How Roots Grow

The photo at the top is the Juniper tree at Live Oak Park, Berkeley, California. That is the place where Bob and I said our marriage vows over 51 years ago.

My Robert waiting under the Juniper tree with our families for me to wed him. Episcopal priest behind him.

Decades went by. I gave my heart back to Christ in 1976. He gave his life to Christ not too long after that. We worked and worked on our marriage over the years. We have always said, “Divorce is not an option. Murder maybe, but not divorce!”

Fast forward from 1970 to December 2017. We both got the flu. Within 24 hours his became life threatening pneumonia with organ shut-down sepsis. Got him to an ER. He was placed on a ventilator and rushed to a different hospital. Within two days my cough began to break up and I was by his side.

The passage from Ephesians 3 helped me as I walk through the terror of possibly losing him forever.

In 2018 I wrote: “Part of my struggle was yielding to the facts and in stillness letting my wishes die, placing my hope in the plans of the Almighty. I could not see the outcome at all, but I trusted His goodness and His love for both myself and my family. I learned that crucified you must hold perfectly still. EPH 3:16 helped me to trust more. “I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” I prayed for Bob and our children to be strengthened. I prayed for myself to be strengthened by His Spirit with power penetrating to my innermost being. Yes, crucified you must hold perfectly still. I was not “going” anywhere.”

Have my roots grown since then? I learned so much through that awful experience. Yes, my husband is alive and kicking now. His health has returned. We are going through the Covid crisis with everyone else in the world. We are perhaps more careful than other Americans, having almost lost him four years ago.

My roots? Well I am certainly aware that Bob and I will not last into eternity. Only my relationship with Christ will go that far. We do hope to see each other in the afterlife, but we both understand that relationships there are much different than here.

“Strengthened in your innermost being with power through His Spirit and that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith….” I would not want to lose my husband to Covid or in any other way, but I feel as if I would not be devastated as I might have been in 2018. Having lived through the almost-death and brutal recovery after his illness, I can honestly say that the Lord sustained us and taught us both many things about His love and power.

“Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, AS you are being rooted and grounded in love.” God’s love is beyond my words. He holds, sustains and directs me with His love. When I resist His leading, He disarms me with His love. He indwells me by with power by His Spirit and it is a process to be rooted and grounded in love. An ongoing to the day I die sort of process.

I love this video. It shows what I cannot see below the surface of the soil. It shows the growth in split screen above and below and then goes on to show the up-close root process. How are your roots growing?

Can you imagine yourself being rooted and grounded in love like this kidney bean? Like the Juniper tree in the photo above? Why not watch the video again and ask the Lord to strengthen you in your inner being with power through His Spirit. Ask Him to helped you be rooted and grounded in love. One person noted, “We need to ask for what we want.” Grow us Lord I pray, by Your Spirit and power, in Your time. Amen.

First Fifteen

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

You may remember I asked you to listen for a word to direct your life this year? Mine came in the form of Ephesians 3:17b “being rooted and established in love.” I have been studying out what that means to me. From library books about trees, to tree and root photos I have been collecting for a few years, to online biology resources.

This morning I listened to this devotional and found a way to share it with you. This is published daily with the premise being to lead you into the first 15 minutes of your day by thinking about, praying to, and worshiping God. I hope you are encouraged and blessed by this experience. I was blessed that the Scripture at the end is Ephesians 3 16-19! Just click on the title Live For Love and it will take you to the website. I downloaded the app for daily (or in my case almost daily) use.

Hope the fifteen minutes was well spent! I know it was for me.

Fun with the Sun

Know what these are?

Ohio is notorious for gloomy winter days. Not much sun to boast about. Dan and Betty even moved to New Mexico because they have so MUCH MORE sun, year round! One delight of living in a new house is discovering where the sun and moonbeams enter at different times of year. When we do have sunny days it is great fun to capture and play with the beams.

On that note, Bob ordered us two kinds of prisms right around Christmas. One had two spheres with cut patterns on them. Amazon describes them as: “Clear Glass Crystal Ball Prism Pendant Suncatcher 40mm Pack of 2.” The other is a Sumnacon Photography Prism Crystal Glass Triangular Prism Full Rainbow Color Spectrum Best for Photography (6″).

Oh my we are having fun with these! This morning Bob reported a 6 foot rainbow on the floor of the great room. Here is our bedroom a bit later in the morning. Ignore the laundry basket, shoes, paint chips and electronic chargers. Just enjoy the play of the moving prism!

Oh! What a beautiful day!

You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set.

Psalm 104:19

Blow up Characters and WOW! Look at That!

With Omicron variant of Covid on the rampage we have once again taken going for a drive as our best amusement.

Okay, pet peeve here. If you own some of those blow up characters PLEASE put in a light bulb bright enough to actually illuminate the character at night. So frustrating to look at the blows ups and not really see the design!

Have you noticed how sad and might I even say deflated the characters look when they are not blown up? We were taking a drive around the county and saw a rooster and chicken pecking amidst the deflated characters in the yard. Made me wonder if they cause any damage with those beaks and spurs?

We also saw an amazing bird that I was not able to photograph from the road. It was so wonderful that Bob drove a mile to find a turn around so he could see it too. I said, “It might not wait there for us!” Whew! still there, though we did not see it at first pass. Had to turn around again and go direction we were when I first spotted it. High in a tree it perched. Shades of gray over large shoulders and back. I believe it was a great gray owl.

Grey Owl Meaning? One online source said: “Seeing a grey owl represents the mystery, and trusting that everything will work out even if you don’t fully understand it. The universe is working on you under the surface, and this is a time to trust in the bigger picture.”

So if you have blow up characters and chickens perhaps you can enlighten me?

If you have an owl who visits your property regularly you just might live on Bootjack Road in Clermont County.

The one we saw looked even larger!

For more information on these amazing owls go to https://ebird.org/species/grgowl

And that reminds me. In high school I had an art teacher, Mr. O’Neill, who painted on rocks. I have had this in or on my desk ever since!

Holy

Are you in a stance of worship? Bowing down? Lifting your hands towards heaven? Looking up towards beings more intelligent than us that worship God and proclaim His wonders on the earth?

bowing down
Lifting your hands
Looking up towards beings more intelligent than us

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

Some say the Bible is full of things you should not do. No worries about those things if you focus on things you are instructed to do!

Rejoice. Rejoice again. Be gentle. No anxiety – or if it comes send it away as quickly as you are aware of it. Soak every situation in prayer and petition. Always use thanksgiving liberally. All requests are to go right to God. God will give back a transcendent peace, beyond your understanding. He will help guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Bow down before Him. Look up. Listen for the voice of the Lord be it through angels, prophets, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Word of God, printed material a statement on radio, TV, blog, podcast, etc.

As I get older and my body is not nearly as flexible as it used to be I love the line from this prayer that says, “Now I bend the knee of my heart.” Yes, sometimes I think the prayer of Manasseh says it best:

O Lord Almighty,
God of our ancestors,
of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob
and of their righteous offspring;
you who made heaven and earth
with all their order;
who shackled the sea by your word of command,
who confined the deep
and sealed it with your terrible and glorious name;
at whom all things shudder,
and tremble before your power,
for your glorious splendor cannot be borne,
and the wrath of your threat to sinners is unendurable;
yet immeasurable and unsearchable
is your promised mercy,
for you are the Lord Most High,
of great compassion, long-suffering, and very merciful,
and you relent at human suffering.

O Lord, according to your great goodness
you have promised repentance and forgiveness
to those who have sinned against you,
and in the multitude of your mercies
you have appointed repentance for sinners,
so that they may be saved.[a]
Therefore you, O Lord, God of the righteous,
have not appointed repentance for the righteous,
for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin against you,
but you have appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner.

Confession of Sins

For the sins I have committed are more in number than the sand of the sea;
my transgressions are multiplied, O Lord, they are multiplied!
I am not worthy to look up and see the height of heaven
because of the multitude of my iniquities.
10 I am weighted down with many an iron fetter,
so that I am rejected because of my sins,
and I have no relief;
for I have provoked your wrath
and have done what is evil in your sight,
setting up abominations and multiplying offenses.

Supplication for Pardon

11 And now I bend the knee of my heart,
imploring you for your kindness.

12 I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,
and I acknowledge my transgressions.
13 I earnestly implore you,
forgive me, O Lord, forgive me!
Do not destroy me with my transgressions!
Do not be angry with me forever or store up evil for me;
do not condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent,
14 and in me you will manifest your goodness;
for, unworthy as I am, you will save me according to your great mercy,
15 and I will praise you continually all the days of my life.
For all the host of heaven sings your praise,
and yours is the glory forever. Amen.

Such a mighty and gracious God we serve! Verse 15 For I will praise You continually all the days of my life. Yes, Father help us to do just that.

What Does This plus This Make?

Take dollar store socks

+PLUS+ fabric store fur

Add instructions from YouTube and you just might get these!

The only SAFE Gnome campfire!

Dawn and I had fun. Afterwards there were fur and plastic pellets in several odd locations. I had to stitch down the polka dotted hat where I missed with the glue gun. Other than that, they held together well! When she showed them to her husband he wanted her to make him his very own and then 7 more for his buddies at work. That’s a lot of work!

Here are her latest creations!

As you can see she created ladies with braids. She even made tiny ones from gloves instead of socks.

If you want to give it a try watch this You Tube video and have fun!! With Dawn’s crafting expertise we substituted aquarium gravel and plastic pellets instead of rice for weighted filling. (Evidently rice can carry bugs and might breakdown over time.) Used fiberfill on top of that. Use your imagination and have fun!!

The author of the YouTube video cracked me up with how tickled she got from the cuteness of her own creations! Enjoy a whimsical Christmas.

Donkey Me

First there was page a day from Oswald Chambers. “How often I find it is the stubborn donkey in me rather than my intelligence that turns aside and sees the angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:23). Lord, increase my spiritual sensitiveness that I may detect your slightest goings and drawings.”

Then my computer scrolling through photos brings me this from our trip to Ireland. I see myself in those lovely eyes.

And I arrive again at the story I wrote about the donkey.

Donkey Trail © 90-6-25 Molly Lin Dutina 

While traveling on the road of God’s will I hit a dip in the road and got jostled off the path. The dip occurred where the Lord asked me to do something, but fearing His will I inwardly said, “No!” I locked my knees, dug in my heels and soon resembled a stubborn donkey that must be pushed, pulled and cajoled to be made to move. Blind to my disobedient nature and still pouting before the holy ways of the Lord I decided if He really loved me we could compromise on another way. I stepped onto the “Treadmill of Debate” a perpetual motion conveyor belt going nowhere but in circles. Fearful and resistant to God’s will I asked “Why?” and presented Him with all of the ‘What-ifs’ and ‘If-onlys.’ I formulated brilliant reasonings for resisting His ways, deluding myself and dropping further and further away from His Light.’

God was more kind to me than Balaam who beat his donkey. (Numbers 22:22-33) God used that same donkey to save Balaam’s life three times. He even made the donkey talk to Balaam! If God can use a donkey, I am no one special. 

Until I accepted His will, relinquished my ideas and gave all things over to Him I could not continue the adventure of serving God well. As usual, when I actually arrived at the point of resistance it turned out to be so unlike what I had imagined might occur, that later I wondered why I was so silly and donkey-like not to yield immediately in trust to Him.  My efforts to control led onto a futile treadmill going NO where. God’s mercy urges me to let Him direct my course and enjoy His fellowship in the Now Here.

Help me to trust You more Lord. I want to live present to You in the Here and now for in this experience alone is my salvation. As I begin to err, thank-you for taking me off the highway and into Your discipline. You truly are “able to keep me from falling and to present me without blemish before the Presence of Your glory with rejoicing!” (Jude 24)

There are many myths about the birth of Jesus. The internet is glad to tell you about all of them.

No one knows for certain if Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem. It is estimated that they traveled 80 miles. She was well along in her pregnancy. Imagine for one moment that she did ride a donkey. What if that donkey had dug in its heals and refused to go to Bethlehem? Are we more cooperative than a donkey or stubbornly insisting on our own way? How about attitudes towards how to celebrate Christmas, and where, and when, and with whom?

“Draw us God to Your side and show us how to help the world see Your gift of life through Jesus Christ. Soften our hearts to let You lead us in paths of righteousness. Amen.”

Coping With Loneliness per Jonny Sun

For many people the holidays bring an increased sense of loneliness and sadness. I get a note once a week from TED talks about recordings that might interest me. Some are good, some do not appeal to me so much. This one is good. Insightful. And it works. Hoping it helps to lift any sagging spirits this week! I know zero about Twitter, but he is famous through it.

TED intro: “Being open and vulnerable with your loneliness, sadness and fear can help you find comfort and feel less alone, says writer and artist Jonny Sun. In an honest talk filled with his signature illustrations, Sun shares how telling stories about feeling like an outsider helped him tap into an unexpected community and find a tiny sliver of light in the darkness.”

Little moments of connection can be found, even on social media. Small things, made up of small moments. He says

You gonna take your shoes off, or what?!? Love that snail’s attitude!

Killer Dog?

Lucky, our rescue beagle, came to us not knowing how to play with toys. The only way I could get her to take an interest was to affix a treat to the toy. So Olaf has elastic on him to affix a treat, as does the storybook Pokey Puppy, yellow puppy from Tractor Supply, etc.

You may have read how she decided to blind the squirrel in one eye? For details see https://wordpress.com/post/treasures-in-plain-sight.org/7042

2020 on the mantle. No mantle at new house!

When we placed the Peanuts characters under the tree this year, she eventually decided that Charlie Brown belonged to her. It took her several days to chew up his collar. We never found the yellow pieces, and I for one did not want to examine her poop. When the stuffing started to fly we removed it from her.

Next was Snoopy. Yep she put a huge hole in his throat. Now the question is do we mount those famous heads on the wall to portray Lucky’s conquests as a hunter? For now they rest in the office closet until I can decide to either pitch them out or mount them. Hmm, would have to put them high enough on the wall that she cannot tear them down!

Wonder what she is wishing for at Christmas? Her other toys so far have not a tear, not a chew. All my daughter’s dogs destroy their toys. Maybe Lucky is related now?

Stunned by Chaco

Once while visiting New Mexico Dan and Betty took us to a collection of fascinating ruins. I honestly wondered what the big deal was as we bumped and crashed down a potholed gravel road for what seemed like miles and mile. To this day when I come across one of our photos from there I am stunned to silence.

The Chaco ruins give a bit of insight into life that thrived about the 9th to 12th century BC. Window openings that have lasted all these eons. Doorways, walls, evidence of a large ancient civilization. How did they built these?

https://www.worldhistory.org/Chaco_Canyon/ notes “Chacoans built epic works of public architecture which were without precedent in the prehistoric North American world and which remained unparalleled in size and complexity until historic times – a feat which required long-term planning and significant social organization. Precise alignment of these buildings with the cardinal directions and with the cyclical positions of the sun and moon, along with an abundance of exotic trade items found within these buildings, serve as an indication that Chaco was an advanced society with deep spiritual connections to the surrounding landscape.”

What does this have to do with December 2021? Possibly more than you might think!

I found this reference that made me want to run to the kitchen and start getting out cups and marshmallows 🙂 at https://ourplace.co/drinking-hot-chocolate-prevent-alzheimers-boosting-blood-flow-brain/ they report Drinking hot chocolate could prevent Alzheimer’s by boosting blood flow to the brain

Drinking just two cups of hot chocolate a day helps elderly people keep their brains healthy and their minds sharp by boosting the blood flow to their brains.

Homeinstead reports that ‘we’re learning more about blood flow in the brain and its effect on thinking skills,’ said lead author Dr Farzaneh Sorond, from Harvard Medical School. ‘As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.’”

Back to Chaco from https://www.worldhistory.org/Chaco_Canyon: “The presence of cacao provides evidence of a transfer not only of tangible goods but of ideas from Mesoamerica to Chaco. Cacao was revered by the Maya civilization who used it to make beverages which were frothed by pouring back and forth between jars before consuming during rituals reserved for the elite. Traces of cacao residue were found on potsherds in the canyon likely from tall cylindrical jars which were located in sets nearby and which are similar in form to those used during Maya rituals.”

“It is likely that many of these extravagant trade items, in addition to cacao, played a ceremonial role. They were found predominantly at great houses in enormous quantities within storerooms and burial rooms, alongside items with ritual connotations – carved wooden staffs and flutes and animal effigies. At Pueblo Bonito alone, one room was found to contain more than 50,000 pieces of turquoise, another 4,000 pieces of jet (a dark-colored sedimentary rock) and 14 macaw skeletons.”

I realize that cocoa and hot chocolate are different from one another, but hey! As one source wrote: “Cocoa is a familiar ingredient, whether used for baking or to make hot chocolate, but cacao may be a little less known. With the popularity of eating whole and natural foods as well as vegan diets, however, we are hearing the word more and more with each passing season. It is easy to get confused as to the difference between the two since cocoa and cacao actually have a lot in common, the most important being chocolate.”

So I will raise my cup of hot chocolate to the Chaco architects today and rejoice that I do not have to grind beans to retrieve chocolate. I am also so glad that this is no longer reserved for just the elite! Sure, mine is highly processed, but oh so good! And mixed with coffee to make a mocha? Wow!