500,000 people in the United States dead from Covid-19. Sad history being made in our midst.
I just cannot comprehend that much loss, that much death in one year, that many families grieving. I was in shock March 21, 2020 when the numbers were 24,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the USA.
I understand grief. I understand death. Recently Marvin died, Jay died, Art died and Gary, too. Most were ill. Some were older than others. My brain struggles to get around 500,000 people dying from one disease in one year. It is very likely that I have not even met 500,000 people in my entire life. Internet statistics report the average American knows about 600 people and may meet upwards to 10,000 in a lifetime. 500,000 is difficult for me to even conceptualize.
National Geographic published the article below to help us get a grip. It was comforting to read “our brains are not wired to comprehend this much loss“. They end the article saying “These figures do not include tens of thousands of deaths that may have been related to the virus but were not recorded as COVID-19 deaths, such as deaths before testing became more widely available.”
By the time you read this we will have had our celebrations with all our family members. A Christmas like no other, for certain! So how will we spend our Christmas Day? I hope we pray and rejoice and make an extra effort to draw near to the One born to bring us to His home for eternity.
We are building a house soon. They will not break ground on it until February. That has not stopped us from packing, and throwing things out, giving things away, paring down in a grand way. We watched my in-laws wait until they were quite aged to down size. It was hard on every person involved. When we got married 50 years ago we promised each other that we would do life differently than our parents. (Maybe everyone declares that?) So here is another example of us doing things differently.
So we are not 75 yet (i.e., not eligible for the Covid vaccine in the next wave of injections) but no sense in waiting until we are in our late 80’s or 90’s to decide to take on this task. I am comforted to know that when the Lord Jesus calls me home, there will be nothing to pack. I will leave behind the things of this earth and move towards His beckoning Voice. He will have my treasures there with Him.
We figure this new house will be our last home unless we need a nursing home at the end. Then our ‘graduation’ will bring us to “mansions in glory” a place prepared for us.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:1-4 NRSV
As you open your Christmas gift treasures, we celebrate the fact that this earth is not our home. We are going to a place “where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:20-21 NLT2
Because of him I am exponentially aware of dragonflies, though I cannot identify hardly any of them. As my oldest friends are aware I love butterflies, but Mike researches his and posts details about them. I merely admire. Well, except for the monarchs and especially their caterpillars. My husband and I garden milkweed especially for those!
Recently Bob and I made a trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum, wearing our masks and social distancing in the almost deserted museum. One exhibit was called “Women Breaking Boundaries” and this painting was done by Maria van Oosterwijck in 1669 entitled Flower Still Life. I was admiring the flowers: nasturtium, peony, tulip, lily of the valley, carnation or dianthus, rose, iris, poppy unfolding and greenery and POP UP! There was Mike Powell! Almost center of the painting is a dragonfly. Closer inspection brought two butterflies into view. Perhaps a beetle, wasp or fly on the edge of the table? Makes me want to return to the museum with a magnifying glass to identify the insects 🙂 Maybe you can study the painting below and use my list as a hidden object puzzle. You might even find more details than I did!
I wanted to purchase a copy for Mike, but alas they only had one small print and a large poster. Then I remembered I do not even know his address, just contact through his blog and mine!
So here is the painting description:
Even with Bob’s best computer photo enhancement tools we have trouble seeing that confident signature!
This is my favorite (without the frame). Thanks Mike for keeping me on my toes!
Who would have thought last St. Patrick’s day that we would still be fighting pandemic on the 13th of July? Perhaps until someone you know catches the virus people do not take this seriously. Granted many catch it and recover. However, some go home from the ICU in wheelchairs and some in beds, having to learn how to walk again. Our daughter was tested and got a positive result for Covid 19 last week. Stunning. So now we wait.
“To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands, or take control. Nor is waiting inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to ‘rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him’ (Psalm 37:7).” Max Lucado
I wait. I pray. I try to remember to breathe. And I post, asking you to pray for her immediate family (2 adults, 2 teens) and ours (2 seniors with underlying health issues).
Max Lucado wrote ” Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief.” I have found it increasingly difficult to stay focused on God through these four months. The monotony of repetitive actions gets to me: (Didn’t I just change this toilet paper roll? Didn’t I just fill these same prescription boxes?) Changing the wall calendar page has gotten startling! How did we get from March to mid-July?
Many believers have told me they believe that this world-wide pandemic is a massive effort by the forces of darkness to separate us from one another and from God. The level of warfare I have experienced has me leaning that direction.
Hebrews 12:1-2a (NIV2011) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
NOW I have my work cut out for me! Throw off not casually get out from under, but THROW OFF everything that hinders. I have changed up my devotional time. There are days when I let the Bible app read to me in an attempt to immerse myself in Scripture. Morning Prayer, devotional writings, whatever feeds my weary soul.
If I read a chapter of Proverbs a day, I am finished with the book in one month. Psalms can be broken up into just about 5 chapters a day. I have gone so far as to break up Psalm 119 into days as it is VERY long for reading in just one sitting – at least for me! Fix my mind, fix my eyes, fix my ears upon the Lord God Almighty. The hymn below was written by Helen Howarth Lemmel, a woman from Batavia, Ohio! Yep, that is where I live. 🙂 The chorus is sung more than the hymn in most churches. Too bad they leave out the verses! Here is a quartet from the continent of India who do a wonderful arrangement of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. I pray you will.
So my husband has been stir crazy and when I walk into a room now and he has something to tell me he say, “oh! ooh! Call on me!” sort of like this guy
The first photo is a wild geranium. I love the little bee in the center with pollen on it’s abdomen! Here he is close up in case you missed him.
We kept seeing this and telling each other that cannot be May Apple. They are smooth and these are heavily veined. I did not get a photo, but they are called umbrella leaf and a found a photo on the web.
The first time I saw Bluets we were in the Smoky Mountains. They were lovely, tiny and so baby blue. Now I know they also grow as Narrow-leaved Bluets and can have white-to-pink or lavender flowers!
Keep your eyes open! Never know when you will see a treasure in plain sight!
If the mask causes a rash try a cotton mask instead. I will send you one if you do not have access to one as long as my elastic supply and fabric supply holds out! Of course, if you are reading this from overseas, I may not be able to afford the postage on that! If you are local to the US, comment and tell me how to contact you for mailing address, etc.
Masks protect others if you happen to be shedding the disease. Masks also help you NOT to touch your eyes, nose, mouth, face while you are out and about. This respiratory virus enters through those areas of your body. So in this respect, wearing a mask protects you as it hinders what is usually an unconscious behavior.
If Jesus was walking the earth in 2020 do you think He would wear a mask? I think He would. He always taught we are to consider others over ourselves. Hear is one point of view! Mike is brother to one of my best friends. He is also a Pastor in Clermont County, Ohio. Hope you enjoy his video.
It is a proven fact that social distancing and wearing a mask saves lives. The life you save may be someone you know!
I heard a radio program a while ago about prisoners and release and ankle monitoring. The comment that struck me was the decision about electronic monitoring is based upon the “readiness to change level” of the prisoner. I have no idea what the criteria is for that, but it struck a chord in me.
This pandemic has changed our lives. I think many aspects have been changed forever. What is YOUR readiness to change level?
There are so many things that we in America CAN live without. Are we ready to release those things? Think about it! If your gateway to peace and freedom was based on what you were ready to let go of, what would you be willing to do differently?
Yes, I miss wandering through a grocery store and hitting the mark down bins for deals. I miss going into a grocery store period. But could I live without that experience? Yes, perhaps not happily, but yes. Not even mentioning other shopping.
Then the hot topics of social distancing and wearing masks. I heard about a woman who threw a sheet over her daughter so she could hug her safely. Yes, I am about ready to do that, especially with those Grandgirls!
“An involved process for a hug.” Not too hard for me! I get it. Yes, I am thinking I need to wash the sheets I used to cover the plants when killer frost came through and keep them folded on the porch for when I CANNOT stand it any longer and need to hug!! Are you with me?
I miss our church family. When I recently heard one of our Pastors on our church YouTube Sunday broadcast pray, “Dear Gracious and Heavenly Father,” I nearly burst into tears. Just miss our family so much. My husband and I are both older and both have health risk factors. We may very well be the LAST ones to attend church when it reopens. I do know, I will spend eternity with these folks. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV2011) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Stay calm as we all discover just how very much we need to change!
A friend recently pointed out that I am willing to use my brain power instead of telling God to take care of everything and just doing whatever I want to do. I wonder in this time of social uproar and unmasked people yelling in the faces of unmasked officers of the law protesting isolation and social distancing if perhaps sectors of America have not gone completely mad?
I am married to the Grandad you just might kill if you do not heed the scientific warnings about the spread of this virus. I am the Grandma you just might knock off with your carelessness. Is that what society at large wants? Just cull the herd and start with fewer numbers?
Sadly we may yet see armed persons entering grocery stores demanding all the meat on hand to be placed in their cars. Things are getting ugly out there. Rise up, people of God, and pray sanity and order back to America. May each of us ask for God’s help and use the good sense He gave us to endure through this trial.
My husband and I will be the last ones to go back to church. We are older and both of us have health factors. Until then, we will be praying and doing our best to fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) He is Wisdom from the Father. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Darkness is tempting the world to throw aside wisdom. Don’t listen!