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Monday, March 30, 2020

What I'm Reading - February into March

I'm always reading something, but have never done a post about it.  With all my free time these days I thought I'd take time to tell you what I've been up to.   I'm not telling you to read them, I'm not suggesting you buy them and I've not been asked to review any of these.  It's just what I'm reading and thought some of you might be interested.
Ironically, a book I had in my pile prior to this whole COVID-19 thing started was When All Hell Breaks Loose by Cody Lundin.   Lundin is a unique guy to say the least.  However, he has a lot of good, common sense information about surviving/adjusting to great changes.   He's not a "build this explosive out of gum, a straw and blah blah blah" type of guy.  But he gives you information on relative things like how much food/water you should keep in stock for your family on any given day, various ways to light a fire, how to be creative in your cooking, foraging, bathing without a shower and ya'll WHAT TO DO WHEN THERE'S NO TOILET PAPER!   The biggest selling point for me for this book is that he tries to get the reader to focus on their mindset and to get mentally in survival mode.

Let Food Be Your Medicine: Dietary Changes Proven to Prevent or Reverse Disease  -     By: Don Colbert MD

Let Food Be Your Medicine by Dr. Don Colbert has been on my reading pile before, so I decided to revisit it.   I love how he thoroughly explains the ins and outs of how foods affect the body and various health conditions.

Dr. Colbert's Keto Zone Diet: Burn Fat, Balance Appetite Hormones, and Lose Weight  -     By: Don Colbert M.D.
Keto Zone Diet by Dr. Don Colbert is also a re-read for me.  I like to reread things to help keep the information fresh in my brain, but I also know that I can pick up nuances on a second reading that I may have missed the first time around.

Miracle on Voodoo Mountain: A Young Woman's Remarkable Story of Pushing Back the Darkness for the Children of Haiti       -     By: Megan Boudreaux

Miracle on Voodoo Mountain by Megan Boudreaux was one of the books I got for Lindsey to read for her world geography class.  Since it was about Haiti, I sat down and read it all in one day, and Olivia followed suit.  Great insight into how things really are in Haiti, and how just showing up with handouts doesn't help.

The Potluck Club by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson was a brain candy book that my friend Yvette loaned me.   It's a Christian novel that focuses on a group of church ladies from a small town in Colorado.  The book is written from the view point of each lady, with different chapters being written by different characters.  I had to laugh at some of the catty-church lady things that are so true in any church.  However, when you look past that, you see some great friendships and see how to walk through the hard spots of life together.  Recipes are included!


The Potluck Club: Trouble's Brewing by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson, is the second book in the series.   It picks right up where the fist book left off as the authors continues to build the characters and walk you through their relationships and lives.   There's also a few good recipes here!

Those are just a few of the books I've been reading.  I know there's been more that what's listed but these are the only ones I remember at the moment.

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Courage Is a Decision

If you're easily offended, then this post is probably not for you.  Why?  Simply because I'm going to be encouraging, and based on my recent interactions on FaceBook (many with churchy folks), being encouraging is now offensive.  Oh, the irony...or stupidity.

First lets look at the word PERSPECTIVE which seems to set the average person off.  I've really no idea why that is a trigger word.   There are several definitions to perspective one relating to art, one relating to sound and then the definition to which I'm referring.

Perspective:  a particular attitude toward, or way of regarding something, point of view. Synonyms for perspective are outlook, standpoint, view, position, stand.

Not everyone is the same, and I get that.  But you will look at things from the perspective of your personality.   Some people are more prone to an emotional and/or fear based response to things; some are all rainbows and unicorns and think everything is just sunshine and roses ignoring potential issues;  others are more logical and fact driven. While not all inclusive, the majority of people fall into those three main categories.

Those who are more emotional/fear based will look at things from "worst case scenario" and try to share their fear with others. Those who are all rainbows and unicorns will ignore the facts and possibilities and go to the beach anyway, ahem.   Those who are more fact based will look at the overall situation and information available and speak from a more neutral point of view.

Those first two categories are NOT the people you want leading you, nor are they the people you should be blindly following.  Fear mongers will cause you to shrink back and retreat from your position, leaving you in the victim position. Those rainbow and unicorn people will cause you to act selfishly and stupidly and lead you and others into dire situations.  Those category three leaders who are logical and fact based will tell you straight up "there's a problem, here's what we know, and this is the outcome we're working towards."  

I fall into category #3.  Fear is not something I typically wrestle with, and anyone who has been around me for 60 seconds will tell you that I am not a rainbows and unicorns kind of gal.   However, like any good leader, when I look at the facts and present them, I'll also encourage you that while it may not be good at the moment, we can get through it.

"Fear is a reaction - courage is a decision."  ~Winston Churchill~

For example, in 2018 when Olivia and I traveled to Haiti, all hell broke loose while we were there. We were in the epicenter of the rioting, the murdering and the burning.  I prayed, I helped the leaders of our group formulate an action plan based on where we were, what we could access and set things in place that helped further secure our location and our likelihood of staying safe.  The leaders of our group came to me and told me how glad they were to have me there during that time, because I kept everyone calm and focused on the goal...to live and to get home.  There was no scurrying around wide eyed, there was no "We're all going to die!"   When another missions group took refuge with us, we quickly had to squelch the fear they brought with them.  We walked in peace, the God kind of peace that passes all understanding.

The opportunity to give into fear was great.  We CHOSE to not allow fear to get a foothold.  We CHOSE to trust that God's promises for our protection were true and that He would never leave us or forsake us.  That's not an easy choice when you're in a third world country, with your 16 year old daughter, and you're looking eyeball to eyeball with a man in a mask, holding a rifle and setting fire to things around you. But it's when things are hard that you have to make hard choices and believe Him and take Him at His word.   The few times I was able to communicate back home to my husband, my words were always "All is well."  

So, here we are in the COVID-19 pandemic.   The media is shoving the "we're all going to die" pill down the throats of America and the world.  I do not deny that there's a virus.  I do not deny that people are dying, and I certainly do not think any of those deaths are trivial. Every life has value, and every loss matters.

However, I'm a logical, look at the facts person.  In Virginia, on March 27 there were a total of 604 confirmed cases of the virus.   With the current Virginia population being 8,626,207 that averages out to only 0.00007 percent of Virginians having the virus at that time.   When looking at those statistics, Virginians should have been encouraged to know that despite schools being closed for the rest of the year, all activities closed indefinitely and all churches (for the most part) having closed and gone to live streaming...a very small portion of the population is sick.

Posting that there are currently 7 BILLION people in the world who are not infected set off a firestorm of epic proportions.  Why??  Because fear produces fear...and anything that goes contrary to fear is met with anger (which is just fear in disguise).   Fear is a bully.

I challenge you to take a stand against fear.  Guard yourself against allowing the fear filled world to engulf you. Disconnect from things that feed your fear. Hookup to things that feed your faith.  Shield your children from the fear of the world.  Be their safe harbor in the midst of the storm.  If you're an online presence, then post ONE THING TODAY that promotes peace. (Be prepared for people to not like it, but don't let that stop you.)  Then do it again tomorrow.

Never stop fighting the good fight, and remember, a good fight is the one YOU WIN!


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Friday, March 27, 2020

Weekly Wrap Up - Faith Not Fear

Here we are coming to the close of another week of uncertainty.  I encourage you to look for opportunities to speak words of life and encouragement and faith during this time.  There is already way too much fear being spewed out.  That does NOT mean I'm saying be reckless, or that I'm down playing the situation.   You should still wash your hands, practice social distancing to the extent you can, and PRAY for your family, community, country and the world.  This is not the time to cower in the corner and do nothing.  Prayer and praise are your weapons, use them.  If you're not sure what to pray, then I recommend Psalm 91 as a great starting place.

My husband is still working, 7 days a week as a matter of fact, at his manufacturing facility.  It's considered "essential", which honestly I find odd as he builds industrial sized air conditioning units.  Although, they've been told this week that they are supplying units to "make shift hospitals" at the moment. The validity of that statement is subjective.

I find it ironic, that now that we're under lock down and everything is cancelled, my weekly wrap up's have gotten so much longer.  This is for our benefit, so we can look back on these days/weeks and see how we handled life and responded to the changes.

The weekend was pretty low key, for obvious reasons.   Since there was no jiu-jitsu classes for the last two weeks, the girls spent Saturday morning working on techniques and skills.  You can read about it and see more photos in my post This Is How We Roll.  We worked on housework and laundry during the day.  Lindsey started a new knitting project, and Olivia was holed up in room reading about World War 2 and noting similarities from then and now.   In the evening the husband picked up Chinese carry-out for dinner and then we had family movie night.

Sunday our church was open for those who wanted to attend, and it was live streamed for those who didn't want to venture out.  Since I've spent the last 4 years not missing a single Sunday and having to cover two services per Sunday, I took this as an opportunity to take a break.  There ended up being over 50 people in attendance (yes, well above the 10 person restriction).  We slept in (except the husband who had to work), then we watched several messages from Steve Furtick at Elevation Church throughout the day and had church at home.  LOVED IT!  I fixed a lovely pork roast, baked macaroni and cheese, and asparagus for dinner.

Monday morning Lindsey had to get up early for her babysitting gig. This was supposed to be spring break week here, ahem.  The child's (Bella) mom is a nurse at the local hospital, but in the heart and vascular center.  They stopped seeing new patients in person several weeks ago, so she shouldn't be a contamination risk.  Hearing her talk about the lack of protocol in place, lack of PPE and that they've only received two test kits in two weeks really shows me how weak our medical preparedness is for alarge scale emergency.    School went well, nothing overly exciting.   We had baked fish, rice and salad for dinner.

Our governor announced that all k-12 schools in the state would not be returning to classrooms this academic year.  There will be no graduations ceremonies.  They also changed the "recommendation of 10 or less people in a group setting" to  meetings of 10 or more being PROHIBITED.  It's now a class 1 misdemeanor to be in groups of 10 or more in Virginia.  That means punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or $2500 in fines.   Interestingly enough, the list of "essential businesses" that can remain open include the state run liquor stores.

Tuesday was pretty typical.  Bella arrived around 7:30am and she and Lindsey started their day.  Since schools are closed here, and Bella is in kindergarten, Lindsey's working on her reading, spelling and math skills with her.  She'll be more than ready for 1st grade in the fall.  I had a phone conference with our pastor, our Wednesday night class has been discontinued (due to the governor's edict) and won't start back up until the fall.

Olivia just keeps pushing on with her academics.  She also keeps getting calls about job applications, but when they hear she's under 18 they say she's too young.  Doesn't anyone read the birthdate info on the application before they call?  This weeks call was from the grocery store, and I know they hire teens.  However, they were wanting someone for the deli and I guess the meat slicer has age restrictions?  She's been doing a lot of walking during her down time.   She comes home and reports how the pets in the surrounding area are doing

For dinner, we had chicken tenders, broccoli and corn pudding.  I typically only make the corn pudding for the holidays, so it was gobbled up pretty quickly.   After dinner we watched the 1998 version of the movie Little Men.  

Wednesday morning was rainy and gray .  Lindsey and I were already finished with our coffee when Bella arrived.  Olivia slept in (she is not a morning person). School work went by pretty quickly with nothing overly noteworthy.   Dinner was homemade Salisbury steaks, mashed potatoes/gravy and stuffing.

Thursday Bella was a bit late getting here due to a main road being closed between here and there, so they had to reroute.   Everyone knocked out their school work at some point during the day.  It was my regular grocery shopping day.  It's weird now (obviously) when you go.  In our area, all the different stores have changed their operating hours, and then each store has it's own "senior/compromised shopper" times.  Trying to figure out where you can go and when is a challenge all it's own.   The first two I tried were a no go, the third was a go, but didn't have much that was on my list.  Once I backtracked to the first two store, I finally completed my shopping and got the groceries put away I took Olivia to the farm to see the newborn calf.  She'll be heading back to the farm on Saturday to work/ride.  

My younger brother had his first follow up visit with the cardiologist.  Everything is healing up nicely and they were very pleased with his progress.  Now he will start adding a little longer walking into his routine.  The husband came home from work and mowed our yard and Ms. Kay's yard.   It's hard to believe it's already spring and time to get out and about.  Dinner consisted of spaghetti and meatballs.

Friday is scheduled to be cleaning day, however the weather is supposed to be incredibly beautiful, so I'll probably forego cleaning to work in the garden and get some lettuce/greens planted.  I bought sidewalk chalk on Thursday, so Bella will enjoy getting outside and being artsy too.  Our dinner tonight will consist of homemade pizza and fresh baked cookies for dessert.

Blast From the Past

Hands on learning is not just for when the kids are little. Check our my post Welcome to Virginia and you'll see how much a teen enjoys learning by doing as well.


Have a good weekend!

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Monday, March 23, 2020

This Is How We Roll

During this time of social distancing, I'm trying to make sure the kids don't lose any ground in their jiu-jitsu class.  Not to mention, I want their skills sharp, because these are uncertain times.  Thankfully they can still roll, which means using their skills in a competitive way and working on their form and technique.  To the untrained eye, it appears to be an all out brawl, but that's not the case.    I thought I'd show you a little of their training session from this week.

Please disregard the clutter in the background of these photos.  This is our basement and is in a constant state of disarray, especially since Lindsey uses that area as her child care headquarters.   Several of her regular kids set up their own "houses" and "offices" and she leaves it for them for their next visit.

The girls do have fun, as you can tell by the smiles.  However, a disclaimer that due to the fact they are on a concrete floor with only yoga mats under them, they were not allowed to fully execute any throws.  They were also cautioned to not be too aggressive (ok, ONE in specific) as we're not in a position to seek medical care for a careless injury during the current pandemic.
In the photo below, Lindsey is in the process of executing a triangle choke on her sister.  This is a submission/choke hold and when executed quickly and correctly you can render your opponent unconscious within seconds.
In the photo below, Olivia has locked in a rear naked choke and Lindsey has seconds to escape or tap before losing consciousness.

One of the most fun things to do is a hip toss, unless you're the one being tossed.  Olivia has incredible upper body strength, and is quite good at driving the opponent through the ground, so again I had to reiterate "DON'T BREAK YOUR SISTER!"
Lindsey is also good at hip tosses, and can confidently handle grown men who weigh between 225-250 pounds.  Not bad for young lady of 110 pounds.  She doesn't have the force and power of her sister, but the average man would not expect her to be able to manhandle them.
One thing that serves Olivia well is her flexibility.  She's often able to withstand and escape submission holds simply because her body can contort and her joints are so limber.
 So, there's just a little peek into some of the ways we've been passing our time.

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Keeping the Faith: A Study in Jude (Book Review)

Today's book review is Keeping the Faith: A Study in Jude by author Lianna Davis.   This is a softback textured book, done in black/white print with some lovely light blue/teal thrown in to add pops of color and contrast.  It's visually appealing, and feels really nice in your hands.  I love the feel of a good book!

As you probably already know, Jude is a very small book of the Bible.  It only has 25 verses in total and to be honest, I was really wondering how the author was going to get a full 6 week study out of this tiny amount of scriptures.


The book is laid out in six weekly segments.   The topics covered are as follows:

Week One: Keeping the Truth
Week Two: Keeping the Grace
Week Three: Keeping the Soul
Week Four: Keeping the Spirit
Week Five:  Keeping the Body
Week Six: He is Able to Keep Us

At the beginning of each week, there is the  two-page topic section that will direct your weekly study, followed by 5 daily lessons.  Each of the daily lessons has a section of scripture from the book of Jude, and a cross reference scripture to go along with Jude.  There is a short two-three sentence prayer followed by the teaching/study concept for the day and then several Study and Reflection questions with ample room for you to write your thoughts and findings.

In the introduction, the author states "By the end of our six weeks together, you will have a greater biblical knowledge of warnings, false teachers, Enoch, Korah, and others. You will be conversant about theological topics like Gnosticism and antinomianism."    Admittedly, those two sentences were enough to turn me off from the beginning.

In the first chapter, reference is made to "The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy", including the "Articles of Affirmation and Denial" found in the Appendix. I had never heard of these before, so I needed to know what it was and where it came from to understand why it's included in this book. In my researching I found this article on Wikipedia.  (Long story short, in 1978, 200 evangelical leaders met at a convention in Chicago and drafted the documents as a trans-denominational faith statement.) Trying to read the Articles of Affirmation and Denial is just painful, and honestly more confusing than it is helpful The author uses a great deal of quotes and footnoted references from other authors and their works, including the Book of Enoch, which got left out of the Bible for a reason.

Honestly, some of the references make absolutely no sense. For example reference #26 in Week 4, page 106 says "This quote is not in the Bible, but it is similar to what is written in a book called 1Enoch, or the Book of Enoch. Concerning the source of the quotation in Jude, Commentator R.C.H. Lenski writes: 'Jude quotes Enoch and not some book. How well or ill or in what manner the Book of Enoch reproduces Enoch's prophecy is a minor matter and does not affect Jude. Jude quotes directly; whether the Book of Enoch quotes directly or indirectly - what difference does it make? Jude and the Book of Enoch say about the same thing; but that lends nothing to Jude, nor does it detract from him.'" Maybe it's just me, but that says a whole lot of nothing in a lot of words, and really doesn't help me understand why the reference was used in the first place.

Personally, I think that had the author used more of her own words and Biblical knowledge, and less of everyone else's it would be more palatable and cohesive. I felt like a lot of the footnotes and references either made no sense, or negated the very points the author was trying to make. Maybe I'm one of the few people who'll follow the footnotes and it won't matter to the majority, but for me it does matter.

Honestly, another thing that made the book unappealing to me was the over use of big words and incredibly long run on sentences. It's not uncommon for a 7-8 line paragraph to only be made up of two sentences. It's as though the author feels she needs to prove how educated she is, instead of just teaching on the topic. I was not a huge fan of the writing style in general. However, since we're not all cut from the same cloth, I'm sure there are many people who will dearly love this study. It's all about finding what works for us!

About the Author:

LIANNA DAVIS is a student of the Word with a B.A. in Ministry to Women from Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Tyler, reside outside of Dallas, Texas. More of her writing can be found at www.liannabdavis.com.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book for review purposes only.  I did not receive any other form of compensation, now was I required to give a positive review.  The thoughts expressed in this review are strictly my own.
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