How Roots Grow

The photo at the top is the Juniper tree at Live Oak Park, Berkeley, California. That is the place where Bob and I said our marriage vows over 51 years ago.

My Robert waiting under the Juniper tree with our families for me to wed him. Episcopal priest behind him.

Decades went by. I gave my heart back to Christ in 1976. He gave his life to Christ not too long after that. We worked and worked on our marriage over the years. We have always said, “Divorce is not an option. Murder maybe, but not divorce!”

Fast forward from 1970 to December 2017. We both got the flu. Within 24 hours his became life threatening pneumonia with organ shut-down sepsis. Got him to an ER. He was placed on a ventilator and rushed to a different hospital. Within two days my cough began to break up and I was by his side.

The passage from Ephesians 3 helped me as I walk through the terror of possibly losing him forever.

In 2018 I wrote: “Part of my struggle was yielding to the facts and in stillness letting my wishes die, placing my hope in the plans of the Almighty. I could not see the outcome at all, but I trusted His goodness and His love for both myself and my family. I learned that crucified you must hold perfectly still. EPH 3:16 helped me to trust more. “I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” I prayed for Bob and our children to be strengthened. I prayed for myself to be strengthened by His Spirit with power penetrating to my innermost being. Yes, crucified you must hold perfectly still. I was not “going” anywhere.”

Have my roots grown since then? I learned so much through that awful experience. Yes, my husband is alive and kicking now. His health has returned. We are going through the Covid crisis with everyone else in the world. We are perhaps more careful than other Americans, having almost lost him four years ago.

My roots? Well I am certainly aware that Bob and I will not last into eternity. Only my relationship with Christ will go that far. We do hope to see each other in the afterlife, but we both understand that relationships there are much different than here.

“Strengthened in your innermost being with power through His Spirit and that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith….” I would not want to lose my husband to Covid or in any other way, but I feel as if I would not be devastated as I might have been in 2018. Having lived through the almost-death and brutal recovery after his illness, I can honestly say that the Lord sustained us and taught us both many things about His love and power.

“Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, AS you are being rooted and grounded in love.” God’s love is beyond my words. He holds, sustains and directs me with His love. When I resist His leading, He disarms me with His love. He indwells me by with power by His Spirit and it is a process to be rooted and grounded in love. An ongoing to the day I die sort of process.

I love this video. It shows what I cannot see below the surface of the soil. It shows the growth in split screen above and below and then goes on to show the up-close root process. How are your roots growing?

Can you imagine yourself being rooted and grounded in love like this kidney bean? Like the Juniper tree in the photo above? Why not watch the video again and ask the Lord to strengthen you in your inner being with power through His Spirit. Ask Him to helped you be rooted and grounded in love. One person noted, “We need to ask for what we want.” Grow us Lord I pray, by Your Spirit and power, in Your time. Amen.

Blow up Characters and WOW! Look at That!

With Omicron variant of Covid on the rampage we have once again taken going for a drive as our best amusement.

Okay, pet peeve here. If you own some of those blow up characters PLEASE put in a light bulb bright enough to actually illuminate the character at night. So frustrating to look at the blows ups and not really see the design!

Have you noticed how sad and might I even say deflated the characters look when they are not blown up? We were taking a drive around the county and saw a rooster and chicken pecking amidst the deflated characters in the yard. Made me wonder if they cause any damage with those beaks and spurs?

We also saw an amazing bird that I was not able to photograph from the road. It was so wonderful that Bob drove a mile to find a turn around so he could see it too. I said, “It might not wait there for us!” Whew! still there, though we did not see it at first pass. Had to turn around again and go direction we were when I first spotted it. High in a tree it perched. Shades of gray over large shoulders and back. I believe it was a great gray owl.

Grey Owl Meaning? One online source said: “Seeing a grey owl represents the mystery, and trusting that everything will work out even if you don’t fully understand it. The universe is working on you under the surface, and this is a time to trust in the bigger picture.”

So if you have blow up characters and chickens perhaps you can enlighten me?

If you have an owl who visits your property regularly you just might live on Bootjack Road in Clermont County.

The one we saw looked even larger!

