Reviewing a Journal

Because of the arthritis in my hands I began to journal on my iPad a few years ago. I have kept the habit of a paper journal by printing out those ideas and pasting them in a spiral bound journal. This involves printing out ones I have not printed, arrange by date, cut and paste, etc. For several years, I have sadly dropped the habit of reviewing my journal. When we got ready to travel this month I decided to take the latest journal and review it. I will read through it. Praise God for how He sees me through situations. Mark poetry I likely did not organize in poetry binder, etc. with marker.

Mitchell Luo

Sometimes this yields themes for this blog. Most times it is just for my comfort and remembrance. We are told to rehearse the works of God and praise Him. But do we? I often fail at that task. I remember some highlights, but I drop the minutia that can change the course of my thoughts and arrange my victories in the daily battle against darkness.

Recently I was pondering that warfare. I am sometimes engaged in small struggles that remind me following Jesus is not “all unicorns and rainbows.” If you examine those times in your own life you will likely see that there are recurring patterns in the attacks. When I can recognize, and say ‘oh no, here comes THAT again’ I am better equipped to defeat it. Putting on my armor, praying, raising high the sword of the Spirit, taking every thought captive to Christ Jesus, doing my part not to surrender by means of apathy. If, however, I have not been paying attention I can get swept under a current of negativity and hopelessness before I realize what hit me.

Have you examined your life by a similar means? Some other method? Many recommend making a timeline of your life with God. Note the occurrences that have impacted you. Reflect on where your awareness of God was at each of those times.

Campfiregrace.com

Yes, look back at what has happened and how you went through each thing. We are not to be permanently looking back, but it is helpful to review our life and His participating Presence at each stage.

Journal before I get hold of it with photos and glue stick!

A Prayer to Thank God for His Sovereign Control

Father, we praise You for the delicate way You powerfully align our lives to Your creation. Thank You for the waters and mountains that remind us of You. Forgive us for overlooking Your presence in every aspect of our lives, and bless us to notice and give glory to You, for You are our healer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

(Meg Bucher) https://www.christianity.com/wiki/prayer/thank-you-prayers-to-give-thanks-to-god-and-the-lord-jesus-christ.html

Psalm 124 NIV
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 If the Lord had not been on our side—
    let Israel say—
2 if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
    the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
    would have swept us away.

6 Praise be to the Lord,
    who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
    from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
    and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

Find a way to review your life with God. No matter your age, no matter how many times you have done it, making a timeline with God is a great exercise.

Best Laid Plans

Well the new computer said I had to restart to install updates. I hit the button and went off to eat breakfast. I really wanted an early start on writing Have had so many interrupted writing days lately. Wanted to get ahead for when we travel next month.

Came back after breakfast and still spinning though it said 100% complete. Started a load of wash. Still spinning. Updated paper journal. Still spinning. By now I was getting aggravated (one of my mom’s favorite words) . Over 45 minutes had passed.

Salvador Dali’s Melting CLock

At Bob’s suggestion asked online what the deal is. Seems Windows 11 is having massive trouble with these updates. Well that does not help me WRITE TODAY!! Turned off computer. When I turned it back on updates started all over. At the moment 63%. So here I am writing on the laptop. Perhaps this is planned practice for when we travel?

Then I thought of this quote and found it on https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/our-emotional-footprint/201602/man-plans-and-god-laughs

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” Despite our most careful planning, the Road of Life is unpredictable.

Saul Levine, M.D.

Things will have to be cleaned up on this post for certain! And then updates worked and I am back on the desktop. Yikes. I am not in charge of this blog. Each day I give it over to the Lord. I ask Him to bless the content and the readers, that is you!

We all get frustrated and irritable when things do not go our way. My goal is to shorten the time when this happens and get back to putting my attention upon Jesus as quickly as possible. As Thomas R. Kelly wrote,

Lapses and forgettings are so frequent. When you catch yourself again, lose no time in self-recriminations, but breath a silent prayer for forgiveness and begin again, just where you are.

The Light Within

Would you try that right now? Read the quote above and give yourself a moment to do it. Breath a silent prayer and begin again with Him who loves you best.

Offer this broken worship to Him and say: “This is what I am except Thou aid me.”

