How To Begin Again?

We took a couple weeks out of our routine quarantine-Covid-older generation routine and went on a trip. We were lamenting that we could not hold an open house or anniversary party for our 50th celebration. My sister offered us use of her ranch in Colorado in the wilderness on the edge of the San Juan mountains. My doctor said, “GO! Get out of your four walls.” We flew to Atlanta wearing our N-95 masks given to us by a friend who is a nurse. We made our connection to Albuquerque with barely minutes to spare.

The airports were eerie with the lack of people and activity. For the first time in years TSA did not give us Pre-check! Hum. Then the x-ray officer wondered what the folding scissors in my purse were. I usually carry those as I crochet and need to cut yarn or thread when I change colors. After examining my purse contents he let me keep them. First time ever a TSA officer has questioned those!

To give you an example of the airports these days, I made this short video on the way home. We had a several hours layover in Atlanta. I actually found a bench without arms across every seat! After wiping it off carefully, I laid down to try and rest. Once while checking my phone I realized I could show you how weird it was. Very quiet, not too many people, almost every single person wore a mask, seats marked off with huge stickers for where one could and could not sit. Of course, with artistic license (LOL), I filmed it sideways 🙂

So now that we are home and getting more settled in, I hope to write the blog more often with tales of our journey!

Stay well!!

Autumn is Invading

Not quite caught up from being away, but some things could not wait. Such as putting the sewn together dryer sheets in the space created by the screens. It was finally cool enough to open the windows and YUCK! The stinkbugs are seeking shelter AGAIN! These nasty, ugly creatures try to gain shelter in our house every autumn. They crawl in anyway they can. One person told me to mix Dawn dish detergent with water in a spray bottle. Spray them when they land on your screens. Evidently it eats through their shell? Well, it also leaves sudsy residue on the screens. Then I learned that if you cut in half lengthwise and sew them together you can put them in the space between window frame and screen where they like to enter. Their legs catch on the dryer sheets and they choose to go elsewhere.

UGLY INVADER!!

And if they can get inside, they hide in the house; in folds of curtains, behind photo frames, under bedding. They fly through the house. If you catch them in a paper towel or tissue they put out their stink which you may or may not be able to get off your skin.

I went to grill something and the inside of the grill cover was crawling with stink bugs. So once I got the dryer sheet strips in the window cracks they were literally covering parts of our screens trying to get in. At times, 8-10 gathered at once!

Below is one of the prettiest things I have seen lately! I was on hold on the phone and looked out office window. Hollered for Bob to go get his camera.

Hungry Praying Mantis by r m dutina

Yes! The autumn praying mantis feasting upon a stink bug! Honey, we have a bounty for you to feed upon. This one is likely a female as the wings do not cover her entire abdomen.

Now back to her meal of choice that day. Wikipedia, the source of all truth (LOL) says: “The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is an insect in the family Pentatomidae, native to China, Japan, and other Asian regions. In September 1998 it was collected in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where it is believed to have been accidentally introduced. The nymphs and adults of the brown marmorated stink bug feed on over 100 species of plants, including many agricultural crops, and by 2010–11 had become a season-long pest in orchards in the Eastern United States. In 2010, in the Mid-Atlantic United States, $37 million in apple crops were lost, and some stone fruit growers lost more than 90% of their crops.[6] It is now established in many parts of North America, and has recently become established in Europe and South America.”

Yep, they have spread and we see more here in Ohio every year! And Stingbugsguide.net says: “Another distinct characteristic of the brown bugs is that they go into the state of hibernation in winter seasons and invade homes or structures where temperature does not fall critically. Their hideouts include under siding, windows and door frames. However, in spring they remain active in feeding on plants and vegetables.”

I will not honor the stinkbug beyond the photo on the screen. But that little mantis, when I finally got off the phone she had eaten that thing, shell and all!

Just a few crunchy bits left!

50 Years of Marriage In the Words of r m dutina

I met Molly (AKA Linda) in July of 1970 as I visited Berkeley for the weekend. She was hanging out of the window of the apartment I had shared with 2 others during the academic year. She had met one of my roommates who had told her about me. I was working at GE in San Jose and staying with my parents during the week. She was helping travelers at AAA (which has been quite handy in all our travels).  Let us just say that things were meant to be, or we ignored any warnings. A month later, in August, we decided to get married and set a wedding date of September 26th. This gave Molly’s mother and sister and best friend time to head West. 

We had an outside wedding in a Berkeley park officiated by an Episcopal priest, music was offered by a lone bag piper, and the ceremony was observed by the local kids who stopped their football game to watch. We had a reception at the rather elegant Claremont Hotel and headed to Carmel for a noticeably short honeymoon before classes started. Apparently, there was someone at the reception taking bets on how long the marriage would last. We still do not know who!  A 19-year-old Ohioan seeking a change of space and a 21-year-old Berkeley 5th year senior having returned from a year in Europe. I guess the odds must have seemed against us!

Well, despite the odds and the predictions, 50 years have gone by and we are still moving forward hand in hand. It has not always been perfect, but as Molly has stated: divorce is not an option, murder on the other hand…We laugh more than fuss; we trust more than question.

I cannot say we have figured it all out, but we have learned as we have gone along. Commitment, mutual support, quick forgiveness, affection, and genuine friendship. We have a common faith, we stand as partners, and we give each other the freedom to pursue interests that are not in common. We are unique individuals with different personalities-both have served us well.  Our wedding cake had a red, a white, and a pink carnation on top. We were declaring that what made us unique was as important as what we were united.

Never once have I questioned whether we made the right decision, and with God’s blessing, we will share life and adventures for many more years to come.

And I bought him this t-shirt!

This is It! The BIG 50!!

Bob read that only 5% of married folks make it to fifty years! And here we are! Half a century. Five decades. Unbelievable!! I began the morning with Bob saying, “Look at the mailbox!” I had one eye open and no coffee yet. Look I did and I was as surprised as he had been. “Who did that?” we both asked.

When I went out to get that photo it was my turn to say, “Bob, look at the locust tree!”

Spangles and streamers in case anyone missed the balloons!

We have four cards and then this

Flowers from our dear friends the Cookseys!

Next up came a cake from Emily and Dave.

Tiny cake for two! Bob said, “We need company to share this.” I replied, “Heck no!”

Such lovely fragrance in this bouquet! Our daughter was at it again. Showering us with love and affection.

Tonight we are off to a fancy dinner. I have had “Table for 2” on my calendar for weeks now. So for whoever it was that made bets at our wedding that our marriage would never last, “Well, how much did you lose?”

Tomorrow I will honor Bob by posting his Facebook entry from today. I am not the only one in the family who can craft words. Gosh, I love that man!!

1970 Berkeley, California

And now!

September, 2020 The Notch, Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Been Traveling!

For our 50th anniversary my sister gave us the gift of staying at her ranch in Colorado! We have had a wonderful trip and travel home Tuesday, Sept. 22. Oh that is today!!

For those of us from the east, that TN reminds us of Tennessee!

You will hear much more in the weeks to come, once we get home, open the mail, get the groceries in and begin writing! So if you don’t see a post for a while now you know the reason why!!

We were able to stay with our best friends, Betty and Dan, a few days before and after the Notch. They also went with us for a few days. Our daughter’s family went, too. Our son was unable to go as the young kids were starting school and it was deemed best not to take them out of class for a full week.

Our actual anniversary is not for four more days, but we have been celebrating with great joy!

Promises and a Meaty Quote

From Streams in the Desert

“Beloved, God’s promises can never fail to be accomplished, and those who patiently wait can never be disappointed, for believing faith leads to realization. Abraham’s life condemns a spirit of hastiness, admonishes those who complain, commends those who are patient, and encourages quiet submission to God’s will and way.” – Unknown

Is that a meaty quote, or what? “His promises can never fail to be accomplished.” He is not a man that He should lie. He is faithful and powerful to do what He wills. Numbers 23:19

“Those who patiently wait can never be disappointed.” But wait! I have often been disappointed! Does that mean I am doing something wrong? Well, in my experience, most often my disappointments with God are because I have not waited long enough to see the fulfillment or I misunderstood the will or word of God.

“For believing faith leads to realization.” Do you have things in your life that you have had believing faith towards and then eventually you saw it come to pass? Do you, like David, review those things with joy and thanksgiving to inform your brain when your faith is weak? Speaking with a friend recently we stated that we see fruit from our faith walk most often in the rear view mirror or over our shoulder after the fact. Perhaps you have never listed the times that your faith has lead to realization? Maybe now is the time to review your walk and be reminded of the times this has occurred in your life?

“Abraham’s life condemns a spirit of hastiness, admonishes those who complain, commends those who are patient, and encourages quiet submission to God’s will and way.”

Hebrews 8:11 reads: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
He went, EVEN THOUGH he did not know where he was going. Do we have the same sort of quiet obedience? Dallas Willard taught that hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. The author of the quote above calls it a spirit of hastiness and says that Abraham condemns it. No hastiness, no complaining, be patient and quiet.

I have tried to keep myself in line with the remembrance that God calls me to Quiet, Gentle, Yielded, Peaceful Obedience to the Almighty. Holy Spirit help my life to be true to this call.

Obedient?

Years ago my friend, Marsha, gave us some Obedient Plant. She did not like it because it was not obedient enough for her! This year it is a wonder! Click to watch the video please. It runs just about one minute. I will get better at adding music to Videoshop!

Enough said, unless you want to research the topic. Then type in bumblebee to your search engine.

But wait! There’s more!!

Recently in the milkweed garden I witnessed something I had never seen! Here are several very short video clips! Usually the monarch caterpillars are chomping away at the leaves, reducing them to mere veins. This caterpillar and then another (which is featured later in the blog), ate their way through the top of the plant. I assume they began from wherever their particular egg hatched. I suppose when all the upper leaves are gone, this is the fastest way down the plant to fresh greenery!

Then a bit later I checked on it’s progress.

Yep! Bent that leaf right down! How do they know those things?

A different one found the fastest way down was to climb! But he seemed to be seeking shade rather than food. Resting at the end.

Tap here to see video https://youtu.be/KQxi_OIEf9Q

So here is chewer #2. Watch for the little caterpillar on underside of lower leaf! You may have to scroll down to see all of it!

So I guess the message from nature is if you have a weighty problem, chew through it?!?

Prayer

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

Isaiah 65:24 NIV

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.

Not always given eyes to see, I lift my concerns in prayer. As I wrote above, I release them in truth and faith through the Blood of Jesus. Your will be done, Lord. Your will. As one friend says, nothing, else, nothing less, nothing more.

After 3 Inches of Rain

Over about a 36 hour period we had almost 3 inches of rain. Not surprising I was able to catch this beauty with diamonds on it’s back! Filling out nicely and sporting water drops!

The edge of the leaf shows you how busy this monarch caterpillar has been! That ridge is the center vein of the leaf! Only half a leaf remains.

Then there is the dueling duo! (With Lucky’s leg in the lower background! What a good dog to sit while I take photos!)

Wonder which one eats the fastest? The one in rear of photo looks largest until you notice the curve in the head of the one closer to you! Wonder if the eggs began side by side?

When I saw this adult female in the garden I had to wonder if it was newly hatched? I have never found a chrysalis in the wild. I have seen them formed in my terrarium when I was raising caterpillars a time or two. This year I did not bring them inside at all. When they first emerge it takes a while to pump up their wings, dry their wings and then a little rest. Next they go find a flower to nourish them. No more milkweed leaves for them! No, that is not bamboo forest in the background. Those are stalks of Cosmos!

These chrysalis are from a terrarium. The only thing in nature I have ever seen with gold on it! The butterfly has just hatched out. The black chrysalis will open soon. The caterpillar that is curved is about to form a chrysalis.

Make time for the small wonders. Perhaps they are the best wonders of all!!