Friday, March 12, 2021

The Year I Didn't . . .

The past year was one that I never would never have guessed I would experience in my lifetime. I did less of what was familiar and routine and more of what was different and uncomfortable. Reflecting back on these last 12 months, I realize I've grown in ways I never would have had I not been challenged by isolation, fear and need. In talking with my friends, I've discovered one thing we all had in common. Each of us thought that we would use the time in March last year, when the reality of COVID-19 really hit home here in the United States, to get our houses in order. Be it cleaning, purging, working on hobbies, or redecorating, most of my friends, and myself, naively believed we would just stay home, putter about, catch up on lots of things, and in a month or so, start living our old familiar lifestyles. Having a clean and organized domicile would be a perk of our month of self-quarantine and the time spent would feel less like sacrifice and more like a gift. We thought to ourselves . . . "I've got this". Soon, though, as the hours, and days and weeks went by, and the daily news reports were filled with stories and images of worldwide suffering and death, it became apparent that our first impressions were way off base.

How is it that we didn't understand what a pandemic really was? How could we be so naive? Had we been fooled by living in a bubble for years where a DPT shot in the arm as a child, or a flu shot as an adult kept us heathy? Did we even understand the alternative? For me, not having known anyone who suffered from diptheria or tetanus, it never registered with me that it could be so serious. Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, made its way into the local school in the late 50's/early 60's, but I only knew one person who had it and they were quarantined. I had influenza many times and was very sick, but nothing like what I was seeing on the nightly news . . . a deadly flu.

The isolation I originally embraced as an opportunity to get my life and home in order lead to fear. I feared the loss of friends and family due to the virus, the loss of the life of freedom and convenience that I'd grown so accustomed to, along with the inability to make plans for the future. Instead of the invigoration I had embraced in early March, by April my thoughts and my spirit were dampened. 

I didn't clean, purge, or organize. I didn't sew, draw, paint, knit or redecorate. I didn't garden. I didn't write and I didn't dream. I didn't do any of the things I imagined I would do during the shutdown. I worried about everybody and everything.

Slowly I learned how to function in new ways. Disbelief was replaced by a acceptance. I shopped for groceries online and had them delivered to our door. I made masks and gave them to friends, family, neighbors and the people who delivered groceries and packages to our door. I learned how to cope.

When elastic wasn't available, because all the home sewists exhausted the supply in stores and online by making masks, I dug out my grosgrain ribbons and used them to make ties. Sometimes having a stash of supplies pays off!

I made lists and made plans. My thoughts got clearer and I remembered pleasant things in my past and dreamed about the future. I wore my favorite perfume every day. I fussed with my hair as it grew longer and I put on my makeup. I stopped saving my favorite sweaters for good and wore them for every day. These habits gave me a sense of normalcy in an abnormal world.

While writing this post, I thought about my journey over the past year or so. Going through these changes reminded me of the stages of grief that psycholgist Elisabeth KΓΌbler-Ross wrote about in her book, "On Death & Dying", which was required reading for a course I took in college. Before her death in 2004, Ross collaborated with David Kessler to write the manuscript for her final book, "On Grief and Grieving". It sounds interesting and I plan to read soon.

My stages seemed to follow this path:

Denial ... I was shocked and was in disbelief.  What I had only seen in science fiction movies was becoming a reality.

Anger ... As more news came out about how the virus spread around the globe, I became angry. I couldn't believe that this was "allowed" to happen and not stopped before it spread.

Bargaining ... I decided, if we needed to live with this threat, I could do so. I hoped it would burn itself out when summer weather arrived and we started to live outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air, like the influenza does that spreads across the US every winter. 

Depression ... Friends and relatives contracted the virus. The virus was continuing to spread. My depression was mixed with fear. Visions from the stories on the nightly news were burned into my brain and were hard to shake. 

Acceptance ... Hearing that vaccines were being developed and tested and would be available gave me hope. I have learned and practice safe ways to shop and socalize with others. I have only seen my friends and family on Zoom. I have a better understanding of what our future may hold and how I will need to function in our changed world.

There is a plethora of information on the subject of grief on the internet. A link to one source about grief follows:

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/grief/understanding-the-stages-of-grief/

This is a heavy topic, but one each of us has dealt with over the past 12 months; so I hope you, my dear reader, don't feel this post is preachy. Since some of my relatives and friends were diagnosed with Covid-19, I take it very seriously. We are not out of the woods, but there is light ahead as we make our way. Becoming knowlegeable about how a pandemic affects us and the world we live in is our responsibility. If we need more medical information, we can either read about it online from reputable sources, such as the NIH or the CDC, or consult with our own doctors. Information is key. 

