It’s A Start!

Every week people trust me with some of their most intimate thoughts. Pain, fear, loneliness, despair, anger, insecurities… If my office walls could weep, they most surely would every day.

People who know me know I’m a crier. Sometimes I cry with a client. Most of the time my tears fall after he or she leaves. Being the type of person who feels every feeling that those around me carry is not easy. But I know God has entrusted these precious souls to me for a reason. And so I take my role very serious.

Last week I turned the tables. I poured out myself to the world regarding my appearance. I have to admit that my biggest fear was not what people would say. It was allowing myself to be so vulnerable to people I do not know. I am so thankful that I did not allow fear to stop me from posting.

I have received a number of emails and private messages from people, some I do not know, sharing with me their own pain due to self-esteem, weight, and other issues. One person said they were relieved to know they weren’t alone. Oh, my dear friend. You are most definitely not alone!

Just as Jesus was about to ascend to his Father, he gave us one final statement. “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20)

When Jesus ascended, God sent us the Holy Spirit and it is through his constant presence that we may cast our burdens. Even with this promise, however, having another human being who seemingly understands your struggles is a great relief. And honestly I believe God uses people for His glory when we allow Him to. I’m humbled that He picked me to bring a bit of comfort to his children.

So… since many of you have reached out, asking to join me on my journey, I felt I should give you an update.

I’ve lost 2 pounds. *sigh*

My initial instinct is to be frustrated. 10 days and only 2 pounds??!! But then God reminds me that perseverance is important.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Rom 5:1-4)

Two pounds down in ten days. It’s not much according to the scale but it’s a step. I’m eating less, drinking more water, and praying when I’d rather be snacking. I’m trying to exercise but that’s proving to be a challenge. I tore my rotator cuff in 2 places and cracked the ball in my shoulder so ….. until I get it fixed with surgery next month, moving is carefully orchestrated.

Two pounds. I’ll take it. Why? Because those two pounds are for this temple God have me. You see, he not only has entrusted me to hear the cries of His people each week, He’s also entrusted me to care for myself. And with His strength, I will. So keep sharing a bit of yourself with me. And I’ll do the same with you. Because we really are in this thing called life together! 

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. —Gal 6:2

We The People…

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I have always loved journalism. In high school, the school newspaper was a place where I learned to embrace my voice. I won awards for my investigative journalism. I worked on the college newspaper staff. And I graduated with honors from a prestigious journalism program. One thing was instilled in me from the very beginning: Report the truth. Nothing more. Nothing less.

It’s amazing how that simple but powerful statement is no longer relevant today. Local, state, and national media outlets are dominately left-wing and profoundly marxist in nature. What I have witnessed over the past several years has been an increased amount of glee in the destruction and devastation of anyone they disagree with.

Before I left the journalism field, I worked for a local newspaper. I remember sitting in our afternoon staff meeting and the editor having a rundown of the day’s stories. He said, after hearing the list, to “use the picture with the body above the fold” because tragedy sells more papers. I left journalism soon after, never to look back.

My paternal grandfather was a Christian and a patriot. He served Jesus and his country with pride and honor. In fact, the National Guard Armory was named after him in my hometown. And he was my biggest fan! He carried around clippings of news articles I had written, showing them off whenever he could. He always taught me to do the right thing. I failed miserably too often but I believe he would be so proud of me for walking away from journalism because the media more often than nought degrade political leaders, twist truth to support the destruction of our country, discredit our military and police, and laugh in the face of our Constitution.

It’s time for people to wake up!

3-4 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. (2 Timothy 4)

Ask yourself if you are filling up on spiritual junk food or the Fruit of the Spirit. Are you turning your back on the truth because truth makes you uncomfortable or unpopular?

It’s not easy being one to stand alone in truth but it’s absolutely necessary in today’s world of political correctness. Now, please understand, the Truth that Scripture talks about and the truth that seem to escape the media are different. BUT, we can’t know truth until we know The Truth. And if we find it easy to sell out on the small “t”, it won’t take long before we invite The Truth out of our lives. Satan is a seductive one, beginning small before weaving his betrayal all through our soul.

9-12 The Anarchist’s coming is all Satan’s work. All his power and signs and miracles are fake, evil sleight of hand that plays to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them. And since they’re so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses in it—gives them what they want. Since they refuse to trust truth, they’re banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions. (2 Thessalonians 2)

So how do you know what is true and what is not? First, you pray about it. Do you feel uneasy about whatever you are reading or hearing? Next, research it for yourself! Look, the world is quite literally at our fingertips. You can’t just “Google” something and call it a day. You should read several sources from different viewpoints to see what is aligning and what is not. Typically, if someone is willing to go “on the record”, it’s more likely true than anonymous sources. Finally, pray some more.

The big news making its rounds on media outlets and social media platforms is that President Trump didn’t do enough to protect the American people from the coronavirus. When I have asked what he could have done better or how he didn’t do enough, most of the naysayers cannot give me anything more than one liners from CNN or Facebook. It’s sad because the truth is quite incredible. I have included at the end of this blog the timeline of the Trump Administration and the Democratic party from December to April regarding Covid-19. I put this together with just a little bit of research and a desire for the truth. Don’t just skim over it because it’s a bit long. Don’t brush over it because you think you know the truth. Take time. Read it.

2020 has been a heck of a year. But if We The People do not start standing up for the truth and embracing the Word of God, the United States of America is going to cease being what we know. Our freedoms are quickly slipping away and we are allowing it to happen willingly. Denominations are more focused on social justice than the Kingdom of God. Families are splitting over political opinions. Businesses are closing because of power plays. And entire cities are burning or being destroyed because of a false narrative.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

These men fought for us. Now it’s time we fight for the future “us”. Find a Bible-believing church and get involved. Push back on media lies. Pray because your life depends on it. Spend time with God daily. Read the Bible more than the Internet. Research. Research. Research. And finally …. Ignore the media. Think for yourself.


The Covid-19 Timeline in the USA from January – April 2020 – you decide if our President failed to act.

December 31: China reports the discovery of the coronavirus to the World Health Organization.

January 3: CDC Director Robert Redfield sent an email to the director of the Chinese CDC, George Gao, formally offering to send U.S. experts to China to investigate the coronavirus.

January 5: CDC Director Redfield sent another email to the Chinese CDC Director, George Gao, formally offering to send U.S. experts to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak,

January 6: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a level I travel notice for Wuhan, China due to the spreading coronavirus.

January 7: The CDC established a coronavirus incident management system to better share and respond to information about the virus.

January 11: The CDC updated a Level 1 travel health notice for Wuhan, China.

January 11: Chinese state media report the first known death from an illness originating in the Wuhan market.

January 15: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds a vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate. Pelosi and House Democrats celebrate the “solemn” occasion with a signing ceremony, using commemorative pens.

January 17: The CDC began implementing public health entry screening at the 3 U.S. airports that received the most travelers from Wuhan – San Francisco, New York JFK, and Los Angeles.

January 20: Dr. Fauci announces the National Institutes of Health is already working on the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.

January 21: The CDC activated its emergency operations center to provide ongoing support to the coronavirus response.

January 21: The first person with coronavirus arrives in the United States from China, where he had been in Wuhan.

January 22: Biden says,  “We have it totally under control, it is one person, coming in from China…” 

January 23: The House impeachment managers make their opening arguments for removing President Trump.

January 23: China closes off the city of Wuhan completely to slow the spread of coronavirus to the rest of China.

January 23: The CDC sought a “special emergency authorization” from the FDA to allow states to use its newly developed coronavirus test.

January 27: President Trump tweeted that he made an offer to President Xi Jinping to send experts to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak.

January 27: The CDC issued a level III travel health notice urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to China due to the coronavirus.

January 27: The White House Coronavirus Task Force started meeting to help monitor and contain the spread of the virus and provide updates to the President. 

January 29: The White House announced the formation of the Coronavirus Task Force to help monitor and contain the spread of the virus and provide updates to the President. 

January 30: Senators begin asking two days of questions of both sides in the president’s impeachment trial.

January 30: The World Health Organization declares a global health emergency as coronavirus continues to spread.

January 31: The Senate holds a vote on whether to allow further witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial.

January 31: The Trump Administration:

  • Declared the coronavirus a public health emergency.
  • Announced Chinese travel restrictions.
  • Suspended entry into the United States for foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

January 31: The Department of Homeland Security took critical steps to funnel all flights from China into just 7 domestic U.S. airports.

February 1: Biden said: “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia, and fear-mongering to lead the way instead of science.” 

February 2: The first death from coronavirus outside China is reported in the Philippines.

February 3: House impeachment managers begin closing arguments, calling Trump a threat to national security.

February 3: The CDC had a team ready to travel to China to obtain critical information on the novel coronavirus, but were in the U.S. awaiting permission to enter by the Chinese government.

February 2: The CDC expanded enhanced entry screening to eight major airports across the nation.

February 4: President Trump vowed in his State of the Union Address to “take all necessary steps” to protect Americans from the coronavirus.

February 5: The Trump Administration and health officials briefed lawmakers on the Federal Government’s coronavirus response efforts.

Feb. 5: The CDC issued a public statement saying, “While we continue to believe the immediate risk of 2019nCoV exposure to the general public is low, CDC is undertaking measures to help keep that risk low.”

February 5: The Senate votes to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment, 52-48 and 53-47.

February 5: House Democrats finally take up coronavirus in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia.

February 6: The CDC began shipping CDC-Developed test kits for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to U.S. and international labs.

February 7: President Trump told reporters that the CDC is working with China on the coronavirus. 

February 9: The White House Coronavirus Task Force briefed governors from across the nation at the National Governors’ Association Meeting in Washington.

February 11: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expanded a partnership with Janssen Research & Development to “expedite the development” of a coronavirus vaccine.

February 12: The U.S. shipped test kits for the 2019 novel coronavirus to approximately 30 countries who lacked the necessary reagents and other materials.

February 12: The CDC was prepared to travel to China but had yet to receive permission from the Chinese government.

February 14: The CDC began working with five labs to conduct “community-based influenza surveillance” to study and detect the spread of coronavirus.

February 18: HHS announced it would engage with Sanofi Pasteur in an effort to quickly develop a coronavirus vaccine and to develop treatment for coronavirus infections.

Feb. 18: The CDC reaffirmed that the “risk to Americans from coronavirus is low.”

February 22: A WHO team of international experts arrives in Wuhan, China.

February 24: The Trump Administration sent a letter to Congress requesting at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

February 24: Pelosi goes to Chinatown without a mask and says, “We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people ‘Come to Chinatown, here we are — we’re, again, careful, safe — and come join us.’”

Febraury 25: HHS Secretary Azar testified before the Senate HELP committee on the Administration’s coronavirus response efforts.

February 26: President Trump discussed coronavirus containment efforts with Indian PM Modi and updated the press on his Administration’s containment efforts in the U.S. during his state visit to India.

February 29: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed certified labs to develop and begin testing coronavirus testing kits while reviewing pending applications.

February 29: The Trump Administration:

  • Announced a level 4 travel advisory to areas of Italy and South Korea.
  • Barred all travel to Iran.
  • Barred the entry of foreign citizens who visited Iran in the last 14 days.

February 29: the first death from the coronavirus was recorded in the United States. On that date, President Trump halted travel with Iran.

March 3: The CDC lifted federal restrictions on coronavirus testing to allow any American to be tested for coronavirus, “subject to doctor’s orders.”

March 3: The White House announced President Trump donated his fourth quarter salary to fight the coronavirus.

March 4: The Trump Administration announced the purchase of approximately 500 million N95 respirators over the next 18 months to respond to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

March 4: Secretary Azar announced that HHS was transferring $35 million to the CDC to help state and local communities that have been impacted most by the coronavirus.

March 6: President Trump signed an $8.3 billion bill to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The bill provides $7.76 billion to federal, state, & local agencies to combat the coronavirus and authorizes an additional $500 million in waivers for Medicare telehealth restrictions.

March 9: President Trump called on Congress to pass a payroll tax cut over coronavirus.

March 10: President Trump and VP Pence met with top health insurance companies and secured a commitment to waive co-pays for coronavirus testing.

March 11: President Trump:

  • Announced travel restrictions on foreigners who had visited Europe in the last 14 days.
  • Directed the Small Business Administration to issue low-interest loans to affected small businesses and called on congress to increase this fund by $50 billion.
  • Directed the Treasury Department to defer tax payments for affected individuals & businesses, & provide $200 billion in “additional liquidity.”
  • Met with American bankers at the White House to discuss coronavirus.

On March 11, the WHO declared coronavirus a worldwide pandemic. The next day, on March 12, President Trump imposed travel restrictions on Europe and elsewhere. Biden criticized that decision also.

March 12: at a press conference Biden said, the United States should not be overly dismissive of the outbreak, “but neither should we panic or fall back on xenophobia, labeling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace accountability for the misjudgments that have been taken thus far by the Trump administration.”

March 13: President Trump declared a national emergency in order to access $42 billion in existing funds to combat the coronavirus.

March 13: President Trump announced:

  • Public-private partnerships to open up drive-through testing collection sites.
  • A pause on interest payments on federal student loans.
  • An order to the Department of Energy to purchase oil for the strategic petroleum reserve.

March 13: The Food & Drug Administration:

  • Granted Roche AG an emergency approval for automated coronavirus testing kits.
  • Issued an emergency approval to Thermo Fisher for a coronavirus test within 24 hours of receiving the request.

March 13: HHS announced funding for the development of two new rapid diagnostic tests, which would be able to detect coronavirus in approximately 1 hour.

March 14: The Coronavirus Relief Bill passed the House of Representatives.

March 14: The Trump Administration announced the European travel ban will extend to the UK and Ireland.

March 15: President Trump held a phone call with over two dozen grocery store executives to discuss on-going demand for food and other supplies.

March 15: HHS announced it is projected to have 1.9 million COVID-19 tests available in 2,000 labs this week.

March 15: Google announced a partnership with the Trump Administration to develop a website dedicated to coronavirus education, prevention, & local resources.

