Here our prayers oh Lord…Heal us oh Lord…

“The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of one poor little person to save a multitude of others,
redeemed like her at the price of His Blood.”

St. Therese of Lisieux


(Howard Chandler Christy, Scene at the Signing of the Constituion)

Our House of Representatives has had a Chaplin since its near inception dating back to 1789.
Because it seems that our founding fathers realized that this man-made institution always needed the
assistance of a higher power.

And if it was ever needed, it is needed now…

Oh God, hear our prayers…and bring us your healing…

A prayer offered by the House Chaplin, Fr. Patrick J. Conroy, S.J

if you don’t like it…

Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.
Napoleon Bonaparte


(a mud dusty turtle/ Julie Cook / 2019)

In the news recently, I’ve read where our President has responded to the
Speaker of House’s fab four darling freshmen members…

It seems that they have been not shy about spouting their disdain for the handling
of the illegal immigration issue, the border crisis, the impending ICE raids,
and even a disdain for the office of Homeland Security…

Their disdain is coming via twitter.

In a counter tweet, the President responded with something along the lines of
“if you don’t like it, go back from where you came form”
Of which for a couple of them means they’d just be going back here to the US,
but not so for a couple of the others as he later added
“if you don’t like it, you can just leave”

Now, first of all, let me clarify— I hate all things twitter.

I liken it to a grown-up version of name-calling as well as good old fashioned
‘he said, she said’ sort of childish nonsense.

So no, I don’t like Twitter.

Maybe if we really try to figure it out, maybe it’s because everyone wants to have
some sort of public platform in order to express their ill content while hoping that
those out there reading will join on whatever the current bandwagon may be.

A cheap, easy and often anonymous sort of platform.

It seems to embolden people who have a more or less private avenue in which
to babble outward…
They are emboldened as they can readily spout off something via
the twitter waves while others rally to their words.

But I digress…it’s lunacy run amuck but there I go again digressing.

I will, however, be the first to say that yes, we, as in this country of ours,
have quite a mess on our hands.

My friend Kathy over on a Time to Share (atimetoshare.wordpress.com) actually wrote about this
issue yesterday, our mess that is, in a post entitled Illegal, what don’t we understand?

Here’s the link
ILLEGAL – WHAT DON’T WE UNDERSTAND?

And I agree with her.

I commented as much while she, in turn, responded that she was having some pushback
from the millennial crowd… of which I am not surprised.

Of course, the whole illegal notion and humanitarian crisis issue runs contrary to what
many of the democratic hopeful presidential candidates would want anyone to
truly understand because it helps their numbers to simply say “crisis, what crisis?!”

When you have hundreds of thousands of folks pushing their way into a sovereign
Nation by climbing fences, swimming across rivers, digging tunnels,
hiring “coyotes” to sneak them in, hiding in the backs of big rig trucks,
hidden in the trunks of cars, etc…
with the keyword here being “sneaking’, then someone in all of this has to know
that this is not the “legal” way in or the legal way
to go about seeking citizenship.

But according to many liberal democrats…” legal citizenship” is an oxymoron.

Sneaking is ok in the minds of most of the progressive left.
Yet a synonym for sneaking is shady.
And who doesn’t understand that sneaking and shady are not words for being exactly
on the up and up?

Oh but there I go digressing.

In order to house the hundreds of those attempting to cross the border
on a daily basis, we have had to put up detention centers.

Some of the Fab 4 reps are complaining about the detention centers and have reported
that detainees are being treated like animals and are told to drink toilet water—
of which others who have actually volunteered to help at the centers
vehemently deny.
And so perhaps AOC and Omar are not speaking the truth but are rather promoting their
typical heightened sense of the melodramatic because melodramatic garners
likes and followers.

We certainly have been hearing a lot of complaining, haven’t we?
Fussing and cussing as to how bad America has become.
And the complaining spill over on to any supporter of the President
as they are equated to that of a deplorable, an ignorant dimwit, or simply
a redneck.
On and on goes the gripes…and for the lack of a better word, bitching.

