Hello Again!

We were on vacation and I have been trying a medication change. Put together I not only did not write, I did not even post that I would return in a week or so.

What was I thinkin’? Not much evidently! Close friends told me to take a break. Somehow I thought I could press on. Oh well.

In case you have not been to the Atlantic ocean lately, here is a sequence of sunrise photos for your enjoyment. Bob said I would have to get up early if I wanted to see the sunrise. I was up before he was that one day. It was the ONLY morning I got up for the entire display!

5:37 AM Yes, Mercury, Venus and I do not know what else shining up there!
5:45 AM Can barely see planets now
6:20 AM Wondered will it rain here today? {It did not}
Another 6:20 image further to the left
6:26 AM Here she comes!
6:29 AM There she is accented with a Pac Man smile
6:36 AM

And then it became too bright to photograph or write on the deck!

In the last photo you can see the gulls began to awaken and scream over the sea. Soon the pelicans would begin to patrol in troops seeking breakfast.

I hope the 7 sunrise photos amused you. I was delighted to break our usual routine and see the ocean once again. I stand and praise as in Nehemiah,

And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.”

“Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

“You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham.

Nehemiah 9:5-7 NIV

So, too, may the Lord God call you out of enemy territory and name you as His own. I pray you will follow wherever He leads you, just as Abraham did. Amen.

2013 Flash of My Possible Future

From my Journal: 13-4-22 Woman at Porter’s Creek, Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Lady’s Slipper, Wild Orchid

On our hunt for Lady’s Slippers, I saw a woman at Porter’s Creek trail today with a walker that rolled and had a seat. At first sight, my thought was negative. Second thought was that her walk is HARDER than walking under my own pained power … but she was there to see the same sights as me.

Her progress was slow, but she was more cheerful than me when I stopped to speak with her. As we parted she asked the Lord’s blessing upon me. She posed the question, “Well, what else are we going to do?” We cope as best we can and go on with our lives.

Listen to me, O house of Jacob,

    all the remnant of the house of Israel,

who have been borne by me from your birth,

    carried from the womb;

even to your old age I am he,

    even when you turn gray I will carry you.

I have made, and I will bear;

    I will carry and will save.

Isaiah 46:3-4 NRSV

That was 2013. Today in 2022, I can still walk without a cane or walker, but the pain is stronger from the arthritis and fibromyalgia than previously. I am trying to move more. I do not stretch as much as I should. I have been given strong medication for when I have a flare and cannot bear it. I do not want that medication, but it is here if needed.

Praying I can be as cheerful today as she was as I get to walk the dog, see flower bulbs getting ready to bloom, wash windows! If living brings me a walker and limited mobility I want to be cheerful then, too!

So even to old age and gray hairs,

    O God, do not forsake me,

until I proclaim your might

    to all the generations to come.

Psalm 71:18 NRSV

Psalm 1

Like a tree planted by streams of water …..

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3 Living Bible

We recently got away for a few days. It was so refreshing just to get out of town and break up the daily routine. Whew! When we arrived at our room it was gloomy, early evening and beginning to rain. We did not notice much outside our windows except for a pond/lake. The next morning I could not wait to get outside when I saw this!

I had already been thinking for a few days about Psalm 1 and the tree planted by the streams of water. Been wondering how to write about that tree theme and there it was!

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,

    whose trust is the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water,

    sending out its roots by the stream.

It shall not fear when heat comes,

    and its leaves shall stay green;

in the year of drought it is not anxious,

    and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NRSV

The willow tree! Her lower branches almost touch the water.

There was a willow tree that grew on the edge of Kuhner’s field. I played there when I was growing up. Daffodils, a stream and a willow tree. Land snails that left me their discarded shells. I was close to heaven there. I used to play under the branches of the willow assuming that no one could see me. Hidden there in her long wavy arms my imagination was allowed to be still or run wild. The tree did not care which I chose.

Bob and I have been fascinated for decades how the tendrils and buds on the willow turn yellow before other things are giving a hint of spring to come. Now I am in room 303 and out our windows are 3 willow trees planted by this water.

From my journal: “Wood ducks and Canada geese vie for position on the water. Those ducks glide past as if propelled by some force other than themselves. Lord, help me relax and let You propel me today. Help me not to talk too much. Hush me from giving suggestions. Let me just look, watch, ask You for ways to follow You more closely. Increase my trust in You I pray.”

And yes, those trees sent out lots and lots of roots! Look at the opening photo (top of page). Not always easy to see the path of tree roots, but these are easily delineated in the strange winter grass that almost looks like moss.

We arrived in rain. Enjoyed a day of sun and our last morning there was SNOW! I did not venture out to get a shot of snow on the willow buds.

My photo above taken indoors and the chandelier light is reflected on the window (oops!). What a difference in weather!

You can see those willow tendrils in these photos. “Their leaves shall never wither. Never having fear or anxiety.” Yes, Lord! I want to be like these trees. Help me to trust You and drink daily from Your Living Water. Help me to delight in You and meditate on Your word day and night. Make me deeply rooted and grounded, established in Your love. (Ephesians 3:17)

You Lord are my hope and my salvation. Help me become a tree to Your glory, a living testament to Your power at work in 2022. Help me delight in doing everything You want me to do.

Insisted

Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.

Ezekiel 43:1-2 NIV

Last time we went to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, I insisted we go behind the falls again. There are hallways there that let you stand right behind the falling water. The water moves at about 150,000 American gallons per second. The sound is glorious! It does not matter that from behind it only shows in grays and white. I’ve found no other experience like it in this world. On this video the sound is somewhat distorted as the water falling is so loud! Sadly, as is usual in our lives there are human voices competing for the experience of being heard. Perhaps play it twice; once with sound and once without, yet listening for His word to you today.

Listening, a powerful force we each have, yet few use. Do we truly listen to others or simply formulate our response as they speak. Do we listen for their heart and intention or guess what they are going to say then interrupt, not letting them even finish a sentence?

How about in our faith life? Do we think we have all the answers? Are we truly listening for the guidance and wisdom of God for ourselves? Too often I think we are like the people in the desert with Moses.

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

Exodus 20:18-20

They no longer wanted to experience God. Our refusal to go to God ourselves has made for terrible sin in the world. There has been an awful rash of crime in America by churches groups that come under the sway of one person or a small group of persons then fall into sin because the people do not seek God themselves. The people just go along like deaf lambs.

How can we claim intimacy with Jesus if we never spend time alone with Him? The risen Christ wants to live in and through you. Will you allow that? I believe some denominations have grieved the Spirit of God by claiming the indwelling was just in the past. Unleashing that mighty power of the Spirit in each Christian would unleash the power of God for salvation and redemption that no governing church body could rule unless they were acutely in-tune with His will and His purposes. Even then, the leaders might not rule but only cooperate with the work of God. At times that scares leaders to pieces, so they clamp down on control measures.

“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power …” to grasp and to know this love that surpasses knowledge and be filled with all the fullness of God. Can you imagine the roar of His voice if we would let ourselves be filled with this living water? Indeed, just as in Ezekiel, the land would be radiant with His glory.

Speak, Lord, we are listening.

Inspired by Visit to Teampall Bhreasain, County Galway, Ireland

©2011 Molly Lin Dutina

Through the window of the ages
Past the thick walls of time
Stands a symbol of death
Nay! Bright resurrection
Hope of all men

The rough stones placed
In geometrically sound patterns
Of worship, of honor, of praise
Roofless now 
that heaven may freely break through 
to us of long ages later
Arches , capstones, edges of time
Torn by the worship of long ago
Until our hearts are lifted up
To worship the same lovely truth

You came for us
You come to us still
To have us for Your own
Encircling with Spirit
Invading with Holy
Illumine our techno age
With truth of heaven
Power of Holy
Spirit of Life

Giant Tree and Roots

During his life in California my father-in-law, Dragomir Dutina, was a volunteer and supporter at Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum. The photo above is my husband, Robert, standing at the roots of the massive Moreton Bay Fig Tree which grows there. If you are ever in Fremont California you might want to stop by there 1251 Peralta Blvd., Fremont, CA.

Regarding the Moreton Bay Fig Tree Wikipedia says Ficus macrophylla, commonly known as the Moreton Bay fig or Australian banyan, is a large evergreen banyan tree of the family Moraceae native to eastern Australia, from the Wide Bay–Burnett region in the north to the Illawarra in New South Wales, as well as Lord Howe Island. Its common name is derived from Moreton Bay in Queensland, Australia. It is best known for its imposing buttress roots.