March 15: All 50 states were contacted through FEMA to coordinate “federally-supported, state-led efforts” to end coronavirus.

March 16: President Trump:

  • Held a tele-conference with governors to discuss coronavirus preparedness and response.
  • Participated in a call with G7 leaders who committed to increasing coordination in response to the coronavirus and restoring global economic confidence.
  • Announced that the first potential vaccine for coronavirus has entered a phase one trial in a record amount of time.
  • Announced “15 days to slow the spread” coronavirus guidance.

March 16: The FDA announced it was empowering states to authorize tests developed and used by labs in their states.

March 16: Asst. Secretary for Health confirmed the availability of 1 million coronavirus tests, and projected 2 million tests available the next week and 5 million the following.

March 17: President Trump announced:

  • CMS will expand telehealth benefits for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Relevant Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act penalties will not be enforced.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers is on ”standby” to assist federal & state governments.

March 17: President Trump spoke to fast food executives from Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King to discuss drive-thru services recommended by CDC

March 17: President Trump met with tourism industry representatives along with industrial supply, retail, and wholesale representatives.

March 17: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met with lawmakers to discuss stimulus measures to relieve the economic burden of coronavirus on certain industries, businesses, and American workers.

March 17: Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a partnership between USDA, Baylor University, McLane Global, and Pepsi Co. to provide one million meals per weak to rural children in response to widespread school closures.

March 17: The Treasury Department:

  • Contributed $10 billion through the economic stabilization fund to the Federal Reserve’s commercial paper funding facility.
  • Deferred $300 billion in tax payments for 90 days without penalty, up to $1 million for individuals & $10 million for business.

March 17: The Department of Defense announced it will make available to HHS up to five million respirator masks and 2,000 ventilators.

March 18: President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides free testing and paid sick leave for workers impacted by the coronavirus.

March 18: President Trump announced:

  • Temporary closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential traffic.
  • Plans to invoke the Defense Production Act in order to increase the number of necessary supplies needed to combat coronavirus.
  • FEMA has been activated in every region at its highest level of response.
  • The U.S. Navy will deploy USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy hospital ships.
  • All foreclosures and evictions will be suspended for a period of time.

March 18: Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed:

  • 1 million masks are now immediately available.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers is in NY consulting on how to best assist state officials.

March 18: HHS temporarily suspended a regulation that prevents doctors from practicing across state lines.

March 18: President Trump spoke to:

  • Doctors, physicians, and nurses on the front lines containing the spread of coronavirus.
  • 130 CEOs of the Business Roundtable to discuss on-going public-private partnerships in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

March 19: President Trump announced:

  • Very encouraging progress shown by anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine for fighting coronavirus.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines will make ships available for use as hospitals in impacted areas to use for non-coronavirus patients. 

March 19:  Vice President Pence announced tens of thousands of ventilators have been identified that can be converted to treat patients.

March 19: The State Department issued a global level 4 health advisory, telling Americans to avoid all international travel due to coronavirus.

March 19: President Trump directed FEMA to take the lead on the Federal Government’s coronavirus response & visited FEMA HQ with Vice President Pence for a video call with Governors.

March 20: The U.S. and Mexico agree to mutually restrict nonessential cross-border traffic.

March 20: Secretary Mnuchin announced at the direction of President Trump that tax day will be moved from April 15 to July 15 for all taxpayers and businesses.

March 20:  President Trump:

  • Spoke with Sen. Schumer about coronavirus response & stimulus measures
  • Held a call with over 12,000 small business owners to discuss relief efforts
  • Announced the CDC will invoke Title 42 to provide border patrol with tools to secure the borders

March 20: The Department of Education announced it will:

  • Not enforce standardized testing requirements for the remainder of the school year
  • Allow federal student loan borrowers to stop payments without penalty for 60 days

March 20: Secretary Azar announced:

  • FEMA is coordinating and assisting coronavirus testing at labs across the country
  • The CDC is suspending all illegal entries to the country based on the public health threat, via Section 362 of the Public Health & Security Act

March 20: Secretary Azar sent a letter to all 50 Governors that the federal government is buying and making available 200,000 testing swabs

March 21: Vice President Pence announced to date over 195,000 Americans tested for coronavirus and have received their results

March 21: The Trump Administration announced HHS placed an order for hundreds of millions of N95 masks through FEMA

March 21: The FDA announced it had given emergency approval to a new coronavirus test that delivers results in hours, with an intended rollout of March 30

March 21: Adm. Giroir confirmed 10 million testing kits had been put into the commercial market from March 2 through March 14

March 22: President Trump approved major disaster declarations for:

  • Washington State
  • California

March 22: President Trump announced: 

  • Governors will remain in command of National Guard forces & the federal govt will fund 100% of operations cost
  • He directed the federal govt to provide 4 large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds for CA & 1,000 beds for NY & WA.

March 22:  President Trump confirmed his administration was working with Peru & Honduras to return Americans stranded in both countries as a result of travel restrictions.

March 22: Vice President Pence announced: 

  • The testing backlog will be resolved by midweek.
  • To date, over 254,000 Americans have been tested for coronavirus and received their results.

March 22:  President Trump announced that the USNS Mercy will be deployed to Los Angeles.

March 22: FEMA issued guidance for tribal governments to seek federal assistance under the President’s emergency declaration.

March 23: President Trump signed an executive order invoking section 4512 of the Defense Production Act to prohibit the hoarding of vital medical supplies.

March 23: VP Pence announced:

  • 313,000 Americans were tested for the coronavirus & received results.
  • FEMA established a supply chain stabilization task force so Americans get supplies they need.
  • HHS will have commercial labs prioritize testing for hospitalized patients.

March 23:  The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy announced a public-private consortium to:

  • Advance coronavirus research.
  • Provide access to computing technology and resources for researchers.

March 23: Attorney General Barr announced: 

  • The Justice Department held a National Task Force meeting on hoarding and price gouging.
  • Each of the 93 U.S. Attorney General offices is designating a lead prosectuor to prevent hoarding.

March 23: President Trump announced HHS is working to designate essential medical supplies as “scarce” to prohibit hoarding of these items.

March 23: The Treasury Department announced it is working with the Federal Reserve to lend up to $300 billion to businesses and local governments.

March 24: President Trump announced the Army Corps of Engineers & the National Guard are constructing four hospitals and four medical centers in New York.

March 24: President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state of Iowa related to the coronavirus outbreak.

March 24: Vice President Pence:

  • Confirmed FEMA sent New York 2,000 ventilators.
  • Announced individuals who have recently been in New York should self-quarantine for 14 days.

March 24: Dr. Deborah Birx announced the U.S. has conducted more coronavirus tests in the last week than South Korea has over the prior eight weeks.

March 24: The U.S. Army issued orders for three army hospitals to deploy their health care professionals to New York and Washington state, at the direction of Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy.

March 25: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the #coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Texas
  • Florida
  • North Carolina

March 25:  President Trump & Vice President Pence held a conference call with 140 non-profit organization leaders, including The Salvation Army & The Red Cross, to discuss coronavirus response efforts.

March 25: President Trump signed a bill reauthorizing The Older Americans Act, which supports senior citizens by providing meals, transportation, and other crucial services.

March 25: Vice President Pence

  • Held a conference call with equipment manufacturers to discuss on-going coronavirus response efforts.
  • Announced 432,000 Americans have been tested for coronavirus and received results.
  • Confirmed 4,000 ventilators were delivered to New York.

March 25: Vice President Pence held discussions with multiple governors, including the Governor of Indiana & the Governor of Michigan 

March 26: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Missouri

March 26:  President Trump announced the USNS Comfort will depart for NYC on Saturday to assist in the coronavirus response – 3 weeks ahead of schedule!

March 26: President Trump participated in a video conference with the leaders of the G20 to discuss the global coronavirus response & the need for countries to share information and data on the spread of the virus.

March 26: President Trump held a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the coronavirus.

March 26: Vice President Pence announced 552,000 Americans have been tested for coronavirus and received their results.

March 26: Dr. Fauci announced the Federal Government is working with companies to speed up production of potential coronavirus vaccines while those drugs are still in the trial phase.

March 27: President Trump signed The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law.

March 27: President Trump signed a Defense Production Act memorandum ordering General Motors (GM) “to accept, perform, and prioritize federal contractors for ventilators.

March 27: President Trump signed an executive order allowing the military to activate members of the Selected Reserve and Ready Reserve to active duty to assist with the Federal response to the coronavirus.

March 27: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • South Carolina
  • Puerto Rico

March 27:  President Trump appointed Office of Trade and Manufacturing policy director Peter Navarro to serve as the Defense Production Act Policy Coordinator.

March 27: President Trump announced that 100,000 ventilators are projected to be manufactured in the next 100 days, three times the amount typically manufactured in one year.

March 27: President Trump announced that Boeing offered the use of three “Dreamlifter” cargo air crafts to transport medical supplies across the country.

March 27: Partnering with FEMA, the CDC, and the Coronavirus Task Force, Apple released a coronavirus app which allows users to screen for their symptoms.

March 27: President Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the global coronavirus response and committed to helping provide ventilators to the U.K. where possible.

March 27: Vice President Pence announced that 685,000 Americans have been tested for coronavirus and received their test results.

March 27: Emory University began enrolling participants for a phase one clinical trial, sponsored by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), of a new, potential coronavirus vaccine.

March 27: FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor spoke to the director of each of the state’s emergency operations about the state-led, federally-supported coronavirus response effort.

March 27: The USNS Mercy arrived in the port of Los Angeles to help relieve the strain on hospital facilities in Southern California.

March 28: President Trump visited Norfolk, VA to send off the USNS Comfort to New York City where it will help relieve the strain on local hospitals.

March 28: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Guam
  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts 
  • Kentucky
  • Colorado

March 28: President Trump spoke with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis regarding the coronavirus response effort.

March 28: The CDC issued new guidance for residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to avoid non-essential domestic travel for 14 days to #StopTheSpread of the coronavirus within the U.S.

March 29: President Trump announced that CDC guidelines will be extended through April 30 to promote #socialdistancing and other measures to stop the spread of the #coronavirus.

March 29: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Connecticut
  • Oregon
  • Georgia
  • Washington DC

March 29:  President Trump met with supply chain distributors including FedEx, Cardinal Health, and UPS to discuss ways to get state and local governments necessary medical supplies to combat the coronavirus.

March 29: President Trump congratulated the Army Corps of Engineers for having completed construction on a 2,900 bedroom temporary hospital at the Javits Center in New York.

March 29: President Trump tweeted his support for the FDA to expedite the approval process to approve mask sterilization equipment produced by Battelle.

March 29: President Trump announced the on-going study of 1,100 patients in New York being treated with Hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus.

March 29: President Trump directed the Treasury & Labor Departments to look at reinstating deductions of business expenses at restaurants, bars, and entertainment businesses to help the hospitality industry.

March 29: The first “Project Airbridge” shipment of medical supplies from abroad, organized by FEMA, landed at JFK airport, carrying 80 tons of masks, face shields, and other vital medical supplies.

March 29: President Trump announced that Cigna and Humana are waving co-pays for coronavirus treatment.

March 29: Vice President Pence sent a letter to hospital administrators requesting that hospitals across the country report their coronavirus data to the Federal Government in addition to state authorities.

March 29: Adm. Giroir announced that 894,000 Americans have been tested for coronavirus and received their results.

March 29: HHS accepted 30 million doses of Hydroxychloroquine, donated by Sandoz, and one million doses of Chloroquine, donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, for clinical trials and possible treatment of coronavirus patients.

March 30: President Trump announced that one million Americans have been tested for coronavirus and received their results.

March 30: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Alabama
  • Kansas
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island

March 30:  Secretary Azar announced that the FDA has approved Battelle’s N95 mask sanitization process for use to decontaminate tens of thousands of masks per day.

March 30: President Trump announced further private sector commitments to manufacture personal protective equipment  by MyPillow, Honeywell, Jockey, Procter & Gamble, and United Technologies.

March 30: President Trump announced, to date, FEMA has dedicated $1.3 billion to assist New York State’s coronavirus response.

March 30: President Trump announced “more than 14,000” National Guard service members have been activated to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

March 30: President Trump spoke with the nation’s governors about their need for medical supplies.

March 30: President Trump announced that in the coming days the Federal Government will be delivering:

  • 400 ventilators to Michigan
  • 300 ventilators to New Jersey
  • 150 ventilators to Louisiana
  • 150 ventilators to Illinois
  • 50 ventilators to Connecticut

March 30:  President Trump spoke to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy and pledged to send $100 million of medical supplies to aid Italy’s battle against coronavirus.

March 30: Answering President Trump’s call for the private sector to join the fight against the #coronavirus, Ford Motor Company committed to producing 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days.

March 30: On coronavirus testing, Secretary Azar announced that the U.S. is currently testing nearly 100,000 samples per day.

March 30: HHS took steps to accelerate a clinical trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Janssen Research & Development.

March 30: CMS announced new regulatory changes to cut red tape and give flexibility to America’s health care workers by relaxing hospital workforce regulations, expanding child care, meal, and laundry services for health care workers, expanding tele-health reimbursement, and more.

March 30: The USNS Comfort arrived in New York Harbor, providing more than 1,000 more hospital beds for patients without coronavirus, to relieve pressure on local hospitals.

March 30: The USNS Mercy began treating patients in Los Angeles.

March 31: President Trump officially issued “30 Days To Slow The Spread” guidance to mitigate the outbreak of coronavirus.

March 31: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Ohio
  • Montana

March 31: President Trump participated in a conference call with executives of American Network Service Providers to promote connectivity amid social distancing.

March 31: President Trump announced that the federal government is stockpiling 10,000 ventilators to be urgently distributed as needed once the coronavirus pandemic hits its peak in the U.S.

March 31: President Trump announced that the Treasury Department and SBA are rapidly mobilizing money from the CARES Act’s $349 billion paycheck protection program, with the program set to be “up and running” by April 3.

March 31: President Trump spoke to Michigan Governor Whitmer about the state’s need for ventilators.

March 31: President Trump announced the Army Corps of Engineers & FEMA will construct:

  • 8 facilities with 50,000 bed capacity in California
  • A field hospital with 250 bed capacity in Michigan
  • 2 field hospitals in Louisiana with 500 bed capacity
  • An alternative care sight in New Orleans with a 3,000 bed capacity

March 31: President Trump spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the international effort to defeat the coronavirus and support the global economy.

March 31: President Trump and the First Lady spoke with their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain about efforts to combat the coronavirus.

March 31: Vice President Pence announced that 10 states now have access to federal funding for The National Guard to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

March 31: Vice President Pence announced that 17,000 National Guard Servicemen have been activated across the country to assist in the coronavirus response.

March 31: Vice President Pence announced that 1.1 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

March 31: Adm. Giroir & Surgeon General Adams issued an open letter to the U.S. health care community about how to optimize the use of ventilators.

March 31: The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for a two-minute coronavirus antibody test developed by Bodysphere Inc.

March 31: The Treasury Department and IRS launched the employee retention credit, created by the CARES Act to incentivize businesses to keep their employees on payroll, and said businesses can begin using it.

March 31: The VA announced that it had expanded virtual services to veterans, continuing to provide care while limiting in-person interactions that could potentially harm vulnerable populations at VA facilities.

April 1: President Trump approved a major disaster declaration related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • North Dakota
  • Hawaii
  • The Northern Mariana Islands

April 1: President Trump spoke to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon about the need to procure gowns for hospitals

April 1: President Trump spoke to military families whose relocation or reunion with loved ones was impacted by the coronavirus.

April 1: President Trump announced that the construction & refurbishing of two additional hospital ships like the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are being considered.

April 1: Vice President Pence announced that 1.2 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

April 1: The White House, HHS, and the FDA worked with Senator Rob Portman to acquire and authorize for use over two million gowns donated to the Strategic National Stockpile by Cardinal Health.

April 1: Dr. Birx announced that the White House issued a challenge to universities and states to develop ELISA, or Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays, tests to detect coronavirus antibodies in larger communities more quickly.

April 1: The Treasury Department released FAQs to help small and medium businesses understand the paid sick and family leave tax credits now offered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

April 1: The Department of Labor posted a temporary rule to implement the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in order to provide paid sick and family leave.

April 1: In New York City, the USNS Comfort began treating its first patients.

April 1: The VA opened its East Orange, NJ medical center to serve non-veteran coronavirus patients to assist the state and FEMA in their response to coronavirus.

April 1: The Treasury Department announced that Social Security recipients, including senior citizens, disabled Americans, and low-income Americans who do not file tax returns will have their coronavirus relief payments directly deposited into their bank accounts.

April 2: President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to direct 3M to produce more N95 respirator masks.

April 2: President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to help 6 companies (General Electric, Hill-Rom Holdings, Medtronic, ResMed, eRoyal Philips, and Vyaire Medical) get the supplies they need to make ventilators.

April 2: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the #coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands

April 2: President Trump discussed the production of ventilators with GM CEO Mary Barra.

April 2: President Trump announced that The Javits Center temporary hospital will be converted into a coronavirus hospital.

April 2: President Trump announced that the Department of Defense will be establishing 48 more ICU beds in New York.

April 2: President Trump announced that the Federal Government will be establishing a coronavirus hospital in Louisiana and Texas.

April 2: President Trump took an additional coronavirus test and tested negative.

April 2: President Trump ordered the Federal Government to cover the costs of all National Guard operations in states with recently approved disaster declarations.

April 2: President Trump sent Senator Chuck Schumer a letter debunking false claims made against the Trump Administration’s coronavirus response.

April 2: Secretary Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza announced that the Paycheck Protection Program, created by the CARES Act to provide $350 billion in loans to small businesses, will be launched tomorrow.

April 2: Secretary Mnuchin announced that the first relief payments will be dispersed within two weeks.

April 2: Vice President Pence announced that 1.3 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

April 2: Vice President Pence announced that all Blue Cross Blue Shield Members will be waiving out of pocket costs for coronavirus treatment.

April 2: Rear Adm. Polowczyk announced FEMA’s Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force has delivered:

  • 27.1 million surgical masks
  • 19.5 N95 million respirator masks
  • 22.4 million surgical gloves
  • 5.2 million face shields
  • Over 7,600 ventilators

April 2: First Lady Melania Trump had a phone call with Mrs. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau of Canada, who is recovering from the coronavirus.

April 2: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced $25 billion in federal funding to support public transportation systems in response to the coronavirus.

April 2: The Department of Justice and HHS distributed 192,000 N95 respirator masks confiscated from price gougers to health care workers in New York and New Jersey.

April 2: The FDA approved the first coronavirus antibody test, developed by Cellex.

April 2: The FDA issued new guidance to increase the supply of blood donations, reducing the deferral period for gay men from 12 months to 3 months.

April 2: The Department of Education donated 5,760 N95 respirator masks discovered in storage to aid the fight against the coronavirus.

April 2: Secretary Pompeo announced that the State Department has now brought home 30,000 Americans stranded overseas as a result of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

April 2: April 2: HHS announced it was relaxing enforcement of HIPAA violations to encourage health care providers to share coronavirus data and information with federal and state health care officials.

April 2: The Trump Administration issued recommendations to nursing homes to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

April 2: HUD announced it was immediately making $3 billion of CARES Act funding available to help America’s low-income families and most vulnerable citizens across the nation.

April 2: The Energy Department announced it would immediately make 30 million barrels of the strategic petroleum reserve’s (SPR’s) oil storage capacity available to struggling U.S. oil producers.

April 3: President Trump announced new voluntary CDC guidelines that all Americans wear non-medical, fabric or cloth face masks to prevent asymptomatic spread of coronavirus.

April 3: The President met with energy execs from Phillips 66, Devon Energy, Continental Resources, Hilcorp Energy, Occidental Petroleum, The American Petroleum Institute, The Energy Transfer Partners, Chevron, & Exxon Mobil to discuss coronavirus’ impact on the energy industry.

April 3: President Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss convening the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in an effort to defeat the coronavirus and discuss its impact on the world.

April 3: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • New Hampshire
  • West Virginia
  • Indiana
  • Arkansas
  • Oregon

April 3: President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum blocking the export of N95 and other respirator masks, surgical masks, PPE gloves, and surgical gloves to ensure they are available in the U.S. – designating them as “scarce” under the Defense Production Act.

April 3: President Trump announced that Anthem will waive co-pays for coronavirus treatment for 60 days.

April 3: President Trump announced that uninsured Americans will have their coronavirus treatment covered, using funding from the CARES Act.

April 3: Trump Administration officials spoke to the directors of the two largest health care providers in Louisiana, Ochsner and LCMC Health, to discuss their need for medical supplies.

April 3: President Trump directed FEMA to send Ochsner Surgical Gowns.

April 3: President Trump announced that 9,000 retired Army medical personnel have volunteered and are assisting the federal response to the coronavirus.

April 3: President Trump announced that the DOJ and HHS have together secured:

  • 200,000 N95 masks
  • 130,000 surgical masks
  • 600,000 gloves

from hoarders and have distributed the supplies to health care workers.

April 3: Vice President Pence announced that 1.4 million coronavirus tests have been completed to date.

April 3: Vice President Pence announced that 18,000 machines are already available across the country to administer Abbott 15 Minute Coronavirus Tests, with another 1,200 soon to be distributed to states.

April 3: Vice President Pence announced that a Project Airbridge flight landed in Columbus, Ohio with medical supplies.

April 3: Secretary Azar announced a public-private partnership with Oracle to collect crowd-sourced data on coronavirus therapeutic treatments.

April 3: The SBA launched the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, issuing more than 17,500 loans valued at $5.4 billion.

April 3: The Army Corps of Engineers is working with states to assess 750 requests for temporary hospital facilities, having completed 673 already.

April 3: The FDA announced it would coordinate the national effort to develop blood-related therapies for COVID-19.

April 3: The Defense Department’s Joint Acquisition Task Force launched a new portal giving the private sector the ability to submit information and solutions to the DoD.

April 3: The State Department announced that they have awarded contracts for 8 new medical facilities, totaling 9,693 new beds.

April 3: The Department of Labor issued guidance to help employers reduce their use of N95 respirators, freeing up supply for the coronavirus response.

April 3: HUD announced it is making $200 million in Indian housing block grants for Indian Tribes under the CARES Act.

April 3: EPA Administrator Wheeler held a call with retailers and marketplace platforms to discuss ways to protect consumers from fake disinfectants.

April 3: First Lady Melania Trump held a phone call with Mrs. Brigitte Macron of France to discuss the coronavirus response.

April 4: President Trump announced that 1,000 members of the Defense Department’s Medical Corps will be deployed to New York to assist in the fight against coronavirus.

April 4: President Trump spoke to commissioners of major league sports organizations including the MLB, NFL, & NBA, recognizing what the leagues, teams, and players are doing in their communities to combat coronavirus.

April 4: President Trump tweeted encouragement to American children unable to start their Little League baseball season on time due to coronavirus.

April 4: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Nebraska
  • Wisconsin
  • Maine
  • Nevada

April 4: President Trump announced that he was considering a second coronavirus task force focused on the economy.

April 4: President Trump urged PM Modi of India to allow Hydroxychloroquine to be shipped to the United States.

April 4: President Trump announced that the U.S. government has repatriated over 40,000 Americans from 75 countries.

April 4: Vice President Pence spoke to Governors of New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Maryland.

April 4: FEMA obligated $44 million to Iowa under the state’s major disaster declaration to combat the coronavirus.

April 5: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • South Dakota
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Mississippi

April 5: President Trump announced that by Tuesday, 3,000 military and medical personnel will have deployed to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to assist in the coronavirus response effort.

April 5: President Trump announced that the Trump Administration will be sending New York 600,000 N95 masks tomorrow, including 200,000 to Suffolk County alone.

April 5: President Trump announced that the Administration will soon send:

  • 300 ventilators to Michigan
  • 200 ventilators to Louisiana
  • 600 ventilators to Illinois
  • 100 ventilators to Massachusetts
  • 500 ventilators to New Jersey

April 5: President Trump announced the establishment of a federal coronavirus medical station in Washington D.C.

April 5: President Trump announced that Washington has returned 400 ventilators to the strategic national stockpile.

April 5: President Trump announced that 1.67 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

April 5: President Trump announced that the government has stockpiled 29 million doses of Hydroxychloroquine

April 5: Dr. Birx announced that testing in the New York metro area, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Washington has exceeded the testing rate of Spain and Italy

April 5: Adm. Polowczyk announced that three Project Airbridge flights of medical supplies landed across the US today carrying:

  • 1 million gowns
  • 2.8 million surgical masks
  • 11.8 million gloves

April 5: Adm. Polowczyk spoke to top health officials from states severely impacted by the coronavirus to discuss the supply chain.

April 5: Secretary Wilkie announced that the VA is making 1,500 beds available at VA hospitals to help states and localities across the country.

April 5: Vice President Pence spoke to governors from states severely impacted by the coronavirus, including Michigan, Louisiana, and Illinois.

April 5: FEMA and The Army Corps of Engineers completed renovations at the McCormick Place Pavilion in Chicago, providing an additional 500 hospital beds for the city

April 6: President Trump announced an agreement with 3M to produce and import 55.5 million N95 masks each month for the next three months.

April 6: President Trump held a call with CEOs from pharmaceutical and bio-tech companies to discuss potential coronavirus therapeutics.

April 6: President Trump had a “very friendly” phone call with former Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the coronavirus.

April 6: President Trump announced that 1.79 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

April 6: President Trump approved Governor Murphy’s request to allow New Jersey patients aboard the USNS Comfort.

April 6: President Trump approved Governor Cuomo’s request to allow the treatment of coronavirus patients on the USNS Comfort.

April 6: President Trump announced that CVS will open two new drive-thru coronavirus testing sites in Georgia and Rhode Island. Both will use Abbott’s rapid coronavirus test.

April 6: President Trump announced that the FDA authorized Inovio’s potential coronavirus vaccine for a clinical trial, wile 10 potential coronavirus therapeutic agents are in “active trials” with another 15 potential therapeutics in plans for clinical trials.

April 6: President Trump praised the work of the private sector, including Apple and Salesforce, who have agreed to donate personal protective equipment to help defeat the coronavirus.

April 6: President Trump announced that The Army Corps of Engineers is building 22 field hospitals and alternative care sites in 18 states.

April 6: President Trump announced that 8,450 hospital beds and 8,000 ventilators have been deployed across the country from federal stockpiles.

April 6: Vice President Pence announced that to date $4.1 billion has been allocated to states under federal disaster declarations.

April 6: Vice President Pence announced that 21,000 National Guard Servicemen have been activated across the country to assist in the fight against coronavirus.

April 6: VP Pence announced that thanks to California’s donation of 500 ventilators, the federal government will send:

  • 200 ventilators to MD
  • 100 ventilators to DE
  • 100 ventilators to NV
  • 50 ventilators to DC
  • 50 ventilators to Guam & the Northern Mariana Islands

Apil 6: The CDC began publishing a new, data-centered coronavirus surveillance report on coronavirus.gov.

April 6: HHS announced an additional $186 million in CDC funding for state and local jurisdictions combatting the coronavirus.

April 6: HHS announced it will be purchasing 15 minute coronavirus tests from Abbott for state, territorial, and tribal labs and for the Strategic National Stockpile.

April 6: The Department of Education announced a streamlined process making it easier for states to use federal education funding for distance learning during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 7: President Trump participated in a conference call with banking executives to discuss how to best deliver financial aid and technical assistance to small businesses.

April 7: President Trump announced the SBA has processed “more than $70 billion” in loans to help small businesses as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.

April 7: President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Minnesota related to the coronavirus outbreak.

April 7: President Trump announced that in addition to the 8,675 ventilators in the strategic national stockpile, the federal government will be acquiring 110,000 ventilators in the next three months to be distributed to states in need.

