Home Again

We have been home for well over a week, but I am not exactly back in the swing of things. In fact, I think the movement of the swing is changing. We were gone for almost 2 weeks. Then adjusting to the time change between here and Hawaii (think 6 hours difference). I have booked a 6 day private retreat for next week and will meet a new spiritual director. I had a spiritual director many years ago and truly benefited from the experience. I believe it is time to restart that practice.

So I will be gone again June 4-10. I am uncertain if I will write the blog then or not. This is meant to be time with God. Please pray for me during that time especially!

Did we enjoy Hawaii? Certainly. Did we eat and drink? Well, yes! Below is my BLT pizza. The lettuce was on top (after baking) in the form of a Caesar salad. Yum.

Kona Beer “A liquid Aloha” was recently introduced to the Cincinnati area. I was not impressed when I tried it here. Man oh man was this one at the brewery different! A wonderful stout, smooth, and dark, and cold!

I wanted the glass but they did not sell them. Likely not room in the suitcase anyway.

Took this photo to give our son Jeff some ideas for the pizza restaurant where he will return to work soon.

You can also see some prices on here!

The Hawaiians love their geckos and we had fun watching them, too. I was surprised to see them decorating this wooden bar!

We ate more reasonably then we thought. Each morning we would have coffee in the room. The hotel coffee on Hawaii was great. (Maui, not quite as good.) At the Westin Resort on Hawaii would would go downstairs to Pico coffee shop to get fresh-brewed coffee, a sweet roll, perhaps fruit cup or yogurt. Once Bob purchased a breakfast box with eggs and meat. It was quite reasonable.

We would eat at a restaurant for lunch. When we landed we went to the grocery and bought bread and cheese for in the room. That would serve as our dinner. The in-room refrigerator was great for storing insulin and foods! Each day we would either pick up fresh bread or a cookie, etc. This is our usual pattern on vacation, but we were not certain how it would work on the Hawaiian islands. Between Foodland and Whole Foods we did fine!

Certainly need dessert! One day I found that at a little chocolate shop! (I should have bought more!!)

Thank You Lord, Mahalo, for a wonderful celebration!

Helicopter over Volcano

One thing Bob really, really wanted to do was take the helicopter ride over the volcano. Kilauea is not currently spewing lava, but there is still steam rising from the vents and the crater is impressive.

The helicopter seated 7. The crew decided where each person would sit based on body weight. We literally had to get on the scale so they could determine that. No lying about your weight there!

It was hot outside and not cool within the helicopter. Keeping the air vents open was a challenge.

Here is our pilot. The red reflection is Bob waiting to board.

He was very informative about the land use, facts about the volcano, age of the lava flows, plant life, where the best waterfalls were located, etc. We had a great time! Our hotel was at Haupuna beach and the heliport was just above our location, minutes away, Sunshine Helicopter.

If you see shadows on the photos they are most likely reflections from my skin and hands, etc. Tried to crop most photos to remove them, but cannot possibly get them all.

White line is the road cutting through the lava.

Approaching the ” Culdera” According to Wikipedia “is a large cauldron-like hollow that forms shortly after the emptying of a magma chamber in a volcano eruption. When large volumes of magma are erupted over a short time, structural support for the rock above the magma chamber is gone. The ground surface then collapses into the emptied or partially emptied magma chamber, leaving a large depression at the surface. “

Though Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has a hotel and cabins I cannot say I would EVER want to camp in this area. Just the idea makes me feel too vulnerable. “The crater rim drive leads for 4 miles through steaming vents and rainforest,” says the national park folder. We were amazed that we could cross the street from the visitor center, walk into the Hawaii Volcanoes lodge and be at an overlook of the crater we saw from the air! We ordered our lunch there for carryout and ate in the car. The dining room was packed for Mother’s Day.

From this angle the steam on the left reminds me of waves breaking.

The Kīlauea Caldera , officially gazetted as Kīlauea Crater, is a caldera located at the summit of Kīlauea, an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands. It has an extreme length of 2.93 mi , an extreme width of 1.95 mi, a circumference of 7.85 mi and an area of 4.14 sq mi . It contains Halemaʻumaʻu, an active pit crater near the caldera’s southwestern edge.

USGS information

Just amazing!

A Wonder

When we arrived in Hawaii we were very tired. Started out in Ohio at about 5 AM and got to our room in Hawaii late afternoon. (Factor in 6-1/2 hour time difference!) We made ourselves stay awake wanting to get on their time zone as soon as possible.

The next day our plan was to be as restful as possible – being kind to ourselves. We had coffee in our room (quite tasty) and decided to go to the swimming pool. There was a bird there I had never before seen. Could not for the life of me guess what it was called. I looked it up on line. Imagine my surprise (being a girl from Ohio) to find they called it a yellow billed cardinal!

Yellow billed cardinal

At home we have red headed woodpeckers whose entire heads are red. We have cardinals where the entire male is red. But not this sort of coloring. The bird repeatedly came to the edge of the pool for a sip of water. I was delighted!

Then at the airport when we were leaving Maui I saw this one!

Red Crested Cardinal

The Almighty God is so creative and wondrous. His delights are without end!

Eastern Red Cardinal male

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;[b]
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:7-10

What Do We See on Hawaii?

Hope is radical openness for surprise – for the unimaginable. If that is the attitude with which we look, listen, and open all our senses, we enter into a meaningful relationship with whatever Life offers us at a given moment.

Br. David Steindl-Rast

Oh my! We had no idea that most of the island has black lava, was populated upon black and brown lava. Guess we never really thought about it. There are wild goats populating that lava. They are feral and out of control. Scrub that reminded me a bit of the high desert in New Mexico?

We were in a bit of shock with the radical time change of 6+ hours. There are road signs about donkeys crossing, but we never saw any and began calling them ghost donkeys.

Well, I am home now. The laundry is mostly finished. The garden has gone wild with maple shoots. The ferns have escaped the garden bed. There are bills to be paid. Receipts to put away. Oh my goodness! The landscaping company that was supposed to take care of the lawns in this neighborhood quit and the grass has reseeded. Lucky does not quite know what to make of grass seeds hitting her in the face? The new company is here this morning and the machines are roaring.

Okay, I think maybe I have some other things that require my attention here before I try to focus and write this blog!

We saw bananas growing on the trees. Crops that we were grateful were labeled: limes, oranges, lemons, etc. Coffee trees and macadamia nut groves.

I will try in the days to come to write about all of these.

I am so grateful to God – Mahalo! (thank you) – we were kept safe from physical harm. I got a couple bug bites, but no big deal! We were smart enough to recognize our limitations. Mourned a bit that we did not have the strength and stamina to snorkel. Wished we had made the trip 10-15 years ago, but that was not to be. Kept our sunscreen on. Saw many folks with sunburn. They actually inspired me to be careful and not envious. Amazing how the dermatologist inspired me, too, by cutting that thing I could not discern off my arm last winter.

Our mighty God traveled with us, met us there, and kept us in all of our activities and decisions not to participate in some things. All praise to His mighty name for ever! Mahalo, Lord, mahalo!!

According to Travel and Leisure, the word mahalo is a Hawaiian word used in all parts of Hawaii by Hawaiians to mean thank you and express gratitude. This word is often used as a greeting to express esteem, praise or admiration, or as a compliment with sincerity in every day life. You might say mahalo in return for delicious food if the good food really stuck you.  The word mahalo is three syllables – mah-hah-loh . Mahalo nui loa means thank you very much.

The word mahalo is more than just a thank you in Hawaiian thinking, It is a divine blessing on a spiritual level with a deeper meaning. This is used in everyday life and also on special occasions like the birthday of an elder or for sacredness like prayers or single-word blessings. Use this word respectfully.


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

Prom and Other Happenings

Remember Brody the flour covered dog? He got a date to prom!

This is that very long legged hound, if you recall from previous post!

Here is Ellie in her gown

And with her proud parents!

I was hoping the poppies I bought would bloom before we departed. The first one was orange and I hooray-ed! The second one was yellow and I was delighted!

And yes, spring warmth has finally arrived complete with humidity and emerging ferns!

I bought one fern in 1985. We have shared so many ferns off of the original plant. I have given the root away to friends and now we have them growing nicely at this our third and likely final house!!

Suitcases are packed. Laundry is done. Ride to airport arranged. Cannot believe it is finally time to go! We deliver Lucky to Lizzie tomorrow. Our house sitters are all set up. Woo-Hoo! Happy 52+ wedding anniversary to us!!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
    His love endures forever.

Psalm 118:1 NIV

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1 NIV

And let His people say Amen! And let the Robert Dutina family say Amen! Let all God’s people say Amen!

When you read this we are packing to go to Maui tomorrow! I am stunned writing these details. 🙂

Meal-worm Feeder and Tropics

At Wal-Mart I can buy a sack of dried meal-worms. The bluebirds absolutely love them. He is more bashful than she is. They come right to the window to get the food. She looks in and seems to check in with me. I tell her hello. He steals a bite and flies to the tree.

Sadly the starlings have found the feeder. If I am sitting here writing and the starlings arrive all I need do is tap the window and they take flight in fear. Yesterday I filled it for the bluebirds at about 11:00 AM. This morning it was totally empty. I know good and well those bluebirds could not have emptied that so quickly! I looked about on the ground to see if a mammal had tipped and tried to empty it. There were no worms on the ground. It was only a couple minutes before the starlings came by again. Grrr.

The Invasion Of The Starlings | A Moment of Science - Indiana Public Media

Now considered one of the worst nuisance birds in this country, Old World starlings were purposely introduced to Central Park, New York City in 1890 by a well-meaning but misguided man. The original 60 pairs that were released rapidly multiplied. Soon after, the American starling population exploded, and the species spread rapidly throughout the entire U.S. and much of Canada. Starlings are known to compete with, displace, and kill many native birds and their young. Starlings are now considered an invasive species and are despised by ecologists, birder enthusiasts, and business owners alike. So, yeah. They live here now.

Starlings are known to compete with, displace, and kill many native birds and their young. Starlings are considered an invasive species and are despised by ecologists, birder enthusiasts, business owners, and homeowners alike.


You can read more about starlings online.

So I suppose I will fill it only an inch or two on mornings I am writing. The bluebirds and I can enjoy each other’s company.

Speaking of mornings!! It has been rainy and gloomy for several days here. Temperatures dropped back into the forties and we all felt as if winter had returned. The sky cleared over night and this morning dawned glorious. The sky is that brilliant blue with the newly unfurled leaves looking fresh and tender. By August they will appear tough and worn out!

Last evening we watched a video on You Tube about driving the road to Hana on Maui. Bob woke up this morning ready to take on the curves and the long drive, seeing waterfalls and tropical plants. (I think he is mostly looking forward to the stop for fresh banana bread, he-he-he!!). Today we are starting to pack. By the time you read this we will most likely have taken the helicopter tour over Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii. I have difficulty imagining what that will even be like!

I suppose the bluebirds and starlings will have to fend for themselves then. Our trusty house-sitter Kathy will not be asked to fill the feeder!

Consider the birds of the air, some of them are invasive pests!! DO not be like them. Unless of course you are able to perform their murmurations. That is the only good thing I can say about starlings.

Veterinarian Book

Recently on NPR I heard about a new book entitled, The Other Family Doctor, by Karen Fine, D.V.M. I checked with the library and in a few weeks it was available for me to read. Not wanting to drag it to Hawaii I blazed through it.

I love true stories about animals and most of this book was no exception. For many pages she wrote about the emotional toll that euthanasia takes upon a vet. I almost returned the book to the library without finishing it. But I am glad I read on to the end. She explores many avenues of medical care for animals.It is an interesting read.

This important topic should be written about and discussed. The topic of veterinarians and the wave of suicide hitting that profession should be discussed. Recently I stopped in at Lucky’s vet’s office. As they processed the sample I was dropping off I noticed a sign on the counter informing people of a family saying good bye to their pet, asking others it please be respectful and keep their voices down. That event was not occurring right then. I asked the desk staff if they had read the book. (One of the persons standing there was the office manager.) They had not heard about it but were highly interested. I told them I would be finished soon and they could request it from the library.

If you want to thank your vet or their staff you might consider purchasing the book for their office.

Home - Karen Fine, DVM

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

Genesis 1:6 KJV

Our animal companions have their own personality. They bring comfort to most of us and delight us with their antics.

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!