Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Humor Just do it Nature Yield

Donkey Trail 1990

Stubborn Beast

90-6-25 Donkey Trail ©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!” Francis of Assisi was familiar with me when he called himself “Brother Ass.” 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 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.

“Until I accepted His will, relinquished my ideas and gave all things over to Him I could not continue on the adventure of serving God. 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 me onto a futile treadmill going Nowhere. God’s mercy urges me to let Him direct my steps 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)”

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Humor Nature Poetry Spiritual growth

Pour Out

There is an old nursery rhyme that with one hand on your hip and the other one extended, you recite, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout; here is my handle, here is my spout. When I get all steamed up then I shout, Tip me over and pour me out.”

Then there is the “adult” version with both hands on your hips, you say, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout; here is my handle, here is my…Oh damn, I’m a sugar bowl!” Bob Dutina’s absolute favorite, recited at least twice a month!!

No tea set is complete without a cup. Ray Bradbury had this sentiment.

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

Ray Bradbury quoted by Gratefulness.org

What is your plan for 2021 regarding “letting the beautiful stuff out?” Or do you have one? When I had two blogs going the other one was called Stand and Tip. I eventually realized that one blog would be better. Here is the poem that inspired me to begin two blogs. Perhaps I Could Ask You Just to Stand and Tip? ©1990 Molly Lin Dutina      

 
 1.
  
 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
  
                 2. 
  
 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 
Categories
Amazing Creations Beagle Faith Humor Nature Poetry Special Event

Benefits of Beagle Walking

Remember “Twas the Night Before Christmas?” I know in school we were required to memorize it. Walking the dog in bright moonlight one evening, like Christmas night, I was thinking, “The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow cast shadows like midday from objects below.” I knew it was not the exact verse of the poem which goes “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.” But OH the shadows from that brilliant moon.

This year one neighbor put up Christmas lights galore which were synchronized with music. It took him a few days to find the volume knob on the music. Every time I would step out with the dog in the evening I was blasted by the joyous chorus of Jingle Bells and other songs 3 houses away. When he finally turned the volume down, it became just pleasant caroling. The winds got the better of him and before Christmas Day most of his display was damaged or taken down.

AND BEST OF ALL!! Walking Lucky at about 2:00 one afternoon I heard them in the distance. Just one at first, but as they got closer multiple voices and YES! flying right over head was a flock of CRANES! I have seen them in New Mexico and we visited the large migration in Nebraska, but OHIO?!?! Turns out they are endangered here but have been making a revival. I did not have a camera or even a phone with me to catch a picture, but below is a photo taken in Nebraska when we went to see the great migration for ourselves.

photo by r m dutina

As you can see, there is no mistaking them for geese or herons as they fly with their necks extended, legs extended and have a huge wingspan. They also are really loud with their calls.

Keep looking for treasures in plain sight! Even when you least expect them. This beagle makes me go outside, even when I am reluctant to leave the warm house!

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Memories Spiritual growth Traveling

Epiphany

Generally in today’s culture we think of epiphany as when someone has an enlightening moment. When it is capitalized Epiphany is referring to the Christian holiday with several meanings depending upon your denomination. Today is the celebration of The Epiphany. We do not currently attend church because of Covid 19. We are members of a non-denominational church. My roots are in the Episcopal church which I chose for Baptism and Confirmation at age 15. I learned much about church tradition and prayer in the Episcopal church. I learned Scripture by following the Daily Office Scriptures through the publication “Forward Day by Day.” It is still in print and available in paper copy or online.

The celebration of Jesus being presented to the world is recognized when the Wise Men (Magi) arrived to honor Him and bring Him gifts. This is understood as the Presentation of Christ to the Gentiles, God in the Flesh, Immanuel, God with us. In the Eastern churches this is commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus. When we were traveling and visited Arches National Park I was stunned by this image of the Wise Men, created by the sun and shadows.

I have printed this photo and it holds a prominent place in our home. whether it represents the Magi or the Trinity, I never want to forget the power of God with Us – right here, right now.

The Book of Common Prayer lists this prayer for The Epiphany. “O God, by the leading of a star You manifested Your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know You now by faith, to Your Presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

As far as the presentation of Jesus this passage sums it up well.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now, Lord, You are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples: A light for revelation for the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Luke 2:25-32 NASB

Epiphany is celebrated and then the Episcopal church calendar counts celebrations for nine weeks called the First Sunday after the Epiphany, Second Sunday after the Epiphany, etc. right up to Ash Wednesday. May the arrival of the Revelation of Christ, His presentation to the world, enlighten our hearts and minds forever.

Categories
Amazing Creations Humor Special Event

Speaking of Our Beagle

When our daughter’s family came over Lucky Dog was in heaven. After opening gifts we had cake and ice cream and then put our masks back on while we visited. Oldest Grandgirl gives the dog an all over scratching. Same girl does not like to have her photo taken, so sadly, no picture of her. Younger Grandgirl decided to give Lucky a massage. This dog was hoping the girls would just move in and stay forever!

This is the face of Beagle contentment!

See Grandgirl’s smiling eyes!

I love you! Don’t stop!!!
The Parents are not going to take her away, are they?!?!

I believe Lucky almost cried when they left. Such are the glories of a doggie Christmas!

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Humor Nature Poetry Special Event

Star ?

Taken from https://images.twnmm.com/c55i45ef3o2a/5uIs5BUABAKcx7RAh1D4ju/43059da5725182207a342122cffd3644/Jupiter-Saturn-to-Great-Conjunction.jpg?w=680&q=10&fm=jpg

So what is the hype with the weatherman these days? (Guess I should say weather person.) They say that Jupiter and Saturn are going to be in close proximity on December 21st. {Oh! That is Monday she thinks as she writes this on Sunday afternoon.}

Being in the Northern Hemisphere, I am told to look to the southwest. I looked up all this information online for a better understanding about the details. “The December 21, 2020 conjunction will be the closest great conjunction since July 16, 1623. At the great conjunction of 1623, Jupiter and Saturn were slightly less than 0.1 degrees apart. The last time that the two planets were easily observable when separated by less than 0.1 degrees was almost 800 years ago, during the great conjunction of 1226.” Okay, now I am understanding how unusual this is! 1623 or 1226. I am no longer thinking pandemic here, yeah! Got my mind in outer space! Referring to conjuction means how these planets will appear to our eyes. They will not truly be only that far apart.

“In fact, some scholars have theorized that the original Christmas star, known as the Star of Bethlehem, might also have been a great conjunction.” Now we are venturing into speculation. I am not much for speculation. That site also referred to the Star the Wise men followed as Christian lore. Sort of made me grind my teeth.

As Bob and I drove around looking at Christmas Lights and decorations and discussing this my thoughts went as follows.

 
 
 
 20-12-21 © Molly Lin Dutina 
  
 Moon wearing a veil of clouds
 As we try to see planets conjunction of light
 Some speculate that is what happened
 At birth of my Lord
 I think perhaps their minds are veiled. 

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 NIV

The bad news is they say this conjunction will be visible in our location at 12:20 PM. Wait, that is lunch time! We will not be able to see the planets at all then. However, if the night sky is clear you can bet I will be going outside (probably with Lucky Dog) to see what I can of Jupiter and Saturn making history. I will start trying an hour after sunset. If I read the time charts correctly, my friends near Kathmandu will have a much better chance.

Lord, open the eyes, hearts and minds of all those veiled to Your truth. Help them to give themselves to You. Then they will have the merriest Christmas ever.

Jesus + You = the Greatest Conjunction ever!

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Humor Memories Spiritual growth

A Favorite Memory

When our daughter was 3-1/2 years and our son a mere 6 months old, we were preparing to attend Christmas Eve service. I had done my best as a young mother to provide decorations and memorable things for our daughter’s third Christmas. I had even found a tiny creche set with a baby Jesus in the manger. He was about 1 inch long. My daughter was given her very first purse that year. I got her all dressed for church and then began getting our son ready. He was not one to be patient if he got at all overheated. Before he hollered over being bundled up we were out the door and in the car.

As our family settled in the pew, I noticed our daughter was holding something in her hand. I finally asked to see what it was, fearing some sticky candy or something. Slowly she opened her hand to show me. Turned out she had taken the tiny baby Jesus out of the manger scene while I was dressing our baby. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and solemnly said, “I thought He ought to come, too.” I almost burst into tears!

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2 NIV

Categories
Amazing Creations Covid 19 Humor

Now for the rest of the Beagle story!

When the teapot whistled and I went to pour the water over the tea I dropped my lap blanket. Lucky decided mine was a really nice blanket.

I brought hers into the office! As I put my blanket back in my chair I was murmuring “Mine! Mine!”

She is content to use hers. Yes, there are times when she seems to fill the role of the Princess.

Recently I placed her pillow against the arm of the sofa instead of horizontally on the sofa.

She tried to make the best of the arrangement. Just could not quite get comfortable. She has yet to figure out how to rearrange pillows!

She looks to me as if she is saying, “Why, oh why did they do this?”

Poor puppy dog! Viagen Pets cites 10 reasons why folks love dogs: loyalty, friendship, therapy, health, unconditional love, protection, selflessness, exercise, forgiveness, and happiness. Bob says all she ever wants is FOOD. I prefer to understand her differently!

I hope there was a beagle at the manger in Bethlehem!

Categories
Amazing Creations Covid 19 Humor Just do it Thanks

Cluttered

Yes, I know this is a cluttered photo. I snapped it to share with my daughter. This is my “Christmas Cactus” true name Zygocactus. Mine usually blooms sometime during the winter. This being the year of Covid and doom and gloom, death all around, mine decided to bloom on November 13 and bore mostly DOUBLE blossoms and buds! Yes, I was amazed, surprised and thankful. By November 13 most of my garden flowers are long past blooming. I did have an occasional carnation and snapdragon, but no more bouquets like April-September!

That corner of our office is no longer cluttered. We have been going through the house like the Tasmanian devil cartoon character!

Ruthlessly throwing things out like notes from retreats I have taught in the past. The four drawer filing cabinet is down to one. I just need inspiration to finish that one! I looked at one thing in the office and realized I had not even touched it in a year. Away it went.

The basement is unrecognizable. We have pared down, given away and trashed many items. This is one of my husband’s dreams some true. He knows I call him “Mr. Tidy.” I am not nearly as tidy as him. So Mr. Tidy is enjoying this process. Now he is amazed, surprised and thankful. I am getting into it. Covid staying at home has done this weird thing to me!!

Know anyone who wants some vintage crochet patterns? Yikes.

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Memories Nature Poetry Spiritual growth

At The Sea

Oh that would be great, to be at the sea! My friend, Dan, recently posted that seeing a plane fly overhead made him sad. This pandemic is getting to those of us who are trying to stay well by staying close to home.

Pondering better days, I found this poem from 1997. I was absolutely and totally exhausted after our daughter’s wedding. She was our first child and this was our first family wedding. Bob promised to take me to the beach and here is the result of my time on the beach with my Lord. I hope it helps transport you to a place of no pandemic!

 
 At the Sea © 1997 Molly Lin Dutina 

 Distant silver horizon
 Birthed by Your Light
 Breaks through leaden skies
 Enlightens slate-colored seas
 Calls me to You
 Closer to You
 Given over to You
 Nothing withheld.
  
 And I yield to You
 To lie in Your arms
 Imbibing Holy Breath
 Entire being  - renewed.
  
 Your sparkling glow
 Moves rapidly across the expanse of water
 To here and now
 You surround me
             Uphold me
 Indwell me
 Live through me.
  
 How could I ever hesitate
 Preferring dim to illumined?
 You enlighten me
 Flaws, shortcomings,
 Weaknesses, strengths and all.
             Fact: You love me.
                         Fact: You desire me
 You declare I am Yours.
  
 Like sudden deep piles of shells
 Buried, unseen yesterday
 Revealed today by the powerful tide
 Your Kingdom unfolds before me and
 Yes, Lord, I yield
             Knowing You go with me
 And will arrive ahead of me
 You have my life in Your nail-scarred hands.
  
 Abiding under Your wing
 Your Light fills the throne room
 And I must close my eyes
 To bear Your brightness
 O, All-Powerful Lord,
 I refuse to doubt Your methods
 Your holy mercy endures
             As You bathe me 
 In Your everlasting Love.
  
 Come my King
 O Light Eternal
 Bring forth the treasure
 You have hidden within me
             As I embrace Your will
 Illumine me.
   

photo by r m dutina