where ever shall we begin….

“If you are suffering from a bad man’s injustice,
forgive him—lest there be two bad men.”

St. Augustine


(lovely treasures found along a morning walk /Julie Cook / 2021)

Each and every passing day I want to spout off my take on the
latest madness besieging our lives…
The idiocy of man…and woman…all playing out here in the US.

And each and every idiocy deserves its own epistle.

But there simply is no time in which to keep up with the
turning of the surreal wheels.

As soon as I could write about one thing, something else pops up
and the popping just keeps popping.

Critical Race Theory
Woke School Boards
Woke schools
Wokeness in general
US Education
US Representatives and their big ignorant mouths
Race
Political egos
Egos in general
A US president who, for our own saving grace, needs simply to
sail off to the sunset…taking that wife and son with him.
A vice president who is a silly little girl who simply needs
to be taken away…
Borders
Migrants
Immigrants
MS13
A culture hellbent on canceling most of the life we thought
we knew and loved….
The Media which really is no example of what true journalism is all about.
Vaccines and masks—nuff said
Propaganda
Faucism
Posers
Imposters
Lies
falsehoods
Madame Speaker
The Squad of imbeciles
American Flags
Disrespect
alternative history
triggers
emotions
tender feelings
adults being babies
immaturity
whimps
safe zones
feelings…nothing more than feelings…
Crime
More crime
violent crime
riots
protests
laws
what laws?
Help wanted
checks
Welfare state

on and on it goes…
there is no time to start on one topic before another topic
steals the spolight.

and wouldn’t you know it…
The Mayor and Sheriff are coming to spend the majority of the week
with Mom and Da while Mommy and Dada go on a much needed bit of R & R
Which in turn means you must pray for Mom and Da!!!!

Heck…let’s just all pray now–cause prayer is about all any of us
still really have left…

I think I’ll just take my chances with the ensuing heat, humidity
and cicadas—at least those three things are brutally honest

“To love God’s will in consolations is a good love when it is truly
God’s will we love and not the consolation wherein it lies.
Still, it is a love without opposition, repugnance, or effort.
Who would not love so worthy a will in so agreeable a form?
To love God’s will in His commandments, counsels,
and inspirations is the second degree of love and it is much more perfect.
It carries us forward to renounce and give up our own will,
and enables us to abstain from and forbear many pleasures, but not all of them.
To love suffering and affliction out of love for God
is the summit of most holy charity.
In it nothing is pleasant but the divine will alone;
there is great opposition on the part of our nature;
and not only do we forsake all pleasures,
but we embrace torments and labors.”

St. Francis de Sales, p. 76

indifference

“The most deadly poison of our time is indifference.
And this happens although the praise of God should know no limits.
Let us strive, therefore, to praise him to the greatest extent of our powers.”

St. Maximilian Kolbe


(a lost moth wing / Julie Cook / Julie Cook /2021)

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

Elie Wiesel

Incarnation

The fact that theology also considers the body should not astonish or
surprise anyone who is aware of the mystery and reality of the Incarnation.
Theology is that science whose subject is divinity.
Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh,
the body entered theology through the main door.

St. John Paul the Great


(bumble bee on sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Christ took upon himself this human form of ours.
He became Man even as we are men.
In his humanity and his lowliness we recognize our own form.
He has become like a man, so that men should be like him.
And in the Incarnation the whole human race recovers the dignity
of the image of God. Henceforth, any attack on the least of men
is an attack on Christ, who took the form of man,
and in his own Person restored the image of God in all that
bears a human form.
Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord,
we recover our true humanity,
and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism
which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with
the whole human race. By being partakers of Christ incarnate,
we are partakers in the whole humanity which he bore.
We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity
of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means
that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others.
The incarnate Lord makes his followers the brothers of
all mankind.
The “philanthropy” of God (Titus 3:4) revealed in the Incarnation
is the ground of Christian love towards all on earth that bears
the name of man.
The form of Christ incarnate makes the Church into the Body of Christ.
All the sorrows of mankind fall upon that form,
and only through that form can they be borne.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

President Biden, this is on you

The border is a crisis—plain and simple.


(ABC)

President Biden and VP Harris may opt to ignore it all..
They may opt to pass the buck…
They may opt to blame their predecessor…
but it remains, none the less…a problem on their watch.

Children left alone by both their coyote handlers charged with moving them across
the border as well as by their own parents…parents who make personal choices
that do not hold their own children’s safety and care as a key paramount priority.

Many of these children will fall victim to either drug smugglers or
sex trafficking.

Unacceptable Mr. President.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/migrant-boy-abandoned-along-us-mexico-border-video

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially
for members of his household, he has denied the faith and
is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:8

The Baptizer

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“I am a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

John 1:23


(Jonathan Roumie and David Amito (back to camera) as Jesus and John the Baptist in Episode 5 of season two. Image: “The Chosen”/Instagram)

Have you watched it yet?
Episode 5, Season 2 of The Chosen…?

In this latest episode we meet the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptizer.
Plus our beloved Mary the Magdalene is seen to suffer a bit of
a set back when she encounters a demonic possessed man.

Now you know I’m loving the Chosen.
It’s like Dawn Marie noted in a comment the other day regarding my most recent
post about this wonderful crowd funded series—-each character we meet during
each episode offers a glimpse into each of us…
The quirks, the negatives, the setbacks, the brokenness speaks to each of us.

That’s in part why I enjoy the series so much…the back stories…
And yes, the creative license into the back stories of each of our favorite
Biblical characters is perhaps a bit far reaching,
however it allows us to feel a deep sense of connectivity.
They become real…real like you and me…and who’s to say that that real
is not really real??

Plausible, fictitious, real or false….we simply don’t know.

They had lives..they had personalities…the had faults…that had
something that drew Jesus to each one of them…

We have each suffered, we are all broken…
and yet He can and will still call on us.

But…in this particular episode, we meet the cousin of Jesus…
John the Baptist.

That seemingly wild man who lived in the desert, eating locust and honey while
wearing a camel hair and a leather belt.

He preached to the animals as well as to all who had ears to hear.

He spoke of One who was to come after him…

Yet the Chosen offered us a bit of a different take on John.

And to be honest, I don’t know if I liked this particular depiction.

As wild as John is depicted in the Bible, I always thought him to be
focused…focused on a higher spiritual plane…
not necessarily political, despite his focus on Herod Antipas.

The Chosen, however, seemed to portray him as more zealot…
and whereas a zealot is one who is fanatical…which John was…
I felt that this portrayal of John was more of an egoistical political
rabble rouser…and not one who was immersed in the Spiritual.
That of one on a different plane than the average human.

He joked a bit more than I felt the true John would have with his
cousin, the Son of God. He pushed his cousin…he pushed him to
get on with his “mission”, all of which I don’t see the real
John having done.

An impatient John?
No…I have always seen John as a polestar.
Not impatient but rather one who was content with pointing the way.

Meanwhile, we are now worried…. we are worried about what Mary is
up to.
What did meeting another demon possessed soul do to her healing…
her transformation?

As Believers, we all know that backsliding is real.
It can be a constant battle.
Satan knows our weakness.
He knows our achilles heel..and he plays on it masterfully…
yet in the end Jesus and our healing will prevail

So…what say you??
What do you think?

I baptize you with water for repentance,
but after me will come One more powerful than I,
whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you
with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:11

I want to go look for America

Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly,
than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and
circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank
among the Nations;
The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age
of Ignorance and Superstition,
but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood
and more clearly defined, than at any former period,
the researches of the human mind, after social happiness,
have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge,
acquired by the labours of Philosophers,
Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years,
are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily
applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government;
the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce,
the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality
of sentiment… have had a meliorating influence on mankind
and increased the blessings of Society.
At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence
as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely
free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.

[Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 – Writings 26:484–89]”
George Washington, Writings


(Bald eagle in flight over the James River/ Parks Rountrey)

Is it just me???

I suddenly have a great desire to hop in the car and take off.

Taking off into the great unknown.
I want to go off on some grand American adventure.

I want to go find America.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that this nation of ours has been shut down
for basically a year and a half…and in many parts,
she is still shut down.

Maybe it’s because this nation of ours is now at
some surreal war with itself…

I want to see for myself if we are still out there…is this great nation
I’ve always known, still out there…alive and well?

Or has she become a mere ghost of herself?

Many years ago, when our son was little, we decided to take him on
our small version of the great American family vacation.

Sadly we all know how such family vacations often play out.
The parents are typically enthralled while the kids are usually bored
to tears.

And that’s pretty much how it played out for us.
The pictures of smiling parents with a smug kid in tow.

However we wanted our son to see things we knew that were the wonders of
this great nation of ours.
Wonders such as the Grand Canyon, the rugged coast of Maine,
Yellowstone and Old Faithful, the Great Salt lake,
the lands of the American western Indians,
true free spirited roaming buffalo, the settlements of Jamestown,
The Outer Banks and Blackbeard, the painted desert, the petrified forest,
the Grand Tetons, the Snake River, the raw lands of Alaska,
the endless corn fields of Nebraska, the Rocky Mountains…
So we got in the car over the course of several summers and drove..
and in some cases, we flew then drove.

We wanted our son to see parts of this nation other than his own
home in Georgia.

During those formative years, we took him to the west,
the southwest, the north, the northwest, the northeast, the southeast,
while traversing the middle of this great land.

I suspect as parents, we might have enjoyed these trips more than our
preteen son but in the end, we knew he needed to see our country outside
of his own narrow world—all because one day, he would appreciate that
he had seen all these things…he would have a reference point when
thinking about this country as his home.

I know that not all kids have such opportunities…
nor do all adults…
But getting in a car and driving just seemed to make sense.
He probably would have been happier to just spend time at the beach..
but there was just so much we wanted him to experience.

We did what we could as his parents to expose him
to as much of this country as possible—because we wanted him
to see America.
We wanted him to see what our forefathers knew was worth fighting for.
Why a Revolution was fought, why a Civil war ensued, why we have sent young men and women to various wars all in order to preserve this somewhat “perfect union”.

And perhaps to understand this current struggle with our past.

In my little bio on the “About” page of this blog I mention
that I enjoy traveling.
“I also possess a tremendous passion for travel as I feel traveling
helps to make an extremely large and diverse world a little friendlier–
as it calls for understanding and empathy which are results of spending time
in someone else’s “world”—
as all of us on this planet share a very similar human history and relationship—
the things that make us more alike than different are those ties that bind
together rather than separate…”

Spending time in someone else’s world…
Isn’t that what makes those little connections with others?
We begin to see others not as different but as more alike.
Connections that allow us to understand one another??

Yet today sadly, I know that we can’t just hop in the car and take off.
Not today, not now.

Gas prices are on the rise, the pandemic still holds some states
as prisoners while others are being liberated.
And despite being vaccinated, masks are still required,
social distancing is still a thing and freedom of movement
is actually not so free…it is limited at best.

Throw in a mass influx of illegal immigrants and the notion of safety,
in some of our border states, becomes a serious issue.

Add in the continued violence from Marxists and Anarchist groups
such as Antifa and BLM overflowing in many or our Nation’s major cities..
and so visiting some of our major cities is not even an option.

So hopping in a car while hitting the wide open highways,
in order to go see America, is simply now a pipe dream…

However I wonder…if I did get to go out and see this America of mine,
I wonder what exactly I would find…

Most likely a rewritten history of a nation’s past along with
a now very uncertain future.

Is this land really your land and my land…

Satan and the fears and anxiety he produces…are liars

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Plato


(courtesy the web)

Fear seems to have been a running thread throughout most of our lives
these past oh so many months.

We have fretted, been filled with dread, fear and anxiety over politics,
over anarchists, over Marxism, over wokeism (yes, I just made that a word),
over Covid and over the darkness that just seems to be enveloping all of us
both figuratively as well as literally.

There is fear felt by parents whose children are sick…
Fear felt by families whose loved ones serve in our military,
Fear felt for our first responders and law enforcement…

The list is lengthy and our fear has been palpable.

Yet Believers know from whence fear comes…it comes from the father of Lies.
And so because of this, we know that fear is indeed a liar.

I bring this all up because my friend Stephanie, whose police officer husband
is still in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the head and subsequent
wreck of his patrol car, spoke very candidly today
(yesterday when you read this) regarding her being fearful.

Stephanie has had a roller coaster of fear since she first received
that initial call that Rob had been shot in the line of duty.

The initial fear was losing Rob—would he survive.

So just to recap the tale before I proceed, Sgt. Rob Holloway was
responding to an all call for backup in the wee hours of Monday morning
April 12th.
The car that the Georgia State Patrol, The Carroll County Sheriff’s Dept.
and the Carrollton City Police force were responding to, was traveling in
speeds exceeding 100 mph and the young men in the car were firing on
the officers.
Sgt. Holloway was shot in the head, lost control of his vehicle, and crashed.

He was life flighted to Atlanta’s Grady trauma Hospital, underwent surgery
to remove part of his right frontal lobe while parts of the bullet
remain embedded in his brain.

Rob has made tremendous strides and has since been transferred to Atlanta’s
Shepherd Clinic.

However…

Rob has been running a fever now for several days…a fever that does not
seem to be subsiding despite treatments.
He has been placed on potent antibiotics as meningitis is now suspected.

He has been transferred back to the ICU.

Stephanie, my former colleague, has been dutiful to keep a journal
on CaringBridge. A wonderful platform for those who want to share
the updates of loved ones who are struggling with a battle of health.

From the CaringBridge site:

From the launch of the very first CaringBridge site,
we’ve been working toward a single vision:
a world where no one goes through a health journey alone.
In order to turn this vision into reality,
we’ve made it our mission to build bridges of
care and communication providing love and support
on a health journey.

I think it is cathartic for Stephanie to write and reach out to the folks
in her and Rob’s world.
However, I suspect that world is growing wider with each post.

I also think it is cathartic for those of us who read her posts.
Stephanie is probably not aware that she is currently being a strong
witness for what faith in Jesus Christ is all about.

She is honest with her feelings yet so steadfast in her conviction.
She is humorous as well as insightful.
I have been richly blessed by simply reading her daily posts.

Even when she is fearful, she knows from whence her help, her calm,
her peace, comes…

Here is Stephanie’s latest post:

Hello friends,

Today has been an eventful day at the Shepherd All-Inclusive Resort.
Rob ran a fever all last night.
Neither his medications to reduce the fever nor the cooling blanket
helped the fever decrease.
So, we started the day with a fresh round of bloodwork and another CT scan –
all before breakfast.
They changed medications and after the CT scan,
his fever dropped below 100 for the first time since 1:00 a.m.
Thank you, Lord!

Robbie stayed pretty groggy all day and slept a lot,
but the fever never returned.
This afternoon, his neurologist, his doctor at Shepherd,
and an infectious disease doctor came to visit our room.
Even though it is too soon to tell if bacteria grew in his spinal fluid
from his lumbar puncture yesterday,
his white blood cell count was elevated indicating he may have meningitis
(an infection of the brain or spinal cord).
Because there are still bullet fragments in his brain,
he has been at high risk for infection since his injury.
The good news is that the CT scan and blood work are all still normal.
There were also no brain abscesses found near the bullet or
bone fragments in his brain.
This is great news because meningitis can be treated with antibiotics,
and a brain abscess would require surgery and antibiotics.
Another positive behind all of this is that his medical team
started him on the right antibiotics on Sunday
since they suspected infection over the weekend.
The infectious disease doctor increased his dosage and said
that he would probably be on them for 7-14 days.
He said it usually takes longer to notice a difference and requires
a longer medication duration because the infection is in his
spinal fluid.

But wait, there’s more.
As a precautionary measure,
we have moved back to ICU at Shepherd until the antibiotics start
positively impacting Rob’s symptoms.
Robbie was thrilled to have a “new hotel room,” and really quite
pleased with the move.
He is resting peacefully now, and I probably will be soon, too.
I think moving to ICU is a good thing as well for now.
At Shepherd, the ICU nurse to patient ratio is 1:2,
and his vitals will be monitored continuously all night long.
Also, migraines, fever, and confusion are all symptoms of
this type of infection, and so hopefully these antibiotics will
greatly change all of the issues Robbie has been experiencing
so we can get back to training and visiting people in the garden.

I’ll admit that this morning I was a little afraid,
but the Spirit quickly reminded me that fear is a liar
(2 Timothy 1:7),
and verses about fear kept running through my mind.
I was quickly renewed to what I know to be true –
God has us in the palm of his hands (Isaiah 41:10, 13).
No weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17).
So, I started praying and had peace (Psalm 34:4).
My prayer now that meningitis and all forms of infection
have to leave his body and his entire demeanor, vitals,
and physical state are all so greatly improved in the morning
that we can move back to our normal room tomorrow.
We love you and greatly appreciate all your prayers and support.
Have an amazing night.

Love,
🙂 Steph

Psalm 31:14-15
Philippians 4:6-7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

Who do you want to love…

“Oh, my soul, how much longer do you wish to be so stingy with Jesus?
Why so negligent towards Jesus who made You?
Why so lazy towards Jesus who redeemed you?
Who do you want to love, if you do not want to love Jesus?”

St. Gemma Galgani


(a beautiful day / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Solomon prayed for prudence and wisdom so that he might govern
God’s people rightly. Because his request was unselfish,
God granted what he sought.
When we pray, we should make sure that our desires are not motivated
by selfishness.
We should only want those gifts that help us most to serve others.”
Rev. Jude Winkler, p. 105
An Excerpt From
Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit

it about broke my heat

Through prayer you will receive the strength to resist the
spirit of the world.
You will receive the power to show compassion to every human being—just
as Jesus did. Through prayer you will have a part in salvation history
as it unfolds in your generation.
St. Pope John Paul II


( a three legged doe / Julie Cook / 2021)

Driving along a lonely back road in an eastern Georgia National park,
we weren’t really surprised to suddenly spy a deer meandering down a bank…
ready to cross the road in front of our car…
But the problem was that this deer was not exactly meandering.

The deer was oddly and slowly coming down the bank.
There was something odd about her gait.
Struggling with each step…up, down, nearly collapsing,
up down, nearly collapsing…and that’s when we saw the reason
for the odd cadence of walking.

She did not have a left front leg.
The leg was missing clear up to her torso.

This deer had two hind legs and only a single front right leg.
We pretty much figured that she had either been shot in the left leg
or perhaps hit by a car…
she had lost the leg and yet she managed to survive.

Naturally we stopped the car, allowing her to slowly navigate
crossing the road.
By the time she hobbled up and down across the road, she simply stopped…
resting, while taking the opportunity to nibble
on some nice green grass.
I think she knew we’d respectfully wait on her.

Her ribs rippled underneath her sagging skin,
but we know this is the season that deer tend to be
the most lean.
She seemed to be keeping her own.

I wanted to take a picture and yet, I didn’t.
I wanted to respect her dignity along with her struggle.
I was slow to get the camera, capturing her only after she had
traveled across the road and was already headed back up the opposite bank.

So far, she’s managed to defy the odds.
Be that for good or bad.

Crippled yet persevering.
Hanging in and on despite the odds being stacked heavily against her.
A wild animal, who depends upon running and jumping in order to avoid
predators while managing on only three legs, is not high with the
odd makers.

And yet, here she was.

Believer…be encouraged!
Broken and wounded, yet we are still here.

We persevere just as He persevered before us for us…

Odds are not in our favor yet Hope always prevails.

“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, p. 132
An Excerpt From
Mere Christianity

do not lose courage

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.
Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections,
but instantly set about remedying them, every day begin the task anew.”

St. Francis de Sales


(a lovely red zinnia / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Let us not fancy that if we cry a great deal we have done all that
is needed—rather we must work hard and practice the virtues:
that is the essential—leaving tears to fall when God sends them,
without trying to force ourselves to shed them.
Then, if we do not take too much notice of them,
they will leave the parched soil of our souls well watered,
making it fertile in good fruit; for this is the water which
falls from Heaven.
I think it is best for us to place ourselves in the presence of God,
contemplate His mercy and grandeur and our own vileness and
leave Him to give us what He will, whether water or drought,
for He knows best what is good for us;
thus we enjoy peace and the devil will have less chance to deceive us.”

St. Teresa of Avila, p.147
An Except From
Interior Castle