Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Survive or Thrive?


Jeremiah 17:7-8
But blessed is the one who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

The spread of the Covid-19 virus is causing millions of us to change the way we go about our everyday lives.  If the daily news regarding the pandemic isn't stressful enough, being in close quarters, quarantined with immediate family, can create an atmosphere of breaking-point tension.  Does that apply to you?  How are you surviving the situation in your home?

Here are some things I'm doing to alleviate apprehension and emotional strain.

Walking the neighborhood - Once I conquer the Driveway of Doom and our Cul-Death-Sac, the bulk of my walking is relatively easy.



I'm used to the treadmill at the gym, so my first forays into outdoor exercise gives my leg muscles a painful wake-up call.  Yet, the fresh, cool air blowing on my face and the myriad songs of the birds, work wonders in dissolving all negative thoughts.  It's also become the perfect opportunity to pray!

No make-up!


To most of you, this will sound absurdly silly, I know.  But without appearing in public, so to speak, I've dropped this routine from my morning schedule.  This frees up some extra minutes to indulge in more . . .

Reading - The last time I visit with my mother, I borrow some books from her generous library.


I don't often read history, preferring fiction over non-fiction, but this is proving to be a positive change.  I'm in the middle of 1776, and I can't give it enough praise!  Thankful to have the other two waiting in the wings.

Watching shows that make me laugh - Right now, I'm on Netflix, enjoying old episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.


Not only am I magically transported back to my childhood, but the humor and quality of acting successfully distract me from the situation at hand.  So entertaining and uplifting!  (Fun Trivia:  Did you know that the characters of Andy and Barney are first cousins?  And that Opie (Ron Howard) and I share the same birthday, March 1?)

Playing games - Yes, my husband, Danny and I are indulging in extra rounds of backgammon!  A game of both chance and strategy, it definitely engages our minds in a positive way.


And most importantly . . .

Immersing myself in God's Word - I'm being so challenged by this Lenten study I choose, Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly.


Each day, a new entry invites me to more fully understand Jesus' radical love for us, and how we can more effectively be His hands and feet in this hurting world.

And I love, love, love my new Jesus Bible that Danny gives me for my birthday!


The commentaries are insightful and illuminating, and the NIV translation makes the Scripture easy to read and digest.  I absolutely need God's inspiration, comfort and wisdom, and I look forward every morning to spending time in His presence.

Because I long to be that tree planted by life-giving waters.  Thriving, not simply surviving.

God knows our struggles, our fears, our stresses.  He stands ever at the ready to offer us His peace and grace, urging us to dig deeper into Him, to replenish our souls from His Living Water.

With our Father's help, we can all learn to thrive, not simply survive, these troubled times.

Amen!

What are you doing to alleviate stress in your life these days?  Please share in the comments!

46 comments:

  1. Thanks for a daily picture of your life Martha! I love that you seeking diversity. Exercise. Reading. Gaming (the good kind). Praying. Reading a helpful book. But most of all, reading THE BOOK. I'm still coming to the office to study and read. The weather has not broken and is still a bit chilly but I have been able to ride. Trust me when i say there is not a person within 6 feet of me. :) I'm relaxing at home at night with Jo, at times binge watching missed dramas (NCIS and NCIS:LA and also CSI: Miami and New York. I don't like the original). I am reading at home before I go to bed. No cooking (I burn water). Oh yeah, eating ice cream. Neither ice, nor snow, nor COVID-19 can keep me from my appointment with ice cream. Anyway, have a great day!

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    1. Loved hearing about what you're doing in these days, Bill. Sounds like a perfect routine, especially the ice cream - lol! I'm so glad I have my stash handy. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Hey ... I've got "Rediscover Jesus". It was given to all of us in church last year or so. I'll have to search for my copy again.

    You're right that now is the time for more prayers. And somehow, we need to find some humour in this difficult situation. It is natural, of course, to be concerned about ourselves and our loved ones. To pray for them more, if we cannot visit them in person. But also, we must trust, through gritted teeth if necessary, that God will look after us.

    God bless.

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    1. Victor, that's such a coincidence that you have a copy of this same book! I'm not surprised that your church gave you all copies as the author is a practicing Catholic. What does surprise me, though, is that this book arrived in the mail one day, unsolicited by me. Never could figure out who sent it, so it must have been a gift from God. I know it's doing me a world of good to read it.
      And yes, let's keep on praying!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Wonderful post. I am so glad you are getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and exercise, and that you are also exercising your mind with good reading and time in God's Word. That coupled with playing games with your hubby make for wonderful times of refreshing. Think of it as a vacation! No make up either? Well, I won't go that far. I'm afraid even my hubby would cringe at me not wearing make up right now. I'm still a little pale from surgery, and makeup makes me feel like I look almost normal again. I don't like to look in the mirror and wonder who that old woman is staring back at me! LOL. Have a blessed day, and thank you for sharing. We are pretty much living as normal. We are retired, and being home together all the time is our life. Although we do miss church and fellowship. Hubby runs our errands as I shouldn't go out to the store, so I do miss seeing people out and about. But other than that not too much has changed.

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    1. Being retired does certainly help, Pamela, as we've gotten used to that routine, but having to limit those trips outside the "bubble" gets frustrating from time to time. And I can certainly understand your wanting/needing to wear some make-up, especially after surgery. I promise you, if Danny didn't like how I looked without it, I'd be wearing it!
      We miss church, too, but are grateful that we can "attend" online. Praying that the ban will be lifted by Easter!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Thanks for a view of your day... Sounds relaxing and nice.
    My day has not changed much as a result of the "stay at home" order that has been given. I work from home, so my getting out was limited to a few times a week anyway. We did decide to adopt a puppy a couple weeks ago. We had been mulling it over for awhile and decided that it was time as the restrictions were being put into place. So that is how my routine has changed... Puppies are like Toddlers, in to everything and requiring a lot of attention... But we love our little Finley.

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    1. Awww! I'm so glad you all adopted a puppy, Ryan! Yes, they are a LOT like toddlers, and do require lots of care and attention. Finley should provide an entertaining, and perhaps challenging, distraction during these tough times.
      And what a relief to know you work from home! Stay safe and be well.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. There are books and biblical resource studies that I have not dug into and am enjoying such along with neighborhood walks or runs that leave me refreshed. Love your pictures and hope we all as a nation draw closer to the Lord and each other with love and support.

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    1. Glad to hear that this time is giving you the chance to dig deeper into God's Word, Valerie. That's a wonderful use of time, always! And yes, the exercise goes a long way in making us feel renewed and reinvigorated.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. I always enjoy your posts, Martha Jane! Joe and I find ourselves with not much changed in our daily routines. We are home-bodies anyway. We do miss worship services and get-togethers with our community group from church, as well as Thursday morning Bible study. We are not shoppers. We watch TV. That hasn't changed. We know God is in control. I know we will get through this; WE being both personally and collectively as a nation and the world. God is in control.

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    1. God is most definitely in control, Terri, and yes, I do believe we will get through this together, and come out stronger on the other side. Being homebodies, for the most part, really helps in this situation, I agree. But when you do go out to the store, be extra careful, my friend! And I so grateful that you enjoy my posts.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Sounds like you're navigating this challenge well, Martha, choosing to spend time doing all kinds of interesting things.

    Being outside is the best medicine ... it recalibrates our thinking and gives us a fresh perspective. Now if only the weather would cooperate!

    ;-}

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    1. I'm trying my best, Linda, as I know you all are, too. And I do hear you about the weather - we've had so much rain here, it's hard to find a window when I can walk! Fortunately, the next several days are predicted to be dry, so I'll be at it again.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. I'm trying to go outside at least a few minutes every day too. So much rain, rain, rain here. :( Nonetheless, no shortage of things to do yet!

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    1. We're in the same boat (ark) as you, Lisa! As I mentioned to Linda, though, the next few days are promising, so I'll be taking full advantage of that. And there is no shortage of things to do when we look around, is there?
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Oh, such an excellent blog Martha, very encouraging for most people I guess. Reading books, yes!!

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    1. Thank you, Marja! Oh, yes, whatever would we do without our precious books?
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Cute factoids about Andy, et al! Like Terri, Tom and I are basically homebodies; not much has changed. Unfortunately, when someone says "don't", outside activities seems all that more enticing. My 'to-do' list is lengthy but I'm way short on discipline. If I'm to survive this new normal, an agenda needs to be written.

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    1. I hear you about the "don't" word, Myra. It conjures up all those childhood memories of parents telling us not to do something, yet it made what we wished to do that much more enticing. And if you do go out, I hope you'll take every precaution. It's a worrisome time.
      Glad you liked the fun facts!
      Love and blessings!

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  11. I love that verse, Martha. Thank you for reminding me of it. Walking in creation always reminds me that God is in control. I'll be so happy when it gets warm enough for my lungs to go out and walk where there aren't a lot of people. Or even when the birds start coming to our birdbath right outside my office window. :) I have never heard of the Jesus Bible. I just checked it out at Amazon, and it does look like there are some insightful commentaries. I've added it to my wish list. :) Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, I do hope the weather where you are warms up soon! Yes, being outdoors is truly healing for all our senses and our overall well-being. I'm glad you've put the Jesus Bible on your wish list, too. I know you'll enjoy it.
      Love and blessings!

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  12. Great post Martha! Sometimes the best thing we can all do is unplug from the craziness of life and return to more simple times and activities. Honestly, I'm keeping things pretty much the same--although getting a solid routine established would be a very good thing! The biggest difference is getting out even less than normal.

    I do miss my church family so much. My normal time with the Lord continues. Now to add in a few more things to nourish my spirit/soul.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. I really miss our church family, too, Kim, and can't wait until we can all be together again to worship. Really praying that will happen by Easter. So glad we have the internet so we can all stay connected in some way or another. But there are certainly good things to say about unplugging and enjoying the simple things.
      Love and blessings!

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  13. I love it, Martha! With Jesus at the center of our lives, we can certainly thrive in times such as these.

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    1. We absolutely can, Beckie, and God will get us through all of this, and make us stronger as a nation. Goodness knows we could all use some unity!
      Love and blessings!

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  14. You always give me such a sense of peace in your writing...I love it! For me On Mondays our church ladies meet on Zoom for a time of fellowship about God's word and for prayer. On Tuesday's another group from our church we meet on Zoom, for a Bible Study group, Finding God Faithful and I meet with yet another group on Zoom in the P.M. same Bible study. Wednesdays so far are free. On Thursday evening at 7 P.M. we have our small group. I spend a lot of time reading and studying, writing and praying. I cook dinner for Bob and my son Jonathan, do some cleaning the house. It's been a pretty busy time for me since all this has taken place. I hang out on Facebook with friends and family. I can't venture out because I am at high risk with health issues so we are being precautions and wise. But I do not feel sorry for myself. God has given me an assignment and I don't want to waste anytime in the negative. God is faithful and we will come out of this victorious and greater than before. We just have to live in faith and not fear and trust our amazing Papa God to lead us all the way through to the other side. <3

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    1. Wow, Marla, you certainly are staying busy in spite of all the necessary restrictions this time places on us! I'm so grateful for the technology that allows us to connect with others even when we can't be together in person. It does help so much in so many ways. Like you, I don't feel sorry for myself, but am doing my level best to stay positive, trusting that God has this in His hands, and will never leave or forsake us.
      Love and blessings!

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  15. Wonderful encouragement, Martha! Thank you so much!

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  16. Loved this post. I was at my cabin last weekend -- a walk in the woods along side a singing creek always gets me back in alignment. Now I'm considering how best to keep myself centered and also to be an inspiration to others -- like you are!!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Galen, and that you've recently spent time at your cabin - that's definitely refreshing and rejuvenating! Now is the time for folks in our age group to really be cautious in all that we do. I believe we will get through this time together, and come out stronger on the other side.
      Love and blessings!

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  17. I had to smile at your description of your "Driveway of Doom"! Ha! I haven't thought about Andy Griffith for a long time. I must see if I can find it on Netflix. That would bring back childhood memories!

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    1. I'm glad you liked that description of our driveway, Laurie. I coined it one winter when it was covered in snow and ice - definitely a recipe for doom! :) Let me know if you decide to watch the Andy Griffith show!
      Love and blessings!

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  18. What am I doing to alleviate the stress of this pandemic? Reminding myself to lean into the Lord more and just trust Him.

    Also, cross stitch, reading, cooking, and staying current with blog friends like YOU!

    You must live in a hilly/mountain area with the fun descriptions of your driveway and cul-de-sac! We had something similar years ago in Colorado. I had better leg muscles back then!!

    Blessings to you!

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    1. These hills definitely improve the leg muscles, Barbara, and the more I walk, the easier it gets. Glad to hear, too, what's keeping you busy these days. Your cross stitch is so beautiful, it almost wants to make me learn how to do it. Maybe, one day . . .
      Love and blessings!

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  19. I didn't know you were back! You sound well, despite the challenging times all around us.

    Before the massive rush I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and got an Olympic weight set, squat rack with pull up bar, bench press with leg curl and extension, curl bar, dumbbell bars, and a boat load of free weights to go with the 300lb Olympic set.

    It's more than exercise, it's always been a stress relief, now more than ever. But I, like you, know the best of times come when we're walking close with our Father. And if a flu causes it, then He'll deliver us from it in His perfect way.

    I like the NIV too. I don't use it to study, but it's my favorite to read.

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    1. Yes, Floyd, I've been back for some time, and I'm so glad you are back here, too! I've missed your insights here, my friend. Exercise is a top notch stress reliever, and I'm gratified to know that you have taken the steps to make sure you can stay in shape during these distancing times. We all have our preferred Bible translations, and they can provide the sustenance we crave and desire, especially in these trying times.
      Stay well, be safe, and never forget that God is in control!
      Love and blessings!

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  20. It is so easy to get caught up in the--IF ONLY I COULD GO TO---I could do this project. I am trying to stay in the moment and enjoy what is before me. Loved this post, Martha!
    Blessings!

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    1. Staying in the moment is a great place to be, Loralu! We need to enjoy each and every one of them that God gives to us. Glad you liked the post!
      Love and blessings!

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  21. Beautiful message, Martha. We are so much alike, friend. I've not been putting on make-up either. Seems unnecessary at this point. And while I do have an older treadmill at home, pretty and warmer days like we've had in Tenneseee here the last few days, I've taken our two dogs on a walk around the neighborhood. We've had so much rain, it was so nice to see the sunshine. I'm journaling daily, and of course, writing my thoughts down about this pandemic. I finished a book yesterday and finished a digital copy of a devotional for an endorsement that was due. Reading the Bible is one of the best ways I thrive right now in this turned upside down world. While social distancing is a must, I'm keeping the Lord ever so near and close.

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    1. Thank goodness, Karen, that social distancing does NOT mean we have to distance ourselves from our loving Father! He is truly the strength we all need to get through this time. Glad to know that we are doing similar activities as we navigate this season. And we've had lots of rain here in Georgia, too, but now that the sun is shining again, it truly goes far to lift my spirits.
      Stay well and stay safe!
      Love and blessings!

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  22. Good question Martha and welcome back, I have missed you also. I am a survivor so usually my first thought is how do we survive this without killing each other. We share a house with our son and family, and their inside big dog that drive me crazy at times.

    We are using this time to sort and throw away un-necessary items since we all are moving in a month or two. Our son has bought a house, smaller then one we rent so we are working out where we will live. There is room to build a small pool house that we could live in but it's not there yet. We have an RV at our daughters in Mn. so we will go up there the first of May, spend the summer and see what is next for us. We are not retiring so we still cover the southwest states but have added on to them the northwest states which means we may make Mn our base. So many details that need waiting on. You know how God sometimes just gives you one step at a time, well we have the first step.

    We have been watching a lot of YouTube TV, RV living especially. I am so thankful the kids found a house they both like, and excited for them to be able to move into it. I have only had one meltdown when all this moving business started...show clearly where my heart was, what I was putting my security in but God in His grave begin to bring insight into this whole thing and calmness and trust has returned. So I am enjoying venturing out in the blog world again, reading new blog, changing to WordPress from BlogSpot, I think I finally did it. I had put my writing on my book on hold lately but trying to get back to it.

    It's a good time to reflect and sort our priorities and decide exactly what God wants for us in our ministry. I haven't' been reading except on the internet a lot about how to do certain things. I am reading a good book right now about member caring for our ministry. No novels, but watching some late night movies, old ones, remembering how my Mom and I would sit up and watch them years ago.

    I have notes everywhere of snippets I read or hear just waiting for a post, maybe I will get to them during this sequestered time. I am feeling rested and calm at this point. I loved reading the comments of how others are doing, being in the moment, etc. Thanks for you comforting thoughts on this crisis. Blessings

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  23. love the peek into your life, Martha. We got out a 1000 piece puzzle this week. Not something we ever do but Bill and I have enjoyed it. long way to go yet.

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