Known and Unknown

I believe one reason we fear silence and stillness is we do not want to know ourselves and what God has to say about us. If we could only trust Him in a small way we would learn that He loves us more than we love ourselves. In fact, He treasures and adores us.

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing

Zephaniah 3:17 NRSV
Stefan Kunze Upsplash

The writings of Oswald Chambers contained in the book noted below were excerpted from articles published by God’s Bible School in Cincinnati. The articles were taken from his classroom lectures and Bible studies and published in the school’s periodical God’s Revivalist.

What does the Bible mean when it says to be an example to the flock of God? You must be a walking example of what you believe, in every moment of your life, known and unknown. You must bear the scrutiny of God until you prove that you are indeed a specimen of what He can do. Then He will send you out to disciple all nations.

Oswald Chambers, September 18 selection from “Devotions for a Deeper Life”

Every moment known and unknown. Things done in secret. I do not think this refers just to shameful things. Our deepest wounds are often kept private. The healing the Lord may give from those wounds is also usually given in private. The deep formation of a disciple usually takes place in private.

But whenever you pray, enter into your inner room and shut your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6 NIV

Your Father who sees in secret. He hears every whisper or shout of a prayer. Your Father knows you inside and out. He will not require that you share with others what He does in your secret place of prayer. There may however, come a time when you want to shout His work from the rooftops.

Matt Hanns Upsplash

Dietrich Bonhoeffer captured my attention writing in The Cost of Discipleship when he emphasized that we each walk alone with God.

Every man is called separately and must follow alone. 

Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, Discipleship and the Individual

Many of us admire other Christians but we know little or nothing about what it takes for them to be public Christians. We have no clue what happens between them and the Trinity in private. No idea the depth of their wounds or the strength of the healing times the Lord has sent to them. All most often occur in private.

You interact with your Father in a private place, even if you are kneeling in a sanctuary packed with other people. We can share our experiences with others but we are essentially alone with Christ in our walk. Yes, He encourages fellowship with those who are like minded, but in the final analysis we are each alone with Him. He reads our heart. He corrects our course. He convicts us when we go astray. He gives us His righteousness. He suffered and died for our salvation and for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despised the shame and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NRSV)

Public, private, the deepest things occur in a private place with your Holy Trinity God.

Steffany Gretzinger in her song “Forever Amen” sums it up for me. “I was made to love You. Let me hear the sound of Your voice…”

I would strongly encourage you that when you hear the sound of His voice, go running to a quiet place. Listen up! For unlike human parents, the Father does not waste His breath. He speaks to us with power, love, meaning and transformative powers.

Two Days Until We Celebrate 52 Years!

We got engaged to be married August 10, 1970 and stayed up all night long talking about our families and our lives together. After hearing about the New York relatives with names like Evakovich and Stajcich, when I called home to say I was getting married my mother asked, “What is his name?” I replied “I can’t remember!” Mind you, Dutina is not exactly a common name, but imagine my mother’s face in Ohio when I called from California.

Someone placed a bet at the wedding that we would never last. We never had the courage to ask my mother-in-law who that was. Guess we might never find out now!

2022
2017 after being at the Canyon in 1971
2020 in Colorado as Paula’s guests
2021
1970 – With this ring, I thee wed.
1970 Don took our car so we took his back to our apartment.
1970 ready for the honeymoon so Ohio people would go back east

So we will go out for a fancy dinner and remind ourselves of all the joys we have shared over the years. I am still madly in love with this gorgeous man! He is a gift and a monstrous blessing to me. My life with him has been one grateful surprise after another grateful surprise. Oh Lord, You have made my life such a blessing through this holy matrimony.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Mark10:7-8 NIV
Carnations on top of cake, red, white and pink to represent each of us and the new creation of one flesh.

Things

Plop us down in one place for a year and suddenly we have things. Stacks of things. Lots of things. Things sitting out that could be put away. How do we accumulate all these things? How often do you pare down the things you have accumulated?

When we first moved into this house we rented a storage unit. We had things we were not certain we needed or should be rid of. Now it is mostly Christmas decorations, (I try to get rid of more every year). We are going to get rid of our storage unit and put our things in with someone else. Why pay for 2 when all the things fit in one unit!

However, that does not cover what is in the house. I have been slowly going through drawers and closets getting rid of things not used in the past year. We have been here for over a year so now is the time!

Are you overrun with things? I find things sometimes distract me from the Lord. The photos in my office remind me of Him and also of good times Bob and I have celebrated.

This lovely statue in Colorado is entitled “You might as well dance!”

And Arches National Park where I spotted the Trinity, or was it the Three Wise men in the shadows?

Regardless, the shadows remind me I am never alone

As I rearrange pots and pans and other things to better locations I am reminded to always fix my eyes upon Him. May you be blessed to do the same! More important than things is seeking His Kingdom.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 

Matthew 6:33

New and Old

Can almost go without orthotic boot except when walking long distances like at the Sisters of Charity convent from meeting room to cafeteria last weekend. Still doing my stretches and will likely need to do those the rest of my life. Long HOT summer in that boot, but at least I was able to get up and out with it!

Old computer would not run Windows 11 and all the other programs were going like molasses in winter. New computer set up has begun.

New computer, so much to wade through
Turn this security off
Install this other security
Connect to internet
Where is the chrome browser?
How will I ever get ready for writing
Sixteen hours from now
Download these files
Forget these, but I do not have patience 
to do that complicated technical stuff right now
Then suddenly security is installed.
Add this to taskbar.
Get this working
This will be weeks in the process
As I learn to look here
Forget there
Go over to this place
Learn something new every day?
This could be my brain bank building
For weeks on end!
Where are my music files?!?

intel CORE i7 Dell says there is blue some place on it, guess the dark ridged cover

Ha! Surprised myself being able to write this morning using this new computer and stuff.

Investment in writing, blogging and posting

I suppose without the technology most of you would not be able to read this unless I wrote it out on paper, had the photos developed, had access to your home address, put it in an envelope and sent it off with the proper postage. Yes, I am grateful for the means to be able to obtain the new computer, consult my son-in-law for the best model in my price range, etc. etc.

Most of all I am grateful to God for you, the readers, the gifting to put things in words, access to photos, etc. Learned at my retreat this weekend that I can find free photos at a site called Upsplash. I am looking forward to learning how to use that sight and not be using anyone’s photos without permission. SO here is the keyboard that brings you the blog words, but I use a desk top computer rather than a laptop most of the time.

Photo by Dell on Unsplash

Thank you, Lord, for making provision for this blog. Please bless the readers and the subscribers. May You be glorified in the work I do here. All glory be to You. Amen.

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

Steffany Gretzinger

She is one of my favorite, new-to-me Christian artists. I recently ordered her CD Forever Amen. I admire so many songs on this CD I thought I ought to order it to support her work and have it on all my devices.

On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.

Acts 14:27 NIV

Remember, reflect, think, review, grow. Why do we do this so seldom? As I was pondering this my pastor posted a video blog on the value of reviewing our lives. I used to do that during retreats at the Convent of the Transfiguration. Lately it seems we always schedule travel during those retreat weekends. (sigh)

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

1 Peter 3:15

This is a great song about the Lord’s supper adding to the message, remember. He made the altar into a table.

Praying you will take time this week to review, ponder, elevate His works in your recent life. Can you go so far as to make a list for your own use in praise?

Gray Morning After a Rough Night 

22-9-13 Reactive to Booster #3©Molly Lin Dutina
 
Booster #3 delivered with dull needle
Went to PT without boot
Worked until my leg
Felt like jelly
Foot throbbed all night
Headache, chest pain, 
Jaws and shoulders Booster broadcasters
Extra muscle relaxer and Calm app
“Gently back to sleep”
Several times
Booster #3 rocked
My fragile boat
Night of winds and waves
Up by 6:10 AM
Without rejoicing

Others report no big deal
in contrast I am
Close to shipwreck
My heart is sad that this body is so reactive, 
sensitive to Covid boosters.
Thankful I have not gotten ill but 
wishing I had one of those constitutions 
that was not triggered by pain 
after immunization injection. 
Is there an injection for endurance and muscle strength?
Can I get a booster for well-being? Guess not.

But why stop writing there? Resignation is to be to God, not bowing to negative circumstances. 
In Acts 16:25-26 Paul and Silas praised God in prison. Won’t you raise a tune, Molly Lin?

Total Surrender © 2018 Molly Lin Dutina
Total surrender brings total power
Spirit of God in me,
Totally yielded to You every hour,
Until Your will I see.
Death to my passions and every desire,
Living wholly for Thee,
Have Your own way,
Spirit of God, 
Totally flow through me.

No time for wishing things were other than they are. 
Fix your eyes upon Him.
 Understand this temptation to self-pity is sin.
 Jesus the author and finisher of my faith
 is ABLE to keep me from sin, 
self-pity over ailments and frailties. 
Be chastened, corrected, purified,
refined and strengthened. 
Here is my well-being booster! 
This is your only body on earth – your temple for His dwelling.
I surrender to You, Holy Trinity. 
The yapping dogs out there remind me – LISTEN for His voice.
 Do not go with the clamoring crowd. 
Wait. Listen. Accept the present moment.
This is my life this hour. 
Rejoice in God and be made glad. 

“For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.” PS 92:4 NKJV

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  Hebrews 12: 1a-7

I pray this helps those of you who are looking for that booster for well-being. May the Lord Jesus Christ bring you to a place where you too can be “chastened, corrected, purified, refined and strengthened.”

Clay

She has a boyfriend. When he shows up at the volleyball games her smile is wider than the gymnasium. She doesn’t smile like that on other days.

Smitten. She is truly smitten. I pray he is kind to her. I think it helps that they attend different schools. She is three days older than he is. The families tease her about being a cougar. He is a junior. She is a senior.

He is a baseball player. She invited him to her homecoming dance with a baseball plate sign. He said yes.

Wait, wasn’t I just getting ready for homecoming? Oh. Now I am Grammy and this is my Grandgirl #2. Oh goodness. How the years have flown!

Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
    and parents are the pride of their children.

Proverbs 17:6 NIV

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