020)


(why does the Sheriff remind me of a squirell / Julie Cook / 2020)

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father,
who is unseen.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:6

pardon the interruption

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose
all the other ages you’ve been.

Madeleine L’Engle


(The Sheriff enjoying Da’s cake / Gregory Cook / 2020)

We interrupt our scheduled dose of heavier topics as we need to recognize
a most momentous occasion.

Someone on staff at the satellite Woobooville office turned 71 this past week
and thus the Mayor, Sheriff, along with their entourage, came to celebrate.

We’ll get back to the serious stuff after everyone finishes enjoying their cake.

Doesn’t matter whose birthday it is, the Sherrif loves cake!

Quid est veritas?

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.
In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.
Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate

(John 18:37-38)


(Ecce Homo /”Behold the Man”/ Antonio Ciseri / 1871)

I decided yesterday to take a quick look back, curious as to past posts where
I’ve written about “truth.”
There were 24 pages of posts in which the word and thoughts about truth were woven
within the body of a post and there were 14 separate posts that had the word “truth”
as the title or within the title.

Obviously, it is an ongoing thought.

I mentioned this to IB yesterday as a comment to her post
https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2020/08/07/you-have-to-kill-the-bad-guys/

you know IB–the bottom line to all of our posts regarding this madness comes down
to one common single thread—that being Truth.

Amen, Julie.
I think I feel the need to just keep repeating the Truth
over and over again because the world has gone quite mad.
We’re in real danger of losing it and so we have to speak it back into existence.
I love how Jesus says “I am the Truth the way and the life.”
Good news, because now we got something to hang onto. 🙂

Yesterday I shared about reading a new book by Erik Larson, The Splendid and the Vile
A Saga of Chruchill, Family and The Defiance During the Blitz

At the end of yesterday’s post, I whittled it down to the basis of one
simple lament—

“All were willing to stand up rather than kneel to fascism.

And the sad irony today, these 75 years later, is that Western Civilization
now seeks to embrace fascism, socialism, Marxism…ideologies she once
vehemently stood ardently against…
all the while vying to defend her dear democracy.

So what happened in the time span of 75 years?

I suppose we’ll begin to look at this question in the coming days…”

And so I begin looking back…

And I want to start with The Truth…

The Truth.
Quid est veritas?
What is the Truth?
And what part does that Truth play in where we are today?

One thing I know, we are afraid of the truth.

We burn it.


(Burning Bibles in Portland / Denison Forum /Activists burned a stack of Bibles
in front of the federal courthouse in Portland Friday night.
A statue of Jesus was beheaded recently at a Miami church.)

“I would put myself in the attitude to look in the eye an abstract truth,
and I cannot. I blench and withdraw on this side and on that.
I seem to know what he meant who said, No man can see God face to face and live.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

antithesis gone mad meets brute facts

Seventy-five years after the end of the Second World War,
Winston Churchill has once again come under attack.
This time, however, the crowds are not made up of young fanatics wearing armbands
with swastikas and parading through the streets of Berlin.
Today, mobs of young fanatics believing that they are the antithesis
of the Nazis parade through the streets of London denouncing Churchill as a racist.

David Freeman

I’m currently reading a great book by Erik Larson—The Splendid and the Vile
A saga of Chruchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz.

The reviews were predominantly positive but I also read the negative as I
do like to see if there is balance.
In this case, the predominantly positives fully overrode the negatives.

I’ve read books by Erik Larson before–one of the best was
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

I even featured that book a few years back with a post.

I admit, that as of late, my morale has been flagging a bit.
In great part due to my sheer dismay over the current civil strife plaguing
our Western Civilization…and in particular, that being here at home.

Pandemic pandamonium isn’t helping— but if the truth be told,
I really think that the utter political lunacy, the unprecedented vehemence
directed toward a sitting president, the disrespect, news turned into twisted emotionalism,
a blatant disregard for human life, the endless bald-faced lies,
the push toward politically correct cover-ups,
the frightening lack of law and order, the march toward the cliff
of Marxism and socialism lead by an ignorant populace…

It is like I told Kathy yesterday—it is as if we are currently living
in what was once a draconian futuristic novel.

So what time is this in which we live when groups that on the surface say
they support black lives but when in reality they are a violent
Marxist organization bent on violence, hate, and death.

What time is this when support for a proposition called a Green New deal is actually
a thinly veiled cover for all-out socialism?

When Hitler began his insatiable gobbling up of Europe…there was initially dismay,
there was skepticism, and there was disbelief.

But all of that quickly changed when the tanks rolled into sovereign nation after nation…
and as the bombs began to explode across villages, towns, and cities.

Those of us who know our history, are well aware that Great Britain went it alone
against Hitler’s raging Nazi machine for years before the United States joined the war.
Our President simply wished them well…year after year after year…despite the desperate
pleading for help from their Prime Minister.

Yet this small island nation stayed the course, dug in her heels, and braced itself against
what appeared to be impossible odds.

She thankfully had a stubborn and resolute leader.
One who, just months prior, had been maligned, ridiculed, and certainly
not taken seriously.

And just when things indeed turned dire, she also had citizens who were willing
to sacrifice–doing what was needed to be done in order to make their nation as
prepared as possible.

All were willing to stand up rather than kneel to fascism.

And the sad irony today, these 75 years later, is that Western Civilization
now seeks to embrace fascism, socialism, Marxism…ideologies she once
vehemently stood ardently against…
all the while vying to defend her dear democracy.

So what happened in the time span of 75 years?

I suppose we’ll begin to look at this question in the coming days…

‘United wishes and goodwill cannot overcome brute facts,’
Churchill wrote in his War Memoirs.
‘Truth is incontrovertible.
Panic may resent it.
Ignorance may deride it.
Malice may distort it.
But there it is.’

favorable conditions…

“We are always falling in love or quarreling,
looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering,
following public affairs.
If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other
to end before we can really get down to our work.
The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable.
Favorable conditions never come.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


(a local acorobate dangles upside down on a birdfeeder munching on my blueberries/ Julie Cook / 2020)

I love this quote by C.S.Lewis don’t you?
Isn’t it just so us, so now, so today?

Favorable conditions never come…do they?—
Especially when one is out to find the facts and the truth.

These days, both facts and truth, are collateral damage…
Not many folks are interested in such.
They prefer a fluid sort of something that is quite far from fact or truth.

So those of us who really want to seek out such, that being the knowledge of actual
facts and truth…
well, we simply can’t wait around for the perfect conditions or for the planets
and the heavens to align.
Not now, not today.

So before we tackle such topics…let’s take another day for just ourselves…
let’s take a small reprieve from the heaviness of our times
and let’s peek at what’s going on in God’s realm


(our wee beastie gives us a wee peek / Julie Cook / 2020)


(female hummingbird resting inbetween darting and dashing from feeder to feeder / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a hawk hummingbird moth …who knew of such / Julie Cook / 2020)


(black swallowtail / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2020)


(even a moth gets in on the act / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a gulf fritillary that is on his last wing…/ Julie Cook / 2020)

But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:7-10

a harbinger

Come, fair repentance, daughter of the skies!
Soft harbinger of soon returning virtue;
The weeping messenger of grace from heaven.

Thomas Browne


(red amongst the summer green /Julie Cook / 2020)

Harbinger as a noun: something that foreshadows a future event:
something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come

Harbinger as a verb: to give a warning or prediction of

I’ve written about harbingers before and usually, those posts were related to changing
seasons and or weather.

However, when I was out in the yard, picking ripe tomatoes in the heat of an early August
afternoon, sweat dripping from my face…finding a fully red, fall-like leaf, sitting alone
and somewhat forlorn in the green parched yard of summer…well,
things seemed a bit out of sorts.

My thoughts were not of a coming Fall, along with the changing of leaves and cooling temps…
but rather my mind wandered elsewhere.

When I think of the word harbinger, I don’t think of a heralding of sorts but rather I think
of that which is more foreboding…as in ominous.

A shadowing of sorts.

Seems about right given our current state of affairs…

More on the subject soon…

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves,
and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Update– wee beasties abound

A sly rabbit will have three openings to its den.
Chinese Proverbs


(a nest or den hidden in the pinestraw)


(the fur lining is a clue)


(a wee beastie nestles at the doorway_


(a bestie makes a mad dash)

Yesterday we had a really bad thunderstorm around lunchtime.
Once things cleared, I rushed outside to check on the rabbit den and the tiny little
baby I had met the day prior.

Low and behold, as the sun broke through the clouds, there was
indeed that one familiar little head poking out of its den—
it was my little friend.
Yet I noticed something else.
Nestled around my wee friend’s head, it appeared as if he had company.
There was an additional two to three little backsides—
Making a total of either 3 or 4 wee beasties…I couldn’t quite tell.

I was relieved knowing my wee little friend was not alone.

So now I’m blaming what happened next on my friend Kathy.
“Take more pictures” she implores, “they’re so cute.”

Well after supper I headed out to see if I could indeed snap a picture or two
of the wee clan living under the fire bush.

Crawling on my hands and knees, easing my way to the small opening, I gently reached
toward the little brown bottom sitting at the opening of the den.
Suddenly baby rabbits came barreling out of the hole running every which-a-way.

“What are you doing?! my husband hollers out while watching babies scoot
here,there and yon.

“Stop that one” I yell, as I watch my husband just stand there watching a brown blur
race alongside the rock wall, racing for dear life seeking shelter under
the masive viburnum bush.

“Why didn’t you stop it? I wailed.
“I didn’t want to step on it” he quipped.

Rolling my eyes I began to scrunch and inch my way under the giant viburnum bush…
gently moving the straw, while hoping to get the baby so I could put him back in the nest.

I eventually managed to get one of the babies back in the nest but one remained under the
viburnum bush while the other baby was on the opposite end of the shrubbery bed
under a butterfly bush.

The tiny sparrows hopping about kept looking at me, wondering what in the world was
this latest creature in the yard who was crawling around on all fours.

I searched and searched..and searched in vain.
The missing two babies had seemed to disappear into thin air…or more aptly
disappeared under a mass of straw and spent leaves…perfectly camouflaged.

I will go back out in the morning to check on them.

But oh what a blessing.

God is so gracious…so kind…so thoughtful.

I’ve been so consumed by the latest current events of this world.
Those of our dreadful woes and seemingly guaranteed demise…and yet here is God, granting me
a tiny look into His world…a far cry from the world I am a part of… that of
man’s world…a world full of strife and frustration.

Granted, nature at times can indeed seem cruel and harsh…but for now, I will simply
glory in the Grace I’ve been afforded–that of watching a few wee beasties
learn about life in a world full of bushes and plants… and an odd creature
teetering about on all fours cooing like a nut to a handful of wee beasties.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what
God has done from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

a wee beastie concern

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

last stanza to Robert Burns poem dating 1785

The other evening I was out watering the plants.
We were babysitting our grand-dog while the kids had gone to the beach
with our daughter-in-law’s family–so the old black lab was right by my side.

I have two fig trees in pots nestled within my shrubbery and while I was watering,
I was also picking a few ripe figs…

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tiny wee little brown beastie came wobbling right
in front of me.
Half wobbling and half hopping.

Luckily the old black lab, Alice, didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary as
I told her to go back toward the house.
One thing she is, is a mindful dog—I quickly threw down the hose.

I had to do a double-take because I wasn’t certain I was actually seeing a baby
rabbit as it was just so tiny.

He kept coming toward me and instinctively I picked him up and drew him close to me.
He nestled into my warmth.

His fur was irradescent…he was that young.

I called out to my husband to come quick.

“What do I do, what do I do” I practically wailed while holding this tiny brown bundle.

“Are you sure that’s a rabbit” my husband quips.

Yes, I sardonically replied…we have had a wealth of rabbits in the yard this year and
I know my rabbits. This was no mouse or squirrel.

The rabbits I’ve seen have been in the back of the house…I’ve not seen any upfront
so close to the house.

My husband pulls out his phone and turns to google to read what’s out there about
finding a baby rabbit.

“We need to find its den, its nest” he explains.

Den??? Nest??? What???

I don’t see a den or a nest, just a baby rabbit wobbling about in the pine straw
near my potted plants.

I also look for some information and everything I read emphatically says to
“put it back where you found it.”

I know from heartbreaking experience, baby wild rabbits, despite our best intentions,
are nearly impossible to raise to adulthood.

I gently put down “hoppy” and said a little prayer.

I always ask St. Francis to come help when I find baby wildlife.

Sunday we headed over to Atlanta to take Alice back home since her people had returned
from the beach blessedly in one piece and COVID free.

Once back home, late Sunday afternoon, I hesitantly ventured out into the yard,
looking for little “Hoppy”.

Low and behold, my small bundle heard me making my way over to the shrubbery and he,
or she, came tumbling toward me.
And the thing is, he didn’t hesitate…he actually kept working his way toward me.

He reminded me of when I first found Percy as a kitten.
I was reluctant yet tiny Percy kept making his way toward me as if to say…
I am yours.

I put this tiny baby back down while running inside to bring out some lettuce, just to
see if he take to it…knowing he was still most likely nursing.

I read that mothers will leave the dens during the day to feed and return only briefly
at night to nurse their “kits.”…and sadly not all kits are meant to live.

Crawling around on all fours through the pine straw, in and out of the bushes,
I did a little investigating thinking surely there must be a hollowed-out spot near a bush…
a nest of sorts.

When low and behold, I watched my little friend as he headed toward a small opening
camouflaged in the pine straw.
There was a tiny little hole, with a good bit of soft fur around the opening…
“Ah-ha” I heard myself exclaim…. finally there was indeed a nest!

I felt better knowing he’d not just wandered away and was alone.

My husband asked if I could see any other “kits” down in the hole but I wasn’t
too keen on poking my hand down into a hole in the pine straw.

I left some lettuce and walked away, once again, saying a tiny prayer
for my tiny friend.

We’ll see what tomorrow might bring…

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

Robert Burns