holding on to Hope

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
George S. Patton


(the blue birds are getting busy / Julie Cook / 2017)

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33:20-22

Unraveling? Hold on!

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
George S. Patton

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Our God, Our Help In Ages Past
Isaac Watts

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(spicetail swallowtail butterfly hanging on in a rain shower / Julie Cook / 2016)

We’re all just holding on aren’t we…
seemingly by that proverbial thread.

We look all around us at the escalating global madness…
and we are mystified, even stupefied…
and growing more and more terrified by the day.

We find ourselves hunkering down, covering our heads, expecting the worst…
Or maybe we simply jam our fingers in our ears, dashing about chattering so loudly hoping
to drown out this frightening reality.

“We are living in a stressful age that New York Times columnist
Roger Cohen calls a “time of unraveling…Cohen imagines a future conversation
about the grim situations of the present and writes…
“It was a time of unraveling…a time of beheadings…a time of aggression…a time of breakup…
a time of weakness…a time of hatred…a time of fever…a time of disorientation” in which the “fabric of society frayed.”

(God and Churchill / Jonathan Sandys & Wallace Henley)

Our political conventions are bordering on the edge of the surreal..
mirroring that of a traveling side show or a two bit circus.

The candidates vie for our votes…
Yet they prefer busing themselves by trading the ugly tit for tat verbiage of hate,
lies and insults.
As the average citizen is left wondering…where have real leaders gone….

Our world is ailing with unrest….and withers under evil’s oppression.

Today, in a quiet suburb of the French city of Rouen, an 85 year old priest, Father Jaques Hamel, was viciously and savagely murdered during the midst of morning Mass.
He was attacked by two young masked men.

The young assailants took four nuns and parishioners hostage using them as human shields.
These attackers forced Fr Hamel to kneel before the altar as they shouted a tirade in Arabic followed with Allahu Akbar, all before slitting Fr Hamel’s throat in front of terrified parishioners…
all the while filming the entire apalling spectacle.

They were later killed by police.

ISIS has claimed responsibility.

Germans continues reeling while trying to make sense out of the latest terror attacks that have rocked their nation. The stories continue making back to back to back headlines.

First an ax wielding young man attacks passengers on a train in Wuerzburg, Germany…

Next a gunman kills 9 at a shopping mall in Munich.

Thirdly, another young man, yesterday, injures 15 outside of a bar, as he proceeds to blow himself up…

The leading newspaper in Turkey ran a front page story yesterday claiming that President Erdogan is now blaming the United States for last week’s failed coup as word circulates that he was actually to blame for orchestrating the whole debacle…which has now given way for his sweeping crackdowns within a country balancing between a tenuous democracy and a Muslim dictatorship.

All of this world drama, as the UK continues to figure out what their voting to leave the EU will actually mean…

Our world has been turned upside down…with Truth, Morality, and The Sacred each becoming a resulting victim.

Indeed the world is unraveling at an alarming rate…
So many of these headlines are simply overwhelming, leaving us all with a sense of loss,
worry and dread…

Fear gleefully now marches far and wide around our globe…as we look to placate our troubles…

However…

We mustn’t lose our hope…
No matter how daunting such the task.

For we may just actually find our comfort and our peace
hidden in the smallest of beings…

Imagine the humble butterfly…

A delicate creature if ever there was one.
Its wings thiner then tissue paper, covered in a dazzling array of fine and colorful powder.
No match for rain nor tempest storm….
And yet they somehow manage to survive.

At the first sign of a change in the weather…
As clouds thicken and skies darken as the winds begin to shift…
the butterfly knows to seek shelter…

For even a single raindrop can kill a butterfly.

Even the resulting dip in temperatures, following in the the storm’s aftermath,
is life threatening because butterflies need the heat of the sun in order to feed, mate and thrive.

Butterflies instinctively know the importance of seeking shelter and holding on during a storm.
It’s a matter of living and dying.

Perhaps…
just maybe…
Its time we each look to the One who offers us our shelter from the storm…
To the One who offers us life in the face of all that is dying….
For He is indeed our shelter from the storm….

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging

Psalm 46:1-3

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This means war!!!!

“Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.”
― Martin Luther

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Do you have any idea as to what this picture is all about?
You think it’s just some sort of stem don’t you?
You are partially correct, it is a stem–sans all its leaves.
And you should know that this is not just any sort of stem!
This is one of almost 50 plants just like it.
Rows upon rows of “topped off” plants.
Topped off you ask?
Yes, as in eaten off.
As in all of my green, wax, bush, french beans have been pillaged.
Pillaged you ask?
As in decimated.
As in eaten to the nubs.

Do you remember this little fellow? I took this shot back in the fall.
“Oh how pretty”
“Oh how majestic”
I had mused as I watched the bucks and does come and go in our yard.
Little did I know of the impending treachery. . .
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Well it now seems as if this little buck has called all his friends.
The antlers are long gone and this is the time of year that food is at its peak.
Food?
Yes, my food.
As in my garden.
UGH!!!!

I try to keep this garden of ours as organic as possible. The strongest stuff I use on pests is the poison I sprinkle on those d@m%ed fire ant mounds which ring the garden like the infamous ring of fire—quite fitting indeed.
Oh how I hate those evil little biting devils. . .

But after my rows of beans, my pepper plants now minus their tops, an entire cucumber plant MIA, crushed stalks of young corn and even branchy vines from my tomatoes all mysteriously disappearing—daily . . .
I’m mad.
Really mad.
Fighting mad.

Do you remember George C. Scott’s role as General George S. Paton?
Remember that opening fiery profanity laced monologue?
That man didn’t play.
Just ask the Germans.
And thank God for the Allies he didn’t mince words. . .
Well, by George S. Patton, it is now time for the big guns!!
As in, this means war!!!

Recently an old-timer (that’s what my husband calls the elderly men who have spent their lives working in the fields) came into my husband’s store recently and shared with him a tried and true little secret weapon that he swore by to ward off deer from ones garden. . .Irish Spring.

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What you say?
As in Irish Spring, green, highly fragrant, soap??!!
Yep.
Supposedly the deer don’t like the smell.
We bought boxes of the soap and have cut slivers, much like Hansel and Grettle leaving little crumbs, surrounding the entire perimeter of the garden, plus up and down each and every row.
All the while I whistled the little sailor ditty from those iconic Irish Spring commercials.

Next, I went for the old standard pie pans.
Shock and awe.
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Clinking, clanging and banging in the breeze. We tied 15 pans all around the garden. They’re hung in tress, from the tomato cages, and even from the bean poles.

And then there was the non poisonous pest granules which are spread on the ground, not the plants. It has an irritating effect on the nostrils of varmints large and small.
Hummmmm.
Yeah, and I’ve got some swamp land for sale. . .the jury is still out on the granules.

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But— there is a secret weapon.
I don’t know his name yet.
But he is two faced.
He’s doubly mean
And he’s doubly bad.
Plus he smells.
Smells you ask?
Yes.
Stinks to high heaven.
As in he’s been doused with perfume.

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I figured a good dousing of perfume might signal that a human just may be lurking in and around the beans.
Fingers crossed.
My only other recourse. . . send my husband out all night with a spot light.
Somehow I don’t think he’d be too keen on that thought. . .
I’ll keep you posted. . .