submission of the soul, “when God requires action, sanctity is to be found in activity”

The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation,
as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul
with the glory of God.

St. John Damascene


(Gulf fritillary/ Julie Cook / 2021)


Gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2021)


(Gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2021)

Submission of the soul.

For many of us, the notion of submission comes with great difficulty.
Submission is equated with the notion of weakness.
A giving up and giving in.

And yet we cling viciously to the visage of ego…that false image we hold high
and large against the humility of heart…a tenuous balance is struck.

We let that false visage block oh so many possibilities.
Hitting wall after wall, we wonder how much longer will we struggle.
So much heartache ensues because of that false visage of hubris.

Self inflicted wounds.

God is not one to be quiet when He knows what is required.

It may take years before we finally let go and submit…but when we do,
blessings will flow like a burst dam of water.

May those healing waters flow…

“The will of God gives to all things a supernatural and divine value
for the soul submitting to it.
The duties it imposes, and those it contains,
with all the matters over which it is diffused,
become holy and perfect, because, being unlimited in power,
everything it touches shares its divine character. …
The entire virtue of all that is called holy is in its approximation
to this order established by God; therefore nothing should be rejected,
nothing sought after, but everything accepted that is ordained
and nothing attempted contrary to the will of God. …
When God requires action, sanctity is to be found in activity.”

Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 15
An excerpt from
Abandonment to Divine Providence

somewhere in between..then and now

“We should take as a maxim never to be surprised at current difficulties,
no more than at a passing breeze, because with a little patience
we shall see them disappear. Time changes everything.”

St. Vincent de Paul


( Highlands, NC / Julie Cook / 2021)

There will always be ‘the then’—and following that—is “the now”…
everything in between is what we call life.

Sometimes we are given a precious gift…we are allowed to reunite with
“the then”… merging it into “the now”.

The middle, that which is known as life, simply fades out of sight.

Time, as well as life, is forgotten.
Years fade blessedly away.
And so ‘what was’ is suddenly and tenderly embraced by ‘the now’
Grabbed up and held tightly in aching arms that have been oh so
empty for far too long.

And we find ourselves exhaling slowly, whispering a grateful thank you to
a Father who knew all along that “the then” was bound to always
be a part of ‘the now”

Thank you Father…

“God never hurries.
There are no deadlines against which he must work.
Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.”

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine

THE LION OF MÜNSTER…we need more lions

Woe then to our poor German people. Disorder and revolutionary
convulsions will not come to an end until the batter of everyone
against everyone has spent all its power.”

Bishop von Galen


((c) Redmich/Thinkstock)

Since I’ve started reading a new book, I’ve decided we need
some lions…heck I’ll be happy to have just one lion!

What you say???!!!….I hear you smugly inquiring…

Yep, a lion.

This book is a historical book…
it’s a story about a man born in 1878,
born into a well to-do German family.

The boy would eventually grow up to become a priest…
eventually a bishop, an archbishop and later, a cardinal…
but more importantly…he became a lion….

He became a voracious and loud roaring nemesis of Adolf Hitler.

His name was Archbishop Clemens August Graf von Galen.

I won’t waste our time today with the biographical background and growth
of this man, although it does lay out who this would-be lion, a lion
who would never back down, was to grow to become…

Heck, I’m only to page 37 and WWI has just ended.
And already, with only 37 pages in, there is oh so much to share!

So today, I’ll just offer enough to give us pause to ponder.

So picture yourself looking into a mirror of the past, but
you still can see your own reflection. That’s what this book
is—a mirror.
A mirror of what was and fretfully would will most likely be.

The words I’m choosing to share today are actually words that
this lion wrote following the devastating war that was to end all wars…
that being WWI.
Later similar words would come prior to WWII…

Following WWI, Germany had been defeated and her citizens decimated—
a situation that the world perceived as fitting since
the Germans had been the obvious aggressors and instigators of this
catastrophic World War.

But this book actually examines a devout Christian’s nonobjective view
of his homeland and of the troubles his nation was preparing to
fall victim to.

Following the Treaty of Versailles…Germany was hurled
into the black hole of impotence.
It was enough of a black hole that could generate the
cataclysmic energy that would allow a man like Adolf Hitler
to rise to…an evil dominating world foe of democracies and freedom.

Before the first world war, Germany was known for being one of the most
highly educated and cultured societies that existed.

And so it is to this very day, 76 years following the end of WWII,
that I still have to study and re-study the dynamics that allow me
to wrap my head around the idea that a nation of knowledge
and refinement can grow into a mindless nation bent on
destruction, death and world dominance.

Jumping forward a bit in the book, we read that it was shortly
after Adolf Hitler seized power and the Nazi Party turned
Germany into a totalitarian state in 1933,
Blessed Cardinal Clemens August von Galen began openly speaking
out against the dictatorial regime as the new bishop of Münster.

“The book’s author notes that
the Nazis killed people for distributing von Galen’s sermons,”

“Throughout World War II, Bishop von Galen became one of Germany’s
most outspoken bishops, authoring letters and sermons that challenged
the Nazi regime’s racial ideologies.
In 1937, von Galen assisted Pope Pius XI in the writing
of his 1937 anti-Nazi encyclical “Mit brennender Sorge”
(“With Burning Anxiety”), and in 1941,
he delivered three sermons denouncing the euthanasia program,
confiscating of church property and the injustice of the Gestapo,
appropriately earning him the nickname “The Lion of Münster.”

But this wise man understood back in 1917 what would eventually
lead to the opening of door for the likes of Hitler.

He spoke of the great importance of leaders and leadership…
in particular those those in position of governmental leadership,
to know who it was they served and to always remember what it meant to be
a servant.

A servant.

“What, Galen asked, makes for a good community—
one in which people of different classes, professions, and social positions
really consider themselves to be united and to which they can give their hearts,
their loyalty, and their service?
“Why”, he continued, “did Germany not have such a community?”
For although it had the externals of a community–indeed,
a self-governing community, since all power has been given
to the people–in fact the people of different classes, professional standing,
political parties and religions felt themselves at odds with each other.

The fault, he argued, was egoism, disordered self-love,
by which everyone seeks his own interests with concern
for the good and rights of his neighbor.

Years later, Galen wrote:
“if the right of the state, today the might of the majority,
really makes right, then why only this might?
Why not also the might of the stronger fist,
why not the might of money, why not the might of craftiness
and clever business dealings?
The destruction that is introduced into the community by the
working out of this fundamental principle should open people’s
eyes to the destructiveness of this principle itself.”…

“If the state is the creator of all rights and the
all-powerful lord of all rights, the, many concluded,
their rights and freedoms would be secure only if they themselves
were the holders of state power.”

“We will not come to an inner people’s community,”
he concluded, “as long as State absolutism is the fundamental principle
of our political life.”
Such absolutism leads inevitably to centralization and attacks
on any persons or groupings that are independent of the state.
That was the reason for the Kulturkampf (culture struggle),
for the Prussian state saw the Catholic Church as the bulwark
of freedom and the rights of individuals and small communities
against arbitrary state power.

And so I will leave us today to ruminate over the notion that our
dear Western Civilization is currently looking in a mirror of decades past….
Yet what we are seeing looking back at us is the makings of a monster with nary
a lion to quell the rampage…

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll
written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice,
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able
to open the scroll or to look into it,
and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open
the scroll or to look into it.
And one of the elders said to me,
“Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the
scroll and its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:1-5

the true test–examine

“Always be impartial and just in your deeds.
Put yourself into your neighbor’s place, and him in yours,
and then you will judge fairly..
Frequently, therefore, examine your heart,
whether it is so disposed towards your neighbor,
as you would have his disposed towards you, were you to change places;
for this is the true test.”

St. Francis de Sales, p. 226
An Excerpt From
Introduction to the Devout Life


(a wee hidden fungi in the woods / Julie Cook / 2021)

Ok, I think we can all admit we don’t like tests.
Be it the studying.
The nerves.
The wondering.
The sweating.
The fear of not measuring up…

The list is pretty endless.

And I suppose there is probably a slight percentage of folks out
there who don’t bat an eye at a test.
More power to you…all two of you! HA!

I was never a good test taker.
I never felt that the typical classroom test captured if I really knew
my material or not.
Math, well, that’s a whole different ball of wax…you either know it or you
don’t and I never did…

But we digress…

Today’s post was actually going to focus in on our disenfranchised police
departments and the woeful and shameful way in which they are being treated…
be it our Border Patrol, various State Patrol, city police or rural sheriffs…
their situations are all abysmal and we should be ashamed.

But I’m going to have to hold off on that thought today as several different
things came racing at me that I felt might need attention.
and if I think about it, it will also tie into how we are
treating our law enforcement as they are just another branch of the tree
of the trouble.

Today, especially today, I have kept reading, seeing and watching
something very troubling taking place between Americans…
and I bet we can all guess as to what that thing might just because
I know you’ve seen it too.

There is a growing and gapping hole in our hearts.

It is a widening gap in our lack of and ability to offer empathy.

Empathy, the dictionary tells us is:
‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.’

And what we are witnessing play out in real time right here and now
is how very little in the way of empathy we have—
especially in the way of offering any of it to our fellow human beings-

In particular to those who we do not see eye to eye.

Loathing enters in.
Despise and resentment each set a hard rock in the midst of the heart.

We no longer want to hear the side, thoughts or feelings of those
who we disagree with because we have already rendered them null and void.
They might as well just disappear into thin smoke,
banished away from our presence, our lives, our world…
all because we don’t like their color,
their politics,
their religion or lack thereof…
their views…
or their lack of vaccinations…

So instead we look at them sideways and glare…
we find ourselves wishing them ill or harm.
Some of us have even verbalized such to their faces.

“you need to die”
“you need to rot in hell”
“I hope you are raped”

It’s all actually quite anti-human, de-humanizing.

I see, with my own eyes, that there is a tremendous lack of care, patience
and or regard for our fellow man.

Be it the nurse or doctor who curses the patient who is deathly sick with
Covid, or something else, when they reveal that they had not been vaccinated.
Suddenly contempt and resentment quickly flows freely toward that sick,
and in many cases, dying individual.
Or that contempt is simply heaped upon the grieving surviving family.
Or upon anyone who has opted not to get vaccinated.
It is indeed the clean and unclean..
We are told to trust and follow the science but that science just
happens to be fluid because we are learning on the fly.

“they were foolish”
“they were selfish”
“they got what they deserved”
“they have caused great harm and wasted precious time and money”
“had they not been overweight, smoked, drank or…”
fill in the blank with any other poor habit that might have
contributed to them being sick and dying.

Then there are those who have lost loved ones and now publicly denounce all others
who are unvaccinated for, in their minds, they are the ones who caused
the death of this said loved one.

And maybe all that is true.

Maybe that pro-life person out there should be raped so they can
see first hand how decisions now must be made.

Maybe that person who choses not to be vaccinated should simply
get sick and die.

Maybe the young mother to 6 kids, all with different fathers
should be forced to live on the streets.

Maybe all white people want blacks to be slaves again–
so says Maxine Waters.

The list lengthens daily.

And so our society wrestles with its response.
We wrestle as individuals.

Overlook everything or we simply cherry pick the issues we find most egregious.

I know that I don’t agree with a lot of folks out there right now
about very much.

I can find many ills and reasons as to why I disagree or even get angry with
others and or their views.
Just as others do with me and my way of thinking or seeing.

Yet I still know that all of this is really all wrong, it’s flat out bad.

Maybe I can’t change your views or feelings and maybe you can’t change mine…
but I would not wish ill upon you or those you love.
I wasn’t wired that way and I don’t think you were either.

So that’s why I felt St. Francis de Sales quote, the one I offered at the
start of this post, was so moving and so on point.

We are to have empathy by walking in another’s shoes.
Yet, sadly, our culture is long past that notion.

I won’t walk in your shoes, let alone walk with you period…
that is our society’s current mindset.

Yet I know that empathy does not equate to buying in or giving into the sinful
or the evil—we are not to give such a free pass.
Accountability for our actions remains paramount.

Yet self examination must remain ever present.
Self examination…not hubris and pride, but real deep introspection…
It is most difficult to do because it begins to expose the cracks
in our own facade.
Yet it is what God requires of all men…
The being….to see, to look, to feel, to offer grace, to hold accountable…
but to do so by His rule of play and not our own.
He calls that Grace and He has given it freely…
I think we are to do so as well…

Would you pass the test?

I need to go study…

“I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that
I must hate a bad man’s actions but not hate the bad man:
or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner….
I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction:
how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man?
But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom
I had been doing this all my life — namely myself.
However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed,
I went on loving myself.
There had never been the slightest difficulty about it.
In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man.
Just because I loved myself,
I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

lost sheep seeking the Good Shepherd

Sinners have a spiritual vision that Pharisees do not have.
They look at Christ, and their humility allows them to perceive
in him their only hope of salvation.
The Pharisee sees merely the man, whereas the lost sheep sees the Good Shepherd!

Fr. Sean Davidson
From his book Saint Mary Magdalene:
Prophetess of Eucharistic Love


(My most favorite sheep, ever / Co Donegal, Ireland / Gleann Cholm Cille /
Julie Cook / 2015)

Growing up a city girl, I always assumed that there was but one type of sheep;
White and fluffy.

And for reasons that escape me, I have always had a deep affinity for sheep.

I’ve shared this notion before but I think this affinity was born from a prayer.
It is derived from the prayer of the penitent…a prayer I grew up praying
since childhood– found in The Book of Common Prayer.

The prayer begins…Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep…”

A prayer that speaks straight to the root of my heart…erring and straying.
I think I’ve always identified with both that whole straying and lost
sheep business.

So bah bah I go…

I have been known to vow that one day I would escape to someplace obscure,
becoming a shepherd…
or if should I need to be more PC, that would that be shepherdess…
but I’ll just stick with shepherd since I don’t care for the interchangeability
of pronouns and monikers.

A shepherd of sheep.
The shepherd calls and sheep know his name….

Over the years, my various moves from city to rural life, along
with various travels, taught me otherwise…sheep come in many sizes,
shapes and colors…but it wasn’t until a trip to Ireland that the whole sheep
variety thing played out in real life.


(Julie Cook / 2015)


(Julie Cook / 2015)


(Julie Cook / 2015)


(Julie Cook / 2015)

And so knowing human beings as I do…I know that we seek that often
elusive shepherd…
We seek the voice of the one who will guide us and care for us…
We seek it in our relationships.
We seek it in our jobs.
We seek it in our leaders—
for we are innately seeking one who will care and lead.

The trouble is that we most often seek the wrong voices, the wrong
lights, the wrong directions, the wrong glitz…
We seek temporary satisfaction in our shepherds.
We seek more of the immediate gratification and quick easy fit.

Yet sadly, those that we seek are limited, short-lived,
or most often then not, fleeting.

There is only One who is consistent and constant…never changing.
He knows each of his sheep…both lost and found.
He will leave the found 99 in order to go find, rescue and fetch that 1
who is lost.

How fortunate we are those who have erred and strayed!


