When will this be over?

After being “sheltered in place” for over a month now I often think, sometimes multiple times a day, “When will this all be over?”

I long for the days when I can get in my car, without my Clorox wipes and face mask, to go to the grocery store.

I yearn for the day when we can come together as a community of believers in our church building and give endless hugs and handshakes.

I get misty-eyed when I think of things I just knew would happen like taking my daughter to her dance lessons,  waving to the kids as they left on the school bus, and going out to a restaurant as a family.

I miss lunch dates with my friends, our weekly small group meetings at church, going shopping to find a new outfit, and other things that we normally just take for granted.

So when I am watching TV and see all of the sitcom characters doing all of the things we “used to do” in groups or gathering in various locations that are now closed – I say to myself…“When will this all over over? I wish it were over now.”

So many times in life we “wish things were over” quicker. When my daughter was born, she was very colicky and screamed 24-7 for 3 months straight. I couldn’t wait for those days to pass quickly, even though many parents love those first few months. I was wishing them away with every fiber of my being. They couldn’t go fast enough. I just wanted to rock a quiet, cooing baby, instead of the screaming baby that couldn’t be soothed.

I also remember in college that while going through “those classes” (you know the ones…. with the boring professor that went on and on about things that didn’t seem relevant to your life, let alone your degree.) I just wanted to get through my classes so I could get started in my career and with living my life. I was wishing away my college years, even though they were some of the best in my life.

Then there are the hard times that you wish you could get through by snapping your fingers so you were through them. Like losing a loved one, being laid off, breaking up with a significant other, or going through a season of illness. We just want to close our eyes and wake up with things being okay and normal, where there is no more pain.

So often we wish away these things, but don’t see the value in going through them. There are life lessons to be learned and good things to come out of every season like the ones above.

When my daughter was colicky I learned how to cherish those quiet moments that came after, to really appreciate the sweet moments that eventually came. It caused me to really try to learn many techniques in calming her that worked later on. It also caused my husband and I to work as a team and to communicate through this difficult season.

If I had rushed through my college classes and jumped straight into my career, I wouldn’t have built the skills needed in my profession. I wouldn’t have had the hands on experience that really made the difference in my teaching career. I also wouldn’t have built the amazing friendships I did when I was at college, some of which are strong today! And most importantly, at college I really found out who I was and found my identity in Christ for the first time on my own.

If we didn’t have to go through the hard seasons in our lives, like going through the grieving process, we wouldn’t heal. Sometimes it takes hard moments to bring us closer to God. He wants us to be able to lean on Him, not on our own strength. So it takes our moments of weakness to allow Him to be our Rock and Strength.

During this season of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be days we want it all to be over. But maybe instead of wishing this time away, we could rest in some of the lessons we are learning while we are “sheltering in place.” Here are some I have already discovered:

  • I need to take time to rest from the busyness of life. (My calendar has been wiped clear so I need to rest and enjoy that.)
  • I need to be thankful that my family is together and healthy. Not all families are able to be together right now, and many are worried about loved ones in the hospital or isolated that they can’t be with right now.
  • I am thankful to have time to really invest in my children’s education in a new way. It’s amazing what I am learning about my kids that I could only see from this perspective!
  • I am also learning to rest in the promises God has for me in His Word.  His Word has become fresh and alive for me during this time as I have been writing scriptures daily. His Word has become my anchor. Would it have been so desperately needed if I wasn’t going through this? Yes, but I may not have recognized it.
  • I am also thankful that I know there will be an end to this someday. Not sure when, but either we will find a vaccine for this virus, or Jesus will come back. Either way an end of quarantine will come.

What lessons have you learned during this time of isolation? 

March Verse of the Month: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 | KendraNicole.net

Verses to consider about enjoying the present and not wishing away time:

2 Corinthians 4:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

 

Romans 8:22-25 (The Message)

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

COVID-19 Isolation Journal Week 3

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 3491 (23 in the tri-county area)

Number of Deaths in IL: 47

USA cases – 104,700 cases across the country now making us #1 in the number of COVID-19 cases

*The first infant has died of coronavirus in Chicago. Sad day in Illinois.   Today we got stuff done around the house and the kids just played. No school work today! Chad worked in the yard clearing out dead leaves and other things so our newly growing spring flowers and plants can flourish!

It’s a dreary day and we are constantly watching the weather because they keep reminding us bad weather is on the way. Central Illinois is at a high risk for severe weather including hail and tornadoes. Chad went and purchased a weather radio for us since our old one had quit. He also stopped by and delivered one to Grandpa Knapp. The two talked on the phone but could see each other through the glass storm door. It’s such a different way to communicate but necessary to keep everyone safe.

After a delicious dinner of pizza and salad, we retreated to the basement with a sugar free fudge bar in hand to watch Heavyweights on Disney+.

IMG_2458Then we turned on the news to see that bad weather was in fact coming our way with a tornado warning in place for the tri-county area. So we stayed put in the basement until 10:00 when it all blew over. There was a touchdown from a tornado in the Bartonville/West Peoria area. Scary but we are ok.IMG_2459

The kids stayed in the basement for a sleepover and Chad and I continued watching a new show on Netflix that we are completely hooked on…. Tiger King! The world is now obsessed and so are we!

