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

Song of the Month?

By now if you have read my blog for any amount of time you likely know I talk about the Holy Spirit “haunting” me with a song. A song I cannot get out of my head. A song that usually ends up being just EXACTLY what I need for that season of my life.

Here is the latest. I repeatedly kept looking it up on YouTube. Finally purchased it. And now I share it with you. I won’t be climbing up on a horse like Chris Tomlin, though it looks like fun. I won’t be climbing up on a huge rock, but I might get to the mountains soon!

Most recently the song reminds me that no matter how dark I THINK things are, Jesus is right there loving me and helping me carry any burden that I am willing to give Him. More than once lately I have said, “Well, Lord, here You go!”and I cast it into His arms.

Remember that applies to you also. But only any burden you are WILLING to give Him. And if you take the burden back, you must be willing to give it to Him again, and perhaps again, and again, and again.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV2011

Raccoons

Did I tell you about the raccoons? Oh my! We accidentally left the garage door open one night. Usually BOTH of us check to be certain it is closed before bedtime, but that night neither one of us checked.

Bob always gets up first in the morning. He found the mess! Shelves cleared off. Bird sunflower seed storage bucket all over the place. Cardboard box of suet ripped open. Storage bucket of dog food knocked over and spilled. Dog was going wild over the raccoon odor. It was hot and took Bob a long time to clean up. So frustrating.

That night we were careful to check the door was indeed closed. Bob got up in the morning. Same sort of deal. He was now livid! How in the world did the ‘coon get in? Where was it now? Dog was going wild in the closed garage and centering on his car. Bob backed his car out of the garage. Raised the hood and there was a raccoon looking back at him. Zoom! it disappeared into the bowels of the engine. WHAT?!?! Blower did not make it stir.

NOT CUTE!!

How do you get a raccoon out of a car engine? He drove it around the cul-de-sac. Looked inside. Yep! Raccoon eyes! Now. what …?

We looked on-line to the wisdom of the world. It said put an open can of cat food near the car, open the hood and wait.

Called our local mechanic. He said put an open can of cat food nearby. Open the hood and wait. geesh. Did he go online, too?

Had no cat food, but had those single portion tuna cans. So we put the car in the front yard on the dead dry grass, opened a can and waited. Nothing. Then I began wondering did we have to actually see the raccoon exit? If it did, then what was to keep it from going back in the engine? Had to move the can where Bob could see it while he ate lunch.

Later he had to be some place. He moved his car to the driveway and moved the tuna near it. He took my car. The dog wanted out. I watched thinking she could not reach the can. As she lapped up tuna juice I raced outside to move the can further from her reach. She was still fascinated with the front wheel well of the car. We left it that way all night. I was hoping the entire raccoon hood would not move in thinkin’ “them was some good vittals!”

Next morning, no mess in the garage. And Bob raised the hood of his car to NO eyes looking back.

Trust me, we have been VERY careful every night since then to BOTH check that door. The dog occasionally walks past the car and checks his wheel well, but there is nothing interesting there now.

Gotta love that beagle nose on legs!

NOT cute, at all, ever!


Bob’s Sense of Humor

Robert 1975 Smoky Mountain National Park

I have often called this man my knight in shining armor. Journaling March 31 of this year I wrote.

“I had an emotional break through of sorts. This morning I noticed my scene out the bedroom window that I have looked at for years. Clearly I saw split rails that were missing or had fallen from the neighbors fence. I thought “fences are broken down.” And in this weird thing we are living through fences are down! During my meditation time I saw the photo of me the day of my dad’s funeral when I was eleven years old. Remembered the grief and fear of being left alone (especially with my mother and sister because I am so much like my dad). As the meditation continued I realized that Bob is the one who for most all of my life has kept me from the alone-ness of that grief and fear. And THAT is why I have been feeling I cannot bear the possibility of ever losing him. Jesus touch me in that place, I pray.

