Home Again

We have been home for well over a week, but I am not exactly back in the swing of things. In fact, I think the movement of the swing is changing. We were gone for almost 2 weeks. Then adjusting to the time change between here and Hawaii (think 6 hours difference). I have booked a 6 day private retreat for next week and will meet a new spiritual director. I had a spiritual director many years ago and truly benefited from the experience. I believe it is time to restart that practice.

So I will be gone again June 4-10. I am uncertain if I will write the blog then or not. This is meant to be time with God. Please pray for me during that time especially!

Did we enjoy Hawaii? Certainly. Did we eat and drink? Well, yes! Below is my BLT pizza. The lettuce was on top (after baking) in the form of a Caesar salad. Yum.

Kona Beer “A liquid Aloha” was recently introduced to the Cincinnati area. I was not impressed when I tried it here. Man oh man was this one at the brewery different! A wonderful stout, smooth, and dark, and cold!

I wanted the glass but they did not sell them. Likely not room in the suitcase anyway.

Took this photo to give our son Jeff some ideas for the pizza restaurant where he will return to work soon.

You can also see some prices on here!

The Hawaiians love their geckos and we had fun watching them, too. I was surprised to see them decorating this wooden bar!

We ate more reasonably then we thought. Each morning we would have coffee in the room. The hotel coffee on Hawaii was great. (Maui, not quite as good.) At the Westin Resort on Hawaii would would go downstairs to Pico coffee shop to get fresh-brewed coffee, a sweet roll, perhaps fruit cup or yogurt. Once Bob purchased a breakfast box with eggs and meat. It was quite reasonable.

We would eat at a restaurant for lunch. When we landed we went to the grocery and bought bread and cheese for in the room. That would serve as our dinner. The in-room refrigerator was great for storing insulin and foods! Each day we would either pick up fresh bread or a cookie, etc. This is our usual pattern on vacation, but we were not certain how it would work on the Hawaiian islands. Between Foodland and Whole Foods we did fine!

Certainly need dessert! One day I found that at a little chocolate shop! (I should have bought more!!)

Thank You Lord, Mahalo, for a wonderful celebration!

Winter Musings © Molly Lin Dutina

The snow was not what we had expected
A layer of warm air turned much of it to ice pellets instead
So less snow, but more noise
At one point it sounded like skeletal fingers tapping
On the sliding glass door
Even the dog wondered who was there.

Today is chop, chop, scoop and lift 
As we hurry to clear the driveway as best we can
Sun will help to dry the pavement before
The next set of snow clouds descend
Winter says “Bring it on!”

Cedars holding dollops of snow
Of marshmallow
Of vanilla ice cream
Pure gelato gone huge
Cedars bent by the
Weight of winter deliciousness

And we, right now, are in Maui! We yield to each season, Lord!

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

Psalm 65:8 NIV

Prom and Other Happenings

Remember Brody the flour covered dog? He got a date to prom!

This is that very long legged hound, if you recall from previous post!

Here is Ellie in her gown

And with her proud parents!

I was hoping the poppies I bought would bloom before we departed. The first one was orange and I hooray-ed! The second one was yellow and I was delighted!

And yes, spring warmth has finally arrived complete with humidity and emerging ferns!

I bought one fern in 1985. We have shared so many ferns off of the original plant. I have given the root away to friends and now we have them growing nicely at this our third and likely final house!!

Suitcases are packed. Laundry is done. Ride to airport arranged. Cannot believe it is finally time to go! We deliver Lucky to Lizzie tomorrow. Our house sitters are all set up. Woo-Hoo! Happy 52+ wedding anniversary to us!!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
    His love endures forever.

Psalm 118:1 NIV

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1 NIV

And let His people say Amen! And let the Robert Dutina family say Amen! Let all God’s people say Amen!

When you read this we are packing to go to Maui tomorrow! I am stunned writing these details. 🙂


When Bob asked me years ago if I wanted to move to New Mexico where Dan and Betty lived. I considered for a bit, then I decided I would miss my maple trees too much! This year the bumper crop of maple seeds have some of the trees hanging low and looking burdened. If was difficult, but I finally got this photo to show you! The opening photo shows the empty stems. Photo below shows both if you look closely.

There was an old song Nat King Cole used to sing about the falling leaves. That melody was encouraging me to write about the maple seeds as I gathered the words and phrases. You can tell I lost the phrasing from the song, but hopefully captured the ideas!

Maple Business ©Molly Lin Dutina   23-5-2
The maple seeds
Fall past my window
Tan and red
They twirl and fly

The maple seeds 
Blow past my window
Reminding me
The snow is gone

These are not flakes, but helicopters
Whirlybirds, not icy clumps
Coating roofs and every surface
Until wind scatters abroad

Keeping gutter cover companies in business
Even finding their way indoors on shoe soles
Thousands upon thousands
Every day for weeks they sail

There was trouble on the playground
If you gathered a clump and
Threw them on someone 
We knew no shame just fame for being sneaky

Last autumn they shed red and yellow leaves 
Bright red tiny blossoms this spring 
Now showers upon showers of seeds
Promises of new maple life

The maple seeds, fall past my window
Both red and tan these showers twirl
In piles on the deck, can’t keep them cleaned off
Sweep them on a dry day, sounds like fallen leaves

Seeding every nook and cranny
I am told online “yummy when eaten fresh!”
Next time your salad or potatoes seem boring
Strip off propellers, throw in a few seeds 

A couple weeks more and every flower bed 
Will sprout maples from whiligigs
We will be pulling out shoots for weeks 
The ones we miss will grow strong
Eventually needing a trowel to loosen their grip

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:9 NIV

Hiking, Suffering and Wildflowers

Joy is the transformation of our suffering, not the escape of all we have to face.

Mark Nepo

This post has had difficult showing up. I changed the type of WordPress account and some things did not transfer so easily. So If you have read this already, forgive me! Or enjoy the flowers once more.

May Apple struggles with dead leaf

This quote and this May Apple spoke to me. I also saw a trillium struggling with a dead leaf. Will I embrace these images and know that my suffering too can be transformed? Will I grasp that I do not have to escape all I have to face?

We took a walk at Eastfork state park. Then within a day or two we walked Whipple Nature Preserve. We had been there 2 years ago, during the pandemic. Wow! We were in older bodies now. Because of partial muscle tear in my right shoulder I could only use my walking stick with my left hand/arm. The hike was more difficult than we remembered, but when we got to the Betony Poppies it was well worth it!

Betony Poppies (yellow) and Large-Flowered Trillium (white)

The poppies covered many places on the hillside. At one point my phone got too hot next to my hiking body. This Brigadoon-like photo resulted.

Yes, it was a magical place!

How many other hillsides are covered with flowers and wonders that we never see? We are blessed to find these. I bask in their beauty. I had been feeling drained and empty. This helped fill my well again!

We saw “Nodding Trillium” which another hiker told us is supposed to bloom white. Yet here, it is blooming red!

Yes, the bloom is under the leaf! photo by r m dutina

Back to the quote above, we both were aching by the time we returned to the car. We promised we would skip one half of the trail next time… walk the branch to the left at the fork and then come back that way after we see flowers.

And oh, there were flowers! The trout lily had already bloomed. They have a special place in our hearts as at our last house they absolutely covered the hillside. The other flowers made up for missing the trout lilies! Violets in yellow, white, confederate, and purple wood violets or blue if you prefer!

photo by r m dutina
squaw root by r m dutina

As said on TV, “But wait! There’s more!!”

Shooting stars and squirrel corn!

I cannot seem to find just one name for this trillium. I have always called it Wake-Robin but online seems to call it ToadShade.

Photo by r m dutina

I left some flower photos out. We were drenched in beauty by the time we hiked back to the car. The reason I wanted to return to this hike was the Virginia Bluebells. One hiker told us they were about finished. I had almost given up hope of reaching them and Poof! There they were!

photo by r m dutina. Good thing he captured this. I was so delighted to see them, but also so tired that I never took a picture!

I am writing this on Tuesday after the Sunday hike. Yep, I am still sore and aching. Will I do it again next year? I will, with God’s help!!

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Psalm 24:1 KJV
photo by r m dutina

It seems as if this tree next to where we parked is saying,”Good job, guys! High five!”


At the Cincinnati Art Museum we recently saw a collection of photographs by Georgie O’Keeffe. I was struck by this quote from her. If you have ever seen her paintings of flowers you will have a better understanding of the quote.

“Well – I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower – and I don’t,” O’Keeffe scolded. For the artist, her renderings of flowers were about detail, light and shade, and formal juxtaposition. though many critics read other meanings into these works, O’Keeffe maintained that they signified only the artistic potential not with pencil or paint, but with her camera.

2006.6.1074, 2006.6.1071, 2006.6.1072 on museum wall

200 paintings of flowers and over 2,000 paintings during her career.  “In the 1930s, she wrote of her desire to paint the humble flower enlarged and up-close. “I’ll paint it big, and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it,” she wrote. “I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”

Her first quote was proven true by my visit to this exhibit.

What is it?

For years and years I saw this painting and believed it was a morning glory. This exhibit set me straight! It is actually a Jimson Weed.

So when I paste it in with it’s automatic caption you can see it is listed as

2014.35 Georgia O’Keeffe Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, 1932 Oil on canvas 48 × 40 in. (121.9 × 101.6 cm) Framed: 53 in. × 44 3/4 in. × 2 1/2 in.

What do you think and see of her flower?

How does this relate to Christian life? Throughout the old and new testaments we are referred to as similar to flowers. But if a flower is captured on a canvas it does not fade like a real flower.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you.

1 Peter 1:22-23 NIV

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25     but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[c]

Flowers and grasses do what the Scripture says, but we are born again from IMPERISHABLE seed. We are not like those real flowers or flowers on canvas. We are born again through the living and enduring word of God. That is what the word says. Who am I to argue with it?

Poetry and Pain

In church one morning I was drawn to the cry of a baby some place in the congregation. I did not get upset or distressed by it. I seem to be naturally drawn to all babies everywhere. This baby spoke to my soul. Here is the verse that followed that hearing.

Tiny Baby in the Background© 2014 Molly Lin Dutina

Tiny baby in the background
crying, crying
and I am drawn to her
as the tiny baby inside me
cries write it, write it

Struggling under the fog of constant pain
drugs, drugs, 
distraction to nth degree
rock that baby and hold her
comfort her, rock her

Unconditional love and kindness
will prove again the victor
as, given time,
the words will come
Be at peace

I am not usually drugged in order to cope with the chronic pain. Obviously I was that day in 2014.

Resurrection Sunday

Sometimes when I was growing up I got to go to sunrise service on Easter morning. I think my favorite one was held at French Park in Cincinnati. The weather was often chilly and even at times rainy, but we were determined to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord as the sun came up!

My mother worked for many years at a flower shop in Norwood, Ohio. One year she brought home some purple hyacinths and plucked each flower off, wrapped it in wet cotton, wired and taped it. Then she assembled them as an Easter corsage for me. To this day the fragrance of purple hyacinths remind me of her. Though she lived a troubled life I believe her faith in Christ took her to be with Him when her life on earth ended.

None of these things help my soul celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as much as my gratitude lists. When Ann Voskamp wrote One Thousand Gifts I wonder if she knew how the practice would revolutionize the American Christian church? Certainly it changed her life, but do we ever truly know the impact our writing will have upon others? I wonder.

Have you practiced writing down the gifts in your life that Christ Jesus has bestowed upon you? Have you given Him thanks this Easter? Here are some of my thanksgivings.

  • Sunshine
  • Rain in due season
  • Salvation for my soul
  • You give strength to hearts that are true to You
  • Your righteous shall live by faith
  • our home
  • the longevity of my marriage
  • Justice that rolls down and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream
  • God with us
  • You know the hairs upon our heads
  • The Convent of the Transfiguration
  • my sisters in Journey Together in Stitches
  • crochet and knit group at senior center
  • Your Spirit that gives me life
  • Your breath in our lives
  • My children
  • My grandchildren
  • Laundry now on first floor
  • small gardens to delight my soul
  • the bluebirds at the office window
  • rabbits in Angela’s yard
  • Grogu to make me smile
  • Noodle the Corgi that makes me smile
  • music
  • music memories from over the years
  • The Holy Spirit speaking in my soul
  • My Bible and Bible Gateway tool
  • Rheude’s small group
  • Lucky learning to play with her toys
  • Cooking
  • Great Smoky Mountains and spring wildflowers there
  • Medical care
  • freedom of religion
  • clouds
  • spring peepers
  • gifts
  • dark chocolate
  • coconut!
  • travels we have done
  • travel planned to Hawaii
  • blogging friends
  • New Mexico friends
  • Neighbors who are friends
  • running water in our home
  • crocheting
  • sewing for our home and others
  • museums of art
  • Cincinnati Nature Center
  • red winged blackbirds
  • butterflies
  • armor of God
  • Abraham’s example of faith and obedience
  • Andrew Peterson’s music
  • Learning to be a living sacrifice
  • loving husband
  • forgiveness
  • the Great I am
  • firemen
  • police officers
  • electronic books from the library
  • my sister
  • pinwheels
  • soap bubbles
  • even to old age He will keep me
  • black licorice
  • Spirit of God who raised Christ from the dead LIVES in us
  • I can entrust my soul to my faithful creator
  • iPad with keyboard
  • ear buds for listening while walking the dog
  • Living Water
  • Seashells
  • heating pad
  • ocean sounds
  • He walks with me and talks with me
  • rainbow in the sky reminds me of rainbow around the throne
  • the Psalms
  • friends serving in Nepal
  • New Covenant in my mind and on my heart
  • Jesus is made unto me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption
  • “Pajama church” when you can’t make it to service
  • His still small voice
  • Bob’s sense of humor
  • a good fresh salad
  • piano music
  • people I know I can ask to pray – knowing they will do it
  • cellos
  • live drama performances
  • good ham salad
  • music by Brandon Lake
  • writing poetry
  • Mizithra cheese sauce on angel hair spaghetti
  • broccoli slaw, just yum
  • Spirit of God helps me write

That is my partial list. How about you? Get a little notebook and begin to list your praises and things you are grateful for! It will work wonders for you 🙂

Death could not hold Him!


If you play the video and close your eyes you might get a sample of what we heard on this walk! Not chickens, but what were we hearing? Such a ruckus and we could not identify it. Another couple of hikers walking past us and seeing our confusion set us straight with one word. Frogs! We knew right away they were not our typical tree frogs – spring peepers.

We heard them long before we saw them! Jumping and calling, chuckling and beating the water with their legs. (I’ve never wanted to eat them but wondered how they would cook up for frog legs? Maybe not large enough but muscular for certain.) I hope the lady frogs were impressed. I thought they were just silly looking and sounding. Yep! they made me laugh. When I loaded this to YouTube I laughed again.

The naturalist was not certain. Bob found them on line with his phone. She gave a booklet “Amphibians of Ohio” and there they were. Enjoy!

The video was taken by r m dutina

The Circle Maker

Several years ago I read the above mentioned book. It opened my eyes to several things about myself. I grew up in an alcoholic family. They said before his death my dad was “a heavy drinker.” In AA that is called an alcoholic. He died when I was eleven so we will never know for certain. My mother, on the the other hand, was described to me as ‘a full-blown alcoholic before I was born.’

As a child I was oblivious to most of this though there are some memories of bad behavior due to alcohol. Mostly I remember being disappointed over and over and over again. I was raised with a heavy dose of criticism and inconsistent rules. My mother’s memory would waver different ways. Things she told me when drunk she often would not remember when sober, and vice versa.

“Yes, you may do so and so,” turned into “I never told you that! Where do you get these things?” It was no use trying to jog her memory. I usually did not even try.

Many, many years later, reading the quote below brought some insight and healing.

“Disappointment is like dream defibrillation. If we respond the right way, disappointment can actually restore our prayer rhythm and resurrect our dreams.”

Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

American Heritage Dictionary gives this definition: “A defibrillator delivers a controlled electric shock to restore lack of coordination of the contraction of muscle tissue of the large chambers of the heart.”

After living with so much misunderstanding. disappointment and confusion my heart did not have a steady beat to believe in myself or my own sanity. I left home often wondering if I was nuts or was it just ‘them’.

I had dreams of wanting to be a writer, wanting to serve God, entertained ideas of being a school teacher, getting married, having children, etc. I also left home KNOWING I did not want to raise kids like I was raised. I was determined to do things differently. When I met Robert Dutina we were literally in love at first sight. We were both tired of playing the dating game. Basically our theme was “This is who I am. If you like me, great. If not, no problem. Just move along.”

We were enamored within a few hours. He lived miles away so we only dated on weekends. I did not have a phone. We met in July, got engaged in August and married in September. What has held us together for 52 years? Love, honesty with ourselves and others and determination to do things differently than our parents did!

I do believe that the disappointments of my upbringing spurred me on to find other ways to live. My faith carried me through then and now. Batterson wrote that disappointment is like dream defibrillation. Yes, I so agree. The Lord helped me find my prayer rhythm and resurrected my dreams.

Even if God doesn’t answer the way you want, you still need to praise through. That is when it’s most difficult to praise God, but that is also when our praise is most pure and most pleasing to God.

Circle Maker

Prayer has the power to resurrect dead dreams and give them new life – eternal life. I continue to praise God even though my upbringing was chaotic. I continue to praise even when my children face difficulties. Even as Bob and I face aging challenges,we praise Him for the strength to make it through each day. We praise Him for insight and humor.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

Psalm 150:6 NIV