God’s mercy

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin.
All hope consists in confession.
In confession there is a chance for mercy.
Believe it firmly, do not doubt, do not hesitate,
never despair of the mercy of God.”

St. Isidore of Seville


(Southern summer evening sky /Julie Cook / 2021)

“When we are living in the world, we can easily take on the
mindset of a secular society. It is important for us to cultivate
in our lives, with great care,
God’s way of looking at things and life in general.
His Word guides us.”

Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy, p. 22
An Excerpt From
Inspirational Thoughts for Everyday

the devil is indeed a liar

If a man say, ‘I love God,’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar:
for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,
how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
And this commandment have we from him,
That he who loveth God love his brother also.

John the Apostle


(Satan from the Passion of the Christ)

I’ve often heard folks state, “the devil is a liar”…
and I honestly think I’m beginning to see this expression much more clearly
with each passing day…Satan is indeed the master of lies.

He coerces, massages and manipulates what we think we know..caressing it into
something all together entirely different,

And you may or may not have figured it out yet, but we are living in the midst of
his lie.
The current rending of our nation’s very being is case in point.

Divide and conquer is his modus operandi—divide the fold…
send in the wolves to disrupt the heard…
send the fold scattering…scattering in every which way…
and then…begin to devour…one by one.

I recently picked up Bob Woodson’s (Robert L. Woodson Sr) book,
RED, WHITE, AND BLACK
Rescuing American History
from Revisionists and Race Hustlers

I’ve referenced Mr. Woodson before.

Here is Mr. Woodson’s dedication:

No nation is perfect, but America–more than any other–
is a place where people from every imaginable background have been able
to pursue their dream and realize their potential.
Americans have never met a problem we are afraid to tackle or a challenge
we can’t overcome.
I fact, those of us who have faced the most formidable challenges in life
often become our strongest leaders and our greatest patriots.

This is as true of black Americans as it is anyone else.
During the worst of Jim Crow, we built thriving communities full of families,
churches, businesses, and countless civic institutions.
On the very soil where we once toiled in forced labor,
we found the seeds of our liberation.
At a time when many are trying to pull us apart by stoking grievances
and sowing discord, the overwhelming majority of Americans remain
devoted to our founding principles and to one another.
This book is dedicated to this countless millions who love our country,
despite it’s flaws, and long to live together in peace.

Mr. Woodson’s words…”at a time when many are tying to pull us apart by
stoking grievances and sowing discord, the overwhelming majority
of Americans remain devoted to our founding principles and to one another…”

Mr. Woodson speaks of Americans…those of all races and backgrounds.
He does not believe in the lies of divide and conquer.
He does not believe in the lies of critical race theory.
He does not believe the lies of separating and belittling
one race over another.
He does not believe in the lies of rewriting what once was into
something much more palatable.

Rather Mr. Woodson extols us all to cast aside those same lies.
Seek the betterment…seek a collective and unified sense of hope…

We are one nation under God…no matter how much Satan wants us to
believe the opposite…that we are a divided nation while there is no God.

Hold fast America…do not believe the lies.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:5

President Biden, this is on you

The border is a crisis—plain and simple.


(ABC)

President Biden and VP Harris may opt to ignore it all..
They may opt to pass the buck…
They may opt to blame their predecessor…
but it remains, none the less…a problem on their watch.

Children left alone by both their coyote handlers charged with moving them across
the border as well as by their own parents…parents who make personal choices
that do not hold their own children’s safety and care as a key paramount priority.

Many of these children will fall victim to either drug smugglers or
sex trafficking.

Unacceptable Mr. President.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/migrant-boy-abandoned-along-us-mexico-border-video

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially
for members of his household, he has denied the faith and
is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:8

The Baptizer

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“I am a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

John 1:23


(Jonathan Roumie and David Amito (back to camera) as Jesus and John the Baptist in Episode 5 of season two. Image: “The Chosen”/Instagram)

Have you watched it yet?
Episode 5, Season 2 of The Chosen…?

In this latest episode we meet the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptizer.
Plus our beloved Mary the Magdalene is seen to suffer a bit of
a set back when she encounters a demonic possessed man.

Now you know I’m loving the Chosen.
It’s like Dawn Marie noted in a comment the other day regarding my most recent
post about this wonderful crowd funded series—-each character we meet during
each episode offers a glimpse into each of us…
The quirks, the negatives, the setbacks, the brokenness speaks to each of us.

That’s in part why I enjoy the series so much…the back stories…
And yes, the creative license into the back stories of each of our favorite
Biblical characters is perhaps a bit far reaching,
however it allows us to feel a deep sense of connectivity.
They become real…real like you and me…and who’s to say that that real
is not really real??

Plausible, fictitious, real or false….we simply don’t know.

They had lives..they had personalities…the had faults…that had
something that drew Jesus to each one of them…

We have each suffered, we are all broken…
and yet He can and will still call on us.

But…in this particular episode, we meet the cousin of Jesus…
John the Baptist.

That seemingly wild man who lived in the desert, eating locust and honey while
wearing a camel hair and a leather belt.

He preached to the animals as well as to all who had ears to hear.

He spoke of One who was to come after him…

Yet the Chosen offered us a bit of a different take on John.

And to be honest, I don’t know if I liked this particular depiction.

As wild as John is depicted in the Bible, I always thought him to be
focused…focused on a higher spiritual plane…
not necessarily political, despite his focus on Herod Antipas.

The Chosen, however, seemed to portray him as more zealot…
and whereas a zealot is one who is fanatical…which John was…
I felt that this portrayal of John was more of an egoistical political
rabble rouser…and not one who was immersed in the Spiritual.
That of one on a different plane than the average human.

He joked a bit more than I felt the true John would have with his
cousin, the Son of God. He pushed his cousin…he pushed him to
get on with his “mission”, all of which I don’t see the real
John having done.

An impatient John?
No…I have always seen John as a polestar.
Not impatient but rather one who was content with pointing the way.

Meanwhile, we are now worried…. we are worried about what Mary is
up to.
What did meeting another demon possessed soul do to her healing…
her transformation?

As Believers, we all know that backsliding is real.
It can be a constant battle.
Satan knows our weakness.
He knows our achilles heel..and he plays on it masterfully…
yet in the end Jesus and our healing will prevail

So…what say you??
What do you think?

I baptize you with water for repentance,
but after me will come One more powerful than I,
whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you
with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:11

Memorial Day 2021

“But freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.
The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if
we fight for it, protect it,
defend it and then hand it to them with the well-thought
lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same.
And if you and I don’t do this, then you and I may well spend
our sunset years telling our children and our children’s
children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

Ronald Reagan


(the mayor enjoying a face painting / 2021)

This new community that we now call home hosted a Memorial Day family
community pool party and cookout bash.

And so naturally we had our son and daughter-n-law bring up the Mayor
the Sheriff for the festivities.

There was great food, good music, face painting, balloons along with a much
cooler day than desired in order to spend one’s time in the pool
with the grandkids.
But we do what we must right?!

Last night I noted out loud how much I had enjoyed this year’s Memorial Day…
the other most memorable Memorial Day was the time when we went to Savannah
to scope out our son and at the time, future, daughter in law’s wedding.

This weekend was actually what I would call normal.
Meaning, I readily and unconsciously fell into a sense of what we call
normalcy…life as we once knew it to be.
There were no masks, no social distancing…no limitations…
only kids and parents enjoying a kick-off day to summer.
There were real visible smiles.

Kids lined up to get their faces painted.
Adults stood in line to ‘build’ their burgers and hotdogs.
Balloons were shaped into animals.
Ice cream was plentiful.
The sun peeked in and out from behind the clouds.

And whereas our family celebrated like many American families celebrated
this opening weekend of a new summer…celebrating with cookouts and dips
in the pool…the real meaning of this day has not been lost on my heart.

Years ago when I was teaching, our high school usually had graduation on
the Friday night of the Memorial day weekend.
We’d then start our post-planning on Monday…the official day for Memorial Day.
The nation was observing Memorial Day while our faculty was busy closing
out the school year.

We had a football coach, a man who I still consider myself very fortunate
for having had the opportunity of calling colleague, who was a former
Army officer.

I can remember this ball coach standing up to address the entire staff
on that somewhat fateful Monday morning following graduation…
that Memorial Day morning that we, as a school system, was gathered
together working verses celebrating.

He offered a blistering admonishment.

Many of us had groused at not being able to spend the day
being with our families to help usher in summer…
however this football coach, this former Army Officer and West Point
graduate, took his colleagues and administration to task.

He reminded us why we really should not be at work this particular day.

That our being at work was rather a slap in the face of every armed
service member who had ever served our Nation.

What was wrong that we could not pause for a single day
in order to simply say thank you….

Suddenly it seemed as if the air left the room.
It was a struggle to breath the heaviness that hung in the room.

There was a sense of guilt racing through the room.

Whereas the teachers felt badly for simply wanting to be off with their families
to enjoy a day of cookouts and swimming…I could only imagine that our
administration team was really feeling a sense of oppressive guilt.

Needless to say, for as long as I continued working at the school, we
never worked another Memorial Day.

My daughter in law sent me this lovely reminder of where our thoughts
should actually be on Memorial Day….

John Guy writes:
“What God did at Pearl Harbor that day is interesting and I never knew
this little bit of history.

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii
every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes.
I went into a small gift shop to kill time.

In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled,
“Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941— Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a
concert in Washington, DC. He was paged and told there was a
phone call for him. When he answered the phone,
it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone.

He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the
Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.
He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.
There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–
you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of
the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.
Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters
everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock,
the young helmsman of the boat asked,
“Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”

Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.
Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes
an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.
Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked,
“What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes
an attack force ever made?

Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one:

The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning.
Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave.
If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–
we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two:

When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row,
they got so carried away sinking those battleships,
they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships.
If they had destroyed our dry docks,
we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.
As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised.
One tug can pull them over to the dry docks,
and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have
towed them to America.
And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater
of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill.
One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest
mistakes an attack force could make or, God was taking care of America.

I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book.
It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it.
In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan,
born and raised in Fredericksburg, Texas — he was a born optimist.

But any way you look at it —
Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation
and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job.
We desperately needed a leader that could see silver lining
in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.

Why have we forgotten? PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY! IN GOD WE TRUST.”

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things”

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things.
Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand
what true, selfless piety is.
Through confession, endeavor to purify your heart of anything which
may still taint it.
Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety.”

St. John Bosco


(Notre Dame pre fire / Julie Cook / 2018)

Yesterday, I wrote a post about a Catholic priest from Wisconsin,
Fr. Altman, who is being relieved of his duties by his bishop.
The bishop states that Fr. Altman is both “divisive and ineffective.”

The real reason for his removal is due to his publicly stating that
one cannot be a true Catholic while supporting abortion…
one cannot be a true Catholic and a democrat.

That was a comment directed to both then presidential candidate
Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Two politicians who espouse to be practicing Catholics yet
are both very vocal regarding their support for abortion.

Support for abortion is a stance that is in direct opposition
to the teachings of the Church.
Or so we thought…

Fr. Altman was also very critical of fellow prelates who would deny their flock
communion during the course of the pandemic.

Father Altman doubled down on his stance despite the threats from the Church
hierarchy.
“Jesus warned the Apostles and us that if the world hated him,
it would hate us, just because we are trying to be faithful.
In other words, the world will be divided by the truth,” he continued.
“There will be we who are faithful, who follow the truth,
divided from those who are not faithful and who oppose the truth.”

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-fr-altmans-bishop-has-asked-him-to-resign

My post brought about a powerful comment from our biology leaning friend IB
(aka Insanity bytes)

I don’t think she will mind if I share that comment here:

Good stuff, Julie! This really triggered me,
“other shepherds are offended because I simply state
the fact that they abandoned their sheep in a time of need.”

Yep!

My church stayed open, never wavered even when things got heated,
so I was really blessed!
Just the same, every church around me shut down and some are
still shut today.
It’s been such a huge betrayal,
such a feeling abandonment that goes all the way down to my toes.
I had always thought the church would be there for us,
the church is our refuge when an asteroid is heading right for us
or a global pandemic comes.
I did not expect to see so many collapse and abandon their
people immediately.
A church who is not there for her people during hard times
is not a church. A two week quarantine is understandable,
forgivable.
But more than a year?
Get off my planet!

Obviously I got some powerful feelings about all this. 🙂

My response was a resounding AMEN!

It is a betrayal really.
A betrayal by those who’s calling has been to be the very
shepherds and polestars…those who are charged with directing souls
to the risen Savior.
And as IB states so succinctly, it has been a total collapse.
A collapse of the very institution that has been charged
with spreading the very Word of Salvation.

My response to IB:
“Indeed IB— if the Church—as in our sanctuaries, our places of refuge,
our earthly tangible connection to Jesus himself…
if they lock us out during our very hour of need—
if they remain(ed) silent when seniors were shut away from all family
with many dying isolated and alone,
if they refused communion to a spiritually hungry fold or if they
side(d) with death rather than life—
that is not the Bride of Christ as we know her.
Shepherds of the world or shepherds of Christ—
they need to truly ask who it is they serve!!!

When I think of our Church, our bulwark never failing,
I am always reminded of the scene from that classic 1939 movie
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with the cries of Quasimodo “SANCTUARY”…
meaning one is safe and protected within the walls of the Church…
the Church will protect those who seek her aid…

Here is a scene from one of the greatest films of the 1930s.
The gypsy girl Esmeralda (Maureen O’Hara) has been sentenced to
hang for witchcraft in front of Notre Dame cathedral by
the Chief Justice (Sir Cedric Hardwicke).
She is saved from certain death by the cathedral bell-ringer Quasimodo
(Charles Laughton) to the delight of Gringoire,
who loves her (played by a young Edmond O’Brien) and given sanctuary.

And so if the Church now decides to side with the world…our
sanctuary… our help in ages past and hope for years to come,
has become just another victim, lost to the cancel culture wars…

“Whenever that sacrifice of Christ is memorialized in the Church,
there is an application to a new moment in time and a new presence
in space of the unique sacrifice of Christ Who is now in glory.
In obeying His mandate, His followers would be representing in
an unbloody manner that which He presented to His Father in the
bloody sacrifice of Calvary.
After changing the bread into His Body and the wine into His Blood:
He gave it to them (Mark 14:22).
By that communion they were made one with Christ,
to be offered with Him, in Him, and by Him.
All love craves unity. As the highest peak of love in the
human order is the unity of husband and wife in the flesh,
so the highest unity in the Divine order is the unity of
the soul and Christ in communion.”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, p. 401-2
An Excerpt From
Life of Christ

Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox…it matters not

“Give that child to me. I want it. I will care for it.
I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to
give that child to a married couple who will love the child
and be loved by the child.”

Mother Teresa

‘What really is at play here, dear family,
is that other shepherds are offended because I simply state
the fact that they abandoned their sheep in a time of need.
If this alleged virus was allegedly a fraction as dangerous
as they said it was, it was all the more reason to keep our
churches open and get you the sacraments so that you
stayed in a state of grace.
They put your eternal souls at risk!’

Fr. Altman

Recently I’ve been following a story about a Catholic priest who made
a comment during the past 2020 election that if one was a professed Catholic,
one could not also be a democrat.
The priest made this comment based upon the two leading democrats at
the time, who were Catholic but who were also very outspoken
regarding abortion.

At the time, the priest was obviously referencing candidate Joe Biden
and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi…both professed Roman Catholics
who were each touting a ‘woman’s right to choose’—a woman’s right to
use abortion as a means of birth control or a means to end something
that might just be more than one wishes to bear.

The priest also had qualms with not being able to administer
Communion to parishioners who wanted to partake in Holy Communion during
the pandemic quagmire we all endured.

Well, not being Catholic, I actually whole heartedly happen to agree
with this priest.

As in I don’t know how one can be Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian.,
Methodist, Anglican, Orthodox, etc and calmly proclaim from the roof tops
that abortion is certainly fine and dandy.

It is an abomination to God.
Plain and simple.

Our burdens that we bear on this earth are all known by the Father.
Believers know that the gate will be narrow…not wide.
Many will opt for the wide gate…wide is easy yet it is a gate
that will lead to one’s demise.

The narrow gate leads to Salvation…a simple fact.

Our perceived burdens are not meant to be isolated.
Our very lives are tools for teaching.
Our lives, our actions, teach others.
How we opt to handle our burdens is paramount to others.
And yet we don’t or can’t grasp that small fact.
Everything we do has a direct impact upon another…
be it for good or for bad.

Our culture prefers easy and calm…heck, who doesn’t
But that is not what life is all about…easy and calm.

The disciples were each called by name and it was made clear
up front that their opting to follow Christ would not be
a cake walk. It would not be an easy journey.
Choose or not to choose.

However the disciples knew that to not follow would be the lesser
of the two choices…it would equate to death.

He requires a great deal of us.
Plain and simple.

Pick up your mat and walk, He commands us.
Sin no more.
Go forth and proclaim the greatness of the Lord…

BREAKING: Fr. Altman’s bishop has asked him to resign

Shockingly, Fr. Altman announced this past Sunday that his bishop,
Bishop William Callaghan, has asked him to resign for being
“divisive and ineffective.”

Fr. Altman is the priest who said,
“You can’t be a Catholic and a Democrat” in 2020,
and who, more recently, has been strong in his criticism of the
pro-abortion Biden Administration and, separately,
has admonished the U.S. bishops for denying the Sacraments to church-going
Catholics during the COVID crisis.

After delivering a powerful Pentecost Sunday homily, Altman explained:
“I regret to inform you, they want my head on a platter.
They want my head now for speaking the truth.
I apparently have created enemies in the hierarchy.”

“To paraphrase the great, great Cardinal Burke,
‘When I die, I will stand in judgment before the Lord,
not any Bishop of the church, nor as the great Cardinal Burke
specifically said, the USCCB,’” said the embattled priest.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-fr-altmans-bishop-has-asked-him-to-resign?utm_source=UPDT5_ALTMAN&ct=t(UPDATE-SUPPORT-FR-ALTMAN-5-25-21)

Satan and the fears and anxiety he produces…are liars

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Plato


(courtesy the web)

Fear seems to have been a running thread throughout most of our lives
these past oh so many months.

We have fretted, been filled with dread, fear and anxiety over politics,
over anarchists, over Marxism, over wokeism (yes, I just made that a word),
over Covid and over the darkness that just seems to be enveloping all of us
both figuratively as well as literally.

There is fear felt by parents whose children are sick…
Fear felt by families whose loved ones serve in our military,
Fear felt for our first responders and law enforcement…

The list is lengthy and our fear has been palpable.

Yet Believers know from whence fear comes…it comes from the father of Lies.
And so because of this, we know that fear is indeed a liar.

I bring this all up because my friend Stephanie, whose police officer husband
is still in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the head and subsequent
wreck of his patrol car, spoke very candidly today
(yesterday when you read this) regarding her being fearful.

Stephanie has had a roller coaster of fear since she first received
that initial call that Rob had been shot in the line of duty.

The initial fear was losing Rob—would he survive.

So just to recap the tale before I proceed, Sgt. Rob Holloway was
responding to an all call for backup in the wee hours of Monday morning
April 12th.
The car that the Georgia State Patrol, The Carroll County Sheriff’s Dept.
and the Carrollton City Police force were responding to, was traveling in
speeds exceeding 100 mph and the young men in the car were firing on
the officers.
Sgt. Holloway was shot in the head, lost control of his vehicle, and crashed.

He was life flighted to Atlanta’s Grady trauma Hospital, underwent surgery
to remove part of his right frontal lobe while parts of the bullet
remain embedded in his brain.

Rob has made tremendous strides and has since been transferred to Atlanta’s
Shepherd Clinic.

However…

Rob has been running a fever now for several days…a fever that does not
seem to be subsiding despite treatments.
He has been placed on potent antibiotics as meningitis is now suspected.

He has been transferred back to the ICU.

Stephanie, my former colleague, has been dutiful to keep a journal
on CaringBridge. A wonderful platform for those who want to share
the updates of loved ones who are struggling with a battle of health.

From the CaringBridge site:

From the launch of the very first CaringBridge site,
we’ve been working toward a single vision:
a world where no one goes through a health journey alone.
In order to turn this vision into reality,
we’ve made it our mission to build bridges of
care and communication providing love and support
on a health journey.

I think it is cathartic for Stephanie to write and reach out to the folks
in her and Rob’s world.
However, I suspect that world is growing wider with each post.

I also think it is cathartic for those of us who read her posts.
Stephanie is probably not aware that she is currently being a strong
witness for what faith in Jesus Christ is all about.

She is honest with her feelings yet so steadfast in her conviction.
She is humorous as well as insightful.
I have been richly blessed by simply reading her daily posts.

Even when she is fearful, she knows from whence her help, her calm,
her peace, comes…

Here is Stephanie’s latest post:

Hello friends,

Today has been an eventful day at the Shepherd All-Inclusive Resort.
Rob ran a fever all last night.
Neither his medications to reduce the fever nor the cooling blanket
helped the fever decrease.
So, we started the day with a fresh round of bloodwork and another CT scan –
all before breakfast.
They changed medications and after the CT scan,
his fever dropped below 100 for the first time since 1:00 a.m.
Thank you, Lord!

Robbie stayed pretty groggy all day and slept a lot,
but the fever never returned.
This afternoon, his neurologist, his doctor at Shepherd,
and an infectious disease doctor came to visit our room.
Even though it is too soon to tell if bacteria grew in his spinal fluid
from his lumbar puncture yesterday,
his white blood cell count was elevated indicating he may have meningitis
(an infection of the brain or spinal cord).
Because there are still bullet fragments in his brain,
he has been at high risk for infection since his injury.
The good news is that the CT scan and blood work are all still normal.
There were also no brain abscesses found near the bullet or
bone fragments in his brain.
This is great news because meningitis can be treated with antibiotics,
and a brain abscess would require surgery and antibiotics.
Another positive behind all of this is that his medical team
started him on the right antibiotics on Sunday
since they suspected infection over the weekend.
The infectious disease doctor increased his dosage and said
that he would probably be on them for 7-14 days.
He said it usually takes longer to notice a difference and requires
a longer medication duration because the infection is in his
spinal fluid.

But wait, there’s more.
As a precautionary measure,
we have moved back to ICU at Shepherd until the antibiotics start
positively impacting Rob’s symptoms.
Robbie was thrilled to have a “new hotel room,” and really quite
pleased with the move.
He is resting peacefully now, and I probably will be soon, too.
I think moving to ICU is a good thing as well for now.
At Shepherd, the ICU nurse to patient ratio is 1:2,
and his vitals will be monitored continuously all night long.
Also, migraines, fever, and confusion are all symptoms of
this type of infection, and so hopefully these antibiotics will
greatly change all of the issues Robbie has been experiencing
so we can get back to training and visiting people in the garden.

I’ll admit that this morning I was a little afraid,
but the Spirit quickly reminded me that fear is a liar
(2 Timothy 1:7),
and verses about fear kept running through my mind.
I was quickly renewed to what I know to be true –
God has us in the palm of his hands (Isaiah 41:10, 13).
No weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17).
So, I started praying and had peace (Psalm 34:4).
My prayer now that meningitis and all forms of infection
have to leave his body and his entire demeanor, vitals,
and physical state are all so greatly improved in the morning
that we can move back to our normal room tomorrow.
We love you and greatly appreciate all your prayers and support.
Have an amazing night.

Love,
🙂 Steph

Psalm 31:14-15
Philippians 4:6-7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

what was is certainly not now…

“. . .Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


(the Hamilton-Phinizy-Segrest House, aka The Phi Mu House / Athens, Ga )

Perhaps a more appropriate title might read, 250 S. Milledge, Room 5 where are you?

So let's talk about living suddenly in a Twilight Zone…

A now surreal place where you thought you knew what was what..but now,
that what, is no longer what you thought.

It was a daily part of your own small world and it seemed bigger than life…
it was larger than anything you had known…because you had become it,
and it had become you and you both belonged together, becoming a quasi one.
Whatever that one might be.

But that was multiple lifetimes ago.

You were young and very foolish.

Fast forward 40 years along an odd spectrum of time,
and you suddenly find yourself no longer recognizing any of
the what that was.

There are a few glimpses here and there which are fleeting
all the while your brain races and rages in an attempt
to right the topsy turvy twist of time.

That building, that street, that park.

You are a compartmentalized thinking individual.
Mis en place, mis en place…as in… everything has its place.

Every place and every person has long been pegged for a certain
time and space…
and yet you never imagined that two time periods would, or could,
ever overlap.
Or maybe better yet, they have collided.

An odd continuum of time is simply circling back around.
But can a continuum actually bend?
Does it not simply travel straight?
Time does not, cannot split right?

Driving up and down roads whose names are familiar, you
find yourself looking for those familiar faces from
all those many years prior.

40 years ago, you lived in a pre-civil war home.
You lived in that house 120 years following its
original inception.
Yours was room 5.

Green and pink was a theme.
Your personal room's veranda was nothing but a window sill.
It looked out over a small patch of grass with a lone oak tree.

If you are really still, you might be able to hear music
whispering on the wind…

It was a time for both romanticism and foolishness…
contingent only upon one's age and experience.

And now when the two collide, both the what was and the what is,
it is a surreal mix of regret, expectation, remorse
and hope.

And isn't that what our lives are all about…
the what was, the now and the what will be?

If we are fortunate, blessed with longevity and health,
clear of mind and vision…
we may have the luxury of merging our what was
with our what will be.

But there is never any given guarantee.

If we have regrets, so be it.
The fact of the matter is that it is more important to have hope…

Regret lives in the what was.
Like rustling lifeless fallen dried leaves
blowing helplessly in the wind.

Wonder lives in the now.
A freshly opened flower…yet its beauty is shortly lived.

Hope, on the other hand, lives for the what will be.
An endless sea of possibilities.
No matter the time or age.

Glance back if you must, but don't stare too long…
the what will be might just run off without you.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward
to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

always remember, end well

“See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save,
and an eternity that awaits us.
The world, its riches, pleasures, and honors will pass away;
heaven and hell will never pass away.
Let us take care, then.
The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well.
We have begun badly; let us end well,
and we shall go one day and meet them in heaven.”

St. John Vianney


(a lone iris / Julie Cook / 2021)

When a person sacrifices his life out of love for God,
by allowing God to send him on a given mission or by enduring martyrdom
or by allowing himself to be completely diverted from his own plans and intentions,
it is love that moves him to do so.
This love cannot be equated with the love that people have
for one another, which moves them to regular acts of love of neighbor.
Rather, this person is so gripped by the God who loves him
that his gift of self—however long or short God intends it to be—
bears in it the mark of eternity.

Adrienne von Speyr
from her book The Boundless God