Never in all my life….

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.
Leonardo da Vinci

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(a troublesome wild onion allowed to shrivel / Julie Cook / 2016)

Never in all my life have I seen a President of these United States have a more difficult time looking at a clear and present trouble and not being able to address it as such.

Hem and haw….
Fuss and cuss…
Pass the buck…
Play the blame game…
and skirt around the issue…
Anything and everything other than facing this crisis,
And that’s what it’s becoming,
a crisis!
Never meeting it eye to eye…

How many more lives must needlessly be lost?!
How many more innocent people in these western parts of this world of ours
must die needlessly before this western part of this world sees trouble for what it is…
Trouble?!

I don’t know…
Maybe it’s just me…
Maybe I don’t get it…
Maybe I don’t understand…

“Lone wolves” they say
“Random or rogue acts” they say…
I don’t know, they all seem to be saying the same thing to me…
“Allah Akbar”
“Claimed in the name of ISIS”
“This is Jihad”

Yet our leader, our chief defender, busies himself with the mundane minutia of rhetoric.
Twisting the obvious around into something else entirely…as he spins this latest act of Jihad into an issue of gun control….
You can lock up all the guns ever made and yet those who wish to kill us will find their way.
(and not saying something doesn’t need to be done with our guns…
but for now, this is not that, not this time)

A whole lot of good any of this fussing does us…as families once again plan funerals and try to figure out how to live life without those they love because Radical Muslims want to kill us.

“Oh but that’s not a tolerant stance” you say.
“You shouldn’t talk so harshly about our neighbors…”
“Don’t lump everyone into one category…”
“You must be accepting and tolerant”

As how many more of us will randomly be shot, stabbed, blown up, or maimed?

So ok then, you tell me what’s going on.
You tell me why Muslims continue shooting, stabbing, blowing up, and basically destroying lives of westerners….
Given all the news about Orlando you may have missed the stabbing deaths of two married police officers in Paris–an Islamic Extremist broke into their home and stabbed them to death in front of their young child—in the name of all things Holy…

Holy?
Right.

But instead of taking a stance—yes as in actually doing something that says “hey, we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore” our President fumbles over his words that by calling a duck a duck will not help in the global fight on Terror and takes rather to fussing and cussing a would be presidential candidate. I think Obama has more on his plate then to play tit for tat with Donald Trump—yet Mr Obama seems to think otherwise.
This is not the time for the President of the United States to have a public hissy fit with a rival pundit.

All of this as we, the average citizen, now keeps a constant look out and an ever ready vigilance as we continually glance over our shoulders at sporting events, outdoor venues, airports, concerts, subways, train stations, soccer fields, shopping malls, our offices, our churches, our synagogues and now even in our bars and clubs…

How safe does that feel?
Oh but our leaders just tell us it’s the “new normal”
“The way things just are now”

Radical Muslims hate us, we’ve pretty much figured that one out.
Radical Muslims won’t rest until the West, and that includes Europe, is no more…
as we are now figuring that one out while we’re on the defensive run.

Regular Muslims don’t speak up and seem to take the “I don’t have a dog in that fight” sort of attitude…
But oh yes they do!! as we’ve pretty much figured that one out as well.

Saudia Arabia is our biggest ally in the Middle East, yet many of these “troubled” young men and woman, who keep trying to kill us, seem to have ties all back to Saudi Arabia…
we’ve pretty much figured that one out too…

So if you and I can figure this all out.
Seeing the troubles for what they are and where they are…
Why can’t our leaders????

And don’t try telling me it’s not so simple or that it’s much more complicated…
there is nothing complicated about figuring out one’s troubles…

George Washington could discern this great Nation’s troubles.
Andrew Jackson could discern this great Nations’ troubles.
Theodore Roosevelt and his cousin Franklin could each discern this great Nation’s troubles.
John Kennedy could discern this Nation’s great troubles.
Ronald Reagan could discern this great Nation’s troubles…

So why is it now so hard for this president to discern the troubles laying hold of this great Nation?

And now, we the faithful, call upon the name of God…to deliver this great Nation…
something our President does not like us to do because once again,
that’s not being openminded…

Hear my sighs…

Prayers for all who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of those whose sole desire is our destruction…

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:9-10

REJOICE

Rejoice in the Lord always:
and again I say, Rejoice.

Philippians 4:4

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(a weathered statue of a welcoming Christ graces the hill above Kylemore Abbey / County Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Rejoice this day for unto you is born a Savior,
Christ the Lord.

His (John the Baptizer’s) father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days…

And so He has come…
God of God
Light of Light
Begotten of woman
Crucified
Dead
Buried
and Risen again for our Redemption and Deliverance

Rejoice and come to the banquet… claiming your place at the table and taking in all that is given…
Hope
Joy
Salvation…
All of which is offered to each man and woman, young and old, sick and in-firmed, lofty and simple…

Rejoice,
Again I say,
Rejoice!

I am soooo over it. . .I am done!!!!

There is only one day left, always starting over:
it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.

Jean-Paul Sartre

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(a southern dogface butterfly visits a freshly planted petunia / Julie Cook / 2015)

Don’t panic. . .
It’s Summer, I’m talking about Summer. . .
As in I’m done with it. . .
I’m over it. . .
As in kaput, fini, over and out!!

Actually. . .I’m talking about heat, hot, drying and dying—the tiresome end of all that was once lush, plump and thriving.

In late August, here in this deep South of mine, there is no thriving and there is barely any surviving.
Everything is leggy, yellow and very near death.
And mind you, there is many a day, during this particular time of year, that I feel very much the same.

The little flower bed, just out from our front door, had been full of snapdragons and petunias that were planted back in early Spring when the yard was overhauled.
Had any one asked me, I would not have chosen petunias—I’m just not a fan, but nobody asked me and my husband thought they looked nice. I had to go back in later, as the late frosts of Spring did a number on the petunias, so I threw in some snapdragons in order to fill the gaps. I wasn’t keen on the snapdragons either but I knew they were pretty darn hardy—

Pink snapdragons and crimson petunias.
Not my idea of color choices but again, nobody asked me.

The tiny plants did begin to thrive. . .
Filling out and covering nicely the little flower bed the landscape guys had decided to create for me.
Had I had my druthers, I would have moved the bed, enlarged it and done it a bit differently—
but again, nobody asked me.
The landscape guys had put out some very pretty pine straw all over the yard in the newly formed beds and then for some reason they added bark to the little flower bed.

We had bark once.

It washed like nobody’s business whenever it rained.
I would have a river of bark racing down the front walk requiring scooping and sweeping up after every down pour.
I was done with bark.
However the landscapers were into contrast when they were laying out the yard and again, nobody asked me.

So bark it was and bark it is.

As the Summer has worn on, like a tired old moth-eaten wool overcoat, the petunias and snapdragons have been rapidly approaching their limit. Long, tall, leggy, yellowing, more vine than leaf, shriveled and grossly unsightly. . .I could no longer stand to look at the flower bed without feeling a great sense of anxiety. . .with a touch of disgust added in.

For weeks I’ve been telling myself “not much longer. . .September is almost here. . .then you’ll be able to pull up all that crap and replant it all with some fresh wonderful crisp fall magic.”
Yes, I’ve told myself that for many weeks now.

A tiny cold front passed through the state last night–and please note I use the words cold and front with much rolling of the eyes. . .
I will admit that it did actually drop our temps to the mid 60’s this morning.
Never mind that the high was still 90ish–I’m taking that smidge of crisp and I’m running with it. . .all the way to the local the garden center.

This entire week will see me at dads, doctors, dentists so if I was going to act, it had to be today.
The only problem was that the garden center really doesn’t have in crisp fall magic yet.
They still have in hot summer same ol same ol. . .
No matter–I would make do.

I got home with my assortment of trays.
When I thought I was grabbing some pansies, I was actually grabbing trays of petunias as well as a couple of trays of snapdragons—as in been there done that, it’s too early for violas and pansies so AGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh well, no matter, they’re purple and white and they’ll do until the garden center gets in its fall crisp magic.

I chose white because I like white.
I wear a lot of black, as I like to say it hides a wealth of woe, so I suppose I like it’s opposite as in I think white looks elegant. Never mind when the white elegant blooms die, turning a sickly shade of brown and falling off–I’m sticking with elegant—
And purple because the butterflies like the purple butterfly bushes I recently put out.
I had told the landscapers I wanted some butterfly bushes—
Surprise, I didn’t get any.
Lest we remember that no one was asking and obviously no one was listening. . .

So I spent the remainder of my day cutting all the leggy spent petunias and snapdragons–leaving 3 clumps that still seemed to be “ok”
I then raked off the tired dry grey bark from the bed.
Next I spread a big ol heavy sack of soil—all over the red Georgia clay that makes up the bed.
I had wanted the landscapers to add topsoil to all the excavated ground but remember, no one was listening.
I put in two dwarf fountain grass—
why you ask—
because they caught my eye on the way to the checkout register–
I think we call that an impulse buy. . .however not to fear, I liked them.
I added my trays of the new petunias and snapdragons—experiencing a bit of deja vu as I did so.
I watered, re-spread the tired grey bark- – – but no matter as it now matches the once pretty red supple pine straw the landscapers had put out, which is now dull, crunchy and grey.

One good last watering and I was happy—well, happier than I was.
I’ll really be happy when it’s finally fall crisp and magical. . .

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(work)

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(more work)

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(leggy and spent)

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(better)

My spirit is spent within me

When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.
William Shakespeare

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( detail discarded tulip petal / Julie Cook / 2015)

I am a petal cast aside
tired and spent
My spirit rides low. . .
Gone is the supple newness and vibrant color
Life giving juices having long since dried
Wilted
Faded
Discarded

Until You reach for me
Gently
Tenderly
Softly
You lift me up
Picking me up from out of myself

A single tear trails down my face
Sorrow wells within my heart
Yet when you touch my cheek
Gently wiping away the tear
I know I am not forgotten. . .

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6