Sunday, March 19, 2023

Lux Umbra Dei

   She knew the way; she’d been doing this for years. Decades, maybe? She couldn’t remember when she first started being responsible for this particular task. A long time ago, that’s when.

   Today she had a canvas carry-bag with her. The church had been running low on votive candles, although there had been very few coins in the money box on the votive stand for quite a while now. People were burning the candles without donating? That never used to happen… But she didn’t bother the priest about it. She just paid the difference out of her own pocket when she reordered more candles.

   The most recent order had just arrived, so she was taking them to the church. At one time, she been able to pick them up easily at a local church supply store, but it had closed a few years back and there were no others nearby. She missed going there and seeing all the church items and religious statues and paintings. They also had very nice little greeting cards with Bible verses on them, which she bought—thankfully in bulk--to send to friends, most of whom lived far away now. For quite a long time, she had also been sending them to the invalids and shut-ins in her church. She smiled wryly at the thought that she might be joining those ranks soon. And who would send cards to her when she could no longer get about? She didn’t know—the congregation had steadily dwindled over the years. But as her age advanced, her energy and mobility retreated. Thank goodness she could still do these tasks for her beloved church. She just walked more slowly, due to her unsteady legs.

    As she turned a corner near to the church building, she saw a group of young teenage boys across the street, doing nothing. Why aren’t they in school? she wondered. She tried to schedule her trips to the church when the nearby school was in session; she preferred negotiating quiet streets, when her slowness wasn’t a problem. It was very busy and noisy after school let out; she avoided being there at that time of day. It wasn’t a holiday either, so she didn’t know why the boys weren’t in class. Seemed like a lot of them to have played hooky all at the same time—then her mind caught her up briefly, as so often happened: did people use that term anymore? “Hooky”? Language changed, but she wasn’t always aware of the changes…actually, she was seldom if ever aware of them. Probably no one said “hooky” any more…

   Anyway, was it an early dismissal day? No---if it was, there would be a lot more young people walking home, going into the shops, standing around and talking with each other. Today there was only this small group of teenage boys.

   All this went through her mind in a flash as she kept walking. She barely glanced in their direction. She had discovered that looking too long might cause a reaction. She hoped they would ignore her as she walked down the street toward the church. Maybe she could reach it, and disappear inside in time…

   No such luck. They started talking and pointing at her, and even laughing.

   “Hey, old lady, can’t you move any faster?”

   “What’s up, lady? Goin’ to visit your boyfriend?” This was followed by howls of laughter, as the speaker was slapped on the back for this gem of wittiness.

   “Get out of our neighborhood! You don’t belong here!”

   It was true that the neighborhood around the church had changed dramatically since she started attending the church, when she was much younger. She used to know almost all the people who lived there. Now she knew no one.

   The church then had been filled with people: families with children, speaking many languages and celebrating many traditions, but brought together in their love of God and their dedication to his church. Where had all those families gone? she wondered. Where were those children now? They were completely different from the young people standing across the street from her.

   She continued walking towards the church, hoping that they’d get bored with teasing her and leave her alone. But it got worse. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a couple of them start across the street towards her. She tried to walk a bit faster, but knew that if she went too fast, she could fall. Her doctor had told her, “No more falls, or you’ll have to use a walker!” She hated the thought. She might be getting old, but she wasn’t elderly—yet. No matter what her doctor said.

   If she pretended not to see them, maybe the boys would let her alone. She faced forward and kept on walking, but suddenly she felt a jerk which almost caused her to fall backwards. One of the boys had grabbed at her canvas carry-bag.

   “Hey, what’s in here, grandma? Something for me? Did you bring a present for me?” The whole group laughed at that, from both sides of the street.

   “Please,” she said, “I’m just going to the church. There’s nothing in there, just something for the church.”

   The boys laughed again, as most of the group drifted over to where she stood, trembling a little. The first speaker yanked the bag again and this time it slipped off her arm. She tried to grab it back but nearly lost her balance again. The boy who had taken the bag opened it and looked inside. He stopped and his face went blank, then he threw it back at her quickly. As she tried to catch it, to prevent the candles from hitting the ground and maybe breaking, she fell heavily, awkwardly, crying out when she landed. Her cries were drowned out by sneering laughter. She felt sharp pains in various places and looked at him in fear.

   “This is boring,” the first speaker said to the others, as he gave her an inscrutable look. “C’mon, let’s get out of here.”

   From the ground, she watched them saunter away, laughing. Despite the pain from hitting the sidewalk, she was immensely relieved that they were leaving her so soon. Thank you, God…


   Her doctor scolded her; she’d been seeing him for years, and he treated her a little like an elderly aunt.

   “Thank goodness you didn’t break anything, although I have no idea why not! But you are badly bruised and will be in a lot of pain for some time. Bed rest for a while until the bruises go away—no extended trips outside your home!” He was adamant about that and sent her home with some mild pain killers. A kind neighbor volunteered to do her grocery shopping for a while and also bring in her mail.

   While she was recuperating, her priest came to visit her. He was shocked to hear what had happened and suggested that someone else take over the candle and votive stand responsibilities. But at this, her natural stubbornness asserted itself. She’d been doing this for years and intended to continue until she couldn’t manage it any longer! He reluctantly gave in, but insisted that she confine her trips to Saturdays, when school was not in session. She was struck by the simple solution and readily agreed. He’d then asked her if she had recognized her assailant, but she shook her head. The boy was completely unfamiliar to her; she had never seen him before. The priest expressed disappointment; he said that his experience had been that, when a young person was caught in wrongdoing and made to suffer the consequences, there was a good chance that they might change their ways. He left on this note, giving her something to think about. She could only visualize the boy vaguely, but she knew she’d never forget the expression on his face after he’d tossed the bag back at her.


   A few weeks later she made her first trip back to the church. It was threatening rain that Saturday; she should have stayed home, but knew it was past time to check the votive stand. If they ran out of candles, people coming to pray would be disappointed. She felt well enough to go and had hoped the rain would hold off until she was finished and back home. Unfortunately, it started while she was on her way there; she just made it into the narthex before it began to come down heavily. I’ll be here a while, she thought. No need to hurry now!

   She made her usual prediction as she neared the stand: the upper right-hand corner candle insert would definitely need replacing. Yep, she was right—burned empty as always. Someone must really like that spot, she noted. Can’t blame ‘em—I always use the one in the opposite corner, don’t I? Guess I’m not the only obsessive one. She’d have to remember that example for the next time she and her doctor argued about her behavior.