For more information on these amazing owls go to https://ebird.org/species/grgowl

And that reminds me. In high school I had an art teacher, Mr. O’Neill, who painted on rocks. I have had this in or on my desk ever since!

Happy New Year!

Today, Monday, January 3, is my first writing day of the year 2022. Things are strange here as far as nature and weather go. The forsythia down the street has started blooming. One of my roses sent up a new shoot. One friend has tulips trying to emerge. We had weather in the 60s. Then 50s. When I did the laundry I could not remember having worn so many short sleeve t-shirts during the month of December! We had a full 24 hours of constant rain. A figure 8 pond formed in the back yard between our house and Angela’s. Eventually most of it drained away. Then a cold front moved in. Overnight temps dropped into the 20s with a wind chill in the teens. The plants are likely thinking, “Weird, indeed!” We are forecast to have accumulating snow by Thursday of this week.

Did you indulge in making resolutions? Have you asked for your word from the Lord yet? Our Pastor referred to that practice in his sermon on Sunday! We have gone back to on-line church as the Omicron variant is running rampant through southwest Ohio as well as the rest of the world.

I am poised to return to online grocery shopping with store parking lot pick up. Here we go again! Another pastime taken away. However, I feel certain our health is worth the cost of relinquishing one or five or even umpteen pleasures.

When we were wondering in October or so what 2022 would hold none of us wanted to believe it would be another variant. Yet, here we are. I sense that underground stream of anxiety that was so prevalent in 2020 and 2021. The asking, “Will we be okay? Will the ones we love who are unvaccinated be okay?” And that is not even considering those impacted with other illnesses!

The Lord assures us,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27 ESV

He gives us His peace and tells us there is something we must do. LET NOT. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. We have a responsibility in that peace giving. Seems we can cancel out that mighty peace by indulging in troubling thoughts and fears. We can be our own peace keeping force!

Useless thoughts spoil everything and much mischief begins there; we ought to reject them as soon as we have perceived their impertinence to the matter in hand and return to our worship of God.

Brother Lawrence

Yes, I am convicted again of my own sinfulness and weakness when it comes to being like Jesus. Father, help me by Your Holy Spirit to be strengthened in my inner being to know Your peace, to live as one who understands Christ dwells in my heart through faith. Keep me rooted and grounded in love. Amen.

Post Holiday Ho-hum Blahs?

After all the preparations, anticipation, gift planning, company, celebrations, gift exchanges, food over indulgences do you ever get the post holiday ho-hum blahs? We do not do much for New Years and I was recently tempted to go there and then I was snapped back into reality.

We who are well are so fortunate that we cannot dare to indulge that sort of corrupted emotion. Think with me for just a moment. There is one who was promised if she could get a liver transplant her suffering from the Whipple surgery would end and she would be fine. She had to be put in a coma awaiting the liver. The liver came. The surgery was done. She could not awake from the coma. For weeks they tried and waited. She was transferred to long term critical care unit. Something like $6,000.00 per month after the insurance gave out. Family thought she was awake. Slipped back into it. Awoke enough to talk with her family via videophone Thanksgiving Eve. Struggled to put words together. Was able to swallow applesauce and drink a bit when they covered her trach.Then began rejecting the transplant. Finally went back to ICU because so many body functions were out of whack. In contrast, I have not one worry in the world.

Once months and months ago when she managed to stand up.

Another neighbor friend began swelling right after Thanksgiving. Has never been seriously ill. She underwent many out patient tests in another state. Finally was admitted to hospital for MRIs, CTscans, blood work, x-rays, biopsies, you name it. The medical professionals are truly practicing on her. They cannot determine the cause of her illness which has evolved through many life threatening stages. She was released to her home in that other state for Christmas and to await the admission to a Mayo Clinic hospital. She was taken to ER on December 27 when her hands began to turn black, and stay black, and lose all feeling. At this writing still awaiting acceptance to Mayo. I am worried sick about her. Trusting God, trying to lift prayers, send her prayers and humor, but disturbed about what is happening to her.

This one over here was recently separated from her husband. This was the first Christmas after the separation. She and her children got through Christmas just okay. I try to stay in touch.

A neighbor saw her daughter and grandkids at start of Christmas vacation. The children spent the night. Next day daughter and granddaughter tested positive for Covid. Neighbor has to quarantine for 10 days. So no Christmas with her older parents and rest of the family.

We do not live in the Kentucky tornado zone. Or a refugee camp. We have shelter in a safe area, too much food, and are allowed to worship how ever we desire.

I was so convicted over that fleeting corrupted emotion that I just had to share. May you, too, examine your heart and recenter in gratitude.

If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NRSV

As you stand in line to return unwanted gifts, remember these folks in prayer please. Help that liver to be accepted and all other disease be driven out. Pray for the doctors at Mayo to find a definitive treatable diagnosis. May those suffering from broken relationships be healed and strengthened to pursue the Lord. Covid has ravaged many families with death, long term side effects, separations. Please Lord touch the suffering, heal the afflicted and all for your love’s sake.

Guideposts and Prayer

Guideposts offers many ways to get prayer including a Facebook page! One paper item they publish is called 60 Days of Prayer. I opened it randomly and came to such an important lessons as the holiday entertaining begins.

First they quoted the New International Bible.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

And then this important message: “Give yourself the gift of letting go. Let go of the need to be perfect. Perfect gifts, perfect gatherings, planning the perfect day. When you focus on perfection you miss the most important part of the holiday. Instead, sit at Jesus’ feet and focus on Him.”

Now I know for some of you the letting go would not occur unless you broke your hand! Been there. Done that. And, as the saying goes, I have the t-shirt!!

Guideposts went on the make a prayer saying “I plan on keeping You the center of my celebration.”

That would be a tremendous way to celebrate Christmas, 2021, don’t you think?

Our Christmas dinner meal usually looks like sandwiches with deli items from the meat and cheese store. The kids are too excited to have a sit-down meal! My son makes mac and cheese as only a chef can. Daughter’s broccoli salad is delicious. Pickles, Skyline dip, salsa and chips, homemade cookies and United Dairy Farmers ice cream.

Gifts are likely to come from a wish list, but sometimes the family surprises us with an unexpected item. Mostly, we just like having them here. The plan for now is for our daughter’s family to come around 11 in the morning for gifts and quiche. Our son’s family to arrive around 4 for gifts and sandwiches. (The two do not meet as some are vaccinated and some are not.) All of this of course is dependent upon the Omicron variant.

Looking at Omicron, I am stunned back to the feelings of December, 2020. The Delta variant is still spreading. This new variant is more contagious and spreading faster around the globe than anything we have likely seen during our lifetime! The news doctors say if we are vaccinated and ‘boostered’ we are still likely to get it, but a much milder case than those who have not been vaccinated. They have not given their opinion regarding those with other conditions such as diabetes and COPD. The reports say “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death — for yourselves, families, and the hospitals who may soon overwhelm,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a news briefing Friday, December 17th. “We need the American people to do their part.” Hospitals nationwide are now being overwhelmed. What does that say about those needing treatment for heart attacks, strokes, cancer. When all the beds go to Covid illnesses surgeries get cancelled. Other needs are neglected.

One friend has an adult unvaccinated son who caught the Delta variant. He isolated in his room for 7 days. His wife and 10 month old daughter got sick. He was finally admitted to the hospital because he was having such difficulty breathing. Was there for almost a week. Extremely ill, on oxygen, medications. He lost a tremendous amount of weight. Is now released but has absolutely no energy for even the simplest things. Another older friend and her husband caught Delta. She was in pain such as she has never known and exhausted for almost two weeks. Slept constantly. On the mend.

Oh Lord, have mercy. Give wisdom and conviction to those who are not vaccinated. Help each of us to keep our eyes upon You no matter what this illness does next. Be the center of our celebrations, no matter what tries to distract us. Amen.

How We Found Dr. Fauci

Remember how I posted that Dr. Fauci was missing? (https://wordpress.com/post/treasures-in-plain-sight.org/6922) Recently we retrieved all the Christmas storage boxes from our storage rental. We were anticipating whether or not Dr. Fauci would be in there. If not, he was lost and gone forever, (Clementine).

As soon as we placed the box in the car after we retrieved it from storage cube, I flipped this box open and there he was! Inside the candy cane turtle neck, cushioned in a towel! Yes, my instinct was correct. I had placed him in a Christmas box when moving. It had space and padding to keep him safe.

So once again, Dr. Fauci is here to encourage us to wash our hands, get our booster shot ( which we did weeks ago) and keep a safe distance from others. Doesn’t he look amazing, tidy and well-kept after months in a storage cube?

Even with variant, we believe in the science in contrast to the science fiction. We will get through this pandemic and eventually receive injections similar to the flu vaccine (which we have also gotten already this year) to keep us from deadly Covid-19 infection. Please love your fellow citizens enough to get your vaccine. Those who have suffered Covid-19 know this is nothing to fool around with. May you stay healthy and out of the hospital, never have to wear a ventilator, live long and prosper!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31

Dr. Fauci is Missing

I don’t know quite how to break this to you, so I will just say it outright. Dr. Fauci is missing.

During the height of the pandemic some of us had more ready cash than we were accustomed to having. Shopping in the local stores was reduced and most of us stayed in. In 2020 the State of Ohio (or someone) offered bobble-heads of Dr. Fauci and the Governor of Ohio, Mike De Wine. I have a friend who was 9 years old at the time and loved the Governor. I am married to a man of science (read employed 40 years in a hospital laboratory) and we like Dr. Fauci.

I figured the baseball guys have bobble-heads. I had never owned one, so why not? With my extra cash I purchased one the Governor for my friend and Dr. Fauci for us.

He adorned our dining room table for months. I was amused by his moving head. Carefully kept the materials he was packed in so when we wanted to store him it would be with care.

The nine year old loved his Governor De Wine bobble-head which he received for Christmas.

Then came the big house purchase and move. When it came time to pack Dr. Fauci I could not find his box. I searched and searched, but no luck. By then many boxes had been packed and sealed. I carefully wrapped him in tissue and bubble wrap, wanting to protect his bobbing mechanism.

Dr. Fauci is missing. We have emptied almost every single box. I now have the original box he arrived in. But Dr. Fauci is still missing!

Our man of science

Soon we will retrieve the Christmas decoration boxes from the storage bin we rent. Perhaps I put him in one of those? If not, I might have to purchase the new one they produced when he was named to the current President’s cabinet from Bobble head hall of fame.

We still believe in science over fiction. Vaccines save lives, as do boosters. Whether you understand his decision or not, please love your neighbor enough to get vaccinated.

I will let you know when we find him!

Everything Will be Alright

Been hearing this song. And then HEARING this song when the radio is not on so it was time to share with you!

At https://55promotion.com/music-spotlight/be-alright-by-evan-craft/the writer says: “Hey guys it’s Evan Craft. And I’m so excited to share with you my new song “Be Alright”. We actually wrote this song first in Spanish hoping to impact people around Latin America who were struggling with anxiety and depression. The response was so great that we decided to do it in English. So I called Danny Gokey and he said he wanted to be a part of it. We wrote this song and the lyrics were so powerful that I was crying in my kitchen writing them saying “Lord they say you hold the whole universe in your hands but my world’s falling apart like it is made of sand. Am I small enough to slip through the cracks?”

My home church has a terrible reputation of being awfully lacking at communication with the congregation about what is going on in our part of the Body of Christ. There was certainly NO improvement during the Pandemic crisis when the church meetings were curtailed. Even when services resumed, no improvement. As Bob and I continued to guard our health in preparation for moving we felt as if we literally had fallen through the cracks as far as our church was concerned.

We recently made the decision to leave that church. After 10 years of service it was a difficult decision to make. So the lyric about sand and falling through the cracks really hit me. We have not found a new church home yet, but feel certain that we will. With the rampant spread of the Delta variant we are reluctant to get out there in a small room singing with other people right now. For this period of time we are listening to various local preachers on line.

Take a listen. Then listen again. I remember my mom and her friend Norma singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” when I was a child. Still true today!

Delta Variant

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is sweeping the USA right now. It brings to mind things we thought we could forget.

CDC says all people should wear a mask again in crowded areas. Remember to have your mask with you. If you mask is homemade, remember to put the paper towel liner in it. I am telling myself these things again daily.

The hand wipes package in my car was getting low. Thought I might just go to a tiny package. With the Delta Variant I have once again taken a large package, poured alcohol into it and put it in my car, AGAIN. Washing my hands with those after every interaction in shops.

Many people are credited with saying, “The only certainty is the lack of certainty.” Plodding along with the rest of the world, hoping we all get smart and get this thing under control soon.

Does that mean it is risky to eat out in restaurants again? Oh geesh! we were so enjoying the return of that activity!

Another quote: “Wait it out. Be patient. Try to stay alive.”

“What can’t be cured must be endured.”

During the last go ’round I was trying to express what so many of us felt regarding the many deaths and our sense of helplessness to change things. One author wrote that a person ‘gave a shuddering sigh’. You know, that breath that does not inhale smoothly, like after a really hard cry? George MacDonald in 1905 wrote, “shuddered and breathed deep.”

I am trying to use wisdom regarding the Delta Variant. It is said that with full inoculation (which Bob and I have) we might catch the Delta Variant (more infectious than common cold) but are unlikely to require hospitalization. Bob’s Pulmonologist has told him to stay out of crowds. So we are thinking we need a return to regularly wearing masks, staying out of crowds, washing our hands, and praying those who have not had their vaccines will get them before another variant can pop up and spread among the peoples of the earth!! Another quote: “You can’t cure stupid.”

So many interviews on the evening news with people in hospital beds urging others to get the Covid shot. Almost all of them say they wish now they had gotten one before they got sick.

Like Lester Holt says, “Take care of one another!”

Covid-19 Vaccine TOGETHER

I am so thankful for each of the scientists who worked on producing the vaccines. Bob and I have both had 2 doses of the Pfizer brand. After the second dose we both had a couple days of feeling just crummy. Had already planned to lay low and let our bodies adjust. We are much better now.

I must admit, I have been cringing the past few months with all the ads on TV about the vaccine and showing those needles filled and up close, in arms, too.

When I was three or four I played jump rope with my sister and her friends. They were trying to get me to do double dutch.

I fell. I broke my leg. I rode in the backseat of the car many miles to the hospital. I was put in traction for 6 weeks. (Think 1954.) My father was in the same hospital with one of his many heart attacks. In 1954 there was not much they could do about heart disease. At one point they rolled our beds into the same room so I could see him. When I came home from Good Samaritan Hospital I was in love with the Sisters of Charity who took such good care of me. I am certain I learned the Presence of Jesus while there. I remember them holding my hand when the doctor was ready to cast my leg. The wraps were hot and I was so afraid.

Once home I was also terrified of white coats and needles. I was so fearful my parents could not tell me about any doctor appointment the night before because I would get very worked up. I worked for years to overcome all of that trauma. And I succeeded.

As to those ads showing the injection and those needles. I was more than unsettled knowing I would get that twice. I did okay. The first nurse to administer it did not do well. The second nurse was great.

We are still washing our hands. Avoiding crowds. Wearing our masks. Keeping our distance. But there is a sense of coming freedom!

We still need to keep well so we can get moved and unpacked! Bob says this virus will likely become like the flu. We will eventually get annual injections. We are both in high risk categories, but so grateful for the vaccine developers, nurses who administer the injection and the other people who actually get the injection to help keep it from spreading and killing people.

TOGETHER, yes, we are in this together and we can get through this TOGETHER. I praise God giving the scientific community the wisdom and methodology to develop these vaccines. I rejoice that He is able to keep us. I cannot answer the questions about those who died, and those who grieve their passing. I have been holding my breath afraid that Bob or I might die before we get this house built. So far, it looks as if we are moving there together.

Regardless, I will continue to praise my Lord and my God. He is “worthy to receive glory and honor and power for You created all things and by Your will they were created.” Revelation 4:11 NIV

This song keeps following me and I decided it fits right here. All along there was another in the fire. And He remains with us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

–Daniel 3:16-18, 25