the precarious balance of life

Regardless of the outcome,
God can bring about eternal good from every trial.

In a hundred years, the eternal good that comes from our trial will be the
only thing that matters.
Bill Sweeney
Unshakeable Hope


(the gardinas are in bloom / Julie Cook / 2018)

I have to confess that I am about to have a broken heart.

Not a literal broken heart mind you but rather more figuratively…
yet broken none the less.

For as much as I know that God’s word has always taught me that I am not to worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will take care of itself…I can’t help but think about tomorrow…or truthfully
it’s the day after tomorrow I’m thinking about.

Those of you who know me know that my daughter-n-law and new young granddaughter came to stay
with us almost two months ago when our daughter-n-law had to go back to finish out the school year following her maternity leave.

Someone had to care for the baby…
My hand went up.

Since they actually live in Atlanta, while the school where our daughter-n-law teaches
is in our area which is a good hour or so away from their home—with a new baby,
commuting was out of the question.

And as our course of prayer has been that she can find a school and school system closer to their
world rather than our world–we learned late yesterday afternoon that that prayer has
actually been fulfilled.

She has been offered a wonderful position at a private Catholic school in Atlanta.
Our son has finally gotten a good job with a large Atlanta based company so moving, again,
was simply not an option….nor was living life in two different places.

So for these nearly two months, I’ve been chief cook and bottle washer…literally.
Throw in diaper changer, entertainer, errand runner and grandmother…the list goes on.
And whereas my body reminds me daily why God intended younger folks to have babies versus us
older folks, I have been dutiful to my labor of love.

Starting late last week, as the thoughts of their departure came looming to the forefront of
my senses and as I’d feel the hot tears bubbling upwards, I’d push it all back down..trying
not to think about it while just living in the moment of now.

And that’s the thing, I’ve never been good about living in the moment
as I’ve always been one to fret about tomorrow.

I know in my head what is the best and the right thing…and that is for mom, dad, and baby
to be all together, as they should be under one roof, as this has been a difficult time for my son.
He misses them terribly.

And with a baby…missing those little day to day changes and milestones is to any new parent,
gut-wrenching.

They have been together on weekends, as time has afforded…but the weeks have been long for
all of them…especially Alice, their black lab.

And so yes, I will be sad.

Very very sad.

All of which I will address later… because today, I don’t want to talk about it…
because, tears remember, are bubbling upward all the while as I’m being mindful that enjoying
the moment is the true importance rather than dreading the future.

So it was with this all in mind and on heart that I happened upon a most timely post
from my friend Tricia over on Truth Through Empowerment
(https://freedomthroughempowerment.wordpress.com)

Tricia was actually sharing the post from another blogger.
A post from a fellow named Bill Sweeney over on Unshakable Hope.

Bill has ALS…a disease that he has lived with now since 1996.
Of which is pretty amazing if you know anything about ALS.
To most folks diagnosed with such, it is an immediate sort of torturous death sentence.

At the time of diagnosis, Bill was given only 2 to 5 years to live.
Bill lost all movement and speech shortly following his diagnosis but he has pressed
forward since.

Bill is also an ardent Christian.

Bill could have chosen to rile at an unseen God in rage…living his remaining life in
constant anger and resentment…
rather Bill has chosen to live this life he has been given by looking through the lens
of a great and powerful God.

It was something Bill wrote yesterday in his post “Unshakable Hope” that really hit a chord
in me…

“Regardless of the outcome,
God can bring about eternal good from every trial.

In a hundred years, the eternal good that comes from our trial will be the
only thing that matters.”

The eternal Good…

And so obviously, I get that my broken heart pales in comparison to the struggles Bill
and others face on a daily basis while living with debilitating illnesses or uncurable
disease—not to mention the trials faced by the loved ones and caregivers who work to support,
love and provide for those with such overwhelming circumstances.

Yet that’s the thing…
we all have our trials…be they physical, emotional, mental, spiritual…
and those trials will ebb and flow throughout our lives…
And during the course of a life, those trials will vary in intensity and severity.

But the key will always be found in our ability to look at said trials as events
far greater than ourselves.

We, humans, tend to be narrow in our scope of vision…
with that vision being through the lens of self.

Selfish, egotistically, self-indulgent, self-wallowing, self-pity…the me-first mentality that
life and the world pretty much evolves around us and us alone.

Much how my 3-month-old granddaughter thinks and feels…it’s all about needs, wants and comfort…
but at 58, such thoughts are not as cute, attractive nor inviting but are rather toxic.

So it’s always good to be reminded that life is bigger than ourselves.
It’s also good to be reminded that God is so much bigger than we are…
and that life is an extension of His greatness.

And that the eternal good from the trials we currently experience will bear
needed fruit long after we are gone…and that’s what truly matters…

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,
but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may
be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Please read Bill’s offering:

https://unshakablehope.com

when mothballs make me cry

“There’s a tear in my beer
Cause I’m cryin for you, dear
You are on my lonely mind”

Hank Williams


(a sack of bat deterrent, aka mothballs, Julie Cook / 2017)

When mothballs make me cry…

No, I’m not writing a new country song, not about mothballs anyway…
I’m literally talking about real mothballs.

You may recall that I’ve had problems before with bats wanting to roost under
the awning on my back deck…
and since this is where my cat Percy spends most of his daylight hours…
well, I can’t have bats hanging out where we and the cats hang out.

I tried stuffing dryer sheets up in their little crevices,
I tried squirting them with hornet spray…
I tried poking them with a broom…
but they kept coming back—

So I had a brilliant idea.
I’d hang up mothballs.

Well, I suppose I can’t take full credit, I think I read somewhere on
a critter catcher’s website that mothballs were a low tech deterrent.
I wanted to try something humane as I know and appreciate how beneficial bats
are in the yard and poking them with a broom just made them squeak at me and
spraying them with hornet spray is probably not
exactly good for them.

Back early in the Spring, I ventured to Home Depot and bought a box of mothballs.
Once home I hung up two bags on opposite ends of the deck, just under each corner
of the awning, where the bats had hunkered down to spend their days napping.


(my little neighbor who needed to move / Julie Cook / 2016)

Here it is late July and I’ve had nary a bat.
Conclusion….
the mothballs work.

Mothballs are meant to be in sealed-up containers where things like old books
or sweaters are stored as they are actually a pesticide for what else…
sweater eating moths and paper eating silverfish.

The smell is, well, toxic.
Hence why they’re suppose to be in bins and boxes and not necessarily
out for breathing.

But I figure we’re safe as I’ve hung the bags up high and downwind from where we sit.
and in just the right spot to fumigate the hiding nooks of bats.

Mothballs, like dry ice, dissipate over time when exposed to air.
So yesterday I noticed my little mothball sacks were now empty.
Meaning my mothballs had evaporated and I needed some refills.

Another trip to Home Depot and I returned ready to rehang bags of balls.

As I opened the box I was suddenly hit with an overwhelmingly pungent and
most familiar odor.

They say that scent, odor or smell is one of the most powerful triggers for memory.

Suddenly, I was a little girl rummaging back into the deep recesses of my
grandmother’s closet.
She had mothballs strewn all on the floor, in the way back, of her old cavernous
closet. I was immediately informed right fast not to touch the poisonous mothballs.
This being in the home where my mom and her sister Martha had grown up.
My mom and Martha.

Martha….

sigh…..

Seems I can’t even hang up some mothballs without remembering this heavy
heart of mine.


(Mother,the not so happy bride along with her not so happy 13 year old maid of honor..
seems Martha had been obnoxiously silly, embarrassing Mother the night before at the rehearsal dinner, so they weren’t speaking this otherwise joyous June day 1953…sisters….)

Time to que the country music…..

Lord, I’ve tried and I’ve tried
But my tears I can’t hide
You are on my lonely mind.
All these blues that I’ve found
Have really got me down
You are on my lonely mind

Hank Williams

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

What will you leave behind

And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
Jeremiah 23:3

DSC01384
(the story of a piece of wood found in a cross cut knot / Julie Cook / 2015)

Recently I read a story on the BBC website about an ominous discovery. It was a story about finding, along with the subsequent necessity of diffusing, an undetonated bomb from WWII. The bomb precipitated the largest post war evacuation ever in the history of Cologne, Germany.

As is often the case, a construction company preparing a site for some new underground pipe made the frightening discovery. The unexploded 1 ton bomb was buried 16 feet below the surface.

20,000 city residents, including those from an elderly care facility along with the Zoo, several schools and surrounding businesses were all evacuated in Cologne yesterday as the Rhine River was closed to commerce as was the air space over the city as a bomb squad team was dispersed to safely unarm the bomb.

