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

Categories
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
Categories
Faith Poetry Spiritual growth

The Sacrifice of Praise

Have you heard this term from Scripture?

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

Hebrew 13:15 NIV

In 1996 I wrote a poem about this and then revised it in 2014. I share it with you below.

 Crying in Front of the Dryer ©1996, 2014   Molly Lin Dutina  

 Praise! oh we do it most eagerly when things are going our  way
 Praise! oh we lavish it on those who have earned our approval
 Praise! when we get our own way, in line with our own will
 and then there are times of sacrifice.
 The Old Testament speaks often of sacrifices,
 burnt offerings, grain offerings, 
 sin, peace and trespass offerings. 
 Believers were told to offer those willingly.
  
 The sacrifice acceptable in God’s sight is
 the broken spirit and broken, contrite heart.*
 The Holy One says He dwells 
 with those who are contrite 
 and humble in spirit.
  
 Today there was a sacrifice of praise
 offered in front of my clothes dryer
 with a willing heart, broken and contrite,
 choosing to praise God
 although things were not going my way 
 or in line with my own will
 praise Him I did, tears running down my face
 and dripping off my jaw.
  
 For the first time in my life 
 understanding of the sacrifice of praise
 dropped the eighteen inches from my brain
 to my heart and into my soul.
  
 In myriad circumstances and happenstance
 there is rarely a day we receive 
 exactly what we desire.
 Every day we are told to sacrifice praise,
 give thanks, speak forth the wonders 
 of His love and mercy.
  
 Or we might simply choose 
 to clog our dryer 
 with the accumulated lint 
 of discontent, blame, disappointment.
  
  
  
 *PS 51:17  
Categories
Amazing Creations Book quotes Faith Spiritual growth

Sunday is …

… not what it used to be for our household. No church attendance in person. In fact, I feel as if I do not even belong to my church any more. If we were to walk into what was a typical February 2020 worship service this very day, I bet I would remember the stories of those I have prayed with but likely have forgotten their names.

Sunday is not the major part of my faith life though. I learned long ago that my relationship with Jesus is what holds me to His side. This poem from 1988 reflects that sentiment. I learned the phrase “center -down silence” from Richard Foster in his work “The Celebration of Discipline.” Foster says it refers to getting quiet in anticipation of drawing closer to the Lord.

Inside Out © 1988                    Molly Lin Dutina

 I want to live from the inside out,
 always within the center-down silence.
 Having to struggle to get back 
 is not the direction I choose.
  
 Teach me, Lord, and help me 
 know how to grow 
 from the peaceful
 sanctuary within.
  
 Show me please where 
 to refresh our love.
 Give me attitudes that will unravel me
 from the sin which so easily entangles.
  
 Make me one with You, Lord,
 so I will know 
 how to be close 
 to all that is around me.
  
 Help me, Father,
 and be glorified in my life. 


I know the nautilus shell begins very small and grows larger as the animal grows larger. For me the nautilus can also be a useful image for the center-down silence: going from the busy, noisy world to the inner chambers of stillness and willingness to listen for the voice of the Almighty.

Try to center-down and listen

Categories
Spiritual growth

Organizer Cells

Berkeley Lab Study Image from Mark LaBarge
 
Organizer Cells  © 1996 by Molly Lin Dutina

 Standing in the summer moonlight
 Evening breeze cools fevered limbs
 Wondering the next stage of my journey
 As You lead, my obedience takes me where?
  
 Sense the shift in volunteer focus
 Sense the workplace soon to change
 Organizer cells in motion
 Metamorphosis soup enfolds.
  
 Love me into Your abandon
 Given wholly to Your ways
 Connected past, Contented present, 
 Future hopeful through holy Grace.
  
 Standing in the summer moonlight
 Frog-cicada-cricket songs
 Urge my soul to sing of ecstasies
 You have given, yet to come.
  
 Open wide my timid heart 
 Sheer relinquishment to Fidelity.