About Barbara Harper

https://barbarah.wordpress.com

The Cares of This Life

Cares of life can choke God's wordThere’s a lot to be concerned about in this life, isn’t there? Making a living, maintaining a marriage, raising children, getting along with coworkers and neighbors, car and house repairs, health concerns, preparing for retirement, church ministries, political discord, the latest negative news. And that was before a global pandemic and rioting in the streets. We truly have a lot to occupy our thoughts and time. Sometimes we feel we can’t keep up with it all.

But the cares of this life can have a detrimental impact in unexpected ways.

In Mark 4:1-9, Jesus told a parable of a sower—a planter—planting seeds. Only a few of the seeds took root and grew. Some were eaten by birds, some landed on rocky ground, some were choked out.

The disciples asked Jesus the meaning of this parable in Mark 4:10-20. He said that the seed was the word of God. The seed being eaten by birds is a picture of Satan snatching the word away before it can germinate from people who don’t understand (Matthew 13:19). The rocky ground represents a stony heart that might have soil enough for a plant to sprout, but not enough to nourish the plant. Some people seem to believe, but then never progress because they never dealt with the bedrock in their hearts. Then some of the word is choked by “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things” (verse 19). The ESV Study Bible notes say, on the account of this parable in Matthew 13, “Competing for nutrients from the soil, weeds choke out the good plants, which are then unable to reach maturity and bear fruit.”

Some say that this parable is about the gospel, not the whole word of God. Even if that’s the case, we can choke out the word of God in general when we’re distracted, can’t we? I’ve experienced not being able to take in or rest in God’s promises because my attention is on my cares.

In Luke 21, Jesus mentions the cares of this life again, along with “dissipation and drunkenness.” These distractions can preoccupy people from warnings to prepare for His coming, and then that day will “come upon you suddenly like a trap.”

How can we keep the cares of this life, this world, from distracting us from more important things?

“Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NKJV; other versions say “anxieties” or “worries”). The word for “care” is the same Greek word as “cares” in the two passages above:

But before we can cast our cares on Him, we have to back up to the verses that come before this:

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:5b-7, ESV). 

We have to humble ourselves before God, acknowledge Him for who He is and ourselves for who we are. He’s our sovereign Lord. He made us. He redeemed us through Christ’s death on the cross. He is wise. He has the right to call the shots. But He is also love. He is kind. He is our provider. He cares for us.

Then we “cast our cares” on Him. The Greek word for cast means “to throw upon; to place upon.” In prayer and in faith, we place them on Him, knowing He loves us, knowing He can take care of the problems and meet our needs.

How do we know these things? From His word.

Psalm 1 tells us that the person whose “delight is in the law of the Lord” and who “meditates day and night” on it is “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.”

Instead of our cares choking out the Word, we sink our roots deep into it. When concerns swirl in our minds, we take our thoughts captive and remind ourselves of God’s truth.

I don’t think it’s going too far to say that spending time with God is the most important thing we can do each day. Some seasons of life, we may have half an hour to an hour to spend with the Bible. Other seasons, we’re doing good to get five minutes. But I like what Sue Donaldson says here: “I figure if I can’t give God five minutes anytime on any given day, I’m not taking Him and our relationship seriously. ”

Psalm 1 speaks of not just reading, but delighting in and meditating in God’s word. We can write a verse out that spoke to us and keep it before our eyes through the day. We can listen to the Bible itself or to Christian music, sermons, podcasts while we’re driving, cooking, etc., setting our “minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Some years ago, I attended a ladies retreat where, on the last day, the speaker had us write down a concern, burden, or prayer request on a small piece of paper. Then she asked us to fold the paper and turn it in. She collected all the papers and put them into a bag, then tied the bag onto a collection of helium-filled balloons. Then we all went outside. I think she prayed, giving all the concerns we had collected to the Lord. Then she released the balloons, symbolizing releasing these concerns to God.

Honestly, at the time I thought it was a little silly. And I wondered what the person who eventually found the little bag would think.

But a few days later, something I had written on my little paper came to mind. I don’t even remember what it was now. But as I turned it over in my thoughts, suddenly I remembered: “I gave this to the Lord. I don’t need to keep worrying about it.”

Perhaps some physical way of handing our cares over to Him might help cement the idea in our minds. I don’t think releasing more balloons would be good for the environment. One friend used to cup her hands and raise them up to the Lord while praying, physically reminding herself that she was giving her concerns to Him. Maybe a prayer journal would be a concrete way to note the concerns and requests we’ve given over to God.

Giving concerns to Him doesn’t mean we never pray about them any more. But when we do, we remind ourselves that He invites us to place on Him all our cares, and He’s the only one who can take care of them. Some prayer requests last a lifetime. But when God does answer others, we can record how and when. What an encouragement to faith to look back over that record.

What helps you to cast your cares on God?

1 Peter 5:7

(Sharing with Hearth and Home, Global Blogging, Senior Salon, Purposeful Faith,
Tell His Story)

Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading onlineHere are some thought-provoking reads discovered recently.

What Does a Christian Need to Grow? HT to Challies. “Conferences abound – they’re good aren’t they? – and there are all the worthy books you might read, they’re surely helpful? Some people are into blogs and podcasts too. Such vital media are surely valuable, are they not? But, honestly, no. Not ‘no’ as in, they’re not valuable. All these things might be valuable. But no, you don’t need them to grow.” I love back-to-basics posts.

Was That Worship? HT to Challies. Nostalgia or emotion might be part of worship, but are not worship in themselves.

Should We Legislate Morality?

Christians Don’t Need the Black Lives Matter Movement to Defeat Evil, HT to Proclaim and Defend. Before you react to this one, let me say that I was hesitant about posting it because the title and some of what it says is polarizing. But, whatever specific points we might agree or disagree with, the most important, and the reason I am sharing this, is that some are encouraging Christians to follow a movement instead of living out their Christian faith. In past decades it was Christians who led the fight for abolition and civil rights. “The idea that the gospel is not enough to defeat evil is a belief that could severely hamper the work of the Kingdom. Thankfully, the history of the last two centuries is enough to prove otherwise.” Also, while I believe, as this author does, that Black lives do matter, I didn’t know until a few weeks ago that there is an organization by that name with which I would not agree. Christians attending peaceful marches and protests are fine, but not in place of the gospel and Christian principles. And, as I said before, we do need to listen and acknowledge and learn.

Are Churches “A Major Source of Coronavirus Cases“? No, despite some headlines. We need to exercise discernment when we read the news. (In today’s post, Tim Challies notes that the headline has been changed to the more accurate and less provocative “Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are Confronting Coronavirus Cases.”)

40+ Free Virtual Vacations Your Kids Will Love, HT to The Story Warren. With vacation plans nixed due to COVID-19, here are some ways to explore areas you might never have the opportunity to see in person.

Amazing Chalk Art by a 14-year-old, featuring her brother. HT to The Story Warren. At the end is a list of links of fun things to do at home.

This is one Welsh church’s humorous rendition of how things would work when their church reopened after the lockdown. Probably whatever they actually did would seem much better after viewing this. 🙂 HT to Steve Laube.

Friday’s Fave Five

Another week is almost done. They go so fast these days. On Fridays I like to slow down for a moment with Susanne and friends to note the good things of the week, lest they slip by without notice. Here are some highlights of my week:

1. The 4th of July. I love my country, though it’s not perfect.I love the opportunity to celebrate her birthday. Though the city-wide activities were more low-key this year, we did hear and see a number of fireworks around us. My husband’s grilled burgers were the centerpiece of our July 4th meal. So good, as always. But especially since we’ve not been eating takeout, except for an occasional pizza, our burger cravings were satisfied. And my daughter-in-law made a scrumptious cheesecake for dessert. The “4th” decoration is made from diced Reese’s cups.

