A New Pandemic

I trust more in my Heavenly Father to provide protection for me than in the government, WHO, or health care professionals.

The news lately has been full of stories concerning the Coronavirus or Covid-19, And panic has ensued. I trust more in my Heavenly Father to provide protection for me than in the government, WHO, or health care professionals.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s troubles are enough for today.”  (Matthew 7: 31-34 NLT) 

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! (Habakkuk 3: 17-18 NLT)

I was born 5 weeks early and weighed about 4 pounds and 12 ounces. I spent 2 weeks in an incubator before my parents were able to take me home. The pediatrician attending me was amazed that I did not have any physical difficulties with my eyes, breathing, or etc. I have known all my life that my life is totally in God’s hands. I have trusted Him through every difficulty I have faced.

I am trusting God to watch over me in the current Covid-19 crisis as well.

However, trusting God to watch over me doesn’t mean that I don’t use common sense. I don’t live recklessly. I make an effort to drive carefully, and take other measures to protect myself. During the current crisis, I will wash my hands carefully (like I always should anyway), try to remember not to touch my face with my hands, keep my devices clean, and I will try to avoid large crowds of people.

Will I sequester myself in my home and refuse to go anywhere? Nope. I will, however, do so if instructed by health care officials. I will also stay at home and keep my germs to myself if I get sick.

Will I purchase an insane amount of toilet paper? Nope. I have no idea what that is all about.

Will I wear a face mask? Nope. I have been told that face masks will not help those who are healthy.

Am I planning to fly or take a cruise? Nope. I will only travel if necessary.

So, I plan to use my God-given common sense, and my God-given faith and peace to stay calm. I know God will see me through this and any other crisis which comes my way. I also know that I won’t leave this life before my time.

My life has been, is, and always will be in God’s hands.

Now I need to go see if I have enough chocolate. Can’t run out of that!

 

Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?

We have many struggles in life. The important thing to keep in mind is to use our struggles as stepping stones instead of as stumbling blocks.

The story of Joseph in the Bible has always fascinated me. He was the favorite of his father, Jacob, which surely angered his brothers. He was also a snitch and a braggart (Genesis 37: 1-11). Then Jacob had a beautiful coat made for Joseph. Joseph’s brothers hated him.

When Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers as they pastured the flocks, the brothers saw a golden opportunity. At first they wanted to kill him, but Reuben talked them into just throwing him into a cistern and letting him die. Later, when they saw a band of Ishmaelite traders, the brothers decided to sell Joseph to them as a slave. The Ishmaelite traders then sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt.

Joseph worked hard for Potiphar and earned his master’s trust. Joseph was put in charge of all Potiphar owned. However, Potiphar’s wife had an eye for Joseph and put pressure on him to sleep with her. Joseph constantly refused. One day, Potiphar’s wife was left holding Joseph’s robe when Joseph made his escape. She screamed and convinced Potiphar that Joseph had tried to rape her. Potiphar threw Joseph in prison. Even in prison, God was with Joseph. Joseph earned the trust of the prison warden, and was put in charge of the prison.

He finally came to the notice of Pharaoh when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph then became governor over all of Egypt. Only Pharaoh himself had more power than Joseph.  Joseph’s leadership preserved the land of Egypt from a severe 7-year famine.

Soon his brothers came to Egypt seeking grain because the famine had also affected them, too. They did not recognize Joseph though he recognized them. On their second trip to Egypt, Joseph revealed himself to them. They were stunned and probably a little scared.

“But don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.” Genesis 45: 5 (NLT) 

It amazes me that Joseph could keep his trust in God after all of these things had happened to him. He hadn’t deserved to be sold into slavery by his brothers. He certainly hadn’t deserved to be thrown into prison. He had done nothing wrong. He could have become bitter and resentful. But in each case, he worked hard and proved to be trustworthy. Joseph showed great strength of character. He didn’t know the future but he trusted in the One who did know. 

We have many struggles in life. The important thing to keep in mind is to use our struggles as stepping stones instead of as stumbling blocks. If Joseph can do it, we can, too.

On the Road Again

I must really love my daughters and grandkids a lot to put my life on the line to go see them.

I have had my car for around 64 months. A few months ago the dealership was talking to me about trading my car in for an updated model. However, they were concerned that my car had almost 100,000 miles on it at that time. Right now it has traveled around 104,000 miles. That’s approximately 1,625 miles a month. That’s not surprising. I put around 900 miles on my car just this past week.

My older daughter lives 70 miles away, and my younger daughter lives 200 miles away. I made two trips to the older daughter’s house, and one trip to my younger daughter’s house last week. Plus there was some extra driving while I was there. You see a lot while driving that many miles.

For example: there were quite a few cars passing me like I was sitting still. I know they had to be going at least 95 miles per hour–maybe even a 100. That is crazy! Imagine hitting a highway divider or another car at that speed. That would be a difficult crash to survive. Life is too precious to me to go that fast. Please slow down.

So, I get out of the way of those speed demons and move over to the middle lane. The cars in this lane are going around 10-15 miles per hour below the speed limit. It’s a no win situation.

Another time I was riding with my husband and a car cut in front of us with just a couple  of feet to spare between us. My husband honked. Then the idiot made a rude gesture in return.

I am not a fan of Interstate 20. However, it is the best route to take from North Texas to East Texas (the 200 mile trip). I had a car pull up next to me and then just hang there for quite a few seconds before it pulled on ahead. Maybe the driver was waiting for me to smile and wave at him.

On my trip back from East Texas, it was rainy. The roads were wet and it was dark. One car did not have any lights on. I decided to get ahead of that guy. Then you always have the tractor/trailers pulling into the passing lane going way below the speed limit in order to pass another tractor/trailer. These guys are so frustrating because they take forever to pass and then pull over so those of us wanting to go the speed limit can go on ahead.

In Dallas there was a Werner tractor/trailer zipping from lane to lane in the misting rain and the dark.

The only saving grace for Interstate 20 is the Buc-ee’s in Terrell. If you’ve never been to a Buc-ee’s, you need to go. These places have LOTS of gas pumps (maybe 30 or more). But you also have to go inside. The bathrooms are HUGE and clean. The store has just about anything you could want to eat. They also have souvenirs galore. It’s really hard to describe. You just have to experience it. If you stop, you need to try some Beaver Nuggets.

I’m so glad I have angels watching over me. When I drive the highways to get to my daughters’ houses, I need them. I must really love my daughters and grandkids a lot to put my life on the line to go see them. And, yep, I’ll be making that 140 mile round trip this week to help my older daughter out. Please drive safely.

Worship or a Show?

Give me a worship service.

I went to a Christmas Eve service at a church in Houston. The stage (and yes, I do mean a stage with stage curtains) was decked out with quite a few fancy Christmas trees. There were stage lights putting on a light show. There was a camera mounted on a long arm. There were also large viewing screens. I felt that the Christmas Eve service was more of a show than a worship service.

The problem with many churches today is that they seem to be more show than worship. Praise teams sing innocuous praise songs. Sermons soothe and placate rather than convict. Parishioners leave feeling really good about themselves instead of feeling convicted of sin and the need to draw closer to God. It’s so easy to go unnoticed in a megachurch.

I love the old hymns. Those hymns were written from the heart and really speak to the heart. I don’t mind having a band, but I liked it when there was just a piano or a piano and organ which didn’t drown out the voices.

I miss the sermons which would inspire me to change and do better.

I’m sure Paul would have a lot to say about a lot of today’s churches. First of all, there needs to be much more prayer in churches. I’m not talking about prewritten prayers, but prayers from the heart and inspired by God. Secondly, those who indulge in sinful practices shouldn’t be allowed in the churches without repenting and changing their ways. Paul was very clear about this. First Corinthians chapter 5 addresses believers and sin.

Churches need to be a place for followers of Christ. They need to be a place where believers can hear the true word of God without misinterpretation or being watered down. Churches need to be places where the members can worship God together and encourage each other. They need to provide physical and spiritual support for their members and the community. I think we need to read about the New Testament church and get back to the basics. A weekly show doesn’t fit the bill.

Give me a worship service.

40 Years

A lot can happen in 40 years.

Today I celebrate my 40th wedding anniversary. A lot has happened in 40 years:

  • My husband earned two Bachelor degrees.
  • I earned a Master’s degree.
  • We raised two daughters.
  • Both daughters got married to wonderful men.
  • We added a granddaughter and two grandsons to the family.
  • We lost a son-in-law to cancer.
  • We’ve been through sickness and health, and several surgeries.
  • We’ve been better, and we’ve been worse. We went through many dark times, and we’ve had happy times.
  • We’ve been through the poorer (living paycheck to paycheck) and through the richer (it’s amazing how much easier it is to make that paycheck stretch when the kids are out of the house). We never went without food, clothing, shelter, or any other necessities. We may not have had everything we wanted, but we had everything we needed. God provided above and beyond.

Forty years have not been easy. It has taken total commitment to make it this far. I made a promise that only death would part us. I think many young people rush into marriage thinking it will be sunshine and roses. Then when the storms begin to blow they decide to bail on the marriage. It takes grit and determination to make a marriage last. You have to give up on your fairytale expectations and make your expectations more realistic.

What’s nice about reaching this point is that our relationship has evolved into a comfortable acceptance of each other. We can laugh with each other. We can still get exasperated with each other, but it’s over quickly.

I didn’t know what we were going to be in for 40 years ago. I still don’t know what the future is going to hold. I DO know that God will be there to guide, comfort, strengthen, and bless.

‘Tis the Season for Shopping

Everyone wants your Christmas dollars.

Today is Cyber Monday. This past Friday was Black Friday. It is the season for mailboxes stuffed with catalogs and email in-boxes stuffed with emails. Everyone wants your Christmas dollars.

Thankfully, I didn’t hear a lot about stores opening on Thanksgiving.  In the past it seems that the big box stores were competing with each other to see which one could open first and be the first to get your money. It’s sad to think that Thanksgiving became more about getting a customer’s money than about giving thanks with family and friends. I was also happy that I didn’t see any news stories about people being trampled with the mad rush to enter the stores. I was pleased to see that a lot of companies started their Black Friday deals early this year, most likely because Thanksgiving was so late.

There are two ways to shop for Christmas: on-line and in-person. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

On-line shopping is wonderful. I can wear my jammies, sip my hot chocolate, and browse the internet. Then the packages are conveniently sent to my door, workplace, or another safe place. One big drawback to shopping on-line is the porch pirate. These scum troll neighborhoods looking for packages to steal. What is amazing is that they have no idea what is in those packages. It might be an order of incontinence pads, or something else they don’t really want. I’m glad that companies are coming up with alternatives. Video doorbells are also helpful. Another disadvantage are the delivery people who throw packages, deposit them on the side of the road or in a dumpster, etc. If you are hired to do a job, then do the job or don’t take it in the first place.

When you go shopping in person, you have to deal with crowds, lines, and/or limited stock. When I shop in person for Christmas gifts, I have a list in hand of what I want to get. I usually go in, get what I want, and then leave. However, there have been times when I have passed through a store and found something that was just right for someone on my list. Serendipity is nice and can be rewarding. However, violence in parking lots is another disadvantage to in-person shopping. A woman in my area was tased and robbed in a Walmart or Target parking lot. Then her attackers gleefully went shopping with her credit card.

As for knowing what the kids and grandkids want–that is easy. My 10 year-old grandson is very specific. One year he wanted a Beyblade backpack which came with a Beyblade. He kept checking with me to make sure I knew exactly which one he wanted as there were several choices. This year, I had to watch a video about the gift he wants. I had to watch the WHOLE video. I need to figure out a way to disguise the box his gift came in so he doesn’t guess what it is. The 5 year-old grandson circled what he wanted in an Amazon Toy catalog. He circled about half of the catalog so there were a lot of choices. I laughed when I saw the page of Nerf guns. He circled every one of those Nerf guns. I guess he really wants one of those and doesn’t really care which one. He’s actually getting something that was not in the Amazon catalog. The 12 year-old granddaughter showed me what she wanted and even wrote the website down for me. The daughters are usually pretty easy to shop for, also. The hardest people to shop for are my son-in-law (he always wants something that costs big bucks like a truck), my mother, and my husband.

‘Tis the season to be tired. Shopping is challenging and time consuming no matter how you shop. And then after all that shopping, you’ve got to wrap everything. Around my house, I do the shopping and the wrapping. It’s all worth it on Christmas when the gifts are opened and there are smiles all around.

Happy shopping! Don’t forget to take a break once in a while, and stay safe.

 

 

Modern Highways vs. Steam

Steam can have its advantages.

I was recently transported back to the age of steam.

Big Boy 1404, the largest steam locomotive in the world, has been touring the country to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Trans-Continental Railroad. There are eight Big Boy locomotives still in existence. The Union Pacific chose the one in the best shape, took it to Wyoming, and spent two years bringing that huge monster back to life.

I found out that the locomotive was going to visit Marshall, Texas. So, last Sunday, November 10, I traveled to Marshall to see the steaming giant. My vantage point when it arrived was not the greatest. However, after waiting for the Union Pacific workers to get the locomotive parked in the train yard, all of us spectators were allowed to get closer.

I have seen a Big Boy in Frisco, Texas at the Museum of the American Railroad. However, it is impressive to actually see the locomotive moving and to hear that deep whistle. And getting the chance to see the engine up close while still putting off steam was well worth the hour long wait.

I returned to the train yard on Monday to see the Big Boy again. I also lined up to view the information car. The souvenir line was very long, and I thought they might be out of t-shirts in my grandson’s size (he is a five-year old train fanatic). I didn’t wait in that line and decided to look on line for a t-shirt for my grandson. I left after about an hour and a half. I still think that the best part of the experience was seeing the train on Sunday after it arrived. The weather last Sunday was beautiful in Marshall, Texas. By Monday, it was cloudy and cold. By the time I left Marshall for the drive home, it was drizzling rain.

The drive home was a challenge. The rain kept changing from light mist to a heavy drizzle. I had to keep adjusting my windshield wipers. Huge gusts of wind kept trying to push me off the road. Leaves were blowing everywhere. In fact, there were spots when leaves limited my ability to see the road. Trucks kept slowing down traffic by getting in the passing lane and then taking forever to pass (and going 10-15 mph below the speed limit). Interstate 20 is always busy at any time of the day in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, especially at rush hour. I kept thinking about how a train has the right-of-way. I’m sure Big Boy would not have to be worried about being blown off the tracks or trucks being in its way.

Seeing that marvelous piece of engineering was awe inspiring. It’ll be no wonder that by the time it completes its tour, millions of people will have flocked to see it.

It’s interesting to me that trains are still important as a means of transporting goods and people. Long live trains. If I rode a train from here to Marshall, it would only take a little big longer than driving. Something to think about. Steam can have its advantages.

#ifyougetinthepassinglanethenpassandgetover

#ineedsomequieterwindshieldwipers

#trainsarecool

#BigBoyrocks

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