“…as the wind goes sweeping down…”

My oh my oh my. We have just come through a windstorm. I have never experienced this sort of thing, on so many consecutive days, in my life. The worst part was the never-ending noise. We had 100 mph winds clocked at a small airport down the road from us, less than a mile away. We lost power off and on for three days. The worst was about 8 hours straight, but thankfully we slept through much of that. The power going on and off wreaks havoc with electronics. We have to keep resetting clocks and timers, etc. One of the most affected, apparently, is the electronic thermostat on my oven. I guess it doesn’t like being messed with.

Maggie (8 months) running through the wind and snow!

Our dogs were off a little with the noise, the power being off, and the stuff blowing by. The wind chill had us at about -25f and I can assure you it was frigid outside. The dogs loved it; especially Maggie. Being a puppy, this was her first experience with wind and snow. And she loved it. She would come in with an ice beard and solid ice down her backside. She cracked me up. And she hated being toweled off – it became a game to her. We would chase her around the house to get the snow off her, but it was flying off on its own. Once she settled down, we would cuddle her and get the snow off that way. And she kept asking to go outside! Our older poodle, Kolbe, knew better. He stayed inside more often, by the wood stove. In the photo above, Maggie is running on the TOP of our raised beds – which became obscured by the wind and snow. Did not stop her! It was blowing so hard she was barely visible!! Silly girl.

I cannot even say how grateful I am for our Blaze King stove. What an amazing wood stove. Aside from being totally gorgeous for a wood stove (that shiny brown enamel just gets me) it kept our house warm when the power went out. Ed kept it running 24/7 and our living room stayed at a toasty 73-degrees! When it’s -25 outside and you lose power, warmth is a necessity! The rest of the house stayed warm enough with sweats and sweaters on to be doable. We laid a sleeping bag across our bed and slept in our sweats and we were fine. Three days of cold and noise and oh so much damage!!!

Greenhouse while trimming trees around it – we help our breath! LOL!

The photo above is of our beloved greenhouse this summer. We had an amazing growing season in that greenhouse. I had 20 tomatoes and 29 bell peppers, some dill, some indeterminate tomatoes strung along the sides. It would get to well over 100-degrees in there on a sunny day. It was perfect for our little homestead. Along with the raised beds, we had an amazingly bountiful harvest. And then winter arrived. We prayed the greenhouse would survive the rain and snow. It did. It took a considerable load of snow with no problem whatsoever. We breathed a collective sigh of relief. Well, until this weekend that is. *sigh*

Greenhouse post windstorm of ’22

And this morning, this is our greenhouse. And our raised beds – they’re buried under snow. So much debris on the snow – branches, leaves, sticks…the dogs love it. LOL. They brought a huge branch from a pine tree up onto our deck – together because it was too big for just one dog. Anyway, our skies have cleared and the wind has slowed to 40 mph gusts! Actually it has been pretty calm most of the day. Cold, but calm. With clear skies come a big drop in temperature. No clouds to buffer us. So the high today was expected to be zero (0). And the low well into the -6 range. As the sun is waning, I look out and just see a frozen mess. The cover for our little camper is shredded. My husband’s BBQ was toppled over and moved. The back deck cannot be seen – there is a huge mound of blown snow that has covered our table and chairs. And with it being so cold, everything is frozen in place.

Carrs/Safeway Palmer, Alaska

You know, as the saying goes, “It could be worse!” Above is the Carrs/Safeway grocery store. Apparently one of their fire sprinklers burst and the system pretty much exploded over the entire store. With the blowing winds, no electricity, and the cold temperatures in the -25 range, it froze inside the store. The entire store.

Carrs/Safeway Palmer, Alaska – Entryway

And the outside of the store froze, as well. I’m not joking when I say we had a major storm. The roads were almost impassable. We had whiteout with the blowing snow. Semi-trailers overturning and landing on the roads; people’s storage sheds flying across the highway. Debris was flying so much the local police department was begging people to stay home and not come out and take photos like the ones above (got these from a friend who was a patrol officer). I know God protected us – once again – and I feel blessed. Friends had their windows explode and another had her door wrung from the frame and blown inside. The governor declared an emergency and asked us all to shelter in place. I was good with that. Stayed home in my sweats, making sure everything was charged up and we had food to eat. My hubby insured we had warmth by constantly stoking the stove. We made it through the Great Windstorm of ’22 and we are doing fine. Whew. Another new experience to chalk up to living Alaska!! I still love it here. With it being so cold, the snow is glistening and it is sooooo pretty. Almost makes me forget my greenhouse and those shingles that flew off our roof…almost.

Sparkling snow…beautiful!

“…and you shall call his name Emanuel…”

The Manger of Christ

Christmas crepe up on us. This past year has been topsy-turvy at the very least. The current “president” was not so bright in his recent presser, telling those of us not vaccinated that we will have a winter of sickness and death. What a great way to complete your first year in office, Joe. Not.

This year has seen so much in the way of gains, but so many losses. We bought a new-to-us-tow-behind-camper. We were able to get two trips in it this summer and we really liked it. Our dogs loved camping, too. We also lost a dear friend to Covid. And we share our wedding anniversary with them. It still is so hard to even deal with. And then my husband and I both got Covid and were hospitalized. We lost about 12 weeks. That is 1/4 of the year! Insane. We are still in the throws of recovery. And for me, one of the biggest losses has been the death of my mom. This is my first holiday season without her. Ironically, this Thanksgiving was the first year I did not celebrate Mom’s birthday with her, and it fell on Thanksgiving. It was a hard holiday.

Our economy is in a tailspin and it has hit us, too. Prices are just stupid. Friends are without work. Items are not on the shelves. And some mayors and governors are calling for lockdowns and vaccine requirements to shop or go to a movie. The haves vs the have nots. The good vs the bad. The white vs the black. The segregated vs the unsegregated. The vaccinated vs the unvaccinated. What are we doing to each other??? When did my medical status concern my grocery store or gym? And do not even try to tell me I am not safe to be around. I have immunity and according to new studies, I cannot catch covid again – perhaps even for life! And being around someone who has had Covid, and then being around the vaccinated is not going to make the vaccinated sick. It just doesn’t work that way. Science is questioning and rediscovering constantly. Science is not static. And CNN is not a science channel. None of the MSM is science.

Turn it off!

This Christmas season, please turn off the tv. Don’t pay attention to the news. Be present to your tribe. If that is family, you are blessed. If that is a mix of family and friends, you are very blessed. If that is your community, bless you. And if you are alone on Christmas, don’t feel alone. We attended a Christmas party, with a white elephant gift exchange (it was lots of fun). Several members of our group declined to attend, citing their “un-Christmas-y” feeling. Depression during the Holidays is real – and we need to support those alone and depressed. But no one is ever alone. We are celebrating the Birth of Christ, the Savior. He saves us – we do not need to rely on others to determine our eternity. That is between us and our God. This Holiday, this Christ-mas, celebrate. Even if it is solely praying in the quiet of winter.

Winter Peace

This is the first Christmas in the past 37 years we will not be celebrating with a single family member at home on Christmas Day. Our kids are all over the map, quite literally. We will be completely alone. And so we are doing what makes us happy – we are attending Divine Liturgy for Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day, we will spend the evening with our adult kids and their families. We simplified this year in how we decorated. No lights on the house – a simple nativity scene out of a blow-up display. In the back yard we have our lit silhouette animals of a moose family, a bear, and a wolf. We love them. We also sorted all our ornaments that have the kids’ names on them, and ones that were purchased for them, along with their stockings. We’ll be shipping those to them after the holidays. We are planning to pare down and purge all through the house and garage. Simple is the way we will roll from here on out.

Snow covered ornaments

What makes Christmas? For my husband, food is definitely involved. Unfortunately I have discovered I have diabetes, a gift from Covid. No fun for Christmas baking this year – no sugar allowed. So I am skipping it. My brother and his wife sent me sugar-free peanut brittle. It helps!!! I have attended Christmas events and I have not had a problem, so far. In fact I had a crazy day this week and did not eat very much at all during the day. There were a variety of foods available to me, and I was able to make good choices, and the morning afterwards my blood sugar was the best it has been since I have been testing it. Amazing. I am pretty excited about that. I’m not cooking anything this year for our holiday meals, which is so off for me, but also a welcome change. I think I can go with it. Change is good, if you embrace it rather than fight it. What defines your Christmas? It is the food on the table? The people around your table? The gifts under the tree? For me, it’s always been a feeling; an ambiance.

