SAINT OLGA

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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

VOTE THE GOP OUT OF OFFICE IN 2018

I will be brief, as I am writing this on an Amazon Kindle Fire. My computer is broken again.

The first thing I pray for this New Year is that the GOP be completely  eliminated from the House and the Senate. The GOP, in its current form, has proven itself to be hostile toward every vulnerable group in America. Women, children, the poor, the minority, have all experienced government actions against them during the last awful year since Trump rose to power.

Speaking of Trump: I pray daily for him to be impeached. He has proven himself to be completely disinterested in the welfare of anyone but himself and his rich white cronies, some of whom he installed in office for the express purpose of destroying all the agencies that exist to protect the vulnerable.

(How TELLING that Trump issued orders to the CDC that they were prohibited from using the word "vulnerable" in any report! Good bye, First Amendment!)

He doesn't believe in global warming or in the need for protecting the planet.  He has eliminated many crucial protections.

He has bragged about assaulting women and we have seen him disparage women continually, with vulgar, sexist language. He supported pedophile Roy Moore in Alabama. More than a dozen women have come forward against Trump for sexual assault, and he, the king of liars, just says they're lying. Some of the women he deemed too unattractive to be worthy of being assaulted by him.

He castigates the poor, throws paper towels at starving people whose entire island has been destroyed. He is sympathetic to Neo Nazis  and white supremacists, saying they are good people.

He lies continually and I find it remarkable that, even after he broke all his promises to his supporters, they don't care! He's thrown everyone under the bus, except for the rich, and his sycophants swoon and ask for more abuse! Still, they lionize him.

Please notice that Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land and NOTHING has been said about it. I mention this for all the people who mistakenly voted for him in the belief that Trump is pro life and would do something toward making abortion illegal. Nothing could be further from the truth! He is pro RICH BASTARDS. That's it! His supporters have been duped.

Why does a religious person write a blatantly political post? Because Jesus said to feed people. He did not say to take the food out of their mouths. He did not say we should pray for them and walk away. Jesus advocated for DOING things for the vulnerable. Trump and his rich cronies are invested in convincing everyone that the vulnerable are either faking it or are lazy. They think that they can convince everyone that we don't actually have any "legitimately" poor, disabled or elderly people.

Now that the GOP have passed a tax bill that permanently helps the rich Get richer, they're gunning for Social Security and Medicare. As someone who paid into Social Security and Medicare for more than 30 years, and who now lives on my benefits, I am frightened for the future, because I am disabled and senior: at the mercy of a rapacious government run entirely by rich bastards, almost all of whom inherited their wealth.

I've always known that there were selfish, greedy bastards in our country, but, until now, I had faith in the moral compass of our government, and the dignity of the office of the president, as well as the protections of the Constitution. Well, THAT'S all been blown to hell!

We must vote the GOP out of office, and impeach Trump because the aims of Trump and his cronies are satanic. God save us all.




Tuesday, November 28, 2017

EDUCATION IN AMERICA



I have been wondering why the alt right have gotten hysterical about American colleges and why they've been hollering about "snowflakes" and "crybabies." I could not understand what was fueling this animus toward the educated, nor why Donald Trump would appoint someone to run the Department of Education who had no education in education...and no experience either. In fact, Betsy deVos has spent many years and a lot of money trying to dismantle the Department of Education. Why her, I wondered?

After reading the Washington Post this morning, I am beginning to get a clue.

The alt right, represented in this article by Frank Antenori, "a former Green Beret who served in the Arizona state legislature" believes that public colleges and universities should only be funded if they teach courses of study that result in a degree with which a person can make an appreciable income. An art degree, for instance, is a "junk degree." Culture means nothing to them.

According to Antenori, the current situation is that students go to major universities to "get brainwashed and learn how to become activists and basically go out in the world and cause trouble."

The hammer headed "solution" for this alleged problem, according to Republicans, is to cut funding for education, which they have done. Nearly every state has had to cut funding to public colleges and universities since the 2008 financial crisis, according to this article. Exactly how this is supposed to fix the problem is a mystery to me, since all it does is prevent poor and middle class kids from having access to a college education.

I should have intuited the "problem" about education before this. You just have to "follow the money" when trying to understand overblown right wing anger.

For those on the extreme right, the solution to any alleged problem is to cut funding to everything that helps poor and middle class Americans, while giving tax breaks to the wealthy. If they can gin up anger toward some aspect of a public program, no matter how small, that is what they do. They spread lies about "massive fraud" in the welfare system, then cut funding to programs that feed children. In a bid to cut Social Security benefits, Republicans would also have you believe that a large number of disabled people are liars and cheats, when there is no factual basis for this complaint whatsoever.

The inconvenient fact (for the "alt right") is that there are liars and cheats in every walk of life. The percentage is about the same, whether you're a 60 year old disabled veteran in a wheelchair or a billionaire. The only difference is that the billionaire steals more money from the public pocket and is therefore a more successful criminal.

The process of disinformation begins like this. Take a minority of a minority of a minority. For instance, students who are also activists. It is a small number, but in order to whip up the Republican base, you have to turn something into a problem, then exaggerate both the number of miscreants involved and the cost to Americans of whatever behavior is being inflated.

Instead of actually addressing the wisdom of that one class on "climbing trees" Republicans want to dismantle the government agency that regulates educational institutions while at the same time cutting funding. Once again, they are taking a giant hammer to a gnat, and missing the gnat.  They never cared about the gnat to begin with. That is why they miss it...again.

If Republicans really cared about the state of our educational system, they would do something that actually fixes the imagined "problem." That would be the role of the Department of Education.

There are many reasons why an art degree or an English literature degree is not "junk" and why funding the educations of our poor children is crucial to the continued success of the American way of life. It should be obvious that institutions of higher education do not exist for the sole purpose of turning out human machines that produce consumable products, especially since those type of degrees are not EXCLUDED from courses of study.

There is room for every type of person in America, and there is no reason why our educational system should not teach everything on the spectrum, from the artist who makes towers out of tin cans, to the corporately inclined student of business administration.

I do not care for art made from tin cans or cow carcasses. My tastes run to the traditional, but I do not presume to tell other people that their taste has to conform to mine. The sign of a real "nanny state" would be one in which only the left-brained, commerce-inclined children would be fed, while all others are starved.

As a final note, I would remind the reader that the rest of the civilized world provides free education to all its children.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) copyright 2017
All rights reserved.

Monday, November 13, 2017

TRUMP IS THE ANTI-CHRIST



I tried to talk to someone about our immigration policies yesterday, and she immediately began talking about the tiny minority of that minority who are criminal. Why was it her first thought? Why is it always her first thought when the topic arises? This happens continually, in real life, on the internet, on Facebook. Why are "Christians" obsessed with the criminal minorities among the poor, the disabled, the ill, the elderly and the stranger among us?

NOTHING in Christian theology or tradition, the Bible or the words of Jesus suggests that Christians ought to focus on the tiny percentage of people who are criminals. NOTHING.

Some time ago, our Pope made it clear that Donald Trump is not a Christian, based upon Trump's plan to build a wall along the border between Mexico and the United States and not building bridges.  There are many other positions that Trump has taken that are the antithesis of Christian principles, and his actions have certainly violated Christian ideals, yet people who call themselves Christian form a large part of his base, and they trumpet his crude and cruel ideas, as if he was the second coming!

"Love the stranger among you, for once
you were strangers in Egypt"
Deuteronomy 10:19


Trump is not known to have ever been a Church going man. Citizen Trump never demonstrated any interest in religion. Now that he is in the oval office, he has not changed in this regard. There is NO evidence of any sudden conversion to the faith. He is not keeping the Sabbath holy. He does not spend his Sundays in church. He spends them on the golf course, as he always has. His hate-filled rhetoric has not stopped. He still maligns the poor, the sick, the stranger,  and the disabled. He has become even more anti-Christian in his policies, no doubt due, in part, to pressure from the "Alt. Right" movement that is strong within the Republican Party these days.

He even supported American Nazis who marched through Charlottesville, chanting well rehearsed anti-Jewish slogans, saying that there were "good people" marching with the Nazis.

Despite all this, some Catholics continue to defend his indefensible positions and behavior. Instead of heeding the advice of our ultimate authority on faith and morals, i.e., the Pope, these Catholics are publicly saying demeaning and, at the least, dismissive things about our Holy Father. Then, they ride their Republican hobby horses roughshod over all our needy populations.

These people have traded in their religion for Republican ideology. When I saw this happening a few years ago, I coined the term RepubliCatholic.

By focusing attention on a tiny, questionably criminal minority of a minority, RepubliCatholics encourage a mean dialogue and support cruel policies.

As a Christian, one would expect that, when the subject of a vulnerable population comes up, the very first thing we would do is express a kind thought. When someone asks us what we should do about the poor, one would expect that a Christian would talk about how to improve their financial well being, but that isn't what happens these days. No. Instead, the RepubliCatholics talk about how to give LESS money to the poor, how to take food out of the mouths of their children and how the poor aren't really poor, that they are actually criminals who should be punished. The next thing you know, we will be opening poor houses again.

Donald Trump has labeled Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and "murderers" and says they "bring drugs." His speeches about the Mexicans are famous by now, but those of us who believe in the Christian message have become so overwhelmed by all the stupid, horrific things he has said and tweeted, that we cannot carry it all at once. Like a load of concrete that needs to be moved from one stinking pile to another, we can only carry bits of it at one time. He is so awful, so shocking, so extreme, that the burden on the psyches of those who adhere to Christian principles is huge. Every day, he dumps a new load of concrete on us. What do we do with the load we are carrying from 6 months ago, last week, yesterday?

RepubliCatholics are big supporters of Trump. To my everlasting shock, several of them have said that he's the best thing that has ever happened for the Christian Church. Considering that his policies are in direct opposition to the words of Jesus, I find it incomprehensible that they would say such a thing, but this is what happens when you subsume a religion into a political ideology. You begin to think that the political ideology IS your religion.

(To be accurate, I do know that Trump has claimed to be against abortion. He also wrote a 25 page memo pledging to bolster religious rights. It's all a bunch of hot air. Trump has pledged to do a lot of things that haven't materialized.  See relevant article HERE.)

RepubliCatholics have no dedicated space in their minds for the vast number of immigrants who come here to escape brutal regimes, the ones who come here to protect their daughters from the gangs that rape them, the immigrants who refused to work for the drug cartels and are targeted for death. They are entirely focused on all those "bad" immigrants. That tiny little minority of a minority has all of their attention when the subject of minorities comes up. I can't remember ever hearing any kind words of sympathy or love for the plight of the stranger among us, the poor, or the sick from these RepubliCatholics.

When I try to advocate for poor people, RepubliCatholics immediately talk about all those bad poor people who are "gaming the system." Again, if it is even true, it is a tiny minority of a minority, but RepubliCatholics are focused on that tiny minority of the minority with laser-like precision.

If I advocate for disabled people, RepubliCatholics shoot straight to the claim that there is "massive fraud" in the system and that, supposedly, millions of people are "faking" illness.  This is just a big fat lie. RepubliCatholics behave as if they have Superman's x-ray vision that can immediately diagnose whether or not a person is disabled, even if the disability is invisible to the rest of us.

I know, first hand, how very difficult it is to get any help as a disabled person. I, myself, was denied Social Security benefits the first time I applied, and I spent the next 10 years falling from one job into another because my illnesses kept me home for so many work days, I kept getting laid off. 15 jobs in a 10 year period that included at least 2 years of complete unemployment, before I finally got my Social Security. By that time, I was completely bankrupt and virtually friendless.

