“… our flag was still there…”

Well, it’s the 4th of July this weekend. And to be frank, I was not aware it was this close. I had totally spaced on the exact date. Oops! Been busy but I am not sure what I have been doing. My brain is fried a little bit. LOL. The weather is finally feeling more like summer, and our flowers and plants look glorious.

I’m a die-hard Dahlia fan and the one above is one of my new ones. I just love the colors. I also planted peonies and one of them is blooming. It is a bright and glorious pink. I love peonies, but they make me sneeze and my eyes water. So I plant them where I don’t have to be near them, except to look at them from afar! LOL! I ran outside and took a photo of it…

And then I saw all these blooming beauties, and here are some more flowers. I am of the mind that you plant once and enjoy every year, so all these have overwintered and are still looking gorgeous!

And as I walked back inside, I grabbed quick photos of these little pots on our front porch area. I know it’s crazy, but I love that curly grass so much. It doesn’t bloom. It just curls. And for whatever reason, it brings a smile to my face! This year, two pots have it…isn’t it fun???

And you know what? Just being in the sunshine and clear skies, with wonderfully smog-free air, does your whole psyche good. This weekend is the 4th of July, as I said above. So many governors and mayors and people with their over-inflated sense of power are trying to take our Nation’s Birthday away from us. I say, if you cannot have fireworks, cannot gather on the beaches, or cannot have a big BBQ party, that is fine. But fight back! Hang your flags off your porches, fly a flag in your yard. You can always go outside and clang pots and pans in celebration, like we did as kids. We also celebrated with those twisty noisemakers you whirled around. Bake a red-white-and blue cake for America. Have fun with patriotic decorations. This year is so critical to remember we are America the Beautiful! America the Great! Home of the free, because of the brave! Celebrate with those near and dear (since we are limited by all these dumb restrictions). Remember why July 4th is such an important day. For all of us. Because this day marks the day in history when our founders declared their independence. They refused to be held down by an oppressive government. They declared that all men are free. They gave us a government that is “for the people.” I don’t feel like very many of these little despots who are closing down entire cities and counties and states even remember that they work at our pleasure – each vote matters!! Personally, I think it is time to drain the swamp (regardless of party affiliation) from school boards to the House and Senate in Washington DC. Before they steal this country right out from under our noses. The signs are everywhere, if you choose to see them.

So go outside in this gloriously sunny weather. Sunshine is good for what ails you…like viruses. Hold your family members close. Pray unceasingly for good to rule this world and evil to be rousted from all the dark hidey-holes! The only way to root out evil is to bring it into the fullness of the Light. Thanks be to God for your faith, family, and this wonderful place we call home. God Bless America.

“…for light or transient causes…”

The world is rocking out of control. And I do mean the entire world. If we are naive enough the think BLM and Seattle are only in the USA, we are living in a make believe place. We are all fighting. The world is fighting. It is good vs evil and freedom vs the new world order. Yeah, I know I sound nuts. But I am just skimming the surface. This battle is for the soul of the world. The soul that aligns with God. And it is not just about you and me – it is about the legacy we leave future generations.

And the media is complicit. I was watching my grandchildren’s new favorite TV show on Netflix with them. “Symbols will be their downfall” is a phrase used frequently by those of us who are trying to discern the truth on a deeper level. Well, this cartoon series had satanic, evil, and horrible symbology all over it. I turned away. But the problem is that I am not their mother or father. I am just grandma. I redirected to a craft, but they were sucked into the tube. They loved the show. And my heart just sank. Truly, what can I do? I am not their authority figure. I am the cookie and cake baker. I provide bubbles for the the backyard and sidewalk chalk. I give them construction paper, scissors and glue and we create dioramas and posters. I support their love of books and play. We make forts with our blankets and dining room table. They are happy here. I have helped school them a little during the plandemic; I even bought them materials to stimulate their brains when they were bored of zoom meetings that were out of control. (It was actually pathetic what they were calling class time). My lap is a frequent oasis and a place where they receive cuddling and boundless words of love. I love them deeply. But I am so afraid for their future. I do not want another CHOP or CHAZ or whatever the flavor of the month is, to be their reality. I want them able to chase butterflies and have sprinkler wars and get scraped knees trying to jump that pile of dirt with their bike or scooter or skateboard. I want them to be happy and carefree and to be children. But is that my fantasy and not the reality we are leaving them? How am I, how are you, ensuring the next generation gets to live free? That our great-grandchildren will be able to walk a street without fear? Where no one kneels to anyone, except God? Where we love one another, regardless of the melatonin in our skin? What can little, old, cookie baking-grandmas do to affect change? To ensure this American dream is not snuffed out? To ensure freedom is familiar all around this world? To bring peace to the world from my little corner of it?

For one, vote. Do not assume the silent majority will take care of things. This election cycle is the single most important one of my lifetime. All the HOUSE seats are up for re-election. So many Senate seats are, too. Not to mention local and state elections. Take the time out of your schedule to sit through candidate forums, to ask questions, to understand the process. To be involved in the change you want to see happen. The policies that affect us most are controlled by our participation in local issues. If Seattle or New York or Los Angeles during this plandemic and shut down are not a good example of that, you have not been paying attention. President Trump is supporting States’ Rights in every aspect. He is not throwing federal guns at these issues. He is allowing the local governing agencies to care for their own people, the way the Constitution intended it to be. How are those elected officials working out for you??? Our active participation is the single most important thing we can do to protect our way of life, to ensure this Republic continues to be a place of freedom, and not tyranny. Not locally, not regionally, and not federally. The only thing that stands between anarchy and the rule of law is our vote. We need to take a stand, declare that enough is enough, and remove from office all those who have led this country astray. All of them. Term limits. Vote them out. Some in our national legislative bodies have been there more than 60 years! It was never intended to be a profession. It was never intended to be a life long career. “Gentlemen legislators”! Go for your term, come back home and let your neighbor serve. That was the intention!! And it can work like that. Get these professionals who have never known a job, who own homes in DC but not their own states, and who have been there for decades, out of office! Give other citizens a chance. November 3rd is pivotal. And since there are so many ways to stuff the ballot box this cycle, how about (2) you volunteer to help? This will be my second presidential election working at the polls. This time I am the co-chair of a precinct. And I am looking forward to it. We work 3 days – a day to train, a day for the primaries, and then the general election. As a precinct worker, that is all. Three days. You can ensure your precinct is honestly represented. You can assure your voting place is free of fraud. You can ensure every vote is counted. It is a sacred trust to ensure someone’s vote is counted. And if everyone took part, there would be no fraud. None.

We have been participating in this great social experiment for more than 200 years. Now is not the time to hang out in quarantine laziness, reclining and tapping away on our keyboards. Now is the time to stand up for our right to vote, for our Republic to remain a Republic, founded upon the concept that was laid forth in the Declaration of Independence in 1776:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. — The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

Those words are as inspiring today as they were then! We are not fighting against British overlords, we are fighting against evil tyrants who have had their way in this world for far too long. Evil needs to be vanquished. The light needs to shine in our Country once more. The very least we can do to ensure this ideal continues, is to raise awareness to others that this is a serious moment in our history as a country, and as a culture. The very least we can do to honor these amazing words written in 1776 for all men, for all time, is to vote to keep these words germane to our lives. To ensure no new world order comes in to obliterate history and the ideals of this nation. It is no joke. Spray painting on historical sites, or tearing down statues is not anarchy. It is a designed way to remove our history. To take our memories from us. It is to indoctrinate us into an emotional frenzy so that a new totalitarian form of government can come in, unimpeded, to save us from our emotional overload and start over. It is not anything that should be ignored or taken lightly. Look up the reality that is CHAZ or CHOP. (Do not rely on local news. Go online and find out the truth. Research for yourself, if you think I am crazy). Is that how you want to live? No protections? Armed guards, walls, oppression? Little city-states or castles run by some gang lord with ARs being passed out from the trunk of his Prius (that is on video!!)? Because they are demonstrating mob rule and tyranny, not the freedoms they espouse. Freedom is not obtained behind black boxes or masks that obscure identity. It is obtained by standing up, in real ways, for what you hold to be self-evident. To ensure that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it. And it is our right to ensure places like Seattle or CHOP do not become the norm. That the America worth standing for, flying a flag for, and dying for, is worth voting for! PLEASE VOTE. It is the single most important vote you will ever make. Seriously.

NOTE: You should not have to be fearful of flying a flag at home, or having the flag sticker on your car, or wearing Americana clothing, celebrating America. If you are, there is a serious problem right where you live. You can vote to change that. Honestly, it matters.

 

 

“the body is more than clothing…”

Stress. The new aging mechanism. Honestly I felt last week like the top of my head would explode off. I do not have high blood pressure, and in fact it is characteristically very low. So when it goes up a little I really notice.

I have posted how I am taking this course, “Filled with Less,” and yesterday’s lesson was on health. A portion of that was all about stress. One of the seminal statements for me was this :

“Know what you can control and give the rest to God.”

Boy, did that hit home. I am dealing with the fallout of my mom’s hip issue and not kidding, I had 7 phone calls yesterday from agencies asking for this and for that. I am printing, signing, scanning, emailing, copying…over and over. Luckily I was an admin assistant more than once, and have tackled and conquered paperwork – most of it legal and official – so I’ve got it in hand. I have files set up on my computer, and physical files, as well. But just the fact that there are so many little steps of minutia that I have to tend to is stressing me out. In addition to the fact that I am basically a retired, little old lady tending to her garden, new recipes, and laundry. This is sort of outside my wheelhouse these days. Part of the stress is getting dragged back into it. And the onus of this responsibility for my mom. I am her sole advocate. The only voice speaking up for her rights and her quality of care. It is not something I would suggest anyone take on lightly. I am so profoundly grateful the people at Alzheimer’s Resource Alaska gave me such sound advice. The conversations I needed to have with my mom were had – we discussed how she wants to be taken care of when she can no longer communicate her wishes. And that is where I come in. I am now her voice.

In the book of Luke, it states in chapter 12 that we are not to worry about what we are to eat, the clothes we are to wear because “life is more than food and the body is more than clothing.” Christ goes on to say, “Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you, by worrying, can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?” Christ ends His discourse with the famous line, “O ye of little faith.” And that was a pretty direct hit. I know my Lord has my mom in the palm of His hand. I know He is watching over her. And even though it feels like a storm cloud is over my head, in my heart of hearts (nous) I feel God nudging me to calm and to peace, knowing He is in charge.