 

 

 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 4596                                 Number of Deaths in IL: 65

After a late night with storms and tornado warnings, everyone slept in a bit to recover and rest. We were all up and ready for Crossroads Kids zoom call at 9:15! The kids had a chance to learn about the 5 finger method to praying – Praise, Ask, Repent (say I’m sorry), Thanks, and Share! Jennifer Sakata led this kids through the lesson and it was a beautiful thing to see all of them learning together, even from a distance.

Then at 10:00 we started worship online with our church. It was a great message about the Holy Spirit and how He gives us supernatural protections and grace. Then afterwards we went on a “heart hunt” around Washington to search for all of the hearts people have put up in windows. We picked up Michael’s for lunch and went home. Chad and I met with our small group via Zoom and it’s always a highlight to see everyone.

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In the afternoon, I turned on Space Jam for the kids and I to watch while Chad went to work on a “heart” project in the shop. I fell asleep within 20 minutes because I am just so tired. I think the anxieties and uncertainties that keep me awake are catching up with me – so my body just needed a time out to sleep. Upon waking up from a great nap in the recliner, I made a comfort food meal of Tater Tot Casserole which was delicious!

Chad set up the two hearts he made in the shop with lights on them so people could see them as they drove by. Since we are in the country its hard for people to see our hearts in the window – but this makes it more visible.

We ended the night with a “living room concert” by Elton John on FOX. IT was full of celebrities sharing their talents from their living room and raising money for 2 great causes. Some of the celebrities included The Backstreet Boys, Alicia Keys, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) , Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day), Camilla Cabello, and Mariah Carey. There were more too…. It was just an uplifting event!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: over 5000       Number of Deaths in IL: 73

Today Chad had the day off from work which was a great way to start the week! We began the day by finishing one of Lucy’s school projects that we hadn’t had a chance to send in since school was cancelled. She made her solar system mobile and was so proud to send the pictures to her teacher!

Daddy got to join in on our movement/workout time this morning which was extra special! Jack made his English Muffin pizzas with sauce, green peppers, and no cheese. He is such a picky eater and has some funny taste buds, but glad he is exploring new ideas.

We ended the evening by watching Mary Penn, one of our favorite local church ladies who happened to be part of the Washington Children’s library for many years! She is such a fun storyteller, reading with great inflection and doing all of the fun voices. Watching her has been a treat!IMG_2486

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 5,994 cases   Number of Deaths in IL: 99

This morning was officially the beginning of distance learning at Dee-Mack! We picked up learning packets from the front door today at the Intermediate school in Deer Creek. Every week they will get a new packet, complete it, and return it the next week.

We also Facetimed with Grandma and Grandpa Waughop today. Lucy and Grandpa like to get “up close and personal.” LOL Grandpa doesn’t have a smartphone so he uses Lori’s instead. We enjoy these chats and it usually results in laughter and fun! I know it has to be hard on all of the grandparents who can’t see their grandkids up close or give them hugs. That’s what being a grandparent is all about. This is a tough time for sure. The rule and guideline set by the CDC and government is “If they don’t live in the same household as you; don’t visit and have physical contact.”IMG_2489

Around mid-morning Lucy had her “PE time” with her dance teachers on YouTube. They had prepared her recital dances up to this point for them to work on. So she joined in the class and practiced. I know she misses her classes and teachers so much. Every time I walk by the recital costumes hanging up and “fluffing,” it makes me so sad because I know there is a chance that they may not even have a recital this year if the social dista

 

ncing continues through the summer. Same thing with competitions. Everything has been rescheduled and thought through, but we all know, even though we aren’t saying it… this may not happen at all.

On the bright side, we made a new bread today — Bread Bowls! It’s always been something on my bucket list in the kitchen, but I had never taken the time to make it. Today was the day!  We were going to have Tuscan chicken and white bean soup so it was a great time! They turned out halfway decent (tasted great!) but next time I want to do a Broccoli cheese creamy soup….Would be better than a broth based soup.

 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 6980 cases    Number of Deaths in IL: 141

Today is the first day of Spring and we are still stuck at home… but we will make the best of it! The sun is shining and that makes things dramatically better.

Today I made cloth face masks with a pattern put out by a local hospital. It was challenging in ways, but super fun to see the final products. For an extra treat today, we purchased the movie Sonic the Hedgehog for Jack since he was unable to get his movie reward since the theaters closed down first. So while I made masks at the kitchen table, Jack and Lucy watched a new movie. Super cute!

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Lori and I also ventured out to Sam’s tonight to get moe groceries in bulk. I spent a lot more than normal but should be good for 3-4 weeks from what I purchased tonight. I will still have to get milk and fresh produce, but that’s about it.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 7695 cases    Number of Deaths in IL: 157

More school work again today! Getting into a routine has been a good thing.IMG_2508IMG_2509

We also got a surprise package from Uncle Bruce and Aunt Debbie in Texas today! They got Jack and Spiderman hat and possum stuffed animal. Lucy got a dog that spins around singing “You Spin Me Right Round Baby.” We love getting surprise mail. Makes the day fun and exciting! Good news is always welcome because the local news isn’t always good. I have to try to not watch, but how can we when things are changing every single day.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 8904 cases    Number of Deaths in IL: 210

Today was a day for fun! We finished up that last page of our social distancing packet, then the fun began! We cut out several hearts for Grandpa Knapp’s window at his house. Aunt Carol and Grandma Wurmnest had requested them. We also made him Easter Cards to make him smile.

When we went to deliver them we help them up to his window. He eventually came out because it was a beautiful warmer day. But we maintained the social distance recommendation of 6 feet. Afterwards we got a sweet treat of ice cream at Culver’s. Then dinner was a drive-thru fish fry at Chanticleer in Eureka. It was delicious!

The evening we enjoyed watching Onward which was newly released early to Disney+ just for our time at home of isolation. It was really cute and I may have teared up a time or two.

Finding the “Holes” in our Faith

Over the past few weeks, people have said several times on the news and social media that this pandemic is really shedding light on the “holes” we have in our healthcare. So there is a silver lining in all of this – that we will be able to improve and better our healthcare after this is over based on what we now know. In all fairness to our healthcare providers, no one could be prepared for a pandemic of this nature even if our system was perfect.

But there are other “holes” I am finding throughout this experience. They are the “holes” in my faith. I am realizing in the midst of something out of my control that is scary and unknown, my faith is not what I thought. It’s not as strong. It’s not a solid. It wavers and gives into fear. It doesn’t trust with my whole heart. It is imperfect.

James 1:2-8 descibes what I have been feeling after sitting with this thought yesterday…

“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (NIV)VOTD October 4 - Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James‬ ‭1:2-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The beautiful thing about this verse is it acknowledges we will have or faith tested. But when those tests and trials come we need to push through with determination and purpose. It says that we need to allow this determination to “finish it’s work,” meaning our faith isn’t complete and has holes in it. This verse acknowledges that we may not have a complete and mature faith. This verse gives us grace.

But then it continues on by giving us hope that we can continue to grow and strengthen our faith if we ask for it directly from God. He says in verse 5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” He promises us that if we ask for wisdom to make our faith stronger that God will give it to us. 

He also says this in verse 6-8 “ But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” We have to believe that God will deliver the wisdom and faith we need without any doubts. For if we doubt we will not receive anything from God. It says we will be double-minded and unstable in all we do. 

How many times have I felt conflicted in my thoughts and decisions, like I was double-minded? How many times have I felt like my decisions may be unstable?

About two weeks ago when the governor placed a “stay at home order” on the state of Illinois, I was relieved because I was comforted to know that we could all be in quarantine and safe from this vicious virus that was so unpredictable. After all of the news reports and social media posts I had been reading about how severe of a threat this virus could be, even to younger and healthier people, I was ready to shut my doors with my family safe inside and just be isolated. That gave me comfort. But then Chad’s company determined they were “essential workers” and he would have to continue to go into work. I remember feeling the grip of fear and doubt. I was scared that he would contract this virus, that he could bring it home….. I saw pictures in my mind of all 4 of us unable to breathe and dying together at home (worst case scenario). I became “irrational and unstable” because of the fear. I was starting to think of things like “Where could Chad stay where he would be isolated from us so we wouldn’t all have to be exposed?” I was starting to scour the internet for bottles of Lysol so I could disinfect our house even more than usual. I began contemplating all of the scenarios in my head that I could until I had to slow my mind down and turn my thoughts to God.

There was a verse that came to mind from Psalm 46: 1-3

God is our refuge and strength,If life hands you lemons, make lemon cupcakes!! GOD is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.”

 

and then one from Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.”

God was reminding me that He was my safe place. He was going to be the place I could run to when I was scared. He would be there with us every step of the way and we were not alone. He knows the future and He has a perfect plan for me and my family – whatever that may entail. He brought me His truth in that moment and I had a peace that I hadn’t had before.

I had decided then and there that I would persevere through this age of coronavirus with faith and trust instead of doubt and fear. I would come out on the other end of this withstanding this trial with faith. James 1:12 says

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of lifethat the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Illustration of James 1:12 — Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

 

TODAY’S THOUGHT: Where are the “holes” in your faith? Are you as strong as you thought? Do you trust in God completely when things are spiraling our of your control? Will you ask Him to equip you with the faith you need to get through this time of isolation? 

COVID-19 Isolation Week 1…

Friday, March 13, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois:  46    Number of Deaths in IL: 0

Today at 3:00pm Governor JB Pritzger announced that he was closing the schools for at least 2 weeks due to a new virus called Coronavirus (COVID-19). When the announcement was made I felt a sense of relief. For the past week I had been sending Jack and Lucy to school and praying fervently over them because I knew this virus had begun to spread into the United States. It was no longer a virus overseas in China, it had arrived in the US.

Immediately I was flooded with emotions of excitement that my kids would be home, terror that my kids would be home, and every other emotion possible. What was this period of “staying at home” look like? How long would it REALLY last. So many unknowns…..

As someone who likes to have a sense of control, this was really sending me into a tailspin. But all I could do was take a breath, make sure I was informed, and do what I needed to protect my family. I knew I had enough food as I had been to the store twice that week making sure we had a little extra of a few staple items (not stockpiling, but extra ). Luckily 2 weeks before all of this I had purchased 2 new club sized packages of toilet paper, which was now almost non-existent on store shelves.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw rows and rows of paper products – EMPTY! But this was just the beginning. I could feel it.

