favorable conditions…

“We are always falling in love or quarreling,
looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering,
following public affairs.
If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other
to end before we can really get down to our work.
The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable.
Favorable conditions never come.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


(a local acorobate dangles upside down on a birdfeeder munching on my blueberries/ Julie Cook / 2020)

I love this quote by C.S.Lewis don’t you?
Isn’t it just so us, so now, so today?

Favorable conditions never come…do they?—
Especially when one is out to find the facts and the truth.

These days, both facts and truth, are collateral damage…
Not many folks are interested in such.
They prefer a fluid sort of something that is quite far from fact or truth.

So those of us who really want to seek out such, that being the knowledge of actual
facts and truth…
well, we simply can’t wait around for the perfect conditions or for the planets
and the heavens to align.
Not now, not today.

So before we tackle such topics…let’s take another day for just ourselves…
let’s take a small reprieve from the heaviness of our times
and let’s peek at what’s going on in God’s realm


(our wee beastie gives us a wee peek / Julie Cook / 2020)


(female hummingbird resting inbetween darting and dashing from feeder to feeder / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a hawk hummingbird moth …who knew of such / Julie Cook / 2020)


(black swallowtail / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2020)


(even a moth gets in on the act / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a gulf fritillary that is on his last wing…/ Julie Cook / 2020)

But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:7-10

a harbinger

Come, fair repentance, daughter of the skies!
Soft harbinger of soon returning virtue;
The weeping messenger of grace from heaven.

Thomas Browne


(red amongst the summer green /Julie Cook / 2020)

Harbinger as a noun: something that foreshadows a future event:
something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come

Harbinger as a verb: to give a warning or prediction of

I’ve written about harbingers before and usually, those posts were related to changing
seasons and or weather.

However, when I was out in the yard, picking ripe tomatoes in the heat of an early August
afternoon, sweat dripping from my face…finding a fully red, fall-like leaf, sitting alone
and somewhat forlorn in the green parched yard of summer…well,
things seemed a bit out of sorts.

My thoughts were not of a coming Fall, along with the changing of leaves and cooling temps…
but rather my mind wandered elsewhere.

When I think of the word harbinger, I don’t think of a heralding of sorts but rather I think
of that which is more foreboding…as in ominous.

A shadowing of sorts.

Seems about right given our current state of affairs…

More on the subject soon…

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves,
and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Update– wee beasties abound

A sly rabbit will have three openings to its den.
Chinese Proverbs


(a nest or den hidden in the pinestraw)


(the fur lining is a clue)


(a wee beastie nestles at the doorway_


(a bestie makes a mad dash)

Yesterday we had a really bad thunderstorm around lunchtime.
Once things cleared, I rushed outside to check on the rabbit den and the tiny little
baby I had met the day prior.

Low and behold, as the sun broke through the clouds, there was
indeed that one familiar little head poking out of its den—
it was my little friend.
Yet I noticed something else.
Nestled around my wee friend’s head, it appeared as if he had company.
There was an additional two to three little backsides—
Making a total of either 3 or 4 wee beasties…I couldn’t quite tell.

I was relieved knowing my wee little friend was not alone.

So now I’m blaming what happened next on my friend Kathy.
“Take more pictures” she implores, “they’re so cute.”

Well after supper I headed out to see if I could indeed snap a picture or two
of the wee clan living under the fire bush.

Crawling on my hands and knees, easing my way to the small opening, I gently reached
toward the little brown bottom sitting at the opening of the den.
Suddenly baby rabbits came barreling out of the hole running every which-a-way.

“What are you doing?! my husband hollers out while watching babies scoot
here,there and yon.

“Stop that one” I yell, as I watch my husband just stand there watching a brown blur
race alongside the rock wall, racing for dear life seeking shelter under
the masive viburnum bush.

“Why didn’t you stop it? I wailed.
“I didn’t want to step on it” he quipped.

Rolling my eyes I began to scrunch and inch my way under the giant viburnum bush…
gently moving the straw, while hoping to get the baby so I could put him back in the nest.

I eventually managed to get one of the babies back in the nest but one remained under the
viburnum bush while the other baby was on the opposite end of the shrubbery bed
under a butterfly bush.