The Shinn family imported many specimens for their home garden. This one is SO impressive. Wouldn’t you think by the photo that this tree has massive underground roots? So why all the visible big roots? Have you ever visited a gothic cathedral with ‘flying buttresses?”

Washington National Cathedral

Again Wikipedia says: Buttress roots are large, wide roots on all sides of a shallowly rooted tree. Typically, they are found in nutrient-poor tropical forest soils that may not be very deep. They prevent the tree from falling over (hence the name buttress) while also gathering more nutrients. Buttresses are tension elements, being larger on the side away from the stress of asymmetrical canopies.[1] The roots may interwind with buttress roots from other trees and create an intricate mesh, which may help support trees surrounding it. They can grow up to 30 feet (9.1 m) tall and spread for 30 metres above the soil then for another 30 metres below. When the roots spread horizontally, they are able to cover a wider area for collecting nutrients. They stay near the upper soil layer because all the main nutrients are found there.

Wait! All that show and massive growth is because of shallow roots? Well, maybe not because it says if 30 metres above the soil perhaps 30 metres below the soil, too. 30 metres, 98 FEET. “They prevent the tree from falling over while also gathering nutrients.”

Have you known Christians who sport large canopies (hear many words about God) but perhaps their root system seems flimsy? Have you noticed buttress roots about them? I knew people who were proud that they could recite all the books of the Bible. I always wondered how they did at actually LIVING one verse. Living any one verse is harder than it seems.

Many of us try to show others our faith with large financial donations, bragging, and flying buttresses made of arguments about faith, strong convictions about God’s judgements and meanings. I think St. Francis had it right when he said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words when necessary.”

I pray along with Paul that ‘out of His glorious riches God may strengthen you with power through the Spirit in your inner being …and you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to GRASP how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, to KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge.’ (Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV)

Out of His riches God can help us to know these things. Give Him your hands so He can give you the power to grasp these things. Once you have hold of it let Him show you how to use this power and knowledge. If you forget and the knowledge slips out of your hands, go back and ask Him to help you again. Oh Father, that we might bring delight to Your heart through these actions. I pray it all for your glory. Amen.

Like Dragomir’s great-grandson hold firmly to the roots of love in Christ

Blow up Characters and WOW! Look at That!

With Omicron variant of Covid on the rampage we have once again taken going for a drive as our best amusement.

Okay, pet peeve here. If you own some of those blow up characters PLEASE put in a light bulb bright enough to actually illuminate the character at night. So frustrating to look at the blows ups and not really see the design!

Have you noticed how sad and might I even say deflated the characters look when they are not blown up? We were taking a drive around the county and saw a rooster and chicken pecking amidst the deflated characters in the yard. Made me wonder if they cause any damage with those beaks and spurs?

We also saw an amazing bird that I was not able to photograph from the road. It was so wonderful that Bob drove a mile to find a turn around so he could see it too. I said, “It might not wait there for us!” Whew! still there, though we did not see it at first pass. Had to turn around again and go direction we were when I first spotted it. High in a tree it perched. Shades of gray over large shoulders and back. I believe it was a great gray owl.

Grey Owl Meaning? One online source said: “Seeing a grey owl represents the mystery, and trusting that everything will work out even if you don’t fully understand it. The universe is working on you under the surface, and this is a time to trust in the bigger picture.”

So if you have blow up characters and chickens perhaps you can enlighten me?

If you have an owl who visits your property regularly you just might live on Bootjack Road in Clermont County.

The one we saw looked even larger!

For more information on these amazing owls go to https://ebird.org/species/grgowl

And that reminds me. In high school I had an art teacher, Mr. O’Neill, who painted on rocks. I have had this in or on my desk ever since!

Stunned by Chaco

Once while visiting New Mexico Dan and Betty took us to a collection of fascinating ruins. I honestly wondered what the big deal was as we bumped and crashed down a potholed gravel road for what seemed like miles and mile. To this day when I come across one of our photos from there I am stunned to silence.

The Chaco ruins give a bit of insight into life that thrived about the 9th to 12th century BC. Window openings that have lasted all these eons. Doorways, walls, evidence of a large ancient civilization. How did they built these?

https://www.worldhistory.org/Chaco_Canyon/ notes “Chacoans built epic works of public architecture which were without precedent in the prehistoric North American world and which remained unparalleled in size and complexity until historic times – a feat which required long-term planning and significant social organization. Precise alignment of these buildings with the cardinal directions and with the cyclical positions of the sun and moon, along with an abundance of exotic trade items found within these buildings, serve as an indication that Chaco was an advanced society with deep spiritual connections to the surrounding landscape.”

What does this have to do with December 2021? Possibly more than you might think!

I found this reference that made me want to run to the kitchen and start getting out cups and marshmallows 🙂 at https://ourplace.co/drinking-hot-chocolate-prevent-alzheimers-boosting-blood-flow-brain/ they report Drinking hot chocolate could prevent Alzheimer’s by boosting blood flow to the brain

Drinking just two cups of hot chocolate a day helps elderly people keep their brains healthy and their minds sharp by boosting the blood flow to their brains.

Homeinstead reports that ‘we’re learning more about blood flow in the brain and its effect on thinking skills,’ said lead author Dr Farzaneh Sorond, from Harvard Medical School. ‘As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.’”

Back to Chaco from https://www.worldhistory.org/Chaco_Canyon: “The presence of cacao provides evidence of a transfer not only of tangible goods but of ideas from Mesoamerica to Chaco. Cacao was revered by the Maya civilization who used it to make beverages which were frothed by pouring back and forth between jars before consuming during rituals reserved for the elite. Traces of cacao residue were found on potsherds in the canyon likely from tall cylindrical jars which were located in sets nearby and which are similar in form to those used during Maya rituals.”

“It is likely that many of these extravagant trade items, in addition to cacao, played a ceremonial role. They were found predominantly at great houses in enormous quantities within storerooms and burial rooms, alongside items with ritual connotations – carved wooden staffs and flutes and animal effigies. At Pueblo Bonito alone, one room was found to contain more than 50,000 pieces of turquoise, another 4,000 pieces of jet (a dark-colored sedimentary rock) and 14 macaw skeletons.”

I realize that cocoa and hot chocolate are different from one another, but hey! As one source wrote: “Cocoa is a familiar ingredient, whether used for baking or to make hot chocolate, but cacao may be a little less known. With the popularity of eating whole and natural foods as well as vegan diets, however, we are hearing the word more and more with each passing season. It is easy to get confused as to the difference between the two since cocoa and cacao actually have a lot in common, the most important being chocolate.”

So I will raise my cup of hot chocolate to the Chaco architects today and rejoice that I do not have to grind beans to retrieve chocolate. I am also so glad that this is no longer reserved for just the elite! Sure, mine is highly processed, but oh so good! And mixed with coffee to make a mocha? Wow!

Oil Pumps

When we traveled to Mount Vernon, Ohio I was noticing again the contrast between Texas size and Ohio size oil operation sizes. I grew up being fascinated by the oil pumps throughout Pennsylvania and to a lesser extent Ohio.

I previously wrote https://wordpress.com/post/treasures-in-plain-sight.org/1706 discussing oil pumps from Odessa to Dallas. When we recently traveled through Ohio I was remembering the giant “grasshopper” pumps of Texas compared to Ohio.

Ohio pump taller than the corn
Ohio pump shorter than the trees
Ohio pump much shorter than the trees

Compared to Texas:

r m dutina – compare to power pole

And speaking of collection tanks?

Large Ohio congregation
Likely private Ohio tank

Then there was a rainy day in Texas.

r m dutina

So there were likely some errors in my reporting. Maybe the white tanks above were in an oil processing center? I was mostly trying to compare and contrast the size of operations.

In light of the recent oil spill in California, perhaps little pumps in Ohio and Pennsylvania are best?

Dogs and Bowling

So I had an errand in Northern Kentucky. I took a wrong turn and immediately realized I had taken the same wrong turn a few weeks earlier. Went to turn around at Lowe’s. Noticed a big banner sign that said “Bowling.” I did not catch the name of the alley, but it was there. Right next to it was a medical office that was called Bowling Chiropractic. Had me laughing! I could just hear, “Well, doc, I wrenched my back on the spare. Can you fix me up for the next frame?”

Once back in Ohio near home, I stopped at the grocery. Saw this sight and asked him if he was going to drive?

I looked to the left and started laughing at this sight.

Look closely! There are 2 in there.

A woman to my right started calling, “Wait! I have one too!”

Since they were all confined I thought it was a hilarious day at the grocery parking lot. When I finished my shopping they had all departed. I think we had a mix of boxers and maybe a pit bull.

Keep your eye out for simple, amusing treasures in plain sight!