“…the old broad who could not keep up…”

Boy, we chose an amazing journey to further explore Alaska! We were naive in what to expect, but overwhelmed by the majesty, beauty, and inexhaustible zest for exploration and hard work with which America was made great! And it made me realize what an amazing country we get to live in! WOW!

We saw majestic mountain peaks and incredibly large glaciers. We were able to just sit and look at the slow moving glacier, off the front porch of our little, dry, cabin. When we were quiet enough, we could hear the rocks and parts of the glacier breaking away and falling into the lake in front of us! It was so incredible. We were blessed that weekend with cooler temperatures, and even some overcast skies. But sitting on that front porch and watching a glacier, and all the land around it, took our breath away. It is hard to see in this photo, but that chunk of white centered in that sort of dip, is the 3rd largest ice fall in the world. The entire world. And it was outside our doorstep for 4 glorious days.

We were privileged to listen to the fast moving waters, flowing from the glacier. The waters look muddy, but that is glacier silt. The rich minerals feed the lands below and all the plants and creatures that call Alaska their home! What I thought was common knowledge, but what I came to realize was not really known, is that I am afraid of heights. I have always told my husband about it, but in our 36 years together, he got to see for the first time just how much it freaks me out. He had no idea I was truly frightened from being up high, and not feeling the solid support of the land under my feet, that I need to feel safe. The first time on this trip he got to see me panic was when we had to drive over a narrow wooden bridge that was 238 feet above a river. I about died when I saw it was wood. Wood! Creaky, old 1910 constructed, wood. And then I stupidly looked down. I was a mess for a few minutes afterwards. But I did not really have time to wallow in my fear, because after we crossed the bridge, we faced 60+ miles of dirt roads. I use the term, “road,” only because it was bigger than a path, but not much. It took us over 2 hours to go that distance. At times, the road fell away to canyons far below, on my side of the car. I gripped onto those “panic straps” like my life depended on it. The river above has to be crossed to get from where we were staying to the town of McCarthy. And from McCarthy, you can either hike the 5 miles uphill, or ride in a 15-passenger van, up to the Kennicott Mine. And this bridge, well, it is a footbridge and it is not solid. It is a wire mesh-like thing. Yes, it is solidly built, but it is see-through and very high over that river. And yes, I was holding on to save my life. My husband, God bless him, thought it would be funny to jump up and down on the bridge, as he walked behind me. Until he heard me panic, scream, and practically fall to my knees. Oh my word. I was scared to death. And that sort of made him realize that I am truly afraid of heights. At least he now knows for sure. LOL. A man, a pretty smart man, has a pet-sitting service on the beginning side of this footbridge. He’ll watch your dogs for $10 while you explore McCarthy and Kennicott. Why? Because so many dogs are scared to death of that bridge and refuse to cross. I almost wanted to stay with the dogs.

This is downtown McCarthy. Population, full time, of 33. There is no paving. There are very few cars, but there are lots and lots of dogs. I think they out-number the residents. They must be descended from the brave dogs who crossed that bridge, along with me! It is a laid back and casual town. I have never seen so many tattoos, ice axes, man-buns, and hiking shoes in my life. Backpacks far outnumber purses. I rarely saw anyone carrying a purse! LOL! Everyone is hiking up to the mine, or to the glacier itself. The park we were in is larger than Connecticut. Seriously huge. Lots of backpacking trails, glacier hikes, and generally incredible sites to see. (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve – check it out by clicking here). It is an incredible national park. I got a really uncomfortable neck ache and it took me a day or so to realize what from – I had to watch where I walked because it is so rocky and the paths very treacherous, that I developed a sore neck! Too funny. It also highlighted for me how out of shape and old I have become. I am definitely more of a couch potato and realized how out of my depth I was, hiking more than 5 miles in one day. Ouch! I ache in places I did not realize could ache. I learned that I have let myself really go. I hated being the old broad who could not keep up and needed that 15-passenger van to just get from the Potato (restaurant) in McCarthy to the walking bridge – a distance of about a mile – after a full day of walking and exploring. I was just done. My girlfriend was happily counting all her steps, but after 20,000+ I just groaned, because I was walking next to her most of the time. Seriously – I want to get back into shape, but not in one trip! LOL!

This is the Kennicott Mine with yours truly posing across from the main ore processing building. It was 14 stories tall on the side of a mountain and at one time, the tallest building in North America! I can assure you that we are a generation of wimps. This mine was discovered in 1901 and closed in 1938. In those 37 years, countless hundreds worked the mine. They put up with 30-foot snow drifts. They had -50-degree winters and sometimes suffered with the 90s in the summers. No running water. They generated their own electricity. I cannot imagine the life of a woman back then, trying to care for her family in one of the provided cabins. Or bunking with other families in the dorm-styled quarters. The laundry alone was daunting, let alone trying to provide meals for the entire family. So much work! There was a school for the children – many were born here and the hospital up at the mine was top-notch; they had the first x-ray machine in all of Alaska. They had a dairy, a bakery, a general store. They played baseball in the summers and hockey in the winters. They had a tennis court. All in the clothing and habits of the 20s and 30s. It was a very hard life. My husband and his friend went crazy over all the engineering feats they accomplished at Kennicott. It is an amazing place. Like I said, we are wimps! These people made millions of dollars worth of copper come out of the ground in one of the 5 or 6 underground mines, up through the rail and tunnel system, into this processing plant, and onto the ferries which hauled the ore for smelting, clear to Tacoma, Washington. It is an incredible story. And I was so proud of the many, many feats accomplished at Kennicott Mine. It stunned me, truly.

Every single item we saw at Kennicott had to be brought up there. There was nothing there, except for the initial hole in the mountain, when they started. Today, we have kids wining about their iPhones and faulty apps, and their free college tuition, and the rights they think are owed to them. I wish they could experience the life these Kennicott miners had. I wish they could know hard work and a job well done. Of working 24/7 against Mother Nature and the very low odds of success. They want everything handed to them. They want reparations for things none of us perpetuated. They think they are owed something. Well, they are riding on the backs of people who worked harder than they could ever imagine, just to have the freedom to complain. And I stand in awe of these people. And I am so proud of the American ingenuity and brains it took to accomplish what they did in just 37 short years, and the legacy they have given to us all. I wish our American youth could know these sorts of historical facts. Where they could see the photos of these men and women, and their children, as they lived in astounding conditions doing heroic work to line the pockets of people like the Havemeyers, JP Morgan, and the Guggenheim families, the titans of industry who helped shape American industry and its accomplishments. When the copper ran out, the mine was abandoned (in a matter of hours). And they left behind a wonderful time capsule of life at Kennicott.

When I see what was possible, using far less than what we have now, I am stunned and humbled by the people who worked Kennicott and McCarthy. It was, and still is, a rough life. I doubt many of those protesting in our city streets could have handled a work day at this mine. From 1911 – 1938, over $200 million dollars worth of copper was extracted by approximately 200-300 miners, and 300 who worked in the town below, McCarthy. McCarthy, in its heyday, had 100s of residents, and even boasted of having 12 whorehouses! It was quite the town, and the hub for moving all this copper.

The sunrise at our cabin on the last day we were there, was exceptional. The glacier was glowing with blue and white, and the skies had some left-over clouds from a brief drizzle the night before. We had fun watching the white-water rafting crew set off on a night run before we climbed into bed, exhausted and ready to go home. And we had only stayed there 3 nights and 4 days, in July. The town is closed in the winter, because the roads are not even plowed! So I cannot imagine life in the wintertime. Only the 33 hardiest McCarthy residents brave that! I came away from our journey of just 4 days wonderfully excited and proud of the past Alaska has played in American industry and history, and blissfully grateful for my own bed, running water, and carpeting. Like I said, I am a wimp! But I also came home realizing I have let myself down. I have become lazy and content with the status quo. It is not good for my health, my psyche, and my family. I need to be a better me. I did not like my role of the “old broad who could not keep up.” I am a grandmother to 6 wonderful grandchildren (so far) and I want to enjoy them. So I am endeavoring to take up outdoor walking. And eventually hiking. I loved being out there, holding hands with my hubby, as we explored a slice of American history and ingenuity. And we want to continue to explore this amazing land we call home. Alaska is an incredible place to live, and holds so many secrets I am excited to discover. Me and the hubby have lots of plans to do just that! God Bless Alaska, and God Bless America!!

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“…Meathead and A/C…laugh for the day…”

We are experiencing extreme heat conditions. And we have multiple fires burning all around us, causing unhealthful air. And up here, in the far north, air conditioning is not something we usually need. The stores are sold out of fans and watering things like spray nozzles to slip and slides. There was no ice in the store yesterday. It is that hot. For Alaskans, we are living in homes that are built to retain heat, because that is our need. So to try and dissipate the heat from your house is very, very hard. We had 102-degrees on Saturday. It broke a 50-year record for high temperatures. And it is has been in the high 90s for almost a week. We are all watering our plants like crazy, to keep them alive. Most of our lawns are brown because the type of grass we grow is for northern, cooler, climates. We have a houseguest from California, trying to escape the heat and crowds and stinky air quality. I feel so bad that she cannot even see the mountains that surround us, nor enjoy our crystal blue skies and lakes. It is ridiculous! 91 degrees after 6pm on Sunday!

Someone posted today on Twitter that Air Conditioning is racist and causes illnesses. It is also sexist because companies set thermostats for the ruling males in our society, and “everyone knows” women get cold easier. Racist because whites like cooler temps, and air conditioning spreads illnesses in an enclosed space. Sigh. When it is 102 on your porch and you have no way to escape the heat, and you work outside and get heat stroke, trust me – air conditioning is something you dream of having!! LOL! We are running box fans and ceiling fans on their highest settings 24/7. Our sunset is at 11:30pm and the sunrise is about 4:30am, so with that long of a day (where the highest temps are usually between 6 and 7pm) you really feel the heat. We have friends who are sleeping in their campers because they have A/C, so they are plugged into their home’s electricity and are sleeping comfortably, in their driveways. Others just said forget it and got flights out to places like Florida, where it’s the same temp but they have A/C everywhere.

