Throwing Out My Rug Runners ~ the devil made me do it

A A Runner Out

The Chinese Wuhan Corona virus is a great motivator.

This was something I’d been “fixin” to do anyway. Fixin’ is southern. I moved from Brooklyn (NYC) three and a half years ago to live in Florida and I’ve picked up a few southern tid bits to add to my vocabulary.

A person can be fixin’ to do something, as in they’d get around to it sometime-or-other. If there’s energy in their tone, it means they’re gonna get right on it. My relationship with the rug runners fell into the first category. I keep multiple animals in my condo unit, and the rugs are there to catch things. Of course I constantly vacuum them. However they were beginning to annoy me. This is hair shedding season and they were catching too much cat hair…and sometimes cat throw up. Blech.

COVID19 became a true motivator, as we enter what is being called the “peak.” The issue is the rugs do catch things and hold them. I was concerned about going to Walmart, to my doctor’s office (I have an appointment and although it’s not an emergency, it’s one I must keep), etc., and coming back home with the virus on my shoes. Then my rug runners might catch and hold it. So, the rugs that were annoying me anyway had to go.

There is one rug at the entrance. I’m going to wash it, and also replace that one if I feel that’s needed. I’m making a shoe station there. I will take off shoes I’ve worn outside and leave them by the door until this is all over.

I’m a true Floridian now. I’m not living in fear. I do go out for necessities. I’ve visited two friends to help keep them and myself up and cheerful. Attitude is so important. I’m treating this like I would a Cat 5 Hurricane (only this is of much longer duration). I prepared three weeks ago building a food and household products supply. I forgot about toilet paper. It never occurred to me there would be a run on TP. Thankfully, I was able to get a 6-pack last week and a 4-pack this week. So, I have enough of everything now. I take washing hands and hand sanitizing very seriously, especially when I’m out and immediately when I get home. I try to stay 4-6 feet away from people when I’m out. I do talk people. I need that, and so do they. I have not been wearing a cotton mask, yet. I’ve heard it protects others more than oneself. However, I do believe it offers some self-protection, and if this gets much, much worse (and I pray it won’t) I will wear some type of face covering which I will change and wash frequently. And very important, I’m limiting how much news media I’m listening to. They stress the worst scenario, scare tactics to garner higher ratings.

When people from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut flee the virus and run to Florida, please do NOT treat my new and beloved state as carelessly as you’ve treated your own home. I lived in New York City for thirty-five years, so I do know what I’m talking about. Don’t throw your cigarette butts and trash on our sidewalks. If you see that you’ve come to a semi-tropical paradise and want to stay, at least for a while, don’t try to turn it into the place you just fled. Florida is a paradise because we don’t think like you. We don’t rush like you do. It took me about four months to slow down when I got here. There is culture shock. But I knew there was something special here, and I wanted it. I didn’t want to bring New York City with me. I liked that people were kind to each other down here, polite, and took time for each other. I loved that I never, ever heard the F-bomb uttered on the streets. We don’t use the F-bomb as five parts of speech in one sentence. I can still do that, I chose not to on purpose. We don’t think it’s cool. It’s truly slovenly.

So, I pray for America at this time of the COVID19 pandemic. I pray for the world. This plague is not of God. There is no disease or sickness in God. This is outside the shelter of His wings. So, pray, and seek the shelter of His might shadow in this pandemic storm. He loves you and will be there for you, if you seek Him.

Psalm 91 New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9 For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in [e]trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

Not Self-Isolating ~ just the normal writer’s day

cakeI spent the morning cross-promoting for other writers who will in turn cross-promote for me. As often happens, I wanted to get away from my laptop and decided to bake.

I’m not a master baker. I bake very simple things and the Wonder One Bowl Vanilla Cake is one of them. I thought, I’ve got a canister full of flour, and one full of sugar, as well as all the necessary baking ingredients. With people hoarding food, why not bake a breakfast cake to enjoy for the next few days.

While the cake was baking, I started reading Harry Wegley’s RIVEN which I will review as soon as I complete it. Another thing that’s normal for me to do at home I wouldn’t characterize as “self-isolating.”

I’ll spend the afternoon rough-drafting the next chapter of my work in progress, LAST DAYS, a detective novel, not an apocalyptic story. Again, not self-isolating, although I’m home alone. Tonight I’ll watch some TV and probably read some more of Harry novel, which is a lot more apocalyptic than LAST DAYS, would ever be thought to be.

I usually have to bake a cake a few times to be sure of it before I post the recipe. I’m sure of the Wonder One Bowl Vanilla Cake. I made the variation with chopped pecans and swirled in brown sugar. I didn’t ice it for myself, though I would’ve glazed it if I had company coming. They’re not coming. They’re all self-isolating.

Wonder One Bowl Vanilla Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream or light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. spray well with pan spray, an 8″ square or round pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Add egg, 2% milk, sour cream, and oil. Whisk together. Add hot water and whisk well until the batter is smooth. It will be runny but that’s okay.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap the pan gently against the counter to release any air bubbles. Now is when you can add chocolate chips on top, stir in chocolate or caramel syrup, stir in teaspoons of brown sugar and chopped pecans, or anything else that’s not too heavy.
  • Bake cake for 25 to 28 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in a few places comes out clean.

