Humor During Retreat

This long retreat I have been using Joyce Rupp’s book entitled Open the Door A JOURNEY TO THE TRUE SELF. There has been much humor as I read and pray, study and allow myself to be transfigured here at the Convent of the Transfiguration! Today is Friday and I thought I should summarize the humor before the details escape me!

Dealing with aging and increased pain from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia I have had to face the fact that as my body and abilities change my attitude and expectations must also. Here on the grounds of Bethany school and the Convent changes are every place. A few years ago I wrote the article “The Bee Lingers.” The location of that story is now gone with the new construction of an updated school building. Most of the fence around the garden has been removed. The shrubs and morning glory vines gone, too.

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I have chosen to make a private, silent retreat. Yesterday the workmen were not only cutting down a huge ash tree in what you might call my front yard, but grinding it up, also. I am certain that tree has been here longer than I have been coming to the Convent. Later in the afternoon a young man was busy with a huge chainsaw cutting up some of the branches. His fellow worker brought over some equipment and they picked up pieces of the wood to toss in it. Big pieces of wood! Have you ever tried to lift a tree slice? Very heavy. Made so aware visually that my strength is not what it used to be. Yet, I will be okay as long as I can get in a mental place of acceptance. So examples of change for the better surround me. I found it humorous that I would be reminded that change can be so noisy.F7B73C51-1677-4F36-8344-CCFB97A25ED9

There were also workmen taking concrete into the basement of the church building. They had an on-site mixer, wheelbarrow, gutter-like chute for sending it down the flight of stairs and the sidewalk was almost blocked by their 2 pickup trucks parked upon it while they worked. I assumed they were doing some sort of repairs to the foundation of the building. Meanwhile, I continued to work on my foundational mindset. Interesting to see. Then the tools were put back in the trucks, concrete washed off the equipment and everything loaded up. Once they drove away if you had not witnessed it, you might not have known they were here. There was a piece of wood placed over the entrance at the foot of the stairs.

Every time I enter my quarters I have to push really hard to get my door to latch. I usually have to push twice. Guess what! The door has a knocker on it that bumps when I shut the door. Joyce Rupp has six lessons devoted to knocking on doors. Objects lessons every place! 31475846-570A-4F46-89D7-D83A6AC48F08

The basement workmen were back today and I just had to ask them why put concrete in the basement? Was it foundation work? No, not foundation work. They were installing a new DOOR and always build a concrete frame first. 593B065C-7FE1-43F1-BB7E-C9149746B8EFI showed them my retreat book and the man told me his was one door I would not be able to open. So true, but I giggled as I walked away amused that I know One who walks through doors!

The Lord is showing me that He will accompany me over every new threshold as I age and change. He will help me grow in the things of the Spirit. This last photo is a closeup of the basement threshold  before the concrete dries. Look closely and you will see the moisture on the concrete around the threshold!

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May you always find the courage to grow and change in life with grace. Tear down old structures you do not need anymore. Close the doors that need closing and swing wide the new doors! The next chapter in her book is entitled “Oiling the Hinges.” Ought to be interesting.  😉

Brat Child

When my son was little a babysitter called him a brat. He was terribly upset. In the following poem I refer to myself as a Bratchild. You will understand, and possibly relate, when you read it!

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Bratchild of The Kingdom © 2002 Molly Lin Dutina

I have a naughty girl inside who says
“Just let me start the laundry
before we sit and share.”
“This coffee pot is such a mess!
Who designed this thing?
Didn’t they test what happens
in actual use before they sold it?”
“I wonder if I’ll get to this today
and that project over there?”
“I love You, Lord.
One moment, Lord
I’ll be right there!”

This is the same petulant girl
complaining yesterday of too much
outflow, outgo, output and
not enough input, strengthening, power
from the Throne on high.

Yet here she is with time for
healing, refreshing from His Presence*
and what choice does she make?
Putting off the Majestic and holy Lord
she goes first to the frivolous and mundane.

*Acts 3:19-20 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus.

Yes, during this retreat I am working on learning about my new blog site. No, that is not the ONLY things I am doing!

 

 

Perhaps You Are Wondering?

Why in the world the title of this blog and why the nasturtium photo?

I keep finding in my journey with God that there are treasures all around in plain sight. Will I take the time to slow down, look and listen? Once when going to the garden to pick nasturtiums I was stunned by the snail inside the flower and the sunlight through the plant. Ran into the house to get my camera, hoping the snail would stay put. It did!! Thus the banner photo. One of those wonders you cannot forget. What if I had been in such a hurry that I missed the snail? What if I were so preoccupied that I blew it off. These years after that photo, I would have been sad I had not captured it on film. And you would not have enjoyed it with me. Yep, “Slow down,” says the snail. Soak in the unexpected grandeur of the light. Then pick and enjoy the fragrance of the nasturtiums.

And why did I plant nasturtiums? When we were first married we lived in an apartment in Oakland, California on Alcatraz Avenue. There was an old-fashioned driveway right outside the window where we ate our meals. In the green area down the middle someone had planted nasturtiums.

No,  that is not our old driveway in the photo. Just showing you an example of a “ribbon driveway.”

Then Bob remembered the song below from New Christy Minstrels. This predated Tiny Tim and you have to listen all the way through to get the nasturtium reference.

So nasturtiums have held a special place in my heart since  1970 when we were married, memories of my husband singing me the song, and also since I found that snail. Not to mention, that they are also edible!! Hope you have a few in your salad soon!

Well, I have done it!

I am starting a second blog to share with you my poetry, stories and longer spiritual experiences. Research shows that most people want to read something that is short. The post about the doors and change had lots of photos. I will try to keep this blog, Treasures in Plain Sight, short. My new blog is called Stand & Tip. When I get it up and running there will be a link to it under the Menu. I might send out invitations like I did on this blog. I would delight to read your comments.

I hope you are laughing and have fun with what I’ve written so far. Below is a photo of Bob learning to take selfies at the Koran Conservatory during the butterfly show.

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A Theme So Simple

Years ago while driving to New York with our family I heard this song on a then new recording from Twila Paris. It pierced me to my core. So simple, yet so piercing. It describes a yieldedness I try to maintain in my everyday life. I found this recording on YouTube with a video I love. The great blue heron is one of my favorite birds and she is featured! I hope the words will lead you, too, to a deeper commitment to His plan for you!

 

Summer Heat

Seems with the unrelenting heat and humidity in Cincinnati this summer, we are all tired of summer. I came across this journal entry from April, 2018. Perhaps it will refresh your soul?

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Each twig is crusted with snow this April morning
The junco never looked so lovely
Jumping from branch to branch he blends
With grays and whites of early spring
That looks more like winter

The white hyacinths in full head of flower
Are also topped with a snow cap
It is a wonder their stems can hold such a load
The more sensible daffodils
Just bow and then rise with the thaw

Birds changing branches cause snow loads to
Plop to the ground
The birds are often unseen
Discerned only by lumps of falling snow
As temperature rises there are more plops than visits

The people generally complain
About the hold winter seems to have upon us
But I find the snow preferable to
Long rainy days of cold and wind
Nothing else paints a landscape quite so lovely

Soon I will be transported
By airplane and car to the height of summer
Days in the 80s and 90s
Sun, sand, shells and warm breezes
This morning I say good bye to winter
With a nod to her majestic painting

I am off to the Convent!

I am excited to be going to the Convent of the Transfiguration for a long personal retreat. The green marble floor is in the sanctuary as you approach the high altar. The colorful window is in St. Mary’s sanctuary area. I look so forward to the quiet as I rest in Hilaritas and listen for the voice of my Lord. I might blog from there, but I will likely use the time to read, rest, listen and advance in the Kingdom.

We traveled to Florida once on my birthday and saw the same figure of Christ as they have at St. Mary’s in a larger version at a church there. I am constantly astounded by the ways the Lord blesses me. 109A2AAA-90D4-4236-A55C-1ACE3475A8C41DFA9A98-9399-4284-A3FA-D4070A7FE12D