we the people

“where there is a crime, there is an investigation…
where then is there an investigation hoping for a crime?”

Charles Krauthammer

I have been arguing for years that our society is becoming more intolerant,
not less and that in rejecting our Christian roots we will end up
rejecting our Christian fruits (including tolerance).

David Robertson

“Their common enemy is now an illiberal and feral anti-religious movement
which wants to criminalise faith.”

Kevin McKenna


(a tiny plucked fig rests on a bed of freshly picked herbs / Julie Cook / 2017)

Since today is Sunday, the Christian sabbath, I thought it timely, and perhaps
rather important, that I use today’s post to remind us, the Faithful,
that as we now rest and enjoy this holy day, that we should remember that there
are those who are waiting in the wings for our undoing….
and lest any of you think me daft or suffering from
the heat, all you need to do is look around your world….

The following excerpts are from an article written by journalist Kevin McKenna
which appeared in a recent column in The Guardian.
The Guardian being an odd place to find an article written by a journalist
who is alarmed by the brewing trouble he sees on the horizon for both
Christianity and our Western Civilization…
for The Guardian is known for its more left and liberal offerings.

The article is based on the current situation in Scotland but I believe we could
pull out the word Scotland inserting rather say Boston or Atlanta
or London…maybe New York, Berlin, San Francisco,Paris…or…well,
you get the idea….as it the sentiment is one of a global scale and not
merely localized to Scotland.

So maybe, just maybe, we see a bit of common sense actually filtering out of the
proverbial turnip….

Thus, if you sincerely believe that a human life in the womb is
deserving of as much protection as any other human life you are considered
an extremist and obviously (if you are male) a sexist who is guilty of
crimes against feminism. If you sincerely believe that the sacrament of
marriage is “a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between
themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by
its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education
of offspring” then there are people in Scotland who would wish to have you
jailed for homophobic hate crime.
And if you support the concept of faith schools then you are fuelling
sectarianism, despite there never having been a scintilla of evidence
to support such a specious claim.

It’s this insidious campaign of intolerance against Christians in Scotland
that Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia sought to address in a recent essay
for the US online publication Crux which is influential in Vatican circles.
The archbishop claimed too many Catholics had become “wishy-washy”
about their faith.
They were being challenged by robust secularism,
according to the archbishop,
which was hostile to believing “in anything supernatural;
in anything they can’t see or touch or experience;
or in anything beyond modelling and encouraging decent behaviour”.

The Reverend David Robertson,
former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland and perhaps the most influential
Christian thinker in Scotland today,
knows what the archbishop is talking about.
The Rev Robertson has been the victim of a sustained campaign of abuse for many
years now simply for re-emphasising Christian teaching on the
sanctity of life and the meaning of marriage.
One of the big lies that have been allowed to take shape in modern,
diverse Scotland where all are apparently welcome is that failure to sign up to
the mainstream view of society and what it means to be human is evidence of hate.

If you are anti-abortion you must hate women;
if you are against same-sex marriage then you must be homophobic.
It’s a falsehood and a pernicious one at that.
Hatred of gay, lesbian and trans-gender people and hate crimes against women
are serious and ugly issues.
But knowingly to manipulate ignorance around these issues to make false
accusations against people whose religion you resent is an equally serious and ugly matter.

Kevin McKenna

Please find the full article posted here on the link to The Wee Flea—
whose author just so happens to be one of the victims of today’s
ugly and hate filled anti-Chrisitan rhetoric….

Kevin McKenna – It is time to stand up to those who wish to criminalise faith – article in The Herald

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own;
but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world,
therefore the world hates you.

John 15:18-19

DON’T SING THAT SONG!!!!!!!

“The sun,–the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man–burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray.”
― Charles Dickens

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(I had to go back a full year to find a sun shot for March / Julie Cook / 2014)

“Sunshine go away today
I don’t feel much like dancing. . .”

You remember that catchy little tune don’t you?
It was a late 60’s sounding folksy tune, written and sung by Jonathan Edwards, which actually came out in 1971. A catchy seemingly happy enough tune, yet with some dark angry undertones. . .

“Some man’s gone he’s tried to run my life
Don’t know what he’s asking

How much does it cost, I’ll buy it
The time is all we’ve lost, I’ll try it
But he can’t even run his own life
I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine, Sunshine”

We should actually all take notice that during this particular time of waning, yet fiercely determined winter, which has a deep and angry hold over most of our lives, and which continues wrecking havoc on our lives by lashing out with snow, ice, rain, cold, winds, fog, mist, deep grey. . . all of which seems to be holding our dear sun not only at bay but more like hostage, I am passionately proclaiming that no one, I repeat, no one must be allowed to sing that song!!!