Weekend musings…

The photo above was taken Friday night, Saturday morning, about 1:00am as I was leaving the emergency room of a hospital 45 minutes south of my home. They had taken my mom there from her assisted living home, because she fell and broke her hip. The paramedics told me, while I was Face Time with them, that I would be allowed inside because I am her POA and she is incapable of making medical decisions. When I arrived, I was not allowed IN THE BUILDING. Absolutely NO VISITORS. Well, they make an exception if the patient is under 18 and parents must make medical decisions, or anyone older who is in danger of imminent death. Now I ask you, what is the substantive difference between a 15-year-old kid, in the ER who is frightened and in pain, and incapable physically, mentally, or legally to make a medical decision, and my mom, who is 90 years old, in end stage Alzheimer’s, who is incapable of making a decision of any kind, who is in pain and frightened? And here I am, her legal POA. They cannot touch her without my consent. To say I was angry and frustrated just skims the surface. We have had like 40 covid cases up here. 40. In total. And my poor mom, so confused, and hurting, having no idea where she is or what is being done to her, and there is no one familiar allowed near her. I am more than angry.

I do like that, with the covid thing, doctors actually have to talk to you. They have to establish communications because we are not physically there. On my drive home, I received three separate calls from two doctors and the admitting staff. When I left the hospital they did not think she had broken anything and would be going home within an hour or two. On the 45 minute drive home, I was told that not only did she break her femur (hip area – long bone in leg) that it was the type of break that required surgical repair. And that they had admitted her. Admitting called soon thereafter to go over all her information with me since mom could not even tell them her last name, nor did she even know where she was. Sigh. Doctor called me back and informed me the surgeon would call soon. And so would the anesthesiologist. I got home about 2am and crawled into bed. I was awakened by 6am with phone calls. I literally had 1/2 hour to get to the hospital. The surgeon and anesthesiologist both said the covid restrictions were stupid at this point and they were directing the head of nursing, who they said really run the hospitals, to allow me in. The chief nurse of surgery called me back and said I could come in – I had to be screened for covid, but if I passed, I could enter, as long as I remained masked. Well, I missed mom going into surgery by 8 minutes. And I had to sit in her room, with the view above, and wait. I did not know if mom would even know who I was, because anesthesia wreaks havoc with the brain of healthy people, let alone an Alzheimer’s patient at the end stage, and 90 years old.

There were, let’s say, major complications. Mom’s surgery itself went very well. I was allowed in to the recovery area, escorted by the surgeon himself. I met the surgical staff and they were very kind, and very apologetic. As they asked mom to wake up, she saw me and said, “Hello my lovely daughter.” Yes, I wept. She knew me. Thanks be to God.

I spent most of Saturday masked, watching mom as she was in and out of consciousness. Meeting with the surgeon and internist several times. I went home and collapsed into bed at 8pm, only having had 4 hours of sleep. I am no spring chicken and I do not do well without my 8 hours. LOL. I returned by 10am Sunday morning to find my mom eating breakfast and them preparing to discharge her. I was gobsmacked. I was shocked. The staff was shocked. Mom had made two rounds of walking around the entire Ortho floor, stopping to chat with other patients, constantly taking off her mask because she said it was stupid. (LOL. As a side note, no one cared if mom and I were masked in her room. They remained masked but said there was enough distance and we were fine. Most of the nurses said the entire process with covid and the CDC regulations were ridiculous, and changed almost hourly, it was hard to keep up. They often lowered their masks to below their noses because they restrict the air flow so much, they got hot and bothered doing simple care tasks). I knew mom was feeling well when she motioned to tweek the rear end of the cute male nurse who was trying to help her get dressed. I had to stop her! LOL! She is a sassy woman. The staff was in shock that less than 48 hours after falling and 24 after surgery, she was going home. They told me usually people her age don’t even get out of bed for 3 days. It usually takes upward of a week to get them mobile enough to leave. Not my mom. LOL.

Smiling mom, bruised and broken, and battered, getting ready to go home. She did not believe that was a photo of her! She is an amazing woman. This saga is far from over and details need to stay closed from public view for the time being. But she is a tough cookie. I will be there, when I can. The assisted living facility is closed to me, still, and she was so mad I was leaving her there (“I do not live here. I do not belong here. I do not know this place or these people. Take me home immediately” were some of her comments to me). I was assured she would be fine, and she tried to hold onto me as they wheeled her inside. I had to just walk away. Stupid covid crap.

They sent me this later on, showing she was smiling and comfortable. This is so not what I wanted for her. I hope she will use her new walker, since she refused to use the other one we got her. LOL. Her 4th fall. Pretty soon it’s a wheelchair if she is not careful!! Such a feisty woman with Alzheimer’s! I love her so much. Her light was not ready to be dimmed. Thanks be to God for more time with her.

I got home in time for a pretty amazing storm. Lighting, thunder, hail, rain. It was amazing to watch and be in! So now, today, I am somehow locked out of my email account and cannot access anything for 24-72 hours (nice window, huh?). Some days I hate technology. I think I will just watch the storm pass by from my rocking chair on the deck, drinking coffee and soaking it all in. God is everywhere. I need to remember that. As so many would say of this photo, “The Storm is Upon Us.” God bless.

 

“…sail away from the safe harbor…”

Just wow. This past week has been newsy and disheartening in so many ways. I try not to get too political here, but politics are part of life. Unfortunately. I am prayerful there will be peace. But I do think there will also be pain and an awakening to what reality truly is. And for so many, that awakening, in and of itself, will be very painful. This is not about a man being unjustly killed (and news stories are coming out that he is, in fact, a crisis actor and is still very much alive; that all this was staged for maximum effect to incite rioting, unrest, and to separate us). This is about disrupting our republic in the face of one of the most important election cycles in our history. It is about, essentially, good versus evil. And it is about getting priorities straight – we need to be hitting our knees in prayer for all our families, friends, this country, and the world. We are spiraling out of control and it will be stopped. I am just prayerful the stop won’t be too painful for anyone. And I am taking myself out of that equation. We all need to break away from the news cycle!

