I’m Going to Need More

Thanks for visiting if you have landed here as part of the Easter Stories and More blog tour. Please continue on your journey tomorrow by hopping over to:

Marcia Laycock https://marcialeelaycock.com/thespur/

Last year at Easter time I wrote the following blog post for Inscribe. I decided to post it here, with some updating to keep it relevant for this year.

I’m Going to Need More

“I’m going to need some more,” my granddaughter, Violet said, as she barely chewed through the first chocolate covered peanut butter egg. One little taste and she could barely contain her enjoyment. She couldn’t wait to have more inside of her! Her eyes lit up; her tongue rolled over her lips as she blurted out her desire.

I hadn’t planned to make our traditional homemade Easter candy this year. Everything about celebrating Easter seemed in upheaval, in chaos. One less task to do amid this Covid virus crisis gave me a welcome sigh of relief.

And then my one son casually texted, “we’ve been dreaming of your Easter candy!” Dreaming? I suppose we all have our moments these days in which we conjure up ideas of how to escape the anxiety, fear, pent-up frustrations and general lack of control over this viral disease. A holiday amidst a pandemic brings an overwhelming desire to still have something around us that seems normal, calming, traditional.

I’m not sure what it says about me that my pantry just happened to have all the necessary ingredients. Actually, I do know. I am a make-it-from-scratch cook who likes to have items that will fall easily into recipes. Coconut, chocolate chips, icing sugar, peanut butter—when I use up the last of these, I quickly restock so they can be ready for use the next time.

The one outstanding item, cream cheese, had yet to be found. I scoured my fridge hunting in the far corners. No not there, but happily I discovered and found some in the freezer, probably bought when it was on sale. I now had everything I needed. So, I made chocolate covered peanut butter and coconut cream eggs.

We decided to make a porch visit with little Finn and Violet to deliver the Easter candy to them. Little Finn tried over and over again to back up into our laps so we could read a truck book with him. But he had to settle for a somewhat distanced page-through that soon failed to entertain him.

While the adults visited, the kiddies drew coloured chalk pictures on the sidewalk. We had to cut the time short, so we didn’t unknowingly pass any viral germs between us. Air hugs and kisses sufficed for the time being, but we all achingly knew we wanted more. A taste of a Nana and Pop-Pop visit didn’t seem to be enough. We all wanted more.

I find that is at the heart of this pandemic. We all want more. We want more hope, more patience, more comfort, more normalcy. More scientific facts, more reassurance, more ability to do the right thing for each other. More control.

“I’m going to need some more,” our hearts boldly cry out.

The world needs more help, for the unemployed, the ones already sick, the ones who have died, the ones recovering with long-term effects, for the ones who refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of this pandemic, for essential workers on the frontlines, for everyone coping with the limitations and restrictions that will keep all of us safe.

We all need more; we need to hold on tighter and more firmly to the promises that God remains steadfast and true despite this horrific pandemic. In our moments of ultimate meltdowns, we all need more, we need to be rescued.

As we look towards Good Friday, I grieve in advance, as Mary grieved. She knew Jesus lived on the edge of provocation every day. He either provoked anger amongst the Jewish leaders or provided hope for His worshipping followers. She knew what it meant to submit to God’s will, and she grieved for her son who had to sacrifice everything to fulfill it. She knew and although she marvelled at His healing works, His miracles which led people to trust and believe in Him, she also grieved for the heartache that surely would come. Waking up daily and not knowing if her son would be arrested or celebrated. Following His arrest, she woke up, picturing Him being tortured and mocked. She didn’t know what would happen next, so she grieved even as she prayed with hopeful yearning to the God who had provided and cared for her. She needed more.

She wanted more. She wanted a miracle, but she didn’t know what to expect. She stayed with Jesus and grieved. She stayed with him and asked for more from her God. Let’s not miss the fact that Jesus stayed too, as long as he could, praying, weeping, and asking more from God for us.

Jesus wept. Jesus wept and grieved not for himself, but for us. He needs us.

Christ needs more. He needs more of us. More of our hearts responding to him. He still seeks us; He still sits with us and watches as we try to fill our hearts with what we believe we need. He hears us as we cry, “I think I’m going to need some more.”