Long term need is enough to chase friends and relatives into the hills. Afraid that you'll ask them for help, they invent a reason to be mad at you and then dump your sorry ass. It is a humiliating, de-humanizing process, thanks to people like the RepubliCatholics who treat you like a criminal because you are sick and poor.

Once you DO obtain assistance, people who help you often treat you like an idiot that needs to be told what to do because, in their mind, if you are poor, even if as a result of inability to work, it means that you are doing something wrong and you need to be fixed.

Donald Trump reinforced the ridiculous idea that the poor are poor because they don't have the right kind of thinking when he recently justified creating the wealthiest cabinet in American history. He said "I just don't want a poor person" [to be in those positions] and he wants wealthy people "because that's the kind of thinking we want."

See video HERE

See article and video HERE

See another article HERE

History will record that Trump is the worst president we have ever had. In the meantime, those of us who haven't lost our minds or abandoned our faith to a political agenda, can only scream, cry, wring our hands and pray to the Lord that this anti-Christ is a short-lived blip in the historical narrative of American pseudo religiosity.

Those people who have aided and abetted Trump's hateful policies will have to find a way to live with themselves. Fortunately, our God is a loving God and, if the RepubliCatholics repent and recant their hatred of vulnerable populations, the Lord will probably forgive them. Judging from what I have seen so far, however, the RepubliCatholics will go down with Trump, loudly proclaiming him to be the best thing that's happened to Christianity EVER. That is why he is the anti-Christ.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) Copyright 2017
All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

THOSE STUPID AMERICANS

Europeans have called us "those stupid Americans" for years, and now we deserve the moniker.

A large number of people no longer believe anything an expert will say. If you're a prominent climatologist with a lot of degrees, awards, and job experience, stupid Americans won't grant you any credibility at all. They'd rather get their scientific facts about global warming from some political know-nothing talking head who has an economic agenda that will benefit the wealthy, the oil companies and big businesses that pollute the world.

If you are a professional economist with multiple degrees in the field, many years of experience in the profession, and a slew of awards, The Stupid Americans will dismiss you as "left wing," which, to them, means everything you say and do is wrong and that you have no facts and nothing to offer. Instead of listening to your expert advice, The Stupid Americans prefer to get their economic advice from know-nothings who have no relevant degrees, experience or recognition in the field.

Donald Trump has consistently demonstrated this by appointing people to his cabinet who are completely unqualified. Take the Department of Education, for one. He appointed a woman who has no education and no experience in the field. What she HAS done is spend a lot of money trying to ELIMINATE the Department of Education. The fox is in charge of the hen house, and The Stupid Americans love it.

Facts don't seem to matter in this culture because our egos have become so inflated that each of us considers ourselves the arbiter of everything that happens around us. Uninformed opinions get the most air time on Fox & Friends, wacky conspiracy theorists are quoted in debates, and your crazy uncle George, whose only platform used to be the once-a-year Thanksgiving Day dinner table, suddenly has a blog and is spewing a daily load of garbage into the world.

Humility, once touted as a positive virtue and something to which the religious once aspired, is now trampled under people's feet as they hurry to jump onto the nearest soap box to loudly belch their opinions.

Catholics are even criticizing our Pope, the leader of the faith. They're behaving as if the Pope is required to answer to THEM, rather than the other way around. These people refuse to be lead by their betters because they are oblivious to the fact that they HAVE any!

Instead of electing a president with experience, dignity, gravitas and good character, we have been saddled with a sex pervert with multiple assaults in his background who brags that he grabs women "by the pussy" and kisses them without asking. He insults every minority group, women in general, and basically everyone except his rich white male cronies, whose benefit he has in mind with every proposal that he trots out. With health care, he pushed a bill that would be more expensive for the poor, the elderly and the ill. With the tax "reform," he cuts 1.5 TRILLION dollars from Medicaid and Medicare (once again hurting the poor, the elderly and the disabled) while giving immense tax breaks to his wealthy cronies. He even criticizes war heroes who had the bad taste to have been captured and tortured for years by our enemies. "Winners" don't get captured, and Trump likes winners.

The Stupid Americans, meanwhile, are so thrilled to have someone in office who doesn't know what he is doing that they defend his every move, his support of the Nazi march in Charlottesville, his every criticism of the poor, minorities, and victims of sexual assault, as well as his constant twitter storm of lies. The gathering evidence of his campaign's treasonous relationship with Russia, though well substantiated, is dismissed by The Stupid Americans as "fake news" because the legitimate, credible prosecutor has a good reputation going back decades and he has a "professional relationship" with someone that Trump fired. Only people who have NO experience or who have a BAD reputation or who don't know anyone in government are given any credibility in the dim brains of The Stupid Americans.

Senate candidate Roy Moore may STILL win Alabama because he refuses to step down after SUBSTANTIAL allegations of pedophilia have cropped up with 4 women he molested when they were barely into their teen years. Substantial proof exists to prove that Roy Moore did, actually, molests these young girls, but the stupid Americans refuse to believe it. Roy Moore, himself, is painting himself as a victim of "political" motives and vows to never give up! Styling himself as some kind of crusader who has been wrongly maligned, he has whipped up his buddies into calling for the PROSECUTION of the girls that he molested! This is why girls are so hesitant to come forward and report their rapists - because society rapes them over and over again in the process.

This is what you get when you reject professionals, when you reject experts, when you reject truth itself.

The stupid Americans are so gullible, that all you have to do is label something "left wing" and, no matter how factual the information from that source, The Stupid Americans will dismiss it entirely. Apparently, they believe that all the employees of all the news outlets and all the top universities and all the experts are "in on" a great left-wing conspiracy to report nothing but false stories. Yep. Millions of people have called and spoken with one another in order to hide "the truth" from the rest of the American people. The only "truth" that The Stupid Americans will believe is that which is illogical, far-fetched, ridiculous, completely devoid of proof, and advocated by someone with no education or experience in the field.

