Why should we make our bed in the morning?

Yesterday marked my 4th straight week of being off coffee. This is from someone who loves the taste of coffee and has drunk it almost every day since I was 15 or 16.

I went off it because of my infection, coffee is bad for a sore mouth, too acidic, but I realized in the onset of headaches, energy drops, and cravings that followed that I am a little too dependent on coffee. I’m no addict, but still, I don’t love the side effects.

My mood changed too. I wake up and feel a little down most mornings, low energy, empty stomach, etc. Coffee can help jolt me into productivity, I usually work on creative stuff in the morning, and do actual work in the afternoon. Of course, needing caffiene is part of what makes that feeling, so I’ve created the problem I’m trying to solve. Who can relate?

Today, I felt better than I have in days waking up, but it’s funny how when my obdy does better, my mood tends to swing back to fighting off the blues.

I’ve noticed illness can be a distraction from other problems. Some people are forever worrying about their body, who are probably actually perfectly fine, because that’s easier than facing the fact that they are lonely, unhappy, or angry about something in their life.

Of course crippling anxiety comes with illness, for me, a lot, though I’m getting over that, but to me anxiety is an old feeling, and Im used to it. The feeling that my life has stopped, will never change, will always be this gray, drab indoor existance, that is what I prefer not to focus on, when I don’t feel well, that’s easier.

Not that I prefer feeling ill. It’s a vicious cycle.

This morning I was going to watch a movie (I bet some of you wish your mornings were so free you could watch movies on a Friday, but sometimes it just makes me feel like loser) and I was going to watch G. I. Jane (good film), but it was unavailable all of the sudden, so I selected a movie my mom recommended and I was planning on watching: “Julie and Julia.”

If you like cooking or human interest stories, I think you’ll like this film, but this post is not a review.

It’s just that the film brought some things to mind.

I dont know about you, but since quarantine really started dragging out–you know, after the first 2 weeks– I’ve had issues watching anything that reflects any of the emotions we’re all feeling. Fear, depression, a sense of purposelessness.

But converseley, watching anything about freedom, happiness, and the perfect ending also grinds my gears, it’s like its taunting me with a “You can’t have this. Your life is on a loop.”

I know I’m talking to someone here.

Basically, I’m tired of living through a screen, one way or another. But reading has had rather the same effect, it’s almost worse in a book, I get more into it emotionally. I just read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and that was a rollercoaster, but hey, being in hiding, being in lockdown, there’s a lot of similarities. Anne describes the living for the little things, the brief glimps of the outside worl through a window, or through friends coming over. The frustratation of being stuck with other people, the joy of finding solace in other people…etc.

The fear of something going horribly worng. Even if at times she felt her life wasnt worth living, she was terrified at the idea of losing it.

Yeah, it hits home, doesn’t it. At least I know Im not crazy.

I figure everyone feels the same as I do, so there’s no reason I should hide it.

I was walking down a street yesterday, and I heard some women talking very loudly, the hwole block could have practically heard it, about having troulbes in their relationships. One was, anyway, and she felt seh had no reason to have a meltdown, no reason to feel this way, she was supposed to be happy. The other woman loudly told her that the whole world has never gonet hrough anything like this, we’re all in it.

I felt both sympathetic, and like laughing at this.

On the one hand, I feel you, ladies. I really do.

On the other, its pretty narcissistic or else just ignorant, to say the whole world has never gone through something like this. Oh yes it has. This is still small compared to WWII, the Great Depression, the Communist Threat in the East and Russia. I’ve read the books, it was just like this, but worse, because we can still go out, still face-time our friends, and still lead relatively normal lives, just differently. Some of those people couldn’t trust their own family not to turn them in. Couldn’t trust they wouldn’t be shot if they left their house.

I know, there’s been rioting here in the USA, so some people don’t feel safe, but it’s not every single place in the country.

Things could be a whole lot worse. And as a Christian, I have it on authority, one day they will be. But this is not the end yet. It can’t last forever.

You know what’s strange, not a single person I know at my church has contracted the virus. I’ve not heard of one. Even their families for the most part. Fortunately, no one in my own family has got it either.

Even with the knowledge that we are relativley blessed compared to past crisis, I understand many people have lost someone, or are simply depressed because of the constant gloom.

You have my condolences if you have lost someone, but there’s not much I can say about something I haven’t gone through, so I will focus on what I can perhaps help a little with.

I honestly feel like, part of the problem is that we all have toom uch time to think, about all the things, not just that we wanted to do in the future, but that we have failed to accomplish in the past.

We’re not where we want to be, and now it feels like were not even getting there, because we’re stuck in the same place, with the same people, every single day. Week after week. Month after months, has it really been 8 months? At least for some countries, I think it’s 6 months here, soon.

Before, I could do things that distracted me from feeling like I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I thought, I’m at least working on getting there, but now it feels like that ground to a halt, not by my own choice, and I feel out of control. Hence the depression many people are feeling.

