effects

“Thus, brethren, God has loved you from eternity,
and through pure love, he has selected you from among so many men
whom he could have created in place of you;
but he has left them in their nothingness,
and has brought you into existence, and placed you in the world.
For the love of you, he has made so many other beautiful creatures,
that they might serve you, and that they might remind you
of the love which he has borne to you, and of the
gratitude which you owe to him.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 218
An Excerpt From
Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori


(a tiny ghost crab / Julie Cook / 2021)

“The works of man, whether they are good or bad,
are not always isolated, transitory acts; more often,
especially in the case of the leaders of nations and those who are
invested with public authority,
they continue to subsist after they are concluded,
either in the memory of other men or in public acclaim,
as a result of the consequences they have had and the scandal
they have caused.
Thus, at first sight, a particular,
secret crime seems to be only a private, personal deed;
but it becomes social on account of its effects.
Certainly it is of faith that there is a particular judgment,
and that every man, at the instant of his soul’s departure
from the body, appears before the tribunal of God to hear
his eternal sentence pronounced. Yet this judgment cannot suffice,
and it is essential that it should be followed by another public judgment,
in which God will not examine the actions in isolation and taken in themselves,
but will examine them in their effects upon other men,
in the good or evil deriving from them for families and peoples—in a word,
in the consequences they produced and which those who perpetrated
them ought to have foreseen.”

Fr. Charles Arminjon, p. 94
An Excerpt From
The End of the Present World

Night and day

“I will glory not because I am righteous, but because I am redeemed;
I will glory not because I am free from sins,
but because my sins are forgiven me.
I will not glory because I have done good nor because someone has done
good to me, but because Christ is my advocate with the Father and
because the blood of Christ has been shed for me.”

St. Ambrose


(sunset at Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2021)


(morning surprise at Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2021)

I’m baaaaack

“The glory of God is man fully alive,
and the life of man is the vision of God.”

St. Irenaeus


(a willet in the surf /Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2021)

We got home yesterday from our week away and I’ll share more about our
adventure with the Mayor and Sheriff at the beach… soon…
just as soon as I get alllll these clothes washed.

My last post was about the homecoming for Sgt. Rob Holloway’s as he
and his wife returned home to Carrollton after months in two
different hospitals…this following his having been shot in the
wee hours of April 12th during a high speed chase.

Rob and Stephanie got home Wednesday…they were to spend a few days home
before heading back to Atlanta to begin a transition period at Pathways
which is a program to help Rob learn how to manage his daily routines
while getting back to “normal” as best as possible.

However on Thursday, Rob began running a fever.
The Hospital told Stephanie to get him back to Atlanta ASAP
where he was placed back in ICU.

He has since received IV fluids and antibiotics…
and is reportedly feeling better.

Because bullet fragments remain lodged in Rob’s brain and due to having the
reconstructive skull surgery, the risk of meningitis remains high.

So will you please join me as we offer up prayers for Rob and his family…
as we also pray for all our men and women in blue, as well as for their families…
those members of our various law enforcements who give their all for us….

“The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of one poor little person
to save a multitude of others, redeemed like her at the price of His Blood.”

St. Therese of Lisieux

what is your heart’s desire?

“God does not fit in an occupied heart.”
St. John of the Cross


(waning sunflowers / Julie Cook / 2021)

God then directs these words to you:
If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free
from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit;
turn away from evil and do good;
let peace be your quest and aim.

Saint Benedict
from The Rule of Saint Benedict

***taking the week off from technology… or as best I can.
Off on adventure with the Mayor and Sheriff

starting over; yet always moving forward

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year.
It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose;
new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.
Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions,
he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things,
he will certainly do nothing effective.”

G.K. Chesterton, A Chesterton calendar

This is now…

(The fruits from a brand new baby blueberry bush / Julie Cook / 2021)

This was then…

(my resident squirrel at our former home)


(Blueberries and squirrels at our former home)

Life is a constant of forward motion.
Always moving ever forward.
For good or bad.

We can’t move back, nor do we need to.

We are always being propelled forward.

Sometimes the forward momentum is painful.
Sometimes the forward momentum is expected.
Sometimes that forward momentum is unwanted.

Yet we continue forward despite our willingness or refusal.
Forward is the only direction.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that
in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58

caricature of freedom

The church is not primarily a political organisation.
We’re a religious organisation.
There’s a much greater opportunity.

Cardinal George Pell


(bumble bee visits a purple cone flower/ Julie Cook / 2021)

caricature:
noun: caricature; plural noun: caricatures
a picture, description, or imitation of a person in which certain striking
characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.

verb: caricature; 3rd person present: caricatures; past tense:
caricatured; past participle: caricatured; gerund or present participle:
caricaturing make or give a comically or grotesquely exaggerated representation
of (someone or something).

