THE LION OF MÜNSTER…we need more lions

Woe then to our poor German people. Disorder and revolutionary
convulsions will not come to an end until the batter of everyone
against everyone has spent all its power.”

Bishop von Galen


((c) Redmich/Thinkstock)

Since I’ve started reading a new book, I’ve decided we need
some lions…heck I’ll be happy to have just one lion!

What you say???!!!….I hear you smugly inquiring…

Yep, a lion.

This book is a historical book…
it’s a story about a man born in 1878,
born into a well to-do German family.

The boy would eventually grow up to become a priest…
eventually a bishop, an archbishop and later, a cardinal…
but more importantly…he became a lion….

He became a voracious and loud roaring nemesis of Adolf Hitler.

His name was Archbishop Clemens August Graf von Galen.

I won’t waste our time today with the biographical background and growth
of this man, although it does lay out who this would-be lion, a lion
who would never back down, was to grow to become…

Heck, I’m only to page 37 and WWI has just ended.
And already, with only 37 pages in, there is oh so much to share!

So today, I’ll just offer enough to give us pause to ponder.

So picture yourself looking into a mirror of the past, but
you still can see your own reflection. That’s what this book
is—a mirror.
A mirror of what was and fretfully would will most likely be.

The words I’m choosing to share today are actually words that
this lion wrote following the devastating war that was to end all wars…
that being WWI.
Later similar words would come prior to WWII…

Following WWI, Germany had been defeated and her citizens decimated—
a situation that the world perceived as fitting since
the Germans had been the obvious aggressors and instigators of this
catastrophic World War.

But this book actually examines a devout Christian’s nonobjective view
of his homeland and of the troubles his nation was preparing to
fall victim to.

Following the Treaty of Versailles…Germany was hurled
into the black hole of impotence.
It was enough of a black hole that could generate the
cataclysmic energy that would allow a man like Adolf Hitler
to rise to…an evil dominating world foe of democracies and freedom.

Before the first world war, Germany was known for being one of the most
highly educated and cultured societies that existed.

And so it is to this very day, 76 years following the end of WWII,
that I still have to study and re-study the dynamics that allow me
to wrap my head around the idea that a nation of knowledge
and refinement can grow into a mindless nation bent on
destruction, death and world dominance.

Jumping forward a bit in the book, we read that it was shortly
after Adolf Hitler seized power and the Nazi Party turned
Germany into a totalitarian state in 1933,
Blessed Cardinal Clemens August von Galen began openly speaking
out against the dictatorial regime as the new bishop of Münster.

“The book’s author notes that
the Nazis killed people for distributing von Galen’s sermons,”

“Throughout World War II, Bishop von Galen became one of Germany’s
most outspoken bishops, authoring letters and sermons that challenged
the Nazi regime’s racial ideologies.
In 1937, von Galen assisted Pope Pius XI in the writing
of his 1937 anti-Nazi encyclical “Mit brennender Sorge”
(“With Burning Anxiety”), and in 1941,
he delivered three sermons denouncing the euthanasia program,
confiscating of church property and the injustice of the Gestapo,
appropriately earning him the nickname “The Lion of Münster.”

But this wise man understood back in 1917 what would eventually
lead to the opening of door for the likes of Hitler.

He spoke of the great importance of leaders and leadership…
in particular those those in position of governmental leadership,
to know who it was they served and to always remember what it meant to be
a servant.

A servant.

“What, Galen asked, makes for a good community—
one in which people of different classes, professions, and social positions
really consider themselves to be united and to which they can give their hearts,
their loyalty, and their service?
“Why”, he continued, “did Germany not have such a community?”
For although it had the externals of a community–indeed,
a self-governing community, since all power has been given
to the people–in fact the people of different classes, professional standing,
political parties and religions felt themselves at odds with each other.

The fault, he argued, was egoism, disordered self-love,
by which everyone seeks his own interests with concern
for the good and rights of his neighbor.

Years later, Galen wrote:
“if the right of the state, today the might of the majority,
really makes right, then why only this might?
Why not also the might of the stronger fist,
why not the might of money, why not the might of craftiness
and clever business dealings?
The destruction that is introduced into the community by the
working out of this fundamental principle should open people’s
eyes to the destructiveness of this principle itself.”…

“If the state is the creator of all rights and the
all-powerful lord of all rights, the, many concluded,
their rights and freedoms would be secure only if they themselves
were the holders of state power.”

