Sold!

This housing market is nuts. An impossible prayer request, I prayed we would know who should live here next. 17 showings on Saturday. 4 on Sunday. 8 offers. Yes, I was wiping down door knobs and other likely touched surfaces. At our realtor’s suggestion we even printed a sign that read “Please leave all the lights on for the next showing.”

Since I had NO clear direction as to which buyer, we sat with our realtor Sunday late afternoon reviewing all the offers and decided what offer would be best for us. Ended with cash offer, no inspections and no appraisal. No more people traipsing through our house!! No waiting. Done deal.

Monday morning we were both absolutely exhausted from the stress and excitement. (Also, 2 old people without their naps for 2 days. Ugly.) Kidding, but we are still tired on this Tuesday.

We have the signed contract. A relief that this part is finished. The idea of making our home look like a sterile Air B & B for weeks was daunting!

Photo by r m Dutina

Yes, we had absolute faith that this house would sell. No, we had no inkling for how much! The neighbors are delighted! Their property values just went up. We are moving in about 8 weeks. Today is writing, mundane errands and more rest from the real estate market. Then back to packing and planning.

Thanks for your prayers! As the crocuses begin blooming and the first daffodil opened this morning we are continuing the process of saying good bye to Siesta Drive! Letting go of these flower beds and lovely shrubs is difficult, sigh.

Gratefulness.org

Want to subscribe to a daily gratitude quote? This is the place for you! They also send out a monthly newsletter with things to challenge your spiritual growth.

Since we have been cleaning and packing I have been paying attention to things that I had not thought about in a long time, like dovetail joints on our furniture.

A recent quote read:

Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides.
ANNE LAMOTT

Makes you think doesn’t it? Barring the pandemic, why are we not more likely to be of service when that is where joy resides? And who doesn’t want more joy?

David Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine Monk and major motivator at Gratitude.org. Once he posted a challenge to write out 100 Gratitudes, not only numbering the items (What) but also asking that you detail the WHY of your gratitude. It was an interesting challenge. The first few I was more prolific on the whys than the last few. Guess I found it too hard to have to detail why I was grateful. What a spoiled brat!

Gratefulness and gratitude cannot be overstated. The practice reminds us that we are not in charge, no matter how much we want to be!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bob and I got our first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. It was a relief to get the process started. After a drive through cone at Dairy Queen we decided that since it was a pretty day we would go see if there was progress on the new construction. We hoped the slab had finally been poured.

Were we ever surprised! Yes, the slab had been poured, inspections done and framers were hard at work.

The crane is in front of our garage where the driveway will eventually go. The boards sticking out of the side of the house is the Master Bathroom. Other window is in the guest room..

Boards in this window locate the office for you. We will have two windows looking out on the street. The man with the orange ladder is standing inside our front entrance. Obviously, no door yet.

We went back the next day to take the guys some donuts and the roof trusses were on. Monday, March 1 the shingles were to be delivered. Hoping the weather will hold for them to get it shingled this week without getting drenched. We had 2 inches of rain yesterday! It is supposed to be drying out.

After that most progress will be hard to record in photos. The interior work from drywall to flooring will take the bulk of the next 10 weeks.

Today is the first showing of our home to one family who is here from out-of-town for a family emergency. Then we board the dog on Saturday and Sunday, the 6th – 7th, and let the public make appointments to see it. The housing market here is so tight that most properties go into a bidding war and sell within 48 hours. (We could not find a house to buy. That is why we chose to build.) The only stickler for our property is we are rigid about no occupancy by them until May 28.

Unless the Lord builds the house,

    the builders labor in vain.

Psalm 127:1

Thanks for joining us on this wild ride!

Miracle of Melting

Have you ever watched autumn leaves falling? Didn’t it seem rather miraculous that one week they were offering you shade and the next they were colored as if by crayon and tumbling through the breeze? The February snow reminded me of the leaves.

I had been complaining about snow that fell and melted in just a few hours. Once in Wisconsin it had been a delight to watch snow fall at the rate of an inch an hour.  Then we had snow in Ohio, upon older snow upon piling snow until there was an accumulation of about 14 inches that did not melt but stayed!

After two weeks of constant snow cover, birds that do not usually come to the feeder were suddenly eating the seed we put out. There was nothing else available except for a few bugs under tree bark.

Fourteen days in I was more than weary of wading into deep snowbanks. Sinking into deep snow while walking this dog who still refuses to ‘do her business’ in our yard was giving me a workout. Irritability was growing. At least I had long zip up boots instead of having to lace up ankle bracers!

My husband and I had been daydreaming about not having to bundle up against the arctic cold to walk the dog. We even mused about the time we could just grab her leash, hook her on and head out the door!

And then there began a slow but gradual thaw. At first there was only a tiny border around the base of the trees. Then on the hill patches of brown leaf detritus with birds hopping around, turning over leaves looking for lunch.

This miracle of melting snow, the return of rocks, grass, and soil – a marvelous discovery. Today I walked the dog amongst snow banked on the sides of the road. The melting was a constant sound as the water flowed out of the yards, across the seams in the sidewalk and down into the storm sewers. Gurgling water, not created by a man made fountain!

It was as if I was watching a holy transformation. Suddenly we do not require boots, scarf, hat, and gloves. Today it was 50 degrees! Tomorrow’s forecast is 51 degrees. Then almost every trace of snow will have vanished.  One more of the many miracles of our God.

By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.

Job 37:10 ESV

Out walking on 2/27/21 there were still patches of snow!

The Lord of Hurt and Wounded Beings

The Slave’s Ear© Molly Lin Dutina 2020

 Oh Malchus,slave of the High Priest
 When your ear was cut off and began gushing blood
 Were you startled? In anguished pain?
 When the Lord Christ restored it
 Did you then refuse to go with those who
 Came to arrest Him?
 Did you ever believe He was the Christ?
 He healed you and what was your response?
  
 Jesus, besides being saddened that 
 The slave’s ear was cut off
 Did You heal him to keep
 Your disciple out of trouble
 Knowing that harming the slave of the High Priest
 Would bring that disciple harm?
 Or did You heal him on the principle
 That hurt and wounded things
 Are Your specialty?
 Did he believe when You restored him
  
 I want to know the end of that story
 Many times I have lashed out at others
 Not with sharpened sword but
 Words or actions as sharp as swords
 And You delivered me
 You made it right
 Offered healing to those I have hurt
 Keep me from myself 
 Help me to give You glory
 To my last day and dying breath
 I pray 

We can experience physical pain, emotional pain and mental pain. When the three arrive simultaneously our tipping point can occur.

When that happens it is time to withdraw from one thing or another to preserve our ability to cope.

Are you nearing the edge of your tolerance?

Can you see where and how to preserve your coping self? What might bring you solace and relief, what might raise your shield of defense? Lord, You are our shield and Mighty Deliverer. Lead and guide us in Your ways.

I Cannot Comprehend

500,000 people in the United States dead from Covid-19. Sad history being made in our midst.

I just cannot comprehend that much loss, that much death in one year, that many families grieving. I was in shock March 21, 2020 when the numbers were 24,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the USA.

I understand grief. I understand death. Recently Marvin died, Jay died, Art died and Gary, too. Most were ill. Some were older than others. My brain struggles to get around 500,000 people dying from one disease in one year. It is very likely that I have not even met 500,000 people in my entire life. Internet statistics report the average American knows about 600 people and may meet upwards to 10,000 in a lifetime. 500,000 is difficult for me to even conceptualize.

National Geographic published the article below to help us get a grip. It was comforting to read “our brains are not wired to comprehend this much loss“. They end the article saying “These figures do not include tens of thousands of deaths that may have been related to the virus but were not recorded as COVID-19 deaths, such as deaths before testing became more widely available.”

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/graphics/what-500000-united-states-covid-deaths-look-like

Stay strong. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Wear your mask, or two. Get your vaccine when available and stay grateful for the many, many blessings which overflow our lives.

In the Gap of a Stone Wall

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;  but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

-Luke 12:19-21 New Revised Standard Version.

When I was a child my mother collected Betty Crocker coupons points from flour and box mixes. When we had saved enough points we could order things from the Betty Crocker catalog. Researching this article I realized that is likely where she ordered my baby spoon from!

When I was a young teen we had a Home Economics class. The teacher told us to to choose an everyday flatware pattern based upon our preference of design and how easy it would be to keep the pattern clean. My mother let me use her coupons to order this spoon.

Yep! I still have it. The design is great to get frozen hard gelato out of the container! 🙂

When we were in Ireland we were fascinated by the multitude of stone walls. The land is so rocky that those smart people used the stones to build with. Walking in a village one day the roadway was lined with stone walls on either side. I noticed something shining out of the wall. I pulled on it and much to my surprise was the item below!

At first glance what does it remind you of? I could not have been more shocked!

Side by side you can see they are not identical, but I was shocked to see the similarities! Was someone walking to work eating and finished their food? Decided to store the fork for later? Then forgot where it was? I will never know, but it became one of my found souvenirs. The tines are a little bent but I treasure it. I do not value it over my Lord. Unless He fills me and guides me with His Holy Spirit I am as useless as a fork stuck in the gaps of a stone wall.

Endurance

You know, we thought the pandemic was hard. Trying to keep a positive mind and overall positive attitude. Then the unexpected snow accumulation came totaling 9 inches and then a day or so later another 3 inches. Unlike most snows over the years in Cincinnati, it has not all melted yet. Now we have a fresh 2 inches while we wait for the forecast 8-12 inches more this afternoon. The Pandemic is still here and variants are beginning to overtake the USA. People were celebrating Valentine’s Day in bars and restaurants as if nothing was going on. (We saw on TV.)

I read and heard a few quotes in the last 36 hours that are helping me a bit.

“The days you keep your gratitude higher than your expectations are fine, fine days.”

Ray Wylie Hubbard on Austin City Limits

“You’ve got to remember: you must have a forward-thinking, positive outlook at all times.”

Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine

Those are easier written than lived! Gratitude that we have snow but also an “electric broom”, snow shovel and blower. Gratitude that the snow plow came down our street plowing and salting the surface twice so far today. Gratitude that the dog does not need to be walked MORE.

Forward thinking, positive outlook. That is difficult when all construction on the new house has totally stopped due to weather. Maybe they can begin again next week if the thaw forecast for next weekend actually occurs! We positively have not put this home on the market yet. If we change our minds it will be the most clean this building has been since we moved in, I think! Forward thinking? Well, Bob continues to want to arrange the furniture in the new building though we do not have a move-in date for certain yet. Someone is to come this week and give us an estimate on packing and moving. The realtor is to come also and give us advice about showing the property. I do wonder if either of those appointments will be kept though!

I won’t even elaborate on the futility of trying to get a Covid-19 injection appointment. Our names are on a list with the Board of Health. Hopefully they will call sometime soon?

The neighbor who helped clean part of our driveway loved the chocolate frosted walnut brownies I shared. Wonder if I should make more of those or the chocolate layer cake they loved once? I am certain when the wave of snow today arrives he will help once more.

How does your gratitude fare in the balance with your expectations? Is your forward thinking suffering with the weather and pandemic or are you staying mostly positive at all times? As we struggle on to be our best selves, may the Lord give us wisdom and strength for the journey!

A wise warrior is better than a strong one,
and a man of knowledge than one of strength;
 for you should wage war with sound guidance—
victory comes with many counselors.”

Proverbs 24:5-6

Deadly Mental Assent

Self-Discipline © Molly Lin Dutina 80-9-21

 I search for You, Lord, but my heart really is deceitful. 
 I am amazed that this morning my flesh is sleepy, again! 
 My spirit is eager to go, but in order to mesmerize my brain into sleep
 I recoil from interaction with You to mere deadly mental assent.
  
 Flesh, I speak to you in Jesus’ name.
 Line up with God’s word. I shall not want for sleep. 
 He keeps me in His love.
  
 Brain, I speak to you in Jesus’ name.
 Wake to the words of life that will nurture you.
  
 Father, I thank and praise You for Your love and discipline.
  
 Even for the alarm clock across the room. 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

-Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV