With Great Sadness

Sadly, John did not survive his accident. If you remember he was chopping wood, got dizzy, sat down, fell forward and broke his neck. Please pray for his widow as she and her daughters are in shock to say the least. He was much loved by them and admired by so many others.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15

Remember this Artwork?

My writing this week began with a blank page as it always does, then sorrows and struggles of others, the sound of dry leaves, climate change and some poetry. How to sum that up? I think my newest t-shirt says it best with a quote from Mother Teresa, “Do small things with great love.”

How to shine the Light of the Lord in these situations? For those in sorrow and struggles, cook a meal if you can. Surprise someone with flowers and a slice of cake. Pray for their situations and the strength of their hearts. Remind them as you are enabled that the paths of the Lord “drip with abundance.”

Dry leaves falling upon dry leaves are about to end today as rain is forecast in our area. Then we will have dry leaves falling upon soggy leaves. And oh how we need that rain! Yes, the voice of the Lord is still here like the whisper of leaves upon leaves, that still small voice of love and encouragement, challenge and reproof. (1 Kings 19:12) Are you listening for His voice of instruction to you?

My reminders

I have returned to wearing this homemade bracelet. It reminds me that I am called to Constant, Yielded, Peaceful, Joyful Obedience to the Lord. When I am diligent to this He shines His light through me, usually when I am not even aware it is happening. Why is this important? As His servant and ambassador in this age of darkness, like Paul, I am to reflect His glory. My occupation is to give light to those around me, Light from the Son.

for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak

Ephesians 6:20

When the bracelet annoys me, catches upon something or hinders the use of my wrist my practice is to make that draw my attention back to Christ. Am I listening? Am I doing the last thing He asked of me? Is the Trinity trying to get my attention right now? Am I humble enough to yield and to listen? Will I obey Him?

Some say they do not know what God wants them to do. If you keep praying and asking, the Holy Spirit is quite capable to make the Father’s will clear to you. You must wait and listen. When you receive instruction obey as much of that instruction as you are able. You might mess it up and make a mistake. We all do that. Our God is able to clean up our mistakes and make the most of our efforts.

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

2 John 1:6 NIV

I pray you will use the empty page, the empty canvas of your life to do works of His desiring. Though you might not be able to see what is being created, He does and He will be careful to keep your heart until the day of His coming. Work diligently, as unto God. He reads your heart and knows your efforts on His behalf.

Ask Him, “what would bring pleasure to You today, Lord?” Then set out to delight your Lord with all of your heart!

Some October Poetry Musings © Molly Lin Dutina

The weight loss emphasizes
How the years wore paths
Upon her cheeks
The wear and tear	
Of aging show in
Sharp delineation from
The chubbiness of her youth
Yet her beauty and tenacity
Hold on in her eyes
A smile that brightened any
Room or hallway

California coastal breeze has its own unusual ambiance
Is it a fine mix of salt air after it crosses the bay
Multiple blooming trees and shrubs
Mixed with major eucalyptus tones 
Practically indescribable 
So unlike Ohio

The Air B & B was clean 
Mostly quiet
Safe though subterranean
Noisy only when the sump pump 
protested kitchen sink usage
Yet that too provided a loud temporary
Rhythm of life after breakfast 

Climate Crisis?

The first photo is “Randy Statler sits on a rock to watch people walk to Tower Rock, an attraction normally surrounded by the Mississippi River and only accessible by boat, in Perry County, Missouri, on October 19, 2022. Jeff Roberson/AP Photo”

I love Mary Engelbreit. She captures things succinctly for me.

I do not remember this happening before, but according to weather historians it has occurred once within the last ten years or so. And now, again. Are we awake to what is happening?

I was startled to hear about drought on the Mississippi river. In case you have forgotten, here is the route it takes.

I first heard this on the national news. Here is report from Newsweek.

“The Mississippi River winds 2,350 miles, connecting the center of the continental United States to the Gulf of Mexico. The National Park System calls the Mississippi River “significant to national trade” and is an avenue to funnel 500 million tons of shipped goods into the U.S. economy. Products most often shipped on the Mississippi are grains, petroleum products, iron and steel, grain, rubber, paper, wood, coffee, coal, chemicals and edible oils.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a nine-foot shipping channel from Louisiana to Minnesota in order to transport the goods up and down the Mississippi River. In some areas of the drought-ridden channel, the Weather Channel reported the waterway was so narrow, barges were at a standstill and backed up for miles.

And then CNN

“The US Drought Monitor says that more than 55% of the contiguous United States – an area that is home to more than 133 million people – is in drought.

“With the Climate Prediction Center forecasting below-average rainfall through at least October 23.”


So if you thought the drought was limited to California and the western states, think again. The earth as we knew it is in trouble. I doubt my parents would ever have imagined this could happen. I can barely imagine this is happening in my lifetime!

“Oh Lord, forgive us for abusing our planet. Help us know how best to conserve it right now. Show us Your will and Your ways in this thing. Amen”

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all

The Lord is faithful in all his words,
    and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all who are falling,
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
    satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
    and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
    he also hears their cry, and saves them.

The Lord watches over all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and all flesh will bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Psalm 145:13-21 NRSV

I suppose we have counted on the storms from the Atlantic to provide much of our autumn moisture? This year those storms have barely effected our area of the Ohio River valley. So literally, pray for rain. Especially if you like to ship or to purchase “grains, petroleum products, iron and steel, grain, rubber, paper, wood, coffee, coal, chemicals and edible oils.”

Drought has caused low flows in the Mississippi River, slowing vital barge traffic to a crawl. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Priceless Quote

I first read this quote by Rainer Marie Rilke in the book by Ben Palpant entitled “Letters from the Mountain.”

“Most experiences are unsayable.” There are mysterious existences whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.

Rilke and Ben Palpant

There is a sound of leaves falling upon leaves that is so indescribable. I cannot imagine being able to mimic that sound. More than just a rustling, shifting, crunching. Nary a squirrel can approach our deck undetected right now! Our once green grass is now a carpet of yellow, orange, brown and red.

I used the blower to clear off the deck. 24 hours later it looked like this!

Can you see the carpet of leaves on the lawn?

How could I possibly capture the sound of dry leaves upon dry leaves with only words? How would you say it?

Below is a mighty sweet gum tree growing in the woods of Eastfork State Park.

And then there was this artsy photo of sun through a sweet gum leaf which the mighty beagle messed up by walking in front of the camera.

Silly Lucky, no artistic sense!

You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.
They drop on the pastures of the wilderness,
And the little hills rejoice on every side.
The pastures are clothed with flocks;
The valleys also are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, they also sing.

Psalm 65:11 NKJV

Blank Page

Opened WordPress and there was nothing in “Drafts.” Sometimes I make notes in Drafts to expand upon later. Good thing I started making some notes over the weekend. It is easier to start writing five blog entries if I have some idea of the direction I might go!

So far this morning I have put drops in Bob’s post operative right eye, washed his hair in the sink, vacuumed out the car, tried to get my windshield clean again (before it turns cold outside). Bob helped me plant a mum in the backyard flower bed. One load of laundry in dryer and I am only 45 minutes late on starting to write! Whew!!

Each day and each week are blank as we approach them. Then we live the day and the week and there are happenings. When we returned from our trip to California we learned the neighborhood news. Most of it was not good.

One neighbor had doubly sad news. Her Dad called from the hospital. He was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2 organs. She went to his side. Nothing to be done. Was sent to Hospice care and died within the week. The rest of the family traveled to Kentucky for the funeral. Her mom is not at all well and may be in hospice care soon if daughter cannot find a nursing home placement for her here in Ohio. From what I understand the nursing homes are understaffed and quite full.  The family came home from Kentucky. That evening they had a call that his Dad was found dead in his apartment. Two funerals for 2 dads in such a short time. That family is reeling.

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
 Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 63:6-7 NIV

Another friend has a hale and hearty husband. He was in the backyard chopping wood. Felt dizzy. Sat down. Next thing he knew he somehow fell forward and broke his neck in 2 places. Was sent by helicopter to downtown trauma hospital. Screws and plate put in his neck. Caught pneumonia and was sedated and intubated for over a week. He is awake and responsive now, but his lungs are too weak to sustain the next surgery the doctors need to perform. Please pray healing for John, stronger lungs, hope and trust. Like this vine around the tree trunk I am reminded of the following verse:

 I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:8 NIV

We have no idea how fortunate we are. Have you given thanks to the Lord God lately? Not for things that have not happened to you as much as for the things that have come your way, blessings in the midst of struggles, His power in your weakest moments, comfort in the deep darkness of night. Cling to Him.

This area is being slammed with RSV virus. More children than ever are being hospitalized with it and there is worry, too, for the elderly and those whose health is compromised. One woman in our small group, Terri, is currently hospitalized. She thought she had a cold and then had great difficulty breathing. Was admitted through the ER. She is on oxygen at the hospital. Doctors have not specified if this is bacterial or viral. She will not be released until her oxygen level remains steady on her own. I am not currently aware of children who are hospitalized, but I know some areas of the country are running out of pediatric beds due to the virus. This is not covid or a variant. This virus has been known for a long time. This year it is especially virulent.

The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Job 33:4

Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

The CDC https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/index.html

Thank the Lord at all times. If in doubt, wear your mask. Always wash your hands, often. And cling to Him.

The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
Cling to the Lord at all times

Be Kept Blameless

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 NIV

I am kept blameless by God himself. I do not have the power to do that. He does and He wants to do that.

Are you aware of your shortcomings? Do you know that God loves you so much He is willing to sanctify you? He is willing to make you blameless in all of your being, spirit, soul and body. Your entirety.

Who is calling you? Almighty God our Father.

The holy God of Peace.

He is faithful.

He will do it.

Will you yield to Him and let Him have His own way within you?

Having Fun

We sometimes listen to TED talks. We recently heard “Why Having Fun is The Secret to A Healthier Life,” (link is below). I found the transcript and included a few thoughts from Catherine Price for your consideration. It also touches upon our Small Group study delving into a better definition of joy.

That first photo shows Lucky having fun with Lizzie’s cat while she stayed at their house during our absence.

“The color of fun is sunshine, (said her daughter.) It involves “playfulness, connection and joy.” By playfulness I just mean having a lighthearted attitude of doing things for the sake of doing them and not caring too much about the outcome. Letting go of perfectionism. When we have fun, our guard is down, and we’re not taking ourselves too seriously.

“Connection refers to the feeling of having a special, shared experience. And then flow is the state where we are so engaged and focused on whatever we’re doing that we can even lose track of time.

“The most effective thing you can do to have more fun is to focus on its ingredients, by which I mean, do everything you can to fill your life with more moments of playfulness, connection and flow. So here are some ideas for how to do so. To start with, reduce distractions in order to increase flow. Anything that distracts you is going to kick you out of flow and prevent you from having fun

“And you say “Hello.” And if that goes well, you can introduce yourself. And if that goes well, maybe you can ask them a question, something that’s thought-provoking, but not overly personal or threatening, like “What’s something that fascinates you?” Or “What’s one thing that delighted you today?” And you might be amazed by how good just one little moment of connection can make you feel.

“And if you do find someone to connect with, maybe ask them to join you in trying my third suggestion, which is to increase playfulness by finding opportunities to rebel. Now I am not talking about James Dean-level of rebellion. I’m talking about playful deviance. I’m talking about finding ways to break the rules of responsible adulthood, and giving yourself permission to get a kick out of your own life.

“Make fun a priority. If you know there’s an activity that really does often generate playful connected flow for you, carve out time for it in your schedule. Treat fun as if it is important. Because it is. I’ve been doing this myself for a couple of years now, and it’s amazing to see how many areas of my life fun has touched. I’m more creative and more productive, I’m more resilient. I laugh more. Making sure that I’m having enough fun has made me a better partner, a better parent and a better friend. And it has convinced me of something that I very much hope I can convince you of as well, which is that my daughter was right. Fun is sunshine. It’s a distillation of life’s energy. And the more often we experience it, the more we will feel like we’re actually alive.

Sunshine capture in blossoms!
Yes, a major source of fun for me!

Bob recently had his first cataract surgery. The night before we were in bed saying good night. We both had been a little tense about this as neither of us had experienced it before. Trying to lighten things up a bit I said on the next day I would be asking him “Can you see me now?” Drawing upon his bad joke about Helen Keller I placed his hand on one of my body parts. I was laughing so hard I almost could not say the joke line. “Here, find out if you can see me from memory!” Old folks gotta make fun! “Here, try again, do you see me now?” We were gasping for breath as we laughed and laughed. Sometimes fun is just spontaneous. If it is not spontaneous for you today, follow Catherine’s advice and make some fun.

Great Nephew Levie

We gifted Levie a Teddy Bear when we met him for the first time. I made the Teddy a scarf. Levie fell in love with that Teddy. He had never named one of his stuffed animals before, but decided this one’s name was “Two.” (Levie is also two years old.) He was swinging Two around by the scarf. Occasionally kissing that Teddy. The next day he took Two Bear to Nursery School to teach him how to go down the slide. That is fun!!

Where can you find godly joy, pleasure and delight today? Can you create it in your midst?

You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:11 NIV

Do You Know Brugmansia?

Don’t you want to know it now?

This one had me gasping in wonder as we went in and out of the courtyard leading to our Air B & B unit. Sadly, it will not grow in our area. The Spruce says the following about Brugmansia:

“The show-stopping hanging trumpet-shaped flowers of Brugmansia make this plant a delight for any garden. Grown either as a woody shrub or small tree, angel’s trumpet is a tropical plant native to South America, like the triostar stromanthe.

“There are seven species of Brugmansia, among them B. arborea, B. suaveolens, B. sanguine (red angel’s trumpet), and those have been hybridized to develop robust cultivars like “Grand Mariner’ and ‘Inca Sun.’ Although it is considered a showpiece in Northern Hemisphere gardens, it is an invasive plant in Australia, New Zealand, Central America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.

“Brugmansia is best planted in mid-spring when outdoor temperatures no longer drop below 50 degrees at night. The plant will grow quickly, often between 24 to 36 inches a year. All parts of the angel’s trumpet plant are toxic to humans, dogs, and cats.


Well the Air B & B had a dog and multiple cats. They must have known not to bother the dropped leaves or dead flowers. The squirrel did not seem to mind the toxicity of it either.

See the squirrel walking among the branches on the lookout for Bob? (upper center of photo)

And here he comes!

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

Genesis 1:11-13 NIV

The Air B & B

This is the sidewalk onto the property. Our unit ran the length of the building.

Here was our entrance, five steps down inside.

The courtyard was pleasant and quiet. Bob often sat out there journaling in the evening. I spent an hour or so sewing there one morning.

Next door neighbor had a gorgeous rose!

Walking along the main avenue of the Oakland area where we stayed.

I gave thanks daily for the opportunity to visit California again. As usual, sadly for them due to the drought, the weather was comfortable and so very sunny. Along the coast it was persistently cloudy.

Rain down, O heavens, from above,
Let the clouds pour down righteousness [all the blessings of God];
Let the earth open up, let salvation bear fruit,
And righteousness spring up with it;
I, the Lord, have created it

Isaiah 45:8 Amplified