The Wise Turtle and Bloom

Turtle and Bloom © 09-07-21 Molly Lin Dutina

I came upon a turtle at the pond today. I missed her completely the first time I walked past. She was totally camouflaged by duck weed. The lily leaves were withering and the ones left standing placed shadows around her similar to the shape of her shell.

DSCN3460

I took one photo and drew closer to the water’s edge for another, hoping she would not slip into the water and vanish completely from my sight.
I posed no threat as she remained in her position on the log. I began to realize that she must be a very old turtle by her size.

DSCN3461
As I changed my position along the shore, I could see her more clearly. I began to notice the lily leaves, first as obstacles to my photographic efforts, and then as tattered, themselves old from a hot summer of sun and storms and wind. I was reminded of the poem I wrote at the Nature Center 19 years ago about the lily pads, (for the complete poem see the Stand and Tip blog) and the subsequent admonition from the Lord to me, “Perhaps I could ask you just to be a lily leaf. Fill up with mercurial spheres and overflow. Stand and tip. Ponder this My lily shield.” Here I am at the same location these many years later, seeking solace and direction at my current age in my current state.

The next photo attempt brought the lovely lily bloom into my photographic range. I had seen a dropped petal in the weeds along the shore line. It was fresh and somewhat velvety as I placed it between folds of paper in my journal.

turtlleandblossom

When I tried to frame the next photo the blossom made for good composition. Tired leaves, old turtle, flower blooming, though fading. Suddenly I was looking at a mini portrait of my life in the very frog pond that inspired me so many years ago. I have been wrestling with the topic of aging and the pain and distress that seem to be increasing in my body as I age.

2 COR 4: 16-18 came to mind: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I had recently mentioned to Bob that I do not like to grow white roses as the petals begin to darken with the slightest bruising. Here I see a creamy lily flower bearing the beating of sun, wind, and storms yet barely showing the effects in her waxy petals. The aging turtle remained on the log, still enjoying her sunbathing, unperturbed by one woman on the shore taking digital photos. The lily leaves tattered, yet most still erect on their flexible stalks, able to gather a summer shower and tip when the pad is full.
At first glance my negative mind set cries, “Just look at her! Surrounded by decay and destruction! Duckweed hanging on her lovely shell. Leaves decaying and spoiled all around her! All alone on that log!” Then as I ponder I see her wisdom caused her to cover her shell with duckweed to blend in, her courage in taking a sunbath even if the other turtles choose not to, and regardless of her surroundings she is looking up, even now, the changes in my attitude begin. Wisdom, courage, and keep looking up! Yes, as one author said, “I need me some of that!”

turtlelcloseup5by7Upon closer inspection I am able to see the lovely colors in her neck, the awesome nails and webbing in her feet. The coloring continues around the under-edge of her shell into her legs. Most importantly, I realize she is looking up, as I am called to do, fixing my eyes upon things eternal. Letting go of the obvious pain and aging issues I am able to relax on my favorite bench and simply soak in the pond activity: belching frogs, passing humans, bird song and noonday joy.

This Phase is Over

I wrote this for a friend when children were off to primary school. Her youngest was graduating from high school. Delivered it with a bag of chocolate kisses!
To Betty L. © 84-5-21 Molly Lin Dutina

Suddenly, this phase is  over
And the time we said we were
Looking forward to has come to call.

Oh, of course, “I expected it’s coming
And I vaguely made plans for the day
I could idle in my fancy.
But all that was with a change of pace in mind
And now it is here.
To stay.”

We’re much the same, you know,
At this form-in-the-road time of life
Here we waited, planned and sort of hoped
Now it’s here …
Oh, but where did the other go?

I had ideas what it would be like,
But this is unexpected:

You greeting men you knew as children,
I seeing children I knew as babies.
Who are they now?
What next?
Suddenly all is changed.

I was more flexible then.
Not with a vain fancy over
My body.
I was just thinner then.

We looked to this time
…during car pools and
Disciplinary arguments
… over dirty diapers and
sloppy food messes.
Now it’s here.

I guess as always, we shall lean on the Word
“Stand at the crossroads and ask for the
Ancient paths, where the good way is,
and walk in it and find rest for our
souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
For our flesh has always failed us
And He alone knows our needs and
Supplies our peace and rest.

Like chocolate,
which cannot be held
and digested but seems to be
tasted before it touches the lips; so,
the past and the future have a way of
mingling and yet remaining distinct.

Image result for free clip art of chocolate kisses

It seems impossible
That we may know so many varying experiences
To such intensity in a relatively short span
Of time with the same people.

Lord, we thank You for the richness
Of our lives. Please forgive us our
Bitter-sweet lamenting.
You have promised a future ever-brighter,
So, we yield ourselves again to the light of Your Son.

Living Sunflowers!

Right outside my office window my husband was able to keep a sunflower from the deer. It is branching and blooming now. Imagine my delight when I glanced out the window to see the sunflower come alive! The Goldfinch have found them. There is a black oil sunflower feeder not four feet away, but these guys like their food fresh and locally sourced.

E7BF3277-1B6C-46F4-A524-77BA3AB6E4AB

Yes, truly a treasure in plain sight!

Luke 12:22-26 (HCSB)
Then He said to His disciples: “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear.
For life is more than food and the body more than clothing.
Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds?
Can any of you add a cubit to his height by worrying?
If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?

31  “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.

Look, seek, watch for the Lord to manifest His presence around you. Then rejoice! He IS a good, good Father.

Today is the Day!

Yes, I have been home long enough to get caught up a little bit. So today I launch the other sight, Stand-and-tip.com.

If you click on the name on the sidebar you might be able to go there automatically IF I did everything correctly??!?!?

Well, I did not do the link correctly. The help line seems to be off line. So I will get back to you on this Monday, I hope!

OOOO! I think I figured it out! You should be able to see a link to my other blog on the right of your screen. Stand and Tip. Hope it works now 😉

Humor During Retreat

This long retreat I have been using Joyce Rupp’s book entitled Open the Door A JOURNEY TO THE TRUE SELF. There has been much humor as I read and pray, study and allow myself to be transfigured here at the Convent of the Transfiguration! Today is Friday and I thought I should summarize the humor before the details escape me!

Dealing with aging and increased pain from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia I have had to face the fact that as my body and abilities change my attitude and expectations must also. Here on the grounds of Bethany school and the Convent changes are every place. A few years ago I wrote the article “The Bee Lingers.” The location of that story is now gone with the new construction of an updated school building. Most of the fence around the garden has been removed. The shrubs and morning glory vines gone, too.

C08BFD7F-87C3-4B3B-9254-BD55D42AA439.jpeg

I have chosen to make a private, silent retreat. Yesterday the workmen were not only cutting down a huge ash tree in what you might call my front yard, but grinding it up, also. I am certain that tree has been here longer than I have been coming to the Convent. Later in the afternoon a young man was busy with a huge chainsaw cutting up some of the branches. His fellow worker brought over some equipment and they picked up pieces of the wood to toss in it. Big pieces of wood! Have you ever tried to lift a tree slice? Very heavy. Made so aware visually that my strength is not what it used to be. Yet, I will be okay as long as I can get in a mental place of acceptance. So examples of change for the better surround me. I found it humorous that I would be reminded that change can be so noisy.F7B73C51-1677-4F36-8344-CCFB97A25ED9

There were also workmen taking concrete into the basement of the church building. They had an on-site mixer, wheelbarrow, gutter-like chute for sending it down the flight of stairs and the sidewalk was almost blocked by their 2 pickup trucks parked upon it while they worked. I assumed they were doing some sort of repairs to the foundation of the building. Meanwhile, I continued to work on my foundational mindset. Interesting to see. Then the tools were put back in the trucks, concrete washed off the equipment and everything loaded up. Once they drove away if you had not witnessed it, you might not have known they were here. There was a piece of wood placed over the entrance at the foot of the stairs.

Every time I enter my quarters I have to push really hard to get my door to latch. I usually have to push twice. Guess what! The door has a knocker on it that bumps when I shut the door. Joyce Rupp has six lessons devoted to knocking on doors. Objects lessons every place! 31475846-570A-4F46-89D7-D83A6AC48F08

The basement workmen were back today and I just had to ask them why put concrete in the basement? Was it foundation work? No, not foundation work. They were installing a new DOOR and always build a concrete frame first. 593B065C-7FE1-43F1-BB7E-C9149746B8EFI showed them my retreat book and the man told me his was one door I would not be able to open. So true, but I giggled as I walked away amused that I know One who walks through doors!

The Lord is showing me that He will accompany me over every new threshold as I age and change. He will help me grow in the things of the Spirit. This last photo is a closeup of the basement threshold  before the concrete dries. Look closely and you will see the moisture on the concrete around the threshold!

122F263E-0179-4F24-B10D-7698225F2093

May you always find the courage to grow and change in life with grace. Tear down old structures you do not need anymore. Close the doors that need closing and swing wide the new doors! The next chapter in her book is entitled “Oiling the Hinges.” Ought to be interesting.  😉

Brat Child

When my son was little a babysitter called him a brat. He was terribly upset. In the following poem I refer to myself as a Bratchild. You will understand, and possibly relate, when you read it!

DA895F92-A5BE-48D6-85F5-79770F302364

 

Bratchild of The Kingdom © 2002 Molly Lin Dutina

I have a naughty girl inside who says
“Just let me start the laundry
before we sit and share.”
“This coffee pot is such a mess!
Who designed this thing?
Didn’t they test what happens
in actual use before they sold it?”
“I wonder if I’ll get to this today
and that project over there?”
“I love You, Lord.
One moment, Lord
I’ll be right there!”

This is the same petulant girl
complaining yesterday of too much
outflow, outgo, output and
not enough input, strengthening, power
from the Throne on high.

Yet here she is with time for
healing, refreshing from His Presence*
and what choice does she make?
Putting off the Majestic and holy Lord
she goes first to the frivolous and mundane.

*Acts 3:19-20 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus.

Yes, during this retreat I am working on learning about my new blog site. No, that is not the ONLY things I am doing!

 

 

Well, I have done it!

I am starting a second blog to share with you my poetry, stories and longer spiritual experiences. Research shows that most people want to read something that is short. The post about the doors and change had lots of photos. I will try to keep this blog, Treasures in Plain Sight, short. My new blog is called Stand & Tip. When I get it up and running there will be a link to it under the Menu. I might send out invitations like I did on this blog. I would delight to read your comments.

I hope you are laughing and have fun with what I’ve written so far. Below is a photo of Bob learning to take selfies at the Koran Conservatory during the butterfly show.

5F4FEEE9-F1AE-4552-BDC9-7B92B49625CF