Miss Muffett © 1982 Molly Lin Dutina

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

                I saw the devil as a decrepit, weasand, impotent old man, stooped over, no strength in his backbone, but malice in his eyes. He worked his way up an open-stair metal ladder to the catwalks along the lights above a stage.

                I sat on the stage in finger curls and white eyelet ruffles looking much like the storybook picture of Miss Muffett. I was happy, contented and apathetic (having or showing little or no emotion).

                Using seemingly his last ounce of strength, this old impotent being reached the spot on the catwalk above me which he had chosen as his point of power. From inside his dirty trench coat he pulled a marionette – it was a hideous, hairy spider with spindly octopus-like legs and invisible strings. The catwalk was edged with a railing made of steel tubular pipes. He rested his weight upon the cold steel, too weak to stand on his own. He dropped the marionette half-way down and adjusted his hands in the wooden frames that controlled the strings for moving the spider’s body. Then he dropped the spider all the way down, near my face.

                As I caught sight of the hideous hairy spider from the corner of my eye, apathy fled, and emotions stormed over me. The spineless, weak being up in the catwalk had little strength to hurt me, but he chose to use my own power against me. I flailed out in fear and anger and my actions made that spider jump and fly through the air with more energy than the old fart could ever have put into it.

                At that juncture, the loving voice of my Lord broke into the scene and said, “Molly Lin, the spider is fear. It has very little power on its own. But you give it your energy by flailing and struggling and assuming it is more powerful than it is. Think through this same scene and SEE that had you chosen to sit still and watch that spider, it would have dangled from strings and been as impotent to harm you as the one holding its frames. He has no power over you unless you give it to him. Fear is a choice!”

                My life has never been the same. I am not always fearless, but I do know that when fear comes I can choose to have it go. Seeing things in a new way … choosing another perspective or point of view … RESPONDING instead of reacting are all keys to maintaining my peace and experiencing the comfort and presence of my Lord Jesus.

“I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.“

Psalm 34:4 HCSB

Perhaps the title should be “Don’t Give Your Power Away.”

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10a

Smile at Fears

Can you train your mind to smile at your fears, knowing that God is the One in charge of you? By making Jesus your Lord, you put yourself under His Lordship. That means He oversees you. Lord means one who has power and authority over another. The Bible says 365 times fear not. Yet, we each have fears. It is our choice whether we let that fear reside with us comfortably. We may have to submit our fear to the Christ repeatedly in any one day. He has the power to take the fears and replace them with trust and faith. Nothing can separate us from the power of God, unless we let it.

A recent quote from Gratefulness.org  was from Thich Nhat Hanh. He was a Vietnamese monk, a renowned Zen master, a poet, and a peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, and was the author of many books, including the best-selling “The Miracle of Mindfulness.” He wrote,

“Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

This is a Buddhist teaching, but the Lord Jesus said something similar. The greatest commandment is ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 (NIV2011)  

If we are willing to turn our heart, soul, mind and attention to the Living Christ, His very presence will sustain us. The song below sums it up nicely.

Give your fears to the Lord for one week and smile at them. See what a difference it makes!

TobyMac

When I first heard this song on the CD “The Elements” I was amazed at how it reflected our culture. In the recent outcry for peace and equality between the races I thought it was time to share it. I found one with the lyrics so you can follow along.

It starts with me, with you, with caring for the experience of others, and doing what we can where we are.

Make Negative Choices or Repel Them

Do you have negative thoughts that bother you? I am realizing there are patterns to mine and some cause me to plunge into various areas of depression if left unchecked. If you are willing to objectively listen to your negative thoughts, you can pick out patterns after a while. Then you have choices to make. We have a responsibility to do our part in fighting against this darkness.

Perhaps your thoughts concern your job. The various things you do not like about the job. Not necessarily enough to make you quit or seek another position, but misery builds. Regardless of the financial security and health coverage you may be given, those thoughts can pull you under into a mud puddle until you are bathed in loathing about the work you need to do.

Maybe someone in a group of your peers trigger negative thoughts. All humans have weaknesses and failings. Perhaps you let some behaviors bother you. Soon their aggravations are like burrs under your saddle. You get more and more unhappy, knowing they are not likely to change and blaming only them for the problems between you.

Feelings of inferiority or fears about being less than others can color your outlook on seemingly innocent exchanges. Soon you can interpret everything and everyone as shunning you.

What are your patterns? Have you taken them to the Lord for help? The Holy Spirit can guide and direct us if we are willing to be instructed and led in paths of light. We have a responsibility to do our part in fighting against this darkness. We are responsible for the thoughts we entertain. What is your process when you recognize a pattern as familiar, something you have experienced before?

Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards;  for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NRSV)

Are you doing your part in this warfare? Do you push back against the darkness or just take it all as if you believe you deserve it? Are you willing to take every thought captive to Christ?

Years ago we were taught with a saying that became somewhat common, “Feed your faith; starve your fears.”

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1 (NIV 2011)

This song might help feed your faith and starve your fears. Watch your thought life. It might be your best defense against the negativity that would like to pull you down, and under, drowning you in defeat. Cling to the One Who loves you most! The biggest battlefield is most often between our ears!

Ironing on a Summer Day

I am making masks for use in public to fight the Corona virus again. It seems like my Rowenta iron is getting a workout as I press seams and pleats and the finished product.

A few years ago I gave away a Rowenta iron because the water would sputter and pop. Turns out I was using distilled water and it was designed to use tap water! The new iron came with a little white cup to make the water easier to pour into the iron. It holds about 12 ounces? The iron does not actually hold that much, so the water that remained in the cup sometimes formed a scum on the bottom of the white cup.

Recently I grabbed my water bottle from an earlier walk and filled the iron. Thought, “Why not?” It poured easily enough.

So I have been using that for a week or two. Jump into a memory!

My mother had a General Electric iron similar to this version from the 1950’s. Even with that gnarly two-toned cord.

With that version there was no steam option so the clothes had to be dampened before you ironed them. So instead of my trusty push button for forced steam or continuous steam from the Rowenta, we used something like this!

Yes! a trusty soda pop bottle with water (we would never place it on its side like the above photo). Just shake and the water would sprinkle out on the clothing. Then press the item. I thought it was so cool. When Mom would ask me to refill the bottle for her, I was always willing! When I was finally deemed old enough to do the ironing our General Electric iron was more like the one below. The red button on the top was for steam! We were moving up in the world! I never minded ironing. Even now, I am grateful I never had to iron stacks of dress shirts for my husband’s work, but ironing other things has not been a chore to me.

It was not usual for me to come home from school on a hot day and see my mother with the ironing board set up in front of the television, watching Reds baseball and drinking a beer while she ironed.

All that surfaced, while I ironed masks and watch Roku television in the basement! Grateful for the advances electric irons have made. Baseball season such as it is will begin soon. Unlikely you will find me ironing with a beer!

Lucky’s Story

I had a request from one of Mike Powell’s young friends to see the dog. Namaste to you, too, Benjamin! Is Gem your grandmother? My grandkids call me Grammy or Gigi.

I posted about the little beagle on June 27, June 29 and July 3. There are some photos on those days. She is settling in to our lives with sweetness.

We have named her Lucky. Sitting here on our sofa I think she looks like a regal princess. She ran to the door today when a salesman came. Ever since she ran away once we have been careful to guard the door and control her. She got past Bob, but was only going out to greet the man. That was amazing as she ran away that one day and we were really scared that she might not know WHERE her new home was. Also amazing because she is usually timid around strangers! We got her right back into the house.

She loves to look out the front door at the people walking dogs, children riding bicycles, and cars going past.

Every night she sleeps in her crate in our bedroom. Last night was the first night that was cool enough to sleep with the widows open. She must have heard raccoons or some other animal outside. At 1:45 AM she barked until we woke up. Ugh! I was so sleepy. I closed the front door and covered the top of her crate with a blanket. She went right back to sleep.

I keep taking her for car rides. She does not like it much yet. This was the first time she put her head out the window to sniff. When we got to the dog park she had lots of fun!

She knows not to beg at dinner time. She does love to lick an empty plate if there is a little gravy or something tasty on it! Her favorite treat is a piece of hot dog. We often stuff a hollow bone with a little hot dog, piece of Milk Bone and peanut butter. Peanut butter is also a favorite! Benjamin, do you like peanut butter?

Here she is exploring the edge of a corn field. Mr. Mike wanted to see how tall the corn was here. Sometimes beagles are called “a nose on legs.” She loves to sniff trails where rabbits, deer or coyote’s have traveled. Squirrels are fairly exciting, too!

She is a nice little bundle of 20 pounds. People think she is a puppy, but she is actually 4 years old. I hope you have enjoyed seeing Lucky and getting to know her a bit better!

More from the Walk

I recently posted about a walk with Lucky at Sycamore Park in Batavia. I never finished posting all the photos! Here is yellow Jewelweed, also known as Touch-Me-Nots. When the seed pods form if you touch them the seedpod springs open and scatters the seed! Fun for kids 🙂 like me.

Notice the water drops from rain and subsequent humidity. Yep, I was soaked from humidity when we finished the walk.

This is the base of a sycamore tree. Makes me want to write a kids story about who might live in there. Oh! Maybe that is where Pooh goes!

I started to write that this was thistle, but when I looked it up I was corrected that it is actually a Teasel.

http://www.botanicalaccuracy.com/2014/01/teasels-tousled-with-thistles.html “The problem is the teasels (Dipsacus) are not too far away from thistles, but certainly not true thistles, but they look a bit like them and get confused with them a lot.  Teasels also have large heads of small flowers and are plants that look ferocious with spines.  The teasel itself got its name from that the flower heads were used to tease out the wool before spinning (carding). Several teasels are invasive in the United States and you often see them along highways in ditches and on road banks. Their flowering heads dry beautifully into gorgeous botanical stalks for flower arrangements.”

For comparison “So, can you tell teasels and thistles apart? Thistles have many (involucral) bracts below the flower head that form a cup below the flowers.  In teasels, there are just a few long bracts that stick out below the flower head.  The teasels have lots of sharp parts in the actual flower head, so the flower head looks like a spiny ball the whole season. In thistles, the bracts below the flower stays, but there are no persistent spiny parts inside among the flowers themselves.  The fruits, which are little nut-like, single-seeded achenes have a feathery pappus for wind-dispersal in thistles, but are naked in teasels. “

So much to learn!

Growing Corn

Someone mentioned that they could not tell how tall the corn was in my blog from July 2. Well, when I walk the dog alone it is hard to get a photo that compares it to an adult height! July 12 Bob and I walked there on purpose.

The Ohio saying is a good crop of corn should be “knee high by the 4th of July.” So here it is a week later! I am about 5′ 7″.

And the lovely Beagle Princess Lucky, also known as a nose on legs!

Here are the photos from July 2.

Sweltering heat and high humidity. Are they growing corn or rockets?

Humor from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports lists goofs that people spot while shopping. Bob saw this in the monthly magazine. I copied it from their website at https://www.consumerreports.org/advertising-marketing/selling-it-august-2020/

Bryon Skaggs might know something about this!
Oh yuck! I can just imagine that flavor 😦

That price would certainly cut down on my consumption!!

Keep laughing!