Welcome Distractions

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in Canada, getting vaccinated for Covid is a long, waiting game. The procurement of vaccine is the biggest hurdle. We are told here that everyone needs to be vaccinated, but while most of us are more than willing to roll up our sleeves to get a shot, it’s frustrating when there’s no product available.

It’s easy to lay blame on the Federal and Provincial governments. I know at the end of this pandemic, there will be a reckoning of what was done well and what would have to be improved upon in the future. I suppose I’ve done my share of complaining, but unfortunately I can’t seem to change my circumstances with whining. Sad but true. Instead, I try to make the best of a bad situation. To do otherwise, would cause me to become overwhelmed and negative. It’s a constant battle in me to try to take control in out-of-control circumstances. The idea to just “let go and let God” is not so easy. You’d think I would have learned through two battles with cancer, and a host of unpredictable life events, that I would learn to cast all my cares on Him Who is ALWAYS faithful to answer my prayers. Although I know without a doubt for this to be true, it is waiting for those answers that is tough.

My Spider plant had “babies” over these past few months. During this year of Covid, I have put more time and effort into taking care of the jungle of plant life in my home. We have such a short growing season in Alberta, with smart gardeners waiting until mid June to plant their annuals outside knowing snow and killing frost is a possibility up to that time. I crave greenery, especially when friends in the U.S. and on Vancouver Island are posting pictures of their gardens in full bloom already. We still have some snow on the ground! It’s unfair. So, I have to foster my blooms indoors. It fills me with joy to see them grow and thrive sometimes despite me. I’m not a natural when it comes to gardening. I let natural sunlight and weekly watering do most of the work. I enjoy the results.

What has this got to do with my current circumstances waiting for my Covid vaccination?

It’s my welcome distraction.

I have noticed that during this long season of Covid, everyone seems to be in some kind of holding pattern. We are constantly waiting. We wait in lines. We wait our turns. We wait to get back to “normal”. We wait to go back to work, to school, to hug, to socialize, to travel…

…to be vaccinated.

What do I do while I wait?

I distract myself with pleasant activities that fill me with a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and joy as I wait for this out-of-control time to end. Tending to my indoor garden is one such activity. I also attend virtual Bible Studies. I pray, read, write, and binge watch TV series. Sometimes I just sit in silence and enjoy the peace. My husband and I go for long drives. I try to do one productive thing each day. I try to do one act of self care each day. Even if a mask may cover most of my face, putting on some makeup makes me feel good. It’s not sandal weather yet, but I love having my daughter give me a pedicure! (Thankfully, her place of employment, Flirt Cosmetics, is still open so I can get pampered once in a while.). It’s just what I need sometimes to take my mind off my circumstances. A couple of weeks ago I went for a long walk with a dear friend. We socially distanced and I talked myself hoarse. Brilliant!

Several people I know have gotten into exercising from home. Some do virtual runs. Some bake, cook, homeschool, take classes, paint, sculpt, camp, bike and hike. When the weather warms up, I fully intend to walk more, go camping, and yes, even do some gardening outside. There are some things Covid may prevent us from participating in right now, but it shouldn’t prevent us from pursuing other activities that foster and care for our well-being.

I don’t like waiting, but the welcome distractions make waiting easier. How about you?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

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Easter Stories and More

In April 2019, we were encouraged as InScribe Writers Online, to write a blog article for Easter from a different point of view. For me, it became a reimagined journey to witness the final hours after Jesus’ betrayal as seen through the eyes of the Apostle John who witnessed all the events that led to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

Only days after I wrote the story, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. It was my second cancer diagnosis, having battled breast cancer in 2001. In my story, “The Passion Through John’s Eyes” in the new anthology Easter Stories and More“, I wanted to travel the Via Dolorosa, stepping into John’s sandals, as he followed his beloved friend to Golgotha. It was a writing pilgrimage for me, to stay true to the Gospel writings, without adding or subtracting from Scripture, while still being able to describe anew what John may have experienced that day. I knew as a Christian, we are called to pick up our cross, in our own way, and follow Jesus. Days later, after writing my story about John, I was facing my own journey road following Jesus. I never thought I’d have to face cancer twice in my lifetime, but I had complete trust that God had a plan and a purpose in allowing me to go through this new battle.

I have always been disturbed by these Words from Jesus on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) It implies that God the Father abandoned Jesus on the Cross, which just does not line up theologically for me. (I wrote a blog post a few years ago that explains my thoughts on that.) I will admit, that during my last battle with cancer when I was in the throes of “chemo thunder”, as I called it, I would weep aloud, “God, why have You forsaken me?” In despair, my body so weak and tired from the chemotherapy and radiation, I forced myself to grasp hold of the promises from Scripture, particularly clinging to Psalm 22, with the knowledge that Jesus would never leave me or forsake me, just as God the Father never left Jesus on the Cross. When you read my story “The Passion Through John’s Eyes“, I incorporated Psalm 22 into John’s context as he stood at the Cross trying to make sense of Jesus’ death.

As Christians, we are challenged daily to experience Scripture, to immerse ourselves in God’s story, and become part of that story as we live out our lives. I am honoured to be a contributor to “Easter Stories and More“. I am confident it will be a family favourite book in your home. I pray you will pick up a copy today and leave a review!

I am delighted to participate in this Blog Tour to celebrate the book launch of “Easter Stories and More“, and I encourage my readers to “travel” to these other blog sites of other writers who contributed to this amazing anthology.

March 24 – Ruth L. Snyder https://ruthlsnyder.com/blog/

March 25 – Sally Meadows https://sallymeadows.com/blog

March 26 – Eunice Matchett https://albertastoryteller.com/

March 27 – Lynn Dove https://lynndove.com/

March 28 – Pat Gerbrandt https://patgwriter.wordpress.com/

March 29 – Denise Ford https://walkingwithdustyanddee.com/

March 30 – Marcia Laycock https://marcialeelaycock.com/thespur/

March 31 – Bob Jones revwords.comhttps://revwords.com/

April 1 – Valerie Ronald https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com

April 2 – Kimberley Payne https://www.kimberleypayne.com/blog/

April 3 – Marnie Pohlmann https://marniewriter.com/blog/

April 4 – Lynn Simpson https://lynnjsimpson.com/

“I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” Psalm 22: 22-24

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St. Patrick’s Day -2021

I’m not Irish, nor do I particularly like the colour green, but I enjoy seeing pictures of my grandbabies trying to “catch” leprechauns in their day home. My daughter-in-love puts a lot of effort into making the day fun for her three boys and her day home kidlings by painting green shamrocks on their chubby cheeks, and filling their bellies with shamrock-shaped sugar cookies. That sounds like a great way to celebrate the day. Count me in…

Next year.

I don’t usually “celebrate” this day, I’m not even wearing green this year. Covid restrictions are still in effect so it goes without saying, I won’t be attending any festive parades, nor will I indulge in drinking green beer. (As if I did that before…Haha!)

People all over the world celebrate the 17th of March to honour St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  Born in Britain during the 4th century, St. Patrick, was kidnapped when he was a teenager and enslaved by Irish raiders.  He was able to escape after six years and became a priest in Britain but later chose to return to Ireland as a missionary.  According to Irish folklore, he used a shamrock to explain the Christian concept of the Trinity to the Irish.  In spite of continuous opposition from pagan leaders, he continued to evangelize for thirty years while baptizing the newly converted and establishing monasteries, churches and schools.  He died on March 17th, and it is his “death day” we celebrate each year.

There is much debate amongst Evangelical Christians whether or not this day should even be acknowledged because it is predominantly a Catholic religious observance that has evolved into a day of celebrating Irish folklore, culture and national identity.  For those who are not Irish or have any religious affiliation, the day becomes basically a good excuse for a drinking party.

Here’s my opinion, take it or leave it. Just like Christians observing Halloween, and St. Valentine’s Day and having no trouble with Santa Claus and including a few bunnies at Easter, St. Patrick’s Day falls under a “holiday” category where individuals and families must decide whether or not they want to participate in commemorating a predominantly secular event. Wearing hearts for Valentine’s Day, or wearing bunny ears for Easter will likely not affect your Christian witness, neither will dressing in green and wearing a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day. If you want to evangelize, you might like to point out to those who do not know the symbolism of the shamrock to explain how the Trinity might be represented and you might have a conversation that shows how the shamrock is shaped like the Cross. Of course that may be stretching the Christian symbolism too far. My thought is to just enjoy the day like you might have enjoyed “Pi Day” on March 14th by having a piece of pie. Wear a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day but stay away from the green beer. 🙂

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