Hope to visit family following coronavirus lockdowns

My grandma lived in a very small, old house. The basement was a dirt floor with plywood, and some concrete walls. My grandma did not keep anything in the basement and rarely went down there. There was a trap door, padlocked shut, on the porch that led to the basement.

One day my older sister and I begged Grandma to open that door. We were so curious what it looked like down there. She unlocked and opened the door, walked down the stairs, and turned on the light. We stayed on the stairs and looked in but were not allowed to go further. We enjoyed looking, but now we had a great desire to walk around and explore downstairs.

A few visits later we caught Grandma at the right time. When we asked her if we could please go downstairs and walk around for 10 minutes, she said yes. She unlocked and pulled up on the trapdoor and gave us access. We had quite the time downstairs.

Access means to provide a way or means to enter. Today I was reading the Bible and in Romans chapter 5, I was reminded that Jesus Christ provides us access, through faith in him, to the hope of the glory of God. Jesus provides us access to hope in this life and the hope of eternity enjoying the fullness of the glory of God.

Hope is essential for every human. Without hope, life is unbearable at best and tragically ends at worse. In Romans chapter 5 we read more about our path to hope, provided by Jesus Christ, during our time here on earth. Are you ready to hear about this path? The path to hope starts with affliction. Seriously, affliction? Yes, the path to hope starts with affliction, trial, pain, suffering.

Paul, who wrote the book of Romans, suffered much pain and affliction in his life. Most of his pain was because he was a Jesus follower and a pastor, starting new churches throughout his region. And Paul gives us the path to hope. Afflictions produce endurance. Endurance produces character. And character produces hope. There are no shortcuts.

Without affliction we do not learn endurance. Without endurance you cannot build character. And it is Godly character that produces hope.

What if you and I engage in a relationship with Jesus Christ during COVID-19? What if we embrace the afflictions many of us are currently experiencing and rather than grumbling, being difficult, arguing, causing disunity among people, turning to unhealthy behaviors or lashing out at others in anger, we embrace this difficult season and thank God for the opportunity to learn endurance? What if 2020 becomes the year of our greatest spiritual growth? And we learn endurance and build character and our light of hope shines brighter than ever before in 2021 and beyond.

What if those of us who are walking with God, through the grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ, trust God to be faithful during these days and we become people full of hope? What if, at a time in the history of our nation, where hope is desperately needed everywhere we go, we become people of hope? This is the path I am choosing today. I pray you do also!Rebuilding Paradise” initially felt too optimistic of a title for a documentary about the devastating 2018 Camp Fire, Ron Howard said about his new film. The National Geographic title features devastating first-hand footage of the violent wildfire ripping through the Butte County town and emphasizes the immense feelings of loss and grief Paradise residents faced.

“They’re struggling, they’re still struggling. PTSD is a major factor in all of this,” Howard said of his National Geographic documentary, which premiered on Friday.

Featuring hope and optimism in the feature’s title would not have been possible without Paradise residents’ sense of community and their desire to rebuild the beloved town up from the ashes, Howard shared. The director recalled him and his team seeing the residents help out their neighbors and celebrate the holidays even despite the wildfire’s fatal destruction. “

They made the title viable,” the director said at Monday’s virtual TCA panel.Joined by producers Sara Bernstein and Xan Parker as well as two of the film’s subjects Michelle John and Steve Culleton, Howard reflected upon the film’s balancing act between the unfortunate ruin and the optimism brought on by the scathing wildfire. The director said that going into the filming process for Rebuilding Paradise, he had no idea where the story would take him. Unlike a scripted feature, the documentary didn’t have a pre-written third act, he said. The instances of both loss and renewal as well as the balance of the two, however, came organically from the members of the Paradise community.

“You balance it because that’s what you witness,” Howard said.

During the panel, he and his producers also explained that they wanted to put viewers in the residents’ shoes and urge them to think about how they would react in similar situations.

“Our hope was that this film would be more about strength and community and showcase the heroes who have lived through the fire and have been committed to rebuilding, especially in this moment of time when communities all around the world are struggling with the aftermath of a catastrophe of this pandemic,” Bernstein said. “[Rebuilding Paradise] offers hope to people who feel they can’t move on or can’t rebuild.”

Adding onto Bernstein’s answer, the Backdraft and Apollo 13 director said that while the documentary covers a single moment of emergency, it asks the larger questions people will eventually encounter when they face a similar struggle or crisis.

“What do we expect from society, what do we expect from ourselves, our neighbors? Our federal government? Our local government?,” Howard asked.

Rebuilding Paradise is produced by Brian Grazer, Howard, Parker, Bernstein and Justin Wilkes. The film is executive produced by Michael Rosenberg, Louisa Velis, Carolyn Bernstein and Ryan Harrington; co-produced by Lizz Morhaim. It also features cinematography by Lincoln Else, editing by M. Watanabe Milmore and music by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe.A quarter of Americans plan on taking their first post-coronavirus vacation as early as July and August of this year, according to new research.

The study asked 2,000 Americans about their future travel plans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and what it would take for them to feel comfortable traveling again. It turns out that 76 percent of those surveyed said they’re already planning or will start planning for their next trip sometime in 2020.Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of travel company Skyscanner, the survey found seven in 10 respondents feel an increased desire to travel because of the pandemic.

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In fact, another 71 percent of respondents specifically said their time in lockdown has increased their desire to rekindle their relationships with extended family and pay them a visit. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they’ll need to make up for lost time on vacations this year.But instead of packing it all into one long vacation, seven in 10 respondents said they’re planning to take multiple vacations throughout the rest of the year. This may be needed now more than ever, as 45 percent of those surveyed were in agreement that taking a vacation is very important for their well-being.

More than half of those surveyed also expressed an increased desire to complete their travel bucket list once they have the chance.

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Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they planned to make their next vacations more focused on nature and enjoying the outdoors after being cooped up inside.Nearly half of those surveyed said they plan to visit beaches and the countryside once they are able to. Forty-three percent of respondents showed interest in heading out to the mountains for their next trip and 42 percent plan on visiting rural towns.

“Whether renting a car for an unforgettable road trip or enjoying a stay at a nearby campground, Americans will find plenty of options for a summer vacation that allows for fun in the sun while social distancing,” said Juliano Lopez, head of research and insights at Skyscanner.

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