“We will not come to an inner people’s community,”
he concluded, “as long as State absolutism is the fundamental principle
of our political life.”
Such absolutism leads inevitably to centralization and attacks
on any persons or groupings that are independent of the state.
That was the reason for the Kulturkampf (culture struggle),
for the Prussian state saw the Catholic Church as the bulwark
of freedom and the rights of individuals and small communities
against arbitrary state power.

And so I will leave us today to ruminate over the notion that our
dear Western Civilization is currently looking in a mirror of decades past….
Yet what we are seeing looking back at us is the makings of a monster with nary
a lion to quell the rampage…

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll
written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice,
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able
to open the scroll or to look into it,
and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open
the scroll or to look into it.
And one of the elders said to me,
“Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the
scroll and its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:1-5

lost sheep seeking the Good Shepherd

Sinners have a spiritual vision that Pharisees do not have.
They look at Christ, and their humility allows them to perceive
in him their only hope of salvation.
The Pharisee sees merely the man, whereas the lost sheep sees the Good Shepherd!

Fr. Sean Davidson
From his book Saint Mary Magdalene:
Prophetess of Eucharistic Love


(My most favorite sheep, ever / Co Donegal, Ireland / Gleann Cholm Cille /
Julie Cook / 2015)

Growing up a city girl, I always assumed that there was but one type of sheep;
White and fluffy.

And for reasons that escape me, I have always had a deep affinity for sheep.

I’ve shared this notion before but I think this affinity was born from a prayer.
It is derived from the prayer of the penitent…a prayer I grew up praying
since childhood– found in The Book of Common Prayer.

The prayer begins…Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep…”

A prayer that speaks straight to the root of my heart…erring and straying.
I think I’ve always identified with both that whole straying and lost
sheep business.

So bah bah I go…

I have been known to vow that one day I would escape to someplace obscure,
becoming a shepherd…
or if should I need to be more PC, that would that be shepherdess…
but I’ll just stick with shepherd since I don’t care for the interchangeability
of pronouns and monikers.

A shepherd of sheep.
The shepherd calls and sheep know his name….

Over the years, my various moves from city to rural life, along
with various travels, taught me otherwise…sheep come in many sizes,
shapes and colors…but it wasn’t until a trip to Ireland that the whole sheep
variety thing played out in real life.


(Julie Cook / 2015)


(Julie Cook / 2015)


(Julie Cook / 2015)


(Julie Cook / 2015)

And so knowing human beings as I do…I know that we seek that often
elusive shepherd…
We seek the voice of the one who will guide us and care for us…
We seek it in our relationships.
We seek it in our jobs.
We seek it in our leaders—
for we are innately seeking one who will care and lead.

The trouble is that we most often seek the wrong voices, the wrong
lights, the wrong directions, the wrong glitz…
We seek temporary satisfaction in our shepherds.
We seek more of the immediate gratification and quick easy fit.

Yet sadly, those that we seek are limited, short-lived,
or most often then not, fleeting.

There is only One who is consistent and constant…never changing.
He knows each of his sheep…both lost and found.
He will leave the found 99 in order to go find, rescue and fetch that 1
who is lost.

How fortunate we are those who have erred and strayed!


(one of a kind / Julie Cook /2015)

“There is another reason also why the soul has traveled safely
in this obscurity; it has suffered:
for the way of suffering is safer, and also more profitable,
than that of rejoicing and of action.
In suffering God gives strength,
but in action and in joy the soul does but show its own weakness
and imperfections.
And in suffering, the soul practices and acquires virtue,
and becomes pure, wiser, and more cautious.”

St. John of the Cross, p. 149
An Excerpt From
Dark Night of the Soul

the times of which we now live…non typical or is that atypical??

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you.”

St. Thomas Aquinas


(the fallen bud of a mountain fraser magnolia / Julie Cook / 2021)

Typical…non typical…atypical…

If I was a betting woman, I’d bet that you would wholeheartedly
agree that these are indeed some more times!
As in twilight zone and frustrating times.
No longer typical.

So you may or may not have noticed that I’ve been MIA from bogland for a
couple of days.

If you noticed, thank you…if not, that’s ok.

Life has just been a tad busy the past several days.

Firstly, the Mayor and Sheriff came to visit Saturday, spending the night.
And as is the usual case, they each had a good case of the snoggy noses—
aka daycare crud…of which is pretty typical of any kid in daycare.

