Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Your Job Is Essential--And So Are You



"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them... If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat."   ... Romans 12:6, 2 Thessalonians 3:10

  "The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
 ... 1 Samuel 16:7


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The people shouting, "My job is essential, yours is not!"?  They're destroying confidence, spirit, decades of constancy and the will to keep living.

That barber, that beautician, who's clipped hair 30 or 40 years so to make people look presentable so those folks--

could go to their jobs
and earn money
to feed their families
and provide homes
and an education 
and a sweet, good life for them?

They've worked slow, long hours, decades, using their God-placed skills to serve others. Someday they will die and this is how they'll have spent their years: by serving and helping us.

They cannot just sit behind a computer at home. God gave them the you-must-leave-your-house gifts. 

If they remain home? The world will not spin as God intended for our sakes. He placed gifts in every man, planned it all out, so there'd be no gaping black holes of non-service. In that way, hair dressers are like--


plumbers,
morticians,
house painters,
yard maintenance workers,
farmers,
constructions workers,
butchers,
actors,
chefs,
long haul truckers,
electricians,
school teachers,
auto repairers,
pastors,
restaurant wait staff,
delivery workers,
store clerks,
coffee shop owners, staff
train conductors and staff,
gas station attendants,
warehouse workers,
hotel staff,
daycare workers,
janitors,
flight attendants, pilots,
--and I could do this all day.


To say a person's job is non-essential is to criticize God's perfectly-planned design. And truly? Not until Heaven will we realize the profound effect our gifts had on other people.

Oh, the pride of the man or woman who sits like a king, declaring, "My job matters, yours does not. Stay back! Stand down!" Let all who currently make such judgments beware of this:


"One's pride will bring him low... When pride comes, then comes disgrace. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. The Lord hates:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers."   ... Prov. 29:23, Prov. 11:2, Prov. 16:18, Prov. 6:16-19



We all matter. All jobs are essential. If you are providing food for your family, your job is essential!

The world will limp and stagger without each of us doing the God-chosen job placed within us. And if you haven't realized that fact in all the current chaos of shut-down businesses? I doubt you ever will.








"A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?"   ... Proverbs 18:14

(Wow, that verse really shook me up this morning!)

The little daily things I need or just love may seem ridiculous to you, but that in no way lessens their importance to my mental health.





"Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys."...   Proverbs. 18:19


Socialism will never work. Never. It's been tried the world over, but it has never prospered as imagined.


*****


As I stated at Facebook, this is what bravery looks like in our new world.




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Here's how to regrow sweet potatoes. I started mine yesterday!






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And as I also wrote at Facebook:


So with desperate times calling for desperate measures, Tom asked me to trim his hair. Before starting I asked, "Do you want me to cut it like Pastor Ted's brother's wife cut his?" To which Tom promptly replied, "Uhm, NO THANK-YOU!" (See below. heh.)





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Crushing a man's spirit is far too costly. None of us will ever be able to afford it.




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"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Sunday, April 26, 2020

This Could Save Your Life




"A person's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?"   ... Proverbs  20:24


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May this wild, historic Covid19 Shut-Down finally teach us these:


1.) Never wait for the Holy Spirit to make perfect sense. He knows the future, we don't, so how could we understand it early?

2.) Always stay awake spiritually. 

3.) Always live prepared for any change of circumstances.


And well, I'm sharing my past, below, only as a possible help for your future, ok?


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It's weird. 

The Holy Spirit never even spoke the word 'pandemic' to me. No, really. I don't recall that He did.

Instead? He just quietly nudged me to prepare for the pandemic I didn't even know was careening toward us.

Over ten years He led me to teachers who taught me:


To keep a 2-month supply of food and household stuff upon our  shelves. To rotate those things. (Now I'm aiming for a 4 months' supply.)

To research articles about the Great Depression and create back-up plans for my family in case one happened again.

To take vitamins and natural remedies to beef-up my immunity and so to ward-off ear-infections, digestion problems and sicknesses so I'd not need to venture out to a hospital or doctor's office.

To learn to garden and to keep perennial herbs, onions, berries, chives, etc. growing. To always have seeds upon my shelves and a compost heap outside.

How to order all food and supplies online, have a shopping routine, a system in place so when the pandemic hit? We'd not need to venture out to a supermarket. 

(Let me add I'm only afraid of one thing regarding supermarkets: seeing my much-loved Buffalonians resembling herded zombies as Tessie described here.)

