So Off I Went

Finally off to college and the world of learning, lust and various forms of sin. I participated in quite a few of those. After one year at college I ran out of money. People were telling me I could eat peanut butter and get a degree with debt at the end, or I could go to work. I chose to go to work.

Got an apartment, full time job as a key punch operator and was on my own. My mother was calling me every day. When she was questioning me one day about where I had been the night before I had quite enough. She had called. I was asleep and never heard the phone. This was way before answering machines. My boyfriend had left for California. I started contemplating moving there to help Mom cut the apron strings. Found out I could have a job as a nanny if I wanted it.

Soon I was off to California to work full time as a nanny to a Chinese family. There was not much sign of Christian life in me at the time, though I had kept my prayer book and Bible. I went into somewhat of a depression trying to reconcile what had happened to my life in Cincinnati. The niece I never knew was put up for adoption immediately upon birth. My family was splintered.

Peet’s Coffee

The best part of Berkeley California was I worked across the street from Peet’s coffee shop. They roasted coffee every day. What a glorious aroma!! After a few months I broke up with the boyfriend. Eventually I changed jobs and went to work at AAA as a touring counselor. It was fun. I even waited on Ray Kroc once, the owner of McDonald’s. I thought he was teasing me about being the owner.

While enjoying the park one Saturday I met a young man named Don William. He introduced me to his roommate, Bob. Bob was only coming to their shared apartment on weekends. He lived in Fremont with his family of origin during the week because he worked with his dad even further south near San Jose. It was literally love at first sight.

We met in July, got engaged in August and married in September. We only waited until September so the people from Ohio could get there. I knew I wanted to be married in the eyes of the church as well as the state. So we began prenuptial meetings with a priest in Oakland. The priest agreed to do our wedding out of doors at Live Oak park in Berkeley. He just wanted assurance that we planned to wear clothes! It was 1970 and a bit wild in Berkeley those days. I chose the park because I knew God was much larger than any church building.

I had a gown I had purchased for $30 from a used clothing store and had altered for $30 to fit me. Bob wore the jacket his mother had purchased at a yard sale for his high school dances. We made all the plans we could before my mother arrived from Ohio.

Bob waiting for me.

It wasn’t until five years later that the Lord got my full attention.

As we now approach our 51st wedding anniversary, I am amazed at the joys we have shared over the years. We have supported each other in times of sorrow and difficulty, too. God has been so good to us. We are forever grateful to Him.

In Our Forever Home

The Open House parties are over. Almost every box is unpacked. Most of the photos are hung, though not all. This morning in an effort to express my heart I picked up a book by John O’Donohue called To Bless the Space Between Us. I ‘happened’ to open to “For Retirement.”

This is where your life has arrived, 
After all the years of effort and toil;
Look back with graciousness and thanks
On all your great and quiet achievements.

You stand on the shore of new invitation
To open your life to what is left undone;
Let your heart enjoy a different rhythm
When drawn to the wonder of other horizons.

Have the courage for a new approach to time;
Allow it to slow until you find freedom
To draw alongside the mystery you hold
And befriend your own beauty of soul.

Now is the time to enjoy your heart's desire,
To live the dreams you've waited for,
To awaken the depths beyond your work
And enter into your infinite source.   -John O'Donohue

I have wanted for years and years to try to express my relationship with the Father through Christ and the Holy Spirit. Many times I almost gave up the notion of being a writer. And then the Spirit would kindle that fire in me once again, and I would begin again.

For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you

2 Timothy 1:6a NRSV

So here I am living in a community of mostly retirees. What is to pull me away from this calling? Well, almost everything of the world pulls me away. I need to be adamant about protecting the time I have set aside to write this blog. Sometimes I journal during my morning time of devotions, but even that can be disrupted by my own distractions.

O’Donohue wrote “Now is the time to enjoy your heart’s desire.” Oh, but will I? My courage still falters at age 70 and then 2 Timothy 1: 7 arrives:

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7 NRSV

When I read the Bible Knowledge Commentary about this verse I was stunned: “

“But such timidity (deilias, lit., “cowardice,” used only here in the NT) has no place in God’s service. Instead God gives a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. These three virtues, each supplied by the Holy Spirit, should characterize Timothy.”

“Cowardice has no place in God’s service.” Come, Lion of Judah, infuse me with Your fearlessness. I will attempt to use the month of September to further explain what I mean by all of this. It is no easy thing to express divine interactions in words. Those interactions are almost immediately diminished in the effort. Yet the Father has given us the gift of speech and understanding. I will attempt to glorify the Trinity with my writing. “I will, with God’s help.” Lord, help me shun the things of earth and yield to Your call.