Now to make plans for the kids since we are all going to be inside, together, at home…..

New terminology — Social Distancing (3-6 feet apart in public places)

 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 64     Number of Deaths in IL: 0

I shouldn’t be anxious or worried, but I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said I wasn’t. Trying to surrender all of this to God – but I am asking for His help today. Today wasn’t supposed to look like this. Lucy was supposed to have her very first dance competition in Chicago today. Thankful we aren’t having to travel that direction since the virus has begun to spread in that part of Illinois, but sad because she is missing this milestone.

I can’t peel myself away from the news. I know I should since it is making my anxiety spin out of control, but I just can’t. What if I miss something important? What if something worse happens? What can I do to help reduce the spread of COVID-19?  Is it in the Peoria area yet?  And then I saw it…. The first confirmed case in Peoria county today.

Today I have been praying a lot for God to help me with placing my trust in Him. It’s harder when the world seems to be crumbling around you in panic. So I am asking Him for extra help and I have immediately received a peace. While I am not scared or afraid of the virus itself, I am concerned for our world right now as we are facing something new. People are reacting by buying extra toilet paper and water… why that? It’s just a crazy, scary mess and we will take it one day at a time.

My new handwashing routine — to the right!

handwashing

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 93     Number of Deaths in IL: 0

Today is deemed a National Day of Prayer from our President. What a wonderful thing to see the nation as a whole coming together to do the most important thing we can do, even before washing our hands or social distancing…. PRAY!

This morning we went to church in our living room. Our church (along with many other churches around the country) have moved their services to streaming online to protect their congregations. So thankful for the community, even if we aren’t together in body, but just in spirit. It was comforting to know that all of the families we know and love from our “family of the heart” were worshipping with us at the same time from their homes.

The afternoon is spent making lesson plans and trying to scramble things together for the kids. Since schedules and structure are good for our family, I made a schedule of what “Wurmnest family homeschool” will look like. I am feeling a sense of control and relief by doing this.

 

The numbers continue to climb….. we watch the news now religiously at 3:00pm for the governors address and I make sure when President Trump is on the TV live we are watching for any new news. Today Pritzger announced the restaurants and bars will closedown to become carryout/delivery facilities only. No dine in allowed!

 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 105   Number of Deaths in IL: 0

 

Tomorrow all restaurants and bars will close down to become only carryout/delivery venues. This will definitely look different and we need to look for ways to support local small businesses. Many bars are continuing with their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations a day early which I feel is irresponsible. This virus is here… it’s not going to wait until the celebrations are done. But we press on anyways… And go figure – the first COVID-19 case in Peoria county happened today. It’s here….

We also started the Wurmnest family homeschool today. We dove in this morning with the Free Scholastic website and a free Raz-Kids guided reading account! We learned all about spiders today. Not sure which is scarier – COVID 19 or spiders? LOL The kids read about spiders and then got to create a new species of spider using adjectives and a drawing.

After that we had movement time, free play, and chore time. We enjoyed a hot lunch of chicken nuggets, pineapple, chips, and yogurt. After lunch we had Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems who is one of our favorite children’s authors of books like Elephant and Piggie/ Pigeon drives the bus, etc. What a fun time! This will become a daily routine if we can work it in for art!

We had math time on our new Osmos from Christmas which was a great interactive time. We also had quiet time and free time in the afternoon which is essential.

So far so good! I may like homeschooling more than I thought.

 

 

Tuesday, March, 17, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois:  160        Number of Deaths in IL: 2        Cases in central Illinois: 4

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from home! Lots of green and shenanigans going on today even from the isolation of our house. There is honey/stout roast beef, carrots, and potatoes in the crockpot and there will be Irish Soda Bread today! Also watching Darby O Gill and the Little People on Disney+ tonight!

stpats

Today they announced the first death in Illinois….  A woman in her 70s in Chicago with underlying health conditions. It’s getting more real than ever. It was inevitable this would happen sooner than later, but now it has. Our state mourns her life because it is an all too real encounter of what could happen to several people we know. As we mourn her death, we mourn for what normal life used to look like. We know this is a “new normal” for an undetermined amount of time.

Homeschool presses on and is going really well. The teachers began to send e-learning activities home and we are incorporating them into our routine and curriculum as well. It’s nice to hear from them. Makes life seem a little more normal.

URGENT Prayer request: It’s getting to close now to people I know.

Dear Prayer Warriors,

My aunt’s step-daughter is in urgent need of your prayers. She was sent to Mayo’s ICU in Minnesota from another hospital because she has pneumonia and is now on a ventilator. They think it is from Coronavirus but are waiting for test results. She is there alone because her immediate family is quarantined and she cannot have any visitors. Please pray for her recovery and for a shield of protection for her family, the medical staff and anyone she may have had contact with. I’m asking the Holy Spirit to surround this young lady and her family and to show us supernatural healing.

Thank you in advance for your prayers. She is in her mid-30’s and has young kiddos and a husband being isolated at their home (they cannot go with her!)