Please continue to stay informed and please continue to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, keep the recommended distance away from others, and wash your hands! Some gatherings may need to be postponed, and others may need to be held in spacious settings to keep all participants safe. Zoom calls and Facebook messenger video chats have become commonplace and if you haven't tried either, I urge you to do so. With just a little practice, you can learn to use them and enjoy chatting and seeing unmasked faces! 

Some of the masks I made with grosgrain ribblon ties, before elastic became available. 
Another lesson learned during this pandemic was making do with things I had on hand
.

As I alluded to in this post's title, this was "the year I didn't", which I described a bit herein. But it was also "the year I did" new things and learned new things. I learned a few of life's lessons along the way, too; but  that is a topic for a future post. 

Thank you for taking time from your day to read this post. Your comments are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. It is my sincere wish that you and those you love are happy and healthy. And, until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand. 

Emmy

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Not-So-Pretty Side of Amaryllis

In a recent post, I showed photos of beautiful amaryllis blooms that we were enjoying this winter and wrote about why I decided to cut them and put the flowers in vases. You can read that post here:

https://studioemmy.blogspot.com/2021/02/thankful-morning.html?m=1

Now that all the plants in my little collection have had their flower stalks cut, the not-so-pretty side of growing amaryllis comes into play. Compared to other bulbs you may be familiar with, such as daffodils, tulips and hyacynths, amaryllis bulbs are huge. Here is some info about their sizes and what you can expect from an amaryllis bulb:

https://blog.longfield-gardens.com/amaryllis-bulb-size-what-the-measurements-mean-and-why-they-matter/

In my experience, an amaryllis bulb will have two stalks and some very large leaves that get heavy and floppy. They are a delight in the throes of a cold and snowy winter and I think it will be worth the effort to try to keep them over to get them to bloom next winter. For now, they will stay put in their pots so the roots won't be disturbed and I will try to give them just enough water to keep the bulbs healthy . . . not too much and not too little! When the weather is warm enough for them to venture outdoors, I will put the pots in a protected area where I can keep my eye on them. If things go well, I will bring them back inside and force them into dormancy.

For some, this might be too much bother. In fact, it might just be too much bother for me! But, it's worth a try. For all the beauty these magnificent floral blooms provide in the dead of winter, I will give it my best shot. And, should I fail, I know I can buy them on sale before Christmas at the local Tractor Supply store. When I found them there online this past December, I ordered three and picked them up curbside at the local store. It couldn't have been easier, and the price was very resonable at under $6 each. The ones at the local stores may be smaller bulbs and not as mature as some of the fancier ones at growers' websites, but these were worthy performers. I was given a fancy basket of three for Christmas that were bigger and sent up very healthy stalks and put out a colorful variety of magnificent huge blooms. If you look online when it is time to order them again in late fall/early winter, you will find all kinds and even some that are just the bulb, coated with wax, that will blossom in a vessel devoid of water or soil. They can even be suspended upside down for dramatic effect

I hadn't thought of preserving any of these giant flowers in my floral press until my husband suggested it. I certainly had enough blooms to spare a couple for preserving. They were such large flowers and after I dissected them, they required several pages in my press. They are safely tucked inside and battened down to dry and flatten. Time will tell, if they will look good enough to use in a collage or if they will be suitable for framing.

To view a close-up of any of the photos herein, click on the image.

An amaryllis bloom sacrificed for the flower press.


The flower press that my husband gave to me last year for my birthday. Not only is it functional, but is pretty with its wooden covers and the lever that keeps everything inside secure.

Petals of one of the giant red blooms and stamens takes up an entire page in my flower press.

Hopefully, these dissected blooms and stigma will provide some interesting results.

These delicate pink and white petals are a bit curly. I didn't want to slice them, so I'm not sure what I'll find when I open the press several weeks from now. At the bottom of the photo are the stamens and the stigma from the center of the bloom.

While I am on the subject of preserving flowers, I'm planning to open the box of last summer's pressed blooms that I saved. This is all new to me; but by watching YouTube videos, I feel confident that I can learn how to use them to make things. If I have any success, I will share it in a post.

The not-so-pretty amaryllis farm takes up a lot of real estate in our dining room window. When it gets warm enough this spring or summer, the pots will be moved outdoors where they will stay until I bring them back in the fall for their forced dormancy. Hopefully, I will have success with them and we will enjoy blooms next winter! Perhaps I should sacrifice a few leaves to press. Hmmmmm . . .

As I write this post, March is continuing to give us more wintry weather. If the old saw is true about the lion and the lamb in March, we should enter springtime with less snow and more patches of green grass. It takes a long time for what truly feels like spring to arrive here in WNY . . . when the buds on trees open, spring bulbs bloom and the songbirds return. However, this year, I have read on friends' Facebook posts that they have already seen robins. I have yet to see one, but I keep looking every day! After the unusual year we have all experienced, spring will seem all the more special to us . . . whenever it really gets here.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post. Your questions and comments are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I will read them and respond.  It is my hope that you and those you love are happy and healthy. And, until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Emmy


Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Blank Slate

Tomorrow is the first day of March, but I'm still in the wintertime purging and organizing mode that overcomes me each year in January. The heavy snows that fell this month have remained on the ground due to the very cold temperatures. The white snowscape has provided much-needed reflected light in the dark rooms of our circa 1846 home. Organizing and keeping things orderly is an ongoing struggle for me, so when bright light pours in our windows, I am cheered and tasks seem lighter than on the dark days we so often experience during the winter. The lake-effect clouds from Lake Erie are a reality here in WNY and when our yard is covered in bright white snow, or we experience the occasional sunny day, my energy soars.

In my studio, there are many small tools, notions, bits and bobs to keep track of. And since I like to make an occasional mixed media collage with found objects, I continually stash orphaned china, metal, glass, paper and textiles. If I don't take the time when I am working on a project to clean up after myself, or when I just drop things off on my work table and walk away, all those little things just pile up. Since I don't have an assistant, it's up to me to put things back in order. Where is my fairy godmother when I need her?

Blank Slate

This morning, as I erased the comments I'd written yesterday from our little blackboard in the kitchen, I started to think about the symbolism of the blank slate that was right there in front of me. In college, I learned about the concept of tabula rasa, (from the Latin phrase  meaning: scraped tablet), which can be traced back to Aristotle; but the philosopher John Locke is the person I remember for writing that the human mind is like a blank slate, that we are born without knowledge until we learn it by sensory or mental experiences. A better explanation than mine can be found here: 

https://www.britannica.com/topic/tabula-rasa

I am not relating the blank slate on our kitchen wall to humankind in this post. Instead I am stretching the philosophical concept a bit to fit my needs. The blank slate signifies to me a couple things. The first is that while blank, the slate has no impact on its own; but, secondly, it offers a new beginning for me. I can write ideas on it, my list of things I need to do, notes to my husband, our menu for the day, draw on it, or leave it blank. Walking past it when it is blank bothers me, so after I erase it in the morning, I always write on it. It might seem a little funny to other people, but it grounds me in a way that is much different than the long "to do" list in my planner.

Right now, March is a blank slate. When I turn the calendar page over tomorrow morning, I will hopefully see the potential that the new month holds. The days are open to me, like a blank slate, to fill as I decide. I want to make each day count . . . to organize, play, rest, reflect, and enjoy the ways I spend my days. It has been a bit of a struggle over the past year to make plans, but hopefully, that can be a part of what happens this March, too. March winds can bring about change and I hope that holds true for the blank slate that hangs on our kitchen wall. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It is my hope that you and those you love are happy and healthy. Your comments are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I will read them and respond. And, as always, until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Emmy

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Thankful Morning

The morning sun lights up these glorious amaryllis blooms. 

As I walk through the house on this very frosty morning, I'm thankful. Walking from the kitchen, I cast my eyes over to the dining room window where the sun lights up one of my tall amaryllis plants with its huge red blooms. I walk down the hallway to the living room where I am flanked by tables filled with special little gifts I've saved from loved ones, antiques that were handed down to me by my parents and grandparents and some things that I have made with my own two hands. The ice crystals formed on the living room windows remind me of cold mornings on our farm.

Ice crystals on the living room window.
It was 12 degrees this morning!

When I was a little girl, I used to stare out the window over the kitchen sink, with its pattern of ice crystals, to watch for the the little yellow dot to the west that was the school bus approaching from up the road. My father would often look over my shoulder at the snow-covered fields and recite the lines from a poem that he learned as a boy in the one-room school house he attended.

The snow had begun in the gloaming,

And busily all the night

Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.

-- Excerpted from 

"The First Snowfall"

by James Russell Lowell

If I close my eyes, I can picture the image of us together at the window and hear his voice. I was safe and warm and loved. That is how I feel this morning and I am thankful. I wrap my hands around my warm coffee cup and consider all that I have in my life for which I am grateful.

If you are interested in reading the poem in its entirety, and about the author, here are a couple sites to look at online. As with any research, I often fall down a rabbit hole, and finding this poem was no exception. It gave me insight into its true meaning and also how my father may have related to it as an adult. What I had always considered in my mind that is full of romantic notions was that it was about the beauty of the snow, but it has much more meaning. Read on, my friends . . . 

https://poets.org/poem/first-snowfall

https://prezi.com/xwxjq1qmlibc/the-first-snowfall/

Back to my amaryllis, or is it amarylli? For more rabbit hole fun, you might want to jump in here to read up on pluralizing a genus name:

https://www.courier-tribune.com/article/20131211/NEWS/312119820

While watching one of my favorite YouTube channels, I noticed the host had cut her amaryllis blooms and placed them in a vase on a window sill. I was fascinated by the image and I jumped down one of those rabbit holes again. I hopped from site to site garnering all kinds of information about amaryllises . . . another way to pluralize the word to take up precious space in my brain. This time, I took the plunge and used the information and (gasp here) I cut the long heavy stalks of my potted and overcrowded amaryllises and put them in vases. From what I read, this will give the cut flowers a longer bloom time than left in the pot, provided I cut them before they have fully opened. A little floral preservative (the kind you get with cut flowers at the grocery store) helps them stay fresh a bit longer. I always have a few packs at the bottom of my kitchen junk drawer.

Some photos of the cut blooms are below. I am glad I stumbled over this information because I can enjoy the vases of flowers throughout the house and I don't need to constantly stake the heavy flower stalks with dowels and pipecleaners. I have given myself permission to cut my own flowers.


These blooms were cut at just the right time.
They have emerged as a spectacular sight.

These were mis-labeled on the box as red.
However, their delicate white with pink flowers are a delightful surprise.

These were partially open when I cut them,
but they've opened up and have looked good for over a week.

Those buds pictured above have fully opened.
Spectacular is the only word I can use to describe them.

I am thankful for the beauty of these flowers and for the memories of my childhood . . . triggered by ice crystals on a window. With well over a foot of snow on the ground and cold temperatures, I am glad I can enjoy winter beauty from inside these walls.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Your comments are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I will read them and respond. It is my sincere hope that you and those you love are heathy and safe. And, as always, until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Emmy

Friday, February 5, 2021

The Color of the Month . . . RED!

A Valentine's Day wreath I made a few years ago.
I thought it was appropriate for todays' post.
πŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’ž


Go Red for Women®. Today is National Wear Red Day® to call attention to the number one health threat for women: Cardiovascular Disease. One in three women are dying from heart disease and stroke. This is a serious subject and in the times we are living, it isn't always pleasant to read about serious stuff. It is forced on us daily from every direction. And, in keeping with my theme, it ends up making us tense, elevating our heart rate and our blood pressure. So, where am I going with this? Please read on. It gets better. πŸ’—

Here is a link to the American Heart Association where you can read about the steps you can take to help prevent heart disease and hopefully reverse this trend. Click here: goredforwomen.org  Both of my parents had symptoms of cardiovascular disease and lived into their 80's, but not without medicines to keep them going. If they both had earlier intervention, they might have had less severe symptoms and less tragic deaths. Watching someone you love decline due to their health is painful. Hopefully, with knowlege and action on our part, this will be turned around in our nation and in the world. 

We are encouraged to move more, practice deep breathing exercises, watch our diets and stress. It really isn't difficult. Well . . . maybe the stress part is harder because it often comes from without, not from within; and, of course, heredity plays a part in our health. We can't change that. But, in this time of shopping for groceries online, it is easier than ever to avoid the food danger zones at the supermarket. You know which ones I mean. Typically, they are in the last aisle we travel on our way to the checkout: doughnuts, oversized muffins, chips, dips, and ice cream to name a few. If these are on your shopping list, that's okay; but if they are purchased on impulse and not part of your food plan, I think you will agree that's not okay! By shopping for our groceries online, I have found that we have been able to avoid bringing home many of the "bad" choices and adding more fresh veggies and lower fat items to our grocery cart. Yes, it requires planning and even research to find recipes online. But if there can be one positive outcome of staying home day in and day out, it is learning to cook healthier food in healthier ways. Have cakes, pies, cookies and a few other goodies found their way into our menus these last 11 months? Of course. Those foods are special treats and I give myself a pass every once in a while! Every week when the grocery store flier is published online, we scour it for the BOGO's and sale items. We shop together online at two stores. We each work on our own list and then take a coffee break and decide together which things we need and where they are the best price. It takes some time, but it is a whole lot easier, in my opinion, than bundling up, going into the store, looking up and down the long aisles, packing the groceries into the cart, wheeling them over the bumpy snow-packed parking lot, unloading them into the trunk, getting home and unloading them, and so forth. I can shop in my jammies, have someone walk the aisles for me, communicate with me in real time chat about substitutions and all while I am safe in my home. I don't want to go to stores where there are other people who may not be following the CDC guildlines for Covid-19. Until this whole thing is over, and probably for the rest of my life, I will shop online and pick my groceries up curbside. It has been another of the positive outcomes of the pandemic. Since it is still unknown what lasting effects Covid-19 will have on people who have had it, I'd like to avoid it altogether, and that includes protecting my heart from possible damage. If you aren't already shopping for groceries online, I hope you will give it a try. Once in a while there are mistakes, but the stores are eager to make it right and will refund or credit your account. Driving up to a designated parking spot for curbside shopping is a blessing for which I am grateful. And protecting ourselves from Covid-19 exposure, from the possibility of falling on ice or snow and the general inconvenience of grocery shopping, makes it a win for us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It is my sincere wish that you and those you love are happy and healthy. As always, your comments are welcome and can be left here on my blog or on facebook. I will read them and respond. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand. 

πŸ’—

Emmy



Saturday, January 23, 2021

Let it Snow!

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Wheat Stubble in Winter
Photo source: USDA NRCS, Public Domain 

It is the third week of January and there is a deep cover of snow on the ground. We haven't had much snowfall this winter and we need this blanket to protect the earth while it sleeps. Winter wheat, which was one of the crops grown on my family's cash crop farm, needs to be protected from icy winds and extremely cold temperatures. Planted in late summer, it starts to grow in the fall and by November, it looks like a field of green grass. In the spring, it begins to grow again and becomes a gorgeous field of gold that by summer takes my breath away. The depth of color and texture of a mature wheat field stops me in my tracks every time I see one and now, in the dead of winter with 20-degree days and windchills in the teens, by just thinking about it, I am transported to a place where gold surrounds me and the earthy smell of freshly harvested grain is in the air. 

Golden rows of wheat straw create a patchwork image in a field that was once farmed by my family.

When I close my eyes, I can envision the barn on our farm where the wheat was stored. Piled high after the harvest, the mountains of fresh little beads of wheat kernels were a great place for a farm kid to play, catch grasshoppers and chew on the delicate little wheatberries that were warmed by the sun just a few hours ago. The air in the barn was cool and in the late afternoon, the sun would cast shadows on the barn floor. Ribbons of ruby light would weave their way through the weathered boards to create a world suitable for the imagination of a little girl. The wheat crop not only gave us piles of wheat, tons of it if you read my father's diaries where he recorded every year's harvest; but also gave us glowing rows of golden straw as it was laid down from behind the John Deere combine in a pattern that has inspired many a patchwork quilt. As a child, fairy tales such as "Rumpelstiltskin" held my interest, although there was a rather sinister plot in that particular story. But, nevertheless, spinning straw into gold sounded quite wonderful to me. The wheat that found its way into my pockets and cuffs while climbing around in the barn, came spilling out onto my bedroom floor at night when I undressed. The sound was a sweet reminder of hours whiled away in the long afternoon of a summer day.

A view of one of the big barns on my family's farm with our 1860's Greek Revival house and horse barn in the distance.


The wheat and straw that we harvested on our farm were grown as cash crops. The wheat was bagged and sold to growers as seed wheat and the straw was baled and stored in the mows in our barns. It was sold to buyers who sent huge flat bed trucks to our farm and was carried away 20 tons at a time. Some of it made its way to the racetracks where, I was told, the horses were very fussy and they liked our straw. 

My dress form adorned with her glittery silver wreath. 

In January, it's nice to remember the sights, sounds, and smells of summer, but it is also important to me to give homage to the quiet slumber of the earth. In our home, I gravitate to colors that reflect the winter landscape in white and silver and for those infrequent days when we are relieved of our lake-effect cloud cover, I add some blue. It is like taking in a deep breath and slowly exhaling while it snows and we quietly wait for winter to wake from it's long sleep.

I made this wreath for our front porch last winter. Silver, white and blue is one of my a favorite color combinations for this time of year.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope it may have evoked some memories for you. As always, your questions and comments are welcome. You can post them here on my blog or on Facebook. I will read each one and respond. It is my sincere wish that you and those you love are healthy, happy and safe. And, until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand. 

Emmy

Go Bills! 🏈


Thursday, January 14, 2021

PRAYING FOR A WIN . . .


"Please, God. Let my team win. Please, please, please . . .", is one of the prayers being sent skyward this week by football fans across America. These prayers remind me of what it was like when I was a little girl and I would pray for God's help when I had done something I would be punished for . . . if my parents found out about it. I would pray, "Please, God! Don't let Mommy see that I broke her vase," or when I was a teen, "please don't let Daddy notice I used all the gas in the tank," when I was supposed to just drive the car to school and back home . . . not go joy-riding after school. I'd bargain with God and ask Him to let me off the hook one more time. I'd promise to behave and not break more vases or break the rules for using the car. It's the post-season playoffs for the AFC (American Football Conference) and the NFC (National Football Conference) in the NFL (National Football League). If this is news to you, then you must not watch your local news or read the feed on your internet news and social media . . . or live in Western New York, the home of the Buffalo Bills football games! After the year that just ended, this might be the sole thing in many Americans' lives that gives them joy . . . and heartbreak. But at least it is something familiar to them and not something that creates fear and confusion as they try to navigate their way in this pandemic-ravaged world. Praying is part of being a fan. Any fan will tell you they have sat on the edge of their seat, hands folded and head bowed at times during a football game. With the exception of a few lucky fans, the rest of the football-viewing world watched the games this season on TV. What a huge change this has been for them, the teams, the networks, the advertisers, the restaurants and other retail establisments that count on the revenue from the football season. But, that topic is for another blogger to sort out. I will focus this post on faith.

When it comes to faith, football and fans, there is an obvious (to me) connection, a fan believes in his/her team and has faith in them even when disappointed. Every team has fans and when they are let down they cry, get mad, walk away, yell at the TV . . . and in the end, they stay loyal to their team. They come back to the stadium or the TV again and again. They donate to the team's local charity drives. They are faithful. They will defend the team and take anyone to task who speaks negatively of them. They don't jump ship and run off to cheer for another team. That's not what a dyed-in-the-wool fan will do. It's not a whole lot different than my relationship with God. I thank him every morning for the gift of a new day. I ask for his guidance as I maneuver my way through it. There will be circumstances that require me to make decisions based on what I know, or based on some research on my part, or based on faith. I thank him for the big and the little things and likewise, I pray for the big and little things. I look for ways to support His work. And when I'm disappointed, I try to remember that all prayers aren't answered in my time. I need to be patient. Prayers are answered in God's time . . . like the lyric in a Garth Brooks song, "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers". 

Even if you aren't a football fan, you've probably found yourself being thankful in 2020 for things you'd never have expected you'd even be thinking about. How many times did you go to the store or online and give out a squeal of joy or do a little happy dance when you actually found toilet paper to put in your shopping cart? Praying for disinfectant wipes . . . at least one canister . . . still isn't all that unusual. And, of course, the prayers that are lifted daily for those whose loved ones have been sick or taken by Covid-19 and for those working in the trenches of our medical facilities. Prayers, big and small are part of my daily life. When I can't find something, I usually go straight to God and ask him to lead my hands to whatever it is that is lost. And everytime . . . yes . . . everytime . . . He answers my prayer and I find it. Prayer and thanks are a big part of my days and part of many other people's across the globe. 

So when I sit on the edge of my seat this weekend and watch the playoff games, I'll be one of those praying fans. It feels a little funny to me to pray for a football game, but I will be praying and I will feel just like I did when I was a little kid, except I won't be bargaining with God the way I did then. I won't promise to be a better fan because I am already faithful. And I'll accept the outcome . . . hopefully the one I will be praying for. Now, if I could be as fanatical about my faith . . . but thinking about it is a start. 

Thank you for taking the time from your day to read this post. As always, your questions and comments are welcome. You can leave them here on my blog or on Facebook. I will read them and I will respond. It is my sincere wish that you and those you love are healthy and safe. And . . . for my football congregation . . . Go Bills! 🏈


Emmy