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…

Does our anxiety separation grow exponentially with age?

“The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey.
The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage.
One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.”

Thomas Merton


(the unhappy traveling Mayor when a loved one leaves the car and she does not / Julie Cook/ 2021)

Recently it’s been hard to ignore, but both the Mayor and Sheriff have developed
a bit of separation anxiety when one of their loved ones gets out of the car
in order to run an errand.

I tend to be the lucky one left behind to sit with the unconsolable two
while their mom or dad runs in to a store.

What started out as a content and happy journey of riding in the car
has slowly morphed into the understanding that a loved one is leaving
while they are being left behind.

And so this latest toddler developmental drama has gotten me thinking.

Our past year, meaning both yours and mine, has been anything but pleasant.
To say it’s been trying is simply putting it mildly.

Anxiety ridden?
Yes.

We’ve been forced to mask up, sanitize until our skin cracks, be vigilant against
an unseen enemy, line up for a questionable shot, forced to become TP hoarders…

We’ve put education on the back burner, we’ve worked and lived in isolation,
we’ve balanced home and work all within the home, we’ve stayed put, stayed apart,
watched helplessly as our government has turned on us, wondered who we are as a nation,
struggled to find new ways to reinvent ourselves, labored to balance our physical
and mental health, locked down life as we knew it, missed out on our favorite activities…
etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

I think the worst has been the separation.
Physically, mentally and emotionally.

It has been thrust upon us… and the jury is still out as to whether it
has been the right choice.
Chances are, when we look back, we will know it was indeed wrong.

Our seniors have been left alone in their Assisted Living facilities…
often falling ill and even dying alone…as family has not been allowed to visit.

Funerals have come and gone without the attendance of the typical respect of attending mourners.

Schools have shuttered their doors, leaving kids to “learn” remotely, alone.

The very nature of our beings, the social creatures that we are, has been stripped from us.

It has just over a year when this madness began.

This virus that has disrupted the globe, originated in Wuhan, China…

I don’t know a single person who has ever blamed the Asian community for any of this…
The CCP, the Communist Chinese Party is who is to blame…not the Asian people.

So for our news media, and even some governmental leadership, to spin that there is
a surge in crimes against Asian Americans carried out by white suprematists…
what we know as those majority of Trump voters who are simply white conservatives,
is blatantly egregious and a glaring lie.

A disturbed man in Atlanta went on a killing spree this past week, killing 8 people,
near and around Atlanta’s metro area.
His victims were all associated with Asian Spas as either customers or workers.
He claims a sexual addiction made him do such.
Shades of Flip Wilson claiming “the devil made him do it”

And that is what it is…the devil.
The Evil One who reigns supreme.

The young man is an unbalanced “nut job” and not a serial killer of Asian people.
He is not a minion of Donald Trump, contrary to what the news and certain leaders
would have us believe…
all because the former president told us that this current virus is from China.
Of which it is.

Our media and leaders are lying to us by creating ghost scapegoats where no
scapegoats are to be found.

Our journey this year has been hard enough.
If we begin being sucked into believing lies,
the year suddenly becomes heavier and even much more difficult.

Our separation from the Father of all creation is at the root of all our angst.

We have turned our vision from the greater to that of the lesser.
We have turned away from our Creator and turned rather to the mortal man.
Allowing man to become our greater god.
A small god who will always disappoint.

This journey has just become even more miserable…all because of our separation…
Separation from one another but more importantly, the separation from our God.

I think the Mayor and Sheriff are on their way to true knowledge.
When the very one who you put your entire life into their hands leaves you…
it is indeed dire.

Our opting to separate from our God our Father is becoming life ending.

In order to continue this difficult journey…we need God.
And if you find yourself laughing at such a thought or mocking this little proclamation of mine…
you just tell me how you want to keep moving forward if you don’t have Grace to
help you keep going…
Good luck with that.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:6-9

So much change yet so much anticipation…

There is a rich parallel between farming soil and spiritual soil.
It’s no accident that one of the most important virtues of the Christian life is humility,
a word that stems from the Latin word “humus”, meaning “earth”, or literally, “on the ground.”
Humility is a virtue required of men and women alike,
and truly the one virtue all the saints hold in common.

Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering
from Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Homemaking


(early January 2020 / the sun comes up over the ocean / Julie Cook)

I took the above picture almost exactly a year ago to the day.
It was early January 2020…

2020.

Let that soak in.

A year, that before it would blessedly come to a close, we would all eventually grow to loath.

Yet on this particular morning in January of 2020, it was just a quiet walk along the beach.
Life was life.
Peace was found in the rhythmic sounds of an undulating surf that simply
was breathing in and out.

We had yet to hear of words such as Wuhan, COVID, Coronavirus, pandemic,
lockdown, masks, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, riots, protests, CHAZ, socialism,
radicalism…
words that would soon come washing over us like a callous Tsunami.

There was however already the nauseating media circus over an impeachment proceeding…
but had we not all basically grown somewhat numb to the media’s OCD obsession over
all things Trump?

And who could have known that a year ago, when life seemed typical and average…we would find
ourselves, a year later, yearning and pleading for things to be just that…
simply typical and average?

I learned a long time ago to be cautious about wishing one’s life away.

On a collective whole, we have all grown to hate the year 2020.

Oh there are some who had joy throughout the year, but we haven’t
heard much about that joy or the positive milestones nor of the blessings.
Rather we have been inundated with the negative, the darkness, the isolation
and the death.

And so the collective thought is for a good riddance to 2020.
Yet in that good riddance, we must be both willing and open
for welcoming in a new and unknown.

So my prayer on this new day of this new and unknown year is appropriately
from the Book of Psalms…sung prayers.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.

Psalm 143:8

A Happy NEW year to us all!

“If you would suffer with patience, the adversities and miseries of this life,
be a man of prayer.
If you would obtain courage and strength to conquer the temptations of the enemy,
be a man of prayer.
If you would mortify your own will with all its inclinations and appetites,
be a man of prayer.
If you would know the wiles of Satan and unmask his deceits,
be a man of prayer.
If you would live in joy and walk pleasantly in the ways of penance,
be a man of prayer.
If you would banish from your soul the troublesome flies of vain thoughts and cares,
be a man of prayer.
If you would nourish your soul with the very sap of devotion,
and keep it always full of good thoughts and good desires,
be a man of prayer.
If you would strengthen and keep up your courage in the ways of God, be a man of prayer.
In fine, if you would uproot all vices from your soul and plant all virtues in their place,
be a man of prayer.
It is in prayer that we receive the unction and grace of the Holy Ghost, who teaches all things.”

St. Bonaventure, p. 25-26
An Excerpt From
The Ways of Mental Prayer

Bats, civets, pangolins oh my…

“And since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time,
it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others;
for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always
the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the
characteristic truths of another.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters


(PHYSorg)

Faces only a mother could love…right?!

Or maybe a zoologist or a chiropterologist, or a butcher in a wet market in Wuhan…
or perhaps a people with some serious tastebud issues who frequent said “wet” markets…

Wet markets are just that, wet.

Think fishmongers, chicken farmers, duck farmers, eel farmers, scorpion gatherers, exotic
animal farmers…all buying, selling, butchering, gutting, scaling, bloodletting, preparing
right there together on top of one another while waters, bloods, entrails, feathers, scales, guts
skin all slosh and run together underfoot.
Oh, did I mention all the animal excrement mixing in as well?

Ahhh, the aroma… but do watch your footing lest you slip in the toxic slime.

Some of these tasty morsels are actually illegal to buy, sell or trade…
even by Chinese standards…let alone eat.
And yet…this melange of illness and destruction is allowed to continue.

Such markets are a toxic and deadly cocktail just waiting to happen.

Next, let’s throw in a virology lab also located in Wuhan, China

So tell me, do these animals look appetizing to you?


(The Guardian)


(zoo chat)

I didn’t think so.

These critters may be somewhat cute in their own distinct way and yet for some, they
ring of tasty delicacies.
But this affinity for forbidden foods coupled with a worldwide pandemic
have an odd connection—of which is simply not as cut and dry as it may seem.

The simple excuse is that someone ate a bat, or a civet, or a pangolin and in turn got coronavirus and
so now the world has coronavirus…well that cause and effect just doesn’t seem to hold water.

It’s not a simple case of Colonel Mustard in the study with a candlestick sort of cut and dry.

According to an article from The Guardian,
Prof Stanley Perlman, a leading immunologist at the University of Iowa
and an expert on previous coronavirus outbreaks that have stemmed from animals,
says the idea the link to the Wuhan market is coincidental “cannot be ruled out”
but that possibility “seems less likely” because the genetic material of the
virus had been found in the market environment.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/15/how-did-the-coronavirus-start-where-did-it-come-from-how-did-it-spread-humans-was-it-really-bats-pangolins-wuhan-animal-market

Yet an even more telling tale of breadcrumbs leading to the root of the current evil that is
circumnavigating the globe is found in an article offered by the National Review

It seems that there is a certain Dr. Shi, aka China’s ‘bat woman’,
who has been studying bats and their diseases…
diseases such as SARS and Coronavirus for over a decade.

It seems that this particular lab earned one of the highest world standards
for the study of immunology and viruses—all but for the section of the lab where
Dr. Shi works.
A high rating is a notch in the belt for China– showing the world that China
is a world stage contender when it comes to the study
of immunology and viruses.

Yet Dr. Shi’s portion of the lab received a far lower safety standard rating.
Meaning it is not as stringently regulated as other parts of the lab.
Think a bit more loosey goosey.

According to a very interesting article from The National Review,
“Some scientists aren’t convinced that the virus jumped straight from bats to human beings,
but there are a few problems with the theory that some other animal was an intermediate transmitter
of COVID-19 from bats to humans:

Analyses of the SARS-CoV-2 genome indicate a single spillover event,
meaning the virus jumped only once from an animal to a person,
which makes it likely that the virus was circulating among people before December.
Unless more information about the animals at the Wuhan market is released,
the transmission chain may never be clear.
There are, however, numerous possibilities.
A bat hunter or a wildlife trafficker might have brought the virus to the market.
Pangolins happen to carry a coronavirus, which they might have picked up from bats years ago,
and which is, in one crucial part of its genome, virtually identical to SARS-CoV-2.
But no one has yet found evidence that pangolins were at the Wuhan market,
or even that venders there trafficked pangolins.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/coronavirus-china-trail-leading-back-to-wuhan-labs/

Now one thing we all know, or those of us with any sort of historic sense, is that Communist
nations, and yes even former Communist nations, have never been on the up and up with pertinent
worldwide implication information…

Think Chernobyl…but I digress.

In the mind of China’s Communist Government, it might not be prudent to its world standing interest to
admit a major mea culpa, as in a “my bad” that we kind of let something get out of a lab of ours
that was not exactly of the highest standards.
Rather, let’s blame a nasty farmer’s market and call it a day.

So it might behoove all of us who are now locked down, sick or disrupted to demand China
take responsibility–as well as question why both the US and Canada have provided funding
to such a lab.

More questions than answers if you ask me.
Both articles are very telling and worth your reading.