Monthly Archives: April 2020

Being Grateful

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With our stay-at-home order, it is easy to get grumbly. To combat this negative thinking, I am listing 10 reasons for being grateful. I hope you enjoy these, and why not give it a try?

10 Reasons for Being Grateful

What a view!
I always wanted a window.

I am grateful for now having an “office” with a window…and a view. (My kitchen table is now my desk, and I have a lovely view of the backyard outside my sliding glass door.)

Fresh flowers on my “desk”

I am grateful that I can have fresh flowers on my table. These flowers are free and from my own backyard. They seem like such a small thing, but they brighten my “desk” and remind me that spring really is coming.

My super fashionable mask…Thanks, Emily!

I am grateful that my daughter sewed 156 local-hospital-approved masks and gave me two. Most of the rest were donated to local facilities. Since I had a mask, I finally went to a store yesterday after over a month of staying at home. My mask kept me fashionable and safe.

She selflessly sewed those masks night and day and generously donated them to essential workers. And…when a delivery man from Amazon came, he got a mask. The grocery delivery man who came with her groceries? He got a mask. When the men at Home Depot needed masks? Yep, they each got one. What about my mom who is 86? My sisters who are nurses-one in Ohio and one in Virginia? Yep, yep, and yep with packages showing up on their doorsteps. What? The mailman didn’t have one? He got one, too.

What about others who need one? There is a bag hanging on the door knob on her front door with a sign inviting people who need one to take one. That makes me feel good right down to my toes! Wow, this blog is making me feel happier by the second.

I am grateful for gas prices that are less than $1.00 a gallon. I never thought I’d see that again! I filled up yesterday (in my mask) with minimal pain to my wallet. I don’t really do any driving right now, but it is good to know that I have the gas if I need to go somewhere or if the stay-at-home order ends.

I am including a photo of the sign at the near the pumps at the gas station. Have you guessed where I went yesterday? Ah, yes, Costco!

Can you believe it? Go, Costco!
Do you see him? He’s the little bird who brought me so much joy.

By the way, something wonderful happened while I was pumping my gas, a little bird was cheerfully singing.

Yes, I am grateful for that little bird who serenaded me the entire time I was pumping my gas. Little things like that make me smile. I’m smiling right now thinking about it.

I am grateful for one of my sons who is an essential worker at Costco; the Costco at which I strategically shopped. And, guess what? Yes, you guessed it. I saw him and had short, but wonderful, time to talk with him…from 6 feet away, of course. At least I think it was him-not sure-it’s hard to tell with the mask he was wearing.

Was the masked Costco worker really Jimmy? Hmmm…
A personal best!

I am grateful that outdoor exercise is an approved activity during the stay-at-home days in our state. Riding my bike makes me feel free; I love the wind on my skin and just going fast. (Well, as fast as my legs can pedal me.)

My husband and I rode on the bike trail on Sunday, which was a sunny, warm day, albeit windy, but I earned a personal best! With a ride of 31.92 miles, it was a milestone for me. Wow! That made me feel good.

I am grateful that I do not live alone. Even though my husband is an essential worker and goes to work each day, I have a real, live human being with whom to chat and to read and to give person-to-person hugs.

My husband and I like to walk in the evenings, but it is eery. The streets are empty with spooky shadows from the bare branches of trees silhouetted on the road. This new normal doesn’t feel normal to me!

The mailmen are still going strong!

I am thankful for the United States Postal Service. I have been able to put my little notes out in my mailbox with the red flag up. (In case you forgot, that is one way to signal that you have a letter to mail without having to go to the post office or a post box.) I look out my front window later in the day and, wallah, the flag is down. I know my card is safely on its way-hopefully to brighten someone’s day. I wish I could be there to see their faces when they open the envelopes. Getting a real letter is so much fun!

