separation anxiety and the big blue ball

“Absence is to love what wind is to fire;
it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.”

Roger de Bussy-Rabutin


(a post meltdown Mayor / Julie Cook / 2019)

We were on a mission.

The Mayor was in need…

In need of a ball.

And not just any ball would do.

It needed to be a big ball.
Something to lift,
to roll,
to throw,
to kick.

And so a trip to Target (pronounced as Targé) was first on the day’s docket.

Up and down the aisles we looked.
We were searching high and low,
fearful our quest may be in vain.

We found golf balls, tennis balls, soccer balls, footballs, baseballs,
softballs, nerf balls…

Then finally, as patience was beginning to wane, we stumbled upon a giant end-cap
metal bin containing three lone summertime blue balls…all marked clearance.

And out of the 3 large blue balls, it was the blue ball on the bottom of the other
two blue balls that was the Mayor’s ball of choice.

Of course, it was.

Once I figured out how to get the giant blue ball out of the bin while moving
the other blue balls out of the way, the Mayor delightfully proceeded to hold the
big blue ball throughout the duration of our jaunt.

We opted for self-checkout.

Everything was going great until I had to “take” the big blue ball from the hands of
the Mayor in order to scan it.

It seems that a rather loud meltdown ensued.

As soon as the ball was scanned and I handed it back to the Mayor, the meltdown
blessedly subsided…
That was until it was time to get the Mayor and the big blue ball in the car…
something that could not have been accomplished simultaneously…
it was a conundrum that bumfuzzled the Mayor’s understanding.

As you can see on the Mayor’s face—the horror of separation was great until
she was finally buckled in and the big blue ball was back where it should be—within her embrace…

The end of our journey…a complete success!


(once home, the Mayor forget the big blue ball and opted for a new tennis ball–sigh)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 ESV

We’re off to get the wizard…I mean…the Mayor

We’re off to see the Wizard
The wonderful Wizard of Oz
We hear he is a whiz of a wiz
If ever a wiz there was
If ever, oh ever a wiz there was…

The Wizard of Oz


(the satellite woobooville office is open for business / Julie Cook / 2019)

We’re off to see, not the wizard, but rather to pick up the Mayor…
bringing her home for a few days…
So any meaningful discourse, over the next couple of days here in cookieland,
will most likely be few and far between…

The Mayor has a way of simply sucking the life out of me…so I’ll be lucky
if I remain in one piece…add to that the relentless heat…

Atlanta hit another record high day of 98 degrees—-do you know what it’s like keeping a
whirling dervish, aka a 19-month-old toddler, in the house all-day while avoiding deadly heat?

I’ll be back soon, as I’d like to say a few words about the premature death of Cokie Roberts…

Cokie Roberts was a consummate journalist who came from a different day and another time…
a time I actually liked.
It was a time when she helped to set the benchmark and standard for what it
meant to be a real journalist…

She passed away yesterday at the age of 75 from a brave battle with breast cancer.

Unfortunately for all of us today, real journalists, along with “real” journalism,
has fallen by the wayside…
Those individuals who once taught us, as well as shared with us, the story of ourselves…
those who unbiasedly informed and taught us…were what we now know, a fleeting mirage.

Cokie Roberts may or may not have seen eye to eye with me and my own worldly thoughts…
And therein lies the glory… I never really knew her agenda…

I thought I knew her leanings…but then something would be said and I’d be left wondering a tad.

She was a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a daughter…
a journalist, a political analyst, a reporter, an author…
Her mother served as the American Ambassador to the Vatican.
She wrote a book about the Founding Mothers—a P.S. to the book The Founding Fathers…

I don’t and didn’t know her every personal thought or opinion and that was the joy
of all of this…I didn’t know and for that, I was better…we were all better as we
were allowed to think for ourselves and make our own thoughts and opinions.

And that’s what helped to make her such a success…we didn’t always know what she felt on a personal
level as she was busy simply reporting and sharing the facts…
that’s what reporters use to do…just the facts mam…

So there’ll be more journalists and journalism later…but for now, it’s all about the Mayor…

Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:5 ESV

Dear God,

I told you that I would thank you.

That I would thank you here, on the most public platform I have available.

For you, oh Lord, have blessed us, this small family of ours, beyond measure.

You have heard our petitions and our cries, all on more than one occasion…
You have heard our groanings and our anguish…our pleas and our laments…
and You have always been faithful, even while we were undeserving.

You know my heart oh God.

You know exactly for what it is that I am offering you my thanks…

And yet…for today…I will simply let these two small little people represent
the outward symbol of our family’s gratitude…the deep offerings from my heart to Yours.