The tiny sparrows hopping about kept looking at me, wondering what in the world was
this latest creature in the yard who was crawling around on all fours.

I searched and searched..and searched in vain.
The missing two babies had seemed to disappear into thin air…or more aptly
disappeared under a mass of straw and spent leaves…perfectly camouflaged.

I will go back out in the morning to check on them.

But oh what a blessing.

God is so gracious…so kind…so thoughtful.

I’ve been so consumed by the latest current events of this world.
Those of our dreadful woes and seemingly guaranteed demise…and yet here is God, granting me
a tiny look into His world…a far cry from the world I am a part of… that of
man’s world…a world full of strife and frustration.

Granted, nature at times can indeed seem cruel and harsh…but for now, I will simply
glory in the Grace I’ve been afforded–that of watching a few wee beasties
learn about life in a world full of bushes and plants… and an odd creature
teetering about on all fours cooing like a nut to a handful of wee beasties.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what
God has done from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

a wee beastie concern

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

last stanza to Robert Burns poem dating 1785

The other evening I was out watering the plants.
We were babysitting our grand-dog while the kids had gone to the beach
with our daughter-in-law’s family–so the old black lab was right by my side.

I have two fig trees in pots nestled within my shrubbery and while I was watering,
I was also picking a few ripe figs…

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tiny wee little brown beastie came wobbling right
in front of me.
Half wobbling and half hopping.

Luckily the old black lab, Alice, didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary as
I told her to go back toward the house.
One thing she is, is a mindful dog—I quickly threw down the hose.

I had to do a double-take because I wasn’t certain I was actually seeing a baby
rabbit as it was just so tiny.

He kept coming toward me and instinctively I picked him up and drew him close to me.
He nestled into my warmth.

His fur was irradescent…he was that young.

I called out to my husband to come quick.

“What do I do, what do I do” I practically wailed while holding this tiny brown bundle.

“Are you sure that’s a rabbit” my husband quips.

Yes, I sardonically replied…we have had a wealth of rabbits in the yard this year and
I know my rabbits. This was no mouse or squirrel.

The rabbits I’ve seen have been in the back of the house…I’ve not seen any upfront
so close to the house.

My husband pulls out his phone and turns to google to read what’s out there about
finding a baby rabbit.

“We need to find its den, its nest” he explains.

Den??? Nest??? What???

I don’t see a den or a nest, just a baby rabbit wobbling about in the pine straw
near my potted plants.

I also look for some information and everything I read emphatically says to
“put it back where you found it.”

I know from heartbreaking experience, baby wild rabbits, despite our best intentions,
are nearly impossible to raise to adulthood.

I gently put down “hoppy” and said a little prayer.

I always ask St. Francis to come help when I find baby wildlife.

Sunday we headed over to Atlanta to take Alice back home since her people had returned
from the beach blessedly in one piece and COVID free.

Once back home, late Sunday afternoon, I hesitantly ventured out into the yard,
looking for little “Hoppy”.

Low and behold, my small bundle heard me making my way over to the shrubbery and he,
or she, came tumbling toward me.
And the thing is, he didn’t hesitate…he actually kept working his way toward me.

He reminded me of when I first found Percy as a kitten.
I was reluctant yet tiny Percy kept making his way toward me as if to say…
I am yours.

I put this tiny baby back down while running inside to bring out some lettuce, just to
see if he take to it…knowing he was still most likely nursing.

I read that mothers will leave the dens during the day to feed and return only briefly
at night to nurse their “kits.”…and sadly not all kits are meant to live.

Crawling around on all fours through the pine straw, in and out of the bushes,
I did a little investigating thinking surely there must be a hollowed-out spot near a bush…
a nest of sorts.

When low and behold, I watched my little friend as he headed toward a small opening
camouflaged in the pine straw.
There was a tiny little hole, with a good bit of soft fur around the opening…
“Ah-ha” I heard myself exclaim…. finally there was indeed a nest!

I felt better knowing he’d not just wandered away and was alone.

My husband asked if I could see any other “kits” down in the hole but I wasn’t
too keen on poking my hand down into a hole in the pine straw.

I left some lettuce and walked away, once again, saying a tiny prayer
for my tiny friend.