You can ice with any frosting you like, drizzle a glaze, or dust with powdered sugar. You can also eat it without icing, especially if you’ve stirred in a lot of goodies.

HOPE IS A DANGEROUS PLACE by Jim Baton ~ a review

Hope is a Dangerous Place

Christian Suspense, Christian mystery

 

This novel has a mystery at it’s core and there’s no shortage of suspense. It could even be said to span genres and slip into Christian Young Adult Suspense.

Hope, Colorado has secrets, more than one. There are the ‘haves’ who’ve got all the power and the ‘wannabees’ as high school jock Jordy so crassly calls them. Harmonie Seymour’s family had been in Hope for generations on the black side of town where folks live in run-down houses. The Latino residents practically live in shacks. Bigotry is rampant. Kelsey is the new kid in town. She arrived with her widower pastor dad, Bret Axel. Both girls are outsiders in the high school and soon become fast friends. Pastor Bret Axel has the gift of prayer. He is a mighty prayer warrior, but he’s also bound by anxiety and fear since the untimely death of his wife…so much so that he pops Valerian to calm his nerves.

Enter the new high school teacher Olivia Montez, who has her own baggage. She assigns the three students in her journalism class an assignment  and has no idea will blow up in all their faces. She wants Kelsey, Harmonie, and an angry young Latino student named Miguel to interview elderly residents about the town’s name change. It was once named Purgatory. However in the mid-1940s the name was changed to Hope. There are powerful people, perhaps those in the original families, who don’t want anyone looking into the past and they will go further to stop the investigation than these three students can ever imagine.

This novel is a very good example of redemptive Christian fiction…and yet the author keeps it real, very real. Bad and/or worldly guys act and talk like bad and worldly guys. I’d recommend this novel to anyone from ages 17 to 117 who enjoys suspense and a story where the characters grow in their Christian walk.

 

Telling The Truth ~ character matters

A crossed-fingers

I Seem To Have A Verse For 2020

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Christians have this thing about lying…we’re not supposed to.

What was so interesting in this verse that so randomly kept popping up in my life since January is that the first two points (what is true, honorable) deal with the deepest realms of dealing with and telling truth.

I discovered that when the thought came to me that I should look up the word “true” in Strong’s Concordance. [No, not Strong’s. Anything but Strong’s.] So, after that thought assailed me for the third or fourth time, maybe even the fifth time, I finally dragged out my heavy, hardcover Strong’s, leafed through its cumbersome pages, and found the ancient meaning of “true” as it appears in that verse. And, the meaning is ‘truth without deceit, without concealing or hiding’.

I immediately thought of the times I’d parsed my words (not often) so that I could say to myself and to others if need be, “I didn’t lie”. Oh, those little white lies. I’d like to say I usually did this parsing to shield others. But of course, that would not be truth without deceit or without concealing or hiding. That statement would not only be a fantasy, but the reality would be a 50/50 toss up.

Returning to the Scripture, I searched Strong’s for honorable. I most often use the New American Standard Bible [NASB] and Strong’s translates from the King James Version [KJV]. The King James translates the ancient Greek word as ‘honest’. So next I went to Webster’s Dictionary. I used the 1828 edition because our modern dictionaries water-down ‘values ladened words’. And according to Noah Webster, ‘honest’ means: 1. Upright; just; fair in dealing with others; free from trickishness and fraud; acting and having the disposition to act at all times according to justice or correct moral principles; applied to persons. 2. Fair; just; equitable; free from fraud; as an honest transaction; an honest transfer of property. The definition goes on to include ‘frank’ and ‘sincere’.

So, when put on the spot about something in my own life, or someone else’s how do I cease and desist the parsing of words? Dare I say, Biblical dishonesty? First of all, other people do not, repeat NOT have a God given, or constitutional right to the details of my life. And I have NO right to give out the details of another’s life. We believers will feel much better about ourselves, on a deep internal level, if we simply tell the truth.

If someone carelessly, callously, or nosily asks about a personal part of my life, about my private plans, hopes or dreams I can simply say, “I’m not prepared at this time to talk about that.” I can also say that if asked about another’s life. When asked about another, I could say, “That’s his/her story. It’s not mine to tell.” Those statements would be totally true, honorable, honest, and meet.

Here’s a tricky one. What to do when someone asks for an unreasonable favor? Money, perhaps? There’s no need to go round-and round, parsing words to come out with a reasonable sounding negative statement. Here’s a straight forward one. “No, I wish I could, but I just can’t. Not at this time.” I could add, “I’m really sorry,” if I am. If the individual is a habitual user, I’d leave the’ sorry part’ off. That would also be totally true, honorable, honest, and meet. It’s not parsing words, or beating around the bush. Am I good at this? No! Am I getting better? Yes, I am.

Doesn’t the Bible say…

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. ~ Matthew 5:37 New King James Version [NKJV]