Life in a small town

Gratitude, for lots of things …

“The Wind Of Liudao”, Jia Peng Fang, from the album “Faraway”, (2002)

Ned StarkIt’s 4:30 AM, there is a low wind moaning about the eves of my roof and rattling the shutters on my gazebo. It sounds cold outside and probably is relatively cold after several weeks of hot weather and good harvests. The last two days have seen periods of rain and cloud interspersed with interludes of sun. In the sunny periods the wind still blows quite cool, fall is coming, winter is coming, as Ned Stark remarks.

I am grateful … for lots of things … the furnace is working well, the blankets are warm and dry, the beef soup is ready to fill my stomach, my internet connection is working well and so are all my computers, I am feeling good, healthy, mobile, no aching joints, or illness, clear headed, rested, and I am looking forward to another day of chatting with customers, selling things, paying bills, working peacefully with my staff and my family in an atmosphere of camaraderie and good will. All that is priceless and well worthy of gratitude.

And all that, that peaceful existence, as some might have it, that boring existence, is a very good thing … I remarked in an earlier post on “gratitude”:Is there some higher source of those personal talents which we are born with, something beyond merely accident of birth, the lottery of genetics, and so on?” And of course the answer to that is a resounding YES!

I awoke this morning with the covers all the way up over my head, covering everything, and my first thought was of gratitude to the Good God who has given me such a wonderful life, all the opportunities, the talents and abilities, the friends and experiences – good and ill – everything, every day. I am grateful for Him keeping me in His thoughts, alive and prospering, according to His plan.

And it is indeed all about His plan. I think like a caterpillar … my plan is that I want to eat a lot, sleep for a while and wake up beautiful … God has a different plan for me than I can even begin to imagine and it is ALL for my own good, my own best interest because I know that He loves me, Joe, personally, and uniquely, and wants nothing but the best for me because I am His creation and His son. He wants the best outcome, not the best that I want, but the best which He alone knows and knows totally in the eternal now.

So … Gratitude … “God does not want us to be thankful for everything, he wants us to be thankful in all things, then you will look up instead of looking down.” Gratitude changes our life to the point that we can thank God for the very things we used to complain about. This transformation can come from something as simple as the “rosary of gratitude” .

A Rosary of Gratitude is simply prayed by taking a rosary and thanking God for something on each bead of the 5 decades— from the smallest to the biggest blessings. “When gratefulness is alive in our hearts,” Father Kovash said, “it lends itself to 3 fruits: a deep abiding peace and joy, a tremendous increase in the awareness of God’s crazy blessings in our lives, and those 2 things result in a great passion to do God’s will and build up his kingdom.”

Cheers, and a very good Friday morning, even if it is windy and rainy and cold …

Joe

Breakfast, I can always dream can’t I? Eat a lot, sleep for a while, wake up beautiful … sigh

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow …

“And all our yesterdays have lighted fools … ”

ゆりかごの歌”  William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

Obedience is an essential aspect, a virtue, a character trait intimately associated with Christ’s life on earth. It is essential in any attempt to follow Him and to conform one’s will to God’s.

Fasting and praying are both difficult when distracted by the daily vicissitudes of illness. Having had the most vicious cold with accompanying lung ripping cough it has been difficult to continue my fast with dedication.

As Jason Fung has mentioned in his blog, just take a few days off from fasting to get well, don’t add unnecessary stress when you are fully engaged in getting well.

Being obedient to the mission goals – restrained eating – 1 meal a day, pushing fluids, water, broth, is problematic and requires real effort of will.

Obedience … the voluntary surrender of one’s free will to accomplishment of the goal. Who would have thought that obedience would be even more difficult to embrace than humility.

I feel that we are on a mission against great powers to push through (the mud and the blood) to the green fields beyond (my grandfather would have recognized the reference).

The goal of health, weight loss, low insulin levels, low blood pressure and on top of that “spiritual peace and tranquility” seem far away and unattainable at times, especially when the trials of this world intrude upon one’s determination to persist.

Hobbes’ Leviathan – life as “nasty, brutish, and short” mid nineteenth century.

It does seem passing strange that ill-health, disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, muddy thinking and fuzziness, lack of energy, lack of conviction and certainty, all seem to directly benefit the higher authorities who have assumed nominal responsibility for looking after our well-being.

Just think for a minute, if we all actually got healthy they would all be out of work. The legions of health related government service silos and the big pharma and big food multinational agri-conglomerates, the whole GMO crowd, would all be in dire financial straights, wouldn’t they?  Who was it who said “follow the money”?

In the real world of every day …  blood sugar hovering around 7.0 – best since I was diagnosed 8 years ago, weight down to 238 lbs. best in 8 years. BP down to 115/65 also good, and off all my medications for blood pressure and diabetes. This is all good, right? Why do I feel so down then?

St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians seems to speak to this experience – this whole struggle is much larger than just dieting … Ephesians 6 … Douay-Rheims Bible … attempting to return to an earlier order that was not about breaking down people into resources to be used and used up …

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Children and Parents

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just. 2 Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with a promise: 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest be long lived upon earth. 4 And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord.

“The Wind Of Liudao”, Jia Peng Fang, from the album “Faraway”, (2002)

Slaves and Masters

5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your lords according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the simplicity of your heart, as to Christ: 6 Not serving to the eye, as it were pleasing men, but, as the servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart, 7 With a good will serving, as to the Lord, and not to men.

8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man shall do, the same shall he receive from the Lord, whether he be bond, or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, forbearing threatenings, knowing that the Lord both of them and you is in heaven; and there is no respect of persons with him.

The Full Armor of God

10 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. 11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

13 Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: 16  In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. 17 And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).

Pray Continually

18 By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints: 19 And for me, that speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth with confidence, to make known the mystery of the gospel. 20 For which I am an ambassador in a chain, so that therein I may be bold to speak according as I ought.

Final Greetings

21 But that you also may know the things that concern me, and what I am doing, Tychicus, my dearest brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make known to you all things: 22 Whom I have sent to you for this same purpose, that you may know the things concerning us, and that he may comfort your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brethren and charity with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption. Amen.

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Dieting as an exercise in scriptural meditation … “the spirits of wickedness in the high places” is that just too pretentious? I actually don’t think so … wickedness in high places … affecting every aspect of every day in every way …

Meanwhile, in the real world of every day …  blood sugar hovering around 7.0 – best since I was diagnosed 8 years ago. Weight down to 238 lbs. best in 8 years. BP down to 115/65 also good. Off all my meds, just taking vitamins, really, except for the cold we are struggling with we are feeling the best we have in years. Things are actually looking pretty good when we stay focused on the minutiae of the day.

Cheers

Joe

and never take yourself too seriously …

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