Red Christmas mug on a window sill

One of my fondest memories is when we went caroling and then attended midnight Mass with my in-laws. Our boys were small. We ended up at Denny’s, I think, having hot chocolate and pie. It makes me smile each time I think of it. My fondness for Christmas is made up of precious moments, all strung together. Laying our eldest son in the manger scene after his baptism on the Feast of the Holy Family. Precious snippets of our lives. All our children were baptized on our Anniversary, which is the Feast of the Holy Family every 7 years, I believe. (Not positive). Or moments of our children seeing the lights on the houses, or decorating our tree, or baking Christmas treats together. The joy on their faces and in their eyes. I remember one year with my parents and my in-laws all together. It was so nice. It felt good. Or the many drives, late at night, coming home from my brother’s on Christmas Eve – the boys trying to stay awake to see Santa’s sleigh as he flew overhead. And as we have aged, those Christmas memories have all tangled together to give us a special Christmas ambiance or Spirit, a feeling unique to this celebration.

This year, well this year was an extension of the “two weeks to flatten the curve” mentality. And it was hard to rise above it. But we did. We served our community on Christmas Eve during the day. That felt so good. We attended Divine Liturgy during the evening. And it felt so good. We needed to be there. We lazed around by ourselves most of Christmas Day, ad then went to our eldest son’s home for Christmas dinner. We had a delightful time and the dinner was amazing. Christmas was low-key this year. Simple decorations, simple gifts. And it seemed subdued but appropriate. We are celebrating the birth of our Savior. In a humble cave, laid in a food trough among the lowing beasts, under a star. I think Jesus would approve. How was your Christmas?

Chapel in the Snow

Square peg, round hole.

Square Peg/Round Hole

Sometimes we try to fit in. We try very hard. And all the while we know it’s not a good fit. But we have committed time, we have begun to know others trying to fit in, too. It is hard to “man up” and admit that it is not working.

My husband and I have been married 37 years this month. The entire time we dated (2 years) and most of our married life, we knew we did not belong in Southern California. We have life-long friends there. We had established relationships and commitments. We met each other in Southern California. We had our kids and pretty much raised them there. But we longed to escape to seasons and weather, and much more green! Eventually, my husband secured a position in Washington State. We were elated. We told everyone we knew that we were relocating. Very few of our friends talked to us about our relocating. I don’t think they really believed we would do it. And many have no longer kept in touch. A few admitted they were hurt we left. It amazed me. After just two years, our eldest son asked us to relocate, yet again, to Alaska.. We hesitated but then figured that if we did not take that big leap at that point, we never would. And all that leaving was about 12 years ago.

Back Yard about 1pm in December 2021

Our views outside have changed quite a lot. We experience sub-zero temperatures like pros these days. It was just 20 degrees outside and I only wore a sweater, while running errands. (Always keep heavy coat with me, just in case. And gloves – in my coat and in my purse!). And we have adapted to a much colder environment, and we are thriving. We dove into raised beds and gardening in the arctic regions. It’s a whole, new ballgame up here. Our cupboards and freezers are full of hard-earned bounty. We are happy here.

A little more than 18 years ago, we discovered the eastern side of the Catholic Church, in earnest. We had met a Syro-Malabar bi-ritual priest over 25 years ago, and that had been our introduction to eastern thought and practice. But when we entered the Melkite parish for the first time in San Bernardino all those years ago, our lives drastically changed. The Melkites challenged our faith practices. The Divine Liturgy wove its way into our souls. My husband spent 4 years in the Melkite seminary, becoming a deacon. Our lives revolved around our faith – what we ate, the prayers we prayed, the things we did – everything centered on that little parish in San Bernardino. We belonged, in a very deep way, to a vibrant community of like-minded believers and it was our little paradise. Many of our Roman friends did not understand what we loved about it. Many attended my husband’s ordination and were still confused – several remarked that they would go to Mass later, to receive communion, when they had just attended a Divine Liturgy. They did not understand that it was a “valid” liturgy and their “Sunday obligation” had been met. They did not accept different as equal. And that has become apparent in so many aspects of our lives. Accepting different as just different, but not less or less valid.

Historic and current local Roman parish

Covid has been a game-changer on so many levels. One thing it did that continues to frustrate me is that covid “mandates,” which are not laws, closed the doors to our churches. And our churches allowed them to be closed. Pastors cowed to the political pressure of a pandemic that has upturned and twisted our culture. I know we will never be able to return to “normal.” It is frustrating. We were reduced to watching livestream liturgies. And frankly, when that was all that was available, I was actually fine with that. Because I could livestream Melkite liturgies. Up here, there are no Melkite parishes. None. Up here we can find Byzantine, Roman, and Orthodox parishes.(as well as a plethora of Protestant denominations). We attended the Byzantine parish up here for years, but when we moved more than an hour away, we stopped attending (Boy, was I convicted on that excuse last night!). And so we drifted to a local Roman parish, after some friends invited us.

Each week, we would squirm or feel uncomfortable during some part of the Mass. During the height of the pandemic, it was surprisingly orthodox in that the Mass was solemn and beautiful. So were the homilies. Subdued. Thoughtful. Deep. Reverent. Quiet. And then the “restrictions” began to be lifted and more families started returning to the Masses. We could sit in every pew and there were no tapes separating people. The choir came back. The homilies loosened up, too. And we started to experience not just “squirm” moments, but moments that actually made us angry and frustrated. Behaviors we had left behind when we ventured east came crawling back into the Masses. And we grew increasingly uncomfortable.

Let me explain: I am not a “kum-bay-ya” person. I don’t feel comfortable around extroverted expressions of faith. Random “alleluias” and loud “amens” are not part of my DNA. It makes me uncomfortable. Musical accompaniments with varied instruments. Clapping. Standing and clapping. Kids running up and shouts and all sorts of things like that are just not for me. Father cracking jokes and inviting responses during Mass. I prefer old world reverence. I prefer chants. I like a good Tridentine Mass. I love the prayers. And as I gravitated eastward, I realized I was in search of the Holy, in an old world expression that works for me. This past weekend was sort of it for us. Even though we have quite a few friends who attend the local Roman parish, we just cannot do it any longer.

Advent

I began an Advent study using materials provided by the local parish we have been attending. Along with that, I have been reading the Psalms with my Orthodox brethren. And one of the interesting things for me was the process of preparation – not for the Child Jesus, but for His Second Coming. In the Roman material, it prods you to think about your eternity with your faith. On December 3rd we were reminded to let go of things – how fasting and abstinence can enrich your life. And I realized I could pack our truck and load our camper and be off with our dogs and I would be fine with that. Honestly fine. I could separate and leave the rest behind. On the 5th we were reminded about repentance. And I noted I needed to work on the fact that I am still angry our Church doors were closed to us during Covid. The ecclesial gave way to the political – because by now you have to agree it was not to the science! My anger lingers and I am working on that. On the 6th, a change happened to me. St. Therese of Lisieux’s quote was the day’s heading: “There is no joy like that known by the truly poor in spirit.” The reading speculated that at the core of repentance is the acknowledgment that we cannot save ourselves. “Man is a beggar before God.” And “Advent is the end of a long history of waiting for the fulfillment of an ancient promise.” The reflective questions at the end asked, “Are you dry and parched, crippled by sorrow? Are you trying to power through every challenge by your own strength?” And my response, after pondering it, was that I am, indeed parched. The change is that I came face-to-face with what was really bothering me, and I wrote: “Dry because I miss and long for the holiness of Byzantine life. I want Divine Liturgy!” And yesterday’s reflection was from James 4:8 – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” I felt drawn to Byzantine liturgy, and so did my husband. We chose to attend another of our local Roman parishes where they host our Byzantine Mission every other Sunday at 4:00pm. I cannot describe what it was like, really. It felt like falling into a warm pool of holy. We took a deep breath and the incense, the sounds, the icons drew us in. The familiar rhythm of liturgy was a balm to parched souls.

Sacred Heart Byzantine Mission

New icons had been painted since we were last here, and we reveled in their beauty. We sang the Liturgy with a renewed joy and vigor. Father’s homily reflected the readings and the history of Advent. We felt the tug of the traditional, the historical, the reverential, the beauty that is Divine Liturgy.

Divine Liturgy

We have resolved that we will make the effort to experience the divine on a regular basis. We are parched and dry and we miss Byzantine worship. It’s an hour away, but only twice a month. We can make the trek twice a month, and twice a month the mission will be 5 minutes away. I think that is doable!

During last night’s wonderful homily, Father expanded on the story of the celebration being planned, from the readings, and how the host invited more people off the street because the original invitees were coming up with excuses not to attend. In those days, preparing to host a celebration could take months of preparation and was very costly. And very few were coming. Father then asked us what our excuses were. Why are we not coming to the celebration? My husband and I immediately looked at one another, and I believe in that moment, we realized we needed to make the effort. There may be odd things that are off, in comparison to a Melkite liturgy, but they are procedural in nature. They do not make us squirm in our seats, nor do they incite anger in us. We felt the holy we had been longing for. We felt the pull, and it filled something in our hearts we had been lacking. We had become square pegs trying to fit into a round hole, trying to be Roman. We are no longer Roman; we are Melkite; we are Byzantine. And that is something we just cannot walk away from. We need to go where we are fed. I believe life is like a salad bar. Find where your soul sings. No matter where it takes us. Try different things to know what works for you. Become comfortable in your own skin. Different is just different: it is not less nor invalid. We learned to embrace change a long time ago. We have been on this journey for over 20 years now, and for us, we still lean eastward…

St. Nicholas Dome

Let go of the tether…

Tetherball

A tether is “a rope, chain, strap, or cord for keeping an animal within a certain radius.” It can also be used for objects (hence we have tetherball) and to keep infants safe with a car seat in a car. Basically, it’s a restraint system. Why am I defining this? I have been doing some soul-searching lately. What am I tethered to? One of the things that keeps running through all the philosophies rampant on the internet is that we need to focus on God and God alone. God wins, in the end.

London’s Chrystal Palace

We are just regular people. Like George Carlin would say, “There’s a big club and you ain’t in it”! And we should question everything. Absolutely everything. If you look into the late 1800s construction style, you have to scratch your head. No electric or power tools. The roads are still dirt and most people got around in horse-drawn vehicles, not cars! The Pearl Street Power Station was opened by Thomas Edison in 1882. 1882! The Chrystal Palace above was built in 1854. How? There are literally decades of our history that we are unaware of. Where is our collective cultural memory? As an anthropology major in college in the “progressive” 1970s, I was never told any of this history. The architecture alone is astonishing. Where did it all go? Why was it erased from our history?? Who decided we needed to erase that? Makes you think, doesn’t it? Look up Tartaria and the 1800s construction style. Look up the Great Mud Flood. Why is this not common knowledge? Very interesting digging.

We are all so worried about Omicron or the next variant. Our supply train. The weather. The economy and crypto-currency. The world is going insane on a multitude of fronts. We all know someone who has been vaccinated. We all know people who have had Covid, in one of its many forms. Many of us know friends who have died from Covid treatments. We have had our faith leaders close the door of our churches because they bow to political pressure. Where is their faith in God? The money doesn’t flow if you do not follow the narrative. Slowly the media is now even reporting on some aspects of the Maxwell trial. The biggest trial of the century so far. And CNN actually talked about some of the fallout with the vaccines and pericarditis and the many deaths and injuries from these untested vaccines – I know I was shocked they dared to utter a word. Maybe because they have to make up for the Cumo debacle! (These shots really are not vaccines, are they? When I got my polio vaccine I was no longer susceptible to the disease – but these covid shots? They keep coming…the first couple don’t work so let’s keep shooting people with more chemicals…)

The Vaxx

The elites of this world are frightened by truth. They keep layering the world with more and more deception. So many of us blindly follow the “tell-a-vision” and believe our government is here to save us. No one is here to save us – we have to save ourselves. In recent news, studies have now shown the graphene component in these vaccines acts like razors in our blood streams. It destroys our ability to fight infections. There’s a new term in our lexicon of language as well; “VAIDS.” “Vaccine acquired immunodeficiency disease.” Yeah – its a new form of aids – from the vaccine. Look into Fraudci and his involvement with aids. People died from the cure, not the disease. He needs to held accountable! Our world leaders are trying to decimate the population. I know…quackery, right? Look at the Georgia Guidestones, for one simple example…

Georgia Guidestones

One of the precepts engraved on the stones is keeping the world population at 500,000,000 and another is one world government. Look into it. Don’t trust a random blogger you come across. One thing I have learned in all of this, trust no one – no one’s opinion or their “facts.” Dig deep and find your own answers. And that is what brings me to this post today…looking for my own information. As I dug deeper, and was reading information and bookmarking sites I want to return to, I kept hearing in my head – “What are you tethered to? What keeps you attached to this world, to this life?”

“It’s going to be biblical..”

The line (and image) above is from the movie, “Law Abiding Citizen.” A man gets even for all the wrongs done to him and he swears, “I’m gonna pull the whole thing down. I’m gonna bring the whole f***in’ diseased, corrupt temple down on your head. It’s gonna be biblical.” For many of us who follow patriots and the causes of freedom, this quote has been used to define this moment in time, and how patriots need to respond. And many patriots refer this quote to taking down the cabal, the elites who control the world. Taking down the global banking system. Global economy reset. Among many other issues.

I am listening. I am researching for myself. I am learning. I am fearful and prayerful. I am not really settled and this little voice keeps asking me about being tethered. The Lord tells us quite plainly, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)

Letting Go…

All of the things I have discussed, and so many more, are things that bind me. My family is the one thing I have held onto more than anything. A friend’s mother once related to me that if we are doing this parenting thing right, our kids take off and explore new things, in new places, with new people. And they are fully confident to do that, even if it means leaving parents far, far behind. If Christopher Columbus had never left home, we would all still be in Europe. (Just an old saying – not arguing accuracy in this post). LOL. And I have come to realize recently that my kids are all grown up. I mean I know they are from their ages, but their “separateness” became more glaringly real to me. Oh yes, I pointed them in the direction I thought they should go. And they took my advice, and then made their own decisions. Most of those decisions are taking them away from me. We diverge over many, many subjects. It has caused hurt feelings and we often tap-dance around quite a few topics. At the heart of it, I will always love my kids. It doesn’t matter where they are or what they are doing. I gave them life and I will always love them. But I cannot fix or change them now. They are married with families of their own (almost all of them – one more to go!). They have careers and homes and responsibilities and they are choosing their own way in this life. The hurtful part is that generally speaking, we are no longer on similar paths, nor share the same orbits. And my husband and myself are pretty much all that we have. We knew that on some instinctual level, but facing the reality of it as we sit in matching recliners in the evenings, alone and watching mindless TV and chatting, the hard reality is that it is just the two of us.

Divergent Paths by Julie Lonneman

If I am honest about it, that little voice I keep hearing is telling me to just let it go. Let my kids, and some dear friends, go on their merry way, with my love and blessings. Do I agree with their choices, their decisions? No I do not. Can I change anything by talking to them, or presenting them facts and figures, and studies that prove my points? I cannot. Will I lose them by trying? Well, I almost have in the recent past, so I would have to say that to pursue it at this point would cut them off from us, and I am not sure I can bear that. I know I have to let them be men (I have all sons) and forge their own trails, but darn it all, I miss them in my life. I never imagined my old age would be so very solitary, in the sense that we don’t see our kids and grandkids around our table anymore, nor celebrating holidays as a full family. (We have even replaced our big table with a small, glass one!) There is geography (we now live 1000s of miles apart) and the cost of travel (and restrictions – thanks Byden) and transporting kids; I really get it. But all the same, here in my pity party, it’s not turning out to be what I had imagined during all the years I spent raising the boys, and all the years invested in some friendships.

Ad-libbing with dogs…and paring down a tad…

The above is our Christmas decor – pretty much all of it. We decorated for ourselves because we know our extended family won’t be around our tree, and we rarely entertain friends these days. In addition, we had to adapt to a very smart and stubborn 8-month-old standard poodle puppy who would love to chew on almost all of that stuff up there. Ha-Ha. It’s small and simple and I think I like it this way. We are getting rid of a lot of holiday stuff and are even thinking of paring down in other ways, as well. It is helping me to let go. Stuff is stuff and we have come to realize very little of the stuff we love is important to our kids. I want to give it away or sell it while I know where it is going and not leave it for them to settle when I am gone.

