Categories
Aging Faith Music Spiritual growth

Not Petrified Me

As I’ve written before, the Holy Spirit brings me songs when I am headed for or have reached a roadblock. When we traveled through the petrified forest of Arizona, Bob had never seen anything like it. I had a memory of seeing it from childhood. We were able to purchase a few pieces from a gift shop in town. Some were polished. One is shaped like a triangle. It reminds me of the Trinity.

Piece is larger than life

The other morning I picked up the triangle piece and held it during my prayer time. Wanted to carry it all day, but knew it would be too uncomfortable in my pocket. Then when I least expected it, this song came back to me.

I do not want to become an old woman who is stuck in her ways. I am certain there are already some things I do that someone has created new and improved methods for not yet adapted by me. For the most part, I want to conform to the Lord like the Living Water He provides for me. I want to be flowing, not like Jello or petrified wood: congealed, hardened, stuck.

So my prayer for you is that you will loosen up in 2021 and learn how to flow better. Velma Frye published a CD called Take Heart. Here is her song “Ever Flowing.” the lyrics were written by Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB July 28, 1939-April 24, 2020. I heard her teach once and as SO blessed. Hope you enjoy the song. You might have to click on the link.

https://youtu.be/xIqEXCXeTU0

unpolished piece on the bark side
Unpolished core side
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
Book quotes Faith

Addiction, Prayer and the 12 Steps

Who is America has not been touched with addiction in a family member or close associate? Here is a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. For years I prayed it for others not realizing that my own offspring needed the prayer, too. “For Victims of Addiction”

“O blessed Lord, You ministered to all who came to You: Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of Your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.”

May God help us all.

Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable

Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7 – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10 – Continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Categories
Aging Covid 19 Faith Humor Thanks

Movie Dinner

Our Christmas Day celebration was unusual. Celebrating with family was over and no big dinner plans for just the two of us. For the first time ever I got Bob to watch the humorous movie “The Christmas Story” which has nothing to do with our faith. He has always loved BB guns and had only seen portions of the movie. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” In that movie when the neighbor dogs steal the Christmas dinner, the family goes to a Chinese restaurant. So I suggested we order Chinese for our Christmas dinner, too. We called the restaurant to be certain they would be open. I know the woman who works there is a Christian and we did not want to take any chances.

Sure enough they were going to be open! So here was my Christmas dinner this year!

Cashew Chicken with Vegetable Egg Roll and broccoli from Bob’s Sesame Chicken! YUM. And we always get two meals from Chinese Takeout so that made double yum, but only one egg roll.

Not posting any big end of the year ideas. We have each had a difficult year in our own ways. I think the second verse of 2020 (i.e., 2021) will be much like the first. Glad the vaccines are here. Unlikely the virus will become under control for many more months to come.

Meanwhile, I am downsizing in a major way! Have compacted my sewing room. Will likely only sew a few masks and do mending in the future. I have one more t-shirt quilt in mind, but that too might not happen! Gotten rid of the major portion of crochet patterns collected over the years. As a crochet teacher I had collected many patterns. I got nostalgic when I found patterns I had made for my children and grandchildren. Following the advice of my friend Betty and our former Pastor, Bob Gerhardt, I am trying to embrace growing older gracefully. Letting go of things from the past is one way to do that.

Next we move to the main floor of the house and down size there, too. The builder should break ground on our new house in February. They say it will be ready in May. I’m thinking Bob will be ready to move in April and I won’t be surprised if it takes until June.

So don’t shoot your eye out, wash your hands, wear your mask and social distance for months to come. We each want to live to enjoy thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s 2021.

Categories
Faith Memories Music

As We Celebrate

As a child one of the Christmas pieces I learned to play was Angels We Have Heard On High. A friend sent the video below. I just love the music the Piano Guys make. This is a wonderful rendition of the song and a huge cast for the Video and Musial production. Yet, the message is our simple faith. Enjoy!

Categories
Faith Poetry Special Event

“To Bless the Space Between Us”

John O’Donohue wrote a book of blessings that I occasionally pull out and re-read. I think this one sums up Christmas Day 2020 rather nicely!

Now is the time to free the heart,

Let all intentions and worries stop,

Free the joy inside the self,

Awaken to the wonder of your life.

Open your eyes and see the friends

Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,

Those whose kindness watchful and near,

Encourages you to live everything here.

See the gifts the years have given,

Things your effort could never earn,

The health to enjoy who you want to be

And the mind to mirror mystery.

For Celebration John O’Donohue

May you celebrate the indwelling Christ as we remember His birth as man.

Categories
Faith Family Social Distancing Spiritual growth

Christmas Holy

By the time you read this we will have had our celebrations with all our family members. A Christmas like no other, for certain! So how will we spend our Christmas Day? I hope we pray and rejoice and make an extra effort to draw near to the One born to bring us to His home for eternity.

We are building a house soon. They will not break ground on it until February. That has not stopped us from packing, and throwing things out, giving things away, paring down in a grand way. We watched my in-laws wait until they were quite aged to down size. It was hard on every person involved. When we got married 50 years ago we promised each other that we would do life differently than our parents. (Maybe everyone declares that?) So here is another example of us doing things differently.

So we are not 75 yet (i.e., not eligible for the Covid vaccine in the next wave of injections) but no sense in waiting until we are in our late 80’s or 90’s to decide to take on this task. I am comforted to know that when the Lord Jesus calls me home, there will be nothing to pack. I will leave behind the things of this earth and move towards His beckoning Voice. He will have my treasures there with Him.

We figure this new house will be our last home unless we need a nursing home at the end. Then our ‘graduation’ will bring us to “mansions in glory” a place prepared for us.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:1-4 NRSV

As you open your Christmas gift treasures, we celebrate the fact that this earth is not our home. We are going to a place “where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:20-21 NLT2

Categories
Faith Humor Memories Special Event

Windy December

The change of seasons always seems to hit hard in December. In southwestern Ohio we tend to have high winds during those times. The folks who display blow up decorations are hard pressed to drop their displays in time not to have them suffer permanent damage.

In years past people tended to buy hard plastic decorations. You have likely seen something like the one below over the years.

One year at Christmas time we were bringing our oldest Grandgirl to our house after her nursery school had let out for the day. At our encouragement she was looking at decorations along the way. It had been one of those windy December days. We passed the home of a Catholic family. They tended to not place the baby Jesus in the display until December 24th.

As we passed their yard Lizzie said, “I see Mary. I see Joseph. I guess Jesus blowed away!”

Sweet memory!

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:6-7 NIV

Make room in your heart for Him this year! You will not regret it.

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