It is no fun to have to work in these conditions and without being able to get relief. I do not understand how people can actually think a method for staying cool in high temperatures can be racist, or sexist, or that it causes illnesses. It is a machine. It is a way to lower temps. By saying things like that, it shows the lack of understanding or knowledge. Calling many inanimate objects racist or sexist is actually sort of funny. It is the same mentality that says guns kill people. Well, no more than another object, like a knife or your own hand, can kill someone. If it is used for that purpose. But the thing itself is not a killer. Air conditioning does not reflect the temperature preferences for each race. It is not set for just the comfort of men. There are lots of examples of where you can shoot that hypothesis in the foot. Ooops, did I say, “shoot”? Sorry if I offended you. LOL. And when you are suffering from a heat wave in an area where it is normally cool, it is also laughable.

Alaskan summers are what the majority of tourists come to see. The days are cool, the nights equally comfortable, and the sights are unbelievable. We feel so blessed to be here. We are used to clear, radiantly blue skies and colorful flowers and wildlife abundantly everywhere. Berries are ripe for the picking and the fresh scent in the air is hypnotic. This year is a scorcher. It is stupidly hot. This is far worse than any California summer I can recall, except for the last one we suffered through before moving north! Our A/C could not keep up and I recall laying on our bed in the master bedroom, under a ceiling fan on full blast, just sweating and sweating. I also recall telling myself I really hated living in hot weather. And now, 9 years later, here I am, sweltering again. Oh, the irony.

US President Donald Trump speaks during the “Salute to America” Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)

And the hypocrisy of the commentating today on heat and A/C just made me flat out mad. Our world is getting so lost and confused. I mean, to complain about air conditioning and relate it to the common “media” platforms of sexism and racism and elitism just rubbed me wrong. Why is the mainstream media trying to stir the masses? (Better be careful what you wish for, MSM!!!) Many Americans only get their information from outlets like local TV or CNN or someplace also unworthy, and for many of them, their views are distorted. The actor known as, “Meathead,” today opined that the majority of Americans are not happy with our President nor what is going on in America. I beg to differ. (He also included the majority of the GOP. Well, they belong to the Swamp and need to go, anyway). His complaint about how we are out of touch with what the majority feels is happening, I likened it to this A/C commentary. Please. Turn it on or turn it off. It is not racist. As for being out of touch, when you rely on the current mainstream media for all of your information, and do not research facts and only accept the MSMs opinions, I would say you are out of touch with what the majority of us feel. The same for the idiotic opinion about A/C. It is no different. Someone, who has nothing else to complain about, chose air conditioning. Others, who should know better, and think of themselves as something very special, need to rethink how they market themselves (media types). Meathead (refuse to use his name to add to his press) told Americans that they needed to tell our President to “f” off. I think that is being out of touch, let alone rude and crass. You would think he had a better vocabulary. The reality is, more Americans are happy and invested in our Country than ever before. More people of all races are working than ever before. More Americans are feeling the patriotism and love of country than ever before. Just look at the photo above of all the people attending the celebration on the 4th. Local and mainstream media were calling it, “Trump’s Spectacle,” instead of honoring America, which is what it was. It was apolitical – it was an American holiday and the media came out against even that. They cannot even report, when unable to refute the numbers in attendance, that people lined up for hours to get to be there. We love our Country, we love our President, and we could care less what Meathead has to say about it. And if the A/C bothers you, go someplace where it is not turned on. Good heavens. All these actors and pundits who said they would leave if Trump was elected are still here! They are all just talking heads, with no substance. There’s nothing to complain about so they pick air conditioning. Please. And did I mention I am hot, oh and cranky about it, too??!!! LOL!

God Bless America!

 

 

“No matter how long you’ve been gone…”

We’re having a “June Gloom” summer here. The sun has been playing hide and seek with us. We have had lots of rain, too. But that means everything is growing like crazy. The home improvement stores are making a killing – everyone is planting and getting yard things done while the weather holds. We chose to put in planters around our house. And it was a chore for my poor husband to dig all that up and rototill it, exposing the rock quarry underneath! Honestly, each time you dig in your shovel you hear, “PING” as you hit the next rock. It’s crazy! The plants we put in seem very happy to be here – so far. The berries from last year made their appearance. And for this season, I have only had to yell and chase off the moose one time! LOL!

When you live in a vacation destination, things get dicey during the “season.” We roughly double our population in the summertime. There are so many campers and trailers on the roads, as well as tourist busses from the cruise lines. The roads are crazy. I try to avoid it if I can, preferring to hide at home. LOL. And we are scheduling visitors. LOL. Right now we have the daughter of some dear friends. Their oldest daughter is married to our middle son. I’ve known her since she was an infant. And she is decompressing after a rough year and checking out the northern climate! So we will be sightseeing. I actually love doing it, because it is so beautiful here, each time I go to a special place I am reminded over again of why I chose to live here. And there are few regrets.

One thing we try not to compromise on, during this busy time of year, is Church attendance. When we lived in the greater Seattle area, you could tell when the Seahawks or Mariners or Sounders were playing a home game – the pews would be empty. Or if the fish were running, or it was hunting season, or even in ski season. Here, in winter, the pews are actually full. We tend to stay home in wintertime, if we are not snowbirds. In the summertime, the latest mass in the state, held at 7:00pm on Sunday night, is usually packed. Squeaking in before the deadline, I suppose. Most 10:00am masses are pretty full. They are usually the family masses. This past weekend, it was Corpus Christi. That is one of my favorite feast days. And I was surprised because there were few in attendance.

For some reason, a reason deep in my soul, I could not help but weep this Sunday. The reverence was something I needed, something I missed. The beauty of the songs in Latin were wonderful. The gorgeous Monstrance and the way in which our priest was so reverent and the way in which he gazed upon the Blessed Sacrament – my heart was full and my eyes overflowed. And that has not happened in, literally, years. I also came to terms with me. With my lack of reverence. With my shortcomings. I have not been my best self lately. And that is not good. We must always strive to be our best selves. There is just one shot at this and we need to be sure we do not waste it.

And it was so wonderful to empty my heart, weeping at the True Presence, just waiting for me to come to Him. And it was almost like a rebirth, in some ways. Afterwards, I was able to go about my day, feeling happy, relieved, and rejuvenated. I am so glad we pushed ourselves to go to Mass. We were tired and aching from a long day of working in our yard on Saturday. So we struggled to go, and it was more than worth it. My heart was full and my faith shined on throughout the rest of the day. And today I am entering into my prayer journal how wonderful the Benediction and Procession was; how beautiful and right it felt to be in His Presence. I feel so blessed. And I am smiling today because of the warmth of the Presence of God. He spoke to my soul and it feels pretty amazing.

I am so far from perfect. Some days I am not even good enough to be recognized as a Christian woman. We all have those sorts of days. And those days pass. We struggled, but we got back in the game. We did not wallow in our shortcomings, but recognized them and got back up. And the Lord was there, waiting for me, just me. He came for me. Just me. That is the beauty of our Faith. He would come, Jesus would die, just for me. Just for you. Because He is love and forgiveness and hope and charity and all the light and joy in our lives. And we live through that, sharing it with others.

Today I admitted defeat. I burned a pan of rice. And I mean, I burned it. I am hoping I can save the pan. LOL. The house stinks of burned rice, so I am running my diffuser with “Purification” essential oil (from Young Living). It is working pretty good. I really wanted steamed rice, so I hauled out my rice cooker. I have never really adapted to using one. But I decided that when I failed at doing it on the stove, I needed to use the appliance that makes it easier. And when I am wrong, I am wrong. The rice is cooking nicely now. I guess I need to keep it in the house and not relegated to the garage. And the episode of burning the rice is what inspired me to write today. Because I realized I mess up. A lot. And I need correcting. A lot. And yesterday, the Lord worked in me. He re-aligned me where I had gone crooked. He made His Path straight in me. And it is like using the wrong pot to cook rice. Sometimes it comes out okay, but other times it is burned beyond saving. Why even bother with the possibility of burning, when you can get it right the first time? This week, I knelt before God and asked for help. Today He showed me I can mess up, but I can reorganize and start over…and get a bowl of perfect rice. See? We can do this!! Have faith. Get back up again. Join in the journey to eternity. One day at a time.

Come back!!!

 

“…and who is my neighbor?”

As I sit in my living room, looking out clean windows and enjoying the amazing afternoon breeze, I am reminded that everything cycles. It seems so long ago we had to remove our screens and store them for the winter (we do that because it helps them last longer). We had no plans to open the windows to let the snowy air inside, and it is sort of a right-of-passage to put the screens away and welcome the winter hibernation. And it is finally summertime. Spring here in Alaska is a fast-moving season that really should be mushed together with summer. It is maybe a week or two, at best. We are now enjoying wonderfully cool breezes under a blazing sun, that by the afternoon is hidden by storm clouds. It is common in May and June to have late-day rain storms. And this week, while I was washing windows and scrubbing screens, I was blissfully unaware that the forecast called for a thunder storm – it was comical that as I am scrubbing windows, I am getting wet from rain as well as the hose. It rained enough that I stopped for the day and my project was extended to a second day. But today I am two days out from putting up those screens and enjoying the clean air swirling through this musty house. It is amazing how, by the time is is possible, we have reached that claustrophobic time where we need to open our windows or we will go crazy. Ahhh….cool breezes and clean air, at last!

The amazing skies remind me that things can change on a dime. One moment life is a certain way, and the next moment it is forever changed. I was exposed to the End22 movement and it changed me profoundly. I had no idea, no inkling that this was going on. My Veteran son shared with me how there are 22 suicides every day in America by Veterans. And when you use the term, “Veteran,” you leave behind all the things that divide us. It cuts across economic lines, racial and gender differences, faith, and many others. These are our soldiers, sailors, and servicemen and women who are taking their own lives. Why? So very many reasons. They come home from a living hell (because all wars on many,  many levels are truly hell) and expect a warm welcome, at the very least. They also want to return to their lives prior to their military service. They want to return to their communities where they can earn a decent living and enjoy life with their families and friends. These Veterans are also from all different wars. The homecoming for the Viet Nam Veterans was horrific at best. Many of them are still suffering. World War II Veterans are so few these days. It is wonderful to have the Honor Flights, who are helping them re-connect with fellow Veterans as they are flown to their Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is the very least we can do for them. If not for them, we would all be speaking German! Our more recent Vets are coming home and finding the transition so difficult, they retreat to alcohol and drugs. They see no future, back in “regular” society. And very few people are reaching out. Very few of us even realized it was an issue. I had no idea that because we are doing so little to help them, more than 8,000 Veterans will die by their own hand this year. If we were discussing suicides by women, or gays, or illegal immigrants on a scale of 22 per day, you can bet the media would have been all over it. Yet, it goes unnoticed, and unreported. Last year, we lost over 8,000 Veterans to suicide. And it is wrong. Let than number sink in. More than 8,000 Veterans a year. 8,000. I am dumbfounded and embarrassed. On this very important 75th Anniversary of D-Day, we need to rethink how we can help our Vets.

One of the things I became involved with, and am seriously on the very outer edge of involvement, is a local push for an active museum site for the Alaska Military Heritage Museum. As I sit and work on a minor data base as my way of helping this get moving, I am seeing people from all over, who support this Museum by giving of their time, treasure, and talent. We are trying to obtain buildings, which were abandoned by the National Guard 8 years ago, to use as a site for our Veterans. The site would include visual and oral presentations of various aspects of Alaskan Veterans’ involvement in the wars fought by our country. There are airplanes being donated and aircraft companies are donating the funding to restore these amazing planes from different arenas of war. The Museum is expanding its vision to include honoring our Alaskan Native population and their dedication to our Country’s fight for freedom.There will be a special area dedicated to the Alaskan Natives who helped the war effort and call Alaska their home. I am in awe of what people have done who live in Alaska, their home, whether born here or lucky enough to live here. I am humbled by their dedicated service. I am also blown away by the dedication of the Veterans and their friends and families, who want to see this Museum live. There are 100 acres of unused land and buildings adjacent to Ted Stevens International Airport. The Kulis AF base has had such a major role in the history of our State, and in the history of military service, here in Alaska. It is sitting, empty and unused, for the past 8 years. It is a glorious example of the waste of resources we tax-payers have to endure. A waste that could literally save lives. Our two US Senators and our US Representative are on board. We have Alaskan Senators and Reps totally behind this. When it was presented in Washington, D.C. there was an across-the-board excitement in everyone who heard about it. However, it is being stonewalled by bureaucrats – airport bureaucrats – who see their power base dwindling by the day. The groundswell of support for this program is growing in the hearts of whomever hears of this project. And the incredible piece of this movement is that this facility would provide hands-on training for Veterans in all the trades. All the trades and labor bureaucracy are totally on board and waiting for the signal to move ahead. We are all waiting for this to happen. End22 and what is stands for, is a real thing. And this Museum and skills training program can do so much for our Veterans, and help to save lives. There are plans to get homeless Vets off the street and housed at this facility. There are plans for educating our children about our Veterans, and the cold reality of End22. There are programs which share a common vision and who are dedicated to making this happen by working together in the various aspects of this project. It could be a blueprint for sites all around the Country, where Veterans could receive the training and mentorships they so richly deserve. It is where our Veterans will become renewed and develop a sense of positivity for their futures. And it is something every American should get behind. Suicide is a real option for our Vets and it needs to be replaced with the opportunity for success as an active American citizen.

Just as the seasons change, and life changes in a moment, we can affect change like that for our Veterans. We can, and we should, do anything and everything to save a life. All life is sacred, and as many of you know I am 100% pro life from a natural beginning to a natural end. Being pro life means you are against suicide, simply because it is the antithesis of life. It is purposely ending a life, needlessly. When suicide is seen as the only option to someone, we all need to step in and offer hope. We need to offer a different solution. We owe it to our Country, and to each person struggling to re-enter civilian life, after serving every, single, one of us. They make it possible for us to sleep safely in our beds at night, and to live a productive life. We need to give our Veterans that, too.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37

As Christians, we are called, and compelled by our faith, to reach out a hand to others. The wonderful story of the Good Samaritan came to me. Here was a man, found on the side of the road, near death. Others mockingly passed him by, crossing to the other side of the road. One was even a Priest. The Samaritan man, who was in amongst people that were not his own, and was normally not one to reach out to other cultures, took this injured man to an inn and paid for his entire healthcare and reintroduction to an active life. He had been left for dead on the side of the road. We should feel compelled to reach out to those of our servicemen and women who feel they have been left on the side of the road, with no other option than to die. It is wrong and it needs to stop. Today. Every day 22 Veterans feel lost, with no hope, and choose death over living any longer the way they are. We need to be ashamed that suicide is their only option. We need to save our Veterans and do what we can to end their nightmarish existence. We need to let them experience how life can change on a dime, and how the sun will always rise. We want to open windows of change for each of them. We need to be the example of what we believe. We need to throw off the constraints of division and reach out to EVERY person who thinks death is preferable to life in our neighborhoods. Our Veterans deserve this and so much more. Please care. Again, from Luke: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? The expert on the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” “Go and do likewise.” Our Veterans are our neighbors….

 

“…and I will rescue you.”

Life is racing past, at the speed of, well, life. I sometimes cannot get a handle on it. There is so much happening! LOL! The best thing? Spring has sprung. And the greening of the state, and the flowers starting to bloom, lightens the spirit, for sure! And I have been thinking about restoration and regeneration and life. The dark of the winter is over. The cold, the snows, the stale air. My Mother’s Day gift from my husband was a new storm door. It replaces our Magic Mesh we usually use. It has a retractable screen, so when you just want to enjoy the glorious sunshine, you can have it open and it still retains the heat in the house. So the screen only comes down on the upper half of the door. And truly, the Light lifts the Spirit. But when you need the rush of fresh air, it is all there. Truly wonderful. It’s the little things….

Today, no rain! At least I hope so. I plan to repot some new Dahlia starters I purchased. I am a Dahlia convert from always growing roses. I can’t wait for them all to bloom. But I am savoring the process, because before we know it, summer will be over. So I am going to go through this season, and enjoy the moments.

This month has been rough. A friend I have had since I was 14 years old is gravely ill. She fell, broke some bones, and required surgery. She then developed pneumonia. And we are all very, very, concerned. And it has brought friends together who have been separated by miles and years. And it has been good. But it has also brought to light that we are aging. And there is far less time ahead of me, than is behind me. And it is sobering.

I’ve touched on this before, because it keeps being brought to my attention – this whole thing about dying and death and facing our mortality. And because I have been brought up short, waking in nightmares, frightened for my family, I am re-visiting it, until it makes sense. So bear with me, it may take me awhile. LOL.

Trying to mesh these feelings I have, without getting into another panic. I think as we get older, and we talk about different things with our friends, something will be brought up and you will realize it occurred decades ago. Literally decades. And that is kind of scary. My kids have kids. And our grandchildren are all starting to reach school age. For my husband and I, that is when our lives were in full gear. We were so busy. We homeschooled and we lived on dairy farms. We were busy farming our own vegetables, raising 4-H animals, belonging to various clubs and groups, letting our kids play soccer and baseball, take swimming lessons, go camping and on field trips. We were trying to enjoy our time with our sons. It passed by so very fast. When our oldest son walked into that recruiting office, after tearfully saying goodbye with promises of letters from boot camp in Georgia, I bawled. It was my first experience of finishing my mothering of a child, and letting him go. And he was gone. Out of the nest. On the opposite side of the country. I clung to the  sons I still had at home. And before I knew it, our second was off to college in Montana. We have had a wonderful 9 years of only-child-syndrome with our youngest, but this month, off he went to learn a trade at a site literally 5+ hours away. Empty nest came in with a crash.

I never thought of myself as old. I recall my dad telling me that he knew I thought he looked old on the outside, but inside he was still 18 years old. I remember laughing and thinking, “Old man, you have no clue.” Ha-Ha-Ha. And now my youngest son says, “Oh mom, you have no clue.” Yeah. The generational shift. It happened. My in-laws have both passed away. Both of my parents have different types of a dementing illness, so in many ways, they are gone, too. So now I am them, my kids are me, and my grandkids are my kids. Whoa.

 Isaiah 46:4  “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

I know the Lord is growing closer. In my days, I look at my home and see Him in every room. I placed religious art everywhere. It is what I prefer to look at. It keeps me grounded. And I feel closer to God. I find myself saying the Jesus Prayer over and over, throughout my day, “Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Just as a way to stay focused and in constant contact with God. Because I do realize time is a treasure. We only have so much of it, and my hour glass is looking a tad bit bottom heavy these days.

I am obsessed with a TV show entitled, “Supernatural.” And when I say that, I mean I have watched every episode through Season 13, and am almost done with Season 14. They are filming Season 15 now, and it will be the last one. The show is not where you go to get your theology. They trample traditional theological premises. They mix all sorts of mythology with Christianity, as well as some Judaism, and even some Islamic prayers. It is the cosmic joining of the world’s great religions in one TV show. And the battle is constantly one of good vs. evil. The Winchester boys have died and come back so many times, it has become a joke on the show. When they finally introduced who God was on the show, I was surprised and yet, not. But the episodes when God speaks with Metatron, his Prophet and writer (in the Old Testament, this would have been Enoch, in Genesis and it was the name given to him after he became an Archangel), were heart-breaking. God had sort of lost touch with people. He said he did not want to be a “helicopter” parent and was hoping mankind would have learned from all the examples and lessons they had throughout the past two millennia. But when Metatron tells God that when he was in HIs Presence, he felt everything – light, dark, happiness, sadness, warmth and all the things one entity could feel, he knew he was alive. But when God removed His Presence, Metatron was lost and alone and unbelievably sad. When God tells Metatron He did not choose him to be His writer/prophet, but He just looked and pointed at the angel closest to the door, Metatron tells God that God did, indeed choose him. Because God created him, that is when God chose him. And the interchange between these two characters – over the two intense episodes – brought me to tears. It may be silly, but there is much truth in the writing of this show. No, I do not get my theology there, but I do see my faith grow. Because as dismissive as God was being with Metatron, Metatron chose to believe, to have faith, that God chose him when He created him. We are all created by God. And He chose to create each one of us. This thought brings me such great comfort.

In a recent documentary about the singing group, Chicago, I was brought to tears when they discussed the death of their lead singer, Terry Kath. It was so sudden, and unexpected, that it tore the band apart. Several of them made such amazing comments, that were part of the prompt for this post. And some of them are, “This thing, this shell, we travel through life with? It is not the end. It is our essence. It is our being, that is eternal.” And “This temporary housing we have ends, but our spirits live forever.” These are some hardcore, partying, 60s loving, musicians. They have been through quite a lot in the 40+ years they have been a band (the longest in Rock and Roll history). And death was not something they expected to share. But they were all brought to their knees when their bandmate suddenly died. And it was so heartening to hear them invoke their faith when they recalled their emotional memories of his death. (He died in 1978, just 31 years old).

