We are in the third wave of Covid here in Alberta. Thankfully, my husband and I were able to get our first vaccination (Moderna) nearly two weeks ago. Doctors say we will have about 80% immunity against the virus about two weeks into getting vaccinated and about 96% after our second shot. That said, we are still following all health protocols until the entire province (and country) is vaccinated. It has been a long slog through uncharted territory with this pandemic, so I figure the sooner everyone gets vaccinated the sooner we can start to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

But that’s only my opinion.

I’ve noticed how the enemy has used Covid to divide God’s people. We have differing opinions how to combat this disease. I don’t want to debate the arguments for or against masking, or restrictions or vaccinating, I just appeal to my brothers and sisters in Christ to love one another regardless of whether or not we agree or disagree with the stances taken to combat Covid. It’s okay to disagree, it’s not okay to malign one another.

Over this weekend I attended the CNBC Overflowing Women’s Conference, where women from across Canada gathered online to encourage one another to “spread the Word”, using Acts 4:20 to anchor us in prayer, discussion and inspiration. I would have loved meeting face to face, but I felt a camaraderie with the ladies nevertheless, and enjoyed the gathering immensely. I latched on to one word that was repeated several times from speakers and in the panel discussion that I have pondered upon ever since the conference: REORIENT.

Definition of REORIENT: Transitive verb: to orient (someone or something) again or differently: such as: to change the orientation or direction of (something or someone) for example: reorient the antenna or she reoriented herself so she was facing North. Or to reacquaint (someone, especially oneself) with a situation, environment, etc. For example I woke up and reoriented myself to my surroundings.

The English teacher side in me wanted to go deeper so I discovered that a transitive verb is one that only makes sense if it exerts its action on an object. It needs to transfer its action to something or someone. Based on this, I think I’m correct in saying that to reorient something or someone requires a change of some kind to occur with an object or a person.

When I was in the Canadian armed forces, I remember learning the sport of Orienteering. Basically we were taught some navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point A to point B. We tested those skills one weekend in 1977 on Vancouver Island near Nanoose Bay, when we went on an overnight camp out. The exercise was simple: we were driven to the top of a “mountain”, and with only a compass and map to guide us, make our way down to our camp. It was only a big hill, not a mountain, but to our little group it looked like a daunting challenge. I was in a group of four gals including a woman Corporal who thought she would join our group because she felt we were the most competent team to get down the “mountain” before nightfall.

She was wrong.

An exercise that should only have taken us a couple of hours to complete, instead became an effort in futility. We became disoriented! We didn’t have confidence in our equipment and so we started to rely on ourselves to get us “home”. The end result: we became hopelessly lost. We couldn’t seem to agree on how to navigate at all. No matter how we tried to reorient ourselves to align our way with compass direction and map topography, we just couldn’t find a clear path to our camp destination. Our Corporal became more and more panicked as the sun started to set and we learned she had an irrational fear of the dark. Finally, we caught a glimpse of a campfire, the only light we could focus on in the darkness. We ran full tilt through the trees and underbrush towards the light and miraculously crashed through a thorny thicket into our group camp. When questioned why our team was so late, our still-flustered Corporal reported to our commanding officer that we were just being overly methodical in our orienteering technique. He grinned knowingly, “Well, you’re here,” he said. “Glad we didn’t need to call out a search party!”

The life lesson I learned that night of orienteering failure was that I had the proper tools in my hand to help me get down that “mountain” quite easily but I refused to utilize them. I need to apply that lesson today. During this season of Covid, I don’t have access to a map or compass to navigate through these uncertain times. If I’m honest I probably wouldn’t rely on them much if I had them. I still have no sense of direction…just ask my husband. So, there are times I feel so disoriented with what’s happening in the world that I feel like I’m running full tilt down a mountain, relying on just myself to get me safely to an unknown destination.

I need to stop doing that.

I do have tools at my disposal to navigate through these tough times, I just need to utilize them. -Specifically, God is calling me to reorient myself to a new way of doing “church”. It may be a long while before we gather in worship like we did before Covid. Rather than complain, I’m asking God to show me how to adapt and find new ways to serve Him.

-This is a chance to grow deeper in my faith. An uncertain time is an opportunity to experience God on a whole new level. Digging deeper into the Word, and being purposeful in prayer centres me on Him and not on myself.

-I am still in community with other believers even if we may not be sitting side-by-side or face to face. Thankfully, technology is available to connect us. I felt that online companionship this weekend at the conference with the ladies. I also felt a unified connectedness when I joined a coast to coast to coast Zoom Prayer meeting last night for our dear Pastor, Bob who is in hospital fighting Covid. Though apart, all our hearts were (are) united in prayer for his healing.

I’m reorienting myself to a new way of following God during and after this pandemic. He’s given me the tools to make it easier for me to get through this uncertain time: spend more time in prayer, dig deeper in the Bible, and stay connected with other believers.

In truth, I’ve always had access to that, but I need to remember to utilize what God has given to me whenever I feel like I’m careening down a mountain, in the dark, alone.

Posted in Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

March 25 – Sally Meadows

March 26 – Eunice Matchett

March 27 – Lynn Dove

March 28 – Pat Gerbrandt

March 29 – Denise Ford

March 30 – Marcia Laycock

March 31 – Bob Jones revwords.com

April 1 – Valerie Ronald

April 2 – Kimberley Payne

April 3 – Marnie Pohlmann

April 4 – Lynn Simpson

“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

Posted in Book Reviews, Giveaways/Contests, Write On! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments