going, going, gone….looking

Job was astonished at seeing Almighty God so intent on doing good to us
that He seems to have nothing more at heart than to love us and to induce
us to love Him in return.

Saint Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori


(they came, they ate, they’re gone, it’s gone…I’m gone / Julie Cook / 2020)

Well from our photograph you can see that the caterpillars have had their fill.
They ate all that was in sight and now, they are out of sight.

I feel that I want to be the same for a bit, or at least for a few days…
as in out of sight.

Our friend IB, also known as the Princess keeper of the 9th circuit of hell…
someone has to live out there and try to hold those folks’ feet to the fire…
offered a wonderful post the other day…it was a bit of an eye-opener or perhaps
just a good ol kick in the pants sort of reminder.

We are inundated with both the negative and bad are we not?
EVERYTHING these days is bad…matters not which side of whatever fence you’re sitting on…
We read it,
we see it,
we hear it,
we watch it…

Conservative vs liberal
Republican vs Democrat
Anarchist vs law-abiding
Pro police vs anti-police
Black lives vs All lives
Trump vs Biden
Christain vs atheist
Abortionist vs Right to lifer
Mask wearer vs mask hater
Football vs no football

On and on it goes…
So much so that I am weary.

IB offered what seems to be a novel notion—-
perhaps we ought to be out looking for that which is good, which is heroic—
that which is positive rather than focusing on the negative and the bad..

And I think I’ll give it a go…
I’ll get back with what I find…

But for now…enjoy IB’s post and may you too go in search of all that remains…
good…

When Good Men do Something:

https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2020/09/12/when-good-men-do-something/

In the meantime…I’m going to look for what I once knew about America…
there is still a whole lot of good going on…

laid waste

Say to the people of the land:
‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says about those living in Jerusalem and
in the land of Israel:
They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair,
for their land will be stripped of everything in it because of the violence
of all who live there.
The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Ezekiel 12:19-20


(double trouble / Black swallowtail caterpillar/ Julie Cook /2020)

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined,
and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself.
How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons,
then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matthew 12:25-28


(the caterpillers have decimated the pasley/ Julie Cook / 2020)

generation…redeemed

“God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say.
Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful:
he makes saints out of sinners.”

Soren Kierkegaard, The Journals of Kierkegaard


(gulf frittilary butterfly /Julie Cook / 2020)

Yesterday our friend Kathy, over on atimetoshare.me, offered a marvelous post examining our various
generational monikers.

We have the greatest generation, the baby boomers, the silent generation, the Me generation,
along with that X, Y, and Z business.
A crazy mishmash of generational clarifications.

These labels are not necessarily meant to definitively define a specific group of people, given their
time of birth and their time of growing up, but it does, none the less, have a lasting pigeon hole
for those born during various time periods.

Were they quiet and steadfast?
Were they daring and wild?
Were they hyperfocused and driven?

Yet it wasn’t so much the names and characteristics of each generation that caught
my attention but rather it was the afterthought Kathy offered…

She noted that we should add in the Redeemed generation…

And I’d like to think that is this is the defining highlight of the pandemic /civil unrest generation…
a group of people that transcend both generational monikers or age barriers.

A collective group of ages and backgrounds.

Redemption that crosses both space and time…

Kathy reminds us:
The beautiful message of the Gospel, assures our forgiveness if we only believe it.
Isn’t it wonderful that in this world, where evil and selfishness prevail,
those who have faith in the most important gift of God can still be part of the “Redeemed Generation.”
Because of His grace alone, we will inherit His heavenly kingdom.
Through our faith alone, which is also a gift from God,
we receive the promise of eternal life.
Through His inspired Word, we have the perfect handbook for life provided by the King of Kings.
It isn’t complicated.

May we all strive to be a part of this Redeemed generation….

GENERATION REDEEMED

evil lurks in a garden…humm…where have I heard that before?

When confronted with two evils,
a man will always choose the most attractive.

Anonymous


(the quince faded and yet in the summer’s dogdays, are now reving back up / Julie Cook / 2020)

With little to no time to tend to the yard as I would normally do this time of year…sadly,
surreally, this time of year has not been like previous times of year…

So having taken out the garbage the other evening, I glanced once again forlornly,
over to the ever-growing leggy quince, the fledgling maple trees,
and some stubborn resprouting crepe myrtles all dotting the back bank…

Disgusted by what I saw…weeds were thriving amongst that which was treasured.

Neglected entirely too long!

Is this not the current story of our lives?

The negative now flourishing amongst that which we hold dear because of our distractions,
our worries, our heaviness…

So I threw the trash in the bin and grabbed my clippers…enough already!!!!

I went over the quince first.

I wanted to hit the high spots…that obnoxious giant poke salat and those
annoying runners from the crepe myrtle that was cut down years ago and those shoots
from the maple trees…
but as I clipped and yanked with the ire and determination of a woman frustrated with
much more than aggravating weeds…something caught my eye…

WHAT???

Hidden amongst the quice was something rather unkind and most unwelcomed.

Poison Ivy.

Or was it worse..was it the dreaded thunder wood?

I had already clipped and pulled, without my gloves mind you, several of these
“pesky” weeds, before realizing these pesky weeds were much more insidious than shoots,
runners or the blooming plants from random dropped seeds by passing birds.

I dropped my bundle of weeds, along with my clippers, practically running inside to immediately
wash my hands.

The next day I saw this:

Okay I thought, I have prescription cream for such…I’ve got this.

The day after that, two more spots on my shoulder.

Okay, more cream.

The day after that, after itching through much of the night, may we now times these
few red blistery spots by at least 100 that now currently cover my entire torso.

The doctor gave me a steroid shot today and a prednisone pack.

Did I mention the 6 or more hot flashes I’m already experiencing throughout the night
due to stopping the HRT?

Itching, hot flashes…
Sleep?!
HA!

Insomnia is my middle name!
Don’t worry about that twitching eye, it’s trained on the madness raging all around us.

Yet in all of this, I was reminded that where we think beauty and peace reside,
where we believe calm and simplicity rest, our ancient nemesis does not sleep.

Remember this as you ponder the current madness ravaging our nation.


(Christ smashing the head of the serpent in the Garden / The Passion of the Christ)

Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

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

Don’t say it!!! Rather let us say thank you!

“The line between ‘normal’ and ‘neurotic’ begins to appear when
any activity becomes compulsive –
that is, when the person feels pushed to perform the act because
it habitually allays his anxiety rather than because of any intrinsic wish
to perform the act.”

Rollo May


(the roses are blooming despite our current quell of life / Julie Cook / 2020)

Don’t say it!

I don’t think I can bear hearing it one more time…

“new normal”

There is no such thing.

There is either normal….or there is its antithesis…not normal
‘New normal’ is not a thing.

We are either normal or we are not….end of sentence.

If I suffer a stroke and my current way of life is suddenly altered, I will work to make
it normal again—what I know to be normal.
I may struggle, things will obviously be altered but I will work toward normal.
I will not give up or give in–I will do my best to be what I know to be normal.
I may or may not make it—but I will strive for what I know as normal.

“New normal” is a compromise, a ‘less than’ sort of approach.
A settling.
Settling for something less and “other than.”

So to all those ‘powers that be’ who keep trying to tell us that we are to now live
a new normal…to accept life as a new normal…
I say NO!

We will not settle.
We will not settle for ‘less than.’

Rather we will strive for what we know to be normal.

And we will do so with wisdom, patience, and prudence…
we can and we will be normal again.

Our armed forces…those men and women who have bravely fought and also
sadly died throughout this near 250-year history of our nation…
those who have fought defending this great nation of ours did not give their all,
they did not offer up their limbs and lives, for a nation that simply settles.

They knew, just as I know, that we are an exceptional nation.
We will not accept “less than.”
They have taught us this on each and every beachhead, unfriendly sky, dense jungle,
tumultuous sea and savage battlefield.

And so today of all days, we owe a deep sense of gratitude to our veterans and
their valiant sacrifices—
We owe it to each and every last one of them to continue to strive to be ‘better than’
rather than ‘less than’.

So let us, this day, take the opportunity to thank those who have served and continue to serve…
thanking them for reminding us that we are indeed a nation worth fighting for!

These are challenging days and precarious times…and yet we have faced challenges before…
And each and every time we have faced the seemingly insurmountable,
we have risen to the challenge and we have overcome.

And we will do so again.

We will do so not by settling but by fighting for what we hold dear and cherish…
that being our liberties and freedom—the very ideals our servicemen and women have
sacrificed their very lives for.

Today, we offer our gratitude.
Tomorrow we move onward and upward!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

fruitfulness and provisions for the future

“The stillness of prayer is the most essential condition for fruitful action.
Before all else, the disciple kneels down.”

St. Gianna Molla


(a new season’s little figs to be / Julie Cook / 2020)

Man not only should possess the fruits of the earth, but also the very soil,
inasmuch as from the produce of the earth he has to lay by provision for the future.
Nature must have given to man a source that is stable and remaining always with him.
And this stable condition of things he finds solely in the earth and its fruits.

Pope Leo XIII
from Rerum Novarum