I once worked for a principal who was former military.
I liked him and he was a good man to work for but there was one thing about him…
he couldn’t stand to have teachers, students or parents come to him fussing,
cussing or complaining about this or that.

He would quickly stop said complainer in mid complaint and ask rather what
was their solution.

And the solution, mind you, had better be well thought out, affordable and feasible.

So don’t simply grouse about something but rather find a viable solution to
counter your complaint.

And so here is the thing…we have record numbers of people literally
knocking down the fences to get into our country.
Pushing, shoving, running, jumping, sneaking and being all shady in their pursuit
of what this country has to offer.

While our headlines are rife with the images of people who have tragically
died doing so.
They have put not only themselves at risk, but they have readily put their children
at risk as well.

Is the potential death of a child equal to the risk of illegally invading
another country?

Many a progressive liberal would argue that yes, yes it is…
but I would be hard-pressed to see them do the same with their own lives
and their own children.

Knowing that the risk to life is very high.
And that bad things most likely will happen..
is it worth putting a young child through such?
Is their life that expendable?

Firstly there has to be some level of responsibility on the parts of these parents.

And so the Fab 4 reps and their followers are clamoring to just drop all walls,
the fences, any and all checkpoints and roll out the red carpet while saying
‘just come running on in…’

So where do the hundreds of thousands go?
Who feeds them?
Who houses them?
Who clothes them?
Who employes them?
Who educates them?
Who tends to their medical needs?

All of that costs money.
A level of money that this country does not have to give.

And that’s the thing…how do we pay for all the hundreds of thousands who come?

We currently have a homeless epidemic in this country…
Look at Portland, Seattle, Chicago, LA….any large city across this nation has
a vast number of homeless.
Many who suffer from mental illness or drug addiction.

Yet we can’t seem to figure out how to help our own so how are we expected
to welcome the throngs of individuals who are wanting to cross the borders–?

And so we have a group of naive, melodramatic, representatives who
are being very verbal about their disdain for our Nation, our
government, our leadership.

Are they offering any viable solutions or are they simply rabble rousing the masses
with inflammatory words such as impeach, occupyer,
Russian accomplice, racist, Nazi,hater

If there are no viable solutions to be offered, perhaps leaving the place
they seem to enjoy running in the ground might be the best choice
for all concerned…

At least their departure would open up a few more spots to those sneaking in…

Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged;
behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

James 5:9

our neighbors, the warren(s)

“Be cunning, and full of tricks,
and your people will never be destroyed.”

Richard Adams, Watership Down

“Love the animals.
God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled.
Don’t trouble it, don’t harass them, don’t deprive them of their happiness,
don’t work against God’s intent.

Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov”
Richard Adams, Watership Down

We have some neighbors…its a family of 5 and they live outback
someplace behind the house.

We believe there were perhaps 6 or even more, but one of their smallest family
members met a tragic demise…
Our older cat, Peaches, might know something about all of this but we won’t talk
about that today…

Rather we’ll just enjoy those who call our yard their own…

The other day, I went to open the front door and this is who greeted me on the walkway
directly at the bottom of the front porch steps.


(julie cook / 2019)

Next, I went out on the back deck to check on what was cooking on the grill when
something down below caught my eye…
That’s when I spotted him, or is it a her, under my blueberry bushes


(julie Cook / 2019)

Definitely munching on the blueberries…


(julie cook / 2019)

This afternoon I went out front to water my plants when suddenly someone darted
out, right in front of me…


(julie cook / 2019)

That’s when I turned around only to see these two youngsters chasing each other around the yard.


(julie cook / 2019)

Without a vegetable garden these days, I certainly don’t mind our neighbors sharing my yard.


(julie cook / 2019)

Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.
Proverbs 3:29

Teach me…

“When you pray, you only have to ask for two things:
You should ask for the light to see the will of God,
and you have to ask for the courage to be able to do the will of God.”