My sister says that it’s human nature, not know what will happen makes us wonder if anything is worth it, but if we knew what was coming, we’d be afraid of it because of our mortality. I guess that’s why so many myths portray finding out the future to be a fearsome thing that causes people to make really stupid decisions, which end up leading to the bad things they knew would happen, or else, ruining the good things they were told would happen.

Yet, Jesus told us the future, and said “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

How?

Well, I’m still figurien that out.

I’m at the stage where one little dissappointment feels huge, because I have so few things to anticipate happening. I wanted to cry when I heard the next season of my favorite show would be delayed till next year.

And one good thing happening feels tenous. Like “but if this goes worng, then what?”

And, it has gone wrong. I can’t say a whole lot of good things have happened to me this year. Though my problems started before the lockdown did.

We’ve all heard that the little things are important. Like you should make your bed every day, you should brush your hair, take a walk. Cook.

And we’re like “why? Who cares?” I see it all over where anyone talks about quarantine, people aren’t showering, doing laundry, or cooking or anything. PEople thought they’d be productive, but now they are finding that if human approval was all you were ever after trying to work, and play, and such, then once it’s removed, you have no motivation.

Pays to be home-schooled your whole life and taught to love learning for its own sake, and to do work because it mattered to your God and your family, and not to earn browning points at school. My mom didn’t do grades. Now I make A’s and B’s. Guess not knowing all those years didn’t hurt me at all.

but I struggle with feeling like it’s all meaningless too.

But I had a thought today. When we do these menial tasks, as repetitive as they are, it’s kind of like an act of faith, an act of hope. We’re sort of saying, to our family, ourselves, and our God, that “I still care. This still matters. Because I believe that doing the small things leave me open to do the big things.”

I cook a meal today because I believe cooking will be important in the future. Even if it doesn’t feel like it matters now.

Even if cooking dosn’t matter, my family eating does.

Making the bed doesn’t matter that much in of itself, but doing your daily duty, it matters becaues it’s the daily things that remind us of the long term things.

C. S. Lewis got at the idea that th Present is the closest thing any of us experience to Eternity. And Eccleistates says that God has put Eternity into the hearts of man.

Christian think that heaven will be an eternal Now. All things will be happening at once, yet nothing will overlap. Something we can probably only even imagine though dreams, because time is odd in dreams.

And the every day things are important because, when you think about it, Heaven doesn’t really touch our lives at any time except in the present. We can’t live in the future, we shouldn’t live in the past.

If I try to live into even 6 days ago, I end up in a world of hurt, because I’m borrowing troulbe I already went through and going through it again.

I think this quarantine is kind of liek that. If we think about how long it’s gone on, we’re exhausted, and it feels like we’re serving out a sentance.

When Corrie Ten Boom was in soliatary confinement, she learned to make every little thing she did count. If she had a chore, she did that, if she had ants to watch, she would stop the chore and do that. She would read scripture “until the pain stopped” and it became more alive.

Funny, reading the Bible doesn’t make me feel worse. It truly is the book for the suffering person. It never minimizes suffering, but it promises a renewel of strength for those who suffer. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall laugh” (Luke 6).

The Bible also tells us to do everything we do as to Christ. I think this means what people are trying to say when they say “live in the moment.” Be fuly present.

You know what robs me of joy the most in my life is not sorrow itself, but being distracted by thinking about my problems. When I do things I ejoy, my mind will wander onto it all.

Take a second, ask yourself, how many times doing anything I liked lately hve I quantified it by a reference to the lockdown or virus?

Ive heard it from everyone “Right now we can’t do anything else but…”

“Everything’s crazy right now so I didn’t…”

“Because of quarantine I binged…”

If we were brutally honest, we’d admit we would have done or not done all those things even if quarantine hadn’t happened. It’s just a really convientednt exuse.

But here’s something I wouldn’t have done without this:

I wouldn’t have made a new friend in my ASL class probably, or not as fast.

I wouldn’t have tried as many new recipes and found out I liked being creative in cooking.

I wouldn’t have gotten to know the people at my church better from hearing their stories and seeing who was consistant enough to keep coming and trying to connect.

I maybe even will get a job because of it, fingers crossed.

And yes, I’ve spent too much time watching stuff, but I did find some new shows I liked that maybe wouldn’t have sounded as interesting without this.

I’ve read more books too.

And I’ve gotten closer to God, and my family.

Is it all good, no.

And do I still need to learn how to live in the moment. Yes.

But here’s the thing, what if we all stopped focusing on what we lost because of this, and started looking at what we gained? Or what we still have. What we can still do. And instead of measuring it by quarentine, look at it as outside of it. Something that isn’t really touched by this trial.

The Word says everything that can be shaken will be shaken until all that remains is what cannot be shaken.

So, maybe we should look at what hasn’t been shaken.

If nothing else, people will always be arguing about politics as long as free speech exists, which I hope is still for a long time. I get annoyed with it, but I’d rather have constant arguing than lose the ability to argue in public at all. Think about that.

I still get restless, and I’m sure I will again, even today. But if I’m growing closer to be able to just be present to everything here, then I am growing stronger.

In the end that’s what Anne Frank learned, and what Corrie Ten Boom learned, and what everyone who survives and thrives in these times learns. not to never be depressed, that’s impossible, but to live for the Now. Whatever the Now happens to be.

Looking ahead is good, too, that’s how we hope. But it’s good to appreciate what we already have.

Even if it’s just one or two things, that’s something. There’s some who don’t even have that.

I guess I’ll end this with a challenge, if anyone has read this far down (thank you) then how about you comment something that you gained or still have even after all that’s happened. Anything’ll do. We all need to talk more to each other about it.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Out-growing.

What a time to be in a national crisis.

My History Professor taught us about the Rwanda Holocaust today, just to lighten the mood (okay, okay, so it was already in the curriculum, not her fault.)

She had some personal experience, having worked in Rwanda for awhile.

Needless to say, it was an upsetting Class lecture. I’d already read the famous “Left to Tell” book, but have yet to work up the courage to watch Hotel Rwanda.

I was feeling good before class, but it left me kind of depressed.

It’s rough to be going through the Therapy/Recover experience at the same time as a National Crisis, and now a national scandal with rioting and protests.

It never rains but it pours is such a true saying.

When someone is in recovery, it can help to be able to focus on the world outside of yourself. To be involved in things bigger than you.

And it does help me to volunteer at my church’es food bank.

But all my other activities have been cut off. I can not leave my house for days on end. Even to go in the backyard.

I have lived my life around indoor activities my whole life.

I never thought it was strange that my mom wouldn’t take us to the park, or to events to hang out with other kids, except at church.

I never thought it was weird that the only other time I left the house was for “educational field trips” which I would never know anyone else at.

We had some play dates when I was little, but after awhile it died out. My mom doesn’t maintain friendships for very long, I notice.

So, I learned to be a bookworm, a writer, a backyard play person.  My sibling and I invented a very detailed imaginary world for our toys.

I’ve heard of other kids doing this, but interestingly, they were also ones without many friends. It’s like we have to fill the void of needing interaction somehow, and we’ll invent people if we don’t know them.

The trouble is, if you become content to just stay in that imaginary land, you will begin to think it’s better, and learn to dislike people for not being as easy to manage as your fantasies.

As a bookworm, I read plenty of books centered around characters with rich imagination. I loved the Anne of Green Gables series.

Yet with age I’ve realized how unhelpful it is to live in a world of fantasies… not that fancies are bad. I think they are good. Any healthy adult ought to be able to have fancies that are childlike.

But when you substitute that for reality, it means you don’t want to accept your reality.

Sometimes its okay to cope that way, often we have no other way, and fancies are preferable to the destructive habits many of us develop.

But someday you have to grow up. Because you have to decide what you will be. Who you will be. Your fiction will never dot hat for you, you have to do it in the real world.

The best fiction prepares you for that, while escapist fiction is hampering it.

And escapist fiction isn’t generally fairy tales, the worse fiction is the ugly, engorged stuff that feeds all the worst things in us. Porn, smut, superficial romance, mindless comedy, all that is far worse for you than an innocent kids story will be.

The reason kids blur fantasy and reality is because they know that one affects the other, its adult who tell ourselves our fantasy and reality are separate lives.

(Kids are the more biblical by the way, Jesus taught that your imagination is still part of who you are, and even where you sin the most.)

Anyway, for me it was sad to let go of fantasies. I cry every time I read the end of Winnie the Pooh, or watch Hook. It’s bittersweet.

Yet, like many adults, I can’t get away from the feeling that I traded fancies for something less good. Like my real life is underwhelming and uninspiring. Boring. Meaningless save for snatches of importance.

Yet, if I were asked to define what I think a meaningful life is, I wouldn’t say an exciting one.

I would list off a life filled with genuine love, doing what you were meant to do, impacting people on a personal level, and above all, knowing God well, as the top qualifications.

And my life isn’t so bad.

I have this blog, with over 140 followers now. It’s doing better than ever.

A growing YouTube channel based off doing something else I love.

I write my own stuff hours every day, and I love it.

I like school and I get to go almost for free.

Not having a job or boyfriend are annoyances, but not defining ones.

And I have my faith, which is worth more than all the rest.

I also have friends I can talk to more often then I’ve ever been able to before.

So, why do I not feel happy?

There’s this quote from “Through the Looking Glass” that sums up most of adult life, I think.

“Here it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place.”

There are times when it takes all you’ve got to just sit still, to just rest where you are at.

As Switchfoot put it in their recent song “Give me the Strength to Let Go.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujo984rLHRA)

It takes strength to let go.

You see, even as a kid, I was a dreamer. I was never content with fancies. I couldn’t wait to be an adult so I could get out and do what I wanted. Make a real difference.

I wanted to travel, to teach, to take care of orphans.

I am one of those people who just wants to heal everyone’s pain. Who wants to have enough love and patience to help them all. To have the provisions to give.

I have been like this as long as I can remember. I can date first realizing it to reading “A Little Princess” and “Heidi.” But it was in a lot of books I read growing up.

My parents didn’t teach me this really, they taught me the principle of giving, but we didn’t go out and do stuff like that, like this other homeschooled Christian family I know. We stayed at home in our own little bubble.

And I got used to it. I feel secure in it. But I was at war with it, because I was always dying to get out.

From birth I was bolder than my other family, and I can attest to it with a lot of stories. But I can’t explain it, no one taught me to be that way, I just was.

I always took the Bible seriously, I guess, you have to watch people like that.

My point?

Well, maybe I’m not alone in this. Maybe some of you have always felt too big for the space you live in.

I can be scared to go outside, but that fear was learned, it wasn’t innate. I hate it even as I feel it.

Maybe you do too.

This whole crisis has got people scared stiff, but a lot of us feel boxed in. We hate it. We hate the fear, some of us because we feel it trying to get a hold of us, and we don’t want it to.

AFter God began healing me, I often had the sensation of being chased by some dark monster I had escaped from, trying to get me back into its clutches.

Freedom comes in two steps. First there’s the initial freedom of release, and new perspectives and new opportunities, and then there’s the Freedom of Security, no longer feeling you will get drawn back in.

Even people who get out of prison experience those two phases, so it’s a quite literal phenomenon as well as a spiritual one.

I still get that sensation sometimes. It took years for me to stop feeling that way about living in fear, and now I have to fight feeling that way about being emotionally abused.

That’s why I think it takes all that running to stay still. It takes all your strength to hold on to the progress you’ve made.

Talking to God about it, I don’t really get any clue as to when this process will be over (both for the world, and for myself).

All I get is the idea that I have to let go of trying to fix my future, and fix everything around me.

I don’t think my dream as a kid to heal and help people was bad, it was just seldom realized. Still isn’t as often as I wish.

When it is, I feel the most right with myself.

But usefulness is not the basis of self worth. IT’s good to ahve a purpose, necessary even, but one has to be first and foremost God’s child.

Letting go is hard, it takes more work not to work, not to try to run ahead of God.

And we still have to do our tasks at hand that He has given us, we just can’t try to do the next thing, before we’re even sure what it is.

I still feel trapped and hemmed in, same as when I was a kid. I can’t even say how long that will be my circumstances.

I don’t know. None of us do.

I keep waiting to go from feeling frustrated about it to being at peace with it.

It’s easy to think, “Well, all this hasn’t changed, so nothing ever will. I will always be this way.”

That isn’t realistic, however. Even if I wanted to stay the same, I couldn’t.

This all bothers me most at times like this when I’m stuck at home, and can’t do a thing about it. And everyone is sharing that feeling now.

Whether you’re like me, and this feels like a repeat of your whole life, or you are entirely new to being a homebody unwillingly, we’re all in the same boat.

No predicting when it will end.

But, the thing that helps me most I think, is to thing that this time must be preparing me for something.

The thing is, people tell me a lot that I have a lot of Wisdom.

The only way that I got to be that way was being alone so much, and asking God to help me with that. I had to learn it all the solitary way, with books and movies as inspiration.

People who’ve always been around lots of others aren’t necessarily wiser, hardly ever in my experience. Other people pull at you, they mold you, and it can often be in bad ways.

I had to develop a very strong core personality. And while I don’t like all the alone time, I am glad for being able to know much more what I really believe in.

So, try to think of it like that. Whatever else this crisis is, it is time to try to learn something new, to build up strength in isolation.

Something all humans have to learn sooner or later if we intend to mature.

Anyway, that’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

A little Health Tip

Welp, had my first therapy session today, I think it went well.

Not much to report on that. Just setting up stuff.

I hear quarantine might loosen up soon for some people, yay!👍⌛⏰⏳

My mom has been following this doctor who thinks there’s a link between COVID and a vitamin D deficiency.  As evidence, countries with more sunshine and more people outdoors, like Australia, do not seem to be hit as hard.👌

California, despite being a major airport stop, has seen less of a spread.

Also, African people absorb vitamin D less quickly than Europeans, and they have been hit more with the virus, supposedly.

It’s not proven, but I’ve been seeing people walk around my neighborhood everyday because they’re going stir crazy. My sisters and I have done the same thing, so has my mom.

There’s something to the theory, I think. Any disease is usually rooted in some kind of deficiency, only a few are just caused by toxins in something, like Cholera.

So, hey, here’s a tip, take Vitamin D supplements and get outside if you can. They say 20 minutes a day is sufficient.

I wonder too, they think COVID came from bats, creatures that live out of the sun, which is where Vitamin D primarily comes from.

We think these things are coincidence. But some people eat bats. What you eat becomes part of your biology for a certain length of time. WE get vitamins from plants, but also animals. Iron and Omega 3’s are easier to get in meat, actually. So, you do get a small portion of Vitamin D, or at lest the healthy benefits of it, when you eat animals and plants that absorb it.

It’s one reason animals that live off plants are healthier for us to eat, and animals that eat rotting stuff are dangerous to eat.

The Bible gives a whole list of things not to eat, that I’m sure seemed arbitrary to the Israelites at the time. No pigs. What’s wrong with pigs?

Well, back in the day, pig meat had a parasite, I believe, that was harmful for human beings. There’s a way to cure it, but there wasn’t at the time, especially for people wandering in the wilderness.

Carrion birds, also a  no-no, for obvious reasons. Some animals have digestive systems that destroy the harmful stuff in rotting meat, but humans are not one of them.

The Bible, fun fact, also says not to eat bats.

It’s in the Jonah Veggietales movie, if you’ve ever watched that show.

Along with flies, beetles, gnats, etc. Flies are full of germs, they eat waste. Beetles can also eat dung and dead stuff. Gnats…I can’t explain that one, maybe they carry stuff like mosquitoes?

None of this was known at the time, you’d almost think God knew what was in the animals and bugs when he gave these orders.

Cows are allowed. Cows eat, if they’re fed right, mainly grass, which is very clean. Their excrement actually isn’t as full of germs as ours is, because of how clean their food is. Fun, I know.

Also sheep, same thing. Goats, same thing. And a few birds. And locusts are edible, locusts also eat plants…in case you didn’t know. Like grasshoppers.

You may also not know ( not many people even in church do) that quarantine is an idea from the Bible, as far as I know, it’s the oldest record of the practice, if I’m wrong I guess I’ll fine out later.

It was for people, but also for clothing, and houses that got infected. Before we knew that clothing and house s can carry germs. Even fever germs can linger for ages at the same location. People burn items that were around a person while they were sick.

The quarantine in the Bible went by weeks, I forget if it was 1, 2, or 3 weeks. But about the time it can take for germs to die out, or for a disease to become obvious.

Washing as a cleaning practice is also in the Bible. Washing after touching anything dead, and being unclean for hours or even days after exposure to something harmful.

We don’t know what the Israelites thought these rules were for. Every theistic religion has forbidden animals, and certain rituals.

But not every one has had those practices verified by modern medicine. There’s been reasons found for all of these things.

People have long treated gods like they were fickle. Why they demanded certain things, why certain animals were sacred, there are myths behind it, but never any practical logic.

Why is the Cow sacred in India? No clue. I’m sure there’s a religious reason, but if it has any practical applications, I don’t know.

Not there needs to be practical reasons for all rites, but it’s interesting how the Bible touches all the areas of life with its commands.

God did not tell the Israelites what germs were. I doubt they would have understood. They were often simple. Every nation had gods, they had to obey. The Israelites often abused God’s forgiving nature by disobeying Him because He would be kinder than other gods. Some of the prophets developed a sense of humor about it, realizing that they cannot help but fall back on God, though they know they are sinners and He is right to punish them, they also know He will forgive because that is who HE is, and there is no changing hat, no matter how much we act ungrateful for it.

Does that mean we can do whatever we want? Of course not. But our sin will never make God unkind, we change, He does not.

That’s good to remember right now. I’m sure some people think this sickness is God’s judgment. I don’t know.

It could be, for some people, it comes as a judgment. The acts of God tend to mean different things for different people, depending on whether they are right with him or not.

A though to ponder is, if someone knows they are not right with God, they will see any bad event in their life or the world as a judgment, even ones they cause themselves. I’ve known people like that.

Someone who feels they are right with God accepts suffering as something we just have to endure because we live in a fallen world.

I, so far, am finding it a time of surprising blessings by way of getting better acquainted with my friends.

Hope that it has some pros for you too, even if you’ve been hit with the really hard part.

Until next time, stay healthy-Natasha.

 

 

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Ministering and the Mobile Home Park.

Okay, okay, I won’t write about the Virus anymore. I hope.

I haven’t looked (because I don’t care) but I bet that’s the main subject of a ton of the blogs on this domain right now.

I like that a lot of the YouTubers I follow are choosing to still try to make their videos and keep it regular. Trying to brighten people’s day a little. I will say my blog traffic is increasing.

I’d rather not get traffic because of an epidemic, but maybe people will find it uplifting.

I have another story for you today.

My church is continuing with their efforts at helping. My pastor keeps saying he wants it to be like the book of Acts, getting out there and ministering to people on the street, at their homes, the old fashioned way. Thinking of creative ways to have service and stay connected.

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So, today we went to the mobile home park behind our church to take people emergency food and give them a flier to call us if they needed anything else. Also writing down their needs and offering to pray for them. They were seniors, the high risk people, so we wore gloves, and someone had graciously donated masks.

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I cant help but feel being part of a big church at a time like this has its perks. My church has a network of people who communicate to supply things. I kind of took that for granted before, but we’re probably still functioning because of that. Many churches are just shut down entirely.

I wonder how other religious institutions are doing. I wouldn’t have any way to know except Googling it.

