Water Prayer

[First photo by r m dutina]

While traveling in the Smoky Mountains one year I bought what could be a flower vase. It was pinched in the middle giving it two ‘spouts.’ The longer I looked at it and handled it the more it became a vessel for my prayers. We were always near the running water of the spring rivers be it the Little Pigeon or “one of the 2,100 miles of rushing mountain streams and rivers that flow through the park.” I would show you a photo, but when we downsized I let the vase/pitcher go. 😦 sigh

Here was part of my inspiration

And so my morning prayer gradually became

Jesus, I pour out this water
before the undivided Trinity:
Let my living be this day
an offering and thanksgiving.
This day caress me.
This day possess me.
Open my ears and eyes
to Your Love for us.

Try making a ceremony around your prayer time. I have taught that many ways. When you get a drink of water, say a prayer, turning your attention to the Holy One. Are you a coffee addict? Dedicate each sip to the Trinity. 

Keep a glass near the water faucet and try a water prayer of your own. Or use mine. 
The idea is to turn your heart and mind to Him who loves you best.

Our soul is like a stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other area of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our soul itself is then profusely rooted in the vastness of God and his kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. Therefore we are in harmony with God, reality, and the rest of human nature and nature at large.

Dallas Willard in Renovation of the Heart

Be Astonished

To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

During an evening walk with Lucky, when I was way beyond tired, delightfully astonished to find this praying mantis on a neighbor’s car.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 4-7 NIV

Present even your fatigue! Keep watching for those treasures in plain sight! Reminders of His care and the glory of His creation.

Praying Mantis outside office window at last home

Transitory Impermanence For All

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
  -  Robert Frost
Maple Trees Starting to change color | Maple trees just at t… | Flickr

Remember the first buds on the trees? I always think they predict the colors the leaves will take in autumn. Autumn is advancing here and the oak leaves out front are turning yellow then rapidly brown and falling to the ground. These deciduous trees should remind us of the impermanence of life. Things sprout, grow, endure, then change. Yet I am often surprised by the changes as if I were not 71 years old. I have seen this happen every single year I have been alive (except when I was in the California SF bay area for a year and a half. The seasons were strange. Daffodils blooming in January is just WRONG for a Midwestern woman.)

Why are we so surprised when we realize our very lives are impermanent? We expect childhood friendships to last forever. Rare occurrence in my experience. Our strength and flexibility wears down and sometimes even vanishes. Oh yes, they mean it when they say “Use it or lose it!”

We age. We change. Our opinions change. Nothing gold can stay. I have been saying they told us after 40 it was patch, patch, patch. I think after 70 we just start to crumble! Yet I am alive and intend to make the most of whatever time I have left.

Been working in that book Everyday is a Poem. This morning my life did not feel like a poem, but then I realized why not write it out? So I did. I surprised myself at what could be mined from a gray morning after a rough night. Will post that another day.

Nothing gold can stay. Rough nights may lead to gray mornings. Sun blasts them both away. These are things we are going THROUGH. We likely will not stay this way forever. If we do, God will give us grace and strength to endure.

Remember Ephesians 3:16-19?

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

NKJV

Praying that you, BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE – that you may know the love of Christ. In season and out of season. With leaves or no leaves. Be rooted. Grasp hold of His love, the love that is reaching for you in the midst of this transitory life. His unchanging, everlasting love.

Grasp tightly with your roots!

While We Blithely Ride our Bikes

Have you noticed? Have you seen? Are your eyes open to things around you?

It has generally been in the high 70s to 80s here lately. More rain than we desire, but we have no control over that! I realized as Bob M. rode past my window as I write this blog that many of us are like children choosing to ignore the changing seasons until they are actually upon us. Then we resist jackets, coats, hats, gloves, but delight in car seat warmers. (I just want to know when are all cars going to have car seat coolers?)

Gloomy Ohio Morning Bob M.
Earth Declaring ©Molly Lin Dutina 22-9-3
Found a red maple leaf on deck
Driving I saw a falling leaf
Around the block two more leaves fell
Neighbor’s backyard
Looked as if someone smashed
Orange pumpkins
O. Leaves on ground
Earth is declaring
Unfolding of new season

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease

Genesis 8:22 AMP

Late Summer Joy

It seems I have waited all spring and summer for the Jewelweed. I knew it bloomed but I had not noted when the flowers arrived last year. So fitting that the Latin name is Impatiens capensis, wrote impatient Molly Lin. Until we moved to Platform Street we had never had this lovely plant growing on our property.

Turns out this year the flowers were showing in late August. We had a flowerbed cultivated across the back of our yard. It was my sincere hope that the Jewelweed would not be erased by that plan. The good news is the Jewelweed stretches across our yard and the yards on either side of our property. It is said the name Jewelweed was given because it appears to sparkle when wet.

When I was a child l learned to recognize the tiny cornucopia-shaped flowers so I could find the seed pods when they formed. The magical pods, that when ripe, would explode at my touch and create tight coils from the edge of the pod that looked like ribbon curls at Christmas. Then I learned this was the ingenious way the plant spread its seeds.

Internet photo shows some seeds in burst pods

Rather like Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree,” the Jewelweed gifts me as I watch the hummingbirds and butterflies seek out each blossom for nectar. On the edge of my seat watching sparkling jewels when leaves are wet, cornucopia flowers, feeding station for hummers and butterflies, exploding seed pods, the plant that keeps on giving. I do not contract poison ivy, but have been told if you are exposed to it you should crush Jewelweed leaves and rub on the exposed area. It will diminish or eliminate the rash.

Jewelweed Trembles© Molly Lin Dutina 22-9-5

Jewelweed trembles
Just one stalk at a time
Not breeze
Hummingbird making
Morning patrols

Preparing supper 
I glance out kitchen window
Trembling Jewelweed
Nourishing hummers and butterflies
While I fix vittles
for dog and people

So learn to see this plant. If you get to walk in a park you might come across it. It also grows in ditches and likes wet places. Watch for those treasures in plain sight!!

Internet photo

Duckweed Thrives in Ohio

Are you old enough to remember “Sunday Drives?” Recently while we were driving around part of Eastfork Lake we went to one of our favorite little places where a road crosses a pond. With this orthotic boot still slowing me down, Bob has been very kind to try to find ways to entertain me. Going for a “Creamy Whip” ice cream and a drive is one of our amusements.

We hiked a trial here last autumn and delighted in the colors of the falling leaves. We also drove there last winter when things were frozen and cold. This day was totally different. Here is a summary from Aquaplant about Duckweed.

Where Does it Grow?

Duckweeds tend to grow in dense colonies in quiet water, undisturbed by wave action. Often more than one species of duckweed will be associated together in these colonies.

Is it Invasive?

Although Duckweed is native, it can be aggressive invaders of ponds and are often found mixed in with mosquito fern or watermeal. If colonies cover the surface of the water, then oxygen depletion and fish kills can occur. These plants should be controlled before they cover the entire surface of the pond.

Pros and Cons of Common Duckweed

Many kinds of ducks consume duckweed and often transport it to other bodies of water. Duckweed colonies provide habitats for micro invertebrates, but if duckweed completely covers the surface of a pond for an extended period of time, it will cause oxygen depletion. These colonies will also eliminate submerged plants by blocking sunlight penetration.

Aquaplant.tamu.edu/plant-identification/alphabetical-index/duckweed/common-duckweed/

In the height of summer this is what the pond looked like! Kermit would be totally camouflaged!

In the background are ducks on the log like turtles sunbathing. Plant blooming in the foreground is a common Mallow. Not photo-shopped! Just Grinch green pond.
Reeds in the distance on the right

Here is part of the trail we took last October. Lucky was thrilled with new things to smell and mark. Our friend Pat from Columbus calls it “pee-mail!”

Notice who is walking the board walk! Some loose boards made us leery of it.

And this will be the scene here very soon!

Autumn is a many colored thing!

Here is the same place in winter

Yes, this is the same place in January! photo by r m dutina

We both found this so funny, decided to share it with you. Look in the center of Bob’s photo for skid marks where a duck tried to land.

photo by r m dutina

So I guess we had better be grateful for the greenness and the heat! Before we know it there will be falling leaves, ice storms and who knows what! Be on the lookout for treasures in plain sight!

I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together.

Psalm 34: 1-3 NRSV

Under the Deck

The dog took an interest in whatever was under the deck this spring. First time she went exploring in the mud I had to get a bucket of water to soak the mud out of her toes and nails. The second time she did the belly crawl underneath and into the mud and came out with her nails packed (and I mean packed) with mud, her entire white belly brown with it, legs, you name it, I had an absolute fit. I bathed her in cold hose water and I did not even care if she got chilled. Besides it was warm enough out side in my demented mind.

Bob agreed that, yes, she was making a terrible mess. He bought new boards that match the Trek deck and attached them to two sides of the deck that she can reach from her lead. That ended the exploring and mud bathing.

Then she took an interest in watching the far left corner of the deck. Staring for hours at either the yard or woods. She often lies down and puts her head between the bars to keep watch. We never have determined what she is looking for, but she is determined there is something out there to see. Has she seen the Doe with her twin Fawns out there, silent in the woods? The doe often leaves the fawns in the shrubbery while she goes to eat at the buffet one neighbor puts out for her. She is so silent I could easily miss her visits if I did not see her movement. Or has Lucky seen something come out from under the deck? Maybe something like this!

Notice the nice job Bob did blocking Lucky! Also, notice the Palm Rock on the windowsill 🙂
I think this was mama bunny before she delivered her kittens!

We are frequently convinced that Lucky is smarter than we are. She hears thunder and lightning before we do. She knows the movements of the animal world beyond our comprehension. Sometimes that is maddening, like when she is underfoot and fearful of an approaching storm while we are getting dinner ready. Or last night when she refused to urinate during her last walk of the evening because she sensed something we did not. Was there a coyote nearby? Will never know.

From the size of the rabbits who frequent the neighbors lots and now ours, these are no “Little Rabbit Foo-foos .” I do not think Lucky would kill a rabbit, but we are not planning on turning her loose to find out!

My Poetry

I have published a bit of my poetry on this blog. Recently I finally ordered a new-to-me book that I have wanted for a couple years. It is titled Every day is a Poem, by Jacqueline Suskin. If I want to be a good poet I need to practice and work on that skill. This book is already helping me take that discipline seriously.

On one of our recent vacations to North Carolina the shelling where we were staying was lousy because they were dredging to fill in the shoreline only a mile or so from our Air B & B. My eyes are always peeled for not only shells, but stones and other things that draw my attention and speak to me. I found a lovely yellow rock with I think a bit of quartz in it. The rock went nto my hand, then eventually as hands got busy, into my pocket. Then into my suitcase. Now in my bedroom windowsill. (I just love that Bob paid to have a few windowsills built and installed for me!)

Here she is on the kitchen counter in the brightest light.!

Palm Rock © Molly Lin Dutina 22-8-23

Palm rock
Yellow power
Absorbs light
Cannot pass it on though
Too dense
But glows

Flat side rests upon
Curled fingers or windowsill nicely
Curved side delights my palm
Absorbs my heat

Where have you been for eons?
What forces formed you?

You absorb
Calm, smooth me out
Thank you for
Coming home in my pocket

Resting on the sill
You gather the light
And glow
Reminding me to look
Observe
Note 
Write

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Luke 19:37-40 NIV

Praise Him and rejoice that He gives us the Word of God, stones and shells, countless ways to praise the God of heaven and earth.

The Squirrel Pleading

Recently Bob tried to catch a photo of this squirrel in a portrait pose. He ran to capture the image and voila! {I do not know how to add that appropriate accent in Word Press 😦 }

r m dutina squirrel portrait

And then I had a session with the pleading squirrel. The feeder is designed to foil the squirrel. It entertains us wonderfully. Too bad for the squirrel.

“I wonder who else can feed me today?”

Though the squirrel is not mentioned specifically in Scripture, Psalm 150:6 does say “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

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

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

Revelation 5:13 NIV

Rodeo Squirrel and Flying Tuxedo

We have red headed woodpeckers who visit our feeder almost daily. At our previous house we had Pileated woodpeckers, which resemble the Woody Woodpecker cartoon character. These guys are smaller and have a fully red head, sometimes described as a red hood. The black and white areas of their feathers are purely black or purely white, not speckled as so many woodpeckers are. I have taken to calling them Flying Tuxedos. I have tried repeatedly to capture their image on video, but to no avail. So I turned to the internet and found this one by Mike Blair.

Mike Blair has best flying video I could find!

I have also been amused lately by the young squirrels who have been coming around. They are certain they can outwit the sunflower seed feeder equipped with a spring that closes off the seed when their weight triggers it. They have not succeeded. Just like at the last house they are stymied and frustrated. They know from the seeds dropped on the ground below exactly what this feeder holds. But they cannot access it. They swing about on it and remind me of the Rodeo Wannabes who ride the fake bull in the bars.

True rodeo rider and pretend rodeo rider

Here is a photo of a defeated squirrel

r m dutina

Keep your eyes open for treasures in plain sight and what they might remind you of!