Something in Common

Melania Trump and I have something in common.

We both enjoy smoothies for breakfast. (Facebook source)

I blend a variety of fruits, berries, low-fat yogurt and juice for a light and nutritious start to the day.

As I handle the food, I think of, and pray for the workers who have been involved in growing, harvesting, and transporting this produce.

Due to the pandemic, and travel restrictions, the world is facing a shortage of fruit harvesters this year.

In the UK, some suggestions have been made that recently unemployed workers should harvest fruit.

This is unrealistic, since fruit harvesters require great physical fitness, superior stamina and endurance, and exceptional knowledge of when the time is right to pick fruit. Food harvesting is far from being an ‘unskilled’ job.

Attempts to use robots to harvest fruit have not been successful, since they often roughly damage the food.

Some food will be left to spoil in the fields this year, as there are too few harvesters available. Food shortages are likely in some places, and the World Food Program (WFP) released statistics that 260 million people globally could face extreme hunger.

The past few months have been reminders for all of us to be truly grateful for the food God provides, and for the many workers involved in the process of bringing foods to our tables.

Detained ?

Have you ever been eyed with suspicion ?

It happened to me today !

I was innocently walking around town taking photographs, when I noticed local residents glaring at me, and frowning.

They thought I was a tourist !

Tourism has been banned here in NL for the time being, but visitors have been arriving anyway, ignoring these instructions.

Thus, our government held an emergency meeting yesterday, and passed a law giving the police new powers.

They can now : ‘stop vehicles, enter any premises, and detain people and take them to the border if they insist on visiting’. The message is clear: ‘stay away’.

The ‘virus’ has changed the world, so that even friendly Newfoundlanders are threatening to have the police send visitors home !

Three possible spiritual scenenerios are likely to result from the pandemic. People who have a strong religious faith will find their faith strengthened. They know that God is always in control.

Other people may decide to place their faith in God. Let us pray especially for this group. God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) and expects that we will make honouring him the first priority of our lives. God loves us, and seeks a relationship with each of us.

A third group of people will likely continue to ignore God, and place their faith in scientists to find a cure for the virus. This group may experience increased disillusionment and frustration as the desperate search continues. Secular humanism, in the end, without God’s guidance, always ends in disaster.

Pictured is the Newfoundland Salt Company, which sells sea salt made from evaporated ocean water. They will not be doing business this year.

N.I.C.E.

Are you a talkative person ?

I am a quiet person. I prefer to listen, observe, and contemplate.

But I’m not an introvert. Rather, I’m an ambivert, somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert, as most of us are.

I love to talk, if I am interested in the subject matter, but I dislike idle chatter.

Jesus makes some comments on this, saying that on the day of judgment we will need to make an account of every idle word we say. (Matthew 12:36). Those are no idle words !

And so, I try to keep my speech within the following N.I.C.E. categories :

N- necessary

I- informative, without being gossipy

C – caring, comforting, consoling, Christ-centred, or comical

E- encouraging

Do I always succeed in keeping my words within these categories ? No. Every day some words slip out that should never be spoken.

But I examine my conscience each evening, and repent of the words that I know I shouldn’t have said.

May our Lord grant us the grace to speak words that are pleasing to him, and to others.

Pictured is a typical home in our historic neighbourhood.

Most homes have a reddish painted outbuilding. This is where fishermen repaired their nets during the winters.

The Trouble With Envy

Do you sometimes feel envious ?

I felt envy this morning when I was looking at photos of beautiful flowers growing in the gardens of fellow bloggers.

I saw dozens of amazing blossoms, and then I felt dejected because my garden has only a few tiny crocuses blooming. It is still too cold for outside flowers here.

Envy is a serious sin; God commands us not to envy or covet what someone else has, because he knows that this sin makes us miserable. The Tenth Commandment instructs us not to covet, or envy. (Exodus 20:17)

As well, this sin is offensive to God because it tells him that what he has given us is not good enough. We expect something more.

God chooses to bless us all differently. He appreciates an attitude of gratitude.

Just as I was contemplating the sin of envy, my husband returned from getting groceries in a neighbouring village.

He brought me fifteen white roses !

I am so thankful to the person who transported these roses, in the middle of a pandemic, to a rural Newfoundland grocery store !

Let us ask for the grace not to be envious of others, but instead let us rejoice in the many blessings, large and small, that God gives us every day.

DO NOT Confront Them

An urgent warning was issued to all residents of our fair community by our Mayor, yesterday, via Facebook.

He gave stern instructions that, if we were to see certain people, we should NOT CONFRONT them, but rather we should report them immediately to our local police detachment.

Who are these dangerous people ?

They are tourists !

How the world has changed. In past summers, we have welcomed thousands of visitors. They are attracted to the natural beauty here, the friendly people, and the slow pace of life. This year, all tourism is closed.

Many homes, including ours, are historic, and have been carefully restored.

Life here is reminiscent of 1920, but with modern technology.

I will miss the enthusiasm and the joy that our visitors bring each year.

We cannot, of course, understand why God has allowed this pandemic to develop.

Only in hindsight will we learn how the world changed during this trial.

Please, Don’t Squeeze

Have you noticed recent changes at the supermarket?

I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment, underneath my blue mask, at our grocery store today.

In the produce section, just above the avocado bin, was a large new sign that said: ‘PLEASE DON’T SQUEEZE THE PRODUCE.’

I felt guilty, knowing that I had, in the past, squeezed avocados, checking for ripeness levels.

This is considered to be poor supermarket etiquette, especially now, when everyone fears contamination.

In addition, produce squeezing can damage food, so that no one else will buy it. Store owners don’t appreciate this.

I sheepishly chose five avocados, and finished my shopping, knowing that I would squeeze no more produce.

When we publicly identify as Christ-followers, unbelievers will be watching us. They notice what we say, how we behave towards others, and they notice our manners, including how we treat produce at the store.

May God give us the grace to treat others with kindness and compassion, so that our consistent good example will guide others to the Lord.

Children of Light

Do small things entertain you ?

I find much pleasure in contemplating the details of God’s amazing creation. Thus, I am rarely bored.

One of the things that fascinates me the most is light.

Today I have been enjoying the light coming through my window, and reflecting on my water glass. The light has created some beautiful shadows.

Drinking water from a lovely glass motivates me to stay well-hydrated.

In Ephesians 5:8, we are encouraged to walk as children of light.

May our Lord give us the grace to continue to shine as lights in the darkness.

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Scott, Sarah, and Patience

Would you consider yourself to be a patient person ?

These are days that require all of us to become increasingly patient.

Scott, a Herring Gull, has been a daily Spring and Summer visitor at our seaside home since 2017.

This year he has brought his mate, Sarah with him.

They arrive each morning, and patiently wait for breakfast.

This morning, they have been showing extra patience, as it is snowing here, and the sea is barely visible !

Waiting, for all of us, is a type of suffering.

Romans 5:3-4: …suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us…

Let us ask God to help us to develop more patience.

Polar Bear Watch

The icebergs are here now !

Every year, multitudes of these gigantic ice chunks break off from glaciers in Greenland, and float by our village. We live in what is known as : ‘Iceberg Alley’.

This means that it is also the time when flat sheets of ice, called ice floes, break off from the Arctic ice. Some of these contain Polar Bears, which become trapped on them.

Several years ago, an ice floe carrying a hungry Polar Bear landed in our village. He was attracted to our local fried chicken diner by the wonderful smell.

He scared the customers before being subdued by animal rescue officers and returned to his native habitat.

Even in unpredictable times, God maintains the rhythm of nature.

Once the icebergs melt, the ocean will be filled with tiny fish called Capelin.

Then, chasing the Capelin, the majestic whales will come.

The Blueberry Challenge

Are you finding new ways to amuse yourself these days ?

Here, we have been challenging each other to see who is most observant. Yesterday, I asked my husband what colour a blueberry was on the inside. He said that it was blue. When I told him that was incorrect, he guessed that it was red.

So I showed him a blueberry that I had peeled ; he was surprised to learn that blueberries are pale green on the inside.

Blueberries grow abundantly in rural Newfoundland, and are ripe in late summer. During the off-season, blueberries are imported from South America.

May God give us true gratitude for the huge variety of food that he provides for our nourishment.