Delta Variant

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is sweeping the USA right now. It brings to mind things we thought we could forget.

CDC says all people should wear a mask again in crowded areas. Remember to have your mask with you. If you mask is homemade, remember to put the paper towel liner in it. I am telling myself these things again daily.

The hand wipes package in my car was getting low. Thought I might just go to a tiny package. With the Delta Variant I have once again taken a large package, poured alcohol into it and put it in my car, AGAIN. Washing my hands with those after every interaction in shops.

Many people are credited with saying, “The only certainty is the lack of certainty.” Plodding along with the rest of the world, hoping we all get smart and get this thing under control soon.

Does that mean it is risky to eat out in restaurants again? Oh geesh! we were so enjoying the return of that activity!

Another quote: “Wait it out. Be patient. Try to stay alive.”

“What can’t be cured must be endured.”

During the last go ’round I was trying to express what so many of us felt regarding the many deaths and our sense of helplessness to change things. One author wrote that a person ‘gave a shuddering sigh’. You know, that breath that does not inhale smoothly, like after a really hard cry? George MacDonald in 1905 wrote, “shuddered and breathed deep.”

I am trying to use wisdom regarding the Delta Variant. It is said that with full inoculation (which Bob and I have) we might catch the Delta Variant (more infectious than common cold) but are unlikely to require hospitalization. Bob’s Pulmonologist has told him to stay out of crowds. So we are thinking we need a return to regularly wearing masks, staying out of crowds, washing our hands, and praying those who have not had their vaccines will get them before another variant can pop up and spread among the peoples of the earth!! Another quote: “You can’t cure stupid.”

So many interviews on the evening news with people in hospital beds urging others to get the Covid shot. Almost all of them say they wish now they had gotten one before they got sick.

Like Lester Holt says, “Take care of one another!”

Covid-19 Vaccine TOGETHER

I am so thankful for each of the scientists who worked on producing the vaccines. Bob and I have both had 2 doses of the Pfizer brand. After the second dose we both had a couple days of feeling just crummy. Had already planned to lay low and let our bodies adjust. We are much better now.

I must admit, I have been cringing the past few months with all the ads on TV about the vaccine and showing those needles filled and up close, in arms, too.

When I was three or four I played jump rope with my sister and her friends. They were trying to get me to do double dutch.

I fell. I broke my leg. I rode in the backseat of the car many miles to the hospital. I was put in traction for 6 weeks. (Think 1954.) My father was in the same hospital with one of his many heart attacks. In 1954 there was not much they could do about heart disease. At one point they rolled our beds into the same room so I could see him. When I came home from Good Samaritan Hospital I was in love with the Sisters of Charity who took such good care of me. I am certain I learned the Presence of Jesus while there. I remember them holding my hand when the doctor was ready to cast my leg. The wraps were hot and I was so afraid.

Once home I was also terrified of white coats and needles. I was so fearful my parents could not tell me about any doctor appointment the night before because I would get very worked up. I worked for years to overcome all of that trauma. And I succeeded.

As to those ads showing the injection and those needles. I was more than unsettled knowing I would get that twice. I did okay. The first nurse to administer it did not do well. The second nurse was great.

We are still washing our hands. Avoiding crowds. Wearing our masks. Keeping our distance. But there is a sense of coming freedom!

We still need to keep well so we can get moved and unpacked! Bob says this virus will likely become like the flu. We will eventually get annual injections. We are both in high risk categories, but so grateful for the vaccine developers, nurses who administer the injection and the other people who actually get the injection to help keep it from spreading and killing people.

TOGETHER, yes, we are in this together and we can get through this TOGETHER. I praise God giving the scientific community the wisdom and methodology to develop these vaccines. I rejoice that He is able to keep us. I cannot answer the questions about those who died, and those who grieve their passing. I have been holding my breath afraid that Bob or I might die before we get this house built. So far, it looks as if we are moving there together.

Regardless, I will continue to praise my Lord and my God. He is “worthy to receive glory and honor and power for You created all things and by Your will they were created.” Revelation 4:11 NIV

This song keeps following me and I decided it fits right here. All along there was another in the fire. And He remains with us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

–Daniel 3:16-18, 25

I Cannot Comprehend

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.”

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/graphics/what-500000-united-states-covid-deaths-look-like

Stay strong. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Wear your mask, or two. Get your vaccine when available and stay grateful for the many, many blessings which overflow our lives.

Christmas Holy

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

My Friend Mike Powell and 1669

He seems to follow me everywhere! His interest in dragonflies, butterflies, flowers and nature in general keep me intrigued with his blog. Until he gets to the snakes. Then I tune him out. Yuck. http://michaelqpowell.com/2020/09/04/dragonfly-and-duckweed/

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!

https://secretimages.org/2019/11/06/flower-still-life-1669-by-maria-van-oosterwyck/ wrote on the blog Secret Images about Maria, “Her signature motif, a Red Admiral butterfly, appears in most of her significant paintings; scholars believe that van Oosterwyck included the boldly-patterned insect to send a hopeful message about resurrection.”

Well I for one love that hopeful message about the resurrection!

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

1 Peter 1:3 NIV 2011

Just Breathe

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.

Any Idea What This Is?

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!

Wildflowers

Mywildflowers.com says I was looking at: Golden Ragwort! Goodness that website is MUCH faster than looking through my flower books 🙂

Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower) Height: 1 to 2 ft.Blooms: April to July Leaf Type: toothed Bloom Size:  0.75 in. (typical)Flower Description: Flat or rounded clusters, Regular blooms, 10 or more parts

I want Canada Violets in my yard to grow with my purple Wild Violets which I DO NOT consider to be a broad leaf weed, thank you very much!

Yep, that flower is overexposed. Still learning!!

I must admit I did not know to look under the petals to see if there was green there. I believe this is called Star of Bethlehem. I like the One the star pointed to!

I think this was a tree swallow, though there was a barn nearby! (Giggle, do barn swallows need to live near or within a barn?!?)

Masks

“I cannot wear the mask they gave me. I broke out in a rash. I have asthma I cannot wear a mask.”

“Wearing a mask makes her anxiety worsen. Why isn’t anyone concerned about her?”

“I carry one in my pocket. If I go in a store and I am in the minority by not wearing a mask, then I will put it on.”

Well, as this site shows, masks have been recommended for asthma for a very long time. https://www.newtoasthma.com/breathing-masks-for-asthma/

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!