This weekend was pretty fun. We planted all the plants I have been collecting the past few weeks. They are off the front porch and in their pots. And in the garden beds. I also resurrected the tubers of Dahlias from last year. Of the dozen I put up for winter in the garage (well, my husband graciously did most of that) I only lost three. So I am very happy. We have now potted them. I have never done this before and am so hopeful the little shoots find their way to the sun and we get some Dahlias this year. One of them is a chocolate Dahlia and it did not bloom last season. It survived winter with lots of shoots and it is one of the holdovers I am very excited to see. I will share a photo of what it is supposed to be:

I cannot wait for that to bloom! And in addition to planting, we began our garage project. In doing this “Six Weeks to Sanity” program, we are being encouraged to declutter. Lots of facts about clutter were thrown at us and I just sat there, slack-jawed. I have been following the KonMari method and I have done my house once. I am slowly doing it again. The one area we did not tackle was the garage. Apparently only about 1/3 of Americans can park their cars in their garages. Most have 1-2 car garages. And of those, most Americans can park perhaps 1 car in their garage. That’s us. It wasn’t like that until a few months ago when we inherited some items from friends moving out of state. Now we have to organize and meld theirs into ours. And we need to glean down our things, as well. So we started on it this weekend. We made a dump run and deposited 350 lbs into our local dump. It did not seem like it would weigh that much, but it did. And the one member of the family who was ecstatic to make the drive in the truck? Our dog. He is so funny. Any excuse to go for a ride in the truck. And trust me, when you use those words, he knows exactly what you are saying!

His joy is pretty contagious! And he is so alert to every thing around him. Every single thing. Street lights, the people in the car next to us, the bird that flew by, the bug that got splattered on the windshield…all of it. And he is discovering that when we go through drive-throughs of almost any kind, good dogs get treats. He is really disappointed if they don’t! So much to my surprise, they gave him a treat at the gate to the dump! He was so excited! And now he will love dump runs!

One of the best parts of the weekend was seeing friends we have not been able to see since the shut down. Our state is completely open, with modifications. We went to our local restaurant where we dined for over 3 hours! We had so much to catch up on, and lots of that was human contact. We are huggers and it was glorious. I did not realize how isolated I have been, being kept away from friends. To sit and actually look at their face instead of reading a text, was just the best thing, ever. Not taking friends for granted is so important in this life.

One of the things in this course I am taking is to find your tribe. Find people who compliment you – they reflect you – you can trust with your heart, soul, and life. Those you can laugh with and cry with and support. It is so important. We have a few people in our lives I would consider part of my tribe. And the woman above is one of them. (Love you, Tina!!). And I am also being encouraged to find a hobby. I do not craft. I am all thumbs. But one of my goals is to find a hobby that will work with muscle memory so that I can pursue it as I age. So many have tried to help me, but I have failed them and myself, and am re-dedicating myself to learn to crochet. Or knit. I have such a hard time with one needle, I am not sure two would be any better. But I am determined to conquer something so many find so simple. My DIL here made me the most scrumptious shawl for when my shoulders get cold. I love it so much and wish I could do that, too. (Side note: My grandma would always complain her shoulders were cold. Said to me more than once that if she could keep them warm, even with bare feet, she would be warm. I used to make fun of her, and tease her, about her cold shoulders. Now, I am her. And she is looking down from heaven, giggling at me. I love you Grandma!!).

That is me above, nestled in my shawl. The material is so soft, I could sink into it. And the color is a wonderful mouth-watering purple. Oh such a simple joy! LOL!. I am determined, within this summer cycle, to accomplish this task of acquiring a hobby – if it kills me. LOL. My girlfriend above is determined to have me succeed so we can crochet together while our hubbies hunt and fish! And we can do it in sunshine or snow, which is real here. Because crocheting in a snowstorm, before a roaring fire, with a girlfriend to gab with, sounds like heaven to me. And it makes me more determined to succeed.

So even amongst the chaos and noise of what is going on around us, we can focus and hone in on the simple things in life. I am focusing on cooking from scratch and learning some Julia Child recipes (I love her). I am looking at acquiring a hobby. I am decluttering my house and even the garage. I am making white space in my life – where I leave things blank on purpose – to feel the space around me and to relax in it. And for that extra space to allow me to learn something new. To revel in new things. We can have clutter in our minds as well as in our homes. You know, we can all improve ourselves above and over who we are right this moment. What a glorious world that would be, if each of us did focus on improving ourselves. Even if that means making dump runs as we declutter, and burning dinner now and then as I master Julia Child – if we are working towards a goal we are moving. Life is movement. Keep on moving…

 

“…and the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.”

Another week, and more rabbit holes to go down. LOL. There is just so much out there on the world-wide-web. You could literally spend your entire day and not even touch the basics. It is overwhelming. Sometimes I think the internet is not really our friend. Electronics were supposed to ease our lives and make them simpler. I really find they take more time away from us. And sometimes our brains are not operating at their best when we just look at screens all day long.

This is, quite literally, outside my bedroom window. It is our strawberry patch. It is blooming from its winter slumber. Up here in the “Last Frontier,” Spring comes later. But when it comes in, it is glorious. The world slumbers through cold nights and days of increasing sunshine, until things just start popping. You will see a bloom or two on the trees lining the highway, and within days the entire forest is green. The leaves just pop open within 3-4 days of each other. It is pretty amazing how quickly it happens. And up here, Spring is not a long event. We usually hop pretty directly into those wonderful days of open windows, slight breezes, and lots and lots of sunshine. The plants here grow massively large. Flowers bloom over and over again. In rapid succession. We will have days where we have 20 hours of sunshine. For some, it is just too much sunshine. I, myself, prefer sleeping in total darkness. I always have. In CA I used to always wear an eye mask at night. I recall instances when my kids would come and stand next to me while I was sleeping. I could sense their presence. I would wake up and tell them, “Don’t talk to me. I can’t hear you. I have my mask on.” And they would giggle and say, “Mom, it only covers your eyes.” It was our morning funny.

This weekend my daughter-in-law and I did our annual plant hunting trip to the nurseries in the area. She had some trees she was looking for, and I am always on the hunt for perennials that are either full sun or partial shade – no inbetween in my yard! Ha-Ha. And the photo above was taken from the back lot of one of our favorite nurseries. I stood there and commented to her that I never want to take this land we live on for granted. I am blessed with views like this from our local nursery, which means this is a local view for me, too. How incredible is this? It is the Eagle River Valley and it takes your breath away. Look at all that green! There is still a little snow on the peaks, but we are barely past our last thaw and the green popping up. Give it a week or two and it will be green all the way to the top.

The photo above is from the same place, looking west. See all the homes nestled in those trees on the right? Yeah. Glorious place to live. This portion of our state is one of the most blessed. I am lucky to live here.

We spend so much time on our computers or in our cars, or just inside our homes and workplace, that we forget to breathe in the clean air and look at all the beauty that surrounds us. It takes discipline to walk away and walk outside. The temps here are finally getting to the point where a morning walk with the dog will work for me. And I am determined to hike some more trails this summer, and to work on my fitness level (which is severely lacking after a long winter’s slumber – I’m like the bears! LOL!). And right now we are in that phase of Spring where we get some amazing rain storms. The skies look incredible with the many types of storm clouds. And quite suddenly we will have a downpour. The day after a long rain, the plants have blossomed even more. The varied tones of green are incredible. The many wild blooms are starting to peek out from the long winter, too. Every day there is something new to see.

Psalm 65:12 “The pastures of the wilderness drip, and the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.”

I am trying to get to that place where I can distract myself from media. I know it is affecting my eyes, because distance vision is blurred so often. I read on my phone the usage report and I cringe. I justify it by telling myself, “Well, you don’t watch TV; you don’t use your laptop much, so it’s okay.” But is it? No, it is not. I do not think this much electronic usage is really very healthy. That might be the weirdo in me, but I think life was better when there was more paper and pencil and less of the iPhones and remotes. I get consumed with what is going on out there, and I need to focus closer to my own garden; tend to my own weeds. Both real and rhetorical…see what I did there? Ha-Ha. It’s my Monday!

I love to find flowers with intricate, tiny blossoms. This one above stole my heart. Well, it is purple. Ha-Ha. I was proud of myself this year because I grabbed a lot of other colors. I even bought some Dahlias that are not purple or pink, but actually yellow and one that is coral. I am diversifying the look of my pots and garden! And it is a lot of fun. Planting and potting and helping things grow does so much for our psyche. I think it is good to get away from the living room or desk and drink in some nature.

Tender blossoms need tender care. They need and require attention to survive. I only buy perennials, so they have to be able to stand temperatures of lows into the -40s. So even if these blooms seem delicate, they are pretty hardy plants! And when I see the handiwork of God in these flowers, my heart softens and I can leave the harsh realities of this world behind, even if it is just to water the garden or do some simple weeding.

And so today, as I begin my week in full, I am choosing to focus my energy on the things of beauty in this life. There is enough ugly to fill eternity (down below, where it belongs) that I know the Lord would prefer my thoughts be on Him. And so I am praying; I am tending to my home; I am turning away from my phone and computer and letting the joy of this season encase my heart with joy and peace and God’s love for us all. I will take note of His handiwork that is growing all around me. I intend to enjoy all the sights and sounds of this land He prepared for us. I will focus on creating that “white space” in my home, my yard, my mind, and my soul – allowing me room to grow and maneuver. Giving me the space for God to enter into all things. Clearing the clutter and Spring cleaning is something we all need to do. It is amazing where the cobwebs hide in our lives. Where the clutter in our hearts, minds, and souls resides. We have clutter in our homes and clearing that will also help us clear our lives of the unnecessary. Of the flotsam and jetsam of life. Just like cleaning up those corners where the dust bunnies live! I am still aware and in tune, but not laser focused on all this chaos around us.

There is a distinct advantage to living in the “Last Frontier.” It is quieter. Remote. Insulated to some extent. Fewer people and distractions. Nature all around you. Clean, fresh air. Lots of elbow room. Cooler summer temps. Glorious blooms and sights everywhere. It has helped me in my walk with God, to be able to be more focused. It is sort of forced upon you when the weather is nasty or you live miles from people. It has been so good for my soul. I think I’ll stay. Peace be with each of you in the glory of Spring, and this time of growth and the renewal of life. It is a glorious time to be alive, my friends.

 

“..the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

You know, it’s wonderful when, as we age, we realize we know so little. I have book learning – lots of it. My mind loves to travel and unravel, discover and learn, on lots of subjects. I am reminded of this saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” That’s me. I learn enough of something to feel satisfied but certainly not all-knowing or expert. But I like that I know a little about a lot of different areas. It has helped me grow as a person. And I love reading. It is one of my favorite pastimes. One of my favorite places is a library or bookstore.

Someone asked me recently how many jobs I have had. Dozens. Maybe more. But only 1 or 2 career jobs. The others were paychecks and time fillers. Places where I was learning – I would learn a skill and move on. So let me see: In high school, I did ROP. That acronym means Regional Occupational Program and what it allowed you to do was work in positions to expose you to careers. Like candy stripers to see if you want to be a nurse. Well, I worked in the ER as a nursing assistant and that was incredible. I was allowed to massage a beating heart in a patient who was dying. It ended up being incredible because he was actually saved! (Not by me). I was a physical therapy assistant. That was the best. We gave each other hot packs, ultrasounds, and massages after shifts. Even sat in the hot tubs. Loved that. My most memorable assignment was to do range of motion exercises on a guy who was 2-3 years older than me, and who attended the neighboring high school, who had been in a car accident and was comatose. It was surreal. They kept his room quiet and dimly lit, with the same temperature, which was warmer than the hospital in general. I was then assigned to a professional football team. I did that job off and on through college. I would tape ankles, help with therapies, wrap sore muscles, and the like. It was pretty fun. Then I also was a hostess and waitress at the local diner (Fiddler’s Three Restaurant). I worked at a floral/gift shop. I then signed up with a temporary agency and began my careers in business. I trained to type and file and answer phones. I was taught accounting and became a certified cost accountant. I was a certified receptionist on those ancient cord-boards for telephone systems (dating myself a little here). I also worked for my dad off and on until my mid-twenties doing office work and sales. I did professional presentations with slide shows and material demonstrations at hospitals all up and down the coast of CA, OR, and WA. I worked as an intern for the county coroner’s office, learning my Forensic Anthropology skills and practicum. I worked on anthropological digs in CA, NM, Arizona, and Mexico (Teotihucan was one site). I became a customer service rep for American Express, working with the businesses who accepted the card. Even going on sales blitzes in CA, AZ, and NV. I then worked for TGI Fridays as a management trainee. I learned the kitchen, the office, and all the details on the sales floor. My favorite thing was bartending. I think that job fit me probably the best. I could gab all night and get paid for it. LOL. I used to make more than $300/night in tips alone. I then went to work for Beckman Instruments as one of their pool cost accountants. I then promoted into the manufacturing side and was the secretary to the production manager. But the best was in the chemistry division. I loved it so much. And by this time I was married with one son. We decided I should stay home. So I quit and became a full time, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. I did that until our middle son started high school, and our youngest son began kindergarten. Then I went to work for a county in our state, in the Recorder’s office. I worked with anything you could record – lots of titles and deeds and even was deputized to perform marriages. I did only a couple of them and hated it so much, they allowed me to not do that rotation. I then transferred to the welfare department, where I was the supervisor of an entire building of clerical staff, as well as the people who kept it clean, our security staff, and a day care center. I only lasted about 2 years because it was killing me. The time it took with all the personnel and their paperwork, as well as working with the public, required me to work on my days off. I had to get out and applied for a salaried position. I then promoted into the Human Resources department and there I oversaw all the EEO cases handled by the HROs. I assisted in record keeping and scheduling. I attended meetings upon meetings. I recorded and prepared union contracts and forms for state and national EEO programs. I sat on two County Commissions as staff. It was fun but exhausting. It was a salaried position, so the benefits were good. The company I kept was great, and I loved my boss. I finally quit to stay home with our youngest son to homeschool him, and am still here, at home. He is now 21 years old, and has embarked on a career as a welder. He is a 2nd year apprentice and doing very well.

So I guess I have done a lot. I am sure there are jobs here and there that I have forgotten. None of them meant much to me, when compared to schooling our boys and being a mom. And the ability to be me at home, coffee cup in hand! My father was annoyed I did not complete my degree (although I have enough credits for a master’s degree, but not enough in one area – which is hilarious to me) and become a doctor. He told me I was wasting my time, raising my kids, when I could be saving lives as a physician (his dream for me; not mine). And you know what? I think he missed the mark completely. The most fulfilled I have ever felt is when one of my kids learned to read. Or when we could discuss some point of history or science and I could see light bulbs going off in their heads, and I witnessed actual learning. It is like seeing your baby take his first steps. I got to do that every day with my three sons. I feel fulfilled and blessed as I watch the men they have become and the families they are raising. It is a blessing from God. Truly.

So yes. I have had lots of jobs. I have followed my intellect where it has taken me. And it has been varied, to be sure. Sometimes it has been drudgery. Sometimes it has been exciting and I have looked forward for my work day. But nothing, absolutely nothing, beats being at home with my boys. As I look back in my mind, I smile. So many funny memories. The boys tell me their favorite year was the one when we did a unit study for the entire year on the medieval era. Even as adults, married with kids of their own, they fondly recall that year and tell me it was their favorite. Everything we did was about knights and castles. About battles and the growth of technology. We made castles out of sugar cubes. We crafted trebuchets out of popsicle sticks and glue. We made swords. We went to museums. Our math was oriented towards life in a castle. They dressed as knights to sit around the table and learn. It was glorious.

I may know a lot of fun facts. Sometimes my family uses my brain like google or something. But I love how varied what I know is. Now I am learning new things. So many new things. And I am having to unlearn things that were fed to me, that I now know to be false. “History belongs to the victor,” as they say! Science marches on and some of the “facts” I was taught are now found to be erroneous. I sometimes think I am owed a return for all the stupidity I was forced to memorize in high school and college. It’s often hard to reconcile it all. And sadly, I passed some of this false history on to my boys, thinking I was sharing facts and authentic history. Some of it is good and will stand the test of time. Some, not so much. But it is okay. We become set in our ways and rigid when we cease to embrace the new, and to learn new factoids. I do not want to be caught in a rut. Many things will pass me by. Technology is one of the things that is racing by me. Labs and such I once knew no longer have some of the machinery I was used to. I am out of date about so much. And I am uncovering so much. It’s good to be fluid!

I think above and through all of this, I have tried to follow that small voice inside my heart, the nous, or center of where God and I chat and commune; where He speaks to me. And I do feel that I have done what jobs I have had, worked with who I was given to work with, and gained the skill set I have gained because God led me to where I am now. He allowed me time with my sons. He has graced me with a husband who let me do all these things. And I know I am blessed beyond blessed. And am still learning. God is good. We are all on a journey from dark to light. We can allow it to happen daily, and not wait until we are facing our mortality. Keep learning. Keep walking, from dark to light. Do not be afraid of the light.

 

“…and rest in your holiness…”

Even in the midst of this “pandemic,” there can be spots of joy. I am doing a 6-week program online and in this first week, I was asked to focus on liberating truths, and to understand my “why” in pursuing the goals of the program. Well, I thought about my why. Why do I want to do this? It’s because I want more years with my husband, and I want to be there for my sons as they progress in their lives. I want to share their achievements, their joys, and their sorrows. I want to be the grandma my grandchildren love visiting and hanging out with. One who enjoys life with them. And I want to share their landmarks in life – as my eldest grandchild is only 7 years old, I really want to be around for a lot longer. Am I sick? No. I am actually very healthy. But I am overweight and out of shape. Part of this program is to leave “white space” in your life. Enough space for movement and for relaxation. And these white spaces are in the areas of your health, in your faith, and in your homes. Today, the reality of keeping white space in my head has made me want to share this with you. My brain feels like it is exploding! I am looking forward to all of it – tackling all these areas of my life. One of the things we were asked to do, is when we visualize our why, to get something that represents this why and put it where you can see it. So I printed this out and it is on my refrigerator:

These are most of my reasons for my “why.” My husband and grandchildren. My family. I think we all know that as life progresses, we start to hone in our focus to smaller and smaller groups. Our friendships shrink to just a handful. The older we get, the closer to home we seem to stay. We were never overt partiers. Even when we could stay awake past 9:00 o’clock – hahaha.

This pandemic brought our family closer in lots of ways. We are the crowd we don’t mind hanging out with. Our kids from the lower 48 came for a week and we just saw one another. No sightseeing. No going to places with other people. It was glorious. We walked, we played in the house, we had the kids use chalk on the driveway and paint rocks for our garden. We had special cereal and dishes for the kids and they loved it. We bar-b-qued and we baked. We had lots of art projects for them; things to keep 4 little girls occupied! Let me share that having your granddaughter want to sleep with you is just priceless. Having 2 of them in your room each night is beyond grandparent heaven!

Watching cousins interact was so precious. I loved the relationships that were strengthened with this time together. When it comes down to it, our time here is limited. Someday, my husband and I will be gone and we will not be the glue holding our family together. They will need to hold onto one another. And it is a beautiful thing to see it developing.

They were looking at our fairy garden from last year, playing with all the little features we crammed into those pots. And even though we are barely past the thaw this year, it was great to see them in the sunshine, playing together. My heart was so full. And I am counting blessing upon blessing to have this family. I know God gives us trials to strengthen our faith, but He also abundantly blesses us.

And today I am a little reflective. I have been doing so much research and diving down some radical rabbit holes online about so many subjects. And I re-read Revelations in its entirety today. I have been praying with prayers upon prayers; supplications for myself and my family and friends. And as I contemplate all this new reality, I recall the sound of little feet in the house and my heart swells with love and gratitude to God, for this gift of family. When you start spreading your intellect out into this viral world, it can often sweep you away. And then you just sit there, in stunned silence. And looking at these faces grounds me, it gives me impetus to be the best me I can be – for all of them.

My kids give me the grace to pursue the best me, so I can be there for them. God knows my struggles. He does. He provides me with a foundation. In all things, #godwins. He knows where I am and he knows my heart. He guides me where I need to go. He also holds my hand. “Word of God, Speak” is a great song by Mercy Me. And as I listen to the comforting words, I know all I need is to be with God:

“Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak”

I may seem maudlin but I am quietly at peace. I wrote prayers to God, seeking His mercy for my family and for my soul. Because the world is insane. And so much is about to change. So much upheaval and our “new normal” will be something none of us ever envisioned. But, God has got this. All of it. He holds our world in His hands and with that, He holds our souls.

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” Revelation 20:12

And so I pray, seeking forgiveness for the deeds I would rather not come to light, and for a hedge of protection for the souls of my family and friends, country and world. I ask for mercy, for grace, for tomorrow.

John 5:28-29 “Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out – the ones who have done what is good to the resurrection resulting in life, and the ones who have done what is evil to the resurrection resulting in condemnation.”

I guess you could say I am contemplative today. And I am listening to a mash-up of music while I type. Mercy Me is one of my favorite groups. I have all their music on my computer. And I am so thankful for their lyrics; so many times they have brought me to tears and I have to pull to the side of the road and just let it out. (Most of the time while I drive alone, they are playing on my stereo). “I can only imagine” is one of my all-time favorites. It can still bring me to tears in the right moment. And because I have so much of their music on my computer, songs keep coming up. I think this one is helping me so much right now, that I will leave you with the lyrics. Blessings. Always.

 

“Flawless”

There’s got to be more
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there’s worth in what you do Then Like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that’s exactly what He did No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless Take a breath smile and say
Right here right now I’m ok
Because the cross was enough Then Like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to grace grace
God’s grace No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless
He made you flawlessNo matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things…”

Colossians 3:20: Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.

I grew up in the late 50s and 60s – graduating HS in the early 70s. It was a far different time. We walked – a lot. Mom always dressed nice – even her “working clothes” were nice. She always had on make-up and I remember her wearing toilet paper pinned around her head so her hairdo stayed nice all night. LOL. Neither of my parents ever owned “dungarees” or blue jeans. It took me until my sophomore year in HS to get my parents to allow me to wear them, especially to school. The image above pretty closely resembles my family on a weekend or vacation. However, my parents are weird. And our family is weird. And it all hit me today. LOL.

This is how my mom made toast, because this is how her mom made toast. You place that directly on your stovetop and let the bread get all toasty/crusty. The darker the better for my mom! LOL! As I was toasting a muffin this morning, my brain whooshed me back in time. A time when toast was not served warm or buttered, either. The occasional use of Marmite. My folks are from New Zealand and England and they would occasionally use Vegemite, but since that is the Australian take on the goo, they preferred Marmite. All I can say is it is gross…to me. As a kid I would almost vomit when mom put it on my toast. Yuck. I tried it as an adult and it did not improve its flavor. LOL. Another thing the British do is they do not butter their toast right away; nor do they serve it warm…not even close to warm. It is served in a toast stand.

The one above is as close to what my mom had as I could find. I wonder what ever happened to it? LOL. I am sure it was tossed for a more American use of toast, like a warm, buttered stack of toast. Yum. So you would get this cold toast, which basically is a large crouton (that idea cracks me up) and there would be toppings available to choose from.

The photo above reminds me of my youth so much. Cold toast, softened butter in a dish, and some sort of jam or preserves. I grew up loving orange marmalade, especially when my great-grandmother made it. And I have always loved preserves with the seeds from the berries still in it. My favorites are the dark berries – blackberries, for example. And my mom could do 3-minute eggs so well. (My father-in-law would spoil me and my sister-in-law with 3-minute eggs, too. It was so wonderful). What is a 3-minute egg? Absolute heaven.

I adore them so much. And this morning as I was toasting my muffin, I looked across at my stove and just smiled. This is on top of the stove:

My grandma’s 3-minute egg timer. Oh the memories. And it was not until we were teenagers and mom had sort of adopted American ways of doing things, that we had pancakes from Bisquick or cereal. Most of the time it was tea and toast and an egg or two. And that is just kind of weird, but in such a wonderful way. It harkens back to when breakfast was a meal taken with time and family to start your day out. We were all dressed and ready to head out the door; mom was in her dress with her apron and stockings on; Dad would be in a suit with his briefcase nearby, and then she would throw a table cloth on across the center of the table and serve us breakfast like in the photo up top. We would chat about school or dad would share a little about work (what he could share – he worked on the Space program and most of his job was top secret stuff), and then we would take our books and sweaters and head out to school. School started at 9am and was done by 3pm. We had time for breakfast.

When these cereal boxes came out, that changed everything. Not only was it enough for a kid, you did not even have to get a bowl dirty. Mom adapted well to America! LOL! But our family was still weird. We had 3 sets of clothes. One for school and only school. One to play in after school and on weekends. And Church clothes. I think they all started as Church clothes or school clothes and as they wore out, they became play clothes. But we were not allowed holes in anything or to wear anything torn or raggedy. My mom was strict about what we wore. And she ironed EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. (Yes, underwear and sheets; even towels were ironed. I learned to iron by practicing on my dad’s undershirts and our sheets and tablecloths). Her entire family had been tailors. So clothes were a big deal for her. After school we had to change and put on play clothes. We could play until 5pm when we had to clean up for dinner. We had to change into clean clothes for dad to come home and us to eat dinner. Then it was shower/bath, pj’s, and bed. By 7:30pm at the latest. Sigh. We did not have a lot of clothes, either. But what we did have, well, it had specific purposes and mom never allowed us to deviate. God forbid you wore school shoes to dig in the dirt or ride your skateboard!! LOL!

Exodus 20:12:  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

My brother and I love our parents, but we do laugh at the odd way we were raised sometimes. I remember things he was too young to remember and he recalls things I have forgotten. (There are so many other examples of British/New Zealand oddities, but I thought I would stick to just a couple of them). Our parents eventually dressed like everyone else (except for the jeans thing. That did not happen until they were both retirement age! LOL!) and they lost their accents. It used to be so funny to hear my mom call us into the house for dinner, “Mark, Jan, dinner!” but all our neighbors heard was, “Mock, Jahn, dinnah!” because of mom’s accent. She could not pronounce a hard “r” if her life depended on it. Now that they are both over 90 and are suffering from memory issues, the accent is returning. Mom is still a NZ citizen and our “resident alien,” refusing to give up her NZ citizenship even after almost 70 years in the USA. And Mom, when she talks about her childhood, she is often thick with her NZ accent. I like hearing it again. And if I am honest, I like that we were sort of weird; it’s kind of cool. But I also realized that I prefer my toast warm and with lots of melted butter. And I also prefer coffee…shhhh….

 

“…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.