April 7: President Trump announced that 1.87 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

April 7: President Trump announced his intent to ask Congress for an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program to loan to small businesses.

April 7: Vice President Pence participated in a conference call with over 500 business owners to discuss their needs amid the coronavirus response effort.

April 7: CMS Administrator Verma announced that CMS will make available an additional $30 billion in grants this week for health care organizations with increased operating costs due to the coronavirus.

April 7: The State Department announced an additional $225 million in health, humanitarian, and economic assistance to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus around the world.

April 7: As part of Project Airbridge, UPS and FEMA began shipments of 25 flights with more than three million pounds of medical supplies.

April 7: The Department of Transportation finalized a requirement that airlines who receive assistance under the CARES Act continue flights to destinations they were serving before the outbreak, ensuring commercial flights are available.

April 7: The EPA distributed over 1,100 N95 masks to the California Office of Emergency Services.

April 8: President Trump spoke to over 10,000 faith leaders & more than 3,000 state, local, and tribal officials to discuss the coronavirus response effort.

April 8: Secretary Pompeo announced that since January, over 50,000 Americans have been repatriated by 90 countries in over 480 flights.

April 8: Under the DPA, HHS announced a $646.7M contract with Philips to produce 2,500 ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of May, and a total of 43,000 by December.

April 8: President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Vermont related to the coronavirus outbreak.

April 8: President Trump announced that a Project Airbridge shipment of protective gowns landed in Dallas, Texas.

April 8: President Trump announced that 10 drugs to potentially be used against the coronavirus are currently in clinical trial.

April 8: President Trump thanked Indian PM Modi for allowing a shipment of the life-saving drug hydroxychloroquine to be released to the U.S.

April 8: Vice President Pence announced:

  • $98B in forgivable loans were disbursed through the Paycheck Protection Program
  • 27,000 National Guard service members were activated across the country to assist in the coronavirus response

April 8: The CDC issued new guidance for how essential and critical workers who have been exposed to the coronavirus can return to work, with precautions.

April 8: Four additional flights as part of Project Airbridge landed across the country, delivering PPE and other medical supplies.

April 8: Customs and Borders Protection announced with FEMA that it will detain shipments of PPE in order to keep critical medical supplies within the U.S. for domestic use.

April 8: HHS announced an agreement with DuPont and FedEx to rapidly manufacture and deliver 2.25M new Tyvek Protective Suits to the Strategic National Stockpile over the next five weeks.

April 8: HHS expanded telehealth services for Native Americans through The Indian Health Service.

April 8: HHS authorized pharmacists to order and administer coronavirus tests, further expanding the availability of testing.

April 8: HHS awarded $1.3B from the CARES Act to 1,387 health centers in all 50 states, 8 territories, and the District of Columbia to fight coronavirus.

April 8: CMS issued updated guidance based on CDC guidelines to protect patients and health care workers in hospitals from the coronavirus.

April 8: The USDA announced its approval of Arizona’s & California’s request for food stamp recipients to purchase food online, allowing these recipients to purchase groceries for delivery.

April 8: The VA announced that it has begun using funding from the CARES Act to pay overtime, hire new staff, and purchase supplies including PPE, beds, and pharmaceuticals.

April 9: President Trump spoke with mental health advocates from across the country to discuss their work amid the coronavirus outbreak.

April 9: President Trump approved major disaster declarations related to the coronavirus outbreak for:

  • Alaska
  • Idaho

April 9: President Trump announced that 24 Project Airbridge flights have been completed to date, with an additional 49 flights scheduled.

April 9: President Trump announced that there are currently 19 potential coronavirus therapies being tested and another 26 potential therapies in active planning for clinical trials.

April 9: President Trump announced that, to date, over 2 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

April 9: Vice President Pence announced that $125B in Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans has been approved to date.

April 9: Vice President Pence announced that a total of 29,000 National Guard service members have been activated across the country to assist in the coronavirus response.

April 9: Vice President Pence announced that to date 4,100 military medical personnel have been deployed to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

April 9: The Treasury Department announced that it extended over 300 tax filing, payment, and administrative deadlines to give relief to taxpayers.

April 9: Working with the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve announced new lending programs providing up to $2.3T in loans to businesses and state & local governments.

April 9: HHS announced it would relax enforcement of HIPPAA for pharmacies and other organizations that are working at coronavirus testing sites, helping these groups focus on testing.

April 9: Secretary of Education DeVos announced that $6.3B in CARES Act funding will be immediately distributed to colleges and universities to provide cash grants to students affected by the coronavirus.

April 9: Secretary of Education DeVos announced that $6.3B in CARES Act funding will be immediately distributed to colleges and universities to provide cash grants to students affected by the coronavirus

April 9: The EPA announced that more than 11,500 pieces of PPE have been transferred to FEMA, which will be later transferred to state and local agencies across New England combating the coronavirus.

April 9: The USDA launched the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Program in Michigan, which will help feed children eligible for USDA school lunch programs who are now home during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 9: The USDA announced relief for farmers across the country by giving borrowers 12 months to repay marketing assistance loans (MAL), helping protect farmers from being forced to sell crops to make loan payments.

April 9: CMS temporarily suspended a number of regulations so that hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers can book the number of staff to confront the coronavirus

April 10: President Trump announced that 60 mask sterilization systems, with the ability to clean over 80,000 masks approximately 20 times, will be sent to 10 cities.

April 10:  President Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the global coronavirus response and the global energy market.

April 10: President Trump announced that a field hospital in Seattle will be leaving, as Washington State’s coronavirus outbreak becomes more manageable.

April 10: President Trump announced that his administration is working to bring blood-based serology tests to market “as quickly as possible” so Americans can determine if they have had the coronavirus.

April 10: President Trump announced that he will be establishing an “Opening Our Country Council” with more details coming early next week.

April 10: President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to facilitate the supply of medical equipment and other humanitarian relief to Italy.

April 10: Dr. Fauci spoke to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon to discuss coronavirus mitigation in those states.

April 10: Vice President Pence, CDC Director Redfield, & Surgeon General Adams spoke to over 400 leaders of the African American community, including Jesse Jackson, NAACP representatives, & the National Black Nurses Association to discuss the impact of the coronavirus.

April 10: Vice President Pence spoke to Colorado Governor Jared Polis about the specific needs of his state’s battle against the coronavirus.

April 10: Vice President Pence announced that more than 2.1M coronavirus tests have been completed to date.

April 10: Vice President Pence announced that:

  • 29,600 National Guard Troops have been activated
  • 4,700 active duty medical personnel have been deployed to nine states

April 10: Vice President Pence announced that to date, 26 Project Airbridge flights have landed in the U.S. with PPE, with four flights scheduled to land today with 250,000 gowns and 25M pairs of gloves.

April 10: HHS began delivering $30B in relief funding to health care providers, part of the $100B allocated to health care providers by the CARES Act.

April 10: The FDA approved an emergency authorization for a blood purification device to treat coronavirus patients.

April 10: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced $1B for Amtrak to continue rail service and respond to the spread of the coronavirus.

April 10: The Treasury Department launched a web portal to help Americans who did not file tax returns receive their coronavirus relief payments under the CARES Act.

April 10: The Treasury Department announced it will launch a new “get my payment” app where Americans can enter their direct deposit information to get coronavirus relief payments quicker.

April 10: The VA deployed medical staffers to New Orleans to help “surge” personnel in the area, which is currently being heavily impacted by the coronavirus.

April 11: President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Wyoming related to the coronavirus outbreak, marking the first time in U.S. history a President has declared that a major disaster exists in all 50 states.

April 11: The DoD announced it is using The Defense Production Act to get the private sector to produce 39 million N95 masks within 90 days, a $133M investment.

April 11: Three Project Airbridge flights landed in Chicago, Illinois, delivering over 62 million gloves.

April 11: The Department of Justice announced it is monitoring state and local social distancing regulations to ensure religious organizations are not unfairly targeted. 

April 11: The USDA added Florida & Idaho to the food stamp online pilot program, allowing food stamp recipients to purchase food online.

April 11: CMS expanded the requirements that private health insurers provide free coronavirus testing, saying that this includes anti-body testing and costs related to coronavirus testing, like emergency room or urgent care visits.

April 12: A deal brokered by President Trump was announced between The OPEC countries, Russia, and the U.S. to cut production and stabilize the oil market amid dual disruptions from coronavirus and the price war between Saudi Arabia & Russia.

April 12: The FDA issued an emergency authorization to devices from Advanced Sterilization Products, which can decontaminate approximately 4 million N95 respirators each day.

April 12: The FBI uncovered an international fraud scheme related to the attempted purchase of 39 million N95 masks by a Service Employees International Union Affiliate.

April 13: President Trump announced that new coronavirus infection rates remained “flat” over the weekend across the country.

April 13: President Trump announced that HHS is signing five new contracts for ventilators with GE, Hillrom, Medtronic, ResMed, & Vyaire, which will be added to the Strategic National Stockpile.

April 13: President Trump announced that nearly 3 million coronavirus tests have been completed, with roughly 150,000 new tests each day.

April 13: President Trump announced that multiple advisory committees, including a “faith leaders committee” will be formed to consult on the reopening of the country.

April 13: President Trump and Vice President Pence met with representatives from Abbott to discuss increasing the production of cartridges for Abbott’s rapid coronavirus test machines.

April 13: Vice President Pence and members of the Coronavirus Task Force led a conference call with 48 governors.

April 13: Vice President Pence announced that there are currently just under 7,000 ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile, and that no one has been denied a ventilator who needed one.

April 13: Dr. Fauci participated in a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the African American community.

April 13: Adm. Polowczyk announced that 37 Project Airbridge flights have been completed, with another 43 scheduled.

April 13: 5 flights landed across the country carrying shipments of PPE as part of Project Airbridge.

April 13: The U.S. government now has 28 million doses of hydroxychloroquine stockpiled.

April 13: The Treasury Department announced that 80 million Americans will receive economic impact payments in their bank accounts within the week.

April 13: The Treasury Department launched a new web portal which will quickly deliver CARES Act funding to state, local, and tribal governments.

April 13: The Defense Department announced it was buying 60 Battelle decontamination systems which can sanitize 80,000 N95 respirators per day.

April 13: HUD announced new guidelines clarifying that borrowers of multifamily mortgages insured by HUD and FHA and renters have certain protections from eviction and foreclosure.

April 13: The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission announced that they will be enforcing antitrust laws against businesses that try to exploit the coronavirus outbreak to harm American workers.

April 13: The USDA released a “one-stop-shop” resource guide to help farmers, rural communities, and others know what resources and assistance are available to them as a response to the coronavirus.

April 13: The USDA approved Rhode Island’s request to join the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Program, which will help feed children eligible for USDA school lunch programs who are now at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 13: The Department of Commerce and Census Bureau announced adjustments to the 2020 Census operational schedule to protect census workers and the American people during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 13: The VA announced a “dramatic” increase in virtual and tele-mental health appointments, a sign that veterans are still able to access care remotely during the coronavirus.

April 13: The DHS announced it had processed more than 271,000 travelers through enhanced screenings at airports as of April 12, referring nearly 1,500 to the CDC for further evaluation.

April 14: President Trump announced a halt in funding to the WHO while a review is conducted to assess its mistakes and mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak.

April 14: President Trump announced the Dynamic Ventilator Reserve, a public-private partnership to help hospitals with surplus loan them to hospitals in need.

April 14: President Trump met with health care executives to discuss the supply of ventilators.

April 14: President Trump announced the members of the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups, who will advise the President on how to re-open the economy.

April 14: President Trump met with coronavirus survivors at the White House to discuss their treatment and condition.

April 14: President Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the global coronavirus response and the re-opening of the global economy.

April 14: President Trump extended an order for the federal government to cover the costs of all National Guard operations to states with recently approved disaster declarations.

April 14: HHS announced it was distributing the $3.5 billion in child care and development block grant funding included in the CARES act.

April 14: FEMA confirmed it send out 19.1 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to cities across the country.

April 14: More than 30,000 National Guard troops total have been activated to assist in the coronavirus response.

April 14: Two flights landed carrying 16 million gloves, 698,590 gowns, and 690 thermometers as part of Project Airbridge.

April 14: The Treasury Department announced that many of the nation’s major airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest intend to participate in the Payroll Support Program, helping pay airline workers salaries and benefits.

April 14: The Transportation Department announced $10 billion in relief for America’s airports from the Trump Administration’s newly created CARES Act airport grant program.

April 14: The Department of Energy announced it is negotiating crude oil storage contracts totaling 23 million barrels to help US energy producers affected by lower demand.

April 14: The EPA announced that it has temporarily waived certain approvals for manufacturers producing disinfectants for use against the coronavirus.

April 14: The Department of Education Announced $3 billion in education block grants for states to help schools, students, and educators at all levels.

April 14: The VA announced it has made a total of 1,500 hospital beds around the country available to FEMA.

April 14: GM began mass production on an order of 30,000 Ventec ventilators, 600 ventilators are expected to be shipped this month and the full order will be completed by August.

April 15: President Trump announced that new guidelines for re-opening the country will be announced tomorrow, in consultation with governors and lawmakers.

April 15: President Trump announced that more than 3.3 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

April 15: President Trump announced that 44 Project Airbridge flights have delivered supplies to date.

April 15: HHS awarded $90 million to Ryan White HIV/AID Program recipients to combat coronavirus.

April 15: The Treasury Department launched the “Get My Payment” web app, allowing taxpayers to submit their direct deposit information online for their Coronavirus Economic Impact Payments.

April 15: The Treasury Department announced that supplemental security income recipients will receive their coronavirus relief payments as they would their SSI benefits, directly into their bank accounts or by debit cards or by check.

April 15: CMS announced Medicare will nearly double payments for “high-throughput” coronavirus tests, incentivizing health care providers to increase the supply and speed of testing.

April 15: The Department of Labor awarded more than $131 million in dislocated worker grants to help workers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

April 16: President Trump announced new, phased “opening up America again” guidelines.

