it isn’t easy, nor is it ever fair…

“The demand for equality has two sources; one of them is among the noblest,
the other is the basest, of human emotions. The noble source is the desire for fair play.
But the other source is the hatred of superiority.
At the present moment it would be very unrealistic to overlook the importance of the latter.”

C.S. Lewis


(a roped off area where a sea turtle has laid her eggs / Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2020)

Life is hard and it is certainly not always ever fair…

And yet we humans seem to be trying oh so hard to keep things as equitable, even, fair,
as well as level, as far as our conscious demands…

That is until we are stymied…

Stymied not so much by our fellow man or menacing mob, but rather stymied by
the likes of someone much more powerful…that being Mother Nature.

We can scream at one another about fairness, justice, injustice, and unfairness all we want.
We can make other men kneel at our sword and cower to our words and demands.
We can threaten, harass, harangue, and even inflict harm all in the name of making
others bend to our will for a purported notion of justice or fairness.

Yet in the end, it really isn’t any of us who will have the final say.

We had made plans long ago to come down to the Gulf this week…
our plans were long before a string of storms began advancing.
But such is any planned trip to a beach during this time of year.

The Gulf’s latest intruder is named Sally.

Unfortunately, I left my transfer cable for my camera at home so all of my
pictures from my camera will have to wait to be uploaded onto my computer when I get home…
I did, however, manage to get a few pictures using my phone.

This is the time of year when the sea turtles come to shore in order to lay their eggs.

There are beach volunteers who will mark and rope off the areas where a turtle nest
is situated.
Sea turtles, their nests, eggs, as well as hatchlings, are all protected.

Walking the shoreline yesterday evening, only hours before the storm would advance
as it has today causing massive erosion, we saw several roped-off nesting sites.
Some of the sites were far enough away from the battering surf but there was one
directly in the surf.

Poor turtle, I thought, her hard efforts, her nest, her offspring,
will most likely be in vain.

Had the weather been calm, the nesting site would probably have faired well but
I knew given the storm, there would be no site remaining the following day.

This was what we found this morning—a single staub jutting out of the surf
where yesterday there were four well marked and roped staubs.

And as we walked later in the day, as the gulls and plovers roamed what sand
was not underwater, we found a lone egg.
Cracked and dented.

(a lone turtle egg / Julie Cook / 2020)

And so as I ponder Mother Nature…her fickled ways with both life and death–
my prayers are with our neighbors to the West…those who are living in the midst of
hell on earth as wildfires ravage Oregon, Washington, and California—
just as I think and pray for yet another Gulf area that will be hit by yet another hurricane.

We may think we can bend man, or woman, to make him or her do as we please…
but in the end, it will be Mother Nature,
her and her alone, who will always have the final decisive say.

And yet…in actuality,
it just might be what we do in the wake of her decisions that will make the more
lasting difference on humanity…be that for good or be that for bad.

She plays her hand and then we must respond.

Maybe she just wants to divert our attention from ourselves for just a brief respite.

By my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth, mankind,
and the animals that are on the face of the earth, and I give it to whomever I see fit.

Jeremiah 27:5

the power of color

The problem with racism as the new thought-crime is that it’s not really about race,
or skin colour, it’s about power using colour.
When I look at someone, I see character not colour.

Dr. Gavin Ashenden


A page from Moses Harris’s The Natural System of Colors. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

As a high school art teacher, I always taught a color theory unit to my Art I classes
before letting everyone jump right into using color…be it colored pencils, pastels, paints, etc.
Color was much more complicated than just grabbing some paint and a brush…
and my anxious charges needed to understand such.

We would explore the whole physiology of how our eyes and brain see color and perceive color.
We talked about prisms, refraction and the bending of light.

We would talk about what it meant to be color blind…as several of my students were color
blind and how’d we’d work with that.
We even had blind students come to talk to those of us who could see about
how they actually perceived color.

We studied Joseph Albers, the father of color theory.

We talked about warm /hot colors, cool/cold colors, monochromatic colors,
polychromatic colors.
Even beginning with the simple word, chroma.

We studied the effects that color played in our psychological wellbeing and
how colors could actually affect our emotions.

And so yes, color is much more nuanced than simply consisting of primary and secondary colors.

I would place three cups of clear water on a desk.
Next, I would use food coloring and drop in enough drops to have a solid red cup
of water, a solid blue cup of water, and a solid yellow cup of water—our primary colors.
I would then put three empty cups on the table.
I would pour equal proportions of yellow and red into a cup to make orange,
blue and red to make purple, then blue, and yellow to make green–our secondary colors

I’d next pull out a new empty cup and pour a bit of each of the second set of colored water cups
into the last empty cup—coming up with a muddy brown yucky color what is known
as tertiary.
Something that happens when a bunch of colors are blended into one.

I’d explain that sometimes when we’d paint and mess up a color we were going for,
we would unintentionally make things worse when we kept trying to add more and more
different colors thinking we could ‘fix it’…less is more I would implore…

And so when I was reading Dr. Gavin Ashenden’s latest post, Resisting Group Think,
this whole business of color theory came racing back to my thoughts.

Our dear friend from across the pond is just about as baffled as I am
with the new intense obsession, our culture is now having with color.
But rather than paint, our culture is obsessed with skin…
and the color of that skin.
And that obsession with skin color has a dubious name…Racism.

Dr. Ashenden notes that…“racism morphed.
It moved from doing something to thinking something, and then much much worse,
it became someone thinking you thought something.
This summer everyone is guilty, if the new anti-racist posters are true:
“silence is violence.”

But I have three reasons for not believing in racism as people now accuse one another.
It’s not easy to tell what race someone is; there is a sliding scale of skin colour;
and there is a better, healthier way of describing why some people don’t like some other people.

The races are mixed for most of us. Last year I was bought a DNA kit for a birthday present.
It turns out I am roughly 30% Anglo-Saxon’ 30% Celt; and 20% Jewish
(with a bit of Russian thrown in -!) God forbid one racial bit of me should ever fall out
with one of the other bits. Does the Celt in me deserve reparations from my Anglo-Saxon
invader bit?
Don’t even start with the Jewish persecution stuff, the massacre in York in 1190,
the mass expulsion in 1290 by Edward 1st. Luther? Hitler?

And I’m white. But I have never thought of myself as white. This skin tone stuff is
equally confusing and on a sliding scale of pigment.
Megan Markle looks white to me. My more remote Aryan ancestors came from India.
When I look at someone, I see character not colour.

The problem with racism as the new thought-crime is that it’s not really about race,
or skin colour, it’s about power using colour.
It’s the imposing of the American cultural crisis on the rest of the world,
which has different cultural issues. It seems to be about transferring power
from ‘white’ (whatever that is) to black (whatever that is).

The worst thing about the new racism is that it uses a prism through which everything
and everyone are assessed through the lens of power.
This new language of power-relations replaces one moral world with another.
It changes our worth from what we do, and replaces it with what group we belong to.

We face a crossroads in morals and culture, and the new racism is
the tool used to shift the direction.

We are losing a simple and direct morality which invited you to love your neighbour
as yourself, and held you accountable if you failed or refused; we are replacing it
with thought-crime, collective guilt, censorship and the re-writing of history.

Resisting ‘group-think.’

And so we see that today’s culture indeed uses a prism in which to see…
but rather than bending light waves to see color…this prism bends peoples perceptions
to that of power and control.

I’m beginning to wonder if being color blind might not be the way we need to proceed…
yet we know that we have tied so much baggage to our ideas of societal color that we will
never be able to offload such a burden that we have created.

Unfortunately, I will never look at a color wheel the same, ever again.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number,
from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes,
with palm branches in their hands,

Revelation 7:9

disappointment found in the bending of the cow’s knees

You get tragedy where the tree, instead of bending, breaks.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

******Since writing this post, Lynn Abbott, whose husband owns and operates a
Chick-fil-A has reached out to me to set the record straight—
that the recent news regarding Chick-fil-A
is not the full truth…
Chick-fil-A is not cutting ties with The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and
The Salvation Army
Please read Lynn’s comment in the comment section and please see my following post
that includes Lynn’s informative clarification!

I’ve written many a post over the years in support of Atlanta’s local homegrown and crowd
favorite, bovine inspired, chicken sandwich shop–Chick-fil-A.

Those amusing and much beloved illiterate cows, who constantly
encourage folks to “eat mor chikin”, have helped to turn a once lone little restaurant,
on the outskirts of Atlanta, into a national institution.

The creation of the ‘original chicken sandwich, a restaurant,
lovingly dubbed the Drawf House, along with a sound Christian foundation were each
contributing factors that helped to turn one man’s small dream into a booming business.

The late Truett Cathy and his desire for feeding bodies, as well as spirits,
helped turn a dream into a business that is now ranked as one of the nation’s top
fast-food chains.

Mr. Cathy, a devout Christian, build his food empire on Biblical principles.
Even stating that the Bible was his “playbook” for operating.
With the foremost operating decision being that his restaurants close on Sundays,
the sabbath day for the Christian church.

With the Sabbath being that proverbial 7th day of Creation, of which is to be a day of
rest and worship, Cathy fought the mounting demands of an ever-growing
secular population to let go of an archaic notion and open his restaurants
7 days a week…
Just think of all the business, and in turn revenue, you’re missing out on’
folks would say…
But we know, just as Cathy knew,
that God will bless and honor those who bless and honor Him.

Cathy always refused the demanding pushback to his decision to close on Sundays
as it would allow his employees the opportunity of attending church with
their families should they so choose…
Just as it afforded Cathy the ability to honor God by marking the Sabbath as “holy.”

Since his death in 2014, his sons, who now own and oversee this mega food corporation,
have remained faithful to their father’s original guiding principals…
that is until…this week.

Those original guiding principles, those principles of traditional Christian values,
have been sorely tested over the past couple of years by an ever-increasingly rabid,
post-Christian, liberal society.

With the most recent example being the closing of Chick-fil-A’s first
franchised restaurant in the UK due to mounting protests from the LGBTQ_ _ _
(add in any other letters that you chose that I’ve forgotten)
community and its supporters over the fact that the Christian based foodchain
does not support same-sex marriage while it offers donations to various charitable
organizations that share their same Christian values and beliefs—
organizations such as The Salvation Army.

Really??!!

The Salvation Army???!!

The very organization founded on Methodist Christian principles in 1865
that has grown to be one of the largest global organizations to rush in to offer
aid and comfort to those ravaged by natural disasters or simply by hard times.
As taken from Wikipedia, the Salvation Army was formed as it
“sought to bring salvation to the poor, destitute, and hungry by meeting both
their “physical and spiritual needs.”

And so now Chick-fil-A is painfully discovering that it is no longer acceptable,
or better yet not tolerated, to disagree with something that the “left” readily endorses.
Just as it is no longer acceptable to support any charitable Christian organization that
shares the belief that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman,
or the desire to honor God’s words…let alone honoring any other Christian value.

Because if you do, you will be marginalized and maligned until you bend.

And so this week, the house that Cathy built, built on the foundation, words,
and promises proclaimed by the God of all Creation, caved in to the pressures
of a maniacal society.

And thus, the cows have been brought to their knees, bending.
Bending the very core ideals once instilled by their founder all in order to appease
an ever-increasingly intolerant society.

Genuflecting to the secular god of sexual perversion as such is now seen as the new normal.

And yet we’ve all known of this bending for quite some time have we not?

We’ve known, as we’ve painfully watched, that if anyone disagrees with a
radicalized society, any and all will be forced to agree or will either be
shut down or better yet, destroyed.

For when one decides to bend in hopes of forging a compromise…
hoping that that bend, that compromise,
will be enough to ward off the ideological demagogues…
it will become deadly and readily apparent that the rabid masses will not be appeased…
not until everyone in opposition not only bends but are more aptly broken.

Shame on Chick-fil-A.
They don’t even realize that their willingness to distance themselves from their
once strong allied charities, that being The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes—
their willingness to bend away from their once deeply rooted Christian principles will eventually
and most sadly lead to their demise…
becoming but a mere shadow of Truett Cathy’s original desire to honor God.

This is what the Lord has commanded.
If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge,
he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Numbers 30:2

Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.
Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you;
for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you,
and he will destroy you from the face of the land.
Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah.
Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and
decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight,
so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land
the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors, thrusting out all your enemies before you,
as the LORD said.
In the future, when your son asks you,
“What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?”
tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt,
but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
Before our eyes the LORD sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh
and his whole household.
But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the
land he promised on oath to our ancestors.

Deuteronomy 6:13-23

And the sheep were silent…

“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision.
It is a silent acquiescence to evil.
The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction,
while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

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(a sheep farm outside of Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Where does one begin…
Where does one look when attempting to sort it all out?
From whence has it come?
What was the root cause?
What was the catalyst?
How did it ever come to this?

Standing in the center of the raging maelstrom
Silent and dumbfounded…
Only a remaining handful are left to sort it out.

As the majority silently chooses to ignore it…

We choose to turn our heads.
We refuse to call truth by its name.
While hoping it all just goes away.

We don’t want to get labeled.
We don’t want to lose our businesses, our jobs, our positions.
We don’t want to be taken to court.
We don’t want to be disliked, unliked or disconnected.
We don’t want to be shamed…

All the while we are being told we’d best accept things or otherwise shut-up.
We are told to get on board or get out.
We are vilified,
We are hated
We are deemed ignorant.
We are considered backwards.
We are called all manner of vile names
We are stalked by the shadows…

That is unless we recant, we back down, we reconsider,
we change our minds, we accept the once unacceptable…
as the bitter taste is no less palatable, yet we swallow for survival.

And it is because of one thing and one thing only…
We carry the name Christian or Jew.
We support the cross, we support Israel and we hold the word of God as just that…
The Truth.

Yet even under that banner there are those who toil
at rewriting and altering ancient words and law in order to
“modernize” them.
“God didn’t mean that, He actually meant this instead….”
As we don’t like thinking about sin and Hell, so let’s
just throw the blanket out covering everyone…as in
it is all indeed good…because we are all about feeling good.

We stand before the manger feeling all warm and fuzzy,
as we look upon that peaceful nurturing scene of Mother and Child…
All the while we throw up our Christmas trees as the media screams at us,
telling us what we must have and actually need under those trees
in order to be forever happy…
never mind what we really need or want….

…simply to love and be loved….
as in forever…

We want our God to be all loving, all caring, all good, all giving
all about us….
He loves everyone no matter what, right?
He tolerates everything right?
He accepts us no matter what right?

Cause if that’s not right, we don’t want Him.

Cause and effect.

Have we forgotten?

For every cause, there is an opposite reaction or effect.
Up, down
push, pull
lift, drop,
climb, fall….

Yet we decide that the law of physics will not apply to us.

We will live as we choose, with a God who we demand will
abide by our choices and our will…or else…
We will simply rewrite Him…

…or deem Him ill suited, outdated, or better yet…
the product of mere myths…

We deem marriage is not just between man and woman.
We decide boys can be girls and girls can be boys.
There is no separation, no division, no balance…
We don’t like results so we kick and scream until we get the results we like.
We don’t like the flag so we burn it.,
We don’t like religion so we ignore it,
We don’t like those over there cause
we are paranoid and think they don’t like us over here….

We are so busy being us and loving us…as in me, myself and I…
that we are failing to see what is happening all around us.

We are so afraid of offending anyone and everyone that we can’t call terrorists what they are.
We can’t admit that radical Islam wants to annihilate us so we instead invite
them to all come live with us.
We bend everything about us…
until we break, all in the name of acceptance and equality.

And yet we still just don’t get it.
We can’t see it.
We don’t want to admit it….
We’d rather just stare at the crib feeling all warm and fuzzy…
as we forget that the road to Bethlehem, and it’s inviting manger, leads directly
to the Via Dolorosa…

Cause and effect.

Birth and death
Life or not…

If we claim to be Christian or Jew.
If we believe in morality as a guiding principle.
If we believe in cause and effect
If we believe that God is God and we are not…

Now is our moment to be silent no more….

DSCN0866
(a sheep being sheared at a sheep farm outside of Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
Acts 18:9-10

Do not…compromise

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–
the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings,
without milestones, without signposts,…
Your affectionate uncle,
Screwtape.”

― C.S. Lewis,
The Screwtape Letters

Right is right even if no one is doing it;
wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.

St Augustine of Hippo

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile–
hoping it will eat him last.

Sir Winston Churchill

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(a youthful Winston Churchill in his WWI uniform)

Give and take…you were taught since being a child
Bend a little,
give a little…
Give more,
take less.

Compromise…

Yet in that unabashed revelry of our growing concession and settling…
we have deemed that everything and all, even the vast Creator himself…
should now bow down to each petty whim and want…

Never mind that the God of both Heaven and earth laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
(Psalm 119:4)

Never mind that the time has come when people no longer
live with sound teachings and doctrine…

Instead, to suit their own desires,
they gather around them great numbers of teachers who will say what their
itching ears long to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the Truth, turning rather to the side of all falsehood.

However we must remember to keep our head about us in all situations…
We will endure hardships…
but we must strive to do the work of the One who teaches the Truth
(2 Timothy 4:3-5)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh.
Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for,
but may win a full reward.
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ,
does not have God.
Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching,
do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,
for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

2 John 1:7-11

after the storm

“But, my dear, if you should be caught out in the storm!”
“Why, I don’t know but I should like it! What harm could it do? I’m not soluble in water – rain won’t melt me away! I think upon the whole I rather prefer being caught in the storm. . .”

― E.D.E.N. Southworth, Capitola’s Peril

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(evening sky images / Carroll Co , Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

Driving home Sunday evening, after a torrential rain storm had wreaked havoc for almost two solid hours, there descended on the sodden and wind shattered earth the most delightful sense of serenity and calm. All was now contently wrapped in the quiet cozy hushed whispers which seem to follow such temper tantrums of angry storm systems.

The rays of a setting sun, doing their best to penetrate the parting clouds, were diffused by a myriad of water droplets acting like a million tiny prisms bending and refracting the sun’s light into a vivid display of spectacular color.

Grainy images sadly cannot capture the vast beauty of an evening sky that seems to stretch out as far and as endless as the heavens allow, yet it is all I have to offer—this small token of the world seemingly at peace. . .

Pretty little red thing

DSCN0778

“Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.”
unknown

No, this is not mine. I saw it parked on the side of the road in Bend, Oregon and thought secretly how I wished it was mine.

Now don’t get me wrong—I do not want a motorcycle. They scare me… or rather I should say that I’m scared for them…for all that unbridled lack of being surrounded by vehicle, there is that much more unprotected…and if you’ve been on any interstate within the limits of a major metropolitan city, those are not friendly roads…

My husband bought a motorcycle shortly after we were married. It was just one of those things I suppose. There was no dissuasion. No sign indicating he was even thinking about wanting one. He simply comes home from work one day, not in the vehicle he left in, but rather on the back of a black motorcycle. Thankfully he had not sold his truck, merely left it where he’d bought the bike. I wasn’t mad. It was his money, his choice…I was just a little disappointed that I had had no clue.

May it be known however, that we owned that motorcycle for all of one week. As his parents lived up the street from us, and he, even though in his mid 30’s, did not want them to know he’d bought a motorcycle, we would have to turn off the motor, coasting past their house—always trying to appear incognito. As I would sit behind him holding on for dear life, I would silently shake my head thinking how this charade was pretty stupid. Then there was the trip on the interstate to visit a friend in a neighboring state. After coming home late at night on the wide open interstate, in the dark, with the tractor trailer trucks zooming all around us, with me praying like nobody’s business, he sold the bike the following morning.

But I always wondered why he bought it. Was it an impulse? Are not most things like suddenly coming home one day from work with a motorcycle impulsive? Is it a guy thing? Women, for all the talk of being impulsive, women think about such purchases, they ruminate over such, courting the idea if you will…toying with it in their mind…imagining seeing themselves on and with a “bike”….decisions as to color and matching helmet and clothing are big…such a purchase with a woman is more premeditated as there are just simply too many determining factors to wade through….”will I use it for work or just for fun? Will it be bad for my hair? What will I do when it rains? Does it make me look fat?”…..on and on we go.

But this little beauty—she’s a real cutie. Perfect for maneuvering in and out of tight spots–or so I would imagine. After spending time in Italy a few years back, I saw so many woman on vespas of their own. Woman dressed to the nines, going to and from work, weaving and darting in and out of the horrendous chaos known as Rome’s traffic. If they can do it, why can’t I? Or is that a European gene that this southern United States girl simply does not possess? I’m not terribly coordinated. Would that be a problem?

Vespa does translate to wasp–as these little cuties do their fair share of darting and buzzing to and fro—and after sitting in a Taxi within Rome’s labyrinth of streets, I can see how a vespa can equate to being a wasp. Suddenly, out of no where, a vespa would appear right beside us where there was not another lane. The traffic light just turned red, we stop but the vespas shoot out like angry wasps in hot pursuit of an assumed assailant–just waiting to inflict a painful sting–just daring anyone to say..”hey that’s a red light back there….”

But my hair. I would have such a time with helmet hair. I wouldn’t be able to go somewhere, taking off the helmet and going about normal business, I’d look a fright. Short hair is not conducive to hats and helmets being removed…not like long hair that can still come across as flowing luxuriously in the wind—no, short hair is flattened and matted to one’s head….pleading to have the hat or helmet put immediately back on the now squashed hair. That would be a problem.

And then there’s the whole interstate thing—you know what a bug looks like on a windshield after being hit by a vehicle traveling 70 to 80 mph??? That is not something I would like to experience.
And what happens when it does rain or turns cold? I’d be a moving popsicle or a drowned rat….can’t get too much done looking like either a popsicle or a wet rat. And where in the world would I put my groceries or goodies from a shopping adventure?! Certainly not in some little basket on the front of the bike—-no, I need a trunk or at least a backseat.

All of this was running through my head that afternoon as I suddenly stopped on the street in Bend, Oregon to snap the picture of this cute little red thing….telling my husband “now, that’s what I want!!” He turns and looks at me, states, “yeah, and you’d get killed on it too” turns back and continues walking up the street. I linger a bit longer, imaging myself sitting on it and driving it—ooooo. Then I snap back to reality, tell myself, he’s right, and turn back to the sidewalk, only to go scooting off in order to catch up with him… leaving that cute little red thing behind me waiting for its rightful owner.