Reviewing a Journal

Because of the arthritis in my hands I began to journal on my iPad a few years ago. I have kept the habit of a paper journal by printing out those ideas and pasting them in a spiral bound journal. This involves printing out ones I have not printed, arrange by date, cut and paste, etc. For several years, I have sadly dropped the habit of reviewing my journal. When we got ready to travel this month I decided to take the latest journal and review it. I will read through it. Praise God for how He sees me through situations. Mark poetry I likely did not organize in poetry binder, etc. with marker.

Mitchell Luo

Sometimes this yields themes for this blog. Most times it is just for my comfort and remembrance. We are told to rehearse the works of God and praise Him. But do we? I often fail at that task. I remember some highlights, but I drop the minutia that can change the course of my thoughts and arrange my victories in the daily battle against darkness.

Recently I was pondering that warfare. I am sometimes engaged in small struggles that remind me following Jesus is not “all unicorns and rainbows.” If you examine those times in your own life you will likely see that there are recurring patterns in the attacks. When I can recognize, and say ‘oh no, here comes THAT again’ I am better equipped to defeat it. Putting on my armor, praying, raising high the sword of the Spirit, taking every thought captive to Christ Jesus, doing my part not to surrender by means of apathy. If, however, I have not been paying attention I can get swept under a current of negativity and hopelessness before I realize what hit me.

Have you examined your life by a similar means? Some other method? Many recommend making a timeline of your life with God. Note the occurrences that have impacted you. Reflect on where your awareness of God was at each of those times.

Campfiregrace.com

Yes, look back at what has happened and how you went through each thing. We are not to be permanently looking back, but it is helpful to review our life and His participating Presence at each stage.

Journal before I get hold of it with photos and glue stick!

A Prayer to Thank God for His Sovereign Control

Father, we praise You for the delicate way You powerfully align our lives to Your creation. Thank You for the waters and mountains that remind us of You. Forgive us for overlooking Your presence in every aspect of our lives, and bless us to notice and give glory to You, for You are our healer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

(Meg Bucher) https://www.christianity.com/wiki/prayer/thank-you-prayers-to-give-thanks-to-god-and-the-lord-jesus-christ.html

Psalm 124 NIV
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 If the Lord had not been on our side—
    let Israel say—
2 if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
    the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
    would have swept us away.

6 Praise be to the Lord,
    who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
    from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
    and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

Find a way to review your life with God. No matter your age, no matter how many times you have done it, making a timeline with God is a great exercise.

Ben Palpant

Remember I told you that Zephaniah says “The Lord sings over you? Reading a poem by Ben Palpant I came across this stanza:

Sing to me, O my troubadour,
Let your songs echo
In the halls of my loneliness,
Even my shame,
So that I may sing back
and, perhaps, learn by heart.
Perhaps.

"Bright Fire" by Ben Palpant Sojourner Songs

I love his idea that he “may sing back and, perhaps, learn by heart.” I resisted piano lessons as a child because I could hear the music and play many melodies ‘by ear.’ And that is how I read this stanza of Palpant’s poem. I want to hear the songs of God and learn to play them by ear….

Help me sing those melodies back to You, my Lord. Help me sing those melodies to myself in times of struggle or discouragement. Remind me of Your holy music.

Two Days Until We Celebrate 52 Years!

We got engaged to be married August 10, 1970 and stayed up all night long talking about our families and our lives together. After hearing about the New York relatives with names like Evakovich and Stajcich, when I called home to say I was getting married my mother asked, “What is his name?” I replied “I can’t remember!” Mind you, Dutina is not exactly a common name, but imagine my mother’s face in Ohio when I called from California.

Someone placed a bet at the wedding that we would never last. We never had the courage to ask my mother-in-law who that was. Guess we might never find out now!

