Commentary

Our Security During  COVID-19

Posted by on Mar 28, 2020 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Our Security During  COVID-19

March 28, 2020

Within the past few weeks, our lives have changed dramatically. The coronavirus or COVID-19 has impacted society at every level. It’s brought anxiety, confusion, illness, death and financial distress throughout our nation and the world.

How do we resist becoming isolated, fearful, discouraged, and frustrated during these times?

Isolation:

Television and radio entertain and keep us up to date with helpful news (as well as the junk we don’t need). Fortunately, we have access to a variety of technological means to keep us in touch with one another. Beyond telephones, texting, and emails, there is a myriad of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc. to help keep up to date with each other. Other tools such as Face Time, Zoom, Marco Polo, etc. provide visual and audible means of connecting professionally and personally.

Fear:

“God is our refuge and strength,  a very present help in trouble.

Psalms 46:1

 “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

He will cover you with his feathers,  and under his wings you will find refuge;
 his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

Psalms 91:2,4-6

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 

I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1Peter 5:7

“He says, ‘Be stilland know that I am God;”

Psalm 46:10

Discouragement, and Frustration:

 Roy Lessin has generously allowed me to share from his devotional Meet Me in the Meadow.

From August 3. 

“God has not made the earth and abandoned it. He has not retreated somewhere in the universe and gone into hiding. He is today where He has always been, on His throne. God sees all things, knows all things, and is all-powerful. God is all in all. He is above all. Nothing is above Him or equal to Him. There is no king or ruler that has more authority than God; there is no political figure that has more influence than God; there is no nation that has more control than God. No one can out-think Him, or out-smart Him. He is God Almighty. He has all authority in heaven and earth. His enemies are under His feet. He reigns and rules. He is the majesty on High.”

Meanwhile, we can

Pray:

For all medical providers, first responders, and all service industries serving on the front lines.

           For our families, friends, and neighbors.

           For our nation and the world.

           For our government and spiritual leaders

          For revival in our land

 

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves

and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Give:

          If possible, be generous with others in service and or provision.

           Encourage others who are even more isolated.

           If able, donate blood since there’s a shortage.

 

Clothe ourselves spiritually:

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”     Ephesians 6:11-18 

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A WRITER’S WOES

Posted by on Apr 9, 2018 in Blog, Commentary, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Writing can be a very isolating and introspective pursuit.  Here are some thoughts that plague writers:

~ What if I can’t find an agent who wants to represent my work. If I do find one, will we be a good fit?

~ What if I can’t find a publisher who wants my manuscript?

~ With all the changes in the publishing industry and the decline in bookstores, it’s getting so much harder to get published.

~ There are so many other good writers out there, what makes me think my story will shine?

~ Facebook is a great place to connect with other writers and to applaud their successes. Some are getting contracts, others are elated about writing 2000 or 4000 words that day, all certainly praiseworthy. But some of us groan because it’s a struggle to get 300 words written in a day.

~ For those of us who rely heavily on research to write stories, we anguish in trying to get every detail right. But we love the research part of it, sometimes so much that we have a hard time getting back to writing the story. See how conflicted we are?

 ~ Okay, got the book published. What if the readers don’t like it? What if the publisher we prayed would say yes, is disappointed in sales and having second thoughts? What if they don’t want my next book?

~ And then there is the whole platform and marketing aspect. Many writers are introverts, so the prospect of self-promotion is daunting. Authors must be on all sorts of social media, have their own websites, hopefully, be featured on other’s websites or blogs, have book signings if possible, give talks; all which require a different skillset than making up stories. Marketing takes a lot of time.

~ Are we nuts?  Neurosis: a relatively mild personality disorder typified by excessive anxiety or indecision and a degree of social or interpersonal maladjustment.

But then:

I’m reminded that in writing inspirational fiction we don’t just write for the readers who hopefully like our stories, we write primarily for an audience of One.

~ Some of us believe we are called to write as a means of sharing our faith. Inspirational authors want to encourage and edify the reader as much as entertain them.  

~ We ask the Lord to direct us in every aspect of our vocation from the creation of the stories and their themes to opening the doors that He wants us to go through. We ask for patience needed to wait on His timing, which is typically not our own.

~ We aren’t to compare ourselves to others, just do the work we’ve been given to do, and do it with a grateful heart. Now I need to get back to writing that story. 

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 1Peter 4:10   

 

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Some Observations About The Movie Dunkirk

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Blog, Commentary, History, Uncategorized | 11 comments

I thought the movie Dunkirk was well done.

  • Each facet of the battle seemed to be well represented by the characters; the soldiers, airmen, sailors, and British civilians.
  • The actors, most not particularly well known, did a great job.
  • For a recent war or action movie, I appreciated that there was far less gore than usual.

Some facts added could have made it better:

  • The background of the British call to prayer which likely led to the civilian involvement. Too many viewers aren’t familiar with the historical facts and they weren’t emphasized in the movie.

The British were aware of the probable disaster that was forming at Dunkirk. In a moving broadcast to the British people, King George VI asked his people to commit their cause to God and that a National Day of Prayer be called on Sunday, May 26, 1940.  The members of the Cabinet joined the King at Westminster Abbey, while millions joined in prayer throughout the Empire. Photographs outside Westminster Abbey on the National Day of Prayer showed throngs of people who could not get into the Abbey.

Many people believe the heartfelt prayers of so many British subjects to God played a big part in the evacuation of Dunkirk. God’s provision, power, and presence certainly seemed evident in the battle and evacuation. It was widely known as the Miracle at Dunkirk. Some of the factors that led to its success:

    • Against the advice of his generals, Hitler stopped the advance of his armored columns ten miles away, at a point when they could have destroyed the British Army. Possibly Hitler thought the Germans had enough air superiority to prevent a large-scale evacuation by sea that would be required.
    • German Luftwaffe squadrons were grounded due to a fierce storm over Flanders on May 28th, 1940. Darkness and the cover of the storm allowed the British Army to move toward the coast without being detected by German aircraft.
    • When several hundred men were systematically being machine-gunned and bombed by many enemy aircraft, many of the soldiers were amazed that more men weren’t killed.
    • While the violent storm provided cover, the English Channel was unusually calm in the days that followed which allowed nearly 340,000 British and Allied soldiers to be rescued by a hastily assembled of over 800 boats made up of 40 Royal Navy ships and an armada of civilian boats and merchant ships.
  • More focus on the vast numbers (hundreds of boats and ships) of civilians and commercial boatmen who risked all to aid in the rescue of their army. (Some were commandeered by naval crews when owners were not found. The movie made it appear that only a few dozen made the crossing.

“Operation Dynamo”

By Strait_of_Dover_map.png: User:NormanEinsteinderivative work: Diannaa – This file was derived fromStrait of Dover map.png:Information on shipping routes from Thompson, Julian (2011) [2008]. Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory. New York: Arcade. ISBN 978-1-61145-314-0. Map, page 223., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28440418

There were so many ships and boats involved in the evacuation across those 18 nautical miles that the fighter ace, Douglas Bader who helped to cover the operation, described the scene:

“The sea from Dunkirk to Dover during these days of the evacuation looked like any coastal road in England on a bank holiday. It was solid with shipping. One felt one could walk across without getting one’s feet wet, or that’s what it looked like from the air. There were naval escort vessels, sailing dinghies, rowing boats, paddle-steamers, indeed every floating device known in this country. They were all taking British soldiers from Dunkirk back home. You could identify Dunkirk from the Thames estuary by the huge pall of black smoke rising straight up into a windless sky from the oil tanks which were ablaze just inside the harbour.”

  • Churchill’s June 4, 1940 speech seemed almost an afterthought in the movie.

“. . . We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

  • The fact that the British people acknowledged God’s role in the evacuation.

The British people recognized the many signs of God’s deliverance from the German Army and Luftwaffe at Dunkirk. On Sunday, June 9, 1940, a Day of National Thanksgiving was celebrated. In an article in The Daily Telegraph, C. B. Mortlock stated: “The prayers of the nation were answered’, and that ‘the God of hosts himself had supported the valiant men of the British Expeditionary Force.”             

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A Motivation Behind The Story ~ Promise of Deer Run (Book 2 of Deer Run Saga)

Posted by on Jun 15, 2016 in Blog, Books, Commentary, History, Uncategorized | 8 comments

Yesterday, I told you about Promise of Deer Run, Elaine Cooper’s second story in the Deer Run Saga. It releases on June 16. Today, Elaine Cooper shares about a childhood experience that left an indelible memory and teachable lesson.

  BEFRIENDING THE FRIENDLESSPromise of Deer Run - Cover (2)

I will never forget my childhood friend named DeDe. She was smart and had a great sense of humor. But that is not the main reason I remember DeDe. She is the one friend in elementary school who taught me about being a friend to the friendless.

There was a girl in our class—I’ll call her Jennifer—who was afflicted with a congenital problem that left her with difficulty speaking, an awkward gait, and an odd look to her face. Jennifer was shunned by most in the school, except for DeDe. She was totally unafraid of what others thought and she made every effort to be kind to Jennifer.  Her bravery caused me to be kind to the shy classmate as well. I admit I was still a bit uncomfortable hanging out with Jennifer, and it took patience on my part to wait until Jennifer could painstakingly speak even just a few words. But DeDe always cheered Jennifer on in her attempts to communicate.  It was such a lesson in kindness to me.

In Promise of Deer Run, the character of Sarah Thomsen befriends the social outcast of the village—Nathaniel Stearns. The young veteran is seven years her senior, but Sarah has memories of the kindness that Nathaniel had extended to her when she was a little girl. It was a kindness never forgotten. Sarah looked past the recluse who seemed so different awaiting the return of his father from war. Many in the town laughed behind Nathaniel’s back. Why would this veteran who frequented the local tavern on a regular basis and who still believed his father was alive, be of a sound mind? Even the churchgoers snickered and avoided him like the plague.

But not Sarah. She saw past the exterior to the heart and soul of Nathaniel Stearns. She dared to speak to him. She dared to befriend the friendless.

It reminds me of DeDe looking past the physical anomalies of Jennifer.

A few years ago a friend from high school told me they found out Jennifer had become a nurse, helping others in their need. I was amazed but pleased—and I remembered DeDe leaving her comfort zone of hanging out with the “cool” kids. I sometimes wonder if DeDe was the one who had given Jennifer hope for a future, years before on the playground at school.

I wonder how many other lives can be changed for the better by befriending the friendless. I pray that I will be the brave one.

Elaine Cooper DRAward-winning author Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of Fields of the Fatherless, Bethany’s Calendar and the historical trilogy called the Deer Run Saga. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ, and the history of the American Revolution. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her historical novels.

Her upcoming releases include Saratoga Letters (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, October 2016) and Legacy of Deer Run (CrossRiver Media, Dec, 2016)

Cooper has been writing since she penned her first short story at age eleven. She began researching for her first novel in 2007. Her writing has also appeared in Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson and the romance anthology, I Choose You. She has also written articles for Prayer Connect Magazine, Splickety Prime Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Life: Beautiful Magazine. She began her professional writing career as a newspaper freelancer.

 

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A FULL QUIVER

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Blog, Commentary, Family | 6 comments

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children 
born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” 

Psalm 127:3-5

 The Family

Last fall my oldest son, Jeff, and his wife, Jill, announced that their prayers for another baby had been answered— but not just one baby. Four!

 

Their quadruplets, three boys and a girl, were born mid-February and are all

Jill & Tiny Guy

          Jill & Tiny Guy

growing and thriving. All but the smallest one is home. The tiny guy will be
having some needed surgery but is expected to do well. We all thank God for these newest little ones and for the huge team of doctors, nurses, and staff that assisted in the birth and in their care at the NICU for several weeks. We also appreciate the care the smallest one is getting at Boston Children’s Hospital as he awaits surgery.

Wrapping one’s head around four premature newborns joining a family with two active children four and under is daunting.  Since the family lives over six hundred miles away, my visits to help are limited.  Jill’s mother has been a life-saver, traveling there from the mid-west several times to help. I just returned from my second visit to their home.  Generous people from their church and my son’s workplace have contributed meals non-stop. They have been blessed to find a wonderful helper/sitter who is equally adept at handling babies, a toddler, and a pre-schooler— and she’s a trained nurse. Other friends have also volunteered to assist.

 

Babies in boppy pillows

                 Babies in boppy pillows

Having children one at a time is life changing. Adding four at once is mind-blowing. The walls of their home are lined with bins of clothes of varying sizes, diapers, wet wipes, bottles. Other accoutrements are car seats for infants and some for children, boppy pillows, sleeping slings, strollers, cribs, high chairs— you get the picture. It’s everything times four. There are also two changing tables and rocking chairs.

Prayer ~ When she learned that they were expecting quads, Jill began a prayer support group that she kept updated with information as her pregnancy progressed. I did also. This prayer group has been such an encouragement and faithful in storming heaven for the family and especially these new babies.

Feedings are challenging ~Jill furnished pumped breast-milk to the hospital while the babies were there and still provides a supply for the little guy. She pumps five times a day. Each evening Jeff and I prepared the 18 bottles needed for three babies every day, each child has different amounts.  Jeff, the math whiz, calculates and adds just the right amount of dry formula to create “fortified breast milk” and the totals needed for each baby.  My job was to have the 18 bottles and all the four inserts cleaned and ready to go. We color coded the tops for each specific baby to keep it straight. The person feeding records how much each baby takes in at every feeding—also what they put out, but we won’t go there.  When the youngest comes home the numbers of bottles go up. I helped with changings and feedings as did Jeff when he was available. Jill, bless her heart, fed all three babies at the 3am feeding with the aid of three boppy pillows. She’s one tired mamma.

Jaff & the new Ford Transit

                 Jeff and the family chariot

Transportation ~ The kiddos have 2 double strollers to accommodate their infant car-seats. They also have a quad stroller for when they can sit up. With a four-year old and a two-year old who require car-seats and now four more little ones, it takes more than your average SUV or mini-van to transport everyone. So now they have added a Ford Transit 350 XLT to their driveway. It has room for all six car-seats with space to spare.    

Outside Help ~ Jeff and Jill were not the first couple to welcome quads. Hence, there are strollers and all sorts of devices designed to assist parents of multiples. Jill is part of an internet support group of quad moms that share important information like specific health concerns pertaining to preemies and multiples, as well as how to deal with a multitude of other issues. There is even a quad support group for dads. Friends of theirs have not only helped with meals, but with transporting their preschooler, arranging play-dates, and donating clothing and equipment.   

Siblings ~ The toddler and two-year-old have been so sweet welcoming their little siblings. And remarkably, for young children, they are adjusting very well well having less of their mom and dad’s attention.   

Ben, Nathaniel, Douglas missing Timothy

Sarah & Elizabeth

Watching how Jeff and Jill have and are adjusting to their new life fills me with awe and pride. They are doing a wonderful job in spite of being sleep deprived and overworked.

Jeff and Jill’s faith, patience, grace, love for their family, and sense of humor are an asset every day.   

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

 Psalm 46:10

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CHRISTMAS IN WILLIAMSBURG ~ IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL EPIPHANY

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions | 6 comments

In Williamsburg, Virginia we start the Christmas season on the day of Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, always held the Sunday of the first full weekend in December. Early in the day, it’s fun to take a stroll down Duke of Wreath 2Gloucester (DOG) Street and view all the unique and beautiful wreaths and swags on the doorways. They are, for the most part, created from fruit, dried flowers, pine boughs, and plants. These decorations are closely monitored throughout the entire Christmas season and freshened whenever needed.Pineapple and apples over the Door

This year the weather was spectacular, mild and sunny, which drew even more crowds than usual. While there we observed a fun colonial auction. A Colonial Williamsburg interpreter served as the entertaining Auctioneer. AuctioneerMany lovely and interesting colonial items were auctioned off to the hundreds of folks gathered on the lawn not far from the magazine.

This year also was a first for the recently installed ice rink, Liberty’s Ice Pavilion, which many people of all ages were Liberty Rinkenjoying. There were various stations up and down the street where visitors could purchase cider or hot chocolate.

When darkness came, the smell of bonfires and the charming lit cressets along DOG Street filled the air.

Cresset

The evening was culminated with fireworks set from three locations; The Palace Green, The Magazine, and the Capitol.

 

Grand Illumination Fireworks

Our next Christmas event each year is attending one of the five magnificent Christmas concerts at The Williamsburg Community Chapel directed by the incomparable Ted Cornell. The concert began with the entrance of the young member’s who serve as part of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifers and Drummers, boys and girls ages 10 to 18. The evening is filled with both traditional and more modern Christmas music by the large adult and children’s choirs and an orchestra. It is a wonderful celebration of our God coming to earth as a human, Jesus, to redeem us from our sins. His free gift of salvation is available to every person who accepts Christ as their Savior.Chapel Christmas Concert

We were fortunate to have some of our children and grandchildren visit us for Christmas which delighted us.Cousins fishing

 

Christmas Tree
Christmas Town lights

 

 

 

 

 

We tried something new that was lots of fun this year; we visited Busch Gardens “Christmas Town”. What a wonderful time of enjoying all the beautiful lights and decorations throughout the park. There were a number of live shows, all with a Christmas theme. One show, Gloria! shared the birth of Christ. Scrooge was based on the Dickens story. There was an ice show and others with dancing and singing.

Hopping John 2

 

We brought in the New Years watching the ball drop at midnight in Times Square. Our family always has the traditional meal of Hoppin John to bring in the New Year.

See more about Hoppin John at: https://janetgrunst.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=645&action=edit

Now, we celebrate Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, sometimes called Three King’s Day. Epiphany is the Christian celebration that commemorates the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the wider world as told in the story of three wise men visiting the newborn Jesus with gifts in Bethlehem.  

 

May your 2016 be blessed, and may you begin your new year opening your heart to all that the Lord has for you.

 

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