My Group of Praying Friends

I have been honored to participate with a group of praying women – regularly – since November, 2016. We have formed bonds by travailing together in prayer for our church staff, elders, ministry team leaders and missionaries. The list of our prayer topics used to fit on a 3 x 5 card. Then both sides, then a 4 x 6 card both sides and now is printed on much larger paper with a longer list. We take turns each week doing the group leadership. We write an outline based on “Prayer Portions” by Sylvia Gunter (used with permission) or create on our own from Scripture. We have sections on Praise, Thanksgiving, Personal Confession, and Intercession.

I do not think any of us understood the impact this discipline would have upon us individually or corporately when we began in 2016. There is a core group of seven women. Not everyone can attend every week. Sometimes we have to cancel for inclement weather or when many activities involve church members on that night ( like kids Drama Camp practice).

When my husband and I traveled to a museum in Oklahoma he found this tile which so expresses our group for me.

We have learned so much together about spiritual strength and how to lay down self interests. Within the group we have learned to grow in holiness and purpose. We seek to encourage one another as well as those we pray for. In our weekly meetings and through texting, emails and phone calls we share life together. This long standing group has required that we each learn true humility, genuine concern for one another, and commitment to the work of being intercessors.

These women are friends that I value so much …. words fail me. We continue to pray for the unity of the Holy Spirit among us. May the Lord bless our efforts to His glory.

March 18

Oh my I keep getting blessed every time I go outside! Now this is one DETERMINED daffodil. Let no obstacle stand in your way!

So glad the log had holes in it!

And Ta-dah!! The first trout lily on our stone stairs up the hill.

Flower is about the size of a quarter. The leaves resemble trout skin!

When we were thinking about buying this house both my husband and I were each making secret trips here to see if it really was as lovely as we thought. When the trout lilies began to bloom on the hillside, (all wild mind you), I was SOLD! Had never seen them before . Since then each spring we have hosted Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Trillium, Toothwort, May Apples, Spring Beauty, Rue Anemone, Blue Phlox, False Solomon’s Seal and most rare on our lot Dwarf Larkspur. Still am amazed that we live here! -sigh-

Further into the green space we can see Squirrel Corn and Dutchmen’s Britches, Betony Poppies. Sometimes my husband asks why we even go to Smoky Mountains to hunt wild flowers. I stomp my foot (kidding) and remind him we do not have Lady’s Slippers or fields of single wildflowers. And then we pack 🙂

Daffodils #6

We have a joke in our household. I often remember other things I meant to write or say, so many emails and return phone calls and texts begin with “And …”

And … I finally figured out how to capture a single photo out of a video and thereby retrieve one of my best daffodil memories to share with you! (I have not yet paid to upgrade my Word Press account to share videos .)

Once in 2014 I went out in my raincoat to pick daffodils. The sky was leaden and the rain was imminent. While I was on the hillside the heavens opened and the rain poured and poured. It was lovely to be childlike out in a spring rain. At my age, I had started to carry my iPhone in my pocket just in case I fell or found a new photo. You know the old saying, “never go in the woods alone!”

While selecting daffodils I heard flowing water. We do not have a constant stream on our property. Searching for the source of the sound, I looked up and to my surprise the walnut tree had created the steam! Here is a still from that video clip! The streaming water is creating bubbles as it flows. Wish I could send along the sound. Enjoy! Look closely at the top where the trunk appears wet and follow it down.

Living water! Psalm 36:9 (NRSV) For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.
“Come on and rain down on us Lord! All my fountains are in You!” Chris Tomlin

Daffodils #5

In 2006 when we moved to Siesta Drive was the beginning of a grand love affair dig! On our slice of pie shaped lot, the wooded back hill was just perfect for daffodils bought in bulk at Sam’s Club. Now we have hundreds of blooms each spring.  Each fall Bob would lay out where he wanted to plant. At first I would help but in later years he has been the stronger of the two of us. The joy and color in the spring is a testament to his love! Such fragrance and such delight to share and share and still have bunches for our house! Hundreds of King Edward daffodils.

If you haven’t experienced the fragrance, most grocery stores sell bunches of daffodils now. I have not tried it, but you might get fragrance from those? Of course, store bought roses do not often have a fragrance, so I may be wrong.

Only part of our hillside garden!

Then in the front garden there are tiny ones, too, “Thumbelina.” A few other sorts. Someone did not want the narcissus that was growing in the garden before they moved in. The narcissus now live in our side yard, though not in a place of honor with the King Edwards.

So playing in Mr. Kuehner’s field was the beginning of a long love story between daffodils and me. Our experiences and memories shape us. Show up for your life today and you never know the wonders that will unfold from it tomorrow!

Daffodils #4

When I found this journal that depicts a little girl with brown hair picking daffodils. Oh yeah! Sold instantly!

Obviously, I never had the dress or basket, but the daffodil love was there! ANd the journal was rapidly filled. Now shelved with umpteen other volumes about my life and spiritual life.

Daffodils #3

When we bought a 1962 yellow VW van to drive across the country I insisted that we call it “Daffo-down-dilly.”

When I met Linda Werner she had scads of flowers in her yard. She made it a habit to share the first bouquet with someone outside her family. That is a practice that has brought lots of smiles and joy to me, also.

Tom Thumbs or Thumbelinas
Wouldn’t I love these bulbs in Bulk! Then they would just need planting!

Daffodils #2

When my husband and I lived in California I was always amazed at how WRONG it was that the daffodils in the Bay Area bloomed in February! That was not spring and just WRONG to this Ohio girl.

He took me to a place called Daffodil Hill. Just lovely flowing fields of daffodils. They would inspire him later in Ohio.

Daffodils #1

Mr. Kuehner owned farm land on Woodford Road. I think he lived with his sister. I am uncertain if he was still farming the land in front of his house by the time my parents bought that apartment building at 3804 . I do remember my mother once sending me up his driveway to the house (which my friends were certain was haunted) to buy fresh tomatoes from him. There was a well in front of the house. They were pleasant, but I was frightened.

The best part of his property was the creek that flowed along the bottom. It frequently flooded in spring and emptied into a drainage pipe that went under Woodford Road. This was about 1958 and I was allowed to play in that creek in the spring unsupervised. Putting on Totes clear plastic boots over my shoes, I ventured out for an afternoon or two. The memories from that time have lasted a lifetime.

Totes Clear plastic boots Loveland, Ohio made!

There were some stones in the creek bed that could be moved around to change the course of the flow. The stones also had fossils embedded in them. (I never understood that this was a big deal geologically until I was much older.)

There were also and occasional empty land snail shell embedded in the creek bank. I was enchanted. Grandma Rush used to bring me seashells from her bus trips to Florida. Here I found my own! At the opposite end of the creek there was a huge weeping willow tree where I could get under the golden spring tendrils and hide. Or at least I thought I was hidden! As an adult those willows are majestic, but not really good “cover!”

The rushing water would flatten the grass along the edge of the creek. But the very best part was when the daffodils would bloom. Such lovely golden flowers I had never experienced! And fragrant too! The single large flower of the King Edward was my favorite. Double blooms seemed showy and confused the petals, losing the trumpet.

Photo by Robert M Dutina
Doubles seem showy and confuse the petals!

More daffodils memories to come! They are starting to bloom here ;-D

Fish & Chips with What??

Traveling recently Bob saw a sign for English Style Fish & Chips. Decided we would go there later that day for lunch. Imagine my surprise when we went to order. Along with the typical choice of how many pieces of fish with those chips the menu offered wonton soup, crispy tofu and potstickers. Typical English Fish & Chips? I don’t think so!

Their on-line presence says: “101 Fish & Chips is a family-owned restaurant has been serving up this British Pub favorite in the tri-city area for over thirty (30) years. They use only the finest ingredients, freshest produce and seafood to provide their customers with the highest quality in flavor.”

Oh, I forgot to mention they also sell Beef Lumpia. I do not even know what that is! The fish was lightly battered and the chips were great.