“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
Arthur Conan Doyle
When it’s a flying squirrel!
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
Arthur Conan Doyle
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Sometimes it is the simplest and smallest moments which graciously offer abundant joy.
Lost in thought in the early morning hours,
sitting silently alone. . .or so it seemed. . .
Company arrives for breakfast. . .
Unbeknownst to my company, I sit out of sight, relishing in the gift of their presence.
In this snapshot of time, lives mix and mysteriously intertwine into one.
There is appreciation for the simple. . .
And happiness witnessed in the exuberance of youth.
Spirits lift and thanksgiving is offered to the Creator of all life. . .
both mine and theirs.
What appears as a random encounter is not missed by Omnipotence.
The crossing of paths is an offering of both tenderness and joy. . .
to one who is weary of body and spirit.
A silent and contented Amen is carried aloft in the morning light. . .
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.
Arthur Conan Doyle
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
“Faith and Christian witness are presently confronted by such great challenges that only by working together will we be able effectively to serve the human family and enable the light of Christ to reach every dark corner of our hearts and of our world. May the journey of reconciliation and peace between our communities continue to draw us closer, so that, prompted by the Holy Spirit, we may bring life to all, and bring it in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).
I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: “Jesus, help me!”. They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.”
This is an excerpt, courtesy of Vatican Archives, taken from an address given by Pope Francis earlier this week when meeting with members from the (Reformed) Church of Scotland. The Pope ventured away from the agenda at hand in order to offer his concern, outrage, and prayers regarding the beheading of the 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS.
Before the World could catch its collective breath, ISIS once again carried out another egregious and malicious act of terror and murder this week by publicly taunting then burning alive 45 men from a western town in Iraq—this while the Obama Administration readied themselves to host a summit discussing “extremism”. . .
The definition of extremism, according to Merriam Webster is: advocacy of extreme measures or views : radicalism
The definition of terrorism, according to Merriam Webster is: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal
The White House has, as has other Western European leaders, yet to acknowledge what the Pope so painfully stated Monday, that the killing of the 21 Copts was an act of violence against Christians.
The White House is also having a rather difficult time calling the violent acts of barbarism what they are—sadistic, callous cold murder carried out by the whims of Islamic Terrorists. They are Islamic and they are terrorists and they wage a jihad in the quest of a Caliphate in the name of Mohammed and Allah. . .
Yet this is not to say that the “Islamic terrorists” speak for or are representational of the Islamic Faithful. The concern however is that other Muslim Nations and Muslim leaders and Muslims in general have merely tried to ignore and distance themselves from the “extremists”. . .With some quietly agreeing that Western Society is indeed partly, if not fully, to blame for the current crises. Unfortunately however the insidious ooze of hate and radicalism is seeping into corners thought to be once off limits and even impenetrable. It appears as if it is in bad form for Muslims to rile against their Muslim kin as it is better to ignore and hope the ugliness will simply go away. . .
A holy war—an oxymoron if ever there was such a thing. A word phrase of extreme opposites in one spoken breath.
Is there such a thing as a “holy war?”—
Yes—but it is of a Divine nature, as the Heavenly Host wages war against Satan and all that is evil and full of darkness. It is what transpired as Jesus descended into Hell, only to rise victorious 3 days later. Yet Satan continues to walk this earth and still works to wield his madness as we remain in the crosshairs, as the earth remains under his dominion—the battle wages, yet the war has been won. . .
And yet it sadly becomes ingrained in the twisted minds of modern man that he can carry out such a “holy war”
The White House urges calm, reminding us not to jump to conclusions or God forbid we insult anyone.
We find ourselves drowning in a sea of political correctness as people are having their heads cut off and are burned alive in cages. We preen and strut in our technological 21st century modernism and pinnacle of civility all the while as thousands of people are tortured and murdered by means of medieval madness–all in the name of a radical religion, hate or simply both. . .the question remains seemingly unanswered.
Why do I feel it is just me who finds this all so terribly troubling? Especially the comment made by ISIS following the beheading of the Coptic Christians that they, ISIS, would now carry their “war” all the way to Rome.
We can choose, like many Muslims, to ignore the current actions of a group of marauding thugs, as it is, who are “over there”. . . We can sit around a large table and talk about if we just create jobs then we could nip this extremism in the bud.
We can choose to ignore the fact that the very Judeo / Christian foundation that has been the basis of our existence for centuries is truly threatened—that there are those who wish to see it destroyed.
It would be one thing if this was what various leaders, early on, considered to be just a rag tag group of thugs rattling sabers. . .Rather what we are witnessing has startlingly emerged to be a large and spreading cohesive, and well orchestrated, growing group of “radicals” hoping to achieve their Caliphate or that which is actually known as a governing body with direct descending political and religions powers from Mohammed himself. The ideas such as creating jobs for disenfranchised youth around the globe and maintaining overt politically correct terminology in hopes that no one will take offense to our growing alarm or concern will sadly not do one single thing to stop this growing threat to our very way of life.
Two things—may we be mindful that if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck–therefore we may conclude that it is indeed a duck. . .
Also. . . may we never be caught with our heads buried in the sand. . .
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
Standing outside under a crisp blue sky,
lost to Winter’s bareness, forlornly, I sigh. . .
Suddenly. . .
something fast and quick
something with color
something out of place
Dashes sporadically past a bewildered face.
Erratically bobbing up and down. . .
In and out of the greys and browns. . .
The tiny intruder darts brazenly past my head. . .
“What in the world” was all I could be heard to have said.
a nippy winter’s day is certainly no place at all
for a butterfly’s early spring call!
Yet suddenly excited,
Ecstatic to say the least. . .
All hope and joy are miraculously increased!
Has Spring just ventured the tiniest bit closer
Or is this merely something out of place. . .
Sending emotions on a seasonal roller coaster?
Will color soon scatter all the grey away
as we all look forward to a much brighter day!
Here’s to our little visitor. . .
that he may bring glad tidings to our Winter weary senses. . .
from some far away place of warmth, bright lights and colorful days!!!
“Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
Images taken during the beautiful yet crippling Georgia snow–
As I post these images, there are still individuals who have yet to make it home. The storm arrived higher and earlier than anticipated, leaving thousands scrambling to depart both work and home–all at the same time creating a traffic nightmare. Snow is one thing, but brutally cold temperatures wickedly turn the gentle white blanket into a sheet of deceiving ice.
Prayers to all who were stuck in the traffic gridlock which Atlanta became. . .forcing so very many to spend long cold nights in cars and buses—witnessing schools turning into 24 hour care centers for the hundreds of students, throughout the state, who were unable to leave school for home.
But behind the misery lies a frozen world of magic. . .
“What a lovely thing a rose is!… Our highest assurance of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
Crazy thing—this sweet little demure rose belongs to a small potted rose bush which sits out on my front porch. It is the small little rose bush I reported on, and wrote a post about, back in May–the one my son and his bride-to-be bestowed upon me for Mother’s Day. It was a beautiful petite white rose bush. And of course the tiny white roses reminded me of the young German resistance movement championed by Sophie Scholl, her brother and a handful of youthful friends, which lead to the creation of the White Rose Movement.
Time moved on and Summer came and went. Fall came and went. The small rose bush hung on. Winter has arrived settling in upon us like an old thick heavy blanket with the poor little rose bush having maintained its position on the front porch since May. Days have turned into weeks and my forgotten little friend out on the front porch has weathered first the dry hot days of a Georgia summer and now the freezing temperatures of a wet cold dreary winter. This poor little rose has gone days without much water, care or attention—and yet, it holds on and perseveres.
Imagine my surprise, when I was out front taking down all of the Christmas lights this afternoon in the blowing wind and rain, upon seeing my tiny little rose bush sporting a single beautifully pink tinged bloom.
Hummm–I thought this was a white little rose bush. . .?
Is this a marvel or anomaly? Amazingly through the ups and downs of the seasons, the lack of water and proper care, the extreme heat and now the extreme cold–this little rose bush has not only survived, it appears to have actually thrived. . . as well as taking on a bit of a new color.
Could it be that maybe, just maybe, perhaps this tiny little plant is simply offering me a bit of hope for the excited anticipation of warmer and brighter days? A precursor of what will soon be?
It is on this new day to this new week of the last waning days of yet another year, that I offer to you this sweet demure rose—it is our reminder, your’s and mine, that not only is a new day and a new week dawning but there is a new year waiting for us in the wings, for better or worse, to offer us a new start, a new way, a new life, new hope, new dreams, new possibilities. Sometimes all we need is a single little flower to remind us that there is always hope for goodness and new possibilities. May you be cheered on by the sight of a single small rose—here is to a hopeful new year–for us all.
(photograph: Julie Cook/ Savannah, GA/ 2013)
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A change of pace, scenery, direction is often what is needed most in order to clear one’s head, open one’s eyes, help one to gain a new perspective. Sometimes we are so caught up in what we are doing that we have actually lost our effectiveness. Being able to stop and change gears, so to speak, has a wonderful way of re-charing worn out energies. The change of pace allows us to suddenly be open to a new thought or idea that had actually been there all along—it had simply remained elusive, we kept overlooking it all because we were stuck with our tunnel vision of the moment.
Being able to step back from a situation can allow for a much needed new perspective. Just remember that the next time you seem to be up against a brick wall, going no where, caught in a stubborn mire of frustration–the gift of distance and time can do wonders for the situation. Be it a ride on a bike, a walk outside, a day off…the brief change in activity can mean all the difference in the world.