The whole world is watching our system of government disintegrate like a sand castle at high tide. When The Stupid Americans have managed to completely dismantle our government, Russia or China or some other power can step in and take over. Both of those countries are skilled at propaganda.

It would be easy to enslave The Stupid Americans by whispering lies in their ears, like a smooth talking pimp. All the Russians would have to do is tell them how SPECIAL they are, how only THEY know the real truth of life. It worked on Trump. It will certainly work with his devotees!

After they pump up the egos of The Stupid Americans, the foreign power will get The Stupid Americans to put the chains on their OWN wrists and ankles, and then chase down all the other Americans and force them to do the same!

In America, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, this is true. That does not mean, however, that your opinion is worth anything.

Don't take my word for it, though. Get advice from the EXPERTS. I would be happy with that.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) Copyright 2017
All rights reserved.


Friday, November 10, 2017

DONALD TRUMP, HARVEY WEINSTEIN, AND MY FATHER - Tales of my Life in the Entertainment Industry

The recent uproar about the assaults and rapes of women by powerful Hollywood characters and prestegous men in government is giving me flashbacks to what I experienced as a young woman working in the television industry in the 1970's. That's just where my story started, to tell the truth. My whole life has been shadowed by sexual assaults of one variety or another, and I know that I am not alone. America is not a safe place for women and girls to live.

Like many women in their 20's, I had been slender for a short time, big bones and all. My clavicles stood out like a taut hunting bow. Instead of being harassed for weighing too much, as I had been throughout my childhood, I had to fend off the advances of men who felt that, since they were attracted to me, I therefore owed them my body. I was fired from several jobs for refusing to have sex with influential people in the entertainment industry. I had been surprised by this, thinking that feminism had put this kind of crap to rest, but it hadn't. I never felt safe.

I spent my formative years on the sets of many shows such as Mod Squad, Combat, The Big Valley, Rockford Files. Like my father, I had always been a writer, and when I was 20, it was natural when I began to write stories for television shows.




As the "line producer" for an extremely well known and popular episodic drama in the 1970's, my father was in charge of hiring all the talent for each show. When I discovered that he frequently used the couch in his office as the cliche'd "casting couch," I was dumbfounded. He was PROUD of it. He crowed about how he deliberately left the door unlocked because the possibility of discovery was all the more exciting for him. I was horrified.

The use of the casting couch as a method of choosing which actress would be given a role is a blatant and concrete example of the misogynist's theme, i.e., that women are interchangeable and that talent, skill and experience are irrelevant to the end product. If an actress were to make a fuss about the status quo, she could easily be replaced, because one woman is the same as any another. Nothing is relevant except our obedience. Spread your legs, or you're fired.

He bragged about  this disgusting behavior to all his friends and to his coworkers in the offices they shared at the studio. To the spoils go the victor. Like a marauding invader who takes the wealth of the town he conquers, American men look upon the taking of women as a measure of their success. My father made a vulgar display of what other men were doing on the sly.

I had been fighting off the unwelcome advances of employers, landlords and random guys in elevators since I was a kid. I'd gotten my first office job at age 16, shortly after I moved out of the house, and it was remarkably easy to get hired because I was terribly young and fairly pretty. I endured a constant barrage of indecent proposals, lewd jokes and offers of "a ride home" on a daily basis. I had actually been chased around the house of actor John Amos after he'd ordered up a secretary from a temp agency. Despite assurances that it was a "real job," I quickly learned that everyone was star struck and complicit in the trading of young flesh for the pleasure of the famous. In the first few years of my working life, I learned which jobs to avoid and how to keep myself safe in the big city of Los Angeles. I had grown accustomed to the dangers and had learned how to circumvent them. I became a wary person, suspicious and hyper vigilant. Learning that my own father was one of those creepy guys who blackmailed women for sex and laughed about his conquests was too much for my young mind to comprehend.

I had been helping out in father's office at the studio by day, while his secretary was on vacation. I always had some sort of day job, while I spent my evenings at the typewriter. I stumbled into his office one day during an inopportune time. Then I learned that EVERYONE knew about his casting couch. His was not the only casting couch on the lot, of course. Having a couch in your office was the hallmark of a powerful man. It was a status symbol - something akin to the corner office in the corporate world. I was revolted.

I let him know how I felt. Being a classic narcissist, the slightest hint of disagreement or disapproval of anything he did or said was enough to send him into a paroxysm of rage, and this topic was no different. He didn't even have the sense to be embarrassed or ashamed.

Although no one did anything about this awful situation, I wasn't the only person disgusted by my father's arrogant flouting of his power. After a wrap party, a dozen or so production people went to lunch together. I happened to be on the lot that day, and I was invited. I had made a lot of friends among the working people, none of whom knew I was that man's daughter. (I hadn't wanted the attention I invariably got when people found out. Suddenly, I would be assailed with pleas for an introduction, or some guy would feign interest in dating me, then show up for the date with a script in hand, expecting me to forward it to Aaron Spelling. It was stupid, really, because I could hardly be expected to assist my competition in taking jobs away from me.)

Over lunch, the subject of my father came up. Everyone hated him with a virulence that surprised me. Each person had a story about him. I just sat there in silence. A nearby man asked me, "Do you know him?" to which I replied, "Yeah, he's my father." Of course you could have heard a pin drop. I assured them it was nothing I hadn't heard before, and I promised not to repeat what I had heard at the table. They were afraid of what would happen. A few who needed to stay on his good side in order to keep their jobs were visibly shaken. Losing your job in that industry often meant being blackballed at all the studios, if you angered your boss badly enough. No one could afford to lose their jobs, since the salaries were mostly very low. There was a saying that the movie biz pays people with glamour instead of money....at least until you become a star or were at the top of your technical field.

A few days after I discovered that my father was behaving like Ghengis Kahn, he stole a screenplay assignment from me in retaliation for the disgust I had expressed when I learned about his casting couch.

These assignments weren't given in writing at the time. You took a meeting, pitched a story, got the assignment for the story treatment. If the story treatment met with approval, you got the go ahead to write a first draft of the script. I'd gotten the go ahead from Aaron Spelling, vis a vis my father, and had started work when we had our tiff about his piggish behavior.  The Writer's Guild couldn' help me because I had not used an agent in my negotiations and I had no proof. I didn't figure I needed one, for obvious reasons, but I was innocent and unprepared.

I was so overwhelmed by it all, I decided to abandon my writing entirely. I turned my back on the industry and never wrote another screenplay or teleplay or tried to do anything in that business ever again. My entire being revolted against what I had experienced.

Although we'd had a fight about his abuse of women, I could not make myself stop loving my father. It was a terrible interior conflict that tore me up inside. I ran away from it. I had to remove myself from the ringside seats. I fell into a deep depression. I couldn't find work. I ran out of money. My car got repossessed. I got a beat up old wreck of a car and moved to Arizona for a year, to take some college classes and clear my head.

After I left town, I changed my name and began a new life. Meanwhile, my father began telling lies about me to other family members in order to mask what had actually happened. He had to reframe the events to favor himself and hide his adultery from his wife. He had to destroy my reputation so that no one would believe me.

Over the years, when my father spent money on one of his mistresses, he would explain away the missing funds by telling his wife that the money had been given to me and that I was calling him "all the time" asking to be "bailed out." He painted me as a "loser" who was after his money. I was oblivious to all this, until my sibling told me about it, many years later. It was all a lie, of course. I had never called him asking for money. I had learned at a very young age not to do that because, if I did, he would scream at me, tell me, "I don't owe you anything!" and then hang up on me.

I've never been able to resurrect my reputation on my father's side of the family. Part of the problem with people who live in the reflected light of the glamour of stardom is that they tend to suspend disbelief of anything that the star has to say. Otherwise, they may lose their access to all that yummy glamour. The religion of celebrity is a vile aspect of American culture. We're seeing it now with Donald Trump. His starry-eyed worshippers attribute God-like status to him and resolutely deny his very public moral and ethical bankruptcy.

I suffered a lot for walking away from my writing career, but I could not face the horror of what that industry deems commonplace. In a business where even one's father would steal from you, who could be happy? Then there was the fact that my father was a sexual predator.  From an emotional standpoint, I could not live with the reality of my father's involvement in a sexist system that had always abused me.

I understand completely why all these women who are now bringing suit against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Matt Lauer and Donald Trump did not come forward sooner. I know what it is like to be immersed in a culture that protects the powerful men and sneers at women who complain of being sexually abused. 

When I heard the Access Hollywood conversation between Donald Trump and Billy Bush, I became nauseous. Donald Trump was bragging about grabbing women. "Grab 'em by the pussy," he said. Billy bush egged him on in a smarmy, sycophantic manner so typical of the hordes of people I'd seen worshiping at the church of celebrity. Trump suggested that, when they saw the actress they'd come there to see, that he might just start kissing her. "I can't help myself," he said. "I just start kissing them." Bush cheered him on, like a frat boy encouraging a more senior member of the tribe.




As I watched Trump pillory the women who came forward to confirm that yes, he IS the sexual predator he bragged about being on that video-tape, I grew furious. I have seen this constantly during my many years  in the entertainment industry. Their stories rang true. Trump's assassination of their character was exactly what I had experienced, first hand. I had seen all sides of it.

During Trump's campaign, I was stunned by his obvious, overt bigotry and racism. His reduction of women to their physical parts was consistent, base and vulgar. His dog whistles were easy to hear. He put rich white males on a pedestal and urged his devotees to venerate that image and hate every other. The comprehensive nature of the hate takes my breath away.

I was struck dumb when Donald Trump was elected president. 40 years after I bailed out of the culture of celebrity, thinking that I had escaped that environment, I find that it has spread! Even women voted against their own best interests and now EXCUSE Donald Trump's behavior. They have bought into the supremacy of the RICH WHITE AMERICAN MALE. This dark and evil soup of malevolent white male aggression, has spread, widened and deepened.

I am poor and disabled now. I had been making good money as a writer and I never found anything to replace it. I was not lucky in love and, like most single women, survival was always difficult.

In the United States, women still make only 70 cents for every dollar a man makes, the glass ceiling is still very firmly in place, and we have never had a female president, despite the fact that many countries have had female leaders for quite some time. We have a serious problem in our country. While we have this arrogant, boasting nationalism that claims an exceptionalism we do not possess, at the same time, we have backward, primitive ideas about women, minorities, the aged and the infirm.

Donald Trump's naked display of the very worst aspects of our culture has caused my PTSD to kick into overdrive. His vision of an America that is hostile toward everyone but the rich white male, is frightening and evil. His childish, virulent twitter storms are a drumbeat that incites the primitive drive of angry white men who dream of  power and the subjugation of inferiors. He even defended NAZIs who marched in Charlottesville, chanting slogans against Jews!

I ask my conservative friends how they would feel if one of the women now suing Donald Trump were one of their daughters, or their wife, or their sister. They get mad at me because they've convinced themselves that the 16 women who came forward against him are all doing it for financial gain and that they are all liars. The ease with which they skewer the characters of more than a dozen unrelated women they've never me and know NOTHING about infuriates me.

It has always been thus. Women are sexually assaulted on a daily basis and, if the rapist is a star or a favorite candidate, the sycophants conspire to ruin their reputations. They attack the victims with a cold vengeance. It makes me ill.

Currently, there is a senator, Roy Moore, whose predilection for very young teenage girls has been exposed. People around him have known this for a very long time. He has been trying to seduce 14 year olds since he was in his 30s! It was common knowledge on "The Hill." No one did anything to protect those children. Now, his buddies are calling for his victims to be prosecuted for daring to come forward and tell their stories! It is a gang rape mentality that is more common than many realize. I was drugged and gang raped with I was 14. I recognize it.

I find it ironic that in "liberal" Hollywood, the tide is now turning against sexist monsters who have used their fame and money as a weapon against women and girls, while in "conservative" government, people are excusing the sins of Donald Trump and the Alabama Senator.

Harvey Weinstein has had some bad press and has lost his position. Louis C.K. has lost a lot of jobs as a result of his exhibitionistic masturbation scandal. Kevin Spacey has lost his job on the hugely successful HOUSE OF CARDS. Billy Bush lost his job on Access Hollywood as a result of that video with Trump, but I THINK he got in trouble because it leaked, not because it happened. Matt Lauer has recently been fired from his award winning, hit television news program on NBC.

Yet nothing has happened to Donald Trump as a result of the release of that Access Hollywood video in which brags about assaulting women. People voted for him anyway. They didn't care that he is a rapist, a serial assaulter of women, a bigot, a vulgar liar and a misogynist.  The women he assaulted are called liars and whores by his followers, who say they have "forgiven" the Donald for his crude language and they're SURE he's no longer using that "locker room talk." Some of them say the equivalent of "boys will be boys." A lot of people on Facebook say that he's the best thing that's happened to the Christian Church in years. When I read stupid comments like that, it makes me shudder.

I have known too many men like Donald Trump, Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and Senator Roy Moore. The fact that conservative Christians are defending the sex perverts in government while going after their victims is what keeps my PTSD fully engaged. America is a dangerous place to live for women and girls. We have to stay vigilant.


Silver Rose Parnell
(c) Copyright 2017
All rights reserved

Sunday, November 5, 2017

PUT ON YOUR CATHOLIC GLASSES

Morning Walk
November 5, 2017



A fair number of Catholics have put down their Catholic glasses and put on their Republican glasses instead, trading in their faith for a political ideology that they've confused as an appropriate substitute. Many appear willing to do or say anything in support of their political candidate, even if it is dishonest, uncharitable, and slanderous.

Instead of examining what is happening in the White House today, for instance, these RepubliCatholics are fixated on Hilary Clinton, who is not in any public office, is not running for office, and has not been in office for years. Social media continues to be flooded with ridiculous conspiracy theories about her. Clearly, she's not even yesterday's news. She hasn't been in any political office for at least 5 years. Why beat the dead horse?

At the same time, Robert Mueller,  a man of sterling character and reputation, is being slandered by the RepubliCatholics, who are calling for him to be fired, supposedly because of Mueller's "professional relationship" with Comey, the former head of the FBI whom Trump fired after Comey initiated the investigation into Trump Campaign ties to Russia. If one is going to have an FBI investigation, it is obvious that the FBI employees are certainly going to know one another. Are we to surmise, then, that no FBI agent can head an FBI investigation because one of them was fired by the person being investigated? That would be convenient to the person being investigated, certainly.

Read about the motion to remove Mueller HERE

These RepubliCatholics are also mad that the FBI didn't find any wrongdoing with a Uranium deal with Russia, a deal on which 7 government agencies signed off and which was not engineered by then-secretary of state, Hilary Clinton. CLEARLY, Trump devotees are clutching at straws.


Who is Bob Mueller, anyway?



As Special Counsel for the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the campaign of 2016, Robert Mueller's mandate is to investigate "any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." [Rod Rosenstein's letter appointing Mueller as Special Counsel.]

Mueller is a war hero. He received the bronze star for combat for his service as a Marine during the Vietnam War. He was the director of the FBI for 12 years (originally appointed by President Bush.) He has served as a U.S. Attorney, an Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, and as Acting Attorney General.

He was one of the "key players" in making America safer after the 9/11 terror attack on the twin towers. [See: "Robert Mueller, Known for His Integrity, Leads Historic Investigation as it Heats up." HERE]

Mueller has a solid reputation for equanimity and nonpartisan action. Mueller's reputation is such that, if he isn't fit to lead this investigation, then no one would be. (Read the articles through the links I provided.)

This investigation isn't partisan. Mueller, like Trump, is a Republican. The investigation has found quite a few Trump Campaign officials have strong ties to Russia. This isn't "business as usual." It's bizarre for an American politician to be surrounded by people who have so many ties to Russia, an enemy state, as I detail in the next paragraph. The timing of the Republican push to oust Mueller is suspicious, to say the least.

Charges may soon be filed against Mike Flynn, Trump's former National Security Advisor, having to do with Flynn's connections to Russia. [See: "Mueller Has Enough Evidence to Charge Flynn in Russia Investigation." HERE]


Mike Flynn


George Papadopoulos has already pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his work with Russia while a member of the Trump campaign. [Read his plea agreement and underlying confession of guilt HERE.]


George Papadopoulos
Former Foreign Policy Advisor to Donald Trump


Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, charged with tax fraud and money laundering, has Russian connections and is currently under house arrest, as is his long time associate, Rick Gates, who was also on Trump's team. [Read about them: HERE]



Paul Manafort
Trump's former campaign chairman
Rick Gates
Assistant to Manafort


As Catholics, our devotion to truth should be far stronger than our attachment to any public figure, otherwise, we are in service to Satan, the father of lies. If you find yourself in the position of fighting AGAINST the truth coming out about your favorite public figure, it may be time to rethink why he is your favorite to begin with.

God save us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
Copyright (c) 2017 - All rights reserved.

Monday, October 16, 2017

SAINT MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE

Saint Margaret Mary Allacoque
Receiving Jesus, when he gave her the
devotion to His Sacred Heart


"What a weakness it is to love Jesus Christ only 
when He caresses us, and to be cold immediately
 once He afflicts us This is not true love. Those 
who love thus, love themselves too much to love
 God with all their heart." 
~ Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Today is the "optional memorial" day for one of the most popular saints on the Catholic calendar.

I find this saint's words very inspiring, in the midst of my problems and afflictions.When I read these sort of quotes from the mystics who have experienced an intimate relationship with Our Lord, I am reminded of my own feelings, whatever is best among all the thoughts that go careening around in my brain, whatever is most beautiful in my inclinations. It is almost as if I breathe a breath of fresh air in the spiritual realm.

Today, in particular, I am reminded that, even though my earthly travails are many, my soul belongs to God, and, if I will only remember to look upon him throughout the day, I will experience great love.

When I was in the Hindu convent, I learned many techniques of directing the mind to what I wished it to think about or concentrate upon. While some people imagine that meditation involves "clearing the mind" and making it EMPTY, I rather found it to be an exercise of attention. One must gently take hold of the mind and, in one manner or another, restrain it from hopping from one topic to another, concentrating, instead, upon The Lord.

Now, when I say I was in a "Hindu convent," that is not strictly correct, as I belonged to a neo-Vedanta group that arose OUT of Hinduism, but which is not accepted as being Hindu at all, since it accepts that "all paths lead to God." (This is the Vedanta Society.) As with most religions, they are good people who mean well, and I respect anyone who is pursuing God.

While I no longer believe that "all paths lead to God" in a literal sense, I AM in tune with those aspects of that philosophical system that are true and useful. While the Vedantists certainly do not have what WE would term "the fullness of the faith," or "the fullness of Truth," one has to agree, as an obvious fact, that God cannot be restrained from entering the whole of His creation. We cannot limit him, no matter how much the fervor of our beliefs would have it otherwise!

There were several other nuns of my acquaintance who took as their "Ishta" or manifestation of God, Jesus Christ. This is not the same as being Christian, but it demonstrates the all- pervasive nature of Our Lord.

Noticing the presence of God in a non-Catholic establishment, many people become confused and come to believe that mixing up all the religions would be a good idea, plucking ideas out of a collection of religions, like plucking flowers for a bouquet. This never works, as the inconvenient practices or ideas are often dropped, to the detriment of the spiritual aspirant. Even Ramakrishna, the saint whose philosophy and life initiated the Vedanta Societies throughout the world, told his people to "dig deep" and not to run around digging shallow holes for their faith.





Saint Margaret Mary was instructed by Jesus to spread the devotion to Jesus' Sacred Heart, an image oft repeated in artistic renderings. Being reminded of it while reading about this saint, I have been given an idea to paint my own versions of Our Lord's most beautiful Sacred Heart, and thus have more of a direction to follow as I embark upon this series of 50 small paintings I have been talking about for some time. The canvases are ready. I must just start.

When the paintings are completed, and I have made the frames, I will post photographs of them, if possible.

This brings up a topic. In addition to the many items that are needed here at Silver Cottage, I am in desperate need of a digital camera, with an excellent zoom capacity. It doesn't need to be fancy, as I would not be able to figure it out, no doubt, but the resolution has to be good, and I will also need a tripod. This equipment will be used to photograph paintings for my portfolio, as well as for the craft items I produce, so that I may place them online to sell them and thus have the wherewithal to purchase medical equipment and other necessaries.

Please use the Paypal link, above right. If you have any questions, just make a comment. It won't be published, as I have to release comments prior to publication. This is a good way to contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, God bless!

Silver Rose

Copyright (c) 2017, All rights reserved.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

LEARNING EVERY DAY

"Cake" of yarn that I made from a loose skein of commercial yarn,
an Amish yarn swift, and a hand-cranked yarn winder
ONE OF MANY LESSONS OF SELF SUFFICIENCY


Brothers and sisters:
I know how to live in humble circumstances;
I know also how to live with abundance.
In every circumstance and in all things
I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry,
of living in abundance and of being in need.
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.

My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.
Philipians 4:12-14, 19-20


While I had intended to abandon this blog in favor of Facebook, I had so many unpleasant experiences on Facebook that I realized that it is not the venue for me. While I had hoped to make friends and experience some sort of community on it, I found, instead, that others are not so inclined.

On Facebook, there is an alarmingly large group of people who, though claiming to be "Catholic" strongly express anti-Catholic views. Some are just downright crazy, imagining all sorts of conspiracy theories around the Popes. There are a lot of men who call themselves "Father" and wear a Roman collar, but are actually members of weird little cults that copy Catholic rituals. Another group of very hostile "Catholics" are actually just rabid Trump supporters whose minds are submerged in a soup of bigoted, elitist, "alt right" philosophy, a philosophy that is completely contrary to the teachings of Christ. Another group is composed of hostile and unrepentant Catholics who cling to visionaries and defrocked priests who've been unmasked as dangerous fakes. Many people make "friends" on Facebook so they can tell you what to do and preach at you with their own brand of religion. They try desperately to set themselves up as a spiritual leader on Facebook, since they are obviously unable to get their ego needs met in "real" life. The only reason any of these people added me to their friend list was to use me as an audience or as a tool to disseminate their wacky ideas, demanding that I spread their wacky messages to all my other Facebook friends. It was really too much.

Interacting with these people makes Facebook a hostile world - not the supportive community I had imagined, so I am back to the blog, to write an occasional entry. The majority of my attention has to be the writing of the book, of course, as well as my painting, but when I feel moved to write something here, I will.

In the four months or so that I have been away from this blog, I have learned from observation and experience, how to live with "abundance in every circumstance." Remaining connected with the Lord throughout all conditions of life, in being well fed and in going hungry, I've felt the continuity of spiritual experience that transcends the circumstances of earthly life.

In sickness and in health, in wealth and in poverty, my God will fully supply whatever I NEED.

Apparently, I need to have my car break down for the 3rd time in as many months. I don't pretend to know the lesson I need to learn from this. I feel I am already at one with the poor that Jesus loved so much.

Yesterday, I took my last 20 dollars, and another elderly neighbor, and got into the car to go to a local market to buy one or two simple things to stretch the food until the end of the month. When I tried to start the car, all I heard was clicking. The starter, once again, needs to be replaced. It is a very old car, at least 23 years old and, although a nice, dependable Toyota, it is on its last legs.

So, I am completely stranded. Let me explain why:

I am physically unable to ride buses, like MANY elderly people. I am not physically able to do stand and wait for them. The valves in the major vein of the left leg do not work, and my left leg goes completely numb and useless after 5 to 10 minutes of standing. My knees cannot get me up the steps. My scoliosis, when jostled by the buses typically bad shocks, causes my back to go into spasm after the first bump in the ride. By the time I get OFF the bus, I would have to call someone to come rescue me because I would be in extreme pain and completely bent over.

Also, buses, for vulnerable populations of elderly and/or disabled, are very dangerous. Any police officer will tell you that the bad guys target anyone who seems to be more vulnerable. Predators look for the sick member of the herd. Even apparently healthy men are sometimes the target of groups of predators here in Albuquerque. One of my neighbors, on his way to work, was beat up by several men who beat him for his wallet, which only contained $40. Imagined what they'd do to a disabled lady, traveling alone.

What will I do? Immediately speaking, a friend is bringing me the two items I'd gone out to get yesterday. Probably, I will borrow some money from one of the online loan sharks, add it to my food money for next month, and have the car towed to the local Pep Boys.  Blah Blah Blah. It is all so very annoying. While my mind wants to soar to the heavens, the disintegrating nature of this world keeps knocking at the door, insisting upon my attention.

While I had my momentary freakout yesterday, today I resumed my equilibrium, and was delighted to read the above Bible passage, which is the passage for today in the Catholic calendar. Something that we all have to learn is how to live in "abundance" while in need. My need is crushing, demanding, insistent, linked to basic survival issues that tickle the reptilian part of the brain. Directing the mind to the higher plane is made much more difficult in these circumstances. I think this may be the genius of poverty. While I would be just as glad to rejoice in abundance during times of good food and circumstances, I do appreciate the opportunity to practice abundance of mind in the midst of survival stress. Thanks be to God.

Silver Rose Margaret Parnell
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

GRANDMA NEEDS AN ELECTRIC BED

Bedroom suite for sale


I bought a bed a few years ago. It took me a couple years to pay it off, but I barely used it because, while I believed that I was not sleeping well previously because I was sleeping in a twin bed that was too small for me, the problem was actually much more serious.

My scoliosis of the spine, combined with severe arthritis and other physical disabilities, combined to create a situation in which I am unable to sleep laying down without causing horrendous pain and stiffness in the morning that lasts most of the day. Some days, the pain never ceases, despite strong pain medication. It is impossible to function!

I have been sleeping, for more than a year, in a reclining chair, the stuff of which is breaking down, especially on the footrest, where it is now no more than a plank with a thin layer of fabric over it. I've tied a pillow to it. Said pillow is struggling mightily to escape and needs to be regularly wrangled back into place.

An electric bed with a special mattress and the ability to place me into a position that will let me sleep and wake without severe pain will cost about $5,000. A sturdy recliner, where I spend most of my day, is another $1,000.

In addition, while I have an electric scooter that gives me more independent mobility, my car is not able to carry it. The car is too small, for one thing, and it is more than 20 years old and regularly falling apart anyway. I need to buy a small SUV on which I can have a carrier installed for the electric scooter.

Contrary to the rumours that some people INSIST upon spreading, "the government" does not pay for any of these necessities. Medicare doesn't cover it. There is NO ASSISTANCE for these things. I have researched.

While I am no longer able to work at an actual job, I do have some skills that I hope to turn into enough cash to purchase these items that will assist in making me more independent.

First of all, I am writing a novel. Like most writers, I have more than one in the hopper, but I'm concentrating on finishing one, with the hope that some income may be obtained thereby.

Secondly, I am a professional genealogist with more than 30 years' experience. My specialty is the research for and construction of family trees of Americans whose family roots began in this country at the previous turn of the century.

I am also an artist and will be producing some paintings.

Currently, I have a supply of earrings made from high quality gemstones, sterling silver and pewter elements, which I made. These can be seen on my Facebook page in a publicly visible album located HERE.

I also crochet lace chapel veils and baby blankets. (See pictures of lace, below.)

Finally, I am SELLING the cherrywood colored bedroom suite. (The mattress is a pillow top that has been hermetically sealed against all critters and dust since I bought it about 3 years ago.) Two BEAUTIFUL, carved bedside tables are included, as well as a 5-tiered, cherry colored, Victorian style corner plant stand (or knick knack stand, or books). (See the pictures, below.)

If you are interested in engaging me as a genealogist, purchasing some earrings or crocheted lace, or buying the bedroom set, I would very much like to EARN donations, rather than just be given money. I do not refuse donations, of course, but in the current political environment in which the poor are often accused of faking illness or "working the system", it seems more straightforward to sell hard goods and services, rather than ask for donations for a disabled grandma.

Please contact me by submitting a comment. I will receive notice by email, and your comment will not be published.

You may use the DONATION button for a straight donation or for genealogy services or the purchase of earrings or crocheted items, according to what you request vis a vis your comment.

I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime:

God bless us all!

Silver Rose









BEDROOM SUITE: 5 pieces, wood and mattress. Used no more than 1 year. Mattress sealed in dust mite proof cover for the entire time it has been in the house. $1,000 - complete.





Lace baptismal blanket, one of a kind, $125 each
(new - not used.)


EARRINGS: $18 to $36 - 
See Facebook album by clicking HERE








































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