A Lamb in Childhood

When I was a child my parents had a small farm and fishing lake in Loveland, Ohio. The lake was a pay lake called “Lake Cast-A-Line.” (It has since been drained to make a subdivision.) I can still remember being allowed to give a lamb a bottle of milk in the kitchen. That lamb was one messy eater, but I was delighted! I was perhaps 4 years old? Due to my Dad’s poor health we had to move by the time I was 5.

The milk was mixed from powder and perhaps explains why that scent draws me to this day?!

Has the Lord assigned someone to feed you? Here is your challenge: Have you thanked them?

Here is John Michael Talbot singing Psalm 23. I wore out the album, I bought the CD. I about wore that one out also. I listen to this collection regularly even today!

Trust in the Lord. He will keep you, feed you and shepherd you forever.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV


Our neighborhood women are starting a study of the book entitled “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” written by W. Phillip Keller, first published in 1970. I have led this book as a study once or twice before and most all participants have enjoyed it immensely.

Writing the introduction, Keller said “First of all I grew up and lived in East Africa, surrounded by simple native herders whose customs closely resembled those of their counterparts in the Middle East.” He goes on to tell how he became a shepherd for about 8 years. Then even later, as a lay pastor he shared the truths of this Psalm with his “flock” every Sunday for several months.

If you have not read this book it is a great one. Twelve short chapters, easy reading with much meat included!

As with most books, this one has a variety of cover art. You can purchase it used on Abebooks or Thrift. Almost every new book seller still carries it. Worth the read. So powerful the lessons included between those pages as relates to us as His sheep.

Here is a photo of my old copy:

If you get a chance to obtain a copy read along with us. I will try to post something each week about our study. I will go out of my way not to break any confidences from the group, just share Keller’s powerful lessons.

This week we will likely cover the introduction only. Chapter one has many Scripture references that are not noted. I will be posting those next week.

Baking in Early Spring

I wrote this in 2015 when we still lived on Siesta Drive.

Goldfinch in early spring
Marshmallow Chicks for Real © Molly Lin Dutina 2015   

It’s the time of year
bakers make cupcakes
with green coconut frosting
a marshmallow chick on top.

Deck banisters are lightly coated with frost
Six goldfinch in spring plumage
not yet brilliant summer yellow
wait for chance at the feeder.
Hill in background covered
with King Edward daffodils.

Bakers have nothing
over reality!
Summer Goldfinch
photo by r m dutina

I once called goldfinch in summer plumage “Flying daffodils.” Look about you. Never know when you, too, will discover a …. and just now the tapping on the window screen … revealed right next to me a young goldfinch in full summer plumage picking insects from the edge of the screen. Oh my! He surprised me!! pink feet and all!! At least I think it was a goldfinch! No camera nearby.

“And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5

“For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

Isaiah 61:11

…treasures in plain sight! June, 2022

Real or Fantasy?

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

― Mark Twain

I love that quote. It reminds me of the vivid imagination I have that can turn to darkness in the blink of an eye if I am not vigilant to control it by the power of the Spirit. This report from the Huff Post (formerly The Huffington Post) upholds Twain’s wisdom.

“Five hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said: “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.” Now there’s a study that proves it. This study looked into how many of our imagined calamities never materialize. In this study, subjects were asked to write down their worries over an extended period of time and then identify which of their imagined misfortunes did not actually happen. Lo and behold, it turns out that 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.”


Here is a short poem about the same topic.

Fears Lodge in Our Familiar Places ©2014 Molly Lin Dutina

The black mark on the tree 
is curved, and stark.
It cuts a gash through
solid wood of a twenty-two inch trunk.

Closer inspection reveals it is
but the shadow of a spindly
dead trunk made stark
by bright sun.

The fears we anticipate seem
larger than the reality of life.
How many really come to fruition?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27

Mustard Plants?

1970’s Sonoma Vineyard, r m dutina

Bob took this photo many years ago. Some of the debris in the sky is actually damage done to the slide by mold. We thought the yellow flowers were mustard. This was one of his mother’s favorite photos of his.

When we made our long cross country trip a couple years ago we saw similar plants in the fields.

See the yellow in the distance? Photo by Molly

When we asked a Texas farmer what those plants were, he looked at us with skepticism and answered, “Damned yellow cross pollinators.” Well, now we know for certain!

When we take drives these days and see yellow flowering wild plants, you guessed it, we call them “Damned yellow cross pollinators.”

Poetry Again

Stand and tip, uncertain if Molly took this one or Robert
Perhaps I Could Ask You Just to Stand and Tip? ©1990       Molly Lin Dutina 

Lily pads at the pond		
Grow on stalky stems
Leaves unfold an opened palm
Cupped at center point
Summer shower starts to drop
Mercurial glistening spheres
Gathering in the center spot
‘til bulbous weight smears silver drops
Into glistening globs
And tips the leaves so full
To pour their contents overboard
And rising from the spill
Stately shielded lily-hands
Begin the cycle once more

Keep my stem flexible, Lord
My hands open and cupped
Eager to receive Your all
Questioning not Your skill
Only trusting the power of Your love
To melt my rigid will

Drench me Lord 
In Your shower of love
Let me gather and drink my fill
Then spill over on those around
And rise to await Your will

Send water of Your Spirit
To tip me over, pour me out
Then wash over me once again
Fresh cleansing by Holy Words

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	
Spilling forth rivers of living water	
And giving rest to croaky voiced frogs	  
Who, when Spirit-kissed,
Become priests and kings	
Singing their praises to You.

Perhaps You ask me just to be Your lily leaf
Stand and tip

When I prayed this morning and asked what the Lord would have me share this week this poem came to mind. You might be surprised to know I had a little difficulty finding it as I have named it several times over the years since 1990! Bob and I have returned to the Nature Center several times to try to capture this photo again. I honestly do not remember if he took the photo above or if I did. It requires having lily leaves you can reach in full foliage, right after a rainfall with the water remaining on the leaves. Not an easy feat. 
Will you take the challenge of the leaves and poem? Are you willing to stand and be drenched? Then spill the goodness over to those around you? Would you have your rigid I yielded and bent to the Lord's will? Are you willing to serve croaky voiced frogs? 

I write to you as the Lord's lily leaf. I will gather the dew of heaven, stand and tip for your refreshment. May you be blessed this week!
r m dutina

Remember This Song?

John Denver, may he rest in peace, wrote “Anne’s Song” with part of the lyrics being:

“You fill up my senses like a night in a forest,
like the mountains in springtime,
like a walk in the rain, like a storm in the desert,
like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again.”

I often think of this as a love song between myself and the Trinity. Bob and I took a walk on a paved trail above Harsha Lake at Eastfork Park last week. It was such a delight to my soul. Brought refreshment on the deepest level. When we first arrive at the parking lot Lucky cries and whines in excitement. Bob teases her to be a good dog while we walk and she remains in the car. She would likely tear up the car and try to break a window if we ever left her behind!

Besides being a bright sunny day with flawless blue skies, the first thing we heard after we crossed the bridge was a Bob White!! As a child I would lie in bed on spring and summer mornings and hear this distinctive bird calling. As the website https://www.farmanddairy.com/columns/can-the-bobwhite-quail-come-back-to-ohios-fields/35205.html reports, “Bobwhite fell by a devastating three-quarters in the 20 years between 1984 and 2004, a dismal crash that illustrates the trouble quail are in.” AND “Bobwhite quail are just one of many sub-species of quail but the only one native to Ohio. The call of a bobwhite quail, just two notes in length, sounds just like the word “bobwhite.” Though we never laid eyes on it, the song was unmistakable! I could have stood there for hours!

Also heard the Wood thrush, though we never saw it. I heard thrush all the time at our last home. Charming, bell-like song.

Wild geraniums were in bloom as was a white violet and white clover.

The Honeysuckle fragrance was strong and enticing. The dog roses were competing in the most fragrant category.

A bullfrog burped in the pond through the weeds. Do you get the idea of “God fills up my senses”?

Red-winged was putting its entire being into his song.

But ah, the Great Blue Herons always capture my heart. In the distance one was wading along the shore of the lake. If it turned sideways it would seem to vanish. Then another one in flight came right in front of us. Neither of us were able to get our cameras out fast enough!

The video below was made in the Philippines. Honestly, it is so difficult to get a good video, in focus of these giant birds in flight, I just had to share this one. They remind me of a prehistoric being! Maybe related to the Pterodactyl? Steve Vantreese of The Paducah Sun writes:

“He is more pterodactyl than tweety bird, a killing machine to all manner of smaller beings that will fit in that bayonet of a beak.

“The great blue heron is our top shelf predatory wading bird hereabouts. The long-legged thing is the largest North American heron — not a crane — and well adapted to habitats all over our continent.

“Our great blue is a relative whopper, weighing as much as a goose but more elongated. This heron is up to about 4.5 feet long, and that is about the height at which it stands on those lanky bird legs. When it flies, it spreads those wings an impressive 6 feet or more.”

As we turned towards the return walk up the path the burbling stream reminded me of my constant access to living water.

The sun was getting hotter but a cool breeze accompanied us.

Lucky was going nuts with her beagle nose to the ground. All the scents of other dogs who were walked here, but more so the wildlife that traverse this path when humans are not around!

I saw one milkweed shoot along the trail and instantly missed our milkweed garden at the other house. Perhaps we can grow some here if the new backyard garden ever gets put in?

Never once heard the Bobwhite on our return walk. My senses drenched, we returned home with one exhausted dog. Not that the walk was too long for her, I think she wears out her brain sniffing!

Not treasures in plain sight, but perhaps treasures in our ears and eyes!?!

Traveling with Artificial Intelligence

We are on a road trip and using the Apple Maps app. She tells us to turn left, go right at next light, etc. I’m just waiting for her to say “No Doofus! I said the NEXT light, not here. (sigh)”

They say this is Doofus and his remake.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we ended the route and she said, “Good job, Bob! We had a great day driving together!!”

Bet it is boring being all artificial and so unemotional.

Walking Lucky

We ventured off our usual evening walk and took to the side street that leads to the bank, dollar store and post office. I came upon this sad sight and thought of all the nest builders in God’s kingdom who abandon their efforts for other, lesser things.

So sad

Have you given up too soon on your efforts to sanctify a place in your heart to meet with the heavenly Father and Savior of your soul? Have you forgotten to invite the Holy Spirit to commune with you in the center down silence place? Have you set aside a few minutes each day to truly get quiet?

Are there truly more important things than this?

Further along our walk towards home, Lucky and I came upon this.

Robin’s egg blue looking dismal

There is life and that more abundantly (John 10:10) awaiting you in your relationship with the One from on high. Please do not let the enemy of your soul kill, steal and destroy that life.

There are times when I wonder what I am going to write the next time I sit before my computer. Then the material is dropped before my eyes and I wonder anew at the Lord’s power. Abide, wait, commune, listen, pray, reach out to the Lord and He will meet with you. He promised.