The Light Within

I usually pray, “Left to myself I will always mess it up.” Jesus said, “Of myself I can do nothing.” John 5:30a

Help me remember, Lord

As lawn guys go thundering past my window I pray you will keep me focused upon You, Lord God. Help me stay in Your Presence regardless of what the day brings or does not bring. I agree with Kelly, “we are owned men and women.” Have Your own way in and through me. Amen.

New and Old

Can almost go without orthotic boot except when walking long distances like at the Sisters of Charity convent from meeting room to cafeteria last weekend. Still doing my stretches and will likely need to do those the rest of my life. Long HOT summer in that boot, but at least I was able to get up and out with it!

Old computer would not run Windows 11 and all the other programs were going like molasses in winter. New computer set up has begun.

New computer, so much to wade through
Turn this security off
Install this other security
Connect to internet
Where is the chrome browser?
How will I ever get ready for writing
Sixteen hours from now
Download these files
Forget these, but I do not have patience 
to do that complicated technical stuff right now
Then suddenly security is installed.
Add this to taskbar.
Get this working
This will be weeks in the process
As I learn to look here
Forget there
Go over to this place
Learn something new every day?
This could be my brain bank building
For weeks on end!
Where are my music files?!?

intel CORE i7 Dell says there is blue some place on it, guess the dark ridged cover

Ha! Surprised myself being able to write this morning using this new computer and stuff.

Investment in writing, blogging and posting

I suppose without the technology most of you would not be able to read this unless I wrote it out on paper, had the photos developed, had access to your home address, put it in an envelope and sent it off with the proper postage. Yes, I am grateful for the means to be able to obtain the new computer, consult my son-in-law for the best model in my price range, etc. etc.

Most of all I am grateful to God for you, the readers, the gifting to put things in words, access to photos, etc. Learned at my retreat this weekend that I can find free photos at a site called Upsplash. I am looking forward to learning how to use that sight and not be using anyone’s photos without permission. SO here is the keyboard that brings you the blog words, but I use a desk top computer rather than a laptop most of the time.

Photo by Dell on Unsplash

Thank you, Lord, for making provision for this blog. Please bless the readers and the subscribers. May You be glorified in the work I do here. All glory be to You. Amen.

Gray Morning After a Rough Night 

22-9-13 Reactive to Booster #3©Molly Lin Dutina
 
Booster #3 delivered with dull needle
Went to PT without boot
Worked until my leg
Felt like jelly
Foot throbbed all night
Headache, chest pain, 
Jaws and shoulders Booster broadcasters
Extra muscle relaxer and Calm app
“Gently back to sleep”
Several times
Booster #3 rocked
My fragile boat
Night of winds and waves
Up by 6:10 AM
Without rejoicing

Others report no big deal
in contrast I am
Close to shipwreck
My heart is sad that this body is so reactive, 
sensitive to Covid boosters.
Thankful I have not gotten ill but 
wishing I had one of those constitutions 
that was not triggered by pain 
after immunization injection. 
Is there an injection for endurance and muscle strength?
Can I get a booster for well-being? Guess not.

But why stop writing there? Resignation is to be to God, not bowing to negative circumstances. 
In Acts 16:25-26 Paul and Silas praised God in prison. Won’t you raise a tune, Molly Lin?

Total Surrender © 2018 Molly Lin Dutina
Total surrender brings total power
Spirit of God in me,
Totally yielded to You every hour,
Until Your will I see.
Death to my passions and every desire,
Living wholly for Thee,
Have Your own way,
Spirit of God, 
Totally flow through me.

No time for wishing things were other than they are. 
Fix your eyes upon Him.
 Understand this temptation to self-pity is sin.
 Jesus the author and finisher of my faith
 is ABLE to keep me from sin, 
self-pity over ailments and frailties. 
Be chastened, corrected, purified,
refined and strengthened. 
Here is my well-being booster! 
This is your only body on earth – your temple for His dwelling.
I surrender to You, Holy Trinity. 
The yapping dogs out there remind me – LISTEN for His voice.
 Do not go with the clamoring crowd. 
Wait. Listen. Accept the present moment.
This is my life this hour. 
Rejoice in God and be made glad. 

“For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.” PS 92:4 NKJV

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  Hebrews 12: 1a-7

I pray this helps those of you who are looking for that booster for well-being. May the Lord Jesus Christ bring you to a place where you too can be “chastened, corrected, purified, refined and strengthened.”

Grrr

There are times in life when I try to correct errors. There are times in life when that does not work as planned. I was told to copy posts that did not go out properly week before last and re-post them to you with the disclaimer “This post has been republished due to a technical issue preventing some followers from seeing the initial publication….” and a new name and publication date.

Turns out some of you did not get a notification about a new post from me. At this point, I am just going to go forward with my work and pray all goes well from here on. I generally post Wednesday through Sunday. If you do not get a notification from Word Press about a new post by me, and you are curious, you might go to my page on-line and check for a new post. Let me know if you are not getting notifications after signing up to get them. I will try to work with Word Press on the issue.

https://treasures-in-plain-sight.org

Better effort this week, I pray.

Find the Focus

Have you ever been discombobulated? One guy on Christian radio asks if that means most of the time we are combobulated? Free Dictionary by Farlex says there is no such word. Well discombobulated means befuddled, flummoxed, confused. There are times I forget my most important thing, writing about my relationship with the Lord and how you can have a relationship with Him, too.

Find the Focus© 2014 Molly Lin Dutina

Cannot find the clipboard
poems in process of revising.
Cannot find the journal
life in process of being noted.
Where is my concordance
trying to find that verse
Never finished notes in my Bible
negligence has made this worse.

Too often cover important 
with mundane and lowly
Help me find the focus 
to tell forth the eternal and holy.

Fighting back the darkness
bearing forth the Light
partake in eternal struggle
get any pen, any paper
note on computer 

The Calling compels me 
to herald the glad tidings:
God wins.

The poem shows my remorse at losing track of trying to put my spiritual journey into words. At least ten years before I wrote the poem above, my cousin, Peggy, gave me this verse about writing.

The LORD answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it.

Habakkuk 2:2 CSB

Oh Lord, that I might always take up Your challenge about writing as purpose for my heart and soul. May You be blessed by my attempts and may I always be willing to listen to Your edits and changes. As Toby Mac wrote and sang, “Come and steal my show!”

Some of the best lyrics were not listed in the video. Are you willing to yield the things below to God?

My life
My plans
My heart, it’s all Yours, God
My dreams
My fears
My family, my career
Take it away

Journal Led to a Poem

Practicing the discipline my pastor suggested, as I listed the five things I am grateful for one morning, suddenly all this came to me. Hope you enjoy it.

photo by r m dutina
#5.  Cloud and mist fabric drawn across the moon
all that light originated from the sun?
Gray then white then yellow, clot of black then blue
For my attention and entertainment? No, a lesson more true
"I desire truth in your inward parts
To reflect My glory you must be clean, steady, sure
Certain of My love for all
Wavering not from circumstances
Leaning into My light"
Clouds move off and I can barely look away
The brightness of Your Glory my delight
Clouds clear and brilliance increases
I watch as moon orbits incrementally behind the tree
I want to move the furniture
Lie here looking out the window
Yet even now the sun is rising and moon will seem to go
Scour my being Father that I might reflect
Your brilliant glory, certain and true.
"Beware lest feeding feral cats from pity
You actually nourish marauding coyotes
Dimming the beauty of your intention
Encouraging the destruction of your very soul"
You parted the veil from before my eyes
Help me to keep Your glory in my remembrance forever.
Sun rises higher
Brilliant white moon beckons 
Cream colored clouds move in thickly
My soul knows what it witnessed
Your power glows across the universe
Regardless of my momentary ability to see.
Enemies of my soul say, "Nothing to see here. Move along."
My heart ever held in Your nail scarred hand
I spend my life to declare Your glory.

I am always amazed when this stuff comes to me. Coyotes, like the prowling lion seeking whom he may devour? We have coyotes in this neighborhood. A pack prowls the street every morning just before dawn. Likely other times, too. I was giving Lucky her last outdoor stroll the other night and she noticed something at the end of the street. I could not see a thing. She would not take her eyes off the end of the street. She even growled which is atypical of her!

photo by r m dutina

You desire truth in the inward being;
    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Psalm 51:6 NRSV

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

1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV

Yes, Lord, I will have the courage to share. Bless the readers I pray.

