Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Joy on Thursday

I was blessed on Thursday, though drugged for pain. Bob took the day off work to care for the grandchildren since I was not in good shape. Unfortunately, Baby Rowan was too ill to join us that day. He had fever and vomiting and stayed home in his Daddy's arms.

Now imagine being drugged for pain after having two molars pulled. Trying to eat a pancake with only your front teeth. Trying to be patient and joyful with your Granddaughters at the breakfast table. Suddenly our newly-turned-seven year old, Ellie, yelps "OUCH!" (She had sprinkles on top of her pancakes.) "That sprinkle hurt my tooth!" She opened her mouth to show us the blood. I grabbed a tissue for her and said, "Just pull it!" {She had been playing with this front tooth for over a week. Pop had told her that if she did not stop playing with it he would make her look at the one the surgeon pulled out of my mouth!! } She bit down on that sprinkle in such a way that the tooth was almost out! So we cheered her on to just give it a tug. She got up her courage and it was out!

Th irony was not lost on this Grammy! I have been having my teeth pulled out by professionals. Hers have been moving out to make way for "big" teeth. Mine will make way for artificial teeth. There was a book we bought long ago about a Grandpa taking his Granddaughter for a walk in a stroller and telling her that one day she would take him for a walk (in a wheelchair.) I thought of this book as Ellie retold the tale of how she pulled her own tooth.


Pascal once wrote: “We never live only in the present, the only time we have. We are so unwise that we wander through ages which are not our own and never give thought to the one thing which belongs to us: the present moment. Since we are always planning how we are going to be happy; it is inevitable that we never are.”

Even though I was feeling ill and in pain, this child brought joy to me with her present moment sprinkle tooth incident. My husband brought joy to me by caring for me so deeply. My other granddaughter brought joy to me by being with us that day. Gee, if I need another tooth pulled maybe I'll try eating sprinkles first and see if I can avoid that oral surgeon!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

I finally found the bird!!

For several years I have been fascinated witht he call of one particular bird during spring and summer. I never SEE it, but it sounds like bells to me. Well it has finally been identified: Wood Thrush!!

The story below is dated 2010, but the melody of this bird is timeless! Hope you get to hear one live!

Return Of The Wood Thrush's Song

A pair of thrushes meeting at a branch

In this rare scene, two thrushes meet at a tree branch. The wood thrush is known not only for its melodic song but also for its cloistered lifestyle.

May 21, 2010

Steve Bouser is editor of The Pilot, a newspaper that serves Pinehurst and Southern Pines, N.C. He is also a playwright and an adjunct journalism lecturer at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

A minor miracle occurred in our backyard the other evening. Some people wouldn't have noticed or cared. But to my wife and me, relaxing on our screened porch after dinner, it was almost as riveting as an annunciation from a winged angel of God. Which, in a way, it was.

We had begun to wonder if we'd hear it at all this year, and for a few minutes we weren't sure it was really happening. We turned off the TV, hushed the dog, held our breath and strained our ears toward the overgrown habitat across the back of our lot.

At first, the sound was so thin and distant, so easily drowned out by the hum of a neighbor's air conditioner, that we could have been imagining it. But then, after a pause, it burst forth startlingly and breathtakingly nearer. And this time there was no mistaking that pure, sublime, liquid yodel.

It was the sound of the wood thrush! Back again — having survived, for at least one more season, the depredations of man on its wintering grounds in the rainforests of Central America.

To us, the haunting warble of that particular migratory bird species, the lazy soundtrack of so many dappled late summer afternoons here in our beloved North Carolina, may well be the most exquisite and evocative sound in all of nature.

My idol, Henry David Thoreau, thought so. "The thrush alone declares the immortal wealth and vigor that is in the forest," he wrote. "Whenever a man hears it, he is young, and Nature is in her spring. It is a new world and a free country, and the gates of heaven are not shut against him."

Funny thing about the wood thrush — a middle-sized brown bird with a speckled breast: You hear it, but you never see it. Like its cousin the hermit thrush, it prefers the cloistered life of the extreme recluse, content to give out its periodic, anonymous, heart-stopping call while hunkered down on a limb near the trunk of a tree, cloaked in invisibility.

As with other birds, we refer to the vocalization of the thrush as its "song" and imagine it to be an expression of joyful exuberance. It's more likely a territorial assertion — the avian equivalent of "You kids get off my lawn!"

But how glorious these crystalline grace notes come across to human ears! Though impossible to describe, they sound a bit like somebody whistling a melodious "yoo-hoo" — but with a repertoire of four or five rhapsodic variations. The refrain often starts and ends with a soft buzz, like a music box rewinding. If the call of the wood thrush were a substance, it would be falling droplets of molten gold. If it were a taste, honeysuckle nectar. If a name, Bianca. Or maybe Suzannah.

Past experience suggests that our backyard thrush, having announced its presence with such casual elegance, will fall silent after a few days, having either established its turf or moved on to better nesting grounds. But that's OK. We've had the privilege of hearing it once again, and Nature is in her spring, and the gates of heaven are not shut against us.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


8:30 AM I have an appointment with the oral surgeon to have 2 back, upper molars pulled, #2 and #15 for those in the know! I write asking for your prayers for uneventful extractions, little pain and speedy recovery. If I do not write now you know the reason!
Thanks, Molly D.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Did I Occupy My Waiting?

Sometimes in a pain flare, things begin with acknowledging the pain is increased and then waiting to see if it will abate given time. I usually do a few standard things; make sure I'm getting enough sleep, balanced diet, in touch with emotions, honest with myself and others, pray more, take hot shower before bed and be as gentle with myself as possible. When this last "Flare" evolved into a blazing, unquenchable fire, akin to New Mexico's recent blaze, I then had to wait to seek medical help as the Memorial Day weekend and doc's vacation were right then. Now that I am on a new medication I have been doing another typical thing. It is good to keep a list of strategies to use when a pain flare occurs. One way to create that strategy is objective review of the event.

There were a couple of new things I did this time. Rowan, our 17 month old Grandson was with me a few of those days. He needs to be entertained to the extent that he is kept from boredom. When he is bored he can be quite naughty! He saw me use the sewing machine once, and ever since has wanted to plant himself on my lap while I use it. One day he was jabbering, communicating that he wanted me to sew!

Follow me here .... I was recently blessed to purchase the CD by Passion 2012 entitled "White Flag." The song White Flag acknowledges that we need to surrender to the will and working of God. April 26 I wrote on the blog about the song and my instant vision... I have been thinking about making a string of white flags. I knew what fabric I wanted to use. For many years I have had a piece of very sheer white chiffon (think wedding dress ruffles, light airy). I used it once to illustrate to a friend how the Holy Spirit ushers us into life. I took the white chiffon and mushed it with wet mud to stain it. When we are born we are covered with a sheer membrane called "amnion" and a creamy substance called "vernix." (For more details see     I needed more fabric than the chiffon to make a string of flags, so I pulled some other white from the fabric box.

So while Elmo and Sesame Street entertained Rowan one morning I began cutting a few rectangles of white fabric for flags. I still had no idea where to hang them.

When Sesame Street was over Rowan was excited that I wanted to sew. He parked his bottom in my lap and we began. I had decided to use rough twine to attached the flags together. The edges are not hemmed, just simple squares sewn securely onto the twine. We finished in no time. He was happy to scamper off to empty the toy kitchen and I began to plan where to hang the 'first draft."

First I thought I'd put the flags on our front porch; however, after watching the wind whip around our American Flag I knew they would only tangle up into the gutter and just not be 'right' there. Well, the first draft became the finished project. They hang from the rafters in my sewing/ laundry room and the setting is perfect. I see them almost every single day.

 These flags are a constant reminder to yield myself to the working of the Spirit of God, especially directing me to 2 Cor 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.
This music from that cd has helped carry me through the worst of the struggle. Yielding to the Lord, relaxing into the pain instead of tensing up, and waiting on Him has been my strength.

