Stand Look Ask

Thus says the Lord:

Stand at the crossroads, and look,

    and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way lies; and walk in it,

    and find rest for your souls.

But they said, “We will not walk in it.”

Jeremiah 6:16 NRSV

I have been familiar with this passage for many years. When I had the recent pain flare it was brought back to my mind. As I seek ways to cope I keep remembering this passage. Stand. Look. Ask. Walk. Find rest.

Seems simple enough. I do not want to be part of the folks who said, “We will not walk in it.” Just like my life verse Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:

In returning and rest you shall be saved;

    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

But you refused

Isaiah 30:15

I do not want to refuse in things the Lord asks of me. So yes, I will seek medical advice, but I will also look to the Lord for guidance and instruction on how to cope with this part of aging. When Bob worked in the hospital as a Medical Technologist part of his job was to go on the floor and draw blood specimens early each morning. He often had to wake the patients to do that. He asked a man one morning how he was doing. The gentleman replied, “Well, I woke up on the right side of the grass!” We have taken that as one of our bywords when aging and illness throws us for a loop. The alternative would be to not finish out the stories going on in our lives and the lives of those we love. So even when we are miserable, we are grateful to keep on living.

Next time you are stymied in your life perhaps Jeremiah could guide you, too. Can’t hurt to try that as your prayer guide when frustrated. Ask God. He will show you the ancient way, where the good path lies. Please, do not join the ranks of those who said “We will not walk in it” or outright refuse His help.

Various Quotes

I make notes as I read and come across things I want to use in this blog. When I go back to review them I often wish I had expounded with a few key words to prompt myself. Nevertheless, the quotes usually move me even if I do not recall the original impact they had upon me.

Many of my quotes come from Gratefulness.org. I get a daily thought from them. They draw from across faiths and races and countries to find the best ones to use. I am always amazed at the similarities among faiths and peoples irregardless of the differences!

When we trust our creativity we encounter a supreme kind of enjoyment – an amazement at the natural unfolding of life beyond our ordinary way of looking at things.

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Like I was saying, an amazing unfolding of life beyond my ordinary way of looking at things!

In August of 2018 (as now) I was struggling to adjust to a loss of strength and stamina. Chronic pain has a way of draining you. What you took for granted yesterday may prove to be quicksand today. How to adapt to this ever-changing landscape? I was sent the following quote that day.

Loss makes artists of us all as we weave new patterns in the fabric of our lives.

Greta W. Crosby
Early morning in Winter

Saw family doc about pain. I am okay with Tylenol dose I am taking. She has referred me to pain management doctor. I will try my best to keep weaving new patterns from the pain changes.

I think over again my small adventures, my fears, those small ones that seemed so big, all those vital things I had to get and to reach, and yet there is only one great thing: to live and see the great day that dawns, and the light that fills the world.

Old Inuit Song

What in your life is calling you, when all the noise is silenced, the meetings adjourned … the lists laid aside, and the wild iris blooms by itself in the dark forest … what still pulls on your soul?

Rumi

That quote I noted as “Why I Write.” To capture my experiences with God in words, to try to tell you what life with the Trinity is like for me, that is what pulls on my soul. Ben Palpant teaches writers to “get comfortable with words like your fork.” After age 6 or so most of us don’t give much thought to how we use our fork. Just can we get it to our mouth? I want my words to get to your heart, your soul, your mind. I want words that will transport you to a deeper, richer place with holiness.

I also make notes as I notice things when we are driving around. “Low-lying black clouds were shifting in thick, grotesque shapes across a fat full moon.” Too bad I had no photo for that one! Perhaps reading it again you can make the photo in your mind?

How about driving home during a winter dusk I saw “Blood red sky through the trees. V8 juice with swizzle sticks.” Again, have to make your own picture in your mind.

Hope your day is enjoyable!

Increasing Discomfort

Can you imagine the tree the above stump supported? The root system must have been mighty and wide spreading! When I remember myself as young woman I am amazed how strong and full of vitality I was. I tell young people I meet, “You have no idea how strong you are!”

It is difficult when living with chronic illness to discuss comfort and discomfort. My chronic pain disorder makes it rare that I can say I am comfortable. I have noticed lately that my discomfort is rising. Last few weeks, there is more pain than usual. Headaches harder to ignore. You know how they tell you not to take Tylenol long term? Yeah, well, I take it daily, usually 4 times a day. So until I can discuss this with my doc what to do?

Usually after I wallow a bit I turn to Scripture for help. This morning I was lead to listen to parts of Ephesians which our pastor quoted in his sermon on Sunday. Pastor did not read this, but here was the verse that rang out to me this morning.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 

Ephesians 6:10

Left to myself I cannot write this blog. Left to my own power I cannot walk out a life with chronic illness. Hand in hand with my Savior, I can do things through His mighty power. His power, not mine. Never for one moment do I think that my power sustains me. For a time in my life I SO disliked this verse in Corinthians.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

I did not think at that time I wanted the grace as much as I wanted my own strength. Young, foolish woman. I did not realize that my weakness would increase and increase as I aged. And my strength was not worthy to be compared with that grace which He promises would flourish in my weakness.

So here I am at the keyboard again to address some things that I have learned in living with Chronic illness. From my flood of ideas …

Fears can lose some power if you name them. So name them, even if it is difficult to use your hands right now. On the iPhone the notes app (looks like paper pad with yellow bar on top) the app has a microphone. You can dictate your list. The app will even create a numbered list. It takes courage to face these things, but you can do this! Better than wasting energy in dreading. Face this moment with courage. Then use your list as a

Much of my suffering has stemmed from realizing there is something I used to do and can no longer accomplish. Temporarily removed or permanently these things cause a very real form of grief. Grief needs to be felt and then let out. So I name it. Perhaps record all the things I loved about that activity. And then slowly take a step towards current reality. And look at the new circumstances squarely. What can I do even with limitations? How might that be tolerable? (Usually for me the first thing is to quit bitchin’ about distaste.) I had to learn that acceptance does not equal approval. Someone said,’Wishin’ comes easy. Change don’t.”

Acceptance ≠ Approval

What can I value about myself, right here and right now, regardless of current abilities? There is no shame allowed in illness. None of us sets out to be sick. No sane child says, “I want to be crippled with physical limitations when I grow up.” We do not plan for this and many of us kick against the change in fortune instead of learning how to accommodate our own needs. Be gentle with yourself.

We have all seen images of devastation on television be it from landslides, hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunamis or storms of wind, ice, snow, sand, torrential rain. Pick your image. When people ask, “How are you?” – and they will one thousand times – decide your answer. Few sincerely want to know. I have been tempted to say, “I’m okay except for my recent tsunami!” Being able to describe your experience with an image is helpful for yourself, though perhaps not others. Actually, it works nicely to say, “I am well.” Even if feeling like a train wreck physically, I am usually well in my center point with Christ. Looks are deceiving. Many are suffering all around you.

None of us is getting out of here alive, unless of course the Lord comes this week. It is just how we go that seems to matter at the end. Will you be kicking and screaming or slipping into the arms of Jesus and His holy angels with a smile on your face? Not a false face, but one of contentment.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:6-7

Godliness with contentment, great gain. Acceptance ≠ Approval. There is a television show entitled “This is Us.” I pray that your version of the program will be filled with contentment, peace and acceptance of your life as it is now. Cling to hope.

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.

Barbara Kingsolver “Hope: An Owners Manual”

A Few Ways to Cope with Chronic Illness

Remember my brainstorm of things I might share with my friend? Here are a few more.

Have you ever deliberately turned to face the Lord? Once on retreat I determined to hold His hand and stay with Him. It was my practice for a few hours and changed me forever. We are invited by His Spirit to do these things every day.

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

Isaiah 41:13 NIV

Turn to face the Lord. Determine to stay with Him. Hold His hand.

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, photo by r m dutina

Do you remember recently when I quoted Rick Hansen, PhD, from his book “Just One Thing”? The post is here https://wordpress.com/post/treasures-in-plain-sight.org/7643

One of his ways of bringing us back to the present moment is in Chapter 42, page 173. “Notice You’re All Right Right Now.” My summary along with other methods I have learned follows. Look at this present moment. Notice you have been breathing through all these health changes. Breathe now. Intentionally. Breathe again, here in this moment. Keep breathing. Are you still there, present in this moment? If you drifted away come back. Kindly be right here, now. This is a practice that can increase your capacity for mindfulness. There have been many, many studies that prove the health benefits of learning mindfulness.