That we could use a gel-fuel fireplace, which then led me to discover hand sanitizer is (was) a cheaper substitute for the gel, which then meant we had a lovely supply of sanitizer when this pandemic hit.


Oh, and last year I asked Tom to buy a couple face masks so I could change the litter boxes more comfortably (er hem). Tom being Tom, ordered 2 whole boxes of masks. I gave one box to our neighbor who then took them to the Fire Station where they were received with almost tears of gratitude.

Again, the Holy Spirit gets all the credit. And Honey, I'm not just quipping that. For me, on my own? Forget it. Tom and I would now be whining about our own ineptitude and empty shelves instead of the opposite.

Oh may we all express great gratitude for a God who will aid, lead, direct, whisper and give wisdom to anyone willing to actually fear choosing their own plans over His.






"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come."   ... Proverbs 31:25

"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit ... will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." ... John 14:26


"So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober."   ... 1 Thessalonians 5:6

And I forgot to add:: Last November, God began getting me out of bed around 3:00 a.m. so I could go to 'God College' via Youtube. During that time of learning I also met probably 10 teachers/pastors/pundits/preppers whom He's now using to give me much confirmation regarding what I feel deep inside these crazy days. I'm so thankful for those people.





If we, ourselves, come out of this historic covid19 shut down time having changed nothing? Learned nothing? Viewed nothing differently? Woe be unto us.



******





To be truly prepared for anything? We must be willing to listen to knowledgeable prepper folks like her. (And personally, if I'd not been willing to s-t-r-e-t-c-h and watch or read crazy-sounding prepper videos or books, I'd not, for sure, be prepared today for what has happened.)






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"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Friday, April 24, 2020

My Fight With Robin


“Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.”
― Smith Wigglesworth


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Edgy titles. They get me way more clicks.  シ


Man, for two weeks, a male (I'm supposing) robin has insisted upon building nests on our bow window top. The ledge is maybe 3 inches deep, gets full blazing sun, full-force wind. 

Most mornings I apply my make-up at the table and there he comes with a mouthful of last year's wet hosta stems. Fluttering, he builds an ugly, dangling mess which drips against the glass. Daniel The Cat stares upward, fascinated.

I groan. Ask Tom things like, "I suppose it's illegal to shoot robins?" which makes him chuckle and say, "Probably."

Upon finishing my make-up, I throw my long black wool coat over my robe, climb down to the back door, unlock it and then grab the rake. Rolling my eyes and muttering I walk over to the window, lift the rake tines above my head, then swish! Brush away the dangling black mess.

The robins stand across the street and watch. They chirp amongst themselves that I am cruel. 
Probably the neighbors do, too.

But hey. During a not-daily walk I found a cool nest just laying on the sidewalk so I carried it home. Stuck it up in a crook of the garage gutters so to do the robins a favor.

But do they use that nest? No. 

Mr. Robin keeps rebuilding over our windows. At least 16 times I've knocked it all down, even hiding the debris in our trash. Today the female (I think) sat up there till I got close, then swirled around the flag pole, all threatening-like.

But with the mood I've been in lately regarding this whole shut-in-for-life stuff? I stared her down and said, "Go ahead. Give it your best shot. I dare ya."

Today's lesson: Yes, God loves it when we're determined, purposeful and steadfast! But only when we're doing His will, not ours nor the world's-which-does-not-hear-Him. 

Go doing the latter and we're just building houses doomed to be swished away and, long afterward, heavenly insignificant.







"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”   ... Joshua 1:9



“Real faith built the ark, but real faith did not shut the door. God did that. He does what you cannot do.”
― Smith Wigglesworth, Smith Wigglesworth on Prayer


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Oooooo.... This was awesome. And encouraging. And beyond cool! (For best results, enlarge it.)





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"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sometimes? It's Not How Much You Have, But How Far You Can Stretch It.




"She provides food for her family ... 

She sets about her work vigorously... 

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come... 
"   ... From Proverbs 31

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Lately while watching Youtube cooking videos I remembered this story from my own past:

1986. A church friend said to me, "Kelly and I were talking. She says you only spend $130 for groceries each month?"

I replied, "Yes. Around $132, actually, and that's for anything you can buy at a supermarket. Even supplies like paper towels, shampoo, detergent. You know. Everything."

She said, "That's pretty good. But then we remembered you only have 3 people in your family. We each have more."