Some people were scared to come outside and take stuff from us. Others came right out and smiled. Some told us they didn’t need it, they had enough. Others that they did need it and other stuff. Some said they’d just been praying and doing devotionals themselves this morning. There were a lot of Christians… I mean, I guess if you live behind a church, might as well be christian. (I don’t think that has anything to do with it really, but it must make it more encouraging to drive by that every day when you leave the unit.)

We still had boxes left over because so may people said they didn’t need it and to just go on and give it to someone who did. Some were crying because they were so touched that we thought of them to do this.

It did not seem remarkable to me at the time, but I guess these are the cute stories newspapers like to cover and people like to share on social media. (Hey, go ahead if you want. I don’t mind. You don’t have to though.) I don’t really feel like my life is that unusual, but I do get to be part of things that people think sound really special.

(I wonder how the homeless people in Skid Row are doing, my previous Church takes food there every so often, I’m sure they must be at risk, hopefully the church will find a way to still help them. It’s a bit far for my current church to travel.)

People have suggested that Christians only do stuff like this to feel good about themselves for helping the less fortune, the looked down in society. At a time like this, people’s pride goes into their pocket. I bet people who wouldn’t normally accept help from strangers would take a medical mask from one now, if they could be sure it wasn’t used.

Some people may do charity and volunteer acts in order to feel righteous. I doubt it matters that much to the most desperate people, as long as their needs are getting met, why should they care? It makes a difference to your own soul, and to your coworkers, what your attitude is, but the nice thing about Charity, is if it’s a good charity, it won’t make much difference to the people receiving it. (Not that that applies to everything, prayer without true compassion is both useless and discouraging to the one who receives it.)

Honestly, I think it scares people more that they might be received well. Because then they might have to do it again, and get involved. We humans are afraid of commitment to new things, especially ones we don’t get paid for. Its like money justifies the risk in our minds, but success and changing someone’s life don’t.

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? Goals?

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Or is it really…

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More about this.

Some people think that is because we are selfish, and while we are, many people are willing to be unselfish if it’s within their comfort zone of talents and time. We are more likely to hold back out of fear than straight up selfishness. Fear is selfishness more cleverly disguised.

I am not sure why we are so afraid to do good. For me, it’s the fear that I am not good myself, that I will be shown to be a fake, and will not be able to really help. It took me a long time to become self aware of that, and even longer to really start to overcome it. Now it haunts me, even though it does not necessarily stop me from acting. My sister says “I think it’s called the Flesh.”

Call it that, or the Inner Bully, or Internal Critic, whatever name you have for it. It works the same way.

Human beings feel we have some kind of price to pay in life, that we cannot be Good, or Brave, or Noble, or Heroic. We have lost that right somewhere, and living a small, cowardly life is our just desert for it.

Original Sin can explain that pretty cleanly, though it’s not a popular explanation anymore.

Maybe we no longer have the right to be Great, but the world still has a need for us to be so. It amazes me when I hear the little known stories that get passed around in books, and blogs, and articles, that not a lot pf people read, but they’re so inspiring. The best deeds may be the ones hardly anyone knows about.

What did it mean to someone? That someone cared even enough to knock on their door and give them food? Who knows? Only God.

The Bible says at the end of time, we’ll all give an account for our lives, and our works will be tested with fire. For Christians, the fire will not destroy us, even if our works burn up, because works are not why we are saved. Others will be judged according to their deeds, as well as their lack of faith. Jesus said “He who does not believe is condemned already.”

We are told we’ll be judged for something as personal as “every idle word we speak.” God looks at the heart after all.

The point is, our works may be the most important where we thought they were the least.

There is nothing wrong with famous good deeds. We need to be inspired. Sometimes whole nations need to be changed, people need to be liberated.

But the thing about small deeds, it’s hard for history to pick them apart, and try to read ulterior motives into it. Someone might assign dark motives to helping someone carry their groceries, but it’s far less likely anyone would bother to try.

Social Media has made even little deeds bigger, but the ones we still do with out cameras off and and between our vlogs, are the ones that people will remember the most, the people we did them for anyway. I can’t be the only one who immediately feels I’ve sunk in important whenever I see someone filming.

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This has been longer than I expected…well, in conclusion, I am still encouraging people to think about what they can be doing to help, even if it’s just calling someone, or mailing them food or supplies. Or checking in on elderly neighbors, form a healthy distance of course.

This should be our all the time, but still, times like these are when people really appreciate someone being brave enough to reach out. I tip my metaphorical hat to all of you who are already doing that.

Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” (Proverbs 21:13)

Until next time, stay honest and healthy–Natasha.

Fear and The Food Bank.

So, ending the first week of confinement at home for most of us around the world–the first week for my part of America, for many people this is already getting old.

Today I got to bend the rules a bit with my church and help out with their weekly Food Drive. Of course they had less people there than usual, my sister and I had never helped out before, but we felt they would need the extra hands–my real reason was to get out of the house and be around other people for a while.

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So after 3 hours of stuffing food into bags, not sitting down, and carrying boxes and dishes around, I was ready to go home and put my feet up.

