Difficulty of Physical Stillness

I began to wonder if my doctor had ever sat for 5-6 weeks with no weight bearing upon one of his feet? I found it to be difficult psychologically. Psalm 32:9 CSB is a description of me when I refused to trust God in the difficult moments. “Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding, that must be controlled with bit and bridle or else it will not come near you.”

The verse before that is a wonderful promise: “I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with my eye on you, I will give counsel.”

And God did when I calmed down, asked for help and let Him guide me.

Here is what we saw when the bandages were removed for the first time:

Tara Brach calls us to Surrendered Presence, Surrendering Presence. We waste so much time and energy trying to control everything. We are better off as far as energy stores if we can surrender and wait and see. One beaded bracelet I made pre-surgery reminds me that God is never perplexed. He is willing to be my strength. As I gladly boast in my weakness ( 2 COR 12:9-10) He is willing to be my strength and “react” upon me. (See journal entry http://stand-and-tip.com/2019/10/06/perfect-in-weakness/)

On October 31 I read a quote from Mark Nepo that says, “The things that frighten us just want to be held.” “Does that describe my fear of the pain out of control? Just something that wants to be held? Show me Lord, how to spread out the medication. When to stop. How to cope with the remainder of the healing pain.”

“I trust You, Jesus, to lead me through this. I do not want to be hooked on the painkiller. Please give me the courage to cope with this pain. Wisdom to know how to proceed.” And just like that, I was on Tylenol only.

November 2 I wrote in my journal that I needed to go back and read what I wrote about the turtle at the Nature Center ( https://treasures-in-plain-sight.org/2018/09/22/the-wise-turtle-and-bloom/). She taught me to hold on to wisdom, courage and the ability to keep looking up. “Most importantly, I realize she is looking up, as I am called to do, fixing my eyes upon things eternal. Letting go of obvious pain and aging issues I am able to relax on my favorite bench and simply soak in the pond activity: belching frogs, passing humans, bird song and noonday joy.” Yes, Lord, return me to that peace. Acceptance of things as they come. Wait and see attitude. NOT jumping to the furthest negative conclusion.”

I will likely never forget for long that I have a steel plate in my foot with 6 little screws. As of January 14 I am walking 5-8,000 steps per day. the doctor thought that was too much. Well, when I got inspired I just began moving. He says I am not totally healed yet. So, as you read this, please pray the bone will grow more thoroughly around that plate and screws.

Yield and Breathe and Listen

Other lessons learned while recovering from foot surgery: Determined to not be taking much pain medication, I broke the cardinal rule of recovery and took too little. Saturday, October 26 was a 7PM melt down. I felt as if my foot was swelling, then pushing against the padding and ace bandage and then the THROB began. It was the worst pain I had experienced thus far. Put myself to bed and loving husband brought me ice packs and iced water to sip. I listened to meditations, especially from “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Cabat-Zinn. Husband rubbed my back. I read until drowsy then slept, and tried to draw what I saw at the apex of pain. Of course, I did not capture it as I saw it at the time. We decided I likely took too little medication that day. Tried to stick to 6 hour schedule the next day. I am exhausted and wary of THAT much pain. Pain I could NOT ignore. I was able with the meditation recording to breathe into it, exhale it, but it was serious WORK. Yes, I have a plate in my toe.

Prior to surgery I tried to prepare myself psychologically for the long recovery sitting. I planned crochet projects, things to read, and recorded TV shows to entertain and distract me. I cooked foods we liked and froze them. Taking my iPhone to the basement I photographed every storage shelf in the pantry area and shelves in the freezer so that when people asked me where something was, I might be able to direct them to the correct area. Even the upstairs kitchen pantry was photographed. I planned clothing that was easy to get on over huge bandage and cast. What I did not realize was just how difficult it can be to sit idle for a long time after a fairly active life! My step count had dropped to around 3,000 steps per day prior to surgery due to pain in my foot. Taking that to near zero and letting go of all household responsibility was something I had not done in several years. I think that like childbirth, we tend to forget the miserable times in life, or at least, to gloss over them. Sitting still and staying cheerful for weeks on end is work! I sometimes found myself fantasizing about just getting up and walking.