“Later John Eldredge confirmed all that pointing out that places in us from childhood may be calling out during this stay at home season. We need to have mercy and grace for ourselves and others.”

So he is my knight, but also my husband of soon-to-be fifty years. Yep, 50! Here is a cartoon he handed me recently. Did I mention he is the oldest of five and a terrible tease? Click the link below to see what I mean!

https://www.newyorker.com/cartoon/a23696

When Did You Last Act Like A Kid?

During a recent rain shower I saw a child playing in a water-filled ditch. As a mom I first checked, and no, there had not been thunder or lightning that day. My second thought was how delighted I was to see her and how she reminded me of myself at that age. Once I found a crawfish in a puddle and brought it home as a pet. It was about 3/4″ long. I put it in the bathroom sink with a little water while I tried to find a container for its home. My sister unstopped the drain, not noticing my pet and all was lost. I was sad and mad. Fast forward to today!

“Maybe what God really wants are grown-up kids who dance in the puddles, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, who dare to ask why a whole lot. Maybe we are far too proper. Maybe it’s time to take a page from Dainty doodlebug’s story and give in to the way we’re created to live—for our sake and for the gospel. Little else is as compelling and glorious as a giddy child, mud-covered and grinning, because they know how loved and safe they are even while thunder sounds in the distance.”

Embraced by Lysa TerKeurst

Giddy child of God, relax and enjoy creation again! Don’t those boots just remind one of Mike Powell?

“You were made from dust and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:19

“Dance in the puddles, get your hands dirty, ask why a whole lot more.” Recently I had the opportunity twice in one week to counsel two different women on the fact that we are allowed to get angry with God. He can take it! He would much prefer we be genuine with Him than pretend some sort of proper piety. After all, He reads our hearts and knows our thoughts and our words before they cross our lips.

 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.

Psalm 139:104 NIV 2011

Why not make an effort this week to get real with God? And if you have the opportunity, try jumping in a puddle, just for fun!!

Ironing on a Summer Day

I am making masks for use in public to fight the Corona virus again. It seems like my Rowenta iron is getting a workout as I press seams and pleats and the finished product.

A few years ago I gave away a Rowenta iron because the water would sputter and pop. Turns out I was using distilled water and it was designed to use tap water! The new iron came with a little white cup to make the water easier to pour into the iron. It holds about 12 ounces? The iron does not actually hold that much, so the water that remained in the cup sometimes formed a scum on the bottom of the white cup.

Recently I grabbed my water bottle from an earlier walk and filled the iron. Thought, “Why not?” It poured easily enough.

So I have been using that for a week or two. Jump into a memory!

My mother had a General Electric iron similar to this version from the 1950’s. Even with that gnarly two-toned cord.

With that version there was no steam option so the clothes had to be dampened before you ironed them. So instead of my trusty push button for forced steam or continuous steam from the Rowenta, we used something like this!

Yes! a trusty soda pop bottle with water (we would never place it on its side like the above photo). Just shake and the water would sprinkle out on the clothing. Then press the item. I thought it was so cool. When Mom would ask me to refill the bottle for her, I was always willing! When I was finally deemed old enough to do the ironing our General Electric iron was more like the one below. The red button on the top was for steam! We were moving up in the world! I never minded ironing. Even now, I am grateful I never had to iron stacks of dress shirts for my husband’s work, but ironing other things has not been a chore to me.

It was not usual for me to come home from school on a hot day and see my mother with the ironing board set up in front of the television, watching Reds baseball and drinking a beer while she ironed.

All that surfaced, while I ironed masks and watch Roku television in the basement! Grateful for the advances electric irons have made. Baseball season such as it is will begin soon. Unlikely you will find me ironing with a beer!

Just Breathe

Who would have thought last St. Patrick’s day that we would still be fighting pandemic on the 13th of July? Perhaps until someone you know catches the virus people do not take this seriously. Granted many catch it and recover. However, some go home from the ICU in wheelchairs and some in beds, having to learn how to walk again. Our daughter was tested and got a positive result for Covid 19 last week. Stunning. So now we wait.

“To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands, or take control. Nor is waiting inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to ‘rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him’ (Psalm 37:7).” Max Lucado

I wait. I pray. I try to remember to breathe. And I post, asking you to pray for her immediate family (2 adults, 2 teens) and ours (2 seniors with underlying health issues).

Max Lucado wrote ” Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief.” I have found it increasingly difficult to stay focused on God through these four months. The monotony of repetitive actions gets to me: (Didn’t I just change this toilet paper roll? Didn’t I just fill these same prescription boxes?) Changing the wall calendar page has gotten startling! How did we get from March to mid-July?

Many believers have told me they believe that this world-wide pandemic is a massive effort by the forces of darkness to separate us from one another and from God. The level of warfare I have experienced has me leaning that direction.

Hebrews 12:1-2a (NIV2011)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

NOW I have my work cut out for me! Throw off not casually get out from under, but THROW OFF everything that hinders. I have changed up my devotional time. There are days when I let the Bible app read to me in an attempt to immerse myself in Scripture. Morning Prayer, devotional writings, whatever feeds my weary soul.

If I read a chapter of Proverbs a day, I am finished with the book in one month. Psalms can be broken up into just about 5 chapters a day. I have gone so far as to break up Psalm 119 into days as it is VERY long for reading in just one sitting – at least for me! Fix my mind, fix my eyes, fix my ears upon the Lord God Almighty. The hymn below was written by Helen Howarth Lemmel, a woman from Batavia, Ohio! Yep, that is where I live. 🙂 The chorus is sung more than the hymn in most churches. Too bad they leave out the verses! Here is a quartet from the continent of India who do a wonderful arrangement of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. I pray you will.

Old People, Dogs and Woods

Well, she did it. Tight as it was she slipped her collar and took off up our backyard into the woods. Even hot dog pieces did not stop her. So I went in the house, got my phone, sunglasses and took off after her hoping to head her off further along the woods. We used to have a trail in the green space to walk through the edge of the backyards. Between neighbors dumping over their fences and trees falling, especially from Asian longhorn beetles, the trail is now an obstacle course. EXCEPT for a little beagle! And maybe that helped slow her down? The nose on legs!

This is especially difficult when your dog does not know her name! I went down the street calling “Here, Lucky! Here Sweetie!” (the top two contenders for name.) Neighbors offered to be on the lookout. I told Troy’s beagle mutt if he found her to keep her there. I cut down the hill through Joy’s yard and into the woods. Troy’s dog barked and I thought it was at me. Then I realized there was noise besides just me in the woods. And there she was. I called and eventually lured her to me with a piece of hot dog. I called Bob to let him know I found her. He brought the car to Joy’s house. I fashioned a collar from the leash and began to guide her through the woods. The terrain was just too rough and her legs too short to follow me. She laid down.

So picture this old woman carrying a 20+ pound dog through the fallen, rotting trees and shrubs, on a hillside, uneven terrain, using tree trunks and honeysuckle branches to balance. Must have made someone laugh! As I got to the edge of the woods, I thought it was strange that Bob had changed his shirt. Nope, not Bob. The young man who had been sitting on his porch was coming to help me out of the woods. He had met Bob in the driveway and insisted on coming down. Except for the dead thorn bush that attacked my arm, I did pretty good!

We got her to the car and we were all exhausted. I drove home with Bob holding her on his lap. Had to bathe her in the utility tub in the garage as she (of course, beagle) had rolled in something. Got her into the office and she could not wait to nap. I am about ready to nap also.

This is a form of exercise that is good for me, but I would rather stay out of the woods! If she ever slips that collar again I will insist on taking her outside with the harness on and only the harness, not the collar for leash connection! Yikes.