April 16: President Trump participated in a video conference with leaders of the G7 to discuss a coordinated response to coronavirus, including pooling data and research, preparations to re-open their economies, and the WHO’s response to the coronavirus.

April 16: President Trump spoke with Republican and Democrat members of the Opening Up America Again Congressional Group on the coronavirus response and efforts to re-open the economy.

April 16: President Trump held a “Thank God For Truckers” ceremony on the South Lawn to thank truckers for moving goods and ensuring a stable supply of food, medical equipment, and other supplies during the pandemic.

April 16: President Trump participated in a video conference with governors on opening up America again.

April 16: President Trump announced that 3.5 million coronavirus tests have been completed to date, the most of any country worldwide.

April 16: President Trump reiterated his request for an additional $250 billion to replenish the paycheck protection program to hep struggling small businesses.

April 16: President Trump announced that 4,000 community banks have participated in the paycheck protection program.

April 16: Under the DPA, HHS announced a $336 million contract with GE for 50,000 ventilators to be produced by July 13; in total, HHS has signed contracts for 41,000 ventilators by May and over 187,000 ventilators by the end of the year.

April 16: Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza urged Congress to provide additional funds to the paycheck protection program to help small businesses.

April 16: USAID announced that it committed nearly $508 million in emergency health, humanitarian, and economic aid around the world to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

April 16: The FDA encouraged Americans who have recovered from coronavirus to donate their plasma for the development of new treatments and therapies.

April 16: OSHA issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help keep manufacturing workers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

April 17: President Trump and Secretary Perdue announced a $19 billion relief package for ranchers and farmers impacted by the coronavirus.

April 17: President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for American Samoa related to the coronavirus outbreak, meaning major disaster declarations have been approved in all 50 states and in all US territories for the first time in history.

April 17: President Trump participated in a conversation with faith leaders to discuss the coronavirus response and “express his eagerness to get” houses of worship reopened as soon as possible.

April 17: President Trump spoke to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico to discuss Mexico’s need for additional ventilators.

April 17: President Trump announced that 3.7 million coronavirus tests have been completed to date.

April 17: Vice President Pence announced that a total of 33,000 National Guard troops and 5,500 active duty servicemembers have been activated to date to assist in the coronavirus response.

April 17: Dr. Fauci participated in a call with the Senate Democrat Caucus to discuss the US coronavirus testing capacity.

April 17: CDC Director Redfield announced that 500 CDC staff are now embedded in state, local, and tribal health agencies across the country.

April 17: Dr. Birx announced that 47 states have the ability to perform at least 30 tests per month per 1,000 residents.

April 17: The NIH announced a new public-private partnership with over a dozen leading biopharmaceutical companies to speed up the development of coronavirus vaccines and therapies.

April 17: At the director of FEMA, GM announced that they delivered the first GM-Ventec ventilators to Chicagoland hospitals.

April 17: To support FEMA’s Project Airbridge, UPS announced it would add over 200 flights in April.

April 17: The Treasury Department and VA announced that veterans who had not filed tax returns would automatically receive economic impact payments without additional paperwork.

April 17: The DOJ filed an injunction to halt the online sale of a supposed “miracle” treatment for the coronavirus which is “unapproved, unproven, and potentially dangerous”.

April 17: The DOI announced it will continue to allow public access to parks.

April 17: The USDA added Washington, DC and North Carolina to the SNAP online pilot program, allowing food stamp recipients to purchase food online and for delivery.

April 17: The USDA approved the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer for North Carolina and Massachusetts, which will help feed children eligible for USDA school lunch programs who are now at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 18: President Trump announced that over 4 million coronavirus tests have been completed to date, double the number of tests done by any other country.

April 18: President Trump announced that 1.6 million small businesses have participated in the paycheck protection program and reiterated his request that Congress replenish funding for the program.

April 18: President Trump offered to send ventilators to Iran, if the Iranian government accepted the assistance.

April 18: President Trump consulted with FEMA and military officials about the coronavirus response.

April 18: President Trump spoke to the leaders of Poland, South Korea, and Bahrain about the global response to the coronavirus.

April 18: The USDA added West Virginia to the SNAP online pilot program, allowing food stamp recipients to purchase food online and for delivery.

April 19: President Trump announced that 4.18 million coronavirus tests have been completed to date – more tests than France, The U.K., South Korea, Japan, Singapore, India, Austria, Australia, Sweden, and Canada combined.

April 19: President Trump announced his administration is working on using the DPA to increase the production of testing swabs.

April 19: President Trump participated in a call with Republican senators on opening up America again.

April 19: 64 Project Airbridge flights have been completed to date carrying over 600 million pieces of gloves, gowns, and other PPE, with 50 additional flights scheduled in the future.

April 19: CMS Administrator Verma announced new requirements for nursing homes to report outbreaks of coronavirus to patients, patients’ families, and the CDC.

April 19: President Trump held calls with the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church Archbishop Bartholomew I, Turkish President Erdogan, and President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte about the response to the coronavirus pandemic .

April 20: President Trump announced that HHS has distributed the $30 billion in relief funding to health care providers under the CARES act.

April 20: President Trump announced that there are currently 72 active trials for coronavirus therapies, with 211 additional therapies in the planning stages for active trials.

April 20: Vice President Pence and members of the coronavirus task force spoke to all 50 state governors and provided each with a list of labs with additional testing capacity in their respective states.

April 20:  Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers Gen. Todd Semonite announced that USACE has, to date, executed the construction of 32 facilities across the country, creating approximately 16,000 more beds.

April 20: The Trump Administration announced its helping increase testing swab production by 30M per month – assisting an Ohio manufacturer to convert production lines to produce 10M swabs a month & using the DPA to help Puritan Medical Products produce 20M testing swabs a month.

April 20: CMS Deputy Administrator and CMMI Director Brad Smith announced that 650,000 infrared thermometers have been secured by the federal government in anticipation of future demand for these devices as states re-open.

April 20: Vice President Pence and Dr. Birx visited FEMA HQ and thanked FEMA staff for their hard work.

April 20: Vice President Pence announced that all DoD and federal labs will be made available for states to use in order to increase testing capacity.

April 20: Vice President Pence and Adm. Giroir announced that current testing capacity means that all 50 states are “ready right now to enter phase one” if they meet other criteria of the President’s opening up America guidelines.

April 20: HHS announced a partnership with Oracle and their donation of a therapeutic learning system, an online platform designed for collecting crowd-sourced data on potential coronavirus therapies.

April 20: Vice President Pence announced that the CDC is deploying teams of 10-12 experts to all states and territories to assist in contact tracing.

April 20: HHS’ substance abuse and mental health services administration (SAMHSA) announced $110 million in emergency grants for those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse amid the coronavirus pandemic.

April 20: The Defense Department announced the hospital ship the USNS Comfort has started admitting patients from New Jersey.

April 20: The Defense Department announced the US will be providing humanitarian support and relief to Italy, including transportation, supplies, and telemedicine.

April 20: The EPA announced expanded research efforts into the coronavirus’ impact on the environment and human health.

April 20: The VA announced it acquired a 470,000 sq. ft. facility in Texas to help provide overflow bed capacity to treat coronavirus cases, which will eventually serve as an outpatients and specialty care clinic for veterans.

April 20: Acting DHS Secretary Wolf announced that US, Canada, and Mexico had extended non-essential travel restrictions for an additional 30 days.

April 20: The Justice Department announced it cleared antitrust barriers which could have blocked the drug distribution company AmerisourceBergen from distributing medicine and supplies as part of the coronavirus response, including hydroxychloroquine.

April 20: The USDA approved Arizona and Illinois to join the pandemic EBT program, which will help feed children eligible for USDA school lunch programs in these states who are now at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 20: CMS announced it is incentivizing Medicare health care providers to report more coronavirus data to help treat and fight the spread of the disease.

April 21: After negotiations with the Trump Administration, the Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which includes an additional $382B for the PPP, $75B for hospitals, and $25B for coronavirus testing efforts.

April 21: President Trump announced that 20 states announced plans to enter phase one of the opening up America again guidelines.

April 21: President Trump officially announced plans to suspend immigration, with certain exceptions, for 60 days.

April 21: President Trump met with Governor Cuomo at the White House to discuss coronavirus testing.

April 21: President Trump announced that the FDA has now authorized more than 50 coronavirus diagnostic tests and four antibody tests.

April 21: HHS announced $995 million in CARES Act grants for older adults and the disabled.

April 21: FEMA approved nearly $5 million for BiPAP breathing machines for Pennsylvania.

April 21: The FDA issued an emergency approval for the first coronavirus test where a sample can be collected at home.

April 21: The State Department announced it is coordinating international humanitarian assistance with pacific nations including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Taiwan.

April 21: The USDA announced that states of Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas have been added to the SNAP online program, allowing food stamp recipients to purchase food online.

April 21: Education Secretary DeVos announced an additional $6.2 billion in grants is available for universities to continue providing educational services during the outbreak, such as distance and remote learning programs.

April 22: President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation suspending immigration in the U.S. for 60 days due to “the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in an environment of high domestic unemployment’.

April 22: President Trump urged the House of Representatives to pass the Senate-backed Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act without delay.

April 22: President Trump directed the Opportunity & Revitalization Council to focus on supporting underserved communities impacted by the coronavirus, including Black and Hispanic communities.

April 22: President Trump announced the Administration has to date directed more than $7 billion in funding towards coronavirus treatments, diagnostics, and therapies.

April 22: President Trump spoke to Governor Newsom about increasing testing capacity.

April 22: President Trump held calls with Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan and Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar about the global coronavirus response.

April 22: Vice President Pence held a call with over 340 state legislators from 43 states to discuss the response to coronavirus.

April 22: Vice President Pence announced that 5,500 active duty military personnel are currently deployed to assist in the coronavirus response, including 964 medical personnel in 17 hospitals in 7 states.

April 22: Vice President Pence announced that the VA has been deploying teams of VA personnel to assist nursing homes in some states.

April 22: HHS awarded nearly $165 million in funding to fight the coronavirus in rural communities, providing CARES Act funding to 1,779 small rural hospitals and 14 HRSA-Funded telehealth resource centers.

April 22: HHS announced an additional $20 billion in CARES Act funding for health care providers would be disbursed this week.

April 22: FEMA Announced $36.5 million in expedited funding to the city and county of Denver, Colorado in response to the coronavirus.

April 22: FEMA published a final rule defining certain PPE as ”scarce” to combat hoarding and price gouging of these materials.

April 22: The Justice Department announced federal law enforcement officials had successfully disrupted hundreds of online coronavirus scam websites.

April 22: The USDA announced it has successfully increased monthly SNAP benefits by 40% during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 22: USDA approved Alabama for the Pandemic EBT Program, which will help feed children eligible for USDA school lunch programs who are now at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 22: Secretary DeVos called on wealthy universities to reject taxpayer coronavirus funds and on Congress to change the eligibility put forth by the CARES Act.

April 23: President Trump held calls with United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and Colombian President Ivan Duque about the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

April 23: President Trump announced that to date 750 million pieces of PPE have been delivered to the US through Project Airbridge.

April 23: Vice President Pence participated in a conference call with Secretary Carson to discuss refocusing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council on the needs of Hispanic and Black communities impacted by the coronavirus.

April 23: Vice President Pence announced that since the release of the Trump Administration’s Opening Up America Again guidelines, 16 states have issued formal re-opening plans.

April 23: Acting DHS Undersecretary for Science & Technology William Bryan announced findings of a study indicating that heat, humidity, and UV rays can slow and kill the coronavirus.

April 23: HHS announced $631 million in CARES Act funding for public health departments across the country for testing, contact tracing, and containment of the coronavirus.

April 23: HHS awarded nearly $5 million to poison control centers across the country which are seeing increased calls during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 23: CMS released a new telehealth toolkit to accelerate state us of telehealth in Medicaid and CHIP during the coronavirus pandemic.

April 23: The USDA approved Wisconsin for the Pandemic EBT Program, which will help feed children eligible for USDA school lunch programs who are now at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 23: The EPA announced that it blocked the importation of “a significant number of shipments” of illegal and untested “virus shut out” products that were being shipped into California airports.

April 24: President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act into law, providing $321B in new funding for the PPP, $75B for health care providers, and $25B for coronavirus testing.

April 24: President Trump held calls with the Indonesian President, Ecuadorian President, El Salvadorian President, and Honduran President about the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

April 24: Vice President Pence announced to date 5.1 million coronavirus tests have been completed.

April 24: Vice President Pence announced that over 35,000 National Guard troops and 5,000 active duty military personnel in 10 states remain active to assist in the coronavirus response.

April 24: Vice President Pence & members of the coronavirus held a conference call with Governors to discuss increasing testing capacity.

April 24: FDA Administrator Dr. Hahn announced the FDA granted emergency approvals to 63 coronavirus diagnostic and serological tests to date.

April 24: Administrator Carranza & Secretary Mnuchin announced that the FBA will resume accepting PPP loans on Monday, April 27.

April 24: Secretary of Labor Scalia participated in a virtual G20 Labor & Employment Ministers meeting to discuss the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

April 24: The VA announced that hiring has increased 37% during the first 2 weeks of April, as the agency surges staff to fight the coronavirus.

April 24: The DOJ obtained an injunction prohibiting a Dallas health center from fraudulently promoting “ozone therapy” as a legitimate COVID-19 treatment.

April 24: USDA approved California & Connecticut for the Pandemic EBT Program, which will help feed children eligible for USDA school lunch programs who are now at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

April 24: The USDA announced Vermont was added to the SNAP online program, allowing food stamp recipients to purchase food online.

Food. Necessary Evil?

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For weeks I have put off writing this blog. I get started then erase it and walk away. But here I sit once again so …

I am overweight.

There. I said it. Actually, I never made it to that statement before when I tried to write this one so there’s a step forward! Seriously, I am overweight. And it’s become something that I can no longer ignore or convince myself that it’s not really that bad. It IS really that bad and it’s time I acknowledge it so I can make some significant changes in my life.