Well, Honey, knowing people as I did (and still do), earlier I'd prepared for such a remark. 

I told her, "True. But I figured-out on paper that my $130 budget comes to $11 per week per person. So if you have more than 3 people? Just multiply that number by $11 then by 4 for each week in a month."

She nodded. Walked away. Never brought up that subject again. シ  

The 1980's. What I remember best? The challenging-but-invigorating time I had learning to stretch every bit of --

food, meat, 
clothing, 
foil, 
fabric,
detergents, 
toys,
lightbulbs, energy, 
grocery bags
and even cans and food-packaging of all types for crafts and --


From the tiny town library I consistently checked-out books like these--









--and scribbled notes which I kept in binders. I craved knowledge on how to make something special from what everybody else was throwing away--and to, like, make 3 main dishes from 1 pound of ground beef.

And man, those 1980's were rough. Because of living on small amounts of money? Nope. Because the media weekly lectured us homemakers that we were wasting our lives.

Ha! Turns out we weren't. Fast-forward to 2020 and we prepared, food-knowledgeable, silly 1980's happy homemakers are whipping out our many skills and we are not panicking. Not even close. Rather, we're calmly practicing what we taught ourselves so very long ago--and reaping rewards.

And today as always I'll say do what you want. 

Yet if I were young again, with a family and had my income slashed? I'd be searching like crazy for all the hacks, hints and lessons available regarding how to live richly when you appear to be poor.

Appearances are not everything. In fact, often they are dressed-up lies.

One last thing: If you have the Internet? Wow. Count yourself incredibly blessed to be hooked up to thousands of folks with advice on how to live well and happily on very little money.

Way back in the 80's just the idea of such a wondrous thing would've blown our homemaker minds into bits like confetti.









"I can do allll things through Christ who strengthens me."   ...  Philippians 4:13.  Even in 2020. Even during a worldwide pandemic.

You weren't very prepared for this big Life interruption? Don't panic. You can stretch what you have, make it seem like double, even, by using new skills, age-old tricks and common sense. Seriously!


When changes beyond our control happen, we must be willing to make changes of our own in order to thrive.


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Ooooo.... some of you will love this inspiring video to pieces! The only problem was that it made me even antsier for our outdoor growing season to begin.  シ (It's snowing this morning. Again.)

Don't Let This Define You  Need your blood pressure numbers to drop? This video will take them down.


Oh! And here's one of my favorite 'Tessie videos.' She shows us how The Have More Plan book changed her life. (I told you about that book while we lived out at the farm. I gave away my copy to a young dad who was excited about starting his own little farm with his wife.) Enjoy!



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Always remember: Youtube Is Your Friend!



Make 50 Meals From One Ham


6 Easy Canned Tuna Recipes



Oh, and if you can, you may want to stock up on meat. I've got a good supply of canned chicken and tuna and some frozen ground beef, you know, just in case.

Easier said than done though, I know.

But there are rumors that some meat plants may be shutting down due to sick employees, but even there, since there are millions out of work, couldn't some of them fill-in for awhile? Or yeah, probably that would be too complicated in our Country which is big-time exposing its ignorance, weaknesses, lies and power-hungry state officials.

(And hey, considering how I've lately become a Flaming Radical Independent, I think I made it through this post pretty well with just that one snarky line. heh.)


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 "There's going to be hard times, but the good news is that some prophetic voices are saying that this pandemic is going to pass and there is going to be a window of opportunity.
"I would encourage everyone to take advantage of that window to say, 'OK, I wasn't prepared for coronavirus, but I'm going to get prepared for the worst things that are coming because it's a perfect storm.' There's going to be one crisis after another. If there is a window later this year, take advantage of it. Get prepared. Not because we're gloom and doom, not because we're afraid, but because there is hope in getting prepared. There is hope in understanding that God is in control."   --- Michael Snyder


"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Friday, April 17, 2020

Survivor's Guilt. Finally I Understand It.


"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."   ... 1 John 3:17, 18


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For years I'd watch Oprah or Dr. Phil, etc., discuss survivor's guilt with their guests who'd not died in a tragedy, but lived. Their feelings from having walked (or limped) away.

Guilt that their loved one(s) did not make it, yet they, the survivor, did.

Man, that sounded odd to me. Why not choose extreme gratitude, instead? Why not move on with a heart bursting with thanks toward God for your second chance?

But oh dear. This week I got it. 

