Hike #2

So the bluebells gave way to more and more climbing up out of the valley we had dropped into. On a huge boulder we found Miterwort, below.

The flowers are 1/6 inch wide!

At one point walking back we were feeling lost. How long has it been since you took a walk and suddenly, as an adult, (not with dementia) had no idea where you were? You see, we had not brought Bob’s backpack with the compass. Had never been to this preserve. At one point, when I knew Bob was feeling some of the anxiety I was experiencing, I quoted to him “We’re goin’ on a bear hunt, we’re gonna catch a big one! We’re not scared…”

Path was only a narrow area of crushed leaves. But we were totally unfamiliar with it. And in many ways, it was exhilarating to have this much fun, all alone in the woods. Oh. Had we told anyone exactly WHERE we were going?

We took turns walking in the lead. Bob walks a little faster than I do. At one point he was almost out of sight. I knew all I had to do was call to him, but it brought some adrenaline to my system to not be able to see or hear him! Then we were out of the area where the wildflowers flourished. Just downed trees and leaves. Brown leaves, dirt and twigs, occasional rock.

We pushed on. We thought we saw the tree where the trail split. Five minutes later knew, it was not THAT tree. Finally, finally, spent with exertion we were at the place where the trail had split. So grateful for that walking stick. It helped me push up through the trail and helped we navigate my way down in some places.

At the end the Fitbit registered 41 flights of stairs. That is equal to climbing the Carew Tower overlooking downtown Cincinnati! We laughed wondering if either one of us would be able to walk the next day.

Turned out we were able to walk the next day. Chose not to take any long walks and a very long nap! Such fun to have the photos, the memory and an exit from the pandemic fears for a couple of hours.

On the way home we saw a Creamy Whip stand open for business. There was not a line of people, so we stopped. I put on my cloth mask and took some cash. There was a man in the truck next to us. I asked if he had placed his order yet. (I did not want to upset whatever the protocol was there.) He said yes, he was waiting for his order to be prepared. Then I realized there were several cars with people waiting. This placed served foods as well as ice cream. The people in line moved to one side. Oh! there were people on the other side of the building at picnic tables.

I placed our order for two cones. Paid, was given the cones and climbed into the car, shedding mask and getting hand sanitizer. Back to the reality of Corona virus.

Enjoyed our yummy cones and felt not one pang of guilt after that arduous climb! Drove home in peace. Looked forward to seeing how our photos came out. Maybe one day soon I will just post Bob’s photos!

Tennessee and Decades Later

In 1975 we were expecting our first child. The photo below is from our first vacation to the Smoky Mountains. In 1982 we were learning about the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6) and starting to teach Bible study together at our local church.

I Loved You in That Creek Bed © 1982 Molly Lin Dutina

Oh I loved you in that creek bed
Full of gallantry and suave
My flashing debonair knight.

You didn’t even know
What holy armor was then.
And now my love for you
Far surpasses and encompasses
The emotions at that creek bed.

Father, show us how to flow together
To the glory of Your name.
You split the rocks with
A blade of grass and
A finger of ice.

Split our shells that we might
Merge in Your kingdom work.
1978 Before Kids

Now in 2020, our children are adults with children of their own. We are still learning more about how to walk together in the Spirit. As we celebrate our 50th year of being married by knight continues to court me, woo and win me with his humor and grace.

I love you more than ever, Robert Dutina!

Suscipe Me

The Beethoven Akademie 1808 presentation by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Sunday, March 1 was listed as occurring from 2:30-8:30 PM with a dinner break from 5-7 PM. What a surprise when we got tickets and decided to try this Beethoven marathon! The first performance during the first half is one of my favorite pieces, The Pastoral Symphony #6 in F Major. The Awakening (which I always think of as the awakening of Spring), the brook, Jolly Country Folk, THE THUNDERSTORM and the Shepherd’s Hymn are all in my memory bank. I promised my husband and the stranger sitting next to me that I would try to refrain from whistling the tunes!

The original production was the last public performance by Beethoven. One patron from 1808, Johann Reichardt, was quoted in the program as saying that he “found by experience that one might have too much even of a good thing.”

We were not certain we could last through all those hours of music. Thought we would try and agree not to shame each other if one of us wanted to leave. Each selection listed details including approximate duration. I was amazed the Pastoral was only listed for 39 minutes. It transports me in a way that I lose all track of time!

AH! Perfido borders on opera and I have no experience or interest in that. It was 15 minutes of interesting performance, but not as thrilling as my decades long friend, The Pastoral.

Then some sacred music. The Gloria interested me. Though sung in Latin, I am familiar with the words through my attendance at the Episcopal church. The Latin and the English were printed in the booklet side by side. The 11 minutes sent me scurrying to remember the prayer I had read by Ignatius, the concept of suscipe me….

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.

Ignatius of Loyola

After the Concerto #4 featuring Inon Barnatan, who seemed to play effortlessly, we were ready to walk around and enjoy the dinner break. It was a lovely spring-like evening though the wind was a bit chilly. Back at the car we relished our homemade supper of favorite foods. After only a tiny discussion decided to return to Music Hall to find out how much more music we could endure in one day! We strolled the new park opposite Music Hall. Watched the city dwellers release their dogs in the dog park while they shared the latest with each other. It was such a delight to see sun in Cincinnati!

The #5 began with the lovely chords of duh duh duh duh https://youtu.be/_4IRMYuE1hI duh duh duh duh! Timed at 31 minutes. We decided we could stay for the Improvised Fantasia and then Fantasia for Piano Chorus and Orchestra (May Festival Chorus was terrific as were soloists!) The stranger next to me told me he would walk 5 miles to hear the last number. That was saying something since he also confided he was 80 years old!

To me, it was a once in a lifetime concert. No, I was not over immersed in Beethoven. Am still playing the 6th on my computer speakers as I write this!

I pray the Lord will Suscipe me into His arms one day with the melody of the Gloria or The Pastoral!

Grief and Mothers

See the lady in the white dress, white shoes and white gloves? That was my mom!

At my wedding in 1970 I never noticed until now that my mother wore white gloves to our wedding in Live Oak Park, Berkeley, California! As I came toward the groom, trust me when I say, at the time I never saw anyone but him.

My mother died five years later, in her sleep, at our apartment in Lexington, Kentucky. Her death was sudden and somewhat unexpected. Her blood pressure had been high and the doctor was having difficulty controlling it, but there was no indication that she would pass that particular weekend. Today is one day past her birthday.

Mildred Ann was a wonderful cook. When we realized how few of her recipes she had written down, I was furious. To this day I save recipes on my computer and print a card for each of my children (and sometimes for friends, too). Recently I made her chicken and dumplings. It took me several years to find a recipe that approximated hers. Finally found it in James Beard’s American Cookery Book which my sisters-in-law gave me when we were expecting our first child.

This year we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, so Mom has been gone 45 years. And yes, there are times when I still miss her. I believe she would delight to know I am still trying to capture her essence in the kitchen. When I made the chicken and dumplings recently I did not use a deep enough pan when it came time for the dumplings. Oh my. I should have taken a photograph. They boiled over magnificently on the ceramic stovetop. I also forgot HOW MANY the recipe feeds. With just the two of us at home now, we had dumplings coming out of our ears. And no, we tried it, they are NOT very good warmed as leftovers! The first meal was tasty though. And I made it in memory of Mom, my best role model as a good cook.

Forced Hyacinths by GARDENPHOTO.com

If your Mom is still around cherish her, even if you rarely get along. There are times after she passes when you will miss her terribly. For years I could barely go in the grocery stores that have floral departments. This time of year they sell forced bulbs to remind us of the hope of spring. As a child my mother once made me an Easter corsage with hyacinth blossoms. Shortly after she passed the fragrance of hyacinths would have me weeping in the grocery store. Now I grow them in the front garden and when they bloom in late spring I delight to bring them in the house.

Moms, memories, grief all roll up into delight, pain, and after they go a void that nothing but God can ever even attempt to fill. One meaning for El Shaddai is “many breasted One.” Yes, God can be both father and mother to each of us.

One of My Very Best Treasures!

Last evening we celebrated 49 years of marriage, so today is the start of our 50th year! We reminisced about what a wild ride we have had together. after several years we learned that someone at our wedding was making bets that we would never last. Obviously, we have come a long, long way from that misconception! Who ever they were.

So here are some photos over the years of my best friend and wonderful husband!

Bob learning to use the Kitchenaid mixer. I love this man SO much!!

He likes my current haircut, but says when we were married and my hair was to my waist, THAT was his favorite haircut. I don’t know, an old lady with long gray hair and hot flashes might not be so attractive now!

Daffodils #5

In 2006 when we moved to Siesta Drive was the beginning of a grand love affair dig! On our slice of pie shaped lot, the wooded back hill was just perfect for daffodils bought in bulk at Sam’s Club. Now we have hundreds of blooms each spring.  Each fall Bob would lay out where he wanted to plant. At first I would help but in later years he has been the stronger of the two of us. The joy and color in the spring is a testament to his love! Such fragrance and such delight to share and share and still have bunches for our house! Hundreds of King Edward daffodils.

If you haven’t experienced the fragrance, most grocery stores sell bunches of daffodils now. I have not tried it, but you might get fragrance from those? Of course, store bought roses do not often have a fragrance, so I may be wrong.

Only part of our hillside garden!

Then in the front garden there are tiny ones, too, “Thumbelina.” A few other sorts. Someone did not want the narcissus that was growing in the garden before they moved in. The narcissus now live in our side yard, though not in a place of honor with the King Edwards.

So playing in Mr. Kuehner’s field was the beginning of a long love story between daffodils and me. Our experiences and memories shape us. Show up for your life today and you never know the wonders that will unfold from it tomorrow!

Advent Calendar

Someone mentioned on the radio that their Mom used to take an advent calendar and put a slip of paper in each day saying “I love it when you …” or “I love that you are …” It became a treasured memory of waiting for the birth of Jesus. Over our 48 years of marriage we have gathered many favorite decorations and memories. I thought this year it would be great to make something similar to this advent calendar for Bob.

To make it look rustic I took a piece of burlap. Then made little pockets to hold the papers. Placed them on the burlap in the shape of a tree. Sewed them in place and numbered them. Printed the I love you slips, cut them up and presented it to Bob on the first day of December. Gee! it sounds easier than it was when I was making it!

I almost gave up twice. The pockets were not very straight. The puff paint was a mess. I told Bob to think of it as American folk art, similar to Grandma Moses, not a precise creation. Often OCD must die when I do crafts.

Today is December 11 and he is enjoying the calendar. He says he will fill it next year for me.

The Firepit

We have had a fire pit for a while. I rarely go outside for the fires. It does not get dark until it also starts getting cold. But after the turmoil of Bob’s illness last year, when he asked me to join him for a fire one evening in November, I said yes.


We bundled up and stepped into the world of our ancestors. Yes, our fire was tidy and we could go indoors anytime we got really uncomfortable. However, sitting there listening to the logs cracking, watching the sparks fly upwards in the breeze, it was just calming  and brought us in touch with things beyond wi-fi, phones and computers, etc.

It worried me that Bob was breathing over that fire as he played with arranging the logs for the best air movement. I cannot let fear rule my life. I relaxed and enjoyed the fire and time with my husband.


img373Forty eight years ago today I married the absolute love of my life! We had no idea what the future held, but we have been determined to do the future together!

img389We went from a wedding in Live Oak Park, (where we had to break up the Saturday morning football game for the ceremony to take place) to a reception with cake, champagne and beer at a hotel, to an overnight honeymoon out of town so the family from Ohio would go home. Then we were back to classes for Bob and back to work for me.

Now two children, three grandchildren and forty eight years later, we are still celebrating our love! No longer spring chickens in the park, but happier than ever!Cowles-2266I love you dearly, my sweet husband. May we be graced with many more years of happiness in plain sight, with you cracking jokes continuously and you rarely laughing at my jokes!