Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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May 14

May 15, 2010

Bertha and Harold Motte with Betty and Harold Jr., Spring 1947.


Daddy died May 14, 1960. It was the night of my Junior-Senior dance at McClenaghan High School. I was a junior, only 16 years old. Daddy died of a heart attack in the night, after I had come home from the dance, told him goodnight and went to bed.

I still miss him, but these days I picture him working on some piece of machinery, a motor or engine, but something far more high-tech than the Singer sewing machines he worked on at home and at Sears, or the airplane engines he worked on in WWII. He was in the Army Air Corps, before the Air Force was made a separate branch.

I can just see my daddy Harold and Tim’s daddy T.C. head to head, collaborating on something or other in a workshop in heaven. T.C. Cox also worked on airplane engines during the war, as a member of the National Guard or Reserves. That home service was mandatory in the war, not voluntary as it is today. They didn’t know each other here on earth, but somehow I’m sure they know each other now.

It has been sixty years now since daddy was transferred from earth to heaven but sometimes it seems like just the other day. I love you, daddy.

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Cloud room

March 29, 2010

I asked God a question one night. Are there any other “people” – not human beings, not angels or demons, but some other intelligent species – in heaven? *

I didn’t really expect an answer.

Having read a great deal of science fiction growing up, and now reading about space scientists and astronomers discovering myriads of new galaxies they never suspected before, it seemed illogical to me and to many other people to suppose no other intelligent creatures existed anywhere.

And if they did, in whatever universe or dimension they call home, do they have religions, some version of right and wrong, conscience, awareness of sin or knowledge of God?

“Is that one question or many?” he responded. “Is that a serious question?”

Well, if we can actually discuss this, yes, it is a serious question, I said. If they exist, are some of them in heaven?

“Yes. Next question?”

In a phone conversation recently, my son commented that my descriptions of heaven are all from a physics-physical human viewpoint. Yes, up to now I have limited my descriptions here to the easily describable.

But I do understand why apostles John and Paul and prophet Ezekiel had such trouble describing what they saw and heard. Why some of those things were “unlawful” for them to share with others.

How do you describe a cloud room?

One of my follow-up questions had to do with whether it was possible to interact with non-human species in heaven who do not look, speak, understand, exist, operate, move, breathe — in other words, who do not function in any way, shape or form like human beings.

Angels good and bad are spirit beings who can appear in physical form. They can exist in our dimension, our galaxy, our universe. Sometimes they look like ordinary people. Sometimes they look like scary supernatural creatures, but interaction with them isn’t a problem for human beings.

But suppose an entity moved an inch a year when crossing a room? Or was composed of atoms so far apart that their arm was a thousand miles long and invisible to the human eye? Or their lifespan was a fraction of a second, in human time?

Suppose they had a crystalline structure and looked like a hunk of rock or grain of sand? Or had a plant-like form such as algae, or existed only in liquid or fire?

Suppose when they spoke, even if the language could be translated, the sound resembled the mere memory of an echo?

God didn’t say or show me what any of them looked like or operated like so I have no real idea. But he did tell me that the differences made ordinary interaction impossible, therefore he had created what I call a cloud room.

Now, it’s not an actual cloud or even a room; it’s an inter-dimensional area that somehow obliterates the differences between species and makes communication feasible. Cloud room is the closest I could come to describing that place.

It removes horror, and repugnance, and even morbid curiosity. It suspends the barriers of time and size and space in order that learning can occur. The only reason for its existence is discovery and education, innovation and invention.

He gave me a glimpse of this location, and all I can say is – it was like extremely nearsighted me looking at something or someone at a distance without my glasses. Nothing focuses. Everything’s blurry.

Not everything I have seen and heard of heaven can be described in purely physical, human terms. This is one example, and one reason why I don’t include some other things here. But I thought it was fascinating.

———————————–

* FYI – I’m not going to argue theological questions this question and answer is bound to raise with some.