2. Mostly homemade pizza. I found some ready-made pizza crusts at the store (Mama Mia brand) that were a good price. I bought toppings and made my own pizza sauce for a dinner at home. I thought they turned out really well. I liked the crusts better than the kind from a can that you roll out. Plus they have a gluten-free version we can get for when my daughter-in-law and grandson are here.

3. Zucchini cake. I mentioned last week that a neighbor gifted us with zucchini from his garden. We’ve used some as a side dish, and I made a sausage/zucchini/squash/noodle dish last night. I made a zucchini cake by halving this recipe. So good—hadn’t had something like that in ages. (What’s your favorite zucchini recipe? I still have a lot left. 🙂 I was pleased to learn I can freeze shredded zucchini.)

4. My husband washing my car. I stepped into the garage Wednesday to get some chicken from the freezer there, and I was surprised to see my husband washing my car in the driveway. It has some shields over the top of the windows that he doesn’t think would fare well in an automatic car wash, so it has to be done by hand at home. It was in sore need of cleaning, and I was thankful he took that on.

5. A clean kitchen window and windowsill have been on my list of things to do for a while. I finally got to it yesterday. Makes for a much brighter outlook!

How was your week?

Rose in Bloom Review and LMA Challenge Wrap-Up

Rose in Bloom in Louisa May Alcott’s sequel to Eight Cousins. In the first book, Rose was orphaned as a young girl and sent to live with her uncle Alec. She was also surrounded by several other great aunts, aunts, uncles, and seven boy cousins.

In this book, Rose and a few of her cousins are in their early twenties and about to embark on adulthood. They wrestle with possibly occupations, projects, and potential love interests. Evidently it was considered acceptable to marry first cousins in that era, because there’s a lot of speculation about whether Rose will marry one of hers.

Rose is set to come into a large inheritance, and her uncle has tried to train her well to be responsible and philanthropic rather that frivolous, self-important, and wasteful. She faces some temptations in these areas and wants to try the lifestyle of her friends for a while. This seems to involve a lot of parties and dancing at friends’ houses until the wee hours of the morning. She learns that some people are only interested in her because of her wealth. She has to decide between the “fast” life and a sedate but more useful one.

One of her cousins, Charlie, also known as Prince, has been indulged all his life and is in danger of going the wrong direction, especially in regard to one particular bad habit. Rose tries to help him overcome his wayward tendencies.

Louisa says in her preface that “there is no moral to this story. Rose is not designed for a model girl, and the Sequel was simply written in fulfillment of a promise, hoping to afford some amusement, and perhaps here and there a helpful hint, to other roses getting ready to bloom.”

When I was growing up, I warmed to stories like this that encouraged being good, or becoming better. Modern readers might feel it goes a little overboard. But I still find it a sweet story, and I think others would if they gave it a chance.

I was surprised that young people this age were still considered boys and girls at the time of this writing, and not read to marry or launch out on their own yet.

Much is said about Rose being a strong-minded girl. Evidently this was pushing the envelope even in Alcott’s day. A few sentences from the last paragraph of this exchange were included in the newest Little Women movie:

Rose’s voice was heard saying very earnestly, “Now, you have all told your plans for the future, why don’t you ask us ours?”

“Because we know that there is only one thing for a pretty girl to do: break a dozen or so hearts before she finds one to suit, then marry and settle,” answered Charlie, as if no other reply was possible.

“That may be the case with many, but not with us, for Phebe and I believe that it is as much a right and a duty for women to do something with their lives as for men, and we are not going to be satisfied with such frivolous parts as you give us,” cried Rose with kindling eyes. “I mean what I say, and you cannot laugh me down. Would you be contented to be told to enjoy yourself for a little while, then marry and do nothing more till you die?” she added, turning to Archie.

“Of course not; that is only a part of a man’s life,” he answered decidedly.

“A very precious and lovely part, but not all,” continued Rose. “Neither should it be for a woman, for we’ve got minds and souls as well as hearts; ambition and talents as well as beauty and accomplishments; and we want to live and learn as well as love and be loved. I’m sick of being told that is all a woman is fit for! I won’t have anything to do with love till I prove that I am something besides a housekeeper and baby-tender!”

That’s not quite as anti-domestic as it sounds, because Rose values both housekeeping and baby-tending. But she wants to accomplish something else before that stage of her life.

I enjoyed this exchange about novels with Rose and her friend, Kitty:

“I’m sure I’ve read a great deal more than some girls do. I suppose novels don’t count, though, and are of no use, for, goodness knows, the people and things they describe aren’t a bit like the real ones.”

“Some novels are very useful and do as much good as sermons, I’ve heard Uncle say, because they not only describe truly, but teach so pleasantly that people like to learn in that way,” said Rose, who knew the sort of books Kitty had read and did not wonder that she felt rather astray when she tried to guide herself by their teaching.

In Eight Cousins there was also much discussion of books one aunt felt were harmful to the younger cousins. I wondered how these compared to the “blood and thunder” books Louisa enjoyed writing.

I also smiled at a section where Rose and cousin Mac discuss the benefits of reading Thoreau and Emerson, knowing that both men were friends of Louisa’s family.

Although the Alcotts were ahead of their time in many ways, Louisa still seemed to hold to the idea that different classes ought not to marry: either that, or she was illustrating problems with that idea by her characters. Phebe started out as a maid from the orphan house in the last book, but was so sweet and industrious and bright that Rose and her uncle sought to give her a good education. Now grown up, everyone loves Phebe—until one of the cousins falls in love with her. Since she’s an orphan of unknown origin, her family tree could contain anybody, and what would it do to the good Campbell name if it should be joined with someone that could be unsavory? That seemed to be the thinking of the aunts, but Rose and Alec and a couple of others had no problem with Phebe becoming part of the family. But Louisa had Phebe prove herself worthy in other ways.

Overall, this was a sweet story of the choices and trials of growing into maturity.

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge

I’m going to wrap up my reading for Tarissa’s Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge here instead of in a separate post. I read:

I also watched the newest movie version of Little Women that was in theaters last year.

I always love spending time with Louisa and appreciate Tarissa’s challenge every June.

Updated Prayer Request

In May I asked you to pray for Mason, the six-year-old son of our former pastor in GA. He had leukemia, went into remission, came down with cancer again, and at that time was in the PICU with pneumonia and a bleeding lung. He had to be sedated and put on a paralytic drug to give the lung time to heal.

He recovered enough to go off the paralytic and sedation. But because he had been on them so long, he couldn’t walk, had trouble swallowing, and couldn’t talk very loudly. Those things are all slowly improving, though his breathing is still an issue.

The worst news, though, is that the chemo is not helping him. Humanly speaking, his only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. But he would not only have to be in remission to receive it, he would also have to meet several other health criteria. With the chemo only causing harm and not fighting the cancer, the family and doctors made the decision to take Mason off chemo and bring him home for whatever time he has left. They’re still hoping for a miracle, but willing for whatever God wants to do.

I don’t know if there is hope that he could go back on chemo eventually if he gets healthy enough, or if that’s completely off the table since all the types of chemo and even experimental drugs that they’ve tried have not helped.

You can imagine what they are going through. They have other small children as well, one of whom is old enough to understand what’s going on.

One of their main hopes right now is that Mason’s breathing will improve enough that he can remain at home and not have to go back into the hospital. They’ve been at the hospital for so long, with the family separated and visitation limited due to his condition and COVID protocols. They’d love for his remaining time to be at home with all the family together.