2022
2017 after being at the Canyon in 1971
2020 in Colorado as Paula’s guests
2021
1970 – With this ring, I thee wed.
1970 Don took our car so we took his back to our apartment.
1970 ready for the honeymoon so Ohio people would go back east

So we will go out for a fancy dinner and remind ourselves of all the joys we have shared over the years. I am still madly in love with this gorgeous man! He is a gift and a monstrous blessing to me. My life with him has been one grateful surprise after another grateful surprise. Oh Lord, You have made my life such a blessing through this holy matrimony.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Mark10:7-8 NIV
Carnations on top of cake, red, white and pink to represent each of us and the new creation of one flesh.

Things

Plop us down in one place for a year and suddenly we have things. Stacks of things. Lots of things. Things sitting out that could be put away. How do we accumulate all these things? How often do you pare down the things you have accumulated?

When we first moved into this house we rented a storage unit. We had things we were not certain we needed or should be rid of. Now it is mostly Christmas decorations, (I try to get rid of more every year). We are going to get rid of our storage unit and put our things in with someone else. Why pay for 2 when all the things fit in one unit!

However, that does not cover what is in the house. I have been slowly going through drawers and closets getting rid of things not used in the past year. We have been here for over a year so now is the time!

Are you overrun with things? I find things sometimes distract me from the Lord. The photos in my office remind me of Him and also of good times Bob and I have celebrated.

This lovely statue in Colorado is entitled “You might as well dance!”

And Arches National Park where I spotted the Trinity, or was it the Three Wise men in the shadows?

Regardless, the shadows remind me I am never alone

As I rearrange pots and pans and other things to better locations I am reminded to always fix my eyes upon Him. May you be blessed to do the same! More important than things is seeking His Kingdom.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 

Matthew 6:33

New and Old

Can almost go without orthotic boot except when walking long distances like at the Sisters of Charity convent from meeting room to cafeteria last weekend. Still doing my stretches and will likely need to do those the rest of my life. Long HOT summer in that boot, but at least I was able to get up and out with it!

Old computer would not run Windows 11 and all the other programs were going like molasses in winter. New computer set up has begun.

New computer, so much to wade through
Turn this security off
Install this other security
Connect to internet
Where is the chrome browser?
How will I ever get ready for writing
Sixteen hours from now
Download these files
Forget these, but I do not have patience 
to do that complicated technical stuff right now
Then suddenly security is installed.
Add this to taskbar.
Get this working
This will be weeks in the process
As I learn to look here
Forget there
Go over to this place
Learn something new every day?
This could be my brain bank building
For weeks on end!
Where are my music files?!?

intel CORE i7 Dell says there is blue some place on it, guess the dark ridged cover

Ha! Surprised myself being able to write this morning using this new computer and stuff.

Investment in writing, blogging and posting

I suppose without the technology most of you would not be able to read this unless I wrote it out on paper, had the photos developed, had access to your home address, put it in an envelope and sent it off with the proper postage. Yes, I am grateful for the means to be able to obtain the new computer, consult my son-in-law for the best model in my price range, etc. etc.

Most of all I am grateful to God for you, the readers, the gifting to put things in words, access to photos, etc. Learned at my retreat this weekend that I can find free photos at a site called Upsplash. I am looking forward to learning how to use that sight and not be using anyone’s photos without permission. SO here is the keyboard that brings you the blog words, but I use a desk top computer rather than a laptop most of the time.

Photo by Dell on Unsplash

Thank you, Lord, for making provision for this blog. Please bless the readers and the subscribers. May You be glorified in the work I do here. All glory be to You. Amen.

Gray Morning After a Rough Night 

22-9-13 Reactive to Booster #3©Molly Lin Dutina
 
Booster #3 delivered with dull needle
Went to PT without boot
Worked until my leg
Felt like jelly
Foot throbbed all night
Headache, chest pain, 
Jaws and shoulders Booster broadcasters
Extra muscle relaxer and Calm app
“Gently back to sleep”
Several times
Booster #3 rocked
My fragile boat
Night of winds and waves
Up by 6:10 AM
Without rejoicing

Others report no big deal
in contrast I am
Close to shipwreck
My heart is sad that this body is so reactive, 
sensitive to Covid boosters.
Thankful I have not gotten ill but 
wishing I had one of those constitutions 
that was not triggered by pain 
after immunization injection. 
Is there an injection for endurance and muscle strength?
Can I get a booster for well-being? Guess not.

But why stop writing there? Resignation is to be to God, not bowing to negative circumstances. 
In Acts 16:25-26 Paul and Silas praised God in prison. Won’t you raise a tune, Molly Lin?

Total Surrender © 2018 Molly Lin Dutina
Total surrender brings total power
Spirit of God in me,
Totally yielded to You every hour,
Until Your will I see.
Death to my passions and every desire,
Living wholly for Thee,
Have Your own way,
Spirit of God, 
Totally flow through me.

No time for wishing things were other than they are. 
Fix your eyes upon Him.
 Understand this temptation to self-pity is sin.
 Jesus the author and finisher of my faith
 is ABLE to keep me from sin, 
self-pity over ailments and frailties. 
Be chastened, corrected, purified,
refined and strengthened. 
Here is my well-being booster! 
This is your only body on earth – your temple for His dwelling.
I surrender to You, Holy Trinity. 
The yapping dogs out there remind me – LISTEN for His voice.
 Do not go with the clamoring crowd. 
Wait. Listen. Accept the present moment.
This is my life this hour. 
Rejoice in God and be made glad. 

“For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.” PS 92:4 NKJV

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  Hebrews 12: 1a-7

I pray this helps those of you who are looking for that booster for well-being. May the Lord Jesus Christ bring you to a place where you too can be “chastened, corrected, purified, refined and strengthened.”

Transitory Impermanence For All

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
  -  Robert Frost
Maple Trees Starting to change color | Maple trees just at t… | Flickr

Remember the first buds on the trees? I always think they predict the colors the leaves will take in autumn. Autumn is advancing here and the oak leaves out front are turning yellow then rapidly brown and falling to the ground. These deciduous trees should remind us of the impermanence of life. Things sprout, grow, endure, then change. Yet I am often surprised by the changes as if I were not 71 years old. I have seen this happen every single year I have been alive (except when I was in the California SF bay area for a year and a half. The seasons were strange. Daffodils blooming in January is just WRONG for a Midwestern woman.)

Why are we so surprised when we realize our very lives are impermanent? We expect childhood friendships to last forever. Rare occurrence in my experience. Our strength and flexibility wears down and sometimes even vanishes. Oh yes, they mean it when they say “Use it or lose it!”

We age. We change. Our opinions change. Nothing gold can stay. I have been saying they told us after 40 it was patch, patch, patch. I think after 70 we just start to crumble! Yet I am alive and intend to make the most of whatever time I have left.

Been working in that book Everyday is a Poem. This morning my life did not feel like a poem, but then I realized why not write it out? So I did. I surprised myself at what could be mined from a gray morning after a rough night. Will post that another day.

Nothing gold can stay. Rough nights may lead to gray mornings. Sun blasts them both away. These are things we are going THROUGH. We likely will not stay this way forever. If we do, God will give us grace and strength to endure.

Remember Ephesians 3:16-19?

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

NKJV

Praying that you, BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE – that you may know the love of Christ. In season and out of season. With leaves or no leaves. Be rooted. Grasp hold of His love, the love that is reaching for you in the midst of this transitory life. His unchanging, everlasting love.

Grasp tightly with your roots!

Clay

She has a boyfriend. When he shows up at the volleyball games her smile is wider than the gymnasium. She doesn’t smile like that on other days.

Smitten. She is truly smitten. I pray he is kind to her. I think it helps that they attend different schools. She is three days older than he is. The families tease her about being a cougar. He is a junior. She is a senior.

He is a baseball player. She invited him to her homecoming dance with a baseball plate sign. He said yes.

Wait, wasn’t I just getting ready for homecoming? Oh. Now I am Grammy and this is my Grandgirl #2. Oh goodness. How the years have flown!

Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
    and parents are the pride of their children.

