Grow Accustomed …

Reading through some notes from what I think was a Franciscan retreat many years ago I came across this. Enjoy!

One retreat handout was entitled God – With – Us Paraphrase by Leslie F. Brandt Psalm 139

O God, You know me inside and out,
	through and through.
Everything I do.
	every thought that flits through my mind,
	every step I take
	every plan I make,
	every word I speak,
You know, even before these things happen.

You know my past:
	You know my future.
Your circumventing presence covers my every move.
Your knowledge of me sometimes comforts me,
	sometimes frightens me;
but always it is far beyond my comprehension.

There is no way to escape you, no place to hide.
If I ascend to the heights of joy,
	You are there before me.
If I plunge into the depths of despair,
	You are there to meet me.
I could fly to the other side of the world
	and find You there to lead there to lead the way.
I could walk into the darkest of nights,
	only to find You there
	to lighten its dismal hours.

You were present at my very conception.
You guided the molding of my unformed members
	within the body of my mother.
Nothing about me, from beginning to end,
	was hid from Your eyes.
How frightfully, fantastically wonderful it all is!

May Your all-knowing, everywhere-present Spirit
	continue to search out my feelings and thoughts.
Deliver me
	from that which may hurt or destroy me,
and guide me along the paths of love and truth.

Looking up Leslie F. Brandt online just now, this was likely taken from a book called Psalms Now.

On the back of my paper I wrote “Grow accustomed to encountering the hidden Christ …” and then:

“I am a holy God and Lord of the Broken Things. My greatest victory was through My broken body and spent life. I use imperfect beings perfectly. My love covers, cleanses, fills, renews.” Have no idea if someone spoke this at the retreat or I heard it in my spirit.

“I too shed tears. My tears were not some painless spiritual symbol, but pain-filled, aware feeling tears. And they were born out of my hurt and disappointment, anguish and anger at how things COULD have been. I know tears. And I feel and am aware of yours.” Again, I have no idea if someone spoke this at the retreat or I heard it in my spirit.

“This mornings flood has left fresh ponds where dust was before. On contemplation this puddle is teeming with life. Worms with feathered heads writhe out a dance of life. Bugs I always associated with DIRT scurry along unhindered underwater. Oh voice of many waters, make me this adaptable and joyous I pray.” Fairly certain I wrote this one!

Reading and typing these things out makes me aware how I SO need a spiritual retreat! When I go on retreat I make an effort to still the chatter in my soul, listen for His still small voice, wait for the King of Glory. If nothing else, I am refreshed from stilling that chatter. Usually I am refreshed by the Presence of the Lord in ways I could not create on my own.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

    I will be exalted among the nations,

    I will be exalted in the earth.”

ISA 46:10

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

Acts 3:19

Then the Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12

“Life Sayings?”

This seemed to show up for a few folks. I am sending it again for those who did not receive it. Hope it strengthens your faith.

When I used to mingle with some folks they would speak of their life verses from the Bible. I have those, but what I want to examine here are sayings or sentences that have influenced my faith life over the years.

How often I am walking outdoors and a feather comes on the breeze. At times it is from a bird on the roof or in a tree. Most times I cannot locate the source of the feather. Can you imagine yourself as that feather?

“‘Held by God … like a feather which has no weight from its own strength and lets itself be carried by the wind” – so wrote the medieval mystic, Hildegard of Bingen. Her image of a feather lightly floating on the wind is more than spiritual poetry; it gives us a way to live. Being like a feather on the wind is particularly necessary in these difficult days that teeter-totter two millennia.”

-Unknown

This one came from my struggles to obey the Lord my God regardless of circumstances.

Constant peaceful yielded joyful obedience to the Almighty.

I have made alphabet-beaded bracelets in so many forms to remind me of this. In the Old Testament the believers were told to take the commandments of God and “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:8-9 So I have worn them, recited them, shared a few with friends, lost a few bracelets and made a few more. Recently I shipped most of my collection to my friends in Nepal.

One year tired of hearing myself complain about chronic pain I wrote the following and posted it on the bathroom mirror.

I have determined that this day, each time I am drawn up short by pain, I will praise You for I love You better than life – even better than quality of life.”

I so needed to type these out this week, especially about being drawn up short by pain and what reaction I will choose. Chronic pain never takes a vacation, but God is ever-present and loves me. When I was first diagnosed I heard Him say, “I will be with you in this.” What could be better than to have the Lord with you?

April in Ohio

Praise Him and highly exalt Him forever!! Enjoy the photos! If you click on each photo you can see more detail!

(The heron was right of the two large trees, showing white amongst the twiggy branches.)

Yes, we had inches of snow yesterday morning! Likely there will be tree leaf damage. No broken trees around us that we have heard or seen. When the leaves are out like this the wet snow can cause so much damage! The sun is out, blue sky shining and the birds seem to be shaking their feathers in disgust. Hopefully this was winter’s last hurrah, though they are saying one more night of freezing temperatures!

Dews and storms of snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Ice and cold, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Frost and snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Nights and days, bless the Lord; bless and exalt him above all for ever.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Let the earth bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Mountains and little hills, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
All things which grow upon the earth, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.

- Apocrypha Prayer of Azariah 46-54


Regardless of the weather, I will praise Him and highly exalt Him forever!!
This morning, 21-4-22, we have another 1-1/2 inches of snow. Yesterday it melted before noon.

“Drench me Lord”©2009 Molly Lin Dutina

Not meaning to offend anyone, but if the Spirit and the bride say come, then certainly might we bathe in the free gift of the water of life?

 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Revelation 22:17 NIV

Drench me, Lord, come and flow.
Wash, renew, and overflow.
Show me how to soak then splash
Rest and float in Your life-giving bath.

Let anyone who wishes take (REV 22:17)
Let anyone?
– so unlike human ways!
Let anyone who wishes
– even those who just wish
Let anyone?
What are we to make of this holy declaration?

Come one and all, old or small
Drink from the provision of the Manger King.
All heaven says to you,
“Come, freely have this gift,
the water of life from Jesus Christ.”

Why do we so often choose to remain parched?

Choices to be made here! Examples of spiritual truth in nature! What will your decision be?

Spring Inspiration

I was in the living room chair watching the news when the light seemed to change outdoors. I looked out the window and was wowed. I am always fascinated with the creation. God did not have to make it so diverse and He did not have to share it with us. Daily there are things to marvel at. The photos below could not quite capture the intensity of the stormy looking sky.

Golden Lace © Molly Lin Dutina 2021

Golden lace in treetops
Against storm cloud sky
Evening sun highlighting
Tenuousness of life
Bear forth wooden boughs
Bring us spring delight

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
    he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

Psalm 33:6-9 NIV

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

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

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!

Trout Lily Extravaganza

First there was one or two plants, known by their leaves. Then seemingly overnight, KABOOM, the hill was covered. This being the last spring we live at this address I have been on the lookout for my favorite flowers. When I saw white flowers on the hill I got out my binoculars to define what I was seeing, spring beauty or trout lilies? Oh my! what a surprise.

The upright white flowers are hyacinths. The white flowers that seem to droop are trout lilies. It was amazing to be able to see them from the kitchen window. When we first looked at this property 15 years ago I was enchanted by the trout lilies. The thought of having them in my own backyard, naturally was delightful!

Wikipedia says Erythronium albidum, the white fawnlily or white trout lily, is a small herbaceous flowering plant in the lily family. It is native to eastern North America, from southern Quebec and southern Manitoba south to Georgia and Texas.

Recently the local newspaper sent a magazine insert. Love this quote from Algernon Charles Swinburne, “Blossom by blossom the spring begins.” Enjoy these photos! Look for the trout leaves and drooping flowers.

Grape hyacinth towards top center of photo.

They are named trout lily because their leaves look like the speckled skin on the back of a trout.

Oops, I see some honeysuckle vine in there (lower center of photo)! One of Bob’s pastimes has been to try to remove it from this hillside.

And last but not least, my favorite after a March shower. The droplets are on the back of the petals.

Our month of March is departing with more winds and some colder temps. Six weeks until we close on the house. Next year we will begin again with flower beds.

Luke 12: 27 NIV Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Spring Peepers

Bird song is not the most amazing sound, though now, March 18 they begin before dawn. Spring peepers also delight me with their evening songs. Psudacris crucifer. Not surprising the educators dropped the CROSS on the back of this tiny frog and now simply refer to it as an X.

Hearing a spring peeper is rather easy. Seeing one is a different challenge altogether! Once Bryan brought me one cupped in his hands. This video helps my imagination.

I just love it! Makes me laugh and know regardless of the ground hog nonsense and the thermometer, spring IS coming.

Keep your ears and eyes open!

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

–Revelation 5:13

“The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”

–Psalm 19:1