   She finished refilling the candle holders and put the empty inserts into her bag, to throw away later. After unlocking and looking in the money box, she decided there wasn’t enough to remove; it was only a few dollars in coins. No need to take out that small of an amount. She’d wait another couple of Saturdays.

   It was still raining hard--she could actually hear the faint sound of raindrops hitting the church roof and very little light came through the stained glass windows. She decided to wait a while before going home; perhaps it would clear up, or at least subside into only a drizzle. Her umbrella could keep her fairly dry, but steady rain made it hard to see to walk safely. At times like this, she wondered if maybe she should get a walker…she made a face at the thought.

   She picked up her carry-bag and went to her usual pew, on the other side of the church from the votive stand. She kept a couple of small pillows there, to ease the occasional pains in her legs and back; they were helpful now, to cushion the fading bruised places, which were still a bit sore. She settled herself, with the bag on her lap, and said a few prayers. “When in Rome,” she thought, and then laughed at herself. Really, the things that flit through my mind…

   The quietness and dimness of the church and the light, regular sound of the raindrops soon lulled her to sleep.

   Something caused her to waken all at once. She didn’t move for a moment, trying to recall where she was, and then the uncertainty sharpened into focus. She was in church, it was still dark inside because of the rain clouds, and someone was walking towards the votive stand. She stayed still and watched, not wanting to disturb someone else’s prayer time. They wouldn’t be able to see her in the cloud-caused dim light—she could only make them out because of the little wall sconces near the stand.

   The person paused in front of the stand for a moment, and then started to do something. Instead of lighting one of the candles, however, they leaned over, fumbling with something below the stand. From the clinking sounds, she guessed that they were doing something with the money box--putting coins in? No, it sounded like the little door at the back of the money box being opened. But she and the priest had the only keys! This certainly wasn’t the priest—was someone picking the lock? Then she heard the familiar slithering sound of coins being poured out. Someone was taking the candle money! Someone was stealing from the church! She was angered and indignant but didn’t move. She’d heard too many horror stories about what happened to people who tried to stop robbers; she’d seen too many violent altercations on the city streets. But she was disappointed that it was too dark in the church to make out any details about the thief, so that she could report it to the priest and the police.

   There were more sounds: the back of the money box closing, the box being returned to its place. The thief would leave quickly now, she expected, but that did not happen. Instead, there was silence for a bit, and then she heard the sound of a match being struck. She watched as the upper right-hand corner candle flamed into life. The figure then bowed its head and stood still. Without thinking about what she was doing, she clutched the carry-bag to her chest, got to her feet, and moved quietly down the pew until she came to the center aisle. She started to hear different sounds, bits of softly spoken words. She crossed the aisle to get closer; the words became distinguishable.

   “…sorry, so sorry…not for me, for my mom…I’m sorry…” The figure bowed again and then turned away from the votive stand toward the front entrance. As she walked closer, the sound of her steps made the person turn in her direction and freeze in a half crouch, fists clenched.

   At that moment, the light came streaming in through the rose window. She thought of several things at once: the clouds breaking up, letting the light go through; the breathtaking beauty of so many colors falling across the stone floor, the pews, the votive stand; and a young man’s face. A very young man—actually a boy, with a very familiar-looking face. She suddenly realized that she was looking at the boy who had yanked away her carry-bag a few weeks ago. An intense fear washed over her as she noted his defensive stance, and then vanished as quickly as it had come. Why is that? she wondered. Why am I not afraid any more? And then she saw what had caught her eye, unconsciously—the glimmer of tears on his face, and an expression of guilt and shame.

   The light coming through the window widened as the clouds broke up more and more—widened further until the bright colors fell on her, too. The boy squinted, blinked, and then focused on where she was standing; he straightened up, and she saw instant recognition in his eyes. They both stood silently, staring at each other. We’re inside a rainbow, she thought obliquely. God’s rainbow. God’s promise. Why?

   She moved closer, half-expecting him to run away, but he didn’t. The clouds shifted again and the area of colored light shrunk, but still surrounded the two of them.

   There was a short silence. “You took the candle money,” she finally said, matter-of-factly. “You’ve been taking it for a while, haven’t you?”

   He looked at her in fear. “Yes,” he said, “but not for me! It’s for my mom, for her medicine. She’s sick, and the medicine costs a lot of money. More than we have…”

   “Is she going to get better?”

   The boy’s face crumpled and he looked down. “I don’t know. She’s been sick a long time.”

   There was more silence as she watched tears roll down the boy’s face. His fists clenched again, but she ignored it this time. Dear Lord, what should I do? she thought dispassionately—and then she knew. The colored lights coming through the window intensified briefly and then dimmed.

   She leaned forward and spoke quietly. “May I come and see your mother?” He looked up apprehensively. “No, not to tell on you. Just for a visit, to see how she’s doing?” She hesitated for a moment and then took some money out of her carry-bag and put it into his hand. “This is for you, for your mother’s medicine.”

   He stared at the money in his hand, and then said, “No! Take it back!” He dug the coins from the votive stand out of his pocket and tried to hand everything back to her. “I’ve taken that money lots of times---and I hurt you….” He collapsed onto his knees, sobbing.

   She carefully lowered herself to the floor, while holding on to the arm of a pew, and put her hand on his shoulder.

   “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he kept crying; his hands opened up and the money fell to the floor. She moved her own hand and gently touched his cheek. He looked at her. “How can you be nice to me? I steal from God and I hurt you!”

   “You are sorry. God forgives you—I forgive you.”

   He took a breath and spoke again. “How can you forgive me? I was mean—I laughed at you and I threw that bag at you. You fell over and cried out. I did that.”

   She picked up the money and handed it back to him, folding his hand tightly over it. “I’m all right. And you will be, too. Go home to your mother and take care of her. Come back here and pray any time you like. God sees your candle and hears your prayers. He heard you say that you’re sorry.”

   The boy reached out his other hand tentatively and put it on hers; all their hands were clasped together now. “I’m so sorry, so sorry,” he repeated in a whisper.

   For a while, neither of them moved. Around them, the colors from the windows shone even brighter.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Asbury Revival is Over. What Happens Now?

 LEXINGTON, Ky. (RNS) — After more than two weeks and worldwide headlines, revival services at Asbury University in central Kentucky came to an end recently.

But the revival goes on off-campus.

On Sunday (Feb. 26), Minneapolis-based evangelist Nick Hall brought an Asbury-inspired revival event to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, about half an hour from the Christian school’s campus.

Hall is the leader of Pulse, a ministry that aims to bring “Jesus to the next generation” by hosting big events. He attended the Asbury revival in its first week and said he was overwhelmed by what God was doing.