(one of a kind / Julie Cook /2015)

“There is another reason also why the soul has traveled safely
in this obscurity; it has suffered:
for the way of suffering is safer, and also more profitable,
than that of rejoicing and of action.
In suffering God gives strength,
but in action and in joy the soul does but show its own weakness
and imperfections.
And in suffering, the soul practices and acquires virtue,
and becomes pure, wiser, and more cautious.”

St. John of the Cross, p. 149
An Excerpt From
Dark Night of the Soul

the times of which we now live…non typical or is that atypical??

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you.”

St. Thomas Aquinas


(the fallen bud of a mountain fraser magnolia / Julie Cook / 2021)

Typical…non typical…atypical…

If I was a betting woman, I’d bet that you would wholeheartedly
agree that these are indeed some more times!
As in twilight zone and frustrating times.
No longer typical.

So you may or may not have noticed that I’ve been MIA from bogland for a
couple of days.

If you noticed, thank you…if not, that’s ok.

Life has just been a tad busy the past several days.

Firstly, the Mayor and Sheriff came to visit Saturday, spending the night.
And as is the usual case, they each had a good case of the snoggy noses—
aka daycare crud…of which is pretty typical of any kid in daycare.

Daycare and schools—petrie dishes of germs dontcha know.
Plus it probably didn’t help that the Sheriff thought it would
be fun to toss the little decorative soaps I have in a pretty little
antique bowl in our guest bathroom into the toilet.
Of which I had to retrieve by hand—and yes, I did then wash my hands.

So now, just so we all know and understand…
that which was once ‘typical’, back in the good ol olden days…
those glorious days before COVID, is no longer simple or
‘typical’ today.
Because ‘typical’ today, must always be suspect.

So back to story…

The kids came and went.
And in rapid succession and a near blink of an eye,
we then had some old friends come up from Florida for a two day visit.
A bit of revolving door company—but I do love company.

In the midst of the comings and goings, I noticed that I was coming
down with something…a good old case of daycare crud…
because we all know that when the Mayor and Sheriff have daycare crud,
I too get daycare crud.

I do try to be facetious with the hand washing and the sharing of food
with them but you know toddlers—if they are anywhere near you,
they will inevitably sneeze, cough and drool all over you.
Or take a sip from your drink glass without you even realizing that.
Toddlers and germs just go hand and hand.

And I swear, since I retired from teaching—I am no longer as immune
as I once was to the typical school fare fodder of germs.

So our guests weren’t paranoid Covid worriers but I certainly didn’t want them
to have some inward angst that I was a typhoid Mary.
And since I couldn’t breath, I opted to call the ENT to see if I could
get an appointment early morning, leaving me time to “entertain” our guests.

Ok, so remember, typical is no longer typical.

The ENT explains to me that they booked out for several days
and next suggested I try Urgent Care.
Booked??? For days??? What???
I could understand nothing perhaps available that particular day, but days???

Remember—not typical days.

So it was off to Urgent Care I would go.

I am glad that I did have the foresight to call first.

In case you are unfamiliar, Urgent Care facilities are those little medical
popups in and around shopping areas that help fill in the gaps
when a doctors office is closed, or overrun, and you’re not
so bad off as to go to an ER.

They are typically a walk-in basis.
Note ‘typically’ and remember these are not typical times.

When I called and explained that my ENT recommended that I
needed to go see them since they were booked up and out,
the gal told me I’d need an appointment.
Dreading the worst, I asked for her first available.

I was calling a tad after 8 AM and blessedly she has something
at 10:40.
She told me to arrive at 10:30 and sit in my car and text them
as soon as I arrived.

This particular Urgent Care is located on the end of a Publix Shopping Center
in a small town near us.

When I pulled in, the parking lot was jammed packed. I next noticed
an odd long line of cars snaking around the side of the building
around to the back.

Huh?
Maybe they are getting Covid tests.

I text the number letting them know I was in the parking lot.

A text popped back asking for my symptoms.

After I typed, hitting send, I received another text asking for my
car’s make and model.

I figured that a nurse was coming out to do temp checks
before allowing folks inside.

Well next, I got a call from the desk asking for my copay to be paid
over the phone and for me to get in line on the right side of the building.

Huh?
Was that on the right to go inside or was that right to join
the car snake line?

I saw a nurse on the sidewalk and walked over to her and asked.
She told me to get in the snake car line.

And so I did.

Nurse after nurse was coming out of backdoors and going from car to car
as the snake line would slowly roll forward.

Finally it was my turn.

I rolled down my window and had to wear my mask.

The nurse asked about my symptoms—well, I couldn’t breathe,
had pressure, headache, scratchy
throat, lovely colored nasal drainage…this being all from my grandkids
I explained…typical grandmother toddler sharing

She then said we’ll do a Covid test.

I explained that I had had Covid and that I had had the vaccines
and I knew this was my type of typical sinus infection.

There’s that word again…typical!

Next thing I know she’s telling me to tilt my head back and breathe through
my mouth.
I was already doing that because my nose was not working!
And then bam—up went the extra long swab stick in my nose.
Never mind my nasal passages were closed up, she jammed that
sucker up both sides.