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.

Blank Canvas, Blank Page

For Christmas Bob bought me this from the Norman Rockwell collection. He had a heck of a time finding a frame to fit it. He did succeed though! It hangs on my office wall to the right of where I write.

We visited a Rockwell exhibit at the Dayton Art Museum. He knew this is how I often feel on Monday or Tuesday morning as I prepare to write this blog. Notice his palette on the floor! The handle of the paint brush in the white cracks me up. Such is the brain of the artist lost in creativity!

You might remember this favorite photo, too. I was fascinated with the palette from the Frank Duvenek exhibit at Cincinnati Art Museum. His likeness was reflected from nearby display. Bob enhanced the photo for me. The photo sits on the left at the desk where I write.

Photo by r m dutina

And prayer. Prayer goes into this blog. I want to write to enrich you, not just report what I do and where I go. I want to inspire you to reach greater spiritual depths with God. I still cling to the following quote from Rainer Marie Rilke.

Most experiences are unsayable. There are mysterious existences whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.

Rainer Marie Rilke

I pray that I can draw you towards the depths of God. That somehow through my experiences and writing you will want to take a dip in the river of Living Water. Finding a way towards the center of your heart and soul you might want to live from the inside out, desiring a deep breath of life from the Giver of all life. Lead us, Lord, to those mysterious existences and help us to express them and experience them together.

I look forward to your comments throughout the year. I humbly thank you for reading my blog!

Donkey Me

First there was page a day from Oswald Chambers. “How often I find it is the stubborn donkey in me rather than my intelligence that turns aside and sees the angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:23). Lord, increase my spiritual sensitiveness that I may detect your slightest goings and drawings.”

Then my computer scrolling through photos brings me this from our trip to Ireland. I see myself in those lovely eyes.

And I arrive again at the story I wrote about the donkey.

Donkey Trail © 90-6-25 Molly Lin Dutina 

While traveling on the road of God’s will I hit a dip in the road and got jostled off the path. The dip occurred where the Lord asked me to do something, but fearing His will I inwardly said, “No!” I locked my knees, dug in my heels and soon resembled a stubborn donkey that must be pushed, pulled and cajoled to be made to move. Blind to my disobedient nature and still pouting before the holy ways of the Lord I decided if He really loved me we could compromise on another way. I stepped onto the “Treadmill of Debate” a perpetual motion conveyor belt going nowhere but in circles. Fearful and resistant to God’s will I asked “Why?” and presented Him with all of the ‘What-ifs’ and ‘If-onlys.’ I formulated brilliant reasonings for resisting His ways, deluding myself and dropping further and further away from His Light.’

God was more kind to me than Balaam who beat his donkey. (Numbers 22:22-33) God used that same donkey to save Balaam’s life three times. He even made the donkey talk to Balaam! If God can use a donkey, I am no one special. 

Until I accepted His will, relinquished my ideas and gave all things over to Him I could not continue the adventure of serving God well. As usual, when I actually arrived at the point of resistance it turned out to be so unlike what I had imagined might occur, that later I wondered why I was so silly and donkey-like not to yield immediately in trust to Him.  My efforts to control led onto a futile treadmill going NO where. God’s mercy urges me to let Him direct my course and enjoy His fellowship in the Now Here.

Help me to trust You more Lord. I want to live present to You in the Here and now for in this experience alone is my salvation. As I begin to err, thank-you for taking me off the highway and into Your discipline. You truly are “able to keep me from falling and to present me without blemish before the Presence of Your glory with rejoicing!” (Jude 24)

There are many myths about the birth of Jesus. The internet is glad to tell you about all of them.

No one knows for certain if Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem. It is estimated that they traveled 80 miles. She was well along in her pregnancy. Imagine for one moment that she did ride a donkey. What if that donkey had dug in its heals and refused to go to Bethlehem? Are we more cooperative than a donkey or stubbornly insisting on our own way? How about attitudes towards how to celebrate Christmas, and where, and when, and with whom?

“Draw us God to Your side and show us how to help the world see Your gift of life through Jesus Christ. Soften our hearts to let You lead us in paths of righteousness. Amen.”