I told my pastor’s wife, when I shared this request with her, that, humanly speaking, it would seem like a waste or a defeat to have battled so long with so many people praying, only to end in death rather than healing. I know it’s not, but it feels that way. But, as Amy Carmichael often said, God does not waste His servant’s pain. He has done so much in people’s hearts through this journey already. I wrote last year that heaven is not a lesser answer to prayer.

Still, the family would love for God to heal Mason. I know God understands that. Jesus grieved death when He walked the earth. As we pray and hope for healing, we trust even if that’s not what we get.

I’m sure the family would appreciate your prayers.

Book Review: Rain Song

In Alice J. Wisler’s debut novel, Rain Song, Nicole Michelin was born in Japan to missionary parents. Her mother died in a fire when Nicole was two. Her father brought her back to America, where she was cared for largely by her maternal grandmother in Mount Olive. NC. He was a broken man forever after, and would not answer any of her questions about her mother’s death or their time in Japan.

Now Nicole is in her early thirties and teaches high school English in Mount Olive. She has a slew of quirky Southern relatives and regularly makes pineapple chutney with her grandmother. She keeps saltwater fish in her aquarium and writes columns for a fish web site. And she battles anxiety and bites her fingernails. She has three resolves. She will never ride a motorcycle. She will never fly in an airplane. And she will never go back to Japan.

An email question about koi from her fish column leads to a correspondence with a man who seems nice. He even sends her a poem that she can’t get out of her mind.

There’s only one problem. He lives in Japan.

And then—he reveals that he knew her when she was a child in Japan.

My thoughts:

I loved this book. I can’t believe I’ve had it in my Kindle app for years and just now got to it.

I loved the Southern flavor. I loved Nicole’s grandmother’s Southern Truths. I loved Nicole’s faith journey. And I loved Alice’s writing. Here are some samples:

I threw my head back and laughed like Uncle Jarvis. Swing your head back, open your mouth, and let laughter flow like a rushing waterfall in the North Carolina mountains. It sounds like sunshine in your ears.

We’d like to think we are brave, capable, and strong. But the minute we lose our luggage or are delayed, we’ve been known to break into pieces.

You are a gutless one, Nicole. You have never watered your gift of faith. It is so small; it’s still a seed in the ground.

I thought the author must have actually lived in Japan by the way she wrote about it. She did: she was also the child of missionary parents there.

This book is the first in her Heart of Carolina series. I don’t think the characters carry over from book to book: at least, it doesn’t seem like it from their descriptions. But it looks like they all take place in NC.

I found this book both funny and touching. Have you ever read any of Alice J. Wisler’s books?

(Sharing with Global Blogging, Senior Salon)

When others don’t do their part

When others don't do their partYears ago, it dawned on me that when Ephesians 6:1-3 and Colossians 3:20-21 teach that children should obey and honor their parents, it doesn’t add any qualifiers. Those passages, as well as the ten commandments in Exodus 20, don’t say “Obey your parents if they are Christians” or “if they are perfect” or “if anything.”

Some time later, I noticed that these passages mentioned responsibilities on both sides of relationships.

  • Wives submit to husbands as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18); Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19).
  • Children, obey and honor your parents (Ephesians 6:1-2; Colossians 3:20); Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
  • Servants, obey as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart (Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25); Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1). (I wrote about slavery in the Bible here. Generally we apply these verses to employee/employer relationships these days.)

Beyond these, the Bible speaks of relationships between people and rulers. When Paul in Romans 13:1-6 and Peter in 1 Peter 2:13-17 spoke of obeying and even honoring rulers, do you know who their ruler was? Nero, one of the worst rulers ever.

Then, most of the epistles speak to how we’re supposed to act towards our fellow church members.

Now, as an aside, we know from other passages of Scripture that we obey authorities unless they ask us to do something sinful. Then we have the right to refuse. And this passage does not give parents or spouses or anyone else the right to be abusive. If you’re suffering from abuse, please let a trusted teacher, doctor, neighbor, or someone know.

But for the purposes of this post, we’re just talking about everyday normal interactions.

