SAINT OLGA

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A PARTING MESSAGE



While it is true that I need assistance, I have always written in order to advocate for ALL people in the vulnerable classes of the elderly and the disabled, since those two groups comprise the majority of of the poor in America. I want EVERYONE to have decent food, clothing, housing and medical care. EVERYONE.

This blog has never been about me, except insofar as I am a perfect example of the blameless poor who have needs that are not met because our American personality is so miserly and self-centered that it begrudges every cent spent on the poor, even when the presently poor have spent their whole lives contributing into "the system."

All the grandmas and grandpas are surprised when they become too frail or sick to work and then discover that "the system" is not going to help them at all, or very little.

Social Security is a type of insurance policy, but it has never kept up with the cost of living, and every year that I live, I become poorer and poorer, as do all the other grandmas and grandpas. I have been writing for all of them...not just myself. I had hoped to advocate for them, but I doubt that the people who need to be reached with this message are reading my blog.

I have also been writing for a subset of this larger group - people who have dedicated their golden years to the Lord and whose minds have a contemplative bent.

I have used myself as an example of the poor, in order to disprove the lies that are circulating about us at this time. Here I am, a person who doesn't smoke, drink or take drugs; someone who has worked her entire life but has become poor due to disability; someone who is morally upright and devoted to the Lord; and I am not unusual. I am, in fact, an example of the MAJORITY of poor people in our country. We are poor, not because we are bad, but because we have no money.

Sure, there are some dishonest people who are poor. Every socio-economic class has a criminal minority. The con artists among the poor are easier to spot because they don't do a very good job of it...which is probably why they are still poor.

Writing this blog has taken thousands of hours, with embarrassingly meager results. My disabilities have grown worse, and it now takes a long time to do the simplest of household chores. I cannot get the help I need to keep the household tidy, so, all things considered, I have to stop writing the blog. I can't afford the time.

I have come to the precipice of this decision several times before, but because hope springs eternal, and because I am a natural writer, I fell back into writing the blog, but I have to stop myself. If I am going to spend half my day writing something, it should be something for which I am remunerated. It is only practical, since the fact remains that my survival is threatened.

I have retired most of what I wrote, with the exception of those topics for which I did a lot of research and others of possible interest.

If anything has any lasting value, I may resurrect it in a book, otherwise, this post is the end of this series of musings and lessons. I will update it, now and then, to reflect any current news or needs, but no fresh posts will be produced.

I hope that everyone who reads this takes away a piece of very important information. People keep telling me, with great assurance, that there are lots of programs in America that provide all the needs of the poor. This is a complete myth.

The Federal rules that govern payments for all services and durable medical goods are geared to only help those people who, without said services and durable medical gear, would end up in a nursing home.

The focus is on the system, and not on the needs of the patient who is paying insurance premiums. Nursing homes are hugely expensive, and if Medicare can keep you out of one by throwing you a couple of less expensive services, they'll do it.

If you aren't on the verge of being consigned to a nursing home, you are out of luck, with the exception of getting a little help toward paying for doctor visits.

If you simply NEED a scooter and a housekeeper to maintain your health, hygiene, mobility and function, Medicare doesn't care. They are happy to let you live in filth and resort to eating peculiar things because you can't get to the store.

Medicare does not give a fig if I have been sleeping in my recliner for the last 2 years because I don't have the bed I need. They don't care if my pain is so bad that, even with pain pills, it is agony to walk the dog. They don't care if I am home bound and unable to shop more than once every month or two. They do not care, because the American people do not care.

The assumption is also made that everyone has family of some sort to care for them. THAT is also a big fat lie. Even those people who HAVE family, are often abandoned by them. In my case, I am more isolated than most. I come from a very small family, the tiny remnant of which is extremely selfish and self-centered. You might be shocked at the lies that were told to justify writing me out of my father's will after he got Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinsons. (I DO have some very nice, distant relatives that I found through genealogy research who have never met me, are not particularly Christian, and who do not know me well enough to be unkind to me. )

GREED is at the heart of all the problems of the poor. America is rich in resources, yet almost half of our population is too poor to pay any taxes. (The reason WHY is because most of the poor are elderly and/or disabled. This problem has nothing to do with illegal aliens. People living in this country illegally do not have the means to qualify for any government programs, and there is no way to "fake" it, despite the strongly held beliefs of many people.)

Since I cannot get any help through Medicare or any local services, I have decided to leave the DONATE BUTTON active on this Diary, in the dim hope that help will come from elsewhere. Paypal will notify me if anyone contributes.

In the middle ages, an anchoress who was disabled and poor but who spent her life praying for the people of the village, was appreciated and supported. Those were the days when people really believed in God, heaven and hell. Times have changed. People either have a very weak faith, or they're paranoid that I am some kind of scam artist. I offer to give references, but I suppose even those are not trusted.

Items I currently need and on which I will spend donations are:
(1) Electric bed with tempurpedic or similar mattress;
(2) Car that can accommodate a lift for a scooter;
(3) Mobility scooter with ergonomic, soft seat;
(4) Housekeeper for shopping and cleaning.

OBVIOUSLY, these items require thousands of dollars. I am working on some art projects and a book from which I hope to get some income, but creative projects are always a long shot, as I am sure you all realize.

I had hoped to devote all my time to prayer and contemplation on behalf of the world when I became disabled. I had long desired to return to monastic life, and I saw it as an opportunity to do that. I was not prepared for my disabilities to multiply and worsen, but that is life. I must accept it.

I will post a notice on this page when my art works are available online and/or when my book is published.

If you do nothing else after reading this blog post, I ask that you please refrain from telling people that there are services available to help everyone. It isn't true. Just do that. Please. Even if you can't donate. Even if you don't pray for me. At least tell the truth to everyone you know.

I will continue to pray for all of you. I will be available for correspondence, if you leave a comment on this post. The blog is set up to intercept comments before they are published, so I will receive your message and respond to you, without publishing your communication.

The blog has been a joy to write, at times. I would like to thank the few people who responded to it, and I apologize to regular readers, if any, who may miss it.

May you all have peace and blessedness. May the Lord cause his light to shine down upon you.

Silver Rose
(c) Copyright 2017
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

HIRE A HERMIT (update)

"Hermitage" garden feature on 
an English Country Estate

I recently learned that, in the 18th century, wealthy European landowners would frequently build a model "hermitage" as a garden feature on their extensive land holdings.  They would then hire a man to play the part of a hermit, but they had to give him his pay at the end of the year, and it was often a goodly sum, because it was so hard to keep a good hermit on one's land!

According to Wikipedia, Saint Francis of Paola may have been the first such "ornamental hermit" when he chose to live in a secluded cave on his father's property in the 15th century.  His parents were extremely pious people, however, and Saint Francis of Paola (named after St. Francis of Assisi) had shown sincere religious inclinations prior to the time he spent as a hermit in that cave.  Perhaps his sojourn there sparked the imagination of some nobleman who was charmed at the idea of a hermit on one's land and who didn't happen to have a religious son, so he hired someone to act the part!



I wonder how the actor playing the hermit would feel about this "job" and if any of them were suddenly struck with a real desire to adopt the hermit life?  Whose idea was it to create this fantasy on their land for the amusement of visitors?

Aristocrats spent quite a lot of money to accomplish this charade, and I can't help feeling a bit wistful that, instead of supporting a real hermit or two, these people were spending a huge amount of money on a Disneyland sort of re-creation.  If THAT doesn't say something profound about human nature, and how we value an entertaining fantasy over a substantial reality, I don't know what would.

For more information about this phenomena, check out Charlotte Brentwood's Blog, from whence I obtained the awesome picture, above.

There are varying degrees and types of hermits, from the fake hermits of the 1700's in England, who looked and behaved genuinely the part but were, from all accounts, spiritually bankrupt, to the modern day hermit living in a city apartment who appears to be quite normal and ordinary to the casual eye, but whose daily life centers around a profound prayer life in the company of the Lord.

As they say, "looks can be deceiving," and one never knows what someone is about until you dig a bit and see.

Many of us modern women wish to follow in the footsteps of the hermits of old insofar as our lives are meant to center around God, we live a retired solitary life to the best degree possible, and we eschew most entertainments. This is another reason why the fake "hermit" of the 1700's is so ironic, because his life is completely about entertainment, though not for himself.  His sole function is to charm and entertain the guests of the lord of the manor and to act the part of a religious.


Carmelite nun in her hermitage cell


I am fascinated with other independent hermits and how they manage to maintain their tranquility in a life that is not supported by any structure or organization.  How do they remain other-worldly while staying very much in the world?  Any hermits out there who would like to respond, please do.  I would love to hear from you.



Carmelite nuns of the Byzantine Catholic Rite



While I would have loved to have become part of a contemplative order like the Carthusians, I came to the faith much too late to adjust my life path in that direction. Clearly, God intends that I travel alone with Him, otherwise He would have seen to it that I was introduced to Christianity much earlier, and my health would have been good enough to withstand the rigors of The Rule of Life that each order maintains.




Carthusian nun

The form that my monastic "schedule" takes is still under construction, so to speak.  I imagined a robust schedule of formal prayers, but I am unable to do them, since my disabilities continue to worsen over time. I pray to be cured of my illnesses to the extent necessary to enable me to sit through mass, but my prayers have left me wanting. Still, I remind myself that nothing happens in this world without God directly willing it or at least ALLOWING it. I remind myself constantly that I need to adjust my desires to those of the Lord, which is why the Vedantists say that it is best not to HAVE any desires to begin with, so that one will not be yearning or disappointed.

Rather than "desires," I rather think I have a greater number of inspirations. The Lord has gifted me with numerous creative talents, and I use these as instruments of prayer, to the best of my ability. Painting of religious subjects, writing, making crocheted works of art, and other artistic ventures give me a concentrated space of time in which to keep the hands busy while I pray. I used to give away a lot of these things, but I have become so poor that I now find I must try to sell them, if I can, in order to buy medical supplies and other things required for my health.

I hate having to labor for myself. I had wanted to be saintly and, like Saint Rose of Lima, make beautiful works of art for the sake of other people. The disabilities and the cost of addressing them, have put a monkey wrench into that desire. I am going blind and need three separate types of eyeglasses to accommodate my visual disabilities. I need walkers to deal with mobility problems and special food to prevent allergic and asthma attacks that could kill me. The list goes on and on. Frankly, it is infuriating. It is also the method by which the Lord is humbling me, so I must thank Him.


Living Room prayer corner


Bedroom prayer corner


Although I am unable to live according to my aspirations, my life is somewhat more austere than most American's lives. I don't smoke, drink or take drugs. My entertainments are few. I haven't gone to a movie theater in more than 20 years. I do not travel. I do not eat in restaurants, except for the rare occasion when a friend will treat me. I don't attend parties. I don't play video games. Obviously, I do not date and have not done so for more than 20 years, having given up romance when I gave myself to the Lord.

I HAVE spent a lot of time writing this blog, which I am phasing out. It was originally started at the urging of a friend who imagined that I could supplement my income with it, but I have since learned that the only way one makes money is to "monetize" it with ugly advertisements for worldly goods. In addition to marring the beauty of the layout, the advertisements slow down the ability of the user to read the page. The many hours I have spent writing my posts are not recompensed, and if I am going to work at something, it needs to generate an income of some sort.



Sunflower I grew in a large pot outside my apartment


Some aspects of my life are hermit-like. I am nowhere near any of the stores that carry the supplies I need, so I have to order almost everything online and, while I do live in the heart of the city, I am fortunate that I can spy a bit of greenery and wildlife on the other side of the fence from the apartment complex.

Recently, I found some rose bushes on sale at a local hardware store and placed them in pots outside my living room window, very near a statue of the blessed virgin that I got for free (long story.) The arrangement gives the impression of a meditation garden, but the apartment is far too noisy and too open to foot traffic to operate as such. During the day, there is the constant flow of people going to and from the pool. At night, the sizable homeless community prowls about, looking for items to steal. Recently, my rolling walker was stolen from right in front of my apartment door. I heard them taking it but was not fast enough to catch them in the act. Apparently, they were prepared and had brought some kind of vehicle into which they tossed it.

Nonetheless, I am grateful to have a glimpse of garden outside my window, and I can pretend that I am living in a real hermit's cottage.




In the ditch, we have hawks, beavers, skunks, racoons, ground squirrels, herons, egrets, sandhill cranes, Canadian geese, wood ducks, mallards, owls, diamond back water snakes, bats, hummingbirds and a wretched infestation of June bugs that, for some reason, come to my front door to die every year.  Sweeping them from the door is a daily chore that makes me sad for them.  If they are still alive, they cling to my broom and make a type of hissing sound, poor things.  Still, I enjoy the many critters. Their presence contributes to the atmosphere.


Hawk on my back fence


While I am unsuited to the rigors of any established convent, I do my best to create my own convent atmosphere and habits, to the degree I am able.  At times, I am sad that my disabilities make me unacceptable for convent life and too poor to create a spiritual retreat on my own. I had hoped to be of some use in the world, but my entire life has been one long, stressful effort to simply survive, an effort which has become harder and harder, as the chronic illnesses worsen.

Compounding the difficulty is the lack of compassion in our government and among our Christian people. I am poor and unable to get basic needs met because I am too sick to work, but society would have us believe that I am poor because I have some character defect. It is a perverted point of view, and certainly not in step with our Lord Jesus, but the love of money has ALWAYS been a source of great evil. Those who love money usually hate people.

In my younger years, though ill with inherited things since my early 20's, I never imagined I would have difficulty supporting myself in my old age. I was supposed to have inherited a goodly amount from my father, who always promised it, but after he was stricken with Alzheimer's, a disreputable person had me written out of my father's will through an attorney who did not know him and had no clue that he had lost his mind. Alzheimer's patients can appear to be quite normal to other people, especially in the earlier stages. I tried to challenge it, but was surprised at the extent to which people will go for the sake of filthy lucre - how many lies they will tell, and just how long "the long con" can stretch, over time.

Well, if the Lord wanted my struggle to end, he would not have allowed all of this. I bow my head to his will and offer it all up as my penance. I do not wear a hair shirt, but I suffer enough without it. It has been valuable in many ways, especially in the formation of my consciousness and resolve to remain in the monastic state, regardless of its difficulties. I still pray for a religious patron to help support my spiritual life and the prayers that support the world, though! I have not given up hope for that. If God wills it, he or she will come, but I have the feeling that the patron will not appear until and unless I become more perfect in my vocation.

Artists and religious people have always needed the help and support of patrons. Even the fake "ornamental" hermits have had their patrons. That is another sort of vocation, that of patron or philanthropist.



Me - sitting with the swami (in the back ground)
 when I was in the Hindu convent


One of the issues that needs to be resolved is the issue of POSSESSIONS. Ideally, a monastic life is very spare, but a disabled person requires all sorts of physical aides in order to function in a minimal sense. It can really clutter the environment (especially in combination with art projects!) The disabilities make housecleaning extremely difficult, which also disturbs the atmosphere. In addition, it takes so much longer to actually DO the housework than it ever did before! It has become my full-time job, even though it is never really done.

When I was in the Hindu convent, prior to my conversion, I had far fewer possessions that belonged to me personally, but much more comfort and security than I have now.  Buying the furniture and other accoutrements that contribute to a restful atmosphere used to be someone else's job, and now it falls to me, along with everything else.

Gone are the days when I could live and sleep on the floor like a real acetic or hermit.  My aging body has rebelled against my former austerities.  These days, when I get down on the floor, I cannot get up by myself.  An electric bed and a recliner have become mandatory.  I cannot afford the electric bed, however, so have slept in my recliner for the last couple years or so.

My apartment is probably less believable as a hermit's cottage from outside appearances, but somewhat more authentic than the perfect looking hermit in the garden cottage on that big estate in England.

In any case, I am doing the best I can, between God's grace, my own efforts, and the occasional assistance of a Catholic friends.  I wouldn't mind if someone were to pay me to be a hermit, though, like that 18th century garden hermit - or at least to provide me a proper place to live!  Unlike the decorative garden hermit, I would actually be praying and devoting all my actions to God.  So far, there are no takers on that idea!

Until a religious patron appears, I will attempt to be more like Brother Lawrence. He was considered unfit to be either a priest or a choir monk. The choir monks were the high class monks who sang the beautiful Gregorian chants. Brother Lawrence was relegated to the kitchen where, among his pots and pans, he thought about the Lord all day, thus transforming his menial work into a glorious prayer.


I will take the example of Brother Lawrence and, no matter what form my monastic life takes, I gratefully offer it to the Lord, in reparation for my sins and the sins of the whole world.

God bless us all

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015
All rights reserved

SOURCES:

Ornamental Hermits of Eccentric Modern England

Before the Garden Gnome, the Ornamental Hermit: a Real Person Paid to Dress Like a Druid

The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to the Garden Gnome - by Gordon Campbell - AMAZON Link for purchase


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

THE SECRET OF THE COST OF LIVING INDEX

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Consumer Price Index upon which Social Security cost of living adjustments are based, actually deals with the spending patterns of younger WORKING individuals who buy high ticket items like cars, fancy telephones, electronics, etc.

Low income, older seniors, however, spend most of their money on rent, food, and utilities, therefore, our cost of living increases do not come anywhere near to addressing our ACTUAL cost of living.

Consequently, every year, we get poorer and poorer. Therefore, the longer one remains on Social Security, i.e., the longer you live, the further down the socio-economic ladder you descend.

This is not just a little bit true, this is true by a large amount. Let me give you an example:

This year, my cost of living increase is $5.10 a month. Yep. Five dollars and ten cents a month. That's $61.20 a year.

My COSTS, however, such as rent, medical insurance, medical co-pays, car insurance, utilities, are increasing by $515.10 this year, AT A MINIMUM, since I have no way of knowing how much food costs will increase. This means that I am "in the hole" a further $453.90 this year, at minimum.

This has been going on for twelve (12) years.

This is why I am frantically trying to figure out how to increase the income into my household. I'm always talking about it. How could I NOT? I am drowning in this dishonest, rigged system, despite having worked and paid taxes for more than 30 years.

Why should you care? Because some day, you could be in my position.

Of course, my situation is much worse than many women, who are better off, thanks to the incomes of their husbands and the help of their children and extended family. I don't have ANY of that.

Thanks be to God, I was gifted with many many talents, and I have faith that the Lord will help me to survive with those. It is almost as if He is FORCING me to use those gifts, so I am writing, painting, crocheting my little fingers off, hoping to keep myself afloat and not end up homeless. I also am a professional genealogy researcher, but no one wants to pay the fees. They want me to give them everything for free. I don't do that any more.

JUST IN CASE you have need of genealogy research, and you would like me to make you a nice little tree, you can order my services online at this link:

HIRE MY GENEALOGY RESEARCH SERVICES

JUST IN CASE you would like to help me survive, I have several Amazon wish lists where I have included all sorts of items I need to maintain myself and my little creative outlets. Here are the links:

LINK TO GENERAL LIST OF MOST-NEEDED ITEMS RIGHT NOW

LINK TO FIBER ART SUPPLIES

LINK TO FINE ART SUPPLIES FOR PAINTINGS

LINK TO FOOD SUPPLIES FOR THE PANTRY

LINK TO VITAMINS AND OTHER HEALTH NEEDS

Really, I'm not expecting much, as far as anyone else ordering from my lists, but I like to have them in a handy spot for my own reference.

I remember when I became disabled, the Swami told me, "Poverty makes you lose your virtue." I think it may be partially true, as it certainly has dragged my attention away from the Lord.

Being disabled is really the problem. I had wanted to just gracefully float through my final years, offering it all up and praying to the Lord through whatever came my way, but, you know, it is just not that simple. It is a mighty struggle.

The best I can do, I think, is ASPIRE to the consciousness of Brother Lawrence who, amid the pots and pans, prayed to the Lord while he scrubbed the dirty dishes.

I am sure, on some level, that the humility that disability and poverty bring, are very good for me. I feel like I am just groveling in the dirt, trying to create a living out of it. It's all good. It MUST be good, because God brings ALL things to the good for those that believe in Him. Amen.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose






Tuesday, May 9, 2017

REVIEW - VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE - PBS

The cast of "VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE"
PBS



Some people in America justify cuts to social programs by claiming that individuals and churches will take up the slack. They claim that no one should be "forced" to help the poor through the payment of taxes, and that it should be done by free will.

These people ignore the historical reality of what really happened the last time we left it up to the churches.

Watch Victorian Slum House on PBS and take a look at the horrific conditions in which these people had to live and toil.

In this case, it is in England. The "cast" are not actors, but British people whose ancestors lived in the slums during the Victorian era. It is a reality show with a tremendous amount of educational opportunity for young and old alike.

It isn't the jolliest thing you could watch on television, but I find myself riveted by it.

It may just touch the stony hearts of Americans with a "sink or swim" or "dog eat dog" vision of the world.

Check it out.

Silver Rose

Monday, May 8, 2017

PRAYER CORNERS

Living room prayer corner


I've written several times how important it is to have at least one prayer corner in one's house, where one can be quiet and spend time with the Lord, pray and bring all things to Him. I've taken some photos of my prayer corners, and I thought you might enjoy seeing them. I have a somewhat fussy style...a Victorian, shabby chic, East/West meld in the living room...and a more sober set-up in the bedroom.

Anyway...here are some photos.







Our Lady of Fatima
Statue I got in honor of the 100 year
anniversary of the apparitions
(The rose is from my potted garden!)




The icon, to the above-right of Our Lady of Fatima, is Saint Olga Equal to the Apostles, a great grandmother ancestor of some degree of mine.


The rose from the potted garden







My ancestor, Saint Anna of Novgorod













Many prayer corners are MUCH more streamlined and sedate. One doesn't have to have a plethora of icons. I just happened to collect a lot of them when I was attending a Byzantine Church. The Ukrainian pastor did not approve of the commercially made icons. He did not think they were "real" icons, and he put all of them on sale at a steep price cut because of it, and also because we had a huge stock and nothing was selling.

I was the happy recipient of much of it, spending far less than I normally would have spent.

It makes me very happy to be surrounded by pictures of the holy ones.

Have a blessed day.

Silver Rose Parnell

Enjoy!

Monday, May 1, 2017

BLESSED TEARS



Blessed tears that wash the heart of all impurity!

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be graced with the prize of being treated as the least of the least! From my place where I have been thrown upon the dirt, I see how brightly shines the lamb and how dark is the serpent, so I may crawl toward the lamb in humility, grateful for the ignominy I share with you.

Blessed tears that wash the mind of all impurity!

Thank you for the warning that the weeds would grow among the wheat until the day of harvest, when the tares would be thrown upon the pyre and burnt, while the authentic wheat is taken up and preserved. Grateful am I to receive the punishments from those who appear good but are devoted to the dark one, for I know to turn away from the false ones and follow the holy.

Blessed tears that wash the eyes of all impurity!

Thank you, Lord, for sharing the wisdom of the cross, so that I may see the road clearly, and walk it without being deterred by the pain that goodness earns us in this world. Thank you for purifying me in the crucible of pain I share with you at every step I make toward you on that rocky way.

Blessed tears that wash the will of all impurity!

Thank you Lord, that you allow me to exult in the joy of obedience to you, my Lord, though it brings me low in the estimation of the world.

It is a crying week, it is a crying month, it is a crying year, and years before. Blessed am I to be gradually hardened in the fire of your love, in the crucible of your promises, in the broken flesh of holy woundedness, then cooled in your own tears of suffering,

Sweet torture of wisdom descending and burning its mark into my flesh! I thank you, Lord for it all.

Silver Rose

Saturday, April 29, 2017

SAY HIS NAME

Saint Luke, painting Our Blessed Mother
and Baby Jesus


While I am crocheting lace chapel veils in the evening, carefully executing each blessed stitch made of fine crochet thread, I endeavor to say at least a few prayers over my work, after having dedicated the entire work session to the Lord's will in whatever person may use the object I am creating. Sometimes, it is a danger to repeat, for instance, the Jesus prayer, because I feel a deep thrill in my heart at the sound of his name, and I lose a few moments in happiness, perhaps missing a stitch and having to rework it.

I am so terribly grateful to have been led to our beautiful Lord, that I may even shiver at the thought of what might have become of me if the Lord's grace had not descended upon me, allowing me to begin to know him. It is such a treasure!

To become part of His family, when my earthly family was so wretched and devoted to their sin, is a bloomin' miracle. I was well on my way to sliding straight into hell myself, had the Lord not showered me with his grace, thanks be to God!

The Lord is Risen! He is risen indeed. He is risen in our hearts, in the depths of our being. Let us all adore Him in gratitude and love.

My quick thought for the day.

Silver Rose

Sunday, January 29, 2017

EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME - THE CAUSE OF A HUNDRED MYSTERIES

My most recent picture - age 62 1/2
January, 2017


This is one of those posts that I write, not for myself, but for the thousands of people I represent. I hope to encourage people not to judge the sufferings of others by simply looking at the person. No one has x-ray vision. No one can miraculously feel the pain that is being endured by any other person, especially in a world in which people are punished for expressing pain and suffering, and many of us put on a brave face and a smile, just to keep from being criticized harshly.

Just the other day, I  told a neighbor of a difficulty I was having, in response to her question about how I was doing. Instead of being sympathetic and understanding, she got on her soap box and started lecturing me about how I should not feel this pain, how I should pretend I have no suffering, and how I should not tell anyone the truth.

There is much advice from Christians that advocates for putting on a sunny face, but the majority of the Biblical injunctions when dealing with suffering say that we are to be sympathetic, to be loving, to be like Jesus. Jesus said to serve one another. He said to treat one another as we would wish to be treated. The Old Testament advised us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those that mourn.

No one wants to be lectured when they are in pain. No one wants or needs advice when we are depressed or hurting, but we live in a judgmental, selfish world. It is SO much easier to criticize the pain of other people than it is to do anything to help alleviate it. That is why so many people criticize THE POOR these days. They resent any help that is given to the poor vis-a-vis taxes, so the help that is given by the government is rather miserly, especially when compared with civilized countries throughout the world. Even though the help is miserly and does not come anywhere near addressing the basic needs of the poor, especially those that are disabled, there is a constant drumbeat from the conservative camp, demanding that the monies be lessened.

Denmark, on the other hand, has very high taxes and an equally high standard of living. They report that they are the happiest country in the world. Denmark cares about all their people and does not subscribe to the dog-eat-dog, sink or swim, malignant capitalism that rules America.

I write about my personal experiences so that you all my extrapolate my experiences to include those of millions of Americans who suffer and find no compassion from Catholics who ought to know better.

My whole adult life, people have been telling me that I look very young for my age. The other day, my bathing assistant reacted with great surprise when I told her my age. Many people would be thrilled with this state of affairs, but looking young for one's age CAN be the sign of a little-known syndrome called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (named after the researchers who pinned this down. I wish scientists wouldn't do this. It just makes it difficult on all those of us who have to wrap our mouths around the name. Why didn't they call this super bendy disease or circus girl syndrome.)

Many people have expressed curiosity about my disability status. I think part of the curiosity (which, in some people, is actually judgmental suspicion in nicer clothes) is that I just don't LOOK like I am disabled. I look great, apart from being fluffier than what is fashionable in this era, but you can't see pain, you can't see fatigue, you can't see the mutated genes or the multiple body parts that are composed of collagen, which is malformed, due to the mutations.

Several years ago, one of my neighbors ran into me at the mailbox and asked me, "Why aren't you working? You don't look disabled."  A distant cousin of mine called me last year to tell me that her daughter JUST learned how to get disabled people WORKING AGAIN and that there was no reason I shouldn't work! Of course, she doesn't know a single thing about my disabilities, but people are like that these days. It is popular to criticize the poor, and everyone seems to "know" someone who is "gaming the system" or cheating or whatever. The don't know the names of these people and have never been into their homes, much less their bank accounts, but these malignant anecdotal fairy tales get spread around the social media and they become the urban myth that people believe.

It is easy to imagine that the final solution for the poor is to get them all working. Every time I hear someone cheerfully opine that the cure for poverty is to get people to work, I want to vomit. Ignorant people talk about teaching the poor to fish and giving them "a hand up, not a hand out."

97% of the poor who are receiving governmental assistance are elderly, disabled, or children! The elderly spent their whole lives working. They're done with that. They and the disabled CAN'T work any more. The days when we put children to work as soon as they could walk have long since passed. Less than 1% of the poor in America are able-bodied people who choose not to work. Unless you want to put grandma and her children to work in some factory or sweat shop, that tired old cliche about teaching a man to fish needs to be RETIRED.

Here is a visual to help you understand WHERE the entitlement monies go:




I began working when I was 11, in 1965, but in my 30's, most of you will remember that I was a religious, working in a Hindu convent (which is where I learned about Jesus and became converted to Him!) While cooking one day, I fell right on my tailbone and cracked it but good, smack dab on the hard Mexican tiles. With the already existing scoliosis at the hip, previously broken tailbone, and chronic back trauma, I was in terrible shape. In fact, I had to be scooted around in a wheelchair which, evidently, the other nuns really resented because the head of the convent went to the Swami in charge and told him that I was "faking it," in her words. She knew nothing, of course, and hadn't so much as questioned me or the doctors, nor had she seen the X-rays that clearly showed the multiple issues. I suppose she thought I looked just fine and decided I was "malingering."

One of the Ehlers-Danlos websites pointed out this tendency of others to judge harshly those who are afflicted with this syndrome, as looks can be deceiving and some people really DO prefer to judge a book by its cover. Although EDS isn't curable, I feel wonderful knowing that I am vindicated, after years of people treating me unkindly as a result of this illness.

The pain of EDS, in particular, is far greater than what one would expect upon examination of the x-rays of the osteo-arthritis that shows up rather early in life. That is because only part of the pain is related to the bone-on-bone pain of the arthritis itself. Some of it stems from muscular stress and injury caused by the muscles having to do the work that ligaments and tendons are supposed to be doing. Some of it is caused by the syndrome itself, which is somewhat related to fibromyalgia. There are new studies on the pain aspect of EDS, and more news should be coming up about that aspect fairly soon, I would bet.

Depression is also one of the symptoms, though it does not appear to be situational, but rather a chemical function arising out of the mutations of the genes that cause this illness.  I read an article recently that was too far above my comprehension. Something about brain chemistry was discussed in relation to the depression. It is not the typical depression, and I think that there may be some specific anti-depressants that would be called for, under these circumstances.

During the course of my research about Ehlers-Danlos, I began to read about the lesser-known presentations in some forms of this disease, I felt like I was making check marks on a looooong list of weird physical symptoms that had hounded me my entire life, starting in early childhood.

A high palate and "crowded teeth" are another common feature of those with EDS, and I have that as well! When I was a child, they wanted to pull 4 teeth to solve the crowding issue.

My doctor and I are still comparing notes between my symptoms and the research. We have not pinned down WHICH version I have, but it appears obvious that, of the 6 different types of EDS, I seem to have the most common form of it, the hypermobility type. It is the "least severe" which probably accounts for the long time in which it has taken for me to be diagnosed. I've always known there was something, in particular, that was wrong with me....something that would explain the physical problems that have caused me such pain and inconvenience my whole life, but I don't think that the doctors have been terribly interested in diagnosing. These days, it seems that medicine has to be fixated on dealing with the symptoms, since insurance companies pressure doctors to handle many more patients than is probably good for us.

Frankly, my diagnosis was fueled entirely by my curiosity and the fact that I am an experienced researcher. I was motivated and just happened to hit upon the right websites. Once my doctor was alerted to my symptoms dating back to childhood, however, he jumped right on board. We are all happy to have an explanation of my complaints.

My experience of EDS was initially"tipped off" by extreme double-jointedness in my whole body. Even though I am in my 60's, I am still really bendy! I can bend over and touch my palms to the floor without bending my knees. Makes for a great showing in a yoga class, but can lead to lots of sprains, strains, falls and breaks, which is what I had my entire life, starting in early childhood.

Children with EDS are often accused of being "clumsy," and that is because they have not yet developed the motor skills necessary to take over where the tendons and ligaments are loose. Even today, I have to move slowly and do all my physical activities very deliberately, otherwise, I am prone to tripping, falling, dropping things, and breaking many items.

Before I was 5 years old, I remember my parents calling the doctor to come out to the house in the middle of the night because I was having terrible pain in both legs, starting from the hips on down. The doctor diagnosed them as "growing pains," but now I read on various EDS websites that many sufferers of this disease have those awful leg pains as children. The explanation is that the effort needed by the muscles to take over for what the ligaments and tendons are supposed to do causes terrible muscular pains and spasms.

(Asthma and multiple allergies are also common in people with EDS. I remember the doctor coming out to the house for THOSE issues also.)

My tendons, cartilage, ligaments and all the other things that are supposed to hold my joints together are unreliable and let me just fall where I may. I remember once when I was about 10, I was standing in the back yard, just watching other kids playing, when my left ankle gave way and I fell to the ground, breaking my right elbow.

By the time I was 11, I'd had 5 casts on my left foot, having broken numerous bones from falling as a result of my ankle just giving way. At the same time, I developed severe varicose veins before the age of 13.

I've never been able to find shoes with any ease, since I had bunions while still very young, extremely wide feet with narrow heels, and flat feet. The collagen-based structures could not hold my feet together in the way that they do in normal people.

Likewise, nothing could hold my spine in place when I was brushing my teeth too vigorously one morning when I was about 24 years old, and my back went into horrific spasms. I missed at least a week of work and was put on strong muscle relaxers.

The veins in my leg, in addition to being varicose, also have defective valves that cannot push the blood back up to the heart. Consequently, I've never been able to hold a job that involved any standing. In my early 20's, I got a job at Nordstrom's in a mall in Los Angeles. I was excited about getting a 40% discount off any clothes I would buy, but I only lasted 4 days. My job should not have been physically taxing for a young, thin, and "apparently" healthy woman, but it caused me extreme pain in my legs and hips and, by the end of those 4 days, I became bedridden and stayed there for at least a week.

One of my legs is longer than the other, not by much, but this was confirmed by more than one chiropractor. My father had the same problem. This brings up the fact that this disease is inherited from one's parent or parents.

Purchasing clothing has always been particularly difficult, especially when trying to buy pants because my extremities are too long for my torso. This is quite common. Usually, the fingers are also very long, but I did not inherit that aspect. I am really tired of my arms popping out of the sleeves of all my shirts and my pants looking like I am going to a flood. In the early 1970's, you used to be able to buy all sorts of slacks and blue jeans that were not hemmed because some women were wearing sky-high platform shoes, I suppose.

Due to a very short torso, not only are the pant legs too short, but the "waist" of all pants goes up to my bra strap...just one of the several reasons that I prefer to wear dresses, rather than pants. "Maxi dresses" are never long enough, though. If they fit in the bodice, they're at least 4 inches too short in the length. This is really inconvenient because I am keen to hide all those ugly varicose and spider veins.

When I was 10 years old, I was reading my mother's library of books. My parents never bothered to buy us children's books. I was reading Shakespeare's complete works and Somerset Maugham and O'Henry, but at school I was getting D's. It was decided that my vision was the problem, so my mother took me to the optometrist who asked me, "read the top letter on the eye chart."

I said, "What eye chart?"

It turns out that, due to the fact that the human eye is made almost entirely of collagen, people with EDS are often extremely nearsighted, with multiple astigmatisms, floaters and cataracts. Operating on the cataracts may not be recommended, however, due to poor wound healing. Also, I have macular degeneration, from which I will likely become blind. Without glasses, I am legally blind and have been since a child.

I must wear glasses constantly, changing from one version to another, to accommodate different vision issues, depending on whether I am reading, writing, watching television, going outside in the sun. It is extremely important to protect my eyes from all glare and sunshine so I never have to make a decision about whether or not to have surgery on my eyes.

My eyeglasses HAVE to have adjustable nose bridges because, like many EDS sufferers, I have an extremely narrow bridge. For some, their entire nose is quite skinny. I can't take advantage of the low-cost eyeglasses that are advertised on television all the time, as they're all plastic, and even the little eyeglass patches with adhesive on them won't keep the plastic glasses from sliding down to the tip of my nose.

Local anesthesia often doesn't work on people with EDS, something that doesn't surprise me at all, but which surprised the last dentist I saw, many years ago. By the time he finished shooting me with novacaine, the first shot had already worn off. After that experience, I had to get all my work done with a dental surgeon who would put me out.

Last year, I had surgery on one of my fingers. There was a growth that turned out to be benign. The anesthesiologist refused to believe that local anesthesia does not work for me, and dismissed my constant complaints with a paternal, condescending manner. I ended up waking up twice during surgery! The anesthesiologist's resident, not expecting me to wake and see what he was doing, was reading his email on his telephone! I told him, "Hey! I'm awake! Put me back to sleep!"  He did so, without a glance in my direction or an apology.

While the written post surgery directions told me that I wouldn't have use of my arm until many hours after surgery, my use and function on that arm was completely normal when I woke from surgery (for the last time.) At the time of this surgery, I was unaware of EDS. My negative experiences with this surgery could have been alleviated, had I known.

There are some dermatological signs in EDS, and I have very slight presentations in this regard. Soft, velvety skin is one sign. Super stretchy skin is another, which I do not seem to have...at least at this time of my life. An odd type of scar formation is present in many, and I have a bit of this, having somewhat delicate skin. I STILL have a scar from a slight injury on my tricycle when I was 5 years old. These scars tend to widen and whiten. They're called cigarette paper scars.

Scoliosis is common in EDS. I have that as well as sciatic issues, which is equally common.

A tendency to faint is another symptom, as is fatigue, especially when one adopts a position for too long of a time. Like sharks, we must keep moving.

For the last month, I have been suffering from incessant vertigo, dizziness, a feeling of faintness, fatigue and sleepiness. This is why the nurses have been coming to care for me, as well as an attendant, who helps me bathe. Some day soon, I hope to have a housekeeper who may cook, clean and take me on errands. AFFORDING it may be an issue, though I am pleading for assistance through Medicare. We shall see what they say.

A scooter is also a piece of equipment that I will be needing immediately, as is a large bendable bed for the bendy hermit. Though Medicare MAY pay for portions of these items, I will need to pay portions of it.

I also need to move to a hermitage that addresses my physical and spiritual needs.

Anyone able to help financially, please click on the DONATION button on the top, right-hand side of this blog.

All others, I beg for your prayers. Please ask for a small house with its own fenced yard for the service dog, very close to the church which our Lord wishes me to attend; a scooter able to transport me from the house to the church; a car with a lift meant for the scooter; funds for an attendant; eyeglasses; and dental work.

The three sets of eyeglasses that I need will cost half a month's income. Obviously, this is beyond my capacity.

There is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but pain and other issues may be addressed. I have faith in your prayers.

Anyone wishing to gather more information about Ehlers-Danlos, please refer to THE EHLERS-DANLOS SOCIETY

God bless us all.

Silver Rose





Saturday, January 28, 2017

THOMAS AQUINAS AND DONALD TRUMP

Saint Thomas Aquinas
Doctor of the Church
Angelic Doctor
Feast day: January 28


I have been wondering whether or not all the demonstrating and the marches and the loud outrage against the new president of the United States is a healthy thing. He won the election, and, regardless of whatever help he got from a politically motivated head of the FBI and computer hacking done by Russia, aren't we supposed to just be gracious and give him a chance?

Today is the feast day of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who said:

"To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin."

Is it our place to "forgive" Donald Trump for sexually assaulting women and bragging about it on audio tape? Are we then to forgive him (or, worse yet, believe him) when he trashes the characters and reputations of the women when they come forward to confirm that yes, indeed, he DID do these things that he bragged about? There is at least one woman brave enough to follow through with a lawsuit against him. I don't know if the other dozen or so women who came forward to confirm Trump's own words will likewise sue, or if his new, even MORE powerful position has scared them off.

Are we supposed to "give him a chance" when he lies continually, both during his campaign and after his ascension to office? What about those tax returns? While making a grab for the nomination, he promised that, if nominated, he would release his tax returns. Now, he is actually elected to office and refuses to release them. Is an unrepentant liar supposed to get wholesale forgiveness?

Is it our job to forgive him for insulting the Mexican people who have come to our country by calling them criminals and rapists? Can any of us speak on behalf of the Mexican people?

What about the hypocrisy of Donald Trump smearing President Obama because of his use of executive orders while in office and then issuing a flurry of them IN HIS FIRST WEEK himself? The insults to our previous President remain unvindicated. The Republicans had announced that their sole aim was to prevent Barack Obama from having a second term, and they refused to pass any bill he presented. He HAD to issue executive orders to get anything done while in office. Trump has a Republican House and Senate, yet bypasses the legitimate, customary procedures, a mechanism that leaves a lot of detritus behind, since Trump doesn't bother to work out the details of what will happen as a result of his sweeping declarations.

The press, called "the fourth estate", has also been vilified by Trump and his people. Trump calls the press vile names and accuses them of lying; his press secretary attempts to force "alternate facts" down their throats during his bizarre and abrupt first meeting; and Steve Bannon, alt right scion and fake fact purveyor, flatly tells them to "shut up and listen for a while." Are we to endure this horrifying suppression of the First Amendment, the diminution of a press that represents the people of America in its attempt to get questions answered by our First Servant who is acting like the master of the house? Do we just sit back and watch while representatives of the press are called names in public venues? Who decided that it was within our rights to "forgive" Donald Trump for his boorish and crude treatment of people who are trying to gather the facts for US?

Can we, in good conscience, ignore Donald Trump's insults to our American Democratic system and all of the people who have pledged to maintain the integrity of the voting system? He lies and says there are 3 to 5 MILLION people who have voted illegally and refuses to provide a shred of proof, while every reputable source of information on this topic says that it is simply not true, and not even partially true. The years of education and experience that each of these experts has dedicated to this topic have been dismissed and discounted, simply brushed aside because the new president has such a grotesque ego that he can't stand the idea that he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million people.

The ego of the man is so perverse and has such a grip on his psyche that he is more than willing to hurt anyone he has to hurt in order to spread a lie that strokes that hungry ego.

These people, organizations and institutes of higher learning are being trashed, their valuable input dismissed, their reputations and characters just SHREDDED. Should we sit idly by and let these lies continue, unabated, without comment? Shall we sit and watch while all these people are humiliated?

What about the refugees and legitimate travelers from Muslim countries that have been stuck in an American airport for hours this morning, and the others that were preparing to come here, legally, and suddenly have lost all hope?

Again, I must repeat: WHAT ABOUT THE REFUGEES? There are legitimate refugees that are in desperate circumstances, fleeing from repressive regimes and ISIS?

What about the little girls who have been stolen from their parents, raped, and forced to convert to Islam and marry old men? Shall we sit here serenely, knowing that she cannot escape that old husband and his gropings? Her hopes dashed, she must endure the daily assault. Every day that Donald Trump prohibits refugees from taking refuge here in America, is another day of violence, death, beheadings and rapes of innocent people.

How many other desperate schemes of escape from the mayhem in Syria are in process but cannot proceed because Donald Trump, in the fashion of the new dictator, has summarily prohibited anyone from coming here?

Donald Trump is an arrogant, lying hammer, and all people in his path are nails. He is destroying America's reputation and he is HURTING PEOPLE.

We SHOULD be mad. We should be FURIOUS.

I am sick, disabled, poor and isolated - par for the course for the little hermit - but YOU are not! I pray that you will rise up and make your voice heard. Do not let this evil continue unabated. PUSH BACK against the evil. SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.

Silver Rose Parnell

P.S.  I am working on transforming my Facebook page to one of inspiration. For the most part, I am publishing (1) Saint of the day; (2) Saint's quote of the day; (3) Bible readings (mass readings) for the day; (4) pictures of saints; (5) "Three Good Things of the Day"; (6) Artistic, creative and crafts posts; and (7) News items from reliable sources. Please join me there! Here is the FACEBOOK LINK TO MY PAGE

Thursday, January 26, 2017

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CONSERVATIVE CATHOLIC

Lying has always been considered horribly sinful, in Old Testament and in New. We are not supposed to give false witness against our neighbor, but fellow Catholics do this all the time, while defending this vehemently. They're very confused.

It is very disturbing that the man elected to the highest office in the land is a horrible, continual and bald-faced liar and many  Catholics defend his lies, without even bothering to try and ascertain the Truth. I find it shocking, especially since most Catholics that I know who voted for him only did so because there is a chance he will reverse Roe v. Wade with his choices for Supreme Court Justices. I doubt that will happen, but I certainly understand why some would take a chance on him, hoping that he WOULD follow through.

My problem is that I am a convert and I learned my religion at the knee of the desert fathers and mothers, the mystics and saints of the church. I read myself into the church, while the flesh-and-blood church bears little resemblance to the early church, or even to the present-day convents. The mother superior of a Carmelite convent warned me that I would have a hard time adjusting to parish life, having spent a lot of time in a Hindu convent and being accustomed to the mystical contemplative life.

Oh, how I wish I could hide in some out-of-the-way skete, but I'm physically not able. I NEED the world and its medicines, wheelchairs and scooters, but coming into contact with the sickness of our church has made me want to cry for IT much more than I would ever cry for myself.

WHERE is the Catholic faith I read about in the Hindu convent? Where is the faith for which I left my monastic life behind?

Another thing I see, almost daily, is that many Catholics are confused about politics. They imagine that there is such a thing as a "liberal" Catholic or a "conservative" Catholic when, in fact, there is no such thing. "Liberal" and "Conservative" are POLITICAL terms that have nothing whatsoever to do with Catholicism, which is not a political party. Why don't people know this? It is confusing to me.

Someone actually wrote me today and told me (on Facebook) that being a liberal is sinful! The fact of the matter is that there are aspects of each political orientation that are sinful and neither one is better than the other. It shocked me, though, that someone actually thinks such a confused thought, conflating religion with politics.

If politics was the solution to the world's ills, Jesus would have come as an earthly king, instead of a poor dirty kid, born in a stable and held in the animal's feeding trough. His whole life, he worked with his adopted father, Joseph, in hands-on physical labor.

The liberal ideology wants to allow mothers to kill their babies with abortion. Conservative ideology kills the poor, the sick and the old by removing government programs that help them. Liberals kill them fast and young. Conservatives kill them old and slow. Each is bad.  In fact, the liberals don't FORCE anyone to have an abortion, whereas the conservatives DO force economic policies that kill vulnerable populations, so perhaps it is the conservatives that are the sinful ones. What about THAT? 

Conservative economic policies benefit the rich and squash the poor, creating the perfect environment for lots of abortions because babies are expensive. Conservatives don't like to pay for other people's babies. They don't want to pay to abort them, and they don't want to pay to raise them. Conservatives do not like babies unless their parents are wealthy and never need help. This is why the conservatives don't follow through with promises to make abortion illegal again. They don't want to pay for other people's babies.

Catholics who identify primarily as Republicans and/or conservative dislike paying for other people's babies so much that they sometimes forget the church's longstanding proscription against contraception and end up "disagreeing with the church" about it. They want the poor people to have access to contraception so they don't have to pay for the babies of the poor. Artificial contraception is not pro-life and cannot be condoned in a faithful Catholic life. It is "inherently evil," according to Holy Mother Church.

According to the Catechism, a man having a vasectomy is as sinful as a woman having an abortion. Having a vasectomy is "intrinsically evil" and must never be done, "no matter how good the reason." How many people KNOW this?  How many Catholics are using vasectomies and other forms of artificial contraception, on the one hand, and loudly decrying abortion on the other?  A man cannot serve two masters. You are either pro-life or you are not. You can't cut it in half and say it is alright to frustrate God's generative power on the one hand, but not on the other. Are you open to life or not?

Every single time a program comes on the air, whether the television of the radio, and it's about "pro life," the only thing discussed is abortion. What a sad state of affairs. It seems that only the unborn are alive, in the minds of some people.

Republicans, in fact, do not want the government to help ANYONE who is vulnerable: the sick, the disabled, the poor. They do not want any social programs. They talk about "free markets" and "choices," but the poor, disabled and elderly do not HAVE any choices. They don't have enough money to have choices, especially if Social Security and Medicare are turned into voucher programs that we have to use to purchase needed services from for-profit businesses instead of not-for-profit Medicare? How is that going to work, exactly?

So - back to the man who called me sinful because he imagined that I am one of them damn lubruls. The arrogance of certain conservatives who impugn the character of people whose economic policies run more toward the liberal side, is a terrible sin in itself. Arrogance is pride, and pride goeth before a fall.

In matter of fact, I am neither liberal nor conservative. I am CATHOLIC. I am pro-life. I am against abortion. I am in favor of social programs. You cannot pin me down to any political orientation because I am not a political animal. I am CATHOLIC. Neither Democrat nor Republican will satisfy my yearning for a world in which life is honored, celebrated, supported and held up to God with a grateful HUZZAH!

I pray that all my Catholic brothers and sisters will actually study their faith and stop reading the twisted opinions of priests and others who've become obsessed with abortion and Republican trickle-down economics that has NEVER worked. There is more than one way to kill a person, and abortion is just one. It's a terrible thing. I wish it was illegal, but being pro-life requires more of me than simply being against abortion. LIFE is an enormous topic.

Being PRO-LIFE means being PRO-PLANET and environmentally savvy and caring. It means taking care of animals properly. It means caring about my neighbor to the extent that I want him to live as well as I do. Being PRO-LIFE means being PRO-CREATION, and using the creative gifts that God has showered upon me, especially in a spirit of worship of Him. PRO-LIFE is making chaplets for my friends who pray in front of the abortion clinics. PRO-LIFE is making hats for the homeless who refuse to shelter under a roof, even during the coldest nigiht. PRO-LIFE is feeding a hungry guy - even one who reeks of alcohol. PRO-LIFE is guarding our food supply from dangerous chemicals and crazy DNA experiments (like putting fish genes into tomatoes so they don't freeze). Being PRO-LIFE means protecting the water supply for all peoples and demonstrating against the fracking pipeline that risks the safety of the water of the indigenous peoples. Being PRO-LIFE means being AGAINST CAPITAL PUNISHMENT unless there is absolutely no other way to protect society against a violent predator. Being PRO-LIFE means treating domestic and wild animals with kindness AND RESPECT . 

I'd also like to see the wages increased so that families can afford to have as many children as they want, and mothers can afford to stay home and raise them. THIS is pro-life also. Wages have been kept artificially low for more than 40 years now. When I was working, I saw my income go DOWN over the years, while my responsibilities and my bills increased. Now, wage reform, in addition to being a LIBERAL economic idea is ALSO a PRO-LIFE idea. Am I sinful for being in favor of this liberal idea that I believe will result in fewer abortions and more big families? Nope. HUGE topic.  HUGE.

Poor medical care kills the poor, who die at least 10 years sooner than wealthy people. Why is no one up in arms about that?  I will answer that. Because some Catholics have conflated Catholicism with Republicanism. Republicans hate social programs and, especially these days, want to privatize everything so that everyone has to fight for every ounce of life. Survival of the fittest, is what it boils down to.

In an economic system in which only the strongest survive, the old, the sick and the disabled are naturally the losers and die off. Jesus would never approve of this.

Every time we get into a dialog about social programs, the know-nothings pipe up and equate social programs with socialism and claim that the liberals, and therefore the Democrats, are socialists. It's another LIE. Social programs have the SAME relation to socialism as Social programs has to ice cream socials. Socialism is characterized by the OWNERSHIP OF ALL BUSINESS BY THE GOVERNMENT.  Social programs are common to MANY different types of government that have nothing to do with socialism. (If you didn't learn this in High School, folks, Google is your friend. Hell...break out the dictionary,, for cryin' out loud.)

The real problem we have is that our social programs come nowhere near supplying the needs of the poor, 97% of which are not able bodied and cannot work. All of Donald Trumps blabber about jobs is not going to help the 47 million people in our country who are poverty stricken and living on entitlement programs. Notice...they are STILL poor, even though they've put money into the program their whole lives.

The reason why the social programs do not supply all our needs is that the rich do not pay their fair share. The normal wage earner pays up to 17% of their salaries into the Social Security fund, whereas the rich people pay less than a fraction of 1% because of the CAP on contributions into the fund. Social Security contributions stops for every cent a person earns over $116,000.00 a year! This robs the fund of MILLIONS of dollars of income and is THE reason why we are running a little shy of funds...in addition to the fact that both Democrats and Republicans have stolen money from the fund every year.



If the social programs were run in the same way as they are run in other countries, there would be no problem. America is the only civilized country that doesn't take care of its poor. Now isn't that revolting? The reason why is that the Republicans put up a fuss every time the democrats try to take care of the poor, every time they try to raise the minimum wage, every time they try to pass a bill that helps the sick, the disabled and the elderly.

Isn't it more Christian to take care of the population of a country, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and visit the prisoner? How can Catholics ally themselves with a party or an ideology that doesn't believe in doing what Jesus asked of us.

It is a cop-out to claim that "Jesus never said you had to force someone to help the poor."  Well, He also didn't say we should force people to pay taxes.  Oh, wait...never mind. He DID say to pay to Cesar what is Cesar's.

The Republican party is the enemy of the poor, the sick, the elderly and the disabled, but that Catholic man called me "sinful" because I have liberal economic ideas? Isn't that backwards and upside down?

The happiest countries in the world, self reported, are places like Denmark, where the taxes are high, and the social programs are adequate to care for the population. It would seem that we do not care about our people at all, in comparison to these countries. CLEARLY, having social programs WORKS for these countries, whereas trickle-down theories have never worked in any ANY countries. The money doesn't trickle down. It stays on the top, with the fat cats. Trickle-down theory is what dictators use.

So, our social programs do not work very well, due to the selfishness of the wealthy and those people who identify as conservatives, above and beyond whatever devotion they claim for Christianity, but there are some conservatives who are sincerely Catholic who recognize the defects in our current system and who step forward to fill in the gaps to the best of their abillities.

I know several of these saintly people, and it is because of them that I am alive.  They identify as conservatives, including the economic orientations, for the most part, but they step in and help the poor who have fallen through the cracks...like me.

They buy me organic food because I'm allergic to pesticides and pesticides give me asthma attacks. They've bought me computers, such as the laptop I am currently using, and even my service dog owes his life to one such earth-bound angel. These are Catholics who walk the talk and who come forward with kindness and generosity in the face of social programs that do not provide life-supporting funds. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been. 

These are the only conditions under which Republican economic ideas can begin to work, and that is if every Republican were to take on one person such as myself who has fallen through the cracks. There are 47 million of us. Can we depend upon the Republicans to come forward and take care of all of us? 97% of us are elderly, disabled, children, or the working poor.

In my mind, allowing for social programs is far more reliable when dealing with the number of poor people we currently have in this country, Trickle down economics has never worked. It is a theory that HAS FAILED but to which many are devoted. 

Does this mean I am "sinful" because I do not believe in this conservative theory? Obvious not.

I would like to ask my Christian brothers and sister to STOP identifying as liberals or conservatives, democrats or republicans, and begin to really identify as CATHOLIC people...because you cannot identify as both. You cannot serve two masters. Either you are Catholic, and you support all Catholic theology, or you are a liberal or a conservative and you only support SOME of the Catholic faith.

Secondly, you need to stop identifying OTHER people as either liberals or conservatives because it's a lie for many of us.

Silver Rose



Friday, January 20, 2017

THE ART OF CONVERSATION




Now that technology is firmly entrenched as THE method of communication in life, I find myself bemoaning the loss of real connection with people.

People call me when busy with something else, giving only a tiny portion of their attention to whatever I may say. It's an insult, really, when you're speaking on the phone and you realize your friend is typing on their computer or reading e-mails. Even when people call ME, and interrupt whatever I may be doing a the moment, they feel compelled to be doing something interesting while talking to me. I am not the only person who experiences this. This is a huge problem in our culture.

"Multi-tasking" inhibits a person's comprehension considerably. Recent scientific studies confirm this. I used to love reading classified ads when job hunting. Invariably, several would say, "must love multi-tasking," as if this was a good thing! An employer once told me, "you can't expect to do just ONE THING AT A TIME!" She was incensed. I had to tell her that I can ONLY do one thing at a time, which is true for all human beings.

We may THINK we are multi-tasking, but, in actuality we are fracturing our attention into tiny little bits had making our mind flip back and forth between each tiny little bit. Memory and cognition suffer greatly when trained into this habit.

In order to adequately absorb information and to learn absolutely anything, one MUST be able to concentrate on one thing for more than a nanosecond.

What you are communicating when you occupy yourself with something other than the conversation at hand is that you don't value the conversation. If you don't agree with that statement, ask yourself this, "if the Pope was on the other end of the phone, would you be playing "free Cell" or "solitaire?" Would you be simultaneously chatting with your husband and kids without even saying, "excuse me for a sec?"

Every human being has the same 24 hours in a day. We can delude ourselves into thinking that we are far more busy than others, but it isn't true. I do not have a typical "job," but my responsibilities and necessary activities are such that I don't have enough time in any day to accomplish all of them. I do the best I can and get as much done as possible, without making other people suffer for it.

I love people, and I want to communicate that to them when they take the time to call me.I listen to what they have to say, and I even ask questions and demonstrate interest in whatever interests them. I can assure you that some of it is downright boring, but, for the sake of the person made in the image and likeness of God, I give my time over to my caller, gifting them with my undivided attention.

Sometimes I have to cut a conversation short in order to attend to a duty, and I do so, knowing that I have given the best of myself to the other person. occasionally, however, I am not at my best and I may be irritable with the caller. Later, I return the call and apologize. It is a spiritual practice that I highly recommend.

I am not important. I am no better than anyone else and, consequently, I try not to behave as if I've got better things to do than to talk to some ordinary person. Therese of Lisieux has been very helpful to me in this regard. She was kind to people who weren't kind to her and whose conversation bored her. She made an effort.

It is not going to kill you if you sit down, put up your feet, drink a cup of tea, and have a nice conversation with a caller, even if they ARE boring. They must need this conversation with you for some reason. The relaxation that you would get from adopting this posture while talking to them may actually be good for you too!

Learning to concentrate in all arenas of your life will increase your serenity factor and help you in your conversation with the Lord. I promise.

I would pray that you give it a try. Keep the conversation short if you have to run off and do something else, but at least give your callers your undivided attention in an act of love. Jesus will love you for it.

God bless us all...

Silver Rose