Our son and Chef Jean Robert de Cavel

Our son in 2008 Sous Chef for Jean Robert de Cavel at Jean-Ro’s restaurant

Our son had some training from Jean Robert as he was familiarly known in Cincinnati. We enjoyed more than several fine meals at his places of business. Once we had our friends Dan and Betty Cooksey with us and our son was allowed to create a dinner menu just for us. It was fantastic!

When Jean Robert de Cavel died recently his family invited the people he had trained to attend his memorial service at the Cincinnati cathedral, St. Peter in Chains, located downtown. The prior students were asked to wear their chef jackets and sit in a particular area. After the memorial they had a group photo on the cathedral stairs and they simultaneously said, “Oui, Chef,” as he required them to say in the kitchen.

Prior students in front right rows of cathedral and along side wall

Jeff said it was a bittersweet reunion. There were people he knew and had not been in touch with for some time. He told me it was hard for the students to say “Au revoir,” to their fine instructor. May he rest in peace.

Students on cathedral stairs, our son front row, strap over his chest

What a legacy to train all those folks! Cincinnati was blessed to have him here for so many years.

Some January Poetry

Winter © Molly Lin Dutina 23-1-8

Gloomy grays and browns
Grass looks winter burned
Clouds packed solid black
but wait!
The sycamores are all spangled
With seed balls moving in breeze
Winter in southwestern Ohio
I grasp at any sign of hope and 
Future joy in the next season.

Another ride on a winter afternoon brought this.

Gray Clouds Roof © Molly Lin Dutina 23-1- 18

Corn field stubble alternates
Ivory and beige, ivory and beige, in rows
As we speed past on highway
January wind rattles barn walls
Livestock not to be seen from my window
As gray clouds roof each farm

Can you imagine this? Would you be able to praise like this? We read in Daniel 3:16, 19 and on that the King wanted absolutely obedience to himself. “King Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire.” While in this furnace the men began to praise God, knowing that He was more powerful than the king ever thought about being. Here is a portion of their praise.

“Bless the Lord, all rain and dew;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
65 Bless the Lord, all you winds;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
66 Bless the Lord, fire and heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
67 Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
68 Bless the Lord, dews and falling snow;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
69 Bless the Lord, ice and cold;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
70 Bless the Lord, frosts and snows;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Daniel 3:64-70 NRSV

They were eventually saved from the fire. This reading comes up often in the Daily Office and Canticles of from the Book of Common Prayer. There are times I wish my current church would use those to remind us of God’s power and glory! As you drive about this winter remember that all the seasons and elements are called to praise the Lord. We are, too!

Columbus Museum Maurice Sendak

Recently Bob saw that the Columbus Museum of Art was having an exhibit of the works of Maurice Sendak. We decided to make a quick adventure to Columbus, Ohio and see the exhibit. I was delighted that it featured “Where the Wild Things Are.” This was a favorite of my son. I did not remember until we arrived that he also illustrated the “Little Bear” series which I used to help my children and grandchildren learn to read. His book “In the Night Kitchen” was a baby shower gift when our daughter was born.

I love that they used the artwork from the book cover as wallpaper for the display!

The trust and love between mother bear and little bear are obvious in the expressions he drew.

One reason I was fascinated with his art in these books, I was working on learning to draw better and his cross-hatching is elaborate. When I read the first part of the placard below it only confirmed my observation!

In 1959, (the museum placard read), Sendak created pictures for the book The Moon Jumpers, written by Janice May Udry, which tells the story of children playing before it is time to go to bed. In this early work, the richly colored full-page scenes of children playing by the moonlight, without words, can be compared to the double page rumpus scenes in Where the Wild Things Are, which he created five years later. This work also shows how Sendak changed the scale of his images to emphasize the narratives, pictures growing larger and larger as the drama of the story intensifies, a method that also appears in Where The Wild Things Are.

sorry for the museum reflections on the glass

In case you ever had a fantasy of being WITH the Wild Things (if not an actual Wild Thing) see this one!

Wonder if this costume for King of the Wild Things would fit my son at his current height! Not likely!

Where the Wild Things Are has been translated into at least 32 languages. Sendak never wanted to write a sequel to this one. He did not want it to be a series.

The exhibit is in Columbus until March 5. If you get a minute, go see it!

photo by r m dutina

The Power We All Have

Joan Chittister, O.S.B. is a Roman Catholic Benedictine nun of some renown for her writing and publishing. Wikipedia says, “Her books deal with monasticism, justice and equality especially for women in church and society, interfaith topics, peace and others. She has won 16 Catholic Press Association awards for her books and numerous other awards for her work, including 12 honorary degrees from US universities. Chittister has authored over 50 books and over 700 articles in numerous journals and magazines.”

I have read a few of her books and subscribe to her weekly Monasteries of the Heart email with ideas for deepening your walk. The quote below caught my attention this week.

To be a contemplative we must remember to begin again, day after day, to turn dailiness into time with God.

Illuminated Life, Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light by Joan Chittister

Joan posted this with a photo of laundry hanging on the line in sunshine. HA!! After searching and searching I found it on the site 🙂

Dailiness be it filling medication boxes, filling the dog bowl, taking the medication, eat a meal, clean up, make coffee for the morning, wash the clothes, dry the clothes, fold the clothes, store the clothes, get the grocery list ready, buy the groceries, store the groceries….. most of our lives are filled with repetitive tasks.

I took this photo years ago of a workman in Ireland. He reminds me when I find my work arduous that this is part of life. It applies to dailiness, too. Can you imagine how very long it is taking him to build these stone walls?

The life of a retiree can be trying. I think the business of younger life covered the monotony of routine tasks. Laundry, garbage, sweeping the carpet, seasonally the auto carpets, on it goes. Without the breaks of going to work or meetings the routine can become mundane and then boring, depressing and even seem futile. Some of us experienced this feeling during the pandemic. April 17, 202 I posted about this. https://wordpress.com/post/treasures-in-plain-sight.org/2575

Can you do what Joan suggested? Can you use the next feeling of dailiness for an opportunity to turn yourself towards time with God? Are you willing to give it a try? Turn dailiness into time with God. When bored with the dailiness of chores, can you turn THAT into time with God! Most of those chores become mindless. Choose to make that into mindfulness and a time to commune with the Trinity.

I have been practicing this for almost a week. When that ho-hum feeling tries to overtake me, I turn towards my King. He is always there, waiting for my attention. You might be surprised how this practice rewards you. Let me know in the comments section how it turns out!

Jerry Bridges & The Cincinnati Bengals

The Navigators send a daily devotional. They are featuring Jerry Bridges work Holiness Day by Day. I am sharing this because my words for 2023 are Living Sacrifice.

“Commit your way to the Lord.” Psalm 37:5

When Paul turned his attention from his masterful exposition of the Gospel in Romans chapters 1-11 to practical issues of Christian living, the first thing he did was call for commitment: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1, NIV).

As we look at Paul’s call to commitment, we can see one obvious difference between the commitment of the devoted athlete and the commitment Paul called for. The athlete’s commitment is to himself or herself or perhaps to the team. The commitment Paul urged upon us is to God. Commit yourself to God. Offer your body to him as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him.

When we commit ourselves to the pursuit of holiness, we need to ensure that our commitment is actually to God, not simply to a holy lifestyle or a set of moral values. The people of my parent’s generation were generally honest, chaste, sober, and thrifty. They were committed to those values, but they were not necessarily committed to God. Many of them were outstanding moralists and even church people, but they were not committed to God. They were committed to their values, not to God.

As believers we need to be careful that we don’t make a similar mistake. We can be committed to a set of Christian values or to a lifestyle of discipleship without being committed to God himself. But Paul said to offer yourselves to God, and in doing that commit yourselves to the pursuit of holiness in order to please him.

Navigators Devotional Holiness Day by Day January 22, 2023

What and who are you committed to? When I hear the term holiness I remember my mom talking about “holy rollers” who were purported to jump pews, handle snakes and all manner of unusual things.

