Morning Song

When I wake up and there is a song rolling through my heart and mind, I need to find it and play it. I have found for you (and me) the lyrics of the verses they sing (not every verse that was written). I played it yet again and worshiped our Lord with The Haven of Rest Quartet. I was preparing to put away my Christmas CDs and get out my Winter music, but had to hear this again and perhaps again!

May you be blessed by joining in worship to Him!

1. Of the Father's love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

4. O that birth forever blessed,
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
Evermore and evermore!

6. O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
And extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

9. Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!


When the Forecast was BIG STORM

If you can, play this song while you read the poem. As I wrote I heard this melody, not for the first time. I really like it. Yes, our Redeemer helps His creation.

A Big Storm, Possible Blizzard Predicted © Molly Lin Dutina 2022

When my bladder wakes me
I must check outside
2:45 AM the blizzard made drifts
Inches high along the sliding glass door
Windows framed in ice at their rims
Daybreak shows leaves
As they tumble over the snow-pack
Streets have one lane cleared
Snow removal men made a plow pass
Spreading salt in their wake
"No sense doing anything else,"
Weatherman told us, 
“It is just going to blow all over the place today”

The wild birds are grateful for the full feeders
Little birds welcome red-bellied woodpeckers
Big beaks are able to loosen frozen seeds
Below zero temperatures 
Wind chills double digits below zero
Make us all bundle up
Hurry outdoors for a moment and then back in

Jack Frost is not merely painting today
He will likely destroy flesh if it
Lingers out of doors
Mourning dove not moving 
Out bedroom window as I dress
Mourning dove wing feather
Ruffles in the wind
Or did it move?
Same mourning dove not moving out kitchen window
Is mourning dove dying in bitter cold?
Should I bundle up and get the shoe box
From the garage and bring it in to thaw in garage?

I am about convinced to get boots, hat, coat, scarf, gloves
My breakfast hurriedly eaten
Errand of mercy or folly
Help that helpless bird
And I notice it has moved a few inches up the garden hill
I watch with bated breath
Will it live without my help?

Suddenly it flies off into the trees!
How do they survive this frigid weather?
Even the fur covered dog is unhappy
And yet, those feathered birds
Both large and small
Are out there all day and all night
Temperature last night was all the way up to 4 degrees
Dog and I together with all my winter wear
Likely could not have survived it.

Father, Your wonders of creation continue
And continue
And continue again to amaze me!

Songs I Need to Sing!

At times music just rolls through my spirit and I need to sing it out! Handel’s Messiah is often sung with the Cincinnati Symphony by our May Festival Chorus. I like when parts of it was also used by surprise choruses in the past at shopping malls.

It still gives me chills!!

Now I find myself needing to sing this EVERY Christmastide.

Is there something you must sing to God? Don’t hold back. If you are surrounded by people and do not want their opinion of your singing then go outside and sing. Or sing in the shower! Or sing in the car. The point is to sing to the LORD be it a new song or old. Sing out your love of His majesty. Your adoration of His glory. Your gratitude from His abundant mercies.

Years ago Bob bought me a copy of Streams in the Desert devotional that has blank lines for journaling. Recently I turned o the page for that day. I had written, “Joy to the World at church: “Lizzie cried, “the Lord is come!! That’s Grammy’s song. The Lord is come! They said it in church, Grammy!” My heart melted all over again. My Lizzie is now 21. I sent her the journal entry via texting. I hope she takes my song to heart and embraces Jesus as her Lord and savior. Then it will not just be my song, but hers too!

As a light snow falls here and the Carolina Wren works on the dried mealworm feeder, I pray you will sing out your joy and gratitude that the Lord has come, May earth receive her King, May every heart prepare Him room….”

O sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord; bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Psalm 96:1-6 NRSV

Your Celebration

When did you celebrate Christmas, assuming you do celebrate it? Our family celebration was 10 days ago.

We always read the nativity story in Luke prior to the 25th. Bob and I celebrate our gifts between ourselves on the evening of the 24th. We had planned to go to the church celebration, but the evening service was cancelled due to the bitter cold wind chills. We watched the earlier service on TV. {Frankly, it was disappointing. The music was set at such a slow tempo that it was almost mournful like a funeral dirge. I wanted to rejoice because our Lord has come and will come again! So I did, even though our musicians did not. Would like to see those people SMILE up on the stage! Our God is a good, good Father and we can love and adore Him and smile because He loves us all the time.}

Okay Molly, off the soap box. Do you have traditions that remind you of family or friends? My mother loved Bayberry candles. So I always try to have one on hand at Christmas and/or throughout the winter. She always lit tapers on the Christmas meal table. These days I am lucky if I can find Yankee jar candles in Bayberry. Seems there are a few tapers on eBay, but I have to wonder if their fragrance has lasted?

Grandma Rush liked Mogen David grape wine. I recently tasted a wine that reminded me of Mogen David cherry wine. Could not find Mogen David cherry at the stores. Wonder how many traditions have been lost due to changes in manufacturing during the pandemic? I see online that cherry is no longer listed as one of their flavors. They have gone to pomegranate instead. Manischewitz makes a Cherry wine. Both Mogen David and Manischewitz are registered as allowable for Kosher ceremonies.

Perhaps my favorite tradition is playing my Christmas CDs. The instrumentals and a Capella Haven of Rest are my most played. Of course, this year I found Pandora instrumental Christmas which I can ask Alexa to play. I have even found some good ones on our You Tube subscription. Dan and Betty played Andrew Peterson’s Christmas concert while we were with them. Have been listening to that a bunch. That would be a fantastic show to attend one day!

I think in years past Bob got tired of the music always being on. He has become more patient with the listening as the years of marriage have proceeded. This year a Zits cartoon caught his fancy and mine. Enjoy!

Look at the ‘innocent’ teenager on his phone after changing the music!!

This week we hope to make it to the Krohn Conservatory. The Western & Southern Insurance company support a live nativity scene there. A cow, a donkey and live sheep. I have attended since childhood.

The Christmas elves from years ago (1950s) are making a come back in downtown Cincinnati! We hope to take a friend to see them one afternoon this week.

After the decorations, gifts and traditions, I hope the best thing about your Christmas season has been the reminder that Jesus was sent as the Light of the world to save us from ourselves. He will present us to the Father. He will NEVER leave us or forsake us. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, on the basis of God’s mercy, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2 NRSV

You are the gift Jesus is waiting for!

Christmas Ornament

Kim’a’aits’a Acoma Signed Pottery: New Mexico art clay handpainted piece. Traditional native made pieces are all made from hand dug clay. These native made pieces are highly collectible and sought after. Clay digging is as follows. The seeming ease of a finished pot made in the traditional way belies the enormous amount of work and skill, of intuition and hard labor, that has gone into its creation. First, the clay must be mined from the earth at sites a considerable distance from the village, and often accessible only on foot. “You can’t drive all the way,” says Rose Chino Garcia. “You have to walk in, and dig out the clay, and then carry it back to the truck, sometimes a long way, five miles or more.” In its original form the clay is rocky and slatelike, and large chunks must be broken up to manageable size. If it was damp when dug, it must be left to dry for many days in the sun. When dry, it must be cleaned thoroughly by sifting and winnowing to get rid of all unwanted matter, such as twigs and pebbles. With a stone, it is crushed and pulverized. Temper, in the form of clay potsherds, sometimes hundreds of years old, is hand-ground to a fine powder, and added to the clay to bind, strengthen, and prevent it from shrinking and cracking. A vessel made from tempered Acoma clay is very strong, and enables the potter to make the characteristic thin walls of traditional pottery.

When we visited Acoma Pueblo with our friends, Dan and Betty Cooksey, we purchased an ornament with a ‘Storyteller’ or ‘Singing mother” inside with her child. I like to think of it as Mary rejoicing to God the Father as she holds Jesus the Son. I do not place it on our tree for fear it will get broken. It sits on the top of the china cabinet with the Nativity scene during the Christmas season and inside the lighted china cabinet the remainder of the year.

It is recorded in scripture that Mary sang this. (Luke 1:46-55). Is it poetry or a song? Does it matter? The truth is the same. If she sang it once I believe she sang it most of her life! I rejoice with Mary, John Michael Talbot and millions of believers who have followed Christ Jesus my Lord.

