the true test–examine

“Always be impartial and just in your deeds.
Put yourself into your neighbor’s place, and him in yours,
and then you will judge fairly..
Frequently, therefore, examine your heart,
whether it is so disposed towards your neighbor,
as you would have his disposed towards you, were you to change places;
for this is the true test.”

St. Francis de Sales, p. 226
An Excerpt From
Introduction to the Devout Life


(a wee hidden fungi in the woods / Julie Cook / 2021)

Ok, I think we can all admit we don’t like tests.
Be it the studying.
The nerves.
The wondering.
The sweating.
The fear of not measuring up…

The list is pretty endless.

And I suppose there is probably a slight percentage of folks out
there who don’t bat an eye at a test.
More power to you…all two of you! HA!

I was never a good test taker.
I never felt that the typical classroom test captured if I really knew
my material or not.
Math, well, that’s a whole different ball of wax…you either know it or you
don’t and I never did…

But we digress…

Today’s post was actually going to focus in on our disenfranchised police
departments and the woeful and shameful way in which they are being treated…
be it our Border Patrol, various State Patrol, city police or rural sheriffs…
their situations are all abysmal and we should be ashamed.

But I’m going to have to hold off on that thought today as several different
things came racing at me that I felt might need attention.
and if I think about it, it will also tie into how we are
treating our law enforcement as they are just another branch of the tree
of the trouble.

Today, especially today, I have kept reading, seeing and watching
something very troubling taking place between Americans…
and I bet we can all guess as to what that thing might just because
I know you’ve seen it too.

There is a growing and gapping hole in our hearts.

It is a widening gap in our lack of and ability to offer empathy.

Empathy, the dictionary tells us is:
‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.’

And what we are witnessing play out in real time right here and now
is how very little in the way of empathy we have—
especially in the way of offering any of it to our fellow human beings-

In particular to those who we do not see eye to eye.

Loathing enters in.
Despise and resentment each set a hard rock in the midst of the heart.

We no longer want to hear the side, thoughts or feelings of those
who we disagree with because we have already rendered them null and void.
They might as well just disappear into thin smoke,
banished away from our presence, our lives, our world…
all because we don’t like their color,
their politics,
their religion or lack thereof…
their views…
or their lack of vaccinations…

So instead we look at them sideways and glare…
we find ourselves wishing them ill or harm.
Some of us have even verbalized such to their faces.

“you need to die”
“you need to rot in hell”
“I hope you are raped”

It’s all actually quite anti-human, de-humanizing.

I see, with my own eyes, that there is a tremendous lack of care, patience
and or regard for our fellow man.

Be it the nurse or doctor who curses the patient who is deathly sick with
Covid, or something else, when they reveal that they had not been vaccinated.
Suddenly contempt and resentment quickly flows freely toward that sick,
and in many cases, dying individual.
Or that contempt is simply heaped upon the grieving surviving family.
Or upon anyone who has opted not to get vaccinated.
It is indeed the clean and unclean..
We are told to trust and follow the science but that science just
happens to be fluid because we are learning on the fly.

“they were foolish”
“they were selfish”
“they got what they deserved”
“they have caused great harm and wasted precious time and money”
“had they not been overweight, smoked, drank or…”
fill in the blank with any other poor habit that might have
contributed to them being sick and dying.

Then there are those who have lost loved ones and now publicly denounce all others
who are unvaccinated for, in their minds, they are the ones who caused
the death of this said loved one.

And maybe all that is true.

Maybe that pro-life person out there should be raped so they can
see first hand how decisions now must be made.

Maybe that person who choses not to be vaccinated should simply
get sick and die.

Maybe the young mother to 6 kids, all with different fathers
should be forced to live on the streets.

Maybe all white people want blacks to be slaves again–
so says Maxine Waters.

The list lengthens daily.

And so our society wrestles with its response.
We wrestle as individuals.

Overlook everything or we simply cherry pick the issues we find most egregious.

I know that I don’t agree with a lot of folks out there right now
about very much.

I can find many ills and reasons as to why I disagree or even get angry with
others and or their views.
Just as others do with me and my way of thinking or seeing.

Yet I still know that all of this is really all wrong, it’s flat out bad.

Maybe I can’t change your views or feelings and maybe you can’t change mine…
but I would not wish ill upon you or those you love.
I wasn’t wired that way and I don’t think you were either.

So that’s why I felt St. Francis de Sales quote, the one I offered at the
start of this post, was so moving and so on point.

We are to have empathy by walking in another’s shoes.
Yet, sadly, our culture is long past that notion.

I won’t walk in your shoes, let alone walk with you period…
that is our society’s current mindset.

Yet I know that empathy does not equate to buying in or giving into the sinful
or the evil—we are not to give such a free pass.
Accountability for our actions remains paramount.

Yet self examination must remain ever present.
Self examination…not hubris and pride, but real deep introspection…
It is most difficult to do because it begins to expose the cracks
in our own facade.
Yet it is what God requires of all men…
The being….to see, to look, to feel, to offer grace, to hold accountable…
but to do so by His rule of play and not our own.
He calls that Grace and He has given it freely…
I think we are to do so as well…

Would you pass the test?

I need to go study…

“I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that
I must hate a bad man’s actions but not hate the bad man:
or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner….
I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction:
how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man?
But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom
I had been doing this all my life — namely myself.
However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed,
I went on loving myself.
There had never been the slightest difficulty about it.
In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man.
Just because I loved myself,
I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

seeds of disconnect

Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering
end up disconnecting our suffering from God’s suffering for us.
The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.

