The Power We All Have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Chosen

The Logo from the series depicts the followers of Christ swimming against the stream of society.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 RSV

Have you watched any of The Chosen television series about the life of Jesus and His disciples? We have enjoyed it. We saw the first two episodes of Season 3 at the theater, but have not started Season 3 on the television yet. I purchased the first two seasons on DVD and we have been watching them again. We figured we missed so much that we should enjoy them again! Then we will catch up in Season 3.

One of the first things I noticed was the opening theme song. I had never caught the words and I love to know lyrics. Below is the YouTube link to hear the song if you want to follow along with the lyrics.

Walk on the Water Lyrics

[Intro]
Oh, oh oh oh
Oh, yeah

[Verse]
Oh, child, come on in
Jump in the water
Got no trouble with the mess you been
Walk on the water

[Chorus]
Oooh, oooh
Walk on the water
Aaah
Walk on the water
Oh, child
Walk on the water
Got no trouble
Walk on the water
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Walk on the water

Jesus ‘got no trouble with the mess you been.” If we are sincere in our repentance His grace and forgiveness are ours. We repent – turn and go the other way – and follow Him doing the Father’s will.

In the video Jesus told his cousin John the Baptist, “I am always ready to do my Father’s will, but it does not make it easy.” Such truth! Doing the Father’s will is usually not easy. Except the part where I am asked to love Jesus. That part is easy. When I resist what is asked of me, He disarms me with His love and I love Him all the more. Then my resistance tends to dissolve and I follow in obedience.

I am not to the part where my faith allows me to follow Him and walk on the water, but I am not keeping score as to who does what. I just want to be His living sacrifice, ‘holy and acceptable to God, which is (my) spiritual worship.’ Romans 12:1 RSV

The study notes in my Bible say “We must lay our bodies on the altar of sacrifice to God just as Abraham tied his son Isaac to the altar.”

If you are struggling with knowing God I pray you will find the encouragement you need to seek Him and find Him.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Rain and More Rain

I awoke at 4:15 AM and the forecast rain had not yet begun. At 6:20 when woke up again it was pouring. Evidently I slept through the thunder and lightning at 5ish. Bob said Lucky came to him for comfort, (she is terrified of storms). He reached over the side of the bed and pet her trembling furry self for a while. When he stopped she jumped up onto the bed and landed on his face. I slept through it.

As I got my coffee and tried to shake off the sleepiness, I kept thinking of the story from Ezekiel in Chapter 47.

Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple towards the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate that faces towards the east and the water was coming out on the south side.

Going on eastwards with a cord in his hand, the man measured one thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured one thousand, and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured one thousand, and led me through the water; and it was up to the waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be crossed. He said to me, ‘Mortal, have you seen this?’

Then he led me back along the bank of the river. As I came back, I saw on the bank of the river a great many trees on one side and on the other. He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes,[b] every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. 10 People will stand fishing beside the sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim; it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.’

Ezekiel 47:1-12 NRSVA

No, I do not understand all of the passage; however, John Eldredge also mentions it in his book Resilient. He purports that the water is the provision of God just like in the Living Water mentioned by Jesus in John 7.

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”’

John 7:37-38 NRSVA

Water flowing from the temple Ezekiel saw, water flowing from our hearts. Revelation mentions water flowing from the Throne of God in the new heaven and the earth.

Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 

Revelation 21:6 NRSVA

In America some of us are currently obsessed with bottled water and where it originates from. I would ask, “Is there a flow of living water in your heart? Where does it originate from? How fresh is it? Does it give life? Have you tended to the stream bed lately?”

“Water as a gift from the spring of the water of life,” that is the water I desire the most! Father help me ask for this water repeatedly from You. Help me use Your living water to refresh myself and others.

Humor and Thanks, God

So here is (not the best photo) of Brody. My daughter’s family adopted this VERY long legged hound. He has enormous eyes and legs that look just too long for his body. He hangs around the kitchen all the time hoping for a morsel to drop his way. He is tall enough to grab things off the counter.

Another Brody snapshot.

During Advent he was hanging around the kitchen while my daughter and Grandaughter began to prepare the family favorite coffee cake for Christmas morning feasting. Someone hit the wrong button an the Kitchenaid mixer. This is Brody, the dark hound dog, after the flour was flying!

Brody, black and brown dog, battered and ready for frying?

Forget footprints in the sand, Sparky (dog #2) above left foot prints in the flour.

Enjoy!!

 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB

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!

When the Forecast was BIG STORM

If you can, play this song while you read the poem. As I wrote I heard this melody, not for the first time. I really like it. Yes, our Redeemer helps His creation.

A Big Storm, Possible Blizzard Predicted © Molly Lin Dutina 2022

When my bladder wakes me
I must check outside
2:45 AM the blizzard made drifts
Inches high along the sliding glass door
Windows framed in ice at their rims
Daybreak shows leaves
As they tumble over the snow-pack
Streets have one lane cleared
Snow removal men made a plow pass
Spreading salt in their wake
"No sense doing anything else,"
Weatherman told us, 
“It is just going to blow all over the place today”

The wild birds are grateful for the full feeders
Little birds welcome red-bellied woodpeckers
Big beaks are able to loosen frozen seeds
Below zero temperatures 
Wind chills double digits below zero
Make us all bundle up
Hurry outdoors for a moment and then back in

Jack Frost is not merely painting today
He will likely destroy flesh if it
Lingers out of doors
Mourning dove not moving 
Out bedroom window as I dress
Mourning dove wing feather
Ruffles in the wind
Or did it move?
Same mourning dove not moving out kitchen window
Is mourning dove dying in bitter cold?
Should I bundle up and get the shoe box
From the garage and bring it in to thaw in garage?

I am about convinced to get boots, hat, coat, scarf, gloves
My breakfast hurriedly eaten
Errand of mercy or folly
Help that helpless bird
And I notice it has moved a few inches up the garden hill
I watch with bated breath
Will it live without my help?

Suddenly it flies off into the trees!
How do they survive this frigid weather?
Even the fur covered dog is unhappy
And yet, those feathered birds
Both large and small
Are out there all day and all night
Temperature last night was all the way up to 4 degrees
Dog and I together with all my winter wear
Likely could not have survived it.

Father, Your wonders of creation continue
And continue
And continue again to amaze me!

Songs I Need to Sing!

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

It still gives me chills!!

Now I find myself needing to sing this EVERY Christmastide.

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

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

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

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

Psalm 96:1-6 NRSV

Christmas Ornament

Kim’a’aits’a Acoma Signed Pottery: New Mexico art clay handpainted piece. Traditional native made pieces are all made from hand dug clay. These native made pieces are highly collectible and sought after. Clay digging is as follows. The seeming ease of a finished pot made in the traditional way belies the enormous amount of work and skill, of intuition and hard labor, that has gone into its creation. First, the clay must be mined from the earth at sites a considerable distance from the village, and often accessible only on foot. “You can’t drive all the way,” says Rose Chino Garcia. “You have to walk in, and dig out the clay, and then carry it back to the truck, sometimes a long way, five miles or more.” In its original form the clay is rocky and slatelike, and large chunks must be broken up to manageable size. If it was damp when dug, it must be left to dry for many days in the sun. When dry, it must be cleaned thoroughly by sifting and winnowing to get rid of all unwanted matter, such as twigs and pebbles. With a stone, it is crushed and pulverized. Temper, in the form of clay potsherds, sometimes hundreds of years old, is hand-ground to a fine powder, and added to the clay to bind, strengthen, and prevent it from shrinking and cracking. A vessel made from tempered Acoma clay is very strong, and enables the potter to make the characteristic thin walls of traditional pottery.

When we visited Acoma Pueblo with our friends, Dan and Betty Cooksey, we purchased an ornament with a ‘Storyteller’ or ‘Singing mother” inside with her child. I like to think of it as Mary rejoicing to God the Father as she holds Jesus the Son. I do not place it on our tree for fear it will get broken. It sits on the top of the china cabinet with the Nativity scene during the Christmas season and inside the lighted china cabinet the remainder of the year.

It is recorded in scripture that Mary sang this. (Luke 1:46-55). Is it poetry or a song? Does it matter? The truth is the same. If she sang it once I believe she sang it most of her life! I rejoice with Mary, John Michael Talbot and millions of believers who have followed Christ Jesus my Lord.

Do you sing to the Lord? Is it a song of worship? Do you sing it only at Christmastide or throughout your life? If you do not sing to Him, perhaps you can begin in 2023!

