30 May 2020

Settling the Mind


Ever since the lockdown began, much as I have tried, I have been unable to really settle.  I haven't done well with completing projects -- other than DIY projects in the home which took my mind off of things.  Ian has been back at work for nearly four weeks, albeit under very different circumstances, and I have still struggled to calm down and focus.  Although I think we have been very blessed here and have not undergone much of the tragedy and trauma of this whole pandemic, it obviously has still had quite an effect on our psyche.

Just this past week I said, right, I am going to sit down with a large cross stitch WIP and get going on it.  I am happy to say that I have done this most days now for almost a week.  And, as it turns out, it has had a very settling effect on my state of mind. 

Although, if you look at this picture below, you will see just a portion of the huge pile of finished stitching projects that still need a final finish.  I would love to have access to a professional finisher!


Of course, I and we have been doing a HUGE amount of prayer, online Masses, and spiritual reading, and yes, that has had an enormously positive impact on both of us.  But yet, it was hard to align myself with a normal daily life and schedule. 

At long last, I believe I am starting to settle down.  One thing we both agree wholeheartedly is that it is VERY detrimental to have too much news on a daily basis.  We check in with things once a day, to see what's what, but that's it.  Thankfully, we do NOT have a television, so we are saved the perpetual inundation of information none of us really needs to have.  However, I admit I have been obsessively writing down in my diary the daily numbers for the UK, the USA, Scotland, and the Highlands -- the total number of Covid-19 cases to date, and the death toll.  I think the UK should be very ashamed of the appallingly high numbers, but that's for another discussion.


Meanwhile, in addition to the spiritual practices we have been working on over the past many weeks, I have started really enjoying the Word on Fire Show, both the podcast and the video format.  Wow.  I have learned a LOT.  And I believe I could listen to these discussions several times over and continue to glean new and beneficial things from them.  So, I multitask to the degree that I listen to this show while stitching!  If you are interested, you can find them on YouTube as part of Bishop Robert Barron's channel.

This past Thursday, Scotland moved into Phase One (of Four) of the easing of our lockdown.  And tonight, my husband is off fishing, now that the fishery is open!  He has been chomping at the bit.

Finally, when things are just too much, I can always take a wee nap in the Swan Room (our multi-purpose extra room).



Slowly, we move towards more "living".  Stay safe, friends; and always keep the hope of the Gospel in your hearts and minds!


21 May 2020

A Place to Start :: If You Want To

We have received so much blessing, edification, and hope from Bishop Barron.  Just have a wee peak:



Has anyone seen the whole series?

Pax et Bonum!

20 May 2020

Coming Home



In a way, this is a difficult post to write, but in a much bigger way, it is pure joy!

And really, it would take an hours long conversation with each person individually to explain why Ian and I have made this decision.  Suffice it to say, we feel joy, relief, and hope as we look at the road forward in our faith life, which really means our WHOLE life, because neither of us compartmentalizes our faith.

First, about Orthodoxy:  it is beautiful and true and we love it.  Unity between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches will always be a theme and a goal of ours.  And please, let us remember that the Church didn't divide for more than 1000 years.  Also, let us remember that the gates of hell will not prevail against the True Church.

Sadly, trying to BE Orthodox became for us a trial and a heartache.  This is mainly because we live in an isolated area of a post-Christian country where most people have never heard of Orthodoxy, and where there is very little opportunity to practice it.  Liturgies were far away and infrequent, but still, we have no complaints against the Orthodox Church, the priests, or Orthodox faithful.  We will always have Orthodoxy in our hearts.

Did not our hearts burn within us?

Second, enter the Holy Spirit and some direction:  we went to the local Catholic Church, which is less than five minutes from our house.  Glory to God for all things!  It was such a good decision.  The priest welcomed us warmly and the parishioners were friendly.  We both felt that the Mass = the Liturgy.  We felt at peace, and at home.  We hope there will be many opportunities to serve, in whatever capacity is needed.


A whole world of deeper faith has opened up for us, and we have been living like Catholics for months now.  The Church is receiving us as soon as the lockdown measures are lifted!  We have embraced the doctrine, the devotions, and the popular piety of the Catholic Church, and it is like life has blossomed.

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest!
And in our souls take up Your rest.
Come, and with Your grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which You have made.

Wishing you all great joy in Christ! 

19 May 2020

Well, I Have to Say It...


The Higher Committee for Human Fraternity.

It sorta smacks of some Communist slogan, doesn't it?

I had to investigate this because Pope Francis encouraged everyone to pray together on the 14th of May, for an end to the pandemic.  Of course, this is a noble thing.  Except... it goes against the belief AND doctrine of most Christians to pray with people of other faiths.  Yes, we should respect all people.  But actually praying with them is completely counter to the truth of the faith.  Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and any other "faith" which denies outright the divinty of Christ is an enemy of the Christian faith. 

Now don't get riled.  This doesn't mean that Christians don't get along with people of all or no faiths.  We take people at face value.  It is Christian to honour and respect people, and all life.  

However, it is NOT Christian to pray with people who are NOT praying to the same God, and who deny Christ.  It really is that simple.  And although it is not my place to question the Holy Father, I find myself questioning the Holy Father.  

This is a quote taken from the organization's website:
As the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity internation activities progress, its membership will expand to include leaders of other faiths, denomination and beliefs.  The Higher Committee aspires to undertake complex challenges facing communities of all faiths, with an approach of openness, learning and dialogue.  The committee is currently in the early stages of its formation, establishing the groundwork for its future activities.
On the surface, it sounds kind of okay.  But I didn't have to scratch very deep to pretty much be creeped out by this.  To me, it sounds like the building blocks of a One World Religion, and THAT is not good. 

The Christian Faith, and especially the Catholic and Orthodox faiths, are VERY specific about beliefs and practices.  This committee goes completely against them. 

I pray every day, in myriad ways.  I did NOT pray in union with this organization or the Pope on May 14th.


18 May 2020

Lockdown: Day 56

First Minister of Scotland vs. Prime Minister

I think I will talk about this lockdown for right now.  Here in Scotland, it is Day 56; although, I have read just in today's news that the First Minister is planning on easing the lockdown by the end of this month, and apparently later this week we shall know more particulars. 

At the same time, that self-serving Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, has already eased lockdown in England, which of COURSE has resulted in crowds of people:  in the Tube, at the national parks, along the beaches, and...BONUS...the rest of us in Wales and Scotland are left worried about the crowds of people who will try to flock here.  The two countries have repeatedly issued warnings NOT to come to Scotland or Wales right now; to wait until things have improved.  Nevertheless, there are countless people who have flouted the lockdown rules, and now that they are eased in England, really don't seem to care about anyone but themselves and their own holiday pursuits.  The irony is that Boris Johnson was near death with this virus himself.  What a short memory he has.  

Clapping, I presume.  UGH UGH UGH.

It would behoove the UK to remember, too, that the number of cases here and the death toll both are abnormally high for the size of this country.  Analysts have all kinds of theories:  severe deprivation (yep, we have HUGE pockets of embarrassingly poor people in crap housing); people living too close together; in Scotland they are saying the population is older and generally not healthy.  I would agree with this totally:  the lifestyle in the UK and especially in Scotland, where heavy smoking and drinking are prevalent, compounded by fried foods on a regular basis, and sicky sweet things of all kinds, has led to a VERY unhealthy population.  And my personal opinion:  hygiene is appalling here.  It's as if some people still think water will hurt them!  So the idea of washing one's hands regularly and keeping clean is a very foreign concept to a lot of people in this country.  God help us. 

As elsewhere in the world, there is a division between those who are doing their best to stick to the lockdown rules, and those who just couldn't care less.  As is always the way, the people who try to do right will be the ones who suffer.




Now would be a good time to mention the 11,000 mile journey that idiot author Neil Gaiman took to reach the Isle of Skye from New Zealand so he could "isolate" and get away from family problems.  Are you kidding me?  What kind of elistist, self-serving, moron is this?  My opinion:  throw him in a jail cell.  He can have plenty of alone time there!

Photo credit:  Helensburgh Advertiser

Also appalling here:  the horrific death toll in the "care homes" (nursing homes) amongst the elderly.  My heart just aches for these people.  It must be so very scary with family being unable to visit, everyone around them in masks, and very possibly dying alone and afraid.

And, let it not be forgotten that the NHS had a dry run in 2017 to see whether it would be able to handle a pandemic.  It failed miserably.  And then did NOTHING to fix the problems and be prepared.  

However, there have also been enormous shows of charity and selflessness, with many, many people doing all they can to help, whether it is checking in on someone who is isolate, bring groceries in, or raising money.

Albeit, "Clap for the NHS" is not one of those acts of charity.  In my opinion, it is just plain stupid, and it has brought many, many people in such close proximity that social distancing rules are completely out the window.  Frankly, if I were a person in the NHS, working hard and seeing the truth of this virus and how devastating it can be, I would be really offended by the namby-pamby stand-on-your-doorstep-every-Thursday-night-and-clap mentality.  What earthly good?  It's like living amongst a pack of trained seals every Thursday at 8:00 PM, with the added annoying feature in Scotland of bagpipes droning.  Sigh.

I warned that some of my posts right now would be controversial.  This is my rant about the state of the UK at the moment.  There are many good things going on, as well, and I will write about those, too.

Meanwhile, stay safe and well.  Be patient.  Trust God.

06 May 2020

Controversy


I am jumping in with some thoughts on things I have seen around the world during this pandemic.  At the same time, I am making every effort to keep focused on Christ.

Mostly, I write to make sense of things in my own life.  You are not required to believe as I do, nor are you required to respond at all -- especially if you cannot be friendly.  I think I shall start with a disclaimer:

This is my blog and my views.  You are very welcome here, but not if you are trolling or looking to bait me or argue with me.  If I am far away from your own beliefs, and you just can't stand it, please move on to someone else's blog.  I am not a professional blogger, and I do not enjoy arguing.  Nevertheless, from time to time, I will post things that are on my heart and which may be offensive to others.  I am as entitled to my opinion as anyone else; however, everyone else is not necessarily entitled to have their comments posted on my blog!  Having said that, I have always enjoyed the friendships I have made via the blogging world, and I'm pretty sure you all are lovely, friendly people!  So, welcome!

Here are some things I am pondering at the moment:

  • The politics that have emerged during this pandemic
  • The selfishness that has emerged during this pandemic--AND ALSO--the selflessness
  • The superfluous news that has accompanied this pandemic
  • The persistent attitude by some that this virus isn't as serious as we all say it is
  • The elevation of some political figures as gods
  • The Higher Committee for Human Fraternity
  • The issue of "my rights", especially in the churches
  • The anti-Mary
  • The "I'm okay, you're okay" pablum that has crept into the church and which is constantly circulating on Facebook
I wonder what else will crop up from all of this pondering?  I would love, also, to hear what you are thinking about during these difficult days.  It has been much quieter at our house, and quite conducive to bouts of musing.  

Stay tuned!

Go well with God.  Pax et bonum!

05 May 2020

Cloistered

I have been absent quite a bit over the past few weeks, I know.  My dear husband has been home from work, due to the UK lockdown, for SIX WEEKS!  And I have loved having him here (times of getting under foot notwithstanding).  Today he returned to work:  accompanied by mask, gloves, thermos (rather than the communal kettle), prayers, and the expectation of everything being vastly different than it was before.  I have been stressed and worried about his going back, but it had to happen, and all we can do at this point is be as wise as possible, and take every precaution.

Meanwhile, during these past six weeks, we have grown closer after often being consummed in daily life with more worldly things, and have deepened our prayer and faith life exponentially.  Now, I am praying that this deepened faith will continue on with us, and we will not backslide or become lackadaisical.  It has truly been a cloistered life for us.  I do not venture out much at all, due to a compromised autoimmune / immune system -- although I do go to see Shermy!  Ian has only gone briefly into the grocery store from time to time, with mask and gloves.  In many ways, it has been very good.  I can say this because we are relatively healthy, I know.  In no way do I make light of the current situation.  Coronavirus is extremely serious:  deadly serious.  In spite of what I have heard and read many stupider people say, cavalierly. 


Also during this time, we have somehow been blessed with incredible, sunny, dry weather here in the North of Scotland.  This is not the norm, I assure you!  So, we have been outside in our fenced in front and back gardens, working like beavers.  I have painted miles of fencing, and Ian has done an enormous amount of building, repairing, and moving of things.  Our back garden is finally, after two years of our being in this house, starting to look decent and be usable!  And my husband has grown a "lockdown beard"!

It is the month of May:  the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We are especially aware of her and seek to honour her daily here in our little domestic church.  One thing everyone can do:  pray the rosary every day!  There is also a wonderful daily devotion / prayer time on the Hozana app called My Month with Mary.  I can recommend this, and it's never too late to jump in!


Finally, I am contemplating a small torrent of posts which I anticipate will be controversial.  So be it.  I have not had access to the outlet of my blog for a few weeks, and I feel like my head will explode!  Stay tuned for my musings, if you are interested.  And if not, that is fine.  At least I will alleviate the pressure in my head!

Stay safe and well, my friends.  Be prudent and wise.  Go with God.