Sayings from Mom

Do you remember hearing, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? That might work when trying to keep peace among siblings, but not so much if you trying to be transparent with God.

In 1994 I recorded, “Bob insists I should write during the uglies. I did some – but he means put it all down – in detail, even violent detail. I find that abhorrent to my soul. I want to write helpful, pleasant pretty things. It seems a violation of the gift to record the ugly, the crude, the ungodly AND YET there is healing and wholeness to be found in the process of forming words, sentences, phrases.

“Bob is talking about something bigger than the 3 page Artist Way obligation. He is talking about writing as a form of reflection/self examination/therapy. My Franciscan rule of life does state I will have some form of daily self examen, but I don’t always do that. I hardly ever do that at the end of the day when it would do me so much good and be so easy to recall. Could this be the time to finally begin Molly Lin? Huh? Finally?!”

Now zoom to 2021. With the chronic pain of fibromyalgia and inherent fatigue from it I have never kept that evening appointment, journaling or not. Although I have allowed myself to journal ugly things since then. Mom never said, “Stay transparent with God.” This seems to be the most important thing in my life now.

Years ago touring West Virginia and Ohio glass factories we found this art piece. It expresses my desire to remain transparent to God. Yes, I know God is omnipotent and has vision to easily view our inner thoughts and intentions. I am talking about my effort to remain unhindered in my approach to Him. Ever since the Garden we all tend to try to hide things from God, though that is impossible.

Acts 3:19-20a calls us to “Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”

It was D.L. Moody who famously said, “Keep short accounts with God.” In that one statement is the secret to daily victory and spiritual power. Sin piles up so quickly. Unconfessed and unforsaken sin is the cause of broken fellowship with God and brokenness in so many areas of our lives. It is a cancer.

https://scottpauley.wordpress.com/category/personal-growth/

Short accounts, clean slate, nothing in my own sin ignored. D. L. Moody also said he was so busy with himself there was no time left to accuse others.

Whether time is spent in examination and confession in the morning, in the evening, regardless of time slot, keep current with the Lord. A short list. Daily self examination of your heart, mind, soul.

The contemporary protestant church seems to have reduced this to a minute or two at the most before partaking of communion. I believe the Word and the Spirit call us to more than that. Transparency with Christ. On the journal page, in prayer, making a space to examine our lives and confess our failings, the uglies that we are responsible for, knowing that 1 John 1:9 is true.

If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NRSV

Cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Sounds terrific, doesn’t it? Yet, no one can do it for us. We must each undertake this, not as self condemnation or unrelentless castigation. A time of confession, determining to turn and go a different way with help from God. Starting over. As the Benedictine’s say “Always we begin again.” Each time we swing less far on the pendulum of sin and error, making progress through repentance towards newness of life.

Keep a short account. Stay transparent with God.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.

Psalm 24:3-4 NIV

Clean hands. Pure heart. Short list.

Having Difficulty with WordPress

Well there seems to be some sort of “bug” in the quotes section. I contacted WordPress and they have not gotten it fixed yet as far as I can tell. Instead of putting my Quotes in blue when I quote Scripture, the site is highlighting it in garish yellow. Then I cannot turn off the garish yellow.

I will post again soon. I may have to just rewrite without any effects. Grrr. Of course, sometimes when there is great resistance there are great results later.

Will get back to you soon!

Nature Humor

“So if I stretch out here in the sun, do you think I will be noticed?”

“Does this hydrangea make me look fat?, Really now, be honest!”

Walking at the lake on Prairie trail, first I noticed a hairy stem.

Glanced up and ! Wait! That is not a stem!!

Almost missed this sunbathing caterpillar!

Our first walk on Prairie Trail at the lake. Not paved, by grassy, fairly level and mowed. Our first autumn day with jackets. Bob in shorts and fleece jacket. Lucky leading the exploration, of course!

The prairie trail will be more fun in spring when we are hoping to discover wildflowers there. It is nice to find new places for an easy walk. We wished later we had done two laps or taken the side path to see where it went.

Keep your eyes open for those treasures in plain sight.

Looking Back Over Your Shoulder

In 1 Kings 19:9-13 Elijah was exhausted and hiding in a cave from Jezebel who wanted his life. Twice the Lord came to Elijah and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And twice Elijah gave the same answer. The story has been made known because the Lord said Elijah was to go stand on the mountain and watch because the Lord would be passing by. After the wind, and the earthquake and the fire, when Elijah heard the sheer silence, he went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. Some translations says God was in the silence via a still small voice.

There have been times when I have lived and moved in obedience to the Lord, not always even understanding that He was leading me. Yet His still small voice confirmed His presence, albeit later.

I was taught courage at an early age. Most every Sunday afternoon my parents would drop us off at the movie theater. Though she was two years older, my sister was too introverted to ask for tickets at the movie theater. The story goes that I could barely be seen by the lady in the booth. Regardless, I would ask for the tickets and probably gave her the money, too.

Many years later when my family fell into chaos it was my courage and willingness to speak truth that got my sister and I out of the house safely.

Another example started in high school. We had to choose a topic for a paper. I decided I wanted to write about the Cincinnati Workhouse. I obtained permission to tour the women’s section. I think my mom drove me there, but honestly, I do not remember. Why was that paper important? Many years later when given the opportunity to teach a women’s study in the County Jail it seemed just a good idea to me. No fear, no hesitation. Had I not written that paper or learned about courage, would I have been obedient to the Lord when the time came? I think He prepared me, His servant, for those events.

More often than not, I see the hand of the Lord over my shoulder, after the fact. This is not a mind game, but the reality of our Living Lord working through His Holy Spirit.