What a Celebration!

The opening photo is from a Celtic cross in Ireland. Notice how the hand of God is holding up the cross. Nothing is beyond His notice. He loves our families more than we do!

We had our children with their spouses, grandchildren and one boyfriend over to celebrate Christmas. This was held the Sunday before Christmas due to other family conflicts. It was very difficult to not have our oldest Grandgirl here. She is 21 now and had to work. Still trying to get her attention for gifting and celebrating!

Plus macaroni and cheese, fresh salad, guacamole, hummus, Skyline dip, cheese tray, 4 kinds of bread or buns. We should have invited more people to come and not bring food!

As usual there was way too much food! Even with the boyfriend here to help eat! Oh well, he is a wrestler and always watching his weight. But what a delight! He could not do enough afterwards to help us put the house back together.

The gifts were thoughtful and generous. I am praying the Name of Jesus will be remembered by all the family as they absorb their gifts into the homes (or in the case of gift certificates for zip lining, into their future)!

Fleecy soft blanket, sweatshirt, special order ball cap, 2 Lego sets, 2 beeswax candles, Grogu ornament, beer mix, Jungle Jim’s gift card, Starbucks card, Yankee candles, special socks, knife block, Birkenstock’s, wallet, soccer/football team accessories, quarter holder for Aldi’s, handmade soup paddle from New Mexico, lovely porcelain china cookie/dessert tri-level rack, (the one that belonged to my mother broke when we moved and I packed it), Columbia over shirt, cash, Trades of Hope bracelet, LaRosa’s gift card and likely more.

This morning as I write this I am delighted with view out my window. The other day when in the front garden area I shook up the mealworm feeder. The dried worms sometimes get moist and stick together or freeze to the metal feeder. Today at one point I called Bob to see the 8 bluebirds on and around the feeder.

Here is what I captured when I finally got my camera.

Old Prayers for Each of Us

I recently bought another book of Puritan prayers from Christian Book Distributors entitled Piercing Heaven. The author says “That prayer is most likely to pierce heaven which first pierces one’s own heart.”

Every good prayer begins with some form of confession. This one is no exception.

It All Belongs to Jesus by Robert Hawker

Precious Jesus! I do remember my faults this day. So grant me from now on to live wholly to You, gracious Lord, to keep you always in view, walking with you, cleaving to you, hanging upon you, Help me always to remember you and your love more than anything else.

You, my dearest Redeemer! I pray for grace to set you always before me, to record in my heart your mercies, and to set you in my heart. To follow you wherever you go, and to watch the steps of Jesus. To pursue you in all your paths, at your table, at your ordinances, in your words, in your house of prayer, in your providence, in your promises.

Everywhere, and in all things where Jesus is, I pray that there may my soul be. Though I have no way to pay you back for this bounty, Lord, still in your grace may I follow you, to bless you, and to live out the truth that all I am and all I have is yours.

Grant me in this sweet sense to know you, precious Jesus, and to enjoy you in everything, for riches and honor come from you.

Yes, Lord, the work is yours, salvation is yours, glory is yours – everything is yours. All the remains for me is to be forever giving you the praise that is due your most holy name, content to be nothing – even less that nothing – that the power of Jesus may rest on me. Because when I am most weak in myself, than am I most strong in you, Lord, and in your power, amen.

I like the reminder that everything belongs to Jesus. It is so easy in this day to think there are things we obtained that belong to us, not to Him. “All I am and all I have is Yours.”

We have left the mostly clear skies of New Mexico and are firmly back home in the December gloom of Ohio. Though there is no mountain out my widow to remind me of God’s glory and majesty, there are reminders all about me of the same. The white eared squirrel just hopped across the yard. The moisture in the air seems chilly but has brought relief to my sinuses! Our small group met recently and we were re-united after a long session of being apart. Sadly, we will not meet again until next year, but prayerfully the bonds of unity will remain.

Yes, everything belongs to Jesus and He is in control. May I yield to His directions and follow closely in His paths. May you too, “be forever giving praise to His most holy Name, content to be nothing- even less than nothing – that the power of Jesus may rest on you. “ He is strong and is able to keep us in all of our ways.

Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25 to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.

Jude 24-25 RSV

There are so many passages in the New Testament that contain the phrase He is able – would make a neat study!