Daycare and schools—petrie dishes of germs dontcha know.
Plus it probably didn’t help that the Sheriff thought it would
be fun to toss the little decorative soaps I have in a pretty little
antique bowl in our guest bathroom into the toilet.
Of which I had to retrieve by hand—and yes, I did then wash my hands.

So now, just so we all know and understand…
that which was once ‘typical’, back in the good ol olden days…
those glorious days before COVID, is no longer simple or
‘typical’ today.
Because ‘typical’ today, must always be suspect.

So back to story…

The kids came and went.
And in rapid succession and a near blink of an eye,
we then had some old friends come up from Florida for a two day visit.
A bit of revolving door company—but I do love company.

In the midst of the comings and goings, I noticed that I was coming
down with something…a good old case of daycare crud…
because we all know that when the Mayor and Sheriff have daycare crud,
I too get daycare crud.

I do try to be facetious with the hand washing and the sharing of food
with them but you know toddlers—if they are anywhere near you,
they will inevitably sneeze, cough and drool all over you.
Or take a sip from your drink glass without you even realizing that.
Toddlers and germs just go hand and hand.

And I swear, since I retired from teaching—I am no longer as immune
as I once was to the typical school fare fodder of germs.

So our guests weren’t paranoid Covid worriers but I certainly didn’t want them
to have some inward angst that I was a typhoid Mary.
And since I couldn’t breath, I opted to call the ENT to see if I could
get an appointment early morning, leaving me time to “entertain” our guests.

Ok, so remember, typical is no longer typical.

The ENT explains to me that they booked out for several days
and next suggested I try Urgent Care.
Booked??? For days??? What???
I could understand nothing perhaps available that particular day, but days???

Remember—not typical days.

So it was off to Urgent Care I would go.

I am glad that I did have the foresight to call first.

In case you are unfamiliar, Urgent Care facilities are those little medical
popups in and around shopping areas that help fill in the gaps
when a doctors office is closed, or overrun, and you’re not
so bad off as to go to an ER.

They are typically a walk-in basis.
Note ‘typically’ and remember these are not typical times.

When I called and explained that my ENT recommended that I
needed to go see them since they were booked up and out,
the gal told me I’d need an appointment.
Dreading the worst, I asked for her first available.

I was calling a tad after 8 AM and blessedly she has something
at 10:40.
She told me to arrive at 10:30 and sit in my car and text them
as soon as I arrived.

This particular Urgent Care is located on the end of a Publix Shopping Center
in a small town near us.

When I pulled in, the parking lot was jammed packed. I next noticed
an odd long line of cars snaking around the side of the building
around to the back.

Huh?
Maybe they are getting Covid tests.

I text the number letting them know I was in the parking lot.

A text popped back asking for my symptoms.

After I typed, hitting send, I received another text asking for my
car’s make and model.

I figured that a nurse was coming out to do temp checks
before allowing folks inside.

Well next, I got a call from the desk asking for my copay to be paid
over the phone and for me to get in line on the right side of the building.

Huh?
Was that on the right to go inside or was that right to join
the car snake line?

I saw a nurse on the sidewalk and walked over to her and asked.
She told me to get in the snake car line.

And so I did.

Nurse after nurse was coming out of backdoors and going from car to car
as the snake line would slowly roll forward.

Finally it was my turn.

I rolled down my window and had to wear my mask.

The nurse asked about my symptoms—well, I couldn’t breathe,
had pressure, headache, scratchy
throat, lovely colored nasal drainage…this being all from my grandkids
I explained…typical grandmother toddler sharing

She then said we’ll do a Covid test.

I explained that I had had Covid and that I had had the vaccines
and I knew this was my type of typical sinus infection.

There’s that word again…typical!

Next thing I know she’s telling me to tilt my head back and breathe through
my mouth.
I was already doing that because my nose was not working!
And then bam—up went the extra long swab stick in my nose.
Never mind my nasal passages were closed up, she jammed that
sucker up both sides.

And then I went back to sitting with the other cars in the snake line.

Finally a PA came to my window and handed me the negative Covid results.
Of which I already knew was indeed negative.
I told him I had a history of sinusitis and I knew this was that.

And usually with my former ENT practice they would hit me with a shot of steroids
give my a prescription for an antibiotic and off I’d go.

This young man begins to explain, in a very cloyingly sweet condescending way,
that what we think is typical is really no longer really typical.

Huh?

Internally, I am rolling my eyes while I’m wondering how will I
be getting my steroid shot through this car window as it’s usually
administered in the hip.

He then proceeds to tell me that I can come back in two days to repeat the test.
RPEAT THE TEST? I practically scream.
Calmly, again, I explain to him that I could not breathe and that
my head and teeth were killing me all from my typical type of sinus infection.

“Well,” he began, I believe, like Covid, this is a viral infection.”
‘Like Covid’???!! I’m thinking…for crying out loud!!! THIS IS A SINUS INFECTION!!!!
And by using the word viral, well it’s their way of saying,
‘you won’t be getting any medicine’–as in go home,
tough it out and when you are still sick in two more days you’ll be back
getting the meds that you should have gotten in the first place.

Seeing that I was in a bit of dire straits without being able to breathe
with lovely colored discharge acting like a slow lava flow coming
out of my nose, he tells me he will prescribe me some oral steroids.

Fine!

After an hour and a half, I pull out of the snake line of cars,
make my way around the back of the shopping
center and pull into a parking spot in front of Publix so I can run in
to pick up the prescription.

The nice gal at the prescription counter tells me they’ve not gotten in
the call-in yet and that I would need to wait.
In the mean time I ask if she could get me a box of the sudafed which was
behind her on the counter.

She gets me the box and then proceeds to ask for my license, makes a copy
and has me to sign some book stating that I had asked for sudafed.

It was more of a rigermarol to get a non prescription box of sudafed than
had I been getting a prescription for narcotics.

So once again not typical.

Happily I can report that whereas I am still puny, I can blessedly breathe.

And thus our lesson of the day is that Covid has turned everything we
once thought to be typical into a life of anything but…
a life now lived in the atypical—
so once again, thank you Wuhan, thank you China…

what has “he” done now?????

“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have
allowed themselves to become.
And they pay for it very simply;
by the lives they lead.”

James Baldwin


(a card dating from 1918)

I was in the kitchen, starting supper er when I heard a wail of what one could only
be classified of that of a dying animal…”WHAT HAS HE DONE NOW???!!!”

Bewilderment mixed with frustration mixed with resignation.

The “he” in this wail would be Joe Biden.
The reason for the high pitched yell was due to my husband seeing the latest
in the way of news….”France recalls ambassadors to the US and Australia in
response to AUKUS nuclear submarine pact”

Before he even heard the story, he knew that this present administration
merely added one more misstep to their continuous pattern of gaffe after gaffe–
week after week after week.

This little tale came on the heels of the day’s earlier news of a drone
attack in Kabul that killed citizens rather than a targeted Taliban leader.
And we wonder who is calling the shots…as in literally.

Tripping and falling down a never ending set of stairs.
Dragging the good folks of the US along for the bumpy ride.

So what if France gets her feelings hurt that the US opted to align
herself with Australia rather than France.
What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that you don’t treat your allies as expendables.
You keep them in the loop even if the loop is hard.
Friends don’t like to be blindsided and that is exactly what
happened…the US blindsided France just prior to publicly announcing the
Australian deal…it didn’t help that the UK was an involved accomplice.
And in turn, France felt let down, hurt and betrayed.
I think “stabbed in back” is how they worded it.

We call that burning bridges.
I learned early on in my career, you don’t burn your bridges as you never
know whose help you might need later down the road.

France was key to our own fight for independence.
Without France’s help…we might still be citizens of the Crown.

Wonder how Harry and Meghan would feel about that?

So we’re learning to limit our news input as it is not conducive to the nerves
or heart. And just can’t take one more presidential miscue at the expense of
we the taxpaying people and now at the expense of our once formidable allies.

Sigh.

Vive la France, Vive la liberté

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58604677

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
.

a clear blue sky…

And they were canopied by the blue sky,
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That God alone was to be seen in Heaven.
Lord Byron, “The Dream,” 1816


(Julie Cook / County Cork, Kinsale, Ireland / Sept 2015)


(Julie Cook / County Cork, Kinsale, Ireland / Sept 2015)

Despite the calendar refusing to turn from one season to another, there
was that ever so gentle hint of change.

The lack of humidity, coupled by a deep azure blue sky up above,
brought a slight smile to my face while I walked between the two
school wings.

I was well aware the bell was soon to ring as we readied to move from
2nd period to 3rd.
Over in an adjacent building, I had to pick up some copies for my next class,
so I joyously soaked in the quick respite of peace found outside
on this beautiful September morning.

