Life

We're being "pretty safe" - masks everywhere, no crowded places, social distancing, just a little socializing. But writing about COVID-19 and me...the emotions are all over the place

The Explosion of COVID-19

We went to church on November 1, and have not been back since. We were planning on having some vulnerable people for Thanksgiving dinner, so we planned on being as safe as possible for their sake. Our church is doing church God's way - and nobody is turned away so there's little opportunity for "social distancing". Masks are a matter of conscience so there's no guarantee that those who have the virus are not spreading it.

COVID has exploded in our county. Since we only had 35(ish) cases in our county since the beginning, we didn't feel as though we were risking others to go. I checked our county's counter on Thanksgiving Day and there were 346 active cases...and 30 in our church...yikes! In the space of three weeks, we were over 900. At that point we felt really okay with our choice to not be in church.

The Current Situation

New cases in our county are starting to decrease. One next door neighbor (a couple) both had it. A local nurse lives on the other side and said that it's as bad as they say (our local hospital only has 32 beds)

The Emotional Impact of COVID

I miss going to church. I miss hearing the voices of the saints gathered around me in worship. Live-streaming is not the same and I can't listen to the music or I just sit there and cry.

The wise thing to do is to stay home for now. My kids are coming into town on Christmas Day and will be in three different airports. I don't want to add an extra layer of exposure.

Processing the "why"

My dad told my husband, about five weeks before he died, "take care of my little girl." Part of doing that is keeping me safe, even when it's hard to be safe. Honoring my husband and my father means being content and helping Phil keep me safe.

Our pastor put out a video-devotional and asked, "do we need to be afraid of COVID? No."

The first reason is that for a Christian, there are worse things that dying. True, but I have a hard time making a life or death decision for somebody else, especially those family members who are not believers.

The second reason is that COVID really has a pretty low death rate. True, but the long-term affects can be pretty bad. We saw a man at the gas station who could barely walk...he said that it was neurological side-effects of COVID. So even with a low death rate, *NOT* dying could leave me being a burden on my husband, and more.

The third reason is that we should trust God. But...there is a line between trusting God and testing God and I want to be on the right side of that line. Asking God to protect us when we doing what we can to protect ourselves is one thing. Asking God to change the nature of how a virus works so that we don't have to do what we can to keep ourselves safe...that's another thing.

**NOTE: the line where people trust God or test God will be in different places for different people. Maybe it's a lack of trust that has me feeling that I'm testing Him. I have no judgement whatever (and perhaps feel a bit envious) toward those who are attending church services.

So...For Now

We're planning on socializing with families that we know are doing their best to be as safe as they can be, all things considered.

We're going to enjoy time with my kids, without going to crowded places.

After the holidays, we're going to stay away from church for the 10 days and revisit how we feel at that point, taking into consideration what the county numbers are.

At this point, I think that we're honoring God with out bodies by keeping our loved ones as safe as we can.

We have moved to a different state - we are now in Northern Nevada, in the high desert.

How different than Silicon Valley!  We went from ambulances and crowded traffic to coyotes and wild horses.

I never thought I'd live in a place where it snowed again, when I left Michigan...but the winters are really mild here.

We've been here nearly a year and a half.  Our closest neighbors are Slim (a dark bay retired rodeo horse), Pacman (a palomino cowboy horse in training) and Sprinkles (the goat)

Our closest human neighbors are a retired couple who have two horses.

We're the only people on the street who don't have livestock.

Our "pets" are wild quail.

We moved to this are, in large part, because of a really solid church.  I didn't want to ever move to a church that was not explicitly Reformed.  We walked into this church and they have five banners in the front with the Five Solas.

It's a "thinking church" and a "preaching church"

and the worship...it had been such a long time since I sang in a church where the congregation overwhelms the folks on the platform.  Being surrounded by the people of God, raising their voices together in praise and worship.

Lots of Townsend and Getty, Sovereign Grace...and hymns.  By number.  From a hymnal.

At first it was so emotional, I cried the whole time (in good tears)

Then, the old hymns...some of them I could only hear in my dad's voice...and I miss him so much.

So...that's life.

Big for last year -

we remodeled our bathroom.  We hope to put the finishing touches on this weekend.  Phil worked so hard on the part he's doing and it all looks great.  I hope that means more entertaining here.

I finished reading through the Bible in a year.  It only took me seven years.  But I had some really good side trips along the way.

I started a business.  My goal is to be a blessing to families and a help for kids.  And let them pay me to do it.

Knee surgery - after four months I'm finally starting to feel "right" - but I've been so sedentary that I'm way far behind on fitness.

I started serving our church by scheduling volunteers for Sunday School.  Again...a blessing for families and a help for kids.

What's up for 2016 -

Grow my business.  I'm aiming at helping home school families with special needs kids, growing Barton Reading System (for people with Dyslexia) and forming summer enrichment activities.

Starting reading through the Bible again.  This time, using a two-year plan, via "ReadingPlan."

A "goal" is to keep up with reading organization - what I'm reading, what I read.

Part of this is a targeted reading plan - that will give me a structure of what sort of books to be reading, which will give me a little better diversity than I have now.  I'm using Tim Challies' "reading challenge" - who wants to join me?

Almaden Quicksilver - the goal is to hike every trail.

And the other health - use "my net diary" to track food, to lose 1.5 pounds per week - with a focus on "real food."

Work on being a better wife...

and the usual...blog more.

20140127-185107.jpgThis is the bench where Phil asked me to marry him.

This is also one of my favorite parks to hike.  But...

A few months ago, I hiked from one of the more remote parking lots and returned to find the car window broken and some things missing.  One of them was my iPad (yeah, I know.  the "Don't Leave Valuables In Your Car" sign matters.)  Anyway, we were able to track it to a part of town where I have been warned not to go because of gang activity.

A couple of weeks ago I went up for the first time - and for the first time saw gang tags up on the road.  The gangs are taking over and I resent that they have to ruin everything.

So, I avoid that part entrance and stick to the more populated ones (so I will pass that bench more often) and enjoy the day...

From the beginning...

I was born into a Christian family. My earliest years were in a very small house close to my mother's parents. I remember very little, but remember the wallpaper in my bedroom (?)

My parents were married in a church down the street from my grandparent's house and that is the house I remember best.

When I was a year and a half old, my Grandpa Brown (my dad's dad) talked my parents into moving to the farm - where I grew up. We went to a church that my dad and grandpa helped to build. Our house was built on part of the family farm only a few hundred feet from my grandparent's house. I remember the farm animals, cats galore and always a dog or two.

I remember the best of my grandparents - Grandpa was quiet and content, Grandma was sad, but always took care of us. We were in a rural farming community in the Thumb of Michigan, which meant that we frequently lost power in the winter and we were the last to get plowed out. When the power went out, sometime we went to stay with Grandma and Grandpa (the gravity feed furnace didn't need electricity so they stayed warm) and I had my favorite place to sleep on the floor Eventually we figured out that "my spot" was right on top of the gravity feed furnace. Grandma had a chair next to the dining room table...we figured out that it was right next to the chimney, so she had the warmest chair in the house.

Upstairs at my grandma's house was "the porch" - built on a roof, unheated...there was even a space between the floor and the wall where you could see outdoors. But there were a couple of beds for summer sleepover and the walls were lined with bookcases. Lots of books, so I grew up reading. There were lost of cousins around, but no girls my age. My best friends were the Bobsey twins, Trixie Beldon, and Anne of Greene Gables.

My church memories are vague. I have glimpses of VBS, little memories of Wednesday evening prayer meetings. As a child, my dad prayed for me before an oral surgery to take a tumor off of my gum line. When we went to the hospital the next day, the tumor was gone. I sat next to him while he prayed for my mom when she was in the hospital.

My dad was a deacon in that small church for most of my years at home and it never grew beyond under 100 in number (not surprising in a very small town.) The pastors came and went, another came and went.

I never knew a time when my life wasn't grounded in family Christianity, but I don't think the faith was MINE until later on. My parents gave me the foundation, but it had to be the Holy Spirit who built it.

My pastor said this morning..."A church believes what it sings." And I grew up on "Amazing Grace,"

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18 years ago, my daughter, Amanda, had a minor ear surgery. We brought her home and I had o rune out to get a prescription filled.

Our cat Blackie had gone missing and since the animal shelter was across the street com the pharmacy, I stopped there while I was waiting on the Rx. They were so short staffed that they weren't keeping animals that owners were dropping off, just putting them to sleep.

There was a couple there with a kid size shoe box, with a tiny tail hanging out. She was crying, but was so allergic...I said, "oh, I'll just take him."

The woman at the counter said, you can't do that IN HERE."

So we went outside and I took this tiny kitten home and he became Amanda's kitty...and we named him after her ear doctor...Henry.

Amanda doesn't remember a time without Henry. He held vigil with me when Amanda's daddy was dying, sitting in his lap for hours at a time.

He spent a little time with me here in the apartment, and was a great balcony cat.

Henry died today. He's had diabetes for 5 years, had eye problems, but Amanda, and her boyfriend, Mike, took good care of him.

Mike was crying, Amanda can't even talk, Tom's a mess and so am I.

Henry will be missed.

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