Into the Fort

My friend Gail Johnson wrote a wonderful post this past Tuesday entitled, Held. She captured my imagination and changed my focus. If you have a few minutes, I hope you’ll take a look.

Hello, Thursday Morning!Hello, it’s Thursday Morning! I hope you are safely navigating these strange times. I am learning the benefits of online shopping, among other things. What I’ve enjoyed most is still being able to support local businesses like my favorite local coffee roasters. 🙂

While I’m home, I’m building myself up. The plan is to allow the present circumstances to strengthen rather than weaken me. I’m studying the Bible, reading devotionals, doing balance and strength-building exercises, walking, etc.

I’m getting back into the habit of cooking on a daily basis (yes, we were eating out way too much). I actually enjoy cooking.

We’re better stewards of what we have. We were also throwing out way too much fresh food. Are (or were) you guilty of that? In normal times, after working all day, we’re tempted to stop and pick something up instead of eating what we have at home. The result was a fridge full of yucky old produce well past its freshness date. Hello, compost. Now, I’m using all that stuff. Yesterday, I used up less-than-fresh apples by making apple bread. Yum!

My workspace looks out on the backyard. I’ve become personally acquainted with the cardinals and the doves who fight for feeding room among the bossy squirrels. Sometimes I find myself watching them too much instead of working. Focus, Betty, focus.

So, there are some good things coming out of this “time of testing.” I am finding that I don’t really have as much time as I thought I would. It seems everyone wants me to do things all the time. I have a tee-shirt I wear on days like those. It has Snoopy on the front and says, “Please don’t make me do stuff.” 🙂

Into the fort – what do I mean by that? There was a time when we would have been required to go to the fort for protection from enemies or medical help or natural disasters. For me today, “into the fort” means staying in place.

My safe place is right here, in my home, only going out when necessary for food, supplies, or work. It means staying away from people while I’m out. I’m washing my hands a lot and trying not to do anything that is considered unsafe. It also means I’m not able to visit Mom. That’s for her safety.

I’m praying for you, my readers, that you are safe and well.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2

 

 

 

In the Storm

Hello, Thursday Morning! I pray all my readers are doing well.  It is evident that we are in a time of crisis when storms abound.

This song came across my desktop this week, so I’d like to share it with my readers as well. Turn off the news for a bit. Be encouraged. Be at peace. Let the Holy Spirit do His best work in your spirit.

#encourage #courage

Life Interrupted Again

Just when things were looking up, life…

Hello, Thursday Morning readers!

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. — Thomas Paine, 1776

Changes happen, sometimes in the blink of an eye. This time, it’s not just me and my life. It’s all of us. It’s a war of a different sort and ordinary folks are being called upon to serve or to stay.

I was looking forward to a vacation in a couple of weeks, our first in three years. I thought I needed time off to chill and just be, without all the responsibilities that surround me right now. Time with my spouse, who is also busy, working hard.

Our plans were interrupted in an instant. Not just our plans or our lives, but everyone’s. That makes it a bit more bearable, knowing we are all in this together.

I never expected to see some of the things I’ve seen in the past week. Hoarding, empty shelves at the groceries and warehouses. Empty restaurants. Empty roads. Empty schools. Empty parking lots at some of our largest companies.

It’s haunting. My heart aches for those who are not working, who need those paychecks.

I hate that I can’t visit Mom. But at least she’s home now, safe in her own apartment. Little brother takes her meals every day. Nurses visit throughout the week. If she’d been in the rehab/nursing home a couple more weeks, she would’ve been under quarantine and no one could visit. I see God’s hand in that.

In the midst of all this, I’ve seen good things, too. Happy things, like children playing in their yards, their joyful voices blending with birdsong.

Churches finding ways to meet with and sustain their congregations—a huge challenge made somewhat easier by technology. History reveals that the church tends to grow stronger when tested.

Some changes seem negative on the surface but one thing is certain, our strength is revealed in the tough times.

I’ve seen neighbors spreading the news about local restaurants who are still cooking their delicious meals for carryout. Some of those neighbors are buying gift cards for other neighbors who are home without pay. On a local television station’s website, you can buy a $20 pizza gift card for only $10.

My friend, Rhonda Dragomir is sharing helpful hints and ideas, using the hashtag #covidea. Look her up on Facebook and Twitter (@RhondaDragomir).

Good things. Blessings. We can all do these kinds of things and more. I encourage you to find ways to be a blessing through the shutdowns and the quarantines. We are a resilient nation. I’m proud of us.

So, while some of the things I’ve yearned for and looked forward to have been postponed, I know God has a plan.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.- Jeremiah 29:11

What are some of the good things happening in your neck of the woods?

In the Trenches

I have never been a soldier or fought in a war. I cannot imagine the horrors suffered by those who have literally stood “in the trenches” at some point in life. I would never compare my small troubles to such an event. But sometimes, life’s challenges do send us into a panic and we are nearly overcome.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. Thanks so much for stopping in for a visit. I have Sunergos Coffee in my cup this morning! I’m drinking their “Blend B” – think malt, citrus, & nutty. It smells as good as it tastes. 🙂

Aside from enjoying my yummy coffee, I’m meditating a devotional I read a few days ago. The subject was courage.

Synonyms of courage: bravery, mettle, pluck, spunk, valor, virtue, grit, backbone, fiber, fortitude.

We need a backbone, not a wishbone. — Joyce Meyer

I am too prone to wish, and not do. I must admit, fear is a heavy-hitter in my life. In addition, I battle unworthiness on a daily basis.

The author of the devotional suggested I write down my top five fears, so here they are:

  1. Being alone, which is odd, because I’m kind of an introvert. My go-to verse is Isaiah 41:10 – “…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed…” and John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
  2. Losing a loved one – there are no pat answers for this one. There are comforting verses of scripture (like John 14:27) and the knowledge that we will see our loved ones again. “The best way out is always through.” — Robert Frost
  3. Injustice (toward me and others) Zephaniah 3:13 says, “…those who are left in Israel; … shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” Also, Psalm 56:11, Psalm 118:6, and Hebrews 13:6.
  4. Deep water – I think I wrote a blog post on this once or at least referred to it. I have nothing to say in my defense but I think it’s not just water. Sometimes, I’m afraid to move forward for fear of the unknown, which could also be called deep water. “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” — William Faulkner
  5. Failure – I seem to be repeating myself here. I have to refer back to Faulkner’s quote. You have to be courageous enough to step out when you can’t see the shore (what lies ahead). Go ahead, take a chance!

Truth is, I would rather be a big splash in a small pond, so I have trouble venturing out at times. Even so, I am always surprised by the number of times I get involved with a group, committee, etc., and then find myself in a leadership position, though I did not seek it. (Ack!)

Does this ever happen to you?

Through it all, I am learning to trust, not in myself, but the One who sent me. I’m grateful to God for His leadership. He has given me ample opportunities to choose faith over fear. If I focus on my fear, I’ll end up paralyzed by it. If I raise my eyes to the horizon—the big picture—I’ll be more likely to “…lose sight of the shore,” and find my way out.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you. — Isaiah 43:1b-2

Thursday Thoughts

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. My writing desk is feeling a bit neglected, so I sat down this morning with my cup of steaming coffee, intent on doing a little writing.

I was outside for a short time today, and though there is a definite chill in the air, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Birds are chirping and singing like it’s springtime already. I love to hear them. I don’t take their song for granted. Only a short few months ago, I couldn’t hear it. What a difference hearing aids make to those with genetic hearing loss.

Small blessings fill my life these days and I’m doing my best to take time to appreciate them. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, because today holds enough trouble of its own. Truth. And I’m finding that even in the midst of those daily challenges, joy is still a choice you can make. The old-fashioned idea of counting your blessings has become, “focus on the positive.” Same principle.

I choose joy.

Just in case you’re interested, I #amwriting. I’m working on a new series set in the early seventies. The genre is suspense, so it’s a bit of a challenge. I’m enjoying the work. I remember the seventies, but I’d forgotten a few things, so I’m having to make notes for research a lot more often than I’d expected.

Okay, I have more than one reader, but this one won’t mind me using her picture. Hi, Deb!

In the next few months, I’ll be able to give you more details, but for now, just know that I write with my readers in mind. I’m personally acquainted with many of my readers and they are so encouraging. I love receiving notes from them when they’ve finished one of my books.

You know that feeling you get when you’ve worked hard to prepare a meal for your family, and they enjoy the food and compliment the meal? Yes, that’s the same kind of feeling I get when a reader lets me know they loved one of my stories. So, don’t hesitate to send a note to an author, or better yet, leave a short review of their book. Recommend it on Facebook and/or GoodReads.

Enough about business! Another thing I’ve really come to appreciate is you. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to visit me here.

And thanks for your comments and encouragement regarding my mother’s health. She’s doing well at the time of this post. We visited her this past weekend and were able to take her out for a few hours. She absolutely loves Joseph-Beth Bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky. So, that’s where we headed and lunched at Bronte’s Bistro! If you’re ever in Lexington, it’s a must-stop-in and plan to stay a while.

Photo by Jill Wellington, Pixabay Image