As I walked back into my building, ready for the bell to ring, I took up
my usual position standing by my classroom door, ready to monitor
the hall during class change.

With the ringing of the bell, doors flung open as a throng of adolescents
chirpped and chatted their way out into the hall…a sea of bodies moving
much like fish, navigating both up, down as well as around the stream of a hallway.

Suddenly, a neighboring teacher and coach, came running up to me grabbing my arm.
“They’ve attacked us…they’ve hit New York and D.C…
“Turn on your television!!!” he yelled out over his shoulder as he continued
racing down the hall.

“What?”
“Attack?”
“Who?”

As my kids began to trickle into the room, I hurriedly went over to
turn on the classroom television.

And there is was…smoke streaming upwards from one of the the
World Trade Towers.

Some of my kids had already gotten wind of what was taking place while
others remained blessedly, albeit briefly, clueless.

There was now a heavy silence in the room as my kids walked in, dropping
their backpacks on the floor as they gathered in front of the T.V.
Some stood, some sat on the table tops, all staring silently at the images on
the television.

One girl broke the silence with a panicked plea…
“Mrs. Cook, my dad, my dad, he flew up this morning to New York for business.”
“Go use the phone in my office to call your mom…”

The remainder of the day was a heavy haze.
New York.
D.C.
Pennsylvania…

The teachable moments that day were unfolding before our eyes on every channel
on every television around the world.

There remained a heightened sense of what could possibly happen next.

Following the end of the day, I waited on my son, who was in the 6th grade,
to walk up from the Jr High so we could go home.
It was more than time to go home.

Like the other kids, he walked into my room overwhelmed.
I got my things together and we walked quietly to the car.

This particular night was to be our monthly school board meeting.
It was the night that the Teacher of the Year was to be announced.
I happened to be one of the three teachers nominated.
I was representing the high school.
The two others were from the elementary school and our junior high.

I had so hoped our superintendent would cancel the meeting
but he was of the mindset that we would not let “the terrorists” win…soooo
the meeting was to begin at 7.

I called my husband telling him that I didn’t want him to accompany me
to the meeting that evening but rather I wanted him to stay
home with our son.
At this point, we really didn’t know what else, if anything, would happen.
Plus the heaviness of what was playing out before our eyes was simply
overwhelming…I wanted to be lost in my thoughts.

Before getting ready to head to the BOE, I walked out onto our back deck.
At the time, we lived about an hour west of Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson
Airport…we lived in one of the westerly flight paths…planes overhead
were always common.
On this particular late afternoon, the sky was eerily quiet because the
Government had grounded all US and international flights in and out…
all around the country.

At the BOE meeting, when it was time to begin the meeting, we all stood for
the Pledge of Allegiance—tears poured from all the gathered faces.
The Board Chairman asked for a moment of silence for all the
lives lost and for all those still missing and for those searching.

He then lead us in reciting The Lord’s Prayer.

The sobs were palpable….

And so now, all these 20 years later…
I wonder….
what have we gleaned, what have we learned?
As an educator, that is always the question…what has been learned?

Looking around…I think we’ve learned very little, if anything.
Despite our vow to remember, we’ve actually forgotten.
We’ve skewed the factual with the desirable.
We’ve softened as we’ve chosen to ignore or even twist reality.

When speaking of Nazi Germany, Winston Churchill once mused
“What kind of people do they think we are?
Is it possible they do not realize that we shall never cease
to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson
which they and the world will never forget?”

His was a vow that those oppressors and usurpers of democratic freedoms
should never forget that those who have chosen the path of freedom
have vowed to fight the good fight to the bitter end.

I dare say our leadership today has long forgotten such a vow.

The vow to defend Western Civilization from the onslaught of
tyranny and oppression.
But rather our leadership and many of us have actually fostered a culture
of ill that strives to despise itself.
We have turned away and within… as we choose to devour ourselves
from the inside out.

Did approximately 3000 people die in vain September 11th 2001?

What of those individuals who when faced with the choice of burning to
death chose to jump to their death…were those heinous choices in vain?

Did thousands of first responders die in vain that day as they raced toward disaster
rather than retreating?

Have thousands more, who over the past 20 years have fallen victim to lasting
toxins, have they suffered and died in vain?

Have thousands of servicemen and women died in vain defending
the very freedoms that you and I simply take for granted?

Did 13 servicemen and women die last week, in vain, when hastily retreating
from an undignified exit to an unfinished mission all because of a sitting
president’s ill advised plan?

I really don’t know what to think on this 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Who is this America that now looks in the mirror?
I dare say that all those who gave and have given their lives
on and since that fateful September day would no longer recognize the
nation we have become.

Time lessens our sorrow but it also dulls our minds and hardens our hearts.

“True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.”
Clarence Darrow

a derisive shake of the head

“Be sure that you first preach by the way you live.
If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing,
but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical
laughter and a derisive shake of the head.”

St. Charles Borromeo


(jack-o-lanterns mushrooms (poisonous) Julie Cook / 2021)

“The will of God gives to all things a supernatural and divine value
for the soul submitting to it. The duties it imposes,
and those it contains, with all the matters over which it is diffused,
become holy and perfect, because, being unlimited in power,
everything it touches shares its divine character…
The entire virtue of all that is called holy is in its approximation
to this order established by God; therefore nothing should
be rejected, nothing sought after,
but everything accepted that is ordained and nothing
attempted contrary to the will of God…
When God requires action, sanctity is to be found in activity.”

Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 15
An Excerpt From
Abandonment to Divine Providence

are you getting what you want or what you need?

“You are asking for something that would be harmful to your salvation
if you had it—so by not getting what you’ve asked,
you really are getting what you want.”
St. Catherine of Siena


(swallowtail spicebrush butterfly / Julie Cook / 2021)

“What really hurts is not so much suffering as the fear of suffering.
If welcomed trustingly and peacefully, suffering makes us grow.
It matures and trains us, purifies us,
teaches us to love unselfishly, makes us poor in heart, humble,
gentle, and compassionate toward our neighbor.
Fear of suffering, on the other hand,
hardens us in self-protective, defensive attitudes,
and often leads us to make irrational choices
with disastrous consequences.”

Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 47
An Excerpt From
Interior Freedom

trust and confidence

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord,
and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

St. Augustine


(The Mayor with training wheels / Julie Cook / 2021)

Do you remember when you first learned how to ride a bike?
I started my journey on wheels with a tricycle.
Eventually graduating to a small bike with training wheels—

And in due time, off went those training wheels…
and thus, for better or for worse, I was suddenly on my own.

No broken bones but a lot of skinned knees, elbows and stubbed toes.
And this was a time long before we knew helmets were important.

At my current age, I hate to admit that I don’t exactly remember a
whole lot of this particular rite of passage—
however I can remember my mom and dad, taking turns racing behind me,
holding onto the bike if I started to veer too far to one side or the other
or God forbid…started rolling way too fast for my level of
expertise.

And thus today, the gauntlet has been passed…it is now the Mayor’s turn.

Of course there is a great deal of hesitancy and trepidation.
“MOM, MOM, I NEED YOU!!!!” (yes she calls me mom, her mother is mommy…
daddy is dada, my husband is da)…

And in like fashion, how many times have I cried out to God… “Father, I need you!”

“I’ve got you Boo” I reassure her as I hold onto the back of her seat as she
laboriously attempts peddling up the street…Peppa Pig rain
boots probably do not aid in one’s peddling.

I let go once she hit level ground.

“Look at you Boo—you are riding your bike!!!!”

And right then, in that moment, there comes the obvious and visible
sense of self satisfaction.

So as I stand there, looking at my granddaughter riding a bike on the very
same street where I learned to ride my own bike,
my thoughts are transported to thinking about my own learning to ride
as well as to something else…that of learning my way on the journey
as a child of God.

A juxtaposition of life’s journeys.

How many times have I set out, unsure of myself, sitting in a driving seat
position, while God had His hand on my back?

“Steady” He say’s…”Ive got you Julie”

I wobble, teetering and leaning, trying desperately to keep myself
upright. I feel His hand resting on my back so I have a sense of
serene security.

Then, ever so slightly, He removes His hand…”you’ve got this”
I hear as I peddle off heading straight ahead…knowing all the while
He’s standing behind me, smiling.

And right when I get going too fast, losing control…He’s the first
one there… either to grab me by the shirt and or pick me up once I fall.
Once again He gently repeats…you’ve got this…because I’ve got you.

And whereas I won’t always be able to be with my granddaughter as she takes
off on her own life’s journeys…I have given her over to God…knowing that when
mom or da, mommy or dada can’t be with her…
Abba will always be by her side—

“How can we not ask at every turn,
‘What is going to happen? How will this turn out?’
The main thing is not to consent consciously to anxiety or a troubled mind.
The moment you realize you are worrying,
make very quickly an act of confidence:
‘No, Jesus, You are there: nothing–nothing–
happens, not a hair falls from our heads, without Your permission.
I have no right to worry.”
Perhaps He is sleeping in the boat, but He is there.
He is always there. He is all-powerful;
nothing escapes His vigilance.
He watches over each one of us ‘as over the apple of His eye.’
He is all love, all tenderness.”

Jean C.J. d’Elbée,
I Believe in Love:
A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux

pete and repeat, on and on it seems to go…

Child #1 “Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence.
Pete fell off.
Who’s left?”
Child #2 “Repeat.”
Child #1
“Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence.
Pete fell off.
Who’s left?”…

What the people need is a way to make ’em smile
Line from the Dobboie brothers


(a city sign perches in the city center of Highlands, NC / Julie Cook / 2021)

Do you remember when “they” told us “get the vaccine and you don’t have to
wear a mask”????
Do you remember that????

I’ve had Covid.
I’ve had the vaccine (the two shots vs the one)
I now feel fully double whammied…maybe that’s like
more of a doubled immunity.

So imagine my chagrin this past weekend when we pulled into this
particular little mountain town retreat in which we chose to spend our
38th anniversary celebration.
“MASKS ARE MANDATED INSIDE OUTSIDE SIDEWALKS”

GEES LOUISE!!!!!!! was my initial response as we rolled into town.

“Oh you selfish person you” scream the woke cupcakes over this
initial reaction of mine.

But you need to know something…you need to know that I will always honor
a business’s personal concerns for their own establishment and employees.
My husband was a small business owner for the last 50 years…
so yes, I get that.

But I draw the line outdoors.

It is still very much the summer here in the South—hot, hazy and humid.
Mountains or no mountains…we be hot!

Try breathing through a mask—filtered hot contaminated air coming in,
carbon dioxide going out via the mask…of which means residual C02 remains or
comes right back in…
a perfect wet humid mix of bad air breathed in and out.

Oh how our Italian friends would very much find fault in these bad vapors.

And now let us add in the trash residue…

And so as I labored breathing, watching the other empty masked faces…
suddenly I heard a long forgotten song playing out in my head…
a song by the Doobie Brothers–

Listen to the Music–
Don’t you feel it growin’ day by day?
People gettin’ ready for the news
Some are happy some are sad…
Oh… we got to let the music play
Umm-hmm
What the people need is a way to make ’em smile
It ain’t so hard to do if you know how
Gotta get a message, get it on through…
Oh now mama don’t you ask me why

Yesterday I mentioned that the US had left behind 90 million dollars worth of equipment
in Afghanistan—I mistyped…that was meant to be 90 BILLION dollars in equipment.

That 90 billion is tax payer monies simply abandoned by a sitting president.

It was not as if we were being overrun and had to make a hasty retreat…we
did not. The hasty retreat was of our own current president’s doings.

So if you’d like a free Black Hawk helicopter, maybe a humvee…
all you need to do is to sneak across the Afghani border and claim
your helicopter and or vehicle of choice and fly or drive that puppy
right on out of town.
You are a taxpayer and therefore you are part owner…
and if we are simply leaving such behind, by all means, please, go get yours!

Let us remember that we impeached Richard Nixon for truly a much lesser offense
then that of President Biden.

Nixon obstructed justice and abused his power…
Biden has lied and failed American interests at home and abroad…
think loss of lives,
Biden has abused his power as well as having been negligent in the handling
of American troops.
He has aided in the documented deaths of 13 Americans as well as countless
Americans who have been left behind…as in, stranded.

There has been a blatant abandonment of American citizens…
purposefully and knowingly leaving Americans in harms way.
Bypassing his duty to serve and protect the American people and her
interests both home and abroad.

Impeachable offensives.

Far more egregious than those counts brought against President Trump.
There was no blood on the hands of Trump.
Merely falsified Russian collusion and a falsified pro quid pro.

Blood and the loss of life with intent is far more damnable.

So we wonder…what type of president do we want.
An emboldened go getter or a weak reactive man who claims he’s not
the one in charge.

It seems to be our choice.
So what say you…
Pete, or repeat?

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy
that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,
and those who find it are few.”

Matthew 7:13-14