This hymn sums it up for me. Listen to at least the first minute!

Can you reflect upon your life and see how God has led you along the journey? Likely I could list many other examples, but more important is for you to reflect on your experiences and discern His hand at work.

James Hollis said, “Learning to live with ambiguity is learning to live with how life really is, full of complexities and strange surprises.”

October 18th

Day that I love! Because the man I love was born this day!!

And one of his favorite characters ….

The Book of Common Prayer offers this and I agree for my husband.

“O God, our times are in your hand: Look with favor, I pray, on your servant Robert as he begins another year. Grant that he may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen his trust in your goodness all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yes, Lord. Thank you for the gift of Bob!

Writing

I have enjoyed keeping a journal using bound paper books and cartridge pens with flowing ink, Bic “crystal” pens, pencils, colored pencils, Flair felt tip pens, quadrille paper, bound journals, etc. The last few years I have typed most of my entries and pasted them in a paper journal or just left them on the computer. Arthritis has made my handwriting a mess.

From some entries I have created 3 x 5 reminder cards, then later 4 x 6 reminder cards to keep me on the path laid out before me. I have several decks of those cards. I cannot part with them as they have been important to my journey. My journals also have photographs, ticket stubs, magazine clippings, news headlines, all sorts of things in them.

As I go back and read this personal history the most important things are when I recorded interactions with the Lord. Reading those entries I also know how lame my words are to describe what really happened. Yet, I did make an attempt to capture the grandeur!

1-1/2 shelves of journals. More writing in the notebooks below!

Sometimes I read an entry and remember vividly where and I was and what happened. Other times I read an entry in my own hand and have no recall of the event. So strange!

Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
    make it plain on tablets,
    so that a runner may read it.

Habakkuk 2:2

As with my baptismal vows, I reply, “I will with God’s help.”

Last Sunday a Pastor asked, “How do you make God smile? What pleases Him?” He stressed evangelism. Today in prayer I told the Lord, “I want to know what pleases You today?”

The response seemed to be Psalm 34 . Once I wrote in my Bible that Psalm 34 is VULNERABILITY UNLTD. Unlimited vulnerability, giving Him access to every hour of every day.

I will bless the Lord at all times;

    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord;

    let the humble hear and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me,

    and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord and He answered me,

And delivered me from all my fears.

Look to Him and be radiant;

So your face shall never be ashamed.

This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,

And was saved from every trouble.”

Psalm 34:1-6

Pastor also asked, “What can I do to help God have delight?”

Be honest with the 160 or so readers. That surprised me. Occasionally Word Press tells me how many people are following or reading my blog. I should not be, but I was surprised that the Lord knows, too. So to the 150 or 160 of you I will try to be honest as I write the blog.

Over the years in light of this question I have asked the Lord, “What would You like to do together today?” Today when I asked the response was:

Write and the day will unfold. Yes, He knows I try to reserve Monday and Tuesday (at least the mornings) for writing this blog and then post Wednesday through Sunday. So I am writing entries and trying to just let things unfold.

I am grateful for the time I have spent journaling. There were times it was very, very difficult. There were times it was good for me. Bob has always encouraged me. The fact that I have this written history for part of my life and material to share on the blog – likely more material than I will ever use – makes me joyful now. God knows how to keep us as His children!

High of 66 This Saturday

These photos were taken in the height of this seemingly endless “Indian Summer.” I am so tired of being hot and sweaty! Soon we will be complaining of the cold. Today the high is forecast much more like autumn with a high temperature lower than most evenings have been lately. This was a walk we took with Lucky last week. If you need a touch of autumn be sure to watch the few second video at the end! Second #8 was quite a catch if I do say so myself 🙂

Starting to rain leaves!

Watch for the leaf at second #8!

My Friend Dan

Besides being a terrific friend and wondrous photographer, Dan has encouraged me in my walk for years. He has been reading The Valley of Vision, A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions for a number of years. I have looked at it when we visit his home in New Mexico. I have looked at it online. I have hesitated to purchase it because the language is often Thou, Thy, Thine. I get caught up in translating to you, yours, etc. I even foudn a few entries in an online blog with updated language. On further review though, it was only a few entries.

Dan surprised me this summer and sent me the book. As you likely know we purged so MANY books when we moved. Hey! I need this one! I have been reading it, not daily, but often, and find these prayers more often than not address my heart.

Writing this week about sin and forgiveness, I read the entry called Divine Mercies. These phrases leapt out at me. Praying about sin the author wrote: “Yet still I live, and fly repenting to thy outstretched arms.” What a wondrous word picture! and “O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging to his cross, hiding in his wounds, and sheltering in his side.”

The phrase “clinging to His cross” reminds me of a drawing I did many years ago. Sadly I folded it at some point and wrote notes on the back. Guess I was not too impressed with my own work.

by M L Dutina

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. 

Hebrews 6:18-20 NIV

Wikipedia says the anchor symbolizes hope, steadfastness, calm and composure. I would have to agree!I stand on the flanges of the anchor. I embrace the cross, clinging to this anchor for my soul. Jesus is firm and secure. He has entered the inner sanctuary on my behalf. And I am at rest in Him.

Autumnal Gallery

Walked at our favorite place above East Fork Harsha Lake on September 27. Here are a few pictures to put you in the Autumn mood! FYI Click on photos to enlarge!

And Lucky really knows how to dig in those front legs! Look how her collar is pulling. She does not care in this and many other instances.

Another lovely walk.

“As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

Genesis 8:22

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens

Ecclesiastes 3:1