And as I ponder my mortality, I know, logically, that we move from one plane of existence to another when we die. I do not believe being placed in a tomb is the end. If I did believe that, I would be in total panic mode, because time is running out. Time to make memories; time to love those in my life whom I deeply care about. And I know my time is limited, and I have less than I would like to have, to make memories with my grandchildren, with my friends. I acknowledge that. My faith inspires me, and I do believe, that I will live in my memories, in my best moments, with God in Paradise, when I leave this part of my life. Will I get a front row seat? Probably not. I am not a Saint. But I am fairly certain I will be at the eternal banquet. And because my awareness of my mortality has been heightened of late, it inspires me to be, truly, the best person I can be. For me. For my peace and for my salvation. But because being my best honors the gift of life I was given. To not squander this amazing life I have been given. So to be trite, take moments to enjoy the roses you plant. Take a day to sit with your kids in a field of flowers and just enjoy their company. Go on that ridiculously expensive vacation if you want to do that. Do the things you desire most to do. Me? Time with family and friends. Time is the most precious commodity we have. It truly is all we own – our time. So, be careful how you spend your time, and with whom.

 

 

 

 

“…the sound of my feet…”

So Facebook is banning people, en masse, these days. Today several conservative commentators, and even a conservative company, were banned. It is all over Twitter. LOL. I find it so interesting that if you have an opinion that differs from those who run Facebook, they just ban you. And I know how upset it makes people, But, well, here’s the thing: Facebook is a media platform, offered to anyone who wants to sign up for it, freely. They don’t charge you to use it. They use your information to generate sales, and the companies that pester you to buy their products, pay Facebook to do that. We use their platform to stay in touch with people we care about. Now, here is where it gets sticky – Facebook can do whatever it wants to do. It is their company, their idea, their platform. We, the public, have chosen to play in their playground. So, when the rules change, we really ought not get too angry about it.

That all being said, don’t click off on this post just yet. I realized that Facebook is not necessary for any of us. If everyone just left, or at lease the people who seem to not be so welcome on its pages, Facebook would cease to be relevant or successful. So it would all go away. It is like encouraging people to just leave the Democratic party (and there is a huge movement about that) or England, trying to leave the European Union. We realize something is not working, and we walk away from it. It is relatively simple in theory, but often quite difficult in practice.

We all need to learn what is not meant for us. For some of us, our souls are actually quite tender. We are hurt easier than we think. People say things that hurt; people do things that hurt. The trick in life is learning when to allow things to just roll off our backs. When being in a certain place, or environment is just not in our best interests, we need to acknowledge that. When we allow people and events, places and things, to harm our innermost selves, we sometimes cannot break away. It becomes habitual. You get up in the morning, grab some coffee, plug into social media. Some people keep their phones by their bed and check them during the night. Honestly, the crazy hold our phones have on us is becoming quite frightening.

The technological hold in our lives is pretty crazy. And I am trying to get away from my dependence on it. I am reading more; praying much more; and spending more time being one-on-one with actual people. What a concept. Face-to-face communication. Actual phone calls. Meeting for coffee; going for walks. Walking slowly through a nursery and just smelling spring. Wanting to plant things in the earth. Slowing down and touching the dirt. There is a movement called, “grounding,” wherein you take off your shoes and socks and let your feet touch the earth. Grounding yourself on the earth.

Facebook is something I am learning to live without. Social media, well, I am still on some of the platforms. It is so hard to break away. But I am knocking them down, one at a time. And maybe playing in someone else’s playground is not something we should be doing.

“…move from here to there…”

Sometimes I see things and they touch a deep space in my soul. Today I watched a video of protesters. One side of the street was one viewpoint, and on the other, the opposing viewpoint. And it was ugly. Not completely – because some people became so nasty and ugly, they were arrested, and the majority did maintain their decorum. The loud and nasty ones actually got sticks and were using a megaphone to shout insults, and they used those sticks to beat people who would not back down, and stood their ground. The police arrested the ones holding the sticks.

One of the things I have noticed recently is that anger is just underneath the thinnest of surfaces, of most people. I mean, they go along all smiles and unicorns, but when the tiniest thing happens, they explode – they have the meltdowns of three-year-olds. It amazes me. How we handle upsets says a lot about us. We often project things out into the world that are not true – they are not truly what we believe or feel, but we “go along to get along.” And trust me, with my childhood, I totally understand that. But sometime in our lives, it is important to decide that enough is enough. And protest about it. It can be interesting to think of our lives as the video I mentioned above – people lining the streets, opposing views on opposite side of the road. Some people carry sticks and try to beat their opinions into you. Others just stand on the street, carrying signs, saying little. Our souls and our minds struggle just like that, with good versus evil, and right versus wrong.

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”               Luke 12: 51-53

And I think that much of what is happening in our world today is centered upon what our deeply held beliefs really are. I watched a 4-year-old video on Belgium and the influx of Muslims, and the affect it was having on the culture there. The consensus is that by 2030 there will be a majority of Muslims. Sadly, most of the culture of Belgium, and its rich history and architecture, and its people, will be gone. One of the commentators spoke to the fact that being Muslim is both an ideology and a religion, whereas communism and socialism are ideologies apart from religion. So when you usher in Muslims, you also get Sharia law. They interviewed one of the Muslim leaders and he plainly said that democracy has no place in Sharia law, and Christianity cannot exist alongside the Muslim faith. There is no such thing as a “democratic Muslim,” because Muslims must accept Sharia law or they are not a Muslim. Think about that. Think about the cities in the world that are becoming Muslim. Here in the USA it is becoming a huge issue. That and illegal immigration. And in comes the anger. The vitriol. The un-acceptance of an opposing viewpoint. Political correctness. Christian persecution. And trust me, the persecution of Christians is happening all over the world, even in the USA.

And my heart is sick. It really is. I recently chose to leave my political life. I was active locally, and on our state level. And what I saw as to the character of people, dismayed me greatly. People espouse all sorts of promises, but when the rubber hits the road, they capitulate to the powers that be – and those powers continue to hold sway over elected officials because no one does anything about it. The other thing is that politicians showed me what users they are. People get strung up on power trips and take what you offer, to further their agenda. But even after working with them, sitting down to coffee with them, promoting them in the public arena, they abandon you once you cannot do anything for them. Running into people at events and being completely ignored is something I was not prepared for. I honestly believed their hype. It stung – not gonna lie. And what is interesting is I discovered I am not missed! Only 1 person has reached out to me. I foolishly thought I was making friends. I was not. I was just volunteering at something. So it is no wonder we have voter apathy. It is no wonder we ignore politics in favor of a new recipe or play date with our grandchildren. Those provide far more joy and far more feedback that is evertlasting.

The Lord did not promise us peace. Just the opposite. As I quoted from Luke above, Jesus said he was bringing division. And it is here. Division is the common thread through everything. We truly do not get along. We go along, but we don’t honestly get along. And so my thoughts on all of this is, “where do I stand?” and “where do I go from here?” and it troubles me, because I realize that I just want to be at home. I want peace. I want harmony. I want love. I don’t want to carry a stick, nor do I want to be struck by one. As a Christian, I do not hate people. I may dislike what they stand for, but I will pray for their enlightenment; their “come to Jesus” moment. I do believe we are going to see a different world in the next decade. I do not believe what we have now, or what we have had for centuries, will look the same. I believe we will be divided as a country, and as a world. There will be enclaves of Christianity; enclaves of freedom. But I do not think we can sustain what we have if we accept and allow some of the things taking shape to continue.

“In the meantime, a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling one another. Jesus began to speak first to His disciples: “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, and nothing hidden that will not be made known. What you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops. I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear the One who, after you have been killed, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12: 1-6

I believe a time is coming when even the hairs on our heads, counted by God Himself, will be in danger. If we continue to sit idly by and allow what is happening to continue. I am meeting with the one person who reached out to me, and I will listen to what she has to say. I do know that we are not to hide our light under a bushel basket. The Lord made that plain. (Matthew 5:15). And I do know that we are to be the leaven in the bread of society. (Matthew 13:33). We need to permeate all of society. It is the calling for Christians worldwide. When under attack, we double down and pray. And I have been brought to my knees with what I have seen and heard in recent months. If you have not, you need to review from what source, and from whom, you are getting your information! The world is at war. It is becoming more and more obvious. Today is the day we stand, or kneel. Today is the day. It must be a day you reckon – a day you choose to say, “Enough is enough, and we will not take it anymore.” It is the only way we will survive as free Christians in this ever-changing world.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” as it says in Joshua 24:15. And we see things like this posted in people’s homes, and on bumper stickers on their cars.

“As of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth,” the Pew report says. “Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent of the global population.”

There are 2.2 billion of us who profess to follow Christ. That’s 31% of the world! But we allow the other religions to persecute us, worldwide. Why is that?? According to a Washington Post survey, “Christianity is by far the largest religion in the United States; more than three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians.” That is 75% of the population in America who identify as Christian. But the 25% who do not, are riding roughshod over us. Why is that???

We Christians have become the armchair quarterbacks of our country and our world. We are headed down a dark path if the 75% Christian population, or the 2.2 billion worldwide, continue to do nothing but complain. I am not in the armchair, I am at the game. How? With prayer, with calm discussion, with commentary when I am able. Each person I come into contact with is my mission field. I may be the only Jesus they ever know. And I endeavor to be heard in the game of life that the Lord calls us all to participate in. And it is an outrage to have to listen to my country and my world being torn apart from apathy. Where are you in this game of life??

For many of us, we feel so pathetically unable to make a difference. But each person can be heard. Each person, with the faith of a mustard seed, can move a mountain. In Matthew 17:20, the Lord tells us: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” And I am seeing astonishing things happening because just one person is motivated, and completely believes, in what they are doing. One person can make this entire movement to darkness and chaos stop, with the faith of a mustard seed. We need to each throw a pebble into this world and watch the ripples fan out into every corner of the world, announcing the Good News, and saving us all.

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want you to remember the Good News I told you. You received that Good News message, and you continue to base your life on it. That Good News, the message you heard from me, is God’s way to save you. But you must continue believing it. If you don’t, you believed for nothing. I gave you the message that I received.” 1 Corinthians 16: 1-3

Blessed Pascha to those on the Old Calendar. Blessed Easter Week, my friends. We need to acknowledge our faith before others, if we are going to prevent this encroaching darkness. Be strong, be steadfast, and….