As with 99% of you, 2020 has not been kind. In fact, 2020 has become my favorite four-letter word — “What the 2020?” is my personal favorite. Some of you may have seen the jumanji memes about this year on social media. We laugh about those but seriously, each month seems to bring some new level of awful to navigate. Add to that my own personal tribulations and it’s been a year made for horror movies or, at least, psychological thrillers.

Beginning about mid-year 2019, I found myself slipping into a deep state of depression which only increased my anxiety. Before you ask, yes, I am a therapist. I’m a trauma specialist, actually. So I know what extreme stress and anxiety can do to the body. Yes, I know all of the tools I should use. No, I do not take my own advice very often, thank you very much.

As 2019 wound down, I saw myself going deeper into a void that I filled with food. The more numb I became, the more I used food to feel…anything. Little did I know that by ignoring the depression when it began, I was setting myself up for a spiral unlike anything I had experienced before.

I’m not going to get into everything that has happened this year in my personal life. Suffice it to say, it’s been a year of pain, betrayal, and loneliness. I’m so very grateful for a husband who has stood by me through it all, even carrying some of the pain himself. Regardless of the cause, the result was a deep depression that became quite suffocating. I pushed away friends, family, and, most importantly, God. Instead of pouring it all out to Him, I allowed the crevasse in my soul to grow wider and deeper with each passing day, filling it with the only thing that seemed to bring me any comfort. Food. It’s not like I was drinking or getting high so it can’t be that bad, right? [Insert shoulder shrug here]

Food has been for me a love/hate thing most of my life. I have watched women struggle with the pleasure of eating versus the expectation of a certain weight. I know what it is like to pick at your food around friends only to sneak unhealthy snacks when no one is looking (judging). I have battled the pleasure of eating with the guilt of eating and I have lived with an eating disorder after my “friends” made fun of my appearance one too many times. I can honestly say I have never looked in the mirror and said, “I’m pretty” or “I really love the way I look.” Most of my thoughts about myself are not really G-rated so I’m not going to put them out here on social media. Can you relate?

The love/hate of food has only escalated this year. I noticed early 2020 that I was consuming more sugary beverages than I used to but I didn’t make any changes. Then after an abrupt change in my life which resulted in threats, harmful letters, and humiliation, I found a sense of loneliness that pushed me beyond anything I had felt in my life. Add to that the mandatory isolation because of Covid-19 and the result was an eating binge that would last seven months and a weight gain of more than 20 pounds.

Now, let’s get to the truth of things. No one is at fault except me. I don’t blame my circumstances, my losses, or my depression on my weight gain. The only blame to be placed is me. I made a choice – replace God with instant pleasure. I wanted to fill a void that was so painful, so empty. And I wanted it filled immediately with something I could “control.” Food became that source of fulfillment. Unfortunately, as we all know, anything outside of God is only temporary and will always lead to emptiness. This situation is no different.

Recently, I had an invitation to go out with some folks. I turned it down. Why? I didn’t want anyone to see me. I am embarrassed of myself and the way I look. This summer, my husband and I joined a boat club. I have always loved the water and it’s one of very few places that bring me complete contentment. I have only invited a couple of people on the boat with us, not because I don’t want people to go. No no. It’s because I am too embarrassed for people to see me. I worry constantly about running into people I haven’t seen in a while when I go out because my fear is the judgement or pity in their eyes when they look my way. It’s debilitating and I have to pretend to be okay all of the time.

I read a book several years ago called, God Loves Ugly by Christa Black. There was a statement the author wrote that has always stuck with me. “Your body is a house, and that house provides a means of carrying around the most precious cargo in the universe: you.” Well, my house has been really messy for about a year now and it’s time I cleaned it up.

1 Corinthians 6 is quite implicit about this.

13 You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body!

14-15 God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.

19-20 Or, didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.

I cannot begin to tell you how these words seep into my soul and cause me unrest. I have not honored God because I have not honored my body. I have given God my soul but kept my physical body to myself, mistreating it, criticizing it, and neglecting it. And that is a sin. A sin that I have allowed to grow and fester.

I truly do not want to have anything separate me from God. I cannot live into the redeemed identity Christ gave me if I am living with one foot in and one foot out of a Christ-given life. Unfortunately, I do not think I can change on my own. In fact, I know I can’t.

Ecclesiastes 4:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I have a dear friend who has already been part of my cord. She encourages without judging. She shakes her finger without condemning. And she helps me laugh when I want to cry. I mentioned that I needed to drink more water. Without another word, she bought me this water bottle. But it’s not just any bottle. It’s a constant cheerleader, reminding me to not give up. It’s a little thing but actually quite huge. And it’s a step for me.

I know that to be accountable, I have to be completely honest. So that is the reason behind this post. I am about to do the one thing I never believed I could ever do…

I weigh 181.4 pounds. I have a BMI of 32. I am considered obese. I think I’m ugly.

But God thinks I am beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that he died for me! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17)

Praise be to God!

I proclaim in the name of Jesus Christ that I am ready to make a change. I am no longer going to use food as substitute for the Holy Spirit. I am no longer going to use food a source of comfort for difficult periods in my life. I am going to use food for fuel, thankful to God for sustaining me each day. I am going to learn to love myself so that I can fully love others and receive the love others have to give me. I am ready. If you are ready to make a change in your life, give something sinful up, surrender to God, and embrace the new life that has come, join me. It’s a journey meant to be traveled together!

Unbind her and let her go

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Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels.com

Throughout life, there are certain moments that fundamentally change you and your perspective. This could involve a relationship, a situation, or even discovering some hidden truth that unlocks new wisdom within. For me, most of these life-changing moments have come since I graduated high-school and “set out” on my own. You can’t plan these kind of moments and you have no idea when they’ll hit you. However, when they do, they make you who you are.

As you know, if you have followed my blog this year, I had a major change in my life. After 11 years in ministry in the United Methodist Church, I left that institution permanently. It was a very difficult decision, even though I knew God had directed me to walk away. Just two weeks after I gave my last sermon, Covid hit and churches, along with the rest of society, temporarily closed their doors. It was a lot of “closed doors” to process and, quite frankly, very difficult. My emotions since February 2020 have ranged from resentment to sadness to relief to emptiness and all things in between. Through it all, I kept asking God, “Why did you call me to ministry if it was just to watch it die?”

And that is the place where I have consistently sat, frustrated at God for all the schooling, the money spent, the tears shed, and the heartache felt. I knew I was called to ordained ministry. I knew I was called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I knew I was called to make disciples and grow God’s kingdom. I knew it in the pit of soul so why, God? Why put me through it all? What was the endgame? 

Can you relate? Have you ever felt so convicted of a path in your life only to seemingly have that path, once traveled, to just end? It’s enough to leave you scratching your head and shaking your fists to the heavens. 

But then, out of nowhere, comes one of those moments. The ones that fundamentally change you from the core of your being. And that is exactly what has happened to me. 

July 12, 2020 was just an ordinary Sunday. My husband and I had plans to spend that sunny, hot day on the lake. That morning we packed our lake goods together and headed toward the marina 25 minutes away. It was still early so we decided to listen to our favorite church service online while driving. Little did I know that before that Sunday morning message reached its conclusion, I would experience spiritual transformation.

I have prepared around 350 sermons throughout my ministry career. That’s a lot of time reading scripture, researching the history, and studying commentaries. On top of that, there have been hours poured into Bible study preparations and other Biblical teaching opportunities. So, it would be easy to conclude that I would be extremely familiar with scripture. And yet, as I think most ministers would attest, God has a way of opening scripture anew every time you take time to read and study His word. 

The sermon that Sunday morning was the final in a sermon series titled The Signs of Jonah. The entire series was very interesting.  Rev. Alan Miller, the pastor, was specifically teaching on this particular Sunday about the resurrection of Lazarus. If you recall, Lazarus was very sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus asking him to come and help their brother. They knew Jesus was able to heal their brother because he had already healed others. They believed in him. But Jesus chose not to answer their request right away. Instead, he waited for four days. He waited until Lazarus died before coming to the aid of Mary and Martha. 

Once Jesus arrived, Mary and Martha were deeply saddened by the loss of their brother and understandably confused by Jesus’s delay. With exacerbated grief, Martha went to him.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 17-27)

Jesus, … deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Unbind him and let him go.” (John 38-44)

It’s a powerful story and one that many people know and love. Packed into 44 verses is a story of love, belief, hope, grief, humanity, and divinity. I have preached on this story several times because it’s one of my absolute favorite stories within scripture. But when I heard the sermon on July 12, it was as if I was hearing these verses for the very first time. 

So what made this sermon any different?

One simple statement. 

“Martha was focused on the corpse in the tomb and not the Christ standing in front of her.” 

Y’all! Even writing it makes my heart speed up. Hear it again. 

“Martha was focused on the corpse in the tomb and not the Christ standing in front of her.”

Oh my goodness, that statement … that single moment in time … has fundamentally changed me. I sat in that car hearing the words of the sermon fall away as Jesus’s voice became audibly clear, “I’ve been right in front of you all along and you refused to see me. Trust me because I’m not finished with you yet.” 

I’m not sure if my husband picked up on my audible gasp or the tears in my eyes that I was trying to hide. But the rest of that day, while anchored in a quiet cove on Kentucky Lake, I heard the words over and over, “You refused to see me.” And I grieved. 

I grieved because I, like Martha, had become so consumed with the death of my situation with the UMC that I had failed to see the life in front of me … the life that is Jesus Christ. I failed to see the immediate because I was too focused on the what if. I was focused on the “corpse in the tomb and not the Christ standing in front” of me. I couldn’t see all the ways I was still being used to proclaim the truth of God because I was focused on the ways I no longer was being used. And I can’t help but wonder how many times I missed a holy moment because I failed to see the Christ standing right before my eyes.

The truth is, I still don’t know what is ahead for me. My counseling practice is growing and I have recently become the only Certified Clinical Trauma Professional in our region. The Holy Spirit is very present in my practice and I can feel His guidance in those sessions. I believe I am helping people and I know that a few of my clients have come to know Jesus Christ within that office. But I am certain there is more God wants of me. And I know now that I can’t say that the ministry I was called to do is dead and buried behind some stone too heavy for me to move. 

Something was happening in the tomb before they knew something was happening. Reversal was taking place. Decomposing was composing. Falling apart was being put back together. That which could not see could now see. That which could not walk could now walk. That which Christ was doing was getting ready to come out.

Rev. Alan Miller, First Missionary Baptist Church, Benton, KY

Bro. Alan said, “Jesus didn’t just resurrect Lazarus from the dead. He didn’t restore him to the state of where Lazarus was before he died. He resurrected him, healed him, and let him go.”

I believe in that life-changing moment, Jesus not only resurrected me but he healed me, he awakened me, he empowered me, and he let me go out into the world on his behalf to teach others the profound truth that is our hope. We each have a choice to make. Every day that we wake up, we have a choice to focus on the corpse of our situation or focus on the Christ. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of living in a tomb of my own making. 

“Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Unbind him and let him go.”

Lazarus was dead. He was dead. But God breathed new life into him and when Jesus called out, Lazarus was set free from the grips of death. And so can we. I look around and see the pain etched in the faces of most people I come into contact with. The world is so full of darkness and uncertainty. Our country is on the brink of civil war. Fear is underlying most of our daily actions. And grief over the life we once knew is prevailing. 

“Martha was focused on the corpse in the tomb and not the Christ standing in front of her.”

I was Martha, focusing on the corpse. I was Lazarus, bound up in a tomb. But then Jesus called out, “Unbind her and let her go.” 

…if you believe you will see the glory of God. 

The sermon begins around the 32 minute mark.

His Message, Not Ours

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Progressive Christianity almost entirely ignores the core message Jesus Christ brought when He walked the earth 2,000 years ago.

What was His message?

It wasn’t love.
It wasn’t social justice.
It wasn’t acceptance of worldly views.

His core message was the Kingdom of God.

He pinpointed this message in the heart of the Sermon on the Mount by saying what should be the highest priority for His followers: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Seek FIRST…

Jesus Christ’s words are clear—the Kingdom of God is to be the No. 1 focus and emphasis in the lives of His followers. In fact, it was the core of His gospel message. His gospel message was all about the Kingdom of God and what was required.

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” (Matthew 9:35)

At one point in His ministry, Jesus was about to leave an area where He had been preaching for some time. The people of that area tried to persuade Him not to leave. Jesus’s response: “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:42-43)

Let that sink in. …“I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”

Jesus said that one of His primary purposes for coming to earth was to preach about the Kingdom of God! That was His gospel. That was His message. That was His purpose. That is what drove and motivated Him.

When we understand the core of Jesus’s message about the Kingdom of God, we can then understand why He made the statement in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God.” He tells us to seek first the Kingdom because the Kingdom of God was His primary message.

Christians must make the Kingdom of God as high a priority in their lives as it was in Christ’s life. Jesus came to set us an example of how to live, by obeying the Law as God set it. He urged us to repent of our sins. He then died for those sins and was resurrected so we can have an opportunity to be in the Kingdom of God for all eternity. That is grace!

After Jesus’s resurrection He gave us a final directive, known as The Great Commission. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Christ founded a Church to carry the message He preached while on earth. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:3-8). The early Church faithfully followed Christ’s directive and preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. But as time passed, false beliefs began to creep into Christianity. The apostle Paul wrote that he perceived Christians in his time were “turning away” from the true gospel to “a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Paul gave multiple warnings about his fear that people were abandoning true doctrines and being led astray into false teachings by false prophets (2 Timothy 2:14-18; 3:13-14; 4:1-3, 14-15).

As time has rolled on, the gospel message was changed from the Kingdom of God and repentance of sin to a message primarily about the person Jesus Christ. In other words, the Christian Church kept the name of Jesus Christ but not His message.

Jesus was very clear that claiming His name but ignoring His teachings is false worship (Luke 6:46). He wants His people to worship Him in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

The true gospel message of Jesus Christ is not a minor issue. Jesus connected a belief in the true gospel to repentance (Mark 1:15), and Paul warned that preaching a different gospel brings a curse (Galatians 1:8-9). Believing the true gospel is vital to your salvation!

The true gospel is the message of good news about the coming Kingdom of God. It is a message of hope. And hope is exactly what this world needs. There is so much anger in our world. So much desperation. And the Church holds the solution. But the Church has failed because we have replaced Jesus’s message with our own. Isn’t it time we start living as followers of Jesus Christ? Isn’t it time we share the true gospel? Isn’t it time we introduce Jesus Christ and his powerful message to the world?

#truegospel #JesuswasNOTapoliticalactivist #apologetics

The Beauty of Darkness

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Depression and the power it holds

May is mental health awareness month. It really couldn’t have fallen on a more perfect time in 2020. As the pandemic continues, and people are growing more and more weary of staying home, the importance of mental health care takes a front row seat. I know for me, personally, the pandemic has definitely exacerbated feelings of hopelessness and isolation. But more on me later.

Mental health has consistently had a bad wrap in society and has throughout history. The stigma associated with such illnesses as depression and anxiety has had far-reaching consequences in our history. In Biblical times depression was viewed as a spiritual rather than a physical condition. Like other mental illnesses, it was believed to be caused by demonic possession. As such, it was dealt with by priests rather than physicians, according to an article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. As time went on, treatment would vary from exorcisms to physical beatings. In many cases, those suffering from depression or anxiety (and other mental illnesses) were either locked away, branded as demon possessed, given lobotomies, or even put to death.

Although we have come a long way from those barbaric treatments and beliefs, those suffering from depression and anxiety still find themselves shunned, ignored, and alone. Why? Because often they do not know what is wrong in order to seek help. For that reason, they exhibit signs of irritability, isolation, sadness, and anger. Quite frankly, it’s difficult to be around someone who acts as though they don’t want you around. It’s a catch-22 for the sufferer. It’s a “leave me alone but please don’t go” tug-of-war in their minds.

What is depression? It is defined​ as a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of depressed mood or sadness and the often profound loss of interest in things that usually bring you pleasure. It affects how you feel, think, and behave and can interfere with your ability to function and carry on with daily life.

Most people will experience some time of depression in their lifetime. In fact, there are seven different types of depression.

  1. Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression.
  2. Persistent Depressive Disorder.
  3. Bipolar Disorder.
  4. Postpartum Depression.
  5. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
  6. Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  7. Atypical Depression.

During this pandemic, I have found that many of my clients are exhibiting some form of depression. For some, this is the first time they have experienced a prolonged onset of these symptoms. It can be frightening if you are unaware what is happening and why. That is why it is so incredibly important to be honest about your thoughts and feelings to those around you. Often it’s those closest to you who can see the pain you are in even when you can’t.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my life. In fact, you can read about my anxiety in an earlier blog. Today, however, I would like to focus on depression and my personal experience. Before I begin to share my story, I need to state upfront that there are some things which might be a trigger for some people. If you are feeling hopeless and are having thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, please call the the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor.

As a little girl I can remember having moments of deep sadness. As I think about those times, I am unable to really pinpoint anything specific that would have caused such sadness. I would desperately want to be included with other children but also would shy away from the very ones I wanted to be with.

I would lay in my bed at night, convinced that I was going to die. I would do everything in my power to stay awake because I was certain that once I drifted off to sleep, I would never wake up. On one particular night, I became so distraught at the thought of dying, I woke my parents up in a complete emotional state. I can vividly remember trying to explain the hopelessness I had but unable to do so.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I would often find places to disappear to so I could cry. I didn’t want anyone to know just how much I was struggling. In my middle school years, suicide became a real alluring thought because I was so deeply surrounded in darkness. Thankfully, my parents recognized the sadness as something that was growing more and more out of control so they stepped in and took me to a counselor.

High school was no walk in the park. My depression increased into uncontrolled anxiety. I spent a crazy amount of time trying to be someone other than myself, hoping beyond hope that one of the personas I put on would give me a release from the prison I was constantly in.

The sadness, low self-esteem, hopelessness, and exhaustion became close friends through the years. I learned to accept them as just part of my thinking and actually found some kind of sick comfort in their presence. I found relief through the tears and the pain in my soul seemed to invite me into a place I didn’t understand but didn’t push away, either. This would continue through my young adult life.

Fast forward a few years. I met my husband. We married and had a child. We had a good life. And yet, behind the perfectly decorated front door, I was a mess. I would fly off the handle for no reason then sink into a deep grief over my words. I wasn’t sleeping and my headaches were increasing. On one particular after, my husband and I were in the car and I was saying something that was biting in nature and he turned to me saying, “You need medication.” I was so hurt. But more than hurt, I knew he was right.

It would take a few more months before I finally listened and had a visit with my doctor. He was so kind and there was absolutely no judgment when I told him my needs. Why had I waited so long to get help?! After that, I spent a few years feeling relatively at peace. I would have the occasional sinking spell but nothing like I had been experiencing. Unfortunately, the bottom dropped out and all of that changed.

My husband and I went through a three year stretch where we were anything but at peace. Job loss, moving, financial woes, illness… it was tough. And because of the difficulties we were experiencing, I decided to try to save money where I could. We didn’t have medical insurance so I stopped my antidepressant to save money.

If this is your first time reading my blog you won’t know this about me but I am a Christian. I have always known the Lord but I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ until my early 30s. It was also during that time that I accepted my call to ordained ministry. This is important information because a lot of people still believe that depression is only a spiritual problem or they believe it’s only a chemical problem. I, however, believe it is both.

I absolutely believe in evil in the world and I believe that the battle of good and evil is constant. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Depression is a mighty power that dangles darkness like a golden carrot. And it’s nothing to ignore.

I really can’t properly describe the roller coaster I have ridden over the past few years. I absolutely loved life and hated life all at the same time. While privately continuing to battle these unseen evil forces, I put on a completely different face publicly.

As a pastor and a therapist, my entire existence was about helping other people. And I’m actually really good at it. I can empathize with people suffering with pain, loneliness, fear, sadness, etc. because I’ve been there. I’ve walked in similar shoes. So I have given my all to helping those who need help and I’m proud to have been chosen by God to do that for His glory. But just like the rest of my life, I pushed down my own needs and concerns, sidelining them in lieu of focusing on others. And for over a decade, I did that without a second’s thought. But like a balloon, if you keep filling it with air, it will eventually pop.

I “popped” on March 18, 2020. I knew things were getting to a crisis point within my psyche several weeks prior but I had become so good at covering up my pain I arrogantly believed I could continue in my tailspin without consequence. I had taken a leave of absence from the ministry and was working toward expanding my counseling practice to a full-time status. I had just celebrating the opening of my new office space and had several new clients. Things on the outside were seemingly glowing. But on the inside I was sinking to a low unlike anything I had ever experienced. The unfortunate part is that it had been such a slow process I had failed to see it.

On March 18, I had a couple of clients scheduled as well as a meeting with a ministry supervisor. The meeting was supposed to be about my leave of absence. That morning when I woke, I had a headache and just a general feeling of doom. After I arrived at my office, my first client called to reschedule so that gave me a little time to do some paperwork. But I just could not concentrate. I felt like my skin was crawling and I could not sit still. My mind was racing and I could feel the tears threatening to fall at any moment.

My supervisor arrived and we began with talk about my leave, just as I anticipated. But then it turned and when it did, my world crashed. Now you must understand that I take my faith very serious and my vows to God are not up for debate. So when my supervisor informed me that I had caused harm to those I had ministered and had “lost my Christian witness”, I was devastated. I could scarcely breathe. And as I sat there, the darkness which I had been so diligently trying to keep at bay finally enveloped me and for the first time since the 7th grade, I welcomed it.

There is nothing easy about writing this but I think it is important that society stop pretending that depression shouldn’t be talked about. As we see a profound increase in depression and anxiety due to the pandemic, talking about depression and the signs are life and death necessities. We must not hide out of fear or shame.

In the moments right after my supervisor left, I sunk into a pit. And honestly, that pit seemed more safe, more loving than anything I was experiencing at the time. And it was so dark.

So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.” – John 12:35

I can tell you that that moment of darkness really did leave me wondering aimlessly, not knowing where I was going. I had lost so much but up to that moment I felt as though I still had my faith and then, just like that, it was taken from me (or so I thought). I was completely hopeless, completely lost. On March 18, 2020 I said out loud, “I have no reason to live anymore. I don’t want to keep going.” And darkness grew closer, darker, and more beautiful.

By the grace of God, I immediately recognized what was happening so I went home to my husband. He didn’t ask. He didn’t need to. He just loved me and reminded me of who I am – a child of God.

It has been a very difficult but enriching stretch of time. There are things that reply in my head and I have to fight against the pull to let depression take back over. I am taking medication and seeing a therapist. I have family who love me and friends who check in on me constantly. And above all, I have a God who ensured that the Light is to never be extinguished. Not in my life and not in yours.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” – Psalm 40:1-3

Depression is a medical condition. Depression is a spiritual condition. Depression is treatable. Depression does not define you.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of depression, please reach out to your doctor, therapist, and spiritual advisor. Together, they can develop a treatment plan which will offer you a healthy release from the darkness that imprisons you.

Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. – Lk 1:78-79

68 days… and counting

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The past two days have been a bit of a valley. Like most people I know, I’m not a fan of disappointment and it seems that disappointment has been a reoccurring theme as of late. Let me explain.

It’s been 68 days since I stepped foot in a church building. That’s 1,632 hours since I kneeled before God in a sanctuary, asking Him one last time if He was absolutely sure this was His will. (He was, by the way). 68 days.

When I walked out with my last box that day, I really didn’t have a clue what was coming. I had no idea a government shutdown of the entire country would happen just two weeks later. I had no idea that church doors would become off-limits to us throughout many states, including my own. I had no idea that I would be left in this perpetual state of emptiness for an indefinite period of time. Nope. I only knew I needed some time away.

I understand that for a lot of people, worshipping from home with their home church is not a big deal. For some people (and if you read social media it’s more like “most” people), worshipping from home is not much different than worshipping in person. In fact, several have stated that they prefer worshipping at home because it’s easier. It never occurred to me that our worship was supposed to be easy. I always thought it was supposed to be a sacrificial part of our lives. But perhaps I have been wrong. Regardless, it appears that the concept of online worshipping has become the preferred method.

It’s not my preferred method because it’s not how we were created.

In the beginning, God created man. We know that Adam was made in the image of God to glorify God. But, as Genesis tells us, God saw that man needed a companion because there was a lacking completion with just man. So God created woman and upon seeing the two together, He was pleased.

Since the beginning of time, men and women have been in communion with one another. All through scripture we are shown the importance of community with one another. Even Jesus Christ required a community – at first choosing 12 disciples to live among, teach to, and talk with. Even more impressive is the fact that Jesus didn’t pick and choose who He communed with. He was (and continues to be) available to everyone.

But here we are in 2020 and we live in the United States of America, where our Constitution absolutely guarantees our freedoms and rights and yet we are not allowed to worship together in person. And many are okay with that.

Before I get accused of not caring about the vulnerable population during this pandemic, let me state quite clearly that I absolutely do care. I also happen to believe that we are a population of people with intelligence. Just because someone is medicare age doesn’t mean they no longer have an IQ. They are quite capable of making healthcare decisions for themselves in regards to going out in public. Those who are immunosuppressed are very educated in what is safe and what isn’t for their bodies. So, stop right there if you’re getting ready to slam me about being callous or uncaring.

For those of you who live outside of Kentucky (where I live), let me just give you some insight as to where my state stands as of mid-May. Kentucky didn’t just flatten the curve, we inverted the curve. Many of our hospitals in the state are laying off massive amounts of employees (doctors and nurses included) because their beds, outpatient clinics, and same-day surgical centers are empty. In a couple of higher population areas there has been a steady amount of COVID cases but not one single instance where there wasn’t a bed or ventilator available. We did exactly what the President of the United States asked of us – we kept the hospitals from being overrun with cases. Instead, they have trickled in at a rate that is manageable.

And yet… our governor will not allow people to live within their rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. We are not allowed to attend church in person.

Ok, so let me clarify here. The governor has said churches may open their doors May 20 (that’s not a Sunday, by the way so it’s actually May 24) but with stipulations and then more stipulations. These go WAY beyond the requirements for other businesses.

No singing! Seriously, no singing.

No hugging, standing next to each other, holding hands, shaking hands, fist bumps, etc.

All family units must be 6 feet apart from other family units.

33% capacity. (So, I guess it’s a lottery system to get into church now)

No wind instruments.

Only one person at a time in a restroom and then staff must disinfect before the next person can go in.

The clergy must preach with a mask.

No coffee (because obviously we all sit around sharing each other’s coffee cups) or donuts.

No clusters of groups in one space.

No nursery.

No Sunday School.

No youth group.

Did I say no singing? Oh, yes I did. But I mean really, no singing?

This list is not complete but you get the drift. Our governor does not want us meeting in-person to worship. He is instead stomping all over our freedoms in order to show his muscle. And people are applauding his behavior, which is absolutely your right. But these “restrictions” are destroying me and many others.

Somewhere along the way, it became acceptable to trample mental health in the name of fear. It has become acceptable to watch people quickly sink in the quicksand of hopelessness and despair in the name of “protection.” It has become acceptable to watch people’s livelihoods implode in the name of health. It has become acceptable to justify suicide, violence, depression, addiction, and other mental diseases as okay as long this virus stays around. Does that make any sense? No! Having physically healthy people is useless if we become a society of mentally unhealthy people. And yet, mental disease is on the rise at a faster rate than I can fathom all because of despair.

There is only one cure for despair. Jesus Christ.

Church is more than a place to go on Sunday mornings. It SHOULD be a place to surrender all of your fears, your struggles, your doubts, and your pain. It SHOULD be a place that allows you to receive hope and encouragement while growing your appetite for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. It SHOULD be a place where you are challenged and made to be uncomfortable in your complacency. It SHOULD be a place where you acknowledge your sins and recommit your life to God as you repent. It SHOULD be a life-changing place each and every time you walk through the doors. That was the purpose of the original church and a true Bible-teaching church still believes in that purpose today. You cannot make disciples of Jesus Christ while living in sin, hopelessness, and complacency.

The church is more essential than any business I know. It offers life-sustaining, eternity-promising, redemption-giving information that no other place is equipped to do. Yes, you can read the Bible for yourself. You can sing hymns in your home. But if that’s all that is required, why did Jesus urge his followers to join together? Why did Jesus see the importance of touch? Why did Jesus see the importance of community? Jesus wasn’t afraid to touch the leper. He wasn’t afraid to be around the demon-possessed. And he never taught us to be afraid, either. Yet, here we are… cowering in our homes afraid.

Yes, I’m disappointed. I disappointed that I don’t have a church to attend because there are none open. I’m disappointed that so many Christians are ok being just ok. I’m disappointed that it’s been 68 days and likely much much longer.

I’m sitting on my deck as I write this and thinking that it could easily become a worship space, full of people gathering together in anticipation of encountering the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it’s just what I will do, invite over a dozen or so people who, like me are desperate to live as God intends for us to live – in community together worshipping Him. I think that it’s just what people need. I know it’s what I need. I’ve said before that I am church “homeless” right now. When God directed me to leave the pulpit I was serving, my denomination as a whole left me. The emails, texts and personal confrontations have been like one assault after another It’s been eye-opening, to say the least. “Friends” are now only names of what once was. “Colleagues” see me as the enemy. Silence is profound. And yet I hear the words given to Ester and it’s as if God Himself is speaking them loudly to me right now, “If you don’t speak up now, {they} will somehow get help, but you and your family will be {destroyed}. It could be that you were made for such a time as this!”

I may be on my own. I may be without a tribe to walk with. But I believe that these words ring true … truer than any words I can cling to at this moment … I was made for such a time as this. And I will glorify my Lord.

Sundays are hard.

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Enneagram type 2 Infographic

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Sundays are hard.

It occurred to me last night, as I was tossing around in bed, that I dread Sundays. I dread those 24 hours because they are really very hard. And because they are so hard, I find myself angry, sad, and lost.

It’s been eight weeks since I last stood in a pulpit. Eight weeks since I walked away with my head down and heart heavy because God said it was time to leave. Eight weeks of replaying the last 10 years of my life over and over in my head. Eight weeks of questioning my self-worth, my place in the world, and my witness. Eight weeks of beating myself up for failing the churches, failing the communities, and failing God. And each time Sunday rolls around, the self-loathing starts anew.

Sundays are hard.

Some of you are familiar with the enneagram. It’s been around for hundreds of years. It’s a map that helps you discover your personality on a deeper and more spiritual scale. I have found it to be very useful in my counseling practice. I am an enneagram 2 – the helper. (If you are interested in learning more, https://www.yourenneagramcoach.com is a good place to start).

Let me just say right off that bat that being a 2 is both wonderful and awful. Twos see the world through relationships and we define ourselves based upon those relationships. According to author and enneagram coach Beth McCord, the core fear of a two is, “Being rejected and unwanted, being thought worthless, needy, inconsequential, dispensable, or unworthy of love.” And our core desire is, “Being appreciated, loved, and wanted.”

Y’all, let me just say that there has never been a truer description of myself than that right there. As a two, I have discovered that I get incredible joy from helping others and ensuring that those around me feel loved. When I offer myself to another person in relationship whether personal or professional, I take a genuine interest in them and want to be of service to them in whatever way I can. But… twos often don’t know how to do that without some self-harm.

“Because (twos) are so empathetic and sensitive, the depth of need and suffering in our world is especially burdensome to (them). Twos feel that it is their job to alleviate the pain of hurting people around (them), which is an unending responsibility, ” McCord writes. “Deep down (twos) struggle to believe that others love (them) apart from the support (they) offer.”

This description sometimes hurts me more than I can say because it’s so true of how I feel and have felt my entire life. Alleviating the pain of hurting people has been the driving force of most of my life. My senior year of high school I was voted “most dependable” because people could ALWAYS count on me to be available for them no matter what else was going on in my life. When I accepted my calling from God to go into ordained ministry, I did so because I knew God was sending me out to help people who were hurting in the world. He gave me this gift of empathy and expects me to use it to glorify Him. And from the depth of my soul I have tried to do just that. I have wanted nothing more than to please God by serving others. Unfortunately, my sinfulness has allowed satan’s voice to speak too loud at times, saying, “You aren’t loved. You aren’t needed. You are replaceable. You are forgotten.” So you can imagine (or perhaps you can’t) the internal struggle I have felt since leaving the pulpit eight weeks ago. To put it quite bluntly, I fear that I have lost my value. And that fear manifests itself every Sunday.

You see, for twos, we have a tendency to put ourselves completely out there because we want to love and be loved so profoundly. That should be easy if you’re a Christian, right? We love because we are loved by God. Unfortunately, it’s not easy! And as a two, that can be a very narrow line to walk, teetering between trusting God and trusting only ourselves. It’s that trust in self that gets me into trouble.

Twos are amazing people with hearts the size of Texas but let’s be honest…we also have a dark side. And it’s that dark side that I have found myself in these past few weeks.

When you discover your enneagram type, you will also learn about your “wings.” These are the types you gravitate to during certain moments such as stress or pain. For me, I gravitate to an eight when I feel stressed. And it’s not the healthy eight attributes that come out. It’s the unhealthy and hurtful traits that begin to dominate my reactions.

McCord describes the unhealthy eight like this, “Their whole focus revolves around protecting themselves from those whom they believe are a threat to them. They do not trust people, and assume everyone has an agenda to hurt or control them. Therefore, they want to beat them to it by controlling and hurting others first. If they have been hurt by someone, they can be very vengeful in making sure the other person gets what they deserve.”

I have to admit that I really do not like this description at all. But whether I like it or not, it speaks loads of truth and has been a very hard process to study and accept. I really don’t want to assume that the people around me only want to be around me because they need something. I don’t want to believe that if I’m not “fixing” them or someone they love then I’m inconsequential to them. I detest the voice inside that says my only worth can come if I’m serving others, even if it’s detrimental to myself. Yet, Sundays tend to be an “enneagram eight” kind of day.

I have people in my practice who struggle with self-forgiveness and I am actually really good at helping them see the source of forgiveness. I can point people to Christ and watch them blossom as they learn His love is fully available to them without question. Yet, in these past eight weeks, I have found it difficult to receive my own advice. I know God’s hands are upon me. I know God’s Spirit is with me. I know God’s love is never-ending. And, still, I feel alone, angry, sad, and unloved, and find myself asking, “Who am I, God?”

At the end of last year, I did my annual evaluation of the year and reflected on my “one word.” That time always leads me to my new word. The word I was given was “uncharted.” I had no idea just how true that word would be for 2020. Right now, my life really does feel uncharted. I have no idea where I am going or what is next. I do know that am hoping for healing. I look forward to the day when Sundays are once again filled with joy and anticipation. I know these uncharted, lonely days are only a road bump in my faith journey. I may not know what’s next. I may not feel my worth. I may dread Sundays. But I know God is bigger than all of these things. I’m still not ready to look at myself in the mirror with eyes of forgiveness. I still am not able to stop the tears at 2 AM. I still replay the words that people have said that cut me to the core.

But God’s voice is getting louder.

For every kind soul you meet with a beautiful story to tell, may you know that you are worthy of being seen that way as well. — Morgan Harper Nichols

 

Reference:

McCord, Beth (2019). The Enneagram Type 2: The Supportive Advisor. Thomas Nelson Publishing. Kindle edition.

To purchase: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YW4KJ22/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

 

 

 

 

Why You Need An Accountability Group

shallow focus photo of woman using game boy

Photo by Aline Viana Prado on Pexels.com

In today’s world, there are so many different types of groups. There are mom groups and dad groups. There are groups for different occupations and hobbies. There are middle age with children and middle age without children groups. Singles groups and divorced groups. The list goes on and on. But these are primarily social groups, even if the group is comprised of Christians. And let’s face it,  there’s a big difference between “hanging out” with other Christians, and deeply connecting with them on a spiritual level. I do believe there is a place for both but, if you’re like me, you need a deep connection like never before. Scripture is so full of references to community and the importance of being with a group of like-minded individuals to walk through this life without fear of judgment or, even worse, rejection.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 17:17

The beauty of that verse is clear – we cannot do life in the way God ordained it without friends. Just like we cannot grow in our faith if we do it completely on our own. We need others to do it in a way that enriches our lives and our relationship with the Lord.

One of my favorite pictures of the Christian community in action is of the early church as described in Acts 2:

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

Read it again!

Did you catch that? They devoted themselves to one another and to God. When was the last time you devoted yourself to something? No, I’m not talking about a short-term project or hobby. I’m talking about an all-consuming, life-altering devotion. I would bet it’s been a long while. I know it has for me. But the first church let God truly consume their lives. They pushed one another, studied the “apostles teaching,” spent time remembering Jesus and prayed. Oh, how they prayed together and separately. They were devoted to these things and they changed the world.

I know it sounds like a cliche but I genuinely want to change the world. But not as I would have it. I want to change the world so that Jesus Christ is glorified. But as much as I’d like to think I’m just that able, I can’t do it on my own. I NEED people who have a heart for changing the world, too. I need people like those in Acts. They were living what I long for. What about you?

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

The writer of Hebrews said it best and we would do well to heed those words. Meeting together in a sanctuary is fantastic and super important in your spiritual life. It’s a time of teaching and worshipping in a larger community.  But if that is all you do, you’re missing out on the essence of the Church! And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Just imagine a world where people met together for the intentional reason of intensive prayer, study, worship, and Holy Communion. Imagine how families would change. Imagine how children would change. Schools would be impacted. Work would change. So much would be impacted by this type of intentionality. Are you getting excited yet?

Well here’s the secret. You can’t wait for someone else to do it and invite you. If you are excited about such an opportunity, you have to make it happen. You have to be the one to take the first step. If your heart started beating just a bit faster as you were dreaming of such a group, then God is likely nudging you to action.

How do you get started?

  • PRAY! And then pray some more.  God will begin to lead you to invite one or more like-minded friends to join your group.
  • Establish a regular time and place to meet. This could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. But it must be regular!!! There are going to be times when schedules don’t meet up. That’s okay. Set a time and stick with it. You’ll quickly discover who is putting forth the effort and who isn’t. And that is OKAY! Everyone is different and needs to be able to determine for themselves what is important.
  • If you are a parent, arrange somewhere else for your kids to be. I love children but children can make it a bit difficult to have deep meaningful discussions. The truth is, small children have a lot of needs and your attention is one of them. So, rather than feeling guilty about not having your children with you, think of this as your weekly “me-time”. I promise this will be the most valuable time of your life.
  • Decide together what your time will look like. What are your hopes and goals? And what are your absolute do’s and don’ts within your group. For me, I will not tolerate gossip. I’ve been the subject of it too much to want to put that feeling upon someone else. You and your group have to decide what your time will look like. Write it down and have everyone sign it. It’s a covenant. 
  • Specify a leader for each meeting. Otherwise, it’s way too easy to spend the entire time chit-chatting. And in the end, that’s just not as beneficial. I think it works best when people rotate. We should each have ownership in the group so there is not a primary leader. Instead, we are all in this together.
  • Be transparent. Be honest. Be raw. Encourage. Exhort. Love. Challenge. And watch God do amazing things in your lives as well as within the lives around you.

What to Do Each Week

If you are like me, you prefer to have some kind of template to go by.

  1. Catch upHow is it with your soul? 
  2. Talk about spiritual thingsDid you spend time with God this week? Consistently? What did that look like? If you didn’t, why not?
  3. What struggles are you having? Confess to one another. Encourage one another. Ask questions.
  4. Goals, hopes, dreams: Check-in on goals from the previous week and set new ones. These can pertain to absolutely anything, not just time with God.
  5. Pray together.
  6. Celebrate Holy Communion. 

There are some things to be cautious about though.

Like with any good thing, there are some things that can spoil it if you’re not careful.

  • Don’t gossip. I know. I’ve already stated this once but seriously it’s very important. Gossip is not God-honoring or beneficial. In fact, it’s evil. Resolve not to do this and hold each other accountable. If it’s not your story to tell, don’t tell it.
  • What is shared in the group, stays in the group. Make this a safe environment. Keep the things confided to yourself unless there’s a very important and specific reason to do otherwise. Remember, you are in a covenant and trust is essential.
  • Listen A LOT before you offer any advice or suggestions. Listen, listen, and listen some more. I’m an enneagram 2 so I get it. Being a fixer or helper is in my DNA. But people are not always looking to be fixed. Just because someone shares about a situation that is troubling to them, it’s not a greenlight for you to fix it. Sometimes your presence is enough. Be wise in what you say. God might move you to speak into a situation, or He might lead you to keep silent, but either way, James 2:4 says, “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” and Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
  • Finally, Don’t force it. If the friendships are to be true and lifelong, it will simply happen through the study, the transparency, and the fellowship. But if you are having to force it, to work at it until it no longer serves a joyful purpose, it’s not the right group for you. And that’s okay. Keep looking and praying until you are led to the right group of people.

God has great things in store for you. He wants you surrounded by His love. And He wants you to know who you are – His!

What If It’s True?

For six years I have stood in a pulpit on Easter Sunday and proclaimed the good news that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Resurrection, the Son of God. It’s been a very different Holy Week for a variety of reasons. But the most difficult part was knowing I would not be sharing the Word of God.

My beautiful family changed that.

My sister-in-law suggested we have a service on Zoom because we are all spread out across two states. I couldn’t have been more excited and honored to share the joy of the Resurrection with my family.

This is not a fancy service. It’s just us on our couch (with our cats running around). No fancy clothes. No make-up. Not a good hair day. But oh how my heart is full because God used me once again!

So… what if the resurrection is true? What if?

*Sermon illustrations from Rev. Brett Blair