Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

The Most Wonderful Time?

Can I just say, I’m sick of COVID? Can I get an amen?

I don’t know how Thanksgiving looked at your house, but mine looked extremely different from the way it usually does. My brother has tested positive for COVID, so there was no yearly trek out to East Texas. My mom needed to stay safe in her assisted living facility, so there was no interaction with our matriarch. With the disease on the rise, we decided against a large family party and missed seeing our newest cousin. And three members of my family are sick (including my precious daughter Sparkle), quarantining, and had to spend the holiday all alone. 

But God is good. In fact, the sickest member of my family (well, I’m claiming him) said that very thing to me the other night between coughs as I spoke to him on my daughter’s speakerphone. Instead of a large gathering, Sweet Hubby, Spunky, and I visited my son who begged to host. His downstairs is large and open, giving us all plenty of room to eat without facing one another and spread out to watch the football games. Precious redhead and her hubs drove in from Atlanta and stayed with my son, as well. The seven of us kept our masks on and the windows open, but still laughed, joked, talked. And we were grateful for the time we had together. Grateful for the Zoom call a few days later that collected ALL of our family, even those who at that point were recuperating. God is indeed good! 

Our typical crew for Sunday nights. Many of us usually chat on Saturday nights, too.

Adjusting my plans for Thanksgiving made me shed a few tears, especially missing Sparkle, but it was only a day. And we’ve already declared a secondary Thanksgiving Day in February. Maybe by then, my mom will get to join us! My brother has since tested negative and his minor symptoms have disappeared – YEA! Sparkle only had seasonal allergies, but rested well during the weekend to fight off anything that might attack. And I got to do a plexiglass meeting with my mom. She’s having such a great time in her new place – so many events and people that she interacts with all the time – there wasn’t even a reason to bring up the Thanksgiving plans that had to change.  

And God is good! Because even if in February we still can’t get together, God is good for planting His seed of love and hope in the hearts of all my family members! We’ll spend eternity having one Thanksgiving party after another. How cool is that?!

In the bleakest hours, His star shines in the east. His light comes into the world. Hope rises and abounds at the name of Jesus! Yes, this is the most wonderful time!

May your December be blessed! May your family stay safe! May your spirits stay up! May your glasses stay rosy! ~Philippians 4:8

Covid 19 Day 11

Been talking with my family through the house on our Alexa system. Even brought in my son as an “Alexa call.” We’re finding new ways to meet and plan to have a family game night later this week – remotely of course.

I’m beginning to love Zoom. Had a chat with my daughter just now. Last night, I tried to do some Facebook “LIVE” chats with some author friends to see how usable it was. The lag time is more than half a minute. By lag time, I mean that I said “Go” on the video and at least 34 seconds later, those watching heard it. That’s a substantial lag time. Hard to do any engagement that way.

On Zoom, there’s hardly any lag time at all. In fact, I think I might have told you, but my daughter’s Bible study group is going to play a version of Pictionary – that drawing charades game – on Zoom tomorrow night. I’m hoping my ladies’ Bible study can use it so we can continue to “meet.”

Stay tuned. I’m going to see if I can use it as a video blog here tomorrow. Cross your fingers! LOL!

Stay safe. Wash your hands. And let me know if I can be praying for you for anything specific!


COVID 19 Shutdown Day 8

Getting bored yet? Have you thought about having a family game night, or even a couple game night?

Friday night delight with the family and a good NANCY DREW interactive mystery! If you haven’t tried the Her Interactive games, you should! Mysteries and puzzles that last for days, even for adults.

Our mystery is the latest, “Midnight in Salem.” And it’s okay, but many of them are much better. “The White Wolf of Icicle Creek Lodge” is my favorite. My kids favor “Phantom of Venice” and “The Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon.

Did you do anything just for fun this weekend?

COVID19 Shutdown Day 6 Prayer Break

My pastor, Brent Taylor, posted this prayer chart on Facebook today and it deserves reposting. I have to say though, that it is missing something.

Pray for yourself. You are here, in this moment, appointed by God to be His perfect instrument for a specific job that will impact the kingdom and bring Him glory. It might be within your own family. It might be reaching out online or by phone to give comfort and encouragement to others. Pray that God will reveal to you your options for “touching” others during this time and that He will protect you so you can press on to make the impact on His kingdom that He has laid out for you to make.

So how are you and your family through this temporary “shut-down?” Do you have any prayer requests that I can lift up for you?

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COVID19 Shutdown, Day Three – Laugh Break

Just wanted you to know! *Snicker.*

COVID19 Shutdown, Day Two

Are you climbing the walls yet?

In virtual interactions with folks, I’m finding four main reactions to all that is happening to our “world” amid the Covid 19 spread.

1. The panic-driven are hearing the gloom and doom from some media outlets and seeing the emptying shelves at the store and . . . well, reacting.