Letting go of everything – all this concern in the world – as well as family and friends – for the sake of eternal salvation is a jarring reality. As I get older, and after my Covid experience, I know more than ever that my days are numbered. I will face my God alone. I hope and pray our Blessed Mother, and some angels and saints will stand with me, but ultimately my faith is between me and God. Just the two of us. And when I think in those terms, it is easier to deal with letting go, with disappointment and feeling let down, with fear for the future of this world. So many prognostications are being bandied about that we are in the end times. Perhaps we are. Bishop Vigano recently stated that those who fight this new world order, the cabal and the elites, “will have the help and protection of God.” I can go with that. So, be prepared to sacrifice everything for your faith – the faith in God and in your country and the things you believe in. All of it. Home, relationships, friends, family. Because the powers that be want you to submit, even to the point of giving your life for what you believe. So for me, I want to be able to walk away, even to death, with my head held high, letting go of all that tethers me to this world.

Holding on to that tether to this world…

“…it profits the soul”

My Psalter

Psalm 40:3 “The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed; from his illness and all his infirmities, You will heal him.”

Psalm 34:13,2 “I prayed with my head bowed down.”

My Advent Prayer Book

Psalm 33:17 “The righteous called and the Lord heard them and delivered them out of all their affliction.”

Psalm 33:4 “I sought the Lord with diligence, and He heard me and delivered me from all my tribulations.”

Isolation

My bout with C19 brought me, literally, to my knees. As I was getting these treatments to assist my lungs, I was face down on a hospital bed. I had a halo around my face to keep me off the mattress, with a full mask on and the oxygen pumping at full capacity. And the nurses would feed the nebulizer up under the halo part and shove it into my mask. The room I was in was sealed off in the sense that the walls were bare and the oxygen in the room was forced outside through a large ducting system, complete with a pump. It went 24/7. When you add the breathing treatments every 4 hours and the sound of the Oxygen, I could hear pretty much nothing. And what is there to do? Can’t look at anything but the mattress sheet just at the end of my nose. I could sneak my phone under there while I charged it, which was great, but my hands could not reach it without disrupting everything they had me hooked up to. I had 4 IV’s in my arms, as well. I would turn it on and look at the screen saver and tell my husband how much I loved him.

My screensaver. August 2021

After I would look at that photo, of how happy we were that day, I would start praying. And because I was sick, some of the memorized prayers I have prayed for decades came out all jumbled up. I would recall bits and pieces of prayers. I would recall stories of the Saints and then I would be off seeking intercession. Then I focused on the angels. “St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil…:” and then I recalled the story of the angel Gabriel in Scripture. His story meant so much to me then that I can recall that prayerful moment. I also asked that all the people praying for me be rewarded with peace and the knowledge that I felt those prayers. The intensity of my prayers was probably the strongest it has ever been. I called upon my patron saints, St. Rita (patron of the impossible) and my beloved Ruth. I called upon the army of God to surround me in my illness, to literally stand around my bed and hold me up before God as I sought His help. I cried for it. And I felt it. I truly felt the intense love of God. I wept and was overcome with a sense of peace. I felt like God was saving me, and letting me know I was not done, yet. Why it took such a close brush with death, I have no clue. But I can assure you I am very aware that I was redeemed by God and my “infirmities” were cured. I was going to be fine.

Psalms

Each year, twice a year, the Church fasts prior to feasts. Right now, we are fasting and praying during Advent and the coming feast of Christmas. In the Spring, we have Great Lent, during which we fast and pray until the feast of Pascha, or Easter. I am Melkite Greek Catholic. We’re one of the many rites associated with the Roman Catholic Church, but we are distinct from Rome. We have our own Patriarch, and he is who I listen to, outside of what the Pope in Rome is saying. I sort of have one foot in being a Melkite, and the other in Orthodoxy. The Melkites are jokingly called the, “Orthodox of the West.” And because I posted a photo of a Psalter, and the other book (which I adore) called “Songs of Praise,” many Catholics and Protestants will be turned off. But it is not all that mysterious. The Psalter is nothing more than the Book of Psalms, in a book of its own, with prayers for before and after you read the days’ Psalms. You can get through the entire book of Psalms, twice, during the 40 days prior to Christmas or Easter. The other book, “Songs of Praise,” is a companion. Sylvia (the author) put all the Psalms in there, broken up in to each days’ group of Psalms, along with prayers and a short commentary/reflection for each day, and tons of room to journal. I have two of these books. One I use for “Advent” and one I use for “Lent.” I began doing this about 5 years ago. And I cannot begin to tell you how much it impacts your soul, and your outlook on the coming holy-day. I have all sorts of notes in there from each year and it is fun to look and see where I was and what I was thinking. But the most profound thing for me is that every time I read the Psalms, they jump out at me. How did David (the author) know I needed to hear that, now, in 2021? The Psalms have been described by the saints in so many ways! “No other book so glorifies God as does the Psalter. It profits the soul; it glorifies God together with the angels and exalts and extols in a powerful voice.” St. Basil the Greek.“The singing of the psalms adorns the soul, summons angels to one’s aid, drives away demons, dispels darkness, and produces holiness.” St. Augustine.

As I was reading through my Psalms for today, I was struck by the application to my experience with C19. Psalm 40:3 – “The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed..” Wow. He certainly did. I felt it. Psalm 39:1 “I waited eagerly for the Lord, and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” and Psalm 39:4 “Blessed is the man whose hope is in the name of the Lord.”

There is so much more we can glean from studying our bibles. And in particularly, the Psalms. Christ Himself quotes the Psalms all through the New Testament. And when he did, the people knew He was doing that, and they knew exactly what His meaning was. But most of us are ignorant of the Old Testament, which is a shame. There is a vast richness in all the books of the Old Testament. As I mentioned above, I adore Ruth. I read her story in the OT and I felt so drawn to her. Proverbs is a wonderful book to study and there is an entire ministry centered around Proverbs 31 and how to be a good wife and mother. I read that for my Mother-in-law’s funeral and it fit perfectly for our remembrance of her.

Don’t be afraid of this world and what is roaming through it, trying to devour our souls. We have God. And He wins. It is our journey, our act of being a sojourner in this life, that sets us on the path to eternity. And how we react to what happens to us. I’m bummed that I had to be deathly ill to resume my deeper prayer life, but I am thankful I did not have to live the life of Job. (Another great OT book). I am still able to learn, grow, and become better than I was yesterday, through the grace of God.

Psalm 36:4-5 “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Disclose your struggle to the Lord; hope in Him, and He will act.”

Fierce Protector

It’s all because of my choices…

My bout with Covid was no fun whatsoever. I was exposed mid-September, was sick all of October, and am just now weaning off Oxygen (24/7 on a machine). My heart looks fine, which is a relief. But I was also diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes while I was sick. I have since learned that many Covid survivors are left with a Diabetes diagnosis. And I am learning more and more about this disease every day.

Diabetes – the type 2 variety – is a diagnosis that affects everything in your life. And it is also a disease of choice. Every bite I take affects this disease. And every bite I have ever taken has brought me to this place. Every time I chose to ride and not walk also brought me here. Couch potato life (or in my case – recliner life) also drove me down this road. While I was in the hospital, they did a blood test called an A1C. For diabetics, this test is almost as important as your daily blood sugar. The A1C somehow (I am no scientist) can determine your sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. It looks at how much hemoglobin is coated with sugar. The higher the number, the worse control you have had over your diabetes and the more likely for complications you are. My A1C was 8.3 – that is very high. Most people who do not have diabetes test in the 1-2 range. And what this told me was I have been dealing with this for quite a while.

When I was told I had this disease, I was so sick and fighting for every breath. The nurses would come and prick my finger 4 times a day and 4 times a day I would get insulin injections. Each time I would get 1 injection of short acting insulin and 1 injection of long-acting insulin. I was taught how to give myself injections and how to test my blood. But when I went home, I was prescribed oral medication and a completely different testing system. I spent days trying to figure it all out. (And only when I had to refill those test strips did I discover it was also a costly learning curve!! ) And I had serious bouts of dizziness, cold sweats, and nausea. Getting used to taking medication – and taking it at the same times every day – has been hard for me. I never even take Tylenol! A dear friend suggested setting an alarm on my phone. Genius! I am now taking the medication regularly.

Learning to eat differently has been a challenge. When I returned to my doctor I had been recovering for 2 weeks at home. I kept a daily log of all my testing and times and my blood sugar numbers. My numbers were never under 200 and lots were in the high 200s – not good. So the doctor doubled my medication. Side effects? Yeah. LOL. Shakes, frequent bathroom visits, but also calm and I felt more solid, if that makes sense. But my numbers all hover closer to 200 than 100. Very frustrating. Because I have not cheated – not once. Honestly.

And boy oh boy is there a lot of conflicting advice out there. At first it was no sugar, no carbs, low fat. What is left? I started reading labels. Sugar is in everything. It is mind-blowing. Things I thought were healthy are not – for me. Yoghurt is one of my favorite things. Well, I was eating what I thought was a good yoghurt, until one day I really read the entire label. Hidden sugars and carbs! It was making my situation worse. And cottage cheese. I have to watch which one I choose to eat. I can’t eat anything much that is pre-packaged. No rice. No potatoes. No fast food. No “last minute, let’s grab a bite to eat” evenings for me. Because every bite either shortens my life or extends it. It is really that simple.

I had pancreatitis twice in my early 30s. I had gestational diabetes with one of my pregnancies. I was diagnosed a few years ago with “metabolic disorder.” All these markers should have been sirens going off and red flags all over the place. Because each of them points to diabetes in the end. The nutritionist at the hospital wants me to lose 10% of my weight. I cringed. Yeah, I am overweight. And I lost 16 pounds through Covid. I have already gained 6 back. And I am eating healthier and eating smaller portions. Ugh. The pressure to lose weight is real. And I feel it and I desperately want to drop the extra pounds I have carried with me for the past 37 years. My body is comfy at this weight. I’ve worn this same size for decades. My daughter-in-law explained to me that our bodies have “set points” at which they are happy. I am at my set point. It hasn’t changed much over the years. And now I need to change that set point. No easy task.

I have searched through the internet and my daughter-in-law bought me a great cookbook. And I can honestly say I am tired of salads. Ha-Ha. My body loves it when I eat raw spinach. It settles my numbers down. And so I often eat it sometimes three times a day. My nutritionist told me I need 5-7 servings of vegetables every day. Trust me – that is a tall order. Even at breakfast? A serving is 1/2 cup so it’s not a lot. But still – thinking of 3 meals as just meals and removing that breakfast-lunch-dinner label is hard.

Years ago my husband and I did the Primal Diet. And we really liked it. Then we did Whole 30 and that was truly the most eye-opening. I think that between the two we had changed our minds and were resolving to think of meals as just meals. We could have what people would judge as dinner for our first meal of the day. We learned to think of them as meals 1, 2, and 3. And I have to get back to that mindset. This time, it has to be permanent.

When you are fighting an illness and are prescribed lots of steroids and antibiotics, it can artificially inflate your blood sugar. So none of my medical “team” is overly concerned, yet. They all have told me that it takes a few months to settle down and get a rhythm going. And I am hoping that works out to be true. In the meantime, I am trying to adjust to this new paradigm in my life. I am trying to gather as much information as I can. And I am equally determined to beat this thing into submission. Not sure what it is submitting to – my indeterminant will, I guess.

Every morning I wake up and before I do anything, I test my blood. I then eat some plain yoghurt so I can stomach my diabetes medications. Every morning. And I am reading this great devotional entitled, “Living Well With Diabetes” by Constance Brown-Riggs. And this book has brought the importance of relying on God for all things. Each day it has caused me to look at this differently. It’s not a life-long sentence of being full of disease. It is an opportunity for me to grow and learn and change. To make what I have better. I finally had a morning this week with blood sugar under 200…it was 144. That is the lowest it has been since my diagnosis. I felt like I had a small victory!!!

Sunrise in an Alaskan Winter

I love winter. I was born blocks from the beach in sunny Southern California. I hated being hot. I longed for four seasons. We finally made it to Alaska almost 9 years ago, and I love the seasons here. Granted, spring and fall are so fast you could miss them, but summer and winter are glorious. Our dogs love the snow. They are standard poodles and they have very deep foot pads. They get crammed full of ice and snow and you have to dig it out each time they go outside. If you do not stay on top of it, they will develop bleeding foot pads. Luckily the Iditarod mushers found a way to prevent this with booties and this salve you can put on their pads. The dogs hate the salve and the booties, but they work. Do sore feet keep them from running for hours in the snow banks and drifts? It does not! As a responsible pet owner, it is up to me to research solutions and to care for them and their feet. And so I insist on digging out the snowballs and caring for their feet. Every day, several times a day, in the wintertime.

Hope!

We all need to take responsibility for the health of those we love – dogs included – as well as ourselves. We have to acknowledge the problem and take steps to correct it. I sought out resources for our dogs’ feet; why would I not be as diligent about my own health? And so I have found some resources through the assistance and suggestion of friends and family. I am coming to terms with my emotions about having a disease, because until I learned more I did not know diabetes was a disease. I had never thought about it, honestly, and had assumed it was just a metabolic mis-wiring. I had no idea of the far-reaching consequences of living with diabetes. LOL. I was also given some app suggestions for my phone to learn about counting carbs and sugars and fats. Label reading is now part of my life. As I mentioned before, my daughter-in-law bought me a cookbook, “Diabetes for Beginners.” What an amazing collection of recipes. I am trying new things in the kitchen. And because I acted on learning more, discovering more, and wrapping my brain around this whole subject, I have garnered hope! And hope is an amazing thing. I truly believe action helps give us hope, so I am continuing to learn. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Ha!. I am an old dog, for sure, but I am still learning. Each day I hope is a better day for my diabetes. Stay tuned, my friends. I am sure this will be a bumpy ride.

Well, hello there!

We’ve had a pretty dismal fall. Cold, damp, windy. We had a snow storm a week or so ago and the snow tried to stay around in the shaded/lee side of things. It was an odd Halloween here in Alaska, because there was no snow. I loved it when our neighbor drove his snow sled full of kids down the street in all the snow. This year, we all were sort of holding our collective breath.

New snow

We had a weather report that we would see some light snow – about 1.2″ from one report and then another said it would not stick. Well, they were all wrong. It started snowing in the late evening on Wednesday and it finally stopped late Thursday night. This photo above is Thursday afternoon. When all was said and done, we got about 10″ of snow. And it took everyone by surprise. The temperature has remained below 20 degrees, so this snow is staying around awhile. Well, hello there, Mr. Winter!!!

If you are like I am, surprises can be a great thing, or they can be the worst experience ever. Snow – well, I happen to love winter and cold temperatures and snow. I love hearing it crunch under my feet. And the world gets so quiet and so still. I find great peace in wintertime. So that surprise was a joyous one for me. There are other surprises that have occurred that I am not that happy with.

Surprise!!

Did you know that the CDC sent out a letter confirming that there are no recorded cases of someone, who is not vaccinated and gets Covid, and recovers, infecting anyone else? How can they require us to be vaccinated???? And there have been numerous studies verifying that immunity lasts over a year??? That there are more deaths and vaccine injuries (side effects) for people who are vaccinated? Of course you have to get the vaccine to get a vaccine injury, but most of these injuries are from subsequent injections. How many boosters will there be???

When I was a child, I was lined up in school for vaccination against smallpox in the early 60s. I was in the gym in kindergarten, which was already a scary place because it was so big, with all these nurses and doctors dressed in white, who I did not know, directing us to “shot stations.” There were these stainless steel long containers full of these weird things with points on them that they jabbed into your shoulder area. It hurt so badly. After that, while crying, we were offered sugar cubes to make us smile, but it was actually the polio vaccine, given orally. I remember the blister and then the scab from it, and I still have the scar from the smallpox vaccine. Yesterday Bill Gates warned everyone we were not prepared for another smallpox outbreak. This came right on the heels of his new smallpox drug getting approved. No surprise there. Always, always, follow the money. Always. News for Bill – have the scar – had the vaccine. They stopped giving it because it was eradicated. Hmmm…wonder what Bill has up his sleeve now?

Kolbe and Maggie wanting to go outside – again – to play in the snow!

I still think most of this fear-mongering is about money, power, and control. It’s crazy to keep going back for more. As an example, my dogs love the snow. But poodles (yes, they are standard poodles in desperate need of grooming – Covid to blame) have these very deep pads on their feet. They are water dogs and the deep pads help them swim. But these same pads get a lot of ice and snow packed into them. It damages their skin and we have to put this moisturizing dog-musher concoction on their feet (necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and the dog mushers solved this problem). Do sore feet deter these dogs from zooming through snow banks and jumping over buried raised garden beds, sometimes for hours? It does not. The fun is worth the pain. Think about this vaccine craze for a moment. Is the danger worth it? All the kids with myocarditis? The many soccer players throughout Europe now experiencing health issues – most of them heart related? Women experiencing all sorts of issues with fertility. There are children having heart attacks. A mother posted a photo of her son, I think he was 7, coming out of a coma surrounded by Fruit Loops and a pizza, after his injection with the vaccine and subsequent heart attack. Her comment? “Thank goodness he’s vaccinated – there are so many sick people in here.” No issue with the horrible side effect her son experienced – heart attack and coma – because of the vaccine. Is it worth it? I do not think so. And yet so many jump in line to get this chemical cocktail, aka vaccine.

The Covid Vaccine – necessary??

Facing many of us is the vaccine mandate. Either submit to this chemical cocktail or lose your job. In some countries (France, Norway, Germany, to name just a few) they are enacting lockdowns that prohibit the unvaccinated from leaving their homes – period – no exceptions. How do they eat? Work? Pay bills? Is that what is coming to Biden’s America? Have you looked at the draconian mandates Los Angeles County implemented? In LA County you have to show more ID to get a Starbucks coffee than you do to vote! Insanity.

I always thought our 3 branches of government were for balance – as in “checks and balances.” A FEDERAL court ruled Biden’s mandate could not move forward. The judicial branch – one of the three legs that hold this footstool together. The executive branch – aka the White House – told companies to keep preparing for the deadline, even though the Federal court told them to stop. I never thought our laws were made at the direction or whim of a President. That would be the purview of our legislative branch – aka Congress. And OSHA? They are primarily about workplace safety – not healthcare. They certainly are not part of law enforcement. They have no jurisdiction to arrest people or fine companies for a MANDATE – which is not a law. Personally, OSHA has gotten a little big for their britches, much like the EEOC. They are bureaus – more bureaucracies – and we have far too many of those (think alphabet agencies).

Schoolhouse Rock – the 3 circles of government!

I remember when Civics was a part of our schooling. I thought it was so interesting. But they pretty much scuttled that in our schools anymore. I saw a great quote about that; “Why do they not teach about our rights in schools anymore? Because it’s easier to take them away if you don’t know what they are.” Bill Gates said he did not want the schools to teach thinking. He did not need thinkers. He needed workers. People who would blindly punch a time card, do their work, and go home at night. He doesn’t want thinkers – or people who question things. Boy oh boy – between his vaccination fascination, his depopulation plans, and his dumbing down of America, why do we listen to him? He comes from a rich family – they set him up in business. But he never graduated from college (neither did Zuckerberg) and has no medical training. He’s a rich businessman sticking his nose where it does not belong, but people allow it because he’s rich and powerful. Follow the money – always.

Whats Next?

I wish I knew what was coming. I do think we are all going to have to make hard choices and soon. Vaccine mandate. Some will have to choose between their job and losing everything for not capitulating to an illegal health requirement for working. (Will that same company pay me 24/7/365 for my lifetime because I have to carry the vaccine all the time and not just for my 8-5 job?) And with inflation starting to rear its ugly head, we all need to seriously stock up on essentials. Make plans in case the supply train doesn’t come to you. Make plans if the power grid goes down. Have a place to meet family members if there is a disaster. Do you have an alternate – and safe – source of heat in case natural gas or coal are too costly or unavailable? Get sleeping bags, blankets. Think smart. Stock up on things like aspirin and other OTC and Rx mediations that help make life easier. Bandages and bandaids. And yes, toilet paper and feminine hygiene needs. Water. A gallon per person per day. Dog/cat/pet food. Gas for the car before it’s too expensive to buy at all. There are lots of things to think about when planning for the worst case scenario, not to mention bad weather and natural disasters.

There are greater minds than mine who believe Biden, and his cohorts on both sides of the aisle, are trying to literally bring the USA to its knees by locking us down, starving us, stopping the flow of utilities, and giving us these chemical cocktails. As Ronald Reagan once said, “The scariest 7 words you will ever hear are, “The Government is here to help you.” Will you allow it? Taking it on the chin and giving in to government pressure is no way to live. Is the vaccination passport worth it? Is the pain worth it? Is our freedom? Our rights? We are still relatively free people. We need to remember our freedoms and protect them, or memories of them are all we will have.

Shaken and stirred….

Have you noticed how the world is spinning wildly out of control? If you only watch regular TV or listen to mainstream pundits, you are missing out. There have been marches in France EVERY SATURDAY against the vaccine. All over Europe people are demonstrating against mandatory vaccinations on a weekly basis. There have been walk-outs of entire companies over being forced to get a vaccine. Today was designated “International Walk Out Day” for people to not work in demonstration against mandatory vaccinations. I am not against vaccines, per se. I am against forced capitulation to a government mandate (which is not law) into my medical and personal life. I saw where Utah wants to implement a digital driver’s license to which they can add your credit score, your vaccination status, your taxes, spending habits, etc etc etc. That should scare the poop out of everyone. But it got very little mainstream press coverage.

I also watched some videos that were of different masses where priests denied communion to maskless parishioners. In one case the priest told the parishioner to leave because of no mask, and it then turned into a brawl on the altar with fellow parishioners dragging the man out! I was in shock. My faith in my Church has been badly shaken. Why were churches closed? Why didn’t our priests stand up for their parishioners? If Catholics truly believe that is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ they receive, what are they afraid of? Would not Christ protect His faithful? People accused of trespassing for not wearing a mask? Seriously??? Why were countless other churches shuttered? Temples? Mosques? Why were we not allowed to gather? Why were restaurants and bars closed? Why were Walmart and Costco and Home Depot allowed to remain open?

Patriots Gather in Taverns

One theory is that when people gather together in bars and taverns, in restaurants and in churches, they talk. They discuss. They take note of what is going on in their country. They hatch plans to made changes to what they see. There are lots of theories out there about why there is a growing awakening among “We the people.” It certainly did not come from being educated on our rights! No one gets too much education on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in schools these days. But we are certainly aware when our rights are trampled upon. I am learning that ALL our rights, delineated in the Bill of Rights, and our Constitution, are equally important.

As long as I can remember, I have been pro-life. I vehemently defend the right of every person to the gift of life. A natural birth to a natural death. I do not believe abortion is an option under any condition. There is absolute, definitive proof, there are no reasons under which an abortion can save the life of the mother. There is never a medical need for it. Ever. It is a need of convenience. It is a need for the right gender. It should never be a method of birth control. It is something evil. It is giving to the cult of Baphomet. It is horrific.

In the USA, there has been a constant battle for women to be allowed to kill their unborn children. And they march on the Capitals and they scream, “My body – my choice.” What I find interesting is that it is not their body – their bodies are not being torn apart or deprived of oxygen and covered in acid wash. No. That happens to the body of their unborn child. And now we have passed laws that if a child survives that procedure, they can be left to die. By the very doctors who vowed to do everything they can to preserve life – to do no harm. But still they scream, “My body – my choice.”

So why is this vaccine being imposed upon the masses not treated with the same loud cries of “my body – my choice?” Why is some medical procedure – whether I have had the vaccine or not – now supposed to be public knowledge? Do I need to wear a yellow star? Am I to be rounded up and sent to some quarantine camp? (Have you delved into what is happening in Australia???). I normally do not get the annual flu shot. I always get sick from them. But I would take my mom for hers – along with her annual pneumonia shot. It’s not that I am against her choosing, along with her doctor, for her to receive those injections. It is her right and she did so. But it should also continue to be my right to choose NOT to receive a vaccine.

I was recently hospitalized with Covid. It was not a fun experience. I lost most of October to this thing and am still battling to fully recover. While I was in the hospital, I was denied my vitamin regimen. My assigned pulmonary specialist feels vitamins do nothing but create “expensive urine.” He even noted on my discharge papers to cease – immediately – the list of vitamins I had told him I was taking. I ignored those instructions and am still furious at him, and every morning as I take my vitamins, I mentally toast him. There are a myriad of ways to treat this plandemic. The doctor told me they have no protocol. They are doing what they can, each patient as different as night and day. So to have him tell me that vitamins do nothing when they have no protocol or game plan to treat patients certainly seems to fly in the face of common sense. He denied any correlation to vitamin C and the common cold. Vitamin D3 and mood – up here in Alaska doctors routinely recommend vitamin D3 to ward off the depression inherent with living in the arctic. So for me, to deny a patient simple vitamin therapy flies in the face of a common sense approach to patient care. And it also highlights what’s wrong with our medicine. It’s all based on pharmaceutical therapies. Give them an IV (I had 4 at one time). Shoot them up with more meds (I was given 6 – 8 injections every day). Take this pill – oh and now take this one, too! Then prescribe oral medications when you send them home!

Did you know that among all our Congressmen, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals is the 5th most common investment? Hmmmm…..wonder why they push their vaccine so hard? Have you heard the speech at WHO where they delineated the contracts with Pfizer, as well as some of the other companies, with countries? The countries have to give so many vaccines in order to fulfill their side of these contracts. This is NOT about health. This is about control and about money. Ever see the photos of famous people flaunting the mask mandates? “Good for thee but not for me.” I do not belittle this virus – it almost took me out. And I agree it is virulent and spreading. But it is not the global killer it is being made out to be. (Go online and look up numbers by nation. Italy revised its numbers down by over 100,000 deaths! Research is our friend). Do you get sick? You bet you do. But does it warrant the hype and the mandates (which are not law) and people loosing their means of employment over???? In my humble opinion (IMHO) it does not.

Still and all, my experience with Covid only solidified my opinion that we are the masters of our own destiny. We are the ones who should decide how we take care of ourselves. To those who say that not wearing a mask endangers others – please explain that logic to me. If you wear a mask, how does my not wearing one endanger you, if you believe that masks work? And to those who say by not vaccinating, I am endangering you, please explain that to me! If you are vaccinated, you are protected from the virus. So if I have it – you’re safe. In fact, there is increasing evidence that vaccinated people are more likely to spread the virus to others, and, if they get sick, they are the ones who get very, very sick. (Look at the numbers from England). Also, there are more and more evidentiary studies that indicate there are severe enough reactions to the Moderna vaccine for 11-18 year olds that they are holding off on releasing it – myocarditis is not something you can get over. Your heart is forever changed and you will forever be on heart medication. That alone would give me pause. (One of the vaccines was released for use in 8-11 year old children). Think long and hard before you allow yourself or your children to receive these experimental chemical compounds. They are not officially a vaccine until the studies have been done and guess who is a study participant? Every person who willingly take these vaccines. Is that you?

So I have been shaken and stirred and am still a little wobbly. Today over most of America is election day – something that stirs up so much emotion. Do I trust election results? I am hopeful the various precincts around the country are hyper aware. There are still investigations going for the 2020 election. I think that makes this election cycle even more important. Voters need to know that “We the People” are who run this country. Elected officials work for us. The bureaucracy needs to be cleaned out – the SWAMP is wide and deep. We are who we elect. So we get what we vote for. And even if you think your vote does not mean anything, there are elections that come down to a dozen votes. So every vote means something.

All of these things are what have shaken me. This stupid virus shook me to my core. While I was laying face down, getting breathing treatment after breathing treatment, I had hours of time to review my life. To seek forgiveness for my sins and shortcomings. And to pray. My brain went blank so many times but I KNOW there were legions of angels and saints surrounding me, helping me to gain lung function back again. I KNOW the power of prayer and the mercy of God saved me. And I KNOW the power of prayer can save our Country. America deserves our prayers. Our country is still the best thing, the best place, on earth. We need to defend our rights – all of them – and keep America the place people flock to. Yes, there are many other problems facing our Country, but prayer conquers all. God wins. Always. Forever. Eternally.

On a dime…

On a dime…

Every once in a while, your life goes in a completely different direction. And it does so quickly. Like spinning a dime. My husband and I enjoy relative good health. We eschew many mainstream medical choices. Our GP is a DO – and osteopathic doctor. Treats the whole body. The whole person. I like that. Believes in taking control of your health. Likes vitamin regimens. Likes to see you exercise. Likes to see all her patients happy and healthy. We rarely ever visit her office.

Around the beginning of October, the hubs and I were exposed to Covid. So we stayed home. We treated it like the flu. We did our vitamin regimen. Probably not as diligently as we could have, because we got pretty sick. He was sleeping 20 hours a day and was so groggy and so tired. I just felt lousy. Our adult kids came to see us at the behest of our youngest son, who was concerned about us. They walked in and I guess I looked pretty sick. They called 9-1-1 and I was sent by ambulance to the hospital. Severe Covid. My blood oxygen saturation was 71. It is supposed to be 97 or better. Probably too much information, but I ended up being in the hospital for 6 days. My husband was sent by ambulance about 4 hours after I was. We ended up next to each other in the ER. He had Covid dementia. I did not know you could get that. It was why he was sleeping so much. It happens in about 20% of all cases. You can also get paralyzed. Who knew? I learned so much about Covid while in the hospital. I am still learning. I am home, but on oxygen 24/7. I got an enlarged heart from Covid, and I also became diabetic. It was just such a nice basket of goodies. And we are slowly coming out from under this thing.

Fearful?

I was asked if I have changed my mind about vaxxing or the illness itself. The “plandemic.” And I can say that many aspects of it have changed for me. For example, I am a little fearful of getting sick again. I almost died. And I am so conflicted on the mask thing. I know in my head they are useless. I just don’t want this again. So do I wear one? Do I stay home? I’m still connected to the oxygen machine, so I am literally tied down at home. (I need to get my portable one filled before I can go anywhere). I even used a shopping app on my phone and did my grocery shopping online, and we had a pick up time and everything. It was so weird, but kinda easy, too. It helped when neither of us was able or had the energy to go to the store. But am I becoming a hermit?

Wilderness Get-Away

We already live in Alaska. Which for most is rather isolated. But we live in a neighborhood. However, I only know one of my neighbors. So we are sort of isolated already. However, you can isolate yourself in a 20-story apartment building in downtown New York City. It’s how you move through life that counts. And we have a smaller circle of friends. We do. We have narrowed it over the years. But interestingly enough, when we got very ill, we had a community rally behind us. Calling us. Coming by to assist us. And our friends scattered over the lower 48 rallied with prayers and FaceTime. It really made me see how treasured some of the people in our lives are.

We could not have done a thing without our kids. My son and his wife who live near us, saved our bacon. They called 9-1-1. They took over our bills and even made our house payment online for us. They contacted our insurance. They stocked our refrigerator with healthy food. They were our go-between when we needed one. They were our connection with hospital staff and family members. It was something I was so honored to have. A real relationship. It goes deep and I treasure it.

Here we are!

Now it’s pretty much just the two of us. And our dogs. And now that the drama of our illness has passed, while we are recuperating, the intense scrutiny is over and so are the calls. I don’t blame anyone. Not one bit. We spend our days doing more and more, but still resting and napping a lot. Luckily my husband works from home and he can set his hours. He is pretty much back up to speed. I’m hampered with breathing and blood sugar. But we are bored and lonely, too.

Recuperating from something as serious as this was, makes you stop and think. I have never prayed so much in my life. I was laid in this special cushion on my stomach with a face cut out sort of like a massage cushion, while on intense oxygen therapy, for 7 hours a day. They were trying to get the infected junk out of my lungs. And so there was not much to do. I was able to squeeze my phone under there and I would stare at my screen saver of my husband and myself, which was taken just in September. We were both laughing and having a great time. And it kept me going. Seriously frightening to have your doctor tell you there was not much more they could do before they would have to intubate you! I fought for every breath I took. I am still fighting for deep, sustained breathing. They would let me out of this cushion thing for meals and a couple of hours of TV and sitting up, but then right back in it….all night long, too.

Maternity Massage Pillow I used.

I had legions of angels around me. I could feel the prayers. I could feel the energy. And I would do my breathing exercises as much as I could until I was exhausted. The nurses came and patted my back. They gave me breathing treatments by reaching the machine down and under the face part. They were as determined as I was to get me well. And I literally thanked God for the nursing staff. The doctor and I butted heads, but at least he supported my point of view. He even told me, “I am not your dictator. I am your partner in getting you well.”

Dr. Pol

It has been an amazing journey – into the hospital/medical side of this thing. Is it what I thought? No. It’s far more. The doctor told me they have no cure. They have no magical drug. Each person’s reaction is unique and they are running by the seat of their pants. There is no protocol in place. No perfect way to treat anyone. Each person’s case is unique. And with each person’s reaction to this thing, they come up with another way to attack it. I had no idea I was at such risk. I had no idea how poor my health truly was. I had no idea my life was on the line. And it stopped me short. And it has me contemplating for most of my days. Unless I’m watching the Hallmark channel, or The Incredible Dr. Pol on National Geographic. Ha-Ha. Trust me, they relieved my stress!!!

Am I all better? Not by a long shot. I am learning about blood sugar and food. What I can and cannot have. I have experimented with recipes. But it zaps all the strength out of me to cook, and so I am stuck with a few favorites that work. I know I will master this diabetes thing in time. But it is frustrating as all get out, on a daily basis. Who knew? I certainly had no idea. And my fingertips are sore from all the poking. Ha-Ha. My lungs are healing and that is amazing. They would feel like shards of glass were in them when I would breathe in. It was not fun. It is still there, but very minuscule in comparison. I hate having this thing up my nose all the time, but at least I am clear-headed and can breathe. I’m such a mouth-breather and had no idea how bad that is for your lungs! I am learning.

Do I believe in vaccinating with the vaccines being offered? I do not. I have natural immunity now, and with my temporarily enlarged heart, I cannot have the vaccine. Do I think you should get it? No, I don’t. There are too many unknown variables and too many outcomes that are not good, that are being hidden from the public. If you only watch TV for your information, you are missing out on 99% of the story. For a virus that is 99% survivable. I survived it. I am a survivor. Did I almost become a statistic? I certainly did. But I did not succumb. And if I can do it with all my comorbidities, so can you. I do not believe this is about our health. I believe it is about control. I believe it is about big government and big pharma and keeping us sick and dependent. I hate that I am dependent now. I abhor the way it happened. But I would rather it turned out this way than to become a vaccine injury statistic.

Is covid real? It is. It is a weird virus that can effect every person in a unique way. I had no idea about the depth of this virus. Do I thank God for every day? I truly do. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life and I do not intend to waste a moment. Hug those you love. Tell them you love them. Pray to God every moment of every day. Thank Him for your life. And live every day to its utmost.

Falling into winter….

It is that time of year, again. Here in Alaska, the leaves start going yellow. We usually have that one night where we go to sleep and awaken to all the leaves yellowed and falling off. We are almost there. We have termination dust – that’s the first bit of snow on the peaks, letting us know summer has been terminated. And I am sad, and yet I am ready, too.

Matanuska Glacier

We took some friends around Alaska the past couple of weeks (they stayed 11 days and it was such a blessing) and it is amazing how quickly the summer was ending. We wore sweatshirts almost daily, and we usually were dealing with some off and on rain. Seeing as how they were from Oregon, rainfall was not an issue for them. The skies are so clear after a rainfall and it makes these vistas so breath-taking. I try to remind myself how blessed I am to live in this incredible place so many millions have on their “bucket list.” For some, Alaska is a place to visit, but they could not imagine living here. And I am very okay with that. For me, it is a dream-come-true. I recall joining some “Save the Whale” groups back in college, complete with coffee mugs and bumper stickers. So much of the literature was about Alaska and I dreamt of leaving Southern California for the “Last Frontier.” Only took me another 40 or so years, but I made it. And I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Eagles dining on the Kenai River

I still sit in wonder and awe some days. We were blessed to be offered a chance to stay in a cabin on the Kenai River with our son and his family for an extended weekend. What a trip. The trip, in and of itself, should have an entire book written about it. That is for another time. The photo above occurred on our first night. We sat at our table on the shore of the river, dining on grilled steaks and some amazing garlic potatoes, while we were privileged to watch two adults and 1 juvenile Bald Eagle eat their dinner. It was like having National Geographic up close and personal. The site brought us all to silence as they flew in and out, enjoying fresh-caught salmon. And I felt so blessed.

Fishing the Kenai River

Watching our grandchildren fish for the first time was such a joy. They were having a ball, just casting away. They aren’t big on particulars; they just loved the process. And their interaction with their grandpa made my heart just soar. They all had so much fun and he was one of the biggest kids out there. These small snippets of time we grab with family make for a lifetime of memories, if we can hold on to them. This weekend was insane insofar as disasters and mishaps, but like our son said, “We did it!” We made it to our destination and we crammed in as much sightseeing and being family as we could. And it was very, very worth all the hassles.

Sunset with Dad and his dogs

We discovered our dogs are amazing travelers and adapted to our car and a cabin, instead of our truck and trailer just fine. They also discovered life on the Kenai River and were loving splashing around in it, seeing all the fish near the shoreline. They loved watching all that nature was throwing at them and we loved having them alongside us. We are so pleased that we have two dogs to accompany us on our many adventures in the future. Kolbe (Black Standard Poodle aged 2) and Maggie (his sister, a cafe au lait Standard Poodle, aged 5 months). Between us and our son and his family, we had 6 dogs along with us on our trip and it was just so fun. It wasn’t too much of a hassle and they all did so well. More of these trips are waiting for us next camping season. And I am so excited for next summer. Hopefully both families will have acquired better trucks to get us where we want to go by the time the snow melts and there is once again Spring in the air!

New Wood Stove and Surround of Fossil Rock and Granite

Our summer house project was pulling out our gas surround and installing a wood stove. It was the project of “I know a guy.” It was hilarious as well as costly. But you know what? I am beyond thrilled with the results. I started this post 2 weeks ago, and since then we have had our first snow. We had to race to get the veggies out of the garden. Harvesting our peas was an adventure in frozen fingers and ravenous dogs – who knew dogs would love peas and their pods so much? My husband has been working tirelessly to save what we could from the frost and snow. And I’ve been busily processing that bounty. So when we got our stove finally installed, I almost wept with joy. It is a gorgeous brown enamel (Chestnut) and it burns cleanly and efficiently up to 30 hours! It warms our entire home. And the installation came right as we got our first snow. How great is that????

One of the most amazing things is the the rock comes from Alaska and it is almost exclusively “fossil rock.” As I sit and look at it I can see fossilized leaves, stems, sticks, and shells. And it makes the archeologist in me just glow. To be surrounded by local history that is 1000s of years old is just amazing. Our son put in lights above the stove and the way the rocks are highlighted makes me feel like I am in a museum! Watching our stone mason (another “guy”) work was watching a master craftsman. It was incredible how he made all the pieces fit perfectly. A game of Tetris in real life. Another “guy” in the project was the granite man. He measured that so perfectly, when they installed it there was no gap anywhere. I was stunned. He was hilarious, too. In a Russian accent he schooled me on the differences between average and works of art. After our discussion and his measuring, he told me he knew what I wanted. We went to his stone yard and he picked this piece out for us. It was a perfect choice. I loved working with all the “guys” on this project, as haphazard as all the recommendations were. So funny. “I know a guy” – hilarious.

Some of our harvested veggies…

And so I have learned more than I ever thought possible about preserving vegetables. I have had catastrophic failures and some major successes. I have learned to can salmon and how to vacuum seal. I have made my own cole slaw from everything in my garden. I have 50 pounds of tomatoes waiting on processing, but I also froze sliced leeks, and shredded, halved and whole cabbages. I learned to blanch and freeze peas. I am putting potatoes and carrots down in the crawlspace with gunny sacks and sand. Who knew? I fermented some sweet peas with garlic and onion (from my garden). A friend made us cabbage rolls and we have relished each meal we have had of them. I am getting ready to take an online canning class this afternoon. Why not? I have so much to learn of all these lost arts. I was pushed to the academic side of life by my parents and never was taught all the womanly arts of keeping a home and feeding a family. We never grew anything – we had gardeners most of my life. The only time we had something to eat from our yard is when we bought a house with a fig tree. My brother and I hated that thing. We used to throw figs at each other and I never recall my mom doing a thing with them, other than to tell us to rake them up and put them in the garbage can out back. I was never modeled all the things I have talked about in this post. And so for me, this summer was packed full of new things. My brain feels like it is going to explode and still, there is more.

The world is spiraling out of control. Keeping my feet in the dirt has helped me in so many ways. I loved gardening. And I never knew I would. It gave me peace when all around me is quarantined and locked down. When the doors of the Church were locked to me, I could garden. When my Church was afraid, I was gardening. It has been a revelation to watch things grow; to get my hands so dirty I would just have to cut my nails to get them clean. And it gave me time in the sunshine to commune with God and with my dogs, and alongside my husband. It filled me when the world around me was sucking me dry. I got to learn what it is like to load all my stuff in our little trailer and camp away from it all, with our son and daughter-in-law, grandkids, and all our 6 dogs. We spent time as a family and it was – and is – precious to me.

While everything is out of control and our world is literally falling apart around us, if we keep an eye on God, He will be in everything. And I trust God more than I trust man. Will things get worse? More than likely. We are trying to plan for the worst, but hope for the best, as the saying goes. But all the while, we keep focused on God. Because in the end, not only is God the victor, that is truly all that matters. Keep your head up – focus on God -pray – and live your life to its upmost. Do not live in, nor accept, a life lived in fear. Find your joy amidst this chaos. And be sure your preparations are twofold – practical and spiritual. Because I am feeling something is coming. Not sure what, but something ominous is coming. Pray for your friends and family, pray for our country, and pray for God’s merciful blessings. And prepare.

Amazing photo with our dogs on the road to Homer, Alaska