The Power We All Have

Joan Chittister, O.S.B. is a Roman Catholic Benedictine nun of some renown for her writing and publishing. Wikipedia says, “Her books deal with monasticism, justice and equality especially for women in church and society, interfaith topics, peace and others. She has won 16 Catholic Press Association awards for her books and numerous other awards for her work, including 12 honorary degrees from US universities. Chittister has authored over 50 books and over 700 articles in numerous journals and magazines.”

I have read a few of her books and subscribe to her weekly Monasteries of the Heart email with ideas for deepening your walk. The quote below caught my attention this week.

To be a contemplative we must remember to begin again, day after day, to turn dailiness into time with God.

Illuminated Life, Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light by Joan Chittister

Joan posted this with a photo of laundry hanging on the line in sunshine. HA!! After searching and searching I found it on the site ūüôā

Dailiness be it filling medication boxes, filling the dog bowl, taking the medication, eat a meal, clean up, make coffee for the morning, wash the clothes, dry the clothes, fold the clothes, store the clothes, get the grocery list ready, buy the groceries, store the groceries….. most of our lives are filled with repetitive tasks.

I took this photo years ago of a workman in Ireland. He reminds me when I find my work arduous that this is part of life. It applies to dailiness, too. Can you imagine how very long it is taking him to build these stone walls?

The life of a retiree can be trying. I think the business of younger life covered the monotony of routine tasks. Laundry, garbage, sweeping the carpet, seasonally the auto carpets, on it goes. Without the breaks of going to work or meetings the routine can become mundane and then boring, depressing and even seem futile. Some of us experienced this feeling during the pandemic. April 17, 202 I posted about this. https://wordpress.com/post/treasures-in-plain-sight.org/2575

Can you do what Joan suggested? Can you use the next feeling of dailiness for an opportunity to turn yourself towards time with God? Are you willing to give it a try? Turn dailiness into time with God. When bored with the dailiness of chores, can you turn THAT into time with God! Most of those chores become mindless. Choose to make that into mindfulness and a time to commune with the Trinity.

I have been practicing this for almost a week. When that ho-hum feeling tries to overtake me, I turn towards my King. He is always there, waiting for my attention. You might be surprised how this practice rewards you. Let me know in the comments section how it turns out!

Wonder What Chronic Pain is Like?

Sometimes the pain of fibromyalgia is compared to having the flu. If you have had the foggy brain, aches and pains, etc. of flu you might know what fibro is like. First, you have to remember what all of that felt like. The thing with pain is we often forget what it felt like. Fibromyalgia does not let you forget. It rears its ugly head and exerts its dark power regularly – even daily.

There have been a few nights lately when I have gotten to sleep and then woke up about 15 minutes later. I think the waking is usually caused by physical discomfort. One night I finally got my tablet and made a few notes about it. This is not meant o draw pity or fear or aversion. Just the truth about what it is like at times to be me.

It is as if every place I have ever injured on my body has gained a voice of complaint, discomfort and unceasing pain. Trying to get to sleep is the hardest task. Right shoulder, right knee, right plantar fasciitis, turn over and left lower back has an acerbic diatribe to throw in. Spasm in thumb joint, afternoon fatigue, the list goes on to include headaches, jaw pain, stiffness trying to stand- stiffness that makes me realize I am no longer a young woman. Aging is advancing so rapidly that I am absolutely stunned, dumbfounded, flummoxed.

If those are temporarily quieted there is a painful lump on index finger second joint that has a voice like a high pitched child who has learned to scream. Heaven help me. And then I am reminded what Paul wrote in Romans.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God‚Äôs children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs‚ÄĒheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:16-18

With streams of remembrance my mind goes to my youth. I have always been nineteen in my mind. That is no longer so. I do not mourn the changes though perhaps it might do me good. I am not nineteen. I am not ninety-one. I am simply Molly Lin, disciple of Christ Jesus, finding her way through aging.

The thought occurs that perhaps this is spiritual warfare. Lord Jesus, King of angel armies, show me how to push back this darkness. And if it is not warfare, then show me how to move into acceptance with grace and mercy towards myself.

Such a difficult task, but one I must take up or slip into weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth!

The sufferings – I share in mean I will also share in His glory. Theses sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed. Oh Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. If there be any wicked way in me, lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:24)

She Would Like You To Come Back

When the dermatologist burns off one wart thingy and cuts out two places with razor type instruments, you are not pleased when they call with the report and say, “She’d like you to come back. We just had a surgery cancellation. Can you make it on this date?” I was barely awake from an afternoon rest as I agreed to show up then. I think she said basal cell on one site.

Basal cell carcinoma is quite common. The number of reported cases in the U.S. has steadily increased.

  • An estimated 3.6 million Americans are diagnosed with BCC each year.
  • More than one out of every three new cancers are skin cancers, and the vast majority are BCCs.
  • The diagnosis and treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers, including BCC and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), increased up to 77 percent between 1994 and 2014.

The dermatologist scrapes or shaves off the BCC using a curette (a sharp instrument with a ring-shaped tip), then uses heat or a chemical agent to destroy remaining cancer cells, stop the bleeding and seal off the wound. The physician may repeat the procedure a few times during the same session until no cancer cells remain. Typically, the procedure leaves a round, whitish scar resembling a cigarette burn at the surgery site.

When it’s used

Curettage and electrodesiccation can be effective for most small BCC lesions. In these instances, the procedure has cure rates close to 95 percent.

https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/basal-cell-carcinoma/bcc-treatment-options/

Oh joy, (sarcasm). The child that was terrified of doctors after being hospitalized with a broken thigh at age 3 gets to go back and let the doctor shave on her to make certain she got all the margins. It is hard, even at age 72, to be brave.

“3.6 million people diagnosed every year.” That is a fine statistic when it is OTHER people.

“Electrodessication” sounds like an obstetrician whose practice I left after he told me they were going to dissect me for my second C-section to remove the baby. Made me feel like frog in high school science.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 CSB

I will go. I likely will eat an ice cream cone afterwards even though it will be morning. God will be with me and likely Bob, too. My part will be to cooperate and FEAR NOT. That is not stated as a suggestion. Every translation I read on Bible Gateway shows the wording in a similar fashion from do not be afraid, do not be dismayed, do not be anxious, do not be overwhelmed, no need to fear, don’t be frightened, terrified or dismayed. Frankly, just don’t go there, Molly. God will strengthen us, help us and hold us with His righteous right hand. Loving God and knowing this verse, makes it harder to be a scaredy cat.

I have friends who have many places on their skin with this diagnosis. This experience will give me more compassion for them. One is having surgery on his back January 19 of this year. One had part of his ear cut off and skin graft done to heal and cover the place. One has had several places on his arms removed. Fret not, (as we are told three times in Psalm 37), fret not Molly Lin and others seeing a dermatologist, it leads only to trouble.

Prompts

I have been pondering my Advent poem and wondering where it took you prior to and during Christmas?

Self as Manger   HERE AM I © 1993 Molly Lin Dutina 

Here am I, stuff of earth
But by the Spirit's power rebirth
has brought me receptivity.
Fill me with Yourself.

Molded by Your Holy Hand
I wait before You
Cupped and ready,
cleansed, atoned
eager for Your radiant touch
Virtue compelled to enfold Your own
the vessel of Your making.

Here am I, stuff of earth
yielded for Messiah's birth
be it unto me, O Lord,
as in Your word and will.

The Great I AM
dwells in my heart
there to impart the power,
courage and propulsion for
His dream to be fulfilled.

So ‘stuff of earth’ did you yield for Messiah’s birth? Are you asking for His indwelling?

Many of the things I read or subscribe to with daily posts provide me with prompts for writing the blog. Here is one from Grateful Living: “In the bigger scheme of things the universe is not asking us to do something, the universe is asking us to be something. And that’s a whole different thing.” – Lucille Clifton

In God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), thus God is our universe. What is God asking us to be? Maybe a confidant for one who is hurting? Perhaps His witness among the lost and hungry souls?

Writing Prompt 2

This year as my body seems to be deteriorating more I will likely be the one who does not do so much anymore, but holds the Light for others. I believe holding the Light is more than shining a flashlight upon a hard to see object. Holding forth the Light of Christ is accomplished through being His. There has always been a struggle in American society as to whether it is more important to Do or to Be … which leads to DO-BE-DO-BE-DO. If rebirth has brought you receptivity and you are filled with Him, BE-ing His reigns over any other accomplishment.

Another writing prompt

What if we hold to His power, courage and propulsion and allow Him to fulfill His dream in and through us? To do that we will need to be still (Psalm 46:10). Yield to His plan this year and see how 2023 ends for you!

Some Photos From Final Days of 2022

This sheep insisted the best hay was in the bottom of the feeder. When she withdrew her head she looked like a lion with a mane of hay! Of course, I could not get a photo of that before she shook it off!
Took Myrtle to see the lights at Coney. At times she laughed out loud. She is famous for her crocheted angels. This was her favorite display.
Snapped this quickly. Finally finished last 3 Swedish embroidery towels. Not laid out very well.
New recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies with and without coconut
Last year Bob got me the large Grogu. Emily wanted me to keep the collection going! The center one is made from beeswax. The one with red ribbon is from when they went to Disney World. It has two voices. The one in the red box is from Hallmark.

Do you know Grogu likes to eat frogs? I think he is holding a frog Christmas cookie!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17 NIV

Ears and Hearts

While traveling in New Mexico we bought a pottery piece at a craft show. It was wrapped in newspaper. When I unwrapped it to show our hosts, the Cookseys, I saw the editorial cartoon by Jeff Koterba. The paper was dated June 7, 2020, The Albuquerque Sunday Journal. I emailed Mr. Koterba asking if I could use his cartoon in this blog. The caption reads, “May we listen with our ears … and our hearts.” The drawing is wonderfully creative!

Jeff Koterba answered me a few days later. I asked if he would send me a copy of the cartoon as mine was all wrinkled from cushioning the pottery. He replied that these are the kinds of stories he loves! He would be glad to share the cartoon. (See above) He is a very talented artist.

I requested his memoir from the Cincinnati Public Library entitled “Inklings.” It was a transparent, at times amusing and sometimes painful read. Jeff grew up in an alcoholic household and he and his father both have Tourette’s syndrome. It took years for Jeff to even realize what the Tourette’s was. His biography reads:

Honored by the National Cartoonists Society, National Headliner Awards, and Great Plains Journalism. Awards, Jeffrey Koterba‚Äôs cartoons are syndicated to over 800 newspapers with Cagle Cartoons and have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. He currently draws with support on Patreon. 

His original drawings have flown aboard space shuttle Discovery. Back on earth, his work has been included in multiple exhibits in the U.S. and Europe, including alongside Picasso.

Entertainment Weekly called his memoir, Inklings: ‚Äú‚Ķa powerful and moving portrait of an artist.‚ÄĚ

A two-time TEDx speaker, he often gives talks on creativity, Tourette Syndrome, and current affairs.

Here he explains much of what it is like to live with Tourette’s.

This very talented man also writes songs, plays guitar and is lead singer for the band he formed called the Prairie Cats. So much talent! I am always amazed at the accomplishments of those who do not let physical obstacles get in their way.

May I apply my talents to the tasks the Lord gives me in spite of my upbringing in an alcoholic home, chronic pain disorder and the physical challenges that aging provides me with. Jeffrey Koterba is truly an inspiration to me!

Songs I Need to Sing!

At times music just rolls through my spirit and I need to sing it out! Handel’s Messiah is often sung with the Cincinnati Symphony by our May Festival Chorus. I like when parts of it was also used by surprise choruses in the past at shopping malls.

It still gives me chills!!

Now I find myself needing to sing this EVERY Christmastide.

Is there something you must sing to God? Don’t hold back. If you are surrounded by people and do not want their opinion of your singing then go outside and sing. Or sing in the shower! Or sing in the car. The point is to sing to the LORD be it a new song or old. Sing out your love of His majesty. Your adoration of His glory. Your gratitude from His abundant mercies.

Years ago Bob bought me a copy of Streams in the Desert devotional that has blank lines for journaling. Recently I turned o the page for that day. I had written, “Joy to the World at church: “Lizzie cried, “the Lord is come!! That’s Grammy’s song. The Lord is come! They said it in church, Grammy!” My heart melted all over again. My Lizzie is now 21. I sent her the journal entry via texting. I hope she takes my song to heart and embraces Jesus as her Lord and savior. Then it will not just be my song, but hers too!

As a light snow falls here and the Carolina Wren works on the dried mealworm feeder, I pray you will sing out your joy and gratitude that the Lord has come, May earth receive her King, May every heart prepare Him room….”

O sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord; bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be revered above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Psalm 96:1-6 NRSV

How Often Do You Push Yourself?

Trying to race around getting ready for our celebration with the kids and Grandkids, Bob’s medical appointments, etc. I decided to skip my afternoon siesta today. Wow! I really paid for that decision!

While shopping I had a little difficulty once I got out of the car. My body did not want to stand up straight. Aging seems to have caught up with me. There has been a nasty bulging disc for a number of years. No idea if that is the trouble or not.

So I finished at one store. Went to the next one and same scenario. Could not stand up straight without pain. When I got home carried in half the groceries and began to put them away. Still needed to do two more things out of the house.

‚ÄúHearken 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, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”

-Isaiah 46:3-4 RSV

Determined to get those final two off my list, I went out again. When I got home an hour or two later I knew that if I sat down I would not be able to get dinner on the table. So I trudged on. When I did sit down for dinner, oh boy! After we ate, I could barely walk for pain and stiffness.

As I write I am sitting with the heating pad. I am praying that rest will cure this. Obviously I cannot push like I used to without consequences. Aging is NOT for sillies. This is hard stuff.

I wanted to be graceful with my turn at aging. However, most of the time I seem to take each stage kicking and screaming. No one wants to accept the fact that their body is crumbling.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 RSV

Yes, I was doing more things than I should have chosen for one day. The Lord walks with me and sustains me, forgiving me when I push myself too hard for too long. I am however responsible for hard I push myself. That bad choice has lingered with pain for days and days. Still trying to get it under control.

I heard a podcast recently and the speaker said, ‚ÄúEvery person I work with is dying. Only a few are aware of it.‚ÄĚ Yes, we are all dying whether we are aware of the fact or not. When my body reacts to my lack of respect for the need to rest, for the limited strength I now possess, I must be aware that we are all dying, even me. Perhaps this will help me go more gracefully into my final years? Time will tell if I take the lesson to heart.

Five Hours a Day?

One scientist called Chaser the most important dog in history! This is a 12 minute video worth your attention! Dog raised by retired psychology professor. Enjoy her story!

He is 86 years old and still working, with Chaser! I wonder if I devoted more time to Lucky, would she be even close to Chaser’s abilities? Hope you enjoyed this little break from your current routine!

Telling the Destruction of Babylon

We visited Faith Church in Rio Rancho where Dan and Betty worship. Pastor Mike McDonald has been doing a series preaching on Jeremiah and this week was Chapters 50-51. ‚ÄúGod‚Äôs judgement is a word to His people of future hope in their present hardship.‚ÄĚ

And then the Word says:

He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including the people of his inheritance‚ÄĒthe Lord Almighty is his name.

Jeremiah 51:19 NIV

The Maker of all things. The Lord Almighty is his name. Our portion.

Our strength, our reward. Father You bless us even when we are not aware of Your blessing. Help us to bring attention to You and Your holy power in all that we do.

He is our portion We are exceedingly blessed. Look to Him at all times.