We’ll see what tomorrow might bring…

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

Robert Burns

in the company of or separate from…

“It is in the company of Jesus that you work for the glory of God.”
St. John Baptist de la Salle


(the sedum begin to get a tinge of color / Julie Cook / 2020)

“Man was created for a certain end.
This end is to praise, to reverence, and to serve the Lord his God and by this
means to arrive at eternal salvation.
All other beings and objects that surround us on the earth were created for the
benefit of man and to be useful to him, as means to his final end;
hence his obligation to use, or to abstain from the use of, these creatures,
according as they bring him nearer to that end, or tend to separate him from it.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola,
p.18
An Excerpt From
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

fruitfulness and provisions for the future

“The stillness of prayer is the most essential condition for fruitful action.
Before all else, the disciple kneels down.”

St. Gianna Molla


(a new season’s little figs to be / Julie Cook / 2020)

Man not only should possess the fruits of the earth, but also the very soil,
inasmuch as from the produce of the earth he has to lay by provision for the future.
Nature must have given to man a source that is stable and remaining always with him.
And this stable condition of things he finds solely in the earth and its fruits.

Pope Leo XIII
from Rerum Novarum

carrying the cross–building the kingdom

“Since happiness is nothing other than the enjoyment of the highest good,
and since the highest good is above, no one can be happy unless he rises above himself,
not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart.”

St. Bonaventure


(the blackberries are blooming / Julie Cook / 2020)

Helping Christ carry his cross fills one with a strong and pure joy,
and those who may and can do so, the builders of God’s kingdom,
are the most authentic children of God.

Letter of St. Benedicta of the Cross to her sisters in Carmel
from Communion with Christ According to St. Benedicta of the Cross
by Sister M. Regina Van den Berg

(St Benedicta, otherwise known as Edith Stein, was an intellectual German Philosopher,
Jew turned atheist and eventually committed Christian convert…eventually becoming a Catholic nun.
She took the name Benedicta upon her consecration and was killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.)

We joke, we laugh, we speculate…but…

“Will you come with me to the mountains?
It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened.
Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows.
But will you come?”

C.S. Lewis


(the blooming quince / Julie Cook / 2020)

I can’t say how this will all play out…how it will all end.

I think, however, I can speak for all of us in saying that we beg that it end.

We laugh at those online videos, those memes shared…
because we know that misery loves company.

We try so desperately to make light while trying so hard to laugh in our
seemingly unified endless misery.

Yet throughout all of this we must remember…
there are those who have suffered.

Those who have…
Suffered the loss of income.
Suffered the loss of livelihood.
Suffered the loss of stability.
Suffered the loss of wellbeing.
Suffered the loss of health.
Suffered the loss of life.

Let us keep in our prayers and hearts those who have lost…

Now when Jesus saw the crowds,
he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes
He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you,
persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,
for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:1-12

Only Jesus

“You must make a sound and firm resolution to submit yourselves totally to His will and,
with a lively and steadfast faith, to receive from Him what you have
to do for love of Him.
And in this (whatever may happen) to persevere with constancy to the very end.”

St. Angela Merici


(the blooming of the blessed peony /Julie Cook / 2020)

“I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone.
We may spend time in the chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul
how He looks at you with love?
Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart?
Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you?
Ask for the grace; He is longing to give it.
Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart,
you will not be able to hear Him saying ‘I Thirst’ in the hearts of the poor.
Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person—not just the idea.”

Saint Mother Teresa, p.129-30
An Excerpt From
Manual for Eucharistic Adoration

do not despair, do not be depressed, do not be afraid..

“Therefore, my brother,
scorned as you are by men, lashed as it were by God, do not despair.
Do not be depressed.
Do not let your weakness make you impatient.
Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face.
Let the joy of your mind burst forth.
Let words of thanks break from your lips.”

St. Peter Damian


(tulip magnolia bloom / Julie Cook / 2020)

“Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a mortal man?
Today he is, and tomorrow he appears no more. Fear God,
and thou shalt have no need of being afraid of man.
What can anyone do against thee by his words or injuries?
He rather hurts himself than thee, nor can he escape the judgment of God whoever he be.
See thou have God before thine eyes and do not contend with complaining words.
And if at present thou seem to be overcome, and to suffer a confusion
which thou has not deserved,
do not repine at this and do not lessen thy crown by impatience.”

Thomas á Kempis, p.148