Pandemic In The Summer

This summer is weird, isn’t it? We normally see friends and family, go to the beach (most years), eat out at favorite restaurants, have drinks and fun with friends, have treats, attend church services, visit special friends, and are active along with our down time.

This year being part of a pandemic, things are different.  We now wear masks when we go out, on the few occasions that happens. We are only getting food at the grocery store, as take-out or through the drive-thru and making quick trips to the drug store. We aren’t going to church but instead are watching services online. Also, we aren’t seeing very many people.

Life is not totally awful since we are homebodies and always have plenty to keep us busy. Still, the length of time where life has been so different does take its toll. So, we keep in touch with Zoom calls and meetings, textings, phone calls, dinners at home, and seeing neighbors while outside on walks.

We are not going out and doing as much as some of our loved ones and that is by choice. I am trying to keep us healthy and listening to the doctors and medical professionals. We are doing about the same as many of our loved ones. That is good since we are in this together but usually apart.

We are visiting family in North Carolina this summer but have mainly been at the house keeping busy with work. We always visit a few friends but that is not happening this year since they are in the high-risk groups. That is a bummer but we totally understand.

We like shopping at a favorite toy store each year. This time was different since they are booking appointments to have one family shop at a time. Also, masks are required for the entire time in the store. My thanks to them for that option in which I felt safe while shopping. A rare feeling these days.

I have friends and family who are going out and doing a lot more that we are. That is okay for them if they feel comfortable doing so. I, however, do not. At least not yet. As a single parent, I am doing all I can to keep myself and my son healthy. And, I have a few risk factors to keep in mind.

There is so much stress and awfulness happening right now. It is often hard to deal with. I am praying, trying to meditate to calm my mind, exercising, listening to music, reading my Bible and devotionals, trying to get enough sleep, talking with loved ones, and trying to eat well.

Still the doubts, worries, and concerns are there. We all have to do the best we can right now. I just hope and pray that we can help one another and support each other, rather than bringing harm to our loved ones.

With all of the uncertainties in the world, I am thankful for a few things:

  • Remotely watching my nephew’s high school graduation and seeing him receive his diploma. We were there in spirit!!
  • Watching my son build new Lego sets
  • Enjoying my son having time with his grandparents
  • Savoring a favorite meal that we have picked up or prepared
  • Shopping at the grocery store and choosing a delicious tomato
  • Having the option to order food online and then pick it up or have it delivered
  • Finding books at a used bookstore
  • Walks, bike/trike rides, and fresh air
  • Eating an almond strudel from a favorite bakery with a glass of cold milk
  • The anticipation of seeing Hamilton: The Musical online in the next week
  • Dinners with my parents and time to chat with them
  • Seeing loved ones and chatting with them online
  • Laughing with my siblings, cousins, aunt, nieces and nephews, and others during online chats
  • Working at home on a flexible schedule – a real blessing
  • Getting to know our neighbors and their new dog while social distancing outside
  • Listening to my son’s first D&D game online with family – he had a great time
  • Sitting on our front porch in the evening and chatting
  • Laughing with my son during an episode of Psych
  • Chatting for a long time with my son on many topics
  • Hearing about what our loved ones are doing
  • Having time to read a great book or watch a movie

I hope and pray that things will improve soon and the numbers of illness will go down.  I pray that people will be kind to one another and stop judging the wearing of a mask or not. It is not political, but a health care choice that each of us have to make.  At least it shouldn’t be political.

I pray that my loved ones continue to stay healthy. I really want to see them again and give them a hug. Again, not sure when that will be but I am hopeful. I pray that there can be real healing with all of us no matter our race, religion, education, profession, family situation or who we love. I hope and pray that the violence and racism will stop.

I pray that we have peace, respect for one another, and treat each other with kindness.  I pray that we learn from one another and listen to each other. I pray that our differences stop being hindrances and stop causing problems. I pray that we take care of one another and build one another up.  I pray that we always, always love.

Who Tells Your Story?

