Surviving Quicksand

It’s been said that, “a donkey will sink in quicksand, but a mule won’t.”


First, why is quicksand not a big deal anymore? When I was a kid, quicksand was in lots of movies, shows and cartoons. I think it could have been one of the leading causes of death. Now, you never see quicksand.

And “the floor is lava” isn’t a thing anymore. Where did that go?

I did some research on quicksand this morning. I’m pretty sure I have Google confused by the variety of my searches. Ads for special quicksand shoes will probably start showing up now. I’m probably listed in a database of nutty people or future Jeopardy contestants. Maybe it’s just one list?

Apparently, things don’t get swallowed by quicksand. It’s something about the Archimedes Principle and FB = ρf Vf g. This Archimedes fella had known about this stuff 2400 years ago. Me? I know boats float but I am not sure why. I’m not sciency.

Anyway, quicksand is just suck mud that animals get stuck in and then die of dehydration and exhaustion trying to get out. You don’t sink unless you struggle.

Ok, I need to remember that. If I get stuck in quicksand it is best to just lay back and relax until I die of dehydration. Got it! No struggling for me.

Life is throwing a lot of suck mud at a bunch of my friends right now. There’s sickness suck mud, aging suck mud, financial suck mud, relationship suck mud, housing suck mud …

We’ve had our share of suck mud too but, right now, we’re just hiking through the forest in a mud-free time. I know there’s more suck mud ahead that we’ll hopefully avoid but it’s part of life in a broken, imperfect world.

The good thing is that we’re not making this hike alone. And, as much as we want to struggle and fight, we need to try our hardest to lay back, float, pray and wait for the rescue that is guaranteed.

“In this world, you will hit suck mud but, hang in there, I’m hiking with you.” It’s kinda what Jesus said in John 16:33. Our faith is the pole laid across the quicksand and we need to hold tight and wait for the puller to pull. I’m waiting for the puller, not dehydration.

We spent about a year hanging onto the pole of our faith across the pit until my transplant happened. But, our faith kept us hydrated and hopeful, for the most part. And then, after the operation, we spent months pulling in recovery from the surgery until we were free to continue our hike.

I don’t know if I’m more like a donkey or a mule. Sometimes I’m definitely more jackass than stubborn. Sometimes I lean toward the stubborn side more. The suck mud doesn’t differentiate. It has the same effect in both.

The key to survival is the pole across the pit. I’m thankful that our faith has been that pole in our lives.

“Ok Google, what is the best way to survive quicksand?”

“Relax. Quicksand usually isn’t more than a couple feet deep…”

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus in John 16:33

Scott Linscott is husband, dad, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and neighbor who received a living donor liver transplant in May of 2012.

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PTSD/Anxiety Makes No Sense

My anxiety/PTSD is racing. I have no worries, apart from this being Day 10 of the latest antibiotic course fighting the most recent respiratory infection. My life is beyond anything I ever imagined.

So what’s the problem? Well, I did some catching up on some of my liver transplant friends from 2011-2013 this morning and it reminded me that I’m like a poster boy for successful transplant. But, why would that set me off?

Anxiety/PTSD makes no sense to me. I have come to know most of the possible hospital and medical triggers. I’ve been sent into panic attacks by beeping IVs, scrubs and even by a wall-mounted hand sanitizer station. I kind of understand those triggers now and start talking myself down walking up to the doors of any hospital/rehab facility.

But, I don’t understand why my heart is thumping this morning. All I did was check out Facebook pages of others who went through what we went through.

I’ve only had two mildly-significant scares in going on 7 years. Truthfully, “significant” is not even the right word. I’ve never even experienced true, confirmed rejection but only elevated numbers of “possible rejection” and just one biopsy to check. It was negative.

Going through transplant friends’ pages this morning I am seeing ongoing battles, regular infusions, ERCPs placing stents every few months, biopsies, CMV, and a host of complications. Seeing the pictures of people going in and out of hospitals has my heart racing even though it’s not my story at all.

I feel bad because I used to be very involved in support groups for people facing transplant. My hope was to be strong for them. I just couldn’t keep doing it because of all the triggers. Trying to be strong while sitting here counting backwards by threes and controlling my breathing was keeping me stuck.

Maybe I should have just sucked it up, faced my fears, and continued on. Did I just push it deeper in and make it worse? I really don’t know.

So, here I sit, Mr. Poster Boy, with too many amazing blessings to count, totally freaking out about things I’ve never had to face or experience. I am not even afraid I will experience them but still, my heart is racing.

PTSD/Anxiety makes no sense to me at all. So, I’ll just sit here deep breathing, going over God’s promises and giving thanks for my life and all the wonderful things that I have to be thankful for.

Life is good!

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“The priority of Jesus’ solitude and silence is everywhere in the Gospels. It’s how he began his ministry. It’s how he made important decisions. It’s how he dealt with troubling emotions like grief. It’s how he dealt with the constant demands of his ministry and cared for his soul. It’s how he taught his disciples. It’s how he prepared for important ministry events. It’s how he prepared for his death on the cross.” – Bill Gaultiere

And yet I wonder why I’ve felt burned out, discouraged, out of balance and fatigued? It’s been almost a year since I’ve practiced the disciplines of silence and solitude.

There’s a pair of red-headed woodpeckers about 20 feet away from me, 5 mallard ducks floating by on a pond of glass, and a lone fisherman in a small boat casting into his mirror image. I can identify the calls of three early-morning birds and am straining to identify two unknown. A pair of loons is making its morning trip into the swampy cove to my right.

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

That will be true with me or without me. How can it be that we get so busy doing God tasks that we lose touch with the Lover of our Souls Himself? How can we become so immersed that we actually lose all sense of presence?

Photographing an event is entirely different than experiencing an event. Doing God tasks is entirely different than sitting with God … alone … quiet … still.

Solitude and silence are the disciplines that deliver strength and drive. Similar to pulling into a gas station, similar to having the oil changed and similar to rotating the tires, it is solitude and silence that give me what I need to continue to answer the call of Christ. Solitude and silence are what He needed to complete the mission He was given.

Thomas Pond

Thomas Pond, Casco, Maine

A loon’s call is saying “amen” or “so be it” as my solitude is interrupted by neighboring cottages releasing their children, screen doors slamming behind them. They will want to greet my dog and ask a million questions.

But that’s okay. We were not called to unending solitude and silence. We were called to love our neighbors.

At least I am finally feeling recharged and motivated to answer that call. I’ve got an invite, or more of a challenge actually, to show off my rock skipping skills.

Ok, kid, prepare to be amazed …

By Scott Linscott

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Close the book? No, thank you.

I’ll cry today. I know it. Some of my tears will be triggered by tears I see on the faces of people I love and others will come at my own sadness of a relationship suspended.

Relationship suspended. I’ve cried at goodbyes before – most of us have. When our best friend takes a job thousands of miles away, we hug and cry, even though our friend is moving to something better. Why? Because we know our relationship is put on pause.

The pain used to be much worse before video calling and group meeting apps came around. When a friend moved thousands of miles away, it used to mean contacts were reduced to toll-calls (calls used to cost more money the further apart the parties were), cards and letters. We knew it meant the closeness of our friendship would fade. We knew our relationship was largely paused until we could eventually reunite and pick up right where we left off regardless of how many years passed.

Today is our official good-bye for my mother. Today is the strange, ceremonial goodbye that we humans have been doing for thousands of years. We’ll all gather as family and friends, sing her favorite hymns and read the Scriptures she held dear, and share some memories. I said my goodbye more than two weeks ago and kissed her on her forehead, but today it will be official.

My baby shower.

We humans need closure. We hold funerals and say words to come to an ending and close the book. We eat little sandwiches and desserts made with love, we look at pictures, we tell stories and then we go home with the book supposedly closed.

Closed. In the past two weeks I have started to dial my mom’s number at least twice. I’ve thought, “I wonder how mom is doing today,” several times. I’ve stopped to snap a picture that I knew Mom would like to see more than once.

I doubt my book will close today. In fact, I know it won’t close. I’m kind of glad for that, even though it means tears of grief. I’m blessed to have these memories … so many memories.

I laugh at the memory of my mother smacking 11-year-old me over the head with a devil dog, cream-filled pastry at York Wild Animal Kingdom. I can see myself standing there with the cream filling melting down the side of my face. I had asked for a devil dog probably a thousand times since leaving our house in Auburn.

I smile at cold winter memories of painting projects on easels and hook-a-rug crafts in our little den. I turn the pages in my Bible and often think, “hey, Mom and I memorized this together.”

Memories of breakfast talks and life lessons from a woman who always had plenty to say no matter what the topic, will not fade.

I have so many memories of broken things that Mom figured out how to fix with tape, glue, bobby pins and duct tape. She had no YOUtube videos to show her what to do. She had Yankee ingenuity that refused to give up. She taught me to PUSH and look for solutions rather than just toss things aside.

Memories of her shushing Dad and I playing in church and memories of teasing her about her very bad singing voice. (She’d tell you the same!) Still, she’d make a joyful noise!

I have memories of me hiding her freshly-made coffee in the cupboard when she turned her back and memories of her swatting me playfully with a, “you’re no good, kid” when she finally found it. She said it to all three of us “no good, rotten kids” but we knew she didn’t believe that for a second. We knew family was her world.

And then, as years passed and time marched forward, I’ll hold onto memories of her first question whenever I’d call, “how are the kids” which then became “how are my babies” when great grandchildren arrived. Our talks always centered on family.

Today, we will officially close the book knowing that our relationship is suspended for awhile. We’ll say our formal goodbyes. But, my book won’t close. I know that at around 7:30 tonight, if my phone rings, I’ll expect it to be my mom calling, “I know you’re busy … fair to middling … how are my babies … this is a toll call so I’ll let you go…” and I’ll smile.

I’m going to keep my Mom book open. I’m going to let the tears come when they want and the laughs too. I had 55 years with an amazing, talented, creative, ingenius, loyal, outspoken, determined, loving, dedicated Mother encouraging me, shaping me, scolding me, coddling me and always supporting me. Why would I even consider closing that book?

Doe, Ray, Me, So, Fa … See, La, See, Doe!

Thank you, Mom. I see you everywhere I turn. You did a good job building a family, Mom. A very, very good job.


son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.” Proverbs 6:20-21

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Lasting impact in my mother’s memory

It was Monday, April 16 and I was in Oratorio, Guatemala once again at one of my favorite places on Earth. I was with a team of about 20 people serving at the AMG Noah’s Ark Center. Some of the children were performing a dance at the front of the room while more than 100 others sat on the floor watching.



I noticed a little girl sitting in the middle of the sea of faces. She has sitting up on her knees to get a better view, clapping along and smiling. I snapped this picture when she looked my way. I’m not sure why she stood out to me but I kept seeing her little smile throughout the week.

The little ones that Robin and I sponsor, Tanya and Damaris, consumed most of our time and attention whenever we were with the larger group. Sponsored children want to get every possible second with their “godparents” who visit. Of course, very few ever manage to make a visit so it is very, very special when some do. Every sponsored child lives vicariously through us wondering, “is my godmother like you?” Is my godfather like you?”

On Wednesday, after two days of playing games, singing songs, making crafts and reading bible stories with the children and visiting many of their homes, our team asked if we could meet children who were waiting for sponsors. It was chaotic and confusing. My job was to snap a picture of one child after another as they came through the line. It was rapid fire. I moved quickly and efficiently until this little smile moved into my lens. I learned that her name is Karla. Again, I’m not sure why she stood out to me.

9 of the 21 children were quickly sponsored by our team members. But, Robin and I already have two children we sponsor, so we were not planning to add another. After printing out the photos on my portable printer and handing team members their children, I was left with 12 still waiting. Among them was Karla’s face. It was Thursday, our last day with the younger children. I knew God had a plan for Karla that involved us.

When we returned to the United States, my mother, who has been very forgetful over the last few years brought up the subject of sponsoring a child. She had been asking me for details since our first trip in 2016 and I never followed through. This time I had Karla’s picture with me and took it out to show her. She seemed genuinely excited.

It took the month of May to get Mom all set up sponsoring Karla. My plan was to help her write letters and we talked about what she could buy at the dollar store to send on my next trip, But then, June 2, a nurse at the Veteran’s Home where she was rehabbing from shoulder surgery found her unresponsive. We later learned it was a massive stroke. Mom passed away on June 7.

There was no question that we would add Karla to our AMG family and think of Mom whenever we write to her or see her. But my sisters and I knew that Mom would have wanted to do something for her little girl, something significant. But, what?

I contacted the director at the AMG School in Oratorio thinking that perhaps a year’s worth of Mom’s sponsorship would be able to provide a brick wood stove with chimney pipe for the family. Many families cook inside, over open fires and have numerous issues with eyes and lungs from all the smoke. But there was a greater need in Karla’s home.

He explained that their house had dirt floors that turned to mud in the rainy season because of holes in the walls. They needed some major cement work and the services of a mason to patch the holes and make a cement pad instead of a dirt floor. I gladly added some to my Mom’s gift to make this a reality in her memory.

Yesterday I received before and after photos. Mom would have been so pleased to see what she did for Karla and her family. The director tells me that the parents are overwhelmed with appreciation and so very thankful.

I’m thankful too.



Hard-packed dirt floors




Sealed walls


Cement pad

Barrel for corn

Barrel for corn hangs from ceiling


No more mud in the rainy season!


Look at that smile!

To make a lasting difference in the life of a child, visit and become a sponsor.


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Grief sneaks up on you

Grief. I haven’t experienced it this closely before. I mean, I’ve been sad when people have passed and I’ve lost some relatives I’ve loved, but never like this. I thought I understood it pretty well and was prepared.

But grief at losing my mom is different. It just creeps up behind me and dumps over my head like I’m a pro football coach that just won a championship … except there are no laughs and no trophy coming next.

There have been maybe three things in my life that I know my mom was pretty darn proud of.

She always loved introducing me and saying, “he’s a minister.” She grew up in a generation where that was a title of respect and honor. She grew up in a generation where “minister” was a respected community position right up there with doctor and lawyer. She’d scold me for wearing jeans, having a pierced ear and tattoo and she’d let me know how I wasn’t measuring up to her minister standard, but she was always happy that my faith was alive and active.

Secondly, she thought my dad game was strong. She liked the way I made time for my family, played with my kids and took time to explain things to them. She always had advice on how my husband game could improve, but my dad game was solid in Mom’s estimation.

Lastly, creativity. Mom liked it when I would take the time to create. She loved it when I would write poetry and short stories. She loved it when I would make photographs and share them with her. Anything that I created was valued by Mom.

That’s where the grief bucket got dumped over my head this morning at about 4:00 AM.  I had been awake since 3:30 staring up at the ceiling, dimly lit by our charging electronics, when I decided to go through yesterday’s photos on my phone and post my favorites to social media.

Chloe Cat

A smooch from Great Aunt Gail.

“Mom is going to love these pictures of Chloe,” I thought. “I’ll print some for this week’s visit …” Oh … wait … she’s gone.

I shook off the initial wave and went through some more pictures. “Maybe I’ll frame a print of this peony for Mom …”  came the next thought. No, Mom would have loved it but, no.

And then the tears. The grief bucket washed over me in full force and I had to get out of bed to try to shake it off. The tears followed me to the Keurig and even turned up a notch when I grabbed a Raspberry Chocolate K-cup. Mom loved it when I brought her some of my froo-froo coffee flavors. She scolded me when she discovered how much they cost me but, still, she loved it when I’d make her a cup.

A grief bucket nearly took me out yesterday while I was delivering my message at church. Somehow, I managed to suppress it and push mindlessly on so that only my friend John noticed. Mid-sentence, talking about all being part of the body of Christ, I thought of Mom and how this minister stuff was one of the things she most loved about the man I am now. I held it together until I got home and cried with my wife in the driveway and then again with my sister in the kitchen.

I want to know how long these surprise attacks are going to continue. I don’t like them. I prefer control.

I’m thinking, at least for awhile, I may be printing more photos than normal. One as a gift for the hospice house, several for walls at the South Paris Veterans Home, and then … I don’t know where else … all with “Mom would have liked this one” as my motivation.

Mom's Wall

Mom painted this on her bedroom wall.

Mom passed her creative eye on to me. She bought me my first camera when I was just 11 years old. She paid to get my film developed and would sit and comment about how good this picture was and how she liked the composition of that picture.

Even as she got into her eighties, and even after she lost the sight in one of her eyes, I knew I could bring my up photo books and artwork and she would love looking at them and would ask me questions. She loved that almost as much as when I would swing through Haven’s Candies and pick up a fresh box of Needhams chocolates.

I’m going to miss my Mom. I’m going to miss her a lot.

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It’s a good day. My Mom is with Jesus.

ScottLinscottPhoto--7387.jpgIt’s a good day.

My 85 year old mother passed quietly last night, comfortable, at a beautiful hospice facility with people she loved by her side. It was the answer to the prayer she has been praying for several years, that God would call her home.

I remember one of her most recent stays in a rehabilitation facility. We covered her walls with family photos to show her how much reason she had to stay and recover. I remember playing videos of grandchildren telling her to hang on and work to get better because we wanted her with us. She’d force a smile,, thank us and say, “but I just want to go.”

The call came last Saturday night. “They found mom unresponsive.” I think I’ve had that call or text three times in the last three years or so. The calls came here and there mixed in with what had become normal messages of falls, confusion, sickness and seizures. The calls had become expected; broken bones, UTI’s, shoulders out of joint. sprains. I took this call with what had become my normal “here we go again” mindset and we headed north to be with her.

The doctor said she had a massive stroke and would go at any moment. Honestly, I didn’t believe him. I knew the drill. I was determined to protect my emotions from this roller coaster ride that I’ve come to hate. Surely, she’d be spending the next month or two at yet another rehabilitation facility fighting with her physical therapists and refusing to do the work.

My emotions bounced from tears to disbelief. With no life-saving measures, I knew this time was different but somewhere within, I still expected to have her wake up again. I had 5 days of sitting in her room watching efforts to make her comfortable. I had five days of “it will be any time now.” Gradually the thoughts that she would prove them all wrong and wake up again faded and were replaced with the reality of saying goodbye.

But yesterday, it was clear that Mom was going. I sat in the nearby chapel, not able to bear being in the room with her, and I wrote her obituary and planned her memorial service. I tried my best to focus on her new life ahead instead of my life without her. I did my best to be happy for her and push down my feelings of being sad for me.

My sisters wanted to be with her when she passed but I could not bear the thought of that. Everyone told me it was okay. I wanted my last memory to be when I sat and read the 23rd Psalm with her, hoping she could hear me but also hoping she was already gone. I wanted my last time with her to be a happy memory of joking and asking her if she remembered dad asking, “who’s this ‘Shirley’ character and why is she following you” every time we recited the last verse together when we memorized the Psalm for church homework: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

I kissed her on the forehead, told her I loved her and once again told her that she was free to go. I told her that on Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, Monday afternoon, Tuesday, and Wednesday but on Thursday I couldn’t watch anymore and spent very little time with her beyond a quick kiss and one last, “I love you.” I played a video of my son Josh singing “House of God Forever” and decided that would be my final time with Mom. Today, I am glad I did.

This morning I feel sad and heavy and on the edge of tears. And this morning I feel happy that Mom’s battle is finished and she is raising her arms high in praise, walking with no cane and breathing deeply without that horrendous cough that has plagued her.  I feel joy knowing that no, she is not an angel and did not just graduate to getting her wings, because heaven and life with Jesus is way better than a “It’s a Wonderful Life” tale. I feel joy that she is complete and with God, not worried at all about us. She has no more worries and no more pain.

I’m sure my sisters and I will cry and laugh and cry some more today. I pray my daddy’s disease will buffer him from the devastation I know he would experience had he not had Alzheimer’s. I pray her grandchildren will be able to focus on the good and grieve healthy grief.

It’s a good day. It’s a good day because of our Hope and the fact that the resurrection of Jesus redeemed this whole messy, up and down thing we call “life.”


Josh singing “House of God”

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