Why The Shamrock?

A tool to teach the Trinity!

Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwell with us today

I had one prayer partner who prayed this with me many mornings each week for about half a year. There are many, many versions of this in various prayer books and online.

I arise today through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness,
through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today through the strength of Christ with his Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial,
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim
in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven;
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendor of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to secure me:
against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that
may oppose my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry, against false laws of heretics,
against craft of idolatry,
against spells of witches, smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me today against poisoning,
against burning, against drowning, against wounding,
so that there may come abundance in reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ in breadth,
Christ in length,
Christ in height,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
through belief in the Threeness,
through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ.
May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.
Amen.

the lorica (the deer's cry) - breastplate of st. patrick - 433 c.e.

Then I found this musical rendition. Turn up your volume. It is also called the Deer’s Cry.

I encourage you to use this prayer daily for several months. Your heart and mind will be changed. The Trinity is ever-present with those who believe. Remind your heart and soul of this reality and you will walk in a new awareness.

2013 Flash of My Possible Future

From my Journal: 13-4-22 Woman at Porter’s Creek, Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Lady’s Slipper, Wild Orchid

On our hunt for Lady’s Slippers, I saw a woman at Porter’s Creek trail today with a walker that rolled and had a seat. At first sight, my thought was negative. Second thought was that her walk is HARDER than walking under my own pained power … but she was there to see the same sights as me.

Her progress was slow, but she was more cheerful than me when I stopped to speak with her. As we parted she asked the Lord’s blessing upon me. She posed the question, “Well, what else are we going to do?” We cope as best we can and go on with our lives.

Listen to me, O house of Jacob,

    all the remnant of the house of Israel,

who have been borne by me from your birth,

    carried from the womb;

even to your old age I am he,

    even when you turn gray I will carry you.

I have made, and I will bear;

    I will carry and will save.

Isaiah 46:3-4 NRSV

That was 2013. Today in 2022, I can still walk without a cane or walker, but the pain is stronger from the arthritis and fibromyalgia than previously. I am trying to move more. I do not stretch as much as I should. I have been given strong medication for when I have a flare and cannot bear it. I do not want that medication, but it is here if needed.

Praying I can be as cheerful today as she was as I get to walk the dog, see flower bulbs getting ready to bloom, wash windows! If living brings me a walker and limited mobility I want to be cheerful then, too!

So even to old age and gray hairs,

    O God, do not forsake me,

until I proclaim your might

    to all the generations to come.

Psalm 71:18 NRSV

Lenten Discipline

Is it fasting from meat, fish on Fridays? What do you practice for the 40 days of Lent? Does it take 40 days or more to make a consistent behavior a habit? “Giving up” things in order to focus more upon Christ seems to have turned into a competition rather than a way of drawing closer to Christ.

Years ago Catherine Marshall presented an idea that I find challenges most everyone I speak to about it. How about this Lenten season fasting from criticism, gossip or thinking you always have to present your opinion? Yowl! that hits us all.

Recently I purchased a book entitled LENT with the Desert Fathers, by Thomas McKenzie. I was drawn up short on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday by this quote.

A disciple said to Abba Sisois, “I would love to be able to keep guard over my heart.” Sisois replied, “How can you keep guard over your hearts if your mouth is like an open door?”

Lent with the Desert Fathers

Well that nails it for me! I could write for days on that alone. From my journal: “Set a watch over the door of my mouth.  Help me be slow to speak, slow to anger, quick to listen. (James 1:19) And listen well.”

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

We are admonished to guard our heart. Something we need to do; this will not be done for us. Sisois taught that if my mouth is like an open door there is no guarding happening. There is no discipline in place.

 If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself.

James 1:26 CSB

There is a jet flying east to west. At the moment the contrail is quite clear. Moments later the jet is out of sight but the contrail remains as a wavering white line against the blue sky. More moments and the exhaust from that jet is partially covered by clouds, yet what came out of that jet remains in the atmosphere. So it is with our words. The jet cannot take that contrail back. Our words once spoken are out there for eternity.

When the Psalmist prayed Psalm 141:3 asking the Lord to set a guard over the mouth, keep watch over the door of the lips I do not believe it means the Lord will do the watching and guarding for me. I do know the Holy Spirit is able to convict me when I speak in ways that displease the Lord. The Spirit is able to strengthen me to watch and guard so I do not continue to grieve the Trinity. I must yield to being sensitive and obedient to the leadings of the Spirit for that to happen; a moment to moment obedience. Willingness to walk and talk in obedience. Also willingness to not talk when called for.

Catherine Marshall attended a group luncheon frequently with family and co-workers. She was amazed how the conversation carried on even when she decided to not express her opinion. What she thought was so essential turned out to not be essential at all.

