SAINT OLGA

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A PARTING MESSAGE



With the writing of this blog, I had hoped to share the beauty of the contemplative life with those similarly inclined, as well as to devote a few posts to my humble little ministry of advocating on behalf of other grandmas and grandpas who, in their golden years, find themselves sick, poor and alone. I had wanted to counter the mean-spirited urban myths about the poor that are currently circulating in social media and other arenas (like The White House!), and I aimed to bring to light some lesser-known saints against whose lives we can compare our own.

The process of writing, and everything pertaining thereto, has been remarkably time consuming. Meanwhile, my congenital illnesses have intensified to the point that the time it takes to accomplish the mundane tasks of life have grown to an extent that my prayer life, the primary focus of my religious vocation, has begun to be infringed upon. I cannot afford to hire an attendant to assist me, therefore the blog had to be put aside.

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 kept falling back into writing the blog. I really have to stop myself now.

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.

Because many items are needed to address my growing physical problems, however, I have to keep the DONATION button active on this page, so that gifts may be given by friends. Recently, my rolling walker was stolen, and it had to be replaced. I also needed some special eyeglasses for my extremely compromised vision. [It is expected that one day I will be blind from macular degeneration and other problems.] A few friends and their friends got together and helped provide some of these important medical aids. The next project is an electric bed, so that I may stop sleeping in my recliner.

In the not so distant past, religious persons like hermits and anchoresses were supported spiritually by the church hierarchy, and physically by the townspeople, who would come to the window of the anchoress, or the entrance to the cave of the hermit, and bring food and other necessaries. It was understood at that time that the prayers of the person who had been set aside for God had great value to society at large as well as to the individuals who relied upon the advice of those who had been called by the Lord to live with Him alone. I have a regular retirement income, but it is too small to fund the medical equipment and supplies that I need which are not paid for by Medicare. A little help is required, When friends and well-wishers have difficulty getting to me in person, the DONATE button is convenient.

The many scandals that have come to light in recent years have shattered the trust that society once had for the Catholic Church, and Catholics, in general. First, we had the pedophilia scandals, and recently we have learned of "drug fueled homosexual orgies" inside the Vatican. A monsignor was arrested, but it was clear that his activities would not have been able to occur if higher-ups were not condoning it, ignoring it, or assisting it! So many vows have been violated in this most recent story, I hardly know where to start.

Vows of "poverty, chastity and obedience" are very basic. Keeping the vow of chastity, in particular, is the bedrock of religious life. There are other, much more challenging, and deeper aspects of spiritual life once chastity has been conquered. Chastity is just the beginning. Every Catholic is expected to practice chastity, to get a grip on the basest of the animal instinct, but this is the religious principle that is most ignored by most the people, both vowed and laity.

If the higher-ups in the Catholic world are having "drug fueled homosexual orgies," how could anyone trust me to be who I say I am, other than those who know me well? I am nothing and no one. I do not have any status or title. How could I expect to be assisted by good Christian people when the entire Catholic Church has such a bad reputation at present, and there are so many scammers active in our society?

Because of the growing secularization of our culture, it has become common for monastic institutions to rely upon the work of their hands in order to support themselves financially. Physical work, in particular, allows one to work and pray at the same time, whereas more intellectual pursuits, like writing a blog, takes up more brain matter than is wise, particularly if time for prayer has grown short, due to the necessity of attending to medical issues.

Instead of writing the blog, I will be making arts and crafts items for sale. I do not know yet where I will sell these things, since I am mostly housebound due to disabilities, but I will wait until I have accumulated a good stock, and deal with the marketing issues later. Being of an artistic nature, I am not very good at sales. Anyone with experience who would like to assist me, I would be most grateful. (By "assisting," I mean actual assistance, rather than telling me what to do. I have far too much unsolicited advice, at present.)

I am painting small religious paintings and will make the frames myself. Additionally, I will produce fine rosaries and chaplets. My crocheted chapel veils and lace baptismal blankets are very beautiful. "Stocking stuffers," such as hair ties made by knitting over elastics, lace book markers, and religious jewelry such as earrings, bracelets and necklaces will be made.

While I am painting, crocheting, or bending silver wire, I pray. Sometimes I interiorly recite the Jesus prayer ("Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a poor sinner") and sometimes the Ave Maria. Sometimes I remain in the company of the Lord, in the manner of Brother Lawrence, who said that he was as close to God amongst his pots and pans as within the cloister, where the monks were chanting the Divine Office.

A notice will be published on this page when my art works are available online.

I will continue to pray for all of you. I will be available for correspondence, if you leave a comment on this post. This 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, who may miss it. While it did not produce the response that I would have liked, I have no worry. This is how the Lord leads me. He shows me what He wants me to do by blocking all avenues to anything else! It is a great blessing.

May you all have peace. 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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

UNFAITHFUL CATHOLICS CAUSED THE ABORTION CRISIS



Every Catholic who abandoned their religion and began using artificial contraception and/or surgical sterilization, put a nail in the coffin of Catholic moral teachings. Every Catholic who had sex outside of marriage laid another weight on that coffin.

Contraception leads to the abandonment of chastity, which leads to "unwanted pregnancies" which, in turn, leads to abortion. The correlation is direct.

Abortions are legal because people want them. People want them because they do not adhere to Christian moral teachings and thereafter find themselves inconveniently pregnant.

The society, reflecting the will of the people, is not geared to accommodate many children because we live in a fornicating, masturbating, promiscuous society that has shifted focus from love and commitment to self-gratification. This societal sickness did not descend upon us like a cloud of locusts from hell. We created this situation by our behaviors, behaviors that are fed by ideologies that are inconsistent with Christian moral values.

The law is responding to the people. Unlike China, which forces abortion on its population, our law allows abortion in response to what the population wants. It is not the law that caused this problem. It is the people. If abortions were legal but no one wanted one (or felt they "needed" one), there could be an abortuary on every corner and they would all be EMPTY.

We have not evangelized the world and educated it about the importance of chastity because we ourselves are an unfaithful people.

I have seen a lot of Catholics fly into a rage about various political figures who believe in abortion on demand. Many of these Christians are self-righteous, hostile, argumentative and blaming, blaming, blaming. Not a whiff of humility to be found.

It is well past time that Catholics accepted that our failure to follow our own religion and our subsequent failure to evangelize the culture with Catholic moral values is the cause of the abortion crisis in our country. Marching, carrying signs, and writing hot Facebook posts might make us feel better, perhaps even superior (because we, ourselves, can't imagine having an ABORTION), but it just makes us all look like a bunch of hypocritical kooks.

It is much harder to follow our religion, live chaste lives, and evangelize from that position of faithful strength than to march around like self-important, judgy Bible thumpers. We have to live the Bible FIRST, and that hasn't happened over the last 50 years since "the pill" became available.

Now that we find ourselves living in this hellish culture, where you can kill your baby until the minute before it is born, we do have to try to stem the tide of this horror, but the answer to our dilemma is not some politician who claims to be "pro life." None of the politicians are pro-life enough to do anything about it in the legislature, and their efforts will be wasted anyway because the citizens who want abortion to be legal outnumber the people who don't.

We need to change those numbers, but we can't legislate the heart.

Fixating upon the unlikely chance of a legal solution to the abortion problem has dumped us right into this wretched situation where we have an apparently insane head of our government who lies even when caught in lies. His entire method of communication relies upon lies, and it appears that he thinks that all he has to do is continue to lie, insist upon the lie, and acts as if he thinks that the lie will somehow become true. He forces his representatives to support his lies and fires those who will not do it. Satan is the father of all lies. Wherever you see a person who relies upon lies to feed his ego needs or obtain something else he wants, you also see Satan. Satan is very close to a person who behaves like this in an habitual way.

In addition to the lies, our president acts, at times, as if he is in line to become the first dictator of the U.S.A, adopting all of the typical methods of other well-known dictators, such as Lenin, Stalin and Castro; discrediting, misdirecting and corralling the media so that Americans know less and less about what is happening in the White House than at any time in the last 40 years, for one thing.

His cabinet is composed of billionaires with suspicious ties to Russia, and his paranoia is so great that the White House offices are empty because more than 500 positions remain vacant. He probably doesn't know 500 people who are unreasonably loyal to him, and he won't hire someone who ISN'T.

Trump has moved his family into the White House, giving his daughter an office, with access to the most highly sensitive intelligence information. She is a fashionista with no government experience whatsoever. What does she offer to our people? Nothing. Her husband is stuck to Trump's side like velcro, but his job description is sketchy. We don't know what he does or what he brings to the table.

Every weekend except one, Trump has spent at his luxury country club, treating the White House as if it is an office where he works a 40 hour week. These luxury golf weekends are costing the American taxpayer a fortune. In the two months he has been in office, he has cost us more than an entire year of our last president's travel. The infuriating hypocrisy of this is almost funny when one considers the fuss that the Republicans made about our last president's travel costs, which were modest, compared to Trump.

Because the president's wife won't move into the White House, we have to pay for security for her residence at Trump Tower.  Security services has to cover her, AND the White House AND the luxury country club that has members of the public crawling all over the place. It is a security nightmare.

It is like the Romanovs have taken up residence in the middle of our democracy and are rapidly dismantling it, with the help of Leninist Steve Bannon, another odd member of Trump's entourage!

Despite his claims that he wasn't going to be like the rest of the republicans, that he would protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and that he would make sure that EVERY American was insured with health care, that the health care would be cheaper, and that the quality would be better, he is pushing a health care plan that would, within the next 10 years, kick 24 MILLION people off of health care, pushing us back 10 years in time. The people who pay the most insurance premiums are those who can afford it LEAST, especially the elderly and the disabled. The health care plan is engineered so that the insurance companies may charge them 4 times more than what they charge young healthy people. ONCE AGAIN...ANOTHER BIG FAT LIE.

Trump's misogyny, prejudice and bigotry toward refugees from war torn countries are obviously anti-Christian values, and anyone who thinks otherwise needs only to read that Bible.

The entire world has been rocked by all of this crazy behavior of this president - all for the sake of the impossible dream that a man who has never lifted a finger against abortion will magically become a pro-life warrior and will appoint a judge who is sure to make abortion illegal. Meanwhile, the poor, the elderly and the sick will die because they won't be able to afford the health care that the president is currently pushing.

One thing he didn't forget to do is arrange for a billions of dollars of tax breaks for his cronies...other millionaires and billionaires.

I lay this all at the feet of Catholics who abandoned the faith and started this snowball rolling.

Silver Rose Parnell
Copyright (c) 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

FAITH, FORNICATION AND FATIMA

SUNSET
by
Silver Rose Parnell


Some people say that it doesn't matter that the Republican health plan has terrible flaws because there is "no chance" it will be approved. That isn't what bothers me.

Firstly and most obviously is that Donald Trump campaigned on a completely different health plan. He promised that everyone would be covered, the coverage would be better, and that it would be cheaper. Innocent, guillible people in the rust belt and in agricultural areas, took him at his word and voted for him, which is all that Trump wanted. He promised what he had no intention of delivering, just for the purpose of getting votes, and now he abandons his supporters to the ravening wolves.

What bothers me is that the ruling party, supposedly the party of pro-life Christians, have created something cruel and hurtful to the poor, the elderly and the sick. Ryan is particularly thrilled with the aspect of the plan that will defund 800 BILLION dollars from Medicaid and, at the same time, give wealthy people 600 BILLION DOLLARS IN TAX BREAKS. He says he is 'very excited about it.' I want to retch every time I hear that piece of the speech (the entirety of which I watched a couple times.)



Only in a hyper-individualized sink-or-swim culture would a politician GLEEFULLY present this type of craven piece of legislation that takes money away from programs that assist the poor, sick, children and elderly and gives the majority of those billions to millionaires and billionaires.

Another thing that bothers me is that Republican Catholics, who appear to be obsessed with ONE PART of the pro-life agenda, are willing to justify and defend any manner of other types of legislation that will kill the poor, the elderly and the sick, on the off chance that Trump will install a pro life judge or two and that the judge will subsequently make sure that Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

I have watched and listened to a small parade of ultra right wing nationalists as they have defended Trump's lies and weird ideas. I have seen the shocked reactions of the leaders of other civilized countries, most recently Angela Merkel of Germany, as Trump bumbles through official engagements with all the charm of a carnival barker with a 4th grade education, after which he retires every weekend to a country club 1,000 miles away, blithely costing the American people more in 2 months than Obama cost in an entire year.

The Grand Old Party, a shadow of its former self, is shattered into many groups that either can not or will not take this matter into hand.

This bizarre accommodation to the insanity of Donald Trump and the worship of the wealthy that is the current norm of American politics is the natural result of an individualized culture that has turned against its own people. Illogically couched in the middle of this hatred toward the poor and minorities is an anti-abortion plank of a platform that makes no ideological sense. Its presence in a hateful platform is odd because it is incongruous. It is a ruse. Abortion became legal, thanks to REPUBLICAN justices on the Supreme Court. The supposedly anti-abortion plank of the Republican platform is a device calculated to gain a large block of voters. The Republican Party has been in power in America at various times since Roe v. Wade, and almost nothing has been done by any of them to reverse it.




Anyone who clings to the notion that poor people will not die when their medical care is ripped away from them, is being deliberately obtuse.

For background on this topic, read this news item: Trump betrays those who believed his health care promises

I am poor, and I have had a really hard time getting services. This is because Medicaid ALREADY fails to meet the needs of all the poor people. It only covers those whose income falls at the bottom third of the poverty spectrum. I fall in the middle spectrum of poverty. I don't qualify for Medicaid. The top two tiers of poor people don't qualify for Medicaid right now. I mention this because you need to know that, when I advocate for those whose Medicaid will be taken away, I am not advocating for myself. I am not affected by it except inasmuch as I have compassion for those with even fewer resources than I possess.




Let me be clear. It is not the position of the Catholic faith that causing the death of the poor, the elderly and the sick is an acceptable price to pay in exchange for the off chance that a proven liar and breaker of promises will install pro-life Supreme Court Justices. Nor is it the belief of the Catholic faith that the planet may be deliberately decimated with unclean air and water by disreputable oil and gas corporations, thanks to the recent repeal of laws that were enacted to protect the environment.

Doing an evil thing to accomplish a positive thing is against our faith. Anyone who claims differently is just wrong. The lives of babies are not more important than the lives of the elderly, the sick or the poor. Life is precious and beloved of God at all stages, and there is no moral caste system, no matter how strident or prestigious the voice that tries to hammer home the false idea that the lives of unborn babies are somehow more valuable than everyone else's and that it is therefore permissible to cause irreparable harm to other innocent populations in a futile effort to make abortion illegal.

Pro life demonstration - Stock photo from Alamy


Furthermore, while it is disgusting that abortion is legal and that there are so many of these murders of little babies being done every day, our problem is not that abortion is legal. Our most obvious problem, (which is also a symptom, actually) is that people want abortions. People want abortions because the church has not done its job in evangelizing the culture. The Christian Church, in general, has grown lax in its teachings about the blessing of chastity.

People want abortions, not because they really want to kill their children, but because our culture has deteriorated to the extent that women feel compelled to have sex outside marriage or risk the very real possibility of spending their lives alone because men have grown to expect sex and, if you don't give it to them, they will move on to someone who will...laughing at your "nutty" religious fanaticism while they walk away. Very young women who are naturally more susceptible to peer pressure and terrified of not being considered cool, cooperate in a lifestyle that is not necessarily natural to them.



Television is full of fornication. Magazines and books celebrate it. It is hard for individuals to buck the overwhelming, pervasive messages of our culture, a culture that has been abandoned by Christianity.

How did we get to this point? what is at the root of this horrible moral bankruptcy in our culture that ultimately results in politicians crowing about defunding Medicaid, Meals on Wheels, PBS (Public Broadcasting System), LIHEAP (Once a year help with utility bills for the very poor.), and other much needed programs?

I contend that one of the primary factors occurred early in the 20th century. The relevance will be hard to perceive, at first, but follow the line of reasoning.

Until 1930, contraception was considered a mortal sin in all Christian Churches. Refer to previous posts on this topic for a larger explanation of how it happened that the protestant churches very publicly abandoned this ancient proscription. Eventually, people in the Catholic Church gave tacit consent to it, seeming to ignore completely the very clear teachings in the catechism which reflect the specific Biblical teaching and consistent tradition of the Church.

The approval of contraception by the Christian Church, either directly or tacitly, is responsible for the abortion industry because contraception encourages fornication, and contraception fails, resulting in inappropriately formed "couples" becoming pregnant with children that are not intended or wanted, children that were not created intentionally, in a loving, committed relationship. The killing of babies that results is just the beginning of the damage that is done.


Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood


The reason that many Christians are so positively hysterical about the issue of abortion is because they know, on some level, that the Christian Church is actually responsible for the death of those babies. If we jump up and down and point at OTHER people, we can create a smoke screen that obscures the truth. Don't look at the man behind the curtain!

I have never heard a homily that dealt with the necessity for chastity for ALL persons who are not in a valid sacramental marriage. Likewise with regard to contraception. I have never read an article by any bishop or cardinal about this topic. That doesn't mean they don't happen. I just haven't seen them, in all the reading I have done...and I do a lot of reading.

What women want, with some exceptions, is to be loved deeply and completely for themselves. They want to be treated with respect and tenderness. They want the undying devotion, love and faithfulness of one good man. Every man, somewhere in his soul, wants to be that one good man. There are perversions in our culture that twist the psyche and convince people they want something else, but, in our hearts, we want to be loved. Even a monastic is engaged in a loving relationship with God that is intense and personal also.

People try to ignore the immense consequences that sin creates in every area of our lives. This is why a loving God sets boundaries for his children, just as we set boundaries for OUR children in order to keep them safe. Children are oblivious to the consequences of their actions. They do not know that licking their finger and then sticking it in an electrical socket will hurt them and may kill them.

Perhaps it seems to you that I have run off the rails and that the topic has veered wildly, but it hasn't. Everything is connected. The Church's approval of contraception, specifically or tacitly, and the resulting abandonment of our sexual morals has had huge "unintended consequences."

Digging even further down to the root of the abandonment of our moral compass is the loss of our faith. People with weak faith are poor evangelists, or very superficial ones. This is obviously a generalization. Maybe you are a saint and you are reading this and you think I am completely wrong...about you and people you know...and apologies to you, dear saint. I am not talking about you. General trends naturally exclude remarkable exceptions.

Here are the bare bones: Contraception fails, making abortions "necessary,"

In keeping with this year's 100 year celebration of the miracles of Fatima, I would like to suggest a tonic for our flagging faith, the root of many of the problems that face us today. It includes a sustained meditation on the implications of the facts and the messages of Fatima.




First of all, it is one of those miracles that simply can't be argued with. The day that the miracle of the sun happened was a day that was announced by Our Lady in advance, which is why there were 70,000 people at that location at that time. They were waiting for the apparition, and any convincing mystical happening. All 70,000 people saw the same thing. The sun appeared to move wildly in the sky. A full description can be found in many of the books that have been written about it. There are also some newspaper reports, complete with photographs of the miracle and the people watching.




The advantage of a bonafide, solid, modern miracle can't be discounted. Mull over in your mind the undeniable Truth, with a capital "T" of this miraculous set of apparitions, first by an angel and then several by our beloved Blessed Mother. Acquaint yourself with Our Lady's expectations and requests. Let your mind roll around the implications of the very real existence of our precious Virgin Mary, our mother by adoption, and what She would say about some of the things to which we have become accustomed in our lives here on earth.

Get it firmly fixed in your mind that this is the real deal. The Catholic Church isn't some quaint old religion from the olden days that has some dusty old beliefs that entertain the mind. God is as real today as the day he sent his angel to our Blessed Mother and asked her if she would agree to become the Mother of Him who made Her. She came to speak to us in the 20th Century! Think of it. Almost 2,000 years since she was assumed into heaven, she appeared to three children in a little town in Portugal and affirmed the Catholic faith, producing a miracle witnessed by 70,000 people to prove the reality of the faith.

After your faith has become refreshed, at some point it will hit you very hard that the Lord did not give us a temporary set of commandments that were meant to be abandoned by us in the future. None of the wisdom in our Bible and our traditions passed down through the ages was meant to be abandoned in favor of selfishness.

Donald Trump,a malignant nationalist, the consummate con artist, professional liar, the boasting individual unable to work within a group setting where cooperation is key, the nutty conspiracy theorist married to ideologies that cater to the narcissist, is the logical result of the trajectory of immorality of America. This is what you get when you lose your moral compass, which is what is lost when you lose real faith.

When you have a nut case such as Donald Trump at the helm, he brings along with him the rest of the nuts from the asylum from which he has been loosed.

On the other hand, humble and obedient adherence to the commandments of the Lord naturally results in more loving behavior toward all human beings, something that is hard to do without faith rooted in the love of the Lord and not in an intellectual exercise that twists the faith into a self-aggrandizing mechanism for justifying selfishness. This love is reflected in all areas of one's life, including one's political orientation.




I pray that all of us experience a renewing and refreshment of our faith and, as a natural result, that our precious Catholic Church become refreshed and renewed, not with clever new devices and practices, but in the solid unchanging faith of the ages...the faith of the changeless God.

Finally, I ask that you pray for me so that my faith and practice may be strengthened and that I may also become more regular with my rosary prayers and other devotions.

God bless us all.

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