Back to Kirk (The Roaming Reader: 3)

Back to Kirk! I’m still focused on the first book of the list I gave you in March: The Roots of American Order, by Russell Kirk. (We noted Kirk’s definition and description of “order” in the last post.)

Worth reading.

In the short, first chapter, “Order, the First Need of All”, Kirk tells the story of a scholar born in Russia. He had been a moderate Socialist in 1917, a Menshevik. He fled to Odessa on the Black Sea, but what did he find there? “Bands of young men commandeered street-cars and clattered wildly through the heart of Odessa, firing with rifles at any pedestrian, as though they were hunting pigeons. At any moment, one’s apartment might be invaded by a casual criminal or fanatic, murdering for the sake of a loaf of bread. In this anarchy, justice and freedom were only words.”

So what did this scholar learn?

“Then I learned that before we can know justice and freedom, we must have order. Much though I hated the Communists, I saw then that even the grim order of Communism is better than no order at all. Many might survive under Communism; no one could survive in general disorder.”

Kirk contrasts this story to our American experience. “In America, order and justice and freedom have developed together; but they can decay in parallel fashion.”

While this volume was published in 1974 and reflects the thought and writings of Kirk since the early 1950s, we clearly see its relevance for today. Such is the nature of wisdom.

I lost myself in this book.

Cups of tea encourage me as I read and write. Thankfully, spring is peeking in the windows. Next week is supposed to be warm and sunny here in Indiana!

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Categories: Christian Reader, Government, Perspectives on Culture, The Roaming Reader | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Order, Order – I Hear You! (The Roaming Reader: #2)

Ahh. Today we continue with our new theme of “The Roaming Reader,” begun a month ago in my last post, while I was still in Florida. It has been a hard month of adjustment for me. So, while I did write a draft of what should be the next article two weeks ago, I lacked the drive and clarity to revise and ready it for posting. This is not that essay. I have saved it and may use parts of it at times.

This post is supposed to center on the concept of “order” presented in Russell Kirk’s classic, The Roots of American Order. “Order” holds a ton of meaning and layers of application. So interesting. Order is ubiquitous. It exists in material reality and immaterial reality. When order is absent, its lack increases its importance. When order is compromised, a disequilibrium ensues. Order, disorder, and chaos.

Order is personal. Order is social. Order is political. Order is theological. Order rules biology, chemistry, physics, history, and the arts.  Order is essential for life.

Let’s start with  “order is personal.” For me. Returning home from the sunny south to the cool, often gray barely spring Indiana has left me sad and sadder.  (Yet — anticipation– spring is budding.) Our roots in Fort Wayne are still quite shallow, so I don’t have a full world to return to here.

World. Now, there’s a word that brings us back to Russell Kirk, and what is order, anyway?

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Categories: Christian Reader, The Roaming Reader | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Introducing a New Series: The Roaming Reader

I’ve formed a stack of interesting books in the last five months to read, toting some of them with me for our wintering season in Florida and adding a few selections after discussions with Floridian friends. Today, I introduce to you my new series, a book inspecting and reflecting series, “The Roaming Reader.” My stack represents a variety of genres and topics, yet the variety is still quite limited — based upon my interests and vetting standards. (Now, you wonder what my vetting standards are, so an entire post may be needed, someday, or I’ll simply spoon out my points as we go. We’ll see.)

Paul, Loretta, and I enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at the Spanish Springs town square in The Villages. Here in Florida, I’ve found plenty of time to enjoy dear friends, rest, and read.

First, I simply want to present to you the titles and authors comprising this short but heavy stack of eight works. Then, we’ll take note of a warning given to us from another source. Finally, I’ll set up the next post in which we’ll begin to consider two of these books.

Have you read some of these? Maybe you’ll want to explore one of these before I give you my take. Here’s the stack:

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Categories: Christian Reader, The Roaming Reader | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Inscrutable Paths of God’s Blessing and Love

Today, I will try to conclude this series I started a few posts ago describing some real life, surprising “tales” about a number of friends.

I’ve told you some sad-sweet stories about my cousin, Sherrie, about friends, Michael and Loretta, and about 96 year old Paul Haney.

