The Best-Laid Plans

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. No heavy editing allowed. Today’s prompt is “determine.”

It’s been a disappointing week. I had in-person things lined up several days: a dinner meeting, coffee with a friend, our monthly MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) meeting where I’m a mentor mom, and dinner with two long-time friends that I haven’t seen in years.

And then my husband got Covid. *sigh* We didn’t know until yesterday (Thursday) that it was for sure Covid. It was a mild case and he thought it was just seasonal allergies until he got a low-grade fever. So, while we waited for results (rapid tests are very hard to come by around here), we had to isolate.

I had to take a long look at what my priorities were. The beginning of the year is usually a time when people set goals, make resolutions, etc., but rather than go big, I needed to decide whether or not I was going to be OK with my fun week all of a sudden being ripped apart.

I haven’t been OK with it.

But yesterday as we waited, the Lord and I had a long talk. I haven’t done much in the past two years. Fun outside of my house has been hard to find. But I didn’t want to be that person who just went about their business knowing I very well might have been exposed to the virus.

So I had to determine in my heart to accept the losses with grace. My dinner meeting was held virtually, coffee with my friend can be rescheduled, MOPS met without me and didn’t fall apart, my friends are still my friends even though we can’t be together.

Disappointing, yes, but not the end of the world. I am determined to find the beauty alongside the losses. God is still good.

I’m also determined to not let this virus take over my life. I’m vaxxed but not boosted yet, careful but not obsessively so, concerned but not frightened. I want to be respectful of other people’s opinions and choices and hope they are respectful of mine.

So now I wait to see if I start showing symptoms. Every little sniffle, every clearing of my throat from drainage that *could be* allergies and the sinus issues that come with Florida’s flakey winter weather, start me praying and hoping that my immune system will do its job.

I’m supposed to go on a retreat with several friends in 6 days. I am cautiously hopeful that will happen.

What the Pandemic Could Teach Us

This post is part of the 5-Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. No heavy editing allowed. Today’s prompt is “important.”

As we enter our third year of the global pandemic, there are some important things that I have learned:

(not necessarily in order of importance)

I’m turning into more of an introvert than I’ve been before, though I still like being with people.

Some issues should stay opinions rather than become canon.

I treasure my family (I always knew that, but it’s good to have it reinforced)

Just because the government says something doesn’t make it true.

Just because a doctor posts something on the internet doesn’t make it true.

Opinions are not something you should lose relationships over. And you should keep an open mind.

Not all science or “studies” are equal.

Going out and being around others shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Respect for others should be job 1.

It’s not worth losing friendships over. (I already said that, I notice, so I must think it’s pretty important.)

These were all just random thoughts that flowed to my mind as I typed. And in the remaining minute I have, I want to say that I have watched two really good friends have some pretty significant differences of opinion in the last two years, and they have probably lost a little in their relationship. But they still love each other and treat each other respectfully. And they both love Jesus with all their heart. And they love their family.

They just don’t always see eye to eye and that needs to be OK.

Teach Your Children Well

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Every Friday we write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “teach.”

For 15 years, our family was involved in a K-8 parent-involved school where if your kids were enrolled, at least one parent had to work on campus in some capacity. Our first year, when our eldest started kindergarten, I was pregnant and due with our third child just 5 weeks after school started, so my job was working in the school office one day a week.

But two years later, I was tasked with becoming the registrar and a member of the management team for the school. After 6 years on that job, I took a step back and became the teacher’s assistant for our middle school teacher. But within a month, our new 3rd grade teacher decided to un-enroll her kids, and therefore a void was left on the teaching team. Now, I had said that I was not a teacher and I would never teach, but as I prayed over the need for a new teacher in my daughter’s 2nd grade class (one of her current teachers stepped into the 3rd-grade role), God changed my heart.

And so I took on the task of co-teaching 3 little 2nd graders (it’s not a big school). Within two years, I was asked to lead the breakout of our 6th graders into a new class of their own, separate from the other middle schoolers in 7th and 8th.

For the next 5 years, I lead the 6th grade class and taught language arts and humanities. I got to teach my daughter again in 6th grade, now with several more classmates than just the 3 from 2nd grade.

But what didn’t click in those years of saying I would not be a teacher, was that, even prior to 2010, I was teaching my kids every day those principles that I prayed would stay with them a lot longer than Greek and Latin roots: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

Better Together

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s word is “accountability.”

A little more than a year ago, I got fed up with where I was, once again, with my weight. Several years previous I had successfully lost nearly 30 pounds after getting back into riding my bike faithfully every day and watching what I ate, but age and adrenals had caused a gain that had me frustrated.

But I needed help to get back on track.

It never worked to have my husband, who is much more active than I am and can eat copious amounts without suffering adverse effects, try to encourage me. I never took it the right way.

And then one day during the pandemic lock down I was touching base with a church friend who is a personal trainer. I don’t even remember how the subject came up. But I must have told her about my struggle.

“Let me help you!” she said.

And so I finally agreed. She gave me workouts to do at home, helped me track my food, and generally kept me accountable to do what she suggested.

I was so successful in my gains (not weight this time!) that my 18-year-old daughter, who has long struggled with lack of energy, weight gain, and a general malaise, wanted to join me.

And so we hired our friend Christine to come once a week and work personally with Morgan. Now, a year later, she has lost more than 40 pounds, I don’t even know how many pants sizes, and has gained a confidence that has made her blossom and feel so much better about herself. It has also given her empathy for others who have struggled with their health.

It wasn’t all about the weight, though obviously losing the excess has made her feel so much more healthy. It was about energy, the proper functioning of her body, and the knowledge that you know, I can actually do this! That is probably the most encouraging change of all. It has given her the confidence to take on other challenges knowing she has what it takes to do the hard things.

Accountability, in whatever form it can take, makes a huge difference.

The View From Here

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back 
and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 
John 14:3, ESV

Sunrise in the Chilean desert

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes without heavy editing on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “From.”

If we only look around us, we can get very discouraged. Poverty, death, an ongoing pandemic, people arguing with each other in very uncivilized ways, adverse weather events, wildfires. The list goes on.

But I am choosing to keep my eyes focused on where it is I’m going. I have the promise of eternal life with Jesus in a place where there will be no more sorrow or tears or death. If I think that this world is all that there is, then I am in big trouble. I might as well just bury my head in the sand and forget everything. Cover my ears and say “la la la la la!” It’s a completely discouraging world!

But this is not all there is, praise be to God. It’s like being on the Titanic, knowing that it’s going down, and wanting to rescue as many people as we can. Live in such a way that we shine the light of Jesus into this present darkness. Jesus is the only light.

I’m not generally a sunrise person. It happens way too early in my book. But if you have the chance to watch the light start to break through the darkness of night, it’s invigorating. It’s hope giving. We know that the night does come to an end. Every day. Every single day. Without fail, morning comes. The light always shines through.

Keeping heading toward the light. The view is lovely from here.

Photo by F. Char-ESO