Threes

Have you noticed things in your life that occur in certain numbers? I seem to have many 3’s.

My favorite Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Three Grandkids: Lizzie, Ellie and Rowan.

This is the third house we have owned and likely our last.

I have lived in California, Kentucky and Ohio.

Many more than three favorite flowers! If I had to choose only 3 they would be carnations (garden variety or commercial as long as they have that spicy fragrance), peach colored roses (again preferably with fragrance) and King Alfred daffodils, (only yellow large trumpets).

Loves of my life: Robert Milan, Emily Kathryn and Jeffrey Robert.

What is your recurring number?

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14

One Thing Missing

One thing remains missing. I owned a small yellow paper sign that said YIELD. This past decade it hung on my office closet wall. I saw it more often than you might think.

Since the move we have not been able to locate it. There is always the chance that I threw it out, but I find that highly unlikely.

Over the years I have tried to learn this concept in relation to my Lord. “Constant, yielded, joyful, peaceful obedience to the Almighty.”

"Shine Your light through
This enshrouding mist
Color me with covenant this:
Abiding presence and constant love,
Indwelling grace that conquers sin
Transfigured rigid I
Yielded and bent
In Your service" - 1990
"Mighty love overwhelming every fear
	If I yet yield
	Turn once again
	Open my hands
	Release it all to You.

By grand design and holy
You rearrange the pieces
Until components black emerge
Glistening silver, white, bejeweled
Beyond my hopes.

So here in wonder
Again I open my hands
That You may have Your perfect way
In this one yielded woman." -2011
"Refresh, renew, anoint, empower
immerse, drench, wash in Living Water
alive to God
yielded to Holy Spirit." - 2014
"The clay is very still,
not quaking with expectation, but yielded.
Not disappointed with clay life
just allowing the Potter to create
and re-create, shape, mold, spin" - 2012

So as I ponder where that little paper sign has been placed, it hit me (like a 2 x 4 in the head!) I am suddenly THINKING about YIELD more than usual. I even went on-line to try to replace that old one with a new one. I was dissatisfied because new ones are red and white whereas my old one was yellow and black.

Surprise, Molly Lin, there is a new yield that applies to your life now! A cardboard red and white sign would fit with international road signs.

YIELD in Irish Gaelic

Instead of merely thinking about YIELD it is time to yield to the days and times as they unfold. Yes, I commit Monday and Tuesday mornings to writing. Obviously, as noted yesterday, that does not always work out.

Waking the writing muse can be beyond my powers. One often just has to wait until the stirring comes. I can, however, determine to try to yield to my Lord as I am moved to love, be gentled by God’s love, stir to obedience in each hour, make notes (even inside black and white paper bags) and show up for life.

Perhaps the loss of that little paper sign has been more powerful than frustration and aggravation. It has renewed in me a sense of obedience, drawing me back to the most important thing, the one thing.

1978 Humor and Hymn

 The Lord answered her, `Martha, Martha, you are worrying. You are troubled about many things.

Only one thing is needed. What Mary has chosen is good. And it will not be taken away from her.’

Luke 10:41-42 Worldwide English

Be certain to choose well!

Celebrating US!

We met in July. Got engaged in August. Married in September. And yes, we are STILL married 51 years later. Sunday was the day.

And we love to tell people we are still working on our relationship! This was our first song.

Perhaps some of the middle years, but even today I need to dance with him on this one!

And this perhaps our latest. Bob picked this one out!

Yes, there have been years of joy and years of struggle. Times of forgiveness and mending. Words fail me after 51 years of experiences. Robert Dutina is truly the love of my life!

Did I tell you this marks 51 years of marriage completed?!?!?!

Peculiar Humor

The WiFi did not seem to be working. I went to the desktop computer. Clicked on connection. Heard only the cricket outside.

Oops.

Bob thought he saw a sign that said, “Jesus, Frustrated.” The billboard actually read, “Are you frustrated? Jesus can give you peace.” though viewing the 2021 organized church in America the Lord just might be frustrated!

They finally turned on the street light down at the corner. I took the dog out just after sunset. Street lamp was lit up over the workers portable toilet. If you need to go while on your evening walk, HERE IT IS!! Bob said it sort of reminded him of the Tardis from Doctor Who. The next evening while walking the dog I noticed a delivery man in the neighborhood entering the port-o-let to do his business, too.

Photo by r m dutina

WANT – NEED, two four letter words. Hmmm.

AND one day in Walgreens parking lot the car next to me had sunflower seat covers. I thought, hmm they must really like sunflowers! When I came back to my car I noticed they had an artificial sunflower in a clay pot hanging from the rear view mirror. That lead to loads of jokes. “Lady, how did you get the gash on your head?” “Well Officer, you see I have this sunflower pot and when I hit the pothole, Wham!” “Ma’am. did you lose consciousness?”

Yep! I have a strange brain indeed.

Stuck Stymied

I was pondering what to write for this weeks’ blog entries. I realized I was stuck. We went to a craft store in New Richmond called The Collective: Local Handcrafted Goods. I only purchased one small item. As we drove away I told Bob that seeing the creativity of all those artists (over 120 of them) I was stirred within me to capture my own creativity.

Then I remembered the “Just Look” observation from the morning. I grabbed the shopping bag from the store that was lined with white paper and began recording my “Just Look.”

21-9-20 One Leaf Falling ©Molly Lin Dutina
I saw a leaf fall
From high in the tree
It drifted down, down,
Down 85 feet
Reminding me soon
There will be millions of leaves on the ground
Wind and rain beating
Forcing them to the ground
Naked wood branches
Bearing testimony to
Endurance for decades

 

I was relieved and delighted to awaken that muse again. Then Monday morning came and writing time arrived. I typed up the poem from inside the paper bag. I hit a stone wall. Just nothing. no ideas to put on the computer screen. Nothing to share with you.

Except, as I stepped away from the computer and the day unfolded I realized I am just like that leaf in some ways. Yes, the seasons change and the difference in sunlight and water to the leaves make changes for the trees to drop them. We have moved. I have told people that for the most part we are unpacked.

Over this past weekend some things occurred that help me feel more settled. Bob got the bedroom TV hung on the wall, thus freeing up the surface of my bookcase for other items. He also hung my curio cabinets. I have a collection of miniature items from childhood into adulthood. I had not unpacked those as the cabinets need to be in place.

All Three
So many memories in one box!
And yes, there is room for a few more if they are tiny.

I had no idea how much I desired to see those items. There are still many drawers to be emptied and reorganization to take place after the move. With those tiny items up on the wall in cases I really do feel like I am home here. For me, those little things ‘bear testimony to endurance for decades.’

Who knew?

Emily Kathryn

Continuing my life with and without God, two weeks after my mother’s death and after 32 hours of labor, Emily Kathryn was born by emergency C-Section. They gave me total anesthesia. I could barely open my eyes to tell her hello.

In keeping with my confirmation in the Episcopal church, the older version of The Book of Common Prayer has a wonderful little service called the Thanksgiving of Women after Child-birth (commonly called the Churching of Women). That ‘commonly’ name seems beyond weird to me. Regardless, I wanted Bob to pray this with me after our first child was born.

The newer version of the Prayer Book calls this ‘A Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child.’ This version asks for the presentation of the child to ‘the Church to be welcomed by the congregation and to give thanks to Almighty God.” We were not attending church regularly so we prayed the service together in the hospital room.

For A Safe Delivery

O gracious God, we give You humble and hearty thanks that You have preserved through the pain and anxiety of childbirth Your servant Molly Lin, who desires now to offer You her praises and thanksgivings. Grant, most merciful Father, that by Your help she may live faithfully according to Your will in this life, and finally partake of everlasting glory in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer
Emily Kathryn Photo by r mdutina

Yes, the Father certainly had my attention. Within a few months we moved back to the Cincinnati area. I continued to grieve. Bob was working second shift at Clermont Mercy hospital. We would work all day on our house and then he would go to work. I was not coping terribly well.

One night while grieving I told God, “You promised that You would comfort those who mourn. Where is my comfort?”

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

I clearly heard Him tell me, “You have tried life your way. Are you are willing to try it My way? “

I called my Episcopal priest the next morning. He did not quite know what to do with me. He called Mary Dirkse and she came to visit. A wonderful pseudo-mother/daughter relationship was born. She listened to my heart. She shared her faith with me. She took me to Women’s Aglow meetings where I eventually received my prayer language again. She took me to Bible Study at Linda Werner’s house.

Mary and I compared the attitudes and tantrums of my two year old with her teenagers. When I became pregnant with our son she coaxed me to eat during the morning sickness. Cooked me hot hard-boiled eggs and served them on buttered toast. Sat with me while I slowly ate. She helped me pray for the courage to get up on the delivery table and be awake for my second C-Section. Though she lives in Washington State now and I remain in Ohio, we are friends to this day.

Yes, I was comforted. I was comforted in ways I could not imagine. When my mother died she was a full-blown alcoholic. Years later I read “Co-Dependent No More.” I bought my sister a copy saying, ‘They lived in our house. They got in our heads. They wrote it all down.’ I had no idea that millions of other families had experienced what we did growing up.

Likely MORE than 4 million sold by now!

I eventually attended Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. I did writing workshop workbooks to learn more about alcoholism. I prayed it would end in mom’s generation. It did not end in her generation, but I learned so much about how to go on with my life and serve the Lord in the midst of that upbringing.

Emily brought us great joy and delight. She still does to this day. Jeff’s birth was so different than hers. We rejoiced over his good health and home coming.

The Kids photo by r m dutina

By then we were established in the Methodist church. Bob had not liked the Episcopal service with the up and the down, the flipping back and forth in the Book of Common Prayer. So we agreed to worship at the Methodist church.

Getting My Full Attention

After one year of marriage and living in California we moved back to the Cincinnati area. Bob had decided not to pursue Medical School, but to go for a degree in Medical Technology. At that time you needed 4 years of college, 1 year of training and then licensing before you could do in-house hospital work. The University of Cincinnati took all of their Med Tech students from their college enrollment. He searched further afield and found a Med Tech school in Lexington Kentucky.

When we were wed Bob made me promise we would not have kids until we were married 5 years. I reluctantly agreed. I have always loved babies. For the first 5 years it seemed that all I saw were pregnant ladies and newborn babies. Finally in Lexington we ‘got pregnant.’

On my due date my mother insisted on visiting us in Lexington. I told her the obstetrician was certain nothing would happen on that date, but she was determined. She came with a Styrofoam cooler of food. She wanted to go shopping. I could barely fit my belly behind her steering wheel to drive.

That night she died in her sleep. (Cerebral hemorrhage ran in her family.) Sadly, I found her the next morning. Bob checked for a pulse and we knew she was gone. It was quite shocking.

Shortly after Bob determined that indeed Mom was dead, I heard her voice repeating, “God works in mysterious ways.” She often said this. I believe she took the saying from a hymn by William Cowper written about 1774 and carried in most Protestant hymnals.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Within an hour of finding my mother dead I told Bob that in some ways it was such a relief. She had been determined to buy a playpen. She said when we came to visit in Cincinnati she would keep the baby and we could go out. I knew I could never let that happen and was going to find a way to tell her so that very weekend. My mother had some sort of personality disorder thing. It was not just the alcoholism. She would be fine, go in the bathroom and when she emerged have this distinct other personality. She was not in the bathroom long enough to get drunk. I would never have felt safe leaving my infant with her.

So, I never had to tell her something that I feared might kill her. I did have to raise my children without their Grandmother around.

The Lord has indeed led and guide me through my years. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Here is a contemporary version of the hymn with a few added lines.

No Photos

The Amish prefer not to be photographed so we never take a photo face-on. One of our best images, not recorded because it occurred too fast, is as follows.

We came over a rise and there were on the side of the road were 5 or 6 little Amish boys in black pants, a few with hats, bowl-cut hair and shirts. They were carrying lunch pails and obviously had just left school. They were fooling around just like all boys seem to do. Laughing and poking one another.

It would have made a WONDERFUL photo. Hopefully some artist some place can drawn or paint it.

Found a photo on line. Our boys were having more fun! I did not notice if they all had their shoes on!

I think we are fascinated by these folks who choose to love God and live a ‘simple’ life. Our modern conveniences often seem more simple than their lifestyle. I am likely wrong though.

I recently read a series of fiction books by Terri Blackstock called the Restoration or Light Series: Last Light, Night Light, Dawn’s Light and True Light. In the story mankind worldwide is stripped of electricity and all the things that implies; no running water, computer, cellphones, TV, video games, landlines etc.. She explores the darkness and kindness of the human heart during the struggles to survive. Finally people did things like dig a well, plow up their sod and landscaping to grow gardens, reach out to help those in the inner city. Actually, it sounded kind of Amish to me. Yes, the people in the story lost weight and worked hard. Perhaps we might be healthier too if we did more of that sort of work?

So the next time a First World problem bothers me like the washer not working right, I intend to remember that washing the clothes by hand and hanging them on a line is hard work. First though, I have to get the HOA to let me!

God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3 NIV

 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

Humor and Discovery on Our Vacation

Driving through Ohio we came up a hill, the billboard said “Your Turn Next” and then a cemetery came into sight. I don’t think that is what they meant, but I guffawed at the faux pas!

Having lived in turkey vulture country for sometime we often see them in early morning drying their feathers perched on lamp posts, or atop telephone poles, etc.

Driving one day we passed little white signs along the road, reminiscent of Burma Shave: “Come to the Church on the hill”, next one said, “You will feel closer to God.” Just about the time I began reading the signs we came to the top of the hill and there was indeed a church! Bob said, “Oh look at that eagle on top of the church!” as we whizzed past. I said, “That was no eagle. That was a turkey vulture.” Of course, we had to make a u-turn to be certain. Indeed there was a turkey vulture, this time drying his wings in the sun. And not just one, but two!

Photo by Robert Dutina

As we drove away I began thinking and chuckling. Birds drying out on top of the Methodist church. Hmm, wasn’t it Bill W who began AA on the tenets he learned from the Methodist church? Or maybe it was the Oxford group. Anyway, it struck me as amusing that the turkey vultures were drying out at the Methodist church. Thank goodness so many churches allow AA meetings at their facilities.

We passed many Amish people as we entered their neck of the woods. I told Bob we really were in THEIR part of the state. One development we had not encountered before was the women on motorized bicycles. I am assuming most of them were Mennonites.

At the Stop Light
Bonnet strings flapping in the wind. Battery Pack on right rear of bike.

Bob finally asked a waitress in Mennonite dress how they charge those bicycle batteries. She mentioned employers with electricity, some factories with propane generators. She said her parents have electricity.

Much in Amish and Mennonite life depends on whether you are old order or new order. We learned this trip that most new order Amish will affix the orange triangle to the back of their buggies but old order families refuse. I would be frightened driving a horse and buggy without that sign for slow moving vehicle!!

So Off I Went

Finally off to college and the world of learning, lust and various forms of sin. I participated in quite a few of those. After one year at college I ran out of money. People were telling me I could eat peanut butter and get a degree with debt at the end, or I could go to work. I chose to go to work.

Got an apartment, full time job as a key punch operator and was on my own. My mother was calling me every day. When she was questioning me one day about where I had been the night before I had quite enough. She had called. I was asleep and never heard the phone. This was way before answering machines. My boyfriend had left for California. I started contemplating moving there to help Mom cut the apron strings. Found out I could have a job as a nanny if I wanted it.

Soon I was off to California to work full time as a nanny to a Chinese family. There was not much sign of Christian life in me at the time, though I had kept my prayer book and Bible. I went into somewhat of a depression trying to reconcile what had happened to my life in Cincinnati. The niece I never knew was put up for adoption immediately upon birth. My family was splintered.

Peet’s Coffee

The best part of Berkeley California was I worked across the street from Peet’s coffee shop. They roasted coffee every day. What a glorious aroma!! After a few months I broke up with the boyfriend. Eventually I changed jobs and went to work at AAA as a touring counselor. It was fun. I even waited on Ray Kroc once, the owner of McDonald’s. I thought he was teasing me about being the owner.

While enjoying the park one Saturday I met a young man named Don William. He introduced me to his roommate, Bob. Bob was only coming to their shared apartment on weekends. He lived in Fremont with his family of origin during the week because he worked with his dad even further south near San Jose. It was literally love at first sight.

We met in July, got engaged in August and married in September. We only waited until September so the people from Ohio could get there. I knew I wanted to be married in the eyes of the church as well as the state. So we began prenuptial meetings with a priest in Oakland. The priest agreed to do our wedding out of doors at Live Oak park in Berkeley. He just wanted assurance that we planned to wear clothes! It was 1970 and a bit wild in Berkeley those days. I chose the park because I knew God was much larger than any church building.

I had a gown I had purchased for $30 from a used clothing store and had altered for $30 to fit me. Bob wore the jacket his mother had purchased at a yard sale for his high school dances. We made all the plans we could before my mother arrived from Ohio.

Bob waiting for me.

It wasn’t until five years later that the Lord got my full attention.

As we now approach our 51st wedding anniversary, I am amazed at the joys we have shared over the years. We have supported each other in times of sorrow and difficulty, too. God has been so good to us. We are forever grateful to Him.