I thank you for their presence in our lives.
I thank you for their wellbeing.
I thank you for the opportunity for allowing me to be a part of their lives.
I thank you for the joy they bring…to all of us…

Be that when they are awake and happy…


(the Mayor and her new Sheriff / Julie Cook / 2019)


(the new Sheriff enjoying a bath / Julie Cook / 2019)

Or when they are blessedly asleep, both at the same time when I’m babysitting!


(a moment of blessed peace when “Biya” aka Mopie comes to babysit/ Julie Cook / 2019)

Thanking you even for this…reasons some of us get hand, foot and mouth disease while thinking
we’re just being silly and playing a game of “don’t do that”
and then wonder why later we don’t feel so good.


(the Mayor thinking she’s being funny rather than gross / Julie Cook / 2019)

But most importantly God, I thank You for hearing our small family’s prayers and for
answering those prayers…

Sometimes You answer in ways we see and understand and sometimes You answer in ways that we
do not nor cannot see let alone comprehend…

And yet, no matter what, You hear us nonetheless.

Please continue in Your guidance as I continue to learn gratitude…

Love, Julie

apostello

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him,
but because he loves what is behind him.”

G.K. Chesterton


(the Mayor offers her blessings to St Francis / Julie Cook / 2019)

According to Wikipedia, the word apostolate means:
An apostolate is a Christian organization “directed to serving and evangelizing the world”,
most often associated with the Anglican Communion or the Catholic Church. …
The word apostolate comes from the Greek word apostello,
which means to “send forth” or “to dispatch”.

And isn’t that pretty much a summation of what is known as the Great Commission within
the Christian faith?

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Then Jesus came to them and said,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20

So I recently read about an interesting little book that’s really not very new…the copyright
date is 1946.
It is the book that was on the bedside table of Pope Pius X…
and so intrigued as to what a pope found to be essential to the Faith,
I naturally thought I too needed to have my own copy.

And whereas this book was written by a Catholic Monk who was born in 1858 and died in 1935,
the words offered are eerily very current and timely…
Or perhaps there’s nothing eery about it at all because such words are more or less timeless.

Not overly familiar with the political history of France during the era of her Prime Minister
Georges Eugène Benjamin Clemenceau, I did not realize that he was very much an enemy of
the Catholic Chruch as well as an active anti-semite.

He considered himself to be a Radical Socialist.
He had no use for religion– that being not only The Catholic Chruch, but any church, as he was an avowed and very vocal atheist.
His feelings about the Jews were equally as venomous.

At one point, he mounted an all-out crackdown on the Catholic Chruch.

Some called it an outright persecution.

Yet French History is not totally unflattering of Clemenceau as he did lead France
strongly when she most needed strong leadership during the throes of WWI.
He even survived an assassination attempt by an anarchist during the midst
of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1901 when Clemenceau was speaking very vocally against the Chruch and vowed
to close down as many of the monasteries and various Church Orders that he could,
a certain Catholic Cistercian monk was nominated to meet personally with the president
in order to ‘defend the faith.’

The unsympathetic atheist president admitted that he found this particular monk to be sincere,
fearless and of high integrity.
Clemenceau spared the monk’s Order but other Orders were not so fortunate.

The monk was Jean-Baptiste Chautard.

This particular monk was himself, not always one who was of religious thinking.
He had actually attended college to study economics and finance—
religion was far removed from his radar.

Chautard began attending a study group for Catholic students…an organization that would
be instrumental in his “conversion”—
a conversion from being Catholic in name only to that of practicing devout Chrisitan Catholic.

He later noted that this religious organization was…
“more than a tame and sheepish attempt to rival the attractions of the dance hall and the
cafe by vainly trying to beat them at their own game of pleasing and entertaining human nature.
There was something more, something that appealed to a much deeper and more urgent and more
vital necessity: faith, supernatural charity,
a deep and simple and unbreakable solidarity among souls united, as he was to discover, in Christ.
And he began to taste “that peace which the world cannot give.”

I am reminded of the recent posting by Bishop Gavin Ashenden regarding the frivolity of various
Anglican churches and their sad attempts of drawing in attendants by offering putt-putt golf
down the center aisle of the sanctuary or placing a Helter Skelter amusement ride in close proximity
to the altar.
A feeble attempt hoping to draw in and amuse the masses rather than “feed” their souls.

Dom Chautard story continues…

In the persecution of the Chruch in France, under Clemenceau, in the early days of the century,
Dom Chautard’s keen eye had discovered a glaring inconsistency in the reaction of a certain
type of Catholic leader.
He observed that some priests, some organizers of Catholic Action,
imagined that they could fight political enemies with more or less worldly and politically weapons,

Oh how this sounds like our sad state of affairs today.
The now misguided global Christian Chruch, not merely the Catholic faith, wrestling with and fighting
her political enemies with worldly weapons rather than with her true spiritual armor.

