the importance of perseverance

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Life is not easy. It’s full of challenges, and when we face those challenges, we have a choice. Do we stick with it and persevere? Or do we give up?

My mom texted me yesterday with the results from her recent MRI. On top of severe osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, a herniated disc in her back, and celiac disease, they also discovered she has a radial capitellum capsular edema and a posterolateral  capsular synovial cyst.

All fancy medical terms that contribute to the intense chronic pain she lives with on a daily basis.

She was recently confined to a wheelchair.

In other words, the pain and debilitating illness she now faces are nearly unbearable.

Some days it feels like too much.

It is a lot for her to persevere in these times of chronic pain, uncertainty, and a rapidly deteriorating health.

Hard for her husband, children, and grandchildren to watch as well.

But she perseveres. And no, neither she nor I will tell you that it’s easy or that she doesn’t struggle at times.

Chronic illness.

The Covid-19 virus that has changed life as we know it.

A difficult boss.

A challenging relative.

The effort to lose weight for health reasons.

The challenge to bring up your grades.

Working two jobs to afford basic necessities for your family.

Being a caregiver.

Trying to move on after a death or divorce.

Loneliness

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These can all bring about difficult life situations where it’s easy to give up and give in.

The Apostle Paul went through many trials and hardships and persevered for the Gospel. Missionaries today persist in bringing the Truth to people who may never otherwise hear the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Even in families, friendships, and neighborhoods, faithful believers hope to plant seeds. Pastors preach to both believers and unbelievers each Sunday.

Or even the perseverance in raising our child(ren) for Christ in an increasingly sinful and hostile world. Yet, when we continue to instill in our children the importance of a relationship with God, we will someday reap the rewards.

 

Galatians 6 9

How do we persevere and why is it important that we do?

By keeping our eyes on Jesus. The second we take our eyes off of Him, as Peter did in Matthew 14:30-31, we sink.

Realizing that He knows the “big picture.” How it starts, the middle, and the ending. Remember that we see the tiny hand-held TV screen of life, while God sees an enormous big-screen TV. Or to look at it a different way, we see one word in an entire book, while He sees the entire book – every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter.

Remembering that even in times of hardship, He loves us and will never leave us.

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Knowing that He is a great listener…and never sleeps. His “line” is open 24/7/365.

Being assured that He’s got this and was not caught off guard.

Spending time in constant prayer, giving thanks for all He has done, seeking His will for your life, and laying down prayer requests are tantamount to a close relationship with Him.

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Reading God’s Word and learning about the faithful ones of the Bible who persevered. To know we are not alone in our difficulties gives us hope and courage.

Keep going forward…even if you feel like you’re constantly going backwards. 

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Making sure you have a good support system. This can be a loving spouse and children, caring friends, and a faithful church body.

Being encouraged by listening to uplifting Christian music. What we fill our minds with impacts us, whether positively or negatively.

Facing each day one step at a time. Set small and realistic goals.

Remember that He is with us each step of the way. We never have to “do life” alone.

Life is not easy. Everyone has a struggle, or multiple struggles, that they face on a daily or ongoing basis. But with faith in God and perseverance, we can face our hardships head-on and emerge victorious.

 

 

 

 

20 upbeat songs to encourage you

20 songs encouragement

Need some encouragement? Check out these awesome songs (in no particular order) that are sure to encourage you. So sit back, relax, and take a listen. 🙂

Smile – Sidewalk Prophets

 

Never Give Up – Matthew West

 

One More Day – Aaron Cole

 

Brand New – Sean B

 

Fearless – Jasmine Murray

 

Stronger Than We Think – Danny Gokey

 

We Walk on Water – Shonlock

 

Right on Time – Aaron Cole (featuring TobyMac)

 

Right Now – About a Mile

 

Overcomer- Mandisa

 

Good Fight – Unspoken

 

Born to Live – About a Mile

 

Saved my Soul – Audio Adrenaline

 

Comeback Kid – Mandisa

 

Best is Yet to Come – Group 1 Crew

 

Fix My Eyes – For King & Country

 

Unstoppable – TobyMac

 

Running – Natalie Villa

 

We are Brave – Shawn MacDonald

 

Good Life – Bonray

 

And a bonus!

Happy Dance – MercyMe

Where is your focus? Finding peace of mind in a world of negativity

Where is your focus - finding

We have an air purifier that works extremely well. When it detects an odor, it automatically ramps up its motor, and works hard to filter out the impurities to help with our family’s allergies and asthma.

All of the information we are fed on a daily basis via the news, social media, and other outlets can be overwhelming, especially in these times of Covid-19. I know people who listen to or watch the news for hours. Just like the impurities our air purifier eliminates, we ourselves need to decrease the amount of toxicity we allow into our minds. We are going to get through this. We are. Yes, we’ll emerge different that we were before – in many positive ways and a perhaps few negative ways, but this “new normal” is not forever. We need to make a conscious effort to filter out the negative thoughts that crowd our minds, the anxiety that grips us, the fear that constantly bombards us, and the depression that threatens to take up permanent residence.

The Lord is at work, even when we can’t see it. He knows the struggles we face, the adjustments we are having to make, and the fear that coincides with the unknown. Lean on Him. Trust in Him. Rely on Him. Set your mind on Him. While at times a difficult task, seek to fill your mind with gratitude and hope and spend daily time in His word – all remedies to fight despair and hopelessness.

Colossians 3 2

Keeping tabs on what is going on is fine, as long as we do not allow it to engulf us. Instead of allowing yourself to dwell on the incessant negativity, focus on the good that is coming from this. Families are growing closer. People are helping in whatever way they can. Communities are banding together.

The negativity presented to us by the world does not fit into the categories listed in Philippians 4:8. Only when deciding not to focus on the negative, can we filter out the times when toxicity threatens to seep into our minds and lives.

Philippians 4 8 best one

 

 

a season of hope

Season of Hope

My nephew recently got married. Aside from the fact that there is absolutely no way that I can possibly be old enough to have a married nephew, the news of his engagement and subsequent marriage was super exciting. He and bride were able to have their ceremony just days before the Covid-19 hit. They, as newlyweds, are entering a season of hope.

The other day, I wandered outside to take in the fresh air of spring. Summer takes awhile to arrive in my neck of the woods, but the first glimmerings of spring are upon us. A tiny pansy poked its head through the grass, eager to begin its new life in a season of hope.

Things are bleak right now in many ways. Many are waiting for their unemployment while they tackle odd jobs in an effort to support their families. Many are struggling with the new reality of quarantine, social distancing, masks, gloves, and other safety measures. Others struggle with the fear that they, or someone they love, could contract the Coronavirus. Still others face anxiety and depression as the world around us changes in unprecedented ways.

Is there still a season of hope in these challenging times? I would answer that with an emphatic “yes”! Why? Because our hope is not found in this world. It isn’t found in temporary things. It’s found in the One who gave His life so we may live. Our hope lasts for more than just a season. For those of us who have surrendered our lives to Jesus, it lasts for an eternity.

Romans 15 13

When I was a teenager, I remember sitting with my mom on the couch. Her arm draped around me as she consoled me over a friend’s betrayal. “This too shall pass,” Mom said, kissing the top of my head.

I didn’t think the pain from that betrayal would ever pass. But Mom was right, it did pass and the heartbreak did become a memory.

My friends, this too shall pass. Things won’t always be framed through the lens of Covid-19. We won’t always have to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid hugs and handshakes. (As a hugger, I long for that day!) We won’t always have to attend church online or be trapped inside our homes and only emerge for “essentials”. We won’t always have to wait with trepidation for that unemployment check to finally arrive so we can pay our bills. We won’t always be mired in the negative news spewed daily by the media.

There is a season of hope coming with the end of the Covid-19 quarantines. It will pass. And there is an eternal season of hope coming when we spend all eternity with the One who loves us more than we can even fathom. So, like the fragile little pansy in my backyard who arches its colorful face toward the sun to sustain it, let us, in our frailty, uncertainty, and worry lift our faces toward the Son.

For He is our hope. And not just for a season.

2 COrinthians 4_18

 

 

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

ways to keep kids engagedNeed some fun ideas to keep your children and teens entertained? Read on!

  1. Plan an indoor camping trip. Set up the tent in the living room, round up some tasty treats, and provide some flashlights, string some Christmas lights, and include a game for some late-night fun.photo-of-toddler-sitting-on-floor-3932965 (2)
  2. Make homemade slime. Little bins for little hands has numerous recipes for easy-to-make slime.
  3. Catch up on some reading. Madi’s Musings writing and book review blog has some awesome reading suggestions for a variety of ages.
  4. Get a healthy dose of exercise. Walk. Scooter. If the weather is nice, head outdoors with the family and enjoy some fresh air. Bring out the strollers and push little ones for a win/win situation.
  5. Play a game of tag.
  6. Put together a puzzle.
  7. Join with your kids in serving others, beginning in your own neighborhood. Do elderly neighbors need grocery pickup or delivery? Could you rake leaves, mow the lawn, shovel snow, or till a garden? Walk their dog?
  8. Set some decluttering goals. What a perfect time to organize! Join with the kids in setting a goal to organize their toys, a closet, or the living room. Play some music, then celebrate with a fun treat afterwards.
  9. Bake cookies or muffins. Check out these easy recipes for chocolate crinklesno-bakes cookies, or chocolate chip muffins (all with gluten-free options). choc muffinsOr suggest kids decorate graham crackers with frosting for their own creations.cute cookies 1
  10. Take on a building/fixing project. Parents, kids love to learn and work side by side. What about building a wood project? Fixing a broken item? Changing oil in the car?
  11. Enjoy a movie night. Don’t forget the popcorn! Need some movie ideas? Check out this list of some Mom-Approved Movies for Families.
  12. Connect through a Bible study. Take turns reading, then discussing the chapter.
  13. Partake in a Bible challenge. When my girls were younger, they loved it when I hosted Bible challenges and asked them questions. They would “ring in” when they knew the answer. Not only was it fun, but it also helped us learn God’s Word.The questions can be as simple as the following:Who created the earth?Who were the first two people God created?

    Who is God’s Son?

    To harder questions:

    Name eight of the 12 disciples.

    Name the nine attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit?

    Name the books of the New Testament in order.