The talk at the event was a bit concerned. The people who come in for food are low income, or homeless. They are the most at risk of getting sick, as one person in charge explained to us. We had to wear masks if we were going to interact with them. Someone donated the masks and the gloves we wore, form what I heard. Or someone was lucky enough to find them, since those things are getting sold out everywhere.

But more than worrying about infecting anyone, the helpers were worried about whether we can have this in the following month. Without it some of these people might not get food at all, a lot of food banks are closing because everything is getting bought out so quickly. My grandma could only buy one bag of bread this morning. She was lucky there was even any left.

However, my family is not at risk of starving any time soon. If we were homeless, without access to a kitchen or pantry, that would be different.

My family has been on the brink of poverty plenty of times. Having a small business meant job security depends on the public demand of a small ring of customers. It’s not like widely known department stores that people know to search at. We had to move because we couldn’t pay rent anymore. If we hadn’t had a relative who would take us in, my dad said we could end up in a tent on the field. My dad was rather melodramatic. WE have plenty of friends who would probably help us out before that happened.

What goes around, comes around. We’ve let people stay at our house too when they didn’t have anywhere. Never for very long, but still.

I don’t like being so dependent, but am I glad that we have somewhere. Especially now that my dad’s income is not supporting us. My mom has gotten a 2nd job, so that will help we hope. But if we didn’t live here for free, we couldn’t make it.

All this to say, I’m hovering on the edge of the lower class here, though no one would think so to look at me. Looks can be deceiving. But there’s still so many people worse off. On top of that, they have to worry about catching cold and not being able to shower.

I guess what bothers me is this mass panic over the virus is so selfish.

People are buying up supplies who don’t really need it. Rushing in to get more. They don’t realize that stores donate food to charities, or people go to stores to get food to donate, and that goes to people who cannot afford it themselves. Who can’t even get it by going to a charity, if the charities are closing.

My church is afraid to close because so many places near it are closed that the people would have no where else to go. So we still had our event. We’re hoping to have it again next week. Hopefully through the rest of the crisis.

The Virus is terrible,  I get that. I maybe don’t get it as well because I haven’t seen it in action. Part of the reason it’s so devastating is that it’s new, and people don’t have immunity built up to it yet. In a few years, it’s likely to be a smaller problem. hopefully by next year, even.

It’s scary, sure. But it’s not the apocalypse.

It amazes me how scared people can get. It’s like we’re trained to react this way.

Though generations of books and movies about the end of the world and a post-apocalyptic world probably aren’t helping. I’ve known people who half believe in zombies and AI taking over, who see it as inevitable.

Christians know that the end of the world is inevitable. However, we’re told to walk boldly and wisely, redeeming the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).

Christians are basically paying rent for living on the planet by doing our good works. Not that we have to pay to life here, literally. We just see this body as a loan, a temporary home, meant to be used to help people with. And yes, enjoy life, because who says helping people has to be boring? It can help people a lot to just enjoy things. “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).  Give me an anime with my sisters when I’m feeling down over a sermon any day.

We are allowed to participate in all parts of life, as long as we keep in mind they are fleeting and our real object is God. Balances is the key.

So when we face these crisis, we are supposed to feel as if we are just returning a borrowed book to the library, or a rented car, checking out of our resort, ect. Sure, it was fun while it lasted, but if the fun part is over, or even suspended, who was surprised?

“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus said.

Our security does not depend on the world, and the world cannot take it away. People with God’s hand on their lives tend to evade life’s threats with a seeming ease of just being unaffected.

Sometimes Christians do suffer the same diseases, money problems, and terrible crimes as other people. A lot of the time actually, but it is not the end of our lives. We have a hope, we come out of it.

Of course, we’re human. Some of us grow faint and lose courage. Jesus also said “He who endures to the end shall be saved.”

In a crisis, the difference between a Christian and a non-christian might be compared (at it’s worst) to someone dangling off a cliff by their fingers.

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As long as they hold on, they won’t die, but they could slip at any moment. The cliff could give way. Some jerk could even come and kick them off.

Their strength will only last so long, even without another thing happening.

But, if there was a safety net hung below them, none of that other stuff would matter in the least. Whether they fell because they were tired, or the handhold wasn’t stable, or someone else pushed them, or it was just an accident, the end result it the same and the cause no longer matters.

I guess either way that’s the case. You can survive falling, sometimes. But you never need to survive if something catches you.

That’s Christianity. Even death isn’t a failure, if heaven is the safety net you fall into.

Whether that net takes you back to the cliff of this world and its problems, or take you home to heaven, you were still saved. So why worry?

Of course, it’s scary to dangle. It’s scary to free fall even for a few seconds. Just like it’s scary to endure a crisis not knowing what your escape will be.

But, you’re still 1000 times better off than the person with no net, no fall back, relying on their own strength to keep them alive.

The world will be afraid, because it has no hope. But we do not have to be.

I just wonder, over the world, how many Christians are contributing to this scare? And how many are choosing to trust God to catch them. I know my own dad tends to make it worse, but my mom and sisters tend to try to make it better. I hope I’m on that side also.