Sun, PPPPLLLLEEEEEAAAAASSSSSEEEE, don’t go away, but rather I’m begging, COME BACK and STAY!!!

I am afraid that we are soon to have a national epidemic on our hands—a paralyzing byproduct to these lingering wintertime blues known scientifically as S.A.D. . .Seasonal Affective Disorder–a widely recognized medical condition with symptoms such as depression, lethargy, fatigue, cravings for heavy carbs (hummmm), and an overall feeling of the icky, ehh, blahs.

And may I add that my husband seems to have a really bad case. . .for he is defiantly SAD, ill, mad, or in laymen’s terms. . .out of sorts and very, very grumpy.

His only day off throughout the long workweek is Sunday, as he owns and operates a small retail business in our community. . .which, may I add, is in itself enough to make anyone grumpy and ill of temperament. And I sadly must report that the past 4 Sundays in a row it has been rainy, wet, foggy icy, snowy, cold, grey, icky, ehh and blah. . .in other words, not days you want to exactly run around outside fishing, working in the yard or simply basking in the glories of the great outdoors. This for a man who loves nothing but being out in the wilds of nature especially after having been cooped up in retail 6 days a week, 14 hours a day.
“Of course it could be worse” he laments, “we could live in Boston.. .”

And speaking of Boston. . .
Our northern kinsmen have been unduly hammered by Mother Nature this winter, as well as our brethren in the Midwest, the central mid section, the Northwest, Canada, not to mention northern Europe. . . I fear we just may have a full fledged CDC 5 alarm epidemic on our hands. . .a malady of S.A.D. run amuck.
And lest we forget that a SAD, Ill, out of sorts husband makes for a frazzled, exasperated, and disturbed wife. . .I’ve we’ve defiantly got big troubles on my our hands. . .

Panic stricken, as we find ourselves scrambling for some sort of treatment or cure, we desperately seek out experts who can stop this spreading menace before it’s all too late.
And just when we thought all was lost, we actually discover that we have several options of choice.

The obvious, yet most impractical for the general populace, is to get the heck out of dodge. Get on a plane and fly away to some place full of sun and warmth—joining in with the throngs of the same minded and obviously overtly pale individuals seeking solace while flocking to more tropical environs—hence the abomination know to any true native southern Floridian, the ubiquitous snowbird

The other option is Vitamin D.
What???
Yes vitamin D.
But I thought vitamin D was all about milk and bones, right?
Well yes. . .as we must remember that the greatest source of Vitamin D produced in our bodies is taken in through our skin from sunlight with other secondary sources including the consumption of milk, oily fish, eggs. . .

So more often than not, our wintertime depressive sun deprived moods are due to just that, the deprivation of light and of our exposure to the sun.
We’ve discovered that those who suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency are most often those who have little to no exposure to the outdoors and daylight, no basking and frolicking in the sunshine. For when the sun hangs low on the horizon, as it does in our more northernly Northern Hemisphere skies, during the dark days of winter, a lack of Vitamin D is a very real and common occurrence.

Another available option is the use of a specially designed light box
What??
A light box, a box fitted with special bulbs which are much brighter than the average indoor lightbulb. A light box mimics the full spectrum and intensity of light cast from the sun. Most experts recommend sitting by a light box for approximately 30 minutes each day, preferably shortly after waking, in order to get the full required amount of exposure.

Ok. . .so now having fully considered my options, I’m pretty certain I know the course of action I must take.

First, I’m going to buy my husband a bottle of Vitamin D supplements.
Secondly I’m going to buy a life sized light box that I’ll lock him in that he’ll be able to fully utilize reaping all the benefits while I in turn buy a one way ticket to some delightfully warm tropical locale such as, say, Bali or Fiji or Turks and Caicos or the Seychelles, or. . .well, you get the picture. . .some place with greenery and warmth, drinks with little umbrellas. . .a place where I can sit, basking in a beach chair singing “here comes the sun“. . .a place that has lots and lots of Vitamin D !!
So while I’m gone, don’t forget to take your vitamins. . .

Today’s awareness

“If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”
― Leo Tolstoy

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(image courtesy Phyllis Snipes, Ohau, Hawaii/ 2014)

Today is Friday, Sepember 26, 2014.
Just another ol day for so many of us on this planet.
Yet. . .
for others, today is a day of great significance and importance.
Perhaps it is a birthday, a wedding day, a new job day, a new move day, a new relationship day. Perhaps it is a day offering new joy, a day of wonder, a day of homecomings, a day of expectations, a day of anticipation. . .
or. . .
for some. . .perhaps it is a day of loss, of sadness, of goodbye’s, of grave diagnosis. . .

Today, a day for those who suffer, have suffered or will suffer from the ravages of cancer, in particular mesothelioma, today is a day of Awareness.

September 26, 2014 is the 10th anniversary of Mesothelioma Awareness Day.
And why, you wonder, is Cookie showcasing this day. . .

Flashback two weeks ago.

Imagine my surprise when I received a request on my blog from a certain Cameron Von St. James asking if I would please e-mail him as he had a question. I thought that request a bit unusual as I usually don’t receive the asking of questions as folks typically just comment, reply or like whatever is going on in cookieland.
Curious, I emailed Cameron.

Cameron responded with an introduction.
He is a husband and a father who wanted to ask if I could help him with a particular quest he was / is currently waging.
His wife Heather is a mesothelioma survivor.
He was asking if I could help highlight this vicious cancer by offering some information, etc. with a post on my blog, hopefully coinciding with the official awareness day.
Having lost my mom to lung cancer 28 years ago, I am always more than happy to help bring awareness to the continuing battle we wage against all forms of Cancer.

My first introduction to Mesothelioma came in a rather round about way many years ago when I just was a new young teacher. I was teaching in a school that had already seen a good bit of wear and tear as it had been built around 1963. It was not uncommon for buildings and even houses, which were built early to mid century, to be insulated with asbestos. Asbestos was a desirable building material because it was a natural occurring mineral mined in abundance, it was cheap, it was a super insulator as well as sound barrier plus it stood up to the damaging effects which could be caused by fire, electrical mishaps and or water.

My classroom’s ceiling was coated in asbestos, as were several other classrooms, as well as the school’s cafeteria ceiling. One summer, about my 3rd year at the school, we saw some major work done by the State to rid the school of any and all asbestos as its potential for health concerns had become paramount.

It seems that there is even documentation that the ancient Romans had raised health concerns over the use of asbestos. Even our own scientific and medical communities began raising red flags back in the 1920’s and 30’s. Finally here it was the early 1980’s and the Government was just getting around to ridding schools, buildings and homes of this potential health hazard. Alas the Government has never been known for speed.

That summer long ago, the men in the little white hazmat suits and hoods invaded our school. My classroom, as well as other areas of the building, were sealed and cordoned off complete with warning tape, plastic sheeting and signs with grave health warnings.
It was that big a deal.
Here were these men walking around fully incased in special suits as the teachers, on the other-hand, were milling about in average clothing. A twilight moment of the surreal to be sure.

We were assured however that as long as the asbestos material, in our case the sprayed layer coating our ceiling, was not “disturbed”– scratched, rubbed or agitated to create dust particles, we were fine.
Whenever the Government tells me “I’m fine”—that’s when I worry.

I didn’t think much else about that summer or asbestos again until my mom died of lung cancer several years later. If you’ve ever watched a loved one fight and die battling cancer, you, the survivor somehow develop a deep seceded paranoia. Even though I am adopted, watching my mom suffer, I had that whole transference thing going on. I felt doomed to her fate. She was young when she died, 53. Would I ever live past her age?
Stupid, silly and unfounded, but yet very real.
If she was robbed of happiness and of her life, why should I be afforded anything different or better?
That sadly was my mind set.
It was also my dad’s— as throughout the 28 years since her death, any ache or pain, he’s been convinced it’s cancer.

That’s what cancer does—it not only robs those who actually develop cancer of joy and life, it robs the living as well.

When Cameron contacted me, asking for my help, I began to rack my brain on what I knew about Mesothelioma.
I knew it was a cancer that was somehow connected to the exposure of asbestos.
I had seen the commercials concerning the legal rights of it’s victims on television.
The victims seemed to be older men who were somehow connected to having served in the military or did construction work.
Why that was, was still a mystery to me.
I then tried to figure out a correlation between what I knew and how a young woman who was a wife and a mother up in Roseville, Minnesota could somehow contract such a cancer.

Cameron was kind enough to provide a link about Heather and her battle.

http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/awareness/#.VCWnod6qBUQ

Eight years ago Heather was diagnosed with the cancer and given 15 months to live.
Mesothelioma is a rather rare cancer affecting roughly 3000 victims yearly. It also comes with a very grime prognosis as there is no cure.

When Heather was diagnosed it was shortly after she and Cameron had welcomed their daughter Lily into the world. I can only imagine the tremendous roller coaster of emotions of going from the joy of becoming new young parents, to being handed an out of the blue death sentence of maybe 15 months to live. My mom was given 6 months yet barely survived 6 weeks. Guessing games with life expectancy is never reassuring nor encouraging.

Yet I was curious.
How in the world did a vibrant young wife and mother contract a cancer that was / is more common in those who are older as well as effecting those who have been either members of the military or those who worked in the construction field?

It seems that after watching Heather’s short video, I learned it was from her dad, who was a construction worker who had spent a lifetime working with sheetrock, otherwise known as drywall, that Heather had been exposed. Heather’s dad would spend his days sanding asbestos ladened drywall, only to come home each evening covered, unbeknownst to him, with a potentially lethal fine white powder. Heather, each evening greeting her dad, welcoming him home after a hard day’s work, was exposed to millions of deadly dust particles which in turn insidiously invaded her young body. Heather’s was a type of second hand exposure. She was not the one doing the initial sanding but yet it was from the residual dust that she was effected. Why it affects some and yet bypasses others remains a mystery.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that the damage done to the lungs and pulmonary system can sit for years in one’s body without warning signs or symptoms–as was the case with Heather—she was 36 when she became symptomatic and was eventually diagnosed, yet she had been exposed many years prior.

Heather was sent to Boston for treatment from one of the leading facilities in the Country which works with Mesothelioma patients. She underwent grueling treatments, with the loss of one lung being a big part of her treatment. She was unable to care for her young daughter as Cameron, who had to remain back home much of the time in order to work, was unable to be by the side of his ill wife nor could he be with his young daughter who now was staying with Heather’s family in South Dakota. Cancer does not care whether families get to stay together or not. Nor does it care whether families can financially absorb the catastrophic costs to wage such a battle.

This is in part why days like today are so important. They help raise our awareness, concern, and hopefully the necessary funding to help better fight this stealthy enemy and help work toward a cure.

There is more information available out there on the internet regarding the particulars of Mesothelioma, which I won’t repeat here as it is not my desire to parrot clinical history or statistics but rather it is my desire to bring attention to this cancer and to the faces of those who it effects.

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(a recent picture of Heather, Cameron and Lily)

In this case the cancer not only effected Heather, it effected Cameron and their daughter Lily as well as both of their families. . .Just as it continues to affect countless numbers of other unsuspecting individuals and families. That is why, a day such as today, Friday September 26th, is important. This is a day which hopefully will bring more and more awareness to Mesothelioma and of it’s devastating smothering blanket it casts indiscriminately.

May you use today, this day of national awareness, to do a little investigating of your own. May we use today as a day to learn, to teach, to help, to pray and to work toward bringing more focus on this cancer and its gravity- – – so that little girls like Lily may always enjoy living life with their beautiful moms like Heather.

Are you a blamer or maker?

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.
G.B. Shaw

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(lovely patch of wild flowers Boston Public Gardens / Julie Cook / 2014)

Our lives are an endless procession of choices.
To do or not to do
To go or to stay
To walk or to run
To move or to be still
To quit or to act
To speak or to be quiet
To act or to react

There was one thing, one bit of cookie advice, that I would tell my high school students. . .
“Life is full of choices and you will certainly have your share. . .”
“But the number one choice you’ll always have will be that you can either choose to be a victim in life or not—
you can choose to be proactive or reactive—-
always choose to be proactive!

Sadly today we hear so many people, from all walks of life, bemoaning the stacked deck of cards Life has dealt them— lamenting over the unfair, painful, paralyzing circumstances divid out by this cruel master card dealer.

There is whining, wailing, complaining and the heavy gnashing of teeth.
The energy and time spent over the layers of excuses, the rationalizing, the oh woe is “me-ing”. . .
Which in turn leads to the stagnant inability to move forward
“We’ll I can’t because of this”
“I won’t because of such and such”
“I wish I could, but. . .”

Layers upon layers of the cant’s, the “woulda”s, the “shoulda”s, the “coulda”s
We are creating a society that prefers to sit back, watching and waiting to receive rather than one which prefers to move forward. The recipients are beginning to outweigh the doers.
There are those who are so busy explaining their poor circumstances and the reasons as to why they’re down on their luck, spending precious time wallowing in inactivity, that they miss the opportunities to get up and move their way forward.

Life is about hard work.
The old saying, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” has been sadly transformed today into an expected free lunch.

It is important to offer help, aid and assistance to those hurting and indeed, as at some point in life we will all find ourselves in such a position—but, and this is the key, it to also exceedingly important to be able to offer opportunity for growth and movement forward as this is the essential key to the wellbeing of the Human Spirit.

A hand up will be needed by all of us at some point, but then to be sent forward is the most important component to that offerings of aid and service.

Human beings are wired to be doers in life.
We are not hard wired to be inactive receivers.
Sadly we grow spoiled and lazy, preferring to sit back waiting for whatever it is that
will seem to fill our needs and make us happy.
Life is still about building and making.

May we be mindful that we still have so much to be done
and it won’t get done with us merely sitting back waiting and watching.

The silent passing of life

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”
― Ernest Hemingway

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(small sparrow in the fountain outside of The Old North Church / Boston, Mass. / Julie Cook / 2014

“[S]he Is Not Dead

I cannot say, and I will not say
That [s]he is dead. [S]he is just away.
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,
[S]he has wandered into an unknown land
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since [s]he lingers there.
And you—oh you, who the wildest yearn
For an old-time step, and the glad return,
Think of him[her] faring on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here.
Think of him[her] still as the same. I say,
[S]he is not dead—[s]he is just away.”
― James Whitcomb Riley

Ann Alexander Cook
1928-2014

What? You talking to me?

We live in deeds not years In thoughts not breaths In feelings not figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives who thinks most, feels noblest, acts the best.”
― Philip James Bailey

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(wary eyed pigeon, Boston, Massachusetts / Julie Cook / 2014)

When my son was a little boy, he and I spent a great deal of time together. And not that it’s odd for a mother to spend a great deal of time with her child, my child happened to be only child with our living in a separate community from the one in which I taught, way back in the middle of 20 acres of woods. I was pretty much his only playmate, up until it was time to start school. His dad worked long hours so it was often just the two of us.

A favorite pastime would often find us curled up on the couch watching his favorite shows, with cartoons being a big part of our viewing. My dad had spent time with me watching cartoons so it just seemed natural for me to do the same with my child. And I must admit that those are some of the best memories I have of those simple easy days spent contently together–nothing special, no big deal–just he and I simply enjoying being together and laughing as we watched a silly cartoon

One of the cartoons we both enjoyed watching was the Goodfeathers.

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Goodfeathers was the cartoon’s world take on the movie the Goodfellas. I’d never seen the Goodfellas movie but I knew enough about the movie to know that it was a story about the Mob. The cartoon was so tongue and cheek and such a funny take on the stereotypical life of Italian Americans and Mob life that I think I probably enjoyed it as much, if not more, than my son–and if the truth be told, most likely on a vastly different level. That subtle little nuances that only I could pick up on.

The Goodfeathers even had their own version of Marlon Brando’s role from the Godfather–a role portrayed by the Godpigeon.

good feathers

And so it was, on an idle evening stroll, along a beautifully old victorian era street lined with the brownstones of days gone by, that I spied a lone pigeon lounging along the rim of a bird bath. My proximity to him seemed to make no never mind, so I stopped long enough to take his picture.

Later, when I was actually going through the myriad of pictures I’d taken throughout the day, I noted the wary eye this pigeon shot my way–with the immediate thought and words of a young Robert de Nero—“What, You talking to me?”
Which in turn immediately sent my thoughts tumbling back in time, many years prior to a delightful time of joy and innocence when a mom and her young son lived a simpler time of contentment. . .

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(cookie and little cookie, on his wedding day / June 7, 2014 –and it should be noted, he’s little cookie 😉 )

Snippets of Life through a couple of Psalms

I am like a pelican of the wilderness:

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(pelican in flight, Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

I am like an owl of the wilderness,
like a little owl of the waste places.

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(Vienna Zoo / Schönbrunn Palace / Vienna, Austria / Julie Cook / 2012

I lie awake;
I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.

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(pigeon atop roof of the Old State House / Boston Massachusetts / Julie Cook / 2014

When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.

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(praying mantis / Julie Cook / 2014)

For I eat ashes as my food
and mingle my drink with tears

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(embers in the BBQ / Julie Cook / 2014)


Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,

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(seal swimming / Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada / Julie Cook / 2012)

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(basking sea lion, Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada / Julie Cook / 2012

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(the tip top of an orca, Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada / Julie Cook / 2012)

lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,

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(Georgia clouds / Julie Cook / 2013)


you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,

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(Watten, Austria / Julie Cook / 2012)

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(espaliered apple tree, Mondsee, Austria / Julie Cook / 2012)

wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,

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(neighboring Georgia bull / Julie Cook / 2014)

kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,

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(Web image of painting of Henry VIII)

young men and women,
old men and children.

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(homeless man, courtyard of The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(young boy posing for mom’s picture atop the duckings in Boston’s Public Gardens / Julie Cook / 2014)


Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

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(full moon over Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

And he has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Jewish and Christian religious groups de
(web image of a rally in support of Israel)

Praise the Lord.

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(happy flowers covering Boston, Massachusetts / Julie Cook / 2014 )