SAINT OLGA

SAINT OLGA
MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, SAINT OLGA, PATRON SAINT OF CONVERTS

Saturday, December 17, 2016

WHAT I AM WATCHING NOW (SPOILER ALERT!)

Florence  Foster Jenkins
(nee Narcissa Florence Foster)
1868-1944

I don't require what you might traditionally call "entertainment" these days, as I find certain types of WORK to be my happiest compulsions; things like genealogy research which leads so naturally into historical research, and the making of hats for the homeless...or the occasional cold mail delivery lady. Writing is terrible work, and I just hate it, but I can't seem to get away from it as it also entertains me, in a grim fashion.

Having been given a television during the last year...and quite a large one (to accommodate my failing vision), I DO watch several programs, but I can't seem to generate much interest in anything more than the news channels, and I watch them all, even Faux News Channel, which seems to give credibility to some incredible things and which gives me anxiety, so that channel gets short shrift from me. Everything else, though, as long as people aren't arguing loudly over one another, I will "watch." Actually, the television might as well be one huge radio because I can't bear to just SIT there and watch it. I must be doing something else besides.

Crochet, painting and house cleaning are good accompaniments, except when doing dishes. I have to keep turning off the water to catch the drift of what's being discussed, now and then.

It goes without saying that there are certain PBS programs that are sacrosanct, and I watch them as if I am in a movie theatre; enrapt in the story line and watching every movement in the actors' faces, as if I am one of those human lie detectors I've heard about, the ones who watch the micro movements beneath the skin of a person's face and can tell when they're lying. When Downton Abbey finished its final season, I felt as if a best friend had died. There was so much about that series that I appreciated!

The beauty of the surroundings, the stately movement of time that became less stately over the long haul and more herky jerky over the landscape of what I consider to be a bad bit of historical geography. Anything later than 1925 is on shaky ground with me. Everything became so coarse after that time, while at the same moment congratulating itself that everything was becoming modern.

The grand dowager, Lady Grantham, if you haven't guessed, was my favorite character, and she took something of me with her when she disppeared from my weekly ritual of Downton Abbey worship. She represented the old guard which, to me, seemed very beautiful and lovely in many of its habits.

Recently, however, I was given a discount coupon from my internet carrier so that I could watch a pay-on-demand movie for free. I could have watched one in "high definition" and used up the whole $6.00 THAT way, but instead I decided to watch two movies in "standard def" so that I could have a double feature on an especially painful evening when I didn't have the energy to crochet or write. I got the first movie for free and then paid only $5.00 for the second one, which means each one cost $2.50 (in my mind, anyway.)

As luck would have it, I had snacks in the house, which is a rare thing. I typically eschew anything that isn't real food; that is to say, bread, eggs, fruits, veggies, meat, beans, nuts, seeds, filtered water. This year, when a friend called me from the grocery store and asked me what I wanted, I asked for "goodies" to share with any of the other old lady neighbors who may drop by. It's usually just my friend Ruby, but you never know. Anyway, I had PIE. It wasn't a very good pie, as it turned out, because it had NONFAT MILK in it, which makes me dreadfully sick, but I didn't know about the nonfat milk until it was too late. Anyway, I got to have my movie night with pumpkin pie that would not blow up inside me until a few hours later.

The movie blew up immediately, however. Forever the anglophile, I chose BRIDGET JONES'S BABY as the first feature. Never mind that the starring actress is actually an American. She did a fair job of ACTING as a Brit in the first film, so I thought she'd be good in this sequel.

Mind you, I am not one of those people that hate sequels. I will give them a chance, especially since I always have trouble remembering the FIRST film of the series, so I don't usually catch the little bumbles. If I happen to be sharp enough to catch a flub in the sequel, I yell to no one in particular, "continuity!" as if I was still in the movie business, watching to make sure that a 1960's timepiece didn't show up in a scene that was supposedly from the 1940's! The dog reacts in amusement whenever I talk to myself like this. He thinks his little human has gone mad...or something.

So, Bridget Jones's Baby immediately slapped me in the face with the most vulgar language and innuendo I could possibly imagine, even to the not-so-vague references to the size of a man's genitals, while all her girlfriends kept telling her, in the most chipper way, that she needed to have sex. This is where I learned that, while the first movie ended on a happy note that led us all to believe that Bridget was, finally, ending up with the equally adorable Mr. Darcy, it had not actually worked out with them, and they'd called it quits after 10 years together.

In this second movie Bridget is the head of a similar department in which she had suffered while juggling her boss and Mr. Darcy in that first movie. She has a vulgar sidekick who is the on-screen interviewer for their news program. Said chipper sidekick  pulls Bridget away for a girls weekend at a spa, supposedly, but has actually booked them into a yurt at some muddy rock festival where extremely short blue jean cutoffs are the costume of choice, despite the grim and continual rain.

Now, mind you, Bridget is, by this time, 43 years old, we are told, and the bloom is definitely off that rose. She's lost that bungling sweetness we loved about her in the first film. The camera keeps zooming in on her tight and trim upper thighs where they meet her bum, perhaps to keep us from looking at her face that wears a pained and rigid expression through most of the film. Or perhaps the cameraman got distracted.

I would suspect botox, except that an entire field of terrified wrinkles moves across her cheek bones whenever she mistakenly makes an expression. You could see those micro-expressions from outer space. I'm not being mean. Wrinkles are lovely when one is SMILING, but I can't tell you what to call that expression that happens on her.

It goes from bad to worse. In an extremely awkward set of scenes, she has sex with a man at the rock festival and then sex with her ex, Mr. Darcy, and ends up preggers, having to string along the both of them until they can figure out who is the father. (She won't submit to an amniocentesis test, with that long needle, and I don't blame her a bit.)

The movie slams from one nauseating scene to another, something like a distressed boat on the high seas during a deep sea fishing trip that's gone bad, with the audience mourning dear little Bridget who has obviously died before the movie began, and everyone is vomiting from sea sicknesses and sorrow.

Actress Emma Thompson puts in a highly credible performance as Bridget's gynecologist and is wryly funny despite the lukewarm jokes they make her say. She's a trooper, that one, and it was a relief to see her every time she popped up.  In fact, she may have saved our lives.

The ONLY laugh I got out of the whole movie was when dear Mr. Darcy was trying to carry this balloon of a pregnant woman through the streets of London whilst in labor. His facial expressions were priceless. The second man meets up with them halfway to the hospital, at which point carrying Bridget becomes a two-man job. We could have used a few more good men to carry this film.

Eventually, while giving birth, Bridget realizes she's still in love with Darcy and holds his hand with both of hers, leaving the other guy to just deal with it on the periphery. It was a clunky, heavy scene, with closeups of the hands involved. 1940's, anyone?

So, finally, I have arrived at my POINT.  Our modern world continues to express surprise that women want love, devotion, and family ties, NOT free-wheeling sexual encounters in yurts at rock concerts. We don't want to wait until we're 43 to have babies and get married. Careers, while wonderful and captivating, simply do not replace what we really want. We are biologically programmed for partnership, love and family. God created us for one another, and we keep pretending that it isn't necessary or that we can put it off until our FORTIES, or, indeed, forever...just fornicating our lives away until we're too old to do otherwise.

The developed world keeps fighting biology. Our prime baby making years are between the ages of 15 and 25, which makes sense, given that we are born with every egg we shall ever have. The older we grow, the older the eggs, and the more chance for birth defects or infertility. Believe me, I have heard all the reasons why couples shouldn't marry young or have children young, but the proof is in the pudding. What we are doing now does not work and is just plain sad.

The bleak and sodden love story that is BRIDGET JONES'S BABY is, in my mind, a cautionary tale, at best. Mostly, it is a bad movie because it is inauthentic. It tries to push concepts that do not work in real life. There are no happy feelings at the end of this movie.

Modern ideas about sex, love, marriage, children and abortion are all engineered and fueled by our hyper-capitalistic society, the corporate obsession with money. In short, it all boils down to GREED, but those of us suffering under the consequences of this soul-killing way of looking at the most important aspects of life are not even the people that BENEFIT from the modern philosophies about family, sex, etc. CORPORATIONS are the beneficiaries of this sort of cultural expression. If the corporations can keep us slaving away underneath them, (making slave wages), then the corporations and the CEOs at the top of the heap can benefit. Oblivious to the way that we are being used, movies like BRIDGET JONES'S BABY act like the Nazi propaganda films, trying to get us all heated about our "right" to kill our children or to put off conceiving for so long that children don't enter into the picture or there are damn few of them.  Bridget Jones is a success!  She is the boss at the news studio, churning out entertainment news, making the guy at the top of the heap very wealthy...and she can STILL have a baby, even though her eggs are geriatric. See, people? We can have it all.

Frances Foster Jenkins is also a movie about love, based upon a true story about a socialite who adored classic music and wanted to sing, sing, sing, but she had a tin ear and the vocal chords of a drunken raptor. I loved that movie, and I don't want to ruin it for you because it gives the payoff that Bridget Jones's Baby never could. I hope you see both movies and you can make your own comparisons.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose



Friday, December 16, 2016

LEARNING HOW TO PRAY FOR OTHERS

Elderly woman in wheelchair...just watching the world pass her by

I am reading my notice of income increase from the Social Security Administration.

Last year I did not get any raise in income whatsoever, despite the fact that my cost of living skyrocketed. Goods and services became more expensive, I became more ill and NEEDED more goods and services...like food and medicine and a thousand other things. Where will the money come from?

This year, I got a whopping big increase.  This year, I will be receiving $5.10 per month more than LAST YEAR, when I got no increase at all.  Yes, five dollars and ten cents a MONTH.  It is humiliating.

I am gradually going blind with macular degeneration and need eyeglasses. I haven't seen a dentist in more than 10 years.

This year, I need a new rollator walker, motorized scooter, wheelchair, electric bed and recliner to lift my almost useless legs. Can't get any of those things with my income. "The government" doesn't pay for them, either.

The cost of living increases for the elderly and disabled are based upon the cost of things that we cannot afford to buy....like new cars. Food doesn't factor into it at all. You get the drift.

I am not alone. Far from it. Almost 80% of the poor in America who receive entitlement income are elderly and/or disabled. Less than 7% are able bodied adults. Mean people are fond of criticizing all those people who are "working the system." The other grannies and I look at one another and wonder who the hell they're talking about.

My whole life, I worked very hard. I started at age 11, babysitting for various families in a huge apartment complex in the San Fernando Valley after my father abandoned the family in his bright red convertible car with big fins. It looked like a boat, sailing away down the freeway. By that time, he was well on his way to becoming very very wealthy and, although he promised me an allowance if I made "As" on my report card, I made the A's but never saw an allowance. I knew, even then, I would have to work if I wanted anything in my life.

So, I began babysitting, and my mother stole my babysitting money AND the pennies and nickles out of my pink plastic piggy bank, as well as the silver dollars that I had been saving in my sock drawer. (Wish I had those silver dollars now!)

By the time I was 15, I was working as a maid in a small motel near our house where we had moved after leaving the apartment complex, with the creditors close on our heels. I was already so stressed, I was smoking, just like my mother, about a pack a day of Marlboro's, which is where my money went, for the most part. I had to hide my wallet because she continued to steal from me.

I continued to make the A's, went to boarding school, went to night school, went to summer school and graduated at age 16 - a year early than scheduled. Shortly thereafter, I left home, on foot, as it turns out, because my mother also stole my car. She invented some kind of really weird story that I had been spending my college money on groceries for a COMMUNE, of all things. I have yet to even SEE a commune in my lifetime. It was a calculated lie to encourage my father to wrench my used Mustang out from under me and give it to my sister, who would drive my mother around, since mother's car had broken down.

Immediately I went to work as a live-in housekeeper for an old man and his two sons who were both a couple years older than me, but I lied about my age, I was so desperate for work and a place to live. Eventually, the old man fired me because I served rice pilaf with steak, and "EVERYONE knows that you eat baked potato with steak." (The lack of a mother in the house was apparent.)

Moving to Southern California, I spent some time homeless, but always gravitated toward WORK, toward supporting myself. FORTUNATELY, I had graduated high school a year early, thanks to the summer school, the night school, and doubling up on my academic credits on my last year of high school. I graduated a year early and went out into the work place with a high school diploma. It proved to be the minimum required but nowhere near what I needed, in the long run.

I moved many times, working for the Scientologists, working for insurance companies, working in the entertainment industry. I wrote television treatments at night and worked as a secretary during the day. I had a clothes designing business in a shop I manned during the weekends, and a jewelry business, and a ceramics business, always working at least two jobs at a time, desperate to never be homeless again.

My father was a multi-millionaire television writer and refused to help me, except to say that I was in his will and "when I die, you're gonna be rich, kid." As it turns out, one of his many women took him to a strange attorney after he got Alzheimer's and had me written out of the will!

In the early years, when I was about 20, I asked to borrow $200 between jobs once and he just SCREAMED at me on the telephone. I asked for help when the Scientologists locked me out of my apartment the day after I paid the rent.  I was homeless and needed somewhere to go with my baby in my arms, and he refused to let us live with him, then he spent the rest of his life criticizing me to anyone who would listen that he just didn't understand why I didn't raise my son instead of "letting" my ex-husband do it. He lied to save his own reputation.

Mind you, there was no reason to reject me. I didn't drink or take drugs. I wasn't a thief or a prostitute. I wasn't a jailbird. I was intelligent, I was motivated, and I was a hard worker. I was a tough cookie...but there is only so much a tough cookie can do when no one cares about you.

Despite becoming ill in my early 20's and fighting numerous inherited illnesses and constant pain, I worked. I paid taxes. I worked. I did "the right thing." I missed a lot of days, due to chronic illness, but I did the best I could. My numerous sick days cost me many jobs, but I just kept crawling onto the next job. This went on for my entire life and now, here I sit, looking at my newly received notice of income increase for 2017. Five dollars and ten cents a month.

I have been married, but did not marry well, as it turned out, thanks to some naivete on my part. Some friends my age are doing much better than I am because of marrying well. MANY grannies are in my spot, though. Those of us with rotten families are almost completely isolated, which is why I am the "accidental" hermit.

I DO have a few very kind Catholic friends who do what they can do, but none of them supply the rapidly increasing list of very expensive medical equipment and adaptive furniture that I need, nor can they be expected to pay dental bills or buy me eyeglasses. After all, I am not their family.

Occasionally, someone will learn of the difficulties and donate, but then proceed to boss me around and tell me what to do with my life, how, when and why. I have thought of taking down that donate button more often than you know. The price that people extract for the money is just humiliating.

I've spent my whole life doing what I was supposed to do. I've spent my whole life paying taxes, carrying my weight, holding my own.

Five dollars and ten cents a month. Is this all I'm worth? Last year, I got nothing. Are they trying to squeeze us gradually, on and off, until we give up and die?

The wealthy pay nothing close to the percentage of our income that we pay into Social Security. They pay LESS THAN 1 percent into it, while the rest of us pay as much as 14% of our income into it. The reason why is because of the CAP on payment into Social Security. Anyone who makes more than about $116,000 a year will not pay a single cent of Social Security tax on any income over and above that $116,000 a year.

If the cap on contributions into Social Security were to be lifted, granny and grandpa could receive TWICE what they receive now, and there would STILL be enough Social Security benefits to last until the sun burnt out.

Meanwhile, men like Donald Trump live on gold plated furniture and poop on a gold plated toilet, washing their hands and brushing their teeth at a gold plated faucet. He is FAMOUS for not paying his workers and having to be sued to get him to pay even a portion of salaries due. He is FAMOUS for his bogus "Trump University" which taught nothing and was just another scheme to make money off his name. Thieving, stealing, lying and stomping on the poor little guy is how Donald Trump has made his fortune. He lies, he cheats, he steals, and, not only does he get away with it, but he ends up being the president of our United States through some quirk of American policy that allows someone to "win" the presidency while LOOSING by more than 2 million votes! Then he lies about it and claims that he won "in a landslide!" He violates women, brags about it (on audio tape, no less), and STILL has people defending him and calling the women who come forward to further prove it "LIARS."

We live in a very evil world. Fortunately, however, the Lord loves the poor, and I can feel his love for me. A very kind and very wise confessor once told me that, because I have been subjected to such a mountain of abuse (some of it mentioned here), I am in the perfect position to pray for and work for justice for others who ALSO need an advocate. He encouraged me to use my own personal injustice to fuel my prayers for others who ALSO do not get justice.

I do my best to stand up for the poor...not just MYSELF...no...for all the elderly and disabled poor grannies. I am not the only granny who got FIVE DOLLARS AND TEN CENTS A MONTH raise this year. There are thousands of us....maybe millions.

I ask you also to pray for the grandmas and the grandpas who are being treated with such disrespect and disdain...who DESERVE an increase of more than FIVE DOLLARS AND TEN CENTS A MONTH, after a lifetime of working and paying into the system, being good citizens and doing the right thing.

In a bizarre sense, the many indignities to which I have been subjected were a blessing from the Lord...a blessing that gave me a ministry and a fuel, and a gritty strength that probably could not be given to me otherwise.

There are some people who do not want me to advocate for the poor in America. They demonstrate contempt for the poor, call them names and cast aspursions on their characters. One woman called me names because I see Donald Trump for who he is and because I have a donation button on my blog! She lives off the support of her ex-husband and doesn't have the disabilities, but calls me names because I ask for help.  Honestly, there are those who don't wish to give help but hate you because you try to help yourself! Many of these people call themselves Christians, which I find horrifying.

I intend to follow the instructions of that wonderful confessor and stand up for all of the people who are suffering the injustices of the world.  I stand up for all the other grannies and grandpas, all the disabled and the vulnerable. I am not going to stop advocating for the poor, even though it is humiliating at times.

The disabled and elderly deserve the respect of age, pain and effort. They deserve more than FIVE DOLLARS AND TEN CENTS A MONTH. I don't care what cockamamey table they use to justify this ridiculous amount. It is wrong. Just wrong.

I pray for them. And I pray for people like Donald Trump who will have to pay for his lies and his crushing of the poor.

What a mess our world is in.  What a mess.  I have to stop watching the news. It just makes it worse.

Silver Rose

Monday, December 12, 2016

FAKE NEWS

R

Proverbs 19:9
A false witness will not go unpunished, and
he who breathes out lies will perish



My entire childhood and young adulthood, my mother and grandmother insisted that we were part Native American. The funny thing is, I could never find the Native American link, no matter how hard I searched genealogy records. Then my sister and I had our genealogy done, and we discovered that we didn't have one iota of Native America blood. None. No "Indian Princess," no Sacajawea, no Cherokee maiden...nothing. Nada.

The first thing I have always told genealogy clients is, "your grandmother lied to you." Little did I realize how true that was when I found out things about my OWN grammy that I wish I had not known. She was my beloved Grammy, and she lied about my mother and aunt having a half sister, robbing them of the opportunity to get to know that sister until long after she was dead. (Prior to marrying my grandmother, when my grammy was away at nursing school in Denver, my grandfather had had an affair with a young woman, and they had a love child, etc.)

I always wondered why my grandfather's headstone in the Old Union Cemetery said "FATHER" on it in big letters but was paid for by someone whose name I did not recognize and no one could tell me who she was. EDITH LAIRD. Who was Edith Laird? It took many years of digging. Then I made my enormous family file available to the public on the internet and eventually received a phone call from my 1/2 first cousin, EDITH LAIRD'S daughter. Having the truth from a reliable source opened the way to my finding the proof of the truth.

The Lord detests lying lips,
But he delights in people who are trustworthy.
Proverbs 12:22

The internet has been a huge boon to my genealogy research, but it can also be the source of vile lies, such as in the case of FAKE NEWS SITES that invent Incendiary, scandalous and dangerous stories. As the result of one such ludicrous fake news item, some misguided man recently went into a pizza parlor with a loaded gun, intent on freeing the children that were being held by Hilary Clinton as part of a child trafficking ring! Yes, it's laughable to most of us that anyone would actually believe something so stupid, much less grab their gun and act on it, but this is why inventors of fake news make the big bucks.

The most important thing to remember, from genealogy research to the stories that we spread around the internet is that we have a responsibility to identify THE TRUTH. The only way you can be sure to do that is to ascertain THE SOURCE of the information. The closer the source of the information to the original actors, the more sure one can be that what we are hearing is true, provided, of course, that the original actors have not lied themselves, in which case witness evidence such as newspaper articles, church records; birth, death and divorce records; and other evidenciary sources that are not easily faked are invaluable tools in the search for TRUTH.

When I ask someone for the source of some salacious story, I usually get one of two answers. Either they send me a link to someone's blog or manufactured "news" site, or they cite some political figure whose acquaintance with the truth is famously tenuous. The further away from the agencies and actors of the story, the less reliable is the story. FOR INSTANCE: If I say that Donald Trump is a male chauvinist pig, that is just an opinion and cannot be relied upon as truth. If I submit as proof an audio tape in which we HEAR Donald Trump making vulgar, salacious and disgusting comments about women, THAT is true source information. When a dozen women come forward to give testimony that bolsters my OPINION that Donald Trump is a male chauvinist pig, my case is further strengthened. This is how one builds credibility.

Eloquent lips are unsuited to a Godless fool,
How much worse lying lips to a ruler!
Proverbs 17:7

This is what I have to do when researching a person's family line. More often than not, every fact about every person in the family tree has conflicting information attached to it. Learning to recognize the most credible source has taken years of research experience. I have to obtain information from people closest to the facts, and hope that they actually know what they're talking about and are not just spouting lies their grandmother told them. (I can't tell you how many women have lied about their ages over the years, for instance. Even their children don't know the truth, at times.)

If this sounds like work, it is. If you're too busy to fully research a scandalous story before spreading it, then you shouldn't spread it at all. It is tempting to spread a juicy story that you hear. I don't know why human beings love to spread bad news, but we do. It is one of the temptations of Satan and most of us have given in to it at least once in our life.

Here's the really bad news: If you spread a lie, then you are equally as responsible for that lie as the person who told it to you, especially if you have done nothing to research the veracity.

If we become Christian and are serious about it, we learn that unrepentant lying is a bar to entering heaven. We learn that lies belong to Satan, the father of lies.


You are of your father the Devil, and your will is to do your
father's desires; He was a murderer from the beginning
and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no
truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own
character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44





Truthfulness is the cornerstone of Judeo Christian morality, taking its prominent place in the ten commandments that:

Thou shalt not bear false witness.

Lying about another person is abhorrent to the Lord. Giving false witness against another person causes harm to that person, in their character, reputation, or legal standing. In the most extreme cases, obviously, it could even lead to a person's death, in the instance of giving false witness in a criminal case in which the punishment could be the death penalty. Lying hurts people. Lying belongs to Satan, yet we have become inured to a constant stream of lies entering our eyes and ears.

I provide the following links to background information about fake news sites and related topics:


Why are some people creating websites that LOOK like real news sites but only provide incendiary lies? According to a recent interview with a fake news blogger that aired on CNN, money is the motive. The more scandalous the headline, the more views ("hits") a website gets. The more "hits" a website gets, the more money the website owner receives from the ads that are splashed across it.

Filthy lucre, once again, draws people into hell by encouraging them to lie.

In the meantime, believers pump up their egos by imagining they are specially privy to secrets that "the government" is trying to disguise from the world, thereby making the reader special. This egotistical desire to be special in the eyes of others is similar to Satan's desire to be as powerful as the Lord, to abrogate to himself certain powers that belong to our Lord and Savior.

The lips of the righteous know what finds favor,
 but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.
Proverbs 10:32

Promoting false stories about groups of people are just as damaging as lying about an individual. Not only does it cause scandal and discomfort of heart to other people, but it inflames the ego of the person spreading the wild story.

For instance, an acquaintance told me last week that the government is hiding alien beings and secretly working with the aliens to move everyone to Mars because we are ruining our planet. She believes this flapdoodle because she saw it on some fantasy-based production regularly found on the so-called "History Channel."

When I asked her the names of the people exposing this fabulous story she could not tell me. I asked her if she even knew the credentials of the people producing this bit of fantasy. Of course, she did not. She said she didn't care about credentials, which is the same thing as saying one does not care about the truth.

I tried to approach her from the logical side of things. I asked her why the mainstream media, who LOVE to uncover conspiracies, did not report any of these things. She claimed that all of the mainstream media are part of the conspiracy against all the people in the world from knowing the "truth."

This woman talks endlessly about being sincere about Christianity, about what a lover of God she is and how all she wants to do is His will, yet she has no interest in Truth. Likewise with Christian history. She has no interest in that either, except where some television program tries to alter Christian history with vulgar imaginings about the supposed sex life of Jesus. Again, the kind of fare in which "The History Channel" specializes.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth,
that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:18

Many times, I have found myself angry with the "History Channel" for hosting crazy stories. When one watches a program on a network called the "History Channel" one expects some actual HISTORY, not wacko imaginings of ersatz ghost busters, Martian insiders and anti-Catholic groups intent on "proving" alternate versions of Christ and Christian history.

My acquaintance simply believes it, and that's it. These conversations remind me of yet another reason why people give credence to fake news stories. The stories simply corroborate the person's desire to believe something bizarre. Maybe it titillates them.

As Christians, we have to be devoted to the Truth, even when that truth is not exciting, does not comport with what we wish the truth to be, does not make us special, and does not convict someone we hate. Before we spread ridiculous and harmful stories about other persons, groups, or the good Lord Himself, we have to do our research, and this research does not include relying upon yellow journalism rags with no legitimate credentials.

Another truth buster I find frequently in social media, especially, is the tendency for people to make assertions about the motives, intentions or inclinations of heart that another person may have. For instance, I have read more than a few posts in Facebook in which the writer claims that President Obama "wants to destroy America."

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
Only what is helpful for the building others up according to their needs,
That it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

We cannot say with any reliability whatsoever that we know the heart, mind or intentions of other persons. It is IMPOSSIBLE to know these things, and anyone who pretends to know these things has arrogantly judged the heart of their fellow human being and violated Jesus admonishment that we must not judge others. Judge a person's actions, if they are sinful. Judge those things which we KNOW to be true, but do not judge their hearts. That is God's territory.

Don't assume that a person's sinful actions can magically inform you of the contents of their heart and their intentions, and especially do not spout these heinous imaginings in public or in private. If you think you have psychic ability that informs you absolutely of someone else's motives, you need a psychiatrist.

Guide me in your Truth and teach me,
For you are God my savior,
And my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:5

So, at the end of this ramble, I find myself feeling very sad that I had to write this. This is BASIC . CHRISTIAN . PRINCIPLE.   B*A*S*I*C.   Knowing that I am a simple and weak sinner, with no power or authority, I wonder if I have wasted a lot of my time by writing this. After all, the entire Bible is filled to the brim with holy instruction about the way in which we are to treat other human beings. Lying about people, spreading rumors about them, impugning bad motives to them, are worthy of hell. If the Bible cannot inspire people to love the Truth, what can I do? All I can think is that I feel it is important to insert a HOLY message into the public arena. At least I can be ONE MORE PERSON advocating for TRUTH. It is not my version of the Truth. It is God's Truth.

Out of love for you, my brothers and sisters, I ask you not to spread stories about anyone or anything without having ascertained their truth. Restrain yourselves, and live with Jesus forever.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell

Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts,
the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters,
and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Revelation 22:15
.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A MARVELOUS VISION OF HEAVEN



When I was a nun in the Hindu convent in Hollywood, I distinctly remember a short conversation in which the ersatz head nun waxed enthusiastic about how wonderful it would be when she died and just "merged" into God and became part of Him. Without thinking I said, "that sounds REVOLTING!"

It was then that I realized that my true inner knowing and belief was far different than the Hindu-style religion I'd entered in my late 20's. Even though I'd had almost NO exposure to Christianity while growing up, I somehow just knew that God was my creator and not my equal and that, if I was lucky enough to make it to heaven, it would not be a little Goddess on par with the great creator.

Many of these Hindu-based and "New Age" religions believe that the world is a horrible place and that the whole rationale for spiritual practice was to escape the grim and never ending cycle of birth and death. Some Christians, influenced by our pagan culture, believe that everything earthly, including our bodies, is bad and must be overcome. They believe that we are spirit beings stuck in the material world, but this is not Christian theology.

God created this world and pronounced it "good." He created us in His image, which, of course, is automatically good.

When I became disabled, and the illnesses worsened and accumulated with age, I forgot for a short time that the world is good and that our bodies are good. The horrible distraction of trying to get my needs met and my illnesses addressed pulled my mind away from the Lord to some extent. I was sad that my life had "ended up" like this, despite my joy at finding my Lord and experiencing the privilege of serving Him.

Thanks to a mini-series about heaven that I saw on EWTN, I was reminded of the truth, and I snapped out of my depression! My life has not "ended up like this" because my life has no end. My life has just barely begun, in the context of eternity. SO MUCH lays ahead!

In heaven, according to Anthony Destefano, the author of A TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN  our bodies will be transformed into our "most perfect selves-physically, emotionally, and spiritually." In addition to the deep, abiding joy that we naturally expect to experience in heaven, Anthony draws upon Biblical scripture and Catholic theology to fully develop a vibrant, soul-thrilling glimpse into the heavenly realm.

The Amazon.com page dedicated to this book says that heaven is "not only a spiritual place, but also a physical place, a fabulous "luxury resort," more sumptuous than any on Earth. The residents are real, their bodies transformed into their most perfect selves..."

The DVD based upon this book can be purchased at EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network AT THIS LINK: DVD - 3 HOURS - TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN. I found it very entertaining, sometimes charming or funny, and often inspiring. Watching it helped me form a more specific expectation of heaven.

Since 2017 marks the 100 year anniversary of the miracles of Fatima, I intend to devote part of this year to the study of the Fatima miracles, the promises, and the instructions of our Lady. With a little help from my friends, I plan to give out rosaries, books about Fatima, and books about the rosary. Having a vision of heaven under one's belt is a fabulous inspiration to fuel a renewal of spiritual zeal, and is appropriate to any ministry, I would imagine.

Once we learn about the remarkable miracles that were witnessed by 70,000 people, "on cue," so to speak, how can we doubt the words of Christ or his blessed church? How can we not believe that, if we love Christ and follow his words, we are destined for that beautiful place called Heaven, where we will spend much more time than here on earth?

I would like to suggest that you purchase and watch the DVD: "TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN", which is sold through EWTN. Commemorative 100-year rosaries with attached special medal are sold by the Blue Army, otherwise known as the WORLD APOSTOLATE OF FATIMA.

I also recommend perusing the Catholic web websites and pick up anything you can on the Miracle of Fatima. The whole story is a wonderful aid to Evangelization.

If you can spare it, please donate on my website so that I can also distribute some rosaries and books this year. As usual, I have medical needs that are not being addressed, and if you God has graced you with the ability to help with those, I am grateful.

Most monastics have to do some sort of work to support themselves, since the generosity of modern man is limited, and the value of lives devoted to prayer is not appreciated. It is difficult to do this while disabled, which is the reason that most convents and monasteries will not accept disabled people, and some will even throw you our if you become ill while living as a monastic among them. Fortunately, the Lord has graced me with some creative skills.

In future, I may be uploading new blogs for the artworks.  In the meantime, my genealogy business can be found at: SILVER COTTAGE GENEALOGY



Please remember that I have professional genealogical skills, I paint, I write, and I make home-made lace chapel veils. I will be putting up some websites for these when I can, but keep it in mind for the time being. I am disabled for most functions, but I can produce a few items for sale, and perhaps I can make something for you. Christmas is around the corner.




May you be showered with blessings!

I pray for all of you, as I hope you pray for me.

God bless us all!

Silver "Rose" Parnell

Saturday, November 26, 2016

100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF FATIMA - MINISTRY PROJECT FOR 2017

70,000 spectators witnessed "The Miracle of the Sun" which 
occurred on the very day promised by our lady in 1917

Non-Catholics often scoff at the miracles celebrated in our church, but the miracles surrounding Fatima and the three little children who saw our Blessed Mother and received many "secrets" from her, played only a very small part in the miraculous events of 1917.

It is one thing to experience a celestial anomaly that can be explained away by some natural phenomena. It is quite another to have this anomaly promised for a certain day and time and have it actually occur, with more than 70,000 witnesses, many photographs of the miracle as well as the witnesses, and wide ranging newspaper coverage. This cannot be discounted or dismissed and, once you know the details, the wonderful mystery stays within the heart of even the most skeptical individual.

MANY articles and books have been written about these events, and another article isn't needed. I recommended researching the internet and reading as many of the books as you are able so that you can fully understand what happened.

Most of the legitimate apparitions that have been confirmed and approved by the Catholic Church include a request from our Lady that we pray the rosary. I adore the rosary and am convinced of its incredible, heavenly properties. Its benefits and significance are not entirely explained, as it is with most mysterious practices and points of theology or cosmology. Our Lady has personally requested it and I, for one, will not argue with her.

I've become incredibly inspired to spread this devotion to the rosary this coming year, during the 100th year anniversary of the miracles at Fatima, and I would like to encourage everyone to enjoy its practice and benefits.

First of all, I recommend contacting the Fatima Gift Shop at the WORLD APOSTOLATE OF FATIMA, official organization for Fatima, affectionately called "the Blue Army." Their website is located HERE. I am a member of the Blue Army and receive their wonderful magazine entitled SOUL, but I am not involved in any official capacity and receive no benefit from them as a result of recommending them. I just want to support them in their efforts to spread the instruction of our Lady and the historical events that occurred in 1917.

Consider purchasing for yourself a commemorative rosary. Currently, they come in black or clear, with a special 100 year anniversary medal attached. It's a nice little crystal and/or glass bead rosary.  I have one in pink, but I think they have run out of the pink and the blue currently. They are selling for $19.00 at the moment, which is not a bad price for a pretty little rosary with such significance. Attached to the rosary is a sweet little commemorative medal. You can buy the medal separately, if you wish. You'll need to have them blessed by a priest after you receive them, however.

The black rosary is pictured HERE.

The clear bead rosary is pictured HERE.

Of course, there are many other items available at the gift shop, and I do recommend you consider joining the Blue Army!

Everyone seems to enjoy the Blue Army's rosaries, medals and other items from their gift shop, including the homeless, who are comforted by them.

If you do not have time to distribute these rosaries, or if you do not have anyone in your sphere who you feel will appreciate them, I would be very happy to give many of them locally, in my parish and elsewhere. Contact me for my address, and you can have the Blue Army send them to me, or you can donate via the button on the right hand side of this page, keeping in mind that Paypal takes a percentage of all monies donated.

I am just enthusiastic to have this devotion spread as far as possible.

If you can manage to send me some rosaries from the World Apostolate of Fatima, I would be most grateful. I have a friend who will take them to a priest to have them blessed. One of the very best ways to encourage the practice of the praying of the rosary is to give them away. Obviously, there are less expensive rosaries that are very pretty. For instance, I have included quite a few in my Amazon list GIFTS TO GIVE TO OTHERS that you may find HERE. Amazon has my address and will mail to me directly.

I ask for assistance in giving these out because my income falls far below my basic needs, so I just don't have the money to invest in the rosaries. What I lack in finances, I make up for in enthusiasm.

On the other hand, if you also feel inspired to distribute rosaries, and you can do this yourself, I would be very happy to hear that you are doing that. Our Blessed Mother will be very pleased. Post a comment, below, or send me an email and let me know what you are dong to promote this wonderful prayer and its 100 year anniversary!

In the meantime, I pray for you, as I hope you pray for me.

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

SAINT AELIA FLACILLA - My 48th Great Grandmother



Many people are skeptical when they hear that I am descended from various saints and royals. It sounds like wishful thinking, or perhaps some sort of bragging, but it's not. Thousands of people are descended from the same families but have not substantiated their genealogy. The thing is, history books and other mentions in contemporaneous writings are available to us, either on the internet or in numerous reference books at the libraries. The royals are especially easy to follow through the centuries. Some of them happen to be saints, and carry that special significance through time.

Most inspiring to me are the early saints who were subjected to incredible persecution and whose efforts at evangelization were the building blocks of the early church. A lot of responsibility was on the shoulders of the royals, for instance, when introducing the faith as the standard of moral and theological thought upon which their respective countries would operate.

In the case of my 48th great grandmother, Saint Aelia Flaccilla, first wife of Emperor Theodosius, she was instrumental in advancing the case for the Nicene Creed being adopted by the faith itself.  In fact, she is said to have prevented a meeting between her husband and a promoter of the Arian heresy that would deny the Nicene Creed. Christian concepts were embodied in the Nicene Creed, not created by it, but heretics fought it.

Saint Aelia also helped and served the disabled, which appeals to me immensely, of course, not just because I am disabled but because I love the disabled who are usually ALSO poor and also have fewer of their needs met than an able bodied poor person. The disabled, who are one of the most vulnerable populations, are especially loved by God. He went so far to say that anyone who served the least of these (the most vulnerable) are serving Jesus Himself. The more I come to love Jesus, the more I feel love for "the least of these," because I recognize, bit by bit, that he is specially present with them.

The fact that an Empress, who could delegate any task to someone else, would herself put her hands to the service of the disabled, makes her a wonderful example for all of us. Since I am descended from her, I feel an especially strong desire to live up to her example, and I also feel a deep feeling of connection with her.

As far as we can tell, the saints have gone directly to heaven and are advocating for us, praying for us, and watching us. On the other side, I feel heard by them and am encouraged by it. I am not suggesting that a familial relationship to the saints is somehow superior to a relationship between a Catholic and his or her chosen patron saints. Not at all. It is just that, for me personally, having a familial relationship fills a giant void in my heart that other people may not have. My earthly family experience with my immediate family was just horrible, and I am completely detached from the few that remain. Jesus, Mary, the angels, the saints, and my Catholic family have become my real family.

"For my father and mother have abandoned me,
and the Lord has taken me up."
Psalm 27:10

In general, I recommend getting to know ALL the saints you possibly can. You may be surprised at the number of them for whom you feel some special connection. They're attentive to us and are waiting for us to appeal to them. I imagine they are already praying for us.

When I speak to the saints, I don't send my words out as if traveling over a far distance. For me, the saint to whom I speaking, whether it is Aelia or Olga or Margaret of Scotland, is sitting right next to me, holding my hand, their face drawn very close to mine. The breath of my words wafts across their ears. They're listening intently, and I am understood without explanation. It bouys me up.

With regard to Saint Aelia, she is a saint in the Orthodox Church and not the Catholic, even though her lifetime was long before the split between the two. I have often wondered if my strong desire for the reunion of the Catholic and Orthodox church can be traced to some genetic memory of my sainted Orthodox and Catholic ancestors. It could be that both Catholic and Orthodox ancestors are praying for all their descendants, and I feel love for both paths of the faith. It is interesting to speculate about the origins of my peculiar prayer ministry for the reunion, but I don't suppose I will know for sure until the Lord takes me home.

In the meantime, I call upon Saint Aelia (and others) for intercession of the Lord for the purpose of the reunion of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, so that the body of Christ may breath with both lungs once more. I invite you to join me!


God bless us all,
Silver Rose Parnell

Thursday, November 10, 2016

THE GOD OF SECOND CHANCES



In Tuesday's general election, Hillary Clinton received the most votes from the people, but Donald Trump won the Electoral College votes and is therefore our new President Elect. As a result, there were thousands of people in a number of cities throughout the United States who protested Trump's election as our soon-to-be president. About ten thousand people protested in front of Trump Plaza, well into the late evening. Chicago and Los Angeles experienced large protests. Even here in Albuquerque, we had people in the streets.

This is by no means the first time that a president has lost the popular vote but won the election. It is a unique American quirk that we accept as the legitimate method of determining the winner in any campaign. Peaceful protest is also a feature of the American democratic system and, as long as it doesn't deteriorate into violence, is allowed to occur.

As soon as it became apparent that Trump was going to win the Electoral College votes, I began to pray for him, dedicating a rosary to his well-being and praying that Trump experience a radical conversion of heart. I continue to hope that the enormity of his responsibilities brings him to his knees before God, chastens him and humbles him, so that he can be successful as a president of all the people. As he begins to realize that most of the American people did not want him in the office, but he has to be president of all the people, I imagine it will likely hit him very hard.

My 33rd great grandmother was a Ukrainian ruler who earned a reputation as a bloody and retaliatory queen. In vengeance for the murder of her husband, she nearly wiped out an entire ethnic minority, doing so in a most gruesome and cruel manner. Later, she somehow experienced a great conversion, became baptized, and is now known as Saint Olga of Kiev, patron of widows and converts. If that woman can become a saint, there is hope for all of us.

A wonderful feature of our faith is the Lord's great love for us that manifests in forgiveness, over and over again, immediately upon our expression of regret and plea for forgiveness. Jesus is the ruler of our hearts and meets us there in love.

Donald Trump has expressed harsh criticisms against several minorities, the disabled, women, veterans captured in battle, the American press, and refugees escaping war torn countries. His rhetoric has been vulgar, insulting, retaliatory, and, frankly, dangerous to the welfare of our country (such as when he invited the Russians to covertly interfere with our elections, which, apparently, they did, to some degree or another.) His worldview, as consistently expressed by him, is the antithesis of the Christian worldview.

Despite all the negatives, Christians voted him into office because of his supposedly pro-life sentiments and his stated intention to appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. In one sense, it was a wild gamble. Trump presents as anything but a good Christian man, but our hope springs eternal. We have seen great conversions before, and this is what it will take in order for this man to meet the expectations of the Christians who voted for him. This is what I pray for.

I ask all my readers to join me in praying for Donald Trump, his family and his support staff. Let us pray for his deep conversion of heart that strengthens his promises with regard to the pro-life cause. Let us pray that he seeks a soft spot on which to land when things get tough for him in the many many battles that face him, and that he realizes that the soft spot he seeks is the loving heart of Christ.

God bless us all...

Silver Rose




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

THE SUN RISES EVERY DAY



One of the primary reasons the Jews didn't accept Jesus as the Messiah is that Jesus came as a poor person with no power, whereas they were expecting him to be an earthly king. They would say , "what good can come from Nazareth?"

Jesus emphasized, over and over again, that the meek will inherit the earth (meaning "everything"), not the powerful. The meek and tender of heart will inherit the true riches of human life, which is eternal relationship with him.

Political power and position were never held as the goal of Christians, which is why i am so surprised to see so many Christians become hysterical, getting angry, and generally expressing a doom and gloom vision of the future. While it is important to participate in the political story, it is not our story, and we need to remember that. We do the best we can, leaving the result to God.

If your candidate does not win, it isn't the end of the world. I promise. Jesus promised. Whatever the result, accept it and move on.

Yesterday, I awoke to hot air balloons in the sky with the sound of migrating sand hill cranes in the background. God is good. Life is good. Take heart.

Silver Rose

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

THE POOR DON'T OWE YOU ANYTHING




If an American makes $50,000 a year, he or she will pay about seven (7) dollars per year into the welfare system that supports the indigent on the bottom third of the poverty spectrum.

An in-depth analysis of the facts and statistics was done very nicely HERE on the blog Soapboxie. There are numerous other sources on the internet that echo this information, but I like the charts that this author provides, as well as the way he explains them. Very nice work, on his part.

In return for that seven dollars, a great number of tax payers are exceedingly interested in the activities of that person who receives that seven (7) dollars. They have a lot of opinions about what the poor, disabled and vulnerable should do in exchange for that tiny bit of assistance, and most of those opinions are damn mean.

In addition, the ratio of amount of assistance given, compared to the amount of control some people want over the recipients, would be hysterical if it weren't so sad. To be so focused on the money that drizzles into the pockets of the poor, while the corporate robber barons are emptying our bank accounts just doesn't make any sense.

Jesus would be appalled.

I do not receive any welfare, since I live on the Social Security that accumulated after working more than 33 years, but I very occasionally receive a donation on this blog. The cost of bringing internet into the home far exceeds the pittance I receive in donations, on a year by year basis. (I had hoped that the blog would at least pay for itself but unfortunately, it does not. I refuse to junk up my page with ads from marketers, however. I figure that, at the very least, I can give my readers a respite from the constant flow of sales pitches by corporations that they have to endure on every other page they access.)

Of the very few who donate, most are extremely kind. Others, in the guise of kindness, will assail me with a barrage of unsolicited "advice" that is not only unnecessary, but would also be insulting, if I was inclined toward that sort of response.

Although I have no choice as to whether or not I will be poor, the vast majority of monastics throughout time have been poor by choice and by chance. Ideally, it is a chosen thing, a sacrifice made for God. Even if poverty is thrust upon a monastic by circumstance, we are encouraged to embrace it. When poverty impinges upon the ability of the monastic to perform his or her functions, measures have to be taken to alleviate it. Poverty, in its essence, is not a "good" thing, but a tool in the hands of the spiritual aspirant.

Consequently, most monasteries rely upon a combination of donations and some type of work of the hands that they may sell. Whether it is coffee, candies, rosaries or liquor, most monastics have to produce something for sale in order to survive. In days gone by, most monasteries and convents survived by gifts alone, but modern times find us with far fewer devoted Christians who understand the value of what the monastic "produces" by his or her presence and prayers. Sadly, Westerners are capitalists first and Christians second, in most cases.

Being disabled and gradually becoming more so, I do not have the capacity to produce anything to any meaningful extent, which is why I have a donation request on my front page. Still, there are people who will insist upon gifting me with their opinion of what I must do to produce something worthy of payment. It is exhausting, especially since they fail to observe that I am already doing something worthy.

After trying, and failing, to get me to live under her rule, a recent small donor has gone off in a huff and unfollowed my blog. A relative who gave me a television similarly subjected me to an overbearingd brow-beating. Another who sent me a book a year or two ago erupted into a tirade of name-calling and public excoriation because I will not vote for her political candidate. Unfortunately, these people felt entitled to control my actions after contributing an extremely small amount to the household. People complain that the poor feel entitled, but my experience of life is the opposite. It is those who give with big strings attached who have a sense of entitlement.

The Bible tells us to invite those persons to our banquets who cannot afford to return a similar invitation. I definitely cannot afford to turn my life over to those who give me a few dollars. I have already given that life to God, and it is not for sale.

I have vacillated back and forth about whether or not to continue the blog or if I should dedicate the time spent writing it to some other endeavor. For the time being, I will keep it, because there are more than a few readers who tell me that their condition mirrors mine and that they receive encouragement and grace from my words.

Just as Jesus used parables to instruct, I offer the small circumstances of my life as an example that can be extrapolated to an understanding of the conditions of the poor, disabled and discarded in America, in order to rouse love in the hearts of those who denigrate the poor, and to support the faithful Christian in whom love already flows but who suffers from living in a hostile angry world.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell

Saturday, October 29, 2016

SOMETIMES YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW

Sunrise at the hermitage


I had surgery on one of my fingers about 5 days ago, and I am able to type...a little.

My expectation had been that they were to put me under for the surgery but the charming East Indian anesthesiologist insisted that blocking the nerves in my arm, in conjunction with some drugs that would put me to sleep, would be better, safer for me, that I wouldn't remember the procedure and I would "take a nice nap" during all of it.

I did my best to convince the anesthesiologist that this method was not best for me. I told him I had post traumatic stress disorder, but it went right over his head. I could not make myself understood.

Having post traumatic stress disorder is not something one decides to have. It isn't something a person can decide NOT to have. A great deal of management is possible, of course, and part of that management is avoiding circumstances that aggravate the illness.

I was terribly concerned about waking up in the middle of surgery, which is exactly what happened, as a matter of fact. I woke up not once, but twice during the procedure, and it was gruesome.

The first time I woke up was early on in the procedure, the nice old anesthesiologist was still inserting needles into my upper arm in order to block all feeling, explaining the procedure to students as he did so.

I have a thing about needles. In grade school, the other children used to delight in watching me faint when they talked to me about needles. I would turn as white as a sheet and then fall to the floor. They loved it.

Needles have always freaked me out, and it has taken a huge amount of mental gymnastics to get me used to needles, but they still stress me out, and even a simple blood test requires so much mental energy to avoid fainting, I need to rest for an entire day afterward.

The second time I woke up while the surgeon was operating on the bone inside my left index finger. I wasn't wearing my eyeglasses, and I am legally blind without them, so I couldn't swear on the number of people standing around my hand, but I want to say there were 4 or 5, including the surgeon. To my right, was a different anesthesiologist, a young man, (probably an intern). He was looking down, away from the machines that were supposed to be informing him of my vital statistics. I could be wrong, but I THINK he was either reading a book or he was asleep.

I said to him, "Hey...I'm awake...put me back to sleep!" He turned around to look at the machines, reached his arm out to them and did whatever he had to do to get me back to sleep. Thanks be to God, I went back to sleep very shortly thereafter.

Being forced to undergo a type of anesthesiology  I knew would not work for me, being strapped down to a table with various machines, IV lines and straps, then waking up TWICE during the procedures was a personal nightmare for me.

Not many people understand post traumatic stress disorder. Even when I explain to them the circumstances that aggravate the illness, most people just don't get it. Some people say things that give me the impression that they think I "should be" in control of it, as if all I have to do is just decide to make it go away. Sadly, it doesn't work like that. Post traumatic stress disorder is pretty much a permanent condition.

It would have been better for me if they had put me out for the surgery, just as was promised when I first discussed the surgery with the surgeon. I wouldn't have had to wake up TWICE during the surgery, and I wouldn't have yet another traumatic series of events to add to the collection.

I knew that my fear would shoot those pain killers and other drugs right out of my system. This is why the dentist had to put me OUT to remove my tooth a few years ago, otherwise he would have had to keep shooting me up, over and over again, with Novocaine. My fear and elevated blood pressure just dissipates the drugs out of my system. I had experience with this with previous dental work. That's how I knew.

Spiritual life doesn't inoculate you from post traumatic stress disorder. It doesn't cure bipolar disorder or countless other diseases. It certainly helps one to cope, though. It gives one a platform from which to fight the sorrows and problems of life. Occasionally, there is a miracle, such as when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead. Those kind of things still happen, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

While I recover from the surgery and from the added load to my collection of traumatic events, while I heal from yet another instance of not being heard, I cling to the Lord. I cling to our blessed mother. Resting in her arms, I pray the rosary. At 5 O'clock in the evening, I attend the EWTN televised mass, following with my Adoremus Hymnal. While walking the dog, I pray for my neighbors, my neighborhood, my city, my state and the world. The Jesus Prayer slows my breathing as I putter around the house, doing only the most necessary chores. Throughout my day, I pray short little prayers of exasperation, hope and healing.

Gradually, I heal, and I know that everything will be alright. The surgeon didn't think it is cancer, which is a blessing. The finger is healing nicely, despite the glob of excess super-glue they used to close up the wound which, evidently, was bleeding profusely, since the super glue is clearly mixed with a lot of dark blood. I don't think there is supposed to be such a large amount of super glue, but the surgeon probably left it up to a student to close it up, and these things happen. I hope the blob of blood-colored super glue will fall off before I see the next doctor in a couple of weeks. An appointment has been made for me with a doctor I've never heard of, yet another person to whom I must try to explain myself.

If you ever find yourself in the position of attending someone with post traumatic stress disorder, I hope you can remember to give them love, understanding, and respectful listening. They know better than anyone what they can tolerate and what will exacerbate their post traumatic stress disorder. They already carry a heavy burden and need as much sympathy and gentleness as you can muster. Do your best.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose

SOMETIMES YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW

Sunrise at the hermitage


I had surgery on one of my fingers about 4 days ago, and I am able to type...a little.

My expectation had been that they were to put me under for the surgery but the charming East Indian anesthesiologist insisted that blocking the nerves in my arm, in conjunction with some drugs that would put me to sleep, would be better, safer for me, that I wouldn't remember the procedure and I would "take a nice nap" during all of it.

I did my best to convince the anesthesiologist that this method was not best for me. I told him I had post traumatic stress disorder, but it went right over his head. I could not make myself understood. Having post traumatic stress disorder is not something one decides to have. It isn't something a person can decide NOT to have. A great deal of management is possible, of course, and part of that management is avoiding circumstances that aggravate the illness.

I was terribly concerned about waking up in the middle of surgery, which is exactly what happened, as a matter of fact. I woke up not once, but twice during the procedure, and it was gruesome.

The first time I woke up was early on in the procedure, the nice old anesthesiologist was still inserting needles into my upper arm in order to block all feeling, explaining the procedure to students as he did so.

I have a thing about needles. In grade school, the other children used to delight in watching me faint when they talked to me about needles. I would turn as white as a sheet and then fall to the floor. They loved it.

Needles have always freaked me out, and it has taken a huge amount of mental gymnastics to get me used to needles, but they still stress me out, and even a simple blood test requires so muchmental  energy to avoid fainting, I need to rest for an entire day afterward.

The second time I woke up while the surgeon was operating on the bone inside my left index finger. I wasn't wearing my eyeglasses, and I am legally blind without them, so I couldn't swear on the number of people standing around my hand, but I want to say there were 4 or 5, including the surgeon. To my right, was a different anesthesiologist, a young man, (probably an intern). He was looking down, away from the machines that were supposed to be informing him of my vital statistics. I could be wrong, but I THINK he was either reading a book or he was asleep.

I said to him, "Hey...I'm awake...put me back to sleep!" He turned around to look at the machines, reached his arm out to them and did whatever he had to do to get me back to sleep. Thanks be to God, I went back to sleep very shortly thereafter.

Being forced to undergo a type of anesthesiology  I knew would not work for me, being strapped down to a table with various machines, IV lines and straps, then waking up TWICE during the procedures was a personal nightmare for me.

Not many people understand post traumatic stress disorder. Even when I explain to them the circumstances that aggravate the illness, most people just don't get it. Some people say things that give me the impression that they think I "should be" in control of it, as if all I have to do is just decide to make it go away. Sadly, it doesn't work like that. Post traumatic stress disorder is pretty much a permanent condition.

It would have been better for me if they had put me out for the surgery, just as was promised when I first discussed the surgery with the surgeon. I wouldn't have had to wake up TWICE during the surgery, and I wouldn't have yet another traumatic series of events to add to the collection.

I knew that my fear would shoot those pain killers and other drugs right out of my system. This is why the dentist had to put me OUT to remove my tooth a few years ago, otherwise he would have had to keep shooting me up, over and over again, with Novocaine. My fear and elevated blood pressure just dissipates the drugs out of my system. I had experience with this with previous dental work. That's how I knew.

Spiritual life doesn't inoculate you from post traumatic stress disorder. It doesn't cure bipolar disorder or countless other diseases. It certainly helps one to cope, though. It gives one a platform from which to fight the sorrows and problems of life. Occasionally, there is a miracle, such as when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead. Those kind of things still happen, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

While I recover from the surgery and from the added load to my collection of traumatic events, while I heal from yet another instance of not being heard, I cling to the Lord. I cling to our blessed mother. Resting in her arms, I pray the rosary. At 5 O'clock in the evening, I attend the EWTN televised mass, following with my Adoremus Hymnal. While walking the dog, I pray for my neighbors, my neighborhood, my city, my state and the world. The Jesus Prayer slows my breathing as I putter around the house, doing only the most necessary chores. Throughout my day, I pray short little prayers of exasperation, hope and healing.

Gradually, I heal, and I know that everything will be alright. The surgeon didn't think it is cancer, which is a blessing. The finger is healing nicely, despite the glob of excess super-glue they used to close up the wound which, evidently, was bleeding profusely, since the super glue is clearly mixed with a lot of dark blood. I don't think there is supposed to be such a large amount of super glue, but the surgeon probably left it up to a student to close it up, and these things happen. I hope the blob of blood-colored super glue will fall off before I see the next doctor in a couple of weeks. An appointment has been made for me with a doctor I've never heard of, yet another person to whom I must try to explain myself.

If you ever find yourself in the position of attending someone with post traumatic stress disorder, I hope you can remember to give them love, understanding, and respectful listening. They know better than anyone what they can tolerate and what will exacerbate their post traumatic stress disorder. They already carry a heavy burden and need as much sympathy and gentleness as you can muster. Do your best.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

GRAB YOUR INSPIRATION WHERE YOU FIND IT


The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
EWTN televised mass

I used to be uninterested in televised mass. I didn't see the point. There is no Eucharist, and "spiritual communion" didn't sound like an even mildly approximate replacement, despite the fact that my spiritual temperament runs to the mystical side, and I have an easy imagination.

Mother Angelica (God rest her soul) and her creation, the Eternal Word Television Network, along with its magnificent Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament have lightened this little hermit's world to a degree I did not imagine possible.

I began watching the 5:00 mass from a sense of duty, really. It just came to me. Or perhaps the Lord led me there. In any case, the timing is perfect. I generally take tea at 4 p.m. at the end of the day's exertions. An hour later, after refreshment and spiritual reading, I feel the tranquilIty of evening beginning to descend.

The mass is just beautiful. I happened to have a copy of the ADOREMUS HYMNAL, and I have no idea where I obtained it. Somehow it appeared in my books. The mass is about half Latin chant, half English, and the hymns, so far, are lovely. The version I have is out of date, and I have to shuffle around through the pages a bit, as a result, but since I am alone in the room, I needn't worry about disturbing other worshippers.

The mass is conducted in what seems to be a small chapel, probably just off of the main Shrine. You can see the picture, above. It is very beautiful and golden, but simple at the same time.  The mass is conducted with great reverence and beauty. There is no clapping, thanks be to God, no talking amongst the people in the congregation, and a certain gentleness pervades throughout.

I found myself being drawn into the mass. There, in my living room, I am learning the Latin chant, singing the hymns at full voice, and participating in all the responses and prayers. The spiritual communion is growing on me.

After only a few days, I've begun to anticipate 5:00 p.m. mass every day. It has quietly begun to smooth me into a rhythm that I haven't been able to establish on my own. Soon, I found myself scheduling reminders on the television set, but I suspect I will not need them.

When I was young, I was terribly disciplined. As an older lady, I am humbled with chronic pain, mobility issues and other problems. Things are quite different now, and I must find my inspirations and organizations where I can. Thanks be to God, he sends me enough aid to keep me on track.

For all the other elderly hermits out there, I recommend the televised mass on EWTN. In younger days, we may have made pilgrimage to the place: just hopped into the car and driven there over miles and days. Instead, we drive our recliners to a virtual wonderland of inspiration in a heavenly land.

Get the Adoremus Hymnal so you can fully participate, and you won't regret it.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose

Monday, October 17, 2016

GETTING OUT OF BED HAS BECOME AN ART

Sunset at the hermitage


In the sunset of my life, I am finding the simplest things most difficult. Getting in and out of bed, for instance, is a production, which is probably why I sleep so often in my recliner. I get a much better, much deeper and more restorative sleep, however, if I sleep in the bed, a bed, I might add, that cost me a fortune and took two years to pay for.

The problem is that, if I DO get a good night's sleep or 8 or 10 hours straight through, I wake with my lower spine and hips frozen in pain if I move. If I just lay there, I am alright. The mornings are beautiful and I can pray the time away, but at some time I have to get up, and this is when the morning comedy show begins.




All the icons appeared to be staring at me while I tried to wriggle myself out of bed one morning. The night before, I had finally put together a rolling bed cart so I could bring the computer into the bedroom on some evenings when the Pope is engaged in some special event and I want to see it on EWTN at 3:00 in the morning or whatever odd time of the early morning it had to be shown, due to time differences around the world. It is an inconvenience, but there is something wonderful about being included in an event as it happens.

The cart was blocking the side of the bed which I customarily use to crawl out in the morning, but it didn't occur to me that I might not be able to get out of bed on the other side.

Feeling very much like Kafka's cockroach, I wriggled and squirmed, trying to find a position that would allow me to exit the bed without wrenching my back and causing even more damage to it. It took a good ten minutes before my feet found the floor, finally, and I began the customary production involved in straightening my back.

It is on day's like this that I am grateful to be living alone, with no one to see my comedic stylings in my pajamas...no one except the Lord, of course.

Please pray for me, as I pray for you.

Silver Rose

Saturday, October 15, 2016

ONE RINGY DINGY



I have lived as a religious hermit for about 13 years. I became disabled before becoming Catholic, and I have been mostly housebound ever since.

Frequently, a hermit will enter into a relationship with a spiritual director, especially in the beginning and especially if the hermit is unfamiliar with monastic life.  Although I have lived a self-consecrated life devoted exclusively to God since 2003, and since I had several years of experience in monastic life prior to that, I wondered if I should attempt to find a spiritual director and if I should take more formal vows and increase my commitment, so, about a year ago, I started making telephone calls to vocation directors on the vocation committee for this dioceses.

What I did not know is that you practically have to be a rock star to get someone in the archdiocese to return your telephone call! According to someone "in the know," you have to be a known person to someone in the parish, otherwise the Catholic hierarchy ignores you, no matter how many emails you send, phone calls you make or letters you write. At the very least, you have to have a priest, a sister in a significant ministry, or someone IMPORTANT to champion you. Even a hard working layperson in long term ministry does not have enough Catholic currency to warrant a response to a heart-felt email on my behalf. She's not part of the Catholic hierarchy, so she doesn't warrant a response.

A year ago,  I did manage to reach a sister on the vocations committee, Lisa Marie Doty, on her cell phone that was given to me by a sister who has previously held that position. She promised me she would get in touch with our new bishop to see if he was inclined to have diocesan hermits among his flock. She also promised to find me a spiritual director. She then proceeded to duck every phone call and refused to return any of my telephone messages. That was last October, exactly one year ago on the 19th.

After my failure with Sister Lisa Marie Doty, I sent many emails and left many telephone messages for a long list of people at the Dioceses, from the Bishop's office on downward. No luck. No response. Two months ago I managed to connect with a lovely woman, Monica Justice, who is the assistant to Father Daniel, who, she tells me, is the person to speak with in regard to my situation. I left 4 messages with her and never received a response from Father Daniel. During my last telephone message, I asked her to call me back and tell me if I was doing something wrong or pursuing something inappropriately. No response.

Not returning telephone calls used to be considered very bad manners in days gone by, but I am afraid that it is endemic in our society. I don't know why this has happened, whether it is a sign of the times or a sign of my reduced circumstances in life. In my 20's, when I was writing for a powerful television producer, I don't recall my messages ever going unanswered. People wanted things from me. Now, I have nothing to offer but prayers, something which has no currency, even in the world of the professional religious.





I have a long list of telephone numbers and email addresses to which I have sent requests for help and none of them have responded over many months' time.

I was raised without religion and was in my late 30's before I learned anything about Jesus. From that time forward, gaining access to the Catholic Church was problematic.  I wanted to get baptized immediately, but a misinformed religious sister told me it would be YEARS before I could be baptized with the Catholic Church because, in the past, I had been divorced. She was terribly wrong. I was not living in any kind of irregular union and there was no reason not to be baptized, but there seems to be a strong elitist faction in the official church that thrives on pushing people away. (Baptism, for those that do not know, washes away all sin, and non-sacramental unions between people who haven't been baptized are NOT the types of unions that cannot be dissolved. The Catholic laws about divorce deal with "sacramental marriage" between baptized persons.)

Indeed, the religious sister that refused me baptism in the church behaved as if she enjoyed the power to say "no." I have to say that, in later years, I did learn that many Catholics are terribly ill-educated about the church, so I am not saying that this sister was deliberately lying, just that she seemed to enjoy pushing me away, thinking at the same time she was right to do so.

Eventually, another sister, an 11th cousin of mine, who DID know the Canon laws, helped to get me accepted into the Church, but even with her advocacy, I had a terrible time getting into the church.. Because of my disabilities, I had to have private instruction rather than attend an RCIA class. I couldn't sit through the classes and couldn't drive at night. Although the priest of the Byzantine Church I was attending gave permission for my cousin to walk me through the lacunas in my education, the deacon refused to allow it because he was in the middle of pursuing his career as a priest and said he didn't have time to help at all.

I am blessed to know many highly respectable, extremely kind Catholic lay people who have adopted me as their own and treat me like part of their families. My survival would be severely curtailed, were it not for my Catholic family, and I would have little, if any feeling of community without them.

These experiences just further my resolve to pray for the strengthening of the Catholic Church because, while I am disappointed in the Church's failure to include the marginalized, the poor, the disabled and the abandoned in the workings of the institution, I am absolutely convinced of THE FAITH, which is sublime.




There is a great wealth of spiritual currency amongst the marginalized members of the church, the lonely old ladies, the disabled, unmarried people, and many converts whose friends and families have abandoned them because of their faith. The man who came to fix my telephone service the other day told me that I remind him of his auntie who, when she retired, announced that she would be spending the rest of her life for the Lord. She too has a large prayer corner and altar, with statues and pictures all over the place. I'm sure she recites many prayers throughout the day and, like me, probably watches the mass on EWTN, reads the spiritual books and prays for everyone.

The natural inclination among retired people, especially those who find themselves alone and often disabled, is to throw themselves on the mercy of the Lord, and I know that I have many, many readers in that group

I want to ENCOURAGE my readers who are likewise living the eremitic life and to affirm the necessity of persistence against whatever obstacle appears to be standing in your way, either in the living of the life or the rejection of you by those in power in your parish or your diocese. Just remember what Jesus said, "Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do."

You DO have spiritual power and importance. Your prayers that you conduct privately in your homes, in the dead of night when you cannot sleep, in your heart when you are washing the pots and pans, these prayers, devotions and pains offered up to the Lord are beloved by the Lord, and your efforts are not in vain. None of us needs the permission of anyone to lead a life completely devoted to prayer. While true that many of us could benefit from spiritual direction from a reputable and soulful spiritual director, we have to have the faith that the Lord will take care of us, knowing our needs of every variety.

As long as we live a good Christian life and remain faithful to Catholic theology, we can't go wrong. I would insert a word of caution here, and that is that it is important that we do not entertain any spirit of anger or rebellion and that we are very careful to continue to educate ourselves in the doctors of the church, the Catechism, and the Bible.  Contributing to ersatz apparitions and seers that are not approved by the Catholic Church should NOT be done. Without the leadership of a spiritual director, we must play it safe, rather than be sorry later. We can never put ourselves forward as knowing a better way than the way the Church has outlined in faith and morals.

Just because fallible human beings populate the structure of the Holy Catholic Church and mistakes are made, I, for one, am convinced that it is essential to remain faithful to its requirements. While I am upset that no one in the church will return a telephone call from an unimportant Catholic with no 'pull', my obedience to and love of the church remains as strong as ever. I think the best approach is to continue on my own, trusting in the Lord to guide me. After all, if He thought I needed the cooperation of the Church in my prayer mission, He would have paved the way for it.





Let us stand together in solidarity with one another and pray for one another in our solitary lives. I would like to suggest that we offer prayers for one another at regular times throughout the day, to our best ability.

Generally speaking, I say prayers at noon, three o'clock and six o'clock. I also say "morning prayers" at whatever time I manage to arise, and evening prayers. Morning prayers would customarily be 6 a.m., but I am having some sleep problems just now and cannot manage to get up in the morning as my medications don't permit it. I have many rosaries and chaplets that I recite also, with some corresponding prayers.

If you are interested in praying "with" me at the same time, please contact me and we can work something out. I feel that this extra layer of prayer will bring a measure of strength into our spiritual practice.

Together, we can create our own support for our spiritual lives, absent the care and concern of the institutional church.

In the meantime, please pray for me as I pray for you.

God bless us all!

Silver Rose Parnell