And then I went back to sitting with the other cars in the snake line.

Finally a PA came to my window and handed me the negative Covid results.
Of which I already knew was indeed negative.
I told him I had a history of sinusitis and I knew this was that.

And usually with my former ENT practice they would hit me with a shot of steroids
give my a prescription for an antibiotic and off I’d go.

This young man begins to explain, in a very cloyingly sweet condescending way,
that what we think is typical is really no longer really typical.

Huh?

Internally, I am rolling my eyes while I’m wondering how will I
be getting my steroid shot through this car window as it’s usually
administered in the hip.

He then proceeds to tell me that I can come back in two days to repeat the test.
RPEAT THE TEST? I practically scream.
Calmly, again, I explain to him that I could not breathe and that
my head and teeth were killing me all from my typical type of sinus infection.

“Well,” he began, I believe, like Covid, this is a viral infection.”
‘Like Covid’???!! I’m thinking…for crying out loud!!! THIS IS A SINUS INFECTION!!!!
And by using the word viral, well it’s their way of saying,
‘you won’t be getting any medicine’–as in go home,
tough it out and when you are still sick in two more days you’ll be back
getting the meds that you should have gotten in the first place.

Seeing that I was in a bit of dire straits without being able to breathe
with lovely colored discharge acting like a slow lava flow coming
out of my nose, he tells me he will prescribe me some oral steroids.

Fine!

After an hour and a half, I pull out of the snake line of cars,
make my way around the back of the shopping
center and pull into a parking spot in front of Publix so I can run in
to pick up the prescription.

The nice gal at the prescription counter tells me they’ve not gotten in
the call-in yet and that I would need to wait.
In the mean time I ask if she could get me a box of the sudafed which was
behind her on the counter.

She gets me the box and then proceeds to ask for my license, makes a copy
and has me to sign some book stating that I had asked for sudafed.

It was more of a rigermarol to get a non prescription box of sudafed than
had I been getting a prescription for narcotics.

So once again not typical.

Happily I can report that whereas I am still puny, I can blessedly breathe.

And thus our lesson of the day is that Covid has turned everything we
once thought to be typical into a life of anything but…
a life now lived in the atypical—
so once again, thank you Wuhan, thank you China…

I can feel it coming…

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor Frankl

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord
And I’ve been waiting for this moment, for all my life, oh lord
Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord, oh lord

Lyrics by Phil Collins


(a single leaf suspended between tree and earth / Julie Cook / 2021)

I can feel it.
The question however is, can you?

Can you feel it?
Can you sense it?
Or have you been too desensitized to that which is taking place
all around us?

Change– a great, mighty and yes, even grave change is in the air.

Many of us are already well aware that we cannot possibly know the time
nor the place…
But yet, this change is coming nonetheless.

A great many of us sense that the change is coming and coming soon.

It might be incremental at first.
Slow and innocuous.
Seeping in quietly yet deadly, like a colorless and odorless gas.

Maybe it’s merely what we’ve been witnessing taking place throughout our country
in these past few years…
think BLM, Antifa, the Proud Boys…

Was it born during a crusade?
Was it born in the dark ages of the plague?
Was it born in a Spanish Inquisition?
Was it born in France during the Reign of Terror?
Was it born in the birth of a young nation following its own revolution?
Was it born on the fields of Antietam, Gettysburg, Bull Run, Vicksburg,
Appomattox…or the scorched earth tactic ravaged on Georgia?
Or was it born in the corded nooses dangling from trees?

It might have been born in the mustard gas wafting through
the trenches of WWI ….
It might have been born in the death chambers and ovens of Poland
and Germany.
Maybe it was born in Stalin’s iron fisted USSR gulags.

Maybe it was born in a fast paced and currently overreaching technology.
Maybe it was born on the heaviness of 9/11
Maybe it’s born on our southern borders?
Or was it born in Benghazi or Afghanistan?

Or was it simply born in the disobedience found in a now hidden garden?

Has it simply been unfolding, ever so slowly, for eons?

Division.
Anger.
Resentment.
Fear.
Paranoia.
Bullying.
Lying.

The latest pandemic has only helped to embolden this ensuing change.

Mandates.
Masks.
Ultimatums.
Us vs them.
Passports.
The clean vs the unclean.
Freedom vs dictation.

Virus and illness vs death or life…

Elitism.
Wokeness.
Liberalism.
Cancel Culture.

Christianity, morality, conservatives all now equated to pariah.

Persecution?
Yes.

And with these overwhelming thoughts of change—
in that change is indeed a’coming–
I was actually amazed at the coming together of some giant collective
thinking taking place on a single afternoon.

First there was IB offering a telling vid clip based
on a post found on http://www.aier.org

And I think it’s that ‘in your face’ flaunting by a maskless Squad debutant
that has been truly the taunting on the cake.
An exorbitantly decadent who’s who Met affair featuring
the likes of a young woman feeling her oats, daring
to wear her statement of taxing the rich, stretched across her derrière
as she tips her bareless shoulder, rubbing it with her ever so rich fellow guests.
It was enough hypocrisy to last a lifetime.

