“…Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Proverbs 12:26 The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.

Proverbs 20:6 Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

CS Lewis: “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”

CS Lewis: “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?”

Can you guess my theme? LOL. Friendship. Friendships are precious. I can honestly count on my hand, friends who I know would come running if I needed them. Even though I live 1000s of miles away, they would do their best to get to my side. I know that. Those are the deeply treasured humans in my life. And I have lots of casual friends. People we hang out with because we have something in common. When that common thing goes away, so does the friendship. It took me decades to not be hurt by that. Friends are made to come and go; to be there for the time they need to be. We learn from them, and they learn from us, and then we let them go. The hurt is when you are “let go” all of a sudden and it is over something that has nothing to do with why you became friends in the first place. And there is where the hurt lays today.

Today I realized a lot of people have “unfriended” or “unfollowed” me on various social platforms because of my beliefs. And for that, I am sorry. Most of us came together because of our faith, but our politics drove an irreparable wedge between us. And that makes me very sad. I don’t care about what law people want enacted, what politician they back, or how they vote. I care about their souls. I care about the person who is spending time with me. I honestly do not judge. I have very dear friends (ones in that inner circle who would run to my aid if I needed it) who are divergently opposed to my views, politically. But we have maintained a close relationship for more than 25 years. We joke that we all have to vote each election, so we can cancel each other out! LOL. And I love their hearts and their souls and I trust them with my life. But not my vote. LOL.

And that is not being harsh or callous. I would not want someone to hang on, if they dread each encounter, out of some sense of duty or habit. We all deserve the best from one another, and if someone feels I am not the best for them, then I would prefer they go. But I rarely give up on someone, unless they sever ties and walk away. And then I chew on it; I review all the pieces; I smile at the many laughs and enjoyable moments; and then I work on letting go. Letting the relationship just die of its own accord. But I mourn. I do.

But I cannot help but feel these days are calling for us to remain strong in our faith, to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) and to stay on the front lines, in defense of freedom and what we know to be right. And this book of 1 Thessalonians, which Paul wrote to the community at Thessaloniki, brought me such comfort. This is Chapter 5 in its entirety and I think it describes life right now. I hope you will read it.

1 Thessalonians 5

“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. Brothers and sisters, pray for us. Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 

We will lose friends along the way because we are strident in our beliefs and we feel that we cannot compromise our firm belief in our country, in our republic, and in the basic truths of right and wrong. I do not think these days it is anymore about left or right, conservative or liberal, democrat or republican, but it is very much about good vs evil, and the very salvation of our land and our people. Without freedom, we have nothing. Without law, we have anarchy. Those who prey upon the weak or the unknowing, they need to be held accountable. We are unified in our trust of God; I just wish we could all be unified against evil. Against tyranny in all its forms. Against loss of personal freedoms. But I cling to hope and I know, still, that God wins. Always.

 

 

“Once you awaken…” – updated and edited.

I am pretty upset. Tears and frustration. That deep, heavy, dread that settles into your stomach. Yeah. That is me. Why? Well, I have walked a different path from so very many people I love. I have researched and dug deep into subjects and I have come to differing conclusions than so many of my family and friends. And that is because I refuse to be a sheep. I do not want to walk, lock step, into lines or behavior patterns that many in government are asking from us. It is not right. We have lives we need to live. We have work we need to do. We need our country (and the world) open again. We need America back.

I am not a Bill Gates fan. I do not like vaccines. My mind and attitude on vaccines changed dramatically with my youngest son, who had a pediatric neurologist (for lots of reasons). He begged us not to vaccinate at all, or at least wait until after puberty. Then he started explaining to me how vaccines work, and the chemicals in them and how they affect neurological development. I have not believed in them since then…over 20 years. Not to say my kids did not get vaccinated. They did. But the number of vaccines was far less than now. Gates is proposing trackers within vaccines (photo above). He is stating there will be no further public gatherings until everyone is vaccinated (like he has a say in this!!). This is the same guy who says he can reduce the world-wide population by 10-15% using VACCINATIONS. How do vaccinations reduce the population? Ask the healthcare workers in Africa. Yeah. Truth. It sickens me.

The photo above is just a small sampling of some of the products I use. I prefer as natural a treatment as I can get. I prefer going to a health food store and getting probiotics, vitamins, and other natural treatments to keep myself ahead of the game. I also use Essential Oils and supplements from Young Living. I see a “mainstream” doctor as little as possible. I was sick last year and had 4 interactions with health professionals. It cost us over $24,000. All to be told that even though I was overweight, I was very, very healthy. The doctor, during a procedure where I was under a general anesthesia that could be lessened to allow me to wake up and move for them, or they could put me under again (Propofol – remember Michael Jackson? Yeah; same med), asked the nurses when my blood work had been done and he asked they take it again and rush it because he did not believe the numbers/values were accurate. They knocked me out and took more blood. Woke me up to congratulate me on how healthy I was and that the tests they had done came back pristine. Except I was overweight. Well, I am working on the weight part, but doing it naturally. And I take even more vitamins and supplements now….do not want to catch anything. Even the Chinese Covid-19.

So, I am awake. I have delved into the great rabbit hole of information floating out there on the world wide web. And now I cannot un-see or un-know this vast amount of knowledge. This Covid thing is so much more than a virus. A virus less deadly than the flu. A virus we could all handle with little intervention. Why is it, when 40,000 die each year from the flu, we are not locked down or quarantined? Why is it that there are hot spots where the Covid virus is running rampant? Why is it very few people we actually know, have this illness? I know some who have had it, and even died, but I do not know them directly. I also live in a place that has had very few cases, and mostly from people who have traveled and brought it back with them.

There is just so much more going on than we realize. I do not watch mainstream TV. We unplugged cable almost 2 years ago. We live-stream most of what we see. We choose what comes into our home and what does not. We watch You Tube and have regular subscriptions to people we watch and listen to every day. We have podcasts. We are on some social media, but we tightly control what we see, who we follow, and who follows us. We keep our information nailed down and private. We protect our systems with a VPN over all our devices. We stay away from Google. In other words, we do not believe what is being spewed out there. We watch our President, live, on the White House app every day, to hear from him, his information in its entirety. We look things up, not even taking his word for it all. We follow up with people who have said things and look into what they say. Our knowledge is our own because we researched it and read it from original sources – we did not accept the highly redacted versions shown on national – MSM – media outlets. We do not let them think for us. There are about 6 companies who control all media in the world. All of it. Songs, movies, TV shows, books, etc. Check into it. About 6 corporations. And when you look at those companies and see who owns them, you feel like a marionette. Not kidding. It is insane!

And now we come to the crux of this post. How are we, as a culture, to move forward from this “plannedemic?” How do we get beyond this new way of interacting? Ways in which we no longer see our smiles? Ways in which we no longer hug, or celebrate, or share as we once did? What will be normal from here on out? Will we call and turn in our neighbors for not following proper social distancing guidelines? Will we cross the street when we see someone without a mask on approaching us? We will gather in groups larger than 10 people, ever again? Will kids play in parks or playgrounds ever again? We will have team sports ever again? Concerts? Stadiums full of fans? Rallies and races? Beaches packed with sun worshipers who do not wear masks? Churches full on Sundays? Holy Days? Feast Days? What is going to be the blueprint for how we move on?

Unless you live under a rock (or escaped into your hidey hole and have not come up for air in awhile) you know there is a storm here. The media and the President, the Senate and the House, the mayors and governors – they are all at each other’s throats. The US has pulled funding from the WHO for lying to us and manipulating data. The Chinese lied and we have now defunded the Wuhan Lab that President Obama originally funded with Dr. Fauci for millions of dollars. The CDC and HHS departments say one thing, and doctors on the front lines say another. Some doctors who say this is a farce and had gone on YouTube and been interviewed by Laura Ingraham, had their video pulled from You Tube. Alternative treatments and their information are being blocked by Google and the social media platforms of You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Why? Big Pharma! It is a multi-billion dollar thing – keeping us dependent and sick, needing their medications. Well, I truly believe alternative modalities are making their way into our group-consciousness; our group-think; our lexicon of thought. But there are so many of us who just do not want to look down that rabbit hole. The status quo is comfortable and familiar, as false as it might be. It is what most people know. Me? I did not want to believe any of this stuff. My dad was a scientist in the Space program before becoming a doctor of medical engineering and moving into treatments for paralysis and other ailments, from an engineering perspective (totally unaccepted then). We were Goldwater Republicans who believed everything told to us by our benevolent government. I did not question anything. Reagan was a hero. George Bush was our rallying point and guide after 9/11. I never thought my government would be the impetus or originators of such a tragedy, and that politicians would feel 5,000 lives were acceptable collateral damage for their schemes for more power.

Some days my head feels like it is exploding. I will comment to my husband, “Are you kidding me? That is what really happened?” We watched an amazing documentary of an alternative energy symposium from 2012 (again, on You Tube) from Dr. Judy Wood. My brain was hurting the entire time. It was all about 9/11 and the Twin Towers. I cried and I hurt – for those killed and injured, and for my country, and for all those killed because of 9/11 worldwide. We should be ashamed.