My daughter-in-law went to the store yesterday for black beans. She just needed two cans to complete a recipe but found the canned food aisle full of people and almost empty shelves. One man put his cart against a shelf and shoved all of the cans from it directly into his basket. My d-i-l was able to snag two of the last four cans (only the high-dollar stuff was left), but she couldn’t get out of the area. She found herself completely trapped on the canned food aisle and had to finally raise her voice to get people to let her out of the aisle. She didn’t even have a cart, just needed a path. (That should be the title of a song: TRAPPED ON THE CANNED FOOD AISLE! Lol!)

And I’m not even going to start on the fights that have broken out. Over bottled water? Really? This isn’t a hurricane where you have to be worried about the water. But then there’s the situation with the toilet paper. Okay, okay! I get that folks might be concerned they might have trouble getting to a grocery store should they get sick, but how much do you use in a month?

I actually got caught up in the toilet paper thing. Not on purpose, but after having it unavailable for my last two Walmart orders, we were . . . well, in dire need! Down to two rolls and those were getting pretty slender. So I went on a TP treasure hunt. Thankfully, I found plenty at the first store I visited, Kroger, and got the two packages that I normally buy. I felt so conspicuous walking out of that store with nothing but toilet paper and ice cream. (Kroger has the best store-brand ice cream! LOVE it!) I’m thinking everyone is taking pictures of the crazy pandemic panicker. “Can’t survive without my toilet paper and chocolate ice cream.” LOL!

2. The scoffers are the second group. I hate using the word scoffer because it sounds so mean, but I know I’ve been guilty of being in this group. It’s easy to laugh at some of the bizarre behavior that the fear is bringing out. But this sort of threat does build up fear – terror. The extreme of the scoffing is more what I’m talking about with this group, though.

I read an article last week that made me shudder. Someone posted a meme about the virus. We are America. “Bring it on.” Yikes! There’s a time for national pride – the Olympics for instance. But I don’t think the little varmints jumping from one carrier to another are going to be impressed when they land on an American.

It brought to mind Ephesians 6:12. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” I know there are folks today who beat their chest like King Kong, thinking they are invincible. They not only don’t fear; they invite the monsters to attack. Reckless and, yes, foolish, they have no idea what they are doing, what they are welcoming. And unfortunately, invincibility only lasts for a lifetime.

3. There’s a third type that isn’t as vocal or daring as the second group, but can be just as proud and reckless. These are the nay-sayers. I used to believe that ostriches really buried their heads in the sand when they were threatened. (They don’t, by the way.) But as a child (anytime I got scared), I pulled the covers over my head and shut my eyes. If I couldn’t see anything evil, then it couldn’t see me either, right?

No, not then and not now. But there are many people who are determined not to let the rumor of this virus stop their plans. All of their plans. Like me when I was a frightened child, they are convinced that if they don’t acknowledge the danger, then it simply isn’t there. In the extreme, these folks are reacting in anger and blame at the media and those in authority who are trying to enforce the only action that has seemed to work in curtailing this virus. There are a number of posts and opinions to the effect that this scare is nothing, and the media and government are causing unnecessary panic.

It doesn’t matter what the mayor says or the CDC or county officials or the president, this group believes the whole thing is a farce, and they insist on conducting business as usual. When the widespread pandemic fails to come to fruition, they expect to be able to say, “See, I told you so” to the ones who were concerned.

I hope they are right. I’m praying that by God’s grace this virus will not just dissipate but will vanish entirely. And I’ll lead the chorus of saying, “You were right, and I was wrong!” But I don’t think it’s wise or even godly for us to hang our hats there.

4. This final group is where I stand. I think what I’m hearing from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control is real. I think the decisions that our government leaders are making are wise and are backed up by examples from Wuhan, China and the country of Italy. And I think that self-isolating for a couple of weeks or even a month isn’t going to hurt us nearly as badly as a widespread, acute outbreak of this virus would. I think it’s prudent to follow the directions those who have studied this virus and its spread are giving us. And pray that the Lord who is really the One in charge will eradicate it.

I think, as Christians, in everything, we are supposed to give to God our absolute best. Then we’re supposed to trust Him with the results. That means we do everything we can to succeed in what He has given us – and in this case, that would be to avoid getting sick first and avoid spreading the disease otherwise – and rely on Him to make His will be done. Regardless of what His will entails.

So while I would LOVE to learn that my choices for staying at home, canceling outings and appointments, and extreme cleaning after anyone else visits are completely unnecessary, they are examples of me doing my best. Not out of fear, but with confidence that God is sovereign and reigning through all of this. To do less would be to let my stubbornness and/or laziness and excuses rule. That attitude will not glorify Him.

I serve a Mighty God.
He is on the throne.