“True freedom is not advanced in the permissive society,
which confuses freedom with license to do anything whatever
and which in the name of freedom proclaims a kind of general amorality.
It is a caricature of freedom to claim that people are free to organize
their lives with no reference to moral values,
and to say that society does not have to ensure the protection
and advancement of ethical values.
Such an attitude is destructive of freedom and peace.”

Pope John Paul II

My heart shall become your heart (a re-post)

****I read a marvelous post yesterday over on Mel Wild’s site, In My Father’s House.
Here’s a link to the post:
https://melwild.wordpress.com/2021/06/29/compassion-more-than-all-our-doing/

Mel spoke about compassion—the compassion of Christ…
In his post, Mel examined the latest episode of The Chosen…the same episode
I had also discussed earlier in the week regarding Mary’s falling backwards…

As the storyline played out, we saw how Mary felt that Jesus would
never give her a second chance, not after she turned away from Him and that initial healing.
How could He?
He’d healed her once and here she’d turned away from that healing
and fell back into her old familiar and damaging ways.

But in that encounter between Savior and sinner, we see a deep
and unending compassion.

That touched a deep chord with me.

Falling and failing, over and over…
and yet we are only met, time and time again, with three simple words.
“I forgive you”

Here is a post I offered back in 2014.
7 years have passed…much has happened in my life
and in the life of our country in those past 7 years.

Yet the same need and desire remains….

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time,
so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work.
I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!!
I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman,
but to KILL IT! No half measures will do.
I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there;
rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me,
the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams.
Turn them ALL over to me,
give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image.
Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself.
My will, shall become your will.
My heart, shall become your heart.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


(Orchid / Julie Cook / 2014)

Oh that this strong request of yours could only be answered with a swift response of “yes.”
That I could and would whole heartedly shout at the top of my lungs
YES!!
YES!
I will give you myself.
All of myself.
I shall hold nothing back.
I am yours.
Yes, take all of me.

Yet, this demand of yours, this most intimate demand from the purest essence of Love,
is meet by my hesitation, my doubts, my frozen in time inability to immediately scream “yes.”
I hesitate.
Why?
I stumble over the words.
I hold back.

You reassure me.
You make me a promise
You have proven the promise.
And yet, I balk.
The “I” must be broken
Why can’t I let go?
Why won’t the “I” let go?
Am I afraid of being broken?
Being broken by you would be so much better than remaining whole as the captive of “I”
Still I find the words unable to slip from my mouth.

You sense my hesitation.
You see my reluctance.
You take my hand.
Suddenly, within that single touch, there is a cosmic explosion which shakes the very foundation of my world.
At the very moment you touch me, there is something so overpowering, something so beautiful which takes places.
I have never felt this before.
A connection
A oneness
It’s as if the brokeness, which I never fully comprehended, is immediately made whole.

And just as quickly as our hands meet, I pull away.
I look away.
It’s all too much.
I can’t.
If you honestly knew, knew everything, you’d walk away
You should walk away.
Others are better than I.
Others have not done the things I have done.
The things I am ashamed for you to discover.
You really don’t want me.
You really don’t know me
You really don’t know. . .

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not,
for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.

(Isaiah 43:1-28)

The love song plays out,
You reveal everything I’ve hidden.
I am ashamed and want to turn away.
Yet you continue watching.
There is only acceptance in your eyes.
Pieces of a broken heart lay scattered on the floor.
You pick up the pieces, putting them back together,
handing me the final piece.

Again, You extend your hand.
You whisper my name.
“My heart shall become your heart” you whisper ever so gently–
“You will be mine and I will be yours” for all of eternity
Love lies bare and open between us.
“Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!
(Song of Solomon 4:1)
I hear those words flowing from your heart.
A heart that has broken for me.
“Yes”
“Yes”
The word now slowly falling from my mouth.
Take me as I am and make me yours.
All that was is suddenly no more.
I will give you my heart…
I want nothing more than for my heart to now become your heart…
as the last piece of the puzzle is finally put back in place.

something beyond

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.
To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

St. Thomas Aquinas


(a sunflower head prepares to give up its seeds / Julie Cook / 2021)

“I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity
seems at first to be all about morality,
all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue,
yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond.
One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things…
Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness
as a mirror is filled with light.”

C.S. Lewis, p. 149
An Excerpt From
Mere Christianity

normal

“A perfectly normal person is rare in our civilization.”
Karen Horney


(courtesy the Web)

We try to walk about an hour every morning.
And during our morning jaunts, we see an array of creatures
both great and small.

Deer
Rabbits
birds of every shape, size and description
bugs
dogs
cats
squirrels
chipmunks
and then there are a few oddities…
several fox squirrels along with several species of snakes..
the pictures offered today are of a black headed fox squirrel and a grey rat snake— the first image is taken by a photographer–my pictures are below…

The fox squirrels and the snakes wandering out along the neighborhood roads
appear a bit out of place…not exactly the normal animal fare.


(fox squirrel spied while out walking / Julie Cook / 2021)

And suddenly normal takes on a new meaning…

Due to my recent babysitting hiatus, I’ve been playing catch up here in blogland.
As I was reading over the various blogs that I oh so enjoy, I noticed an underlying
thread weaving its way throughout each post…it was the word normal

So I thought that it would be best if I looked up the word
to see what a dictionary might offer in the way of explaining the word…

adjective: normal
conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

MEDICINE
(of a salt solution) containing the same salt concentration as the blood.

noun: normal; plural noun: normals
the usual, average, or typical state or condition.
“her temperature was above normal”

mid 17th century (in the sense ‘right-angled’): from Latin normalis,
from norma ‘carpenter’s square’ (see norm).
Current senses date from the early 19th century.

conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern :
characterized by that which is considered usual, typical, or routine

according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule,
procedure, or principle

occurring naturally

generally free from physical or mental impairment or dysfunction :
exhibiting or marked by healthy or sound functioning

So it appears that ‘normal’ is a standard.
It’s routine.
It’s centering.
It’s sound, stable…
It’s not out of the ordinary
It’s a means of measure.

It’s the starting point while anything deviating outward, upward, downward
or backward moves away from the standard, the norm, the home place.

And so as I consider the word normal, I can’t help but look at what is
currently transpiring around this country regarding
our public schools…a three ringed circus full of everything but that
which is normal.

Abnormal is actually more accurate.

It was in the mid 19th century that the nation’s leaders determined that
our youth needed to be educated.
Not merely the upper crust whose families could afford private educations
or tutors…but education for each and every child.
(and no that was not an example of white privilege–it was a matter of
aristocracy vs the average citizen…hierarchy has been with us through
the ages…
hence why the Marxists are hard at work to “level the playing field”
and that, mind you, is a key educational phrase…but I digress)

With a booming growth taking place in our cities, along with
a growing influx of immigrants, coupled with an upward spiraling industrial
revolution, we had transitioned from being that of a nation based solely
upon an agricultural economy to one that was of an
up and coming economy of technological growth.

Our wealthier children had tutors and private schools…
yet the general populace needed rudimentary basic educational skills.
Thus a free public education would focus on what was thought to be
the most important basic needs when it came to “educating” children…
reading, writing and arithmetic.

Eventually science, literature and history entered the picture.

And as the nation grew and expanded while young men were sent overseas to wars,
it was determined a wider depth of knowledge was needed and so courses in
geography, latin and civics were added.

Throw in courses such as drafting, the fine arts, music and we
had a full well rounded education shaping up

Now granted this is all just a simplified look at the the inception and growth
of our nation’s public schooling…
however somewhere in the 20th century, things took a turn.
And that turn was not necessarily for the better.

Sex education came onto the scene.

Mainly because the ‘powers that be’ were concerned about all the young
men who were being sent overseas to fight in wars and yet were contracting
a variety of sexually transmitted diseases at a rapid rate.

Fast forward through prohibition, a depression, a post war world,
an iron curtain, the growth of baby boomers, a police action,
rock and roll, civil rights, a sexual revolution, women’s liberation,
a space race, a drug revolution, assassinations, flower power,
a summer of love, an endless war, an angst ridden youth…
all the while, our public educational institutions were quietly
changing.

Normal quietly became a casualty of the times.

And other casualties of this generational madness…

Our:
Reverence
Respect
Parental authority
Nuclear family
Judaeo/ Christian corner stone

We are now being sold a sorry sack of lies…
Our schools, school leadership, school boards have all given in to the lies…
lies such that our original normal is now a new normal…
and thus we must teach to a new normal…

any deviation from normal, according to each definition of normal,
means that things are not normal.
Normal is the standard.
New is not.

so tomorrow lets explore this new normal notion…
that of the abnormal

You believe that God is one; you do well.
Even the demons believe—and shudder!

James 2:19

time marches forward or does it?

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


(time’s toll on a sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

Not much time to chat due to grandparent duties but I did want
to squeeze in a thought that has been percolating in my brain…

That being the thought of history and time.

Pretty deep and vast subject matter I know, but
perhaps the point of this percolating is more subtle and succinct
then the topics themselves.

I have to admit that, years back, when I got my first Apple computer along
with an eventual iPhone, I began to utilize the e-calendars on those devices.

Traditionally I had kept a wall calendar at home as well as in my classroom.
Never one to use one of those notebook planner / organizers that
Stephen Covey made so popular in the 1980’s, I stored most dates in my head.

I tried planners but I was not dutiful when it came to working in them
as one was expected. I was usually on the move, so much so, that storing
things in my head just worked for me.

And that head system of mine worked pretty well throughout my tenure
as a teacher until I began to notice that I would miss a hair appointment here
or a meeting there…getting days and weeks a bit skewed.

We call that age.

So wall calendars were big with me…

Once technology began to trickle into both my professional and personal life,
the electronic calendars were quite handy as I especially liked the alert
systems allowing my device to alert me as to an upcoming appointment.

However I was a little peeved when I realized Apple had pre-inserted various
“holidays” onto the calendars.

Some “holidays” I knew, some I did not.

Now I understood having the biggie National holidays marked
as most business, banks and post offices are to be closed.

And it was good to see where days, say like, Thanksgiving or July 4th,
were going to fall during a week when it came to planning time off,
trips or family gatherings.

And I suppose having Ground Hog day pre-marked is a good thing
if you like using a giant rodent as a weatherman…
yet in our family, having that date marked was good because it also happened
to be Aunt Martha’s birthday.

However I have to admit that there were a few “holidays” that I would
have preferred having the option to delete as they were
not pertinent to me and my world.

When I first saw Juneteenth, marked on June 19th, I had no idea as to
what that was all about.
It seemed so random.
Was it some sort of millennial thing that I was not privy to…?

Well naturally, I needed to investigate.

As a one time history major…
how did some things ever seem to elude my studies?

Or was it merely presented as a different name as the notion of a Juneteenth was indeed more new to me than old?

Juneteenth it seems, marked a day for the emancipation of enslaved
African Americans.

Ahh—well….
So why not just call it Emancipation Day?
And so through my investigating, I discovered that it was indeed referred to
as Emancipation Day in Texas as well as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day or
Liberation day…

I think I like Jubilee Day the best as that is indeed something to
have been jubilant over!

So now I get it.

But what I don’t get, is why there are now groups of folks out there
who are saying that July 4th should no longer be relevant…??!!

There are sectors now claiming that America’s day of Independence should
not be recognized.
As in July 4th is not a day of liberation from tyranny…
They are saying that it is not a day of independence
for black, brown, red or yellow Americans…

Now I’ve written long and hard about the importance of a
young Nation’s fight for independence.
That that initial fight for freedom was but the beginning of
many freedom fights to come.
One begetting but another.

I’ve written about how Betsy Ross and her flag were not and are
not symbols of racism—as she was both a pacifist as well
as an abolitionist.

Here’s a link to that previous post:
https://wordpress.com/post/cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/28222

And I noted in that previous post..
“Slavery was not a new problem to a new Nation.
Nor was it a problem created by the new Nation.

It had been a form of “free labor” used by other Nations long before
there were 13 colonies and even before there had been a new land.

And the Quakers (of which Betsy Ross belonged) were actually
one of the first religious groups to denounce the ownership of slaves
and vocally oppose the practice of slavery.

Betsy Ross, the Continental Congress, and the new flag had nothing to do with racism
or slavery…end of sentence.”

So when I read or hear of certain groups out there clamoring that
July 4th is not representative to all Americans or that it is
not a day that all Americans should recognize as a day of this Nation’s
independence…well I get a bit rankled.

Like I say…that fight for freedom set in motion more freedom fights
to come.

And so when I hear such talk, I feel it’s important to remind
folks of a few facts…
Facts like Betsy Ross, along with the flag she created to be carried
by the Revolutionary soldiers, had nothing to do with the new
hot button word, racism.

Or the little fact that men, both black and white, actually had the
right to vote long before any color of women.

So after a hard fought emancipation, came a suffrage movement…
where eventually all Americans were afforded the privilege to vote in
free and open elections.

But hearing so much talk these days about separating black from white…
I just don’t understand.

Wasn’t the quest for emancipation to have all people in this country
living free and on equal footing with one another?
Having the same sorts of opportunities—not hand outs but
opportunities??

And in turn, didn’t generations before today’s new angry and woke generation,
fight hard to bring about that same equal footing???—was it not their desire
for the divisiveness and strife to end??

And yet today, are we not seeing a backwards trend?

Rather than the hopes and toil of all those Americans, of all colors,
in previous generations who labored just so you and I could work side by side
in a Nation that is both by the people and for the people…we now
have a new generation who wants to go back to separations and division…
back to hate and immense anger…

The unity so many fought for and even died for…is now unraveling before
our very eyes…
May it not be so.

As we ready for another year’s Day of Independence may we remember
to honor all those men and women of all backgrounds, both past and present,
who made, and continue to make, the ultimate sacrifice for our ability
to be free…
and sadly that freedom seems to now be a matter of fussing and cussing with
one another…

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry