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

Hymns Sum It Up Best At Times!

The lyric below was written in 1680 or 90 by Joachim Neander. Sometimes this hymn will rise up within me as we walk and enjoy the spring in Ohio, Kentucky or Tennessee.

 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.

Sung by one of my favorite artists!

How could we possibly experience spring and wonder if there is a Creator?

Listen to the song again and as you read (or sing) the lyrics, address them to the LORD!

Walking at CNC

Do you know what the opening photo is? Some even harvest these and sell them!

Bob and I love to hunt wildflowers. If you have ever searched for a particular shell at a beach you can relate. We search for Lady’s Slippers, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Larkspur, etc. We have only found Lady’s Slippers in the Smoky Mountains National Park, but the others we can find locally especially at Cincinnati Nature Center (CNC).

photo by Molly

This fellow was so lovely with the sun shining through it! Sadly the ground around it is covered with Lesser Celandine which has earned the status of invasive. The Nature Center is researching ways to eradicate it. If you look at the top edge of the log above you can see the moss blooming! Beyond those tiny filaments are daffodil leaves starting to grow blossoms for 2024.

Another Jack by Molly

One friend told us when they showed a Jack-in-the-Pulpit to a young person they had to explain what a pulpit was! A pulpit is traditionally where a preacher stands to deliver the sermon. The older pulpits sometimes had a cover over them like a roof, thus the flower resemblance. In case you are still unaware, below is a sampling of pulpits! Our church does not have a pulpit or even a lectern. The Pastor just sits on a stool and talks from there.

pulpit samples on line

When we hiked Whipple Sate Nature Preserve we saw Larkspur in many colors. We also saw them yesterday at Sycamore Park in Batavia.

We agreed that walking Sycamore was so much easier than Whipple! The dog loves the trail and was not allowed at Whipple. We like this park because it is level and even paved! We walked along the East Fork of the Little Miami river, too. The sound of the running water, spring song birds … just made me breathe deeply and thank the Lord for His blessings and refreshment!

The wild dogwoods through the other forest trees were a blessing at CNC!

Are you making time to slow down, listen to the natural world around you or nearby? Do you only lament your feeling of being dried up or make an effort to renew your connection with the Source of Life? I hope you will make an effort to do just that this week!

The Virginia Bluebells at Sycamore park were well past their prime. Bob bought me a Bluebell at the Nature Center plant sale. It looks pitiful in the back garden right now. Praying it will rebound and bless us next year with flowers! Just saw that something is eating holes in the leaves. Uh oh!

Take a walk this week and look for treasures in plain sight!

My dear man walking the trail at CNC

The opening photo was take of worm casings. Evidently very rich for your garden!

May First Verse

May First ©Molly Lin Dutina

It was a quiet, cloudy morning
Stillness embracing early morn
Then I heard a creaking of the siding
A tossing of the saplings
Turned to bending of the decades old trees
As a ‘mighty rushing wind’ passed through
And almost as quickly the trees returned to stillness

A few moments later another gust came 
It seemed determined to be a steady blowing
Rain came flying past my window 
The wind became a gentle breeze
The music of raindrops overtook the wind
And May 1st was declared by the heavens

The wind, the rain, it all stopped as suddenly as it began
Bird song is heard again
Strange yellow/gray sky as sun rises higher
Wrestling with the spring weather front
Newly emerged maple leaves
Soft in coloring cling to their branch in the breeze
Help me cling to You, Jesus my source of life

Most Recent Poem

I was having a spiritual struggle and one person or the spirit from one person seemed to be the biggest challenge. I could not name the spirit but I knew it was there. Finally it was apparent I needed to get alone with the LORD and have a prayer time to throw this thing off. I was prepared to spend many hours if necessary, but surprisingly it only took a couple hours. This is the resultant poem.

Rooftops ©23-4-20 Molly Lin Dutina

Above the rooftops
Beyond my thoughts and dreams
You move by Your Spirit
Unseen yet beyond powerful
Invited by my yieldedness
You ask no invitation
Welcomed by my obedience
You come cleanse my house
Straightening my crooked paths
Wayward thinking
Thoughts that give negative entrance
You swing the Mighty Sword of Spirit
Sweeping away all hindrance
To Your will and ways.

Above the rooftop of my hair
(Which You have numbered every strand)
Your towering angels like ancient trees
Stand guard to alert me to invasion
I am kept by a love divine
I dwell under the shadow of the Almighty
Your wings enfold and embrace me
If I go astray You shepherd me back
If necessary You will even carry my smelly self
Returning me to the fold
Feeding me with the finest food
Brushing out the tangles in my wool
For You love me
You even pour Your love 
Like a bucket of soapy water
Throughout my heart by Your Spirit
No shame remains
After You work within me

May your week be filled with time for prayer and the rewards of having been in His presence.

Driven to Distraction

Many things occur in our neighborhood that are accompanied with sounds and noise. When I am writing the blog (preferable on Monday and Tuesday mornings) I pray, play music and try to tune out all the distractions. Today was no different.

Except, there was this clunk. Then later another clunk. Then two clunks in a row. The sounds were not rhythmic like a worker. Finally, I could not take it and had to go try to find the source of the distracting disturbance. What was causing this commotion?

I went outside. Okay the Royce fertilizer guy was down the street, but not making the noise I kept hearing. Nothing to the left of our house. Nothing else to the right.

I went out back. No workers there that I could detect. The trees have filled out so it is a bit harder to see the other houses. I went into the master bathroom. When I came back to the kitchen there was the sound. A Robin at the sliding glass door!

Earlier we had seen robins on the deck which is unusual. They seemed huge and likely were just puffed against the wind and chill. April 24 and 33 degrees! Go figure! One in particular seemed to be liking the rungs under the black metal porch side table. I noticed piles of gooey waste from that bird. Rinsed them off with glasses of water.

Now Lucky wanted in on the act. I told her to chase the birds off. Instead she decided to roll her ear in the most recent pile of waste. I moved the sliding screen door. I moved the lace curtain thinking perhaps she was seeing a “rival” in the door – her reflection. I put plastic planters upside down in front of the door and brought the water hose over the railing. Back to writing.

Thump. Thump. Really? I went to the door declaring, “I need cat!” and called “Here kitty, kitty.” No response though there had been an orange tabby in the yard recently.

I moved the sliding screen over the door where I thought the bird was knocking. This time I left the dog out on the deck. Of all the places in this wooded area, why our deck? Oh well. Those birds should go next door. That neighbor has a sliding glass door, too. She has a deck and no pets!

Do you know the center verse of the Bible? (These are facts that Christians like to collect.) I think the center verse is no accident as it has kept me from many troubles.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 118:8. Another version reads “than to put confidence in mortals.” Take refuge in the LORD. Not the ones about you who you can see and hear, but who will die. The Almighty LORD, King over angel armies, He is to be our refuge.

The photo above was from online. It reminds me! We are going to make the trip of a lifetime (at least for us). When our 50th wedding anniversary rolled around we had planned to go to visit our 50th state. That was when the pandemic hit. Hawaii basically said, “You can come here, but you must quarantine for 2 weeks before you travel about.” My response was I can barely afford 2 weeks in Hawaii, much less a month!” So we put off our trip. Bob was really liking the idea of our 50th state and our 50th anniversary 😦

So this year we will celebrate our 53rd wedding anniversary and visit our 50th state! We have consulted our Hawaii experts the Cookseys. We have met several times with a travel agent. Bob is trying to overcome his discomfort about being on an island (or two) totally surrounded by water. We want to see the flowers, helicopter over the volcanoes, see rainbows, enjoy the tropics, birds, jungle plants, etc. Bob plans to eat lots of seafood. I think pineapple sounds delicious. I am even thinking about taking a vacation from writing the blog. Yikes, (Can she do that?)

We have a dog sitter. A house sitter. And by the time we return we might actually be broke! Our daughter says to go ahead and spend. We just might on this trip!

Psalm 116 and 1 Peter

Turn again to your rest o my soul, for the Lord has treated you well. Have you instructed your soul in this was to be restored? Have you ever read Psalm 116 in terms of your relationship with the LORD God Almighty?

Gracious is the Lord and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Psalm 116:5-7 NRSV

When I take time to review my life and my relationship with God I am brought back to a place of rest. Not do-ing, but be-ing with Him. When I peel off my complaints I realize He HAS treated me well, dealt bountifully with me. This fresh realization brings me to a point of wanting to serve Him more, in any ways that He asks.

Have you ever made vows to the Lord? We often hear of people in painful situations trying to bargain with God along the lines of “If You will just do what I want here and now, I will serve You forever.” We are really not in a bargaining position with God. But if You have made a vow to Him from the depths of your being, have you paid the vow?

I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,

Psalm 116:17-18 NRSVUE

As an Associate of the Convent of the Transfiguration in Glendale Ohio I made a vow to pray for the Sisters daily. I promised to support the Convent and their work as I am able.

When the verse says “I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people,” to me it means there will no longer be just me and Jesus. I will live out my commitment to Him publicly, in the presence of all His people.

Are you living out your faith before the Lord only, or also before His people. Have you vowed to be a living sacrifice? That is my word for the year ( you can read back in January when I was impressed to choose that.) There are times this living sacrifice does not want to climb up on the altar, does not want to be a living stone.

Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.

1 Peter 2:5 The Message
and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

1 Peter 2:5 RSV

As a building stone I want to be like Jesus, ‘a chip off the old block’, similar in yieldedness and willingness to obey His Father and my Father.

“Lord help me to pay my vows to You in the presence of all Your people. Help me to serve you with joyous willingness. Show me Your chosen paths for me and I will walk there with You. Amen.”


In the churches there has been a tradition of celebrating the resurrection of Christ, not just on one day but an entire festal season right to Pentecost Sunday, after the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven and the promised Holy Spirit was given to the disciples. I challenge you to worship the Lord Jesus for His powerful sacrifice on our behalf. His resurrection power lives in us. Let us praise Him for the entire Eastertide this year!!The song lyrics below capture that in so many ways for me!

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

You were the Word at the beginning 
One with God the Lord Most High 
Your hidden glory in creation 
Now, revealed in You our Christ

What a beautiful Name it is, what a beautiful Name it is 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King 
What a beautiful Name it is, nothing compares to this 
What a beautiful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

You didn’t want heaven without us 
So Jesus, You brought heaven down 
My sin was great, Your love was greater 
What could separate us now?

What a wonderful Name it is, what a wonderful Name it is 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King 
What a wonderful Name it is, nothing compares to this 
What a wonderful Name it is, the Name of Jesus 
What a wonderful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

How sweet is Your Name, Lord, how good You are) 
We love to sing in Your Name, Lord, love to sing of who You are

Death could not hold You, the veil tore before You 
You silenced the boast of sin and grave 
The Heavens are roaring the praise of Your glory 
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival, You have no equal 
Now and forever, God, You reign 
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the Glory 
Yours is the Name above all names

What a powerful Name it is, what a powerful Name it is 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King 
What a powerful Name it is, nothing can stand against 
What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

You have no rival, You have no equal 
Now and forever, God, You reign 
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the Glory 
Yours is the Name above all names

What a powerful Name it is, what a powerful Name it is 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King 
What a powerful Name it is, nothing can stand against 
What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus 
What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus

Written by: Ben Fielding, Brooke Ligertwood

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
    and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night,
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:5-8 NRSVUE

My Younger Friend

I just love that I have gotten to know a much younger neighbor who is also a Christian. We share quite a few things from encouragement for our journey to recipes. Last summer we shared leadership during a summer Bible study group. Kassie brings a much younger version of faith into my life. Her videos have skateboards and jeans with split knees! The song in her post called Fear Not is one that I had to put on replay about 17 times. Such comfort to our souls.

She is a school teacher and is enthusiastic with her students. I have yet to visit her classroom, though I want to very much. She also writes a blog and has given me permission to re-post her writing from the week after Easter. Enjoy!

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In the Stillness

In the Stillness

Take a Rest

When I got home from work today and finally sat down to eat dinner, I knew I was down for the count for the rest of the night. I was thinking darn…I really wanted to get _________ done and I really needed to _____________. Then I thought to myself, why?? I am tired! All I want to do is rest, and that is okay!

This verse immediately came to my mind. It’s been bringing me a lot of peace lately, reminding me to not only rest, but to rest with God and to bring Him my burdens and worries. The song below has the scripture in it and is a reminder I need often.

When my troubles are a little too heavy
Who I can turn to, to share the weight?
When my mind is cluttered and cloudy
Who can I turn to, to clear the way?
Who can I turn to, I turn to You

You said Your yoke is easy
You said Your burden’s light
So I’ll let You
Lead me
For all my life

Some days are long, some work is tough
Whatever I lack You make it up
Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light
You gave me life, You give me love
Whenever I’m dry You fill my cup
Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light

I feel a little lighter just listening to that! I love the line…I will let go and follow empty handed! That’s what rest helps us to do. To remember that even if we take a break, things won’t fall apart…and even if they do, we can pick up the pieces tomorrow 🙂

So I took to google images to find a quote on rest and calling it quits for the day…I found this one that I liked…

Then I found this one that was a little too relatable!! Same quote, whole different kind of mood! Haha

I just wanted to quickly write this for anyone else who like me, needs to hear that it is not only okay, but it is necessary to rest!

The song below has been my absolute favorite for the last week. It is so beautiful and it is Scripture!

Isaiah 41:10 KJV “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

We fear not because God is with us. We can rest because we have God. He strengthens us and helps us…He alone holds us up and rest is an act of surrender!

Enjoy your rest…I’m off to rest too ❤

The Work of God

This book is a collection of psalms and prayers with the subtitle ‘A Benedictine Prayer Book.’ I have owned it for a while now, but just recently began using it again. If you need a reading discipline you can cover Proverbs in one month with a chapter a day. You can cover the Psalms in a month with about 5 chapters a day. I broke Psalm 119 into smaller daily sections as it is so very long by itself! Below is my Psalms chart should you want an idea of how I do it.

DayPSALMSPsalm 119DayPSALMSPsalm 119

After covering the Psalms for a couple years I moved on to other devotions. So coming upon “The Work of God is rather like a refresher course in the Psalms . While reading one section with Psalm 115 and Psalm 116 I thought I would like to blog about it.

Compiled by the Revered Thomas McKenzie, Obl.S.B.

Psalm 115 begins with “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your Name give glory; because of your love and because of your faithfulness.” Then it goes on later to command Israel and the House of Aaron and “You who fear the Lord to trust in the Lord; he is their help and their shield.” I was taught that when something is written repeatedly in Scripture we are to pay attention to the repetition! Trust in the Lord, He is our help and our shield.

Don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get. When I am feeling weak and needing strength to get through each day I need to trust the Lord and know He is my help. He is my shield.

Why in 2023 would we need a shield? Most often we think of a shield in terms of warfare and combat. Do you realize we are at war every day because we trust and rely on the Living Lord? The enemy of our souls does everything in His power to undermine our trust in God. He began in the garden of Eden by having Eve and Adam question what God said to them. He continues to this day to bombard us with doubts, fears, unrest about God our Father. Yes, we undoubtedly need a shield about us. You, LORD, are my shield.

The next verses declare:

The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
13 He will bless those who fear the Lord,
The small together with the great.

Psalm 115: 12-13 NASB

The final verse in this Psalm says “But we will bless the Lord, from this time forth for evermore. Hallelujah!