After the Asbury revival started spontaneously on Feb. 8, the university officially ended revival services on Feb. 23... More here.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Quote du jour

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.

- G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, February 16, 2023

God Has Put Eternity in our Hearts

Editor's note: I stole this from Gary Varvel. If he catches me, I'll give it back!
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11. 
What does it mean: God “has put eternity in their hearts?” We live in a finite world, but inwardly, we know that this is not all there is. God made us for eternity and he has put it in our hearts. 
My grandparents were farmers and my grandma was the hardest working woman I’ve ever known. When she was 80 years old, she had a heart attack and I visited her in the hospital. During our conversation I asked her how old she felt on the inside. 
She said, “Gary, I feel like a 20-year-old girl.” 
Then I said, “Grandma, I believe that’s the real you that doesn’t age but will live forever in one of two places.” Then I proceeded to share with her God’s plan of salvation found in Romans 3:10, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10, 13, which explain that we are sinners, the penalty for sin is death, Jesus paid our death penalty on the cross, was raised from the dead and offers eternal life to everyone who believes in Him. 
That day, my grandma repented and trusted in Jesus as her Savior. Seventeen days later, her heart stopped and she slipped into eternity. 
D.L. Moody said, "Some day you will read in the papers, 'D. L. Moody of East Northfield is dead.' Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.” 
I agree. 
My grandma is alive. The eternity she felt on the inside, is now a reality. Life on earth is a journey to our final destination in eternity. The question is, do you know where will you be?


 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:6


Sunday, February 12, 2023

On LA Freeways

   She didn’t like driving through L.A. It was said (apocryphally, she was certain, as she’d never experienced it herself) that there were times when traffic was light. Oh, sure. She always found herself crawling as she passed familiar Los Angeles landmarks, no matter what time of day or night it was. But going completely around greater L.A.—via Bakersfield, Barstow, and San Bernardino—was only possible if you didn’t mind feeling that you were never going to get anywhere again for the rest of your life. Which was the same feeling she got when traveling through L.A. 

   So that alternate route wouldn’t help at all. 

   She was familiar with distance traveling, days-long traveling. As a child and a teenager, her father’s job transferred him every couple of years, which meant move after move. Before she went off to college, they’d lived in California (several locations), New Mexico, Arizona, and back to California again, burning through two grade schools, two middle schools, and three high schools, in her case. What she mainly remembered from all those moves, though, were the road trips. 

   Going back to Southern California to visit old friends and relatives meant days and days of driving, over long stretches of lonely Arizona and California desert highways, punctuated by stops at roadside motels. Fortunately, she was able to read in moving cars without getting sick, so that helped pass the time. But even that palled after a while, so there were hours of imagination, growing remembrances of and comparisons with road trips past, and absently watching the landscape go by while daydreaming. The license plate game helped, too, when her younger siblings got restless, or endless repeats of the alphabet game (one of her favorites—because, being the oldest, she always won). 

   Now grown up, she lived and worked as a teacher in Northern California, but some family members still lived in the south of the state. Every so often a trip to see them was necessary or required or desired. The current trip was one of those. Time was tight, as it needed to be shoehorned into a short break between summer school and the new school year. Some teachers were able to take the whole summer off, which would be ideal for her long-distance visiting, but she couldn’t afford to do that. QED, a lightning trip down south was in order—and that meant the L.A. freeways. Once again. 

   No longer a child in the back seat, but now the solo driver in the car, she was a little less able to completely daydream her way through traversing the gigantic urban sprawl, but practice had enabled some adeptness at this. Today’s trip brought some odd things to mind. While drifting along a packed freeway, averaging 0-5 mph, she looked speculatively at the repetitive exits, overpasses, and industrial buildings she was driving by. It occurred to her that if there were no street exit signs or mileage signs, she would have no idea where she was; it all looked the same, across nearly the whole of the city. Maybe it WAS all the same…maybe it wasn’t REAL…maybe she had left her usual reality for a California dreamin’ Twilight Zone. Her imagination clicked on, in high gear. 
   I drive and drive and drive and drive. I see nothing but acres of roadway, flyovers, entrances, exits, and interchanges, as far as the eye can see. And traffic. Traffic. TRAFFIC. More cars than I could ever imagine existing in my entire multiple decades of life. Is this really a road, or am I stuck in a slightly-mobile used car parking lot? If this gets any worse, we’ll be going backwards. 

   She peered into the cars on either side of her. Who were these people? Where were they going? Why were they jammed onto the freeway alongside her? What were they thinking as they stopped and started, stopped and started, etc.? When did they get on the road, and how far were they going? Did they wonder, as she always did, if they would ever get to their destinations? Her imagination sped on, unchecked. 

   These people must spend great chunks of their lives on these roads. In fact—she fantasized--what if they really spent their ENTIRE lives on these roads? The buildings I see off in the distance--what if they're not real constructions, but just false fronts (a la Disney) attached to overhead signs on the next freeway over? False fronts, suggesting a vast, (pseudo-) metropolis, masking the constant flow of traffic from one end to the other and back again. Circling endlessly, as people are born, grow, mature, and die while traveling in their cars... Slabs of apartment building false fronts, scrims of ticky-tacky houses, promising the constant commuters that there is settled, residential life available. Someday. For some people. 

    Just not them. 

   Maybe she would never stop driving. Maybe NONE of them were ever going to stop driving. Maybe they were just going to go creeping down those freeways forever… What she wouldn’t give right now for an open, barren stretch of Arizona highway. So what if it was hundreds of empty miles long? She’d at least be MOVING. 

   Passing countless faux-botanical cell phone towers ("Telecommute WHILE you commute!") augmented by matching faux-botanical foliage to line the freeways and decorate the median strips. Which is needed to replace actual, genuine foliage which withered and perished long ago, from the 10-lane-wide gulf stream of inexhaustible exhaust fumes. 

   Freeway exits to other freeways or to nowhere (essentially the same thing). Fast food places and gas stations along the sides of the freeways are pit stops (literally, recalling some gas station bathrooms). Electronics stores, for periodically upgrading cell phones. Targets, for replacing shoes worn out by constant accelerating and braking; replacing hats and sunglasses lost out the open windows; replacing clothes which have been ruined by disintegrating tacos, nacho cheese dip, chicken nugget grease, and hamburger sauce—or which have simply been outgrown; for stocking the cases of energy drinks needed to keep on driving. 

   She suddenly remembered a favorite Ashleigh Brilliant post card from the past (now, alas, lost). It had a line drawing of a cloverleaf interchange, with the following quote: It's really quite a simple choice: life, death, or Los Angeles. With Los Angeles ranking below death? 

   She glanced out both side windows and checked the rear-view mirror, as traffic ground to a complete halt. 

   Yep, seems legit.


Story by Mary M, Isaacs, copyright 2021. In her book, Hair of the Dog (see sidebar for link). 


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Anybody Out There?

As Ferris Bueller once asked at the end of his movie, "Are you still here?" The blog "Proof Positive" as we knew it is gone. Never to return. For nearly 15 years its objective was to change America through politics and the political system. You can see what a great difference THAT made! I love my country, and I thought that, built upon such a great foundation, it could be restored to its former glory. I was mistaken. Not in that America was once a proud and free country, but about the means any such restoration should take.

America needs revival.

Not a new president, or a new party or by repealing this law or passing that one. It needs a spiritual revival, much like the Great Awakening of the past. Politics is not going to cut it. And politics was mostly what Proof Positive was all about. Politics, polititians and other celebrities...quoting them, mocking them, refuting them...spitting in the wind! Take for example the following picture:
Before, I saw that as a political problem! Liberals influencing society. Conservatives tolerating liberals, etc. But that's a SIN problem! Sinners violating the laws and precepts of God, trying to influence young children to follow in their footsteps. On social media every now and then, some one would post
"If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
- II Chronicles 7:14
And it's true! But the Christians weren't the ones hosting Drag Queen Story hour at the local library, or running the local abortion clinics, so what were the Christians doing about it? Like me, not nearly enough, because that's a social/policical problem and this is a multi cultural nation and we Christians need to be tolerant of other people's religion and atheism!
So part of my withdrawal from social media was it wasn't working, and secondly, I figured I could influence more people if I was out meeting them face to face and seeing if in any way I could care for their needs. Remember these verses?
" Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ " -Matthew 25: 34-40

We need to be out, modeling the example of Christ, where people can see us. And by that, I don't mean, where people can see us, point at us and say, "Oh, what a good person that is", but where maybe the only person who sees us is the person we're helping at the moment!

So here we are. One of my self imposed rules for Proof Positive was "Post some new content every day, even if it's only a quote." Sorry! Not going to hold myself to that anymore! Can't be tied to my desk, getting upset at everything sinful people do and say because their hearts are darkened and they know not Christ.
No politics. No daily content. No more gun giveaways! (Sorry!) One bright note is, even though I fully expect my readership to decline, Mary M. Isaacs will continue to publish stories here, as they are written. If you are not familiar with her writing, click on the leaf covered bench on the sidebar to see all we've posted here. I had actually planned on terminating Proof Positive January 30th, but Mary sent me a draft of her latest story, "The Sketch", and I liked it so much, I told her I'd keep the lights on 'til Friday if she could finish it and copyright it by then!

If I've removed a link to your blog from my sidebar, please don't take it personally. It's likely I still agree with your politics, sense of humor and philosophy of life, but I just cannot allow myself to be distracted by such things. Going forward, my vision must be more singular.

God bless you and prosper you according to His will. Amen.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Adieu, Proof Positive!

Proof Positive R.I.P.

"It is customary for newspapers and news organizations to keep a "morgue", files of clippings of famous individuals, updated frequently, in the event that something should unexpectedly happen to them, they could report the event quickly and in great and accurate detail. This was in my "morgue".

I have been in the habit of scheduling many posts in advance, the Quote du jour, other regular features, primarily so that, when I was on the road or similarly disadvantaged, the effect to my readers would be to go unnoticed. As such, today, as I write this, I have quotes, music videos and features queued up, some of which will not publish for months. It has occurred to me, that were I to be hit by a bus, other than the diminishing output, some of you might not notice for a while that I was actually gone. The posts start getting farther and farther apart. Your comments go without response or comment. How rude!

So this is my "swan song". I shall write it and schedule it for some (hopefully) far off time and reschedule it again and again if necessary. But should Providence overtake me and I am unable to say goodbye to you, my friends and readers, I leave a "dead man's switch", a posthumous farewell to explain why the blog has run out of steam.

It will be because the steam has run out of the blogger.

I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts and words with you. The humor, the outrage, the sadness, the strengths that make up the human condition. Fare thee well, dear reader. Godspeed. Vaya con Dios. It's been fun! Don't cry for me, Sarge and Tina!"


Actually, I have rescheduled this a number of times, over a number of years, but, as you have no doubt noticed, the blog is but a shadow of its former self. We hit our peak several years ago. All the red dots on the logo above were people visiting from every country on the planet! The blog was on an upward spiral, it looked like we might be going places, but then, there were fewer and fewer posts. Incidentally, this is blog post 18,093. Some of the people who worked with me moved on to other things. No regrets. It was fun while they were here.

But all good things must come to an end, and so does this blog, three months shy of its fifteenth blogiversary. Over nine million pageviews. I appreciate each and every one of you who contributed, who commented, who just showed up and read what we posted. Every one of you. I'm not sure exactly what the future holds, but I know who holds the future. The blog will remain up as long as Blogger chooses. Someone may stumble over a post or two. My email is on the sidebar if you want to get ahold of me. The "deadman switch" was unnecessary, as it turns out, but my gratitude remains. I will be withdrawing from most social media. Stone knives and bearskins. Oh, well! Live well and prosper, my friends. God bless you. And thanks for all the fish!


Quote du jour

"Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!"
- Jimmy Durante

Friday, February 3, 2023

The Likes of Dickensian London - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

The Sketch

A new short story by Mary M. Isaacs

   She set up her easel and chair not far from the corner and put her tackle box of charcoal and chalk pastels on a small table beside them. Then she manhandled the portable screen out of the back of her car and set it up close to the blank side wall of the building. She made sure to post the vendor’s permit from the city in a prominent place before displaying any of her artwork.

    God worked in such amazing ways, she told herself for the umpteenth time. Looking at the building across the street, she read the familiar words: “Planned Parenthood”. She had driven down this street innumerable times, as it was on the route between her home and where she worked. She could never pass by the clinic without feeling a touch of evil; she also felt sadness when she saw women going in or coming out. She wished it wasn’t there; she wished that one day she would drive by and it would have mysteriously disappeared and have been replaced by a bakery or a shoe repair shop or a small office building. Even a weedy empty lot would be preferable.

    There were better days, certainly, days when she saw people with pro-life signs standing outside the building. She knew they were there praying. With all her heart she wished she could stand there, too, with them—but even as the thought crossed her mind, fear clamped down and she felt a cold sweat starting. She wished she weren’t so afraid, she wished she had more personal courage, but she knew herself too well. It had always been like that for her. She prayed for God to take away her negative reactions, to give her courage so she could participate, but the fears remained. Until that day, a few weeks ago…


    It was pure coincidence (right!) which led her to read that week’s online message from city hall. Amongst boring notices about committee meetings, the predictable police log, and the regular civic cheerleading post from the mayor, was an interesting announcement—about street artists wanted. The city council had voted to try an experiment to encourage weekend foot traffic downtown. It was announced that any local artist could apply for a vendor’s permit by submitting examples of their work; if accepted, they could set up to display and sell their work downtown on weekends, in locations to be chosen in order of application.

    She had read and reread the announcement. She was not a professional artist, not even a prolific one! But she had taken a couple of introductory sketching classes at the community college. Her classmates—and more importantly, the instructor—had liked her work, simple as it was. She hoped the city council would agree, because she had JUST the right site picked out: across the street from Planned Parenthood! She would then have a perfectly good reason for being there. She could sit and sketch—and no one would ever guess the real reason she was there.

    The portfolio she eventually submitted to the city council committee was pretty thin, but she had included her best work. While she waited, she bought a better easel, invested in new charcoals and pastels, and searched online for a portable display screen. When the acceptance information was emailed to her, she was jubilant. She emailed her thanks and her desired location; she received an immediate okay. Everything was working out as she had planned--and as God had directed.

    For several weeks, she spent most of her Saturdays sketching across the street from the clinic. A couple of people stopped to look at her artwork, but no one bought anything. That didn’t matter, because her most important task was being accomplished: prayer. She angled her chair so she could watch the entrance to the clinic while she was sketching. Women—and some men—walked in and out most of the day. Some were inside for a long time….. She prayed for them all, and for the unborn children who soon would be no more.


    One Saturday, while she was sketching from a photograph, she noticed a young woman come around the corner across the street. The woman walked slowly up to the clinic door and stood there; she seemed to be reading the hours sign. She then walked back and forth in front of the building several times, occasionally stopping at the door, and finally sat down on the edge of one of the sidewalk planters that dotted the street on both sides. She clasped her hands in front of her and looked down.

    After watching the woman’s movements closely, the artist prayed, Lord, please stop her from entering. She then made herself as obvious as possible, by rising and rearranging the display of her sketches on the screens, adjusting the position of her easel, and repositioning her chair. Out of the corner of her eye she saw that the young woman across the street had noticed and was watching her. The artist then sat back down and started setting up her chalks, while continuing to pray: Send her over here, Lord—take her away from that place.

    The young woman stood up, crossed the street, and took her time looking at the pictures on the portable screen. “These are nice,” she said finally. “I really like the flower pictures, all the pretty colors. I wish I could draw.”

    “Thank you,” said the artist with a smile, as she continued to pray silently. All of a sudden, she stopped abruptly, as if listening to something. Then she looked at the young woman and said, “I…I hope you don’t mind my asking, but may I sketch you? It won’t take long and it’s good practice for me. You have an interesting face.” At that, the young woman blushed a bit and started to shake her head. “Oh, you can have the sketch afterwards! Or we’ll throw it away if you don’t like it. No one will ever see it but you and me. It’s just for practice…” she pleaded.

    The young woman thought for a moment and then agreed shyly; she sat down on the edge of the sidewalk planter. “Does my hair look okay?” she asked as she poked at it. “How should I sit? What do you want me to do?”

    “You don’t have to do anything particular,” the artist replied. “Just relax and smile.”

    The artist began right away with black charcoal; a little later she started to add in colors here and there. She worked quickly, the image blossoming on the paper as if it were being transmitted rapidly through her fingers--as indeed it was, she realized later.

    After a short while, the artist put down her charcoal and chalks and said, “Done!” She unfastened the paper from the easel and handed it to the young woman, who took it eagerly, with an air of mixed anticipation and skepticism—until she saw the picture for the first time.

    The young woman took a quick breath and turned pale, then sat as if turned to stone. She looked up at the artist quickly, and then back down at the picture. A range of emotions passed over her face—enough to have kept the artist busy for days, if sketching had been on her mind. Instead, she focused entirely on her internal prayers. There was a long silence.

    “We can throw the picture away if you don’t like it,” the artist repeated.

    The young woman frowned slightly and started to hand the paper back, but then brought it closer, with her eyes fixed on it. “How did you know?” she whispered, looking up again. The artist gestured across the street with her hand but said nothing. There was more silence while the young woman looked back down at the picture, hands slightly trembling.

    Finally, the artist spoke quietly. “I wasn’t being entirely truthful when I said you had an interesting face. You can see that you have a beautiful face. Your baby’s face will be beautiful, too—that part was easy to draw.” She tipped her head sideways and looked at the young woman. “So, shall we throw it away?”

    The young woman said nothing for a long time. Then she stood up slowly, holding the sketch. “No,” she said, with the beginning of a smile. “I’m not going to throw it away. Thank you.” Then she turned and walked to the corner and crossed the street—away from the artist and away from the clinic. Maybe also away from her doubts? The artist hoped so, fervently.

    There was complete silence afterwards. No cars drove past, no people walked along either street. The artist sat back in her chair and dusted her hands off. In her mind she could still see the simple sketch she had done of the mother and the child; she knew it was one of the best pictures she had ever drawn. For a few seconds she was sorry it was gone, that she would never see it again—but then she closed her eyes and gave humble thanks. She was certain that God wouldn’t take that image away forever. No sketch would be needed after she saw the young woman again because she wouldn’t be alone—the artist would see both mother and child. She was certain of that.

    Her sketch of the young woman and the baby had been beautiful. She knew that the reality would be even more so.

 Copyright 2023 by Mary M. Isaacs, from a forthcoming book

Quote du jour

"True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Quote du jour

Real men don't find masculinity exhausting. Pretenders do.

- Mike B, on Brad Pitt calling Clint Eastwood’s style of masculinity “exhausting.”
(I don't know about Brad or Clint, but I just wake up in the morning and...there it is!)

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Quote du jour

"Everything changes, a little, and it should.
The good ain't forever and the bad ain't for good!"

- Roger Miller

Monday, January 30, 2023

Quote du jour

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

- Charles Dickens

Sunday, January 29, 2023

A Little Sunday Night Music

Keith & Kristyn Getty and Shane & Shane - "Rejoice"

For your Consideration


A new short story 

    It was a plain little building with a small yard in front. She had discovered it one day as she was walking in the woods near her home. It looked like it had been unoccupied for some time, as the path to it was overgrown with grass and there were decaying leaves covering the front step. The walls were weathered but looked intact. Curious, she walked up to it and tried the door; it was unlocked. She opened it carefully and looked inside.

   It was just one room, with a window in the center of the other three walls. There was no furniture, no rug, no curtains, nothing at all except the door and the windows. She stepped in slowly, in case the wooden floor wasn’t safe--but as it felt quite solid underfoot, she crossed to the window opposite the door and looked out.

   A meadow lay behind and a bit below the little house. It was deserted. Grasses bent and swayed in the wind and myriads of brightly colored wildflowers trembled as the breezes passed over them. The branches of the encircling fir trees moved endlessly. That’s strange, she thought. The air had been quite still when she walked into the building. But the wind was undoubtedly blowing now; it caused long ripples to roll across a pond which was in the middle of the meadow. The wind must have come up quickly.

   She wanted to get a better look at the pretty wildflowers, so she went outside and walked around the side of the house toward the back—and then stopped dead in her tracks. Behind the building there was nothing but a small, weed-covered yard, surrounded by a hedge of bramble bushes in front of some scraggly trees. The air was completely still, as it had been before she entered the little house. There was no grassy meadow, no flowers, no pond, no wind. She looked back at the house—there wasn’t even a window to be seen; nothing but a blank wooden wall covered with peeling paint. She slowly circled the entire structure and realized that although there were windows in the side walls, there was no opening in the back wall at all.

   She re-entered the house and looked through the side windows; all she saw was what she had just walked through. But the back window—which seemed not to exist in external reality!—still looked out over a meadow with a pond in the middle.

   How could this be? She didn’t know what to think. As she stood, completely mystified, her thoughts were interrupted by something unexpected. Emerging from the trees was a person carrying a bucket. This person—it was a man—walked around the pond, filled his bucket, and then turned to water a small sapling she hadn’t noticed at first, which was planted to the right of the pond. It seemed to be a different sort of tree than the others around the clearing; she supposed that the man had planted it there himself, perhaps.

   After giving the small tree a few bucketsful of water, he stood for a while, looking at it, and then started to walk back the way he came. She rushed out of the little house to see if, by chance, there was anyone behind it—but she saw only the yard with weeds, as before. She turned and ran back around the house and through the front door to the far window, to catch only a glimpse of the man as he disappeared into the forest the way he came.

   She stood at the window for a long time, thinking. After a while, she examined it closely to see how it opened. It was an old-fashioned, sash-type window—the kind where the lower pane slides up and stays up until it is pulled down again. She raised the lower pane and was instantly struck in the face by fresh air blowing into the room, filled with all kinds of forest meadow scents. And there was something else, too: a subtle sound, just over the edge of her hearing, as of music barely heard. Soothing music, beautiful music. She tried to quiet her thoughts in order to hear it better, but too many questions and speculations were circling around in her mind.

   She put her arm out the window and touched the outside walls. They felt normal to her, just as she would have expected the little house’s ordinary wooden walls to feel. Leaning out the window slightly, she looked straight down. From that vantage point, she could see that there was no backyard at all. The house was at the edge of a rise and a slope led down towards the meadow; a faint path led to and around the pond.

   She wondered, could the man see the house when he was in the meadow, or was it as invisible to him as the clearing was to her when she was outside the house in its tiny backyard? It was too complex a question for her to pursue.

   Quite some time passed as she waited by the window, looking out over the pond and the meadow and the trees. Would the man come back? But the only movements she saw were those of a few birds flying low, and the wind-caused ripples on the pond.

   The light began to fade; reluctantly she pulled down the sash and left the little house. She had a lot to think about on her way home….


   Although the mysterious little house had puzzled her quite a bit, she was too busy to visit it again until several days had passed. She had her job and other tasks and responsibilities which occupied her time. Still, she found herself thinking about it, and about the man, at odd moments; it was certainly too strange to forget. Finally, she found the time to return.

   It was a very warm day. As she approached the house, she hoped it would be cooler inside. I should have worn a hat, she thought, Then I wouldn’t be sweating so much.

   She walked up to the door. But instead of entering right away, she veered off to the side to take a quick look around the back. It looked exactly as before—a weedy yard with a brambly hedge. And it was even hotter there, due to the sun’s heat reflecting off the blank wooden wall. She looked at the unbroken expanse. “Where are you, window?” she asked out loud, with amusement. Because of the heat, however, she hurried to retrace her steps and go into the house.

   She walked straight across the room to the back window and threw it open—only to be hit in the face by a few windblown raindrops. She was startled for a moment and then laughed out loud. I should have guessed that it wouldn’t be the same weather! she thought to herself. I wonder if it is ever the same? I’ll bet not.

   There was no sign of the man. Maybe the rain was keeping him at home--wherever that home was. She leaned on the windowsill, enjoying the cool, damp air and the occasional raindrops. The coolness revived her and the rain caused the grasses and flowers to look even brighter and more inviting than ever. She had a moment of intense longing and then realized that she needed to go home. She closed the window reluctantly, and left in the heat of the day.


   For weeks she visited and watched, or was it months? Oh, yes, it was months, and more than just a few—but how many? She couldn’t tell. Looking out the window at the big meadow became very important to her. At first. it happened only once in a while. Then more frequently, then regularly, until finally it was almost every day. Some of the time he wasn’t there, but she could see evidence of his presence: a book or a jacket, or fishing tackle left beside the pond. She stayed and watched a long time then, but he seldom returned for his belongings during the times she was there. On those days, she left the little house sadly.

   But sometimes he WAS there when she looked through the window, busy doing various things: scything the tall, green grasses in the meadow, clearing the paths, pruning dead branches from the trees. Sometimes he was just resting in the grass, watching a bird perched on the sapling across the pond or watching the clouds moving across the sky. She knew he had come to know that she was there, even though he was usually self-absorbed in what he was doing. Sometimes he waved at her; a few times he bowed in mock homage. That pleased her intensely. And under everything, when he was there, were the faint sounds of music—the most beautiful music she had ever heard.

   She continued to watch him through the round of window-seasons. Did it seem to be spring? He was tending to all the riotously colored flowers. Was it summer-warm? He often swam or fished in the pond. In autumn-like days, he cleared fallen leaves; in the snows of seeming winter, he scattered food for the animals. Occasionally he even threw snowballs at her window. She always ducked and laughed; she could almost see the mischievous expressions on his face. She was content to watch, and approve, and be entranced by his continuous activities.


   The seasons of watching rolled on, year after year. It was now an established part of her life, often seeming more real than the other things she did every day. She crossed the lines back and forth enough times that everything seemed to her to be connected, to be one reality instead of two.


   Finally, there came a day….

   In the world outside the window, it had snowed again. Even though the little house was warm enough, she breathed in crisp, cold air from the winter weather beyond and rubbed her arms. I’m not dressed for this… she thought with amusement.

   The pond was frozen, snow covered the ground, and the distant tree branches were frosted with white. A beautiful red bird perched on the sapling. Everything was calm and peaceful. Looking around, she noticed a trail of footprints in the snow, running from the tree line to the edge of the pond. She smiled, knowing that he had been there, but sorry that she had missed seeing him once again.

   She continued to gaze at the wintery scene, hoping he would come back. She had learned long ago that he didn’t seem to mind any kind of weather, even deep snow. But something started nagging at her, bothering her, worrying her. She looked carefully through the window, wondering what was wrong—and then all at once she knew: there was only one set of footprints. One set only, leading from the trees to the water. No footprints back or leading anywhere else. He had walked to the water’s edge and then—what? What did he do? Where did he go? Where was he? The footprints looked too perfect for him to have retraced his steps exactly, back to the trees. Could he have walked across the ice-covered pond? But there were no footprints leading away from it on any side. He had vanished. Where was he? Then she thought—had the water been frozen when he arrived at its edge? Or had it frozen….afterward?

   Fear and dread filled her. Where was he? Had he fallen into the water? She knew he could swim, but the water was surely too cold for swimming. Panic struck her all of a sudden. Was he at the bottom of the frozen-over pond? She couldn’t bear that thought. Without a moment’s hesitation, she climbed up onto the windowsill, swung her legs over, and pushed herself out and away from the wall…

   …and found herself falling, falling, falling into darkness and flashes of color and fragments of music. Falling endlessly, as she thought only of trying to reach him, to find him, to pull him back into life. If he was gone, how could she go on? There would be no light, no color, no music; nothing anymore—never again, never anymore. She had to find him.

…falling slowly and endlessly in darkness—a darkness that abruptly became extremely cold. And then she stopped falling because she had landed, feather-light, in his arms. Startled, she stared up at his face, taking in details she had never yet seen. He looked back at her, silently. Nothing else for a long time, while something crystallized in her heart.

   “Why are you here?” he asked, finally.

   “Where were you? I couldn’t see you.”

   “I was here.”

   “But there weren’t enough footprints—I didn’t know where you were—I was afraid for you…”

   “You don’t need to worry about me.” He smiled and carefully placed her on her feet, and then stepped back. She felt colder instantly—snow still lay all around them. She shivered a little.

   “Are you cold?” When she nodded, he said, “Get warmer,” and opened his arms. After a brief hesitation, she took a step forward—paused—and then moved into the embrace. The coldness receded and his warmth enveloped her. Nothing in her life had ever felt so right. She never wanted to move again.

   Too soon, though, he relaxed his hold on her and looked at her directly. “Your life is up there.” He gestured with a nod of his head toward the little house on the hill.

   She looked at the house for a moment and then back at him. “True,” she replied. The window was still there in that wall; she could climb back through it and go home.

   “Mine is here,” he stated briefly.

   After a moment, she said, “Is there room for anything more in your life?”

   He looked at her amusedly. “You don’t know anything at all about my life except this little piece of it.”

   “You are still you, wherever you are. Is there room?”

   There was a long silence. ““Maybe.”


   Silence again. “Maybe.”


Copyright 2023, Mary M. Isaacs

From a forthcoming book

Quote du jour

"Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Why we do Gun Giveaways

Some, but not all of the giveaways here at the blog.
Hopefully at least one of you might have scored on one or more occasions. But if not, at least you became more acquainted with some of the manufacturers and vendors you may need to rely upon in the months or years to come!
Semper fi!

Best of the Web*

*…that I have seen all week!

(BTW, if you wonder where any of the links will take you, hover your cursor over the link.)


Defund Planned Parenthood Act
Republicans demand visitor logs to Biden home; ask why his aides searched for classified docs without oversight

Feel Good Friday
CNN Ratings Fall Even More, Entire Lineup Did Not Equal Ratings of One Fox Show

Sunday Funnies
Sunday Funnies For 01-22-23
Today's Toons 1/18/23
Today's Toons 1/19/23
Today's Toons 1/20/23

Scientists invented a melting liquid robot that can escape from a cage

Larwyn’s Linx: The War on Competence
Stuff I either missed, or have not gotten to as of yet
In The Mailbox: 01.23.22
Larwyn’s Linx: Are Democrats Trying To Take Biden Out Before 2024?
In The Mailbox: 01.24.23
Larwyn’s Linx: Tucker Carlson Asks Why FBI and DOJ Do Not Target Antifa Domestic Terrorists
In The Mailbox: 01.25.23
Larwyn’s Linx: James O’Keefe Confronts FBI Stenographer Adam Goldman
In The Mailbox: 01.26.23
Larwyn’s Linx: Weaponization of the DOJ by the Chinese Communist Party
In The Mailbox: 01.27.23
Larwyn’s Linx: Project Veritas: Pfizer isn't going to like this at all

Friday, January 27, 2023

Ultimate Free Gun Friday

Our Ultimate Free Gun Friday is a Smith & Wesson's M&P®9 M2.0™ and 500 rounds of Black Hills 9mm Honeybadgers! Valued at $1,799.00!!
You can enter here.

Penultimate Free Gun Friday

Our Penultimate Free Gun Friday is for an H&K MR556A1 rifle!
You can enter here.

Antepenultimate Free Gun Friday

Our Antepenultimate Free Gun Friday is a Sig P320 customized by Wilson Combat!
You can enter here.

Stupid, Sloppy, Crazy: Your Call - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Free Gun Friday


The swan song Free Gun Friday, is worth about $3,700!

  • Faxon: ION-X Rifle
    • Retail Value: $1,700.00
  • Flatline Fiber Co.: Rifle Sling & Dump Pouch
    • Retail Value: $130.00
  • HRT Tactical Gear: HRT AWLS MLOK Weapon Light w/Swag
    • Retail Value: $325.00
  • Caveman LLC: Flare & Spark Product Suite
    • Retail Value: $600.00
  • Hornady: (5) Boxes of 5.56 76 gr. BTHP Superformance Match Ammo
    • Retail Value: $150.00
  • Night Fision: Night Switch Ambi Safety, Ember Glow Fob, Night Fision Camo Hat
    • Retail Value: $158.00
  • Havalon Knives: REDI & EVOLVE
    • Retail Value: $134.98
  • 7H Outfitters: $50 Digital Coupon
    • Retail Value: $50
  • Bison Coolers: 50 qt Cooler
    • Retail Value: $349.99
  • Olight World: Javelot Tac (MLOK)
    • Retail Value: $139.99
You can enter here.

Quote du jour

If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one's own self-deception and ignorance.

- Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, January 26, 2023

How to Balkanize a Country - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Quote du jour

"We'll never see someone like Speaker Pelosi ever again in our lifetime."

- Chuck Schumer
Don't say it unless you mean it, Chuck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Quote du jour

Monotonous professors hector students about “toxic masculinity,” as “gender” studies proliferate. If the plan was to drive males off campus, universities have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.

- Victor Davis Hanson

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Monday, January 23, 2023

Quote du jour

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, January 22, 2023

A Little Sunday Night Music

Don Moen - Goodness of God

Rachel Robinson, Tom Lane Acoustic Guitar

Hidden in Plain Sight

  Continuing our retrospective of Mary M. Isaacs' short stories...This one was published here June 8, 2020

   There hadn’t been any public burnings for a while. The State had decided that “out of sight, out of mind” was the best policy for destruction, now that the people had been conditioned to know what was allowed and what wasn’t. Many things were regulated or banned outright—art and literature and religion especially—and sparks of intellectual creativity had been few and far between for a long time. Certain topics only were allowed for books, certain subjects only for artwork. Everything else had been forbidden or destroyed. The Guards had made sure of that.

   John remembered witnessing frequent burnings many years ago, when he was a child. One had been for forbidden art. There had been a large pile of beautiful paintings, mostly portraits, and he had watched with unexpected pain and anger as the Guards threw the artwork into the fire. The colorful images darkened and then burst into hot flame until they were entirely consumed. Years later, he understood that pain, as he discovered a love for art within himself and eventually trained to be a landscape and florals painter, the only art subjects now allowed by the State. But in the back of his mind was always the memory of the fiery destruction of beauty; deep inside his soul he remained angry at the restrictions and waste.

   The creators of forbidden art and the authors and publishers of forbidden books were never seen again. “Exile” was the whispered explanation, which spread throughout the population. Other kinds of contraband had been publicly destroyed, as ominous and pointed examples. People fell into line eventually and the burnings became rarer. But John never forgot.

   He knew how to keep secrets. His parents and grandparents had been quiet but committed Christians and had carried their faith undetected to the grave. John had no family now, but he had the legacy of their faith in full measure. He did not know any other Christians personally, nor did he attend any of the underground, illegal house churches that existed in his city—tiny groups which operated semi-independently, for security’s sake—but he was in touch with them through a carefully constructed network. This network had been painstakingly set up in order that nothing could be traced from them back to him, because some of his artwork was destined for those house churches: John was the secret painter of the Holy Cross icons.

   In certain of his paintings, John hid the shape of the Cross of Christ.

Quote du jour

I don't always feel His presence. But God's promises do not depend upon my feelings; they rest upon His integrity.

- R C Sproul

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Best of the Web*

*…that Dave and I have seen all week!

(BTW, if you wonder where any of the links will take you, hover your cursor over the link.)


Hunter Biden’s $49,910 Rent Exactly Matches Deposit on Office Shared with Chinese Energy Company
State politician accused of stolen valor is assigned to veterans committee
Man who couldn't get elected VP calls PRESIDENT TRUMP a loser
Corporates Have Begun 'Geoengineering' The Climate, With Basically No One's Consent

Feel Good Friday
Why I Think of Clarence Thomas and the Nuns Who Inspired Him Each MLK Day
Guns And Liberty, 2023: Part 4
Gina Lollobrigida, RIP
‘A Routine Traffic Stop’
47 of the Best Signs From the First Post-Roe March for Life

Sunday Funnies
Sunday Funnies For 01-15-23
Today's Toons 1/11/23
Today's Toons 1/12/23
Today's Toons 1/13/23

NASA nuclear propulsion concept could reach Mars in just 45 days
Man drives electric Volvo 350 miles to see REAL cost and 'numbers just didn't add up'

Larwyn’s Linx: Destroying American Democracy - An Inside Job
In The Mailbox: 01.17.23 (Morning Edition)
Larwyn’s Linx: Joe Biden's Stolen Documents Confirm Worst Fears About Hunter Biden’s Laptop
In The Mailbox: 01.17.23 (Evening Edition)
Larwyn’s Linx: At WEF, John Kerry Describes Why a “Select Group” of Masterminds Must Rule the World
In The Mailbox: 01.18.23
Larwyn’s Linx: The Unclassified Docs Biden’s Lawyers Were Searching May Be The Key To The Real Scandal
In The Mailbox: 01.19.23
Larwyn’s Linx: FBI offers implausible excuse for not overseeing Biden document search
In The Mailbox: 01.20.23

Quote du jour

Justice, in order to be just, must be proportionate. We do not ask the death penalty for jaywalking (or being a pickpocket). That would be grossly disproportionate. Some people smugly ask, "How can you be pro-life if you are pro-death penalty?" That's very simple. Ask them, "How can you be pro-freedom, if you believe in locking people up for their crimes?" If someone kidnaps you, depriving you of your freedom, his punishment is to be deprived of his freedom. By the act of kidnapping you, kidnappers forfeit their own right to freedom. Likewise, murderers forfeit their own right to life. That maintains the proportionality of justice.

- Mike B

Friday, January 20, 2023

Landmines and Legacies - Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Bonus Free Gun Friday

This week's Bonus Free Gun Friday is again in 6.5 Creedmoor!
You can enter here.

The Thankless Task = Victor Davis Hanson podcast

Free Gun Friday

This week's Free Gun Friday ia a Rough Rider® Rancher™ Carbine 22 LR Black 16” Barrel 6 Rounds Walnut Stock, Buckhorn Sight and Leather Sling!
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Quote du jour

“The centuries of church history give us a litany of God’s deliverances. God has done it before, many times and in many ways, and He can do it again. He will do it again. And in that, we find courage for today and for tomorrow.”

- Stephen Nichols

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Free Med Kit Thursday

What good is Free Gun Friday if you or your buddies are leaking precious bodily fluids? Welcome to free med kit Thursday!
20 Liter Duffel Bag 
Premier Body Armor Ballistic Panel 
MKC Fieldcraft Survival MKC Collab EDC Knife 
Oakley Portal X Sunglasses 
 Med Kit 
    Sam Splint 
    Hyfin Chest Seals 
    Burn Tec 
    Trauma Bandage 
    Nitrile Gloves 
    Emergency Wrap 
EDC Med Loaded Ankle Holster 
Tourniquet holster 
Fire Starter 
Fieldcraft EDC Water 6-pack 
Black Rifle Coffee Company Fieldcraft Endurance Blend 
Adventure Wool Beanie 
Yeti Tumbler 
Fieldcraft Hoodie and more! 

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