“…He will wipe away every tear…”

One day…

For those of us who live with some sort of chronic, or recurring pain, some days it is hard to smile. Especially when we try to push through without relying on medication. Stretches, or a warm and jetted tub, salves and massages, and essential oils are where many of us turn for relief. There are so many ways to deal with chronic and recurring pain. And laying the pain at the foot of the cross is a huge way to gain perspective on pain.

Not many people spend time contemplating the foot of the cross. I had a dream once, and a friend actually drew me a picture of what I had seen (which I found in a box and promised myself I will frame) as I gazed up at the feet of Christ, impaled on the Cross. In my dream, I heard swooshing and loud winds. There were large drops of rain falling and splashing all around me. I could only look up, and I could not move side-to-side, nor could I turn my head. I could only see the feet of Christ. And then I felt a warm dribbling liquid surrounding me, and I immediately felt comforted, loved, embraced, and free. I could look around me and realized I was a pebble; really just a small stone; and I was holding the Cross upright, along with a myriad of other small stones. We were a part of the dirt the Cross was embedded into. And the thought came to me: “Even the dirt surrounding the Cross was sanctified by His sacrifice.” The earth was renewed by the sacrificial Blood of Christ.

This dream has been with me since my children were small. And at the time, we only had two children. Not even teens, yet. And this dream is every bit as vivid today as it was more than 20 years ago when it happened to me. The feelings return and the sounds are especially poignant. I do believe Christ was speaking to me, helping me realize that I was part of His story. I may only be an insignificant pebble, but I am part of it. And each of us plays our part in the Story of Redemption.

Redemption through the Cross of Christ

Many years ago, I was introduced to the concept of “offer it up.” And it was applied to pretty much anything. My father-in-law used to tell his kids when they were slightly hurt, “Rub some dirt on it.” We, in turn, told our kids the same thing. Ha-Ha. And the idea of offering something up is to apply it to all we do. What are we offering it up to? The redemptive act of Christ on the Cross. There is no way I can ever repay Him for what He has done for me. But I can offer my toils and my pains to Him in a small way of reparation, and of joining to His suffering.

It is not something most protestants and other religious ideologies embrace. It is a Catholic thing; an eastern thing. We follow the steps of Christ every Lenten observance. We entwine our lives within the context of sacrifice and service. And we participate in the redemptive action of the Cross when we unite ourselves to Christ. Our actions towards our daily lives and the issues that cause our bumpy ride, as well as how we interact with others, can all be offered to Christ in reparation for His act for us. Fasting – from foods, from language, from TV, from things that do not bring us closer to Him are all acts having redemptive value. We join our meager sufferings to His. And it is a powerful process – each Lent and each Apostles’ Fast, we can join in the redemptive action of the Cross.

Chronic, aching, back…

I am so much like my paternal grandmother. And I strive to be like her in how I treat others and how I lovingly care for others. But physically, it’s more like I am her daughter. I have her hands and feet. I am a larger woman, which she struggled with her entire life, and which plagues me daily. I am even beginning to have her white hair – which I always loved and am rather pleased about. Grandma injured her back in a vehicle accident as a young woman and had back issues the rest of her life. A little more than a year ago, I lifted a 9-foot leather couch in order to vacuum under it, thinking I was 40 years old instead of 60+ years of age. I tore my right shoulder (which I had stem cell replacement for) and ruptured 5 discs in my spine, starting at C-3 and working its way down to my lumbar area. I have had injections in all the sites. The doctor told me I would get a year or more relief from the injections and we are coming up to 2 years. I think my relief is over. Or at the very least, severely waning.

I was doing so well I began water aerobics. Ouch. And then I rested and it was better. This past weekend I was climbing into my husband’s truck on the start of a camping journey and I wrenched my back. It’s been non-stop pain since. I spent most of the weekend propped under a tarp (it was raining) with pillows, a blanket, and Tylenol. Ugh.

And I am desperately working on my mindset. How I can align this constant nagging pain with the redemptive act of Christ. Every time He was whipped or beaten, that was because of my sins. Each cut or wound on His body, every bruise, every nail – all from my actions. How can I ameliorate His pain and use mine for something besides complaining?

There is a wonderful prayer I recite when I need solace:

Anima Christi Prayer

I learned a slightly different wording, but this is the prayer. My favorite part is, “Within thy wounds hide me. Never let me be separated from thee. From the wicked enemy defend me, and at the hour of death call me, that I might come to thee and with thy saints I might praise thee for ever and ever. Amen”. Okay. So that is most of the prayer. Ha-Ha. But I always imagined myself hiding within His wounds, peeking out from where the soldier stabbed Him in the side, all safe and warm. Nothing morbid or gross or bloody and fleshy. Just safely hidden in the side of Christ, protected from the wickedness and snares of the devil. (A sentence from another prayer I love). And when I imagine myself safe within Him, the pain eases somehow. I feel warm, and protected, and loved. And when you have all those things, back aches are not as onerous and life-impacting. I can accomplish all the duties of my station in life, aching as I go, but smiling from within the Wounds of Christ. Does that sound weird? Yeah, it does a little bit. But being a visual person who conjures scenes using words, it works for me. And as I sit here, the pain is less, just talking about it. Yes, my knees are propped up on my recliner and I am sitting in a position to ease the cramping pain, but my heart is at rest as well.

My peace I give to you…

“The sky is falling…the sky is falling…”

Chicken Little

Well, I agree, to a point. It all depends on what is above you when you look up. Perhaps you are in an area where things are falling out of the sky, so to speak. I feel like it most days. I cringe when I think of the money flying out of our account for various things. It’s mind-blowing. Our senators meeting overnight to enact/approve Red Flag Laws for weapons. The insanity of that is bad guys don’t jump through government hoops to get licensed firearms. They get them off the streets. Illegally. Us regular people go through rigorous background checks already. And it’s not the combat vets you need to worry about – it’s these young men hopped up on psychotropic meds who are marginalized and seeing a shrink, who are mostly responsible for these shootings. So many rabbit holes about that entire subject! And the news media pumping out more fear mongering for everyone to chew on. It’s become comical when you watch those montages of programmed news spew the exact same words on stations across the country. Verbatim. It’s an eye-opener…

Verbatim News

I’ve become increasingly tense about everything. Will we have this life, this country, in the next 20 years? Where will the USA be? What will the USA become? Do we have the luxury of the next 20 years, or is it much shorter? 5-10 years? That long? Around and around I go. At night, it is the worst. Going to bed stresses me out because I KNOW I will toss and turn and take forever to get to sleep. I have tried it all – meditating, praying, no Kindle or TV an hour before bed (right?!?), taking melatonin. I’ve tried Benadryl and Tylenol. I now drink Golden Milk every night and it does seem to help. (I know it is helping my blood sugar, for sure). And I feel like this big thing is pressing down on me, and worrying me, all day long, intensifying at night. The dark makes everything worse. Up here, darkness takes so long to happen and it doesn’t stay long.

Today’s Light Hours

I try to just let it all go by the wayside. I focus on getting my sheets clean that my lovely puppy peed on this weekend while we camped. I try to come up with nice meal plans for my husband. I focus on my grandson’s baseball tournament coming up, or my middle son’s recent job interview and our youngest son getting enough work hours. There are things up close and personal I can focus my time on. I can let the rest of the country sort of fade from constant thought. I can opt to trust in God’s plan for everything and all of us and trust in my faith to carry me through. I can’t worry about the details. I can’t worry that the sky might be falling on my country, and that this world could be on the cusp of massive change. I can listen for my washer to ping to let me know the bedding is completed; figure out why the dogs are barking; try to keep the house below 80 inside without A/C (Alaskan homes don’t have air conditioning). On and on I could go. But why do I continually come back to the falling skies???

Anxiety – give it to God

Over and over, I have to remind myself I do not walk alone. God and His promises walk beside me. My husband walks next to me and I know beyond any doubt, he was God’s plan for my life. I absolutely love the life we have together and each moment of these empty nest days warms my heart. I cannot imagine my life without him in it. And I am blessed with amazing children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren, and some amazing friends. I know I am blessed. My heart soars when I think of everyone in my life, and when I look outside and see the land where I live. Totally blessed. The big “but” is next…lol. But I worry. Daily. Obsessively I think. And I am desperately trying to rein it in – again.

Do Not Fear

Once again I choose to cast my worries onto God. He spent 3 agonizing hours suffering on the cross for me – for my sins – for my doubts – for my worries. He paid the price – for me. I can do nothing to repay Him except to believe in Him and to love Him above all else. God makes no demands on us. He requires nothing from us. Just full acceptance. And in this age and in this chaos, the peace He offers is undeniable.

My peace I leave with you..

The sky may fall. Our culture may collapse. The world as we know may cease to be structured as we know it. We may loose our land, our homes, our families. We may lose our own lives. But we will never lose God, because He loved us first.

Believe

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

Send me…

This verse, and the song written based upon it, have been a favorite since I chose to become Catholic, back in 1983. It has been a long and very winding road. It certainly is not a popular faith to espouse in public. Neither is it popular to say which denomination of the 1000s out there you are. Why is that? There are so many, and varied, reasons!

In the milieu that is social media, there is a growing sound coming from corners we’ve sort of made fun of – there are those discussing the flat earth theory; the lost books of the bible theory; the lost histories; the erroneous histories; the outright false histories; lost cures and health solutions that have nothing to do with big pharma and so on and so on!! Many areas that are popping up more and more. Some of the loud voices lump all these together under “conspiracy theories,” but these are but a few of the things popping up out there. And these are the ones that have been assaulting my brain!

Flat Earth Map

And the more I delve into all these rabbit holes, sometimes the more depressed I get. Because if all this stuff is true – and I have only barely touched the surface of it all here – our entire lives we have been lied to, and told stories to keep us compliant and in line with no one even thinking of stepping out of bounds. Plus!! And this is a big one – all those hours of studying were just spent memorizing things the powers that be wanted us to know – they are not the truth. On so much of it – I want a refund! And today, I still did not use Algebra. LOL.

Christ Pantocrator

I had a lengthy, and deep discussion with a good friend the other day, and that conversation is what enticed me to write this post. I was lamenting all these things that were coming at me, from all these different sources, about sp many, many, things. And she asked pointed questions: (1) Does knowing this stuff make your life less stressed? (2) Do these facts help your walk with God? (3) Does is change your faith? And she made me think. She believes the Bible is the “inspired word of God,” and she accepts that the Council of Nicea was inspired by the Holy Spirit to include the books God wanted in the Bible (and she is so not Catholic). She told me that she believes that God gave us the blueprint for living in His inspired Word. Anything else is just extra, dross, superfluous. And mostly unnecessary. She also told me that she refuses to let all this stuff in this crazy world make her miserable. She works in her yard, helps with community things, spends time with friends, and lives her life. She asked me what I was going to do. And this is what I came up with:

I am a woman of faith. I love attending Divine Liturgy and soaking up the Word of God. I love praying. I love being a Christian woman who attends Church. And I love incense, and beeswax candles, and icons, and hearing a chanted liturgy. Why deny myself the style of worship I love? Why pretend I am just a believer in Christ and not a church-affiliated person? Yes, there are things I think should change about the Church. Yes, I do believe the smoke of Satan has entered the Church and evil is everywhere. Everywhere. In every Church. In every belief system. In all aspects of government and public life. Because we have been suppressing ourselves, under the tutelage of public opinion. We need to take it back.

Madonna of the Streets

One of my favorite depictions of the Blessed Mother is the one above – the Madonna of the Streets. I have a 3-d bust of this hanging in the master bathroom. She just reminds me of being a mother, caring adoringly for her Child. And She leads by example. The consummate Mother. I have religious art over my entire house, in literally every room. And it comforts me. So why fight it? Why not continue living it, living my faith?

So perhaps the flat earthers have some legit points. Maybe NASA is all smoke and mirrors and that massive budget they have has nothing to do with outer space but are a way to influence the public… some sort of undercover alphabet agency. *Sigh* I suppose I can let all that slide. I can, instead, stop going to those sites. I can, instead, binge on Magnolia TV (Not gonna lie – mildly obsessed). I can wake up and pray, instead of checking social media. I can work to lose hours of phone time every week instead of spending so much time monitoring the moment-by-moment goings on of the DC swamp/establishment. Basically, I can take a breath. Settle my mind. Ease the stress.

Prayer

“Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The Jesus prayer, recited every moment you think of it can help center your day. It leads me into deeper prayer with Christ. It can offset the chaos around me. It can help me enter into a deeper walk with Christ. And I can regain my foothold in this world, working on my garden, my family, my life. God is good. And after all is said and done, God wins.

Send me!

“Listen and hear My voice; pay attention to what I say.” Isaiah 28:23

Being profound or saying something of importance, is a hard thing to pull off. Especially for those of us who write and/or blog. Lots of us think we are arm-chair pundits or philosophers. Most of us fail miserably at it. But the overriding theme is that we just want to be heard. Everyone has an opinion, based on their learned experiences, personality, and outlook. Many of us base our responses and verbiage on our faith, and our interpretation of our faith. And there are many among us who spout off and say horrible things to one another, because of those experiences we have had, or perhaps a mental condition. There are many who are ill from a variety of reasons.

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me.

John 10:27

Trying to be Christ-like to others all the time is exhausting. I know we have all met people who seem to have an aura of peace around them. They are a pleasure to be around. Their presence lightens the room and our spirits feel filled. We also know those who drain the life out of us every moment spent in their presence. Quite often, just being in public where I am called upon to interact with others, can drain the life out of me. I love people and those who know me know I love to gab. As I have gotten older, and am alone more often than not, I have come to relish the solitude and quiet. And it takes a lot out of me to socialize.

And the crux of this post is experiencing the voices of others, and discerning import, and dross. And also, I do long for my couple of close girlfriends and our long chats at my table. I miss those days so much. Hubby works from home most of the time, so I try to leave him alone and not bother him. It makes for quiet days. And I understand why my dad, with his delusions, is so lonely for the voice of others, especially those he loves. I am not as angry or short-tempered with him as I once was. It was a steep learning curve! Being Christ-like can rip the energy out of me, but it also gives me profound peace. I love to imagine Christ smiling when I get along better with my dad, and others I have a hard time with. It is making me stretch as a person. So funny it’s taken 65 years! (No laughing).

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

James 1:19

Conversations these days are so guarded. We have to tip-toe around those who believe differently than we do because tempers seem to flare so easily. I have never understood why those who lean towards the left seem to be so angry. And there are so many self-righteous people who lean more conservatively, as well. It is a dance. Some days I just want to sit it out. Getting your voice into the miasma that is social media is not easy. I am happy to have made some internet friends who think more like I do than my own children, and who are “popular” or known in the conservative arena. They take the time to chat and reinforce my beliefs. It is like a safe kiddie pool to get into, rather than the raging seas of media exchanges. And even the times I miss with friends would not be repeatable these days because I am far more into all these odd theories than they are! I am sure they think I am a little nuts. And that is okay. We meander around the issues and stick to what we know – our kids, grandkids, recipes, gardening, husbands. LOL. The problem, as I see it (again, wanting to share my opinion and get my voice out there) is that the world is not getting better. We are going to have to pinch a lot of pennies to enjoy our upcoming camping trip – the gas alone is gonna kill us! It may turn out to be our only foray in our camper this year. The grocery bills are becoming daunting. Our savings are shrinking. And most of the pundits, even those on the left and even bankers, are warning us this is the lull before the big storm. What is a small voice like mine to do?

But whosoever listens to Me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.

Proverbs 1:33

I must put my cares upon the Lord. Only He knows what is best for me. And God wins. The war is won, although we are facing many battles ahead of us. With prayers on my lips, I can drown out the cacophony of noise that surrounds us these days. I can turn off media. I can listen only to Christian music, that will uplift me and give me courage. I can read only written works that speak to my spirit. I can rely on the many promises of God to protect his flock. In all of that, I can also put my hands to the plow and not look back, only forward, towards my Lord. (“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:62). We can each come out of this on the other side, better people than when these trials began.

And do not be fooled – the times we are in are just the beginning. We should all be prepared. We all should stock up on water and food, enough for months. We should start growing things to sustain us. We need to know where our food comes from – meet your local farmers. Get involved in food security groups. Plan ahead in case our freedoms are severely hampered or even compromised. Just like you plan with natural disasters – have safe places to meet up. Learn to communicate using radios and other methods. Be secure in your home. Know your neighbors. Be discreet in your preparations. But also prepare to help those who never thought bad things would happen.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age…

Titus 2:11-12

Living upright and godly lives in this present age…oh my word, this present age! I never thought we would have pride month where even mayonnaise gets a rebranding and spelling! Or children are encouraged to attend parades and be exposed to kink? Are you serious? We need to take this country back in so many, many arenas. We need God back in every aspect of our lives. We need strong men and women to take their families back and to just say no to the programming and interference in the raising of future generations. Not everyone deserves a trophy. Not everyone should go to college. Every child deserves to be safe, and loved, surrounded by family. The time to act is now. Grab those kids, get them into church, get them digging in the dirt and planting food, get them off the electronic gadgetry that plagues them, surround them with extended family and friends who feel the same way. Support other families like yours. Plan where your dollars go, especially as they are valued less and less. And teach your children to listen for that still, small voice of God in the every day of life.

The Lord said, ‘Go stand out on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake. but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’

1 Kings 19:11-13

We all expect big things from God. Enormous acts of fire and brimstone, ushering an age wherein the Glory of God will be shown. If you read Revelations with the end times in mind, you want to curl in a ball and hide. Those will be terrible times, to be sure. But we are living in pretty awful times as it is. I am not waiting for some Project Moonbeam holographic image in the sky from the deep state telling me it is the second coming of Christ. I will await that gentle whisper. Because God’s voice is unique – you will know when He speaks. His voice is what counts.

All the wicked of the earth You discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.

Psalm 119:119

The rest of the noise is dross…the extra that comes from smelting or purifying metal. There is no dross, no imperfection in the Word of God. So discernment is key. Planning is important. Treating others the way God would treat you. These are the important things. And our voices will be added together to form choirs, praising God, even among the chaos.

I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.

Psalm 34:2-3

“I dipped my toes into the water and I got soaked to the bone…”

I dipped my toes..

As many of you know who read this blog with any regularity, I had my mom living with me, and she had end-stage Alzheimer’s. It’s been a year this month that she passed away. And I still have my dad. He lives on the other side of the country. His wife and stepdaughter had him admitted to a memory care facility. And he is mad. I mean he is completely pissed off.

He called me – twice in 5 minutes – yesterday, pleading for advice for a problem he doesn’t have and only imagines. Delusions are a part of his daily living. He ranted and raved at me for 1 hour and 35 minutes. I barely got a word in. Entering into Alzheimer’s World is like Alice going down the rabbit hole. I have been down some amazing rabbit holes with my mom, to be sure. But she got kind as the disease progressed. She passed over angry right around the time she was diagnosed. She accepted things. It still made her angry, but in some odd way, as she approached death, she got quiet and comfortable with herself. And she was great to be around. Not my father. My relationship with him has been chaotic at best. So very stressful. And each time he would nose his way in, my family would suffer. Because he treated me so poorly and my kids and husband despised him for it. And as this delusional aspect of dementia has grown stronger, he is more and more difficult to deal with. And I have not seen him in over 20 years – he lives on the opposite side of the country and was always too busy for me and mine. But now that he is alone in a facility, he wants me, his oldest daughter, to make things right. Like I have any authority whatsoever. He signed all that away years ago to his wife and his middle stepdaughter. Because of Hippa – I have no rights where he is concerned. And he is mad I cannot fix things.

Internet photo – but it looks a lot like my dad!

I tried to reason with him and finally got quiet. I had him on speaker on my laptop and actually played solitaire while listening to his rant. I didn’t bother commenting – it did nothing but fan the flames of his intense anger. It may seem strange that I am this bothered, but my dad has always been just out of reach for me. I never performed quite good enough; I was never thin enough; I didn’t become a doctor; I homeschooled my kids; we attended the wrong Church…it goes on and on. And my entire life I have tried to be the daughter that made him proud. Now, at 95 and in end-stage dementia with delusions, he tells me he loves me, he is proud of the life I have made, he thinks our kids are amazing adults, but he’s mad he has no relationship with any of us. His rant was pretty thorough yesterday. At one point he told me he never wants to talk to me again because I always make him so angry; in the next breath he says I’m the only one he ever wants to talk to because I challenge his intellect. *Sigh* It was a long, long, conversation.

The inner me…

I know he gets to me because I am still that 6-year-old girl trying to gain daddy’s love somehow. Dad was always working. And when he came home we were instructed to be quiet and not make noise or upset him. Mom had his gin-and-tonic waiting, all dressed and cleaned up, dinner cooking. Everything had to be clean and neat, because he was under so much stress. We had to be clean, dressed, and playing quietly, homework done, in our rooms. Dad was working most of my childhood on getting a man into space before the Russians. We lost that race; he had a mental breakdown. I was around 9 or 10 years old. Then we had to be really quiet! As my brother and I entered our teens, dad changed careers and had his own business. He was even more busy. Our lives were the dichotomy of feast or famine. LOL. We’d have lots of toys like boats and cars, and then we’d get food stamps. It was chaotic and nothing we could count on. We were forced to work at his plant on afternoons and weekends. It was all or nothing. And it still feels like that rat race when I speak with him. He is still on the treadmill… I wish he could have read, “Who moved my cheese?” It truly may have helped. I think dad is totally the “hem” character. If you haven’t, you should read the book!

Still chasing my cheese…keeps moving…

And so how do I help a 95-year-old who has delusional dementia, and who lives across the country? *sigh* For me, I go back to my faith. I have no authority in dad’s life to make any changes, for better or worse. That is in stone. I live literally 1000s of miles away and have not seen him in over 20 years. We were estranged for several years until this past year. Our relationship is basically one where he rants and I listen. I cannot affect any change in our relationship. My brother says we can never get our dad back, nor have any real relationship with him, other than to listen. Soon, we both believe, he will forget about us all together. Maybe that will be a blessing. And then we would wait for that final telephone call. I’m not sure. But I know this – God is merciful. My dad needs abundant mercy. And so I pray for that. For him. For me. For my entire, extended, messed-up family. I came across these lyrics today, and they made me smile and feel the love of God in my life. I will end this reflection with them:

I dipped my toes into the water and got soaked to the bone; I turned my gaze to my Father, and suddenly I was home.

I gave everything away and I became rich, indebted to the abundance that You so readily give.

I became obedient and my freedom flourished like a bird; I became selfless and fell even more in love.

I dipped my toes into the water and was soaked to the bone; I turned my gaze to my Father, and suddenly I was home.

Dipped my toes by kinnship

…”even the winds and the sea are obedient to Thee.”

And most of us don’t know it!

The days are getting stranger and stranger. Things are happening worldwide that boggle the mind. The USA is now being called out on their bioweapons labs – over 300 and counting – around the world. The ones in Ukraine are being systematically destroyed by Putin, and he has completed his task and is now working on peace with Ukraine. However, it is looking more and more like the recent bout with this plandemic was indeed that – a planned pandemic – that our own country has released upon us, and the rest of the world. (Research the China games with our military). DNA markers show us that Moderna had a patent on the genes in the virus. That our country is testing even worse viruses and diseases worldwide. The plan to reduce the population is being put into effect. What what is next? Honestly, I’m not surprised by much any longer. An article posted this morning was about the CEO of Disney being arrested (and then later released) for child trafficking. Meanwhile over 100 people were arrested in Florida for child trafficking and there were a few who worked at Disney World. The rumors of tunnels and kids missing from these theme parks are turning out to have much more truth to them. And it should scare everyone.

Help Stop Human Trafficking

The catchy phrases like “Save the Children” and others are not merely words to be bandied about. In most of the conspiracy theories out there, it all comes down to saving human beings from being treated like cattle – or worse. There are innumerous stories of human trafficking worldwide. There are names and places that crop up like Clinton, Haiti, Epstein, and others, all connected to this horrific trade in human beings. Children go missing at the rate of more than 460,000 per year in the US alone. How do we lose almost one-half million people EVERY YEAR????? And minor children at that??? Where are the values on human life in our country? We simply do not value life enough.

The Intrinsic value of each human life.

“The times, they are a changin'”…as the old song tells us, written by Bob Dylan in 1963. If only he knew then how much we would all change by now! He was born in the 40s and has seen so much change in his life, as I have in mine. The taking of the life of an unborn infant was so rare, and illegal. Yes, I am aware of backdoor clinics and drives in the night to have it done anyway. However, life was much more valued when I was a child. Each person had their own dignity, be it recognized or not. The societal changes that came about in the 60s is still affecting us in 2022. There were many good things, yes. Many! When I was a young girl in my teens, and I wanted to open a savings account, I had to be accompanied by my father – my mom couldn’t help because only men could do that. As weird as that sounds now! So many things we take for granted are now all being questioned. I trusted the world at large as a kid. I no longer do. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I trust almost nothing any longer. Like I posted before, I want a refund! LOL!

Because geometry….ugh

So much of what I was taught is bogus. And of course, the one above, geometry. It was the least favorite subject of mine in high school. Miss Vogler. She honestly used a pencil to keep her hair in a knot on the back of her head. She reminds me so much of the crazy teacher character in Men in Black they show on the big screen. I crack up every time I see that. But the point is, I seriously did not get geometry. So to use it as an argument about the sun doesn’t help me, but the graphics work better. LOL.

Sun dogs? Maybe not…

Here in Alaska we have this phenomena called Sun Dogs. We see more than one sun at a time. It is much like the top two photos. And then there are the bottom two photos. Ugh. We have been fooled once again.

So I have a wandering mind. My dad this morning (he is 95) informed me that he always loved that about me. How I would dive into a subject, get the gist of it, and move on to the next thing that caught my imagination. Ha-Ha. I responded that I am very much “a jack of all trades but master of none” in my intellectual pursuits. He replied that he wishes he could invert that about me. (Still not exactly meeting his expectations, even at my age!). He did, however, tell me he was proud of how I pursued knowledge in many, disparate, subjects. In college, I changed my major so many times that when I went into change it for the final attempt at grasping a degree, the kid at the counter asked me if my student ID was fake because “that’s a real old ID number.” So I took 10 years…I learned a lot. Ha-Ha-Ha.

Today I am still in that exploding brain emoji pattern. I keep being shown more and more evidence that still has the ability to rock my world. Hubby is coming out of it, but he is just pissed in general. It is part of that “cognitive dissonance” experience. I learned just a week ago that honey is actually bee vomit. We eat bee vomit. And it has rocked my world. I haven’t had honey since that day. Euwww….although I have since learned that bees have two stomachs, and one is for honey nectar and water. They do, however, spit it out of their mouths from this special stomach. So for me, still euwww. (Ha-Ha-Ha! Some things should not be messed with).

Bee doing its’ spitting thing in a hive…

So perhaps you can see how my brain does not let me get good rest. I keep throwing all these things into the air and grabbing onto them, and more I have not listed, daily. And as I sit here, I am trying to decide what dessert to bring for our pinochle game tonight. It is a veritable rabbit’s warren in my head. How do we find peace in amongst all this chaos? For me, it is in prayer. It is in community with like-minded people. You know you have found your tribe when you can express what you are thinking, sans any filters, and are accepted for who you are. How refreshing is that??? Good friends, community, all hemmed in with faith and prayer. The world can careen out of control, but if we tend our own yards, we can find peace. If each person in this world would tend to their own yard, imagine how quiet and peaceful the world could be. Of course, there are variants in all things, but the overall, and overreaching, tone would be one of peaceful growth – in self and in gardens and in community. So that’s where I hang on. I cling to the promises of God; I commune with Him all the time (“Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner – on constant repeat), and I seek like minded people to commune with. God is so good to me – some days I flounder particularly hard, but He always calms my spirit and brings perspective to all of this. Pray – constantly – my friends. Pray.

Pound Cake

Maybe a pound cake for tonight. Hmmmm….yep; aways thinking…lol! Maybe we are all mad here. LOL.

Save me, O Lord, for I am perishing! Behold my ship is imperiled by the battering of the waves of life and is nigh unto sinking! But as Thou art full of loving-kindness and sympathetic to our weakness, with Thine almighty authority rebuke the tumult of tribulations which threaten to overwhelm me and drag me down into the depths of evil. And let there be calm, for even the winds and the sea are obedient to thee. Amen.

Akathist to Almight God – for Help in trouble, st. paisius orthodox monastery

On a dime…

On a dime…

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

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

Fearful?

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

Wilderness Get-Away

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

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

Here we are!

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

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

Maternity Massage Pillow I used.

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

Dr. Pol

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

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

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

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

“Therefore, do not fear them…”

Do you ever wonder why people think the way they do? Or where they get their information from? Forming a conscious is not something to be taken lightly. I have quoted him before, but one of my favorite books is, “Our thoughts determine our lives: the life and teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica.” It is one of those books that can inform your conscious for the rest of your life. Elder Thaddeus was a savior of the Serbian people and the Church in Serbia. His concise teachings are so remarkable, that they should be known by all peoples.

I have read this book more than once. I have highlighted all through it, and I have grown with each reading. His teaching of simplicity of thought is groundbreaking for our times because so few people are simple thinkers, if they think things through at all. Our conscious can be formed by the people we surround ourselves with, by the voices we allow to penetrate our thoughts. I have spoken to the use of the television to influence people, and it is being played out large right now. Most people do not even realize they become parrots of what is said on the nightly news. That they purchase products because they see innumerable commercials about it, or some celebrity uses or wears it (aka: product placement). Here is something interesting:

All of that influence from a program on Netflix. This is an example of how we are programmed daily. There are products who do not advertise, but just have amazing logos. They place their logos on T-shirts and coffee cups, pillows and stickers. And when we see the logo, we know what it is. I remember my girlfriend’s daughter could tell her mom what she wanted to eat, and knew where she was pulling into, by the logo, because she was 3 and did not read, yet. But she knew McDonald’s “golden arches” and the bell of Taco Bell. Ingenious marketing. And we have all fallen for it, hook, line, and sinker, as they say.

Bringing a person to a conscious awareness of something like this can be so difficult. I watched an experiment today of a woman sitting in a crowded waiting room. She was the sole experiment. Every time a tiny bell would ring, everyone in the room stood up. And sat down again. This woman was looking around like everyone was nuts. But after a few bell-rings and standings, she joined in. She had no idea why everyone was standing for the bell, nor was she given instructions, nor had anyone else in the room spoken a word to her (it was completely silent in the room). But she wanted to fit in. So she stood when the crowd stood. Think of masks. When everyone around you is wearing one, you think maybe you should, too. Why? Social pressure, unstated but understood, to fit in, regardless of how you believe. Think of the early Nazi movement, and not just about the Jewish issue, but German people in general. The children were indoctrinated in the schools and were encouraged to turn in their parents, if they did not support the Nazi government. Neighbors would turn in neighbors. It was easy, relatively, to round up entire families of dissenters of the Nazi party, because they were told to go with the soldiers, and no one told them not to. It happened so quickly, too. Hitler began his rise to power in early 1931 and was in complete control by 1934. Think about that.

Right now, we have things happening in this country that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. We are a country of immigrants. My family story is not that out of the ordinary. My parents immigrated here in the early 1950s. They chose to come here because they could have a better life. Their life was not bad, by any means, but in order for my dad to fulfill his dream of space engineering, the USA was the place to be. And so they came. It took them 5 years of application nightmares, but they came. My dad was able to live his dream of participating in putting a man on the moon, for America and American pride. The Space Program celebrated American smarts and ingenuity and I am proud of my dad’s participation (many people say our space program was run by Nazi scientists brought over here through “Operation Paperclip.” It sickens me when I think about it, and it is one of those reluctant rabbit holes for me. I am still trying to wrap my head around that, and also that the entire space program was faked…aka: Wag the Dog).

This was one of the many projects my father worked on for North American and NASA.

My in-laws, on both sides, have a different story in that they all were escaping the horrors of early communistic rule in Russia. They knew persecution and starvation, of a government out of control with the love of power. They escaped horrific situations and found their freedom on the plains of Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, and Colorado. They dug deeply into the land and farmed and wove their story into the fabric that is America. They brought their strong faith, sense of family, their many traditions, their unique music and dancing, and foods that I have grown to love. Being a part of this culture changed my life – for the better.

One of my favorites! Schwartzbeeren! Volga German Blackberries!

For both my husband and myself, we are proud to be Americans. Proud of the fact that our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents chose to forge a life of freedom, and hard work, where they could fully participate in the American Dream. Their voices counted for something. They were hard-earned and they mattered. Our family members who struggled and suffered so much to be here would be ashamed and appalled at the disrespect and the manipulations of one of our most important rights – the right to vote. The right to have each person’s voice heard and for it to count. And to literally be counted on Election Day.

Make no mistake, our country is under manipulation and attack. The mindsets of millions think this is okay because they have been indoctrinated in our schools and universities. They have listened to, and trusted, the news outlets with their many expert pundits tell us for decades to trust them. So when a huge farce is played out in the landscape that is our political arena, and merged into our personal lives, millions do not see it. The absolute fraud in our voting systems negates the votes of anyone and everyone – this is not left/right, republican/democrat. It has moved so beyond that. It is disenfranchising the average working man/woman, regardless of party affiliation. Their votes are taken away each time fraud was committed. There are statisticians and computer experts now saying our current elected officials are more than likely there because of fraud. Our voting machines were connected to the internet and were open to manipulations of votes, and outcomes, from interests in foreign countries! Nothing was secure from anyone, once it was live online! China and Venezuela are two countries that are constantly noted. Servers in other countries, specifically Germany, have been seized and we are awaiting their analysis. This election is far from over. DO NOT BUY INTO THEIR NARRATIVE. It is like the use of this Chinese Flu, which was infiltrated into America on purpose, to manipulate us into using mail-in-ballots. (And which the use of was contested by BOTH SIDES more than 10 years ago). It is a virus and can make you sick, yes, but it is milder than the flu. It is more virulent, but less deadly.

I am begging you to turn off everything – radios, televisions, computers, podcasts, phones except to use as an actual telephone. This is Advent. For many of us it is more than two weeks into it. We are to pray, to fast, to focus on the Coming of the Lord into the World, and into our hearts. We have to stop allowing that box in our homes to spit out lies and lead us to doubt, to question, to numbly follow human beings who do not have our best interests at heart. They have their own agenda, and it is all about power, and control. Do you want a vaccine card that allows you to drive your car, do your job, shop at your local grocers? A vaccine the manufacturer says causes sterility in woman? Where is this leading us? Can we smile at people and love them and have them know it, through a mask? Masks were always worn by criminals to hide their identities. People hide themselves to escape notice of others. But it also impedes our ability to love one another. To trust one another. Are we to be afraid of the flu for the rest of our lives? To live in fear and masks? To be quarantined when we are not even sick? To close businesses because of lockdowns (to slow the curve, dontcha know??). To shut our country down for the agenda of those who want to control us? I am afraid for my grandchildren. What sort of country are we leaving them?

My grandma apologized to me once, for the mindset of my dad. She said that they all suffered deprivation during WWII, and that when it was over, and they could, they spoiled their kids. They praised them overmuch for small victories because the trials had been so hard. They tried to make them succeed even when they did not really earn it. My grandparents continued to bail out my dad until their deaths, when my dad was in his late 60s and early 70s. She lamented the state of the world with so many spoiled brats running around. She said that the “greatest generation” bore one of the most spoiled. Makes you think – and here we are. Spoiled by power, those in control want to stay that way.

Once again, please think for yourself. Rely on solid information, not just the local newscast or that of the MSM nightly news program. Search for the truth. Even our medical community has been fed lies by the CDC, who change their data and their minds almost daily. The MSM is declaring a candidate a winner – it’s not their job nor their responsibility to say someone has won, and then censor everyone who disagrees with their interpretation of the election process. The world is careening out of control, and how America goes, so goes this world of ours. It is time to “put on the armor of God” and to stand up for what you believe in! Hang in there. Nothing is over in this election cycle, yet. The only firm date in our Constitution is January 20th!

“…a thousand may fall…”

Oh my word. I have so much I could say. There is just so much going on. I just listened to the press briefing from President Trump and his team fighting this virus. I do believe there is a lot more going on, in the background. But that is another discussion. I trust and I believe.

Depending on which translation of the Bible you use, the verses and books can be numbered differently. In spite of that, I thought to offer you a Psalm for your reflection, and perhaps some peace. When I read this for my Lenten Study, I have to tell you, it resonated deeply for me. This week’s reflection theme is prayer, and when I re-read the Psalm from last week, it sunk in even deeper. The reflection from St. Theophan the Recluse, written in 1864, is so incredibly relevant today. Here are bits and pieces, and then I will give you the Psalm.

“Not every act of prayer is prayer. Standing before your icons, or in church, and venerating them is not yet prayer, but the “equipment” of prayer. Reading prayers either by heart or from a book, or hearing someone else read them is not yet prayer, but only a “tool” or method for obtaining awakening prayer. Prayer itself is the piercing of our hearts by pious feelings towards God, one after another – feelings of humility, submission, gratitude, doxology, forgiveness, heart-felt prostration, brokenness, conformity to the will of God, etc.” And he goes on to say, “Finally, when you finish your prayers, do not go immediately off to any sort of work, but remain and think at least a little about what you have just finished and what now lies before you. If some feeling was given to you during prayer, keep it after you pray….”  And then he said, “He who has tasted sweet things does not desire bitter things.” And “All praying leaves prayer in the soul…”

Perhaps we can focus more deeply in these troubling times, on how we approach prayer, and where it takes us, and where it touches us deeply. Maybe its resonance will be spread everywhere. And prayer definitely gives us peace. “Acquire a spirit of peace, and thousands around you will be saved. ” (St. Seraphim of Sarov)

So here we go. Depending, like I said, on which translation you use, this is either Psalm 90 or 91

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,  nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;  they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

And therein lies the promise to all of us. The Lord, who we call upon and call our refuge, will not allow harm to overtake us. I find such comfort here. And I hope you, whomever you are and whatever circumstance you find yourself in, will also draw comfort and peace.

 

“Let evil be…”

This was posted to my Instagram feed by Draw Near Designs. If you have not discovered them yet, please check them out. They are a group of 3 moms doing amazing things! (I will give you the link here). But my post is all about what was said. I cannot get this out of my head. And I am so grateful that my new Prayer Companion (link here) has a section entitled, “Things I never want to forget.” And that is exactly where this quote is now written.

Sometimes, especially having a writer’s heart, we attach ourselves to a set of words and just cannot erase them. It is like what happened when my HS girlfriend mentioned “Sponge Bob Square Pants” yesterday – I was singing that stupid song for hours. And I let her know I was not happy about that, too! LOL! And even though this is completely on a different plane, this happened to me when I read St. Porphyrios’ quote and it has stayed with me all day and all night. Why?

“Let evil be.”

For me, that is why. It goes back to sayings like, “Why poke the bear?” Why are we consumed with all the evil in the world? Goodness knows it certainly is more prevalent and in your face than in times past. I am not saying the “sky is falling” but I am saying that we need to be aware that we are not chasing after the right things. “Look towards Christ and that will save you.” With all the insanity out there, we sometimes lose our focus because the icky stuff shoved into our faces grabs our attention away from what we need to focus on.

What will your year look like? What will be your focus? Personally, I am loving the #bloginstead idea. I am also rededicating myself to intense prayer – daily prayer. I am trying to focus on an “attitude of gratitude” this year, as well as one of humble petition. I am trying to not look at the evil around me, but instead to look towards Christ” as my first and only vision. As my filter on the rest of what goes on around me. Am I holier than the next person? Oh my word, not in the least. It is why I know I need a new focus. A new way of orienting my days, because our days add up to years. And those years add up quickly to our lifetime. Do I want my lifetime to reflect the evil around me? I think that if we ignore the evil and focus on the saintly, we take the power from evil. We put the power and emphasis on what is truly important:

“What makes a person saintly is love.”

So I cannot stop thinking about this and I think that is a good thing. I was asked what my phrase would be for this year, and I don’t think I want to parse this quote down to a single phrase, but rather memorize it, and never forget it. Because what is at stake is the salvation of my soul, and the souls God has entrusted to me. Everyone I come into contact with deserves my better outlook and my striving towards holiness. I am so happy to have found this quote. I am saving it in my Prayer Companion so I can look at it daily, and I ordered a 5×7 print from Draw Near Designs! Going to frame it and display it! Vision of the holy keeps me on track! Icons all over. Holy cards stuffed into everything. It works for me! And I am determined to make this start to 2020 the best, ever, for me.