I wrote a poem once about my experience when I was diagnosed with chronic illness. The refrain is, “Pray that I don’t panic. Pray I can be still. Pray that I can find God in the midst of being ill.” It is extremely difficult to focus on ANYTHING when we do not feel good. Mindfulness practice can help us. Brother Lawrence taught we are to speak to God all day long about everything. That is easier to accomplish if you are not panicked, distracted, racing about with catastrophizing, etc. (“Catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion that prompts people to jump to the worst possible conclusion, usually with very limited information or objective reason to despair.”)

In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” Viktor Frankl wrote,”Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Frankl suffered with many others in a Nazi prison camp. The man knows suffering. We get to choose our attitudes towards what is going on with our health, or any other situation.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

I cannot change the multiple diagnoses of chronic health conditions that I have. I can however determine to challenge myself to find ways to cope and reasons to live on, preferably with joy and gladness.

Stunned by Bad News

I have a friend who was recently stunned by bad news medically. A serious diagnosis that has no cure. I have tried to encourage and walk with her through a months-long process of getting to this point. The diagnosis is not even certain as it is one of those autoimmune things that defies diagnosis by mimicking so many other illnesses. So what can I offer her next?

That night as I was preparing for bed and praying for her I suddenly remembered when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia many years ago. At that time there was much less known about Fibro and Bob and I were pretty much on our own to figure it out. I read everything I could. I tried to learn about this mystery illness. First, however, I had to cope with the weeks and months of getting back up on my feet again. We were a family of four with 2 young children and one husband working full time and often on call. I needed to function!

I hope to spend some time the next couple weeks blogging about what I discovered that helped me during those dark days. The night she shared the news with me when I got in bed to read on my iPad there came a flood of coping ideas. I typed with one finger until I thought I might need to get up and write at my desk!

One thing my friend had shared was about a neighbor couple who both got Covid after being exposed to extended family at Christmas. Neighbor woman is recovering. He was hospitalized. He finally was released from the hospital and two days later he died at home. When you have your own terrible news, the grief of others can put you in a tailspin. Where your heart would have been empathetic before, now their dark and dismal splashes over into your dark and dismal. Suddenly it can all be too much to take. From similar experiences, I learned to try to guard my heart.

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23 NIV

Send a sympathy card, but be certain to keep your matters from flowing into the streams of others. Grief can come with illness. I will write on that another day.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV

Another struggle is when the “What if’s” and “If onlys” try to take over. Fretting and worry over the future and the past are like a lioness with her kill. You do not want to get in her way! Some call it “stinkin’ thinkin.” I experienced it with things like, “What if I cannot continue to raise my children?” “How can I be a good wife to Bob if I am weak and in bed all the time?” “What if pain takes over my life?” We are told to be alert and sober minded, aware of our thoughts.

The New Testament has advice on that. If you will do this it will save you from untold trouble.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

Rather than swirl in a centrifuge of negative thoughts trying to push them down and forget them, I eventually found it helpful to list those thoughts. To examine them in the Light of Christ. It takes effort to become aware of your thoughts. Especially in this society that does not value self-examination. No one knows my thoughts except me and God. He is omniscient. “Nothing is hidden from Him with whom we have to do.”

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Hebrews 4:13 NIV

Uncovering my negative thoughts takes much power from them. Learning how they make me feel is powerful, too. When I start getting ‘that way’ I now can often recognize where the discomfort is coming from and put a stop to it. I have to do the work. God enables me but does not accomplish it for me. I do not serve a fairy godmother who will whisk away every negative thing from me.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Psalm 105:4 NIV

In the struggle after a shock knocks you down, that struggle to get your feet under yourself again, I cannot stress how important it is to turn and face the Lord. Determine to stay with Him, come what may. Hold His hand.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

Psalm 73:23 NIV

Guard your heart. Take your thoughts captive to Christ. Turn and face the Lord. Hold onto His hand. Does that seem like too much to do? The ideas can be put on a 3 x 5 card and practiced when you have nothing else pressing. Over time, with practice they are certain to keep you from getting worse mentally in the midst of bad news.

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.

Every Moment Holy Quote

I was in a situation the other day where acute and chronic pain were doing a dance. Frenetic tap dancing I would say since I do not truly understand tango – and tango seems to be a love dance. One area calls for attention and then acute throbs. First one recedes and another pops up. Like pinball pain, ding-ding-ding, someone hits the flipper and it catapults pain here there and everywhere. What to do when this occurs? First try to draw close to God as He soothes and even at times relieves the situation. I know from experience that trying to determine how I caused this is a futile waste of time and energy.

Realized I was agonizing over my situation while journaling and had failed to do my pastor’s challenge to FIRST THING every morning write 5 gratitudes. Oops, I entertained flesh over discipline there. So I stopped and began to write the five. Then with compassion admitted I do not feel well. Confessed it is hard to focus on the Lord and “Hard to focus on anything” when I get like this. Asked for guidance.

Turned to Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young on my iPad. “I want you to learn a new habit. Try saying “I trust You, Jesus,” in response to whatever happens to you.” It goes on to say I am to view events from the perspective of God’s universal and sovereign control, letting fear lose it’s grip. (See Jesus Calling, January 4).

Then I realized that warfare has been raging here for a couple days. (Why do I not recognize it as soon as it begins?) So I was careful to pray the armor of God and Blood of Jesus over me. I journaled, “The matrix of life spins and unfolds. I am held in Your hands. Centered in You nothing can touch me. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”

Show wondrously Your acts of loyal love,

O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand

from those who rise up against them.

Keep me as the apple of Your eye

hide me in the shadow of Your wings

from the presence of the wicked who destroy me,

those enemies against my life,

they that surround me.

Psalm 17:7-9

Then I turned to a new favorite gift that Dan sent me a few months ago. “Every Moment Holy”, Volume 1, A Liturgy for the Feeling of Infirmities.” Liturgy used with permission.

Art by Ned Bustard, also available for purchase at same site
"We were not made for mortality but for immortality;
our souls are ever in their prime,
and so the faltering of our physical bodies
repeatedly takes us by surprise.

"The aches, the frailties, the injuries, the
impositions of vexing disease and worsening
condition are unwelcome evidences of our
long exile from the Garden.

"Even so, may the inescapable decline
of our bodies here not be wasted.
May it do its tutoring work, inclining
our hearts and souls ever more vigorously
toward Your coming kingdom, O God.

"While we rightly pray for healing and relief
and sometimes receive the respite
of such blessings, give us also patience
for the enduring of whatever hardships
our journeys entail."

Five stanzas remain. You can purchase the entire liturgy for $1.00 from Rabbit Room at https://www.everymomentholy.com/liturgies#free. Scroll down the page to Individual Liturgies for Purchase, Liturgies for Sorrow and Lament. In drop down window “A Liturgy for” select Feelings of Infirmity. Place in cart. Pay one dollar.

How does this help? My attention and focus have now moved from helplessness at my dilemma to looking to Jesus. When the acute jumps for attention this day I can say, “I trust You, Jesus.” I am reminded that Scripture is still true.

Even to your old age and gray hairs

I am He, I am He who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4 NIV

And then this passage seems to respond as my heartfelt prayer.

Even when I am old and gray,

do not forsake me, my God,

till I declare Your power to the next generation,

Your mighty acts to all who are to come.

Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,

You who have done great things.

Who is like You, God?

Psalm 71:18-19 NIV

And I hear this song of worship that brings me to stillness.

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.

Love This Art About Giving Thanks

Leprosy was a dreaded disease in Jesus’ time and still exists today. The World Health Organization site at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/leprosy says “Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. Leprosy is curable and treatment in the early stages can prevent disability.” Here is the story from Luke when there was no known cure.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Luke 17:11-19 NIV

As they went, they were cleansed.” The healing was not instantaneous. Only one turned back and thanked Him. Are you the one who gives thanks?

James Christensen

“As he did with The Widow’s Mite, James Christensen interprets one of the Bible’s more powerful stories and presents us with an image of elegance, grace and beauty. At the same time he engages us in one of the higher promises of art: provoking thought. In fact, the art of reflection is at the core of the painting’s message.

“The Ten Lepers were a group of men cured of their disease through one of Christ’s miracles. Their tattered wrappings suggest what was, until this moment, their illness. Of the ten, nine are too preoccupied celebrating their new lease on life to think of anything else, much yet thank him. The tenth, at this moment, grasps truly what has occurred. He is the only one that returns to acknowledge the Master.

“This image provides an inspiring reminder to take a moment from our fast-paced world and reflect on what we have to be thankful for. And, just as importantly, to take the time to show this gratitude.

Showing gratitude is important for our souls. As the commentator above stated, “Take a moment from our fast-paced world and REFLECT on what we have to be thankful for. And, just as importantly, to the TAKE TIME TO SHOW THIS GRATITUDE.”

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