How about us? Are we sincere when we say “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 Or more likely do we even stop to think before we speak? In Proverbs we are told that those who guard the mouth, lips, tongue preserve their lives, keep themselves from calamity. Those who speak rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3, 21:23). It is within our power to do this. If it proves difficult we can ask the Spirit for help.

The Book of Common prayer and other liturgies say “Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim Your praise.” Oh I pray that is the only thing that will come out when we open our lips, His praise! May the force of Christ be with you this Lent and always. I will with God’s help!

Show me Holy Spirit, I haven’t got a clue when I offend You unless You tell me.

Psalm 1

Like a tree planted by streams of water …..

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3 Living Bible

We recently got away for a few days. It was so refreshing just to get out of town and break up the daily routine. Whew! When we arrived at our room it was gloomy, early evening and beginning to rain. We did not notice much outside our windows except for a pond/lake. The next morning I could not wait to get outside when I saw this!

I had already been thinking for a few days about Psalm 1 and the tree planted by the streams of water. Been wondering how to write about that tree theme and there it was!

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,

    whose trust is the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water,

    sending out its roots by the stream.

It shall not fear when heat comes,

    and its leaves shall stay green;

in the year of drought it is not anxious,

    and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NRSV

The willow tree! Her lower branches almost touch the water.

There was a willow tree that grew on the edge of Kuhner’s field. I played there when I was growing up. Daffodils, a stream and a willow tree. Land snails that left me their discarded shells. I was close to heaven there. I used to play under the branches of the willow assuming that no one could see me. Hidden there in her long wavy arms my imagination was allowed to be still or run wild. The tree did not care which I chose.

Bob and I have been fascinated for decades how the tendrils and buds on the willow turn yellow before other things are giving a hint of spring to come. Now I am in room 303 and out our windows are 3 willow trees planted by this water.

From my journal: “Wood ducks and Canada geese vie for position on the water. Those ducks glide past as if propelled by some force other than themselves. Lord, help me relax and let You propel me today. Help me not to talk too much. Hush me from giving suggestions. Let me just look, watch, ask You for ways to follow You more closely. Increase my trust in You I pray.”

And yes, those trees sent out lots and lots of roots! Look at the opening photo (top of page). Not always easy to see the path of tree roots, but these are easily delineated in the strange winter grass that almost looks like moss.

We arrived in rain. Enjoyed a day of sun and our last morning there was SNOW! I did not venture out to get a shot of snow on the willow buds.

My photo above taken indoors and the chandelier light is reflected on the window (oops!). What a difference in weather!

You can see those willow tendrils in these photos. “Their leaves shall never wither. Never having fear or anxiety.” Yes, Lord! I want to be like these trees. Help me to trust You and drink daily from Your Living Water. Help me to delight in You and meditate on Your word day and night. Make me deeply rooted and grounded, established in Your love. (Ephesians 3:17)

You Lord are my hope and my salvation. Help me become a tree to Your glory, a living testament to Your power at work in 2022. Help me delight in doing everything You want me to do.

Local Winter Road Trip

I forget to post this earlier. These photos are from a drive we took while not mingling with people during the Omicron variant outbreak.

“Bob, do you think coal is actually still sold in that store?” I asked.

And as we rounded the building he found the answer to my query!

r m dutina

I am uncertain who still burns coal in their homes or barns in Clermont county, but someone must!

According to Answers.com on the internet, “People use coal for warming their homes and as fuel for cooking, as well as a source of energy for powering certain machines.”

If you are a Clermont County or Brown County resident who knows the answer to my question, please post in the comments section! Educate a city girl!

Christy Nockels and Morning Song

Praise to the Lord, The Almighty

Why is this important? After journaling partially about my failings in Practicing the Presence of God, this song came into my heart. The last verse says:

Praise to the Lord, oh, let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath

come now with praises before Him;
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Yes, Lord I adore You, even when I get lost in distraction. Forgive me Lord when I forget You.

Brother Lawrence says to waste no time but confess and return promptly to talking with You and abiding with You. Waste no time beating yourself up. Confess your failing. Promptly return to the practice. Have you noticed yet how the enemy would have you stall and stay stuck in your failings rather than move on to God’s Presence? He is a crafty one.

So here I am Lord, Your Molly Lin. You ask me to stand and tip, be Your lily shield. Help me to obey. I return to You.

Omicron Wave and Return of Restrictions

Unavailable, even in store brand!

When there was a supply chain crisis and tube biscuits vanished from the store, (also known as Whop-whop biscuits from when we used to strike them on the Formica countertop to open),

Whop Whop Biscuits!

Ha! No worries! While visiting in Nashville, Nita taught me to use frozen Pillsbury biscuits. Yes, indeed, there they were! Pillsbury frozen biscuits 🙂 Never fear, comfort foods are near!

Many thanks, Nita!!

When Omicron variant was running rampant we returned to staying home more. It was difficult not to get down and blue and feel as if THIS WILL NEVER END!! So I decided to cook!

Baked brownies with dark chocolate frosting. I usually make them with walnuts in half the pan. Then when I frost them I put walnuts on half the frosting. Lately we have wanted them either all nuts ( like us) or all without nuts to share with neighbor.

Ribs in the magic pot! Jill Evans taught me how to do this. You cook the ribs in the Magic pot. I usually freeze half of them for another time. Then when ready to make dinner brush them with Bar-be-Que sauce and run them under the broiler until glazed. OH yum! Make a couple sides and you are living large!

One of our favorites is Slow cooked Oatmeal in the crock pot. Oatmeal is just good for us period. I make a batch and put it in the fridge. Scoop out some for breakfast, creamy and thick. I like mine with lots of milk and a bit of cinnamon sugar. Bob likes his with raisins added.

With pork tenderloin I can never go wrong. I sear it on the grill for extra flavor. Then rub in spices and bake.

I finally tried chicken breast in the magic pot from a frozen state. Several gals told em to try this. Yep! It worked and was SO moist.

Turkey wild rice soup made with broth we created from the bones at Thanksgiving is so yummy. Merged several recipes several years ago and this is one of Bob’s all time favorites. We think it tastes best after being refrigerated overnight before consuming. We freeze the excess and enjoy it several times. Put it with one of those frozen biscuits with brownie for dessert! Nope, we are not losing any weight here! But not ballooning with Covid pounds either.

WILD RICE & MUSHROOM TURKEY SOUP                4-6 servings

4 T. unsalted butter                             1 Large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped                         3 carrots chopped

4 oz. Mushrooms (or more!), sliced                     3 T. flour

5 cups turkey or chicken broth/stock  2-1/2 c. cooked wild rice

1 branch fresh thyme ½ t. dry             12 oz. cooked turkey, chopped

3 T. dry sherry  ½ c. non-fat sour cream       1 t. each salt & pepper

Melt butter over med-hi heat. Add onion, celery, carrot: cook & stir until softened 4-5 min. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to give off some liquid, 2-3 min. Sprinkle flour over veges. Stir well and cook 1 min.

Add stock, rice and thyme. Cover and heat to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer until veges tender – 15 min.

Add sherry and turkey, cook 1 min. Remove from heat, add sour cream, salt & pepper.

Recipe created 11-05  Updated  2-22

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Insisted

Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.

Ezekiel 43:1-2 NIV

Last time we went to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, I insisted we go behind the falls again. There are hallways there that let you stand right behind the falling water. The water moves at about 150,000 American gallons per second. The sound is glorious! It does not matter that from behind it only shows in grays and white. I’ve found no other experience like it in this world. On this video the sound is somewhat distorted as the water falling is so loud! Sadly, as is usual in our lives there are human voices competing for the experience of being heard. Perhaps play it twice; once with sound and once without, yet listening for His word to you today.

Listening, a powerful force we each have, yet few use. Do we truly listen to others or simply formulate our response as they speak. Do we listen for their heart and intention or guess what they are going to say then interrupt, not letting them even finish a sentence?

How about in our faith life? Do we think we have all the answers? Are we truly listening for the guidance and wisdom of God for ourselves? Too often I think we are like the people in the desert with Moses.

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

Exodus 20:18-20

They no longer wanted to experience God. Our refusal to go to God ourselves has made for terrible sin in the world. There has been an awful rash of crime in America by churches groups that come under the sway of one person or a small group of persons then fall into sin because the people do not seek God themselves. The people just go along like deaf lambs.

How can we claim intimacy with Jesus if we never spend time alone with Him? The risen Christ wants to live in and through you. Will you allow that? I believe some denominations have grieved the Spirit of God by claiming the indwelling was just in the past. Unleashing that mighty power of the Spirit in each Christian would unleash the power of God for salvation and redemption that no governing church body could rule unless they were acutely in-tune with His will and His purposes. Even then, the leaders might not rule but only cooperate with the work of God. At times that scares leaders to pieces, so they clamp down on control measures.

“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power …” to grasp and to know this love that surpasses knowledge and be filled with all the fullness of God. Can you imagine the roar of His voice if we would let ourselves be filled with this living water? Indeed, just as in Ezekiel, the land would be radiant with His glory.

Speak, Lord, we are listening.

Reading Guideposts

While away by myself I began reading my back copies of Guideposts. I subscribe because that little magazine almost ALWAYS moves me in some way. Then I get busy and miss an edition, throw it in a drawer for later. Something happens and I do not read the next one. Eventually, feeling guilty, I do not renew my subscription. So here I was during February, 2022 in a motel room reading the August/September 2021 edition.

The cover story was written by Harry Connick, Jr. about himself. Wow! He found his world turned upside down like all of us did when the pandemic began. He began to get in touch with his faith. His dad “took charge” of his faith when Harry was a child. His mom was born Jewish and did not have a problem with dad taking Harry to church. Then, like many of us, he lost track of his faith in the shuffle of life.

While staying home during the first year of the pandemic he searched his heart concerning his faith and made music – as in wrote, performed and sang very part- in his home studio – until he had created a new album entitled Alone with My Faith. I was able to hear it on You Tube and it is wonderful.

Harry did some arrangements of old time hymns like The Old Rugged Cross as well as writing some original songs such as Thank You for Waiting for Me and All These Miracles. I was amazed to learn he knew so many instruments including the tuba. Guess if you create New Orleans style music you need that tuba! I told Bob I was certain he had added some harmonies by other people when the quarantines were lifted. Reading the article again I read that he did ALL the vocals. You will be amazed by his talent if you listen to God and My Gospel. Sure sounds like a group of folks! Bob was startled by some of the familiar hymns set in a new arrangement!!

Just imagine this 54 year old, worth $45 million is willing to share his renewed faith with the world!

Even if you are not a Harry Connick, Jr fan but love the Lord, I encourage you to check out this music for yourself. The album and one of the songs are entitled Alone with My Faith. His daughter helped design the cover made from the broken down useless piano he is standing on.

I keep returning to “Thank You for Waiting for Me” as the refrain reminds me of walking in the ways of Brother Lawrence. “If I’m listening, really listening, I’ll hear. If I’m looking, really looking, I’ll see. If I’m praying, really praying, I will try to understand..”

Are you listening, really listening? Are you looking, really looking? Are you praying, really praying? I hope so! Blessings abound if we only will begin!

Oh Brother Lawrence, I relate!

In the preface to Brother Lawrence’s “Spiritual Maxims” we are told “He committed his thoughts sometimes to writing, but comparing what he had written with that which he had just experienced in his soul, he deemed it so inferior and so far removed from the inspired thoughts with which he had been visited, of the greatness and goodness of God that often he felt compelled to tear it up at once.

Perhaps I should quit writing and
go sweep the dog hair off that rug!!

Oh I do so relate. Just as Rilke wrote, “Most experiences are unsayable.”

As soon as I attempt to put these whispered communications with God into words, they automatically lose much of there splendor and power. And yet, we have some of Bro Law’s Maxims to this day.

All things are possible to him who believes,

they are less difficult to him who hopes,

they are easier to him who loves,

and still more easy to him who practices and perseveres

in these three virtues.

Brother Lawrence

Frank Laubach was most known for his methods of teaching people to read. He also wrote a volume based on Brother Lawrence’s teachings and Frank’s experiment in trying to live according to them. He entitled it Practicing His Presence. Laubach also wrote The Game With Minutes which you can read online at https://levaire.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/The-Game-with-Minutes-Frank-Laubach.pdf

Laubach wrote: “All who have tried that kind of abiding for a month know the power of it—it is like being born again from center to circumference. It absolutely changes every person who does it. And it will change the world that does it.” Christy Nockels wrote recently about the same idea, living center to circumference, in her book The Life You Long For.

Reading Brother Lawrence’s maxims it is no wonder that more of Christianity is not fascinated with his practice and attempting it themselves!

He wrote “Of the Presence of God” I have a friend who these forty years past has been practicing through the understanding a realization of the Presence of God. To it he gives many other names; sometimes he calls it a simple act, or a clear and distinct knowledge of God; at other times, a view as through a glass, a loving gaze, an inward sense of God; yet again he terms it a waiting on God, a silent converse with Him, a repose in Him, the life and peace of the soul. Still, my friend tells me that all these ways, in which he has expressed his sense of the Presence of God, come to the same thing; and that the Presence fills his soul quite naturally, that it has come to pass in this way.

I send you his words because this experience is so difficult to put into words. An act, knowledge, gaze, view, inward sense, waiting, silent converse, repose, life and peace… and still words fall so far short of this mystery; Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Max Lucado says that Paul refers to the indwelling Christ 216 times.

I believe Brother Lawrence was teaching how to go inward and experience Christ daily, constantly. Yes, that takes discipline and practice. So did learning to walk, and drive a car. Give it a try, and then try again and again. God is just waiting for your sincere desire to be with Him. Let Christ in you live loud and large.