pardon the interruption

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose
all the other ages you’ve been.

Madeleine L’Engle


(The Sheriff enjoying Da’s cake / Gregory Cook / 2020)

We interrupt our scheduled dose of heavier topics as we need to recognize
a most momentous occasion.

Someone on staff at the satellite Woobooville office turned 71 this past week
and thus the Mayor, Sheriff, along with their entourage, came to celebrate.

We’ll get back to the serious stuff after everyone finishes enjoying their cake.

Doesn’t matter whose birthday it is, the Sherrif loves cake!

politicians, the ugly, the bad, the good…

“In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything.
I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency.
This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic.
But I do not repine, for I am a subject of it only by force of arms.”

H.L. Mencken


(oh the Mayor / Julie Cook / 2020)

It is during such perilous times as these that chaff is separated from wheat–

Meaning…we learn who amongst our leaders rise to the top as we disappointingly
watch others sink to the depths of deceit and self-absorption.

Case in point— here in our local locked-down town of Woobooville…
we see how the Mayor is acting somewhat shady—as seen in the paparazzi gathered
clandestine photo above.

Next, we see how easily a politician can head down the toilet…as in literally trying to
put one’s head through the potty seat…

Or what of those politicians who are known as pork bellies–
gorging themselves on taxpayers dollars (or baked beans and ribs)
while trying to pad frivolous and unnecessary money pits…


(The Mayor has a thing for all things beans…/ Julie Cook / 2020)

But in the end—our local politician and head of our sheriff department do their best
to keep our spirits raised


(the Sheriff is learning to walk!/ Julie Cook / 2020)

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

a nudist beach at….

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
Helen Keller

A nudist beach at Camp Cookie????
It seems that some folks at Camp Cookie just couldn’t wait for their bathing suits!!!

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
Oscar Wilde

a study in tense

From Holy Saturday 2017:

“To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but,
the more I reflect on it,
the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life:
we are still awaiting Easter;
we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.”

― Pope Benedict XVI, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977

“Bible teaching about the Second Coming of Christ was thought of as “doomsday” preaching.
But not anymore.
It is the only ray of hope that shines as an ever brightening beam in a darkening world.”

Billy Graham

One cannot and must not try to erase the past
merely because it does not fit the present.

Golda Meir


(the beginning cracks of life in the robin’s nest / Julie Cook / 2017)

Past
Present
Future

He was born and He lived.
He died and He was buried.
He rose and He will come again…..

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that,
just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the
body ruled by sin might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead,
he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives,
he lives to God.

Romans 6:3-10

Pandemic, what pandemic??

“The difficulties of life do not have to be unbearable.
It is the way we look at them – through faith or unbelief –
that makes them seem so.
We must be convinced that our Father is full of love for us and that He only permits
trials to come our way for our own good.

Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God.
The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him.
As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him.
We will learn to love Him equally in times of distress or in times of great joy.”

Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

Here’s to all the grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles as well as extended
family members, and or friends, who are on “lockdown” taking care
of the little ones or older ones, or simply the other ones, while all the others
can do this whole work from home thing!

I was talking typing with
Dawn Marie over on hugsnblessing (https://hugsnblessings.com)
as to how we were both coping with being a grandmother who was helping with our little
grandbabies while their moms were busy teaching from home
while we were all stuck at home…all together at the same time.

I’ve mentioned before that with all the parents now working from home…
someone has got to be helping with all those children who are also at home—

I told Dawn Marie that I wasn’t worried so much about a pandemic taking me out
as much as I was about stepping on the Lego that is now strewn all
around the house…all while I was walking barefooted through the minefield
that is now my home!

She told me how cooking was, becoming for her, almost monastic
as she recalled a prayer by Brother Lawrence.

Now I’ve written and quoted Br. Lawrence before.

And I too understood most clearly what she was saying.

In what seems to be a previous life,
I was once upon a time a mom who also worked outside of the home…
so I knew all too well about balance.
Sometimes I did a good job balancing, sometimes, not so much.

Yet as we fast forward a good 30 years or so, into this now surreal time
of pandemics and lockdowns and sheltering in place and working from home…
I think I’ve now spent more time in my kitchen in the past three weeks than
I have in the past twenty years…or so it seems.

And this comes from someone who loves to cook!

I understand pots and I understand pans… just as I now understand laundry.
Washing, fighting stains, drying, folding…all for many a big and little wee folk
living in my current state of lockdown.

Brother Lawrence spoke of the same sort of menial acts of our lives as being
actually large thank offerings to God.
Brother Lawrence was a simple monk who toiled in the kitchen and laundry of
a Medival monastery and so if anyone knew manual labor and mundae toil and trouble,
it was Brother Lawrence.

His was the work of daily menial chores.
And yet it was in those mundane chores that he could find joy in offering to God
the simple blessings of his life.

So as we each now labor in perhaps a different capacity than what we are accustomed to—
be it working from home while balancing a family,
or perhaps sheltering in place alone and isolated,
or working to provide needed services in this time of emergency…
may we each learn to look at our circumstance not so much as our own,
but rather as a thank offering of joy to our Heavenly Father who sees
and knows of our struggles.

Learning to shift our perspective from that of carrying out thankless and
backbreaking chores into one of giving selflessly with love can miraculously lift
and change our spirits…and if there was ever a time we needed to uplift our
spirits…it would be now!

Brother Lawrence is attributed with having written a small humble book
The Practice of the Presence of God.

You can read about Brother Lawrence here:
(https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/innertravelers/brother-lawrence.html )

This is the prayer attributed to Brother Lawrence,
the French medival Christian monastic who labored in the kitchen of a medieval monastery…
may his kind and gentle thoughts bring you peace during this time of uncertainty.

Lord of all pots and pans and things,
since I’ve no time to be a great saint
by doing lovely things,
or watching late with Thee,
or dreaming in the dawnlight,
or storming heaven’s gates,
make me a saint by getting meals,
and washing up the plates.
Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love,
and light it with Thy peace;
forgive me all my worrying,
and make my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
in room, or by the sea,
accept the service that I do,
I do it unto Thee.
Amen/em>

tik tok…time is ticking

“Cruelty and wrong are not the greatest forces in the world.
There is nothing eternal in them. Only love is eternal.”

Elisabeth Elliot


(shutterstock)

First, let me start out by saying thank goodness for Elisabeth Elliot’s quote.
The following post was a difficult one to write.

It is based on an even harder article; one that I read before being ‘inspired’
to write the post.

So yes, it was good to be reminded that cruelty, and that which is truly wrong,
are not the greatest forces in the world…despite often feeling overwhelmed
by their darkness.

I need to remember that love and love alone is the one eternal constant.

And so if you’ve ever read many of my posts, you already know that I don’t take
the matter of abortion lightly.
I find it to be a painful and ugly reality of human beings being human.

Let me be the first to say that I am really really happy not to be caught up in the constant
shape-shifting and undulating communication formats that just keep morphing and multiplying
in this post-Christian, uber cutting edge, 21st century of ours.
It’s really too much to try and keep up with, as well as maintain if one wants
to be current and trendy.

Formats like youtube and even Instagram are so yesterday when you can
use a platform like TikTok

According to TikToc’s site, they explain that TikTok is the leading destination for short-form
mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.

Creativity and joy.
I’m all for it.

As a former art teacher, I love hearing about a cyber place that affords the opportunity for creativity!
And as a human being, I know that I can sure use some more joy in this world of mine!

It sounds like a nice place.
A nice site for folks to get creative and happy while sharing that creativity and happiness
with others.
A kumbaya cyber gathering spot for sharing warmth and laughter…albeit a place for
some random silliness as people seem to have way too much time on their hands
if posting videos of both animals and people doing dumb things is the latest greatest craze…

However, it appears that TikTok seems to be shifting away from its original mission of
spreading happiness and joy as it is now becoming a site for both darkness and death.

Huh?

Is not darkness and death the antithesis for creativity and joy?

It seems that TikTok is now the hot new place where young gals are posting videos of
their abortion procedures.

Graphic and even disturbing videos.

And yes you have read correctly–there are gals out there, young gals,
who are giggling and being silly while uploading videos of their own abortion procedures.
As in a sick twisted, yet not without the moments of youthful silliness, step by step documentary.

Where, praytell, is the creativity and joy in that?

And so now that you are somewhat befuddled and confused over a story that started out about
spreading creativity and joy and yet has now spiraled into something rather insidious and sinister,
you must be wondering where on earth did I ever hear of such!?

Well, I was reading over yesterday’s offering from The Federalist when one of the featured
stories caught my eye.

If Girls Want To Be ‘Candid’ About Abortion On TikTok,
They Should Livestream It All

MARCH 4, 2020
By Joy Pullmann

This article deals with sensitive information that may be traumatizing especially
for post-abortive men and women and those who have experienced miscarriage.
My heart goes out to you. You can heal.

Pro-life activist Lila Rose says Twitter forced her to remove a viral video she
reposted of a young woman celebrating her Planned Parenthood abortion on the social media
platform TikTok.

According to a twitter post that Twitter removed, pro-life activist Lila Rose wrote:
Our ability to be cruel is endless.
When society celebrates abortion, should we be surprised to see this kind of cruelty?
My heart breaks for this little helpless baby,
killed on camera, his young mother joking about it.
And it breaks for her, who will live with this all her life
twitter.com/lilagracerose/

The article continues with a twitter tit for tat…

Insider summarized the TikTok video this way:

The user @cpcake21 posted a 20-second clip, which began with an apparently positive
pregnancy test belonging to her friend Ashley. The girl shows off her stomach before
the video follows them to a Planned Parenthood clinic,
where they point out a solemn couple in the waiting room before cutting to Ashley
on the table in a medical gown.
The video, which was posted from a now-private profile but posted in some tweets,
is overall lighthearted.
Set to a remix of Bruno Mars’ ‘It Will Rain,’
Ashley nervously laughs and fist pumps before she’s in the exam room.

Twitter removed the tweets it didn’t like, TikTok removed the videos that spun out of control
but not before the damage, sharing, shock, and disbelief were spread far and wide…kind of
like that desire for creativity and joy….spread it far and wide.

A small war ensued between the pros and cons with Twitter and TikToc siding with the pros and
attempting to silence the cons…but isn’t that how things now work?

The author of the article continues…

It’s hard to know where to begin.
With what looks like teenagers joyfully making the choice to have their wombs suctioned out
or induced with a miscarriage?
With the weird and sick trend of abortion-happy posts on the social media platform
saturated with young Gen Zers?
With a “reporter” who has a huge platform encouraging murderous
and self-damaging behavior among teen girls?

Let’s just go with the transparency angle.
You want “open and candid” information about a major medical decision that ends a life you created?
Great.
Let’s livestream it.
The whole thing.
Not just the fist-pump, but also the entire ultrasound the abortionist is watching while
he suctions out the baby, or the blood and tiny body pouring into the toilet
after an abortion pill while the young mother vomits and sobs.
Go ahead.
Be “transparent.”

I dare any mainstream media outlet or abortion organization to go full transparent.
To preserve the mom’s privacy, you don’t have to show her face.
Just show the procedure.
Nothing to hide, right?
Everything to celebrate, right?
Own that rhetoric.
Prove it’s true.

Of course, they won’t.
Because all the “shout your abortion” and “abortion parties” nonsense is a web of lies
attempting to conceal one of the most grotesque national sins Americans have ever allowed
our government to sanction.

The article is extensive as well as graphic.
But isn’t that what abortions are?

They are graphic moments of both life and death.
They are not neat nor are they pretty.

Maybe folks make light of such acts because how else can they cope with something so tragic?
Despite clamoring for legalization, proponents for abortions still wish to keep the details
and graphic nature hidden from plain sight…
that is except for when some young girls, who don’t seem to
grasp the severity of their actions, decide to post an “adventure” and then a few rabid activists
encourage said behavior as “brave.”

When did the taking of a helpless life become brave?

Abortion advocates don’t like for the opposition to lay all the cards plainly on the table for all the
world to see….it’s a messy business.
Ugly, messy and deadly.

They want to be able to perform such acts while preferring that no one really acknowledges
the ugliness of it all.
Keep it light and easy…creative and joy-filled.

The clock is ticking…

Here is the link to the full story.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/04/if-girls-want-to-be-candid-about-abortion-on-tiktok-they-should-livestream-it-all/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=3f4087fbae-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-3f4087fbae-84149832

restores us…

“It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a man’s progress,
nor the nature of the task, but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.”

St. Francis Xavier


(falling snow covers the holly, Biltmore Estates, NC/ Julie Cook / 2020)

“Thus sin renders the soul miserable, weak and torpid, inconstant in doing good,
cowardly in resisting temptation, slothful in the observance of God’s commandments.
It deprives her of true liberty and of that sovereignty which she should never resign;
it makes her a slave to the world, the flesh, and the devil;
it subjects her to a harder and more wretched servitude than that of the unhappy
Israelites in Egypt or Babylon.
Sin so dulls and stupefies the spiritual senses of man that he is deaf
to God’s voice and inspirations; blind to the dreadful calamities which threaten him;
insensible to the sweet odor of virtue and the example of the saints;
incapable of tasting how sweet the Lord is,
or feeling the touch of His benign hand in the benefits which should be a constant incitement
to his greater love.
Moreover, sin destroys the peace and joy of a good conscience, takes away the soul’s fervor,
and leaves her an object abominable in the eyes of God and His saints.
The grace of justification delivers us from all these miseries. For God,
in His infinite mercy, is not content with effacing our sins and restoring us to His favor;
He delivers us from the evils sin has brought upon us,
and renews the interior man in his former strength and beauty.
Thus He heals our wounds, breaks our bonds, moderates the violence of our passions,
restores with true liberty the supernatural beauty of the soul,
reestablishes us in the peace and joy of a good conscience,
reanimates our interior senses, inspires us with ardor for good and a salutary hatred of sin,
makes us strong and constant in resisting evil, and thus enriches us with an
abundance of good works.
In fine, He so perfectly renews the inner man with all his faculties that the Apostle
calls those who are thus justified new men and new creatures.”

Venerable Louis Of Grenada, p. 46
An Excerpt From
The Sinner’s Guide

Happy 2nd birthday…or a life as seen through cake

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all
the other ages you’ve been.

Madeleine L’Engle


(the festive table of the day /Julie Cook/ 2020)

Our lives have been forever changed because of you.

It began with a subtle announcement in September of 2017

Followed by an exciting sense of anticipation later in October as seen through a cake.
(baby shower)

Then came the exuberance of the marking of a milestone,
the first Birthday…complete with a cake in February of 2019

And so today, with the blink of any eye and the whirl of time, we now find ourselves having
moved from life with a baby to life with a little girl…as seen through the festivities
of a 2nd-year-old birthday cake

And always with your trusty sidekick is by your side…

And whereas you will not remember these early days of cakes and festivities or
presents and toys…
nor will you remember the early days of our handholding, our sleepovers, our kisses,
our laughter, our tender embrace…
I do pray, however, that you will always be filled with both joy and wonderment
not to be contained by limits or disillusionment…

I pray that you will always know that when I am long gone,
my love will transcend both time and space.

And I pray that you will always remember that no matter what,
God will always hold you by the hand and He will never leave your side.


(The first snow / Julie Cook/ 2020)

Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Blink and you just might miss it

“I am somewhat exhausted;
I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?”

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Dying Detective


(the first morning of the New Year as everyone made it to midnight, and look it)

I don’t know about you but I am somewhat exhausted.

Is it my age?
Was it the holidays?
Is it both??

Sprinkle in a heavy, or is that heavenly, dose of The Mayor and Sheriff.

They both go fast and hard…wide open…until


(The Mayor pushing around her little Sheriff, literally / Julie Cook / 2019)

they crash…falling in their tracks as the need to recharge runs deep
and is impossible to ignore.

And as hard as it can be for me to keep up or keep track or keep going…
I am reminded that in a blink of an eye…I will turn around and they will run,
or rather make that drive, off on their own all too soon…

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121

The before and after the magic…of Santa…

“Of course there is a Santa Claus.
It’s just that no single somebody could do all he has to do.
So the Lord has spread the task among us all.
That’s why everybody is Santa Claus.
I am.
You are.”

Truman Capote, One Christmas


(the local Atlanta Channel 2 news Santa tracker report)

During the local new’s weather segment, Santa appears on a television in the house
of children across the land. He tells all the little boys and girls that he’s on his way…
and suddenly little people start losing their minds.

They don’t really know why they’re losing their minds…it just seems to be
the seasonal thing to do.


(The Mayor seeing Santa on the televison


(The Sheriff shares his sister’s enthusiasm)

And of course, there are always some who don’t lose their minds but rather think
their ‘parents’ have lost their minds by dressing them in a Christmas sweater.


(Percy not a fan of his sweater)

And here is the image of the aftermath…the moment the air, the energy and
the enthusiasm has left the room…

All having left once Santa came and went…
Gone and departed once the packages were shredded open…
Removed along with the boxes and paper now filling the recycle bin,
Swallowed and digested with the final morsels of savored Christmas foods.

Pure exhaustion…


(moppie and her posse / Julie Cook / 2019)

I could write something philosophical or even offer a psychological treatise about
the evils regarding Santa and children…the evils of secular Christmas vs religious Christmas,
the evils of the hypnosis of our commercial and materialistic world…
but I don’t want to do that…

Rather, I want to relish in what is now the memory of a Christmas that just was.

As a grandmother, I know that such moments are more fleeting on my end but seemingly
everlasting on their young end.

I’m simply going to savor this moment, this time given to me as a gift.
God’s gift to me.

I do so while thanking Him for the universal gift He gave to all mankind…
that of his only begotten Son…

Children and Christmas are certainly a magical combination…

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17