How to Be Thankful When You’re Feeling Blue

The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the holidays. Mentally, that is.

Just this week my state registered a 39% positivity rate for COVID-19. Illness in my community is so widespread that the Department of Health developed an entirely new category of measurement.

As our cases surged, my heart sank. A “critically high” spread meant I would be home for the holidays. It meant more confinement. Less gathering.

Maybe you can relate. Across the country, cities are mandating that families forgo the festivities and guests this season. For most of us, this holiday promises to be different. Complex. Confusing and discouraging. Continue reading

Do you worry about your future?

When you think about the future, what emotions bubble to the surface?

I’m pretty sure all my thoughts about the future have resulted in permanent worry lines etched across my forehead. On most occasions the unknown creates anxiety, concern, stress and a host of pleading prayers. Flashes of what could happen combined with a gazillion what if questions flood my mind and threaten to sweep my emotions away with them.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future…Proverbs 31:25

Enter, Proverbs 31 woman. She fascinates me, mostly because of this verse. You can bet this woman has seen her fair share of hardship, disease, war and death. But when it comes to the future and her unknowns, she smiles. She can laugh, untroubled. Her brow does not stay furrowed over what may or may not come.

How is she able to do this? We get a sneak peek at the answer only a few verses later: Continue reading

3 Ways Christians Can Respond to the Upcoming Election

With prying eyes, I watched as my ballot joined hundreds of voices in the locked blue box. Safely secured in the vault, it waits for Election Day. As I exited the polling station into the frigid October air, my sigh of relief mingled with the uneasiness in my heart. 

This time, the future of our country, constitution and liberties could very well be at stake. If certain politicians have their way, this could be the last election where my vote counts in a flyover state. 

How easy it is to forget the privileges we all share. The blessings we reap from the many lives who have gone before our time. 

Clutching the wool scarf around my neck, I thought of my grandfathers before me. The one who sailed the Mayflower in search of a better life. Another who, fleeing religious persecution, came to America to freely worship God and till his own land. Still other grandfathers bravely fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars so that we could be free and equal. Their legacies weigh heavy on my mind as I ponder the next four years.

As a Jesus follower, it is challenging to know how to respond to the mixed bag of emotions this bitter campaign evokes and the uncertainty that lies ahead. 

Continue reading

Why “2020 Fatigue” May Be a Good Thing

A few weeks ago, I drove to the park and wept in my car.

Because, 2020.

I’m guessing you can relate. Maybe you’ve had your own moments of hiding in your closet or alone time in your car. Perhaps the stress of this year is wearing on you, too.

I’ll admit, the last 6 months have been a bit much. My aunt died, most of my family got COVID-19, I lost a friend to cancer, my work dwindled, and the chaos of the world flared my chronic illness and PTSD.

In truth, I’ve got a bad case of “2020 Fatigue”. I’m tired of the stress, tired of the mess, tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop. Each new circumstance cues my anxiety like clockwork.

It’s like the world is on fire (oh wait, it is) and someone just keeps turning up the heat. And this girl can only take so much disaster bingo.

So I cried out all the feels in my car. I asked God to just make it stop. I was too weary, too weak, too inept to handle it all.

And perhaps that’s the point.  Continue reading

Quarantine Emotion #10: Navigating Deep Discouragement

This new world already looks different than the one I left behind.

Come June, I may need to decline invitations, wear a mask and forgo my favorite vacation spots.

And I’m not the only one. More than a third of Americans are considered high-risk, who are facing difficult decisions and continued isolation this summer.

After 70 days of quarantine, we’ve emerged from our homes to discover the world has changed. We falsely assumed reopening meant returning to life as we know it. But normal is not something we’ll be returning to anytime soon. Continue reading

7 Questions to Help You Process and Survive a Crisis

This pandemic getting scary. Many of us are on a roller coaster of emotion as we hear the latest news about loved ones, ICU patients, makeshift morgues, and healthcare workers making life-or-death decisions on the front lines.

When this pandemic hit, I was already neck-deep in trauma recovery. For the last twelve months, I’ve been working through my own post-traumatic stress that had compounded for decades.  Continue reading

4 Ways to Offer Hope in Times of Uncertainty

Once again, the world is experiencing a pandemic. Only this time it’s our turn to encounter travel bans, cancelled events, stockpiling and waves of uncertainty.

The response has been quite diverse. Some are waking up to a reality that has been looming for months. Others are running a “do not fear” campaign exhorting those who are anxious. Still some are promoting conspiracy theories, dismissing preventative action, or downplaying the virus as “just the flu”.

But for my family the threat is very real.

I am one of those in the “at risk” category. As one who is immunocompromised, my actions could literally be the difference between health and hospitalization.

For now, the virus is here to stay and will likely get worse before it gets better. Am I nervous? Of course. Am I taking precautions? You bet. A mutating virus to which humans have no immunity deserves our serious attention and responsible action.

How you respond to this crisis matters. Whether you realize it or not, your actions communicate a message. The question to ask yourself is, what kind of message do I want to send? Continue reading

When You Feel Forgotten and Unnoticed

The sun peered through the blinds, gently nudging me awake. As I quietly slipped out of bed, fatigue and stiff joints greeted me for the day. Snuggling into a sweatshirt, I routinely followed the smell of percolating coffee.

The sun rose slowly over ridges and rooftops, casting a golden glow on all of creation. A warm cup of coffee in hand, I nestled into a white porch rocker at the edge of the deck. The dew sparkled like stars on the grass. Filling my lungs with the crisp air of spring, I treasured being the only one awake.

Well, me…

And like a hundred birds. Continue reading