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Faith Humor Memories Spiritual growth Traveling

In the Gap of a Stone Wall

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;  but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

-Luke 12:19-21 New Revised Standard Version.

When I was a child my mother collected Betty Crocker coupons points from flour and box mixes. When we had saved enough points we could order things from the Betty Crocker catalog. Researching this article I realized that is likely where she ordered my baby spoon from!

When I was a young teen we had a Home Economics class. The teacher told us to to choose an everyday flatware pattern based upon our preference of design and how easy it would be to keep the pattern clean. My mother let me use her coupons to order this spoon.

Yep! I still have it. The design is great to get frozen hard gelato out of the container! 🙂

When we were in Ireland we were fascinated by the multitude of stone walls. The land is so rocky that those smart people used the stones to build with. Walking in a village one day the roadway was lined with stone walls on either side. I noticed something shining out of the wall. I pulled on it and much to my surprise was the item below!

At first glance what does it remind you of? I could not have been more shocked!

Side by side you can see they are not identical, but I was shocked to see the similarities! Was someone walking to work eating and finished their food? Decided to store the fork for later? Then forgot where it was? I will never know, but it became one of my found souvenirs. The tines are a little bent but I treasure it. I do not value it over my Lord. Unless He fills me and guides me with His Holy Spirit I am as useless as a fork stuck in the gaps of a stone wall.

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Humor Marriage and Memories Traveling

Ireland 2011

We traveled to Ireland to celebrate my belated 60th birthday. When we went walking the first morning my ears immediately perked up to the lambs in the distance. They were crying and as they did it pierced my heart. I could not help but remember that I am under the care of the Great Shepherd, no matter what continent or island I am walking upon.

In the Old Testament God is called the Shepherd of His people.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters
” Psalm 23:1-2

In the New Testament Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

As we meandered through the lanes of Glendalough I could tell by the cries we were getting closer and closer to the lamb. Then we turned a corner and there it was! Bob caught this tremendous photo of it on the hillside. There were other ewes and lambs around it.

r m dutina

Right after he snapped the photo I busted out the laughing as the lamb sneezed, and then rolled a bit down the hillside. What a sense of humor my God has!

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
Covid 19 Nature Poetry Traveling

Now what?

Aren’t you tired of holding your breath? We are a world on edge. Global economy has nothing on global society right now. The Thanksgiving rush is all but over. The crowds have traveled and mingled among family members from far and wide. The sharing went beyond turkey and pies.

Experts are saying we are in for the worst winter in our history. I was appalled when they said 3,000 might die. Now we are counting deaths in the hundred thousands and climbing. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

 
 Blanket © Molly Lin Dutina 2020  
  
 Magical morning
 White blanket covers the browns and grays
 of Autumn
 Speaks of winter to come
 Will there be 30 snowfalls since this
 Occurred on the 30th of November
 Sloppy wet snow
 Yet a welcome change
 During monotony of pandemic
  
 Next morning the snow was plastered
 On every branch and tree trunk
 Sky the color of snow
 Wind chills will be coldest
 We have felt since pandemic began
 
 Lord, what about the lonely
 The homeless and those stricken 
 With the virus
 Cover them, I pray, with Your Wings of mercy
 Show me how to help 
 In the midst of the awfulness 
    
Categories
Amazing Creations Nature Traveling

Remember the Incomplete Hike?

Remember when I described trying to hike to Piedra Falls? We could not get all the way to the falls due to mud and steep grade? Dan did spot a sight for us though! Wheeling above us was a Golden Eagle. So much fun to travel with our best friends! I found a photo on the web.

Dan knows how to identify birds in flight much better than I do. We were delighted to catch a glimpse of a golden eagle in its natural habitat. I liked the web photo below, too. What a wonder!!

Golden Eagle -Aquila chrysaetos- in flight, landing at a bait place, Kainuu, Utajarvi, Nordfinnland, Finland

Bob was certain we saw another in the field one morning. As you can tell from my snapshot, the web photos are much better!

Or is it a big hawk at the corner of the fences?

Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high?  It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is its stronghold.  From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar.

Job 39:27-29 NIV
Categories
Amazing Creations Humor Traveling

Two Persons This Grammy is SO Proud Of!

So we were traveling from Colorado to New Mexico and stopped for lunch at Rio Chama Coffee in Chama, New Mexico. My photo did not come out great, so this is their photo from the website.

There was a mother and daughter seated near us on the outdoor patio – but not too near of course! After looking at this white van in the parking lot for a while, I finally approached them and asked if that was their van. They said, “Yes.” I asked if it was okay with them if I took a photo of the logo on the window. I explained that our Grandgirls in Ohio both play volleyball. Unlikely they will ever meet for a match. As far as I know no Native American teams play in our girls’ tournaments!

So proud of our #6!
And our #32 Athlete! Photo by Robert Dutina
High flying Grandgirl Photo by Robert Dutina

Both girls are well grounded in their family, though you certainly cannot tell by looking at their flying and jumping skills! 😉

Categories
Amazing Creations Nature Traveling

From the Truck

My sister drives a truck in Colorado. I wondered how she managed to get in it. I am taller than her and it was a stretch for me! Well, Bob took me for a ride in the truck and a CD was in the player. Cowboy and western classics. So when you view this video, that is what you hear in the background, and of course, the breeze!

And this tiny Aspen is next to Ponderosa Pines. I was startled to see what we in the east call “Spanish moss” hanging from the pines. I supposed Colorado might have another name for that, too! Any way there was moss hanging from some of the tree boughs. Not nearly as spectacular as in the southern US.

Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:9 NIV
Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Traveling

Long Legged Skunk

While driving in Colorado we passed a particular cattle ranch going to and from the ranch where we were staying and the town of Pagosa Springs. I spotted something I had never seen before! A skunk with huge long legs. I laughed out loud and made Bob turn around so he could see it too!!

Do you see it? Almost center of the photo? Just a bit right of center!

Yep! Every time we drove past I looked for the long-legged skunk. Trying to get a good photo for you. It was not always in the pasture.

I found this hilarious! Maybe it was the altitude. Maybe it was the injury from the ATV. Actually it’s called ” ‘Riggit’ Galloway cattle. They are a well documented archaic strain of Galloway, easily identifiable by the white stripe, running down their spine. The white colouration may include a widening of the stripe to cover much of the back, particularly on the hind quarters.” Information taken from the website https://www.riggitgallowaycattlesociety.co.uk/

Colorado likely has their own name for it. In the Old Testament (Genesis 30) distinctions were made between animals with spots, without spots, etc. I wonder how this kind of distinguished cattle would have been categorized?

Categories
Aging Amazing Creations Faith Marriage and Memories Nature Traveling

And then …

When we first arrived in Colorado, Bob had taught the family how to drive the mule and the ATVs. They especially liked those ATVs! One evening Bob was going out into the meadow with Emily and Ellie on the ATVs. He really wanted me to go as his passenger. So I agreed and off we went. Through the meadow and the hard to open gate, on to the next meadow.

So we were tooling around the meadow, taking in the sights and even doing selfies! So unlike us old folks.

We came to a gully-ditch. Emily got off their ATV and guided Ellie how to drive through it. We came over and they assured Bob that he, too, could drive through it. As the passenger, I never even saw the thing. After Emily gave Bob instructions everyone began hollering at me to “HOLD ON!!!” There is a steel bar that runs around the passenger area of the ATV. I suppose it is designed to tie down cargo, but also provides hand holds for a passenger. So I held on and Bob drove into the ditch. Little did I know I was about to join the Camp Grenada group.

As he drove down the black bar I was holding to came up and banged me in both elbows. I instinctively let go. At which point I proceeded to get a whiplash from my groin to top of my head. We made it to the other side. I was not thrown off the ATV. I cried in pain, shock and surprise at being hurt. I composed myself after a couple minutes and we continued. We reached another gully as we headed for home. As they debated how to cross I insisted Bob just let me off! I began to walk for home.

They got across that gully and I got back on. We made it home. Both my elbows turned dark purple. The ATV had hit my back across the bottom of my shoulder blades and along my lower back. Lots of pain that night. Went to bed with pillows under both elbows, neck and any other place that hurt.

I moved very slowly the next day and the day after that. I missed posts here the last few weeks because of doctor appointments, x-rays, physical therapy and finally an MRI. Determination is I have more arthritis in my spine than previously. As far as anyone can tell nothing is broken. Bone bruises on elbows may take a long time to go away. No results on MRI yet. From what I have read whiplash can also take a long time to heal. Oy! soft tissue, please heal.

So our Camp Grenada experience continued. One friend said it sounded like a bad movie. But you know what? It was a beautiful place. We were so grateful to be able to take family and friends there. We likely can never go back because of breathing difficulties. Overall, it was a grand way to celebrate 50 years of marriage. Betty is finally out of the boot and did not have to have surgery for her broken ankle. Bob;s wounds are all healed up. We think his knee is not torn again. Time will tell!

My dear friend, Betty, remembered this saying and I will adopt it for myself.

“Growing old gracefully means letting go of the things you can no longer do and rejoicing in the things you can still do.”

Ah! Grandeur of Yellow Ponderosa Pine right outside your window!

 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;  to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.  For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.  How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!

Psalm 92:1-2,4-5 (NRSV)
Categories
Memories Nature Special Event Traveling

Other Sites in the Area

There was a one room school house basically surrounded now by cow pastures!! The sign reads “Debs School was attended during summer grades 1-8. Constructed 1930.” When our son-in-law, Dave, spoke with the Colorado water man who came driving past the cabins one day he said he went there as a child. Dave really wanted to go inside but the man did not who to contact or if that was even possible.

Always when returning to the ranch one must unlock and open the gate. Let driver though and then close and re-lock gate. My sister had taught me the how-tos on that over 20 years ago. Here I am doing the chore while Bob drove the vehicle.

My sister told us to be on the look out for their flock of mountain bluebirds. I saw many in the meadows while Bob drove back and forth to Pagosa Springs, but never could catch a photo. They are known to migrate in flocks of 50 or so. Below is a photo I found on the internet. I was delighted seeing so many together!

Mountain bluebird near Tower Jct; Jim Peaco; April 2013; Catalog #20016d; Original #IMG_9980

I included the scrubby photo below so you could see the hostile environment the thistle was growing in. Certain Bob and Dan could have gotten better photos. Remember I was shooting from inside the vehicle. If we had stopped for every photo we wanted we might not be home yet! This is musk thistle and considered an invasive weed. That color does POP! though.

“Oh, and you must eat at Kip’s!” instructed Paula. My sister was afraid the pandemic might have closed down one of her favorite restaurants, Kip’s. They were able to survive. Bob and I split an enormous green chili burger there! Wow! what a great feast! And GOOD guacamole not loaded with raw onion.

I did not eat the jalapenos!