Creativity in Quarantine

I received an email this week that contained a tweet by @martinkl.  The tweet read, “In 1665, the University of Cambridge temporarily closed due to the bubonic plague.  Isaac Newton had to work from home, and he used this time to develop calculus and the theory of gravity.”  Wow!  That is a truly productive use of a quarantine.

There is little in the news this weekend other than the coronavirus threat.  Like many others, I have sought to protect myself by avoiding crowds and spent most of the weekend in self-imposed quarantine.  I do not have any reason to believe that I have been exposed to the virus, nor do I have any of the serious underlying health conditions that would make me an ideal candidate for catching the disease.  But I am in my 60’s and I feel no reason to take unnecessary risks.

The quiet weekend left me with time to reflect and time to write.  I have been ‘stuck’ in writing a novel for several years, so much so that I laid it aside.  Last week I picked it back up and continued to struggle with how to move the story forward.  Tonight I had a break through.  Some people would call this a burst of creativity.  I believe that I heard from God.  After I prayed for guidance, I quietly waited and the Lord revealed His plan for this particularly novel.  In just a few moments, the story line became clear.  Don’t misunderstand me. It won’t be easy.  I have lots of work to do, which will involve a major editing and rewriting of the work I had done.  But, I can see where this story will go now, and it is much better than the story I had intended to write.

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I read a blog recently in which the author theorized that creativity blossoms in extended periods of quiet.  He encouraged people to block out 3 – 4 hours of interrupted time daily to do creative work. I concur totally. When I have uninterrupted periods of a few hours or more in which to write, I am more creative and productive than when I try to write in shorter blocks of time.  I believe that the blog author had discovered a Biblical principal.  God speaks to us when we are still and quite.   Psalm 46:10 admonishes us to ‘Be still, and know that I am God.”  In 1 Kings 19 Elijah seeks a revelation of the Lord, and the Lord appears to him as a gentle whisper.

Whether you go about life semi-normally for the next few weeks or you practice social distance and self-quarantining, I hope that you will take some extended time to be still and quiet.  You may find that this will be on of the greatest periods of creativity in your life.

 

Money Can Buy Happiness

There’s a famous saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.”  There are many studies that show that having and spending lots of money does not increase happiness.  Michael Norton, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard University, disagrees with that statement, with a caveat.  He says that money can buy happiness IF you spend it right.

How do you spend it right?  By spending it on others.  He did experiments a few years back in which he gave small amounts of money to different groups of people.  Some were instructed to spend it on themselves and the rest were told they had to spend the money on someone else.  Regardless of whom they spent the money on or the amount of money they spent, all who used the money for someone else reported higher levels of happiness at the end of the experiment.

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I love it when scientists, or social scientists in this case, prove the Word of God.  In Acts 20:35, Paul told the Ephesians, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

“It is more blessed to give than to receive” is really another way of saying that you can achieve happiness by sharing your money with others.  And, of course, giving doesn’t only involve money.  You can be blessed by sharing your time, talents, and attention with others.  Not all of us have the financial resources to give away large amounts of money. But we all have something we can give.  And, as this study affirmed, even giving small amounts of money can bless someone and increase your level of happiness.

Further more, generosity brings blessings.  Proverbs 22:9 tells us “Whoever has a generous eye will be blessed,” and Proverbs 28:27 says, “He who gives to the poor will not lack.”

I would encourage you to look for opportunities each day to bless someone else with your money, time, or talent.  In this way, you will ensure that your days are blessed and filled with happiness.

 

In God We Trust

This week the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ has been in the news.  Brevard County Sheriff’s department added decals with the phrase to their patrol cars.  An atheist group has challenged the sheriff’s right to do so, stating that it is “frightening and politically dubious for the local police department to announce to citizens that officers rely on the judgment of a deity rather than on the judgment of the law.”  Their words could be no farther from the truth.

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I believe that it is frightening and foolish to put one’s trust in any person, organization, or institution rather than in the Lord God.  God created us, loves us, and provides for all our needs, the most important of which is our eternal salvation.   Trusting in the Lord not only makes sense, but comes with great benefits.

  • Trusting in God brings peace and joy.  Romans 15:13 tells “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
  • God protects those who trust in Him.  “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. 2 Samuel 22:31
  • God directs the path of those who trust Him. Proverbs 3: 5 -6 encourages us to “ Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
  • God blesses those who trust  in Him.  “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8

‘In God We Trust’ is our national motto.  It is printed on our currency.  It makes perfect sense that those who put their lives on the line every day for their fellow citizens would put their trust in God and would want to display the motto on their vehicles.

Where do you put your trust?  If you are looking for security, peace, protection, direction, and blessings, I highly recommend putting your trust in God.

A Song of Deliverance

My grandmother was a labor and delivery nurse at Grandview Hospital in Sellersville, PA, for about 40 years.  She helped delivered thousands of babies in the Sellersville-Souderton-Telford area.  Many of the mothers stayed in contact with her and remembered her with great affection.

When I was grown and my husband and I would visit her,  we liked to take her to do her shopping.  This was often quite a challenge, as she was constantly being stopped by women whose babies and grandbabies she had delivered.   They wanted to thank her for her care and show her the ‘fruit of her labors.’

I recently came across this passage that my grandmother wrote about one delivery and how God intervened in the life of this family.

A Song of Deliverance, by Mildred Boaman, R.N.

The morning sun had just peeped over the hills surrounding the hospital.  And inside its corridors the busy activities of the day had begun. Already one patient in mild labor had been admitted to the obstetrical unit.