Then I also think of visiting God’s Bible School where my maternal Grandmother used to teach and being amazed that when I toured the school in 1979 the women were not allowed to braid their hair, wear a ponytail, had to wear long skirts, etc. This looked to me to be what Jerry Bridges described above. Only God reads hearts, so the sincerity of those actions is only known to Him. My question is are we committed to God or restrictive legalism and rule keeping? Bridges reiterates ‘they were not committed to God.”

When offering yourself as ‘a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’ I would hope that your commitment to God would be solid. For to be a living sacrifice, you must give up your will and embrace the will of the Trinity. You may be asked to do things outside the realm of your comfort zone, or even the stated rules of your church. Have you watched the series The Chosen? The disciples were often asked to do things outside of their Jewish upbringing. Some of them said Jesus was “turning things upside down” with His teachings.

When the Bengals NFL team began to change over the last 24 months, some looked to see if Joe Burrow would want to be elevated to superstar status like many of his NFL predecessors. He is often compared to other famous quarterbacks because of his skill. Most of the interviews I have seen and the comments I have read point to how common and down to earth he remains.

The team also works to stay down to earth. They have the commitment of devoted athletes. Yes, they train hard, play hard, and are committed to each other as a team, but they also seems to make an effort to stay down to earth as men. Whether they are giving to Demar Hamlin’s charity, praying for his healing after the collapse on the field, or serving children who are ill or in need, these guys seem to be the real deal. I was particularly impressed after their win over Buffalo when many of them dropped down on the field and made Snow Angels! The best shot was from overhead, but this is all I have been able to find online so far.

Are you as committed to God as you are to local or national sports teams? Is yours a seeking to keep legalistic rules or being obedient to what the Trinity asks you personally? (Here is humor, I typed trainity instead of Trinity. Well, how about it? Are you willing to be in training with the Trinity?)

May you pursue holiness always. Hebrews 12:14 reads:

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Wonder What Chronic Pain is Like?

Sometimes the pain of fibromyalgia is compared to having the flu. If you have had the foggy brain, aches and pains, etc. of flu you might know what fibro is like. First, you have to remember what all of that felt like. The thing with pain is we often forget what it felt like. Fibromyalgia does not let you forget. It rears its ugly head and exerts its dark power regularly – even daily.

There have been a few nights lately when I have gotten to sleep and then woke up about 15 minutes later. I think the waking is usually caused by physical discomfort. One night I finally got my tablet and made a few notes about it. This is not meant o draw pity or fear or aversion. Just the truth about what it is like at times to be me.

It is as if every place I have ever injured on my body has gained a voice of complaint, discomfort and unceasing pain. Trying to get to sleep is the hardest task. Right shoulder, right knee, right plantar fasciitis, turn over and left lower back has an acerbic diatribe to throw in. Spasm in thumb joint, afternoon fatigue, the list goes on to include headaches, jaw pain, stiffness trying to stand- stiffness that makes me realize I am no longer a young woman. Aging is advancing so rapidly that I am absolutely stunned, dumbfounded, flummoxed.

If those are temporarily quieted there is a painful lump on index finger second joint that has a voice like a high pitched child who has learned to scream. Heaven help me. And then I am reminded what Paul wrote in Romans.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:16-18

With streams of remembrance my mind goes to my youth. I have always been nineteen in my mind. That is no longer so. I do not mourn the changes though perhaps it might do me good. I am not nineteen. I am not ninety-one. I am simply Molly Lin, disciple of Christ Jesus, finding her way through aging.

The thought occurs that perhaps this is spiritual warfare. Lord Jesus, King of angel armies, show me how to push back this darkness. And if it is not warfare, then show me how to move into acceptance with grace and mercy towards myself.

Such a difficult task, but one I must take up or slip into weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth!

The sufferings – I share in mean I will also share in His glory. Theses sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed. Oh Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. If there be any wicked way in me, lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:24)

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

I have been reading the above book at the suggestion of the Rabbit Room. If you have not heard of the Rabbit Room here is a little introduction.

The Rabbit Room was conceived as an experiment
in creative community.

After author/singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson’s first visit to the Oxford home of C. S. Lewis, he returned to Nashville with a conviction that community nourishes good and lasting work. The Rabbit Room, the name of the back room of the pub where the Oxford Inklings (including Lewis, Tolkien, and Charles Williams) shared their stories, began as a simple blog of contributing authors, songwriters, artists, and pastors. Over the years, with the help of Andrew’s brother A. S. “Pete” Peterson, his manager Christie Bragg, a growing staff, and encouragement from the loyal Rabbit Room contributors and readers, the Rabbit Room has grown to include podcasts, a thriving music and book store, Rabbit Room Press, a yearly conference called Hutchmoot, regular events like the Local Show, and a physical home in a 150-year-old farmhouse called North Wind Manor.

The Rabbit Room (squarespace.com)

The site goes on to say the book is ‘not an ideal portrayal of the Christian community’, yet it is a rather accurate and compelling portrayal of human community. I admit since I began reading it I have trouble putting it down when I should be going to sleep! I checked it out in eBook format from my local library.

One quote I copied last night read:

“I was going along, not listening but just hearing, not looking but just seeing, not thinking anymore of where I was trying to go or even of how I was going to find something to eat, just setting one foot in front of the other.”

Jayber Crow

I have often written about the form of meditative prayer described above, meditative walking prayer. Just look. Don’t think. Just listen. Don’t interpret.

This morning I found myself delighted as I was yesterday during my prayer and reading time by the sliver of moon out the window next to my prayer chair. It caused me to write the verse below.

23-1-17©Molly Lin Dutina  
Glimmering sliver of moon 
Veil of clouds fold and part and undulate between us 
Wind moves them along to show your reflected light 
Then to cover you over completely 
Your glow is not always seen by me 
Yet you shine even when brightness of sun 
Obliterates your visage

As I type this I can almost hear my husband saying, “Move it along, Molly. What are you trying to say?” I asked the Lord what He would have me write about and post for today. And this is what came together. I want to show you that waiting and listening, watching and observing can lead to prayer and inspiration that you did not plan. This morning I also listened again to part of the John Eldredge One Minute Pause.

The point I heard was that the love of God is something we are to experience more than explain. We are to experience the love of God though it is too great to understand fully. Experience that love.

Are you content to sit with God, love Jesus, use words to express your heart through the Holy Spirit and know that all of that pleases God? Will you use minutes of your life every day to listen for the voice of the Holy speaking to or about you? The Trinity is not interested in what we can do for the Kingdom as much as our relationship to the Trinity Community. Just as the veil of the temple was torn in two when Jesus was on the cross (Matthew 27:50-51), the Kingdom of Heaven has been opened to us by His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Remember when you had to interpret poetry in English class? Some of you hated that. There were times when I too just wanted to enjoy the poem. Below is my interpretation of what was moving in my soul this morning.

we reflect the light of Christ 
entering the Kingdom we shall see clearly,
until then with the veil of clouds we see dimly
the wind is a symbol of the Holy Spirit
I do not always see Christ at work
yet the Trinity is always moving in and through our lives.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made us understand that it is the brightness of his glory that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4: 6 TLB

No there is nothing between us and God. However we do not “see” clearly yet. We do not always interpret correctly what we do see. By staying in community with the Trinity and having fellowship with believers we are more likely to experience the love of God. Experiential knowledge is something no one can take away from you.

Oh Weird

Every spring I look forward to hearing the Spring Peepers in the local wooded wetlands. Then I am certain that though it might feel cold, spring is certainly on the way! We have had tremendous rain here lately. Today, January 17th, I stepped outside to walk the dog to the mailbox. I almost could not believe my ears!

The Spring Peepers are singing. My favorite thumbnail sized amphibian! Climate change is messing up our ‘predictable’ weather things. The daffodils have sent up 3 inch tall leaves. The ones out back, just planted last autumn, already have 3 bulbs with 1 inch leaves. Forecast is 61 degrees today. My neighbor says, “Next week we will be freezing. The earth is just trying to fool us!”

I remember when I first moved to the San Francisco bay area I was so unhappy. They had poinsettias planted out of doors and climbing up walls. The daffodils bloomed in January and February. I remember thinking, “This is just WRONG!”

On High, Tent, Tabernacle, Within You

On January 15 I wrote “He was purported to dwell in the cloud by day and the fire by night, the Tabernacle, then a couple of Temples, and now indwells you. Can you get your mind around that idea?”

Our small group is studying John Eldredge’s book Resilient. In his book, page 62, he makes the point:

But, folks, have we forgotten that God relocated the temple? In a stunning shift of geography, God changed the playing field. He moved the temple from a physical building to the hearts of His people.

John Eldredge, Resilient

Here are a few of the Scriptures he quotes.

 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 

1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will live with them
    and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”

2 Corinthians 6:16 NIV

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

Pray and say out loud and believe that if you have asked Jesus to be your Lord that you are God’s temple. His Holy Spirit is within you. You have received this from God. God’s Spirit dwells within you. God wants you to honor Him with your body.

No more dwelling only on high, no tent or tabernacle or temple! God decided and made the move through the sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Now that you know these things how will that knowledge effect your life? Will anyone notice? Will you be able to explain the difference to them?

A W Tozer Quote

Years ago I studied A W Tozer. Recently I was shown his work again through the daily devotions sent out by The Navigators (https://give.navigators.org/email-devotions/) This so reminded me of the time I brought the Word to women at City Gospel Mission. It was about 1986?

If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now as always God discovers Himself to “babes” and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.

The Pursuit of God, A W Tozer

While the church I attended discussed things like contemporary music for worship in contrast to an organ and a box of hymnals, I was downtown once a week teaching the women at the Mission. Tozer says simplify. I argued that Paul never had an organ, or a box of hymnals nor made any reference to music that I recalled. I wish I had kept better records of names and dates, but basically the lead pastor at teh Mission wanted someone to lead a weekday Bible Study for women. We met in the basement, near the kitchen of the Mission. There was an interesting fragrance down there. Likely from years of meals prepared since the 1920s!

The Mission was founded in 1924 by James N. Gamble of the company Proctor & Gamble, most likely founded in the same building I taught in. (They have a new facility now on Dalton Street.)

Teaching in this room with a concrete floor and block walls was before the jail ministry I participated in, but so similar. The difference here was the women who attended were all free citizens. Most attended to receive better access to food donations but some genuinely loved God and enjoyed the fellowship. Some of them would holler out, “Preach it!” or “Preach it sister!” On one occasion a woman who was drunk attended. She got up on a folding chair and tried to out speak me. I immediately began to pray in my spirit and ask the Lord to hush her. The other participants also told her to sit and hush. Eventually she did. An eye-opening experience indeed for this suburban white girl.

There were times when I needed to drop something off at my sister’s house on my way home from downtown. I told the Lord one week, “This is almost more than I can handle! Shifting my gears from City Gospel Mission to Indian Hill”, (neighborhood of high prosperity and generational wealth). He reminded me that all of us were just people no matter the outside garb or residence.

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, 

Jeremiah 29:13-14a NIV

Tozer says if we are “to find God we must first DETERMINE to find Him and then proceed in the way of simplicity.” I found God in the midst of the City Gospel Bible study attendees. Those women who wholeheartedly pronounced, “Preach it, Sister!” were my cheerleaders and friends in the Spirit. I prayed the inebriated woman would also seek Him and find Him even if not through my lessons. God ‘discovers Himself to babes and hides Himself from the wise and prudent.” The Mission women knew more about God than most people I met in Indian Hill. Mind you, not all of the Indian Hill folks were ignorant of God and His ways; however, the women of the lower income downtown area seemed to me to walk with Him more closely than the rich. I do not claim to read hearts though.

Tozer says we must ‘simplify our approach to God, strip down to essentials, put away effort to impress’ and come with the candor of childhood. Tozer was a wise and an excellent teacher. I am still working on stripping down to the essentials with God, simplifying my approach.

Years later I worked at a branch of the Mission called “Having the Courage to Change” as secretarial assistant to the Director and coach in discipleship with a couple of the women. That is a story for another day.

I pray for you that the candor of childhood will enhance your search for the LORD God Almighty. He is waiting and watching for you!