Give This Thought and Practice

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.

Omar Khayyam

This moment. Right now. Just now.

How many of us even think about that idea? We are so far off in “If only” and “What if” that we are usually barely conscious of right now. But we can be conscious of right now? We most likely will have to train ourselves to do this present moment thinking. I cannot overstate the benefits!

Can you stay focused on God for more than a moment?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30 NIV

This moment is your life and your chance to love the Lord your God. This moment. Right now. Just now. Many people before us have tried multiple methods to accomplish this. What is your method? Have you developed a practice towards keeping happily with His presence in each moment? Turn your heart towards Him as you sip iced tea or hot coffee? As you walk through a door frame do you remember you are walking in His presence.

There are countless methods to mind the moments. What is yours? As we turn our hearts and minds continuously towards the Trinity we will find more satisfaction and happiness in each moment. Take the challenge for yourself. Practice His presence and find ways to be happy in this moment with Him.

Recently I was hit with a bout of nausea and other sickly symptoms. I had to stop everything I was doing to cope with my body and symptoms. Talking with a dear cousin she also was ill for a few days. She mentioned that she just cried out to the Father, “I know You have taken care of me and met all of my needs. I know You will do that just now, even while I am not feeling well.” And indeed, God did. Though she was not as energetic as usual, she was able to take care of herself and her attitude by staying conscious of God’s good care.

“Be happy for this moment.” Were either one of us happy to be sickly? Absolutely not! Rather than wasting time awfulizing or bemoaning our state of being we both made a decision to stay aware of our good Father and invite Him into the situation.

Photo by Valentina Ivanova on Unsplash

Book entitled The Lost

The quote below is from a novel I read recently. The wisdom of the LORD seems to show up in so many places!

The battle’s in here.’ Sunni tapped a finger against Jonah’s temple as he pushed himself upright on the bench. ‘Pain’s just your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong. It’s how you deal with it that matters.’ It was just hard to believe that when it hurt so much.

The Lost by Simon Beckett

The novelist knows that our biggest battle is between our ears. Whether it is bodily pain or the facts of life. Struggling with physical pain can be especially difficult. We can get lost in the facts and rumors and dismal dashing of hopes. What does the New Testament say about that?

 … for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NRSV

We have the power to take every one of our thoughts captive to obey Christ. Are we using that power to His glory and for our well-being? Yes, it is a big job, but we are given what we need to accomplish it.

In my experience if I am willing to use the weapons given me to take every thought captive to obey Christ the experience can be like falling dominoes (or that series that Dan likes so much where one action causes other actions., Gabe somebody?)

Nope, I found it!

Wikipedia says: “Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970), known best as Rube Goldberg, was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor.

Goldberg is best known for his popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets performing simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. The cartoons led to the expression “Rube Goldberg machines” to describe similar gadgets and processes.”

I take a negative or disquieting thought into the Light of Christ. Jesus, the Spirit of Truth, shines His light upon the thought. It can no longer hold darkness of untruth. That makes a whole sequence of things predicated upon that thought to come to the Light of Christ and be made captive unto Him. My thoughts change as each is taken captive. Maybe oversimplification, but I hope you get the idea.

Here is a Rube Goldberg video to illustrate how things can pass.

So what thought holds you captive? Are you willing to take it captive through the weapons of warfare you have been given? Do you want to see the sequence it controls fall to the LORD?

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’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs 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)

Where is God?

As you can see in the above picture by Missy Cummings, He was purported to dwell in the cloud by day and the fire by night, the Tabernacle, then a couple of Temples, and now indwells you. Can you get your mind around that idea?

This absolutely flies in the face of separation regarding us and the Lord God Almighty. He is not “The big man upstairs.” He is not just God of the Bible stories. Jesus made a way for Him to dwell within you, to abide, tarry, stay.

Bob was recently musing on the Gospel of John and these verses.

‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:20-23 RSV

Do you desire this sort of oneness with the Father and the Son? Perhaps you shudder at this level of intimacy with them? Many people want the idea of separateness – God separate from us – as the Word says in John 3:19 people love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Saints have been trying to teach us for generations that having God dwell in us is a heavenly gift. Julian of Norwich born 1342 and died 1416 was a celebrated author and mystic. She taught:

“Greatly ought we to rejoice that God dwells in our soul; and more greatly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwells in God. Our soul is created to be God’s dwelling place, and the dwelling of our souls is God, who is uncreated. It is a great understanding to see and know inwardly that God, who is our Creator, dwells in our soul, and it is a far greater understanding to see and know inwardly that our soul, which is created, dwells in God in substance, of which substance, though God, we are what we are.” ~ Julian of Norwich

~Julian of Norwich

“Between God and the soul there is no between.”

~Julian of Norwich

How do you interpret that in your own life? Read those 2 quotes again and ponder what they might mean for you 2023. If you love God and have accepted Jesus as His Son, He has come to dwell in you. We recently sang, “O come, o come, Emmanuel.” And He has come! Jesus was born a man, died for all men and rose again to be seated at the right hand of the Father. He has accomplished His work and has sent the promise of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us who believe. There is no between God and the soul.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

Ephesians 3:16-17 TLB

If, like me, you are facing another year of physical struggle, I pray you will take the above verses to heart. Ask the Father repeatedly to empower you with inner strength. Invite Christ to make His home in you and TRUST in Him. Help us all, Lord, to grow our roots deep into Your love and make us strong.

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.

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.

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’s 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: “…a powerful and moving portrait of an artist.”

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!

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.

“Hearken 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, “Every person I work with is dying. Only a few are aware of it.” 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.