The coronavirus has shredded our Country into sad, confused, ugly little pieces, but Tom and I? We're fine. Thriving, even, as he works from home and I carry out 6 years' worth of prepper plans.

"I was born for this!" I've told myself, often at 3:30 a.m., meticulously checking food and supply lists, kneeling before shelves, counting things, watching instructional Youtube videos and then social-media-encouraging folks. And --

Then yesterday I stepped downstairs to Tom at his work computer and 3 big screens. He said, "Our stimulus check came." 

"What?!," I exclaimed. "Why did we get a check? You still have your job. Weren't those for people who'd lost theirs? No wonder our Country is financially wrecked! Couldn't they have just sent money to people who truly need it?" 

(I try to keep up, but I'd totally missed that everyone is supposed to get those checks.)

Then he said, "Well, actually, you got paid, too. Since we're married, the amount was doubled."

Oh my goodness. I saw red. Like red blindness. The room swirled, tipped.

"Me? I don't even have a job! Why in the heck would they pay me? I don't even want it! It's not right. They could've put my share into overall totals and given desperate people more."

And yesterday I finally understood survivor's guilt.

For me it means the feeling you get when you came out of tragedy just fine, but others did not. They are still suffering and you're good, all set for a normal, sweet life.

And more, of course, but this is a simple blog post.

Anyway, two things calmed me down. 1.) Tom reminded me that there is the little matter of the stock market having imploded with our retirement savings inside.

Well, yeah. There's that. ツ

And 2.) Naomi was, along with her restaurant co-workers, fired from her job last month. We can use this extra money to help her with rent. We can also be led by God to give it to the unemployed, do more take-out, be more generous with gifts.

We can kneel and help pick up shards of peoples' dream glass.

Also, we can tell it far and wide that our God delights in bringing good out of bad and strengthening our hearts during tragic times so we need not faint in our minds, but trust and obey Him--

---while He shows us specific ways to make everything right-side-up and whole again.










And yes, I'm remembering to be thankful for the stimulus money. 


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This? This is why I view the Michigan protestors as heroes, for their fighting for what they need. This shut-down is ramping up all sorts of other kinds of deaths--





Another reason America must get back to work? Here--

One evangelist heard a divorce lawyer last week say, "No more divorce cases! I can't handle another single divorce case! Our firm has too many right now."



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Need help making meals from your pantry? Or stretching your food dollars? Or learning how to garden or save money on clothing or household repairs? Need to laugh or learn more about God?

Seriously, I recommend Youtube. Help and wisdom of all kinds is there from experienced, practical-minded online neighbors.

Just plug in your request in the search box.


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Have a bit of extra time? I shared this at Facebook--



Yes! Confirmation City which did my heart a ton of good this afternoon. Taken from his latest Youtube video. 

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Come Out Of The Caves!


..... God told Elijah to come out of the cave where he'd been wrapped in fear and loss of hope. He told him to go back to work and fulfill his calling...

(Today) get out of the cave! Exercise your calling whatever it is and make a difference. As our rights are being violated, justified or not, it's easy to retreat, to lick our wounds. That's a prison.

But there comes a time when we have to gather ourselves up, we need to cry, "That's enough!" Vacate the cave and confront the fear... For some of us that means taking up our swords in the spirit and engaging in consistent, aggressive... power-filled prayer. Or to worship with a determined warfare flavor to it. For some of us that means picking up the phone... and reaching out to brothers and sisters with encouragement and help. For others this may mean engaging in civil disobedience like the 10,000 angry people who drove their cars to the Michigan state capitol ... to protest what the governor of the state was doing to violate their rights in the name of protecting them from the coronavirus that is destroying jobs and lives.

It might mean raising your voice in some other way, some other means that's appropriate and available to you. 

No matter how it applies to you in some form of practical application, it means facing down the fear, breaking out of isolation and depression, rejecting passive submission, leaving the cave ... and coming alive again.
It's time to start coming out of our caves!





--- Pastor R. Loren Sandford






"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I Feel Sadness In The Air




"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you... If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."   --- James 4:8, Galations 5:23

Difficult times do not weaken God's power, but instead, make a way to increase it if we'll do as He asks.


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When Tom lost his job in August of 2010? Wow. Gut-Punch City. Three other guys were laid-off: the company downsized.

The first two days? Tom and I could barely breathe. Shock is like that.

But soon we felt God saying, "I'll get you through this! But you must listen. Remain determined. View Life through a positive slant of light."

And now when I recall those 20 jobless months, I remember miracles. The odd ways bills got paid, how Life went on with joy and how we even bought this little house in our unemployment.

But yeah, at first, a wonderful future looked impossible. I remember that, also.

And these coronavirus days? Oh. My. Goodness. What unemployed folks must be feeling! This makes Tom's sudden 2010 joblessness look like a birthday party. Things are 1,000 times worse, but thank-goodness, God is a kazillion times mightier. Whew.

But still, this sudden lack of employment for millions of people is like a bad dream from which they cannot awake. It is not their fault, it's highly fraught with questions, and America--

Doesn't, as a whole, know what it's doing.
Changes its mind daily as to what to try next.
Can't give us any real answers about the future.
Has state officials gone mad with control.
And has suspended the rights our Country was founded on.


And since this is my blog, let me rant here: 

If you are one of my friends who's been social-media-yelling, "JUST STAY HOME! Your rights do not matter now! The government knows best.", well, your gullibility and over-whelming fear is not welcome in my world. And especially if you would deny people their God-given right to protest mistreatment? I will be ignoring you until this is over. Well, it will never be totally over so, hey, this is most likely, good-bye. Be well.


I personally am searching for more. 

As in, strong folks who speak out bravely against injustice, over-reaction, fear-spreading and lunacy. Ones who know God never created us to live under house arrest. (A sampling of their links will be at the bottom of this post.)

Anyway. I feel sadness in the air. Chaos, also, but that's another post.

Often since a teenager, I've felt heavy disturbances in the air around me and woah, Nelly! It hardly gets any heavier than these present days.

So even though my life isn't greatly changed--still--I can feel some of the pain wafting around from the millions whose lives will never be the same, ever. And it keeps me from complacency, love-gone-cold and that dreadful it's-all-about-me disease.

And I'll end this post with this: In these times of deep trouble, may each of us also hear God declaring:

"I'll get you through this! But you must listen. Remain determined. View Life through a positive slant of light."

May we truly reflect the God who strengthens us and in so-uncertain times remain open to newness as directed by Him:


New ideas.
New ways of thinking. Creating.
New ways of working.
New ways of being.
New ways of thriving in a new normal.


And may we hang on tightly to Jesus on this new wild ride adventure and never, ever let go. No matter what.








"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness... He will guide you into all the truth ... whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."   --- Romans 8:26, John 16:13



"We know all things work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose....you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy..." --- Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 1:8


Whatever your calling/gift from God? Now's the time to go full-force with it. Mega-help and encouragement is needed like never before. People everywhere need to know our God delights in bringing good out of bad.











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"How can you look around this country right now and say we are 'the land of the free, the home of the brave'? Where are we seeing that, exactly?

If our commitment to freedom can be suspended, is only up until the point we are afraid of something, then our commitment to freedom is not any different. It's only about on par with the rest of the world. There's nothing special about us in that regard." --- Matt Walsh


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The links I mentioned from my new friends:

Your Rights Are Suspended






Citizens Begin To Stand Up Against Tyranny



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Doubting overreaching of governmental control?


In Beverly Hills you can't step outside your front door without a mask. You will be fined $1000 after a first warning. There is no science to back-up you'll be safer outside with a mask.

In Michigan? You cannot go out and buy seeds or plants in okay, okay, big box stores. Does that make some of you happier? Does that make better sense to you that it's fine to walk into a big box store and buy paper towels, but heaven forbid that you buy seeds or plants there? Frankly? It only makes it worse. Now you must drive someplace else and interact with more people in order to buy seeds or gardening supplies--if you can find those places. You can't tell me one single reason that this promotes safety. Not one. Only a far deeper dependence upon the government for food.

And don't get me started about the drive-through church in MS where 15 patrol cars(!) showed up to give out $500 fines to folks sitting inside their cars with their windows rolled up.


While researching prepping for disasters years ago I seldom came across virus-related information, but often saw government-leaders-will-take-over-our-lives posts.

And wow. It's happening. Everywhere.

But here's the great news! --







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"Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord."   --- Jeremiah 1:8


"Liberty once lost is lost forever." (Spied outside of the huge vehicle protest in Lansing Michigan.)


"Old ways won't open new doors!! Don't be afraid to do something different than what you have known before.. God is with you!" --- Paula White Cain



"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15