“It is a lesson we all need—to let alone the things that do not concern us.
He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path.
It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him,
and to follow Him in that path.”
St. Katharine Drexel
(Spring keeps on trying/ Julie Cook/ 2023)
The Lord discovered to me a sense of my unbelief that, though late,
I should remember my transgressions and that I should be converted
with my whole heart to the Lord my God.
“Undertake courageously great tasks for God’s glory,
to the extent that he’ll give you power and grace for this purpose.
Even though you can do nothing on your own, you can do all things in him.
His help will never fail you if you have confidence in his goodness.
Place your entire physical and spiritual welfare in his hands.
Abandon to the fatherly concern of his divine providence every care
for your health, reputation, property, and business;
for those near to you; for your past sins;
for your soul’s progress in virtue and love of him;
for your life, death, and especially your salvation and eternity—in a word,
all your cares.
Rest in the assurance that in his pure goodness,
he’ll watch with particular tenderness over all your responsibilities and cares,
arranging all things for the greatest good.”
St. John Eudes
“What good is the warmth of summer,
without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
Through winter-time we call on spring,
And through the spring on summer call,
And when abounding hedges ring
Declare that winter’s best of all;
And after that there’s nothing good
Because the spring-time has not come —
Nor know what disturbs our blood
Is but its longing for the tomb.”
W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
(a tulip opens / Julie Cook /2023)
It seems the we have sprung forward only to find winter…again.
So here is yesterday vs…
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
My entire conversion was less of a journey to a foreign place,
and more of a discovery of my long-lost home.
from her book Something other than God
(ode to a white picket fence’s blooms /Julie Cook / 2021)
“But you, ‘a chosen generation’,
weak things of the world, who have forsaken all things,
so that you may follow the Lord, go after him, and confound the strong;
go after him, you beautiful feet,
and shine in the firmament so that the heavens may declare his glory…
Shine over the whole earth, and let the day,
brightened by the sun, utter unto day speech of wisdom,
and let the night, shining with the moon,
declare to the night the word of knowledge…
Run into every place,
O you holy fires, you beautiful fires!
You are the light of the world, and you are not put under a measure.
He to whom you have held fast has been exalted, and he has exalted you.
Run forth, and make it known to all nations.”
Saint Augustine, p.318-19
An Excerpt From
The Confessions of Saint Augustine
The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become –
because He made us.
He invented us.
He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be…
It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality,
that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
(a green chameleon perches amongst the shrubs / Julie Cook / 2021)
At our previous home, we always had a small menagerie of critters that
called our home and yard, their home and yard…
This new house is no different–it’s just that some of the residents are,
A post regarding these new residents will be a post for another day….
for today’s thoughts come from my having spotted a chameleon who was
in the process of literally losing his or her skin—
sloughing off the old for the new.
(a chameleon shedding / Julie Cook / 2021)
Maybe I knew this little fact about lizards shedding…
maybe I’d forgotten…
I certainly knew it about snakes and cicadas shedding…
but I’d never given much thoughts about lizards doing the same.
We have a group of skinks and chameleons who call our back patio theirs.
As in they were here before us.
The chameleons gravitate from green to brown depending on their
whims…or more aptly…depending on where they opt to traverse or
spend their time.. be it on the furniture or in the bushes.
Amazing how God gave such creatures the gift of change depending
upon their circumstance.
So imagine my surprise, or more aptly my shock, when I went to sit down
on a chair situated on the patio, and suddenly spied two chameleons chasing
one another on the chair…with one of the two looking pretty rough.
As in a bad hair, or make that skin, day,
Upon closer inspection, I realized the smaller of the two lizards was
shedding its winter coat, readying itself for a glorious spring and summer.
As well as hoping to look its best in order to snag a would be mate.
I think we humans feel much the same following our winter
hibernations…especially this year…
This past year having been a full length marathon hibernation…
Meaning it’s past time to let go of the old and become fresh and new.
I really like Mr. Lewis’s thoughts offered at the start of this post–
the thought that God invented all the different persons we are to become
throughout our lifetime–both good and bad actually.
I’ve never quite thought of it like that before.
Life without knowing our true nature as a child of God can
leave us quite dull and heavy.
And so as we advance in our relationship with the triune God,
we shed and shed….we shed off our old worn-out selves
as each shedding gives way to a newer creature…
allowing us to become lighter and much more fresh.
The shedding isn’t pretty to watch and is rather uncomfortable
to endure— think itchy and irritating and even perhaps
somewhat embarrassing…but the shedding, as unsightly as it is,
is necessary none the less.
And so during each season of our lives, as we gravitate to and closer
to our oneness with the One who gave Himself up on our behalf—
our God, Creator and Savior has seen us both before and after each of these
sloughing-off of layers.
Always loving us before, during and after we emerge into
our true and intended likeness of God’s original intention
for us, His created…
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
“The school of Christ is the school of love.
In the last day, when the general examination takes place …
Love will be the whole syllabus.”
St. Robert Bellarmine
(after the rain/ Julie Cook / 2021)
(after the rain / Julie Cook / 2021)
“Set free from human judgment, we should count as true only what God sees
in us, what he knows, and what he judges.
God does not judge as man does.
Man sees only the countenance, only the exterior.
God penetrates to the depths of our hearts.
God does not change as man does.
His judgment is in no way inconstant.
He is the only one upon whom we should rely.
How happy we are then, and how peaceful!
We are no longer dazzled by appearances, or stirred up by opinions;
we are united to the truth and depend upon it alone.
I am praised, blamed, treated with indifference, disdained, ignored,
or forgotten; none of this can touch me.
I will be no less than I am.
Men and women want to play at being a creator.
They want to give me existence in their opinion,
but this existence that they want to give me is nothingness.
It is an illusion, a shadow, an appearance, that is, at bottom, nothingness.
What is this shadow, always following me, behind me, at my side?
Is it me, or something that belongs to me?
Yet does not this shadow seem to move with me?
No matter: it is not me. So it is with the judgements of men:
they would follow me everywhere, paint me, sketch me,
make me move according to their whim, and, in the end, give me some sort of existence…
but I am disabused of this error.
I am content with a hidden life.
How peaceful it is!
Whether I truly live this Christian life of which St. Paul speaks,
I do not know, nor can I know with certainty. But I hope that I do,
and I trust in God’s goodness to help me.”
Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, p. 99-101
An Excerpt From
Meditations for Lent
From April 12, 2018
(yes, life is that manic…
but I want to wish each of you joy this Easter morn….
Hail thee festival day!! (one of my favorite hymns)
(this is an oldie but a goody)
“Life [had] replaced logic.”
(a soon to bloom peony / Julie Cook /2018)
The image of the bloom used in today’s post is that of a peony.
I call this peony my resurrection plant because I bought it two summers ago, in July.
It was a very expensive plant.
Yet anyone living in the deep South knows you don’t sink a lot of money into a
plant, dig a hole in the hot dry ground, plop in said expensive plant and expect it to live…
especially in July and especially in a summer experiencing a full-blown drought.
I wrote about this plant last spring and the reason as to why I call it a resurrection plant—
of which you can read from the following link…
but that is not the true gist of today’s post
Today’s post is a reminder of what the Resurrection is all about…
and if you are a Chrisitan, it’s a reminder of what that exactly means to you.
The reminder rests in the fact that we’ve just celebrated Easter…
Easter being the holiest celebration, besides the birth of Christ, within the Christian Chruch…
Some would argue that it is the sole holiest celebration…but I suppose we can’t have a
resurrection of our Savior without his immaculate conception and birth…
all of which supersedes the ability of man’s small mind to grasp and process…
hence so much of the consternation in mankind since that very first miraculous morning.
After watching the latest edition of Anglican Unscripted featuring our favorite
rouge Anglican Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gavin Ashenden, I’ve come to realize that
there are many in our fold who really don’t know what they think about
And what is even more startling, many members of the clergy don’t quite
know what to make of it either…
In a nutshell, it is the what which separates Christianity from every other religion.
How in the world can you offer anyone, let alone speak of such things as
Hope, Salvation, Grace, if you can’t find the words to say that you believe, without
a doubt, in the Ressurection of Jesus?
Because the Resurrection is the defining key to our faith.
It is the impetus to faith…the belief in that which is a mystery, undefinable,
and greater than oneself.
Without the Resurrection,
Christianity is nothing… nor is it any different from a myriad of other belief systems.
C.S. Lewis explained this very point in 1950
I heard a man say,
“The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival,
evidence that the human personality survives death.”
On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men,
the difference being that in Christ’s ease we were privileged to see it happening.
This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought.
Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened.
Christ had defeated death.
The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open.
This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival.
I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival.
On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion,
Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost.
The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection
as something totally different and new.
The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death;
they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe.
Something new had appeared in the universe:
as new as the first coming of organic life.
This Man, after death, does not get divided into “ghost” and “corpse”.
A new mode of being has arisen.
That is the story.
What are we going to make of it?
The question is, I suppose,
whether any hypothesis covers the facts so well as the Christian hypothesis.
That hypothesis is that God has come down into the created universe,
down to manhood—and come up again, pulling it up with Him.
The alternative hypothesis is not legend, nor exaggeration, nor the apparitions of a ghost.
It is either lunacy or lies.
Unless one can take the second alternative (and I can’t) one turns to the Christian theory.
“What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?” (1950)
So if you claim to be a Chrisitan and yet find yourself unable to acknowledge the mystery
and the might behind the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you need to rethink your allegiance.
And if you are a member of the clergy and find the words and concept uncomfortable,
you need a new profession because the calling, was not for you….
“To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but,
the more I reflect on it,
the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life:
we are still awaiting Easter;
we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.”
― Pope Benedict XVI, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977
“Bible teaching about the Second Coming of Christ was thought of as “doomsday” preaching.
But not anymore.
It is the only ray of hope that shines as an ever brightening beam in a darkening world.”
One cannot and must not try to erase the past
merely because it does not fit the present.
(the beginning cracks of life in the robin’s nest / Julie Cook / 2017)
He was born and He lived.
He died and He was buried.
He rose and He will come again…..
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that,
just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the
body ruled by sin might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead,
he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives,
he lives to God.
Pressed between the pages of my mind
Sweetened through the ages just like wine
Quiet thoughts come floating down and settle softly to the ground
Like golden autumn leaves around my feet
I touch them and they burst apart with sweet memories
Lyrics by the Lettermen
(the sun cutting through the clouds / Julie Cook / 2020)
Do you remember when we use to worry about things like tornados, hurricanes, blizzards,
droughts…what about things like The Wall, illegal aliens, the fab four, Madame Speaker,
‘pencilneck’, impeachments, our President, the left, the right, the wrong…
What about the pollen?
The highest ever, in all of recorded history took place this week—
Or what about climate change…oh wait, didn’t it cause the pandemic or was that Trump??
But who has time to worry about sneezing and itchy eyes, the climate, global warming,
ad infinitum, when we can’t even find toilet paper?
Ahhh, those were the good old days…
So isn’t it simply amazing how a pandemic just seems to glibly push all that
other stuff aside?
There was a doctor from Emory University, who was interviewed by the news this morning,
who quipped that we might as well just wipe the month of April off the books cause we
ain’t budging from this life on lockdown for at least 4 to 6 more weeks.
And then to put the icing on the cake, I actually read that Easter was being canceled.
Yep, canceling Easter.
You mean canceling local egg hunts, Sunday services with fancy new dresses and frilly
Spring hats, the wee hour sunrise services…canceling luncheons and afternoon gatherings…
canceling that Easter right?!
Because we know that nothing…not politicians, principalities, dominions, rulers, kings,
pandemics—-not even death can ever stop Easter…
But of course, we already knew that, didn’t we…??
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
(Julie Cook / 2020)
This is really something like day 6 but at this point, who’s counting?!
We need some color and we need hope.
However, we don’t need the pollen…
But it is what it is….
The photos are of the new blooms and color now blanketing the yard…what you don’t see is
the nice layer of yellow dust covering our world…but I admit, the yellow dust
is such a nice foray into the normalcy of Spring…a diversion from life lived under
a modern-day plague.
Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
I always think of my sins when I weed.
They grow apace in the same way and are harder still to get rid of.
Helena Rutherfurd Ely, A Woman’s Hardy Garden, 1903
(one of many bucket loads of weeds / Julie Cook / 2020)
You should probably know that the state of Georgia can actually experience all
four seasons within a week’s time.
Sometimes that might simply be during the course of a weekend.
Our winters have become a cycle of one day of dreary wet, grey cold followed by
a day of bright warming sun…
this pattern persists for much of December, January, and February…
with a possible blizzard come March.
With that being said, peering out the window on those dreary wet chilly days,
I’ve sorely noticed how the wild onions have been taking over my flower beds.
Mild temperate wet is a perfectly fertile condition for weeds like wild onions.
One of the many banes of my existence.
Yesterday was dreary chilly grey.
Today was temperate sun.
Tomorrow is to be wet chilly grey.
Sooooo, I thought I’d take advantage of today’s temperate sunshine, while I had a
few glorious hours without any clamoring demands…all but for those demanding weeds.
I grabbed a pail and trowel while donning my gloves as I set out about digging up those
annoying wild onions along with any other emerging pest.
As my back began to ache, forcing me to wobble through the flower beds “walking”
on my knees, that is until I hit a rock, I mused whether or not I should simply learn
to accept and maybe even relish the weeds.
Should I forego the flowers, the plants, the bushes and let the weeds simply run amuck?
Suddenly the thought of God allowing weeds, aka sins, to run amuck hit me like
a ton of bricks.
Plucking, digging and pulling is arduous…it is painstaking…especially the older I get.
But I do it because I know just how great the flower beds can look in their full
glory come Spring.
Yet does not God do that very same thing?
Plucking, pulling, digging, deadheading…
And why does He do it?
Because He knows how beautiful we will be in our sin-free reborn selves…
And so I continue in my pursuit…
because continues in His pursuit of me…
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin,
and so death spread to all men because all sinned—