The Best Defense Against Violence


https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2021/09/15/the-moral-vacuum-kate-wand/

Then our dear wise sage Oneta offered up her own take on
this air of change with the following post:

MANDATES AND WEARY CHRISTIANS

Posted on September 16, 2021 by oneta hayes

“I’m just not watching anymore TV,” stated my friend.
We had just attended a meeting in which someone said the mess
in our country was our fault, speaking of senior-aged Christians,
laying the blame on our lethargy in letting “stuff” happen without speaking up.
I agree completely.

We have been taught “Live in peace with all men”
and “let there be no divisions between you.”
Letters to editors of papers and magazines—almost unheard of;
attendance at local political rallies—almost unheard of;
protests on the streets—almost unheard of;
spitting fire on tweeter—unheard of.
That’s the way it has been!
It is the fault of sleeping Christians.
Too often Christians point out that we do not fight the way the world fights.
Our duty is to put on the armor of God and pray.
Yep.
But do you believe even five percent of people who
claim to be Christians do that?
Even if we do that, it does not absolve us of having
an obligation to be good citizens of the nation in which we live.

Meanwhile the evil has crept in tide by tide so it is
now a huge wave swamping the land.
Boy scouts have to take girls; “rainbow”
no longer represents a promise of God;
urinals removed from restrooms because it might offend
“persons with no male genitalia;” babies murdered by the millions.

So it goes. Evil has overtaken us. And Christians are weary.

My nephew, Teral, put the following scripture on FB this morning.
And he shall speak great words against the most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the most High,
and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given
into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Daniel 7:25 KJ

This is speaking of the anti-Christ.
I do not know whether or not the anti-Christ now lives.
But I do know there are things happening right now that
are preparing the way for him.
The current “mandate” orders are a significant sign.

Other translations of the above scripture say
“saints are worn down, oppressed, persecuted.”
I am witness to that truth.

Another interesting thing about this scripture is
“think to change times and laws.”
Isn’t that referring to breaking down of traditions and laws?
Looks like it to me. We are certainly having a change in laws,
moral laws, even in Constitutional laws.
And traditions?
Now it is no longer to talk of mothers and fathers!
A combination of anything can be family –
if indeed one demands a family at all.

And lastly there was the wisdom of Mel Wild of In My Father’s House.
His latest post (actually last two posts) explores the current ignorance found
in those claiming that Christianity is actually Socialism in sheep’s clothing.
His post Sorry, Jesus is NOT a Socialist lays out the truth
that our current culture cares not to acknowledge.

https://melwild.wordpress.com

So let’s round out this small treatise with the master of drums himself,
Phil Collins…who sadly today, due to injury can no longer play his
beloved drums…

Weird things happen

“That proves you are unusual,” returned the Scarecrow;
“and I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration
in this world are the unusual ones. For the common
folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.”

L. Frank Baum, The Land of Oz


(a fallen persimmon / Julie Cook / 2021)

Yesterday I thought I had an entire post dedicated to my trappings through the woods
while sharing my excitement over knowing fall was soon at hand because of all
the persimmons I found ripening on the trees….

I thought I had written that we all knew it’s getting to be fall when I was out
spotting persimmons.
I also thought I had written about how we just needed to forget about life’s madness
for just a bit while we simply enjoyed a brief respite out of doors,
albeit for just a minute or two.

I had a bunch of different pictures of persimmons that I’d uploaded to the post
that I wanted to share.

And so this morning, just like every morning, I grabbed my phone since
I use my WP app in order to publish my posts as I grab my coffee,
and so I thought after it showed “published” I was good to go.

It wasn’t until I finally sat down this afternoon
(yesterday if you’re reading this today) and pulled up the blog that I
saw the bulk of the post was MIA.

Huh?
The post looking at me was not the post I last saw last night…
Not the post that I had saved in order to publish the following day.
It was woefully incomplete…
Where’d what I’d written and uploaded go??

Well, who the heck knows.
So ode to the WP gremlins.

And so today, I had decided that I wanted to write a scathing post
about what our past great military brass—leaders such as Washington,
Grant, Nimitz, Bradley, Pershing, Patton, McArthur, Eisenhower,
Powell, and even ‘Stormen’ Norman…what would these men who were tried
in the fires of the horrors of war think?…
What would these men think about the likes of what we’re
stuck with today????—
Stuck with a set of currently woke, painfully politically correct,
inept, blind and deaf, treasonous military leaders???!!!!

Can anyone say following the correct chain of command?
Can anyone say court-martial???
Can anyone say treason???
Can anyone say sleeping with the enemy??

So instead of that needed post…we’ll just go back to persimmons.

Persimmons harken to a gentler life…
No treason found thankfully in a persimmon.

(***all images are various ripening persimmons/ Julie Cook / 2021)

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

Psalm 145:5

learning lessons to practice lessons

The Lord wills that his disciples possess a tremendous power:
that his lowly servants accomplish in his name all that
he did when he was on earth.

St. Ambrose


(a pair of red shoulder hawks hanging out in the pine tops / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Some people who think themselves naturally gifted don’t want
to touch either philosophy or logic.
They don’t even want to learn natural science.
They demand bare faith alone—-
as if they wanted to harvest grapes right away without
putting any work into the vine.
We must prune, dig, trellis, and do all the other work.
I think you’ll agree the pruning knife, the pickaxe,
and the farmer’s tools are necessary for growing grapevines,
so that they will produce edible fruit.
And as in farming, so in medicine:
the one who has learned something is the one who has practiced
the various lessons, so that he can cultivate or heal.
And here, too, I say you’re truly educated if you bring everything
to bear on the truth.
Taking what’s useful from geometry, music, grammar, and
philosophy itself, you guard the Faith from assault.”

St. Clement of Alexandria, p. 13
An Excerpt From
A Year with the Church Fathers

seeds of disconnect

Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering
end up disconnecting our suffering from God’s suffering for us.
The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.

Henri Nouwen


(seeds emerge from the head of a sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

So an odd thing happened last week here in my little corner of bogland…
I had written two posts tipping a hat towards the Texas abortion law.

So before we press on…here is a little personal disclosure.

I am adopted—in turn, I am not a fan of abortion.
Plain and simple.

For you see, I was a afforded life and not a death sentence.
I may not have been “planned on” nor wanted…
however I was offered a chance
with someone else who did want me.

Therefore I believe in life and not death.

So you can fuss and cuss with me all day long, I’m not budging.
Life begins at conception…the current prolife laws are stating
that life begins at the detection of a heartbeat…hence the title
of many of these laws—the heartbeat bill—if there’s a heartbeat,
there is in turn life..
If you abort that heartbeat, you are killing a life.

Pretty straight forward.

Oh yeah, I’m also a Christian…I believe God is the Creator of all life.

So there you go…now let’s get on with this tale.

So it was from my second post–the one regarding abortion,
Texas, liberties and ideologies— a post mind you,
that was really just an excerpt from a book
by professor, theologian and author, Peter Kreeft—
How To Destroy Western Civilization And Other Ideas From The Cultural Abyss
when the trouble began.

The title of my post was “The elephant named “sex” sitting in the living room”
Kreeft was writing about religious liberty being attacked in the
name of sexual liberty and since I totally concurred,
I opted to simply copy two pages of his book as my post.

So 47 comments were generated from that post.

Some of those were obviously my responses to those offering their 2 cents.
Some cents are good cents…some cents made no sense.

So there was this gal who is known as House of Hearts who commented
and commented—with much disdain I might add—
Here we go—

House of Hearts:
“What’s happened in Tx is a travesty, the Supreme Court has
failed in its responsibility.
It’s time to add additional judges to SCOTUS and stop the filibuster.
Placing a bounty ($10,000) on your neighbors heads is fascist and unconstitutional.
Women are not the only one’s who will suffer.

My response:
I respect your thoughts–I wonder however,
if SCOTUS had rendered a decision that was more inline with your
thoughts on this issue, I doubt you would be demanding to
“pack the bench” —and as for filibusters, they are indeed a bit
of an oddity within our legislative branch.

And so here it comes…

HoH:
It’s time to take action against the ruthless far right.
Are you one the “no mandates, my body my choice”
but when it’s someone else’s body it is also your choice?
Indeed we must stand up against the corruption of
Trumpism that has infiltrated the highest court of the land.

Me:
I’ve had both vaccines—plus Covid despite doing everything I was told—
I’m not going to demand that someone else get the shot if they don’t feel
it’s best for their life’s circumstance—
I am not an anti vaccine person as I and my child had every vaccine
one is to get —however that being said,
no one knows what the long term effects might be of these shots
as the issue of fertility for younger girls who get
the shot is an a huge question .
I think Trump did very good things for the economy and did put US interests first.
I think Biden is a very weak man and totally handled the
pulling out of Afghanistan terribly wrong—
his poor planning cost the lives of 13 servicemen and women
and he simply left 90 billion dollars of taxpayer
funded military equipment behind for all
US enemies to have at their disposal…
there are correct exists and wrong exits—
he opted for the wrong one—
And as a person who was adopted as well as a
Christian who knows that I am the created and not the Creator ,
abortion is not something I can ever support—
I do equate it to murder of the unborn.
I respect your opinions and that you disagree —
I hope you will respect mine.

HoH:
I don’t correspond with Trumpers.

Wait, when did I say I was a Trumper???
And what does Trump have to do with my post???

Me:
That is unfortunate as you may miss an opportunity to share ideas

HoH:
I can tell you are completely brainwashed and a hopeless case.

Me:
I think when I accepted Christ around the age of 10,
it’s been a roller coaster, but I’ve never been the same—
brainwashed, no— servant of Christ yes—
it does not mean I agree with everything about Trump in the least bit—
but I believe in Our Nation’s republic and our constitution—
a democratic freedom— that has come at a great cost to many
who have defended it for over 200 years— I call that patriotism

HoH:
Trump is not now nor ever has been a patriot.
He has nearly destroyed our country ,
has no respect for the Constitution nor does his constituents.
He is a criminal , he is using misguided people like you.
I have nothing more to say to you.

Me:
Again, I appreciate your opinion— at 62, college educated,
31 year veteran educator and life lived with the school of hard knocks—
I wouldn’t call that misguided, more like wizened knowledge

HoH:
Masters degree in nursing. Common sense and quick to detect
the brainwashed

Me:
Also I never said I was a Trumper but that he did a marvelous
with the economy and I like that he put US interests first

HoH:
He’s a fascist,a bully, a misogynist ,
a fool who think he can “grab ‘em by the …..”.
I don’t get how a “Christian” can stand the sight of him.

Me:
Can’t say I agree with the false name calling

HoH:
Haha! You are a Trumper. Come on now, spill it.

Spill what I’m thinking…??!!

Me:
I wonder how Trump got into my post regarding sex and abortion

HoH:
Before I tell you what’s going on with you and that you are not the
solution but the problem I’ll end this discussion now.

Me:
Thank you for being a nurse

HoH:
Speaking for medical personnel we are fed up with religious nuts,
deniers of science, listening to Fox and filling hospitals to overflowing.
Even compassion has its limits when heart attack victims are being
sent away for lack of ICU beds.

Me:
I can only imagine —
hence my having been vaccinated back in March

Then blessedly came the voice of reason from Citizen Tom
The calvary so to speak:

@House of Heart

The debate over abortion is neither simple nor straightforward. Is about a woman’s control over her body? No. Whatever an unborn child may be, that child’s body is its own, not it’s mother’s. The issue is whether an unborn child has rights and is entitled to the protection of the state.

Instead of addressing those issues,
you have engaged in hysterical name calling.
You shamed yourself with such behavior.

HoH:
Citizen Tom, watch your mouth.
You have shamed yourself.
If you think it’s ok for the state of Tx to put a bounty on a woman’s
head you should join the Taliban. The sorry thing is
The GOP’s concern for the unborn ends at its birth.
They are the first to withhold social programs for the needy,
medical care for mom and baby. Shame on you.
Your body your choice, woman’s body your choice.
You’ve sickened me.

Whoa, really??? “watch your mouth”, “you sicken me”
what kind of person tosses civil discourse out the window and immediately
jumps to the mud?????

Me:
Shame on you for your anger and disdain…
As well as for your tightly closed heart

Citizen Tom:
@House of Heart

More name calling. Instead of debating, you are trying to justify your irrational rage with lies. No one put a bounty on “a woman’s head” as you put it. Look at who can be sued and why.

It is calling abortion wrong you resent. You are in a rage that anyone would call abortion murder. So, you make up stuff to justify yourself.

HoH:
This blog is in spam now.

Huh…seem’s my little blog just fell in a rubbish pile, who knew?
Her words of “action” actually got me tickled.
I thought I heard the stomping of a defiant angry little foot..

Citizen Tom:
@House of Heart

You remind me a child who takes her ball and runs home because
her playmates won’t let her win.

Then our wise friend Oneta added:
You are sooo right.
The un-Godly always want to be sanctioned by the Godly.
Somehow that eases the conscience. Everybody is doing it.
God wouldn’t send Mother Teresa to hell so let’s force Mother Teresa
to validate us. Fine example: The issue of have a third restroom
for transgenders.
No.
That might cause them some offence.
Great post, Julie.

And then Oneta brought it home…

I see House of Heart responded to you six times after she said
she doesn’t correspond with Trumpers.
Funny!!
This is your blog; doesn’t she know it is a sign of being a good hostess
for you to respond to all comments.
People who accuse those of us who believe in adoption instead of
abortion should check some stats.
See who takes care of the living babies who are not wanted.
I know you are deeply troubled by her sending you to spam.

Now that you’ve weeded through a rambling conversation between several folks
all before one of them decided to take all their marbles home,
storming off in the midsts of a temper tantrum…
I wonder when did this younger generation, these lovely millennials and
the younger generations of whatever letter or moniker we’re currently on,
missed out of what it means to be able to have civil discourse with another
human being?

How and when did they miss out on the art of agreeing to disagree??

When did name calling become the go-to when faced with issues that produce
frustration or challenge?
Instead of working through the challenges, doing our homework and
due diligence when it comes to issues of debate, we’ve simply allowed
ourselves to become debased in our use of knowledge–we have
regressed to more animalistic reactionary antics then to
using our brains.

Plus, we have moved into a post Christian society.
God has been relegated to the annals of overinflated human hubris

History seems to suggest that humans have always looked for someone
to blame for the current ills du jour.
For much of history, those who were blamed were the Chosen of God, the Jews.
Now we throw in their Western Civilization kin, the members of Christendom.
The children of The Book…

The godless blame the Godly—and even worse, some who claim Godliness,
have turned on their own.

Today’s sacrificial lambs now abound in the realm of an ideological world war.
Socialism, wokeness, self inflation, atheism, cancel culture…
each vie for prominence while the Christians and the Jews,
those pillars of Western Civilization, are deemed expendable.

I don’t think I’m ready to quit the fight to right this
tipping ship.

Keep speaking up oh righteous ones of the One True God…

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.
On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring
and tossing of the sea.
People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world,
for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with
power and great glory.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near.”

Luke 31:25-28
.