She was accompanied by her husband who had returned home from a combat zone.  He had been discharged from the Army just in the nick of time to be present with her for this important happening.  Both of them avowedly wanted children and now the expectation of their dreams were being fulfilled.  Their future looked bright.

Labor for the woman progressed normally, and within a short time she was place on a litter and transferred to the delivery room.  At 12:30 pm the blessed event occurred and both parents rejoiced over the birth of a sweet baby girl. The doll-like infant was wrapped in a piece of swaddling cloth and put into a heated crib where she received the routine infant care.

Shortly thereafter, a serious crisis arose; the mother had developed a complication and her joy was followed by hours of stress and strain. Due to a hemorrhage in a cul-de-sac, an issue of blood flowed freely from its hidden source.  And the administration of oxytocic drugs, the bio-manual compression of the uterus and the ligating of veins did not stem the flood-tide.

It raged on like a storm out of control.  The patient went into a deep state of shock, and death seemed inevitable until the power and might of God flooded that delivery room. Then the flow of blood ceased as suddenly as it started.

Twenty-six years have passed since that almost fateful day, but its memory lingers on.  Each year she visits me in my home, bringing along a tangible gift.  A prayer of praise and Thanksgiving for her miraculous recovery wells up in my heart.  It is my gift to her.

But God, the giver of all good gifts, gave her the most priceless on–Life.  He compassed her about with a song of deliverance.

“Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.”  Psalm 32:7

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Having True Joy in Your Life

Kamala Harris advocated this week for the legalization of marijuana, saying “It gives a lot of people joy. And we need more joy in the world.” I agree that most people have a need for more true joy in their lives. However, lasting joy does not come from the use of chemical substances. Ms. Harris is calling for people to temporarily ‘feel better’ by using marijuana and other substances to masks their problems.

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Dictionary.com defines joy as “the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.” I have never smoked marijuana or consumed alcohol, yet I experience true joy in my life every day. I experience joy as I am enveloped in the love of my family, enjoy the fellowship of friends, bless others through ministry and giving, and contribute to society by working diligently at my job. More importantly, I experience true joy from the assurance that God has forgiven my sins and I am his child. These are things that are exceptionally good and satisfying.

The Lord Jesus told His disciples that joy comes from abiding in Him. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15: 10- 12.

There are many Scriptures in the Bible that speak about joy. These are just a few of them:

  1. Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”
  2. Psalm 21:1 “The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
  3. Psalm 32: 10 -11, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart
  4. Ecclesiastes 2:26, “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight.”
  5. Romans 15:15, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

If you are searching for true joy in your life, I encourage you to seek it from God. God is our only source for forgiveness and salvation. We need to have fellowship with God in order to experience true joy in our lives. Don’t fall into the trap of using substances as a substitute for having real joy in your life.

You Would Not Have Been Born


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“You would not have been born.” I remember clearly the conversation in which my mother uttered those words to me. I was 7 years old, and Mom had just shared with my sisters and I that she had miscarried her second child. Sharon, the oldest of child of the family, was only a few months old when the miscarriage took place. This child would have been born when Sharon was less than 1 year old. I was born approximately one year after this child’s due date.

I was not bothered in the least by my mother’s statement. In fact, I replied with absolute certainty, “Yes, I would. I would have been born to another family.” Mom tried to explain to me that life doesn’t work that way, but I was adamant. The fact that I had been born was proof enough for me that I was supposed to be born. It still is, in fact.

I thought about this conversation recently after watching the movie, ‘About Time’. The movie revolves around a family in which the men can go back in time and relive parts of their lives. At one point, the main character travels back a few years to try to change the outcome of an event and returns to his present life to find that his young daughter Posy has not been born, and he has a son instead. He realizes that his time travel somehow changed the dynamics of his child’s conception resulting in a different child. Fortunately, he is able to undo is time travel mistake and regain Posy.

The movie reminded me that every conception results in a unique child. If conception takes place in a different month, a different child is created–at least in terms of the physical DNA. If the miscarried child had been born, it certainly had the potential to impact the timing of the conception of the next child, namely me, and the 7 children who were born after me.

I am neither a theologian nor a geneticist, so I cannot say with any certainty how I would have been conceived and born if my parents’ second-conceived child have lived. I do, however, have complete confidence that my birth was part of God’s plan. The psalmist David wrote, “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)

The rest of the Psalm reminds us that God know us intimately. He knows our thoughts and He knows where we are. There is no where that we can go to hide from God. He is always with us, walking with us and guiding us no matter where the path takes us. And He has known us since before we were formed. I have absolute assurance that my birth, and your birth, were part of God’s perfect plan.

My mother miscarried another baby 25 years or so after her first miscarriage.  She was just as bereaved to have lost her 11th child, as she was to lose her 2nd child.  She always carried those children in her heart, despite never getting the opportunity to meet them.  She realized that all life is precious and that children are gifts from God.  Psalm 127:3 tells us, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.”

An Open Letter to Target: Regarding your New Restroom Policy

This is a well-written blog in protest of Target’s policy to allow men in ladies’ restrooms and women in men’s restroom. We need to protect our children’s innocence and privacy.

Mary From Martha

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a woman. I am a frequent shopper in your stores. I am first and foremost a mother. Your recent change in policy of who you allow to use each restroom concerns me. You stated in your blog post, “We believe that everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally.” and “…you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target.” As a business owner, I do understand your right to make a stance as a company. As a parent, I will never understand why you would trade the safety of our women and children for the sake of not hurting  feelings.

I realize that everyone needs to feel accepted, loved, and wanted. I know the struggles of a person struggling to find their identity. I also know that as of September 2012, a Gallup poll showed that approximately 3.4% of Americans identify as

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