Maybe my challenge to you is to think about which one you are. I’m not hating on you if you’re scared, it’s normal to be scared, but are you trying to stay calm even so? Or are you adding to the chaos?

That could be as simple as texting a reminder about it when you didn’t really have to, and we all know people who feed off drama and the attention people give them when they bring up bad stuff.

We never know who might be affected in the long run by us giving way to fear.

After this post, I think I’ll stop writing about the Virus unless a really important thing comes up, because it’s not worthy of all my attention, or yours.

Until next time–Natasha.

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Outbreaks–a Christian’s perspective

Well, this is quite a time to be a blogger.

On the one hand, everything being closed means more people are going to be bored out of their minds and surfing the web, on the other hand, people are terrified.

In case someone reads this post in the next few years and has no idea what I’m talking about, we are currently in the middle of the COVID virus epidemic.

I have not been following the virus closely, as I don’t believe news reports to be the most reliable sources for realistic looks at any situation, let alone one causing panic. I just keep getting updated on what’s closing, and how many people can be in a room.

Right now we’re down to 10, hopefully it stays there, even that’s way too few to be practical.

If we hadn’t had such a run on supplies, this maybe could have been handled differently, like making any large group of people all wear masks and gloves before mingling. Only for crucial stuff though, of course who decides what’s crucial? I don’t envy the people trying to sort this out.

I’m just sad that my church services and Sunday school are shut down, and now my college is taking a break from classes to deal with it. I hope they don’t just stop, I don’t want to retake these classes.

Even without looking it up, I  know there’s people on both sides of the extremist spectrum who think that this is a plague from God, or a science experiment to weed out the elderly and infirm in our population.

As a Christian who reads her bible, I can’t rule out an act of God, but it’d be weirdly inefficient as a plague if it only targets those who are already old and ill. God is no respecter of persons.

If I was going to be a conspiracy theorist, I’d say man made, because a lot of sick people think that we need to decrease the population, and have no regard for the elderly.

However, even so this virus is pretty pathetic in terms of strength, for an epidemic. They say that kids may not even know they’re sick because their symptoms could be so light.

I did  not even take this seriously till it started effecting my life, and even  now, I am not that concerned, my family is generally pretty healthy, we rarely even get a regular flu. being homeschooled and genetically having strong immune systems has its perks.

I guess like most humans, until it’s bothering me, I don’t care about a lot of problems. I don’t see a point to worrying about something I cannot stop.

People ask around times like these why God allows such things to happen.

In the Bible, the first mention of disease is pretty late in, I don’t think it’s mentioned at all until Exodus, and if it is, it’s not with the principle characters. We know that God made the world perfect, and set up a diet for Adam that would keep him healthy  (see Genesis 1-3), Proverbs also says that following God’s word will bring heath to your bones.

God sends pestilence on Egypt and warns the Israelites the same will happen to them if they disobey him. Jesus and the prophets heal the sick. Jesus promises heath to those who serve him (though we know it is not exclusive health, just enough for us to keep serving him.) Paul says if we lay hands on the sick they will recover.

In modern day times, science suggests that most of our health problems are caused by bad environment, poor eating habits, and not enough exercise, or too much, for some people. Also insufficient clothing, in many countries.

If we human beings took better care of ourselves, and each other, God would have a lot less to do about it.

But even so, we really should be worse off than we are, some people’s good health just can’t be explained by their life choices, and I’ve known many health-focused Mormons who still get sick all the time.

The Bible would teach that Disease is the result of living in a sinful world. Like sin, disease effects multiple people. When someone sins they inflict pain on someone else, just like someone can spread a disease to an otherwise healthy person. You can’t blame the victim. Sickness can be a judgement, but as the book of Job warns us, only God can know when it’s a judgement, and when someone has been the victim of someone’s else wrong, or if it’s a test.

My dad would usually jump right on the Judgment train for any terrible thing that happened. While I could not prove he was wrong, it’s foolhardy to assume every evil is a judgement.

God says that He sends good times and bad times (Isaiah), but we know the Satan also causes disaster (Job 1-2), that human beings have agency and can cause ourselves problems, and that this fallen world has certain weather patterns and genetic flaws that cause problems periodically.

Sin is behind all of it, but the direct cause is not a thing anyone can know without special revelation. I don’t claim to be that much of a prophet. Hindsight is usually how we can judge the effects of something.

The point I’m trying to make is, we can try to make sense of this, but in the long run, it’s less frustrating to just trust God with it. To do the best we can to help each other and not give our leaders trouble by disobeying them over little things, and not to panic.

Whether you’re a tinfoil that kind of guy, or just trying to get through this with your sanity intact, keep in mind that everything passes away. No disaster can last forever, and epidemics usually don’t last long in each location. It’s almost come full circle as it is. A few months, and hopefully this will be a memory for most of us.

Also, my condolences to anyone who has lost anyone to this disease. Death happens, but it’s never expected or normal feeling.

We all should be praying for those who have to work still, or who are old enough to be in danger.

Until next time, stay healthy–Natasha.

Healer: