Sunday is …

… not what it used to be for our household. No church attendance in person. In fact, I feel as if I do not even belong to my church any more. If we were to walk into what was a typical February 2020 worship service this very day, I bet I would remember the stories of those I have prayed with but likely have forgotten their names.

Sunday is not the major part of my faith life though. I learned long ago that my relationship with Jesus is what holds me to His side. This poem from 1988 reflects that sentiment. I learned the phrase “center -down silence” from Richard Foster in his work “The Celebration of Discipline.” Foster says it refers to getting quiet in anticipation of drawing closer to the Lord.

Inside Out © 1988                    Molly Lin Dutina

 I want to live from the inside out,
 always within the center-down silence.
 Having to struggle to get back 
 is not the direction I choose.
 Teach me, Lord, and help me 
 know how to grow 
 from the peaceful
 sanctuary within.
 Show me please where 
 to refresh our love.
 Give me attitudes that will unravel me
 from the sin which so easily entangles.
 Make me one with You, Lord,
 so I will know 
 how to be close 
 to all that is around me.
 Help me, Father,
 and be glorified in my life. 

I know the nautilus shell begins very small and grows larger as the animal grows larger. For me the nautilus can also be a useful image for the center-down silence: going from the busy, noisy world to the inner chambers of stillness and willingness to listen for the voice of the Almighty.

Try to center-down and listen

Organizer Cells

Berkeley Lab Study Image from Mark LaBarge
Organizer Cells  © 1996 by Molly Lin Dutina

 Standing in the summer moonlight
 Evening breeze cools fevered limbs
 Wondering the next stage of my journey
 As You lead, my obedience takes me where?
 Sense the shift in volunteer focus
 Sense the workplace soon to change
 Organizer cells in motion
 Metamorphosis soup enfolds.
 Love me into Your abandon
 Given wholly to Your ways
 Connected past, Contented present, 
 Future hopeful through holy Grace.
 Standing in the summer moonlight
 Frog-cicada-cricket songs
 Urge my soul to sing of ecstasies
 You have given, yet to come.
 Open wide my timid heart 
 Sheer relinquishment to Fidelity.  

Transparency with God

Sometimes we find it hard to bare our soul to God. This blown glass sculpture from Blenko glass reminds me of the importance of being transparent with Him. I wrote this during one of those times. I have always wished someone would set it to music. I hear the melody in my head, but have no skill to work it out!

Cry Then, Soul© 1996 by Molly Lin Dutina
 Somewhere in the knowing there is peace,
 Right there in the longing is a pull to draw near,
 Almost at the brink a hand reaches out to save,
 In response to the cry of our soul.
 Cry then, soul, out loud!
 Feel all your feelings.
 Declare to God every single thing.
 He's not repelled, He made you and
 He loves you.
 So speak with Him
 Through song or shouts of pain.
 Independence is the bane of our lives,
 Drawing near the bless`ed, chosen way;
 Narrow though it seems,
 Eternal vistas open forth,
 As we sacrifice with Holy trust and praise.
 Cry then, soul, out loud!
 Feel all your feelings.
 Declare to God every single thing.
 He's not repelled, He made you and
 He loves you.
 So speak with Him
 Through song or shouts of pain.
 Give Him all your shattered dreams and longings,
 Every vain attempt to take control;
 He alone is worthy of the powers we desire,
 He alone can save and make us whole.
 Cry then, soul, out loud!
 Feel all your feelings.
 Declare to God every single thing.
 He's not repelled, He made you and
 He loves you.
 So speak with Him 
 Through song or shouts of pain. 

Psalm 139:1-5 (NIV2011)  You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

Dispersal to Convergence

 Dispersal to Convergence ©1997 Molly Lin Dutina 
 As the sea anemone 
 does nothing of itself
 only opens to the water 
 flowing over and about it
 then closes - 
 So you are to rest 
 existing now as My being 
 -less focus on all doing
 I am always washing over you
 with truth, with love
 you have only to pull in
 your dissipated energies
 from dispersal 
 to convergence
 Focus on this stillness,
 these deep inhalations 
             of My Presence, 
                         of My Power,
                                     your restoration place.
 Let splashes of water
 be your call to join Me
 resting in convergent Love

Things I Have Written

Came across some things I do not think I have published in this blog previously. So the next few days I will be sending out some “oldies, but goodies.”

Eleven Fifty-three Post Meridiem © 1985 Molly Lin Dutina

 Night time and the Unresolved
 Come marching to my bedroom
 Tramping through my head
 Hurling accusations
 Quoting words once said
 Reason takes a low profile
 While logic flees the scene
 Where is the solution 
 For circumstances now turned mean
 Never, shoulds, and woulds
 Paint dismal, hopeless scenes
 Understanding vanishes
 Deep each insult bleed.
 Forgiveness is the answer
 That makes the war to cease
 Let it go.    Let go.    Release.
 Present moment calls to me
 Be NowHere in God's sweet peace
 A song can be resung
 The past can't be undone
 But pouring in forgiveness
 The fall-out is made numb
 Come to here and now
 Feast on today's plenty
 In gratitude for all
 Dare to now drink deeply 
 From streams of joy and love 
 We are granted 
 Only to 
 "Live our lives by moments"
 Aren't we now?

Our Strong Tower

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.

Proverbs 18:10 NRSV

Many times this has been the verse I have lived and counted upon for deliverance in tough situations. As I reflected upon this recently I was reminded that I can only run into my strong tower if there are no hindrances and obstacles between God and me. The Holy Spirit is able to help clear those obstacles away. Daily I ask the Holy Spirit to show me if there are any obstructions between me and my Lord. If there are, I pray for help in clearing those away so I have clear and open access to my strong tower.

photo by Robert Dutina

When oppression becomes familiar and identifiable, I need to push back the darkness – run to the LORD and stand up for what He has purchased for me with His blood.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3: 20-21 NKJV

Meaningful Quotes

Sometimes I collect quotes that speak to my faith and spiritual growth. here are a few that might inspire you, also.

I have been an Associate of the Convent of the Transfiguration for MANY years – at last count about 29! Wowsers! Even I am surprised. The Transfiguration is an Episcopalian convent located in Glendale, Ohio a neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information click here

Let us have a little sanctuary of silence in our hearts into which the voice of God alone may come.

Mother Eva Mary, CT

What could you begin as a spiritual discipline to clear a space, a little sanctuary of silence in your heart where God might speak to you?

Another woman who has influenced my walk was Basilea Schlink. She was born Karla Schlink in 1094 Germany and became a Lutheran religious leader and writer. She co-founded the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in 1947 to 2001. The Sisterhood has branches in Germany and Phoenix, Arizona. I have a tiny booklet of her writing entitled “The Weapon of Prayer.”

Prayer: being able to say anything and everything to Him whose love is measureless and whose power is boundless. He will supply all our needs.

M. Basilea Schlink

Would you dare to try this? My mother taught me early in my life to sing “In the Garden.” The refrain says, “And He walks with me and He talks with me…” Have you ever walked with Him and talked with Him throughout a day, a week, a month? This kind of prayer is powerful and not to be discounted.

When I was visiting recently with my friend, Betty, in New Mexico she shared this quote with me. It is taken from the ESV Global SB Notes regarding Abiding in Jesus.

To abide in Jesus means living in a daily, close relationship with Him, characterized by trust, prayer, obedience, and joy. The Holy Spirit’s presence and activity within Christians gives evidence that they are abiding in Christ (John 8:31, 6:56. 15:4; 1 John 2:6, 27-28; 3:6).

That is a meaty quote that will likely take the serious Christian some quality time to unpack. Can you say that all of these areas are functioning in your life, empowered by the Holy Spirit? I will be reviewing this as a form of self-examination for some time to come.

Bangs and Birthdays

I recently had a birthday. Four weeks after my birthday comes my older sister’s birthday. Here she is as a child.

Now, mind you, she sent me a card for my birthday this year and asked me “Don’t we have a picture of you like this?” I think she forgot the photo of herself shown above!

Myself as a child

So below is the card. I opened it on my way in from the mailbox. And even in the midst of this awful pandemic, I LAUGHED OUT LOUD!!

And inside it read …

Yes, our mom cut our hair back then. She used to line up my bangs with a mole on my forehead. After years of that haircut I swore I would grow out those bangs and never have bangs again. I have only had a few times in my adult life when I had bangs. Besides, my hair grows so quickly it is hard to keep bangs! So here we are as adults laughing at Mom and remembering a funny memory together. That is a blessing!

Happy Birthday, Paula! You are a hoot!!

More Autumn on Siesta Drive

It’s not all bad walking the dog in autumn! Especially when the sun surprises you with neon!


October 23 and the woods on our hill was showing more ground!

The Ginkgo tree is one of the last in our yard to turn. Here she is in her yellow gown with the Pyracantha shrub starting to glow red.

And SURPRISE! October 28 I was working at my desk and happened to look up. At first I wondered “Whose cat is that?” By the time I grabbed my iPhone I was fortunate to get you a photo of Mr. Chubbs, a groundhog! New to our bird feeder area as far as I know.

As Mom would say, “Will wonders never cease!” And off he waddled. Not underfed, that one!

Autumn Unfurled

We began noticing the autumn changes September 30.

And the changes just kept happening! For years I have referred to the maples in autumn colors as ladies in their Gowns. And then when the leaves fall, the Ladies dropped their gowns! Here is the Cotillion at Adams Lake.

Bob and I both love reflections in still water. We will return to Adams Lake next summer to try to capture good photos of the giant lily pads there.

Here are the ladies along St. Rt. 32 awaiting their Cotillion ball entrance!

Yes, it would be difficult to leave my maples, especially this time of year. I know, those are not only maple trees, but predominantly maples. And then there is my second favorite traveler, before she ever dreamed of getting hurt!

At our house, now in mid-November, we can see way into the woods on our backyard hill. Today the rain is to come and the temperatures to drop back into the normal range. It has been a lovely “Indian summer” defined by Wikipedia and others as: An Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere during September to November. In an article on the US National Weather Service‘s website, weather historian William R. Deedler writes that Indian Summer can be defined as “any spell of warm, quiet, hazy weather that may occur in October or November.” Several references describe a true Indian Summer as not occurring until after the first frost, or more specifically the first “killing” frost.

Yes, we have had a killing frost. Oh those Persian shields turned black! A lovely “Indian Summer” indeed.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV