hail to the chief, chieftain or is it chieftess???

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I long to accomplish a great and noble task,
but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

Helen Keller


(a visit from the Mayor / Julie Cook / 2018)

And you thought I was going to write about President Bush again didn’t you??
Eh???

Well, whereas I am sharing about a visit from a commander and chief…
this particular commander and chief is more like a chieftess…
or whatever the female equivalent would be for chief.

Here we see the Mayor delightfully happy to be visiting with her constituents here
in the satellite Woobooville office. She happily surprised her “people”…
that being Polly Possum, Moe the Moose, lambie pie the sheep along with Percy and Peaches,
the real live cats who oddly disappear whenever the Mayor makes a visit.

And one might notice that the Mayor is having a slight hair issue with a strand of bangs that
nearly reaches to her chin. Her aides are constantly having to bush the hair from her face
lest she have a bit of a fit while rubbing her eyes red.

So with that being said…the Mayor had her first visit to a salon…note, that is not a saloon…
little politicians must make certain things very clear…but we digress…
It was time to have a bit of a trim.

And I might just add that a for a 10 month old, a trim may not be the most even or
neatest of trims…

And thus I am sorry to report that one of her chief aides is very disappointed with the
new little dutch-girl-pageboy look…
that aide being her dad…
And so it begins…that slow progression of growing up
that seems to tugs at the daddy’s heart most of all…

the very apprehensive before image

The after dutch little girl look

up, down or through

“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth
and be an atheist,
but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say
there is no God.”

Abraham Lincoln

What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.
Helen Keller

I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.
Charlotte Bronte


(view looking up a hollow tree that has a small hole on the way up / Julie Cook /2017)


(looking down the opening to a different hollow tree / Julie Cook / 2017)


(looking through a third hollow tree / Julie Cook / 2017)

God looks down…
We look up…
He sees through…

Some writers use the word charity to describe not only Christian love
between human beings, but also God’s love for man and man’s love for God….
On the whole,
God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him.
Nobody can always have devout feelings:
and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about.
Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will.
If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment,
‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’
He will give us feelings of love if He pleases.
We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right.
But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference;
and, therefore,
it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins,
at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 132-133.

The importance of keeping one’s head

Never bend your head. Always hold it high.
Look the world straight in the eye.

Helen Keller

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(a preening gull /Henderson State Park, Florida / Julie Cook / 2015

We can hang our heads,
cover our heads,
hide our heads
or. . .
we can keep our heads,
raise our heads
and hold our heads high. . .

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Saving the best for last

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart.”
― Helen Keller

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(the setting of the sun in a December Georgia evening sky / Julie Cook / 2014)

Does He give us His very best at the start of each day?
The time when our senses are the most fresh and keen?

Does He give us His very best at the noonday hour?
The time when we begin to lose our steam, seeking a needed jolt to make it through the day?

Or does He save His very best for the end of each passing day?
When our eyes are weary and our senses dulled, when our strength is gone
and our hearts are low?

Caught red handed

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
Helen Keller

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(guess who’s at my front door / Julie Cook 2013)

According to the website “metal floss” the expression of “being caught red handed” originated not, as some erroneously believe, in Ireland, but actually in a kindred land—the nation of Scotland….(FREEDOM!!! — pride for my Scottish roots)

The first documented mention of “red hand” is in the Scottish Acts of Parliament of James I, written in 1432:
That the offender be taken reid hand, may be persewed, and put to the knawledge of ane Assise, befoir the Barron or Landeslord of the land or ground, quhidder the offender be his tennent, unto quhom the wrang is done or not… And uthers not taken reid hand, to be alwaies persewed befoir the…

And of course we can pretty much bet it all had something to do with the taking and killing of an animal such as a sheep or cow which resulted in spilt blood being on one’s hands—a pretty good indication of guilt back in the day…

Fast forward to Wednesday. It was late afternoon, around 6:00 PM—just before my husband would be arriving home from work. As this was just before the soon to be dreaded time change, it was still somewhat light out. I had the front door open to just the glass storm door. Suddenly both cats can be seen running to the door as I hear Peaches with a deep low growl. “Must be that pesky cat from my neighbor’s again” I muse.

I hurry my way to the entrance hall, not knowing what I’m going to find on the other side of the door, when I suddenly stop dead in my tracks. “The camera, where’s the camera?!” I silently scream in my head!! The deer are in the front yard, with one young deer right at the front walk. I edge my way over to the window in order to watch.

Low-n-behold, this young whipper snapper is making his / her way to my pots of mums and pansies just outside the front door! “Noooooooo, don’t you dare”… I again hear myself yelling inside my head. I just know they are the ones knocking down the bird feeders every night. My husband blames it on the raccoons but I have had my suspicions. I also imagine that this is the same young deer whose picture I took and posted a couple of weeks ago as it walked up on the driveway, just by the garage and front walk, to take a closer look at Peaches. No fear. I like it!

In some regards I am so glad these deer feel so safe wandering close to the house and our oak trees in search of tasty acorns. It is currently hunting season. I always fret as I grow rather attached to our daily visitors. I just hope this group continues hanging out in the yard staying close to the house or out in the back.

I continued watching my little friend who wisely opted not to eat my mums and pansies. He / she walked along the walkway stopping under the big oak tree. With camera in tow, I silently made my way out the back door. Hiding behind the bushes by the garage, I crouch down low snapping picture after picture… that is until the UPS truck turned into then barreled down the driveway.
UGH!!

“Did you not see the deer?” I practically yell at my regular delivery man. “Yeah, they ran across the driveway. What are you doing hiding in the bushes?” he asks a bit amused. Luckily he is the regular UPS man who delivers to our house, otherwise he certainly would think he had stumbled upon a truly certified nut!

“Trying to take pictures– that was until you zoomed down the driveway!”
“Well do you want your new book or not” he begrudgingly asks with a smile while handing me the small package.
“Oooooo, a new book!”
“Yes I do, thank you very much. Now you know you’ve got to hurry on up the driveway, I don’t want my husband seeing you here delivering another book—he already thinks I have entirely too many. It’s not easy explaining a big brown truck sitting in the driveway!”
“Well, at least it’s not another pair of shoes” the driver amusingly chastises as he climbs back up in his truck taking off back up the driveway from which he came.

Luckily for me the UPS truck left when it did, as my husband was just minutes behind. One would think I was up to something the way I was shooing the driver off, but in my husband’s mind, “ordering” is certainly up to something!!

How ever would I explain one more book… or another pair of shoes? I could better explain being in the bushes than I could ordering another book, or God forbid, a pair of shoes! One can never have too many books or too many shoes (unless you’re Imelda Marcos). And I just know someone like Mark Twain or Coco Channel had to have first said that!

The moral of the story: it is better to be hiding in a bush than being caught red handed wearing a pair of brand new shoes while reading a delightfully new book— or— to be a young fawn nibbling on the pansies.

Perspective

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Image of the Eiffel Tower / Paris, France / Julie Cook / 2011

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
Helen Keller

What makes you happy?

“It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”
Helen Keller

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(photograph: sunflower patch in Chicago City Park by Lake Michigan / Chicago, Illinois / Julie Cook / 2013)

Ode to the joyous, massive and most flamboyant sunflower…Van Gogh found the sunflower a wonderful subject–as he painted numerous images of this most obtuse flower. I think you either like sunflowers or you don’t. They are big and a bit garish for me, however I am drawn to the more demure and petite of the species. I have driven blissfully though the Italian countryside, in the summer months, only to marvel at the beautiful fields upon fields of sunflowers—a sea of endless burnt yellows accented by the pinnacle of the green cypress trees–which are about the only things taller than these huge flowers.

There is something about these huge flowers which seems to bring smiles to the faces of those who gaze upon an endless field of brilliant yellows. Even a vase filled with a few cuttings seems to bring a smile to a room. Is it because they are large and vie for attention? Is it because yellow, in small doses, seems to have a positive psychological effect on those who gaze upon objects reflecting this color? Is it because these flowers represent a mini sun— not blinding, but instead, something inviting, tangible and within our very reach?

A flower that is more of a working man’s flower—so unlike the showy rose which is elusive and coquettish. A sunflower is more real—it says, “here I am—I’m big and droopy, I’m ok with that and I live to make others happy.” It’s honest. I know what I’m getting with a sunflower—showy, big, wide, bright and sun-seeking, happiness in a flower.

Kids smile when they see a sunflower. Who can beat that? Smiles and a sense of happiness—those are nice attributes for anything to be able to evoke from just having folks simply gazing…..

On this new day to a new week, make it a point today to make someone happy—be it a smile, a nod, a hello…don’t worry so much about your own happiness..when you make others happy, you yourself will be the better for it all…..just ask the sunflower.