According to the German newspaper Die Spiegel it is estimated that hundreds of tons of bombs are discovered yearly littered throughout Europe, with the highest percentage being found in Germany–Thousands of undetonated bombs are either buried underground or lying on the bottom of ocean floors–from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Underneath the lives of 21st century modern-day Germans—under homes, major thoroughfares, schools, churches, synagogues, shopping centers, business. . .all unsuspecting that there is a dark reminder which lies hidden just below their now busy and peaceful lives.

Several times throughout any given year, global news is littered with stories of farmers, fishermen as well as construction crews who inadvertently make such grim and frighting discoveries. Be it the fishermen off the coast of Denmark dragging their nets to awaiting underwater remnants, to construction crews in Germany, Poland, England, Amsterdam and Russia who accidentally uncover an all too explosive past to the farmers in France and Belgium who simply labor to plant their fields which are rife with a deadly debris—all live bombs that were dropped 70 years ago which still pose a very real and dangerous threat today.

In 2014 a man operating a back hoe in the town of Euskirchen near Bonn was killed when he accidentally hit a buried bomb, triggering the deadly explosion. Eight others were injured

In 2011, 6000 citizens on the outskirts of Paris were evacuated from their neighborhood when a 1000 pound unexploded RAF bomb was discovered by a construction crew.

In 2012 thousands of citizens were evacuated in Munich when the discovery of an undetonated 550 pound bomb was found laying buried beneath a nightclub made famous in the 1970’s by the British Rock Group, the Rolling Stones.

Yet it is not only Germany or her sister countries of Europe or Russia which are sitting on top of potential catastrophes. . .
Millions of buried land-mines litter the Balkan region which spans 11 countries. In recent years, these countries have witnessed heavy and devastating flooding. . . flooding which has in turn unearthed thousands of undetonated deadly land-mines. Long buried reminders from the Bosnian War of 1992-1995.

Last year the British news agency The Telegraph ran an article about how scientists from both France and Croatia have been working together on enlisting “sniffer bees” to help “sniff” out explosives. Scientists discovered that the bees olfactory sense is on par with that of dogs and that the bees can be trained to keenly sniff out TNT. Bomb experts hope to release the bees in the fields while following their movement as they “hone” in on buried explosives.

Southeast Asia is also rife with deadly reminders of its tumultuous past as a fare share of its forgotten nightmares, those thousands of undetonated buried bombs and land-mines, all of which now litter the fields, streams and cities from Vietnam to Laos to Cambodia to Korea and even to Japan.

And then there is the Middle East. . .Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Iran. . .

The global list of the dark reminders of conflicts, police actions, as well as world wars, litter the world like a spilled bowl of popcorn.

The mainland of the United States has been left relatively unscathed when it comes to things such as land-mines and buried undetonated bombs. The US is fortunate in that the sorts of discovery of war paraphernalia is from wars fought long past. . . Revolutionary, Indian, Spanish and Civil Wars—all long before modern warfare’s use of live ammunition and bombs.
Only the wayward musket ball, arrowhead, spear, sword or cannon ball. . .

Yet there are those rare times that a country is privy to more shining historical moments such when a farmer, tending a lone field somewhere in the UK, or an errant treasure hunter detects, then digs up, a hoard of Roman coins or battle gear. There was even the recent story of the lost remains of a once dubious king, King Richard III, being unearthed from underneath a parking lot in Leicester.

These are the stories of what lurks beneath our feet. . .

Yet the question remains. . .
What of future generations?
What shall they be unearthing that once belonged to us. . .
What will our discarded, throwaway, perhaps deadly legacy be. . .
What of the dead zones such of Chernobyl or Fukushima?
What of our own Love Canal and Three Mile Island?
What of the mountains of discarded toxic trash littering Paraguay and Argentina?
Much of which has been shipped from the US to be dumped in impoverished countries.
That whole “not in my backyard” mentality.
It is the poisonous remains of our love affair with the never ending growth of technology and electronics. . .all full of lead, mercury,cadmium, dioxin. . .
Thrown out and shipped out. . .as in. . .out of sight, out of mind. . .

Hidden dark reminders of our fractious as well as industrial past, resting unsuspected and forgotten. . .until a child playing in a field finds a shiny piece of metal sticking up out of the ground and makes the fatal mistake of pulling it out. . .

The question remains, what will future generations unearth that once belonged to us and what will be the consensus?