In all of these pairs of relationships, it’s easier for one side to do their part if the other person is doing theirs. It’s generally easier for a wife to submit to a husband who loves her like Christ loves the church. It’s easier for a husband to love a wife who isn’t always at cross purposes with him. It’s easier to parent cooperative, obedient children; It’s easier to obey parents who are loving and nurturing. And so on.

But the Bible doesn’t say to do your part only if the other person does his.

It just says to do your part as unto the Lord.

That doesn’t mean we can’t discuss what’s wrong in a relationship. That’s healthy to do, even to call in help when needed.

But sometimes the grace shown by doing our part even when the other person doesn’t can lead to conviction, restoration, and encouragement.

We’re not only to love and do good to our friends and closest loved ones. Jesus said we’re to love, pray for, and do good even to our enemies.

God exemplifies this for us. In most of His relationships with His people, they fail. There are a very few people in Scripture against whom no sin is recorded. That doesn’t mean they never sinned, because we’re all sinners, except for Jesus. It just means their wrong-doing wasn’t pertinent to the narrative about them. It may mean they sinned less than others. But the point is this: there is no fault, no failing, on God’s side. We fail Him often. But He doesn’t stand apart, arms folded, rescinding His promises because we didn’t keep ours. He pursues us in love, drawing us to Himself, leading us in His goodness to repentance. Jesus died for us when we were His ungodly enemies. He didn’t wait for us to clean up our act first. He knew that was impossible. Yes, God disciplines and chastens, but in love. He’s always faithful to His own.

And, by His grace, He calls us to be faithful to Him and to the others we have relationships with.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Peter 2:21-25, NKJV).

It’s natural to want to strike back or withhold love or respect or obedience when the other person fails to hold up their end. Doing so only widens the chasm. And as Christians, we’re not called to react naturally, but supernaturally—something we can only do with God’s help. We seek His grace do the right thing. “Do not be overcome by evil,” or failure or disappointment, “but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection (Colossians 3:12-14, NKJV).

Romans 12:21, overcome evil with good

(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Global Blogging, Hearth and Soul, Senior Salon,
Tell His Story, InstaEncouragement, Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies.
Let’s Have Coffee, Faith on Fire, Grace and Truth,
Blogger Voices Network.
Links do not imply 100% endorsement.)

Laudable Linkage

IMG_0195

Here are some of the thought-provoking reads I’ve found over the last couple of weeks:.

Choosing Our Battles Biblically. “This is a time for careful, clear thinking, and not for fed up emotional responses.”

Why You Should Never Take the Mass, HT to Challies.

How to Root Out Apathy with the Power of Habit, HT to Challies. “Practicing spiritual disciplines may feel like work at first. Establishing new habits always presses against our apathy in uncomfortable ways. But one day your heart will catch up to the regimen. One day you’ll look back and see growth.”

When Cancel Culture Comes to Newsrooms, HT to Challies. “We’re cowering under the sick mutation of Andy Warhol’s famed prediction—soon everyone will be canceled for 15 minutes. It’s one thing for cowardly corporations to choose the path of least resistance. But it’s a fresh horror when members of the only profession the Bill of Rights mentions shuck off their solemn responsibility to champion free speech and instead serve silence.”

Why Some Christian Leaders Don’t Post About Current Events on Social Media, HT to Challies. “Our culture appreciates ‘Hot Takes,’ but the Bible values takes that are truthful, thoughtful, helpful, and edifying, all of which cannot happen when you’re not slow to speak (James 1:19).”

Pastors on Social Media, HT to Challies. Though this is written to pastors, the advice is good for us all. Especially the guidelines suggested.

How to View Claims About Dreams and Visions, HT to Challies. “Some seek dreams, visions, and other mystical experiences constantly yet don’t even know their Bible. Others dismiss every supernatural claim and prefer rationalism at all costs; unwilling to even accept any possibility that supernatural experiences could either be demonic or that God could providentially use a very normal dream to move someone into realistic action once they wake up.”