I have watched “Out of Shadow” on YouTube (highly recommend it) and countless other videos like “The Plan to Save the World,” and “The Best is Yet to Come,” “Dark to Light, ” and “We are the Plan.” There is also a series entitled, “The Fall of Cabal.” That is 10 parts and very worth the time. Sickening and sad, and a wake up call, but worth it. These all delve into subjects I did not even know existed. Subjects that are inherently evil. Pure evil. One of the hard parts about learning all of this is a saying many of us have adopted:

And I want everyone to come with me. To see what lies ahead. To know we have a future and it is wonderful. To know that above all else, God wins. Always. And God is in control. Always. And we just need to offer ourselves to prayer and to lay all these questions, burdens, and information at His Feet. We owe it to our friends, our families, and our country to look into all these issues, and oh so many more, that we question. There is a wealth of information that will shed light on questions that nag at us; things that go bump in the night. There is a horrific evil out and about in this world, inflicting unending harm upon the innocents. Evil that is actively being stamped out, but it is an onerous task. Thanks be to God for the Patriots we have, working for the good of all mankind, and especially for our children. Something our brains just cannot settle on but is actually happening. It is called the Silent War and it is raging all around us. From “Dark to Light,” and soon everyone will know the Truth. In amongst all this chaos and static, yesterday the US Navy released videos of confirmed UFOs. Yeah. UFOs. Definitely where I do not want to go. I prefer to believe in the earth and the God who created it, and to let infinity and outerspace and whatever is out there, just be out there. But here we are. Confirmed information on UFOs. Talk of opening all that Area 51 hoopla. Many are now disclaiming this as a distraction to what is going on elsewhere. Like how George Soros bought a video game company and Disney is taking a Star Wars game offline because communications between DS (Deep State) operatives was done on games, like the Star Wars one and even on Minecraft – in their online chat rooms. Oh boy. The rabbit hole just got a twist in it. And that twist in the rabbit hole is very, very deep.

My friends, offer everything to God. All of it. Be open. Learn. Research for yourself; make the knowledge others present your own. Knowledge is power. Pray. It’s what I do and my faith is what I cling to every day.

“…and only a few find it…”

Have you ever had a series of “aha” moments that just flat-out add up to truth? Well, it has been called, “The Great Awakening.” It is happening where more and more people are noticing things that just do not fit; things that do not make sense but are presented as truth. It is happening in the world at large surrounding the Covid pandemic. Yes, there is definitely a virus making people very ill, and even killing those with pre-existing conditions, or the elderly/infirm. I agree. But more people die from car accidents and the flu than this Covid-19 thing. Why then is our country shut down? Why am I wearing a mask in my grocery store? Why can’t I meet my friends at our local diner for breakfast on Saturday morning? Why are we not working? Funnily enough, those are all because of edicts by local government officials like mayors and governors. This is not a federal edict. All that was federally recommended was social distancing – staying 6 feet away from those who are not members of your immediate household. But what has developed is forever changing all our lives.

Whether you sit on the right or the left of the aisle in all things, there is something that is more basic than any of that. We are daily in a battle of good vs evil. And there is evil all around us. If you accept the good in the world, there is also evil in the world. They are complements, or opposites, of one another. In the end, God wins. Hands down, the ultimate victor. I firmly believe that. Have you heard the saying, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.…? That is from the book of Matthew 7:13 – 15. And it seems so very appropriate in our day and age. Well, it is an eternal truth, but it is entering more and more into the public’s awareness.

One of the evils that is all around us is the horrific evil of child and sex trafficking. It is an international epidemic. And it is all around us. More than 800,000 children disappear in the USA every year. How? Where do they go? Why can’t we find them? There is a sophisticated operation all around the world that traffics women and children in the sex trade. I belong to a women’s shooting organization (the Well Armed Woman) and during our monthly meetings, we are given some amazing presentations. One that I learned a lot from, but did not enjoy, was a presentation on human trafficking in our state. It is horrible. Beyond what anyone would think of; right under our noses. The presentation stayed with me – I did not sleep well for nights afterwards.

Recently, I watched a video from a famous champion boxer, who said that there are many arrests happening, right now, in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. And he also said who is involved will shock America. And it all is surrounding pedophilia and sex trafficking of women and children. I was sickened.

I love mahjong. I was taught the table top game, as well as the tile matching version. I like to play it on my iPhone. I had beat a version awhile back and so I downloaded a new one yesterday. I started playing and, because I am so cheap and only download free versions, an ad popped up. And imagine my shock when it was a photo of a young girl with the words, “Young, nubile, girls available.”  There was no link or phone number; I assume you would have to click on the photo. I freaked out and deleted the app right away. And it kept me awake most of the night. So this morning I contacted the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) and talked to them about it. I was scared to call because, well, it’s about something so horrible. But I knew I had to do something. I was able to describe enough that they were able to make a report. And the woman on the phone said, “If everyone who saw something odd would say something, we could stop this.” And it was on a mahjong game! Imagine all the other places it could be.

I read – a lot. I have a Kindle Paperwhite. It is just for reading. And in black and white. It does have a night light, which I love. But it doesn’t play games or movies. It is just an e-reader. And I adore it. I kept thinking about the ad for that young girl, and the inherent evil in this world. Some mythological stories are evil, enshrouded by mystery and adventure. But when you dissect them, evil is present. I have always loved historical fiction. And I have enjoyed paranormal stories for years. Well, today I went through my Kindle and I deleted, literally, hundreds of books. Why? They do not support my faith. In any way. And I do not need that stuff banging around in my head. My soul does not need that, either. And neither does yours. Think about what we are. We are human copy machines. What images, phrases, and ideas do we take in and allow room in our hearts and souls? “Broad is the way that leads to destruction,” my friends.“Narrow is the way that leads to life” – and I think I’ll take that route…you?

 

 

“something in your soul…”

You know, I am pretty quiet about a lot of stuff. I don’t make waves. Not really. I can get religiously preachy, and I know that. It is not so much to tell people anything, but to share what I have learned. And I have been doing nothing else but learn new information over the past few weeks, being quarantined and all that. I am an insatiable reader. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and it has over 800 books on it and I have read almost all of them. I am trying to move some off because I want room in case I find more books and run out of space! LOL! Told you I am an insatiable reader. My tastes are all over the place, too. I was so into historical fiction. And then I moved into Young Adult. I like that broad genre because they keep it pretty clean. I do not need overt sexuality in my books. Nor do I need violence or drug use. I also prefer to not have aberrant sex or promiscuity between married people or same sex scenarios. It is just not something I want in my head.

There is a vast treasure of information out there. A lot of what is being discussed internationally and nationally, as well as locally, is all out there for our own discernement. And I have found that I have had more questions than answers and so I have looked for myself. I have read lots of tripe. Lots of misinformation. Just to put my cards on the table, I am pretty conservative. I do not listen anymore to the the MSM, or mainstream media. I know they are lying to us all. I watch YouTube videos and documentaries. I share some with friends. So many do not want to hear what I have to say, and that is fine. Truly. I believe that unless you dig and learn for yourself, the information will never become something you believe, just what someone once told you. To believe it, you  have to learn it and discover it for yourself. And that takes time and effort.

Our culture has become one of instant everything. Instantly calling someone your best friend. Instantly getting coffee in a drive thru; your meals in paper sacks; your information through memes and sound bites. We have so few people who turn off and tune out. Very few who read books. Most want the “cliffs notes” version of everything – just the gist of a subject so they get the overall, and don’t ever bother with the little details. Like how you just agree to another contract with some provider, without even reading the fine print. We do it all the time. Every time our computers update or our phones upgrade, we click on “agree” without reading their pages of information. Which is why we can never sue them – it’s all in that fine print.

I have come to the conclusion if you go through life in this instant mode, or in the cliffs notes version of everything, that will be the depth of what you understand and how you operate. And trust me, the powers that be are counting on that. We are manipulated all day, every day. Do you know there is a cliffs notes version of the Bible??? That is the one book you need to read for yourself, cover to cover. At least once in your life. Honestly, I have grown as a person more from reading that one book than all the others in my lifetime, combined. God wants so much more for us. So much more than the short cuts we all take, every day.

One of the best, and biggest, blessings in our life was the day we pulled the plug on cable TV. Don’t get me wrong, we have a “smart tv” and stream all sorts of things. But we control what comes in our home, and into our heads. And now that I have researched more and more, I see things through this filter. I realize how manipulated I have been my entire life, and I look around my home and see what I was manipulated into having. How my likes and dislikes were formed using input through TV and the media, itself. Leaving Facebook has been a remarkable thing for me. I definitely missed it. I had media withdrawal. Seriously. But now, I do not miss it. I still tweet and Instagram. But I have narrowed that down to what I know will be positive for me. I listen to podcasts from some amazing priests and learned people who I know I can trust. I listen to music that is life-giving and 98% of the time is Christian (and definitely on the rock and roll side). I do have some soundtracks from movies I like. And I love classical music. I am learning to discern everything that comes through my senses. And it is an awakening thing. Truly.