We don’t realize he already knows what we need. He knows our “more.” He knows what to offer. His pantry remains fully stocked and ready to respond to any request. He doesn’t need a list to remind himself that he needs to provide more sustenance, more comfort. He knows how to respond.

More comfort. More healing. More hope.

To receive it, we need to give Christ more.

More trust, more faith, more love.

As I look forward to Easter, I often replay a vision of Jesus that comes to mind when I need to reaffirm my hope in Him:

I am on my knees in prayer and in a weeping mess. I am distraught and overwhelmed by all the needs of everyone throughout this pandemic. And then I am lifted up, embraced and held in strong arms. I breathe deeply, I am quieted by a gentleness and peacefulness that flows over and around me. I begin to have a resurgence of clarity, a sense that I am held lovingly and tenderly. And in those arms, in that amazing embrace I know Jesus gives me the some more I need.”

Easter is coming. Jesus is here. He embraces us. Jesus gives us more of what we need even though we often don’t know what to ask for until the time arrives. He knows. He offers. He is here.

Go to His embrace. Trust. Feel His strength. Hope. Breathe deeply His peace. Be Forever Loved.

Do we need more? Amen and amen. Over and over again. Thank goodness He is stocked and ready. Thank goodness He provides the some more we need.

Psalm 103:1-5 NIV

Praise the Lord, my soul, all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Easter: Stories and More

For the past few years, I have participated in a blog for InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, a Canada-wide organization which exists to stimulate, encourage, and support Christians who write.

I have particularly enjoyed that each month we received a directive for a certain topic and then we had the freedom to interpret how to respond to it. One Easter we were challenged to describe from a personal viewpoint how it might have felt to live through the days of Jesus’s crucifixion. I found myself thinking of the Jesus I knew personally as a young child. The Jesus who came alive to me when my minister explained dying and heaven to a distraught 5-year-old following the sudden death of my dear Nana. I had no comprehension of grief, no sense of how her death would affect our family. Heaven existed as a place where Jesus lived, how could it become my Nana’s new home? Did she know how to get there and what should she take with her? How could I see or visit with her? What would she do in heaven? My minister patiently answered my questions and prayed with me. As I approached the concept of being an historical character living through the scenes of Jesus’ impending death, I recalled what it felt like to be on the periphery of a crisis as a child. I began to wonder about the children, those who had seen and celebrated Jesus, who had laughed with him and heard his welcoming words as he called them to him. How would they respond to the horror of his death? Who would answer their questions? That led me to write my selection featured in the Easter book of stories, “Through the Eyes of a Child.” Selections in this book include devotions, stories, and personal anecdotes, that will inspire and encourage the reader. To purchase the book, you can find it on Amazon (Canada or US), or you can click here to find it on your favorite ebook store.

Over the next week you have the opportunity to visit blog sites of several contributors to this heartwarming Easter book. Please follow the schedule below.

March 24 – Ruth L. Snyder https://ruthlsnyder.com/blog/

March 25 – Sally Meadows https://sallymeadows.com/blog

March 26 – Eunice Matchett https://albertastoryteller.com/

March 27 – Lynn Dove https://lynndove.com/

March 28 – Pat Gerbrandt https://patgwriter.wordpress.com/

March 29 – Denise Ford https://walkingwithdustyanddee.com/

March 30 – Marcia Laycock https://marcialeelaycock.com/thespur/

March 31 – Bob Jones revwords.com https://revwords.com/

April 1 – Valerie Ronald https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com

April 2 – Kimberley Payne https://www.kimberleypayne.com/blog/

April 3 – Marnie Pohlmann https://marniewriter.com/blog/

April 4 – Lynn Simpson https://lynnjsimpson.com/

Snow’s Late, but Easter Comes Early!

Waking up to an unexpected March snow, a couple days after the official start of Spring, that’s one of the many blessings of living in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies! The sun begins to bring glistening rays to the backyard as eager birds clamour to find their spots at the prepared feeders, ever grateful for the seeds within their reach. This snow covers over the strewn seeds below the trees, the ones shaken from the fervor of driven fluttering bodies, jostling to position themselves to find nourishment within the sanctuary of the trees. Straining, seeking, yearning for the promise of refreshment.

Whew! I think I feel like those birds amidst this sudden spring snow! Yearning for the promise of refreshment! Straining to keep a firm grip on the hope of surviving. Perhaps just for this day, despite the chaotic challenges it may bring. Perhaps for the ongoing struggle in my healing process.

The first thought that comes to mind, “This snow’s late, but Easter comes early this year. I hope the new fallen snow doesn’t dampen my spring hope!”

I smile as I sip my coffee and recall an early March Easter that we spent in Pennsylvania one year. The boys were young and excited about spending time with Gammie and Pop-Pop for a week. We had left a blooming landscape in North Carolina to go north to one still experiencing the unexpected cold snaps of early spring. We arrived the day before Easter, just in time to see the town park volunteers setting up for the annual Easter egg hunt. My parents’ home, situated directly across from the park, gave us a bird’s eye view of the preparations. The colored eggs haphazardly strewn about, looked pretty on the grassy areas.

Then snow fell during the night and covered the eggs leaving only their tips exposed. When we looked toward the park, dots of color peaked through a whiteness that appeared to have been carefully shaken out over them and around them. Like quilted blankets with their stuffing popping open, as if the thread-worn work had burst from its hidden designs, unexpected but purposefully created.

The room the boys slept in had a window facing the park. Early that morning Chris came running to get our attention, grabbing at our pajama sleeves to pull us so that we could see through the front window. He excitedly proclaimed, “The Easter Bunny brought me snow!! “

No disappointment. No concern that Easter wouldn’t happen. No dismay that he couldn’t see everything that Easter promised. No reluctance to begin the day.

Instead, the exuberance of a child who trusts. The delight of one eager to receive what is placed before him. Snow! Snow that covered up what he knew was already there. Maybe he would need to dig a bit to find what lay beneath it, but he knew what he would be seeking.

This snow reminds me of that surprising Easter snow. A winter landscape but barely enough. Or perhaps just enough, so that I can still see the promise of spring below it.

Snow comes late, but Easter comes early!

Refreshment still remains. Thankfully I don’t need to jostle for position to receive mine. I only need to brush away my doubts, the hope peeks out below the anxiety that sometimes creates a shadow over my prayers.

Whew! Not completely covered. They still can be found.  

Snow comes late, Easter comes early.

Yes, I still feel the love of Christ moving with me and for me. He’s bringing hope and healing to me and my family in ways I may not understand through His powerful strengthening love.

I don’t know exactly what you need today, I don’t even know what I need as this spring day begins.

Thankfully our ever-present Lord does. He’s already refilled the source of our refreshment. He’s already prepared for us, with a love that surrounds us and surprises us in ways that we truly need.  Hallelujah! Snow’s late, but Easter comes early!

Healing by His Loving Care

Like many of you throughout this past year I have sought healing strength, healing wisdom, and healing guidance. Whether praying to heal physically, emotionally, or spiritually, when I focus my prayers on healing through the Lord’s loving care, I set in motion a beautiful agenda for my day.

This morning I focused my thoughts not just on myself but on you, my friends and family who I know seek healing, in all areas.

For the past few days, I wake up praying over you, beginning with the Lord’s Prayer for guidance. I focus on the loving, rescuing Father, our Father, our Almighty God, all holy, all merciful. Yahweh, all knowing, ever present, constantly providing exactly what we need. I pray that His power and His holiness will fill you up every single moment of the day. May He deliver you from every evil, from every attack of the unknown. May you trust that even as you cannot possibly see or understand everything that He is fighting, He continues to fight for you and with you.

Oh, the rhythm and beauty of saying “Hallowed be thy name.” He created every tiny fiber of your being, and He strengthens and maintains you according to His will. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done. Open yourselves to His heart through your prayers for healing. Pray for the release of the love and purposes He has for you. No matter how your day begins, unfolds and ends, He leads you. He, the great provider knows your needs.

I have started asking this phrase throughout this long COVID timeframe. What still matters?

Trusting and depending on God. Trusting and letting go to His loving care.

