Friday, June 29, 2012

We are Here, We are Here, We are Here!

 Our country is descending into tyranny.

There are two elements that stand out.

1. The spiritual.
The day Barack Obama was elected, I said to my husband that I believe now all Christian believers' faith is going to be tested. One choice is to go along, get along, and compromise ourselves into something that cannot be recognized as Christian. Some are doing that. Catholics for Choice comes to mind here. The other is to become firmly rooted. To learn, know and live out our faith, and if things keep going in a direction pointed directly in opposition to God and to freedom and liberty, then believers will stand out in more and more relief against the backdrop. Our call to be salt and light will be the rubber hitting the road. I didn't really want to be right about that, but in the wake of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling, I feel it all the more, times ten. We will be sifted like wheat, believers. We will either cling to God and His way, or we will not.

2. The Natural.
For all people of faith, and for all others that want to live in a free America , we must get out of bed, literally and figuratively. Wake up and see that America as we have known her is slipping away.  We have to fight for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren. We have to be an example of fortitude. And above all -- because this is the only way we can make our voice heard -- on Tuesday, November 6, we ALL get up and go vote. Every last one of us. The media would have us believe we are a small, fanatical segment of the population, like one of the *Whos in Whoville,  too small to be heard. We are not, in reality, that small, but the principle applies. To every  *JoJo out there -- if we all speak on November 6, it will be a resounding WE ARE HERE!, shouted to this administration. We must encourage every single person that their vote matters. I live in a city that is heavily democratic. But I know that my vote still matters! I live in a city where Black Panthers stood in front of a polling place with billy clubs to intimidate those that would not be likely to vote for Barack Obama. So guess what folks--that means OUR votes are worth suppressing. (a little aside -- those Black Panthers got off scot- free because a certain attorney general did not think it necessary to prosecute them.) (oh, and in my city, dems are boiling mad that people will have to show a valid ID to vote. Speaks volumes.)

You get the point.  Vote. And get everyone you know to do the same.

 *references, to those not familiar, are from Horton Hears a Who, a very prophetic story, full of spiritual truths.

the rest of the analogy is also quite apropos-

 "Rot, rot, rot rot! It's a plot, plot, plot, plot!
We’re the Wickersham Brothers. We're on to your plot.
Pretending to talk to Whos who are not.
It's a deep dyed evil political plot.
Pretending your talking to Whos who are not.

We’re the Wickersham Brothers. We’re vigilant spotters.
Hotshot spotters of rotters and plotters.
And we’re going to save our sons and our daughters -from you.
You’re a dastardly, gastardly, shnastardly schnook,
and you’re trying to brainwash our brains -with this gobbledygook!

(spoken) We know what you’re up to, pal.
You’re trying to shatter our morale.
You’re trying to stir up discontent...
(sung) And seize the reins of government.

You’re trying to throw sand in our eyes;
You're trying to kill free enterprise;
And raise the cost of figs and dates;
and wreck our compound interest rates.
And shut our schools, and steal our jewels,
And even change our football rules;
Take away our garden tools,
and lock us up in ves-ti-bules!
...But for-tu-nate-ly, we're no fools.

We’re the Wickersham brothers. We know your type!
And we're putting a stop to this trickulous tripe
We’re the Wickersham brothers; we're squashing your plot.
There'll be no more talking to Whos... who are not!

There'll be no more talking to Whos who are not!
There'll be no more talking to Whos who are not!
There'll be no more talking to Whos...
-no more talking to Whos... who are not!"

Friday, June 8, 2012

7 quick takes ~ summer gratitude edition

Things  for which I am grateful today:

1. that our summer routine will soon be here; meaning, trips to the library and the reading of the fruits of said trips; not getting fundraiser forms every other day from two schools; kids getting summer jobs (hoping--praying), and quite possibly finishing up school before the summer is out! wOOt! So I could conceivably start working by the fall. (both intimidating and exciting!)

2. Thankful to have my family around me, even though at times I attribute my increased greying rate to them.

3. Grateful to God for His faithfulness, and knowing I don't have to have everything in life completely figured out. Especially during scary transition-y times. Which are pretty much all times with us.

4. Grateful that the Wisconsin election went the way it did. It gives me hope that America may have a chance at being the country I know and love, instead of resembling a movie about the apocalypse. And that conservatives open up their eyes to that fact and go vote in November. Every last one of y'all! ahem.
--note-- having a conservative point of view does not equate to being an uptight person who harbors hatred for anyone unlike themselves. What it does mean --especially for Christians-- is holding true to our faith and having true concern for the souls that have rejected or abandoned the God that created and loves them, and being strong enough to tell the truth about that. A true friend will not lie just to make the other feel better.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. .Proverbs 27:5-6
--all the use of the words true and truth just there? intentional.

5.Thankful for friends that offer prayer and support, even remotely, and even in the midst of their own tumultuous lives.

6. For hope. And the gift of unreasonable optimism, due to number 3.

7. For getting older; the perspective it affords, and of course the benefit of having this guy to dote on~

Everybody have a blessed weekend!



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

fighting the good fight

So here I am on what might just be a regular Wednesday. Or maybe it will turn out to be an extraordinary Wednesday in the course of history, who knows?

It has been tough going these past days and weeks. Difficulties with my family, friends, myself. Ugh. Where would I be without prayer in general and the Rosary in particular? I am unable to get myself to daily mass since the advent of school, and am very fortunate if I remember to go on a first Friday. Heck, I can't even rein myself in enough to sit and say a daily Rosary.  My strategy is to start while I am in my morning shower; and finish while I dress and tidy the upstairs, start laundry and do other tasks. Occasionally, I will force myself to sit down for the last decade or so, but that doesn't happen much.

--  this is my hand knotted Rosary. I made it because it travels well. Corrie gave me the cross. which I treasure for that reason and also because Kaden broke it the first time when he was a tiny guy of about one, because I let him play with it and he swung it around, cracking the cross in two as it whacked into a wall. Ever since, if I drop it in church on the marble floors, it breaks in the same place, and I remember again how much fun he was,  running around Meghann and Jeff's cute first apartment, swinging my rosary (then beads).

Today, though, I did pray. I also cleaned house, which is the best therapy when I am feeling anxious. I did much of it simultaneously. I don't think the Blessed Mother minds. I'm sure she did her share of household chores. There is something good about adding work to prayer. There are particularly serious situations happening now that are way beyond my ability to control or even figure out. While I was praying/cleaning, and wondering what I could do, I remembered the verses about adding fasting to our prayer. So I am.
  I woke up this morning with the taste of tea in my mouth. I just kind of laughed to myself and went on, but as I prayed and decided to fast, I remembered that. So -- you guessed it -- a Tea Fast. It's not bad! It helps that Rachael baked the cake I wanted to bake today for me and is helping with dinner preparations. Cause, yeah, the growlies are starting. But, if I didn't feel the hunger, where would the sacrificial element be? So--BRING IT ON!  Haha. I say that now. It's only 3:15.
But I love to put God's word to the test. (Not God himself). He even invites us to put his words to the test, and see how faithful He is.
*note--it is now after dinner, and we ended up having my daughter and her fiance, who also brought lovely additions to the meal, so, out of COURTESY I had to eat. I am thinking of trying again tomorrow, even though I know even a partial fast "counts." Hopefully I will not wake up tomorrow with the taste of --say-- chocolate cake, cause that would be a weird fast.

You know how sometimes the strangest things can give you hope and inspiration? Right now I am reading the novel Shogun, by James Clavell. I've read it a couple times before, but it's been years. Something I find very striking is the courage and faith of the character Mariko. She is a convert to the Catholic faith, but she is also samurai. A woman's role in her world is a strange mixture of quiet subservience mixed with respect and even power. As samurai she is trained to fight and courageously defend her liege lord. She prays to the Virgin, but can wield her swords when necessary.  I feel drawn to that image; a Catholic woman, living in the modern world that is very often hostile to my beliefs, having to face difficult, often impossible situations, and occasionally having to fight against oppressors, both human and spirit.
 Another aspect of the Japanese culture, as portrayed in the book, is the ability to draw serenity and solace from the beauty of nature, during even the most turbulent experiences. The Lord Toranaga is, at one point, hemmed in by enemies and desperately casting about for a way to survive, both physically and politically. Before he makes any decision he has a cup of tea, and listens to the rain. There are scores of examples of this kind of practice in the story, and while they are drawn from an Eastern pattern of thought, I equate them with drawing my thoughts away from the present moment, and turning toward Jesus, and asking the Holy Spirit to guide me. I am looking forward to getting my back patio spruced up for summer, to provide just that kind of spot to sit and be quiet in.
Last night, after a pretty rough day full of inner distress, I looked out my bedroom window, and the full moon hung just over the tops of the houses across the street. I was touched by the beauty and singular position I had just happened to catch it, so I took this picture.

All those other orbs are my windows making crazy effects. But it was a cool moment. Take my word for it.

The other thing I am doing, besides, praying, cleaning, fasting, and not fasting, is trying to say thank you to God and to people.
Today--thankful for my health, my home, the love of my husband and children,  the beautiful weather, God's provision of our needs. For certain people knowing I needed some extra company and support. For friends that pray. For a lovely quiet morning.

Now here are the harder ones -- I am grateful nonetheless, because they are opportunities for Grace: tough financial times, illness of family members, other broken sinners who say hurtful things in hurtful ways, my own wounds being reopened, sadness,  fear, regret.  These may not provide comfort now, but they teach.

Here are a few pictures that arrived with perfect timing--unbeknownst to the senders.

Who could not feel the smile of God when looking at those?