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“Light be…” still being

March 20, 2010

From http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/

The immense Andromeda galaxy, also known as Messier 31 or simply M31, is captured in full in this new image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The mosaic covers an area equivalent to more than 100 full moons, or five degrees across the sky. WISE used all four of its infrared detectors to capture this picture (3.4- and 4.6-micron light is colored blue; 12-micron light is green; and 22-micron light is red). Blue highlights mature stars, while yellow and red show dust heated by newborn, massive stars.

Andromeda is the closest large galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy, and is located 2.5 million light-years from our sun. It is close enough for telescopes to spy the details of its ringed arms of new stars and hazy blue backbone of older stars. Also seen in the mosaic are two satellite galaxies, known as M32, located just a bit above Andromeda to the left of center, and the fuzzy blue M110, located below the center of the great spiral arms. These satellites are the largest of several that are gravitationally bound to Andromeda.

The Andromeda galaxy is larger than our Milky Way and contains more stars, but the Milky Way is thought to perhaps have more mass due to its larger proportion of a mysterious substance called dark matter. Both galaxies belong to our so-called Local Group, a collection of more than 50 galaxies, most of which are tiny dwarf systems. In its quest to map the whole sky, WISE will capture the entire Local Group.

This infrared image taken by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows a star-forming cloud teeming with gas, dust and massive newborn stars. The inset reveals the very center of the cloud, a cluster of stars called NGC 3603. It was taken in visible light by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

WISE, which is surveying the whole sky in infrared light, is particularly sensitive to the warm dust that permeates star-forming clouds like this one. In this way, WISE complements visible-light observations.

The mission also complements Hubble and other telescopes by showing the ‘big picture,” providing context for more detailed observations. For example, the WISE picture here is 2,500 times larger than the Hubble inset. While the Hubble view shows the details of the hot young star cluster, the WISE picture shows the effects that this stellar powerhouse has on its neighborhood.

The cluster contains some of the most massive stars known. Winds and radiation from the stars are evaporating and dispersing the cloud material from which they formed, warming the cold dust and gas surrounding the central nebula. This greenish “halo” of warm cloud material is seen best by WISE due to its large field of view and improved sensitivity over past all-sky infrared surveys.

These WISE observations provide circumstantial evidence that the massive stars in the center of the cluster triggered the formation of younger stars in the halo, which can be seen as red dots. The dust at the center of the cluster is very hot, producing copious amounts of infrared light, which results in the bright, yellow cores of the nebulosity.

Ultimately, this turbulent region will be blasted apart by supernova explosions. Other star-forming clouds in the Milky Way have experienced such eruptions, as evidenced by their pockmarked clouds of expanding cavities and bubbles.

Massive star clusters like this one are an important link to understanding the details of the violent original epoch of massive star formation in the early, distant universe. Astronomers also use them to study distant starbursts that occur when galaxies collide, lighting up tremendous firestorms of brilliant, but ephemeral, stars in the wreckage. Because NGC 3603 is so close, it is an excellent lab for the study of such faraway and momentous events.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The mission’s principal investigator, Edward Wright, is at UCLA. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information is online at http://www.nasa.gov/wise and http://wise.astro.ucla.edu.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Image Addition Date: 2010-02-17

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Meet Joe Black

February 24, 2010

I watched “Meet Joe Black” several times recently, the last half one day on cable and the first half another day, then going out to buy the DVD at Barnes and Noble so I could watch it as a whole, the entire three hours straight through.

Death, i.e. the angel of death (played by Brad Pitt) is a bit bored doing the same thing day after day, collecting souls and escorting them to their next assigned habitat. He doesn’t decide where that is to be, mind you, he merely serves as an escort. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the movie:

Meet Joe Black is a 1998 romantic drama produced by Universal Studios and starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins and Claire Forlani, loosely based on the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday. The film is about media mogul Bill Parrish who becomes a guide to the angel of Death, who takes the form of a young man to learn about life on Earth and in the process, falls in love with Bill’s daughter Susan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meet_Joe_Black

In the plot, Death becomes curious about this man Bill Parrish, wondering what his daily life on earth is like. After all, he never gets to see anything but the last few moments of anyone’s life.

Knowing the time is approaching for Bill’s demise, Death comes to Bill’s home and offers him a deal: make me welcome for as long as I like, and you can have extra time on earth. Just one thing – you can’t tell anyone who I really am. Bill agrees, and introduces him to the family as Joe Black. After all, Bill says, “If I tell them who you really are, I don’t think anyone will stay for dinner.”

Since he needed a human body to live in on earth, Death had selected a pleasant young man, nice looking, who was killed in an unfortunate accident – hit by a car while crossing the street.

“Coincidentally,” that young man had just met Susan Parrish, the daughter of his chosen research project, and Susan had been somewhat enchanted by him. An ensuing romance between Susan and Joe is intertwined into the story line – which complicates life, and death, for both of them.

One critic gave the movie a bad review. He assumed angels are “all knowing,” and since Joe Black didn’t act “all knowing,” it wasn’t a very good portrayal by Brad Pitt. I disagreed. God is all knowing, angels aren’t.

I thought Brad Pitt’s portrayal was very apt, more or less the way I would have written it. If an angel wants to investigate life as a human being on earth, it’s because he isn’t all knowing. He learns as he goes, about family, business, character – and love. Having fallen in love with Susan, at one point he determines to take Susan with them also, when it is time to take Bill Parrish. A horrified Bill persuades him not to do that.

At the end of the film when it’s time for Bill to die, he asks Joe, “Should I be afraid?” “Not a man like you,” Joe replies. They walk across a little bridge, out of sight and into eternity.

And then the other Joe Black – the young man killed in the car crash – walks back across the bridge to where Bill’s daughter Susan is standing, gazing toward the bridge.

Seeing Joe and her father walk away together, she had fully realized Joe’s true identity as the angel of Death. She knew Joe had to leave her, because it was time for her father to die.

But as a sign of his understanding, Death has not left her completely alone. The original “Joe” has been brought back to life for Susan, to get to know and perhaps fall in love with, as she had done with him.

It was a good ending.

A thought about Joe Black’s line, “Not a man like you.” A man gets into heaven, with or without an angel escort, only because of Jesus.

A born-again Bill Parrish is the sort of man who is truly busy in heaven, designing and building and accomplishing and enjoying every minute of it.

I liked this movie. I’ll probably watch it again.

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Yes

January 17, 2010

This afternoon I asked myself, do I need to keep writing this blog?

Yes, I do still learn more and more about heaven as the days and weeks go by. Yes, the Lord still humors my curiosity and answers my specific questions. Occasionally he just tells me something without my first asking a question.

Yes, the more I learn, the more… confident? sure? settled? … I am in my own mind about the future. Not sure of events, their order or their time-table, just sure of the eventual outcome.

Yes, my amazement and thirst for more information has increased over these months. That probably won’t change.

Yes, my humility has also increased. Who am I to receive this kind of information? Well, the Lord just says I’m his daughter and that’s reason enough. I asked for it, didn’t I? He didn’t mind my asking and he didn’t mind my knowing, he says.

So, the answer is yes. Yes, I should keep writing, yes, I should keep asking and listening, yes, I should stay interested, curious, excited, watchful, prayerful, about heaven. Its descriptions, activities, inhabitants, purpose, position, location, physicality, everything. And so I will.

I don’t think I’ve written much about the societal and cultural communities that I’ve seen. Some people who lived and died in one century, say 200 BC, congregate together in a community, like a village. Their architecture, furnishings, clothing, music, etc. resemble what they experienced in 200 BC to a degree. Likewise with people from 500 BC, or 1200 AD. (And others don’t, preferring to experiment with something totally different from what they knew on earth.)

Some people from one part of the world may congregate with some others from that part of the world. North Americans with North Americans, Pacific Islanders with Pacific Islanders, for example.

It’s not a matter of segregation, it’s a matter of taste. Familiarity. Comfort. Interests. However, people move around all the time. They move from one dwelling and cultural habitat to another, sometimes many miles away. They may even trade houses with someone else.