I grew up body surfing in the waves that crash onto the New Jersey shore. But I also know the beauty and serenity of floating on the current just past the point where the waves break. I can float and feel secure in the buoyant waters, gently being lulled amidst the undulating motion, but not swept away to crash with the waves. When I need to, I visionally toss myself, no, I fling myself at the feet of Jesus. He comes to me and He pulls me with Him into the waters. We wade past the rising waves; we smash through the crests that catch us in their wake. Then we stretch out onto our backs finding our place in the rolling tides. Floating with Jesus, in His presence, in His healing love.

Today I pray that you may find yourself lifted and held in the peaceful presence of our Lord. May His loving care provide the healing you require today.

I invite you to pray with me, “Our Father, in your name, deliver us, by your power, through your glory and in your healing love.”

As Another Day Dawns

As the world marks the anniversary of the Covid pandemic, I pause to reflect on the year that has transpired. Over and over again I have asked myself and others this simple question,

“What still matters?”

Staying connected and together despite the obstacles of social distancing, delving deeper into relationships with family and friends, renewing purposeful avenues of encouragement and inspiration. These still matter, these still define the borders of my days.

What still matters?

That we continue to walk into and through promising days, that we linger within and around astonishing love, and that we maintain hope for the dawning of each new day.

I wrote this last June when we resurfaced from weeks of shutdown and quarantining in our homes. I wanted to express my gratitude to God for His protection and guidance throughout the months of fear and uncertainty. It seems appropriate to place it here as a statement of a new beginning.

When the New Day Dawns

When the new day dawns I begin my reflection, as Your glory glides and settles over me, as Your protection promises and guides within me.

When the new day dawns I begin my reflection, responding to Your glory, refining my thoughts to express my love to You.

As I revel in your presence settling over and through me, I accept Your radiance, it surrounds and protects me.

Even as the words form, even as my praises rise up, I meet You here, in the dawning of this day.

I allow myself to be surpassed by Your glorious presence, to be enfolded from within by Your spirit of power.

I embrace this mighty determination not bounded by the ground of uncertain and fearful thoughts.

Words no longer stay silent, words no longer remain restrained, words simply pour through me forming and expressing adoration.

I begin my reflection, responding to Your glory as it glides and settles over me, as Your protection promises and guides within me.

When I called and cried out to You, You heard me. When I could not speak, when I searched for You, when I stumbled back and forth into the refuge of Your peace, even then

Your promise of protection offered deliverance.

Who am I that when I called, You came seeking me? Who am I that You saved and delivered me? Who am I that You long to bless and restore me?

Your refuge, Your peace, Your blessing.

As this new day dawns, I revel in it.

I gather my broken distorted crushed spirit and let the searing light of your refinement mold and fit me anew.

So, I begin to step into this new day.

This dawning of life restructuring and falling together,

 amidst social distancing, among creative masking, within boundaries and without controls, within respectfulness and without recklessness.

I exist within Your embrace, because You responded and sought me. Because You found and rescued me.

When the new day dawns I begin my reflection, responding to Your glory, refining my thoughts to express my love to You.

Not leaving the encampment of Your presence but revelling in it.

Taking note of the words that pour forth, over and through my lips to praise and gratefully acknowledge You.

You meet me as this new day dawns. My words no longer held back, no longer contained.

As this new day dawns, I begin my reflection, while Your glory glides and settles over me, surrounded by Your protection promises and your guidance within me.

New Sunrises

I tried last week to renew this blog as promised (to myself) for the September timeframe.  

Last Tuesday I wrote:

September 22 ushers in a new Fall season! The earth begins to tilt so that we become slightly out of reach for the early morning sun, causing our 5 AM awakenings to begin with starlight. This morning my husband and I stood in silence on our backyard deck deciphering constellations, pinpointing planets, and awaiting the first sounds of morning.

A couple days later I sat entranced with the way the initial rays of light outlined the tree branches at the edge of our inner backyard of trees. Tracing the ruffled fringes of spruce needles, catching the slight trembling of the poplar leaves as they let go of their grasp on the twigs and cascaded to the ground below. First light, painting with dabs of shimmering gold, a fingerpaint daub of pink peaking from behind the dim, shadiness. Light slowly easing into our protected patch, pulling back the curtain of darkness before us.

