Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Stone's Message

There is a stone the Lord gave me years ago that I keep now in the house. For a while it lived in the garden, but as the years have gone by the stone has become more precious to me. I finally tired of washing off the dirt each spring. So now, it is an in-house stone. I use it every Lent to symbolize the stone that was placed in front of Jesus’ tomb after his persecution and death and rolled away during His resurrection.

On May 6, 1992 I asked the Lord to speak to me, send an explanation or at least comfort. I saw a red stone and I picked it up. “Well, Lord,” I said, “You spoke to me once before this way. You show me which stones and I’ll listen.” When the walk was over I was holding five red stones, some smaller than others, some smooth, some rough. I had seen one particular white stone sticking up from the others in the path. (Look at the stone photo and imagine seeing just the tiptop part sticking out of the dirt.) When I went to pick it up I had to unearth it. That larger part was hidden and it was the largest stone of all. He spoke in my heart …

“I endured the wounds of hands and feet and side for you, for each of you. There are things you too must endure, suffering and sacrifices you must embrace. Some of them are small. Many are rough and difficult. By embracing these things through your fellowship with Me, I offer you life and that more abundantly. Embrace even the difficult things. You may only perceive a little life, but you’ll find through your fellowship with Me a big chunk of life, and that abundantly. Many of My people refuse to embrace what I allow … sadly, they miss the life gift.”

In the mail on May 7, 1992 there was letter entitled Eastertide 1992, Brother Dominic, S.S.F. Minister Provincial: “No one of us escapes the clutches of suffering. For some, the path of suffering is severe, and the cross, heavy. Yet the secret of Easter is that suffering can be a great opportunity, a blessing. Our pain can bear fruit. The value of suffering does not lie in the pain, but in the opportunity it presents to grow, to be purified and transformed through suffering.”

This year I was determined to find what the Lord had told me about this stone. I could not remember when it had been given to me or exactly what He said. After much prayer and searching, perusing old journals and looking, I finally found the writing from May 1992 typed out in my story and poetry folder. It has been about nineteen years since I walked and picked up and dig out the stones He showed me. And His message to me is as fresh and full of revelation for me today as it was when I first noted it in my journal.

Some years after finding the stone I bought a small figure of the Risen Christ at a religious shop, probably intended to depict His ascension. Each year I have placed Him near and finally on a small stand above the stone. His is the victory, death has no sting, and suffering will be redeemed! God sees everything, even the thoughts of our hearts. May He bless you this Holy Week with an increased awareness of His presence and abundant encouragement to embrace through your fellowship with Him, a big chunk of life and that abundantly!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flying Daffodils

Every spring we are blessed when the daffodils planted each autumn, sprout and bloom. This year has been especially rewarding after the cold and snowy winter! There have been nights of 27 degrees since they bloomed and the flowers are still going strong.
More challenging is trying to capture on film one of my favorite memories. I was standing at the kitchen sink in spring probably washing dishes or cooking.The Goldfinch had just begun to molt and I startled for a moment when I was certain there was a daffodil flying towards me! Instead, it was a male goldfinch, molting to his summer colors, flying toward the feeder. With the bright daffodils on the hill, it was easy to imagine a flying daffodil.
May your spring be filled with such wonders! Look at the top of the feeder post. You might have to double click on the photo to actually see the bird.
Funny, it did not show up on the download as needing cropping! :-(

This guy shows the mottled colors where his molt is not yet complete.

I used actual film, too. When the photos are developed I might share more! Thanks for reading along. Molly D.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pain Journal continued

When I began the draft for this post I was still waiting for the cortisone injection treatment. The fibro flare continued unabated. The Lidocaine patches numb the area for a while, but the nerve pain begins again almost as soon as I must remove the patch for 12 hours. Recently we saw the IMAX movie about the Hubble Telescope. The video that was used with this song reminds me of that. When I use this song for worship I apply it more on a personal relationship basis, rather than the vast expanse of the universe. The song works, either way, to bring me out of myself and back to His grace and mercy.

And now, after the first injection and waiting to experience its effects, I will be scheduled for another as the pain is still present, though not as debilitating. I continue to need worship songs to keep my focus upon the Eternal and not on myself. And, amazingly enough, pain or no pain the universe continues in its orbits. The sun rises, the moon rises and each set in their due course. The seasons change and the Lord expects me to invite Him into every situation and challenge I face. He who created the universe surely cares for each of us. Trust Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He will not disappoint you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pain Journal #2

This is a long post, but it includes two quotations the Lord has been using to heal me from the inside out. Bear with me and I hope you are blessed.

On February 9, 2011 I journal-ed: . "The virus then wiped the floor with me several times. I am not on my game as far as physical activity. The pain and hourly aches have dragged me to a new low as far as hope for this body." And even as I wrote about the need to center and turn to the Lord, I kept avoiding Him. I did turn again to "A Prayer of Trust." I think it was published in Forward Day by Day.

LORD, I WILL TRUST YOU. Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You. Christ of the mysteries, can I trust You to be stronger than each storm in me? So I still yearn for Your glory to lighten on me? I will show others the care you have given me. I determine amid all uncertainty always to trust. I choose to live beyond regret and let You recreate my life. I believe You will make a way for me and provide for me, if only I trust You and obey. I will trust in the darkness and know that my times are still in Your hand. I will believe You for my future, chapter by chapter, until all the story is written. Focus my mind and my heart on You, my attention always on You without alteration. Strengthen me with your blessing and appoint to me the task. Teach me to live with eternity in view. Tune my spirit to the music of heaven. Feed me, and, somehow, make my obedience count for You.
O help me, sweet Jesus.

So I learned again over a couple of days that "the only path for me is practice centering, watching, using my pencils to attempt a glimpse of what I see in prayer and meditation, Glimpses of Eternity."

I also was using a meditation from Thomas Keating's Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, Sept. 10.
“Redemption Means to Heal You from the Roots Up”

“[Jesus] healed those who needed healing.”
LK 9:11 NIV
Until … basic childhood programs for happiness are repented of, that is to say changed, we’re engaged, all of us, in an addictive process which will show up if you live long enough in a specific addiction unless you take the spiritual journey to heart and as a practice to heal that situation. The Gospel is about the healing of our conscious and unconscious wounds … It is into this melodrama of everyday life that Jesus has come with the Kingdom and that’s where it works. That’s where it’s powerful. That’s where it’s to be found on an everyday basis. Right where you experience it and feel it. And it’s the gift of Jesus. And this is the full meaning of redemption – to heal you from the roots up. So that instead of self-centered motivation and a world in which you see everything from the perspective of the big I am of your ego, you see it from the big I AM of God’s selfless-self … That is the true view of reality. (Who is God?)

“Put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.” PS 130:7 NIV

For several days I copied the first sentence in my journal, not realizing just how deep that healing work would go. By February 19, 2011 I knew the pain was out of control. "Sleepless and then awakened with pain. Even with Ambien I awoke 1 or 2 times. Woke up this AM & on leaving the bedroom burst into tears.
How can I travel to Ireland and change beds from day to day and TRAVEL period?
How can I handle Rowan as his little body grows?
This is a hard place to be...pain like broken glass in my body - burning acing UNRELENTING pain and knowing my added weight might be making it worse.
"Calm down, YIELD." It took multiple meditation tapes before Ambien brought me sleep. So uncomfortable, no relief."
And then I copied again
"Until ... basic childhood programs for happiness are repented of, that is to say changed," The repent word kept drawing me to it. To change and go the other way. So I had to admit that I was /am powerless over chronic pain and I admit that my life is unmanageable. I am willing to surrender to YOUR love and not my fears.
More on that next time!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Unfailing Love and A Pain Journey

Years ago the Lord showed me this song and I have received healing many times from Him while centering in the lyrics and truth therein.

Recently I have had yet another crossroads in my health and am currently waiting for an appointment at the Spine Clinic to get help managing pain. I hope you will be encouraged in body, mind and spirit by the song.

The poem that follows was my attempt to relate to someone with debilitating illness and pain. She was nevertheless determined to serve the Living God until He called her home. The quote from Natalie Goldberg describes one technique for writing about feelings. That was the technique that brought the poem forth. Hope you enjoy it.

"You must be a great warrior when you contact first thoughts and write from them. Especially at the beginning you may feel great emotions and energy that will sweep you away, but don't stop writing. Write right through the tears so you can come out on the other side and not be thrown off by the emotion."
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

98-12-25 Ogre of Pain by Molly Lin Dutina

"If I let myself feel the pain will I become intoxicated with the pain? Overwhelmed by the pain, will my life then become JUST PAIN with no other sensation, value, or purpose? Will I be consumed with gauging the pain
sitting in the pain
walking in the pain?
All my perceptions dulled except to the pain
under the pain
in the pain
pain through and through
pain behind me
ahead of me pain
on all sides of me pain
above me
beneath me
My life reduced to pain.
In every cell pain.
Sleeplessness because of pain.
Poor rest when sleeping due to pain.
If I feel the pain will I have the fortitude and courage to live beyond the pain? Somehow given grace to override the pain
not censor it or
ignore it or
deny it but
live a life in the midst of pain, always haunted by pain?
Pain of bone deterioration, unexplainable muscle pain,
unwarranted from any strain or excess.

my life
drugged or not
my partner
companion in my genes
product of ancestral history.
Exercise - interesting idea when every step hurts.
Could enough endorphins be released that I'll desire exercise even when most pained?
Jesus awoke in the boat and said, "Why are you so afraid?"
For nine years my life has been pain denial pain drugs pain hope pain drained all hope pain denial. I am afraid that no, the pain will never end, or, even worse, the pain will get worse and envelop, dictate, & control my life.

There, I've written it. Many marvel that I'm so busy and try to accomplish so much. They are not acquainted with my relentless task master who drives me on in fear that my capacity to accomplish anything will one day be diminished to near zero.

And then, I'll rise a phoenix intercessor on behalf of God's children
engaged perhaps in the biggest battle of my life to date. With bones cracking, muscles aching, nerves shooting red hot signals to nowhere and everywhere
outer body diminishing
while inner woman draws upon her experience with
a living, dynamic, omnipotent Father and
she is renewed, remade in His image,
inhabited daily, hourly, in every cell of her being
by His Holy Spirit
overshadowed, indwelt
in spite of all this carnal container can develop -
a woman of God
passing through
journeying towards a home
where all sorrow, all tears, and
all pain will be no more.
Forever inhabited by His Spirit
in rapturous adoration
of His glory
and mercy.
Even so, Lord Jesus, I offer my self a living sacrifice unto You. Renew my mind according to Your word and transform even this pain.

The ogre crumbles,
rivulets of plaster dust
falling from its once daunting facade
gathering in powder clumps
revealing its paltry nature."

I will try to make entries the next few days regarding how the Lord has been leading me and what Scriptures and events He has been using to encourage me along this path through Lent. If one person is encouraged, it will have been worth my time!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Amaryllis

The Amaryllis delighted us with three huge flowers. We took the flower pot outside for the best light that day and to our delight Bob and I got the wind chime music! Unfortunately, I spent several hours and several revision to try to upload the video to blogger with NO success... :-(

I am SO behind in sharing this, as usual. What did Lennon say? Something about life is what happens to us while we are making other plans?

My life lately has been a continuous game of 52 Pick-up. I leave the house with the plan for the day and before I am one hour into it, things change and the cards get thrown up in the air by a cosmic nail-scarred Hand that is so sacred to me. I am having to learn to stay flexible whether I want to or not! This is not the teasing, taunting game that we played as children. His goal is not to frustrate or madden me, but to instill in me hope that no matter what comes my way, He is with me and He is in control, even when I may think my life is out of control.

I was enchanted during Advent with Macrina Wiederkehr and Velma Frye's song: "Ever Flowing" The lyrics are:

O, ever-changing God,
protect us from congealing,
Ever flowing, ever flowing,
ever flowing, ever flowing.
'Til we flow into a Sacred Stream,
"Til we flow into that Eternal Drink
which is You.

Then pour us back into the world and
let the flowing begin again,
And again, and again, and again.

The frequent lesson of 52 Pick-up has just been a constant reminder to me from the Lord that things are changing in my body and with my age. My expectations about life activities need to change,too. Things I used to take for granted are no longer easy. There have been times when I have wished for one of those mundane "usual" days when nothing seems to be happening. All of this at a time when my back has actually become less flexible without unrelenting pain occurring. In 2-1/2 weeks I see a pain specialist to get some help controlling sciatic pain, arthritis and a bulging disk. Until then, I am enjoying the rain ( several inches in several days!)as it reminds me crashing off rooftops and down streams to be Ever Flowing like our God. He has assured me there are plans and a future for me. Change is never easy. Just ask the earth as it yields to spring and the fields as they yield to the plows.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pop and the Kiddo

Here is Pop and the Kiddo about one week ago, February 13, 2011. Will I always be behind on this blog? Seems so.

Rowan is about 3-1/2 weeks old in this photo. In the first shoot he looks much older! We say how BIG he is, but then you put him against those 5,6, and 9 year olds and he is still tiny. He is peaceful and sleepy in Bob's arms until his diaper is wet. Then look out! and you better change him FAST!
Grammy got a chance to hold him, too. Imagine! :-)
Hope to see him today or tomorrow. Until then, I'll keep looking for the glorious amaryllis video, which I seem to have uploaded but misplaced. Such are the ways of the 60 somethings, huh?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Frazil Ice .. Nature's Icee Being Served now!

Recently while traveling in California to Yosemite National Park with his parents, Bob heard of a phenomenon called "Frazil Ice." Much to his surprise, during a winter walk on a side trail off of our favorite trail at East Fork State Park he found frazil ice, right here at home. It was in a large creek flowing into the East Fork of the Little Miami before it forms East Fork Lake. The video explains frazil ice better then I, but it is a formation of ice crystals in swiftly moving cold water. It is like a slushie moving down stream. In this case, even the bubbles of water froze..
Bob's Dad sent this link. See a great video here about the ice that forms in Yosemite in March & April. The video is about 7 1/2 minutes long, but really interesting.

Take a winter walk soon and see if you can find "Frazil Ice" in your area!

The Amaryliis ... Given Time

If you have been following our blog, you might remember that I have been growing an amaryllis bulb since shortly after Christmas. It has been the object of wonder and admiration for our Lord to me. The photo above shows the flower beginning to open.

I never know when I plant a new bulb how many flowers or even flower stalks it will sport, but it is always a stunning display. I am blessed by this one as we have three grandchildren related by blood and this plant has three flowers in its first blooming.

In our hearts we have also adopted Eden and Elayna as our grandchildren. I keep looking to see if this plant has 2 more buds hidden or another stalk about to shoot up?!?!
Another day passes and I run to get the camera to document for you the unfolding wonder! The shades are still closed against the single degree temperatures during the night.

And finally, today we are in full speed growth with a bright sunny day back lighting the flowers.

It is frigid outside. (I actually wish the weather people would stop saying frosty and declared frigid! Single digit temperature deserved to be named properly!)
I took the above photos earlier today. The sun is beating in and the heat is lovely. The flowers are unfolding so rapidly I am tempted to move the plant and try to slow it down. (Yeah, like I have that much power!?!)

Rowan has hit 10 pounds. Bob reminded me that in three more months we will BE in Ireland. Gosh, I guess I did turn 60, huh?

I want you to notice the flower bud in this earliest photo and then the progression of that buds' cover as it opens. I watched that bud grow from a mere dry stump on the bulb. (So sorry I did not catch that on film!)

Looking at the outside of that bud, I placed lots of hopes and dreams on what it would be like when the flowers finally opened, knowing that by then Baby Rowan would finally here, and, and, and ... you can fill in the blanks for a time when you have pinned your hopes on something in the future.
And as the bud began to actually open, the bud lost its importance. "Oh!" I said, "We have red flowers!" (I have had pink and even an almost orange once.) So often we project our hopes and even our fears into the future. However, we often find that when we arrive at the future, few of our fears arrived with us. Things are not as we thought they would be, for good or for ill.
As you look at the later photos, the covering for the flower bud has changed from deep green to yellow. I am pretty sure that by tomorrow it will be a very light yellow or ever beginning to dry and turn brown.

Now try to connect with something you are expecting in the future. And realize, once again, that the Lord has the situation in His control and He will accompany us when we arrive there.
Rowan is a lovely healthy child with a little bit of colic and a tear duct that is healing from a slight infection. We still do not know who he will become. His grandparents have great faith that as he becomes a man, the Lord will be at his side guiding, directing and leading him through life and into eternity.
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." ISA 40:8, 1PET 1:24-25
Place your hope in the Lord. He is the only thing that is going on FOREVER!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rowan meets more family and the Flower arises!

Here is the latest growth from the bulb over the weekend. Today it was almost taller than the leaves.But this Grammy was too tired to actually take a new picture and post the photo!
Rowan is growing and now surrounded by 2 sisters and 2 girl cousins!
The Reluctant Sister, Elayna, known as "Ooh! he smells!"

The Joyful sister, Eden, who could not wait to sing him Happy Birthday just like in her class!

The Eager Cousin Ellie, known as "Will I get to Hold him?!??!"

The Oldest Cousin, Lizzie. To me she looked bored because he was sound asleep. Her Mom said not to let her fool me!

The community of Jeff's friends are pitching in with meals and more meals. Too bad he doesn't have a larger freezer!
Rowan wore his new outfit for 2 whole hours before he managed to pee on it. He is a King at those bodily movements!!
He nurses about every 3 hours, just like his Dad. I put one of Jeff's baby photos right next to Rowan's. One lady at church said it was spooky because they look so much alike.
Can't wait for Bob's Dad, the new Great Gramps to meet him!

Daddy Went to Work

It was hard for Jeff, the new Daddy, to go back to work today. He was leaving the drama of baby discovering the world, Mommy coping with the after effects of surgery, twins off to Montessori School. Oh the wonders that unfold moment by moment in the life of a newborn son! This Grammy was there briefly yesterday and Rowan was awake!

Eyes bright, and peeing all over every outfit they chose for him to wear before seeing the Doctor. The plan was to go purchase more "onesies" after the appointment. Here he is all bundled up and ready to go, sans car seat cover, etc.

His appointment went just fine. He is in the 75th percentile for size... imagine! His crocheted hat and matching booties were both too small. I've made 2 more hats. Back to work on some booties. Actually, they would have fit without socks on too.

Tomorrow he meets his cousins, Lizzie and Ellie. That ought to be a blast. No telling what Ellie will say. When she saw his video clips on facebook she said, "I think I could hold him sitting down!" Better let her have her turn last. She will probably not share well with infant holding, but she comes by that honestly. Her Grammy does not share well with infant holding either! When his sister Elayna met him, her first comment was "He smells!" She only held him briefly.

Eden thinks he is wonderful!

We went to see "Social Network." Great movie but what a sad lonely man. Hope he is surrounded now by people he can trust. Hope he has learned to interact one on one better, too! The facebook and blogger experience are fun, but Rowan's birth drives home how good it is to BE THERE. May his family always be present for his growth and adventures! My heart goes out to all families separated by distance.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Baby, The Bulb, and the Grammys

Rowan has been born and is at home now.

The bulb continues to grow.

My new friend Grandma Sue and I have fun laughing at Rowan's expressions. When he was born every time he would cry all I could do was laugh!

It has been a hectic week or so. Hopefully I can catch up soon with some things I want to share.
Rejoice with us over the birth of a healthy BIG baby boy. I just love those rolls on his arms and shoulders, don't you? The family is settling in and actually got some sleep his first night home. They did 9 loads of wash today and look forward to the meals that arrive at their door!
Jeff goes back to work tomorrow night. Thank goodness Grandma Sue is staying for a while!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Amaryliis and Anticipation

This year I asked for an Amaryllis bulb as mine had no produced a flower after a couple of years. I had meant to take photos as it grew, but failed to do until this morning. The flower is bud is about 3 inches long today and I knew it was time to start the photo progression as it goes fairly fast from here!
The bulb comes in a plastic bag, with no signs of life. It gets planted in special "soil." And then you water it and wait. Jeff and Jen bought me a lovely one! As you can see, the planter is shiny silver.
While Bob has been away I have been thinking and praying about one topic for the 4 Gardening Retreats at the Convent this spring/summer/fall. The topic for April is Surrender to God/ Yielding. The most used topic for this in the natural order is autumn and the changing, then falling of the leaves as the trees go dormant. The Lord has been speaking to me about the tremendous surrender and yielding required from the trees and plants by the change from winter to spring. And then, WHAM! He drew me to His heart and spoke to me about what I have not surrendered lately. Beth Moore was featured on one webcast speaking about paralysis and what has you stuck in your life. I knew I was having difficulty getting the material for the retreat pulled together because there was something I had not yielded to His will and His ways. I began to yield my heart to Him and the material was flowing great this morning!
Never before have I enjoyed winter as much as this year. The anticipation of getting snow bound and NOT going anywhere has been a huge draw for me. Yet, simultaneously, we are awaiting the birth of our first Grandson and I am sleeping with 2 phones ringers turned on at the bedside table. Talk about dashing out!
As the amaryllis grows out of the bulb, drawn by the warm sunshine, I know that my heart must thaw in the areas where I have been stuck and yield to what is next for me in the Lord's plan.
May all of your January days be a yielding and growing and full of anticipation as His Spirit leads and grows you into the flower He had in mind when you were born.
And yeah, I'm sure the blog will soon sport photos of the first Dutina Great-Grandson!!

Winter walking

Bob returns today from his visit to California! I am certain one of the things he will want to do when he gets home is take a walk on his favorite trail at Harsha Lake, Eastfork Park Lake. We have walked there at every season. Recently we took a winter walk and here is a small harvest of photos. I think of winter as shades of white, gray, and browns. Imagine my surprise when the fallen bright blue berries drew my attention! (I think if you click on the berry photo you can view it enlarged.)The tree looked like a cedar to me, but had to have been a juniper of sorts, don't you think? Of course, even on this trail we found the ubiquitous single glove. Enjoy your winter season!

Bubbles on the stream.

Ice on the trail.

Some of Jack Frost's works of art!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mystery in the Sky

Monday, December 27th as I drove away from home to run errands I saw an unusual flock of birds moving across the sky. Instead of the "V" formation these birds made a shape with one in front, three on one side of the "V" and about thirteen on the other side! They looked too large to be geese! At the first stop light I could see them aloft and kept asking, "What are they? What ARE they?!" I remembered the Sandhill Crane migration I saw part of in New Mexico. These looked large enough for that kind of bird, closer in size to Great Blue Herons than geese. Then again perhaps they were Snow Geese as their under belly appeared white. As I was going west down the hill on the highway, they crossed over the road. I decided to make the exit with them. They went before me and turned over the river. As quickly as I could turn around hope arose in me that just maybe they would land on the river! I followed the road trying to keep them in view without crashing the car. They flew down river and then they turned left and out of sight.
As I turned around once again I felt disappointment of a mystery missed. I was amused when I realized as a child I had these adventures on foot. Here I am a 60 year old chasing birds with a 2005 Corolla! I briefly considered asking a Naturalist at Cincinnati Nature Center if they had spotted an unusual large flock with a cockeyed formation. By the time I hit our suburban shopping area I let the wonder go with breath prayers of praise to our Lord. He did not have to let me see those birds!! And yet He blessed me.
The next day as I let the day unfold after plans were scuttled, I sat by the window at Starbucks with my hot tea. Suddenly, Canada Geese began rising off the hidden lake next door. I studied them trying to decide if I was perhaps mistaken about the mystery birds. Maybe yesterday's flock were merely Canada Geese. I'm not convinced. Even closeup they do not look as large or as white of belly. The mystery remains a few moments of glory for me.
When was the last time you experienced mystery? Perhaps remembering the wonder of your childhood will help spark an occasion for mystery in 2011? Last week my oldest Grandgirl looked out at the bird feeders on our deck and declared, "Grammy, do you know there are STILL birds out there?" I am certain it was a moment of wonder for her as there was snow on the ground and it was quite cold. Look around and be amazed today.