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Celebrations Conversations

Stunning Valentines from God – Photo Challenge!

Friends, do you know what next week brings? February! I love February. It is the month which contains both my wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day. And I propose a photo challenge!

Whether you prefer Valentines (celebration of love), Palentines (in appreciation of pals and friends), or Nilentines (anti-Valentines but still a reason to get together), I know one thing to be true. God loves us all! He loves us with a stunning, unconditional, and everlasting love.

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Jeremiah 31:3

The other day I read a post by Windsofchange18 called Signs, Moments, Smiling. She posted a photo and described how she noticed hearts formed by the knots on the tree in her yard. I commented that it was like a Valentine from God.

Shortly after, I went for a walk and found this.

A heart shaped leaf stuck on a rock wall: Stunning Valentines from God - Photo Challenge!
My own Valentine from God

God sent me my own Valentine! I felt so personally romanced. And I’ll bet, if you look around, you’ll find one He has set out for you too! My mind immediately said, “Photo challenge!”

Will you be on the watch for hearts from God? When you see one in the clouds, in the shadows, in the trees or anywhere, snap a quick photo and share it! Be sure to link back to this post so we can all soak in the love!

God makes the most stunning Valentines! I can’t wait to see what He shows to you. Thank you for participating in this photo challenge.

“The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.”

Psalm 33:5
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Conversations

No Disinformation Here: Our Genuine Experience with COVID-19, Omicron variant

We have COVID-19. Everyone in my house is sick. Because there is so much conjecture and disinformation on the subject, I thought I’d share our experience with you. I do not intend to be political, or to have any agenda at all. I just want to give you the genuine facts. If everyone who got the Omicron variant did something like this, I think we’d all feel more empowered to make better-informed decisions.

No disinformation here: Our genuine experience with COVID-19, Omicron variant

Our background with COVID-19

There are 5 adults currently living in my house. Let me give you some background on each of us, up to January 1, 2022.

Daughter 1: Was very ill and tested positive for COVID-19 in late 2020. Had the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in spring 2021. Has some comorbidities.

Daughter 2: Severely ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 at least twice in 2020 and 2021. Never took a COVID-19 test. Not vaccinated. No comorbidities.

Son: No major illnesses in 2020 or 2021. Pfeizer vaccine in spring 2021. Exposed to COVID-19 many times, all tests negative. Some comorbidities.

Husband: Sick a few times in 2020 and 2021. Tested for COVID-19 each time, all negative. Moderna vaccine in spring 2021. Several comorbidities.

Me: No illnesses in 2020 or 2021. Moderna vaccine in spring 2021. Exposed to COVID-19 multiple times, all tests negative. No comorbidities.

We are five people, coming at this virus from 5 different angles. My son, husband, and I lived with daughter 1 while she was infected with COVID-19 in 2020. That was before vaccines were available. None of us got sick, although our third daughter, who lived here at the time, did.

Our current timeline with COVID-19, Omicron variant

The above background brings us to January 1, 2022. Here is the timeline of what has transpired since.

  • Jan. 1: Daughter 2 finds out she’s been exposed to COVID-19, Omicron variant.
  • Jan. 4: Daughter 2 tests positive.
  • Jan. 7: Husband tests positive.
  • Jan. 10: I test positive.
  • Jan. 11: Daughter 1 tests positive.
  • Jan. 12: Son tests positive

Daughter 1, Son, and I fell ill at the same time, but our tests were on different days, according to what was required to satisfy the regulations of our different employers. The results confirmed our suspicions that everyone in the household is infected with COVID-19.

Having been vaccinated, or not, has not made a difference. Which vaccine we had, has been of no consequence. Having previously contracted a different variant of COVID-19 has changed nothing. The existence, or not, of comorbidities has not been a factor.

Notably, we are all experiencing the same symptoms, along the same trajectory, at the same severity.

Our symptoms of COVID-19, Omicron variant

Our symptoms, in the order we’ve experienced them have been:

  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Feverish hot/cold spells
  • Headache and pressure in the eyes
  • Brain fog/difficulty with focus
  • Mild congestion
  • Coughing fits
  • Back and chest pain
  • Dizziness and nausea

While the above has been fairly miserable, it has not been debilitating. We are not bedridden. We are quarantining, but those of us who can work remotely have continued to work. We have treated our headaches and coughs with over-the-counter medicines, which have helped some. We are able to take it slow and care for ourselves, each other, and the kids.

