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Blog, Faith, Family, Friendship, prayer, Stress, Travel

Coronavirus: If you feel alone

While the curve is flattening across the United States and the world (praise God!) and some U.S. states now are allowing more businesses to re-open, the Coronavirus crisis isn’t over yet.

Barber shop re-open for business
Barber shop re-open for business
Source: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/states-stay-at-home-orders-ending.html

It’s been so hard to deal with for everyone. I haven’t seen my 3 daughters or our grandkids for over a month now. I love and miss them so much, and just want to hug them!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me
Our family
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

This week a woman on my website subscriber list emailed and asked me to pray for her, when I had my Virtual Coffee & Prayer Zoom meeting yesterday morning. She was alone, with it being 3 weeks until the first anniversary of her husband’s death, with no one around her to support her during this Coronavirus pandemic. She said she’d been crying for weeks.

Older woman alone
Older woman alone

I told her that I am praying for her. So many people, especially the elderly, are in her shoes right now. Others have lost their jobs, with 16.8 million filing unemployment claims in the U.S. in the last three weeks, and don’t have any income coming in right now.

What can you do to help them? Encourage them with these tips:

  • Pray to God first. Just as the children’s song says, “Jesus loves you, this I know.” God loves you so much and He cares about everything on your mind. Pour out your heart to Him, and tell Him what you’re worried about, discouraged over, your fears, stress, depression, and even anger. As my sister Maria (a therapist) says, anger is one of the five stages of grief. We are angry because we are experiencing many losses right now, such as those we love who died from the virus and loss of our freedom, with the Shelter In Place orders. This makes us angry. Spend time with God each day to pray, read the Bible, and worship/praise Him. You may not feel like doing this, but God is always here for you and wants to help you. He will never leave you alone. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)

  • Get Christian counseling/therapy. To help prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC is recommending social distancing. To help prevent the risk of exposure to Coronavirus for either the therapist or the patient, some therapists are offering online counseling. One of my family members is doing this right now. If you already have a therapist, you might want to ask him or her if they can offer virtual therapy. If you’re looking for a counselor, check first with your family and trusted friends. You can call your local mental health center and/or search online for a therapist who is the right fit for you. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says the pandemic is increasing feelings of anxiety and traumatic stress. I know it has increased my stress (worrying about my family or I or others I love getting the virus; feeling “trapped” in my house from the Shelter In Place; the uncertainty of the future). I’ve talked with many family and friends who are struggling with similar fears. It’s important to recognize and act on mental distress to lessen the impact and find the help you need. 

  • Stay in touch with your family and friends. Normal life has been suspended and it all feels eerily apocalyptic. Due to the virus and Shelter In Place orders, we can’t see and hug our loved ones. It’s painful. But thanks to technology, we can still stay in touch through calling and texting on our cell phones, Google Hangouts, Zoom meetings, Facebook, Twitter, and more. These virtual meetings don’t have to be long, but they can make such a difference so that people don’t feel as isolated and alone. Be sure to especially reach out to the elderly, children and teens, those who are physically sick, and the mentally ill. Check regularly on them. The multiple challenges from the Coronavirus has increased the risk of depression and PTSD. People don’t have other people to go to for their stress. The power of touch releases oxytocin, which is a natural “cuddle hormone.” People aren’t getting the same level of oxytocin release from human contact. I believe one thing the Coronavirus crisis is teaching us is the importance of our relationship with God and others–and how wonderful a hug is! 

family
family
  • You help others. When you are feeling stressed out, depressed, afraid, and anxious, it’s hard to reach out to others. But sometimes that is the very thing that will help us get out of our own funk. Although I personally believe the Coronavirus is from the devil, God is allowing the situation for His glorious purposes–through His people. Use this as an opportunity for good. Volunteer somewhere, either in person or online, such as at Meals on Wheels; donate blood at the Red Cross; give to charities; cook and deliver meals (our local Christian bookstore, The Carpenter’s Cup, is doing this for our community here in Butler, Missouri); sew masks for your community workers; or offer assistance such as creating a virtual storytime library for vulnerable children. One of the things I’m doing to volunteer my gifts and time is a Virtual Coffee & Prayer Zoom meeting on Saturday mornings, where Christian women pray about the Coronavirus and the Shelter In Place order. I’m asking God to eradicate this virus from the earth forever, protect me and my loved ones from getting it, to heal the sick, and for governors and mayors to lift the order(s) in their states and cities, when it is safe to do so.

This is a very difficult time for everyone. Just know that God loves you and is here for you, and this too shall pass. 

I’m praying for you. Please also keep my family and me in your prayers. 

*******

Need some encouragement to pray? Check out my ebook on prayer, Walking With God, available for just 99 cents on Amazon today. You can find out more here

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Blog, Faith, Family, Homeschooling, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Stress, Travel

It’s still spring

When you read the news today or go on Facebook and other social media sites, almost all you see right now is centered around one word: Coronavirus. As of this post today, there are 14,611 deaths reported world-wide from the virus. In the small, rural town of Butler, Missouri, where I live, as a response to the WHO-declared pandemic, people have been panic-buying toilet paper.

People panic-buying toilet paper Image source: Marketwatch.com

People panic-buying toilet paper Image source: Marketwatch.com

Hand sanitizer, canned goods, frozen foods, bread, eggs, and even dog and cat food are flying off the shelves, too. A Walmart employee told me yesterday when I “just happened” to come upon (some call this “luck”; I call it God’s favor) one of the last few packages of Charmin toilet paper, that as soon as their delivery truck comes in the morning and the employees unload the boxes, the items disappear as soon as the employees put them on the shelves!

Dana Arcuri

Author/Speaker/Coach Dana Arcuri

My dear author/speaker/coach friend Dana and I, who keep in touch on Facebook, via email, and texting, agreed this week about not wanting to hear anymore on social media about “doom and gloom” news. Enough with the negativity! As believers, we are to share the GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST! God’s perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18)

Perfect love Image source: Unsplash

The Bible says in Philippians 4:8, NKJV, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Amen!

Cherry Tree
Image source: Unsplash

When I went to buy Saline solution today for my contact lenses, as I came back home and was walking outside, I noticed a few interesting things.

Despite the Coronavirus and the ensuing world panic, the sun was shining. Beautiful purple Iris flowers were already blooming in my little garden. The birds were singing in glory to their Creator God, not worried about a thing. Two boys were in the yard next door, happily throwing a baseball to each other.

Purple Irises

 

Yellow bush in our yard blooming – I think its name is a Forsythia.

 

Robin on a branch
Image source: Unsplash

Despite the terrible Coronavirus, it is still spring! God’s goodness is evident everywhere, all over the earth.

As Christian believers, we are to be the light of Christ that shines in the darkness. It is certainly spiritually dark right now on the Earth, and people need the hope and peace of God’s love and presence in these frightening, uncertain times.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11, KJV)

We can give that hope by sharing our story with others–our personal testimony. You can find mine in my memoir, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love, available for sale at Amazon here. I want to encourage you, friend, to keep shining for Jesus!

my memoir

my memoir

Today I recorded a video about the Coronavirus and my encouragement not to be afraid. God is bigger than this virus and we can trust Him. You can watch the video here.FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Blog, Faith, Family, Featured, Fitness, Parenting, prayer, Stress

The waiting room

Leah in waiting room at her physical therapist’s office

Have you ever been in a hospital or doctor waiting room or in a line for a long time? It’s hard. I am there now. So is our beautiful, precious daughter Leah.

As you may have read, near Christmas 2019, Leah fell on ice and snow in her driveway at her rental home and it broke the fibula in her right ankle, which required surgery. It is not an easy, quick fix for the fibula to heal, especially after surgery. The surgeon put a heavy, thick, black boot on her ankle during surgery and ordered her to elevate her ankle most of the time and rest as much as possible. He said that she could not work or drive for at least 6 to 8 weeks, maybe longer. 

Leah's heavy black ankle boot

Leah’s heavy black ankle boot

Initially Leah stayed three weeks with Ray and me after her surgery for us to watch over her (Ray has been a paramedic over 30 years) and to help her by cooking meals, washing her laundry, dispensing her pain medication as needed, taking her to her post-surgery appointments, etc.  She’s now back at her house, recovering.

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

I still help her as much as I can, taking her to doctor and physical therapy appointments, running errands, etc. She is still in her heavy, black ankle boot and she still can’t drive or work.

But yesterday she accomplished a major milestone: Leah is now at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle. She is on her way to walking again! Leah is doing amazing! Praise You, JESUS!

Leah at physical therapy, at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

 

Leah at physical therapy with her therapist Sam, who rocks!

Leah’s physical therapist Sam rocks! When Leah’s surgeon Dr. Carroll ordered physical therapist as part of her post-surgery treatment, I began praying for God to hand-pick her physical therapist and I truly believe He did! Sam is so nice, very knowledgeable, and funny. He makes Leah and me laugh with his quick wit.

He is a very positive person who speaks LIFE over her, for which I’m extremely thankful. I always agree with him out loud, “Yes!”, when he encourages her that she’ll be walking in no time and just fine!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21, ESV)

Leah on one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

 Yesterday Sam had Leah walk with both her crutches and then one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her right ankle, as she walked along the indoor sidewalk with parallel bars and around the inside of the clinic. This is not easy after you haven’t been walking for months.

Leah at physical therapy, 50% weight-bearing

One difficult thing is maintaining your balance. She didn’t want to fall over and then put all her weight on her broken ankle, as that could re-injure her. But she did great! She was so excited to reach this progress of 50% weight-bearing.

Two other exercises Sam taught her how to do to strengthen her ankle was squats, rising from a sitting position and putting 50% of the weight on her right ankle (about 15 repetitions at a time, to be done throughout the day). She also puts a blue, tied elastic band inside a door (closing it) and wraps the other end underneath her knee. Then she raises up her ankle/leg for 15 to 20 repetitions at a time, doing the exercises repeatedly during the day.

Sam showing Leah how to tie the elastic band to raise and lower her ankle

Leah doing “squats,” standing up from sitting position

Yesterday before her physical therapy appointment, Leah and I met my daughter Heather at Panera Bread for lunch. It was so good to see Heather, as she works full-time, takes care of her two daughters and her fiance Andy’s three kids, and is always busy. I was so happy to spend time with my beautiful, precious daughters!

My precious, beautiful daughters! Leah, Heather, and me at Panera Bread for lunch

The broccoli cheddar soup and 1/2 turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich I ordered was delicious! Leah and Heather also ordered the “Pick 2” option. Heather ordered the Turkey Bravo sandwich and potato soup, and Leah ordered the steak and cheddar sandwich with mac & cheese. 

Delicious Panera Bread lunch

This week at Heather’s workplace (a convenience store), an armed man barricaded himself in the bathroom. Thank God that Heather had already left work two hours earlier, and no one was hurt in the incident. The man had intended to hang himself in the bathroom, but I think he may have had plans to shoot people first. The police managed to get the assistant manager and all the employees safely out of the store, and took the man into police custody. This is WHY I pray the blood of Jesus over me and my family every day!

Pray the blood of Jesus over you & loved ones daily

As we chatted, Leah talked about the annoyance of her numerous attempts to get state or federal government assistance for her rent, utility bills, food, and medical bills. The government websites are difficult to navigate and confusing. When you call the phone number, you’re on hold for sometimes half an hour or longer. Leah has already received one denial for assistance, even though she’s physically unable to work (on her surgeon’s orders), and has run into obstacles trying to contact other agencies. I’m praying God intervenes in her situation. He will provide for her!

I told Heather that I feel Leah is trying to rush the process of healing her ankle and is being impatient. She really wants her boot off (she has to wear it 8 to 10 weeks post-surgery to protect it) and to drive and to work again. Heather laughed when I said that I understand Leah is tired of her mom “toting” her around, as she puts it.

The waiting room is a difficult place to be. Yet how often God has us in that place to grow our faith in the dark and to teach us to trust totally in Him. 

Leah and Heather.
Leah feels impatient.

I know Leah is tired of using her little green “knee walker” scooter (which I think is an incredible invention! It has helped her to get around so much easier than her crutches!), as well as the crutches. I know she wants to work and drive on her own, and to do the things she’s used to doing. I’ve encouraged her that this is just for a season, God is going to heal her, and she will soon be walking again. Please continue to pray for Leah’s complete, speedy healing. 

Leah at Hobby Lobby on her green scooter

I know it’s hard for Leah. There are things that I am waiting on in my own life. Things I’ve prayed for years and I’ve been waiting a long time. I have felt impatient, too, and at times I’ve been very discouraged that it seems to be taking so long. God’s timing is not like ours. You wonder if your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and if God even hears your prayers. He does. Don’t give up! Keep the faith in Him and continue praying to God. You will soon see victory through faith in Jesus!

me & our precious daughter Leah at Jose Pepper’s restaurant having lunch

*******

Are you in the waiting room? Don’t quit praying. God loves you and He hears your prayers, and will answer. Check out my book on prayer, Walking With God, available for sale at Amazon here.FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail