My Friend Mike Powell and 1669

He seems to follow me everywhere! His interest in dragonflies, butterflies, flowers and nature in general keep me intrigued with his blog. Until he gets to the snakes. Then I tune him out. Yuck. http://michaelqpowell.com/2020/09/04/dragonfly-and-duckweed/

Because of him I am exponentially aware of dragonflies, though I cannot identify hardly any of them. As my oldest friends are aware I love butterflies, but Mike researches his and posts details about them. I merely admire. Well, except for the monarchs and especially their caterpillars. My husband and I garden milkweed especially for those!

Recently Bob and I made a trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum, wearing our masks and social distancing in the almost deserted museum. One exhibit was called “Women Breaking Boundaries” and this painting was done by Maria van Oosterwijck in 1669 entitled Flower Still Life. I was admiring the flowers: nasturtium, peony, tulip, lily of the valley, carnation or dianthus, rose, iris, poppy unfolding and greenery and POP UP! There was Mike Powell! Almost center of the painting is a dragonfly. Closer inspection brought two butterflies into view. Perhaps a beetle, wasp or fly on the edge of the table? Makes me want to return to the museum with a magnifying glass to identify the insects 🙂 Maybe you can study the painting below and use my list as a hidden object puzzle. You might even find more details than I did!

I wanted to purchase a copy for Mike, but alas they only had one small print and a large poster. Then I remembered I do not even know his address, just contact through his blog and mine!

So here is the painting description:

Even with Bob’s best computer photo enhancement tools we have trouble seeing that confident signature!

This is my favorite (without the frame). Thanks Mike for keeping me on my toes!

https://secretimages.org/2019/11/06/flower-still-life-1669-by-maria-van-oosterwyck/ wrote on the blog Secret Images about Maria, “Her signature motif, a Red Admiral butterfly, appears in most of her significant paintings; scholars believe that van Oosterwyck included the boldly-patterned insect to send a hopeful message about resurrection.”

Well I for one love that hopeful message about the resurrection!

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

1 Peter 1:3 NIV 2011

Do Not Presume

I attend a weekly prayer meeting on behalf of our church leaders. Those of us in the group take turns writing the outline and presenting it for the group to pray. Here is one of my recent outlines.

“But oh! GOD is in His holy temple! Quiet everyone – a holy silence. Listen!”

Habakkuk 2:20 MSG

Most of us are familiar with the traditional translation that read “The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.” The message expresses that differently. This passage is from the Old Testament. In the finished work of Jesus we learn that we are the temple of God and He inhabits us through His Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

During this pandemic it has often been difficult to remember to pray. Covid quarantine seems to have numbed my brain. Paul understood not knowing how to pray. He wrote

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT2)

When I ponder “What is the place of my deepest need?” I so often turn to the Holy Spirit to illuminate that place for me.

There is a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, Communion Rite 1, that has always blessed me. A portion of it reads:

“We do not presume to come to this Your Table, O merciful
Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in Your manifold
and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather       
up the crumbs under Your Table. But You are the same Lord
whose property is always to have mercy. …..”

In lifting our prayer requests for the church leadership I reminded the group that we do not presume to come to this Your table trusting in our own righteousness. We do not presume to know how to pray for You to touch the deepest place of need in others, even in those closest to us, even for ourselves. We are not God. You are on the throne. You are seated among us.

Use us as You see fit in the call to stand and pray. And having done all, help us to stand.

 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:13 NIV

 In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Ephesians 6:18 MSG

Lord, help us silence our thunderous thoughts regarding what others need. Help us to stop pouring words upon words and thoughts upon thoughts and listen for Your voice regarding the needs of the church and even our own deepest needs.

I challenged the group to copy out their portion of the list of names and carry it them for one week. Lift those situations to the Throne Room. Simply place them in the Lord’s presence and ask Him to speak wisdom and peace, guidance and compassion to each one. Then as the Holy Spirit guides, pray specific things.

Perhaps this might help your prayer life, too?

Pleasure of Keeping An Untidy Garden

I don’t think I shared with you the pleasure of not keeping a tidy garden?

May 11 the bachelor button volunteers were coming up from last year’s seed that had dropped in the garden.

You can see one flower almost perfectly centered under the window!

Here is a photo from June 1 taken from inside our office when the flowers were getting more full.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Matthew 6:26 (NIV2011)  

And eventually they went to seed. I was not quick to go out and cut the stalks back. Lo and behold my surprise when I caught this vision out the same said window!

As the seeds kept coming, so did the goldfinch. Male and female! Such delight.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Matthew 6:26 (NIV2011)  

Declaration from Heavens

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4a NIV

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”  “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”  For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36 NIV

Stompin’ Deer

Lucky and I were taking an evening walk when we came upon a doe and her fawn. The spots of the fawn were almost gone. We stopped to watch them. The doe was unafraid of our presence. I was not certain if the dog would bark or try to chase them. As you can see in short video below, she watched along with me!

According to https://whitetailhunting.info/white-tailed-deer-qa/deer-stomping-ground/ “A deer is sending a message when it is stomping the ground. The message reads, “I don’t know what you are or what you are up to, but I do not like it. Move on!” In short, a deer stomping a front foot/hoof against the ground is a way of telling you or something else to get lost, go away.

“The stomping of foot is not a sign of aggression towards humans, although dogs and coyotes and other mid-sized critters should definitely stay out of the way because these animals ARE seen as an immediate threat.

“The stomping of a foot is one way for a deer to “test” what it is looking at. If a deer sees something that it is unsure of, the deer may stomp the ground just to get a response.”

Well, this fawn was looking at a woman from the neighborhood who stopped to watch the deer feed. No one was spooked, until a man came down the street walking a barky dog with a kid on a bike. THEN the fawn ran into the woods, followed by mom.

Lucky and I continued our walk marveling at our unexpected encounter.

Only Then ©2014 Molly Lin Dutina

Here at Siesta Drive I have my island of responsibility.
Even here I find it difficult
to push off the dock
into the quiet river of Living Water
for the renewal of my soul
stilling of my heart, quieting of my mind
floating in Your love
awaiting Your instructions and
anointing for this day.
 
I want to power up the boat
or maybe stay on the island
ordering about the mundane
resisting the holy and eternal.
Forgive me, again, my desiring
to be in charge and capable.
 
Take me to a quiet lagoon
            with jumping fish          
            elusive Great Blue Herons
            tree branches trialing their leaves at the water’s edge.

 
Anchor me in Your incredible center-down silence
wash over me with righteousness
grant me the kiss of peace
Your faithfulness and steadfast love
meeting me in holy embrace
of relinquishment to solitude.
 
Only then
            can I meet the mundane
            with correct vision
Your holy Kingdom first and foremost
            no matter what my activity might be.
 
So here at Siesta Drive if I will allow it
energy and solace I was hoping for at “The River”
may ebb and flow, around me, within, overflowing,
washing glaring, gaudy colors of importance
off the mundane,
letting those things fall back
into their proper place as incidental
like spoons tossed into the silverware drawer.