That doesn’t mean these homes aren’t fully “modern,” technologically speaking. They are, but sometimes it’s more or less invisible.

The people of heaven are continually meeting newcomers, keeping up-to-date with the world and current events, technology and scientific advances in every area, as well as learning what they need to know about the future. God doesn’t want people here to be ignorant and he doesn’t want people there to be ignorant either.

(Some sort of training or educational classes are going on all the time. There are multitudes of schools, colleges, universities, workshops, libraries, museums, galleries, and laboratories.)

Thinking about the different housing styles just in my own lifetime and location, one evening I was “taken on a little tour” of various residential areas in heaven.

I saw one compound where the house had no exterior walls at all, just a roof. The grounds were spacious but sparsely planted, not landscaped like a southern house might be. There were a number of rooms under the roof, each with a specific focus and each one opening into another. It was airy and light, happy and cheerful.

How do you keep sand and dust out? Since there was no actual lawn, there was what looked like ordinary dirt surrounding the house. And while there is no destructive weather there are breezes.

Here is where some of the more modern conveniences are put to work. There is a transparent air barrier around the perimeter of the house. I think I’ve mentioned it before, sometimes used instead of glass in windows. You can walk right through it but sand or grit can’t blow into the rooms unless you track it in on your feet.

Another structure I saw was several stories tall with very distinctive rooms, elaborate furnishings and draperies. It looked somewhat like an English manor house with a real yard, bushes and flowers. It looked comfortable and inviting.

Then there was the building underground where many people lived. From the outside it seemed only one story tall but it went down many, many levels. The housing units were different sizes, shapes and configurations.

Residents came and went by way of vertical shafts, like elevator shafts without the elevator cars. You stepped into “thin air” and went up or down, whichever way you needed, similar to what I had seen earlier in a downtown building.

Wide hallways, well lighted and well decorated, went every direction. Large lobbies with seating areas broke up the hallways.

Who lives here, I wondered? People who don’t feel a need to have open spaces, gardens or verandas, was the answer. Some were babies or young children when they arrived and have no memories of their earth homes. They have no sentimental attachments to above-ground locales, so once they are ready to live on their own, they chose to live here. (Where they lived in heaven before that point is another fascinating story.)

These residents do travel above ground, visit relatives and friends, go to work, worship or shop (that’s an odd term, considering you don’t actually purchase anything), but when it’s time to be at home, this is where they are.

There are so many varieties of homes, ranging from small cottages to sprawling compounds and everything in between!

One thing I know. There is always something interesting to see, interesting to learn, interesting to ask and explore and investigate about heaven.

Like all the museums and art galleries… libraries and universities… concert halls… worship centers… laboratories studying the properties and uses of light and sound for travel and transport…

Think about this: If you could travel around the world, ask and explore and investigate all the interesting things that exist right now here on earth, how long would that take? Hmmm.

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No More Night – Yes!

December 17, 2009
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Other

November 20, 2009

Image of the galaxy M83, taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Wide Field Imager on the ESO/MPG 2.2-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile.

What’s on the other side of space?

Why is there so much of it? Space, that is. Why so many galaxies? Solar systems? Planets?

I have spent a fair amount of time in two-way conversations with the Holy Spirit about these questions, and even asked him why he bothers to answer me.

“Because you asked,” he said.

So, I said, you would answer anybody who asked odd questions like these?

“Yes, if they were mine, and they really wanted to know.”

Some of the answers were long and detailed, some quite technically-oriented. Some answers were simply common sense, logical, after he laid some groundwork for me.

Eternity is a concept we have trouble understanding. It’s a long time. Distance is another hard concept. Light years. Not to mention dimensions.

But companionship is not hard to understand. Fellowship. Friendship. Parent-child relationship. Desire, and desire to share knowledge, understanding, creation, achievements. We sometimes don’t attribute those to God, but we should.

And as I meditated on those answers, I began to slowly realize and understand why conversion is necessary. We believers think of that word conversion as having a purely spiritual definition. Changing a person’s allegiance, his behavior, his character. His essential nature – from what he is naturally, to something other.

