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

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!”

Worth It

Tuesday this week I had my eyes dilated. If someone would create the eye drop to reverse that dilation they could make a fortune!! I SO dislike the experience and would pay extra for that reversal drop. I know the doctor wants to examine the back areas of my eyes. It is necessary, especially with Type 2 diabetes like mine. I get it. I just hate it later.

This afternoon I get my second Covid vaccine. Grateful for the development of the vaccine. Even after one dose I had to really watch myself to remember to mask up, clean my hands, keep my distance, especially from ones I love or haven’t seen for almost a year. Inklings of psychological freedom!

After the pneumonia injection I had a badly swollen arm for over a week. Hoping since I only had a mildly sore arm after #1 Covid shot I will have no reaction to the #2 shot. But even if I have side effects, it has to be better than contracting a potentially deadly virus. My husband and I are both high risk and we have been vigilant and most careful for the past year.

Please get your vaccination and stay safe! Even if you get the vaccine and catch the virus you are reportedly protected from the worst of the symptoms, probably protected from hospitalization and death. So worth it!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bob and I got our first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. It was a relief to get the process started. After a drive through cone at Dairy Queen we decided that since it was a pretty day we would go see if there was progress on the new construction. We hoped the slab had finally been poured.

Were we ever surprised! Yes, the slab had been poured, inspections done and framers were hard at work.

The crane is in front of our garage where the driveway will eventually go. The boards sticking out of the side of the house is the Master Bathroom. Other window is in the guest room..

Boards in this window locate the office for you. We will have two windows looking out on the street. The man with the orange ladder is standing inside our front entrance. Obviously, no door yet.

We went back the next day to take the guys some donuts and the roof trusses were on. Monday, March 1 the shingles were to be delivered. Hoping the weather will hold for them to get it shingled this week without getting drenched. We had 2 inches of rain yesterday! It is supposed to be drying out.

After that most progress will be hard to record in photos. The interior work from drywall to flooring will take the bulk of the next 10 weeks.

Today is the first showing of our home to one family who is here from out-of-town for a family emergency. Then we board the dog on Saturday and Sunday, the 6th – 7th, and let the public make appointments to see it. The housing market here is so tight that most properties go into a bidding war and sell within 48 hours. (We could not find a house to buy. That is why we chose to build.) The only stickler for our property is we are rigid about no occupancy by them until May 28.

Unless the Lord builds the house,

    the builders labor in vain.

Psalm 127:1

Thanks for joining us on this wild ride!

Chronic Pain

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.

-Helen Keller

I have had a chronic pain condition for so many years, at the moment I have lost track how many. I cope with that and osteoarthritis among other things. So hard to think when ill. Or plan, or organize two thoughts in a row. That would apply during a flare up. Then there is acute pain. Usually short lived like a broken arm or smashed thumb in a door. Lately I have had a “virus” that was going around. Now we are into week 3 and the thing has settled into what seems to be an ear infection. Blood work is fine. Second Covid test is negative. I still feel like I’ve been hit by a dump truck.

Trying to stay cheerful is difficult. Trying to carry on as usual, forget it. No appetite, dizzy, nauseous and never mind … the list is too long.

The world is full of suffering and of overcoming. I often console myself remembering that I do not live in a refugee camp. I am not living in the tent I saw in the woods the other day. I am a woman who is loved and safe and this, too, will pass, eventually.

Helen was about the same age as my paternal Grandmother. Thank you, whoever saved Helen Keller’s quotes. We all need to be reminded that we have sources within ourselves or ways we can learn to cope and overcome. Some days you just need to stay in bed!

Reading and Current Events

I have a message every Friday from Book Bub. I signed up a couple years ago. You tell them your favorite genre and they send you suggestions of books from free to $2 or $3. Their self-description reads: ” BookBub is a free service that helps millions of readers discover books they’ll love while providing publishers and authors with a way to drive sales and find new fans. Upon joining, members receive unbeatable deals selected by our expert editorial team, handpicked recommendations from people they trust, and real-time updates from their favorite authors. BookBub works with all major ebook retailers and devices, and partners with thousands of the industry’s leading publishers and authors to promote their books. BookBub was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.”

So currently I am reading “Light From Distant Stars” a novel by Shawn Smucker. Last night I read “Cohen wonders what it’s like to monitor so closely the mortality of strangers, to watch as death gathers them up, sometimes slowly, stretched out over days or weeks, and sometimes in a moment, before anyone can catch their breath.” As most of you know this virus mortality is taking an enormous toll upon the health care workers. Even the fictional medical TV shows are portraying their difficulties with so many people dying alone with only the health care worker to hold their hand and comfort them in their final time on earth. Yes, they are heros.

Isn’t it interesting that this book published in 2019 about a man’s father dying struck so close to home in Ohio in 2021?

Predictions are that a total 450,000 Americans might die before mid-February. Thank goodness most who are diagnosed have mild symptoms and are not likely to die from Covid-19.

So what is a woman to do? Have not been well for several days. I can’t tell if I have had mild food poisoning and a sinus infection or Covid-19. So this morning I went to get tested (Monday 1-18-21). They did a drive through test. Came to the car and swabbed my throat. When I called my daughter to tell her I was tested (so if it is positive she won’t be surprised) found out her household is not well either. Her husband ran a low grade temperature yesterday and isolated himself. The teenage Grandgirls did not feel well when they went to bed. Being a day off school they were sleeping in as usual. Emily has had Covid, but not feeling well herself. So either we all have sinus infections, or whatever. (Update: one Grandgirl tested positive.)

I have no fever, but our friends in New Mexico tested positive and never had fevers. If my test is positive (2-7 days for results) I might list my symptoms for you. I have not had a combination that screams YES! for Covid-19.

I have five of the above.

Try to stay well! Here are some ideas I have collected about Covid. “Wait it out. Be patient. Try to stay alive.” “What can’t be cured must be endured.”