October 28, 2 weeks after the surgery, I had a major emotional meltdown. I did not see it coming. I was exploring crochet patterns online for a small turtle to remind me like Aesop’s fable that “slow and steady wins the race.” Was having difficulty signing on to my favorite site.

Suddenly and rapidly the anxiety was upon me. The surgeon had wrapped my foot in thick layers of cotton batting, then gauze, then a bent splint to hold it in place and then ace bandages. It was quite a thick contraption. About 3:45 PM I had a terrible dry skin/hurt combination on my lower calf that undid me. I could not reach far enough inside the cotton-batting of the bandage to get cream on the spot. Even using a plastic knife handle and then a chopstick I could not reach it. And then I became desperate. {Now where were the ears to hear that admonition to trust in the Lord?}

Desperate for relief, frantic and wanting to throw off the bandage and walk away, I began to cry. I cried in fruitless frustration and helplessness, knowing I had to sit still for the bones to heal and anchor this metal plate and 6 screws to my toe.

I texted a dear, faithful friend for prayer. I called out to Bob to come help me.  I told Alexa to turn on meditation music. I sat and cried and tried to breathe as Bob got me a fresh ice pack to apply on the misery location on my calf. Focused on my breath. Over a period of time I took it all down a notch, and then another notch, and then another. Went back to find the correct online screen to sign in to Ravelry. Purchased the turtle pattern, printed it and relaxed even more. Eventually, I had to put ace bandages back on so I could roll to the bathroom. I was exhausted.

Psalm 37:5 (HCSB)  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV2011)  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

What is the purpose of telling you these struggles? The journal entries above describe what I did outwardly. Inwardly, I fell into God’s arms. I yielded my heart to Him. He touched me in my weakness. If you have not traveled to that point of helplessness (or one like it) you likely have no idea what I am writing about. If you have been there, you might remember the sweet relief that comes from throwing yourself on the mercy of Christ. My feelings had escalated out of control. There was not much warning that I can recall now. When I hit the wall and realized only the touch of the Holy Spirit could return me to my right mind, I knew it was time to yield. If the ice had not relieved the dry skin/hurt, I had bandage scissors at the ready to open that one spot for some cream! I did not have to use them. The idea to have Bob find the scissors came to me only when I chose to breathe and be led through that valley. No one can make you decide in those frantic moments  to yield and breathe and listen. I believe we are each given the opportunity to choose in those types of situations. Repeated practice has helped me begin to choose Proverbs 3:6 more quickly. Other translations read “in all your ways ACKNOWLEDGE Him.”

Isaiah 55 still holds true in my life: Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV2011)  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Oh Lord, continue to lead and guide me, I pray.

Slow and steady, Molly Lin. Slow and steady progress towards healing.

Happy New Year!

I last posted in October 2019. Then I had scheduled foot surgery and fell off the grid. Had really hoped to blog during that time. Total anesthesia and recovery in this older body did not permit that. When I was finally allowed to walk the holidays were upon us and I got caught up in those preparations and learning how to walk with this repaired foot. I hope to resume writing with regularity and with gusto!

Recently I made a retreat at the Convent of the Transfiguration where I am an associate. I had missed making scheduled biannual silent retreats over the last two years because of travel, illness, etc. I saw a little opening in the January calendar and made a private silent retreat. During that time I prayed about whether to continue writing the blog. The answer seemed to be a resounding “Yes!”

Here is my journal synopsis from that time:

Father, I want to do the work You have given me to do. As deFoucauld wrote and prayed, I am placing ‘myself in Your hands without reserve in boundless confidence because You are MY FATHER.’

Robert Dutina captured my heart towards the Lord with this photo from Los Angeles, Ca.

“I will proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ.” I will with God’s help resume the blog writing to His glory, showing forth His power during my recovery from surgery, the lessons I learned in the weeks of waiting.

Monday October 14, 2019

Scheduled toe surgery went off without a hitch. Surgeon cleaned up arthritic joint, turned bone around, placed the plate, secured with screws, injected area with my own cells that were taken from my heel bone and spun down. Closed me up with stitches and layers of bandages.

There were a few surprises for the patient and her husband though! First, I was not allowed to use the knee roller until the nerve block in that leg had totally worn off. I was not strong enough to tolerate crutches, so Bob had to wait upon me with a wheelchair to the bathroom and any other place I wanted to relocate. It took several days for that nerve block to wear off. In the end, I was so grateful not to be feeling the first post-surgical pain and took much less pain medication than expected. It was however humbling to have to ask him for help moving about. Fibromyalgia and arthritis pain are mean. Using crutches every place would have been so difficult.

Before the surgery the admonition to trust God during this process was driven home several times and especially through Psalm 37 verses 3 and 5. So I made it my business to trust Him in these weeks of sitting. I had to be careful to not put weight on my foot lest the plate and six screws be moved out of place. The goal was to stay still so that bone could begin to grow around the plate to help anchor everything in place. (For a further discussion see

Psalm 37:3 (NRSV)  Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.

Psalm 37:5 (HCSB)  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act

Spring Roadtrip 2019

From Flagstaff we were on our way to Albuquerque, more specifically Corrales, home of our best friends, Dan and Betty. Going to their house is like coming home to us. Have never found another couple that we can visit with and travel with so effortlessly! All four of us get along great! We had already traveled 4,000 miles when we arrived there. We were more than ready for a rest and restore session!

Their home faces Sandia Crest, 10,678 feet, in the Sandia mountains, popularly known as Watermelon Mountain because of the red glow at sunset.

From Cooksey’s’ courtyard

And of course love from Betty and Jessie!

Walking Jessie is a delight. Dan has her so well trained! The courtyard is often populated with Gambel’s Quail.

One day Bob and Dan drove up to Sandia Crest and and went shopping at the Henderson General Store and a rock shop in Cerrillos. The next day there was a terrible wind storm that practically obliterated the view of the mountain.

Departing for the remainder of the trip on Day 20 was sweet, but also difficult. It is never easy to leave the Cooksey’s!

Sometimes a Writer Must Work and Wait

I have been working to read and then copy out selections from Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” That book had a huge impact upon me years ago when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For those who have followed this and my other blog I mentioned the book a while ago. Since I continue to age (better than the alternative) and the future is uncertain regarding this shoulder, which means our summer, and then our trip to Cape Cod in the autumn, and on and on it goes in uncertainty – seemed like the right time to take up the project. I had ordered a used copy of the book but it was SO old that pages were crumbling as I read. So I got a newer copy and have completed the part entitled Experiences in a Concentration Camp. Now this might seem totally depressing to some, but Frankl is worth reading. He writes from the viewpoint of a psychiatrist and a prisoner about what happens to humans when choices are removed. This chapter is about 145 pages in a smaller paperback, so not too difficult to accomplish. He actually writes from experience. Bob’s Dad was part of the Liberation Army in WWII and set some of the camps free. I have wondered if he was one of the soldiers who freed Doctor Viktor Frankl?

Frankl focuses repeatedly on the fact that the last of human freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstance. Hopefully, my synthesis of his insights will come forth in future blogging.

The attitude choice has come home to me again personally as I wait for diagnosis of the problem in my shoulder after the fall in the living room. I get to choose my attitude. I am NOT always sweet and kind and uncomplaining. When I get weary from pain and frustration I often want to just go crawl under a rock where I will not hurt anyone with my misunderstood tone of voice or sour attitude. Today I will focus on what Scripture says about waiting.

 Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!  I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.  The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.  It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the LORD.

Lamentations 3:22-26 (HCSB)

His mercies never end – even when we are irritable. His mercies are new every morning – He knows so well I will need a daily dose! His faithfulness far exceeds mine.

The Lord is my portion, therefore I put my hope in Him. Well, what else can I say? I trust the doctors and MRI, but He is my highest and best hope, my most thorough Physician. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him. I wonder HOW many times we are admonished to wait for Him in Scripture? Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. In returning and rest I am saved; in quietness and trust will be my strength. Be still, and KNOW that He is God.

Jeremiah ends with “It is good to wait QUIETLY for deliverance from the Lord.” I know a woman who is waiting for healing from a second back-to-back Shingles infection. I know a man waiting to find out if the purchase of the home he wants will go through. I know others waiting to heal after surgery, waiting for back pain to let up and be healed, waiting for a church dedication and celebration after hours and hours of hard outdoor work, waiting to plant their crops after history-making flooding. Some are waiting for asylum in America fleeing violence in their homeland, another waiting to finalize a divorce after a miserable marriage.

As humans we do not generally wait well or quietly. Perhaps remembering His mercies are new daily and His steadfast love for us never changes can help carry us over the bumps and crashes of our dreams in life.

When your particular house of cards comes down, remember that no one EVER said “I want to be ill this summer”, or “I want to be waiting weeks on end for an answer .” Ever. So along with me, rest, wait, hope and watch for a manifestation of His love in our presence.

Husband is a Treasure

I have a bad habit of kicking off my shoes and not putting them away. Caught up with me last Sunday night. I was getting ready for bed and remembered I needed to enter one more portion of water on my Fitbit app. My phone was charging in the living room. I entered the data. Turned to go to the bedroom and tripped over a sandal. I went down in a huge way! My husband could only watch me fall. There was no time to get up and try to stabilize me before I crashed into the floor.

Turned small toes on left foot under and smashed down on them as I went down bodily. Skidded left knee across the carpet, then left elbow, then smashed down on left shoulder. Saw stars as shoulder lit up in electric explosion. Slammed jaw on the carpet as I hit the floor. BUT thank goodness I did not hit my head, though I came very, very close!

My sweet husband was by my side instantly. Mind you I once fell in the Smoky Mountains at the end of Abrams Falls trail on a wet rock. That time we had to hike 4.9 miles back to the car and me with a dislocated right shoulder. So we were both a bit fearful of the extent of my injuries this time.

Nothing seemed broken as he slowly helped me sit up on the floor. Then slowly helped me stand and get to the sofa to sit down. He bandaged my knee and went to get some ice crushed for an ice bag. Bandaged my arm where forearm had busted open from the impact. Put me to bed with Tylenol and prayers for healing and comfort and another soft ice pack.

We saw a shoulder surgeon Monday as I was unable to lift my left arm without tremendous pain, and then not all the way up. MRI of shoulder is scheduled in case it does not get better in a week “after the dust settles” from the fall. Possible rotator cuff injury. If not better, MRI will determine if surgery is needed and exactly where.

So I am spending most of my time editing past posts. That has been encouraging as I have read, again, how the Lord has sustained me through the past. Acute pain is a bear when it comes on top of chronic pain. I am determined to trust and follow where I am led through this ordeal.

Moral of the story: put your shoes away and trust in the Lord regardless of what comes your way! Even if it involves a mess you made.

Pain is exhausting and I do not know how much more I will actually create today, but you will know by what I do or do not post! When people ask me in stores, “May I help you?” my typical response is “Yes. I need all the help I can get!” Please lift me in prayer until this is resolved. Thanks, Molly

Acceptance with Joy

Bob had a much, much better photo!

This is the flower we found in Death Valley. It is so much better than the first one I posted. Especially poignant this morning as my body spent most of the night in an arthritis fit that would not let me sleep until the wee hours of the morning. It rained almost four inches overnight. Likely the weather effected me as well.

But there you have it. Acceptance with joy even when it is impossible to sleep.