Domestic Violence During COVID

This is a tough subject, but one that needs addressing! I was out walking our lane last week and a young woman was trespassing, although when I stopped to talk to her, I discovered that she was either mentally ill or being abused, or most likely some of both. In the process of trying to help her, I’ve been digging into research and discovered that domestic abuse and violence is becoming distressingly higher during the world’s COVID lock down. Hospitals that are not overflowing with COVID patients are actually significantly down in their censuses. Our psychiatric hospital’s census has been down, and I naively imagined it was because families were home together and better able to attend the needs of their mentally ill family members. I don’t know the “true” truth, but it appears that people are avoiding hospitals for fear of contracting COVID, but this does not mean that the mentally ill are being graciously and patiently cared for by loving family members. In fact, alcoholism, drug use, and abuse are sky rocketing, and in the areas where reporting of abuse has gone down, the fear is that this is only because it’s become harder to get the privacy to make calls for help without being detected.

If you or anyone you know or love is being abused, there is a Hotline for National Domestic Violence in America: 1-800-799-7233. I haven’t actually tested this number, but if you call and find it unhelpful, there probably is a number in your city or country where you can call for help. In America, you can always call “911” and they can direct you. For most people, the danger of coronavirus, though real, may not be as potentially lethal as a violent spouse. For instance, an article in the New York Times on April 17, 2020 reported that “according to various unofficial Covid-19 trackers that calculate the death rate by dividing total deaths by the number of known cases, about 6.4 percent of people infected with the virus have now died worldwide.” This same article went on to say that the death rate “in the United States, [is] around 4.3 percent, according to the latest figures on known cases and deaths.” According to other sources, at this point 80% of those dying are over 65 or have an underlying medical condition. So, if you are under 65 and otherwise in good health, your chance of sustaining a serious or life-threatening injury from a violent partner is greater than your risk of death from COVID, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help!

Last night Alan and I watched the 2019 adaptation of John Bunyan’s immortal tale, Pilgrim’s Progress (animated version). We both loved it, and I want to recommend it. But beyond thinking it was a well done retelling of one of the world’s greatest classics, one the most significant points of the movie is that if we call out to God for HELP, He will help us. This is not just fairy-tale romance, this is true! God will reveal himself to those who seek him sincerely: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). God is alive and well, and He is able to help you. I can’t tell you exactly what you need to do if you’re in distress, but I can promise you that if you sincerely repent and surrender your heart to God, He will save you and show you the right path to take. He can do for each of us what no human being can do, and He will if we ask.

My (new) young friend at first could not believe that God loved her, as her father had never claimed her and her mother had died in January. She said she wanted to kill herself because God—if he did exist—did not love her and wouldn’t want her or help her. Thankfully, she did listen to God’s Word and did believe! “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). If you will reach out and ask God for help, he will help you too! Please reach out!

(Please don’t think I’m taking this problem lightly in any way by using graphics from the animated version of The Pilgrim’s Progress, but (of course) I can not use real photographs of real people for this terribly difficult subject. God knows what you need. He can help you!)

Risen: Are You Celebrating this Good Friday?

Risen. Seeking                              On this “Good Friday,” are you celebrating? Risen. Christ on cross“Good Friday” sounds happy, but for most of the Christian world, it’s a very sober day of commemorating the vicarious death of Christ for us. Jesus came to earth, died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins, and offers redemption and eternal life to “whosoever will!” Risen. The serach for Christ's BodyThis amazing gift of mercy and hope is available to anyone who will believe in Christ and turn to him for salvation. So, what’s the catch? If I offered you million dollars, wouldn’t you take it? If I knew how you could get a free pass into heaven and an eternal life of joy, wouldn’t you want to go? I think most people would. Risen. Speaking to Jewish leadersThen, why doesn’t everyone become a Christian? I think it’s because they don’t believe the “good news” is really true. risenIf you’re one of those people who wishes you could believe, please consider watching the newly released movie, Risen. Risen. Market SceneRisen is set in 33 AD during the first 40 days following the crucifixion of Christ, when Jerusalem was abuzz with rumors that Christ had arisen from the dead. Risen. SearchingA Roman tribune and his military aide are commissioned to find the missing body of Christ and thereby quell the rising tide of belief that Christ truly is the long-promised Messiah who predicted his own death and resurrection. Risen. Tibune on horsebackIf they can find Christ’s body, they can prove that he did not rise again, discrediting his claim of being “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) and “the way, the truth, and the life” that alone leads us to God (John 14:6). Risen. Looking for Christ's BodyHowever, as the Roman soldiers become frustrated when no amount of wits or force can produce the body…and as they encounter those who knew Christ… they begin asking not only where he is, but who he is.  Risen. War and strifeHave you ever wondered what happened to the body of Christ? Does it seem logical that all the apostles would rather die than expose a hoax, if Christ’s death had really just been a trick? What changed them from cowering fearfully behind closed doors to preaching and teaching publicly despite terrible persecution? Risen. The ascension of ChristCould it have been anything other than a rock solid faith that Jesus really had risen from the dead? And, why is the resurrection so foundational for Christians? Risen. Examining grave clothesBecause, if Christ really is risen, then he truly is who he claimed to be—the Son of God—and he can in fact save us and resurrect us after we die. That’s why Christians can celebrate on “Good Friday.” Are you celebrating?!
Risen. Tribune and Aide“And ye shall seek me, and find me,
when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)



Hawaiian Petroglyphs: What? And Where the Hay are They?

Petroglyph field near WaikoloaOne morning while Alan was at a conference in Hawaii, I determined to track down the illusive petroglyphs, “National Treasures”…  “enigma of the Pacific.” The Kings' Shops. WaikoloaThey were rumored to be not far from our hotel in Waikoloa, and I’d seen a small sign posting by the Kings’ Shops, so I drove to the back of the mall, Fish pond by King's Shops. Waikoloaparked beside the gas station, and headed out  Golf course next to Petroglyph field near Waikoloaalong a beautifully manicured trail, In serach of Petroglyph field near Waikoloawondering if this could possibly be the right way to find these ancient treasures which were thought to have been etched into stone over a millennium ago  Waikoloa Petroglyph Fieldby native Hawaiians
(who were thought to have arrived from Marquesas Islands as early as 750 AD). Loooking for Hawaiian petroglyphs. WaikoloaOne of the confusing aspects of trying to find the right path
is knowing the right name and just exactly where it is you want to go. Hawaiian petroglyphs. WaikoloaFor instance, I thought it was supposed to be called
the “Anaehoomalu Petroglyph Field,” but there were no signs by that name. Rough Trail Sign I’d read variously that the trail leading to the petroglyphs was called:
Kiholo Puako Trail, “Ala Kahakai Trail,” and “Mamalahoa Trail.” Lava Cave collapses near WaikoloaMost sources also said it was called “The Kings’ Trail,” so I went with that. (Besides, I have trouble pronouncing Hawaiian names correctly.) The King's Trail Hawaiian petroglyphs. Waikoloa(If you go, this 32-mile royal road is a little rough, so take good walking shoes!)Shopping in WaikoloaHowever, Hawaiians didn’t seem to recognize the name “King’s Trail,” Homes along trail to Waikoloa Petroglyph Fieldsand tourists had no clue what I was talking about! I stopped everybody I sawWhere is the Petroglyph field near Waikoloa?(which was precious few people early in the morning), Proximity of Golf Course and Petroglyph field near Waikoloabut most of them were cheery tourists heading for the golf course who’s never heard of the “King’s Trail” …or “petroglyphs” either, for that matter!Fish pond.They just looked at me curiously, like I was a misguided Indiana Jones who shouldn’t be walking on a paved path running between condos and a golf course
(which— of course—had crossed my mind too). Kapu. Stay out! Hawaiian petroglyphs. WaikoloaIn truth, I’m not sure Hawaiians really want people to find their sacred trail.
(In case you can’t read Hawaiian,”Kapu” means “Forbidden.”) Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 9Now, if you’re in the same golf cart with most tourists, the word “petroglyph”  Petroglyph field near Waikoloacomes from two Greek words: “petros” for rock, and “glyphein” to carve. Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 3There are petroglyphs on every inhabited continent in our world, including Hawaii, which has the largest concentration of petroglyphs in the Pacific. Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 4Hawaiians call this form of rock art k’i’i pohaku, which means “images in stone,” Thousands of petroglyphs. Petroglyph field near Waikoloaand most of the more than  23,000
(some say 30,000, but I’m not sure who’s counting) Lava. Hawaiian petroglyphs. Waikoloaimages on the Big Island have been carved into the surface of volcanic rocks Pahoehoe Lava Hawaiian petroglyphs. Waikoloaknown as “pahoehoe” lava (which has ropey, corrugated surfaces). A'A lava. Hawaiian petroglyphs. WaikoloaThe largest petroglyph fields on the Big Island are at
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the east side of the island, Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 1and the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District on the Kohala (western) coast. Bougainvillea. HawaiiHowever, I was theoretically living next door to #3,Golf course by Waikoloa Petroglyph field so that’s what I was going for—if I could find it! Near the beginning of Petroglyph field near WaikoloaWell, after wandering about for a bit, I did wander onto the right path, Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserveand after all was said and done, I had a marvelous time observing and learning. Figurines in Petroglyph field near WaikoloaThere are over 3,000 distinctive carvings and letters found in the petroglyphs, Symbols etched in stone Petroglyph field near Waikoloaand although their specific meanings can only be conjectured, Rock Shelters. Hawaiian petroglyphs. Waikoloait is known that many people slept in caves along the road as they traveled, C-shaped rock shelter at Petroglyph Fieldso…were the drawings simply graffiti, or did they have deep significance?Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 5A large percentage of the markings are cupules (holes),
thought to be used as depositories for umbilical cords of newborns
as part of a rite to insure long life and “mana” (power) for the child.Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 6Although the oldest petroglyphs are dated back over a thousand years, Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 8apparently the rock carvings continued well into the 1800’s. Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 7Today the petroglyphs are considered sacred, carefully preserved and protected. In some ways, the petroglyphs remind me of the scriptures. King's Trail through Petroglyph field near WaikoloaMany people are totally oblivious of the Bible’s existence or message,
even though they’re living, working, and playing right next to it every day! Wall around Petroglyphs in WaikoloaLike my search for the petroglyphs, some may be searching for Wisdom but don’t know it by the right name or how to get around all the barriers to find a way in.Petroglyph field near Waikoloa 2If they do happen to stumble upon one of the texts, they can’t interpret it, Hawaiian petroglyphs. Waikoloa 12or the meaning seems obscure and hard to see. Group tour. Petroglyph field near WaikoloaLater I discovered there was a free tour; I just missed it because I didn’t know! Similarly, if you can find one, a good church will help you learn about the Bible.Waikoloa Petroglyphs in lava
“And you will seek Me, and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV).






Slieve League: Hide and Seek…and You Shall Find

Alan likes to tease that Harriet has saved our marriage. Harriet, named after Dorothy Sayer’s inimitable sleuth, is our GPS.  In fact, I remember once in the olden days (before GPS) trying to find our way down to the center of Rome with Jonathan and Kathy in the back seat totally stressed out… because Alan and were  in the front seat totally stressed out! A GPS is a great thing—when it works. When it fails, it’s a major frustration!  I have very dark memories of driving back and forth along a brand new freeway just north of Venice with Harriet pleasantly demanding that we get off where there was no exit (outdated maps)! That time it was Stephen and Joel in the back seat, but they were probably feeling equally tense! We finally managed to find a way around the fires and back to the sea, but “Slieve League”— famed for being the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe—was simply not a destination that Harriet knew anything about! Alan was extremely tired by this point (understandably: he did all the driving on these left-hand-sided isles). Alan wanted to scratch our outing to Slieve League and just go to our hotel.Reluctantly, I agreed, but then we couldn’t even find our hotel, even though we had an address. After searching for an hour or more, we finally stopped at a pub where a kindly resident explained that there was an old highway and a new highway by the same name, and our hotel was on the old highway down a rather remote back road!On the less dark side (because nothing was bright at this point), the inn keeper said that the entrance gate to Slieve League was just a stone’s throw away down a little country road, and that we couldn’t miss it! “Just make sure you close the gate behind you, so the sheep don’t get out.”Now, here is an amazing thing! There are no road signs pointing the way; there is no park, no fan fare, no entrance fee to access the road to the top of the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe! A GPS can’t be programmed to take you there. You have to ask people who’ve been there before and are willing to tell you! The road goes through private land, but all we had to do was  find the right road, open the gate (which wasn’t locked, although at first we thought it might be)…close it behind us (to keep the sheep safe), and we were on our way up to the mountain top!And here’s another remarkable thing: hardly anybody was on top! We often watch the sunset over Lake Michigan from the pier in Grand Haven, and in the summer it is crowded with fellow sunset lovers. Have you ever watched the sun go down in Key West? I mean, the sun practically has a cult following there! How is it that in this spectacular setting, as the sun set sail over the vast Atlantic on its way to America, no one seemed even to know or care?

The sight will take your breath away, it is so majestic! I was flooded with a sense of joy and so glad that Alan hadn’t given up!The freezing wind nipped at us, but it was one of those experiences you wouldn’t miss for the world!Stephen exalted in the glory of it all with his own special exuberance!We walked along the path, watching the waves crash against the rocks some 1,972 feet below. The Cliffs of Moher are much more popular, but only 1/3 the height!As we watched the sun set in all its brilliance, I couldn’t help but think of many parallels to finding eternal life in Christ. It’s not advertized by the world. You can’t get there by using a program, and the common program “just be good” doesn’t actually work. It’s not on the “broad way”…it’s up a little, windy trail. It’s so hard to find that it’s tempting to give up the search. You can’t find it on your own, you have to ask somebody who knows the way (Jesus). Other venues are much more popular, but they aren’t nearly as lofty.There is no admission fee. All you have to do if open the gate (but close the gate behind you to keep the sheep safe). Even though it’s a mountain top experience, very few people take advantage of the opportunity. It’s not easy, but it’s worth every minute!      People respond differently, but all who seek will find something glorious!

“You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all our heart”

Jeremiah 29:13

Yellowstone Park: A Grizzly Thought

We just came back from a wonderful family reunion to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. (If you’re a face book friend, I have no fewer than 200 photos if you want to see more!)Yellowstone is the oldest national park (coming into existence before Wyoming even became a state), and I think it’s also the most exotic.Although I’ve been there several times, I’d forgotten just how gorgeous everything is!The rivers of color from mineral springs, geysers, and mud pots are unlike anything I’ve ever seen anywhere else on earth!Along with the pristine waterfalls and snow-capped mountains, the spring flowers were in the full bloom, and the hungry bears were out in force. Yellowstone has several hundred grizzlies that weigh up to 600 pounds. I caught a picture of this one far off in the distance…which was plenty close enough for me.This Native-American necklace was made from grizzly bear claws—some 2-4″ long (or more). Although I remember as a little girl back in the 1950’s watching a mother black bear in Yellowstone begging for food from our table while her two cubs scrambled up a nearby pine tree and almost toppled over onto a camper in the next site, I’ve always had a healthy fear of bears. Mom shooed the bear away by beating two pie tins together, but I didn’t like the looks of the bear’s big teeth!While we were in Yellowstone, we stayed (with the rest of our reunion families) at Canyon Village near Yellowstone Falls. We went for hikes and traveled around the big loop roads every day. Wednesday we left Canyon Village and headed south to the Grand Tetons.Little did we know that on that exactly one week later, a grizzly bear, for the first time since 1986, would attack a couple who were hiking and kill the husband near Canyon Village where we’d been staying. What an unthinkable tragedy.

It could have been me, or Alan, or any of our group.

We were there; we were hiking in that area.

It really makes me stop and ponder the circumstances of life. As the Bible says, none of us knows the day or hour of our death. I wonder, am I prepared to die?

Are you?

“And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)