But the word also has a physics application and definition. Converting an engine to run on diesel fuel instead of gasoline, a simple example we can visualize.

A more “elemental” example of conversion, however, would be that which occurs when uranium becomes plutonium in a nuclear energy plant. Here the physical atomic structure has been fundamentally changed.

That’s more like what happens to a human being when God changes him.

Why does a human being need to be fundamentally changed in the first place? Accepting Jesus as both rescuer and manager could have just resulted in a more likable demeanor. An infusion of know-how in some field or other. Some practical talent, acquisition of money or influence, something useful for the duration of a life spent here on planet earth.

And it might do one or more of those things, but they would be in addition to the molecular change that takes place, the one that will allow human beings to survive in an off-world environment… will allow them to survive, adapt, thrive, explore and discover for many times the normal earth lifespan.

Surviving as a human being after this planet has undergone major geologic stressors will be challenging. Surviving a thousand years and a global insurrection following that will be more challenging. Conversion to something other will come in very handy, no doubt.

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Throne room

September 18, 2009

It wasn’t the throne room. I thought it was at first, because of the raised platform with several large throne-like chairs in the center. The platform stretched across the rear of the building, resembling a theater in its structure.

As the focal point of my vision was changed, however, I realized that the huge auditorium was more like a cathedral; a sanctuary. Broad and deep, a multitude of rows filled the room, arranged stadium style in an arc facing the platform.

On the platform were seated the recipients of the worship about to begin. Father. Jesus. Holy Spirit.

Worshipers soon took their seats in the sanctuary: musicians of many instruments, enough to fill a multitude of orchestras; singers and dancers. Men and women and children, every race and culture were represented.

So many different instruments! Some I had never seen before. Trying to take it all in, I was an observer on this occasion, a worshiper but not a member of that congregation.

As the service began and I listened, I soon realized I wasn’t hearing only one song.

Many different songs were being sung at the same time. Some people were reading poems of adoration, not songs set to any melody. Some were simply standing, silent with arms raised. Some were swaying, some were clapping, some were swirling in intricate dance steps. Some were shouting words of love, honor and praise. I recognized several languages, certainly not all.

The result was joyous and glorious. The amazing sound filled my soul and spirit with Life as I participated with saints from hundreds, even thousands of years ago down to the present. I didn’t want it to end.

In every church service I’ve attended, the musicians are on the platform facing out with the congregation facing them. Watching them. Following their lead. But the center of attention is on those human beings, praise team singers or worship leaders, not on the Lord.

Here in one of heaven’s sanctuaries, the worshipers were facing the Lord, offering to him their hymns and songs, adoration and praise.

It seems to me that the praise team and song leader should face the same way the rest of the worshipers do, turn their faces towards the Lord and lead by example in worship that is focused only on him.

Over the last couple of years the Lord has let me see other worship services in heaven. This was the first one, in this magnificent cathedral-like setting with countless worshipers. Others have been in small, intimate gatherings, or in more rustic settings, some indoors and some outdoors. Maybe I’ll describe one of those another time.

The one common denominator I have found is this: Worship doesn’t strengthen God. It doesn’t gratify him – he doesn’t need gratification. It doesn’t reward him. What can you give him? He created everything.

Worship is for the benefit of the worshiper. It brings strength, joy, energy, fulfillment. Life. Zoe life. God’s life. We need it.

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What about worship

August 25, 2009

One of the very first things I wanted to know about heaven was worship. One sermon I’d heard in the past said that we will worship God 24-7, meaning all the time. Somehow when I heard that, I wasn’t sure that meant what the preacher thought it meant. He seemed to think it meant sitting in a church service, singing hymns or choruses or other religious songs.

But God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have a definite idea of what worship is, and that’s not it. As I meditated on the question, what is worship like in heaven, here’s what they told me.

Worship comes from an Old English word meaning “worth-ship.”  The worth of someone. Worth what? Money? Respect? Power? Position? Fear? Treat that person accordingly.

In the New Testament, however, one primary word translated worship means to be in submission; to serve as a slave serves his master.

The Greek word “proskuneo” is translated worship in John chapter 4, throughout the section where Jesus talks to the woman at the well. Strong’s Concordance defines proskuneo as kissing the hand, but in practical daily use the word meant much,  much more. It meant kneeling as a slave in submission, respecting the position and authority of the master, waiting for instructions before rising to perform those instructions.

We get a better idea of God’s idea of worship by substituting the concept of  submission for the word worship in these verses:  “But an hour is coming and now is, when those who show true submission will show submission to the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is also seeking such ones who are showing submission to him. God is spirit, and those who are showing submission must show submission in spirit and in truth.”

This is not just serving like a waitress serves a cup of coffee. It’s the service of a slave, taking instructions and orders for the day, doing what you’re told, when and where and how you’re told. Not planning your own agenda and carrying it out, but receiving your master’s agenda and carrying that out.

So God’s idea of me worshiping him means me waiting for his instructions and doing them. All the time. Come here, go there, do that. If that’s singing, then singing is worship. If that’s writing, then writing is worship. If it’s researching the physics property of carrier waves (that was one of my assignments a couple of months ago), then that’s worship.

Obedience is worship; it’s recognizing who and what Father God is and acting accordingly. That is why heaven is such a busy place, not just a church service with singing.

Oh, there is plenty of singing, praising, joy, playing music on many types of instruments, by all ages of heaven’s citizens. Lots of places for it, too, indoors and outdoors. Great cathedrals, small chapels, massive amphitheaters, mountain tops. At all times of the day, somewhere, some group small or large is gathering to praise God with old and new compositions.

I’ll try to describe some of those another time. That was truly fascinating, and fulfilling. But the lesson I am still absorbing is, worship means obedience.

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The inside was a — different story

August 6, 2009

Okay, I’ll try to remember features of that house that were definitely not usual in my earthly neighborhood. I probably won’t remember them all, or in the same order they were showed to me, but here goes.

Lighting. No lamps, no light fixtures, but plenty of light. Oh, right. The Lamb is the light. Well, he wasn’t in the room, at least not visibly, but the effects certainly were.

Colors. The main entry door from the front of the house led into what I would call the living room. The walls here were muted colors, calming, soothing, relaxing shades of blues and greens. The walls were textured slightly, almost like fabric instead of just paint, and felt really good to the touch. Soft, velvety.

Then as I focused on one wall, it began to change color. The color seemed to slowly flow into a different shade, while I looked at it. Not a totally different color, just a different shade of the same color. When a restful teal (blue-green, like my eyes) shade came into view, which I especially liked, the change stopped. The wall seemed to settle, almost like water on a pond settles after a stone has been skipped across it.

There was a knob on one wall like a dimmer switch. By turning the knob, the entire color palette of that room could be changed. From blue to pink or yellow, for instance. Or green, or orange. Or brown, or purple, or whatever I liked. Now, that was neat.

The furniture? I simply don’t remember much, except that it had some. Chairs, sofas, something.

There was another room adjacent to the living room with only a grand piano in it. No other furniture there, but I liked the idea of the piano.

Next came what I’d call the kitchen, except that it had no appliances that I recognized. No stove, no refrigerator, no microwave, no coffee maker, but a small table, cabinets and shelves with dishes. Okay, no cooking? No food? Yes, food, but it wasn’t cooked the way I cook food, or else it wasn’t in need of cooking. Not sure at that time which it was. I was still observing, not so much asking, but some questions I wasn’t asking were being answered anyway.

Then came the dining room or meeting room, or whatever it was used for.  One long table, lots of chairs both around the table and around the walls, but not much else. Used for visiting friends and relatives, discussing events of the day, things learned, catching up on activities of each other, sharing news and information and meals.

Are there any bedrooms, I asked? And suddenly I was in what could have been a bedroom, except that it didn’t really have a bed, just a chaise longue. Not much sleeping goes on there, just occasional lying down for thinking, meditating and absorbing.

There’s more, much more – later.