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July: Half way there

Our daughter Heather finishing her first 5K

Our daughter Heather finishing her first 5K

When our daughter Heather was in high school, she joined the track team. I remember one specific meet where she was competing and on the last stretch. As I stood in the stands watching her run as hard as she could, her face contorted with the intense effort, I screamed as loud as I could, “RUN, Heather!” as she passed me by. The memory brings tears to my eyes as I recall cheering my daughter onto the finish line. Years later, she participated in her first 5K run, and I was there, too, so excited and happy for her as I watched her finish.

To this day, I’m still in the stands, cheering her on in this exciting, and sometimes difficult race called life. And all of our children, our grandchildren, and those I love. 

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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