Home Again

Like that Christmas tree image? By the time you read this we will be home for ten days! And more than likely have hit the ground running!

So where does that idiom come from?

The first is that it comes from troops in combat. They must start running as soon as they get off a plane, train, or other automobile, so that they don’t get shot. It is believed that in World War II, paratroopers were given this command as to what to do when they landed.

The second theory is that it comes from hobos and stowaways on a train. They must begin to run as soon as they jump from the train, so that they don’t get caught.

The third theory is that it comes from the Pony Express. This was an early way to deliver mail by horseback in America. The riders had to be fast so they would ride their horses quickly and “hit the ground running” when changing to a fresh horse in order to avoid delays.

However it started, the expression saw a surge in popularity in the 1970s and has seen widespread use ever since.

What have we been up to? Small group meeting, Church, helping a young bridal attendant to get her dress sewn just the way she wants it (no bra showing), wrapping gifts, get groceries after travel and before family gathering, Bob medical procedure, Bob doctor appointment, Bob second cataract surgery with complication to be addressed by a second surgeon (back to back docs), Bob follow-up with docs after eye surgeries, making those lists and checking them twice, laundry from traveling, wedding, plan that family celebration on December 18th (Oh! that is when this will post).

Whew! Not certain that travel in December is my first choice, but there you have it! We had tickets we had to use before December 31. Maybe next time we will go to New York for New Years and stay in our room instead of clamoring on Times Square!

Running like troops in combat? Well the enemy of our souls would like for no one to know about the birth of the Light of the world born in a manger, yet we declare that very Light is the Light of the world.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 ESV

Hobos and stowaways? Yes, not of the world but in it to give testimony to God.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

John 15:19 NIV

Hit the ground running like the Pony Express riders? Yes, but not before asking God for direction and guidance.

And then God answered: “Write this.
    Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
    so that it can be read on the run.

This vision-message is a witness
    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 The Message

If you, too, have hit the ground running this season, remember to watch and pray as you go forward. God is always with you to lead, guide, comfort and provide! Obedience to Him is paramount if your efforts are to succeed.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

John 1:4, 9 NIV

Best News in A Long Time!!

Bob was bemoaning another pre-op physical. It will be too many days between his first cataract surgery and his second, more extensive cataract and eye surgery in December. So they require another physical. He went to the doc, got check up with nurse practitioner and blood work. (Will we ever see the actual doctor again?!?)

When the results came in he was thrilled, (me, too!). The kidney values were normal and the best he has ever had since his serious illness in 2018!! His kidneys are completely healed!

If you know someone who has ever experienced kidney failure in the midst of sepsis you realize how important this is. At first in 2018 when they put him on dialysis there was no indication how long he would need the multiple times a week treatment. Perhaps for the remainder of his life? Slowly his kidneys showed signs of beginning to function. Very slowly. Then gradually he was told he no longer needed dialysis. He was cautioned to be very careful with salt intake, certain medications, even over the counter ones, etc.

So he has been very conscientious since then. Now this good news! Best reason I have ever heard for repeated physical check ups!

All glory to “Jehovah Rapha”: the God Who Heals. I do not understand how He heals or why He sometimes chooses not to heal, but each time I see His healing touch I am moved to worship.

Jehovah-Rapha has the power to heal physically (2 Kings 5:10), emotionally (Psalm 34:18), mentally (Daniel 4:34), and spiritually (Psalm 103:2–3). Neither impurity of body nor impurity of soul can withstand the purifying, healing power of Jehovah-Rapha.

Decades Ago

The photo that opened this post is my favorite Veteran. My Dad, Paul Arthur Rush, served in World War II. He was a navy signalman on several different battleships. Sadly, he died in 1961 from heart disease. There was not much in the way of treatment for heart disease at that time. Mom always told the story, “The doctors told him to quit smoking, quit drinking and quit hunting. His response was that he would rather be dead.” Sadly I was only eleven when he got his desired end.

Sort of amusing that the former navy signalman is playing with my Dennis the Menace puppet!

I cannot begin to express how much I have missed him over the ensuing 61 years. Here I am right before his funeral.

Since that many years have passed it is difficult to recall many details about my dad. People used to think I looked just like him. As I grew older, old family friends decided I looked just like my mom. Go figure. Dad and I did have a similar sense of humor.

I remember him letting me put his hair in pin curls while he watched TV once. He liked pretzels and candy, especially bulls-eyes.

On a run to the Pony Keg to get more beer with a friend, he would let me buy candy. When they read his will I asked if I could have the change they mentioned for candy. The room erupted in laughter. I do not think I ever got the coins.

AARP Magazine for October/November 2022 Has a Heart Disease Brief that reads: “3D view of Coronary Arteries, For people with chest pain, shortness of breath or signs of heart blockage, an FDA-cleared test called HeartFlow FFRct Analysis can provide a three-dimensional look at the arteries of the heart without an invasive imaging procedure. Studies show the test can help identify who does – and doesn’t – need more invasive tests and treatments.”

Dad’s favorite piece of classical music

I have one book that I know he owned. “Stories of Great Artists” with a copyright of 1903. His name is written inside the cover. His brother Howard is written inside the back cover along with mine. No other marks inside the book. I have always wondered if one of the works of art in the book was his favorite?

After his death I was forlorn. That also sent me on my quest for someone to fill his place. No one could. Then I truly began to turn to God as my Father. God my Father has never disappointed or abandoned me. I still miss my Dad though.

I have outlived both of my parents. Dad was 46 when he died. Mom was 61. I think we never appreciate our parents as much when they are alive as after they are gone. May they rest in peace.