Home Again

We have been home for well over a week, but I am not exactly back in the swing of things. In fact, I think the movement of the swing is changing. We were gone for almost 2 weeks. Then adjusting to the time change between here and Hawaii (think 6 hours difference). I have booked a 6 day private retreat for next week and will meet a new spiritual director. I had a spiritual director many years ago and truly benefited from the experience. I believe it is time to restart that practice.

So I will be gone again June 4-10. I am uncertain if I will write the blog then or not. This is meant to be time with God. Please pray for me during that time especially!

Did we enjoy Hawaii? Certainly. Did we eat and drink? Well, yes! Below is my BLT pizza. The lettuce was on top (after baking) in the form of a Caesar salad. Yum.

Kona Beer “A liquid Aloha” was recently introduced to the Cincinnati area. I was not impressed when I tried it here. Man oh man was this one at the brewery different! A wonderful stout, smooth, and dark, and cold!

I wanted the glass but they did not sell them. Likely not room in the suitcase anyway.

Took this photo to give our son Jeff some ideas for the pizza restaurant where he will return to work soon.

You can also see some prices on here!

The Hawaiians love their geckos and we had fun watching them, too. I was surprised to see them decorating this wooden bar!

We ate more reasonably then we thought. Each morning we would have coffee in the room. The hotel coffee on Hawaii was great. (Maui, not quite as good.) At the Westin Resort on Hawaii would would go downstairs to Pico coffee shop to get fresh-brewed coffee, a sweet roll, perhaps fruit cup or yogurt. Once Bob purchased a breakfast box with eggs and meat. It was quite reasonable.

We would eat at a restaurant for lunch. When we landed we went to the grocery and bought bread and cheese for in the room. That would serve as our dinner. The in-room refrigerator was great for storing insulin and foods! Each day we would either pick up fresh bread or a cookie, etc. This is our usual pattern on vacation, but we were not certain how it would work on the Hawaiian islands. Between Foodland and Whole Foods we did fine!

Certainly need dessert! One day I found that at a little chocolate shop! (I should have bought more!!)

Thank You Lord, Mahalo, for a wonderful celebration!


Learning to stop and be still is absolutely necessary before we can listen and respond fully and gratefully to Life—moment by moment.


When in a new state that actually feels like a new country it was difficult to stop and be still. We got our rental car and made our way to the road that would take us to our hotel. As Bob drove I was watching the fields of lava. Some were smooth. Most were blocks and stacks of slabs. I saw what I thought was an animal and thought no, my mind is playing tricks on me. And when I saw the second one I declared to Bob, “I just saw a goat!” He has learned to come alongside me when I blurt out things like that. When we saw more he became a believer. What in the world?

Eventually we learned there are feral goats on the island of Hawaii. Once thought to be a gift to the people they have become destructive and out of control. They decimate native plants, overrun certain areas, run across busy roads, prove a challenge to control and there are no natural predators on Hawaii.

The British brought most of them. The idea was to populate the island with a food source for sailors on future expeditions. Cook was killed during this final visit. However, British Captain Vancouver explored the islands in 1792 and introduced one male and one female to Kaua‘i. The islanders cared for these animals and used them for meat, milk, and skin. Goat reproduction was rapid, and some animals escaped into inaccessible terrain, founding wild colonies of ibex goats on seven islands. (The article says these are not true ibex.)


The Hawaiian government has encouraged culling the herds through hunting. So no, I wasn’t seeing things when I spotted that first brown goat atop brown lava. Whew! Had me wondering there for a minute.

One day we were driving down Mamalahoa Highway. Trotting along the side of the road, facing traffic, two goats came towards us, beards blowing in the breeze. They cracked me up! They acted as if they know they own this island. It all happened too fast to get a photo. Some of you might be remembering hearing in the Word about goats and sheep.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Matthew 25:31-33 NIV

I saw a great quote just before we left Ohio. God says “Love them all. I will sort them out later.”

So be still. Watch for goats and other animals you might not expect. Respond gratefully to life moment by moment! God will sort out the people at the end, whether you consider them sheep or goats doesn’t really matter. It is up to our Holy Judge.

For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
the Lord is our king;
    it is he who will save us.

Isaiah 33:22 NIV

A Wonder

When we arrived in Hawaii we were very tired. Started out in Ohio at about 5 AM and got to our room in Hawaii late afternoon. (Factor in 6-1/2 hour time difference!) We made ourselves stay awake wanting to get on their time zone as soon as possible.

The next day our plan was to be as restful as possible – being kind to ourselves. We had coffee in our room (quite tasty) and decided to go to the swimming pool. There was a bird there I had never before seen. Could not for the life of me guess what it was called. I looked it up on line. Imagine my surprise (being a girl from Ohio) to find they called it a yellow billed cardinal!

Yellow billed cardinal

At home we have red headed woodpeckers whose entire heads are red. We have cardinals where the entire male is red. But not this sort of coloring. The bird repeatedly came to the edge of the pool for a sip of water. I was delighted!

Then at the airport when we were leaving Maui I saw this one!

Red Crested Cardinal

The Almighty God is so creative and wondrous. His delights are without end!

Eastern Red Cardinal male

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;[b]
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:7-10

What Do We See on Hawaii?

Hope is radical openness for surprise – for the unimaginable. If that is the attitude with which we look, listen, and open all our senses, we enter into a meaningful relationship with whatever Life offers us at a given moment.

Br. David Steindl-Rast

Oh my! We had no idea that most of the island has black lava, was populated upon black and brown lava. Guess we never really thought about it. There are wild goats populating that lava. They are feral and out of control. Scrub that reminded me a bit of the high desert in New Mexico?

We were in a bit of shock with the radical time change of 6+ hours. There are road signs about donkeys crossing, but we never saw any and began calling them ghost donkeys.

Well, I am home now. The laundry is mostly finished. The garden has gone wild with maple shoots. The ferns have escaped the garden bed. There are bills to be paid. Receipts to put away. Oh my goodness! The landscaping company that was supposed to take care of the lawns in this neighborhood quit and the grass has reseeded. Lucky does not quite know what to make of grass seeds hitting her in the face? The new company is here this morning and the machines are roaring.

Okay, I think maybe I have some other things that require my attention here before I try to focus and write this blog!

We saw bananas growing on the trees. Crops that we were grateful were labeled: limes, oranges, lemons, etc. Coffee trees and macadamia nut groves.

I will try in the days to come to write about all of these.

I am so grateful to God – Mahalo! (thank you) – we were kept safe from physical harm. I got a couple bug bites, but no big deal! We were smart enough to recognize our limitations. Mourned a bit that we did not have the strength and stamina to snorkel. Wished we had made the trip 10-15 years ago, but that was not to be. Kept our sunscreen on. Saw many folks with sunburn. They actually inspired me to be careful and not envious. Amazing how the dermatologist inspired me, too, by cutting that thing I could not discern off my arm last winter.

Our mighty God traveled with us, met us there, and kept us in all of our activities and decisions not to participate in some things. All praise to His mighty name for ever! Mahalo, Lord, mahalo!!

According to Travel and Leisure, the word mahalo is a Hawaiian word used in all parts of Hawaii by Hawaiians to mean thank you and express gratitude. This word is often used as a greeting to express esteem, praise or admiration, or as a compliment with sincerity in every day life. You might say mahalo in return for delicious food if the good food really stuck you.  The word mahalo is three syllables – mah-hah-loh . Mahalo nui loa means thank you very much.

The word mahalo is more than just a thank you in Hawaiian thinking, It is a divine blessing on a spiritual level with a deeper meaning. This is used in everyday life and also on special occasions like the birthday of an elder or for sacredness like prayers or single-word blessings. Use this word respectfully.


Winter Musings © Molly Lin Dutina

The snow was not what we had expected
A layer of warm air turned much of it to ice pellets instead
So less snow, but more noise
At one point it sounded like skeletal fingers tapping
On the sliding glass door
Even the dog wondered who was there.

Today is chop, chop, scoop and lift 
As we hurry to clear the driveway as best we can
Sun will help to dry the pavement before
The next set of snow clouds descend
Winter says “Bring it on!”

Cedars holding dollops of snow
Of marshmallow
Of vanilla ice cream
Pure gelato gone huge
Cedars bent by the
Weight of winter deliciousness

And we, right now, are in Maui! We yield to each season, Lord!

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

Psalm 65:8 NIV

Prom and Other Happenings

Remember Brody the flour covered dog? He got a date to prom!

This is that very long legged hound, if you recall from previous post!

Here is Ellie in her gown

And with her proud parents!

I was hoping the poppies I bought would bloom before we departed. The first one was orange and I hooray-ed! The second one was yellow and I was delighted!

And yes, spring warmth has finally arrived complete with humidity and emerging ferns!

I bought one fern in 1985. We have shared so many ferns off of the original plant. I have given the root away to friends and now we have them growing nicely at this our third and likely final house!!

Suitcases are packed. Laundry is done. Ride to airport arranged. Cannot believe it is finally time to go! We deliver Lucky to Lizzie tomorrow. Our house sitters are all set up. Woo-Hoo! Happy 52+ wedding anniversary to us!!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
    His love endures forever.

Psalm 118:1 NIV

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1 NIV

And let His people say Amen! And let the Robert Dutina family say Amen! Let all God’s people say Amen!

When you read this we are packing to go to Maui tomorrow! I am stunned writing these details. 🙂


When Bob asked me years ago if I wanted to move to New Mexico where Dan and Betty lived. I considered for a bit, then I decided I would miss my maple trees too much! This year the bumper crop of maple seeds have some of the trees hanging low and looking burdened. If was difficult, but I finally got this photo to show you! The opening photo shows the empty stems. Photo below shows both if you look closely.

There was an old song Nat King Cole used to sing about the falling leaves. That melody was encouraging me to write about the maple seeds as I gathered the words and phrases. You can tell I lost the phrasing from the song, but hopefully captured the ideas!

Maple Business ©Molly Lin Dutina   23-5-2
The maple seeds
Fall past my window
Tan and red
They twirl and fly

The maple seeds 
Blow past my window
Reminding me
The snow is gone

These are not flakes, but helicopters
Whirlybirds, not icy clumps
Coating roofs and every surface
Until wind scatters abroad

Keeping gutter cover companies in business
Even finding their way indoors on shoe soles
Thousands upon thousands
Every day for weeks they sail

There was trouble on the playground
If you gathered a clump and
Threw them on someone 
We knew no shame just fame for being sneaky

Last autumn they shed red and yellow leaves 
Bright red tiny blossoms this spring 
Now showers upon showers of seeds
Promises of new maple life

The maple seeds, fall past my window
Both red and tan these showers twirl
In piles on the deck, can’t keep them cleaned off
Sweep them on a dry day, sounds like fallen leaves

Seeding every nook and cranny
I am told online “yummy when eaten fresh!”
Next time your salad or potatoes seem boring
Strip off propellers, throw in a few seeds 

A couple weeks more and every flower bed 
Will sprout maples from whiligigs
We will be pulling out shoots for weeks 
The ones we miss will grow strong
Eventually needing a trowel to loosen their grip

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:9 NIV

Meal-worm Feeder and Tropics

At Wal-Mart I can buy a sack of dried meal-worms. The bluebirds absolutely love them. He is more bashful than she is. They come right to the window to get the food. She looks in and seems to check in with me. I tell her hello. He steals a bite and flies to the tree.

Sadly the starlings have found the feeder. If I am sitting here writing and the starlings arrive all I need do is tap the window and they take flight in fear. Yesterday I filled it for the bluebirds at about 11:00 AM. This morning it was totally empty. I know good and well those bluebirds could not have emptied that so quickly! I looked about on the ground to see if a mammal had tipped and tried to empty it. There were no worms on the ground. It was only a couple minutes before the starlings came by again. Grrr.

The Invasion Of The Starlings | A Moment of Science - Indiana Public Media

Now considered one of the worst nuisance birds in this country, Old World starlings were purposely introduced to Central Park, New York City in 1890 by a well-meaning but misguided man. The original 60 pairs that were released rapidly multiplied. Soon after, the American starling population exploded, and the species spread rapidly throughout the entire U.S. and much of Canada. Starlings are known to compete with, displace, and kill many native birds and their young. Starlings are now considered an invasive species and are despised by ecologists, birder enthusiasts, and business owners alike. So, yeah. They live here now.

Starlings are known to compete with, displace, and kill many native birds and their young. Starlings are considered an invasive species and are despised by ecologists, birder enthusiasts, business owners, and homeowners alike.


You can read more about starlings online.

So I suppose I will fill it only an inch or two on mornings I am writing. The bluebirds and I can enjoy each other’s company.

Speaking of mornings!! It has been rainy and gloomy for several days here. Temperatures dropped back into the forties and we all felt as if winter had returned. The sky cleared over night and this morning dawned glorious. The sky is that brilliant blue with the newly unfurled leaves looking fresh and tender. By August they will appear tough and worn out!

Last evening we watched a video on You Tube about driving the road to Hana on Maui. Bob woke up this morning ready to take on the curves and the long drive, seeing waterfalls and tropical plants. (I think he is mostly looking forward to the stop for fresh banana bread, he-he-he!!). Today we are starting to pack. By the time you read this we will most likely have taken the helicopter tour over Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii. I have difficulty imagining what that will even be like!

I suppose the bluebirds and starlings will have to fend for themselves then. Our trusty house-sitter Kathy will not be asked to fill the feeder!

Consider the birds of the air, some of them are invasive pests!! DO not be like them. Unless of course you are able to perform their murmurations. That is the only good thing I can say about starlings.

Veterinarian Book

Recently on NPR I heard about a new book entitled, The Other Family Doctor, by Karen Fine, D.V.M. I checked with the library and in a few weeks it was available for me to read. Not wanting to drag it to Hawaii I blazed through it.

I love true stories about animals and most of this book was no exception. For many pages she wrote about the emotional toll that euthanasia takes upon a vet. I almost returned the book to the library without finishing it. But I am glad I read on to the end. She explores many avenues of medical care for animals.It is an interesting read.

This important topic should be written about and discussed. The topic of veterinarians and the wave of suicide hitting that profession should be discussed. Recently I stopped in at Lucky’s vet’s office. As they processed the sample I was dropping off I noticed a sign on the counter informing people of a family saying good bye to their pet, asking others it please be respectful and keep their voices down. That event was not occurring right then. I asked the desk staff if they had read the book. (One of the persons standing there was the office manager.) They had not heard about it but were highly interested. I told them I would be finished soon and they could request it from the library.

If you want to thank your vet or their staff you might consider purchasing the book for their office.

Home - Karen Fine, DVM

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

Genesis 1:6 KJV

Our animal companions have their own personality. They bring comfort to most of us and delight us with their antics.


Wowsers! This year has flown past. We attended our Grandgirl’s last volleyball club tournament yesterday. Seems we just attend her first game in elementary school – or was that middle school? Well, no matter, she actually graduates in a few weeks! She will go on to play with University of Cincinnati Clermont campus volleyball team. First though is Senior prom and graduation!

I bought a pot of Asian lilies and planted them in the front garden. A sharp wind during a rainstorm one day broke off one stem of blooms. A bird had also perched in the tree above the lilies and decorated the blossoms with its waste. Yuck. Somehow in all the Scriptures about the lilies of the field and the flowers of the earth to my knowledge that event is never mentioned! Imagine.

By the time you read this we will have landed in Hawaii for our trip of a lifetime! Our one and only visit to the 50th State. We had planned to go in 2020 for our 50th wedding anniversary and our 50th state to visit. The pandemic cancelled that. At that time Hawaii said “You can come but you have to quarantine for 2 weeks.” We can barely afford ten days in Hawaii much less 24! So our trip is finally underway. Married 52 years now!

My mother always wanted to visit to see the flowers growing there, but she died having never been there. Her sister also lived there. I have two cousins living in Lihue, but we will not be able to see them. The commuter flight between islands is $115 per person. We plan to visit Hawaii and Maui. They live on Kauai.

I can barely believe we are actually going. I typed out our itinerary spelling (to us) bizarre names like Waikoloa, Akala, Holualoa, Punaluu. Realized I had misspelled Kilauea once I said it out loud! We are staying at Hapuna beach on Hawaii (not so bad) and Kaanapali on Maui. Monokalani and Kaihalulu are weird. It does not help that instead of trying to pronounce the names while we planned Bob just made up words with lots of vowels and syllables!!

So as long as we remember to get groceries on Maui at the airport city in Kahukui on Kaahumanu avenue, (oh my!) we ought to be fine?

Because every single thing is imported to Hawaii all the prices are high. We will likely return broke. Our daughter says to go ahead and spend!

Please pray for safe travels! Opening photo is by Michael Swiet.