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 288

Nothing new to report. The days are starting to mirror themselves. It’s like living in Groundhog Day but it gets worse…

But there are fun pictures from our time of staying at home…. Today Jack continued making his paper chain. I wonder how long this thing will get by the time we are out of here? Lucy did math flashcards on YouTube today. We also took a field trip to Disney world and went on space mountain in our magical laundry baskets! LOL

youtubepaper chainspacemountain

cookies

We also made Jumbo Peanut Butter cookies today!

polka dot recipe

UPDATE: Wednesday, March 18
Her dad heard this morning that Beth’s night nurse felt like she was doing better. Your prayers are working! Please continue to bless Beth and her family with more.

 

Thursday March 19, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois:  422

The numbers begin to climb and our death toll begins to climb. There is one case in McClean county – just one county over. Praying for all involved in these hospitals.

We start homeschooling every morning in my office where we enjoy learning something new from Scholastic’s learn at home videos and books. Mitzi even joined us today!

mitzi

We had a beautiful sunny day so of course we took a short family walk! We can still do that while in quarantine! I am thanking God today for the beautiful weather. I think with His provision of beautiful sunshine we can make it through anything. I am looking forward to Spring (today is the first day!) Can’t wait to see all of the beautiful flowers start to bloom around the yard. I will appreciate it with more gratitude than every before I have a feeling. Life looks a little different now. Things we took for granted are more precious than they ever have been.walk

 

 

Friday March 20, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 585                   Number of Deaths in IL: 6

Update on my Uncle’s Stepdaughter, Beth:

Update on Beth. Her test for corona virus (COVID-19) was positive!
So now we know what we are dealing with. Today her vitals were good and temp is dropping. 👍🏻 Expect her to be on ventilator 3or 4 more days. Thank you for your prayers and love. ❤️😘

Today the governor issued a “Shelter in Place” order. Nothing really changed for us since Chad’s job is considered “essential.” Lots of tension on that issue because their plant isn’t even running. But I will have to get over this too. No use in fighting over things I can’t change. But it doesn’t’ make it any easier. I just want to know that the 4 of us are safe and are in quarantine together. I am nervous that unknowingly he will bring this invisible enemy home. So is he. But together we will get through this.

poem

 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 753   Number of Deaths in IL: 6

PRAISE REPORT…. Update on Beth: They took Beth off the respirator today! Hallelujah! Your prayers are working. She still has a way to go but we will celebrate this milestone right now!

Update: March 21, 3:34pm
Just got word that Beth is off oxygen!

I only got 20 out of 45 items from my Kroger pickup today because they are out of stock for so many items. Many people are hoarding and stockpiling which leaves the rest of us empty. Oh well. IGA had everything that I didn’t get so we are being provided for. We are lucky with so much food available still. Many countries don’t’ have this type of provision on a normal basis. So for this I am thankful. Today we are happy for board games! It was game night in our house… We played Yahtzee, Pass the Pigs, and lots of checkers. They love checkers all of a sudden.

checkers

Observation: So many uplifting posts including people sharing their gifts of playing the piano or singing have been posted lately. Wouldn’t this be great if THIS part were the new normal? People are really coming together overall to encourage each other – even from a distance.

lyrics

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: passed 1000 cases today (4 times than 1 week ago)    total:1049

Number of Deaths in IL: 9

The woman in McClean county that tested positive just a few days ago dies today. It’s hard to have hope when you see things like this, but this is normal now and will continue to happen.

Today we had church again online. Pastor Sarah gave a great sermon and the worship was very much needed. Then later in the evening we had a special treat! Brian W and Julie C from church had a hymn singalong and were taking requests live on Facebook. What a blessing it was to get to sing songs that are so dear to my heart. We also had a meet up on ZOOM with our small group this afternoon! What a blessing to see some of our best friends and get to share in this together. Brandon gave us some of the grim realities coming up that he is observing from a healthcare professional standpoint. But overall we are staying upbeat and will continue to meet on a weekly basis.online churchclipperssmall group zoom

I have finalized all lesson plans this week and am ready to roll. Homeschooling has given me something to take my mind off the rest of the world. Such a blessing!

In other good news… My Sam’s Club pickup order went through. Still can’t get everything on my list, but got 8 important things including the kids vitamins and flavored water! Yum!

I also ordered an Apple TV device today to assist with homeschooling and being able to pull things up on the TV quickly from my phone as we become more connected digitally.

Finding the Good…

Well here we are on Day 3 of our quarantine at home and we are finding our “new normal” for the time being. The kids and I have been working through homeschooling. (Thank goodness for my degree and 7 years of teaching before I became a mom! It truly has helped.) Chad goes to work each day but is staying in his own office and conducting most of his work from there via phone calls and conferences. We are trying to figure life out in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic.

So many people have begun to document their daily happenings in journals for posterity sake because we are truly living a piece of history right now. This is a historical event that will be remembered for years to come. The idea of journaling and writing is a great idea. I too, am documenting some of the kids journal entries, our activities, etc for historical purposes in our family. But when I thought about what I really wanted to write I came up with something a little different to document our quarantine experience.

A few weeks ago at a moms conference I was volunteering at, I was talking with one of the co-founders, who is one of my favorite speakers/authors, someone I have the privilege of calling a friend. As I was having her sign her newest book release that I was on the book launch for, she was amazed that I hadn’t written or highlighted in the book. I told her that instead of doing that, I had to write things down in another notebook to truly retain them because that’s how I learn best. She totally understood that statement and proceeded to sign my book. So as I was contemplating what to write down to document our quarantine experiences, I decided that I didn’t want to write down all of the scary thoughts, the numbers, and the fearful facts. Instead I wanted to document all of the good things coming out of this scary time.

Just like my journaling thoughts,  I wanted to remember to continue to praise God for all the good that He is, the good that IS happening, and not just ask things of Him in my prayer time. So before I petition anything of concern to Him, I am thanking Him for all that He is and all that He is doing right now in the midst of this time. I praising Him through this storm! But then I do ask for certain things on behalf of those around the globe as we fight this invisible enemy together.

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So what is going on this list of good things happening you may ask? Here is a sample from just the past 3 days:

  1. Monday, March 16 – Today a neighbor from down the road that we have never met rang our doorbell today. Her family wanted to do something nice for the neighbors so they were going to make cookies. But because of the risk of contamination right now, they decided to make homemade disinfecting wipes instead. So after we had a few minutes to chat (6 feet apart at the door of course,) we are now Facebook friends and hope to build a friendship! What an interesting way to meet your neighbors!
  2. Tuesday, March 17 – I am so blessed to be able to stay home with my children and continue their education. So many families don’t have an option to stay home and many don’t know where to begin with the education. Thank you God for allowing me this opportunity to have this time with my kids.
  3. Wednesday, March 18 – Today I am seeing what Mr. Rogers called the “helpers.” Stories are pouring in from around the country of people helping other people, even perfect strangers. What a beautiful picture! When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
  4. Wednesday, March 18 – Last night I sent a prayer request out to several of my villages that looked like this: “Dear Prayer Warriors,My aunt’s step-daughter is in urgent need of your prayers. She was sent to Mayo’s ICU in Minnesota from another hospital because she has pneumonia and is now on a ventilator. They think it is from Coronavirus but are waiting for test results. She is there alone because her immediate family is quarantined and she cannot have any visitors. Please pray for her recovery and for a shield of protection for her family, the medical staff and anyone she may have had contact with. I’m asking the Holy Spirit to surround this young lady and her family and to show us supernatural healing.

    Thank you in advance for your prayers. She is in her mid-30’s and has young kiddos and a husband being isolated at their home (they cannot go with her!)”

     

    Today I got to write this update: UPDATE: Wednesday, March 18
    “Her dad heard this morning that Beth’s night nurse felt like she was doing better. Your prayers are working! Please continue to bless Beth and her family with more.”

I am highly anticipating what the next few weeks/months will look like as I continue to look for the good. While I will continue to watch the news and stay informed, I will continue to make sure to find the good in each day no matter what else comes.

March 15, 2020 National Day of Prayer

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As we come together as a nation for this National Day of Prayer, specifically to pray over those who have been diagnosed, are waiting testing, or are quarantined from COVID-19, let’s be specific as we come before the throne.

Take a moment to pause and pray:
🌎 For our world as we all come together to fight off this virus. Also pray for the world to turn to Jesus because He is our ultimate comforter, healer, and strength.
🇺🇸 For our government leaders: That they will make decisions based on wisdom and not fear. That they will also be able to protect our citizens as best they can.
⛪️ For our churches: as churches are closed to protect us from large gatherings of people, pray for the technology to be on their side as they are still continuing to try to preach the gospel and reach as many people with the word. Also pray that people continue to give their tithes and offerings so the church can continue to run.


🏥 For our healthcare facilities and hospitals: that they will be able to care for those that come through their doors and continue to find the stamina to keep going when they are tired. Pray that the supplies are plentiful and that we are able to meet the needs of all that come in need of care. This includes all medical personnel from the doctors, nurses, techs, and custodial staff.


🚑 🚔 🚒 For our paramedics, police force, and firemen: pray that they will continue to stay safe as they continue to do their jobs. They cannot work from home and will be on the front lines in many of these situations.


🍎 ✏️ For the schools: even though many of the schools are shut down continue to pray for those that are still providing educational opportunities for our students via e-learning. Pray for our administrators as they continue to make decisions through the closures. And pray for the students that do not have access to food and make sure they are provided for.


👧👦 For the kids across the nation: pray that kids everywhere have an understanding of what is going on and while it is serious they do not need to be afraid. Pray for those kids that are left in abusive situations and whose safe zone was the school. Please protect them while they don’t have a place to go that may be safe.
I’m sure there’s so many other things we could pray for but those are the ones that came to my heart this morning! Above all I am praying that even in the wake of these scary times, I am praying that all people get to know Jesus Christ who has been my rock and comforter during these uncertain times. I pray that they find him in the midst of these unsettled times and make a life-changing decision to follow him the rest of their days.

 

Daughter of the King

At our Women of Worth event at my church I had the privilege to share a devotional that I had not intended to write, but was prompted by the Lord to do so. I hope and pray it speaks to your heart so you know your worth in Him!

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“For as long as I can remember I have loved the thought of being a princess…. What little girl doesn’t at some point dream of that? But many times throughout my life I have felt more like the a lady in waiting, not worthy of being called royalty. I have always been a fan of the Princess Diaries movies from Disney. I mean what one of us wouldn’t love to find out that have been a princess all along? That we have a castle? A kingdom to serve? How incredible would that be? But here is the good news….. we ARE all princesses! We will inherit the Kingdom of God as His heirs! He has called us, as His daughters, to serve His people right here on Earth, so that they too will know their inheritance as heirs of the Kingdom as well.

Hear these words ladies and KNOW they are true.

1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.

John says that God gave those who believe in Him the right to be called children of God, therefore I am His daughter. As the King of Kings, that makes me a princess and heir to the Kingdom of God.

There are so many days where I feel like the kingdom servant instead of a princess, while doing the daily grind of chores, parenting my children , and keeping my house in order. But a speaker once told me about how she had to remind herself of her royal status by taking these moments and making them a moment to feel like a princess. She used to vacuum with a tiara on her head…. So of course, I had to try this! And many times if you drop by my house when I am vacuuming, you would see my tiara on the top of my head! Because now I wasn’t a servant in my house… I was the Princess that was serving her people as God called her to do.

There are days I feel like I am not living as royalty and am failing as a princess. I look in the mirror and I see all of the flaws and failures. I see someone who needs to be more patient, more loving, less selfish, needs to take better care of herself, her family, etc. But that isn’t what our Father sees. He sees us as His children with unconditional love. He calls us BEAUTIFUL!  Our Father – THE KING – calls us His children and is enthralled by our beauty…. Check out Psalm 45!

And someday He will call us Home to the Kingdom and we will be with Him forever. He has prepared a room in the Kingdom for us….. mine will look like a room in Cinderella’s castle from Disney world. But until that time, we wait in anticipation for the Father to return just as an eager child waits at the window for “Daddy” to come home from work. When we return to our heavenly home with Him He will recognize us as His daughters because it says so in His love letters to us — the Bible!

This morning as we come together to have fellowship with our sisters at our tables, while we learn together about this inheritance we possess, and serve together for the Kingdom of our Father, I pray that you begin to feel like the princess you truly are. You are a daughter of GOD! Even on days when you feel wounded, like an outcast, lonely and afraid, remember you possess the inherent right to be regal, powerful, confident, joyful, a peacemaker, an overcomer who is loyal, faithful, and seeks above all to bring honor to our Father’s name and reputation.

So polish up your crowns and let’s act like the royalty we are.”

 

 

Quit “Shoulding” Me!

This past weekend I was privileged to have the opportunity to serve at the Hearts 2 conference by Ignite the Family in Peoria, IL. Typically I am so busy serving that I am unable to hear the speakers, but I was honored to get to hear our Saturday morning speaker, Grace Johnson who is a gifted speaker and potter.

While Grace spoke and began to make the most beautiful pitcher on her pottery wheel, she shared her story. One of the most profound things I hear her say was when she decided to tell the world and the church to Stop “shoulding” her. It spoke directly to my core. So what does that mean?

Many of us recognize that the world puts demands on us that are unnecessary which can lead to having perfectionist tendencies. Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram all show the best of everyone’s homes, cooking skills, families, etc. Everything is perfect and in it’s place – therefore it’s photo-worthy – ready to share with the world. It says “Look at how perfect we can be!” That’s something we have talked about and recognized for a while now. Jill Savage calls it the “Perfection Infection” which infects many of us, especially women.

Grace spoke to this and wanted to end some of these things that world “shoulds” us to do. These things are NOT God’s truth.

  • We should make sure are clothes are all put together and presentable at all times. Including hair and makeup.
  • We should be successful in all aspects of our careers.
  • We should have kids that behave at all times in public no matter what.
  • As Christians, we should have kids that turn out as Christians just like us.  They won’t be in jail, won’t get pregnant outside of wedlock, and won’t be jobless. If we did our jobs as parents, they would turn out good.

These things are not truths of God. Instead He reminds us in Romans 12:2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We don’t have to listen to the “shoulding” of the world and we need to focus on God’s truth for us.

But many times as Christians we are under the assumption that “the church” (as a whole – not individual buildings) tells us the truth because they are supposed to be acting under God’s Word. But unfortunately that isn’t always true.

  • We should smile and tell everyone “I’m fine” on Sunday mornings.
  • We should serve on all of the committees and ministries we are asked because we will be more blessed the more we serve.
  • We should give our money without hesitation and trust that the church is going to be good stewards.
  • We should have happy homes where there are no major problems happening.
  • We should _____________________________________________________. (fill in the blank)

Again, not all of these are God’s truth, but truths that are man-made. This isn’t what God says about us at all. He says we are lovely and perfect the way He made us. He continues to hold us and love on us because we are HIS. He wants us to come to Him with our hurts and imperfections. He wants us to be real, raw, and, honest with Him, so He can comfort us and guide us.

As I watched Grace share her story and reveal how she walks in freedom everyday because she told all these other voices to “Quit Shoulding Me!” Instead she listens to truth from the Father and walks in the freedom He has given her.

So many times my frustrations don’t come from the “shoulding’ from the world, but the ones that come from the church. The pressure and guilt I feel when I have to say “no” to serving in some capacity is immense and gets in the way of my joy while at church. So many times when I am serving in more than one capacity at church, I feel like I have lost my passion for serving because I am burning out. Romans 12:11 says “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Instead we must find what we are passionate about, what gifts we have and bring, and serve in that capacity with passion and zeal! 1 Peter 4:10 says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” We should ask ourselves if we are being good stewards of our gifts and using them in the way God wants us to. Or are we just saying “YES” out of obligation or because the church says we “SHOULD?” 

TODAY’S THOUGHT: What “shoulding” do you need to stop listening to in your life?

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What I am giving up for Lent…

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. This year I have had the same internal dialogue going on that I have every year about the annual question, “What am I giving up for Lent?” I have never been good about giving something up and sticking to it. I admit it…. I’m addicted to my Diet Dr. Pepper, coffee, and my TV shows. And if I give them up — I’m not getting closer to Jesus because of it. So something else has to go. So I thought about Social Media? So many of my friends have given that up. But because I work part time as a social media coordinator that isn’t an option for me either. After praying and praying about this question that has rolled around in my head for the past few weeks this is what I feel has been prompted by the Holy Spirit. He once again spoke to me in that still, small voice saying…..

My child….

  • Give up the negative thoughts you have when you look in the mirror. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
  • Give up trying to be a people pleaser.                                                                                      “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
  • Give up trying to compare yourselves with others around you.                           “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12
  • Give up trying to do everything on your own and lean on me.                              “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”  Proverbs 3:5
  • Give up your distrust that I am answering your prayers. I have answered them before you even asked.                                                                                                 “Before they call I will answer;
        while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24
  • Give up your anxieties and worries to me. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7
  • Give up the thought that you are not enough.  You are a daughter of a King.  “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1
  • Give up trying to do my job and just do what I have called you to do which is love me first, then love others and shine bright for me so that they too will know me.  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39

So this year for Lent, I’m not giving up something tangible. I am giving up some of the negative thoughts that pop in my head on a daily basis. I am fixing my eyes on Jesus and His Word. I am replacing all of the lies that are whispered to me from an enemy that is real, with the truth from God the Father who has reveled His truth through his love letters to me (The Bible). During this Lenten season, let’s use it as a time to give up what we think we are or have been, with who we can become in Jesus Christ.

 

My response to the Bachelor Fantasy Suites February 2020…

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I have been watching the Bachelor since 2006 when I was a single girl in my apartment dreaming of my own love story. I used to get captivated in the romantic settings, dates, and of course those long dramatic stares into the Bachelor’s eyes…

Now 14 years later I am still captivated by this “reality” TV show because I am a sucker for watching shows about people and how they live. I love watching  and studying their personalities, stories, and their characters.

This season has been less than thrilling, even though Chris Harrison has promised it will be the “most dramatic season yet.” Same old drama between the girls, same internal conflict with the Bachelor who is in love with more than one girl…. nothing new…. or is there?!

Last night we saw Madison, one of the finalists, who has been vocal about her faith through her actions and then last night through her words as well. Madison has not allowed herself to get caught up in the other girls drama and has carried herself through this process with dignity and class. She has also been very strong expressing her convictions to wait to have sex until her wedding night. Since this was the fantasy suite week where the finalists are allowed an overnight date (which allows for a more physical relationship to form – usually sex), Madison had pulled Peter aside and had expressed to him that she wasn’t sure she could continue in this process if he was going to become physically intimate with the other two girls. She didn’t want to give him an ultimatum but wanted him to know where her heart was. Ultimately, Peter chose to spend the night with these other two women in their fantasy suite during their overnight dates and then was upfront with Madison on the evening of their fantasy suite date. She handled herself with grace and poise, even though her heart was breaking because he hadn’t put value on her words a few nights before about her ultimatum. After watching a heartbreaking conversation where she stood very strong in her convictions and didn’t allow her standards to lessen, she eliminated herself from the show.

As I was processing through what just happened on national television, I kept thinking of this verse that has always been a big part of my life (especially through my teenage years). Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Madison just showed Christian girls everywhere that you should value yourself enough to not hold yourself to the world’s standards, but to hold yourself to the standards laid out in the Bible. She also told young women everywhere to value themselves enough to not settle for something less than what you want. She knows her value and wants her future spouse to value her in the same regard.

She didn’t portray it as being an easy choice, because let’s be honest, making the right choice isn’t always the easiest option. She was heart-broken and disappointed. But she knew that Jesus has a plan for her and is trusting in that instead of trusting in her feelings for Peter alone.

As I watched this unfold and processed through it, it gave me hope for my own daughter. I pray that Lucy will someday hold herself to a high standard because she is worth it. Her value shouldn’t just be in what the world (or even her future husband) thinks of her. It should be the value that Jesus places on her. He loved her enough to die on cross for her. He calls her beautiful and His princess. He says in Proverbs 3:5 “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” My prayer is that Lucy will always know that worth and continue to follow God’s standards, not the world’s.

CHALLENGE: This week let’s pray for our daughters and sons. Pray that they will come to know their worth to God and continue to hold themselves to a high standard. Pray that they will go against the grain in this world and shine their lights for Jesus.