Proverbs 17:6 NIV

At Best Buy

An older man walking with a cane was leaving the back of the store as I stood in line at the Geek Squad service desk. He took two steps and seemed to gasp. I thought perhaps his oxygen was faulty? He had a small black bag over his shoulder. The store greeter offered him their wheelchair. The man shook him off. I watched him go to his car to make certain he was okay. He made it on his own. Otherwise, I was going to grab the Best Buy wheelchair and offer to escort him to his car. The store greeter asked if he could help me. I told him I was watching the man to be certain he made it to his car. He told me he was watching too, on the front door monitor. I commented the man did not look well. Store employee agreed.

The nice man at the Geek Squad desk was able to release my computer to me early. It has been running extremely slow and making writing this blog and other tasks frustrating. So I took it in for a tune up.

When I was finished and had loaded my computer back into my trunk, I noticed the man had returned but had not yet exited his car. Went to speak with him and offer my empty cart if he wanted to use it to walk back into the store. Asked if he was okay.

He said he was embarrassed. He got in the store previously and thought he had lost his wallet. He went home to see if he had left it there. Turns out he was not carrying oxygen, but a murse, “Man-Purse”. He had put his wallet in the wrong pocket. He was so angry with himself. That is why he was huffing as he left the store. Just so, so angry. I assured him we all do those sorts of things.

He said growing old is hard. I said it is not for sissies! He laughed and said his mother used to say that. He said “Someone above has always looked out for me. Call it Him or Her or whatever you want.” I assured him I need all the help I can get and rely on God all the time.

We continued to chat. I asked him to be gentle with himself. We all need help. Be kind to himself. He was then smiling and breathing better. He took my cart back into the store.

As I drove away I wondered if he might have benefited from a meditation I heard recently. Are you familiar with the app “Calm”? I recently listened to a morning meditation read by Tamara Levitt. The link to Calm explains her role as “A meditator of over 25 years, Tamara is the Head of Mindfulness at Calm, where she writes and narrates the company’s meditation content, a role she has held since 2014.”. That morning the title captured me. The reading was “Age Mindfully.” I was so impressed I transcribed it. Below are portions of her writing. She is quite gifted.

Getting older isn’t easy. As we age our memory beings to fade. Our body begins to slow down. And the world responds differently to us. We can’t trivialize these challenges. They are real. And they can feel scary. But if on top of those real challenges we resist our changing reality, we are sure to suffer.

Tamara Levi

I am now convicted. In my concern for the man as he left the store I assumed his murse was an oxygen unit. I am wondering though if he might have been more patient with himself over the misplaced wallet if he had grasped the idea that resisting the challenges of our changing reality brings us suffering?

Many authors of many types explore the ideas of impermanence and the transitory nature of life. I will address that in another posting. Tamara went on to say:

We can allow impermanence to be our teacher, observing our changing reality and then rather than resisting the aging process, we become more able to embrace it with a sense of openness. With less resistance we are more easily able to flow from one year to the next, one stage of life to another.

Tamara Levitt

Less resistance. Sounds good if I can actually embrace and accept the changing phases of my strength, age and abilities. The good news is my right foot and leg are improving and I might get rid of this orthotic boot very soon! Physical therapy pays off. The exercises will be needed the rest of my life.

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4 NIV

Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come
.

Psalm 71:18

While We Blithely Ride our Bikes

Have you noticed? Have you seen? Are your eyes open to things around you?

It has generally been in the high 70s to 80s here lately. More rain than we desire, but we have no control over that! I realized as Bob M. rode past my window as I write this blog that many of us are like children choosing to ignore the changing seasons until they are actually upon us. Then we resist jackets, coats, hats, gloves, but delight in car seat warmers. (I just want to know when are all cars going to have car seat coolers?)

Gloomy Ohio Morning Bob M.
Earth Declaring ©Molly Lin Dutina 22-9-3
Found a red maple leaf on deck
Driving I saw a falling leaf
Around the block two more leaves fell
Neighbor’s backyard
Looked as if someone smashed
Orange pumpkins
O. Leaves on ground
Earth is declaring
Unfolding of new season

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease

Genesis 8:22 AMP