Welcome! I hope you stayed safe during last Wednesday’s snowstorm. It was a doozy. I honestly didn’t take the weather forecast seriously. We’ve had such a mild winter. But when I pulled out onto the road last Wednesday I knew the meteorologists got it right. It was a whiteout on 322 between Jamestown and Conneaut Lake. Mercifully the snow slowed when I got to Hartstown, but it was still treacherous.

I noticed that the worst stretches of road were the ones flanked by fields. The portions surrounded by wooded areas didn’t have nearly a much snow. The trees, even though they’re bare, shielded the road. Fields provided zero protection, so the snow drifted all over the road. It was so dangerous.

It makes me think about the kinds of shields we can put in place to protect ourselves. We can’t protect ourselves from every eventuality, obviously, but there are some things we can prevent. One shield I’ve put in place is daily walks to help manage depression. It’s not 100 percent effective, but it works a lot better than antidepressants did. Some people respond well to these medications, but I didn’t. So I walk. It’s good defense.

Another is limiting what I watch on TV, research online, and read. Psalm 119:37 reads, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (NIV) I like this verse because there is so much worthless stuff on TV and the Internet that can drain my time if I allow it to. It also can affect my frame of mind, something I have to carefully guard.

But the most important safeguard is my prayer life. I read my Bible, pray, and journal almost every day. Sometimes I get lazy, but spending time with God is critical to my stability. I can’t exaggerate how important my daily time with God is.

I don’t want to make it sound like I’m some kind of model Christian: Look at me! I pray and read my Bible daily. Whoopee! No. I’m not trying to say that.

It’s just that when I don’t prioritize my daily Bible reading and prayer time everything seems off-kilter. Everything takes longer because I can’t concentrate as well. I feel anxious all day because I know I’ve put God at the bottom of my to-do list. So I try to put God first in my day. Sometimes I get it right; sometimes I don’t. But it’s a shield I’ve put in place, and it’s the most important one.

Just as trees blocked the worst of the snow on 322, these shields block the worst life throws at me.

Dressed in Faith was a huge success again this year. Lois Amos and Barb Griggs, along with other volunteers from Fallowfield United Methodist Church, provided 27 girls with prom dresses. Many of these girls said they wouldn’t have been able to go to prom if they hadn’t had the opportunity to borrow a dress. The girls had more than 400 dresses to choose from. I saw a few of the dresses – they were gorgeous, sequined gowns. Lois and Barb deserve a lot of credit for organizing this annual event.

Calvary United Methodist Church in Greenville is hosting a Lenten lunch on Wednesday, March 22, at 11:30 a.m. Lunch costs $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for children. The special music will be provided by The Pfaff Sisters with Louise Walker on the piano. The Reverend Tim Bowser of Sheakleyville United Methodist Church will speak. If you’re looking for a nice way to spend an afternoon, consider stopping by.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!