Alexander Hamilton (from Power Point clip art)

Who Lives? Who Dies? Who tells your story?  These are part of a song in the amazing musical, “Hamilton,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show will soon be a movie and I for one cannot wait. Those lyrics are in two songs – first in History Has Its Eyes On You and later in a refrain.

Some of the other lyrics are:””Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory. You have no control. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story. … And when you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame? Who tells our story?  …history has its eyes on you.”

A lot to think about, right? In my family, that person is my mother and before her my grandparents. Mom wrote a family book about her dad’s side of the family. We learned that some of our ancestors came over on the Mayflower. Amazing. Now, she is working on her mother’s family history and is able to go back to the 1300 and 1400s.

It means so much to know our family history and what the people many generations ago did: where they lived, who they married, and their children.  I am blessed and know that I am. And, over the course of this project, I have realized that not all people have this legacy.

My ancestors chose to come to America. They decided as a family to make the dangerous crossing across the ocean for a life in a new land. The ancestors of my black friends did not have that choice. They came as slaves, often forced on a boat in chains, or were born into slave families. Worst of all, they were treated as property.

The notion of owning a person is disgusting and quite troubling but was part of our nation’s history. In a PBS show about “Hamilton: The Musical,” Christopher Jackson was interviewed. He played the part of General George Washington and later our first President. Jackson said that he enjoyed doing the show but had a very hard time dealing with the fact that President Washington had owned people.

Many years later and thanks to President Abraham Lincoln and many others, slavery was abolished. Still it took centuries to make changes. There were struggles in the 1960s and a Civil Rights movement where some changes were made. Many people were killed during that fight, including the eloquent Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

But, we still aren’t past it. We are seeing that only too clearly again this year. The racism and hate is something I don’t like or understand. In fact, I am very much against it. However, I haven’t consistently done much about it. I haven’t thought about my privilege and for that I am sorry. There are things that I have taken for granted that so many families don’t have in their lives or that they are asked about or profiled about.

A partial photo of my son and his friend from several years ago.

It is time to change and realize that with the privilege comes responsibility. We need to stand up for our brothers and sisters and speak out against mistreatment, violence, and hate. We need to change the narrative, how we treat one another, and practice the love that Jesus taught us. And we need to vote for leaders at all levels of government who aren’t racist, but instead believe in real and true opportunities for all people.

As my son and I discussed yesterday, we are all made in God’s image. All of us – everyone. We are all equal. We all have value. The two of us talked about this and a lot of other things during the commercial breaks of the Sesame Street-CNN Town Hall on discussing racism with children and fighting against that racism.

It was stunning to see 6-year-old children asking why people didn’t like them because of their skin color, or how should they talk with police officers, or are their fathers safe?Also, a 12-year-old boy was interviewed and a clip was shown of him singing a song that his mother wrote. The song was called, I Just Want To Live. 

“…I am seeing what’s being done to my kind. Every day, I’m being hunted as prey… I just want to live,” sung by Keedron Bryant. These words gave me chills and I cried when I heard the entire song.

He is 12 and is singing about being hunted as prey.  That is shocking to me and should not be happening – to anyone. My son is in his age group, so it really hits home for me.  The fact that his mother wrote these words too is telling  She knows what can happen to black men, women, and children.  And, that to me is heartbreaking,

Let’s remember that the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Sadly at the time that this declaration was written, black men and women were owned by white people and not treated as equals. That too is so very wrong but I know it happened. So, now it is long past time for all men and women to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity.

We all need to be treated as equals by the government, by society, by police officers, by our religious leaders, by our medical community, by our schools and educational communities, by all walks of our lives, and by all of us.

We must do better for our fellow men and women, for our children, and for each other.  We must live in peace, not in violence or by causing harm. We must treat each other with respect and kindness, not disrespect or hate. We must remember that Black Lives Matter. And, we must remember to always love.

Let’s Remember That All Are Precious In His Sight

As the song goes that I learned as a child, “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

We now have many mixes of those four colors as well as brown to include. And, Jesus loves them all.  So should we. Black lives matter. Brown lives matter.