  14. Plan meals together and make them. One good thing to come out of our recent Covid-19 isolation is that we, as families, are eating out less and making more meals together. Put kids in charge of planning meals and making (or assisting in the making of) the meals. I recommend Quick and Easy Crock-Pot Chili (gluten free).chili
  15. Make funny videos. Using your phone or other device, have your kids record funny commercials selling something they own or making a silly news program. When I was a kid, my sister and I filmed (with a gigantic video camera!) used car commercials, a news series on happenings, and music videos where we danced to our favorite songs.
  16. Play mimic mirror. With two players (two kids or a kid and a parent) have one person make certain faces and the other person mimic those expressions.
  17. Have a blinking contest. First person to blink loses!
  18. Make it a spa day. Have daughters? Create a spa day complete with manicures, pedicures, and new hairdos.
  19. Have a hot chocolate day. Who doesn’t love a huge cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows?
  20. Host a tea party.
  21. Snuggle before getting out of bed in the morning. One of my favorite memories is snuggling with my daughters when they were little and reading them stories before we started on our day.
  22. Decorate boxes. Have some boxes from recent online deliveries? Be sure to let them sit for at least 24 hours (to be sure there is no germ spread from Covid-19), then bring out the crayons and markers and decorate the boxes.
  23. Enlist your teens to make up exercise routines they host for the entire family.two-woman-doing-exercise-1671217 (2)
  24. Do a science experiment. This website offers some innovative ideas.
  25. Play hide and seek. This is one of our family’s favorite past times. Years ago, we couldn’t find my husband during one particular game. It’s still a mystery how he perched himself way above the water heater in the water closet, reminiscent of Spiderman.
  26. Have a treasure/scavenger hunt. Provide clues and a surprise at the end.
  27. Write a book together. One person starts the “book” and passes it around with everyone handwriting a paragraph or several. Littles can draw pictures to illustrate.
  28. Have a blind taste testing competition. Secretly collect different items and place a bit of each one in separate containers. Guests of the competition will be blindfolded and try to guess what they are tasting.
  29. Build a fort. Kitchen chairs and blankets, anyone?
  30. Listen to audiobooks. Adventures in Odyssey has some wonderful timeless stories.
  31. Host the Olympic games in your living room or your backyard. Everything from skipping races to the three-legged race, to crab walking can bring a gold medal.
  32. Design a fitness center with different stations. Jump roping, hula-hooping, hopping on one foot, somersaults, situps, and pushups. Set the timer for each station.
  33. Create Playdough or homemade clay. The iheart naptime blog has a great recipe for your homemade playdough endeavors.
  34. Create and color for family members. Grandmas love to hang those on their refrigerators!
  35. Create and color pictures/write encouraging notes for those in nursing homes and VA hospitals. Call ahead of time to see if they are accepting artwork for their residents.
  36. Make a craft. Make Cheerio necklaces or another fun craft, such as egg carton caterpillars, pasta pictures, and homemade frames. Check out this idea for mini-lid banjos from the Craft Train blog.
  37. Plant seeds.
  38. Host a touch testers competition. Put several items in a box and each competitor must guess what the item is. Keep track to see who wins!
  39. Create and act out a play.
  40. Play dress up with mom’s and dad’s clothes.
  41. Play balloon volleyball. (Do not use balloons around small children, as they are a choking hazard).
  42. Read the same book as your tweens and teens, then have a book discussion, complete with treats.
  43. Stargaze.
  44. Have a picnic in your yard, on your deck, or in the living room.
  45. Go on a photography hunt. Using your camera, snap interesting photos of the world around you.
  46. Shoot baskets. This works at the outside basketball hoop, or a makeshift “hoop” designed from a trash can and using a soft ball.man-dunking-the-ball-163452 (3)
  47. Have a paper airplane competition. Check out this link on how to make a paper airplane. https://www.diynetwork.com/made-and-remade/learn-it/5-basic-paper-airplanes
  48. Create a blog. WordPress offers free blogs. Perfect idea for tweens and teens to hone their writing skills and write about what’s important to them!
  49. Make smoothies or root beer floats.
  50. Crank the music and dance.
  51. Have a fashion show.
  52. Cloud gaze/watch. What animals or shapes can you find in the clouds?
  53. Watch science videos. Answers in Genesis has been hosting interesting science videos on Ken Ham’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/aigkenham/
  54. Create a “grocery store” with empty boxes and plastic containers of items. Children can “shop” for items and pay with coins or homemade coins/dollar bills made from cardboard.
  55. Make sock puppets. Using old socks, markers, and buttons, create sock puppets, then have them star in their own sock puppet show.
  56. Play a game. Uno, Tenzi, Checkers, Old Maid, Yahtzee, Apples to Apples Big Picture, Monopoly, Clue, Canine Capers, and Pictionary are some fun options.
  57. Be a gameshow host. The options are endless for this suggestion. When my girls were younger, we played a game called “Gameshow Contestant.” I would call out a letter and they would run to retrieve the letter magnet from the front of the refrigerator. I would excitedly call out, “can she do it in less than 10 seconds? Stick around, folks, let’s see!” At the end of the game, the girls would win fabulous “new cars” aka, Matchbox cars. J Other suggestions are to find items around the house and place them on the table in record time.
  58. Encourage creative play. Our children need time to be creative with no structure. This is so important to proper development and fostering an active imagination. girl-in-red-dress-playing-a-wooden-blocks-3662667 (2)

What a blessing to be able to spend time with our children and teens! Let’s use this opportunity to grow closer.

