Meghan Markle wrote a very powerful opinion piece for the New York Times recently about her and Harry’s loss after suffering a miscarriage this summer. She also wrote about the pain and losses most of us have felt over the past year. It moved me, it touched me, it made me say to myself, “YES, YES, YES, MEGHAN!” I loved it.
Did you read it? If not, I hope you will. It was excellent.
I have Covid-19. I got the positive test result last Thursday evening, a full four days after I visited an urgent care center for a PCR test. I’d been having mild cold symptoms for a week when I opened a jar of Vicks Vapor Rub and couldn’t smell a whiff of it. Damn. They aren’t kidding about that loss of smell thing.
Although hundreds of thousands of Americans regrettably have already died due to the virus, experts estimate as few as 1 in 10 of us have contracted it. With that in mind, I thought I would share my experience with it.
The most commonly listed symptoms of Covid-19 are fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, and sore throat. I didn’t have any of these symptoms, which is why I believed I had simply caught your basic, garden-variety cold after…
We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know
that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces
proven character, and proven character produces hope.
Beth Moore correctly observed, “Those who walk in truth walk in liberty.” Godly men and women agree. As believers in Christ, we must seek to live each day with discipline, honesty, and faith. When we do, at least two thing happen: integrity becomes a habit, and God blesses us because of our obedience to Him. Living a life of integrity isn’t always the easiest way, but it is always the right way… and God clearly intends that it should be our way, too.
Character isn’t built overnight; it is built slowly over a lifetime. It is the sum of every sensible choice, every honorable decision, and every honest word. It is forged on the anvil of sincerity and polished by the virtue of fairness. Character is a precious thing – preserve yours at all costs.
A DAILY PSALM
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the
ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the
seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the
Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He
shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that
brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not
wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV
*From the book 365 Daily Devotions From Psalms for Women
I remember back in March, when the Pandemic first hit, I felt an anxiety like never before. I guess there is a disadvantage sometimes to having a husband who is a nurse because you hear things. I started hearing scary medical stories. I also have friends who are nurses and I heard things from them too. How nurses were working without adequate PPE, and sometimes with NO PPE. How nurses were catching COVID. I worried for my husband’s safety. And I worried for my own safety as well as my family’s.
I made the decision pretty early on, to limit the news I read on the pandemic, to limit social media. In some ways, I felt I was just sticking my head in the sand. But I had to do it for my sanity. Before the pandemic, I read everyday, but I got so anxious, that I absolutely could not read a book. I tried. Oh, how I tried to read books during March, April, and May, and I just couldn’t concentrate. I tried nonfiction and I tried fiction. I couldn’t read any of it. I tried reading the Bible, but that too was difficult. I called my doctor about my anxiety. I was told they were seeing lots and lots of anxiety. Of course they were.
I’ll admit, I found it hard to pray in the early days of the pandemic, and found myself drawing further and further away from God. I knew I was going in the wrong direction and I know He was the one I needed to draw close to. More. than. ever. I have always believed that God works for good in all things, but after just having gone through a monster of a tornado in my area which destroyed entire neighborhoods – and caused so much death and destruction, I questioned the purpose of it all. After all, what possible good could come from this much heartache and destruction. And then a good neighbor died unexpectedly after a surgery. He was a good Christian man who always did for others, and again, I questioned why God would take a man like this – a man who was always helping other people and still had so much good to give? Then 2 weeks after that tornado, we were in a pandemic. People were sick and people were dying. Again, I questioned the purpose and what possible good could come from so many deaths of innocent people.
And then there were the BLM protests and the riots occurring all over the country. It seemed that there was so much hate erupting everywhere. I really did just want to crawl in a hole and stay there. Though I don’t drink, I found myself wanting to numb myself to it all.
I read once that the trials we endure are us being pruned with pruning shears by God. Pruning hurts but it is necessary to bear good fruit.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2
Sometimes it just downright hurts to get pruned so often from those pruning shears. Yes, I grow sick and tired from all the pruning.
Sometimes I feel there’s a lot more pruning in my life than there is fruit bearing. But I know I need the frequent pruning in order to bear good fruit. I’m not saying I always understand the pruning but I don’t think it’s necessary that I do understand it, just that I know it’s important and necessary.
Every fall, my husband prunes a beautiful red maple tree outside my kitchen window. And every year I think he’s killed that beautiful tree. It always appears to me that he’s gone way too far with the cutting and pruning of the branches. All fall and winter, it’s has bare, dead-looking branches and I miss the beautiful red leaves. And I tell him he’s killed that poor tree. But he says, “No, just wait.” And sure enough, it buds and fills out again, bigger than ever. It’s the same way I feel here in 2020. I think at times that all this pruning is killing me. It’s not. He’s removing the dead branches that aren’t producing fruit.
The problem is, I don’t always know and understand God’s plans. I’m not always going to understand the reason for all the trials (or pruning) in my life. God doesn’t always show me those reasons.
But in my heart, I know God always knows what He is doing. I know that He is working all things for my good. I truly believe that. When trials come which cause heartache and pain, as they have this year, I can trust that God knows what is best for me. Always.
After all, God is omniscient (all-knowing,) omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (always present). He knows what He is doing, and I have to learn to trust that. God is infinite and I am finite. I did reach a point that I could read again and I’m praying again. I am always a work in progress.
My sister came by for a visit yesterday (yes, we wore masks and yes we social distanced). She told me later that evening that she dropped by Cracker Barrel on the way home from my house to pick up dinner for her and her husband. She decided to shop, while she waited for her food to be prepared. I mean, who, in their right mind, can go to a Cracker Barrel and not shop?
When it was time for her to leave, she couldn’t find her car keys. She searched her purse and pockets thoroughly. No keys. She looked in the car to see if she had left them in the ignition. No keys. She looked in the parking lot. No keys. She went back into the store and searched around all the areas she had been. No keys. She called her husband who brought her another set and she left. She said it put her in the worst mood for the rest of the evening, not knowing where those keys disappeared to. She couldn’t get her mind off of those darn keys all night.
I know how she felt. Have you ever lost something that was never found? I have. Several years ago, I lost a cell phone (it was a flip phone and not a smart phone). I remember where it was last used, and I was convinced it was in the house somewhere. We turned the house upside down and we never did find that phone. I searched outside and in my car. It still bugs me as to where that phone disappeared to.
When I was in college, I was taking Livestock Management (which turned out to be my most favorite course in college). Each student was assigned a calf (a very LARGE Holstein calf) to halter break. The livestock barn where the calves were housed, was just past a large field beyond my dorm and easily within walking distance. I went with a friend and classmate one day to work with our calves and since I wasn’t taking a purse, I just put my keys in my back pocket. My keys were on a HUGE black rectangular lucite key chain with the name “Gail” on it (these were popular in the 70s and 80s).
I had my dorm room key, my house keys, keys to the veterinary clinic I worked at, and a set of car keys on this keychain. The section of the barn where the cows were kept, had a deep layer of muck in it, making it difficult to walk. We had boots on, but my friend and I found it quite a chore to walk in. Trying to wrangle down a cow in ankle-high muck to get a halter on it was exceedingly difficult and I seem to recall we fell a time or two.
When it was time to go, I couldn’t find my keys. They had obviously fallen out of my pocket. We looked all around the barn but they were nowhere to be found. I figured they were buried deep in the manure/muck. We looked outside and traced our path back to the dorm, keeping our eyes peeled in the grass for those keys. Nothing. The key chain was rather large and it wouldn’t have been difficult to spot.
I mentioned the lost keys to my Livestock Production professor. He told me later that he had taken a metal detector and combed the barn and while he found everything else under the sun, he never found my keys. It worried him so much that he even spent a second day searching the barn for those keys! I finally told him it was okay and not to worry about them. They were gone. He did worry. He was the nicest man.
I was convinced that a cow ate that keychain. I still think that to this day. My professor said it was very possible. Cows will eat just about anything. I used to know a large animal vet who had a glass case in his clinic displaying everything he had ever removed surgically from cow stomachs and it was unbelievable and quite interesting to look at!
Cattle often eat nails, screws, barbed wire fencing, hay baling wire, pebbles and rocks. This ingestion of metal objects is called Hardware disease in cattle. The correct term is actually bovine traumatic reticuloperitonitis. It is more common in dairy cattle but can be seen in beef cattle too. Signs are usually depression, poor appetite, a reluctance to move, and painful defecation. Farmers often feed magnets to cattle to prevent Hardware disease. The metal objects will collect on the magnet which prevents damage to the stomach.
Years later, that livestock barn was torn down as they expanded the campus. I often wonder if someone found those keys when the barn came down. I doubt it. I still often wonder what became of those keys. I still say a cow ate them.
I haven’t done one of these posts in a while. They’re always fun, so here we go!
Sparkling Ice Coconut Limeade
It seems people either love coconut or hate it. I’m one of those who love it. This is my all time new favorite flavor of the Sparkling Ice drinks. It has just the right amount of both coconut and lime. It’s very refreshing on a hot, humid day!
Jacobean Sunset Knit Top
I found this shirt when it was on sale a few weeks back in a Serengeti catalog. It’s comfortable and just perfect for fall and winter! I love the vibrant colors and the 3/4 sleeves. There is also a green version that I like as well.
I saw this on Amazon and couldn’t resist. It made me laugh because there really is some truth in it!
Publix Heath Bar Cookies
These are the BEST cookies! I know a lot of people who say they don’t care for Heath Bars but who love these cookies. Our Publix seems to run out of them as soon as they put them out. One of their bakery employees told me they are so popular that they’re almost always making some in the back so to always ask if I don’t see any out. I have asked once and was rewarded with warm cookies just out of the oven! Yum!
Homemade Things Made Out of My Old Scrub Tops
I retired my veterinary license last year and I was trying to decide what to do with all my old scrub tops and pants. I was thinking about taking them to Goodwill. But then I decided someone could maybe put them to good use and make something out of them. I have a friend whose mother is an excellent seamstress and makes potholders, hot pads, casserole carriers, bag holders, bowl holders, walker bags, and now masks. So I gave them to her and she was glad to get them. Here are a few samples.
This was a favorite scrub top turned pot holder. She backed it with burgundy material from scrub pants.
Another favorite turtle scrub jacket I had turned pot holder. The yellow backing was made from a pair of scrub pants I had
mask made out of same scrub jacket
casserole carrier made from scrub top
Seasonal decorative masks
I decided to embrace the mask wearing as it doesn’t look like this COVID-19 virus is going away anytime soon. I love these Halloween masks I found on ETSY. I sent a set to each of my two sons (who both have their mom’s Halloween crazy genes).
This black with green bats was another ETSY find. Might have to get this one too. I gotta have bats for Halloween!
Love, love love!
I loved these I found in a catalog. More bats and a beautiful fall foliage mask in lovely fall colors.
This next mask was also an old scrub top of mine. Well, actually, I bought it on sale and it still had the price tag on it so I never actually wore it. But it made a cute mask!
My friend’s mother is also making Thanksgiving masks too (she found the cutest turkey material) and Christmas masks. So more pictures to come soon! Can we say MASK ADDICTION?
Amazon has some really cute printed disposable masks now too. I saw this one last night. BLUEBIRDS!!!!!
Pumpkin Pie Coffee
I love all things pumpkin and this coffee was no exception.
I learned how invaluable this little gadget was when my sister was in the hospital fighting COVID last month. The hospital was planning to discharge her on oxygen but to my surprise, the oxygen company I met at her house to get it all set up, had no monitoring device they supplied with their oxygen services, nor did their company sell them. I decided I needed to purchase a pulse oximeter which is an electronic device that measures the saturation of oxygen carried in your red blood cells. It also gives a pulse reading. A nurse told me that Walgreens and Walmart were selling out of these babies fast. She recommended Amazon (where she got hers). We got my sister one and I decided to order one too. I bought mine a month ago and when I checked last night, the price had dropped $8 from when I purchased it (just my luck)!
What things are you loving these day? I wish you all a happy, healthy, and a safe fall season!