Satan rejoices…as thuggery reigns supreme

“We are placed in our different ranks and stations,
not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him.
As Christ has worked, we too have but to labor in them for Him.
As Christ has His work, we too have ours;
as He rejoiced to do his work, we must rejoice in ours also.”

St. John Neumann


(Law Enforcement Today—images of Atlanta on fire…agian)

Satan rejoices…plain and simple.

This thought raced across my mind as I watched, along with the world,
the sheer horror of what had been happening in Minnesota.
A city of civil unrest and a city on fire.

All a result, once again, by another death of a black man in police custody.
Forget that he was in custody for having committed an offense or crime.

Ode to the choices we make.
Ode to the repercussions of our choices.

All the officers involved were immediately found guilty in the court of social media
as the Mayor openly wept on television over what seemed to be a near intentional
killing by some of his city’s police officers.

As the recorded incident spread like wildfire on all things social media,
the ire of mob rule was reawoken and unleashed upon a weary nation.

Pandemic…What pandemic?

A tidal wave of angst-driven hate rolled across Minneapolis, just like any
life-destroying tsunami does—it covered the land in a maelstrom of total destruction.

That same maelstrom, otherwise known as civil unrest,
came washing down to Atlanta, as well as several other major US cities…
even up to the gates of the White House.

It came with the same selfish looting, destruction of property, and raging fires—
all telltale signs of true unbridled anarchy.

The results of banal animal behavior.

It is what we have come to accept as commonplace when social media sends out her tentacles
of half understanding, assumptions, and soundbites.

I just happened to be in Atlanta babysitting when the city of my birth
was once again, set a-light.


(the irony of liberal based CNN under seige)

Atlanta is familiar with burning.
She is known as the city of the legendary Phoenix as she always rises up from
the ashes of death.

I’m not so certain she can continue doing so when it is now her own people
turning on her for no real reason, burning her from within.

But is it really her own people or is it the various organized militant groups
such as Antifa and Black Lives Matters?
Groups who have their own agenda and not the agenda of comfort and solace
to the family of George Floyd.

No…
the fires, the looting and the destruction of property are not showings of solidary
with the death of George Floyd, or for any of those who preceded Mr. Floyd,
those who were also killed at the hands of police officers…regardless of crime, resistance
obstruction or pure innocence.

Andrew Young, former Atlanta Mayor, US Ambassador, but more importantly
Civil Rights icon, lamented last night while watching the Atlanta riots,’
‘I’m thinking I want to cry’

And I think we all want to cry.

Because the truth in all of this is that the young people who are ranting and raging
across this nation, care not about Andrew Young nor of the sacrifices he endured alongside
Martin Luther King for the betterment for young black men and women, they care about nothing.

This boiling anger is not about justice or injustice.
It is not about civil rights.
It is not about a peaceful approach to wrongs endured.

It is plain and simple…about hate.
Hate of self and hate of others.

And one of the greatest crimes in all of this?

Our elected officials have capitulated…they have given into the anarchy.
They are allowing anarchy to play out before all of our eyes
as they lament their, and in turn, our appeasement to these
hate-filled masses—a yielding at all costs to the demanding and
voracious hate-filled animal within…naively thinking such capitulation will
satiate this monster known as hate.

Colin Kapernick, the infamous football player turned anthem kneeler,
has offered to pay for the defense of the rioters in Minneapolis
calling them “freedom fighters.”

Freedom fighters are our men and women
who serve in our armed forces…those who put their lives on the line
for our own lives and freedom…not the anarchists or looters, or arsonists…

We speak of laws, yet the rioters’ and anarchists we are seeing across our
televisions believe in but one law…the law of hate.

The Old Testament extolled the virtues of the Laws.

The Book of Exodus has a long list of Jewish Laws

Exodus 21-24
“These are the laws you are to set before them:

“Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death.
However, if it is not done intentionally,
but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate.
But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately,
that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death.

“Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.

“Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death,
whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.

“Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.

“If people quarrel and one person hits another with a stone or with their fist
and the victim does not die but is confined to bed,
the one who struck the blow will not be held liable if the other
can get up and walk around outside with a staff; however,
the guilty party must pay the injured person for any loss of time
and see that the victim is completely healed.

