Endurance

You know, we thought the pandemic was hard. Trying to keep a positive mind and overall positive attitude. Then the unexpected snow accumulation came totaling 9 inches and then a day or so later another 3 inches. Unlike most snows over the years in Cincinnati, it has not all melted yet. Now we have a fresh 2 inches while we wait for the forecast 8-12 inches more this afternoon. The Pandemic is still here and variants are beginning to overtake the USA. People were celebrating Valentine’s Day in bars and restaurants as if nothing was going on. (We saw on TV.)

I read and heard a few quotes in the last 36 hours that are helping me a bit.

“The days you keep your gratitude higher than your expectations are fine, fine days.”

Ray Wylie Hubbard on Austin City Limits

“You’ve got to remember: you must have a forward-thinking, positive outlook at all times.”

Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine

Those are easier written than lived! Gratitude that we have snow but also an “electric broom”, snow shovel and blower. Gratitude that the snow plow came down our street plowing and salting the surface twice so far today. Gratitude that the dog does not need to be walked MORE.

Forward thinking, positive outlook. That is difficult when all construction on the new house has totally stopped due to weather. Maybe they can begin again next week if the thaw forecast for next weekend actually occurs! We positively have not put this home on the market yet. If we change our minds it will be the most clean this building has been since we moved in, I think! Forward thinking? Well, Bob continues to want to arrange the furniture in the new building though we do not have a move-in date for certain yet. Someone is to come this week and give us an estimate on packing and moving. The realtor is to come also and give us advice about showing the property. I do wonder if either of those appointments will be kept though!

I won’t even elaborate on the futility of trying to get a Covid-19 injection appointment. Our names are on a list with the Board of Health. Hopefully they will call sometime soon?

The neighbor who helped clean part of our driveway loved the chocolate frosted walnut brownies I shared. Wonder if I should make more of those or the chocolate layer cake they loved once? I am certain when the wave of snow today arrives he will help once more.

How does your gratitude fare in the balance with your expectations? Is your forward thinking suffering with the weather and pandemic or are you staying mostly positive at all times? As we struggle on to be our best selves, may the Lord give us wisdom and strength for the journey!

A wise warrior is better than a strong one,
and a man of knowledge than one of strength;
 for you should wage war with sound guidance—
victory comes with many counselors.”

Proverbs 24:5-6

Intercession

Intercession © Molly Lin Dutina 1982

 
 Please hold my hand
 and go with me
 to the Throne of Grace.
  
 I need, I hurt, I ache
 seems all that I can say.
 Please use your objectivity
 to plead for me my case.
  
 He has, He knows, He heals
 come with me to that place.
  
 And as His Spirit takes us
 to the very heart of God
 we’ll return with rejoicing
 Knowing
 that He knows
 and is moved to help us obey. 

One of my sweetest moments was when a friend embroidered this poem for me and framed it. I have kept it to this day.

Please pray for Mindy who remains very ill. Unless her liver “pinks up” she will need a transplant. She has had multiple surgeries this past year. Hospitalized eleven times I think? Married, age 45 and mother of two young girls.

Deadly Mental Assent

Self-Discipline © Molly Lin Dutina 80-9-21

 I search for You, Lord, but my heart really is deceitful. 
 I am amazed that this morning my flesh is sleepy, again! 
 My spirit is eager to go, but in order to mesmerize my brain into sleep
 I recoil from interaction with You to mere deadly mental assent.
  
 Flesh, I speak to you in Jesus’ name.
 Line up with God’s word. I shall not want for sleep. 
 He keeps me in His love.
  
 Brain, I speak to you in Jesus’ name.
 Wake to the words of life that will nurture you.
  
 Father, I thank and praise You for Your love and discipline.
  
 Even for the alarm clock across the room. 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

-Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV

Ireland 2011

We traveled to Ireland to celebrate my belated 60th birthday. When we went walking the first morning my ears immediately perked up to the lambs in the distance. They were crying and as they did it pierced my heart. I could not help but remember that I am under the care of the Great Shepherd, no matter what continent or island I am walking upon.

In the Old Testament God is called the Shepherd of His people.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters
” Psalm 23:1-2

In the New Testament Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

As we meandered through the lanes of Glendalough I could tell by the cries we were getting closer and closer to the lamb. Then we turned a corner and there it was! Bob caught this tremendous photo of it on the hillside. There were other ewes and lambs around it.

r m dutina

Right after he snapped the photo I busted out the laughing as the lamb sneezed, and then rolled a bit down the hillside. What a sense of humor my God has!

Chronic Pain

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.

-Helen Keller

I have had a chronic pain condition for so many years, at the moment I have lost track how many. I cope with that and osteoarthritis among other things. So hard to think when ill. Or plan, or organize two thoughts in a row. That would apply during a flare up. Then there is acute pain. Usually short lived like a broken arm or smashed thumb in a door. Lately I have had a “virus” that was going around. Now we are into week 3 and the thing has settled into what seems to be an ear infection. Blood work is fine. Second Covid test is negative. I still feel like I’ve been hit by a dump truck.

Trying to stay cheerful is difficult. Trying to carry on as usual, forget it. No appetite, dizzy, nauseous and never mind … the list is too long.

The world is full of suffering and of overcoming. I often console myself remembering that I do not live in a refugee camp. I am not living in the tent I saw in the woods the other day. I am a woman who is loved and safe and this, too, will pass, eventually.

Helen was about the same age as my paternal Grandmother. Thank you, whoever saved Helen Keller’s quotes. We all need to be reminded that we have sources within ourselves or ways we can learn to cope and overcome. Some days you just need to stay in bed!

Yield – Give Way

There are signs like this is almost every city around the world.

Like in Ireland, in Gaelic’

Why is this important? Important enough to hang a cardboard copy in my office?

Just this morning I was reading Isaiah 55 and in verses 8 and 9 He said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Yahweh. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Yes, I must yield to His ways if I am to have the BEST life!

Daily Devotional

I have had this devotional for a long time. I trade out the devotionals I read. Recently this selection really spoke to me. I am learning more about trusting God and fretting less. Joy & Strength – Selections by Mary Wilder Tileston, Copyright 1901  January 25

Charles Gore: “We are conscious of our own weakness and of the strength of evil; but not of the third force, stronger than either ourselves or the power of evil, which is at our disposal if we will draw upon it. What is needed is a deliberate and wholehearted realization that we are in Christ, and Christ is in us by His Spirit; an unconditional surrender of faith to Him; a practice, which grows more natural by exercise, of remembering and deliberately drawing by faith upon His strength in the moments of temptation and not merely upon our own resources. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I will do thus and thus.” So we too may form, like St. Paul, the habit of victory.”

In practicing mindfulness I have also learned again there is great power in just pausing, especially when I feel overwhelmed, by anything. The Pause that not only refreshes but can invigorate and inspire me.

Stopping to breathe and re-collect myself.

Unconditional surrender of faith.

STOP, even if only for a moment, walking from one room through the doorway of another room – pause.

DELIBERATELY drawing by faith upon His strength.

Here is a portion of what Paul said the Lord told him recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

In Acts 10:34 Paul declared that God is no respecter of persons. He does not play favorites. From those verses we can imply that God’s grace is sufficient for each of us.

Soon to Be

Our house. Remember the song from Crosby, Stills, and Nash? It was one of our favorites when we got married.

Here is the beginning of 27 Platform Way, our new address!

All photos by r m dutina

In the third photo at edge of white house roof, you can see a neighbor has a hammock stuck in a tree. Bob thinks it looks like a giant blue bra! Wonder how we could get down?!?!

Doesn’t look like much yet, but better than the mud hole we were seeing!

Best Laugh in Weeks

Did you see this on the news? Head first down the hill. Watch at the end for the log rolls! I laughed out loud! At about 31 seconds it seemed as if the caption should be, “I just hate when I get snow in my ears!”

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