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!

Ankle Monitoring

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!

April 3, 2020; Blue Ash, OH, USA; Cheryl Norton, of Blue Ash, hugs her daughter, who is an ICU nurse working the front lines during the new coronavirus pandemic, Friday, April 3, 2020. Norton so much wanted to hug her, so she put a covering over her so she could hold her tight, just for a moment. After this hug, Cheryl dropped the covering in the garage. It will lie there for three days before she washes it in hot soapy water. And she, of course, washed her hands. An involved process for a hug. Mandatory Credit: Liz Dufour/The Enquirer via USA TODAY Network

“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!

Quote and Brain Power

The only certainty is the lack thereof.

Max Lucado

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!

Come To Him

I so need this one today. Really struggling with the new reality of our lives in isolation, wary of disease, fighting depression. God knows. Sometimes tears are the best and sometimes singing.

If you have never heard this one, listen 3 times. So great!

When I’m feeling anxious in my head
He tells me to come to him instead
Come to him when weary (Weary)
Come to him when low (When low)
He will lift the burden, this I know (This I know) (Yeah I know I say)

Take my yoke upon you, learn from me (Learn from me)
Take my yoke upon you and you’ll see (You’ll see) (You’ll see)
Come to me, I’ll strengthen (Strengthen)
Come to me, I’ll help (I’ll help)
Come to me, I’ll still anxiety (Still anxiety)

So when I find that I have gone astray (When I’ve gone astray)
I can go to him and he won’t send me away (He won’t sent me away)
Come to me, I’ll strengthen (Strengthen)
Come to me, I’ll help (I’ll help)
Come to me and listen what I say (Listen to what I say)

Take my yoke upon you learn from me (Learn from me)
Take my yoke upon you and you’ll see (You’ll see)
Come to me, I’ll strengthen (Strengthen)
Come to me, I’ll help (I’ll help)
Come to me, I’ll still anxiety (Still anxiety)

Come (Come), come (Come), oh come (Oh to me)
You better come to me, you better come to me
Come (Come), come (Come), oh come (Oh to me)
You better come to me, you better come to me
Come (Come), come (Come), oh come (Come)

What Have You Been Doing?

When the bananas from Click List went too ripe too quickly because they sent large ripe ones (I always buy small and the greenest I can find) Bob made banana bread. No nuts, not with rum, but with oatmeal. I think it might have been Betty’s recipe. Quite tasty!

I have been figuring out what pattern I prefer for making face masks. The Clermont Sun local newspaper offered a pattern on the front page one week. It worked fairly well. I tried another one I found on You Tube from Sewing Seeds of Love with nose wire and insert pocket.

I find the pleats tricky, so I just started pleating them with my best guess.

These each have an opening in the back to hold a surgical mask or coffee filter or folded paper towel. The girl across the street works at Dunkin’ Donuts drive through and will be required to wear a mask this week. They do not sew, so she received two. My daughter’s family needed 6 or 7. My son’s family the same amount. Bob and I need a stack of clean ones so we can change them each time we wear them. I will be busy for a while.

My daughter graciously ordered 1/8″ elastic on line as I used up all I had on hand. I did not bother to learn the tie one ones. Figured most folks would not use them. My oldest Grandgirl found yards of fabric in her closet and gave it to me for masks. She could not remember what she had bought it for. She works at a movie theater. On Tuesday and Friday nights they are giving away fresh popcorn. They have a bar there that is selling bottled alcohol and cans of 50 West beer curbside with the popcorn. Last Friday the line was really long. They promote it as date night. Watch a movie at home and have popcorn!

People with sewing machines have been kind to share with each other. Some with time on their hands are sewing like maniacs, then sharing with their work colleagues or trying to fill requests from others. One neighbor brought us a handful along with some surgical masks to use. She is aware of what we went through when Bob was so terribly ill.

In fact, I have found people overall to be kind during this pandemic. Neighbors are willing to pick up laundry soap when they are out and the Click List says they do not carry that – or are out of it. It would be even better if they said, “I am going to this store or that. Do you want anything?” We would not feel as if we were such an imposition that way. At this point, I am fighting the urge to just jump in the car and go get whatever I need. So, I will take all the help I can get.

 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,  accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.

Colossians 3:12-14 (HCSB)

And I have not heard any political comments among the common folk!

Ennui

Does this sound familiar?
Verb      1.            constrain - hold back
cumber, encumber, restrain
confine, limit, throttle, trammel, restrain, restrict, bound - place limits on (extent or access); "restrict the use of this parking lot"; "limit the time you can spend with your friends"
bridle - put a bridle on; "bridle horses"
curb - keep to the curb; "curb your dogs"
clog - impede the motion of, as with a chain or a burden; "horses were clogged until they were tamed"
2.            constrain - restrict; "Tighten the rules"; "stiffen the regulations"
tighten up, stiffen, tighten
 
I am bridled by the isolation and social distancing rules. I am straining against the limits and confines of this house, this new routine, this spring of our disease and discontent. And yes, I am
bored
adjective fed up, tired, hacked (off) (U.S. slang), wearied, weary, pissed off (taboo slang), uninterested, sick and tired (informal), listless, browned-off (informal), brassed off (Brit. slang), ennuied I am getting very bored with this entire business.
en·nui  (ŏn-wē′, ŏn′wē)
n.
Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom
Definitely there.
ENNUI

Not accustomed to being told what I can and cannot do, I protest. Yes, I am an introvert. Lately, I am missing the few groups I do interact with. Journey Together In Stitches = JTIS = Crochet and knit group that meets at Convent of the Transfiguration on a monthly basis. Tuesday night prayer group at The Crossing. We pray on behalf of the Leadership, Missionaries, Ministry teams and leaders, events (all suspended for now). Currently we are meeting via Zoom and praying separately. Monday night small group is also meeting via Zoom. I find Zoom less than satisfactory, but beats not seeing each other at all. And then there is church. Our congregation had a Thursday service and two on Sunday. Now we have one on YouTube with worship team and Pastor. It too is better than nothing, but even I am tired of it.

This introvert needs to mix and mingle.

Is anyone else out there tired of this isolation? It seems that for senior citizens like me this could go on for a long. long time. They are saying life as we knew it (read “as we took it for granted”) may never return. Our theater tickets are canceled. Our trip to the North Georgia mountains to seek wildflowers is canceled. Unlikely we will get to go to the beach with Grandgirls and their parents this year. Our oldest Grangirl has her graduation postponed until sometime in August, possibly held on football field. That is risky if you know weather in Southern Ohio in August!

So Bob just went for a drive by himself. Wonder if this is what he is doing in his car right now??

Let’s try this method!