Henri Nouwen


(seeds emerge from the head of a sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

So an odd thing happened last week here in my little corner of bogland…
I had written two posts tipping a hat towards the Texas abortion law.

So before we press on…here is a little personal disclosure.

I am adopted—in turn, I am not a fan of abortion.
Plain and simple.

For you see, I was a afforded life and not a death sentence.
I may not have been “planned on” nor wanted…
however I was offered a chance
with someone else who did want me.

Therefore I believe in life and not death.

So you can fuss and cuss with me all day long, I’m not budging.
Life begins at conception…the current prolife laws are stating
that life begins at the detection of a heartbeat…hence the title
of many of these laws—the heartbeat bill—if there’s a heartbeat,
there is in turn life..
If you abort that heartbeat, you are killing a life.

Pretty straight forward.

Oh yeah, I’m also a Christian…I believe God is the Creator of all life.

So there you go…now let’s get on with this tale.

So it was from my second post–the one regarding abortion,
Texas, liberties and ideologies— a post mind you,
that was really just an excerpt from a book
by professor, theologian and author, Peter Kreeft—
How To Destroy Western Civilization And Other Ideas From The Cultural Abyss
when the trouble began.

The title of my post was “The elephant named “sex” sitting in the living room”
Kreeft was writing about religious liberty being attacked in the
name of sexual liberty and since I totally concurred,
I opted to simply copy two pages of his book as my post.

So 47 comments were generated from that post.

Some of those were obviously my responses to those offering their 2 cents.
Some cents are good cents…some cents made no sense.

So there was this gal who is known as House of Hearts who commented
and commented—with much disdain I might add—
Here we go—

House of Hearts:
“What’s happened in Tx is a travesty, the Supreme Court has
failed in its responsibility.
It’s time to add additional judges to SCOTUS and stop the filibuster.
Placing a bounty ($10,000) on your neighbors heads is fascist and unconstitutional.
Women are not the only one’s who will suffer.

My response:
I respect your thoughts–I wonder however,
if SCOTUS had rendered a decision that was more inline with your
thoughts on this issue, I doubt you would be demanding to
“pack the bench” —and as for filibusters, they are indeed a bit
of an oddity within our legislative branch.

And so here it comes…

HoH:
It’s time to take action against the ruthless far right.
Are you one the “no mandates, my body my choice”
but when it’s someone else’s body it is also your choice?
Indeed we must stand up against the corruption of
Trumpism that has infiltrated the highest court of the land.

Me:
I’ve had both vaccines—plus Covid despite doing everything I was told—
I’m not going to demand that someone else get the shot if they don’t feel
it’s best for their life’s circumstance—
I am not an anti vaccine person as I and my child had every vaccine
one is to get —however that being said,
no one knows what the long term effects might be of these shots
as the issue of fertility for younger girls who get
the shot is an a huge question .
I think Trump did very good things for the economy and did put US interests first.
I think Biden is a very weak man and totally handled the
pulling out of Afghanistan terribly wrong—
his poor planning cost the lives of 13 servicemen and women
and he simply left 90 billion dollars of taxpayer
funded military equipment behind for all
US enemies to have at their disposal…
there are correct exists and wrong exits—
he opted for the wrong one—
And as a person who was adopted as well as a
Christian who knows that I am the created and not the Creator ,
abortion is not something I can ever support—
I do equate it to murder of the unborn.
I respect your opinions and that you disagree —
I hope you will respect mine.

HoH:
I don’t correspond with Trumpers.

Wait, when did I say I was a Trumper???
And what does Trump have to do with my post???

Me:
That is unfortunate as you may miss an opportunity to share ideas

HoH:
I can tell you are completely brainwashed and a hopeless case.

Me:
I think when I accepted Christ around the age of 10,
it’s been a roller coaster, but I’ve never been the same—
brainwashed, no— servant of Christ yes—
it does not mean I agree with everything about Trump in the least bit—
but I believe in Our Nation’s republic and our constitution—
a democratic freedom— that has come at a great cost to many
who have defended it for over 200 years— I call that patriotism

HoH:
Trump is not now nor ever has been a patriot.
He has nearly destroyed our country ,
has no respect for the Constitution nor does his constituents.
He is a criminal , he is using misguided people like you.
I have nothing more to say to you.

Me:
Again, I appreciate your opinion— at 62, college educated,
31 year veteran educator and life lived with the school of hard knocks—
I wouldn’t call that misguided, more like wizened knowledge

HoH:
Masters degree in nursing. Common sense and quick to detect
the brainwashed

Me:
Also I never said I was a Trumper but that he did a marvelous
with the economy and I like that he put US interests first

HoH:
He’s a fascist,a bully, a misogynist ,
a fool who think he can “grab ‘em by the …..”.
I don’t get how a “Christian” can stand the sight of him.

Me:
Can’t say I agree with the false name calling

HoH:
Haha! You are a Trumper. Come on now, spill it.

Spill what I’m thinking…??!!

Me:
I wonder how Trump got into my post regarding sex and abortion

HoH:
Before I tell you what’s going on with you and that you are not the
solution but the problem I’ll end this discussion now.

Me:
Thank you for being a nurse

HoH:
Speaking for medical personnel we are fed up with religious nuts,
deniers of science, listening to Fox and filling hospitals to overflowing.
Even compassion has its limits when heart attack victims are being
sent away for lack of ICU beds.

Me:
I can only imagine —
hence my having been vaccinated back in March

Then blessedly came the voice of reason from Citizen Tom
The calvary so to speak:

@House of Heart

The debate over abortion is neither simple nor straightforward. Is about a woman’s control over her body? No. Whatever an unborn child may be, that child’s body is its own, not it’s mother’s. The issue is whether an unborn child has rights and is entitled to the protection of the state.

Instead of addressing those issues,
you have engaged in hysterical name calling.
You shamed yourself with such behavior.

HoH:
Citizen Tom, watch your mouth.
You have shamed yourself.
If you think it’s ok for the state of Tx to put a bounty on a woman’s
head you should join the Taliban. The sorry thing is
The GOP’s concern for the unborn ends at its birth.
They are the first to withhold social programs for the needy,
medical care for mom and baby. Shame on you.
Your body your choice, woman’s body your choice.
You’ve sickened me.

Whoa, really??? “watch your mouth”, “you sicken me”
what kind of person tosses civil discourse out the window and immediately
jumps to the mud?????

Me:
Shame on you for your anger and disdain…
As well as for your tightly closed heart

Citizen Tom:
@House of Heart

More name calling. Instead of debating, you are trying to justify your irrational rage with lies. No one put a bounty on “a woman’s head” as you put it. Look at who can be sued and why.

It is calling abortion wrong you resent. You are in a rage that anyone would call abortion murder. So, you make up stuff to justify yourself.

HoH:
This blog is in spam now.

Huh…seem’s my little blog just fell in a rubbish pile, who knew?
Her words of “action” actually got me tickled.
I thought I heard the stomping of a defiant angry little foot..

Citizen Tom:
@House of Heart

You remind me a child who takes her ball and runs home because
her playmates won’t let her win.

Then our wise friend Oneta added:
You are sooo right.
The un-Godly always want to be sanctioned by the Godly.
Somehow that eases the conscience. Everybody is doing it.
God wouldn’t send Mother Teresa to hell so let’s force Mother Teresa
to validate us. Fine example: The issue of have a third restroom
for transgenders.
No.
That might cause them some offence.
Great post, Julie.

And then Oneta brought it home…

I see House of Heart responded to you six times after she said
she doesn’t correspond with Trumpers.
Funny!!
This is your blog; doesn’t she know it is a sign of being a good hostess
for you to respond to all comments.
People who accuse those of us who believe in adoption instead of
abortion should check some stats.
See who takes care of the living babies who are not wanted.
I know you are deeply troubled by her sending you to spam.

Now that you’ve weeded through a rambling conversation between several folks
all before one of them decided to take all their marbles home,
storming off in the midsts of a temper tantrum…
I wonder when did this younger generation, these lovely millennials and
the younger generations of whatever letter or moniker we’re currently on,
missed out of what it means to be able to have civil discourse with another
human being?

How and when did they miss out on the art of agreeing to disagree??

When did name calling become the go-to when faced with issues that produce
frustration or challenge?
Instead of working through the challenges, doing our homework and
due diligence when it comes to issues of debate, we’ve simply allowed
ourselves to become debased in our use of knowledge–we have
regressed to more animalistic reactionary antics then to
using our brains.

Plus, we have moved into a post Christian society.
God has been relegated to the annals of overinflated human hubris

History seems to suggest that humans have always looked for someone
to blame for the current ills du jour.
For much of history, those who were blamed were the Chosen of God, the Jews.
Now we throw in their Western Civilization kin, the members of Christendom.
The children of The Book…

The godless blame the Godly—and even worse, some who claim Godliness,
have turned on their own.

Today’s sacrificial lambs now abound in the realm of an ideological world war.
Socialism, wokeness, self inflation, atheism, cancel culture…
each vie for prominence while the Christians and the Jews,
those pillars of Western Civilization, are deemed expendable.

I don’t think I’m ready to quit the fight to right this
tipping ship.

Keep speaking up oh righteous ones of the One True God…

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.
On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring
and tossing of the sea.
People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world,
for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with
power and great glory.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near.”

Luke 31:25-28
.

The art of how to or how not…

The God of all mercy teaches us that our vocation is to learn to love
and also to be able to love after the image and in imitation
of the Most Holy Trinity.
Christ, therefore, is situated at the heart of marital and family life,
in other words, at the heart of the gestures and the attitudes of
the husband toward his wife, and vice versa,
of the father and the mother of the family toward their children—
which you seek to put into practice in trust and in truth.

Robert Cardinal Sarah
From his book Couples, Awaken Your Love!


(the Mayor struggling with the art of the fondue / Julie Cook / 2021)

In yesterday’s post, I noted that I had not kept up with the news during our
small family’s recent little getaway.
A smart and delightful choice I might add.

And thus, upon our return home, I foolishly thought that I needed to play
a bit of catch-up.

So of course there was the story about the plane full of smug, arrogant
and really stupid Democrats who thought they were running away from Texas,
setting their sights on being liberated in Washington D.C.

But what it really was…was a plane full of super-spreaders of Covid.
So why do we vote for such people…??
I digress.

And then there was and is the continuing migrant story…
but where do we start with that one???
Covid, welfare, gangs, sex trafficking, drugs…
Simply not enough time.

Then there was the typical story of hostility in The House between
Dems and Republicans.
A bipartisan panel to look into that House infiltration fiasco…
HA..bipartisan…that’s a good one!
But what’s new???

And of course there was the story about Dr. Fauci proclaiming that we
all need to mask up again…vaccine or not.
But maybe it’s more about the haves and the have nots.

Yet Dr. Fauci now wants us to mask our toddlers…
wee ones who will be heading to pre-school and or daycare.
So hear me now as I channel my best Charlton Heston voice…
NOT ON MY WATCH–NOT MY GRANDCHILDREN!
And no, NO SHOTS for toddlers.
We simply don’t know enough.
Perhaps that shall be one of my many mountains to perish upon.

And once again, there was the continuing story about CRT.
That idiotic ideology which I referenced yesterday.
How to teach about not being a racist…
Lets set people apart, teach them about shame, teach them about resentment,
teach them about angst and anger—those are some really powerful
kumbiya thoughts…right????
Eyes rolling.

And now there’s this latest story about the White House promoting the
Abolitionist Teaching Network whose desire is to “disrupt whiteness”…

What in the heck is that all about???

So let me backup to where we really need to be with this whole
education thing.

If you want to go backwards, which it seems the woke folks are bent on…
let’s go back to what actually worked back in the beginning…

God.
Prayer.
The Ten Commandments.
Faith.
Family.

That pretty much covers all of this lunacy in a nutshell!
Go back to those particular key components and all this fiasco will
finally be righted.

Righted only if those 5 things fall back into their original place…
then and only then will we ever have some sense of normalcy and peace….
otherwise it’s Katie bar the door—
all Hell is about to break loose and I mean hell with a big H…
as in literally.

Love, by its essence, involves a leap into the unknown, a death to oneself,
because genuine love is a love that loves to the end.
And to love to the end means to die for those whom you love.

Robert Cardinal Sarah
From his book Couples, Awaken Your Love!

“bully to you” and the wisdom offered from 1907…a revisit of an older post

“Patriotism means to stand by the country.
It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official,
save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.
It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country.
It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by
inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.
In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth,
whether about the president or anyone else.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes
here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us,
he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else,
for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed,
or birthplace, or origin.
But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American,
and nothing but an American…
There can be no divided allegiance here.
Any man who says he is an American, but something else also,
isn’t an American at all.
We have room for but one flag, the American flag …
We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language …
and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a
loyalty to the American people.”

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

This past week was a bit chopped up as we kept the Mayor for a few days
as she was under the weather and unable to go to daycare…
hence my limited words being offered here in bogland.

And boy are there not just a million or more words wrapped in so many
thoughts that need to be explored, dissected and shared…

But given our current state of affairs…the question really isn’t a matter
of where to start…but rather which crisis needs to be addressed
first.

The image below is a picture of the Mayor’s and Sheriff’s new work station.
A pulpit of sorts.
Elevating them to equal footing with the adults in their lives…
and in this case, they are elevated in my kitchen.

It’s what is known as a toddler’s kitchen helper stool.

The Mayor is really wanting to roll up her sleeves while
getting her hands deep and dirty in all the food prep–
and I for one say why not.

However I just can’t get the idea of “pulpit”,
or rather, bully pulpit, out of my head each time I look over at the stool.

And so I went back into my archives and found a post showcasing the
man who coined the very phrase ‘bully pulpit’–that being
President Theodore Roosevelt.

This first Roosevelt president was quite fond of the word bully…
as in that is how he is often remembered…
by offering a rousing “bully” when in agreement with something resoundingly
exciting.

He also offered us the notion of a bully pulpit…a leadership position
where one is offered the opportunity to extol certain thoughts and ideas—
with the office of the presidency being a great place.

According to Wikipedia,
A bully pulpit is a conspicuous position that provides an opportunity to
speak out and be listened to.
This term was coined by United States President Theodore Roosevelt,
who referred to his office as a “bully pulpit”,
by which he meant a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda.
Roosevelt used the word bully as an adjective meaning “superb”
or “wonderful”, a more common usage at that time.

So whereas T. Roosevelt knew he had quite the platform, he also knew that
his bully pulpit was certainly no throne.
Not a perch in which to dictate downward to the masses, but rather
his bully pulpit was a place to speak his piece to the people—
He always knew that ultimately the people would base their
own decisions upon what they knew to be truth.

A much different view from our current day of dictating liberal
democratic leadership.

Everything from mask mandates and fines, despite vaccinations, all
the way to suppressing support for the nation of Israel.
They tell us what to do, what to believe, what to follow—
it’s all about do and obey…or else.
There will be severe consequences—
from fines, to shunning to canceling.

Shape up, be quiet and fall in line.

I pray that the masses…aka the American people,
will indeed see the truth for what it is.

It seems that T. Roosevelt believed that the truth was akin to
what it meant to be patriotic…

And yet sadly our nation seems to have lost the concept of
patriotism years ago.
Truth has become a wayward causality of a nation who has lost her way
and lost her truth.

May we the people seek our truth.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17

to he!! with…or rather a tender reminder…

I spent my junior year in Switzerland.
On the way back home, I spent some time in England,
and I remember going to Hyde Park Corner.
And there was a Roman Catholic priest in his collar,
standing on a soapbox, preaching the Catholic faith
and being heckled by a group.
And I thought, ‘My goodness.’
I thought that was admirable.

Antonin Scalia


(Families gathered at the Idaho Capitol building on Saturday, March 6, 2021,
to burn masks at a protest over COVID-19 restrictions.)

Ok, so today–I wanted to jump on the soapbox–
I wanted to jump on a box and shout at the top of my lungs that’s
it’s time to burn the masks!!!

I am so over the masks that I can’t stand it!

Two vaccines in and I’m still required to wear a freaking mask????
I can’t breathe…I know… where have we heard that phrase before??

But no, I can’t.

I wash them.
Yet the heaviness is undeniable.
I can’t see as my glasses constantly fog.

I can’t hear.
Because everything is muffled.

I can’t judge people’s reactions
My husband’s gazillion dollar hearing aids constantly flip out when he
attempts to put on and off the masks…
and as he’s gotten accustomed to reading lips…well, we can’t see lips.

I’m tired.
I’m sick…as in literally with upper respiratory infections…

So why after two vaccines do I still have to wear a mask??
Tell me the science there???

Yet rather than continuing this triad…something else stopped me in
my tracks today.

Bloom where you are planted.

Many many years ago–I can remember writing a letter to my godfather,
who was an Episcopal priest.
I wrote the letter when I was a freshman in college.

I was young, rather lost and truly seeking any and all direction
for my future.

One line from his response letter glared from the page…
“Bloom where you are planted”

Meaning…hang in there, wait were you are, because things will
begin to come to light…do your best where you are because
God is at work, right where you are…rest and trust…

So as there has been so much I’ve been wanting to say regarding
all the craziness taking place…
from the constant shootings and murders taking place daily in Chicago,
to the Anarchists destroying Seattle and Portland, to California,
to Wokeism, to the nonsense of systemic racism, to defunding the police,
to Minneapolis, Louisville, to Elizabeth City Tennessee…
to folks like LeBron James who use their lucrative limelight to play politics
and yet who fail to “get it”…to governors putting the kibosh
on their constituents by keeping their foot on the necks of freedom…
to false narratives, to a lack of real science masquerading as fear
mongering…to forcing 2 year olds to wearing masks…to the
maligning of our law enforcement, to people who don’t understand
that poor choices equate to poor outcomes.
That law is law whether we like it or not.
Your actions have direct outcomes…for good or bad.
It’s that simple.
Assinine!!!

All of this was percolating to the surface today in my mind while
I was driving along a picturesque country road.
The hay fields were sparkling under a brilliant April sun
all the while as I was ruminating on what I wanted to say and
how I wanted to say it via a blog post.
Yet suddenly, driving down the road, a school’s billboard caught my eye.

“Bloom where you are planted”

Whoa.

My godfather has been gone now for several years and
I miss him and his wisdom terribly…but here he was.
Grabbing my attention in a way that only he could.

Reminding me…hang in there, God is at work…be patient and make
certain that you do what you need to be doing right where you are…
there rest will fall into place…God is in charge… you are not.

fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

The real enemy is already vanquished…for good

“But since the adversary does not cease to resist many,
and uses many and diverse arts to ensnare them,
that he may seduce the faithful from their faith,
and that he may prevent the faithless from believing,
it seems to me necessary that we also,
being armed with the invulnerable doctrines of the faith,
do battle against him in behalf of the weak.”

Justin Martyr (St. Justin),
Fragments of the Lost Work of Justin on the Resurrection


(detail from Caravaggio’s The Madonna and Child with St. Anne (Dei Palafrenieri) 1605)

I have always loved the works of Caravaggio—his play with dark, light and the juxtaposition of space.
Such skills helped to create a dramatic punctuation—effects found in many of his paintings.
Such skillful drama was only highlighted by Caravaggio’s own personal torment and
living the life of a rounder, rapscallion and wanted criminal.

Lots of symbology rests in this particular painting of The Madonna and Child with St. Anne


(Galleria Borghese, Rome)

An unusual image yet one that is both visceral and powerful.

I personally like the imagery of both mother and son, Mary and a young Christ,
each stomping the head of the snake.
It is an allegorical take on Christ’s victory over Satan.
And with Mary’s initial yes to God, she became privy to that very victory.

However it would indeed pierce, if not nearly breaking, her heart before there would be
that final Glory.

I can’t help but think about this image while watching our nation’s news play out in front of us.

With this second impeachment of former President Trump, as a taxpayer, I have been rather incensed.
Because if you are an able body with a pulse, you and I are paying taxes…
and these taxes of ours are helping to pay for political shenanigans.

The former President, along with us taxpayers, have been in this same spot not long ago.
It was a political circus act then, a wasteful black hole of time, energy and our money—
just like it was this past week.
A cheap and tawdry fictional paperback novel masquerading as a real political process.

So one would hope and think that with his having been voted back into normal private life,
that would be the end of our troubles with our rabid political leadership’s fraudulent
spending of ‘we the people’s’ money.
Yet sadly that has not the case.
Being returned to private life is not enough.

So the image of someone who is terrified of snakes,
who has taken a hoe to the head of said snake,
chopping off the head yet not being satisfied with the notion of the head being severed
and thus the snake being dead, continues to pound at and chop up the snake just to be
satisfied that that is indeed to end of the snake.

So don’t get me wrong— I’m not saying the former president is some sort of serpent,
contrary to what many may think.
And no, I’m not saying that there is a correlation to Jesus crushing Satan in any of this
political fiasco…it’s just that I can’t help but picture in my mind some crazed person
with hoe in hand, beating and chopping an obviously dead snake…adding an exclamation point
to the end of said snake…much like our political leaders—as in enough just isn’t enough.

However…the wonderful moral to this, as well as to all stories, is that politicians, snakes,
fiascos, lies, taxes, politics, republicans, democrats, presidents, pandemics, etc, all aside..
it that the victory, in the end, is indeed ours— Jesus has crushed Satan and in the
end we, both you and me, win.

So Jesus has no need to beat a dead horse—He’s already won… and in turn—so have we!

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

Deuteronomy 20:4

Always be busy in spiritual actions…no other action is nearly as important

“Persevere in labors that lead to salvation.
Always be busy in spiritual actions.
In this way, no matter how often the enemy of our souls approaches,
no matter how many times he may try to come near us,
he’ll find our hearts closed and armed against him.”

St. Cyprian of Carthage


(red indian pheasant / Parrot Mt. /Pigeon Forge, TN/ Julie Cook /2020)

“Christ Himself is our mouth through which we speak to the Father,
our eye through which we see the Father, our right hand through which we
offer to the Father.
Without His intercession neither we nor all the saints have anything with God.”

St. Ambrose

All sorts of things are running through our thoughts today.
Some of us are pleased yet hesitant.
Some of us are sad and resentful.

But what we need to remember is that there is One who is so much greater than
all of this mess.

If you’ve been a regular guest here,
then you already know that I am a big fan of the series The Chosen

https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen

It is solely a crowdfunded production.
Since I was afforded the opportunity to watch season 1 due to the giving of someone
who came before me…
I have opted to do the same, I have paid it forward, twice.

Here are just two of the “thank yous” I received…

So on election day…I have found that these types of words transcend the silliness of man…
words of anger, divisiveness, and bickering…all of which cast a pall over the
ways of this world.

So today, the day after, no matter how things turned out for you or me…be it good or bad …
remember, there is One who is so much greater than any of this mess…

Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Pluck up your courage

Now a Catholic is a person who has plucked up courage to face the incredible and inconceivable idea that something else may be wiser than he is.
G.K. Chesterton
from In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton
(Acorns /Rosemary Beach /Julie Cook / 2020)

I think that we could easily insert the word “Christian” in Chersterton’s quote verses the word “Catholic” because that’s what we as Christians do…we believe that there is indeed something and Someone who is indeed much wiser than ourselves.

And for the record, I am still managing to navigate this “new” WP format. I am not a fan of the boxes that hem in the quotes that I paste into the body of the post but… I will continue to see if I can manage to keep the text body fonts the same…and if not…well, we’ll just take the good with the bad.

That’s a concept that many folks in this nation of ours care not to think about, let alone do…that being, taking the good with the bad.

“What is this brightness—with which God fills the soul of the just—but that clear knowledge of all that is necessary for salvation? He shows them the beauty of virtue and the deformity of vice. He reveals to them the vanity of the world, the treasures of grace, the greatness of eternal glory, and the sweetness of the consolations of the Holy Spirit. He teaches them to apprehend the goodness of God, the malice of the evil one, the shortness of life, and the fatal error of those whose hopes are centered in this world alone. Hence the equanimity of the just. They are neither puffed up by prosperity nor cast down by adversity.’A holy man’, says Solomon, ‘continueth in wisdom as the sun, but a fool is changed as the moon.’ (Ecclus. 27:12). Unmoved by the winds of false doctrine, the just man continues steadfast in Christ, immoveable in charity, unswerving in faith.”
Venerable Louis Of Grenada, p. 135
An Excerpt From
The Sinner’s Guide

Can’t you see? Not exactly.

Can’t you see (I’m gonna take a freight train) can’t you see
(I’m down at the station lord) what that woman (ain’t never gonna go back) been doin’ to me
Can’t you see oh can’t you see (gonna ride me the southbound)
(All the way to Georgia) what that woman (till the train run out of track) been doin’ to me

Marshal Tucker Band 1973


(from N-lightenment.com)

Ok, I’m diverging today entirely from any topic we’ve been riding lately.
Driving basically off the cliff and jumping the tracks of all subject matter.
No politics.
No debate observations.
No current civil unrest rants.
No religious tit for tat…
Something entirely off track.

That Marshal Tucker Band song up above, that I’ve allowed to open this post,
is from my youthful days of high school and it came racing to my mind
yesterday morning.
It came after I’d woken from the longest and oddest dream I think I can ever
remember having.

Now, remember I’ve been fighting the withdrawals from my HRT (hormone replacement therapy)
for almost 3 months.
There has been NO, I repeat, NO sleep worth mentioning in all that time—
only insomnia and rolling hot flashes on and on all night long.

I begged my doctor to do something.
Yes begged and pleaded actually…that’s how bad me not sleeping becomes.
Reluctantly she put me back on the HRT but it is a dose fit for a mere ant.
And an ant’s dose isn’t doing me any good.

So yes, me without any real consequential sleep is not pretty.
Just ask my long-suffering husband.
He now gets very little sleep as well because all I do is toss and turn and
kick off covers all night long.

So the night before last, I doubled the CBD oil dose (yes the doctor said she
hears it helps with hot flashes but I take it for IBS and no it is not
helping with the hot flashes) plus doubled my IBS meds.

And so I actually slept without fighting my hormonal self.
Maybe I had drugged myself…but I digress.

But in that sleep came that bizarre dream.

They say that dreams are actually quite brief but I swear this particular dream went
on all night.
Even when I’d groggily come to some sort of consciousness,
I’d quickly tell the dream part of my brain to let it keep playing out because
I wanted to see how it all ended.

I believe that dreams are a mixed bag.

I believe God can speak to us in our dreams.
I believe that the devil can speak to us in our dreams…which are more like nightmares
but again, I digress.
And I believe we can speak to ourselves in our dreams.

So this dream had a younger me and an old childhood friend galivanting about.
I’ve not seen this friend of mine in years so that was the first odd thing.
Plus we were more like our younger teenage selves.

Next, we ran into a former President and first lady.
Now that is really odd because I’ve not thought much of this presidential duo
in several years. A bit of a past president but not too long ago.
Think W and Laura…
And I usually don’t think that much about presidents, let alone first ladies.

There was a woman who I think was actually that first lady.
She was kind and soft-spoken.
In the dream, something bad had happened to her,
a terrible betrayal and I had known about it.
And I felt terrible for her.
Yet there was nothing I could have done to stop it as I realized the trauma when she had–
that being after the fact.
Yet I ached for her anyway.

I can remember looking at her and she looking at me—so I impulsively took her in my arms to
hug her and offer comfort.
Not that I’m a big hugger in real life, but I do hug those who I feel are in need.
People who hurt do need hugs, but overall I’m not touchy-feely.

However, it was the look on her face, the love in her eyes towards me,
and her embrace of me that was what got to me.
Now granted her face is not the face of the real first lady in question.
Dreams work that way…you think it’s a real person but the faces are
never quite what we actually know them to be.

I woke almost with tears in my eyes.
And then started ruminating.
And then the Marshal Tucker Band song just revved up, playing in my head.
And no, the CBD oil does not contain any THC!
This craziness is all me and me alone.

Now we all know that I’m adopted.
We all know how that crazy story played out as I’ve written at length about
being adopted and having learned the identity (sort of) of my birth parents
all these many years later— written just last year.

I know who my biological father was—and from everything I’ve heard, he was a
good and kind man.

My birth mother on the other hand, who is, yes, still living, has not been as kind.
She let her lawyer inform a social worker that I was in the past and that
was where I was to stay.

And I was like, ‘Ok, you’re what…84? and I’m almost 61??…so yeah,
I’ll just stay in that past.’
Paaaallleeeezzzze.

Anyway, I did come to a peace about all of that a while back…something I’d also written
about…so it’s good to have all this material to write about I suppose.

But what I knew from this dream was that something deep inside of me yearns for that
sort of love that I saw in that woman’s eye for me and felt in her embrace.
Something I’ve never seen or felt before.
Nope never.
A deep abiding, unconditional love of a mother to her child.
And all I know is that I wanted it…or shall we say, want it.

Yep, you read it— a 61-year-old sleep-deprived woman is pining for a mother’s love.
Go figure!?!

And yes, I’ve written about this before as well…my adopted mom and I,
before her premature death to cancer at 53, had had a fractious relationship while
I was growing up—especially when I was a teenager.
But I don’t know too many moms and daughters who delight in one another
during said teenage years…
We were much closer when she suddenly got sick and died prematurely.

As that angst-driven teen, I was headstrong, stubborn, and detached from both my mom and my family.
Our family was a dysfunctional hot mess and I resented every minute of it.

I’ve written about that too…
all about my brother’s mental illness and his inability to cope
with his having been adopted…and thankfully we were not biologically related.
So you would think I’d quit having these random, out of the blue, type dreams…
but nooooooo.

And no I don’t need therapy.
I have been prayed over long ago for healing and healing came.

But to still want that sort of love is not to simply be dismissed
or even purged.
There’s something there and it keeps knocking
at a deep door in my being.

It’s a good thing to want love and to be loved.
I don’t think there’s a whole lot of that running around this country of ours these days.

So maybe that’s it.
God is bringing the idea of unconditional love to the forefront of my thoughts
because we are all living knee-deep in divisive hate.
And no, that is NOT the fault of the sitting president…it is
the fault of every human being who is ranting and raving these days.

So yes, I still yearn for that embrace.
Just as I still yearn to see that look of love in some unknown mother’s eye.

And I suspect, one day…I will both see and feel that look and that embrace…

So here’s to love.
Ture abiding love…

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:16

Not what they appear to be…

Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many;
the intelligence of few perceives what has been carefully hidden
in the recesses of the mind.

Phaedrus


(thinkstock)

I can vividly remember, years ago one evening we were watching the evening news…
This was during a more innocent time…a time when I still believed the news was news…
It wasn’t biased, not false, not politized, nor polarized…
Peter Jennings was reporting a story about a rather odd yet obscure figure.
An ingénue sort of an individual–but in this case, the figure in question was male.

He appeared to be like some tall and lanky yet benign sort of goat herder.

There was some film footage of him walking amongst a rocky terrain complete with staff in hand.
He wore a robe-like covering with some sort of religious drape or scarf along with a
tribal hat which was covering a greying head with a long greying beard to match.

He seemed harmless enough but watching him, I had a distinct disturbing feeling.
There was something about this “goat herder” that I found very very troubling.
Little did we know then that this news story was the first blip on the radar.

Bill Clinton was the current president of the day.
This was a blip on his radar…a blip he allowed to simply pass him by.

This seemingly innocuous man was actually Osama bin Laden and he was just
making a name for himself on the Western airwaves.

Little did I know that evening, all those years ago while simply
watching the evening news, that there would be a 9/11 thanks to this “goat herder”.
Nor did I know, or any of us know, that there would an onslaught of dominos
falling one over another—
all heinous acts carried out under the banner of Allahu akbar.

And so, over the years, much like when I first saw that image of Bin Laden,
there has been another man who seems innocent enough at first glance but has
given me that same sense of foreboding…
his name is George Soros.

I’ve written about him before starting back in 2016.
Here are four links to four posts featuring Mr. Soros.

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/should-we-go-or-should-we-stay/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/07/07/we-live-in-both-dark-and-light/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/this-is-what-should-keep-you-up-at-night/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/why-do-important-people-scare-me/

Once again I’ve caught another recent article featuring the likes of Mr. Soros.

It’s an article written by Robby Starbuck who is a Cuban-American producer and director.

The article is about how George Soros wants to remake America.

Why Aren’t We Allowed To Talk About George Soros’s Plan To Remake America?

According to Mr. Starbuck,
Since 2015, George Soros has pumped tens of millions of dollars into local races in Texas, Colorado,
California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and New York, as well as swing states.

Since 2015, George Soros has been executing a plan to reshape the country through
local district attorney elections by pumping unprecedented amounts of money into races
that typically only see candidates spend in the low five figures.

Here’s why he has an interest in these local races. Soros is exploiting the reality
that all politics are local in some way. To transform America,
you have to transform the way towns and cities operate.

Mr. Soros is Hungarian by birth and whose family were non-practicing Jews.
The family fled Hungry during Nazi occupation by obtaining false papers, changing the family
name from Schwartz to Soros and claiming they were Christians.

From everything that I’ve read, I still can’t understand Soros’ divide and conquer mentality.
But one thing I have discovered is that if you criticize Mr. Soros, you are considered
antisemitic.
An unspoken hands-off perimeter has been put up around this very enigmatic man.

Why criticizing a non-practicing Jew is considered antisemitic is beyond my soul.

Mr. Starbuck surmises that “the left’s assumption that questioning someone’s political
spending is equivalent to questioning his dignity as a person is itself a deeply
bigoted assumption, designed solely to silence dissent and shut down debate.”

Mr. Soros is a golden calf to the Left and I suspect it has everything to do with both
his money and his power.

Mr. Starbuck notes that Soros has spent an unbelievable amount of money on the campaigns of
progressive left DA’s across the country.
The assumption is that if you can alter the leaders of the law, you
can alter the cities themselves, if you can alter the cities, you
can alter the states, if you can alter the states you can alter the Nation.

Starbuck explains:
Buying Prosecutors Who Are Soft on Crime
Since 2015, Soros has pumped tens of millions of dollars into local races in Texas,
Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and New York, as well as swing states
such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Arizona.
In 2016, Soros spent $2,000,000 on a single sheriff race in Maricopa County, Arizona,
helping the leftist candidate, Paul Penzone, win.

In Philadelphia, Soros spent an insane $1,700,000 to elect Larry Krasner DA.
Soros has also given millions of dollars in grants to candidates in other states.
These enormous contributions have a correspondingly enormous impact.

Although his efforts haven’t been universally successful,
the vast majority of Soros-backed candidates have won with Soros donations
pushing them across the finish line.
Here are just a few examples:

$2,000,000 to fund Kim Foxx in her Cook County (Chicago, Ill.) re-election bid.
$1,400,000 to fund Aramis Ayala’s campaign to become state’s attorney of Orlando, Fla.
$1,150,000 to fund Jake Lilly’s run to become DA of Jefferson and Gilpin County (Denver) in Colorado.
$958,000 to fund Joe Gonzales’s run to become DA of Bexar County (San Antonio, Texas).
$650,000 to fund Jose Garza in his Travis County (Austin, Texas) re-election bid.
$750,000 to fund Joe Kimok in his Broward County, Fla. state’s attorney race.
$583,000 to fund Kim Ogg’s run to become Harris County (Houston, Texas) DA.
$583,000 to fund Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in her race to be Arlington County (Va.) commonwealth’s attorney.
$500,000 to fund Jody Owen’s run to become Hinds County, Miss. (Jackson) DA.
$406,000 to fund James E. Stewart’s run to become Caddo Parish, La. (Shreveport) DA.
$392,000 to fund Steve T. Descano’s bid to become Fairfax County (Va.) commonwealth’s attorney.
$275,000 to fund Diana Becton’s bid to remain as Contra Costa County, Calif. DA.
$147,000 to fund Darius Pattillo in his run to become Harris County, Ga. DA.
$116,000 to fund Kim Gardner’s re-election bid as St. Louis circuit attorney.
$107,000 to fund Raul Torrez bid to become Benalillo County (Albuquerque, N.M.) DA.
$89,000 to fund Scott Colom’s bid to become DA of Lowndes County, Miss.
That’s just a partial list, but it surely corroborates Gingrich’s point that Soros
“paid for” the outcomes of those elections, notwithstanding Harf’s unsubstantiated denial.
In 2018 The Los Angeles Times reported that Soros spent $2,700,000 on California DA races alone,
and another $16 million on 17 DA races in other states.

So my question is why would a billionaire businessman and supposed philanthropist spend billions
of dollars to alter campaigns all across the country?

Could all that money not be better spent on say feeding hungry children worldwide?

Starbuck also wonders as to why the big-spending and seems to have an idea.

“That leap from remaking our justice system to remaking America may seem like a long jump to some,
but law and order is the core of America’s existence.
Without law and order, you don’t have a country.”

And thus I wonder, are we not witnessing a nationwide cry from our liberal progressive left
to defund the police…a cry to throw out the law, throw out the order,
throw out the rules…all for a seismic shift in what might soon to be considered a
“former” America?

And so for a nation to have no order, no law, no rule…one is left with only one thing–
anarchy.

I will piggyback off of this thought of a downward spiral tomorrow with
more of a prophetical Spiritual take…but just remember that if you remain silent,
if you know what is taking place is wrong, but opt to say nothing, choosing to ignore
what is happening by looking the other way…the life you think you know and love will not
always be there.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/19/why-arent-we-allowed-to-talk-about-george-soross-plan-to-remake-america/