We must love one another as He taught us to.  We must respect each other, be kind to one another, and say no to hate and violence. We must do better.

Too many black and brown people are being killed or injured.  Some have been at their homes, others have been jogging, others going about their lives, and others at the hands of police officers who should not be holding those positions.

I know police officers who are great people and treat people fairly and decently. They have said about this recent death of George Floyd that it was murder and was awful.  And, one police chief said if you think that incident was good policing, you need to turn in your badge and gun and quit the job.

It is heartbreaking to see and must stop. People also must stop fearing men who they may not know. Just because you look a certain way doesn’t make you a criminal.  And, calling the police on someone who isn’t committing a crime can lead to the man’s injuries and possible death, even if unintentionally.

What can we do about it? How can we change the racism that doesn’t seem to have gone away over all of these years? Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for it and died having been a peaceful protester. And, yet, he was still treated badly by some and treated as less than. Despite all he did, some still didn’t see him as an equal.

No one should be treated as less than. We are all special. We all have value. We are all equal. We are all to be respected and treated with kindness. We are all to be loved. We are also more alike than we are different. We all have loved ones, families, and friends.

May we remember that children have to be taught to dislike someone and to be racist.  They aren’t born thinking that way. They are born liking others and are able to make friends with many different people. Until someone does something that they may not like; then they might think differently. But, it is not because of what someone looks like.

My prayer is that this racism will stop. Our country has been dealing with this long enough — ever since slavery.  I had thought it was finished but we are seeing that it isn’t.  The number of people who have been protesting all over the country are wanting to do something about that.

I hope and pray that it will remain peaceful and be safe for all who gather. Today, George Floyd’s brother, Terrence, asked for people to stop the violence as that wasn’t what his brother would want. But, he appreciated those demonstrating peacefully and encouraged people to vote at all levels of government.

Those stoking the fires of hate and racism also need to stop. And, we need to stop listening to them. We need to turn that off and focus on love and kindness. We need to be better for one another and for our children and future generations.

Let us teach our children and each other that all people have value, that no one is better than others, and that racism is bad and should not be practiced. We are to love everyone as Jesus taught us to do.

My prayer is that the officers like the ones who killed George Floyd can be weeded out, and that those officers who are good and decent can continue to do their jobs well and with support for their communities, and that their communities support them.

I also pray that the harmful attitude towards black people and especially the men will change. No one should have to live their lives in fear that something will happen to them or that someone thinks they are less than.

I also pray that those protesting will stay safe and not get the coronavirus as they are peacefully gathering. I pray that those looting and destroying property will stop and realize they are doing harm to others. I also pray that the police officers responding to these events can have peaceful responses and discernment.

And, I pray that the escalation of hate and violence will stop. I pray that cool heads will prevail from all sides, and that kindness will be practiced. I pray for peace and respect for others.  And, I pray that we will always love.

(The pictures are from Power Point clip art.)

At Home Continues

I cannot believe that it is already halfway through May and I haven’t written once.

I am not inspired as much these days since life has been a challenge. I have been stressed with this damn corona virus and still dealing with our grief after losing my husband/my son’s father one and a half years ago.

Stress and uncertainty seem to be evident each day for many of us now.  That is frustrating.  It certainly is for me.

We are on day 64 of being home.  At home school work has been finished for this year and so our summer has begun.  Still, I am not sure what we will be doing since our trip to the beach will not happen.  Perhaps a few trips for work but that will be about it. Times with loved ones would also be nice.

I am thankful that I can work at home.  Our family business has been quite busy and for that I am thankful. Still each day, I have anxiety and stress with so much unknown and not being able to see my friends and family as I normally like to. That is taking its toll and that is frustrating.

We did get to see my parents on Mother’s Day and that was great.  The visit was wonderful and we enjoyed talking. The food that my Mom made was delicious, as usual. Their dog was happy to see us since it has been a while. Still no hugs or too much closeness. That was tough since we are family who hugs a lot and takes forever to say goodbye. Also, we arrived at their house with our masks on. We all wore them for part of the time as well.