Last by not least, I am grateful for you! Thank you for reading this little slice. I thought 10 might be hard, but I guess gratitudes are like tears for me. Once I start, I just can’t stop. I thought of one, then another, then another. I could keep going for hours. It is fun. Why don’t you give it a try?

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and write 10 of your own reasons for being grateful! Link them below. I’d love to read them!

Or, just add one thing for which you are grateful today in the comments below. I know I’ll enjoy reading it. Gratitude is contagious! I hope this IS something you will catch.

The Birdie Fashion Show

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I had a front row seat last week
for the Birdie Fashion Show.
I waited for the fun to start
with bated breath held low.

The robins all around me
hopping to their seats.
They chirped and bobbed and glanced 
about to see the new Spring treats.
                                                                          
As the sun, a spotlight true,
burst onto the darkened spot,
A cardinal fluttered down he flew,
his feathers fluffed, a deep red hue.

That was not enough, you see,
he turned this way and that,
And then he raised his royal crest
to show his wondrous hat!

Next came the little lady, 
her garb so brown and muted,
She swirled and twirled so all could see- 
her style was not disputed.

Again, the bold and dashing male
come to strut his stuff.
He took the stage, his feathers spread,
he was so sleek and daring. 

His mate, so shy, was not about
to be outdone by this display,
She alighted on the iron bar and tipped her head to say, 
"My crest is just as elegant, as his on any day!"
                                            
Alas, the little birdies had to flit away,
and all around the cheers were heard for those who had to go.
With heavy hearts, we turned away,
with hope again, next Spring to see, the Birdie Fashion Show.
                                   ©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved

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This is an image from the internet, labeled for use with modification.  

The idea for this poem came to me last week as I looked up from my work in my new office (my kitchen table). A male cardinal alighted on the back of my wrought iron porch chair and showed off for me. On the rim of a clay pot, his mate awaited her turn. She and the male took turns, on right after the other, landing on the chair and having their own private fashion show. I was not fast enough with my camera…

Sunday Devotion: Where is our help?

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Sunday looks differently for me in these dark days of COVID-19…no attending church…no visiting with others…no laughing together…no…no…no… So today, I want to share my morning devotion with you.

I read Psalms 3 in the King James Version. It is a morning hymn; I think this is appropriate as the day is young and the sun shining as I read. As I read, I began to think about each part.

1 LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.

2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.

Psalm 3:1-2

Yes, I think how there are so many troubles right now that are rising up on every side. I think of the invisible COVID-19 virus that seems to lurk and strike without warning. I think of the Fear that wraps me at times like a shroud; never have I had such a daily, constant, and unwelcome visitor as this. Then, there is the enemy of isolation. Yes, it is for my own good, I know, but I miss my family members, the flesh-and-blood interactions, the human arms that wrap around my neck in a hug! Neighbors and friends seem helpers of the virus and are to be avoided; stores seem cesspools of contagion.

There are many voices that seem to shout, “There is no help for [you] in God!”

“This disease is too big for God.”

“What if you need a respirator?” What if…? What if…? What if…?

“Where is your God?”

In the midst of these swirling voices, I read…

3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

Psalms 3:3-4

Here, in my fear and isolation, I am reminded of the promises of God to his own children, “But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me…” God does not leave us alone; He can protect and watch. “…the lifter up of mine head” He is able to remind me to look up. How often I look down. Down to the problems, and the death, and the numbers of ill. Down to human help. God reminds us to look up. As I look to the skies, the stars, I am reminded of the greatness of God who created all these and watches over them, but I also hear a voice reminding me that He knows the number of hairs on my head! Yes, He can lift my head as I look to Him. When I cry out to Him in discouragement or fear or isolation, He hears!

My eyes focus on the next verses…

5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people,that have set themselves against me round about.

7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thous hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.

8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD; thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah

Psalms 3: 5-8

Today, this morning, I did awake. God sustained my life and health another day. It is a miracle, really, that each day I awake. I see the sun; I see the breeze laughing in the trees; I see leaves frollicking on the wind. Yes, I see a new day with new hope. Yes, the LORD sustained me.

Even though there is COVID-19 round about me, I choose to lean on the work of God in Jesus Christ. He already has smitten the greatest enemy, Death! On the first Easter, when the grave was empty, when it could not hold Jesus in the tomb…the One who bore my sins on the tree… He proved that he had conquered it, once for all.

I remember the day I asked him to save me. Why He wanted to, I do not know! I, a sinner, whose sins held Jesus on the cross, believed. I believed in the name of Jesus and was made his child, an adopted daughter

But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons [and daughters] of God, even to them that believe on his name.

John 1:12

Yes, salvation belongs unto the LORD Jesus. His blessing is upon all who are his people. Are you his child? One of His people? Jesus extends his offer to you! If you don’t know Him, won’t you believe in Jesus today?

I am praying for each of you, dear readers, today. God’s blessing be on you!

Joy!

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This poem was inspired by ideas from Rita K. on Nurturing Literacy, “Technology Bridges the Gap.”

Joy!
A brilliant, yellow ray of sunlight 
piercing through darkened sky
sparkling, sparking, sparking
bursting through cloudy covers
A sunshine bath
drenching warmth,  swirling laughter
encircling, encircling, encircling
 with unseen arms
A spoonful of sherbert
melting, melting, melting
exploding with smooth sweetness
yumminess on my tongue
An eternal spring 
bubbling, bubbling, bubbling 
upward from the ground
 mysterious, unseen source
A twirling, twirling, twirling
around and around 
barefoot in cool green grass
head thrown back
arms stretched wide
Joy!
©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved

					

Easter: The Great Invitation

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…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He [Jesus] is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men , and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Luke 24: 5b-7

I wondered what Easter would be like in the midst of the great pandemic of 2020. I wondered, “Where is the Church on the most holy day of Christians?” With stay-at-home orders and fear locking us in our homes, Christians in my country are forbidden to congregate to give thanks and praise to our Savior. An unexplainable gloom had settled around my heart this week, this week before Easter. I wondered over and over, “Where is the church in today’s crisis?” Should we be locked behind doors and only visible through online services? I’m not sure; but my heart cries out against it. Didn’t Jesus touch the leper, eat with the sinners, and talk with the Samaritan woman? Yes. Yes, he did.

Today, I woke up with a joy inexplicable….and I want to share this joy with you!

Today, I want to extend to you The Great Invitation that Jesus still offers to each of us-whether rich or poor, old or young, strong or weak, and to every person of every nation, tongue, heritage, or tribe.

Jesus had a ministry for only 3 years upon the Earth, and he walked among men and women...all men and women. He didn’t discriminate because of wealth or age or power. To all he offered salvation to those who believed in Him. But he mostly connected to those who were needy, whether physically or spiritually, and offered to them Himself. It wasn’t that Jesus doesn’t love the rich just as much as the poor, but the rich didn’t have a need for Him. Anyone who believed, received. Isn’t that wonderful?

Do you have a need today? Are you sitting in darkness or fear? Are you alone or sad? Are you worried about your life? Are you lost? Do you need hope?

To those in darkness, Jesus says, “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

To those who are fearful, He says, “Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

To those who need help, the Bible says, “Our help is in the name of the LORD [Jesus], who made heaven and earth.” Psalms 124:8

To those who are lonely, “…he [Jesus] hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5b

To those who are mourn, Jesus says, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

To those who worry about their life, Jesus says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7-6

To those who feel lost, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6

Do you have a need today?

Do you want rest for your sin-sick soul? He is standing at the door of your heart and knocking; He’s waiting for you to open the door and to hear you ask Him into your life.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man [or woman] hear my voice, and open the door , I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20

Are you asking, “Does that mean me?” I am too bad. I’ve sinned too much. I have been too ungrateful and lived only for myself. I have turned my back on Jesus my whole life. Does he really love me? Can I come?”

Listen to this glorious invitation by the Holy Spirit and by the Bride of Christ, his Church:

And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 20:17

Did you hear that? There is the invitation….”Come!”

Who is invited? “…whosoever will…”

What is the cost? To you, God says to “…take the water of life freely!” It cost you nothing! But to Jesus, to Jesus, what was the cost?

To Jesus, it cost everything. It cost His life as he took the place in judgement for our sins on the cross. God, the Father, turned his back on Him that day. Jesus, for the only time in eternity, was separated from the father because of my sin…and your sin. Jesus died. Then, the Bible and history tell us that he was buried. But…but…three days later, the day we celebrate today as Easter, he rose from the grave. Death could not hold him. He shattered for ever the power of Death. Ha! What victory! Today, Jesus is alive and is sitting at the right hand of God. He’s sitting in victory! He is calling me and women…to “whosoever will”…to come.

Today, hear the invitation of Jesus as he says,

Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, ad my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Yes, Easter is today, and Easter reminds us of God’s great invitation. Jesus is extending this invitation to you! Won’t you say, “Yes. I believe”?

Friend, please let me know if today you accepted the great invitation of Jesus. It would be my honor to pray for you.

For God so loved the world [you], that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Bad Hair Day

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Peeking out of my window, a faithful friend beckoned me.
“Come visit today," she seemed to say.
So reaching and grabbing my jacket so dusty,
Gaily, I waved and went slipping away.

Enjoying the company one of the other, 
“Oh, help me, please,”  silent eyes did plead.
So pitiful her imploring was, I scarcely could recover,
I decided right then, I could help my friend, help her to be freed.

Touching her fingers to wild, messy tresses,
“Could you, would you, help me please?
So tangled and matted and tattered and knotted," Oh, how she stresses!
I’ll do my best to fix this mess, I answered with unease.   

Running to go, to grab what's needed,
“Don’t be long,” she exclaimed and pleaded.
So knowing how quickly I’d return, her words I never heeded. 
I found the things so very quick, my task was soon competed.

Beginning to comb, this way and that, from every side and angle,
“Ouch! Be careful.  You're hurting me," she whimpered and did whine.
So gently I pulled, I pulled at the mats, I tugged at the tangles;
I snipped at the snags;  I combed at the locks 'til beauty did shine. 

Gathering dead and damaged hair,
“I'm feeling so much better,” the happy chorus refraining.
So I walked all around to inspect the repair,
I smiled to myself with my pride never waning.

Whistling cheerfully, strolling back home,
“Thank you, oh, thank you,” came floating along.
So I pondered how glorious my yard to behold,
and heard all the chirping, 
                 the rustling of leaves, 
                                   the joyful, the jubilant 
                                                         song of the spring.  

©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved





The comb...

When Fear Comes a Knockin’

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A visitor so unexpected
knocked upon my heart today.
Why, oh why, 
did he come to stay?

Where sunshine e'er beamed,
 lowly clouds are looming,
black and gray and
 darkness, deep glooming.

The stranger shrieking
shatters the joy;
 cackles with glee,
cheers to destroy.
 
Silently smirking
evil 'n devilish delight.
Where, oh where, 
shall my soul take its flight?

I, so weak,
so weary, so frail.
All my struggles can 
nothing avail.

"Fear, go away,
dreadful disease,"
I beg and I plead,
"Begone, won't you, please?"

The darkness oppressive,
the sadness so greedy.
Hope, is there any,
for me, poor and needy?

Turn from the darkness
Turn to the Light.
Turn to the freedom.
I do with delight.

Light for the darkness
Sun for the sadness.
Hope for the helpless. 
Joy for the blackness.

When Fear comes a knockin'
at the door o' my heart,
I'll turn to the Light, 
right there from the start.

Freedom is mine!
How will this be?
I know, I know.
Oh, can't you see?

What time I am afraid,
I will trust in thee?


©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved







What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 

Psalms 56:3