 

How do you keep your children busy during this time of social isolation?

the great toilet paper caper

It was early evening when the classified documents indicated there was toilet paper to be found. Lon, a man who prided himself on providing for his family, decided he was up for the task. Sturdy, burly, and strong, he set his eye on the prize: a pack of plush tp for his family. So, climbing into the family truck nicknamed “Little Gray” (although it is brown in color), Lon zipped out of the cul-de-sac to embark on his mission.

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As he drove down the main avenue to the local Walmart store, he happened to look over and see a car that reminded him of a pregnant roller skate. A man of about his age glanced over at just that same time and their eyes connected. Both accelerated.

And then Lon knew.

He was in for the race of his life.

Feeling a bit like Mario Andretti, Lon lurched Little Gray forward and stepped up his speed. He was up for the challenge.  He only wished he had added some souped up options on Little Gray. An engine tuner, a lift kit, a turbo kit, a supercharge… all would have been helpful at this time, as the pregnant roller skate threatened to overtake him.

Were it not for the 30 mph speed limit, Lon knew he would have smoked the competition.

Not to be deterred, Lon rounded the corner into the Walmart parking lot on two wheels with the speed and finesse of the expert he was. He pulled into a parking space only to find the pregnant roller skate pulled in right beside him. Lamenting that he’d worn his camo crocs instead of his running shoes, Lon leapt out of the truck and began to sprint toward the store. Those grueling hours of high school track were coming in handy as he zipped through the front doors, his competitor at his side.

“You get the call too?” his competition asked as they strode side-by-side toward the sacred toilet-paper aisle.

“Yep,” Lon replied.

They continued their race to aisle B26 “Look, man, I got a family,” the driver of the pregnant roller skate said.

“Me too.”

Lon sized up his competition. Similar height, similar build.

But he had this. Failure was not an option.

Everywhere in the store, chaos abounded. If necessary, he would draw upon his former experience as a football lineman and use his massive shoulders to push through the crowds (in a gentlemanly way, of course). Carts overloaded with multiple counts of bizarre items no one would have purchased before the Great Hoarding Phenomenon of 2020 threatened to hinder his quest.

Lon dodged into the tp aisle, the competition on his tail. His eyes settled on the prize: a pack of six rolls of fluffy white toilet paper. Only a couple packages remained on the otherwise empty shelves. He exchanged another glance with his rival. Heart pounding, muscles burning, he made the final leap to the shelf, and in one fell swoop, achieved victory. His competition did the same, securing his own pack.

They both stopped for a minute and chuckled. Were it not for the new social distancing rules in place, they might have shook hands or fist bumped.

The former competitors walked toward the checkout together with their prized purchases, discussing, at the appropriate distance, the ridiculous nature of toilet paper shortages.

Only later did Lon learn the hard sad truth. The toilet paper was one-ply.

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*This story has been slightly exaggerated. The toilet paper pack actually contained 12 rolls, rather than six. 🙂

 

10 things to remember during the corona virus pandemic

Corona remember

How are we doing today with all the latest news of the pandemic? I was thinking today
about some encouraging things to remember as we navigate this “new normal” and
came up with the following list:

Decide who and/or what is steering you. Yesterday, my teen daughters and I went for a bike ride. As we started on mile nine on a gravel road, my youngest hit a bump and her handlebars were knocked loose. Now, instead of being able to rely on her handlebars to steer her where she wanted to go, they went one way and her front tire went the other.

Who is steering you? Where is your focus?

The second we take our eyes off our Savior, we’re prone to succumb to fear, anxiety, worry, and depression over the current situation. If our focus is on the worldly events, suddenly things seem impossible to overcome. Instead, let’s fix our eyes on the author and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let Jesus steer your life. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5).

Hebrews 13 5

Persevere. There is a certain challenging part of our bike ride course that I especially love. Our family has nicknamed it “Hairpin Curve.” It’s a sharp curve, then a downhill sprint, followed by a steep uphill climb. My goal is to make it to the top of this steep hill while still in the saddle. Nine times out of ten, I achieve that goal. Heart pounding, quads burning, I keep my focus on what lies in front of me at the top of that hill (a quick break before I decide to tackle the whole thing again!) If I give up, my wheels will spin on the loose gravel, rendering me helpless to push through to the top without climbing off my bike.

Even though things can seemingly become bleak with the Covid-19 lurking around every corner, we must persevere through this pandemic. We can’t give up.

Reach out. This is a difficult time for many. (For those of us extroverts the struggle is real!) Silliness aside, don’t ever assume someone is fine. People who live alone are struggling with loneliness. Moms are trying to figure out how to keep their children entertained while being “cooped up.” (Join me in the near future for my blog post about 55 activities to keep kids entertained during the pandemic). Some people are struggling with keeping their jobs and paying the bills. Still others are facing serious health issues such as cancer. Reach out and check on family, friends, the people you know from church, work, and social media. Let them know you care.

Improvise. I remember watching as my brother devised a way to do his chore of hauling fireplace logs on his three-wheeled, low to the ground, pedal-powered motorcycle toy. He even figured out a way to do “spin outs” on our driveway (with impressive skid marks) without losing his load. Luke may not have especially enjoyed hauling in those logs by hand, but with his improvisation, suddenly it no longer felt like a chore.

While many things have changed due to the Corona virus, we can and need to improvise the best we can. Online church would not be the first choice for many, however, what an amazing way to use technology to continue to meet together and glean from our pastors the wisdom God calls them to impart. How phenomenal is it that we can sit in our living rooms and hear the word of God preached to us from anywhere in the world?

Have gratitude. We can certainly find a million and five things to complain about in times like these. Instead, let’s focus on being grateful. Can you breathe? Do you have someone who cares about you? Do you have a loving spouse? Great kids? Do you have food? Clean water to drink? Are you healthy? Can your eyes behold the beauty of the blooming trees or the falling snow? Do you have a voice that can encourage others? Make a list of all the things, from “small” to big for which you are grateful. It won’t take long to see that the thankfulness outweighs the complaints.

Melody Beattie

Intercede for others. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to intercede for others! What an amazing way to lift up the prayer requests of others to our Lord. Of course praying for our loved ones and friends is important. But how about even praying for random people? (Any neighborhood prayer walkers among us?)

Keep your mind and body active. It’s easy to sit around all day and lament the happenings of the world around us. Instead, let’s keep our mind and body active. Put together a puzzle, play board games, do crossword puzzles, even coloring has made a comeback in recent years.

In addition, focus on getting at least a half hour of physical exercise every day (please check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program). Even walking around your house or up and down the stairs counts.

Set goals and plans for each day. Keep a list of your goals for each day and cross them off as you tackle them.

Find the funny.  Reminisce with your family or friends (this can be done in person if you live with your family, via Skype, phone calls, instant messaging, or texts) of all the funny times you remember. Watch a humorous movie or play a silly board game.

Focus on the good. Check out the headlines right now. More people are infected with the virus, there are political wars over a stimulus package, and the list goes on and on. Instead of focusing on (and even reading!) the negative, let’s focus on the good. My friend, an accomplished seamstress, is sewing masks for high-risk individuals. Another friend, with her teens, is delivering goods to those who aren’t able (or shouldn’t be) shopping for their own groceries. They’ll even deliver take-out food. (Pizza anyone?) On a personal level, a friend messaged me yesterday that she found my favorite black beans at the store while she was there and picked up a couple cans for me. Her thoughtfulness was such a blessing!

There is so much good news if only we are willing to open our eyes to see it. There are so many kind people if only we are willing to acknowledge them.

Philippians 4 4 (2)

Spend time with Him. Most importantly, spend time with the Lord. Get to know Him. Read His Word. Rekindle your relationship with Him. Rediscover the One who gave His very life for you.

Mom Rediscover

 

10 good things that could come from the corona virus pandemic

What Good Covid-19

In the news recently, a woman was assaulted and her groceries stolen outside a grocery store. Two men in another state broke into a hospital to steal gloves, masks, and toilet paper. The stock market is struggling. Unemployment has become rampant. Our freedoms are stifled.

What good could possibly come from Corona virus pandemic?

  1. Our faith is and will be strengthened. We are reminded once again that God is in control, that nothing escapes His watchful eye, and that He cares deeply for us. No matter what we walk through in this crazy life, He walks through it with us.
  2. This gives us an unprecedented opportunity to share where our hope comes from and the hope that lies within us. Although there are many wonderful things to celebrate in our lives, a Christian’s permanent home is not in this world. We who have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ are just “passing through”. In that time, we share with others that deep abiding hope that guides our every thought, action, and decision. May we take this time of fear, panic, and chaos to share with others why, even though this is a frightening time, God is still on His throne.Isaiah 12 2a
  3. Families are spending more time together. A friend a few weeks ago admitted to me that just getting everyone around the table at dinner time is a challenge. Our world moves at an exhausting pace and the days are sometimes little more than a blur. With the pandemic, families have no choice but to spend more time together, to eat dinner together, and to share in each other’s company. Not to say that we don’t all get on each other’s nerves at times, but what an amazing way to grow closer and to further appreciate those precious people God has placed in our lives.
  4. People are helping each other more. Sure, we hear about the bad news all the time. Read or listen to the media and you’ll get an earful of negative stories that spiral our already-burdened anxiety levels to a new height. However, if we listen hard enough, we are hearing of people reaching out and assisting each other in a way that hasn’t been done in recent times. Neighbors are shopping for their elderly neighbors, people are sharing what they have, and kindness is making a comeback.Speaks loudest
  5. People are practicing better hygiene. We should have been washing our hands after restroom use and keeping our fingers away from our faces long before this pandemic. However, the fear of getting this virus has turned into something beneficial…we as a society are doing a better job of stopping the spread of viruses and bacteria. This is good news!
  6. We appreciate things more and don’t take them for granted. After this is all over (and it will be), we will never look at toilet paper the same. We are doing better at appreciating even the small things like a can of fruit or a roll of paper towels. We won’t take for granted the awesome privilege of meeting together for a church service, shaking hands, or giving that encouraging hug to someone who is grieving. We won’t take for granted the opportunity of being able to go to the gym for a run on the treadmill or to attend a group fitness class.Unknown future
  7. We are more creative with time, exercise, and meals. As I looked at our canned goods on our pantry shelves, I noticed we have a lot of olives. While my husband loves olives and my daughters enjoy them from time to time, I detest olives. But if this pandemic lasts longer than we hope it does, I will be getting mighty creative with those olives and feeding my entire family with that creativity. (Yes, even I will be eating those nasty things!) This pandemic has taught us to make more meals at home, use what we have, and be grateful for what variety (or lack thereof) lurks in our freezers. We will be more creative with exercise now that the gyms are closed. (Jump ropes, hula hoops, and platform steps anyone?)
  8. We will pull together as a nation. Many of us recall where we were on 9-11. We also remember how our nation pulled together and patriotism gripped the nation. We recall how people banded together to help each other and how we, as Americans, put aside our (sometimes ridiculous) differences to remember that we are in this together. And that together we are stronger.Faith
  9. Homeschooling will be better understood. With schools closed, parents are now homeschooling their children in what is the largest growth in homeschooling ever. As homeschool moms and dads, we stand ready to assist our fellow parents in this endeavor.
  10. On a long list of requests, it will remind us to be grateful. The seemingly “small” things – the ability to take a breath, that we have water to drink, that we have people who care about us – will surge to the forefront in the midst of our trials. My husband is dependent on an oxygen machine at night (due to a mistake during his heart surgery). I thank the Lord often that we were able to purchase him his own machine a couple of months ago. At this point with possible unemployment looming in the distance due to the virus spread, we would not have been able to afford the steep monthly charge to rent one.

Of all things, I remain grateful that no matter what happens in this world, I will always have my relationship with Jesus. Even when we can’t meet corporately for church, that doesn’t stop me from praying. From relying on the One who sent His Son for me. From finding hope within the pages of His Word. Nothing can take those things away. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Romans 12 12

 

 

10 suggestions for dealing with the corona virus situation

10 Suggestions COVID-19The Corona virus has caused a panic that has been unparalleled in recent years. Lack of food on the grocery store shelves, rationing, quarantines, school and business closures, job  losses, and travel restrictions have suddenly become the new normal.

There’s a lot fear involved in such huge changes. People respond in different ways. Some remain calm and steadfast in their reliance on God, some struggle with depression and anxiety, and others resort to crime. One of my friends saw someone filling up a Mason jar with hand sanitizer from the dispenser at the hospital. Another person was stealing disinfectant wipes. (Yes, from a hospital!)

Still others fear daily how they will cope with the never-ending media hitting us from all directions.

Today when we made a grocery store run, we noticed that the store shelves were becoming bare with some aisles having no food/supplies at all. The panic we are facing has escalated into bizarre proportions. I get that this can be a deadly virus (my daughter and I had a severe case of influenza in January. That illness was the sickest I have ever been besides a high-risk pregnancy that landed me in the hospital with Hyperemesis gravidarum and pneumonia). I understand that this is a scary virus and I certainly don’t want anyone in my family or myself to get it, especially since several in my family are immune-compromised. However, it’s causing so much undue panic that is spiraling down into every area of our lives. So what can we do in the midst of all this craziness?

1. Pray. Pray for the health and safety of your family and friends. For wisdom for our leaders. For the eradication of this virus. For calm in the face of panic.

Isaiah 41 10

2. Eat healthy. (No one does it perfectly. Do the best you can). Strive for healthy snacks that have long shelf lives, such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, and air-popped popcorn.

3. Get outside! Vitamin D is good for the immune system and fresh air is an added bonus.

4. Stay hydrated.

5. Keep your stress levels down. Yes, make sure you are staying up-to-date with the current happenings, but limit your exposure to the media. It can be toxic.

Isaiah 26 3

6. Put others above yourself. Know an elderly neighbor or someone who has an underlying health issue who may not be able to get out to purchase needed items? Help them out by offering to make a grocery run.

7. Get some exercise*. Studies have shown that exercise is an immune system builder. This can easily be done at home. Some suggestions? Jumproping, walking throughout your house (including going up and down the stairs), lifting some weights (bottles of water work great if you don’t have dumbbells), dancing to your favorite music, playing tag (or hide and seek!) with your kids, or heading outside (if you are able) for a walk, job, or bike ride. A chiropractor friend of mine also notes that getting adjusted can help your immune system.

8. Stay busy. If your job has asked you to work from home, you’ve been quarantined, or you are “socially distancing” yourself by staying home, be sure to stay busy. Most of us go at a crazy-busy pace. While we should be able to take a deep breath and strive for some relaxation during this stressful time, it’s also important to keep busy and fill your day with productivity. Whether its tackling some clutter, working on that new project you’ve put on the back burner, or immersing yourself in that TBR pile of books, keep your mind and body active.

Philippians 4 7

9. Stay social. Just because you can’t get out as much, doesn’t mean you can’t still fellowship to a degree. Connecting with others is important (and not just for those of us who are extroverts!) If your church has chosen to keep their doors open (and it is safe for you to leave your home) be sure to attend.  If you are homebound or trying to stay home more, call someone. That special someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile would love to hear from you.

10. Most importantly? Lean on the Lord. Corona virus did not catch Him unaware. Give your anxieties and fears to Him. He loves and cares about you more than you can ever fathom.

Mom Corona quote

 

*Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.