Venerable Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz


(buckeye butterfly rests on the viburnum / Julie Cook / 2019)

“My great God, you know all that is in the universe, because you yourself have made it.
It is the very work of your hands. You are omniscient, because you are omnicreative.
You know each part, however minute, as perfectly as you know the whole.
You know mind as perfectly as you know matter.
You know the thoughts and purposes of every soul as perfectly as if there were no other
soul in the whole of your creation. You know me through and through;
all my present, past, and future are before you as one whole.
You see all those delicate and evanescent motions of my thought which altogether escape myself.
You can trace every act, whether deed or thought, to its origin and can follow it into its
whole growth and consequences. You know how it will be with me at the end;
you have before you that hour when I shall come to you to be judged.
How awful is the prospect of finding myself in the presence of my judge!
Yet, O Lord, I would not that you should not know me.
It is my greatest stay to know that you read my heart.
Oh, give me more of that openhearted sincerity which I have desired.
Keep me ever from being afraid of your eye, from the inward consciousness that I am not
honestly trying to please you.
Teach me to love you more, and then I shall be at peace,
without any fear of you at all.”

Bl. John Henry Newman, p.150
An Excerpt from
Everyday Meditations

testing point of the saint

Every martyr knows how to save his/her life and yet refuses to do so.
A public repudiation of the faith would save any of them.
But some things are more precious than life itself.
These martyrs prove that their 20th-century countryman,
C. S. Lewis, was correct in saying that courage is not simply one of the virtues
but the form of every virtue at the testing point, that is, at the point of highest reality.

(as seen on the CSSF site / Felician Sisters)


(Virgin entroned with angels and saints / Duccio di Buoninsegna 1285)

This past week has seen me so incensed over the absurdities that are taking place
all over this country…
Absurdities being shared as “news” stories, taken from across the land…
yet stories with one central missing theme…that being the key theme of common sense.

So incensed that I had a few volumes of the assinine posted in order to shed some
light on our glaring lack of common sense.

And I should note that the absurdities just keep coming as I now must confess that
I am actually finding myself feeling a bit sorry for the current Speaker of the House
as she toils to keep her Fab 4 newbies in line as they continue having
temper tantrum after tantrum.

They may be known best as formidable twitter warriors, but they fall woefully short in
the area of common sense.
Theatrics yes, common sense no.

Throw in a serious lack of humility and we have a wealth of trouble on our hands.

But I digress and must move on because their finger waging tantrums simply leave me
tired from all the eye-rolling and head-shaking I’ve caught myself doing as of late.

So today we won’t focus on the wealth of lack of common sense that is now engulfing our
land but rather we will look at something much more nobler than any one of
our legislators or governing officials seem to demonstrate,
acknowledge let alone possess.

So yesterday I was reading a post regarding the Saints of the Day from one of the
Felician Sisters blog sites.

The saints were actually two Englishmen…
John Jones and John Walls.

These two friars were martyred in England in the 16th and 17th centuries
for refusing to deny their faith.

John Jones was Welsh. He was ordained a diocesan priest and was twice imprisoned
for administering the sacraments before leaving England in 1590. He joined the Franciscans
at the age of 60 and returned to England three years later while Queen Elizabeth I
was at the height of her power. John ministered to Catholics in the English countryside
until his imprisonment in 1596. He was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.
John was executed on July 12, 1598.

John Wall was born in England but was educated at the English College of
Douai, Belgium. Ordained in Rome in 1648, he entered the Franciscans in Douai several years later.
In 1656 he returned to work secretly in England.

In 1678, Titus Oates worked many English people into a frenzy over an alleged papal plot
to murder the king and restore Catholicism in that country. In that year Catholics were
legally excluded from Parliament, a law which was not repealed until 1829.
John Wall was arrested and imprisoned in 1678, and was executed the following year.

John Jones and John Wall were canonized in 1970.
(Felician Sisters)

And so let me be clear, saints are no different from you or me…
We are all sinners and we are all also very capable of eventually becoming a saint.
For saints are simply the ordinary doing the extraordinary.

The one important thing we need to remember, however, is that saints
are of a humble lot.

And humility is often in short supply in our land these days.

Saintly is a matter of doing what is right when no one is looking,
listening or paying attention because what is being done is for the betterment
of others…with no regard to self and no recognition or applause.

Saints have no twitter accounts or Facebook posts.

It’s doing those things that are not popular, trendy or politically correct but are being done
because they are the right thing to do regardless of what the world may have to say.

Even despite the threat of harm or even death.

It’s a conviction.
It’s a drive that reaches far beyond personal desire.

It’s falling face down in the mire.
It’s being the sinner who picks himself up and says no more.

Sights shift.
Hearts change.

It’s doing what God calls to be done…not what the self would want done.
It’s discernment along with death to self.

It’s hard.
It’s not easy.
It can be dangerous.
It might be life-threatening…
…but none of that seems to matter.

The thought of self is never even considered.
Self is never an issue.
There is no personal gain but rather personal loss.

The spotlight shines elsewhere.

There are no stats or likes.
No followers.
No trending.
No polls.
No cameras.

No, saints are not far from sinners at all.
In fact, a saint is a sinner who simply turned his eyes outward rather than inward.

Some things are more precious than life itself…

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the
twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp,
and golden bowls full of incense,
which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 5:8

tales of the asinine…Vol. I

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
Søren Kierkegaard


(the oddity of a tiki flaming pineapple in the heart of Atlanta, absurd or odd / Julie Cook / 2019)

According to Merriam Webster, the word asinine means:

asinine: adjective
as·i·nine | \ ˈa-sə-ˌnīn \
1 : extremely or utterly foolish or silly

Utterly foolish or silly…

I think I’ll opt for such words as utterly foolish, idiotic, absurd, ridiculous
and really really stupid.

My daughter-n-law and I were running a few errands yesterday when she asked if I
had heard the news story about the police officers, out in Arizona, who were visiting
a Starbucks and were asked to leave because another patron told management that the
presence of the police made them nervous.

I responded that yes, yes I had heard that story and it had to be just about the most
idiotic thing I’d ever heard…

Incensed all over again, I told her it was just one more tale in the endless sea of lunacy
in a long line of “the tales of the asinine”…

Her response was that we should start writing a series entitled “the asinine journals, or
perhaps chronicles, of our times…”

For you see, I’m the type of person who happens to feel safer whenever I’m out and about
and police, or any other first responders, happen to be patronizing the same establishment
I am.

As in…when I’m out, say, eating a hearty breakfast at a Cracker Barrell and
there happens to be a table full of firemen also enjoying breakfast–
all the while as the crackle of their radios with the latest breaking news
echos around their table, I feel safe in knowing that should I suddenly have a
heart attack or choke on my Sunrise Sampler or lest a fire breaks out in the kitchen,
it’s all good.

Cops getting coffee in a Starbucks says to me that no idiot is going to come busting in
hoping to pull off an armed robbery…and if they do, the trauma should be short-lived
as the cops would be on the idiot(s) like white of rice.

Just an added bit of peace of mind while venturing out into our ever-growing
crime-ridden world.

But no, instead we have to have some idiot who tells a coffee barista that they just don’t
feel safe ordering a coffee mocha latte while some police officers are doing the same.
And so the equally idiotic coffee barista tells the officers to leave.

And so now tell me something…
God forbid that later, the barista should have to call 911 due to some sort of robbery
or calamity, how would those same officers feel about having to respond?

My guess would be that because they are duty bound,
they would respond regardless of any slight or offense because that’s what cops do.

And for all those naysayers, snowflakes and Antifa folks out there…
yes, there are bad cops, bad soldiers, bad doctors, bad priests, bad lawyers, bad teachers…
as in there are simply bad people out there who do bad things to good people…

Just like there are good cops, good soldiers, good doctors, good priests, good lawyers,
good teachers…as in good people trying to do good things for other people.
Good people who try to do their utmost for those they serve or for those who they
simply interact with on a day to day basis.

We live in a balance of good vs evil.
Plain and simple.

Good people doing good things for and by other people.

So for some police officers to come into a Starbucks to get a cup of coffee or a
cup of tea or whatever, only to be asked to leave simply because they are cops who
happen to make one fellow patron uneasy, is in a word, asinine.

Yes, the Starbucks Corporation has since issued an apology.
The Corporation, not necessarily the individual store or community.

Yet does a corporate apology make this incident now better or okay?

These sorts of little incidences keep happening all over the country.

Police are being victimized and even ambushed and murdered simply because they are
police officers.

Just yesterday, a sheriff’s deputy from Hall County, a part of the city of Gainesville, Ga
was shot and killed by four teens as he stopped them for having stolen a car and for their
involvement in burglaries.

A 28-year-old young man, a deputy sheriff who was two years younger than my own son.
He was both a young husband and father.

From convenient stores to restaurants—when policemen, State Troopers or deputies come into
various businesses in order to buy something and are told to leave all because someone else feels
uncomfortable in their presence is, well, absolutely an absurdity.

Yet our culture has fallen into some sort of odd ‘guilty by association’ mentality.

A police officer is seen on camera hitting, kicking, shooting a suspect…in most cases
images that are publicized by our media of the suspect which is a black male.
And so we now have a tremendous backlash from the black community that they are being targeted.

This goes back to the fact that we do indeed have rotten apples, those known as the bad guys pretending
to be good guys.

But that does not ever mean that all officers are bad or monsters or aimed at targeting
any particular community of people…

Yet good luck convincing the progressive left and liberal media of anything other than.

And so we have a culture now screaming henny penny the sky is falling over
what should be common sense…as we find ourselves living in the time
of the asinine.

Shame on Starbucks and any other business that shuns our first responders.

Those same responders you pray will come to your aide when you’re trapped in an
overturned and burning car or should some crazed madman invade your home and
terrorize you and your family…you can only hope and pray the police will get there
as fast as they can…lest you lose your life.

The good becomes bad and the bad becomes good…
as a culture slowly loses her common sense.

Volume II of The Asinine will follow tomorrow…

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

Proverbs 2:6

we live in both dark and light

“The true diversity of humanity is this: the luminous and the dark.
To diminish the number of dark, to increase the number of luminous,
that is the aim.
That is why we cry: education, knowledge!
To learn to read is to kindle a fire; every syllable spelled sparkles.
But whoever says light does not necessarily say joy.
There is suffering in the light; an excess burns.
Flame is hostile to the wing.
To burn and yet to fly, this is the miracle of genius.
When you know and when you love you will suffer.
The day dawns in tears. The luminous weep, be it only for the dark ones.”

― Victor Hugo


(prematurely fallen muscadine / Julie Cook / 2019)

See the picture above?

Look closely.

At first glance, you see some sort of greenish greyish orb perched in the middle,
amongst the debris of what must be some sort of woodsy ground.

However, upon further inspection, you will note that the right half of the green orb,
or rather a prematurely fallen muscadine, is the side with actual color,
as is the surrounding area.
The color of life and growth.

The left side appears to be rotting or rotten while the surrounding debris around the
muscadine is equally ashen and grey…as in decaying, rotting and dark.

It is a prime example of contrasting imagery between light and dark, life and death…
With the poor muscadine being caught in the middle.

And if the truth be told, that muscadine, my friends, is more representational of both you
and I then either of us can even begin to imagine.

Light vs dark…
life vs death…
While we are constantly suspended between the two.

It’s as if each one vies for our very being.
The endless struggle for mankind.

That struggle is much more active and much more real than most of us care to admit,
let alone contemplate…as the forces of both light and dark, life and death, continuously
wage battle over our very existence.

Metaphors, yes…yet also very much a reality.

I started an interesting book the other day, The Shadow Party
How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and the Sixties Radicals seized control of
the Democratic Party

by David Horowitz and Richard Poe.

“Ahhh”, you say rather knowingly…” one of ‘those’ types of books.”
A book that speaks of conspiracy and paranoia.
And so now you’re assuming that I am one of those paranoid loons or deplorables
we hear so much about—oh so lovingly nicknamed by Hillary Clinton…
all because I am a conservative individual reading a book that reads like
a Hollywood spy thriller.

Yet the book is much more than a tale of political upheaval, speculation and
finger-pointing.
The book actually, and perhaps unbeknownst to the authors themselves, speaks to this very
battle of both light and dark, life and death, that I previously referenced…
it’s just that they speak on a level that hits much closer to home than anyone might imagine
as it addresses our life here in America.

There is a great darkness growing in our Nation.
And it is both you and I who hang in the balance.

It is a life that is growing ever more precarious while we are perched between
both light or dark, life or death…
For we are living in some terribly strange times.

This book reminds me of a wonderful post I read the other day by one of my favorite bloggers—
Robert, Bobby, Kloska from Thoughts from the Side of the House.
Bobby is a former professor at Notre Dame who doesn’t
post as often as I or others would wish due to some tremendous health struggles
that get terribly in his way.

His struggles with cancer and the devastating outreaching effects have been an
amazing witness unto themselves.

I, for one, am most grateful that he continues to share both ups and downs.

This past week, for the fourth of July, Bobby wrote about what it is that is
at the root of what many of us believe to be a “crisis” in this Nation of ours.

“Life in America has never been perfect.
In every age, there have been injustices, conspiracies, and controversies.
This is not unique to America; it is part of the human condition.
Yet in America, because we had inherited these noble institutional mechanisms, hope remained.
So long as the republic contained within itself a critical mass of virtuous citizens
committed more to the common good than to privileging any particular sect, group,
or class, then the structures through which we grapple with self-governance could
still yield improvement.”

Today, I have my doubts.

We live in a country that in the span of only a few generations has suddenly lost
any kind of right understanding of objective truth –
as the founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence, “…
of the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”
Today, the prevailing understanding of truth is that it is something purely subjective.
This is no small matter.

Today, there has emerged this new idea that you and I supposedly have some kind of
power to create whatever truth we want.
This, of course, not only opens the door to logical self-contradictions,
it very clearly contradicts objective reality itself.
You’re not George Washington even if you think you’re George Washington and
“claim this as your truth.” Simple people see this.
Grounded people see this.
People connected to the earth and nature really see this.

Sophisticates, distracted people, and afflicted people often do not.

What we have is a crisis of truth.

In all human communities, freedom is built upon personal and collective
responsibilities.
These responsibilities always rely upon truth.
Our greatest problem today is not simply that we have lost any meaningful concept of truth.
No, it’s worse than that.
Our greatest problem is that 1) we don’t know that truth is something objective to be discovered;
and 2) we no longer have adequate tools to do the work of discovery.

Let that sink in.

We don’t understand that truth needs to be discovered…
and yet everything of consequence depends on this one thing!

The discovery of truth does not come cheaply.
It requires diligence, patience, nuance, thoughtful consideration, and intellectual
humility.
To actually discover truth and not merely “win” an argument,
it is enormously helpful to be able to presume the good will and sincerity of one’s
discussion partner. But today our public discourse is largely carried out on Twitter.
News and opinion media have become reactionary and overly polemical.
Even our so-called presidential debates take on the form of a cheap tv game show.
How helpful is that?
Complex questions cannot be answered in one minute sound bytes.
It is folly to even try.

A crisis of truth leads to a crisis of love.

The loss of truth has led to the particularly harmful notion that your disagreement
with one of my ideas is somehow disrespectful of me as a human being.
Tragically, in 2019 America, “disagreement” equals “hate” to a lot of people.

But what if you truly love me?

To love is to will the good of another person.
If I hold an opinion that is not rooted in truth,
then that opinion can be quite harmful to me and to the people I influence.
Isn’t the most loving act to help me discover the truth?
Yes, this might require a discussion, debate, or argument.
Prudence dictates that such discussions occur at the right time,
in the right place, and with appropriate people.
But the premise of these kinds of honest disagreements and discussions is love.
To neglect such conversations with people you supposedly love
(or even with the culture at large)
is to not really love and care about them at all.

At the end of this sobering and somewhat frightening discourse,
Bobby is quick to remind us that not all is lost.
This is not a hopeless situation…

Not hopeless because it is in our hopelessness that our real Hope is to be found.
For in that Hope, resides the One true Everlasting Truth.

The Main Crisis on American Independence Day in 2019

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12