Categories
Faith Memories Nature Prayer Spiritual growth

January 1991

It must have been a warm day when I ventured into the Cincinnati Nature Center in January of 1991. I noticed these things at the Avey’s Run stream.

“The creek has cut a new route. The deep, dark, quiet pool has changed. With the force of last year’s rain the bank gave way and several trees lie intertwined in the water that was a pool. The force of the water has moved debris into a tidy four foot pile. The stream has carried sand and stone, changing the creek’s prior route into a narrow, almost dry channel. The water gurgles in joy over a few fallen branches as the flow takes a new direction.

“River of life flow forth in me. Gurgle in joy, splash with abundant life as I flow on in God’s river of love towards the next challenge.

“A green rock says, “Pick me up.” Green – color of life and that more abundantly!”

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “

John 10:10 NRSV

Categories
Book quotes Collection of Quotes Faith Family Prayer Spiritual growth

Organizing

While paring down I have also been organizing words I have saved over the years. I found a card to “Dear Mom” that I thought my son had made for me. Surprise! I had made it for my mother, likely 1958 or so. Besides my personal words, I have once again come across my collection of quotes and retreat notes that have had meaning to me. I am thinking they might touch your heart and soul, too? So periodically, I will post these for your perusal. So many of these are quotes whose author I do not have a name for – in which case I will note that fact.

In the book God Calling on May 13 it reads “What joy follows self-conquest! You cannot conquer and control others … but through God’s power you can conquer yourself.” One class I took emphasized that through obedience, at the end of the day you feel noble. Obedience to God builds self-esteem.

As the adult child of an alcoholic, after studying codependency I learned this stark lesson: We have no control over others. Children of alcoholics believe events are their fault. “If only I am good enough this will not happen.” If my grades are good enough, if I am quiet enough, and on and on with every faulty thinking pattern you can imagine. It is a hard thing for those of us who grew up this way to realize we had nothing to do with the situation. And it is also a hard belief system to UN-learn. It can lead to entrenched codependency that transfers to every person around, not just the parent where the behavior was learned.

Francis of Assisi referred to his body (i.e., himself) as brother ass. He was always trying to train that animal. He is quoted as saying, “Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ gives to His friends is that of CONQUERING oneself and willingly enduring suffering, insults, humiliations and hardship for the love of Christ.”

In the Revised Standard version of 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul wrote that he pummeled his body and subdued it.

Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27 (HCSB)

Thoughts, words, habits, deeds – all of me needs discipline and I can only hope to train myself through the help of the Holy Spirit. I am the only person I can hope to control, and only with God’s help.

Come, Holy Spirit. Have Your way in and through me. Amen.

Categories
Faith politics Prayer Spiritual growth

NPR Interview

I rarely comment on politics, but the events of last week hit those of us in the USA very hard. I heard this broadcast on Sunday January 10, 2021. I am only sharing a portion of it with you. I first met Bishop Curry when he was a priest leading an Associates Retreat at the Convent of the Transfiguration. His teaching and preaching deeply impacted my spiritual journey. If you care to listen to or read the full transcript go to https://www.npr.org/2021/01/10/955479453/how-faith-leaders-are-finding-hope-in-dark-times

“And finally today, we wanted to acknowledge that it’s been difficult for many of us to think about the events of this past week without a fair amount of anxiety or anger or confusion about what comes next. Perhaps you’re looking for some words of wisdom or comfort that can be heard above all the shouting. For that, we asked some of the faith leaders who we’ve talked to in the past on this program to share some of their thoughts for the current moment. We’ll start with Bishop Michael Curry presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

“MICHAEL CURRY: Three questions I’m finding helpful in these days of difficulty and hardship for us all. Sometimes it helps to just ask, what hurts? What’s wrong? And in this time of pandemic, it’s helpful to name where the pain is coming from. It’s important for those who are sick or who have died to remember them, to let their memory be a blessing. But then don’t stop there. After you ask what hurts, ask what helps to be better and to be more and to endure, to survive and even to thrive. And then lastly, but not least, what can I do to help? What can I do to be a blessing to somebody else? What hurts, what helps, how can I help – may well make all the difference when we live those questions.”