My 11-month-old grandson, Fraser, and I looked out from the kitchen and marvelled at the morning unveiling. I didn’t know that sunrise could accompany the moments of yogurt smearing over chubby cheeks, and cheerios squishing through sticky fingers. But September sunrise suddenly became a new art form accompanied by Fraser chirruping a garble of sounds while savouring the beginning of his day.

For a few mornings in a row while Fraser stayed with us, I didn’t turn on the kitchen lights as we ate breakfast together. Instead amidst shadows and silhouettes I whispered descriptions of sunrise surprises to Fraser while we listened to a concert of classical music. It inspired us to sway or move our heads in rhythm to the raising crescendos. When Fraser cocked his head in response to clashing cymbals, I slapped my palms together to mimic the unseen percussion. He raised his little hands and waved bye-bye to me, one of his new accomplishments for the month. I interpreted it as his happy salute to the melody that caused Nana to dance in circles in front of him. Or maybe orchestral conducting begins at an early age?? Fraser and kitchen sunrises will forever highlight my repertoire of September memories!

Today as I realized a few hours remain on this September 30th, I wondered how I could settle into this consistent commentary to maintain my promise to myself. I plan to write inspiring and entertaining messages in this blog based on my Nana experiences. I set forth this goal last month when I honestly believed I would have a few weeks to outline and sketch out what I envisioned I could accomplish. And then, of course, Nana had a few calls to duty that threatened to sidetrack this blog before it ever began. Oh well, I now have lots of scribbled notes that I plan to ponder over, eventually tugging and pulling them into sentences to delight and distract you, or at the very least serve as a journal of my Nana Dee’s delights.

I bade goodbye to my sunrise buddy late Monday afternoon. He and his parents moved into a new home in a quaint little neighborhood close to parks and children friendly activities. One day next week I hope to join him for a morning stroller walk along the riverside trail that leads to the Calgary zoo. Happy October days beckon to become days of golden adventure!

Beginnings… the conception of my original blog.

I like to believe that I have re-entered this blog to produce the promise of beginnings that will happen over and over again every day. Perhaps I have re-entered this blog as a renewal of trust. I trust that new sunrises will bring ideas and stories worth sharing. I trust that each day will uncover ways to nudge my creative perceptions into words. I trust that I may provide you, dear reader, with hope and smiles for the day unfolding in front of you.

Talk to you again, soon.  Nana Dee

From my Hands to Yours

(Disclaimer: I started writing this one month ago amidst the beginning of our “can’t see the grandkids” experience due to this Covid-19 pandemic. I couldn’t finish it that day because I became too weepy. These days of Facetime visits and video updates bring small delights, but I still miss his little hands.)

I spent the last few days putting together an assortment of hands-on items into an activity book for our 5 month-old grandson. The finished product made its way into his realm of discovery yesterday. I didn’t see his immediate response to it, or have the opportunity to guide his wee hands over the pages. Our son and daughter-in-law picked it up from our front porch allowing for the necessary social distancing. I stood near but away from the assembled bins and bags I had carefully packed to transfer to their home.

The conversation we shared as they gathered up the goods framed the feelings we conveyed by the looks we gave each other. Disbelief and dismay etched on our faces as we recognized we would usually be enveloped in each other’s hugs at a time like this. I could only share quick explanations of what I had put together for them since little Fraser began crying as he sat alone in the car, strapped into his safe and isolated car seat.

Our front porch, a loading and pick-up zone, a bridge between our home to theirs. A station at which I place carefully chosen things I would like to share with them, but cannot at this time because I am too vulnerable to be in close proximity with them.

As I contemplate what I miss most during these weeks of social distancing and isolation from my grandson, I struggle with the loss of the softness and sureness of his little hands. I want so desperately to simply connect again in the way that Nana’s have all through time.

My hands to yours…

Little one, I cannot lift up your tiny fingers and marvel at your strong clasp on mine. Little one, I cannot trace the designs of your movements as you tactilely define your environment. I cannot see every nuance of your little eyes as they light up with delight or discovery. I only know that as I poured my heart and soul, my imagination and creativity into this unique baby activity book for you, I gathered up your little hands into mine and somehow, someway, spiritually or purely because our love exists without physical boundaries…I opened this book with you.

My hands to yours…

To Hear His Voice

I grew up in a small town in which the local churches took turns hosting mid-week Lenten services. As we worshipped together, we benefited by hearing about God from fresh perspectives through different faith backgrounds.

The hymnals featured unknown arrangements of songs, but the choirs always led wayward singers to the appropriate Hallelujahs. The prayers sometimes seemed strange, but they all got around to Amen with or without everyone following each response.

When I went to live on campus during my college years, I discovered that reading through the Psalms kept me grounded during Lent. I attended chapel services and became active in the Religious Life Council which brought the traveling Great Commission to our school during one spring-term. The new era of emotional Christian rock music broadened my lexicon of hymns with worship songs that could bring forth responsive moments when I sang.

When I married and moved from place to place with my husband, we attended the local churches celebrating Lent in a New England Congregational church, in a Virginian Methodist church, a North Carolina Presbyterian church, a United Church of Canada, and an Alliance Missionary Church of Canada. Navigating our way through the different approaches to Lent gave us the opportunity To Hear His Voice from a fresh perspective in varied places.

Presently I am focusing on Jesus and how He prayed.

He too wanted and needed… To Hear His Voice… the guidance and wisdom of His Father, our God. He prayed for us, and for the purpose of his life to be fulfilled.

Mark 1:35-37 (NIV)

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him and when they found him, they exclaimed “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also.  That is why I have come.”

Jesus prayed.

Jesus prayed and lived through the ultimate human yearning…To Hear His Voice. He prayed in humility yet with authority. He prayed in gentleness yet with intensity. He prayed in expectation yet with compassion. He prayed for us and He prays with us when we seek His presence today.

Jesus prayed and then He listened…To Hear His Voice.

I cannot immerse myself into Lent without the multitude of songs that come to mind from the history of my worship experiences. Yet this year the season is freshly new as I begin each day praying fervently for the presence of Jesus and to gain His fresh perspective for my life.

Praying and seeking …To Hear His Voice.

When I worked in a high school supporting special needs students, I sometimes had to search for a student who had taken a walk to escape too much human interaction. In fact, we often encouraged our students to use a separation strategy by taking a walk as a calming tool, or as a venting escape.  We hoped that they would allow a companion on these walks so that it became either a time to provide silent support or an opportunity for a walk-and-talk. A chance to gain a fresh perspective! However, in a meltdown of feelings often a student would head out on his own and quickly outpace me. So, I would go on a search.

Thankfully our school campus had boundaries surrounded by sports fields and country roads.  Thankfully our students created repeated routes that they would pace on these rare occasions. One day I had followed the predictable path of one student over and over again. Every time I turned a corner, I expected to see him in a usual place or with a trusted staff member. As I grew increasingly worried, I circled the outer grounds following the sidewalk that led to the baseball fields. Suddenly I saw him walking towards me with a huge grin on his face. As I neared, he exclaimed, “Mrs. Ford, I found you!”

Imagine that! Sometime along his walk his perspective changed, and he believed that he needed to find me!

I have often replayed that scene in my mind as I ponder what it feels like to be found. To realize that someone wants to come to you so that you may share a walk-and-talk or silent companionship.  To seek for someone and to find someone. To rejoice when found.

When the disciples went looking for Jesus in exasperation because “Everyone is looking for you” He very well could have said, “Simon, I found you!”

We forget that as we pray yearning to Hear His voice, He finds us.

I pray that we may sense and know that Jesus continues to find us. He constantly approaches us with joyful delight, to encourage us to continue on our walk-and-talks together so that we may fulfill our life purposes, with fresh perspectives.

Praying and continually seeking …To Hear His Voice.

On a walk?  Listen… To hear His voice… To gain fresh perspectives

Get Your Spots On!

I put my cheetah pants on today. If not for any other reason than they make me feel close to my granddaughter. I cannot see her physically these days due to social distancing guidelines. She adores cheetahs and immerses herself in imaginative cheetah scenarios.

Roar*! Cheetahs fearlessly greet the morning with awareness, confidence, boldness. Roar! Yes the day begins!

(*Keep in mind that cheetahs actually have a loud growling purr and chirp, not really a roar – their version of a roar!)

As I sip my coffee and wonder if or when I should listen to the daily news reports, I am mesmerized by the patterns of cheetah spots covering my pants legs. I know, plunked in the isolation of my home my mind aimlessly settles on the absurd.

The cheetah rises up to stretch, arching its back to awaken the pulsing blood coursing through its body. Rolling its neck as it scans the periphery of its location. The folds of its skin undulate in slow motion, disguising the musculature that smoulders, ready to ignite. Beneath lies hidden the unrelenting power to surge forth as needed to pursue and pounce on unsuspecting prey.

Fascinating this pretend play, I find myself breathing deeply to rejuvenate the resources my body requires to attack this day. I close my eyes and wonder if I could be like a cheetah…aware, confident, bold. Roar!

Although I understand that I must be responsible and stay at home to fight this virus; I refuse to be ignorant, scared, or timid. I want my pattern of behaviour to reflect that when this virus chose to invade my territory I woke up and allowed the power coursing through me to activate all my senses. It may come within striking distance, but let me be aware, confident and bold.

I am ever grateful knowing that the power within me has as its source my faith and trust in the Lord. With every breath I am renewed by the strength and protection provided by and through His great love. I may be warmed by these cheetah pants, but my true pattern of hope begins and continues through the love that covers me everyday. His love. His great love. His love that constantly battles for us and with us against this virus.

Keep praying. He begins each day with us and for us. Keep praying. His pattern of love covers any pattern of fear. Wake up your senses, scan your horizon and move forward. Aware, confident, bold.

What plans do you have today? What will you put on to give yourself a bit of direction in the course of your day? I’m wearing my cheetah pants. I’m going to dig out that retro cheetah fleece jacket my mother gave me and then make a silly video to send to my grandkids. Roar! This Nana will dance and close the gap of isolation with cyber distancing craziness.

Today let’s create a pattern of hope with awareness, confidence and boldness. Let’s not be the prey, let’s be the cheetah. Get your spots on!!

Here, Grip my Hope

Who could ever imagine that March 2020 would bring about this worldwide pandemic, this life or death crisis. How do we walk through this together? How do we remind each other that despite the weight of what may come next we can lighten each other’s spirit and each other’s perspective. Even as we cannot take each other’s hand physically, we can grip firmly and boldly to share each other’s hope.

Here, take my hand. Take my assurance and encouragement. Here, grip my hope, I will never let you go!

I walk around moving within a constant prayer, holding up each of my loved ones to be guarded and protected from this deadly virus. My emotions seem spent before the sun even rises, as I place my heart and spirit in close proximity to those who live in separation from me.

Here, take my hand. Take my assurance and encouragement. Here, grip my hope.

I woke up this morning recalling the way our youngest son walked with us as a toddler and preschooler. For whatever reason he needed to know that we held his hand in a solid grasp. We would offer our hand in front of him and he would reach out to slide his into ours. But as that little hand became ensconced in safety, he paused. He waited until he felt a tug that assured him we definitely had him in our grip. We took hold of him, but actually had to gently pull him forward before he began walking next to us.

This morning I wanted that. Before my feet hit the floor as I ventured from my bedside, I wanted to know that my hand would be gripped in a sure and steady grasp. I wanted to feel a grip of hope.

Lord, tug me forward. Lord guide me to walk through this with your wisdom, your mercy, your kindness, your hope.

Even as I contemplate how to help others through this, I pray wholeheartedly for the ability to offer hope to anyone who needs to come into close proximity of it as each day unfolds. Don’t let it move too far forward, don’t let it be barred by an expanse that becomes unreachable. In this time of social distancing, don’t hesitate, reach. Place your hand beyond your fear.

I promise I will wait for you. I will take hold of you in prayer, with words of encouragement, with ways to promote laughter and lightheartedness amidst this crisis. I will tug you along on this long walk that winds before us.

I will take your hand, I will let you feel the grip of my hope.