Cheap Knockoffs, HT to Challies. When Christian ideals mix with a pagan worldview, they turn into counterfeits of truth.

Five Lessons I Learned From a COVID-19 Spike at Our Church, HT to Challies. “I’m convinced that one of the reasons the virus hasn’t spread faster and farther is that we have been following procedures designed to isolate sick people and keep everyone else socially distanced. At the same time, we had gotten comfortable, and on a few occasions we were a little lax in those policies. We can trace almost all of the infections back to one of those times.”

4 Reasons to Wear a Mask, Even If You Hate It, HT to Challies. I agree, the science is contradictory. I’ve seen people on both sides of the issue posting opposing data. But these are good reasons to wear one.

Learning From History and Sharing Hospitality. Loved this.

Happy Independence Day!

God's truth will set you free

Friday’s Fave Five

2020 is half over! Yay! I started to say that hopefully the second half will be better. But with the election coming up, and as much vitriol as there has been between sides, social media may not be a pleasant place for a long time to come. But for now, I enjoy this pause on Fridays with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story to recount some of the blessings of the week.

1. Timothy’s first camping experience and brunch. His parents wanted to set up camp in their yard before trying it away from home, so that if Timothy woke up in the middle of the night upset, they could take him right in. He did great. Jim went over to “camp out” with them. The next morning, Mittu made a hash brown casserole and bacon and biscuits for the campers and invited Jesse and me as well.

2. Gifted produce. Our neighbor has a good-sized garden and always shares from his bounty. He brought over some zucchini this week.

3. A brief visit with another neighbor. We happened to be taking mail to our mail boxes at the same time and visited across the cul-de-sac for a bit.

4. Menu planning is something I know how to do, but I just don’t often do it. I’ll have a few meals in mind, but then I keep a lot of staples on hand to throw together. I don’t like to try to decide on Monday what I’m going to want to eat on Friday. 🙂 But, for some reason, I made up a list of meals for this week. I didn’t assign them for certain days: I decided on a daily basis which to do. But it was nice to choose from a list of meals that I knew I had the ingredients for rather than racking my brain to figure out what to make each day.

5. Timothy’s second camping experience! Everyone in the family had today off for the Fourth of July. So they decided to camp out here last night. Jesse and I slept in our own beds, but Mittu joined the campers this time. Timothy spent the night in Granddad’s tent instead of his parents’ and did fine.  I figured some time during the night he’d want his mom and dad, but he slept straight through. Then Jim made “camp breakfast” on the grill this morning. So good!

Belated Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends! And I wish my fellow Americans a happy Independence Day.

Book Review: Monday’s Child

Monday's Child novelIn Linda Chaikin’s novel, Monday’s Child, Krista von Buren models jewels across Europe from Gotthard Enterprises in Zurich. Her fiance, Paul, is Gotthard’s nephew. Recently, Gotthard’s has started helping Interpol in small matters, sometimes involving Krista.

When a new client suddenly comes to town and asks for a private showing and for an opportunity to speak to Krista alone, everyone’s suspicions are up. The meeting doesn’t go as planned, and Krista suspects this woman and her lawyer are not who they appear to be.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Meanwhile, an investigation has been opened into Swiss banks which were trusted to care for some of the riches sent ahead by European Jews before WWII but which have never been returned to the families. Could the strange happenings Krista encounters be tied at all to the banking scandal? One Mossad agent thinks so. But perhaps Krista is not who she appears to be, either.

It took me a few chapters to get into this novel, but wow—all of a sudden I was riveted and couldn’t read fast enough.

This is the first book in Linda’s Day to Remember series. Each of the books is based on a line of the poem that starts, “Monday’s Child is fair of face.”

Krista is a fledgling believer at first, but learns through her experiences to trust in God and not her “fair face.”

An excellent, clean, very exciting story.