Our New House

A few weeks ago I saw the bathroom design in the master bedroom and questioned what was installed in ours. Guess I did not question it enough! Last week we went in the model and I saw what I thought it should look like. Yep, I was right. The wrong bathroom was installed. Turns out after the search of how that happened somehow the actual workers were given the wrong blueprints of what we requested. For now we do not know if other items were ordered wrong or not, (things like flooring).

Here are some photos. WE HAVE WALLS NOW!

Now, about writing. One estimate was we would close early May. Since they have to tear out the bathroom and start over, I have no idea how far closing will be set back. I’m thinking that there will likely be a few weeks I do not post anything. Than again, if I get really cracking I might be able to create enough entries to not miss a week!

After 15 years in one location, there is lots to pack and plan. We have been at it for months now. When we actually have the movers come to pack, move (and unpack at least the kitchen) I realized the other day, we will still not know WHERE most of our things are. Tried to label boxes as we went along on things we packed. So yes, life will be somewhat of a mess. Who knows when I will write? Or, just maybe, writing will be a great diversion once the computers are set up!

Lucky will be kenneled for 3-4 days during the initial chaos. We took her to the house the other day after walls we installed. She was not delighted as huge propane dryer and fans were blasting away. She could no longer walk between the studs, but had to go room to room with us. Here, she has taken to sleeping on a ‘blankey’ in our closet during the couple thunderstorms we have had so far. She is in for a neat surprise! The new master closet in 12 feet long! Sure, it will be filled with clothes and storage tubs, but it is massive compared to the one here.

Will try to keep you updated on the bathroom fiasco!

Pileated WoodpeckerS Delight!

It is a treat to see a Pileated in the back yard. It is unusual to see two at a time. Three Pileateds equal a huge event! We have lived here 15 years and never seen them courting and dancing tree to tree, wing displays, calls and all! Perhaps they were simply defending their territory? We may never know. It was exciting for us! There was no time to set up a video camera on a tripod. Besides, that would have sent them off to some other part of the woods. Robert Dutina shot the video while I just ooh-ed and aah-ed!

Facts from Wikipedia: “Adults are 16 to 19 in long, span 26 to 30 in across the wings, and weigh 8.8 to 14.1 oz, with an average weight of 11 oz. Each wing measures 8.4 to 10.0 in , the tail measures 5.5 to 6.9 in, the bill is 1.6 to 2.4 in.”

I swear, from the kitchen or bedroom window they look like small chickens compared to the black capped chickadee or sparrow! Here is a shot out our bedroom window one winter.

At times when I hear them call I think of the zoo or a jungle somewhere!

Ears and eyes alert! Never know when you will happen upon a treasure! Hoping there are some at our new address!!

 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:26-27

Just Like Heaven

If you are a regular reader you know that the Lord often stirs me with music. Various phrases of this song have been rolling around in my head. I finally tracked it down through lyrics and then YouTube. What a blessing! I played it for hours as I ran around doing grocery shopping and was blasting it all the way home down the road while surrounded by huge trucks and the windows open to the spring air.

I think this is more than fitting for Easter Monday or perhaps Pentecost Sunday? Maybe just any day that you are longing to be closer to Jesus. Seems to me this is some of the best new church music!

The Lord your God is with you,

    the Mighty Warrior who saves.

He will take great delight in you;

    in His love He will no longer rebuke you,

    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

I put the lyrics below the song in case you want to follow along. Brandon Lake wrote the song and posted this comment on YouTube.

“Just Like Heaven” was written after I had a very simple but powerful revelation that when we’re in the presence of God we’re getting a taste of what heaven and eternity is going to be like. When you get a taste of heaven, you will want more. We were made for eternity. That’s where I want to live. We don’t have to wait until heaven to experience it — God wants to bring heaven to earth. This song is my personal journey of crying out for more of His presence.” Written by Brandon Lake, Jeff Schneeweis, and Jacob Soote

Isn’t it just like Heaven
When You walk into the room?
There’s not a thing that’s hidden
When every eye is on You
Can’t get enough of Your presence
It’s the perfect point of view
Isn’t it just like, just like
Just like Heaven?

Ooh
Come a little closer, stay a little longer
Ooh
I can’t get enough of You
Ooh
Come a little closer, stay a little longer
Ooh
I can’t get enough of You

Doesn’t it sound like Heaven
When You’re singing over me?
There’s not a voice more constant
Your melodies they never cease
Here I will stand in Your presence
In my true identity
Doesn’t it sound like? Yeah, it sounds like
Just like Heaven

Chorus repeats: Ooh
Come a little closer, stay a little longer

Holy, You are holy
You’re such a perfect Father
I’ll worship You forever
Holy, You are holy
I’ll lay down any treasure
For us to be together
Holy, You are holy
You’re such a perfect Father
I’ll worship You forever
Holy, You are holy
I’ll lay down any treasure
For us to be together

Chorus repeats

Oh, enough of You, oh-oh
A little more of You
I just want more of You, Lord
I just want more of You, Lord
I just want more of You
I can’t get enough

I can’t get enough of You

Easter Excitement

I am not talking about peanut butter eggs or jelly beans. I am talking about the Christian Easter morning excitement. Some church folk declare to one another, “He is risen!” Others recite, “The Lord is risen.” “The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!”

I have one friend who before Covid could barely attend Easter services because the tremendous number of flowers set off his allergies so bad he practically cried through the service.

I am not talking about the flowers, the greetings, or the candy.

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people,  and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

Ephesians 1: 18-20

“THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about! ” Are we excited about the power God has placed in us because of the resurrection? Do you participate in that power under the Father’s direction? Are you yielded to His inspiration and leading? Are you willing to let Him use you in any way He sees fit to further His kingdom? Are you excited that this power is available to you 24/7-365? Have you asked for the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Would you trade your chocolate rabbit for it?

Celebrate the real reason for our joy as Christians. Jeremy Camp says it SO well!

Holy Saturday

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,  having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Col 2:13-15 NIV

Jesus did some nailing to the cross of His own! He took the list of everything we owe God, everything that stands against us and condemns us, He took it all and NAILED it to the Cross. He made a public spectacle, a laughing stock of the powers and authorities of darkness by His triumph over them on His cross.

Do you know this old song by Carmen? You might have to turn up the volume at first. Lyrics are below.

Here are the lyrics to The Champion:

In the vast expanse of a timeless place
Where silence ruled the outer space
Ominously, towering it stood
The symbol of a spirit war
Between the one name Lucifer
And the Morning Star, The ultimate of good

Enveloped by a trillion planets
Clean as lightning and hard as granite
A cosmic coliseum would host the end
Of the war between the lord of sin and death
And the Omnipotent Creator of man’s first breath
Who will decide who forever will be the Champion

The audience for the ‘Fight of the Ages’ was assembled and in place
The angels came in splendor from a star
The saints that had gone before were there: Jeremiah, Enoch, Job
They were singing the “Song of Zion” on David’s harp

The demons arrived, offensive and vile, cursing and blaspheming God
Followed by their ‘trophies’ dead and gone
Hitler, Napoleon, Pharaoh, Capone
Tormented and vexed and grieved
Waiting for their judgment From the Throne

Then a chill swept through the mammoth crowd and the demons squealed with glee
As a sordid, vulgar, repulsive essence was felt
Arrogantly prancing, hands held high, draped in a sparkling shroud
Trolled by demons, Satan ascended from Hell

Then Satan cringed, the sinners groaned!
The demons reeled in pain as a swell of power like silent thunder rolled
With a surge of light beyond intense, illuminating the universe
In resplendent glory appeared the Son of God

Then a Persona, yes, Extraordinaire appeared in center ring
God the Father will oversee the duel
Opening the Book of Life, each grandstand hushed in awe as
Majestically He said
“Now here’s the rules. He’ll be wounded for their transgressions
Bruised for iniquities”
When He said, “By His stripes they’re healed,” the devil shook!
He screamed, “Sickness is my specialty. I hate that healing junk!”
God said, “You shut your face, I wrote the book!”
Then the Father looked at His only Son and said
“You know the rules
Your blood will cleanse their sins and calm their fears.”
Then He pointed His finger at Satan and said
“And I know you know the rules
You’ve been twisting them to deceive My people for years.”
Satan screamed, “I’ll kill you Christ! You’ll never win this fight!”
The demons wheezed, “That’s right, there ain’t no way.”
Satan jeered, “You’re dead meat, Jesus, I’m gonna bust you UP tonight!”
Jesus said, “Go ahead, make my day!”
The bell rang, the crowd cheered, the fight was on
And the devil leaped in fury
With all his evil tricks he came undone
He threw his jabs of hate and lust
A stab of pride and envy but the hand that knew no sin blocked every one

Forty days and nights they fought, and Satan couldn’t touch Him
Now the final blow saved for the final round
Prophetically Christ’s hands came down
And Satan struck in vengeance!
The blow of death felled Jesus to the ground

The devils roared in victory!
The saints shocked and perplexed as wounds appeared upon His hands and feet
Then Satan kicked Him in His side, and blood and water flowed
And they waited for the 10 count of defeat

God the Father turned His head
His tears announcing Christ was dead!
The 10 count would proclaim the battle’s end
Then Satan trembled through his sweat in unexpected horror, yet…
As God started to count by saying
“…10…”
“Hey wait a minute, God…” “…9…” “Stop! You’re counting wrong…”
“…8…”
His eyes are moving…
“…7…”
His fingers are twitching…
“…6…”
“Where’s all this Light coming from?”
“…5…”
“He’s alive!”
“…4…”
“Oh – nooooo!”
“…3…”
“And yet,”
“…2…”
“Oh…Yessssss!
“…1…”
He has won!
He has won!
He’s alive forevermore!
He is risen, He is Lord
He has won!
He has won!
He’s alive forevermore
He is risen!
He is Lord!

Proclaim the news in every tongue
Through endless ages and beyond
Let it be voiced from mountains loud and strong
Captivity has been set free, salvation bought for you and me
‘Cause Satan is defeated
And Jesus is The Champion

Why is it Good Friday?

Jesus said in New Revised Standard version of John 15:12-15

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.

NRSV John 16:7, 22 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

He went to the Cross for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was to fulfill the promise of the Holy Spirit indwelling us. The same Spirit that inhabited Jesus.

Friday was brutal suffering. Unimaginable anguish. But He knew, Sunday was coming!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Holy Week – What is A Christian To Do?

I have spent most of my life following Jesus. One of my greatest Christian teachers was Francis of Assisi. He chose to be stripped of possessions and riches and to follow Christ unhindered by things. For several years I was a Third Order Franciscan through the Episcopal church. Recently my friend, Bonnie, reminded me of a quote from Francis on his deathbed. He is purported to have said, “I have done what was mine to do. May Christ now teach you what you are to do.”

How might we go about doing that? The Book of Common Prayer Morning Prayer Rite 2 in the general thanksgiving says “…show forth Your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to Your service ….”

On Monday and Tuesdays when I do not “feel” like writing I am reminded that I give up myself to His service by writing this blog. It is mine to do. I pray what I write will encourage others to follow Jesus. I pray the things I tell about will inspire others to pull down strongholds and walk on with the Savior of our souls. I pray I might amuse others and help lift them from the doldrums of the daily grind. I struggle to put into words my relationship with a Holy God through the power of the Holy Spirit given as a result of the life, sacrifice, resurrection and then ascension of Jesus Christ.

So what is Christ asking you to do?

I have found over the years that if I feel stuck spiritually I need to go back to the last thing the Lord asked me to do, and be certain I did that.

Francis also said, “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

So there were things like: volunteer at the homeless shelter. Try to help organize the shelter donations. Set up the construction of a new donation out building. The Church carried that out.

Bonnie also quoted these steps:

  1. Do what is necessary.

2. Do what is possible.

3. Let God take care of impossible details and do as He leads.

Carry on!

But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22

Hey, Mom?

The kids were sitting at the dining room table doing their homework. I was standing at the kitchen sink, doing dishes and singing aloud in my prayer language.

Suddenly Jeff asks, “Hey, Mom? Is that how you sing in cursive?” I answered, “Yes, I guess so!”

“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.” 1 Corinthians 14:15 NIV

In some respects I did okay raising our children. In many respects, I failed raising our children for Paul goes on to write in 1 Corinthians 14:16-17

Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified. 1 Corinthians 14:16-17 NIV

I did not realize at the time that I should have prayed for and then sang out the interpretation. I was simply at the sink worshiping.

May the Lord lead and guide our now adult children to a deep fulfilling walk with Him. Perhaps by my examples I did expose them to helpful cues for their journey.

Covid-19 Vaccine TOGETHER

I am so thankful for each of the scientists who worked on producing the vaccines. Bob and I have both had 2 doses of the Pfizer brand. After the second dose we both had a couple days of feeling just crummy. Had already planned to lay low and let our bodies adjust. We are much better now.

I must admit, I have been cringing the past few months with all the ads on TV about the vaccine and showing those needles filled and up close, in arms, too.

When I was three or four I played jump rope with my sister and her friends. They were trying to get me to do double dutch.

I fell. I broke my leg. I rode in the backseat of the car many miles to the hospital. I was put in traction for 6 weeks. (Think 1954.) My father was in the same hospital with one of his many heart attacks. In 1954 there was not much they could do about heart disease. At one point they rolled our beds into the same room so I could see him. When I came home from Good Samaritan Hospital I was in love with the Sisters of Charity who took such good care of me. I am certain I learned the Presence of Jesus while there. I remember them holding my hand when the doctor was ready to cast my leg. The wraps were hot and I was so afraid.

Once home I was also terrified of white coats and needles. I was so fearful my parents could not tell me about any doctor appointment the night before because I would get very worked up. I worked for years to overcome all of that trauma. And I succeeded.

As to those ads showing the injection and those needles. I was more than unsettled knowing I would get that twice. I did okay. The first nurse to administer it did not do well. The second nurse was great.

We are still washing our hands. Avoiding crowds. Wearing our masks. Keeping our distance. But there is a sense of coming freedom!

We still need to keep well so we can get moved and unpacked! Bob says this virus will likely become like the flu. We will eventually get annual injections. We are both in high risk categories, but so grateful for the vaccine developers, nurses who administer the injection and the other people who actually get the injection to help keep it from spreading and killing people.

TOGETHER, yes, we are in this together and we can get through this TOGETHER. I praise God giving the scientific community the wisdom and methodology to develop these vaccines. I rejoice that He is able to keep us. I cannot answer the questions about those who died, and those who grieve their passing. I have been holding my breath afraid that Bob or I might die before we get this house built. So far, it looks as if we are moving there together.

Regardless, I will continue to praise my Lord and my God. He is “worthy to receive glory and honor and power for You created all things and by Your will they were created.” Revelation 4:11 NIV

This song keeps following me and I decided it fits right here. All along there was another in the fire. And He remains with us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

–Daniel 3:16-18, 25

Ellie

Seven years ago Ellie was ill one day when her parents both had to go into work. My daughter asked if she could some sleep on our sofa. We said certainly. She inspired this prayer poem.

Watching Ellie Sleep© 2014 Molly Lin Dutina

As I sit here watching you sleep, 
my heart melts 
you are so sick 
not even wanting anything to drink
so ill you cannot stay awake

Eyelids that dark shade
that declares you are unwell
your lovely long eyelashes 
are enchanting
just like your mother’s were

I just want to make you well
though I know I cannot 
you sleep on
under your olive-green throw
and I pray over you
 
That Christ will heal you,
that there be no long lasting effects 
of whatever ails you.
Rest, my dear Ellie, 
and be made whole.