Hearing Spring

Sometimes my husband asks me if I am writing poetry recently. Well, actually, yes. Here is one!

21-4-6 Hearing Spring © Molly Lin Dutina

Under the bird song
Below the raucous calls of mating
Rhythm of tree frog
Melody of spring peepers
Ah breathe in spring
Through your ears

Hmmmmm they seem to say
This is lovely
Exhale on their melody
Inhale during the chorus
Slow your breathing 
Tempo of April

There are pauses
In their score
Wait for next stanza
Focus here now
Find your center
Cadence does not vary

Catch the next bar
Tame frantic monkey mind
Bring all to peace 
Lower your shoulders
Tiny amphibian power
Tames futile mind race

7:27 and song seems to cease
I listen and recall
I have this power within 
Enter center down silence
Direct me Lord
On cusp of next breath I am led

Swinburne Who?

According to https://www.best-poems.net/algernon_charles_swinburne/index.html he was a popular English poet and writer. His life was 5 April 1837 – 10 April 1909 and evidently he wrote about many off color topics, but I like his phrase about spring. Wikipedia says: “Swinburne was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1903 to 1907 and again in 1909.”

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remembered is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Chorus
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Here are some of the images of ‘blossom by blossom’ from our neighborhood!

Certainly a favorite of early pollinators!
I thought it was barberry, but it is not. Neighbor’s shrub. He is Nepal, so I do not know identification.

Old, untended crab apple.
Oh, so fragrant in the evening especially!

Thanks, Lucky, for continuing to get me outside and looking for those treasures in plain sight!

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!

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

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

Worth It

Tuesday this week I had my eyes dilated. If someone would create the eye drop to reverse that dilation they could make a fortune!! I SO dislike the experience and would pay extra for that reversal drop. I know the doctor wants to examine the back areas of my eyes. It is necessary, especially with Type 2 diabetes like mine. I get it. I just hate it later.

This afternoon I get my second Covid vaccine. Grateful for the development of the vaccine. Even after one dose I had to really watch myself to remember to mask up, clean my hands, keep my distance, especially from ones I love or haven’t seen for almost a year. Inklings of psychological freedom!

After the pneumonia injection I had a badly swollen arm for over a week. Hoping since I only had a mildly sore arm after #1 Covid shot I will have no reaction to the #2 shot. But even if I have side effects, it has to be better than contracting a potentially deadly virus. My husband and I are both high risk and we have been vigilant and most careful for the past year.

Please get your vaccination and stay safe! Even if you get the vaccine and catch the virus you are reportedly protected from the worst of the symptoms, probably protected from hospitalization and death. So worth it!

I Feast So That

I feast upon Your word, chewing on Genesis, ingesting Psalms, pondering the Gospels, reflecting on the Epistles. I do this because I need Your light and guidance.

Before I know it, I am led into meditation. As Your Spirit leads my heart and mind, the food of Your word rises up in revelatory moments within me. You show me the path.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,

    a light on my path.

Psalm 119:105

When difficult situations arise, You give me Words for the weak and weary. You draw them from the memory bank we have built, You and I together as I feasted upon Your Word. Help me to lay up these lovely treasures in my heart and mind. I feast so that I have a Word to share in times of need.

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,

    to know the word that sustains the weary.

He wakens me morning by morning,

    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.

Isaiah 50:4

If you have been fearful about sharing your faith or insights gained through your personal struggles, perhaps feeding upon the Word of God will help you know how and when to give a Word in the right season.

Apply your heart to instruction

    and your ears to words of knowledge.

Proverbs 23:12

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.