Quick change of course

“Fortunately Jesus didn’t leave [the disciples]-
or any of us-without hope or direction.
Where we fail, Jesus succeeded.
The only One who as able to recognize and follow His purpose from the beginning was Jesus.
He alone was able to obey consistently and please God completely.
And His divine mission was to make a way for each of us to do the same.”

Charles R.Swindoll

I don’t know why I am still amazed…still amazed at how quickly our lives can
take a turn as our little worlds can quickly change in the blink of an eye.

This came to mind last night while watching the breaking news from Florida
when it was reported that there was a jewelry store robbery in
Coral Gables, Fl.

The armed robbers shot an employee of the jewelry store in the head,
took off from the store, carjacked a UPS truck, held guns to the driver’s head
and lead police on a chase that ended in a hail of gunfire.

The UPS driver and an innocent bystander were both killed.
The robbers were apprehended and both already had a laundry list of
past serious committed crimes.
I do not know how the store employee has fared.

As the wife of a man who ran his own jewelry store for 50 years,
we always thought about these incidents.
In fact, a few years before I had met my husband, he was shot in his store when
three armed men came into his store in an attempt to rob the store.

His body still bears the scar.

He was lucky.

I see a lot of UPS trucks out and about this time of year.
They actually come to our house a lot this time of year as I tend to
shop a bit more easily the older I get.

It’s a matter of a click and poof…
in a couple of days, a UPS driver rolls down my driveway.

So the thought of a man who got up yesterday to go to work and didn’t come home
last night tugged at my heart.

Then I think of the two shootings we’ve had on two of our different military bases
in the past two days…
People got up to go to work and didn’t come home because
of the evil intent of others.

So when I got an early morning call that The Mayor was throwing up
uncontrollably and they were headed to the ER of the Children’s hospital,
I simply got dressed and got in the car and made my way to Atlanta.

It hadn’t been my plan to make a mad dash on a Friday morning to Atlanta nor was it
our daughter-n-law’s plan to call into school and request a sub at the last minute.
Nor was it in the thoughts of a 22-month-old little girl to become suddenly
violently ill out of the blue.

But life happens…for good or bad.

I don’t know about you, but I pretty much take each day for granted.
Getting up, going through the motions of the day as I plan on doing the same
the following day.
I think we all do.

But maybe we, me, you all need to be a bit more reflective,
a bit more thought-filled.
Maybe we need to consider our lives a bit more reverently.
Considering it as a fragile gift that is to be savored and cherished.
Reveling in those who are nearest and dearest rather than the cursory hi’s and byes
as we pass like ships in the night.
Relishing, rather, in those brief moments we can spend together at home.

Maybe it’s the time of year, maybe it’s my age, but the revelation that life is fleeting
is felt more keenly.
And so the divisiveness eating away at our country, I find to be such a terrible waste
of time and energy.

He is good…
and yet…

We are living in a time that has the lowest number of people attending a
Church or Synagogue.
We have the lowest number of people who consider religion as an
integral part of life.
We have the highest number of people who doubt the existence of God.
And yet we have some of the highest numbers of depression, suicide, addictions,
and a large number of the population that has a deep dissatisfaction with life.

I recently read that the traditional religions of Christianity and Judaism are
both being replaced in younger generations with an odd mix of yoga, self-help,
and meditation.

I saw the same thing happen in the early ’70s just as we were coming out of
the tumultuous ’60s along with a war, as people were looking desperately for some sort
of numbing agent. Self-help books were flying off the shelves.

But what is the first place we turn in the face of disaster?
We look to God.

A perplexing quirk and fickleness of humankind.

In our world, a little girl got medicine and got better.
In the world of others, they are trying to put to pieces
back together without their loved ones.

May we take this season of all things holiday to reconsider the
importance of our lives and of those in our lives.

Cherish those closest to you.
Hold them a bit longer, hug them a bit tighter.
Linger in their presence.

For both time and life are fleeting…

The Mayor and Moppie or Biyah or Ba easing back to better health / Julie Cook / 2019)

(The Mayor managing to eat a Pedialyte popscilce / Julie Cook / 2019)

Be strong and courageous.
Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you.
He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

Caught red handed

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
Helen Keller

(guess who’s at my front door / Julie Cook 2013)

According to the website “metal floss” the expression of “being caught red handed” originated not, as some erroneously believe, in Ireland, but actually in a kindred land—the nation of Scotland….(FREEDOM!!! — pride for my Scottish roots)

The first documented mention of “red hand” is in the Scottish Acts of Parliament of James I, written in 1432:
That the offender be taken reid hand, may be persewed, and put to the knawledge of ane Assise, befoir the Barron or Landeslord of the land or ground, quhidder the offender be his tennent, unto quhom the wrang is done or not… And uthers not taken reid hand, to be alwaies persewed befoir the…

And of course we can pretty much bet it all had something to do with the taking and killing of an animal such as a sheep or cow which resulted in spilt blood being on one’s hands—a pretty good indication of guilt back in the day…

Fast forward to Wednesday. It was late afternoon, around 6:00 PM—just before my husband would be arriving home from work. As this was just before the soon to be dreaded time change, it was still somewhat light out. I had the front door open to just the glass storm door. Suddenly both cats can be seen running to the door as I hear Peaches with a deep low growl. “Must be that pesky cat from my neighbor’s again” I muse.

I hurry my way to the entrance hall, not knowing what I’m going to find on the other side of the door, when I suddenly stop dead in my tracks. “The camera, where’s the camera?!” I silently scream in my head!! The deer are in the front yard, with one young deer right at the front walk. I edge my way over to the window in order to watch.

Low-n-behold, this young whipper snapper is making his / her way to my pots of mums and pansies just outside the front door! “Noooooooo, don’t you dare”… I again hear myself yelling inside my head. I just know they are the ones knocking down the bird feeders every night. My husband blames it on the raccoons but I have had my suspicions. I also imagine that this is the same young deer whose picture I took and posted a couple of weeks ago as it walked up on the driveway, just by the garage and front walk, to take a closer look at Peaches. No fear. I like it!

In some regards I am so glad these deer feel so safe wandering close to the house and our oak trees in search of tasty acorns. It is currently hunting season. I always fret as I grow rather attached to our daily visitors. I just hope this group continues hanging out in the yard staying close to the house or out in the back.

I continued watching my little friend who wisely opted not to eat my mums and pansies. He / she walked along the walkway stopping under the big oak tree. With camera in tow, I silently made my way out the back door. Hiding behind the bushes by the garage, I crouch down low snapping picture after picture… that is until the UPS truck turned into then barreled down the driveway.

“Did you not see the deer?” I practically yell at my regular delivery man. “Yeah, they ran across the driveway. What are you doing hiding in the bushes?” he asks a bit amused. Luckily he is the regular UPS man who delivers to our house, otherwise he certainly would think he had stumbled upon a truly certified nut!

“Trying to take pictures– that was until you zoomed down the driveway!”
“Well do you want your new book or not” he begrudgingly asks with a smile while handing me the small package.
“Oooooo, a new book!”
“Yes I do, thank you very much. Now you know you’ve got to hurry on up the driveway, I don’t want my husband seeing you here delivering another book—he already thinks I have entirely too many. It’s not easy explaining a big brown truck sitting in the driveway!”
“Well, at least it’s not another pair of shoes” the driver amusingly chastises as he climbs back up in his truck taking off back up the driveway from which he came.

Luckily for me the UPS truck left when it did, as my husband was just minutes behind. One would think I was up to something the way I was shooing the driver off, but in my husband’s mind, “ordering” is certainly up to something!!

How ever would I explain one more book… or another pair of shoes? I could better explain being in the bushes than I could ordering another book, or God forbid, a pair of shoes! One can never have too many books or too many shoes (unless you’re Imelda Marcos). And I just know someone like Mark Twain or Coco Channel had to have first said that!

The moral of the story: it is better to be hiding in a bush than being caught red handed wearing a pair of brand new shoes while reading a delightfully new book— or— to be a young fawn nibbling on the pansies.