Categories
Aging Faith Memories Special Event

January Flowers

January is the month to purchase flowers at Kroger’s. They had roses for $10 a dozen. I ordered the color I liked through Click List. They were gorgeous! There is no certainty these days that roses will open in a lovely fashion, or wilt and bend over, or stay frozen in the pose of the bud. These opened gradually and in a remarkable fashion. Especially at $10 a dozen! I also splurged and ordered a bunch of tulips. They did not have the small bunch I ordered, so they queried the proposal that I mighty want to accept the larger bunch in its place. Well, certainly! Especially since they only charged me the smaller bunch price.

The wonderful thing about tulips, once they are cut – they are the only cut flower that continues to grow after being cut. (I think I learned that from a weatherman on TV.) So I made arrangements of the two flowers.

Four days later the arrangements looked rangy. The tulips had grown, as Tim Hedricks told us. So I cut the tulips back and changed the water, letting them bloom on!

Aren’t they sweet? Too bad they have no fragrance!

I liked them so much I bought the two flowers again this week, although in different colors! They are especially soothing as we tear up the house, take down photos and favorite things off the walls getting ready to show this house. We have lived here about 15 years. Last time we moved we had lived there 30 years. Raised two kiddos there. So this is not as emotional as leaving where the babies grew up. We do have some wonderful memories here, though. As I went out to walk Lucky last night I remembered the Peter, Paul and Mary song that started, “This house goes on sale every Wednesday morning And taken off the market in the afternoon.” Written by Tom Jones. Now Taylor, if you read that, it’s just a song! You know we intend to move!

I counted in the bedroom. Bob had about 20 nail holes to patch. And my favorite deep purple wall will need painting according to realtor advice. The realtor wants to meet in about 4 weeks and show the house March 1. Seems too early to me, but we are adamant about a clause that gives us two weeks to move out AFTER we close on the new one.

Glad we did not wait until we were any older to do this! Every evening we are weary and making lists of what else needs to be done. Quite a pandemic distraction!

Categories
Aging Beagle Faith Family Humor Memories

Oswald Chambers

I have read his book My Utmost for His Highest for many years. This year I bought myself a perpetual page-a-day calendar with his personal prayers entitled Knocking at God’s Door. Here is the prayer for January 11:

Lord, the hilarious simplicity of trust in You seems almost levity until I remember You, and dare not not be glad! Spread joy and gladness all around us this day.

Oswald Chambers

Usually there are things of joy and gladness around me IF I will simply notice. When our children were young, say 1977-1987, we were able to purchase a small vacuum called a “DustBuster.”

A CLASSIC CREATION – – An original 1979 model of the Black & Decker DustBuster (pictured here), as of 1995, is a permanent part of the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., right next to one of Thomas Edison’s first light bulbs and Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephones in the National Museum of American History wing. The handy vac is celebrating its 30th birthday in 2009. (Image courtesy of Black & Decker / NOT for sale via The Times)

Today I learned from Wikipedia: “The design originated from the Apollo space mission, where NASA required a portable, self-contained drill capable of extracting core samples from the lunar surface. Black & Decker was tasked with the job, and developed a computer program to optimize the design of the drill’s motor and ensure minimal power consumption. That computer program led to the development of a cordless miniature vacuum cleaner.”

We got rid of that appliance years ago. Now we are going to build a new home that will have mostly laminate floors that look like wood. I found a good sale at Kohl’s and on the advice of a friend purchased a Eureka vacuum called a Blaze. It has a long handle and a floor attachments which can both be removed to create, yep! a ‘Dustbuster.’ Bob is using it right now as he patches places where we have hung photos frames, sands and paints the patch. No, it is not cordless, but it seems more powerful than the original one we owned.

Wikipedia continues: “By this time, (about 2008) it is estimated that over 100 million “Dustbusters” had been sold. “Dustbuster” has become a genericized trademark for a handheld vacuum cleaner in some parts of the world, due to its success as a design and worldwide recognition.” Just like we call facial tissues, Kleenex, and cotton swabs, Q-tips.

I find it so amusing that over 40 years ago we needed one to clean up after kiddos and now we need one to clean up after ourselves and our hairy dog! Yes, Beagles do SHED!!

Be glad and spread some joy today. Even if the gladness comes from a simple appliance like a Dustbuster!

Categories
Aging Faith Family Memories Thanks

Comfort

When I was 17 by family of origin blew up. I ended up in Juvenile Court and was made a ward of the state until my 18th birthday, several months later. My mother and stepfather were deemed unfit to finish raising me. I went to live with Becky’s family. She was my friend all through our public school years. Her Dad drove me to high school everyday, with Becky and her brothers. Those mornings Dwight was on his way to teach music at the elementary school where my cousins attended. Her parents attended the same Episcopal church where I attended. They had at least 5 kids and were willing to house me until classes began at University of Cincinnati.

Becky’s mother’s name was Maria. I admired her so very much. She was a tremendous comfort giver without trite sayings or false wisdom. Once when I was upset over the family blow up she drew me into her large kitchen. They had a huge gas range with a drawer on one side.

It might have looked like this.

In the drawer she kept her saltine crackers. They were never stale from humidity because of the pilot light in the range. They also were warm. She sat me down at the table, made some tea and brought out those crackers with jelly. I was comforted by her listening skills, but also by her comfort food.

Maria was a lovely lady of faith and artistry. Her home was a comfort. I saw her many years later with a brace on both wrists. She suffered from arthritis. My heart was saddened by her pain. She assured me the braces helped. I never dreamed then that I too would someday wear a wrist brace.

She told me once how her beloved husband, Dwight, courted her and brought her a bouquet of Sweet Pea flowers. I planted Sweet Peas and was able to take her a bouquet.

I miss her dearly and think of her often. She is one of those women I want to emulate. May God bless her soul and keep her close in heaven. I look forward to seeing her again!

Categories
Faith politics Prayer Spiritual growth

NPR Interview

I rarely comment on politics, but the events of last week hit those of us in the USA very hard. I heard this broadcast on Sunday January 10, 2021. I am only sharing a portion of it with you. I first met Bishop Curry when he was a priest leading an Associates Retreat at the Convent of the Transfiguration. His teaching and preaching deeply impacted my spiritual journey. If you care to listen to or read the full transcript go to https://www.npr.org/2021/01/10/955479453/how-faith-leaders-are-finding-hope-in-dark-times

“And finally today, we wanted to acknowledge that it’s been difficult for many of us to think about the events of this past week without a fair amount of anxiety or anger or confusion about what comes next. Perhaps you’re looking for some words of wisdom or comfort that can be heard above all the shouting. For that, we asked some of the faith leaders who we’ve talked to in the past on this program to share some of their thoughts for the current moment. We’ll start with Bishop Michael Curry presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

“MICHAEL CURRY: Three questions I’m finding helpful in these days of difficulty and hardship for us all. Sometimes it helps to just ask, what hurts? What’s wrong? And in this time of pandemic, it’s helpful to name where the pain is coming from. It’s important for those who are sick or who have died to remember them, to let their memory be a blessing. But then don’t stop there. After you ask what hurts, ask what helps to be better and to be more and to endure, to survive and even to thrive. And then lastly, but not least, what can I do to help? What can I do to be a blessing to somebody else? What hurts, what helps, how can I help – may well make all the difference when we live those questions.”

He ended with ‘when we live those questions.’ Are you willing to ask not only others, but yourself, those questions?

My friend Dianna was married for 60 years to Marvin. He died at home last week, under Hospice Care from cancer. I called Dianna this week to ask how she was doing. She has been his care giver for several years as he was dying. She said she is fine. Many people have called to check in on her, and for that she is grateful. One gal from our church went to her house and put cream on the bottom of her feet. Dianna cannot reach her one foot anymore and the doctor had said that cream would help the discomfort in that foot. Twice she told me, in amazement, about this gal who was willing to do that. I have gone to pick up her grocery order, but have never asked about her feet.

“Words of wisdom or comfort that can be heard above all the shouting.” This morning I remembered there was a prayer about conflict in the Book of Common Prayer. I am all for extemporaneous prayer; however, there are times when a written prayer helps me out.


O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

BCP #28. In Times of Conflict

Forbearance means patient self control; restraint and tolerance. I believe that the laws in our Nation are for the mutual good of the people. Father, stir our hearts to forbearance and respect for one another. Deliver us from the tendency to think violence can solve our problems.

We said repeatedly that the Pandemic brought situations in 2020 that we have never experienced in our lifetime. Most of us know that even with the vaccines, 2021 will bring Pandemic situations we never before imagined such as limiting medical care to patients, running out of oxygen supplies in hospitals, continued deaths. Now the insurrection on the Capitol building has brought another occurrence we never, ever wanted to see in our lifetime. God help us all to draw closer to You and find Your rest.

James 4:8 (NLT2)  Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

James 4:10 (NLT2)  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Categories
Amazing Creations Faith Humor Nature Poetry Spiritual growth

Pour Out

There is an old nursery rhyme that with one hand on your hip and the other one extended, you recite, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout; here is my handle, here is my spout. When I get all steamed up then I shout, Tip me over and pour me out.”

Then there is the “adult” version with both hands on your hips, you say, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout; here is my handle, here is my…Oh damn, I’m a sugar bowl!” Bob Dutina’s absolute favorite, recited at least twice a month!!

No tea set is complete without a cup. Ray Bradbury had this sentiment.

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

Ray Bradbury quoted by Gratefulness.org

What is your plan for 2021 regarding “letting the beautiful stuff out?” Or do you have one? When I had two blogs going the other one was called Stand and Tip. I eventually realized that one blog would be better. Here is the poem that inspired me to begin two blogs. Perhaps I Could Ask You Just to Stand and Tip? ©1990 Molly Lin Dutina      

 
 1.
  
 Lily pads at the pond                  
 Grow on stalky stems
 Leaves unfold an opened palm
 Cupped at center point
 Summer shower starts to drop
 Mercurial glistening spheres
 Gathering in the center spot
 ‘til bulbous weight smears silver drops
 Into glistening globs
 And tips the leaves so full
 To pour their contents overboard
 And rising from the spill
 Stately shielded lily-hands
 Begin the cycle once more
  
 Keep my stem flexible, Lord
 My hands open and cupped
 Eager to receive Your all
 Questioning not Your skill
 Only trusting the power of Your love
 To melt my rigid will
  
 Drench me Lord 
 In Your shower of love
 Let me gather and drink my fill
 Then spill over on those around
 And rise to await Your will
  
 Send water of Your Spirit
 To tip me over, pour me out
 Then wash over me once again
 Fresh cleansing by Holy Words
  
                 2. 
  
 Shine Your light through
 This enshrouding mist
 Color me with covenant this:
 Abiding presence and constant love,
 Indwelling grace that conquers sin
 Transfigured rigid I
 Yielded and bent
 In Your   service                                                                                                                                    
 Spilling forth rivers of living water                                                                                                         
 And giving rest to croaky voiced frogs       
 Who, when Spirit-kissed,
 Become priests and kings           
 Singing their praises to You.
  
 Perhaps You ask me just to be Your lily leaf, 
 Stand and tip 
Categories
Family Humor Just do it

Conundrum of Safe Shopping

So I place my online order and picked up went to get it 2 days later. I get home and my husband says “Wasn’t this buy one get one free?” Yes, those notebooks were on sale and we only got one. So what would you have done with this online order? Would you have ordered two and hoped one was free? Or would you have ordered two and hoped you did not get four? I called the curbside phone number and the person who would decide if I was due another notebook was out to lunch. So, I have one notebook and no definitive answer yet. And the receipt has yet to show up online. Grrr.

Placed online order at another store. Had extra time before my pickup slot. Decided to dust and straighten up the house. Get to the store and realized my coupons were at home on the table. Drats! So I went home, unloaded groceries, ate lunch. Went back to the store. Put on double masks and went in to get my almost $9.00 refund. Came out to the car, washed my hands, took off the masks. It was worth the drive, even with gas and mileage. I am the one who used to cut coupons, wait until they had expired and THEN take the coupons to the store.

I get so frustrated with these safety measures, but so far neither one of us is sick with Covid. We do have colds, but so what? They are not severe or loaded with possible Covid symptoms.

It has been said, “This, too, shall pass.”

Retailers are saying this is the new way of shopping. So much for saving the planet. Some neighbors get Amazon deliveries two and three times a day! Guess I am just an old woman who would like to browse through the grocery store again. Online you cannot raid the markdown bins.

Categories
Amazing Creations Beagle Faith Humor Nature Poetry Special Event

Benefits of Beagle Walking

Remember “Twas the Night Before Christmas?” I know in school we were required to memorize it. Walking the dog in bright moonlight one evening, like Christmas night, I was thinking, “The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow cast shadows like midday from objects below.” I knew it was not the exact verse of the poem which goes “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.” But OH the shadows from that brilliant moon.

This year one neighbor put up Christmas lights galore which were synchronized with music. It took him a few days to find the volume knob on the music. Every time I would step out with the dog in the evening I was blasted by the joyous chorus of Jingle Bells and other songs 3 houses away. When he finally turned the volume down, it became just pleasant caroling. The winds got the better of him and before Christmas Day most of his display was damaged or taken down.

AND BEST OF ALL!! Walking Lucky at about 2:00 one afternoon I heard them in the distance. Just one at first, but as they got closer multiple voices and YES! flying right over head was a flock of CRANES! I have seen them in New Mexico and we visited the large migration in Nebraska, but OHIO?!?! Turns out they are endangered here but have been making a revival. I did not have a camera or even a phone with me to catch a picture, but below is a photo taken in Nebraska when we went to see the great migration for ourselves.

photo by r m dutina

As you can see, there is no mistaking them for geese or herons as they fly with their necks extended, legs extended and have a huge wingspan. They also are really loud with their calls.

Keep looking for treasures in plain sight! Even when you least expect them. This beagle makes me go outside, even when I am reluctant to leave the warm house!

Categories
Aging Faith Music Spiritual growth

Not Petrified Me

As I’ve written before, the Holy Spirit brings me songs when I am headed for or have reached a roadblock. When we traveled through the petrified forest of Arizona, Bob had never seen anything like it. I had a memory of seeing it from childhood. We were able to purchase a few pieces from a gift shop in town. Some were polished. One is shaped like a triangle. It reminds me of the Trinity.

Piece is larger than life

The other morning I picked up the triangle piece and held it during my prayer time. Wanted to carry it all day, but knew it would be too uncomfortable in my pocket. Then when I least expected it, this song came back to me.

I do not want to become an old woman who is stuck in her ways. I am certain there are already some things I do that someone has created new and improved methods for not yet adapted by me. For the most part, I want to conform to the Lord like the Living Water He provides for me. I want to be flowing, not like Jello or petrified wood: congealed, hardened, stuck.

So my prayer for you is that you will loosen up in 2021 and learn how to flow better. Velma Frye published a CD called Take Heart. Here is her song “Ever Flowing.” the lyrics were written by Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB July 28, 1939-April 24, 2020. I heard her teach once and as SO blessed. Hope you enjoy the song. You might have to click on the link.

https://youtu.be/xIqEXCXeTU0

unpolished piece on the bark side
Unpolished core side
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
Book quotes Faith

Addiction, Prayer and the 12 Steps

Who is America has not been touched with addiction in a family member or close associate? Here is a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. For years I prayed it for others not realizing that my own offspring needed the prayer, too. “For Victims of Addiction”

“O blessed Lord, You ministered to all who came to You: Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of Your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.”

May God help us all.

Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable

Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7 – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10 – Continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.