Here is a good thing!

I am so excited to do this! It seems like just the thing I need after the distress of the past week. Hoping you can join me and others worldwide to celebrate joy! The book by Bishop Tutu and the Dali Lama was tremendous. This summit ought to be on your To-Do list big time!!

Feeling the pain of the world and recognizing how many are struggling with isolation and despair, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu met one last time before Arch’s passing to create a final gift for us all – poignant, practical, and often humorous teachings on how we can live with more Joy, even during deeply troubled times.

I loved and shared the book with many!

How could you resist this sort of joy?

There is evidently a video which I intend to watch very soon!

From what I can gather the video is presented by YouTube in short sections. Still, these guys are some of the greatest teachers on earth.

In My E-Mail Box

You know something is up when all the messages around you harmonize!

And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.

Meister Eckhart

How about you? Is there anything new popping up in your life?

Conner Bowie on Unspalsh

Wouldn’t it be great to have some place like this to go for a retreat! Away from ‘the maddening crowds.” Asking for guidance and wisdom and able to hear His will.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2 NIV

Seeking Restoration After Wounding

Still, glassy pond, photo by me

Walking along pond hoping for reset and restoration, invisible frogs jump from the bank and glassy surface of pond begins to ripple. I remember this poetry truth.

Prayer © 1979  Molly Lin Dutina
A prayer 
Prayed in truth and faith
Through the Blood of Jesus,
Is as a drop of water
Upon the river of life;
Sending out endless
Ripples and waves
Throughout creation.

As the prayer is said
The answer begins movement.

Free internet image – “drop of water upon river of life – answer begins movement”

Trying to release that person to the Lord and get my focus back on Christ. I was told that if we have difficulty forgiving someone, we should pray for that person for 30 days, asking everything be given to them that we would like for ourselves. I began to pray that.

Continuing to walk about the pond with Lucky we saw three deer standing still looking at us. OH! Father, Son and Holy Spirit, dwell with us I prayed. One deer was intensely curious and began to approach us. Lucky just sat down to watch as she usually does with White-tailed deer. I suppose this was the mama and her twins that we have seen from time to time all summer. Now they are BIG deer.

Standing in awe of their majesty and the fact that the Lord would let me see them this morning, I noticed for the first time a bright white chin strap they wore! Guess I usually note other things about them when I come upon them.

From internet
Must have been the angle! My photo of Trinity of deer.

I was glad Lucky was calm. They are SO big I wondered what I would do if they approached us at a run? Did not happen. They browsed their way into the shrubbery.

Recalling the poetry about prayer, being blessed by the wonders the Lord let me experience, walking with this little beagle, I found I was restored and refreshed. All glory to God for His wonders and blessings.

Insult, Injury, Seeking release

Those who instruct writers tell that the best readership is when the writer connects from a personal place. So here is a recent telling of a personal relationship gone bad and how I am coping with that. My time is divided between writing two mornings a week, attending a crochet group one morning per week and participating in a church small group every other week. I have not joined any of church women’s Bible studies as my time is stretched as is.

I have been part of this crochet and knit group for many years. We meet weekly to construct our own projects. Sometimes a bunch of us decide to try the same pattern. Recently our leader was absent and no one knew where she was. Many reiterated, “She always tells one of us if she is not going to attend.” She had not told anyone. I called and there was no answer. Left her a message. Stopped at her house on the way home to drop a donation of hats and mittens someone had made. Lights were out but both cars were there. I assumed she was resting. I did not ring the bell. Placed the donation on top of her car in the open garage. Left a message that we were concerned by her absence. Later in the week I tried to get hold of her. Her phone mailbox was full.

When I attended group the next week she lit into me with fury. “I and my family are really pissed at you!” I was curious and it was humorous to me at first, “Why?!?” In anger she replied, “You called me three times! Even my cousin did not call that many times.” She accused me of butting my nose into other people’s business. I was told to just butt out. Wow. I thought I was showing concern for her well being. She had recently been hospitalized with lung issues. With the children’s virus going around that can affect seniors I was truly concerned. I still had no idea where she had been the previous meeting. I was wounded by her words. There had to be at least 15 other ways she could have handled that besides yelling at me in front of the group that was assembling.

I went out of the room to sign in at the Senior Center desk and realized I could not stay for that meeting. I was angry and distressed. I had brought a cake to share with the group for my birthday, and could not in good conscious act as if all was well. I got my cake, crochet supplies and purse out of the meeting room as she was explaining to the group what happened to her and where she had been the previous week. I did not wait to listen.

I admit, I have had a hard time shaking this one off. I have prayed. I have asked trusted friends to listen to my heart. Tried not to ruminate, just find out what the Lord requires of me in this.

This week the same Scripture came to me through more than one source.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:2 NIV
Photo by Molly Dutina

Our church has repeatedly been teaching about the fact that we cannot, should not, try to walk alone in our Christian journey. The preacher asks us almost weekly to examine our circle of friends and influence. I have been doing just that and find my circle too limited and me often suffering from loneliness.

So having just passed my 72nd birthday I wondered what I am going to do about this? My Dad died when I was 11 years old. I was left with my mom and sister who were like two peas in a pod. I was the odd girl out. After that I grew up with a steady diet of criticism of them. It all left me with a tendency to not trust women in relationships. Mind you, I have some close female friends, but I also have a long line of women who shamed, falsely accused or betrayed me. Last Sunday a guest speaker came and challenged us to tell our story to a small group of fellow Christians. I am reading his book and asking my church if we are holding groups like he suggests.

Okay, there is no Christian focus at crochet group. There are Christians who attend, many go to the same church I do! I do not want to discuss this with them as I fear getting into gossip about her. That is not my goal. How do I get in relationship with other women who want to share life in a trusting, safe environment? Our speaker, Dr. Alan Ahlgrim, pointed out repeatedly that we cannot be heart healthy alone. (He was not speaking of diet.) He means a place where we do not only share from our heads, but our hearts, too.

I have come to believe that perhaps the Lord released me from the crochet group with this woman’s foot upon my bottom pushing me out the door. He knew I would not leave of my own accord. Her rude manner and unkind ways just put me over the top to see the opportunities to participate in my church’s activities with newly freed up time.

From Joshua Hoehne at Unsplash Images

Please pray that I can find a way to share my heart as well as my mind with others. Pray I will find or help create a group where we can each be genuine without shame or contempt.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV
From Bonnie Kittle at Unsplash

Woodpeckers: The Hole Story by PBS

Have you seen this? All sizes, styles and sorts of woodpecker!

Interesting educational special about the value of woodpecker nests for so many kinds of other birds. At our other house we sometimes got to see yellow-bellied woodpeckers. We have had none at this location, so far. We often hear the Pileated here, but at the other house they would actually come to our suet feeders especially in winter. If you have not watched this series it is amusing and educational!

Pileated at our last house

What Highway Are You Traveling?

Are you on the Isaiah highway? I do not think this refers to a religious denomination, but more a way of life.

And a highway will be there;
    it will be called the Way of Holiness;
    it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
    wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
    nor any ravenous beast;
    they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10     and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 35:8-11 NIV

My ways are not God’s ways. There are ways that seem right to me, but they can end in destruction. I need to ask God if I am being obedient to His will. I need to constantly check my ways, my motives, my decisions. When was the last time you did a self examen? A spiritual check of yourself, and then quiet confession and listening for His still, small voice to guide and direct you, An inner KNOWING.

I would love a print of this photo from the internet!

There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.

Proverbs 14:12 NIV

There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.

Proverbs 16:25 NIV

It has been said when something is repeated in Scripture we are meant to pay attention. Two different Proverbs. Hmm. I will doing self examen this week and asking the Lord for specific guidance in my choices.

A person may think their own ways are right,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.

Proverbs 21:2 NIV

Never too old or too young to examen you heart, soul and mind!

Unique Scent and Majestic Scene

Distinct fragrance that Yankee Candle will never capture – crisp autumn leaves in my backyard. Something between hay, warm straw. No cinnamon, clove or ginger in it.

This time of year they advertise “Autumn Leaves” as a favorite, but I cannot say it hits my nose correctly!

Almost every leaf out back has fallen or been blown off. The squirrel nest that was being built earlier in September was revisited today but what looked like a mother and baby squirrel. I realize now (silly human) that the leaves she was cutting and stuffing in the poison ivy vines high up in the tree were the first layer of the nest. Where would she get that layer after the leaves had fallen?!? I will keep watching to try and observe if they actually move into that location as they weather cools. This morning it is 60 degrees. Overnight low was only 56. This is end of October?

Was amazed to see a huge hawk the other morning, largest I have ever seen while living here. Perched in a distant tree but still SO LARGE to my eye!

And this photo from Audubon

Gotta love those yellow lips!!

I could not see this detail with my new binoculars, but I also could not capture a good photo without a telephoto lens. Even with one, it might have been too far away. I could see how huge the beak was. The underbelly was totally white at that distance.

I saw it and at first thought, “I cannot go get the binoculars as it will fly away.” Then I got them anyway and it stayed. As I watched I wished Bob was at home to see it with me. When it did fly off I put my hand over my heart and thanked the Lord I got to see such majesty. Went on with kitchen chores, looked up, and it was back!! This happened a second time. Such a blessed morning!

Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
    and spread its wings toward the south?

Job 29:36

Late October©Molly Lin Dutina 22-10-29 

This morning the sun graces remaining leaves
Barren trees now have a glow on their trunk
Knowing there are gloomy days ahead
I want to store up this sunshine in my heart
Perhaps like manna, that is not possible?

The gardeners think they have repaired
Water pooling in our yard
Unless the drought breaks
We will not know 
If drainage is corrected

Oh Man …

I am not getting any younger! I wrote a post. I dated it wrong and unbeknownst to me it posted immediately. I went out the door to walk Lucky. Saw a photo that spoke to the post. Grabbed my phone snapped a photo and then had to take it again because “Live” was on and the breeze was bouncing the subject. Downloaded the final photo to the computer. Went to upload it to the post.

COULD NOT FIND THE POST ANY PLACE until my friend Dan commented on the post and his comment popped up on my phone! Oh man! what a disappointment.

Here is the link to the post. and 2 portions of the post:

“And what of our walk with the Lord? Is yours drying up? Has your walk brought challenges that you would rather ignore? Are you bundled in a blanket of self-pity waiting for some other thing to do, rather than obey? There is a saying that if the devil has not bothered you lately, you likely are not obeying the Lord.

“If your walk is drying up perhaps you better get with it and find ways to drench your soul with His Living Water! We cannot control the weather but we can control whether or not we seek Him and His will for us! If the enemy of our souls bothers you, do what the Word says in James 4.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:7-10 NIV

Here is the photo I wanted to add. Likely last rose of the season.

Yes, the branch was bending down before the rose opened!

May your soul be drenched with Living Water just like this rose! Stay in His presence.

Grandma Ella Snapp and Mom

Recently a friend wanted to know how to make the receiving blankets she had seen me create. Her desire was to make some for a niece as there is nothing like this in the stores. Plus, she got to choose the fabric patterns! I decided why not post the steps?

When I was a child I watched my mother make flannel receiving blankets for newborns. She noted that she and my grandmother always pulled a thread in the flannel to make certain it was all straight on the warp.

The warp thread is the lengthwise thread of your fabric. The warp thread (or warp yarn) runs parallel to the selvage of the material; it forms the lengthwise grain. The structure is more robust in this direction, and it will stretch the least. This is the reason why professional sewers cut most items along the warp thread.
One with cars I made for Rowan, yellow one my mother made before she died, tiny flowers and purple edge I made for Grandgirls

When I began making receiving blanket I decided pulling that thread was too much effort and aggravation. I purchase the flannel. Bind edges of flannel with zigzag stitch and preshrink by washing and drying at cotton settings.

Here is an easier on the hands method, edges sewn with decorative machine stitch.

Decorative stitch with multiple color thread. Oops! I see I need to trim the corner threads.

Place on cutting board. Most flannel is 44-45” wide. Use the yard stick and chalk to mark the lines for 1 square yard, marking off selvage edges and the zig-zag stitches as you go. Cut out 1 square yard of flannel. {You may save any extra for a “burp towel” or collect scraps to piece together for a two-sided blanket.} Wash and dry it. Press it flat. Cut edges in straight lines. Rarely if ever does a fabric store assistant cut a totally straight edge. {Actually these days I cut it with ruler, cutting pad and ‘pizza cutter” quilters use.}

I also just use the 45 inches wide and 36 inches long for a blanket.

Press under tiny hem with steam iron on all four edges. Roll hem over again so that raw edge is covered and press with steam iron. Trim excess fabric from the corner folds.

The easiest and fastest way to create the edge is to stitch on sewing machine with a decorative stitch. Turning at the corners.

My grandchildren all used these blankets. Some of them chewed on the corners if I crocheted them. What follows are the crochet instructions. (sc is abbreviation for single crochet, sl st is slip stitch)

  • To attach Knit-Cro-Sheen or similar weight bedspread cotton in matching or contrasting color to the flannel: Hold the fabric with the wrong side facing you and the hem at the top. Poke the hook through the fabric below the hem, but adjacent to the bottom fold of the hem. (Be certain to leave about a 6 inch length to finish off with.) Yarn over and pull a loop from the right side of the fabric through to the back of the fabric.  Bring the top of the loop to the top of them hem.  Yarn over and pull up both threads, placing the stitch on the top edge of the hem.  Pull taut so that the 6 inch finishing thread is out of your way and the thread has proper tension to continue.  Make 5 chain stitches to lay across the top of the hem. Lay the stitches out to their full length along the top of the hem. This will indicate where to place your next stitch. Place 1 single crochet through the fabric by poking your hook through the fabric, below the hem, yarn over, and pull the loop up  placing this (and each remaining stitch) at the top of the hem. Ch 5, sc, ch 5 around until you reach a corner.

As you approach the corner sc in the corner, ch 3 to the corner, *sc in same hole as previous sc, ch 3, repeat once from the * sc, then ch 5, sc to next corner. Repeat with 3 sc and 2 sets of ch 3 in each corner and sc, ch 5 around the sides.

End with sl st in top of first sc.  Leave a 6 inch length and end off by tying the two thread in a single knot.  Thread one length into a needle.  Hide the ends in opposite directions in the hem.

Here is Karen upon seeing receiving blankets for her next grandchild, red stitches on edge are crocheted.
Pale green edge is crocheted.

Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Proverbs 17:6 NIC

My Birthday Was Yesterday

Well it is saying something that I have outlived both of my parents. My Dad died really young of heart disease. I have outlived my mother by ten years!

This morning I awoke to my typical birthday weather, gloomy, drizzly but also unusually warm. The weather in my heart is good. I am looking for ways this year to please the Lord, my Lord Jesus, risen from the dead.

Instead of my typical morning devotions, I turned today to Thomas R. Kelley’s Testament of Devotion. This chapter is called Holy Obedience. He speaks of George Fox…”the insatiable God-hunger in him drove him from such mediocrity into a passionate quest for the real whole-wheat Bread of Life. The life that intends to be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening, is astonishing in its completeness.” He goes on to say “Self is emptied into God, and God in-fills it. In glad, amazed humility we cast on Him our little lives in trusting obedience, in erect, serene, and smiling joy. Nothing else in all of heaven or earth counts so much as His will, His slightest wish, His faintest breathing. And holy obedience sets in, sensitive as a shadow, obedient as a shadow, selfless as a shadow. Not reluctantly but with ardor one longs to follow Him the second half (of the way of obedience).”

Ardor: great warmth of feeling; fervor. intense devotion; zeal. burning heat. Do we follow Him with ardor?

“Self is emptied into God and God fills it.”

 To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Revelation 3:14-28 NIV

So I come before You, my Lord, on this my birthday. Left to myself I am always poor, naked, blind, pitiful and wretched. I cannot do Your will without Your indwelling Spirit to empower me. This coming year of my life I want to reflect Your life-giving whole wheat Bread of Life. I want my life to delight You. I desire immediate obedience to Your slightest wish, faintest breathing. May my ardor for You be fanned into a flame. Amen.

 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God

2 Timothy 1: 6a NIV

My family told the story that at my birth the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck. I was a ‘blue baby.’ They waited to see if I would “pink up.” When I recovered my father was so delighted he wanted my middle name to be Cherry! My mother made him compromise with Cheryl. Now I just want to follow God in obedience, full of His breath, doing His will.

Kelly wrote “holy obedience sets in, sensitive as a shadow, obedient as a shadow, selfless as a shadow.” What a tremendous image! A shadow, as in formed by the Son of God shining upon us, and we giving an outline that is totally dependent upon His light… He moves, shadow moves.

Oh to “be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening.” Sensitive to His every desire. Can I do it? Will I take up the challenge for the entire year or drop it after a month or two? I will take it up and pray to complete it with God’s help! Will you try it also?