Satan and the fears and anxiety he produces…are liars

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

Plato


(courtesy the web)

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

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

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

The list is lengthy and our fear has been palpable.

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

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

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

The initial fear was losing Rob—would he survive.

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

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

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

However…

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

He has been transferred back to the ICU.

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

From the CaringBridge site:

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

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

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

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

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

Here is Stephanie’s latest post:

Hello friends,

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

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

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

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

Love,
🙂 Steph

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

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

Sometimes change can be painfully slow

“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy


(The Holloway Family)

I wanted to offer an update regarding my friend Stephanie’s husband, the Carrollton Police Officer
that was shot during a high speed chase in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Rob was shot in the head by a 22 year old young man.
His 26 year old cousin was driving at speeds upwards of 111 mph.

When pursued by law enforcement, the two boys began firing upon each and every law enforcement
vehicle that attempted to intervene in stopping them.

They hit Sgt Rob Holloway in the head.

Rob is the husband of a longtime colleague of mine from school.

Yesterday, my former principal text me the latest condition regarding Rob after he was life flighted
to Atlanta’s Grady Hospital Trauma Center.

The bullet remained lodged in Rob’s brain and could not be removed–
rather the surgeons had to remove part of the the right lobe of the brain.

Miraculously, by yesterday morning, Rob was talking, albeit through a morphine haze.
He asked for a sweet tea and was able to sallow his meds by mouth.

Rob is moving both hands and feet.

Brain scans are looking very positive.

We all continue to pray for Rob, Stephanie and their only child, Grady, a senior in high school.

But here is my angst in all of this.

Rob has been a police officer since 2008.

He had risen to the rank of sargent.
He was always so good to check my husband’s jewelry business in the wee hours, always
leaving a note that in the middle of the night, all was well.

He was thoughtful to this small business owner and we, in turn, were greatly appreciative.

His wife, when we worked together, was a devoted teacher who has since
moved on to being an active school administrator…
Their only child is a high school senior.

They have lived life by trusting God.

They are what we say in the South, “good people”

And yet, because of his profession as law enforcement, Rob is pigeon holed.
He is placed, by our current culture, into an ambiguous position…
a possible pariah against all mankind…
all because he simply wanted to protect and defend…

Contrary to popular belief, support for our law enforcement is not equivalent
to something racist…
despite what our current presidential administration claims to believe….the majority
of our law enforcement and first responders aim to serve the betterment of their
fellow human beings.

We have got to hold on to that and support our first responders.

Thank you all who have offered prayers of healing and hope…
There is a go fund me page for Rob Holloway set up by the wives of
local Carroll, Co. Georgia law enforcement wives.

One day, maybe, this madness will end.

To Rome and Jackie with Love

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
Albert Schweitzer

CIMG0683
(photograph: skyline of Rome looking toward The Vatican,The Janiculum hill/ Julie Cook/ 2007)

Isn’t there something most magical about the Roman skyline?
Particularly the vista that is punctuated by the magnificent dome of Michelangelo’s
engineering genius.
Are you aware that it is Roman law that no building may be built which exceeds the height
of St. Peter’s?
I love Rome, as I’ve written before.
It is a city that is dirty, loud, lurid, raucous, serene, historical, artistic,
trashy, holy and very very real.

I’ve often mused that I could live in Rome…usually, until I step in the mountains of dog poo
which line the sidewalks or when I get a good whiff of the unmistakable stench of human urine
wafting up from the stairways leading down to the Tiber River.

For Rome does have its flaws……

I cannot, however, think about Rome without thinking of a very dear friend.

I lost this dear friend today, Wednesday.
She actually died last night from a lengthy bout with cancer–an ongoing battle that
seems to have plagued her for most of her adult life.

A mutual friend and former colleague called me this morning with the news.
I had been receiving regular texts, as she had been rushed to the hospital
last week and was in ICU.
The texts were from one of her daughters who was updating the progress of her mom…
it seemed she was greatly improving daily…
that is, until yesterday evening.
She was only 78.

She was a colleague, mentor, friend, mother figure and a darn good high school
math teacher.
She was also the mother to two grown girls with families of their own as well as the former
wife of a rather notable Speaker of the House…
a Speaker who shall remain nameless as this is the place today to simply remember my friend.

She had battled colon cancer long before I had ever known her.
Her famous husband, or so the story goes, went to the hospital when she was
in the midst of her struggle with cancer and that of a life-saving surgery,
asking for a divorce.
That was the “hear-say” story, as she was not one to hang out the old dirty laundry—
and we always respected her for such and never asked for any clarification.

She never bashed him, never said a derogatory word, despite having much right to
do so… giving his philandering ways and the years of sacrifice she had made for his
rise in the state then national political picture.
She always respected the fact that he was the father to her children and therefore…
we never talked about him nor of that former life.

It was during those times when this former husband, who would try his hand at national
politics, that her life would be examined as if under a microscope by the press,
again and again.

Despite wearing the title of “ex” wife, she still seemed fair game for political fodder
or so deemed our oh so pious media (please note the sarcasm).
Reporters actually sat outside of school, in the bushes and trees for a shot, even approaching
fellow teachers for a “story”….
As we all did our best to protect her and her privacy.

The news was never flattering of her, describing her as the “ugly” one–
as she was the first of three wives.

How dare they!

She was a real woman, a real lady actually.. not one of those stretched and augmented women
not starched or altered as the many women of Washington are.
She was not a “trophy” to be lead around on a leash as if on show.
She was a beautiful lady.

I often thought of the qualities of Winston Churchill when I thought of my friend.

She was tenacious and fierce if need be—like a mama bear protecting her cubs…always
to the death.
She was like Yoda, a wise sage always full of the wisdom gained by a life lived
long and well.

She had suffered polio as a child, known sorrow and sacrifice as an adult, and
was toughened by the years of hard work… yet in the end, she was never bitter nor sad.
Her body often betrayed her as she battled countless near death illnesses,
yet all the while she managed to have a new trip or adventure in the works while
living life with chemo, radiation, hospital stays, neuropathy and lastly a stroke.

We’d never know when the cancer came back because she never really spoke about it.
She’d just be sick, fight, recover and run to another life adventure.
With skydiving being one of the last big adventures.

It was this friend that taught me to live life like there was no tomorrow—
as she herself never knew if tomorrow was promised to her or not.

It was this dear lady, this dear friend who knew of my love of Italy and
of all things Italian.
It was this friend who knew I had lost my own mom when I was young and who was
now struggling as a young wife, mom, and teacher…

She took it upon herself to befriend me and gently guide me through the often murky
waters of life.
I remember being devastated when she retired.
She was the old guard at school, the wizened sage who kept us younger teachers
in tow.
She made us laugh, think, fight and always do the right thing by our students
and ourselves.

Once she retired, we did not stay in touch as often as I had wished as our paths
simply diverged.
She was now was hanging out with the other retired teachers while traveling profusely—
With Italy being the last big trip…

It was right around the time when Pope John Paul II was quite ill and actually just prior to
his death that she told me she’d bring me a memento back, something about him…for she
knew my deep admiration for the Pope.

All the while she encouraged me to go soon if I could–as she always found
travel to be one of life’s better teachers.
She brought me back a beautiful image of my beloved pope and I did manage to
make that trip a few months following John Paul’s death—
heeding her advice to go—always go…

I’d see her, from time to time, in Target or at the grocery store—
which just so happens to be the last place we actually talked.
Funny how grocery stores are so prominent in our lives.
Those off places where we run into those important folks who seem to pop in and out
of our lives…

She’d often frequented my husband’s business, sending me her “hellos”
via my husband.
Each time she’d come in the store, he’d come home from having seen her
with the latest story of the latest adventure—

After the stroke, I recently sent a card to the rehab center in Atlanta
where she had been moved while working on regaining strength, speech, and mobility.
I told her in my card that here it was, time for me to finally retire,
and off she moves over to Atlanta…
I was all ready to start our travels and would be waiting on her—
for her to get better and for her to be ready to go, once again…

Sadly, it looks as if she went on without me.

Thank you, Jackie, for everything you ever taught me—–
I will miss you.