Remember Monkey see, Monkey do?

At the Cincinnati Art Museum I had to wonder what this artist was thinking!

Future Retrieval: Close Parallel

Future Retrieval, the studio collaboration of former University of Cincinnati faculty members Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis, appropriates imagery and forms from historical objects to create new art that speaks to our twenty-first-century experience. Their practice is rooted in ceramic art, but also incorporates a diverse mix of media and techniques that combine age-old methods with new technologies.

For this exhibition, Future Retrieval will take over two museum galleries as project spaces where they will construct an unconventional response to objects “borrowed” from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s decorative art and design collection. In pairing their own work with objects from the museum’s collection, the artists will create an experience that encourages visitors to consider aspects of our historical collections and practices in a new light.

#CAMCloseParallel

At home when I enlarged the photo I wished I had gone around the other side of the ape. Evidently it was holding something in its hand! And chin on other hand. How like us! was it thinking “Should I eat this?”

Well, it was at the end of our museum visit and we older folks get tired. The painting of mushrooms and sculpture of mushrooms was interesting also.

Perhaps more interesting in person, but thought I’d distract you with these art items. Careful next time you look in the mirror. Make certain there is not a monkey looking back at you!

Ordinary

What a powerful sermon! I became aware of this church in Harlem because the brother of a friend sings there. Eventually I signed up for notifications when a sermon is posted on You Tube. This one was terrific. Brandon Cobb speaking about Ordinary People.

He speaks for a little over 20 minutes. Seriously, this is food for thought!

44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:44-47

Prayer Warrior?

She said, “I am very thankful for your insights. I have so much to learn. Don’t we all, I suppose? I would love for you to teach me more about prayer and how you came to be the prayer warrior you are. It has never come easily to me, and I know having more time in prayer with the Lord would dramatically grow my faith. If you’re willing, maybe we can figure out how you could best teach me?”

That was one email that sat me down hard. I feel as if at age 70 I am just now learning the prayer life. So I thought about her request. Prayer warrior is someone willing to pray for others. That simple.

The very first thing that comes to mind is just talk to God. Define a request and then let’s go together to Him and discuss it. In Scripture it says

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

Mark 10:51a

Jesus likes me to be specific. Not to the point of dictating to Him what He SHOULD do in any given situation, but rather, what I am asking. Good communication is based upon truth.

Take delight in the Lord,

    and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

If I take delight in Him, He will put His desires in my heart. When I pray for those desires, how can I go wrong?

I find that so many people are at a loss for words when it comes to speaking to God, or even speaking their heart to anyone. Years ago, one woman told me repeatedly, “You always give me the words.” I do not believe you have to be a “word smith” to pray well, but you do need to be able to express what your heart desires. Otherwise, how will you know when your prayer is answered?

When I pray for others I try to practice my best listening skills. Then say back to the person what I think they said, “Is this how you want me to pray?”

How did I become a prayer warrior? Well it was certainly gradual! I read the New Testament believing the passage that “God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34 in various translations says, “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.'” Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to people in the book of Acts after His resurrection and ascension. He would give it to me for the asking. So I believed and asked. Romans 2:11 reads “for God does not show favoritism or partiality.” If the anointing of the Holy Spirit could be given 2,000 years ago, it can be given today. He gave to me in various ways at various times.

Then the Old Testament passages about giving a word to others in due season.

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,

    to know the word that sustains the weary.

He wakens me morning by morning,

    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.

Isaiah 50:4 NIV

Listen carefully. Pray accordingly. Not adding my editorial. Just praying.

Perhaps one of the strongest lessons I have had is to “Leave it at the altar.” When we pray for others we are to leave our requests at the altar and walk away. We were not designed to carry the burdens of the world on our shoulders. If you are ever to be an effective intercessor you must learn how to release those burdens to God….and leave them there. If the Holy Spirit intends for you to pray about this again, you will know. He is neither vague or ineffective in His promptings. The point is to not walk about worrying about the prayer concern. Just pray and release the concern to God.

Those are my thoughts for now. Hopefully they inspire and assist in your prayer journey.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints

Ephesians 6:13,18 KJV

Having done all, stand.

80th Birthday for an Acquaintance

She speaks with almost no filter. Words just seem to fall out of her mouth, tumbling over one another, often to the surprise of the listeners.

Her life is centered in old movies. She tells us she seems to like the wicked women.

I know she has wounds she has never addressed. Some were inflicted by her father and she refuses to tell her sons because they loved him. Her daughter left without a word many years ago. Her husband died suddenly. From what we could discern from the outside there did not seem to be much trust or love in the marriage relationship. Her mother died a few years after that.

She now lives in a retirement complex with other senior citizens where the staff provide all the meals. Never has to cook or wash dishes unless she chooses to in her studio apartment.

She calls the complex a prison. There are shared meals, activities both in the building and off the campus. During the Covid-19 lock down they were confined to their rooms in an attempt to keep them well. She can now take the van to stores and places of interest if she wants, for no charge whatsoever. They have organized games, a library, board games and sitting rooms for all to share.

After her birthday party when I shared these thoughts with Bob I was reminded of a prayer my mother really liked in her later years. God, help us all!

A Prayer For Those Growing Old

Lord, You know I am
growing older. Keep me from
becoming talkative and possessed
with the idea that I must express
myself on every subject.

Release me from the craving to
straighten out everyone’s affairs.

Keep me from the recital of
endless detail. Give me wings to
get to the point.

Seal my lips when I am inclined
to tell of my aches and pains.
They are increasing with the years
and my love to speak of them
grows sweeter as time goes by.

Teach me the glorious lesson
that occasionally I may be wrong.
Make me thoughtful but not
nosy; helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom
and experience it does seem a pity
not to use it all. But You know, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. Amen.

Keep me grateful. Empower me to adapt to my life and health, circumstances and abilities as I age and everything seems to change. You know I still feel inside as if I am nineteen years old. I know that I am no longer nineteen.

Left to myself I would be worse than the woman I observed and wrote about. Open my eyes to my own shortcomings and faults. I know they are abundant, Lord.

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

My Apologies

I have made some friends through this blog. And my dear friend, Dan, who led me to this site to begin with! They read my blog and I usually read theirs. My life was turned up side down with our move 2-1/2 months ago and most of my disciplines were “shot to hell” as my mother would say.

So I apologize to my friends whose blogs I have only rarely been reading. I finally decided the only way to get back in the pace of reading regularly was to not worry about the ones I have missed. The many, many that I have missed. I know you guys post regularly and I have been here schlepping boxes around and arranging the new household. Then pooping out in the recliner wondering where my energy went 😦 and how did I get this old?

So please allow me to begin again and take no offense at my absence. It was quite a challenge to get unpacked and settled. I think we finally might be rounding the last stretch. Just need a deck in the back yard now. Our first open house to welcome friends who have not seen our new digs is August 29th.

Blessings to all my fellow writers and bloggers. In Christ, Molly D.

Lucky Dog

I often take Lucky out into the front yard and brush her. And brush her. and brush her. This beagle seems to shed huge amounts constantly.

The other thing she really likes is a good massage. I told her she was in for a treat when she met Dan and Betty last week for the first time. They do not just pet a dog. They massage!

Three handed massage!!

(An aside: Oh look! Bob and Molly have hung a picture in the new house!!)

We do not have a guest room in this new house. After Dan and Betty went to their motel room every evening I would get out the vacuum and clean up the beagle shed. I kept the pet hair roller next to Betty’s place on the sofa.

You can see in this photo that Lucky turned around for a Dan massage. Sadly, Dan likely has dog hair in his eye.

Lucky has seemed sad the last couple days as Dan and Betty are no longer visiting here, but continuing their tour of Ohio to see their son and Grandson and Greats.

I am sad, too. I miss them terribly. The four of us are great friends and have even done ministry together over the years. So unusual. They are much more like family than friends! I believe the four of us could live together comfortably!

Remember these sayings?

Now and then sayings pop up in my head that I heard often in childhood, but not so much now. Perhaps you also remember hearing, “I just can’t abide him.”

Or, “Why don’t you go out and play tiddlywinks with the sewer lids!”

“Crime in It’ly!”

When our good friends, Dan and Betty Cooksey, visited us recently we toured the sign museum in downtown Cincinnati. This sign reminded me that we no longer call facilities for seniors this:

What phrases or sayings do you remember? I’m fairly certain as soon as I close this entry more will pop into my head!

Focus or Observation?

Focus is defined as the main or central point of something, especially of attention or interest. Over 45 years ago Bob and I were driving around Kentucky. As usual he was taking photos. After he snapped the one below I commented, “Oh I can’t wait to see how that horse comes out!” He responded, “What horse?”

I said, “Why the horse in the barn!”

“I didn’t see any horse,” he said.

“Didn’t you see the galvanized tub hanging out the side of the barn for the horse to drink from?” I asked.

“No. I just took a photo of the barn!”

As we drove on down the road I said, “Well, when you develop and print those photos you will see the horse. I thought it made the picture special.”

Amazing how people can look at the very same thing and see totally different items. Was it focus or observation? Now fifty years into the marriage we continue to focus and observe different things even when we are in the very same setting. I find that continuously amazing!