I have not discussed the kids because it is difficult to know exactly what they are feeling and I want this post to be completely factual. There are two 2-year-olds and one 5-year-old living in our house. They are also sick.

Our questions about COVID-19, Omicron variant

The questions we are pondering are these:

  • Is our experience typical?
  • Can anyone expect to avoid this?
  • How long will the antibodies last?
  • Will the antibodies from this variant be effective against another?

I guess time will tell. In the meantime, if you’ve had COVID-19, Omicron variant, how did it go for you? Was your experience similar?

I have gone over this post with everyone listed above to be sure there is no disinformation here. The consensus is that this is, indeed, our genuine experience with COVID-19, Omicron variant. We’d love to hear about yours!

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Conversations Devotions

SuperPower Sunday: Wisdom

Welcome to Superpower Sunday!

This week’s Super-Character skill is Wisdom:

Seeing and responding to life situations from God’s frame of reference.

Character Bookshelf Series, Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

Please Share! In the comments section below, let us know what you learned and tell your success stories from the last week of practicing truthfulness. Also, we’d love to read your ideas of how we might exercise wisdom between now and next Superpower Sunday!

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Conversations Reflections

When You Frame It Like That… Both/And is a Beautiful Thing!

I like things neatly wrapped in concise little packages. I prefer most foods stay apart. I eat cake or ice cream, but seldom both. If I have both, I prefer them in separate dishes. I can multitask, but I’d rather not. I am often an either/or type of person.

That is probably why this beauty bothered me. It contained Autumn and Spring. Both/and mixed together in the same frame.

It had come about by indecisive weather. The temperature had turned decidedly toward Fall, with cooler air and cloudy days. The leaves began to turn, and all was well. But then we got some warm rain followed by several sunny days. It was as if nature thought Spring had sprung. As a result, we have both blooming bushes and Autumn leaves. I wanted either/or, until I realized my folly and looked again.

Blooming ivy poking through large fall leaves: When you frame it like that… both/and is a beautiful thing!
Both Autumn and Spring in the Same Frame

Both fall and spring is a beautiful phenomenon. And what a fool I’d be not to take it in with appreciation! In fact, as I chose to be open and notice, I saw it happening all around me.

Our rosemary bushes were not alone in their confusion. We had all sorts of flowers blooming when they should be resting. My beautiful gardenia against the backdrop of fallen leaves is just another of many examples I found.

Gardenia bloom against a background of fall leaves: When you frame it like that… both/and is a beautiful thing
Spring Gardenia and Autumn Leaves

Lord, you are far more creative than to be boxed into an either/or corner. You are both a consuming fire and a still, small voice. You are both the great “I Am” and my All in All. You are both wrath and mercy. Your glory is full of both/and. Thank you for this visible reminder of how beautiful it is.

“Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord…”

Psalm 96:12, 13a

I don’t need things to be either/or. Autumn and spring are spectacular together. When you frame it like that, both/and is a beautiful thing!


“When You Frame It Like That…” is a hosted prompt. Feel free to join in with a thought and a photo (or several!). Please click here for details.

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Conversations Devotions

SuperPower Sunday: Truthfulness

Welcome to Superpower Sunday!

This week’s Super-Character skill is Truthfulness:

Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts.

Character Bookshelf Series, Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”

Ephesians 4:25

Please Share! In the comments section below, let us know what you learned and tell your success stories from the last week of practicing thoroughness. Also, we’d love to read your ideas of how we might exercise truthfulness between now and next Superpower Sunday!

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Conversations Devotions

SuperPower Sunday: Thoroughness

Welcome to Superpower Sunday!

This week’s Super-Character skill is Thoroughness:

Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected.

Character Bookshelf Series, Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts

“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.”

Proverbs 18:15

Please Share! In the comments section below, let us know what you learned and tell your success stories from the last week of practicing sincerity. Also, we’d love to read your ideas of how we might exercise thoroughness between now and next Superpower Sunday!