Exodus 21:12-19

For the entire list of laws see the link:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+21-24&version=NIV

“Biblical scholars generally interpret “eye for eye,”
which was derived from the ancient Babylonian Code of Hammurabi,
as a restriction on retaliation for personal injuries —
in other words, only an eye for an eye.”

(Politico)

That was the justice code of many ancient nations, in particular
the ancient Jewish Nation.
A nation that longed-for its Messiah.

When that Messiah came, He proclaimed a new law.

That new law was one known as forgiveness.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek,
turn to them the other cheek also.
And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Matthew 5:38-42

May God have mercy on us all and turn the hearts of those who strive for hate…

Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’
For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9:13

running on empty

Running on (running on empty)
Running on (running blind)
Running on (running into the sun)
But I’m running behind

Lyrics / Jackson Browne

Well I’m a-runnin’ down the road try’n to loosen my load
Jackson Browne /The Eagles


(vector stock)

Everyone who is tired, raise your hand.

Everyone who is stressed, raise your hand.

Everyone who feels as if they are running on empty, raise your hand.

Okay now…put down all your hands.

You are not alone…

Obviously, we know this from all the raised hands…

There is comfort in not being alone.

Unfortunately, however, there are many of us right now who are
alone because of the “lockdown” while there are many of us
locked down with a passel load of family.

So…we agree that many of us are physically tired or emotionally tired, or simply both.

Well, I had to venture back out yesterday into the world of contagion to gather food.

Remember, my hunter /gathering senses have kicked into overdrive during this madness…
yet I still can’t seem to snag any of that elusive toilet paper…but I digress.

So as I made my way through the grocery store as quickly as possible,
holding my breath when passing anyone closer than 6 feet,
the fellow stocking the cheeses was loudly lamenting to a co-worker,
who by the way was standing right next to him and not the required 6 feet,
that he was sick and tired…
His voice was rising as he hit the word tired.
He loudly announced that he oh so needed a vacation but…. there was now nowhere to go.

So naturally, I chimed-in in agreement.
We are indeed all tired.
And we all desperately need a vacation…
and no, there is nowhere to go!
So there you go.

I could hear him still bemoaning as I rounded down the flour and sugar aisle.
All of which are still sparse.

The thought of him flipping out while stocking cheese did cross my mind.
As I probably would have joined in by grabbing more than the allotted two packs
while making a mad dash to the exit.
The police would have probably persued the crazy woman with more than her two packs
of cheese.

Life is now oh so odd is it not?
And it seems to just keep getting odder by the hour.

There were more masks worn on emotionless faces at the store,
yet I noted that none of the employees wore masks or gloves…
I don’t have a mask—

However my cousin did send me the funniest video of a woman making her own mask from a pair of
her husband’s briefs…I tried it…

My husband didn’t seem to like it.
(rest assured, I had just taken them from the dryer)

I did think it probably was better material for a mask vs the homemade cotton masks.
But for now, I’ll forego my homemade mask.

So yes, I worry.
I’m a mother…we worry.

I worry about us, our American family, throughout this nuttiness.
We were bad off enough before this pandemic what with all our PC mania,
our progressive left thinking, our socialism wannabees..

And so I took heart while reading the following by Newt Gingrich–
the sound of wisdom found during the storm:

Beyond the Crisis: We Will Endure and Prevail

According to the pandemic experts, we are in the heart of the crisis.

The next few weeks will see a substantial increase in American deaths even as the virus
begins to be isolated and lose momentum.

For many families, there will be anguish and a deep sense of loss.

For communities, there will be a sense of grief as the virus takes its human toll.

Americans have suffered grievous loss before.
The surgeon general cited Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
He could have added the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg,
the cost of the Normandy campaign,
and the Army and Marine losses to the Chinese Communist offensive in Korea
in the winter of 1950 to 1951.
Americans have suffered losses going all the way back to
Gen. George Washington’s long, painful winter at Valley Forge during the American Revolution.

And after each cycle of loss, there has been a rebirth of the American spirit,
determination to build a better future,
and deep belief that we Americans cannot be defeated or conquered.
Instead, we have a compulsion to work toward a bigger, better,
more fulfilling life for our children and grandchildren.

The great novelist William Faulkner captured this spirit in his 1950
Nobel Prize acceptance speech when he said:

“I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is
immortal simply because he will still endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom
has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red
and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound:
that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

“I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure:
he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures
has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable
of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.
The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things.
It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart,
by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion
and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.
The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man,
it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”

We must once again call upon this American tradition of overcoming challenges.

A few weeks ago, we had the strongest economy in American history.
A few months from now we can have an even stronger economy.
As the entire world gears up after the pandemic,
there will be a real hunger for American medical breakthroughs,
American health technology, and all the capabilities of the
American system to respond to market opportunities.

Americans should be encouraged right now to start thinking about the next four or five years.
What do you want to be doing? What do you want to achieve with your life?
What have you learned from this experience that can lead to a more productive and fruitful life?

We need to remember the Declaration of Independence’s promise that we are endowed
by our Creator with certain inalienable rights including life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This still applies to every one of us.

So, as you spend these last few weeks of sheltering in place,
take stock of what pursuing happiness means to you and the people you love.
Start making plans for how you and yours are going to pursue happiness the minute we defeat the virus.

Remember President Ronald Reagan’s favorite line,
“you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

That is the optimistic, buoyant,
happy way we should approach the world after we have defeated the virus
(and we will defeat it decisively).

We will get beyond the crisis, and we will be bigger and better than ever.

Beyond the Crisis: We Will Endure and Prevail

Captian’s log: Week Two—Chicken and Good Bones

“Life is an onion–
you peel it year by year and sometimes cry.”

Carl Sandburg

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

Thomas Aquinas


(the foggy rain accentuates the somber mood of these difficult days / Julie Cook / 2020)

Three years ago I wrote a post entitled ‘The Humble Onion’.
I’ve included the link below.

The post referenced a PBS show that I once loved watching, Foyles War.
It was a seasonal type of PBS show showcasing life in Hastings, England during
WWII—as seen through the life of the local Detective Chief Superintendent, Christopher Foyle.
A local police detective charged with keeping the peace in his small town during war.

Throw in the occasional murder by hire, grand theft, larceny, etc…
all compounded by the burden of war and it was a weekly captivating tale of intrigue
while living under a time of siege.

One of the episodes featured a story about a lottery over an onion.

The humble onion, as lowly as it is…is actually an integral component to cooking—
for it adds nuance, flavor, and depth to any dish to which it is added.

I was intrigued by the fact that they were having an office lottery over
a single onion…

They each longed to win the onion.

Yet what my 21st-century mind failed to wrap itself around was the fact that during the war,
onions were a difficult commodity to come by.

For those of you who don’t cook, you should know that onions are a prized culinary wonderment.

And this fact was greatly apparent during the days of rationing and sacrifice since
onions were not easily come by.
Just as this conundrum can quickly become a modern-day reality when I suddenly realize
I’m all out of onions during the height of a cooking extravaganza that requires an onion.

So flash forward to our present day.

We are all currently living life under siege.
Not the siege of war, but rather the siege of pestilence.

And now having been scavenged by a populace afraid of shortage,
many grocery store shelves are now bare.
Meaning we too are living with shortages and near rationing proportions.

It’s been a surreal adventure in our normally overloaded world of plenty.

For the past two weeks, I’ve made several mad runs to my local grocery of choice
in search of supplies to feed our family—a family who is now currently calling
our house, home central, while hunkering down.

Besides toilet paper, chicken, of all things, has been hard to come by…
as in, the shelves have been completely empty and bare.
Shelves that are normally filled with a plethora of organic, free-range, farm-raised,
all-natural parts and pieces of thighs, breasts, wings, drumsticks and even
entire roasting hens…now stand barren.

And wouldn’t you just know it— all I’ve wanted to cook is a chicken.

A humble yet succulent yard bird.

So yesterday morning…despite my husband’s foreboding and warnings of the dire
consequences should I risk my life while it was pouring down rain as infection
was waiting with my name on it, I made off to the grocery store…in search of chicken.

I thought the rain would hamper others who might come on a similar quest.

I was met by gals who had bleached and alcoholed shopping carts and were handing them off
to incoming soaking wet and leary shoppers.
Folks wearing masks and gloves, while I simply donned a ball cap and rain jacket.

I made my way past the produce section and bakery, making a beeline for the
poultry section.
Would it be there?? I fretted…

And what to my wondering eyes did appear—
it was my heart’s delight…chicken!!!

A large sign alerted shoppers that only two packs could be purchased per household.

I opted for a roasting hen and a pack of chicken tenders.

I was so excited.

I made my way through the store gathering what I could from my list.
Things that were in stock but limited to, once again, only two per household.

I couldn’t believe how happy a single roasting hen could make me feel.
Something I would normally take for granted.
Something that would normally be plentiful and considered average fare.

But to me, a roasting hen is a blank canvas that has become my symbol
of comfort and normalcy.

And so later in the evening, after we enjoyed our wonderful dinner,
my daughter-in-law shared something with me
that I’d like to share with you.

It was something she read that Jenna Bush Hagar, one of President’s Bush’s twin daughters
has posted. It is a piece entitled Good Bones written by Maggie Smith.

It’s poignant, harsh, tender, painful and yet, there remains in the end…hope
The hope of what could be…
May we, for the sake of our children, try for what could be…

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/the-humble-onion/

Okay, you can’t see the glue right??

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most
undesirable sentiment.
If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and
address yourself to the task of behaving better next time.
On no account brood over your wrongdoing.
Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


(you can’t even tell, I don’t think / Julie Cook / 2019)

Well, guilt is a powerful tool.

At last, my moment of weakness arrived…so I must confess…
I have relented.

I didn’t lie to you.

My intention was certainly a BIG no to this year’s tree…
but…
there were those faces, those words, those insistent voices.

It was one of those things, as I started the day, that I had not even contemplated.
It never crossed my mind that I’d be doing “this” for the remainder of the day,
well past dark.

Yet I had gotten plenty of proddings from those both near and far…
And I suppose it was indeed a sense of something missing, as I’d peer over to an empty
spot that was the ghost space of Christmas trees past, that pushed me this morning.

I marched up to that dreaded closest and pulled out that dreaded tub of
broken angels and tiny little nutcrackers.
Old ornaments of all the Christmases past.

I pulled out my various glues and got comfortable at the kitchen table.

I sorted through survivors and the debris.

I next text my husband’s friend, unbeknownst to my husband, and asked if he could
come by sometime today in order to help my husband haul up ‘that tree’ from the
confines of the basement.

He giddily text back a triumphant “YES!”

Now I know I told you that I did manage to put up the outside lights.
That was an all-day affair on the coldest day of the year thus far.
All by myself.

The neighbors have always guilted me with that as well as they would go into
my husband’s business asking when were the lights going up.

What is it with people and the lights????

I had rationalized that if the outside of my world could appear as if Christmas
was alive and well,
no one would be the wiser to what was missing on the inside.

But yet, there were a few who were the wiser.
And yes…even I was wiser.

Be they here at home or now in their own home, I think it’s the comfort of knowing
“it’s” still there.
That home is still home.
And that all is right in the world of “home” is what truly matters.

“It” is always blessedly there whether we are, or they are, here or not…
It’s that sense that life is as it should be…carrying on as if everything is
forever a constant.

The constant of the happy warm memories of what was.
Forget the bad and painful.
Forget the negative or even the current.

It is to the warmth of fond memories that the heart of a child,
now locked deep inside an adult, runs to.

There is a sense of permanence, of rooting and of anchoring found in those types
of memories.
The true essence of how we came to be who we are…for good or for bad.
For it is of the kinder memories we cling to of how we came to be.
We seem to need them in order to be reminded of them.

And so today became the day that I gave up or rather gave in.

Today, the warmth of Christmas came home…
whether anyone is here to see it or not.

Christmas comes and they will always know.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
Galatians 4:4

Captain’s log…aid and comfort

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
James Baldwin

Captain’s log:
800 days 8 days and counting and still no sign of
the ship home…or is there…???

Ok, so I am in no way, shape or form a Trekkie however I did grow up watching the original
Star Trek whether I cared for it or not–all because my little brother liked it…
it was to watch either that or the fake and phony WWE Saturday night smackdowns with
“Mr. Bionic Elbow, Tapdance on your Tonsils himself, Dusty Rhodes”

And yet oddly I could always relate to that one opening line from each Star Trek episode…
Captain’s Log
as I was an avid keeper of a diary and marker of time.

And so since I have been stranded on/ in this barren planet house of
our son’s with a mending Sherrif, I thought I should attempt a transmission from this great beyond,
attempting to connect with the outside blogosphere…
maybe even getting beamed up—or is that beamed home?

The Sherrif has been mending quite nicely…that is until recently.


(a typical male out shopping/ Julie Cook/ 2019)

And no that is not a picture of him at the local jail but rather in the shopping cart
of the local Target (pronounced Tarjay)

And here he is even attempting to take after his sister, the Mayor,
by showing an odd affinity for his toes…


(evening bath time and toes/ Julie Cook/ 2019)

Meanwhile, the Mayor has been her busy self with all sorts of mayorial business.


(a Mayor who loves her flowers/ Julie Cook/ 2019)

Here we see her actually working in her yard—the Mayor has not quite yet grasped the concept of
deadheading spent blooms, preferring rather to remove all blooms…

She fancies herself as a natural-born landscaper as we see her assisting her “Da” in
gathering up pine straw…

She has also been busy in the decorating process as she had installed her very own new
additions to the main bathroom…voila


(the Mayor very own toilet / Julie Cook / 2019)

Yet unfortunately, during what was supposed to be a week of productive healing,
I must report that the Sherrif has gotten an upper respiratory infection
along with a throat infection…we’ve been to the Pediatric Urgent Care earlier in the week.

And thus, in like kind, the Sheriff has graciously now passed along this malady
to his day nurse and chief woobooville aid.

Since the Sheriff is still very puny, we are scheduled to go see his pediatrician this afternoon.

A six-month-old who cannot blow his nose and who is constantly coughing, as well as
drowning in a sea of mucus as his throat is sore and hoarse…
squeaking and croaking rather than cooing and babbling, is well, troubling.

So hopefully, this now ailing nurse will then be able to depart, late this evening,
after nearly 9 days of constant care, beaming homeward—
we hope… while the Sherriff begins to finally dry up!

Prayers said that the Mayor and the remaining staff will stay as healthy as possible!!


(the Mayor comfoting the Sheriff / Julie Cook/ 2019)

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

prayer and the victory over death

“There is nothing the devil fears so much, or so much tries to hinder, as prayer.”
St. Philip Neri


(it is so hot and dry here, even the toadstools in the woods are swiveling and decaying/ Julie Cook / 2019)

Yesterday I spoke of the running thread of a single word and thought that just
seemed to keep popping up at each turn and corner.

That word and act would be that of prayer.

And so again the following morning, my incoming quote of the day focused
on that very same notion.

Prayer.

As St. Philip Neri teaches, Satan fears our very prayers.
They become a hindrance to both him and his plans so therefore he painstakingly attempts
to hinder us as we long to reach out to our Father.

We become busy.
We become distracted.
We become distant.
Or we simply grow hardened.

So often we feel defeated when our prayers seem to go ignored or unanswered—
And yet even worse, we can grow despondent when they appear to be answered in a
way so utterly contrary as to how we would have hoped.
When our oh so deeply prayerful “please yes” is answered with a gut-wrenching “no, not today.”

No to healing.
No to life.
No to avoiding the bad and painful.

And yet our hearts remain steadfast because despite the answers,
despite the bitter disappointments, we still know that our prayers are our
only means of conversing with our God.

St Athanasius’ quote below adds to this thought by examining the
fear man has with death and decay.
Because if the truth be told, are not so many of our prayers aimed at avoiding
that very thing?
As we fervently pray to avoid death, pain and suffering at any and all cost?

Man sees death as the inexplicable chasm of separation.
That of isolation, loneliness and unending sorrow.

The non-believer scoffs and belittles the simplistic pleas and petitions
of the believer as he cries out to that unknown and unseen God.

The un-believer mocks and sneers at the childlike actions of the believer.

And yet I have often wondered…in that single solitary moment of overwhelming grief,
unbearable sorrow, engulfing fear and isolation of abandonment…
who does that non-believer cry to?

Who does he turn to in that micro-moment of the blinking of an eye that exists between
living and dying?

Whose hand does he reach for?
Whose arms does he yearn for to envelope him?
To whom does he cry out?

Or is his mind merely an empty void, his ego too full, his heart so hard that he has
already withered with decay?

Yet despite the ridicule and vitriol, the prayer of the humbled believer will
always be for that hardened non-believer…
it will be a prayer for blessed deliverance…
a prayer that he would find solace, comfort as well as Grace.

Even to the end, the believer prayers…even for the sake and soul of the non-believer.

“Now, man is afraid of death by nature, afraid of the decay of the body.
But here is a startling fact: whoever has put on the faith of the Cross
despises even what is naturally dreadful, and for Christ’s sake is not afraid of death.
So if anyone is skeptical even now, after so many proofs,
and after so many have become martyrs to Christ,
and after those who are champions in Christ have shown scorn for death every day—
if his mind is still doubtful about whether death has been brought to nothing and come to an end—well,
he’s right to wonder at such a great thing. But he should not be stubborn in his skepticism,
or cynical in the face of what is so obvious.
Let him who is skeptical about the victory over death receive the faith of Christ,
and come over to his teaching.
Then he will see how weak death is, and the triumph over it.
Many who used to be skeptics and scoffers have later believed,
and despised death even enough to become martyrs for Christ himself.”

St. Athanasius, p.15
An Excerpt From
A Year with the Church Fathers

To all those who won’t be making it home this Christmas

Christmas is a time when you get homesick —
even when you’re home.

Carol Nelson

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time;
a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of,
in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open
their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were
fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

Charles Dickens


(an odd site here at home / Julie Cook / 2018

Driving home yesterday after visiting the dentist, I was cutting through an area of town
full of some of our communities older homes, when I found myself driving behind a
vintage WWII Army ambulance.

An odd sight but suddenly I felt strangely transported to a different time and era.

The vehicle, the homes, the time of year.

If you didn’t happen to notice the small security company sign out front of this house,
you might just think it was 1943.

My thoughts drifted across time and space to places that were far away from
my own current little corner here in Georgia.

Despite there being such a heightened sense of urgency wafting through the air
this time of year…
What with the odd increase in mid-day traffic and the massive number of folks hustling
here and there…along with that unseen force that was moving the masses of folks
to go out and buy, buy, buy with a frantic frenzy…

And despite the current pull I was personally feeling to race from the dentist to some
local den of commercialism, seeking out those last minute items to fill in the blanks…
I felt a tinge of warming nostalgia instead.

I heard Bing Crosby’s crooning…his rich melodious voice echoing deep in my head.

A small smile spread across my face for no one in particular to see.

A simpler time, yet a precarious time.
A warmer time of humanity, yet a violent time for our world.

No matter that it was an ominous time,
we knew what our collective civilization was fighting for.
We were a united civilization standing against a giant monster of tyranny and an invasive evil.

There was a decisive and determined collective willingness to sacrifice.
Rations, victory gardens, sharing and giving when there wasn’t ever much to give nor share.

There was a joint desire for unity.
A shared experience of apprehension blanketed by a blessed sense of thankfulness.

I found myself gently humming a familiar yet comforting tune.

My gift to you today…

“In 1943, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” joined “White Christmas” to become one of
America’s most popular homegrown holiday songs.
Recorded in a rich baritone by Bing Crosby,
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” shot to the top ten of the record charts
(as “White Christmas” had for Crosby the previous year)
and became a holiday musical tradition in the United States.”
Library of Congress

when do we know love becomes stronger than hurt?

“Dad’s genuine contrition took the fun out of holding offenses against him.
In choosing weakness, his love became stronger than my hurt.”

Joshua Rogers


(daddy’s idea of fun / Julie Cook / 2018)

When does one first know that they are a daddy’s girl?
Is it in the womb?
Is it in the delivery room?
Is it upon the very first face to face meeting?

Is it when he looks down and sees not only himself or his wife, but his own dad
in that tiny new face staring back up at him?

Is it during that first visit to the doctors when tears are first really shed?
That he reaches to hold you, comfort you, to protect you?

Is it during those early on sleepless nights?

Is it when daddy is left to babysit and dresses you in your first crazy outfit
unbeknownst to mom…are those Mardis Gras beads?

Or is it when daddy watches his own father who once cared for him when he was your age,
who is now taking on a new role in both of your lives?

Or is it when daddy shares the Mickey Mouse show with you,
just as his grandfather had done with him at that very same age?

No matter when it is…when that first moment registers that this is the man who is charged
with your care and protection…
the man who has been given the most important role of watching after you,
caring for you, providing for you, training you, teaching you, instructing you,
having fun with you, having to correct you…
exemplifying all this it means to be a father…
just as God is Father to us, in turn, entrusting our earthly fathers to be that
same living embodiment of God Himself…

We all know that living up to such a trememdous role and responsibility is a monumental task.
It is not for the faint at heart.
For there will be joy, but there will also be gut-wrenching heartache.
Because to love is just that…
an uncontainable joy matched with unrelenting pain…

There will be those who will fall and those who will, at times, fail.

It is with all of this in mind, my son’s first Father’s day, my husband’s first Father’s day
as a grandfather, that I came across a most sobering reminder of the power of both love
and forgiveness within the complicated role of parent and child.

How both love and forgiveness far outweigh anger and resentment.

Click on the following link to read one man’s story of his own relationship with a man
who had spent a lifetime letting him down, but in the end, taught him about the
most important lesson a father can offer…
that in forgiveness, there is power.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/06/16/my-dads-stunning-response-when-told-him-off.html

Happy Father’s day to the two most important men in my life….
from the one little girl whose hearts of yours, she has captured now forever.

who’s listening?

God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

C.S. Lewis

The Son of God suffered unto the death,
not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.

George MacDonald


(Percy surveys the rain / Julie Cook / 2017)

iF God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy,
and if God were almighty He would be able to do what He wished.
But the creatures are not happy.
Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.”
this is the problem of pain, in its simplest form.

C.S Lewis’ opening sentence from the book The Problem Of Pain

When I initially read the quote about God shouting to us in our pain…
The sheer notion that God is indeed shouting when we are at our lowest,
most often at our most vulnerable and even most desperate…
I found it to be, well, oddly comforting.

For Mr Lewis reminds us that while God knows we are having trouble listening…
trouble hearing Him speak to us, wooing us, comforting us….
He has no problem in shouting at us, to us, in order to get our attention.
For He is steadfast that way….

For man, in his inestimable knowledge, has concluded that if humans are in pain,
hurting, tortured, agonizing and grossly unhappy…
man falsely concludes that any being that boasts to be an
Omnipotent God who can do all things…why would this God of supposed Love, Compassion and Grace
sadistically allow all the anguish and pain to not only continue, but
to exist in the first place?

The conclusion…there is no God…
or if there is…He is cold, calculating and menacing….

And that is very much like us is it not?

We find something to our disliking, our displeasure, and we expunge it from our world
or we label it as an enemy to our living…
For we believe we are a people of absolutes…but the truth of the matter is, we are not.
For we do not tolerate absolutes…we rebel against the notion of the definitive.

And in this world of absolute verse definitive,
we have hardened our hearts and chosen the side of the secular…
In part because we cannot tolerate the fact that we live in
a world full of pain and in that pain we actually find our need and helplessness…
And it is in that helplessness that we seem unable to allow our ego and pride to go…

For in our defiance against the Absolute Creator,
our hearts have grown cold as our eyes are now blind and our ears now deaf.
We are weak and vulnerable, yet we defiantly, as little children,
stomp our feet while displaying our anger and resentment within our proclaimed disbelief.

All the while our God shouts as we stand with our fingers jammed in our ears.

For God continues to speak louder and louder…
Patiently, steadily calling us one by one,
name by name… to His open arms, to His side…
because the day is coming when there will be no more sorrow,
no more anger, no more grief, no more pain…

And soon a senseless world begins to make sense to the believer…
Because the believer knows that he has never been a part of
this limited pain filled world….

There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation;
There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
My wounds grow foul and fester Because of my folly.

Psalm 38:3-5

casting light

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


(a misty moonlit evening in Georgia / Julie Cook / 2017)

Who among us, no matter where on the planet we may be, doesn’t glance
upward in the nighttime sky gazing almost longingly toward a full moon.

It’s as if that illuminated orb, in that vast inky night sky,
beckons hypnotically for our attention.
Calling all nighttime wanderers to cast their gaze heavenward as thoughts
hauntingly wonder, as well as wander, under the spell of melancholy mixed with awe.

For it is in the darkness that we innately yearn for the comfort of light.
Welcoming light
Guiding light
Directing light
Reassuring light

We have been called, each of us, to be that same comforting light cast outward,
illuminating a frighteningly dark world.
As we are left to ask ourselves…
are we casting only more darkness in an already darkened world,
or are we reflecting the welcoming light of Salvation…

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:4-5