My husband, Paul, moved Sherrie from Phoenix (Glendale), AZ to Findlay, Ohio last summer, but our sweet Sherrie succumbed to Covid in the hospital two days before Christmas! We’ve been reviewing sweet memories and adjusting.

My husband, Paul, moved our friends, Michael and Loretta from Prescott Valley, AZ to Florida a little over two years ago, so they could be near one of their daughters. Michael, growing weaker last fall, succumbed to his Alzheimer’s this past December 30. Paul and I are at Loretta’s house in The Villages, Florida, right now, and I’m typing this in the dining room. We just had a lovely Valentine’s coffee breakfast and devotional this morning at the kitchen table.

In the last post about Paul Haney, Mr. White Tufts of Wisdom, we saw a man who practiced “redeeming the time”! Now, today, on Valentine’s Day, I will tell you a sweet story of a long-time friend, Jayne Russell, who bought a man’s tie when she was about age 53, and prayed for a man to fill it. Well, she had been praying for decades, and she  waited — sigh, sigh — patiently. The tie was an addition to her prayers, to add emphasis. And then last year, surprise! She was not the only one waiting patiently!

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Categories: Biography | Tags: , | 4 Comments

White Tufts of Wisdom

From his determined, shuffling feet to his wavy, white tufts, Paul Haney charmed and impressed me when he visited our home last June with his daughter, Sarah.  Energetic and bright at age 96, he was ready to surprise me.

In my recent posts, I’ve been writing about being surprised. Surprised by people. Surprised by the turns in their stories. Surprised by God’s intervention in unexpected ways. Today, I write about Paul Haney.

He has not had a major role in my life. However, this past year he left his mark. He impressed me, nudged me, challenged me, and with no intention, reproved me. Will I heed his encouragement? I pray so.

Paul Olsen and Paul Haney walk the halls in Grace Village one Sunday afternoon after a satisfying lunch in the cafeteria. July 11, 2021.

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Their Tales Still Surprised Me

In my last post, “Sequence and Surprise,” I told “A Tale of Two Houses in One City” — our experience of moving from our first Fort Wayne home into what we hope will be our final home before our eternal home. Lord willing, no more moving!

“Lord willing” is an important qualification. It’s a planning perspective that takes into account my responsibility within the reality that ultimately, I am not in control. Life is neither random nor fixed. “Lord willing” is the perspective of walking by faith.

While we were involved in a move consuming six months, we witnessed amazing and surprising events,  in the lives of some people dear to us. I mentioned them by name in the previous post and now I want to describe some of those surprises and the impact of these people and events on me.

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Categories: Moving, Spiritual Growth | Tags: | 4 Comments

Sequence and Surprise

Woe! What’s happened? Two months have swallowed me rather like Jonah in the whale. As I’ve come up for air, rather dizzy and sea sick, I’ve needed to take in the journey’s views quietly. Now, as 2021 ends, what is there to think and to say?

First, the journey has taught me again (repetition is a key to learning) that, no matter how wise or foolish my thinking or choices may be, I am not in charge (control is an illusion), and to underscore the elementary lesson, the journey has  also illustrated that “you” (today’s “everyman” you) are not in charge either.

Are we lost in the cosmic darkness?

How necessary that we hear again the angel say, “Fear not!”

But how can we not fear, o we of faux control?

“Fear not, for I bring you tidings of great news.”

The angel-messenger indicates that we are not alone in some cosmic emptiness. Someone is in control. The Someone outside of “us” (transcendent), but near us (immanent), and is named Emmanuel — “God with us.”

I observe that our “God with us-God,” the “I AM-God” who claims to be in control, demonstrates His rule in our lives and in the world. He doesn’t offer to us His rule as an option; then we would be in charge.  But He does offer as on option to us His comfort. “Fear not.” “Good news.”

So what is so good about bad news? (Or, what is so bad about good news?)

Now we are getting into deep, theological territory. (Sigh. I only wanted to catch you up on the last few months, but my mind always goes to meaning — to the themes behind the unfolding sequences of events.)

If your life is anything like mine, the sequences of events at certain turns this year probably surprised you. Anyway, the turns in our road (almost always hidden from view) surely caught me by surprise and surprise, but the Apostle Peter counsels us not to be surprised (I Peter 4:12).

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Look at What I Found in My “File Tell”

What have I unearthed in my explorations through my own “file tells”? (If this doesn’t make sense, then read the previous post that introduces the “file tell” concept based upon the architectural term, “tell” or “tel”).

In this process of preparing to move, I’ve dug up photos not seen in decades, letters from old friends, and cards with hand written signatures from our parents, long gone (so precious to see Paul’s adoptive mom’s lovely handwriting). I found award plaques. (“Shall we throw them out?” Surprisingly, Paul chooses not to do so.) I’ve unearthed old teaching notes, childhood essays (fascinating see my young self from afar), and amazingly, a silver box filled with sympathy cards dated 1960 regarding the passing of my maternal grandmother (which I gave to Aunt Mary, Grandma’s last living child).  One bin held paper relics from graduate school, and “Aha”! There it is! Continue reading

Categories: Christian Reader, Education, Government, Moving | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Digging through a “Tell” — a “File Tell” (Part 1?)

What is a “file tell”? Well, I made up this metaphorical term to describe my current packing experience in preparation for our coming move.

If you’ve read my previous post, you know that we are moving. Since my last writing, our current house did go on the market. Wildly, it went on the market on a Friday morning, and after seven showings by Saturday evening, we had three offers. We were urged to accept one, and we did so, but eight days later, the party rescinded their offer. In the mean time, we lost the options of the other two offers. One couple came down with Covid and couldn’t proceed with their offer, and the other party had probably found another house by then. So, we put the property back on the market.

We had lost our momentum, but we did have a number of new showings and received very positive feedback. It took another week to sell. While the offer we accepted was lower than our previous three offers (which hurt), we  do like the new family very much. God provides! We are grateful!

Just as we believe that God is moving us into a new neighborhood for His good reasons, we believe God is moving this family into our current house for good reasons, such as to bless them and others around them. We suspect that we may even end up with a friendship with this young couple and three children.

But, you ask, “What is a ‘file tell’?” Yes, yes. I made up a term, so I better explain.

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Categories: Moving | Tags: | 3 Comments

Grand Camp 2021 and “The Rock!”

The last week of July was Grand Camp at our house. The following week was recovery. Sort of.

Thus (and for other reasons), progress has slowed on developing the podcast, but the goal has not been lost!  Just delayed. (Hang in there with me…. Anticipation!) This reminds me of an old saying: “God’s delays are not God’s denials.” Well, sometimes they are denials, but not necessarily. So, we develop patience and perseverance. A higher goal for me than the podcast, of course, is time spent with our grandsons. Grand Camp is our main, yearly opportunity.

Paul and I hosted our first Grand Camp in 2017 when we were still living in Arizona. Utilizing our 26 foot camper hitched to our gorgeous, cream and gold colored Ford Lariat that we drove across the country, we set up Grand Camp at “the Findlay Family Farm” near Findlay, Ohio.

We set up our first Grand Camp in 2017 on the farm where my mother grew up. There’s our camper and truck.

Grandpa Cramer built this barn in 1935.

2017. The boys and Papa O fly across the farm yard in front of Grandpa’s sturdy barn!

Aiden and Ryland (now ages 12 and 9) live in southern Ohio, so we don’t see them on a regular basis, although we see them more, now that we live in Indiana.  Then comes Grand Camp. BAM!  We have total responsibility for the boys for a whole week!  Wow!

“Grand Camp: Grandparents and grandchildren together in a grand location having a grand time.”

Of course, our times are not all “grand,” but we’ve built plenty of precious memories. And there are the ordinary moments, some “boring” moments (to the boys), many over the top exhausting moments (to Nana O — me!), and some taxing moments for Papa O (who carries the weight of the responsibility in many ways). Amidst it all, we experience good times.

After a huge June this year, we scheduled three calm and restful weeks before Grand Camp, but several turns busted our plans. Even our steps toward starting a podcast were interrupted!  “Lord… help!” (One of my favorite prayers besides, “Lord, have mercy!” and “Lord, Thank You!!”)

Here’s what’s up — with Grand Camp (GC) and with plan-busting turns.

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Categories: Grandparenting, Parenting | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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