Whom to Believe?

Is anyone else frustrated with all of the conflicting information about Covid-19?

Is anyone else frustrated with all of the conflicting information about Covid-19? Is anyone else wondering why Bill Gates is giving medical advice? What do we believe is the truth? Whom do we trust?

Some people are saying that wearing a mask is necessary. Some say it doesn’t help. I even saw the headline of an article which said that face masks may even harm you. I understand that homemade face masks are not medical grade and may not be the best protection, but in my mind it seems to be better than nothing. And sure, it may not protect yourself very much, but it could provide protection for those you come in contact with. So–if I’m required to wear a mask, then I will. I have gone to very few stores. But every time I go I wear a mask. It amazes me that even with it being recommended to wear a face mask, less than half of the shoppers in the stores are wearing one. If I’m wearing a face mask for your safety, why can’t you wear one for me?

There has also been talk about herd immunity. They say social distancing is not good for us, but others say it’s necessary. I know one thing. When I see my grandkids, I’m going to want a hug. I’m going through severe grandkid withdrawal right now. I need those sweet hugs. A hug through a plastic shower curtain just will not suffice. However, I understand that safety for my grandkids is very important.

Homeschooling has not affected me much personally. I’m retired from teaching, and I don’t have young kids. The biggest drawback I see about kids learning from home is that my eleven year old grandson finishes his school work in about an hour and then spends the rest of the day watching You Tube gaming videos. He does ride his bike. So he is getting outside activity. I just wish that boy had a hobby he could work on instead of watching videos. I’m sure other kids are spending a lot of time watching TV, playing video games, or on-line. There is a lot more to school than just completing assignments. On-line learning cannot take the place of real classrooms and in-person interaction with the teacher.

What scares me the most are those who are allowing fear to take away their common sense. They act like vigilantes and try to enforce the recommended guidelines on others. People who beat up others for not following social distancing guidelines. A person who opens fire upon a group of about 600 people in a city park. If you are that scared of this virus, then just stay at home. True, it was probably not a good idea to join a group of 600 people drinking in a park, but striking out at them with a gun is not a good idea either.

Where did this virus come from? Did it come from a lab? Why is it so much worse than other viruses? Why are we sheltering in place for this virus and not for others? There’s talk of not being able to travel without proof of immunity from this virus.

There are so many questions. I’m sure there are many more. What answers can we believe? Personally it makes me wary to see Bill Gates, who is not a medical professional of any kind, getting involved. Big pharmaceuticals have shown that they mainly care about money and not people. I’m not sure about Dr. Anthony Fauci. Didn’t he predict a surprise pandemic? Is Dr. Fauci sitting in someone’s pocket and profiting from sharing only certain information? Why are doctors giving such conflicting advice?

Is this part of a plan to take away our freedoms? “Contact tracking” is scary to me. I don’t want the government keeping track of everywhere I go and everyone I see. I don’t have anything to hide, but it’s not my idea of freedom to be so closely monitored. I also won’t be getting a medical tattoo. Some governors are allowing states to open up slowly. Some governors are still wanting things to be tightly closed up. I believe that governments on the state and national level, and even at the county (parish) and city level, are getting too big for their britches. Where does it end?

My plan is to limit exposure to the news and pray for better days yet to come. I will also remember that God was, is, and always will be in control. You think God is not watching or doesn’t care what is going on? God cares very deeply. Nothing surprises Him. My trust is in God. He holds the truth and the future. I’ll keep holding His hand.

Stay well, but above all, stay calm.

 

Spring and Covid-19

I have found plenty to keep me busy and happy.

I’ve been pretty much home bound since about March 10. While I’ve been staying in, spring has arrived outside.

I love seeing the wildflowers in the spring. A couple of days ago, I drove to a doctor’s office and saw bunches of wildflowers blooming along the roadways. The wildflowers are abundant and thriving due to plenty of March rain. Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes, and Pink Evening Primrose were pleasant to see. I’ve been outside some, but I haven’t been driving the roads outside of my neighborhood.

I didn’t need a government order to stay at home. When the news started talking about China and Italy, and then talking about some cases in the U.S., I decided then it would be best for me to stay at home and avoid public areas as much as possible. I’m pretty much at high risk since respiratory illnesses are tough for me. Right now, there are several states which haven’t issued stay-at-home orders. This concerns me. Many do not take this pandemic seriously and surprisingly enough do not have the intelligence to stay at home unless ordered to. Even then, many won’t stay at home.

Look at the college kids who descended upon Florida and elsewhere during Spring Break. One girl was interviewed on national news by saying that they were living for only themselves. Other comments included: “If I get corona, I get corona.” When the bars were shut down, “I think they’re blowing it way out of proportion.” “This virus ain’t that bad.” True 20 year-old attitudes. Don’t interfere with my fun. Nothing bad will happen to me. Yep. It’s true. The virus may not be that bad for you, but it could be really bad for someone else–and not just parents or grandparents. Kudos to the man in New York who would not let his son or his friends even come in the house when they returned from Spring Break. He did not want the grandparents put at risk. I’ve also heard of gatherings and parties taking place.

A choir rehearsal in Washington state was not a good idea. This took place in early March when many cases and deaths had been reported in Seattle. They decided that Skagit County would be okay. Sixty members of the choir showed up. During the rehearsal, no one coughed or sneezed, and no one seemed to be ill. Later, three quarters of the choir tested positive for Covid 19. Several died.

There are pastors still holding church services in spite of the warnings and orders. One pastor in Florida was arrested. Even more amazing to me are the people who actually attended those services. With the many tools available today making it possible to have services on line, this kind of behavior is irresponsible. I love God with all my heart, and I trust Him to protect me from this virus. However, that doesn’t mean I should ignore warnings, orders, and guidelines.

I have found plenty to keep me busy and happy. I’m working on my pile of crochet projects. I’m finding more time to write and view on-line writing workshops. I don’t like it, but when the rain stops I spend some time pulling weeds. I’m even making some progress with the weeds. (I’m thinking about giving myself a reward when I finish.)

Yes. There are times I wish I could go to a nice restaurant and have a nice meal. And there are countless times during the day when I wish I could see my grandkids and give them great big hugs. However, I remind myself of all I have to be thankful for, and I’m very grateful to have FaceTime. I will make it through this, and most likely will still be sane. I’m sure you will, too.

As of the time I’m writing this, the U.S. has over 300,000 cases of Covid 19. That is only counting those who were tested. Nearly 65,000 people have died from this disease in the U.S. The U.S. has now surpassed all other countries in cases and deaths. (I know that those numbers are low when you consider how big our country is.) And it was being reported this evening (Saturday, April 4) that hotspots like New York, Detroit, and Louisiana have not even peaked yet.

I’m so pleased to see the appreciation for doctors and nurses who are on the front lines battling this disease. They are experiencing such turmoil and hardship. We need to keep them in our prayers along with our government officials, and other essential workers. We also need to keep in prayer the unsung heroes in the hospitals like those doing the laundry and doing the cleaning as they are also as much at risk as the doctors and nurses.

We need to pray for those without jobs or paychecks. I’m sure they are worried about how to pay bills and keep food on the table.

Stay safe and stay home. We need to help each other get through this. Only God knows what tomorrow will bring. I’m trusting Him.

 

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.