Lucky Dog Update

Oh yes, she is settling in just fine and almost has us trained! Benjamin asked to be kept updated on Lucky so here is the news! Grandgirl told me about a Starbucks dog treat, so of course we had to try it out!

Something like Pupperacino. Whipped cream in a tiny cup. We went to the drive through and parked in the lot.

She is wearing her harness to ride in the car with ease now. It has a handle on the back that helps if we need to lift her into the car for some reason. Bob wants to get a handle installed permanently on her back. Silly man!

The League For Animal Welfare is always looking for unique names for the animals. There ought to be a dog named “Move!” When we had our other beagle one child I kept called her “Moo!” because I so often said “Move!” She walks in front of us and we tell her to MOVE! Trying some new techniques to get her out of the way.

She fared pretty good with the fireworks. Thunder and lightning, not so much. There was thunder in the distance the other night. She was up in a nanosecond, looking out the window as if to exclaim, “Not AGAIN!”

Oh no! Not again!!

When it rains she wants to be touched. If it really storms she wants to be held while she trembles.

Not certain when we might be able to let her off the leash even around our yard. Maybe in due time. She adores Bob. If he leaves the house, even to empty the garbage she waits at the door. I have gotten to where if he leaves in the car, I first open the garage so she can look out the screen door to watch him get in his car and then drive away. She cries less that way, though she most often waits for him by the door. Wonder if we need another dog so I can have one, too? If we both go out she sometimes howls from her kennel. When we get home she most often has not consumed her treat! And she has a lot to say when we return. Yowling and crying with delight. Wags that tail and wiggles those hips like a professional dancer. She rarely barks though, inside or out.

As I write this blog she is asleep under my desk. I occasionally nap with her in the guest room in the afternoon. She understands not to sleep in our bed at night. I layer my bedroom recliner with her blankets and she gets her FAVORITE, a bone filled with a slice of cheap lunch meat, a Milk bone and a smear of peanut butter. Then she settles in the chair for the night or occasionally on the floor.

Still insists on being walked before she will “do her business.” Hoping she will start going in our yard before winter. If not, we will be walking more in the winter!

Already five weeks in her furever home! Still some timidity that we may never understand, but she is getting more accustomed to us our routine and her place in the family.

Euchaetes egle

Yeah that is what I thought too when I read the name! We have been awaiting the emergence of monarch caterpillars. Recently while inspecting the milkweed plants I saw piles of tiny black poop on some leaves. A telltale sign of caterpillar activity. Imagine my shock when I found these instead!

Looking online for more information I found …

The furry milkweed tussock moth caterpillar looks like a tiny teddy bear covered in tufts of black, orange, and white. In their first three instars, milkweed tussock moth caterpillars feed gregariously, so you may find entire leaves of milkweed covered in caterpillars. Milkweed tussock moth caterpillars can defoliate a stand of milkweed in a matter of days.

The adult moth occasionally is observed on milkweed or dogbane, although you might not be impressed enough to notice it. The milkweed tussock moth has mouse gray wings and a yellow abdomen with black spots.

Mouse gray and yellow my foot! These ugly monsters are literally defoliating many plants and I am angry! Then Bob reminded me we have seen these before. Oh. I guess there is enough milkweed to provide for all of them. But WHERE are the monarch caterpillars?

Evidently, not here. Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar U G L Y

Meanwhile, the corn is fine and growing quickly!

Unexpected

Have you ever done a tedious job that you might have to repeat? Then you dread doing it the next time? Recently our wireless internet connection went down and we needed to get the wireless printer reset to operate again. If you have had that pleasure, you press one button and then hold in the WPS button on the router down. It did not work.

img_2371

But while holding in the button I looked to the left, out the office window and beheld a wonder! A Scarlet Tanager, right under our feeder! And then in the branches of our maple tree. Nope! I could not grab a camera (holding in the stupid button) and even if I had run for a camera I might have missed the grandeur of that lovely startling bird. I have only seen one at our house once or twice before! Here is a photo from online.

Be still my heart!! Yes, eventually Bob and I figured it out together and all things wireless are working, for now!

“Human beings must always be on the watch for the coming of wonders.”

E. B. White

A few days later Bob and I took on another rather tedious job. Our office windows look out at the front yard and sun all day long. The window seals eventually rotted from all that sun. Bob connected with the building supply company who connected with the window company which eventually found the seals. He picked them up in northern Kentucky and then we played window installers and put the seals in. Yikes. I was grateful for my crochet and sewing experience! We had to feed this tiny plastic edge into a tiny plastic slot and get it to lock in. Had to make certain the corners were cut on an angle that would match the window. More than once we had to take it out. All the while the windows in question were open and the summer heat was pouring in vigorously.

Poof! While holding an edge of the window I looked down at my cactus garden tray. The tips of one succulent were amazing. Right there! Just then!

Right there in the midst of the tedium a wondrous sight! Oh, that appreciation made the job much easier.

There are treasures galore around us if we will just stay aware. May the blessings of your day astound you!

Getting Worse

In March I was horrified when the death toll from Covid-19 in America reached over 700. In April 100,000 to 200,000 deaths were predicted. The AMA came out with guidelines for doctors in the event there is a ventilator shortage – how to decide who gets one, i.e., who lives and who likely dies. What an awful thing to have to decide.

Now the deaths in America due to Covid-19 are over 144,500+ and cases are rising rapidly in almost every single state. We are seemingly getting callused to the numbers. Do we numb ourselves as a way to cope with the staggering power of this virus? So many families grieving. So much loss of life and work and pay and rent. We could not have imagined this one year ago in this day and age. I heard the economics being compared now to the Great Depression.

We need one another now more than ever. We need the Lord Jesus Christ to touch us by the power of His Holy Spirit now more than ever. I have spent months going through the stages of grief and found myself lately bordering on the stage of acceptance. This might really kill my husband or myself or a family member. Gratefully, our daughter, who tested positive for the virus, is so far only suffering a fatigue that she cannot shake. Praying she regains her stamina soon.

I cannot afford to live in a fantasy that this will be over in a week or two. This virus is real and it is killing people. Many people.

I honestly cannot remember if I shared this before, but here I go. I use a meditation app that provides either nature sounds, guided meditation prompts or just a timer for meditation. It is called Insight Timer. There is one presenter named Andrew Johnson who leads a meditation much like one of my counselors used to do with me.

Every time I work with Andrew I seem to arrive at a different place with a different lesson. On April 28 of this year I followed Andrew’s instructions as he took me to what he calls “a favorite place” – it was fog so dense I could not see. Moist sweet fragrance, and nothing but fog.

I was impressed by my lack of control and direction. Eventually I saw the Lord’s hand extended to me. Knew I was to follow and cling to Him. (Abide). He is in control of this journey. I do not need to know where we are going. I need to cling to His hand and abide with Him. It was eerie but also a comfort to let down my shoulders, release myself into His care. Be content to be His and go along with His plan.

The photo below is NOT the best, but a great memory.

This statue at the Oklahoma Cowboy Museum gave me pause. Was this some terrible joke upon Native American men what with the parasol and tassels? To reach them here is their link. https://nationalcowboymuseum.org/ and the actual title is the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

When I walked around to the side of the statue my opinion of the sculpture changed drastically. The sun was not kind to my photo.

He is shielding her!

I cannot decide if it reminds me more of my husband of almost fifty years (YEP, I typed that right. 50!) or my Lord and Savior. He too shields me and asks only that I abide and trust. Abide, remain, stay joined, live in – how easily we often get distracted and wander. Lord, help us to abide in You.

As time moves on towards our anniversary and our birthdays none of us know what the future holds. I do know Who loves me best and who on earth loves me the most!

 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalm 84:11 NRSV

But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

Psalm 3:3 NIV2011

Call upon Him. He is able to keep us no matter what befalls us.

Miss Muffett © 1982 Molly Lin Dutina

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

                I saw the devil as a decrepit, weasand, impotent old man, stooped over, no strength in his backbone, but malice in his eyes. He worked his way up an open-stair metal ladder to the catwalks along the lights above a stage.

                I sat on the stage in finger curls and white eyelet ruffles looking much like the storybook picture of Miss Muffett. I was happy, contented and apathetic (having or showing little or no emotion).

                Using seemingly his last ounce of strength, this old impotent being reached the spot on the catwalk above me which he had chosen as his point of power. From inside his dirty trench coat he pulled a marionette – it was a hideous, hairy spider with spindly octopus-like legs and invisible strings. The catwalk was edged with a railing made of steel tubular pipes. He rested his weight upon the cold steel, too weak to stand on his own. He dropped the marionette half-way down and adjusted his hands in the wooden frames that controlled the strings for moving the spider’s body. Then he dropped the spider all the way down, near my face.

                As I caught sight of the hideous hairy spider from the corner of my eye, apathy fled, and emotions stormed over me. The spineless, weak being up in the catwalk had little strength to hurt me, but he chose to use my own power against me. I flailed out in fear and anger and my actions made that spider jump and fly through the air with more energy than the old fart could ever have put into it.

                At that juncture, the loving voice of my Lord broke into the scene and said, “Molly Lin, the spider is fear. It has very little power on its own. But you give it your energy by flailing and struggling and assuming it is more powerful than it is. Think through this same scene and SEE that had you chosen to sit still and watch that spider, it would have dangled from strings and been as impotent to harm you as the one holding its frames. He has no power over you unless you give it to him. Fear is a choice!”

                My life has never been the same. I am not always fearless, but I do know that when fear comes I can choose to have it go. Seeing things in a new way … choosing another perspective or point of view … RESPONDING instead of reacting are all keys to maintaining my peace and experiencing the comfort and presence of my Lord Jesus.

“I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.“

Psalm 34:4 HCSB

Perhaps the title should be “Don’t Give Your Power Away.”

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10a

Smile at Fears

Can you train your mind to smile at your fears, knowing that God is the One in charge of you? By making Jesus your Lord, you put yourself under His Lordship. That means He oversees you. Lord means one who has power and authority over another. The Bible says 365 times fear not. Yet, we each have fears. It is our choice whether we let that fear reside with us comfortably. We may have to submit our fear to the Christ repeatedly in any one day. He has the power to take the fears and replace them with trust and faith. Nothing can separate us from the power of God, unless we let it.

A recent quote from Gratefulness.org  was from Thich Nhat Hanh. He was a Vietnamese monk, a renowned Zen master, a poet, and a peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, and was the author of many books, including the best-selling “The Miracle of Mindfulness.” He wrote,

“Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

This is a Buddhist teaching, but the Lord Jesus said something similar. The greatest commandment is ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 (NIV2011)  

If we are willing to turn our heart, soul, mind and attention to the Living Christ, His very presence will sustain us. The song below sums it up nicely.

Give your fears to the Lord for one week and smile at them. See what a difference it makes!

TobyMac

When I first heard this song on the CD “The Elements” I was amazed at how it reflected our culture. In the recent outcry for peace and equality between the races I thought it was time to share it. I found one with the lyrics so you can follow along.

It starts with me, with you, with caring for the experience of others, and doing what we can where we are.

Make Negative Choices or Repel Them

Do you have negative thoughts that bother you? I am realizing there are patterns to mine and some cause me to plunge into various areas of depression if left unchecked. If you are willing to objectively listen to your negative thoughts, you can pick out patterns after a while. Then you have choices to make. We have a responsibility to do our part in fighting against this darkness.

Perhaps your thoughts concern your job. The various things you do not like about the job. Not necessarily enough to make you quit or seek another position, but misery builds. Regardless of the financial security and health coverage you may be given, those thoughts can pull you under into a mud puddle until you are bathed in loathing about the work you need to do.

Maybe someone in a group of your peers trigger negative thoughts. All humans have weaknesses and failings. Perhaps you let some behaviors bother you. Soon their aggravations are like burrs under your saddle. You get more and more unhappy, knowing they are not likely to change and blaming only them for the problems between you.

Feelings of inferiority or fears about being less than others can color your outlook on seemingly innocent exchanges. Soon you can interpret everything and everyone as shunning you.

What are your patterns? Have you taken them to the Lord for help? The Holy Spirit can guide and direct us if we are willing to be instructed and led in paths of light. We have a responsibility to do our part in fighting against this darkness. We are responsible for the thoughts we entertain. What is your process when you recognize a pattern as familiar, something you have experienced before?

Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards;  for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NRSV)

Are you doing your part in this warfare? Do you push back against the darkness or just take it all as if you believe you deserve it? Are you willing to take every thought captive to Christ?

Years ago we were taught with a saying that became somewhat common, “Feed your faith; starve your fears.”

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1 (NIV 2011)

This song might help feed your faith and starve your fears. Watch your thought life. It might be your best defense against the negativity that would like to pull you down, and under, drowning you in defeat. Cling to the One Who loves you most! The biggest battlefield is most often between our ears!

Ironing on a Summer Day

I am making masks for use in public to fight the Corona virus again. It seems like my Rowenta iron is getting a workout as I press seams and pleats and the finished product.

A few years ago I gave away a Rowenta iron because the water would sputter and pop. Turns out I was using distilled water and it was designed to use tap water! The new iron came with a little white cup to make the water easier to pour into the iron. It holds about 12 ounces? The iron does not actually hold that much, so the water that remained in the cup sometimes formed a scum on the bottom of the white cup.

Recently I grabbed my water bottle from an earlier walk and filled the iron. Thought, “Why not?” It poured easily enough.

So I have been using that for a week or two. Jump into a memory!

My mother had a General Electric iron similar to this version from the 1950’s. Even with that gnarly two-toned cord.

With that version there was no steam option so the clothes had to be dampened before you ironed them. So instead of my trusty push button for forced steam or continuous steam from the Rowenta, we used something like this!

Yes! a trusty soda pop bottle with water (we would never place it on its side like the above photo). Just shake and the water would sprinkle out on the clothing. Then press the item. I thought it was so cool. When Mom would ask me to refill the bottle for her, I was always willing! When I was finally deemed old enough to do the ironing our General Electric iron was more like the one below. The red button on the top was for steam! We were moving up in the world! I never minded ironing. Even now, I am grateful I never had to iron stacks of dress shirts for my husband’s work, but ironing other things has not been a chore to me.

It was not usual for me to come home from school on a hot day and see my mother with the ironing board set up in front of the television, watching Reds baseball and drinking a beer while she ironed.

All that surfaced, while I ironed masks and watch Roku television in the basement! Grateful for the advances electric irons have made. Baseball season such as it is will begin soon. Unlikely you will find me ironing with a beer!