May you have your own white flag moment of surrender and yielding. I pray it is without physical turmoil.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Stillness

I wanted to post a video or recording of Ever Flowing, but I could only find the lyrics on-line. Here they are.
EVER FLOWING (M. Wiederkehr, V. Frye)

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.  

One of the hardest things to do during painful events such as I have been experiencing is to be still. In 1989 I wrote:

Pray that I don't panic
Pray I can be still
Pray that I will find God
in the midst of being ill.

This song written by Velma Frye in collaboration with Macrina Wiederkehr is a reminder of how restorative that silence and stillness can be. Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Aging ...

It's not for sissies! Oh how true that saying of a few years ago. Upon exploring the topic of aging I have come across a nifty book called "Aging as Spiritual Practice." by Lewis Richmond. This book brings ideas of how to approach this topic that a huge number of Americans are facing right now. The author takes his point of view from Buddhist practice. That does not threaten me or my faith. Actually I am impressed at how non-judgmental and peaceful his approach is. He just asks that we "sit" with the topic and explore the possibilities. Here are a few of his thoughts from Chapter 2, "Stages of Aging."

"How each of us ages is individual. And yet there are recognizable stages and emotions on the journey of aging. In the first stage, Lightning Strikes, the dominate emotion is surprise. We are taken aback to realize, "I'm really growing old," and then surprised again at how long it took us to see it. The next stage, Coming to Terms, takes hold when we compare ourselves with how we once were - favorably or unfavorably. The stage of Adaptation comes when we no longer compare ourselves to the past and can rest in the age we are now. And the final stage, Appreciation, comes when adaptation matures  in to full acceptance.
Any stage can arise at any age, and stages do not necessarily appear in a fixed order. Sometimes we have to traverse these emotional zones more than once."

Wow! it has been a relief to find someone willing to broach this topic in a gentle, honest, realistic manner. I have a few other books on the topic, but none approach this sensitive subject in this way. Joan Chittister does a nice job in "The Gift of Years," especially on page 98 where she writes:

"Ongoing learning saves the aging from becoming more fossilized than transformed. The problem with aging is not age, it is petrifaction, rigidity of soul, inflexibility. Only ideas keep ideas flowing. When we close our minds to what is new, simply because we decide not to bother with it, we close our minds to our responsibility to ourselves - and to others - to keep on growing."

Lewis Richmond stresses that we each age one breath at a time. That brings me comfort. Bob and I are reading and discussing this book together - over time - gradually. We each have our own issues with this aging thing. May you find peace and comfort as you encounter your own aging process openly.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Did you know? you know that partial dental plates only last about 15 years? Well, the bad news is mine is crumbling. Frankly, I am ready to pull all the remaining teeth and be done with it. My dentist and husband say not yet. So next week I get a back molar that has been filled and crowned multiple times pulled. When that heals we then INVEST in a new upper partial plate for me. My partial now (which is being repaired for about $85) is metal and has not quite this many teeth. (No these are not my dental impressions, but stock photos from Google!)
The new partial will be this other material "Valplast." Remaking an entire new one runs over $1,000.

I tell you, with this body "It is always SOMETHING!" They said after 40 it was "Patch, patch, patch." There must be a saying about over 60! May be "rebuild, rebuild, rebuild?"

So if you see me me the next few weeks with a swollen cheek or unusual gaps in the side of my smile now you know what is going on!

Molly, she is not exactly the Cheshire Cat these days!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Excitement is Rising!

June 30 is the date for the work project at the James Sauls Homeless Shelter. We have been planning this for many months. Please pray the weather is amenable! Here is a photo of the "Before" project. Donations and supplies have been placed in the shed, but there is no order or plan at work. Christmas decorations get mixed with summer work tools, etc.
 So the plan is to empty the entire shed onto tables and tarps.
 The construction crew will build wooden shelves around the walls and a deck type raised shelf in the rear of the building that will hold Holiday decorations.
 Our resident electrician will run electricity to the shed for an over head light that is much needed in winter!!
The rest of the crew will sort the items, place them in plastic tubs, label the tubs and hope to have it all sorted by the time the construction crew is finished. The steel cabinets will be placed down the center of the shed making for a walkway on both sides. The tubs will be placed on the shelves (pray we have plenty of those tubs!) We will clean up and be finished.
There is another yet crew who will be assembling lunch for the workers and the residents to share at the noon hour, and then staying to clean up.

Higginsport Bank has decided to donate $362.00 towards the construction costs! That is the wood, screws, etc. We will purchase a step ladder to leave in the shed so they can reach the items on the upper deck shelf. Many plastic tubs, a couple drop cloths and a few other supplies also. Beverages are covered. Lunch will be cold cuts, buns, chips and various persons will donate desserts, a fruit tray and vegetable tray.
So pray for good weather, a healthy safe service project and all to God's glory as the people of the Crossing Church and Riverhills come together for a few hours June 30 to serve the less fortunate.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where Have I Been?

As many of you know, I suffer from two chronic illnesses that cause pain and fatigue, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. For the last 3 weeks I have been in the throes of the worst "pain flare" in many, many years. Maybe ever.

I have not been inspired to share the struggle as so often it not only sounds like complaining, but also gets me labeled as "sick." These ailments are mostly invisible and I do not like that "sick" label. So, for better or for worse, I have been conserving my energy to try to stay in a place of calmness and even reaching for a spot of peace.

Reading Amy Carmichael's booklet entitled "The Edges of His Way" has helped remind me of the Lord's participating presence even when I do not like how things are going with me.

Seeing the Doctor and trying a new fibromyalgia drug has made me cautiously aware that there may be medical help and hope available. Of course, if you red the potential side effects in detail you never want to even swallow it.

Getting an appointment in mid-July with a Rheumotologist has been frustrating. I did not want to wait that long for his input, but I have no choice.

Accepting the facts that I can no longer keep my gardens like I want without help, I can no longer keep my house like I want without help, has been rough, but a necessary part of "acceptance with joy." I am older now and not nearly as spry as even 5 years ago, much less 10 or 20 years ago. 

Listening to recordings of guided meditations has helped me calm down and replace fear and angst with acceptance and steady peace. There is always a temptation with this type of pain to run to the furthest negative conclusion that "Life will always be just like this forever."  Returning to a poem I penned about 14 years ago has helped me look beyond my body onto a new place of intercession. Below is an excerpt from that poem written in 1998 entitled "The Ogre of Pain"

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.

May all of your ogres be brought to crumbling, rivulets of plaster
dust as He leads you on in your journey.

Respectfully, Molly D. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We were born to find the Way

I've been reading Dean Koontz's book "One Door Away From Heaven." It is another fantastic work contrasting the world of good and evil. Here are a few excerpts with my photos added.

p. 228         In the quick, when it counts, you must have no doubt. Spit out all your doubt, breathe it out, pluck it from your heart, tear it loose from your mind, throw it away, be rid of it. We weren't born into this universe to doubt. We were born to hope, to love, to live, to learn, to know joy, to have faith that our lives have meaning ... and to find The Way.

p. 325  Curtis is having an experience of what it is like to be a dog .......
        Spates of shivers build into continuous trembling as Curtis more clearly experiences the dog's profound joy. This isn't simply the joy of running, of springing agilely from log to mossy rock; this isn't the joy of freedom or of being fully alive, but the piercing joy that comes with the awareness of that holy, playful Presence. 

        Running with her in her dreams, Curtis seeks a glimpse of their constant companion, expecting suddenly to see an awesome countenance looking out from the layered fronds of the ferns or gazing down from the cathedral trees. Then the dog's ultimate wisdom, arising from her perfect innocence, is shared with Curtis, and he receives the truth that is simultaneously a revelation and a mystery, both a euphoric exaltation and a profound humbling. 

The boy recognizes the Presence everywhere around him, not confined to one bank of ferns or one pool of shadows, but resonant in all things. He feels what otherwise he has only known through faith and common sense, feels for one sweet devastating moment what only the innocent can feel: the exquisite rightness of creation from shore to shore across the sea of stars, a clear ringing in the heart that chases out all fears and every anger, a sense of belonging, purpose, hope, an awareness of being loved. 

        Mere joy gives way to rapture, and the boy's awe grows deeper, an awe lacking any quality of terror, but so filled with wonder and with liberating humility that his trembling swells into shakes that seem to clang his heart against the bells of his ribs. At the moment when rapture becomes peals of bliss, his shaking wakes the dog.

p.  For those who despair that their lives are without meaning and without purpose, for those who dwell in a loneliness so terrible that it has withered their hearts, for those who hate because they have no recognition of the destiny they share with all humanity, for those who would squander their lives in self-pity and in self-destruction because they have lost the saving wisdom with which they were born, for all these and many more, hope waits in the dreams of a dog, where the sacred nature of life may be clearly experienced without the all blinding filter of human need, desire, greed, envy, and endless fear. And here, in dream woods and fields, along the shores of dream seas, with a profound awareness of the playful Presence abiding in all things, Curtis is able to prove to Leilani what she has thus far only dared to hope is true; that although her mother never loved her, there is One who always has.


Sorry for the locked video. Try looking at the horse competition again. Hopefully it is full and free to be viewed now.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mid-America Miniature Horse Club, Show at Springfield, Ohio

We attended with Emily and her girls. Here are some snapshots and a very short video. Next time I want to see the "Liberty" competition!

Phoebe competing with Whitey.

Thanks Audrey and Phoebe for the invitation!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Magic of Sesame Street

Yet another generation is being educated with Sesame Street. Rowan first walked at our house towards the tv when Elmo was on. Now Rowan loves to sit in Pop's chair and watch his show, but when Elmo is on he is up close and personal with the screen! This show on Sprout had captured his attention. This boy is ALWAYS learning!!


Of course, I must share a few photos of his love for Jingles. His best game recently, (hard to capture onfil) is chase the dog. And he LAUGHS the more the dog gets excited. He loves to watch life out the front door, especially when Pop is working in the yard!


Notice the dog keeping watch with him.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kittiwake Rookery Clip

We saw this rookery while in Alaska. The kittiwakes are swarming as an eagle come down to fish and they were upset.


Bob's Alaska Thoughts

There were many avalanche warning signs; there were even some gates to stop traffic along the highway should dangerous snow conditions be present.  It had been a very snowy winter, and much of it was still in slowly melting piles.

Day five started with an early walk through a damp, misty, 36 degree morning in Girdwood.  Piles of melting snow and muddy meadows and small trees still bent from the long winter; the tired end of a snowy winter.
          The gray drizzle turned into steady rain with cold, often snow laden, winds; not a great day for a cruise.  Low clouds became a fog enshrouded environment; poor visibility, uncomfortable, but a bit like Brigadoon-a somewhat magical place seemingly arising from nowhere from within the mist.  We were left to wonder what unexpected vision lay above the steep walls that surrounded us.  

 From our large catamaran (the Klondike), it was advertised we would see 26 glaciers and a variety of wildlife.  We saw eagles, loons, a black-legged kittiwake rookery, sheep, otters and a lot of ice.  The sound sported small icebergs and a large amount of freshly formed ice floe.  The catamaran could not maneuver into many of the fjords, so we saw but four small glaciers and one very large one.

The Hammonds Glacier was rather spectacular and the weather did clear enough to see the blue coloration in the massive and rugged ice face. 

  Streaks of black volcanic dust evidenced an eruption nearby long ago. 

 After a rather lengthy docking, we drove in the cloudy evening to Moose Flats; we thought about continuing to Seward, but fatigue was setting in.  The mountains sat very close to the road here and there were many spectacular vistas; I could only imagine the view from the railway that had separated from the road.