In defending the Chruch against state persecution,
they thought the most important thing was to gain and preserve political and social power,
they believed that these gains could best be consolidated by a great material expansion.
They expended all their efforts in running newspapers, holding conventions,
publishing pamphlets and magazines, and above all,
they measured the growth of Catholic life by the number of new school buildings,
new Church buildings, new hospital buildings, new orphanages, new social centers.
…As if the Church of God were built exclusively of bricks and mortar!

Such apostles tended to congratulate themselves when they had raised large sums of money,
or when their Churches were filled with great throngs of people,
without reference to what might be going on in the souls of all those who were present
It (the Church) is built of saints.
And saints are made only by the grace of God and the infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost,
not by speeches and publicity and campaigns, which are all dommed to sterility without the
essential means of Prayer and mortification.

…the only remedy was a return to the fundamentals of Christian Doctrine in
all the power and beauty of their traditional presentation.

excerpts from The Soul of the Apostolate
Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O.

We’ve been hearing so much as of late, have we not, about those spiritual comets that were
once so bright… blazing comets that have all but quickly burned out as they so publicly
denounce their once staunch faith.

We’ve been reading so much about churches that are prostituting themselves all in the name of numbers
and that of the feel-good religion of a progressive post-Christian church.

We find ourselves in a bit of a panic as we think that we are undergoing some new
and strange predicament…but in reality, our predicament is nearly as old as time itself.

So yes, the only remedy, the only solution, is that we return to the fundamentals of our
Christine doctrine.

We are called to dispatch the Word.
It would behoove us to be mindful that our time is running out…

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness
to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Matthew 24:14

Please pardon the interruption…

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things
as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life.
The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life —
the life God is sending one day by day.

C. S. Lewis


(the Mayor accessing the containers that house her satellite Woobooville office supplies…aka toys)

Please pardon the interruption in service, but The Mayor is currently in residence…

Her royal ruler (aka self-appointed official) has proclaimed that any and all technology
will be used sparingly during her audit of the satellite office of Woobooville.

She is emphatic that there are to be absolutely no leaks to the media as to what this audit may entail

Some staff members are very worried…


(Percy making himself comfortable in the Mayor’s teepee along with Polly Possum)

So while the Mayor settles in for a few days conducting her reign of terror,
I may be a bit scarce here in blogville as I tend to her every beck and call…


(the Mayor has taken over the offical chair of the stellite office’s boss, aka Da or Papa)

Our life will be a success if, at the moment of death,
we have in our soul the life above our nature, the Supernatural Life.
It will be a failure if, at death, we have not the Supernatural Life.
For if we have it, then we have in our soul the powers that would enable us to live the life of heaven;
if we have it not, we lack these powers and therefore will be totally unable to live the life of heaven.

Frank Sheed
from A Map of Life

when did Moppie became Biya?

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us,
as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings,
spouses, friends–and hardly ever our own grown children.

Ruth Goode


(the Mayor clownig around / Julie Cook / 2019)

The best-laid plans, right?

Somewhere between having kids and by the time those kids become “grown”…
the notion of having grandchildren, and becoming a grandparent, trickles
ever so sweetly into one’s thoughts.

And maybe even more so if you yourself had had a special relationship with your own grandparents.

Of course, you most certainly need to have some time in between your children leaving the nest
and their actually growing into their own before you can even allow yourself to
entertain the thought of more wee ones in your life!
But the older you get, the more those types of thoughts invade both your mind and heart.

And so all this grandparent talk came racing to the forefront of my thinking recently,
in a rather poignant way, when I was talking with a new acquaintance.
This new friend reminded me of what it means to want to be a grandparent.

This friend was recounting the day doctors had told her she had stage 4 breast cancer,
kidney cancer as well as liver cancer….giving her only 2 weeks to live.

The short-long of this story, of which was about 6 years ago or so,
and as we now see has had a truly a miraculous ending…is not what one might imagine.

When told you only have two weeks to live…I’m not certain what your first thoughts
are suppose to be.

Do you panic?
Do you get mad?
Are you resigned?
Or, in the case of my friend, do you think of what might have been?

When my own mother was told such at the age of 53, her first response was that she
really had wanted to play tennis again.
But that was pretty much my mom…

So what this new friend of mine had told me, that which was her initial thought after hearing such news,
was actually quite telling.

This was at a time in her life when her sons were still relatively young and just entering college.
The thought of them marrying and having their own children was a very distant fantasy.
Yet my friend revealed that when the doctors told her she had but weeks to live,
her first and only thought was…
“and to think, all I’ve ever wanted was to be a grandmother…”

And so yes, there is indeed something truly magical about being a grandparent.

I was fortunate in that I knew both of my grandmothers and one grandfather,
a man who I lost way too soon…when I was but only 7.

To this day, I cherish the memories I forged with each of them…
as they left important imprints on my very being.
They helped to mould me into who I am today.
But perhaps no more so than that of my grandfather as he continues to loom large and lovingly
in the memories of
the 7-year-old little girl who remains in my psyche.

And so one thing we know about grandparents is that grandparents have grandparent names.

My grandparents were known as Mimi, Nany, and Pop.

My dad was later ‘Pops’ to our son as was his brother, my uncle, to his own grandkids.

So when the time came in our own lives, when my husband and myself were to become grandparents,
the formation of names became a hot topic.

Our son wanted us to have more traditional names—names he was familiar with—those of
“grandmother and papa” since “pops” was a bit too sacred for him.

I, on the other hand, wanted to be more unique…
Names with character and staying power.
So I thought “Moppie and Poppie” sounded really cute.

Not too dorky or silly but really grandparent-like.

Our son hated both names but I stuck with my choice…
Despite the little fact that my husband constantly kept falling back on what he had heard his
own father called forever… “papa”

Still, I was determined.
I was going to be Moppie by gosh.

That was until the day I was actually called ‘Biya’ and my husband was called ‘Da’ by the one person
who the names were to be the most pertinent.

BIYA????
What the heck??
I get ‘Da’ as that is connected to what the Mayor calls her dad, DaDa—so it makes sense the older of the
dadas would be Da.
But Biya???

How and where she came up with Biya is beyond my soul.

When they call us on the phone and when she hears my voice—
it is immediately a constant shouting of BIYA, BIYA, BIYA…

My grandmother, Nany, got her name because her young nephew, my dad’s cousin, couldn’t say
‘Aunt Annie’—-so a butchered form came out as ‘nany’—and so Nany stuck.
And thus for about 70 years of her 86 year long life, she was Nany and Nany only to all of
us who knew and loved her.

But that still didn’t answer my wonderment as to how Moppie became Biya…

So when in doubt I did what we all do…I googled.

The word Biya is actually a real word.
Who knew??

It is Arabic in origin.
And it is a current word in both Pakistan and India…Sanskrit actually…
a word that means ‘goodness’, ‘courageous’ or more importantly, ‘gift to God’…

So in her 18-month-old infinite wisdom, The Mayor has deemed that I shall be of goodness and
a gift to God…

I’ll take that name in a heartbeat and I pray that I will be able to live up to this
most precious gift she’s given me.
Because she and her brother, the New Sheriff, are the best gifts my life could have ever received.


(The Maror showing a little love to her Sheriff)


(the Sheriff enjoying his first beach trip)


(the Mayor sporting shades for a day out at the beach)

Shenanigans, BBQ and the Mayor… along with her Sheriff

“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
Allen Saunders


(the Mayor is about to get wet / Julie Cook / 2019)

Sunday we drove over to see the Mayor and her new Sheriff.

Lunch sounded like a plan so we headed over to the Battery…
otherwise known as Suntrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves Baseball team.

The team actually wasn’t home but had traveled up to Philly in order to play ball—
so we opted to take advantage of their absence and visit their vacated home
for a fun-filled and much less crowded afternoon.

My husband likes to say that they built a baseball stadium inside
of an outdoor mall.

The Stadium is surrounded by a live, work, play, visit, eat and drink area known as
the Battery.

There are greens for kids to play on, fountains of water for kids to run and jump in,
restaurants galore…from cheap eats to galm good. A hotel, apartments, shops,
bars, ice-cream shops…giant screen TVs showing the latest game…you name it,
The Battery has it.

Something Atlanta was in great need of.

Clean and family-friendly on the more northern and western side of the city
And technically it’s not in the city of Atlanta but rather in Cobb County,
north of the city and closer to Marietta.

One of the myriads of restaurants is actually an outpost to one of Atlanta’s more
famous BBQ joints…Fox Brothers.

(http://www.foxbrosbbq.com/fox-bros-home.html)

And you should know that I rather fancy myself as a bit of a rib aficionado.

Smoky, sweet, salty, savory, spicy, tangy, fall off the bone and melt in your mouth…
type of aficionado…
Of which pretty much sums up a good plate of BBQ ribs from Fox Brothers

It was just about a month ago when my son first introduced me to Fox Brothers and
I must confess, I’ve never looked back.

Fox Brothers is just that, a place owned and operated by two pit master brothers
from Texas who made their way to Atlanta.
They’ve been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, The Travel Channel,
The Today Show,The BBQ Trail, etc.

They’re that good.

So we loaded the kids up in the car and all 6 of us trekked over to The Battery
for lunch and a bit of fun family time.

Following a heavenly meal, The Mayor was most keen to visit the water fountain.
Not so much to throw in 3 coins to the fountain, but rather to partake in
a splashing good time…of which she did—as in we had to change her clothes before
we headed back home because she was soaked to the bone.

A smashing good time indeed!!

Meanwhile, the poor Sheriff just didn’t know what to think!

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6