He ended with ‘when we live those questions.’ Are you willing to ask not only others, but yourself, those questions?

My friend Dianna was married for 60 years to Marvin. He died at home last week, under Hospice Care from cancer. I called Dianna this week to ask how she was doing. She has been his care giver for several years as he was dying. She said she is fine. Many people have called to check in on her, and for that she is grateful. One gal from our church went to her house and put cream on the bottom of her feet. Dianna cannot reach her one foot anymore and the doctor had said that cream would help the discomfort in that foot. Twice she told me, in amazement, about this gal who was willing to do that. I have gone to pick up her grocery order, but have never asked about her feet.

“Words of wisdom or comfort that can be heard above all the shouting.” This morning I remembered there was a prayer about conflict in the Book of Common Prayer. I am all for extemporaneous prayer; however, there are times when a written prayer helps me out.


O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

BCP #28. In Times of Conflict

Forbearance means patient self control; restraint and tolerance. I believe that the laws in our Nation are for the mutual good of the people. Father, stir our hearts to forbearance and respect for one another. Deliver us from the tendency to think violence can solve our problems.

We said repeatedly that the Pandemic brought situations in 2020 that we have never experienced in our lifetime. Most of us know that even with the vaccines, 2021 will bring Pandemic situations we never before imagined such as limiting medical care to patients, running out of oxygen supplies in hospitals, continued deaths. Now the insurrection on the Capitol building has brought another occurrence we never, ever wanted to see in our lifetime. God help us all to draw closer to You and find Your rest.

James 4:8 (NLT2)  Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

James 4:10 (NLT2)  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Humor Nature Poetry Spiritual growth

Pour Out

There is an old nursery rhyme that with one hand on your hip and the other one extended, you recite, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout; here is my handle, here is my spout. When I get all steamed up then I shout, Tip me over and pour me out.”

Then there is the “adult” version with both hands on your hips, you say, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout; here is my handle, here is my…Oh damn, I’m a sugar bowl!” Bob Dutina’s absolute favorite, recited at least twice a month!!

No tea set is complete without a cup. Ray Bradbury had this sentiment.

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

Ray Bradbury quoted by Gratefulness.org

What is your plan for 2021 regarding “letting the beautiful stuff out?” Or do you have one? When I had two blogs going the other one was called Stand and Tip. I eventually realized that one blog would be better. Here is the poem that inspired me to begin two blogs. Perhaps I Could Ask You Just to Stand and Tip? ©1990 Molly Lin Dutina      

 
 1.
  
 Lily pads at the pond                  
 Grow on stalky stems
 Leaves unfold an opened palm
 Cupped at center point
 Summer shower starts to drop
 Mercurial glistening spheres
 Gathering in the center spot
 ‘til bulbous weight smears silver drops
 Into glistening globs
 And tips the leaves so full
 To pour their contents overboard
 And rising from the spill
 Stately shielded lily-hands
 Begin the cycle once more
  
 Keep my stem flexible, Lord
 My hands open and cupped
 Eager to receive Your all
 Questioning not Your skill
 Only trusting the power of Your love
 To melt my rigid will
  
 Drench me Lord 
 In Your shower of love
 Let me gather and drink my fill
 Then spill over on those around
 And rise to await Your will
  
 Send water of Your Spirit
 To tip me over, pour me out
 Then wash over me once again
 Fresh cleansing by Holy Words
  
                 2. 
  
 Shine Your light through
 This enshrouding mist
 Color me with covenant this:
 Abiding presence and constant love,
 Indwelling grace that conquers sin
 Transfigured rigid I
 Yielded and bent
 In Your   service                                                                                                                                    
 Spilling forth rivers of living water                                                                                                         
 And giving rest to croaky voiced frogs       
 Who, when Spirit-kissed,
 Become priests and kings           
 Singing their praises to You.
  
 Perhaps You ask me just to be Your lily leaf, 
 Stand and tip 
Categories
Aging Faith Music Spiritual growth

Not Petrified Me

As I’ve written before, the Holy Spirit brings me songs when I am headed for or have reached a roadblock. When we traveled through the petrified forest of Arizona, Bob had never seen anything like it. I had a memory of seeing it from childhood. We were able to purchase a few pieces from a gift shop in town. Some were polished. One is shaped like a triangle. It reminds me of the Trinity.

Piece is larger than life

The other morning I picked up the triangle piece and held it during my prayer time. Wanted to carry it all day, but knew it would be too uncomfortable in my pocket. Then when I least expected it, this song came back to me.

I do not want to become an old woman who is stuck in her ways. I am certain there are already some things I do that someone has created new and improved methods for not yet adapted by me. For the most part, I want to conform to the Lord like the Living Water He provides for me. I want to be flowing, not like Jello or petrified wood: congealed, hardened, stuck.

So my prayer for you is that you will loosen up in 2021 and learn how to flow better. Velma Frye published a CD called Take Heart. Here is her song “Ever Flowing.” the lyrics were written by Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB July 28, 1939-April 24, 2020. I heard her teach once and as SO blessed. Hope you enjoy the song. You might have to click on the link.

https://youtu.be/xIqEXCXeTU0

unpolished piece on the bark side
Unpolished core side
Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Memories Spiritual growth Traveling

Epiphany

Generally in today’s culture we think of epiphany as when someone has an enlightening moment. When it is capitalized Epiphany is referring to the Christian holiday with several meanings depending upon your denomination. Today is the celebration of The Epiphany. We do not currently attend church because of Covid 19. We are members of a non-denominational church. My roots are in the Episcopal church which I chose for Baptism and Confirmation at age 15. I learned much about church tradition and prayer in the Episcopal church. I learned Scripture by following the Daily Office Scriptures through the publication “Forward Day by Day.” It is still in print and available in paper copy or online.

The celebration of Jesus being presented to the world is recognized when the Wise Men (Magi) arrived to honor Him and bring Him gifts. This is understood as the Presentation of Christ to the Gentiles, God in the Flesh, Immanuel, God with us. In the Eastern churches this is commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus. When we were traveling and visited Arches National Park I was stunned by this image of the Wise Men, created by the sun and shadows.

I have printed this photo and it holds a prominent place in our home. whether it represents the Magi or the Trinity, I never want to forget the power of God with Us – right here, right now.

The Book of Common Prayer lists this prayer for The Epiphany. “O God, by the leading of a star You manifested Your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know You now by faith, to Your Presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

As far as the presentation of Jesus this passage sums it up well.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now, Lord, You are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples: A light for revelation for the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Luke 2:25-32 NASB

Epiphany is celebrated and then the Episcopal church calendar counts celebrations for nine weeks called the First Sunday after the Epiphany, Second Sunday after the Epiphany, etc. right up to Ash Wednesday. May the arrival of the Revelation of Christ, His presentation to the world, enlighten our hearts and minds forever.

Categories
Faith Family Social Distancing Spiritual growth

Christmas Holy

By the time you read this we will have had our celebrations with all our family members. A Christmas like no other, for certain! So how will we spend our Christmas Day? I hope we pray and rejoice and make an extra effort to draw near to the One born to bring us to His home for eternity.

We are building a house soon. They will not break ground on it until February. That has not stopped us from packing, and throwing things out, giving things away, paring down in a grand way. We watched my in-laws wait until they were quite aged to down size. It was hard on every person involved. When we got married 50 years ago we promised each other that we would do life differently than our parents. (Maybe everyone declares that?) So here is another example of us doing things differently.

So we are not 75 yet (i.e., not eligible for the Covid vaccine in the next wave of injections) but no sense in waiting until we are in our late 80’s or 90’s to decide to take on this task. I am comforted to know that when the Lord Jesus calls me home, there will be nothing to pack. I will leave behind the things of this earth and move towards His beckoning Voice. He will have my treasures there with Him.

We figure this new house will be our last home unless we need a nursing home at the end. Then our ‘graduation’ will bring us to “mansions in glory” a place prepared for us.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:1-4 NRSV

As you open your Christmas gift treasures, we celebrate the fact that this earth is not our home. We are going to a place “where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:20-21 NLT2

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Amazing Creations Faith Humor Memories Spiritual growth

A Favorite Memory

When our daughter was 3-1/2 years and our son a mere 6 months old, we were preparing to attend Christmas Eve service. I had done my best as a young mother to provide decorations and memorable things for our daughter’s third Christmas. I had even found a tiny creche set with a baby Jesus in the manger. He was about 1 inch long. My daughter was given her very first purse that year. I got her all dressed for church and then began getting our son ready. He was not one to be patient if he got at all overheated. Before he hollered over being bundled up we were out the door and in the car.

As our family settled in the pew, I noticed our daughter was holding something in her hand. I finally asked to see what it was, fearing some sticky candy or something. Slowly she opened her hand to show me. Turned out she had taken the tiny baby Jesus out of the manger scene while I was dressing our baby. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and solemnly said, “I thought He ought to come, too.” I almost burst into tears!

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2 NIV

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Memories Nature Poetry Spiritual growth

At The Sea

Oh that would be great, to be at the sea! My friend, Dan, recently posted that seeing a plane fly overhead made him sad. This pandemic is getting to those of us who are trying to stay well by staying close to home.

Pondering better days, I found this poem from 1997. I was absolutely and totally exhausted after our daughter’s wedding. She was our first child and this was our first family wedding. Bob promised to take me to the beach and here is the result of my time on the beach with my Lord. I hope it helps transport you to a place of no pandemic!

 
 At the Sea © 1997 Molly Lin Dutina 

 Distant silver horizon
 Birthed by Your Light
 Breaks through leaden skies
 Enlightens slate-colored seas
 Calls me to You
 Closer to You
 Given over to You
 Nothing withheld.
  
 And I yield to You
 To lie in Your arms
 Imbibing Holy Breath
 Entire being  - renewed.
  
 Your sparkling glow
 Moves rapidly across the expanse of water
 To here and now
 You surround me
             Uphold me
 Indwell me
 Live through me.
  
 How could I ever hesitate
 Preferring dim to illumined?
 You enlighten me
 Flaws, shortcomings,
 Weaknesses, strengths and all.
             Fact: You love me.
                         Fact: You desire me
 You declare I am Yours.
  
 Like sudden deep piles of shells
 Buried, unseen yesterday
 Revealed today by the powerful tide
 Your Kingdom unfolds before me and
 Yes, Lord, I yield
             Knowing You go with me
 And will arrive ahead of me
 You have my life in Your nail-scarred hands.
  
 Abiding under Your wing
 Your Light fills the throne room
 And I must close my eyes
 To bear Your brightness
 O, All-Powerful Lord,
 I refuse to doubt Your methods
 Your holy mercy endures
             As You bathe me 
 In Your everlasting Love.
  
 Come my King
 O Light Eternal
 Bring forth the treasure
 You have hidden within me
             As I embrace Your will
 Illumine me.
   

photo by r m dutina
Categories
Faith Poetry Spiritual growth

Second week of Advent

October of 1993 I wrote the sentiment below as my earnest Advent Prayer. It still holds true now in December of 2020.

  
 
 
Self as Manger © Molly Lin Dutina 

 Here am I, stuff of earth
 But by the Spirit's power rebirth
 has brought me receptivity.
 Fill me with Yourself.
  
 Molded by Your Holy Hand
 I wait before You
 Cupped and ready,
 cleansed, atoned
 eager for Your radiant touch
 Virtue compelled to enfold Your own
 the vessel of Your making.
  
 Here am I, stuff of earth
 yielded for Messiah's birth
 be it unto me, O Lord,
 as in Your word and will.
  
 The Great I AM
 dwells in my heart
 there to impart the power
 courage and propulsion
 His dream to be fulfilled. 

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

Luke 1:38a NRSV