In The Meantime…

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…we carry on.

The COVID-19 virus continues to be with us.

We are in week, I’ve lost count, of lock down.

And now the masks. Who would have ever thought the ensemble we put together to wear on Easter Sunday would be face masks? That is if we absolutely must leave the house. Otherwise stay put and attend church online wearing your PJ’s.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, more people are out walking. The dogs of the neighborhood have never been so physically fit.

All of us are thinking outside the box for sanity sake. I heard of one family that packed their children a lunch in individual baggies and hid them. If the kids wanted to eat, they had to search for their food. Sort of a bend on the Easter egg hunt.

I’ve become aware of many seamstresses now making masks, easing the demand and keeping the N95 masks in the medical field.

Neighbors continue to stay in touch with each other within the 6 foot guidelines of course.

Jigsaw puzzles are coming out. Non-techy people such as yours truly are learning how to get on Zoom to stay in touch with loved ones.

A new normal is beginning to take form. When this is said and done with, and it will, because scripture says this too, shall pass. It will be interesting to see how we do life after coronavirus.

Many have already learned what was once essential to living, no longer is. Are restaurants going to reposition tables a little further away from each other? Will we rush to theaters and sporting events to sit shoulder to shoulder with others? Only time will tell.

Hopefully we will carry on those good hygiene practices forced upon us now. America may have become too lax. Each of us has had our consciousness raised.

One thing is certain, we have a much better handle on who is really in control. At the risk of offending, not mankind.

Some have turned to Jesus in this crisis time. They want answers, explanations at why this was insidious virus allowed to enter our lives. We may get answers, but don’t count on it.

Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?                     Romans 11:36 The Message

Not me. The choices are to ditch him completely or trust him. Considering he made the world I’m thinking he knows what he is doing. I chose trust. Faith in him has made my life bearable.

In the meantime, I’m curious to know what you are doing to maintain sanity. Share please!

Coping With COVID19

20200329_143109 © jbkatke

The whole world seems to be hibernating.

That’s fine for us introverts but seems like torture to the extroverts. However, if you are able to wake up feeling good, count yourself among the blessed.

As they say, it could be worse. The duration is what has thrown so many into a tailspin. No one knows.

So in the meantime some of us have gotten mighty creative at keeping our sanity.

I’ve seen a few things, and heard of others.

I live in a close community where many neighbors enjoy interacting. So they bring their lawn chairs, meet in the driveway, chatting it up at a respectful distance.

Those on social media have been sharing on an hourly basis. Some teachers formed a parade of cars, driving through their students neighborhood, waving and shouting out greetings. What a caring way to let these kids know they are missed.

Another on Facebook spoke of trying out new recipes. Not I.

Someone else has dusted off the board games they used to play with the kids, and enjoying them all over again.

A grandma I know is missing her grandchildren big time. So they met together at the local ice cream shop, parking their cars next to each other and enjoying their treat together separately.

But I saved my favorite thing for last.

A young mom traced the hands of her children on paper and cut them out. She then measured a piece of string the length of the childs outstretched arms. She attached the string to the hands and gave them to the grandparents. That way grandma and grandpa can wrap themselves in a hug from the children whenever they need it!

This is priceless stuff. No doubt you have come up with some novel ideas too. I’d love for you to share them with us all.

Moses Encounter With God

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 I’ve taken this from Exodus 3 and felt it was too good to keep to myself. In light of the current world-wide Coronavirus crisis I’m hoping it means as much to you as it does for me. It might help to read it from the Bible first.

Verse 2 God appears suddenly-Sometimes where we least expect to see Him

Verses 3&4 He catches our attention-When our mind & body is always busy God will use whatever it takes to get us focused back on Him.

Verse 5 He is Holy-How we see God is crucial to our relationship together.

Verse 6 God has a history-We have heard of Him before and still speaks to those who listen.

Verse 7 God sees, hears & is aware –Sometimes we may wonder, but if scripture is truth then there is a reason for what is going on right now.

Verse 8 He rescues & leads-Acknowledge the good results of what we had no control over as his rescue.  He purposely uses the people in life for our benefit.

Verse 10 He sends-We may find ourselves in places or situations we would never have voluntarily gone.

Verse 11 Mankind reeks with insecurity-How do you see yourself?  Are you willing to help others in crisis times?

Verse 12 God is with you and knows the future-This gives us hope & a reason to continue on, if for no other reason than to see how God works things out.

Verse 14 God is who He has always been-It’s the same guy, the One who created life itself all the way to where we are today.

Verse 15 God is known through all the generations-You have heard of Him, it’s our responsibility to tell others about him.

Verse 16 He watches over you-As bad as things seem, they could always be worse.

Verse 17 God promises a better future-Take that as a fact from Someone who knows.

Verse 19 God is the Supreme Motivator-To comply with his will avoids him having to apply heavy pressure to reach us.

Verse 20 God strikes at the heart with His miracles-He can and will amaze you in ways you never imagined.

Verse 21 He will see to it that His will is done-With or without help from you and I.

Verse 22 God provides-He gives us what we need when we need it; in ways we would never thought of.

These recent days have brought the uncertainty of life home. Literally. Instead of panicing, lets join together and see how our future will unfold. Keep in mind, God is still on his throne.

 

 

 

Say What…?

20200315_155307 © jb katke

“I think the best thing is for you is to not go to church.”

My words. Never would my children, or even I, imagine me saying that.

My youngest was checking in on me. I have just gotten over the flu. A ‘normal’ flu that left me feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Several times. Naomi was still battling a cough that doesn’t want to quit.

I told her our church was taking a time out for two weeks, conducting services online only. She wished her church was doing that, hence my above statement.

What has come over me? For that matter, what has come over our country? Answer: Corona Virus. AKA COVID-19.

The pandemic has overtaken not just the world, but our senses. A couple days ago my husband and I did our grocery shopping. Some of the shelves were bare, reminding me of third world countries I have visited. The top selling product first to run out? Toilet paper.

As much as I hate to admit it, we were among the maddening crowd. It becomes a survival of the fittest mindset. Inconvenience is not widely accepted in this country.

Hunkering down is another new concept. Also not warmly received.

But as I have scanned through the Bible, I have seen this isn’t a new thing. Famines and plagues have been going on and off for centuries. Read this for a mind-boggler:

What has been, will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

So it’s just us and an unfamiliar experience. Very much like waking up to the realization that I’m a senior citizen.

Opportunist that I am, it has been a life mission of mine to offer spiritual encouragement to anyone who will listen. Many life questions are addressed in a church setting. Good news can be heard there that generally is not broadcast outside the doors of Jesus’ house.

There is a fine line between encouraging and harping. No doubt I have crossed that invisible line on more than one occasion. It’s not that I know so much, I just know where to turn for answers. It takes time, patience, and an open heart that wants to know.

This week I attended church in my family room. It was a timely message. I’ll be there next week too, join me won’t you?

journeybible.org

The Haircut

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“My God girl, who got ahold of your hair?”

Spoken by the hairdresser who was about to give me my first professional haircut. I was appreciative of her expertise concerning what to do with the mop on my head. But I could have done without the belch in my face.

I was a twelve year old, soon to enter my teen years and junior high school.

Finances dictated how our family lived and Mom knew every shortcut in the book of economizing. During my childhood, she cut my hair.

While I don’t recall any of that, I do remember hiding whenever she came at me with her comb. My hair was thick and full, combs hurt. Why didn’t we have a hairbrush in the house?

Thankfully, Aunt Jane was sensitive enough to realize the potential ridicule I would receive if someone didn’t intervene. She took me to her hairdresser. That became a regular practice until I was able to continue it on my own.

I marveled at having so much attention to the grooming process. Long strands of hair fell as I got snips here and clips there. The beautician put her face up to mine to get a precise measure of evenness at my ears. That’s when she chose to let loose with a healthy burp, compliments of her drink.

The Detroit area is known for more than just the automotive industry. We also take pride in Verners Ginger Ale and Sanders Hot Fudge topping too.

It was the Verners that did it. For being non-alcoholic, it still packs a punch.

Since the hairdresser brought up God, I’ll continue that thought. I’m grateful for mom teaching ways to save a few bucks. I’m especially grateful God put it in Aunt Janes heart (and purse) to rescue me from what could have been a devastating school experience. Kids can be cruel.

On one of our later visits I recall the weather getting stormy. The sky was an ominous shade of green. There I sat under one of those cone shaped hair dryers.

Thankfully we arrived home before the sky let loose. I shudder to think of what might have been. As always, God was on duty looking after my well-being.

 

Kitty Katke

Kitty © jb katke

Perfect. We can afford this.

Ours is a family of cat lovers. Visiting my mother-in-law gave us the golden opportunity of picking a kitten from a litter her cat had a while back. We enlisted our son Jamie to be the selection committee.

I wasn’t hot for the couple yellow/orange ones and hoped he would choose one of the others. Of course he did not.

“Are you sure you want that one Jamie?”

“Yep.”

Piquing my husbands’ curiosity, he asked, “How can you tell the difference between the two orange kittens?”

“I don’t know, I just like this one better.”

For sure we didn’t want a female. Mom’s husband insisted Jamie’s choice was a male. She wasn’t. Maybe that’s when things went sour.

On the four hour drive home, the kitten positioned herself on the back of the driver’s seat. She yowled her displeasure inches from my husband, Dave’s ear. Jamie and I took turns trying to comfort her but she would have none of that. Never had I ever heard such a small cat produce such loud cries.

It took us several weeks to come up with a name for her. But it was all for naught. We had called her kitty for so long, she wouldn’t respond to anything else.

We had intended Kitty to be an indoor/outdoor cat, but she had other ideas. She freaked each time the wind ruffled the grass. That might have been for the best. We discovered she had an extra claw that didn’t retract. If she got hung on something it could put her in danger.

Later on, we took her to the vet to be spayed. She was so upset she wouldn’t let the attendant bring her out to me, I had to go get her. If cats can suffer depression, Kitty did.

But Christmas day made everything better. Nothing brought her more joy than running through the giftwrap littering the floor and making it crinkle.

I couldn’t decide if Kitty had anger issues or if she took delight in tormenting people. When family visited, she would either race up the back of the couch scaring people or growl at them to feed her. My dad declared we needed a sign at the door warning others of the attack cat. She appeared to have the temperament of a Siamese.

Our daughter Cindy loved all creatures great and small. Sometimes she would hug Kitty too long or hard. The claws came out and thankfully Cindy’s eyes never were the recipient. We probably shouldn’t have kept her, but she had crept into all our hearts.

Kitty had a special friendship with Dave. As pets do, she would beg at the dinner table. If Dave took too long sharing, Kitty would gently pat his leg. If she didn’t get a treat, she would remind him of her presence with claws extended. When he was finished, Dave would wipe his hands together indicating that’s all. Only then would Kitty walk away.

For the most part Kitty enjoyed her position in our family, until she was dethroned by a puppy. Her nose was permanently out of joint. It was a grudge she held to her dying day.

Looking back on her life, I recognize Kitty had some human-like traits. She had days when she was up and others down. Like a child, she didn’t appreciate smother love. With the arrival of our puppy, Kitty felt a type of sibling rivalry. Unfortunately, she allowed someone else to ruin her life. When that happens beware, you may turn into…wait for it…a sourpuss.

 

Just One Word

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© jb katke

 

https://youtu.be/7lfaSmDxVZQ

How are you doing on your New Years resolution?

Long ago I abandoned making one because I was constantly disappointing myself. Why set myself up for failure?

A friend challenged me to take one word and look around scripture and see what it had to say about it.

“One word to work on is a lot easier than overhauling all your habits at once,” claimed Marnie. But focusing on a word took some time. Looking at where my life was at helped.

We were empty nesters contemplating moving to a smaller home. My problem was I come from a family of savers. Not hoarders by any means, but stuff that piles up through the years can become burdensome. I was next in line of acquisition.

This challenge of just one word had potential of lifestyle change. Mentally I thought of “Submit,” but that has a marital connotation. Then I considered “Surrender,” but that sounded like giving up. ”I settled on “Relinquish” because that was a positive willful action.

Memories can be wonderful but we were in a constant state of shuffling things out of our way. The kids didn’t have the space and/or desire to take them either. That worried me and I confess it was hard.

My family saved so many things for future use that I was getting rid of. Would I be sorry later? As if that were my only concern. Tears were shed.

What if I were to lose my sight, how could I quilt? One lady does to my knowledge. Or how could I write as God has impressed me to do? This business of handing willful relinquishment over to someone that has power to take things away is frightening!

But here is what I found.  Poking around the Bible was surprising:

John 16:33 said this world will have trouble, but not to worry. God has already conquered it.

I Peter 5:7 told me to dump my cares on God because he cares.

Genesis 2:15 tells me we are to maintain things and keep order in our tasks.

Matthew 6:25 indicates I shouldn’t fuss over things, God provides what we need when we need it.

II Corinthians 12:9 speaks of Gods grace being enough and shows best through our weaknesses.

Amazing century old words that I can put to use in my life today. Who would have thunk it? Another thing for me to keep in mind, when I move on to eternity, I ain’t takin’ this stuff with me. I’m telling you, burdens lifted gives a mighty light and free feeling.