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




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?