Merry Christmas, and watch out for the New Year

Merry Christmas, friends!

I had so hoped that today I could give you a full download of book 1 in one chapter-separated audio file, and a lot of Book 2 chapters as an audio book.

However, at Thanksgiving we were visited by the stomach flu bug, which a week later was followed by COVID. Both my husband and I were felled at the same time, nearly within the same hour. There were COVID outbreaks at both of our jobs, before and after we became ill, and at our son’s part-time job (he brought us home the stomach flu first).

For 10 days we were knocked down, hard.

Blessedly, our college-age son was well enough to get drive-thru dinners for his siblings, and our teenage daughter who had no symptoms could go through self-checkout lines and get us supplies of Gatorade and soup (shout-out to Progresso and Campbells Chunky soups for being so easy and making us feel like we were swallowing down bowls of vitamins).

We’ve also been enormously blessed to have understanding bosses who cared more for our well-being than the fact that we were missing over a week of work.

But most of all, I’m grateful for specific blessings of health. One Saturday, five days sick, I crashed, hard. My tachycardia heart couldn’t calibrate itself, and I felt a fatigue I’ve never experienced before. I worried that this might be “it.” But I also knew it wasn’t “it”. I know there is more that I need to do in this life. And since 99.7% of people recover (with few ever needing hospitalization), why should I not think I could?

I asked my husband to pray for me, specifically requesting that I begin to get over this. He did, promising that I “would begin to reclaim my life, day by day.” The next day, I was well enough to get down to the couch. The next day, I was stronger still.

By the next Saturday, one week later, I felt so healthy that I scrubbed all of the bathrooms, rearranged my closet (my “recording studio”), tossed out three bags of purged junk, and made dinner AND dessert. Two days after that, I walked my regular three-mile circuit, pulled by a puppy I’m babysitting, with no problems.

Prayer works.

In fact, it’s really the only thing that does.

I still have bronchitis which visits me yearly, but even that is waning, so hopefully soon I’ll have enough voice and fewer coughing fits that I can get back to recording Book 2 very soon.

I feel reborn in a strange way. Everything about my body feels different somehow, similar to as after having a baby. The body has to “find” itself again and reclaim what it used to be. I’ve heard others recovering from COVID mention the same thing. (And not all of it is bad–I see advantages to not having a sense of smell: my house has never smelled cleaner! Anyone have stinky diapers they need changed? I can do that, no problem.)

But already I know I won’t go back to what I was. Nor do I want to. I feel God pushing me on to different planes. I did a lot of thinking when I was feverish and exhausted (not much else you can do except watch reruns of “The Crown”).

Much was taught to me during those two weeks, and I’m looking into ideas and meditations that I haven’t before, finding great strength and insight I haven’t expected. (And I also have all these lovely natural immunities; bodies are strong and resilient.)

Nothing’s the same, anywhere.

Friends, if you haven’t felt that the world is different yet, you have to, or you’ll be surprised in very unpleasant ways.

Two years ago, this COVID threat began to rise in Wuhan, China. But that wasn’t all. More came with it, much that we couldn’t yet see, but it’s been impressed upon me for the past two years that the world is changing, and will continue to change. I believe much of that will be revealed in the next year.

There’s no going back to “normal.”

Why would the “Administrators” give back power once they’ve taken so much hold of it? Not without a battle, not without some kind of catastrophic collapse of power. That will be coming, I feel it in my gut and in my mind.

I haven’t seen one country in the world relinquish any of the additional control it’s illegally seized since this all began. Trust me–none ever will peacefully.

When I wrote Book 6 Flight of the Wounded Falcon where Young Pere travels to Edge and finds a strange, unpredictable place, it nearly broke my heart to do that to Edge, a village I’d grown to love.

But a strange impression came over me as I drafted those pages: Our world would also, in a few years, become as strange and unpredictable. It would become unrecognizable. And it has. Frankly, I didn’t think it’d happen for many more years—I wanted to be older and wiser when everything started to go weirdly downhill. But it’s happening now.

Nothing in the next few years will be anything that we’re used to. All we can do is hold on and listen to the promptings of the Spirit, which may tell you to do something different than it tells me, because we are all on different paths.

Most of all, we need to have compassion for each other, love for those whose paths are different, and choose to cling to each other, and not let the sharp divisiveness that is trying to pit city against city, family against family, parent against child. It’s been prophesied, but it doesn’t have to happen to you or me.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Revelator and others saw our day. And honestly, they saw terrible, strange things. But we can get through these years if we choose to love despite everything, choose to support instead of tear down, and choose to hear Him, who I promise is coming, sooner than we realize.

It’s time to build Zion, beginning in our own hearts.

All my love and hope for you this coming year. We’ll need all that we can get.

Test everything, especially what you believe

Several years ago we moved to a distant community we’d visited only once, and felt fortunate to find a couple willing to help us get settled. We took their advice about jobs, housing, schools, and the people, although at times what they claimed didn’t ring entirely true with my limited experience there.

Soon after we moved in, I began to realize that this couple perceived things very differently than we did, pointing out negatives which weren’t there and criticizing the sincere efforts of others they felt were “beneath them.” The picture they had been giving us about the community had been quite distorted.

Within weeks it became apparent that they had an agenda and were grooming us to support their efforts. As quickly as possible we severed ties with the couple and endeavored to learn the truth about our new home, which proved to be far better than we had been conditioned to believe.

Over the years I’ve ceased feeling embarrassed about being duped by this couple, and instead have grown grateful for the experience which taught me three important strategies for life:

  • Gather several points of view about a situation before making decisions.
  • Look for someone else’s agenda in what they proclaim to be the truth.
  • Don’t make hasty decisions but weigh them out before acting.

And I’m doing all of that more each day, with every news broadcast, every political stance, every health report—pretty much everything.

I get different viewpoints, even–and especially–from those “on the other side” politically. Don’t be afraid of the opposition; learn what they believe. Debate their positions in your head.

I look for agendas and what they ultimately hope to accomplish. The end result may be hard to discern, but their ultimate goal tell you all you need to know about how they will treat you and others in the future.

I don’t make hasty decisions, especially if someone is telling me exactly what I want to hear. That’s called bias confirmation, and in our zeal to be proven right, we may be unintentionally agreeing with something wrong.

Most importantly, it’s ok to take some time to form an opinion. On many issues, I still can’t make up my mind about who to trust, so I trust no one and remain floating in a pool of ambivalence until greater light and knowledge come to me.

And how do I get that greater light and knowledge? I pray and ask God about everything, and I mean everything, that I come across.

Quite often He gives me a clear answer in the form of peace in my mind about a matter, a calm reassurance that fills me with warmth.

I’ve learned to question everything, and not to simply take someone else’s word or testimony about an issue. I’m entitled to my own answers, and God wants to give them to me, and to you, if you want them.

Sometimes He doesn’t answer me immediately because either I’m not ready for it, or I have no way to discern the truth . . . yet.

But then later the answer comes, exactly when I’m ready to accept it and act upon it. It always comes. And it will for you, just as quickly as you’re ready to accept it and move on it. With answers comes responsibility. Where much is given, much is required.

But you don’t have to trust me about this–test Him for yourself. He’ll always tell you the truth and what to believe. Always.