Do you sing to the Lord? Is it a song of worship? Do you sing it only at Christmastide or throughout your life? If you do not sing to Him, perhaps you can begin in 2023!

Glad Mary Had a Larger Donkey

Glad Mary did not live in Ohio during her journey. Temperature this orning was -4 and wind chill of -33! None of the Gospels state that Mary rode a donkey on the way to Bethlehem.

We do know the journey was about 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We also know that most people tended to travel together in groups to provide more protection against robbers, bandits, and wild animals. We also know that Mary very shortly after they arrived which means she was heavily pregnant, and Jesus was full term. Every expecting parent knows the last two months of pregnancy are the hardest on women. Their backs ache, their joints hurt, as do their feet. Any task like rolling over in bed, putting on shoes, or walking can be tough to maneuver. Especially when you can’t even see your feet. It’s likely she didn’t walk the entire way. Aside from walking, other common modes of transportation would have included horses, camels, donkeys, or some sort of cart drawn by a horse. However, Joseph was not a rich man which means he did not have the means to purchase horses or camels. He likely had his own donkey or may have even borrowed a donkey for Mary to ride upon during the journey to Bethlehem.

As we sit in the comfort of our well heated homes, surrounded by gifts and foods, friends and relatives, I pray we remember it was not so for the mother of our Lord. Getting to Bethlehem would have been an arduous journey at that stage in her pregnancy. His birth occurred in the humblest of surroundings.

What have you prepared for Jesus? Does He have a place of prominence in your heart and home? Do you honor Him in your very life? Is there an altar of worship in you heart?

Seeing this humorous story, I was glad that Mary had a larger donkey than this to ride!

What a Celebration!

The opening photo is from a Celtic cross in Ireland. Notice how the hand of God is holding up the cross. Nothing is beyond His notice. He loves our families more than we do!

We had our children with their spouses, grandchildren and one boyfriend over to celebrate Christmas. This was held the Sunday before Christmas due to other family conflicts. It was very difficult to not have our oldest Grandgirl here. She is 21 now and had to work. Still trying to get her attention for gifting and celebrating!

Plus macaroni and cheese, fresh salad, guacamole, hummus, Skyline dip, cheese tray, 4 kinds of bread or buns. We should have invited more people to come and not bring food!

As usual there was way too much food! Even with the boyfriend here to help eat! Oh well, he is a wrestler and always watching his weight. But what a delight! He could not do enough afterwards to help us put the house back together.

The gifts were thoughtful and generous. I am praying the Name of Jesus will be remembered by all the family as they absorb their gifts into the homes (or in the case of gift certificates for zip lining, into their future)!

Fleecy soft blanket, sweatshirt, special order ball cap, 2 Lego sets, 2 beeswax candles, Grogu ornament, beer mix, Jungle Jim’s gift card, Starbucks card, Yankee candles, special socks, knife block, Birkenstock’s, wallet, soccer/football team accessories, quarter holder for Aldi’s, handmade soup paddle from New Mexico, lovely porcelain china cookie/dessert tri-level rack, (the one that belonged to my mother broke when we moved and I packed it), Columbia over shirt, cash, Trades of Hope bracelet, LaRosa’s gift card and likely more.

This morning as I write this I am delighted with view out my window. The other day when in the front garden area I shook up the mealworm feeder. The dried worms sometimes get moist and stick together or freeze to the metal feeder. Today at one point I called Bob to see the 8 bluebirds on and around the feeder.

Here is what I captured when I finally got my camera.

Babies steal the show! Art Linkletter Knew!

As we celebrate the birth of Christ I would love for you to listen to this wonderful song by Andrew Peterson!

No one told this Dad to never, ever wake a sleeping baby!

We are about to celebrate a baby coming into the world. He is the Savior of the world. He will come again in glory as our Judge. He was born in a dirty, messy stable to a young girl.

Here is a photo of Emily meeting Jeff for the first time. Wish now it was a video!

She was delighted to have real live baby!

These videos are American births in sterile hospitals. Not at all like His birth. Yet there is something about babies that melt most our hearts. These funny videos of big sisters and big brothers meeting their new babies for the first time. If you need a laugh and a little refreshment this week, these 10 minutes are for you!

Love Peterson’s song “Not a Silent Night.” It was not a lovely place to be born. Saint Francis created the creche scene to teach about the birth of Christ. In what ever way you picture it, may you adore Him and make room in your heart for Him to rule and reign until He returns to take us home!

How Often Do You Push Yourself?

Trying to race around getting ready for our celebration with the kids and Grandkids, Bob’s medical appointments, etc. I decided to skip my afternoon siesta today. Wow! I really paid for that decision!

While shopping I had a little difficulty once I got out of the car. My body did not want to stand up straight. Aging seems to have caught up with me. There has been a nasty bulging disc for a number of years. No idea if that is the trouble or not.

So I finished at one store. Went to the next one and same scenario. Could not stand up straight without pain. When I got home carried in half the groceries and began to put them away. Still needed to do two more things out of the house.

“Hearken to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”

-Isaiah 46:3-4 RSV

Determined to get those final two off my list, I went out again. When I got home an hour or two later I knew that if I sat down I would not be able to get dinner on the table. So I trudged on. When I did sit down for dinner, oh boy! After we ate, I could barely walk for pain and stiffness.

As I write I am sitting with the heating pad. I am praying that rest will cure this. Obviously I cannot push like I used to without consequences. Aging is NOT for sillies. This is hard stuff.

I wanted to be graceful with my turn at aging. However, most of the time I seem to take each stage kicking and screaming. No one wants to accept the fact that their body is crumbling.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 RSV

Yes, I was doing more things than I should have chosen for one day. The Lord walks with me and sustains me, forgiving me when I push myself too hard for too long. I am however responsible for hard I push myself. That bad choice has lingered with pain for days and days. Still trying to get it under control.

I heard a podcast recently and the speaker said, “Every person I work with is dying. Only a few are aware of it.” Yes, we are all dying whether we are aware of the fact or not. When my body reacts to my lack of respect for the need to rest, for the limited strength I now possess, I must be aware that we are all dying, even me. Perhaps this will help me go more gracefully into my final years? Time will tell if I take the lesson to heart.

Home Again

Like that Christmas tree image? By the time you read this we will be home for ten days! And more than likely have hit the ground running!

So where does that idiom come from?

The first is that it comes from troops in combat. They must start running as soon as they get off a plane, train, or other automobile, so that they don’t get shot. It is believed that in World War II, paratroopers were given this command as to what to do when they landed.

The second theory is that it comes from hobos and stowaways on a train. They must begin to run as soon as they jump from the train, so that they don’t get caught.

The third theory is that it comes from the Pony Express. This was an early way to deliver mail by horseback in America. The riders had to be fast so they would ride their horses quickly and “hit the ground running” when changing to a fresh horse in order to avoid delays.

However it started, the expression saw a surge in popularity in the 1970s and has seen widespread use ever since.

What have we been up to? Small group meeting, Church, helping a young bridal attendant to get her dress sewn just the way she wants it (no bra showing), wrapping gifts, get groceries after travel and before family gathering, Bob medical procedure, Bob doctor appointment, Bob second cataract surgery with complication to be addressed by a second surgeon (back to back docs), Bob follow-up with docs after eye surgeries, making those lists and checking them twice, laundry from traveling, wedding, plan that family celebration on December 18th (Oh! that is when this will post).

Whew! Not certain that travel in December is my first choice, but there you have it! We had tickets we had to use before December 31. Maybe next time we will go to New York for New Years and stay in our room instead of clamoring on Times Square!

Running like troops in combat? Well the enemy of our souls would like for no one to know about the birth of the Light of the world born in a manger, yet we declare that very Light is the Light of the world.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 ESV

Hobos and stowaways? Yes, not of the world but in it to give testimony to God.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

John 15:19 NIV

Hit the ground running like the Pony Express riders? Yes, but not before asking God for direction and guidance.

And then God answered: “Write this.
    Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
    so that it can be read on the run.

This vision-message is a witness
    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 The Message

If you, too, have hit the ground running this season, remember to watch and pray as you go forward. God is always with you to lead, guide, comfort and provide! Obedience to Him is paramount if your efforts are to succeed.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

John 1:4, 9 NIV