And during this time of quarantine and confinement, why not use the time to grow as human beings, so that when we get back out there, interacting, we are better people? Read a good novel. Do some research. Reach out to friends via letters, texts, or phone calls. Reconnect to people you have not spoken to in years. Dig deep inside and look to those dark places that perhaps could use some light. Awaken things inside you that have been dormant or sleeping. We have time – we are socially distancing ourselves. Become that artist you wanted to be. Redecorate your house by decluttering or up-cycling things for different purposes. Switch kids’ rooms. Repurpose your living room into a great room so you can all be together – knock out walls. Paint. Get those windows clean from the dark and wet winter. Put the music on loud and dance. Enjoy this time we have been given to be together, outside of and instead of, the world. Get closer to the ones you love, and get closer to God. Pray as a family. Read Scriptures together. Craft together. Enjoy the time with your kids (they will grow up and be gone before you know it).

All I am saying is that this quarantine can be looked upon as a gift. Yes, people are sick. People have died. And that is horrible. But so is the flu. We have less than 1% chance of dying from Covid-19. Less than 1%! That is almost nil. There is so much more going on behind the scenes!! This virus has shut down the largest economy in the world. This virus has brought the world to its knees. Why? When it is not as fatal as the flu? In your deepest soul, you know something else is happening. I can assure you that it is. Lots and lots of interesting things are happening, world wide, right now. I think that after this quarantine is lifted, we will welcome in a new world. We will all have been changed by this experience. World wide changes will have occurred in most cultures. Some say people we will no longer shake hands, or hug, in public. Some predict we will be required to wear masks in public from here on out. Some say we will be required to stay home unless it is imperative that we leave our homes. Far fewer group activities and events. I know my eldest son is dying for his Chicago Bears football team to play again. Some want to attend concerts. Go to restaurants. Some say those activities will forever be curtailed. I hope not. But it will not be the same since a full quarantine was executed. Funnily enough, the quarantine was not instituted by our President. He only imposted social distancing. The state governors are who imposed this quarantine. So how that all works out will be interesting to watch.

Please, do your own research in all things. Learn for yourself. Come to terms with what you believe. Embrace your faith. Pray more. Know that God always wins. Always. And take comfort in that promise. But know it for yourself.

 

P.S. If you are interested in truly learning more for yourself, might I suggest this YouTube documentary? Just be prepared to learn things that perhaps you did not want to know. Reality can be rough sometimes! “Out of Shadows – Official” is on YouTube. It has had more than 4 million watches since it was released! “OutofShadows.org” I fully believe it will change your life. God wins!

 

Bright Monday blessings!!!

I have been feeling glum, blue, and that feeling of claustrophobia is strong. When you live in a snow state as far north as we do, there are so many different things about winter people in the lower 48 never have to even contemplate. For example, you have to decide it is cold enough that you probably will not be opening any windows any time soon. So, you remove and wash your window screens and store them wherever it is you store them, for the winter. We keep ours in the rafters of our shed in the back yard. It’s where all the summer things go each year to die until Spring. LOL. And you just never open your windows all winter long. Mostly because it’s -25 outside with blowing snow. And who wants that in their living room? We can stay this way from late September through May. Yeah. That’s a LONG TIME without opening a window. My diffuser works overtime in winter. I try to freshen the air and mostly, it works. Today it is almost 1 o’clock in the afternoon and I can still smell breakfast in the air. One of the downsides of winter.

We are now moving into “break up,’ “Spring thaw,” “slush season,” call it what you will. Some people romanticize living in the far north. I know I did. I’m kind of over it. Why? It is raining. It started yesterday and we had “chunky rain.” It was rain mixed with snow. The snow melted right away because it was 35-degrees. Not cold enough to stick. And it is making a glorious mess. We have a large portion of our back yard that is basically a muddy lake with its own iceberg. It’s own glacier. Floating in the midst of dead grass and mud. (That is it, above, and is almost the same angel of the photo below). And, I have this:

He is our very energetic, 1-year-old Standard Poodle puppy, Kolbe. He loves the snow. He will run and play and chase snowflakes. He will stay outside in a snowstorm until he is white with snow all over himself. He will run and dive into snow banks. He turned 1 on January 2nd and weighed in at 71.5 pounds. We have not weighed him since, but I know he has grown a lot. And guess what? He discovered rain. And mud. And sticks from last year that have been buried in snow. And running through the yard at break-neck speed. And running into the house, avoiding our flailing arms with towels…right onto my white carpeting. Yeah. I inherited that designer choice when we bought this house three years ago in June. Hopefully this year it will become hardwood floors. Because I am so over white carpeting. I have two dogs. I have a husband who sneaks into the bathroom without removing his boots “real quick.” And a son, although he has been gone for over 6 weeks on a remote job site, who always forgets we have a mud room with a bench for a reason. A mud room that is tiled, no less. A mud room you walk into when you enter the house through the garage. Sigh. White carpet in Alaska. Who does that???

So we are keeping our distance. Social distancing. Six feet at least. Ugh. We have been watching/streaming some old TV shows. Some blew me away. (Captain Kirk has always been a lecherous man, by the way. We started with Episode 1, Season 1. And dang, some of those female character outfits! Wow. And all those poor guys in red shirts. I totally ignore them now). We started new ones, like the Mandalorian (which we love). We have pretty much kept to ourselves. And now we have this stupid rain and thaw thingy, that is making staying home annoying. But being out in the rain is no fun, either, because wherever you go, they make you line up, on the red “x” and wait. And wait. Only 1 customer at a time. Where is your mask? Frankly, I am over it. And the funny part? I’m a stay-at-home housewife and mom. It’s not like I am out and about. But I miss being able to, if I want or need to be. I broke a tooth and have been waiting for a crown for over a month. It doesn’t hurt so it is not an emergency. So I wait on that. And try not to smile real big. (Even if I do smile, who is going to see it???). My poor hubby. Maybe I need chocolate! LOL.

And this was the first time in our married life we did not spend Easter/Pascha in Church. The only thing that saved my sanity was that our previous pastor, who moved to a parish in Alabama, is live-streaming the Divine Liturgy! It sounded like heaven. Their choir is amazing. Their reader is so very good. The sounds of the prayers and the movement of the Liturgy felt like home, and I miss it very much. This Easter was sort of empty for us. No real celebration. I miss the fasting/feasting aspect of the Church. The rhythms of the Church. It is so hard, being separated from our faith communities. But we lit candles. We had our icons out. We anointed our home with holy oil (so handy having an ordained deacon as a husband). We said prayers. Even mini-processions in our little house are reminders of those processions we had in community. Nevertheless, this Lenten season was so empty because it was apart from our community. I did participate in a Lenten Study and I cannot even begin to share how important that has been for my faith, and my sanity, in these crazy days. So, Happy Easter! He is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!!

There is much to be grateful for. We have not contracted the virus, that we know of (although we suspect I had it in January). No one in the family, or nearby friends, are ill, either. Most of our family and friends are still able to work – thanks be to God. And with this nasty part of the year, the “slush season,” we will get more sunny days. We will get higher temperatures, and eventually, that mud will turn into a wonderfully grassy and beautiful back yard. The earth is renewing itself, just like it does every year. The orb we live on is turning and tilting. The Church in her wisdom, is moving us along this week, which we call Bright Week. No fasting. No sour faces. The Lord has come. We are a redeemed people.

Happy Bright Week!

 

“…tossed by the wind.”

Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Most major religions have a tool for believers to use when they pray repetitive, contemplative, prayers. Catholics have rosaries, in the east, we have the Prayer Rope, like the one above. They come in various lengths. I wear one pretty much every day, and mine is much smaller than the one above, whereas when I am at home or traveling, I use the longer ones. Most priests carry one that is longer (150 knots or so) and monastics also carry them as one of their few belongings. But I often find myself just saying the prayer above, the “Jesus Prayer,” whenever I find myself stressed out.

Today, I have been doing. There’s dinner in the crock pot, laundry is whirring away in the laundry room, my prayers were ALL said this morning (major miracle) and I have been scrubbing away at the parts of my oven my husband took out for me. Why? Well, I spilled a chicken and rice casserole, upside down, on the bottom of the oven. Don’t ask. And we have been digging out rice ever since. He took the oven door off and took parts out so we could get to the bottom of the oven, itself. The dogs were happy to help with the rice clean up, too. We were able to vacuum under the oven and found a Hot Wheels car! My grandson will be happy.

I have been praying all day about this quarantine thing. I have spoken to two close friends more than once on the phone today. A very old and dear friend is going through a very rough patch and we spoke at length. And my heart was breaking. So I rattled off some Jesus Prayers while we spoke. It was a hard conversation. Very hard.

I was putting clean clothes away, lost in my task, when I turned around and promptly tripped over our 13-year-old Springer Spaniel, Miss Poca. I tried not to hurt her and I found myself dancing and hopping like an Irish Sword dancer. And I was yelling for her to get out of the way, and our 1-year-old Standard Poodle thought this was lots of fun and started jumping on me, too. I wrenched my entire left side. This weekend I threw out my back trying to lift a stupidly heavy box. So this was just peachy. And I fell to my knees, and just bawled. It was like all of this pressure has been building up and with all of these things heavy on my heart, I just fell apart. And I wept for all of these things – friends, family, our country, the world. It is sometimes too much.

And then I started praying the Jesus Prayer. It really is so simple. Jesus, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. And when I pray that prayer I offer up all those issues that are assailing me. I prayed so so hard. Over and over and over again. And then I recalled the Scripture from this morning….the book of James.

James 1:2-6

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

And as this passage is so famous, I was shocked at how much it struck me. The last half of the last sentence more than most: “…for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” Is that true these days or what? We are tossed by the winds of information, or lack of information, or quarantine, or whatever. I am on overload and I did not even realize it. And I must continue in genuine prayer, without doubting, asking for steadfastness in this period where my faith has been sorely tested. I know I am not alone. Perhaps we all need lots of the Jesus Prayer in our heads and hearts, to help keep our focus on the important things in this life – our faith, our family, and friends, our country and the world. We (read that as “I”) need to keep in the forefront of my heart and mind, that God totally has us all in the palm of His Hand.

 

 

1 Corinthians 11:27-32

I don’t think I need to add much more, but I will preface this to say this was my reading for my Lenten Study today. The Lord is guiding us all! It’s no joke. We are being asked to #stayathome and to re-connect with our families and our faith. When I read this, I kept thinking, “I am totally gobsmacked!” (LOL. The Brit coming out in me). But seriously, crack open your bibles and get into what wondrous truths the Lord has for us. His truth stands outside of time – they are eternal truths.

“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgement on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying. If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgement;  but since we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”

 

“…See that you do not despise one of these little ones…”

My parents used to be so frustrated with me. Why? Well, they wanted me to become a doctor. They insisted on all my classes in High School were to assist me getting into college. So I was put on the “courses for the college bound” tract and it was all heavy stuff. No fun classes like basket weaving for me. Nope. They did not have AP back when I was in HS, but the courses I took all had to be earned. Prerequisites that built on one another. Chemistry and Physics, College English and mathematics all the way through Trig and Calculus. They even pushed me to finish my academics early so I could spend the last semester of High School taking classes at the University I would be attending, as well as participating in work/study programs like Emergency Room Aide, Physical Therapy Assistant, Police Department front desk assistant, Doctor’s aide in a private practice…candy striper was not good enough for my parents. LOL. In addition, I was expected to hold down a part time job, which I did. I went through several during HS because my schedule to work had to work around my curriculum. I was a waitress, I worked at a cute little combo knick-knack, knitting, and plant and tea shop (yes, somehow that all worked). I wrapped Christmas gifts at the local department store. I loved waitressing because I could gab. And it kept me busy. Wrapping presents was horrible. People can be so mean. LOL. My parents, however, thought they were pushing me in the direction I should go. I had different ideas.

After graduating HS with a little honor (lol), I attended the local university. My father wanted me to enter as pre-Med but I fought him and entered as pre-Law. LOL. One of my many, many majors. My dad pushed and pushed but the competitive backbone I needed to be at the top of my class just was not there. My heart was not in it; I didn’t really want to be a doctor or lawyer.

All I ever wanted in life was to find the love of my life, and have lots of kids, and be a housewife. Definitely not what mom and dad envisioned! My parents are only children. No aunts, uncles, or cousins. Plus my parents left all their extended family and moved to America, further isolating us. (My paternal grandparents eventually moved to the USA, too, so I knew them very well). When my husband and I were dating, we tried to scare each other away by competing with each other about how many kids we wanted. It wasn’t fair, really, because he comes from a huge family. He only has 2 siblings, but his parents have tons. His paternal grandparents had over 35 grandchildren. I loose track with the great’s and great-great’s. That is an awful lot of cousins, and that is just from my father-in-law! LOL!  I loved getting all confused and lost among them all at family events. They all knew who I was, and who each other were, because they had grown up that way. I spent years trying to figure out who belonged to who. And I loved it all. And I lost the bet about how many kids – I wanted 6 and he challenged me with 8! Ha-Ha. And so I married him! God had other plans for us.

Our first son was born 5 weeks premature and just 20 days before our first anniversary. So we had him baptized on our first Wedding Anniversary. (Subsequently, all our children were baptized on the same date. It just worked out, somehow). My first pregnancy was fraught with difficulties and I spent the major part of it in the maternity intensive care section of the hospital associated with our doctor. He came into this world in a hurry and he still has not slowed down. After our son, we suffered 4 miscarriages. They were brutal and by the time our oldest was 4, he knew what a miscarriage was. “That means mommy doesn’t have a baby in there anymore.” Yeah, out of the mouths of babes. Then our second son was born. No issues at all. Normal pregnancy. In fact, he had to be induced, he liked being in there so much. LOL. And then I suffered 3 more miscarriages. We gave up. We became licensed foster parents. We had quite a few come through our home and family. It was hard on our two boys. We decided, after the last sibling pair had been ripped out of our family in a very painful way, that we would just be a family of 4 and we felt good about it. And just like that, our youngest son was given to us. What a miraculous event that was in our lives – overnight we had a third boy. I held him for the first time at just 4 hours old. So, so tiny. Only 6 pounds and 18 inches long. I could not stop holding him and cuddling him. At the time, his older brothers were 9 and 13 years old, so they were very much a part of it all. Even diapers and bottles. They are awesome big brothers, even today. When our youngest was about 5, I suffered my last miscarriage. And I cried and cried and cried. I just was not meant to have the large family I so desired. And so we settled into life with three amazing sons. And now, I have those three sons and 2 incredible daughters-in-law and they have blessed us with 6 grandchildren, so far, and I feel overwhelmed with love just looking at them. God is so amazing!!!

Yesterday, the president announced that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and his formal declaration makes clear his desire to aggressively prosecute those who abuse children. He is leading the way to #savethechildren and to protect our children. I am thrilled with his resolution.

There is a lot of information on the internet about the pervasiveness of child abuse, child sexual abuse, and child trafficking. It is a global pandemic that far outweighs our inconvenience in quarantining for this Covid-19 virus. The statistics should horrify everyone. In the United States alone, over 800,000 children go missing – every year. That number should astonish you. Missing!? Where are they? Who took them? Why? Did they just vanish? After researching the answers to those questions, I came into contact with pure evil. I read and saw photographic evidence of just flat out evil. And I have spent part of today weeping over the children. Our children, right here in the USA, and those around the world. This is a global issue, not just a national one. And the prevalent evil is also not just here in the USA, but global.  I so desperately wanted a lot of children, and my heart yearned for lots of babies to cuddle, so this is almost beyond my comprehension. How can people throw away children? I have held my miscarried babies in my hands, weeping over the loss of life. How can this happen to children? Do they find no inherent value in the life of a child? Is it all just about their sick desires? And they abuse them? And I mean real physical and mental abuse. And they sell them? It is often just too much to fully take in and fully understand. The people who perpetuate these crimes against children are sick. And I know they need help. But some are just so sick, I believe it moves into evil. Pure and simple evil. The part of us inside, the little voice, that tell us something is wrong, is missing in some people. I know that goes against our faith, as we believe the spark of God is in everyone (we are made in His image), but this evil against children goes against everything we believe in.

Matthew 18: 1-14

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

And I am remembering this Scripture and so much more, as I read some horrific stuff. I think, if things go like some of the people involved in rescuing these children think it will, everyone will know about this evil. I am just hopeful the children can be saved and that there will be justice for those who do these horrific things to children.

I would ask that this month, to any of you who read this, to please focus your prayers on these poor children who suffer immeasurably at the hands of these monsters. Offer your trials and sufferings in this quarantined world to the efforts at getting them out of these bad situations, getting them the help they need, and helping families reunite. God bless the children. God bless those trying to help them. And God bless the families who may be made whole again.

Lord Jesus, we call upon Your blessed name and pray for the children who are abused and suffering from wounds inflicted deep within them, and those led into sin at a young age, not knowing what they are doing. In Your blessed power, release them from these captives and may their hearts be healed, in Your perfect love and healing. May those who abuse and inflict pain upon them and those who use little children for illicit earning, be brought to justice and be granted the punishment according to law and may these truly be taught of the repercussions of them inflicting pain upon these innocent ones. Father, we pray to become better adults and to contribute towards society in nurturing the children and preparing them for a better place in the world as Your appointed people. May we in all the ways we can, do a little to save a child from these torments of abuse, suffering and neglect, and give them a bright future and a hopeful beginning towards a better world, in Your sight and favour.

We pray in the blessed name of Jesus, Amen!

(Copied from ChristianTT.com)