This morning, I took a walk around our neighborhood. I took this picture of myself and the pretty flowers that are above.  My doctor said to still wear a mask while outside, so I am listening. I have some health issues that could be a problem with this virus. Nothing that serious but still. I have a lot of allergies and mild asthma. So, I am doing all that I can to take care of myself.

Still, I need to lose weight, exercise more, take better care of the piles of stuff around the house and us, and figure out some ways to curb my stress and worry.  But, I am taking it a day at a time and doing my best. I am trying to give myself permission for that since this is such a trying and unusual time for all of us.

It is also frustrating that I keep getting more grays in my hair and need a haircut. That really is the least of my worries. I mean really, I don’t even put on makeup much anymore unless I am doing a Zoom call or wanting to just look nice. Some of that just doesn’t matter right now.

Well, I am off to relax for the evening, watch a Star Wars movie, and have dinner with my son. We have been watching the entire series in release order. A movie a night-ish has been fun.  We also spend time reading and talking and trying to laugh as well.

Prayers for you and yours to stay healthy and keep doing well.  It is tough but we can do it. I know we can.  I hope to have more insight and interesting items to write next time. I just don’t have it in my right now.  That is frustrating but okay.

Sadness and Schools in This New Era

Today we received the official word that our schools are closed for the rest of the year.  I heard this news and started to cry.  I couldn’t help it.

I am sad for my son and him not being able to see his friends or his teachers any more for the year.  I am sad that lives are not normal and we are unsure when they will be.  I am sad that there is so much unknown and so much that is scary.  I am sad that we cannot hug our friends, have lunch with them, and chat about our day.

I am sad that I won’t get to go to the chorus concert of songs that my son has been working on.  I am sad that some kids are in unhealthy environments and may be struggling with having enough food. I am sad that we won’t get to go to any games or watch his friends play together.  I am sad we cannot have Nerf wars as a group of boys had planned to do.

I am also sad for my nephew and others who are seniors this year.  I cannot imagine what he and they are feeling right now.  I hope they have fond memories of an amazing school experience, although it is truly bizarre here at the end.  I hope and pray that they can be happy for what they do have, instead of only dwelling on the sadness.  I am trying to do that as well. Some days it is easier than others.  Today is a tough one.

We knew that the call to close schools for the rest of the year was coming but it is still so hard.  Three quarters of this school year is all that we had at school, with friends, with teachers, with normal routines, with sports, the arts, and other activities. This last quarter is quite bizarre and different than anything that we or anyone else has ever dealt with.  With that comes stress and sadness.

This afternoon, our school system is supposed to meet and figure out the next steps to finish learning for the rest of the school year.  Not sure how that will look, but I truly admire everyone who is working so hard on it.  This is so beyond what they had planned for when the school year started.  The fact that they are stepping up so well is testament to the talents and gifts that our educators have.  We are blessed to be part of such a district.

Earlier this week, my son’s school sent a video to all families.  It included comments and well wishes from the entire staff.  It looked like so much work but was so appreciated.  We could tell that our teachers, administrators, and everyone else truly miss the students as much as they miss them.  It made us smile.

Each day there seems to be some happiness and some reasons to smile.  But, there is also sadness, and worry, and fear, and many other complex emotions.  We do what we can each day but realize some days, it is okay to pause and just enjoy being together.  It is okay to get a late start, watch a funny show, and talk about happier times.  We also are reaching out to our loved ones and getting exercise.

I am sad for seniors who didn’t have a prom this year, and they don’t get the end of school fun that I remember from my senior year.  They didn’t get a spring break trip with their friends.  Also, who knows when they will be able to walk across the stage at graduation.  For that and for them, I am sad.  I hate this for them.

I also am sad for the 8th grade students at my son’s school who will be transitioning to the high school next year.  They too won’t get the normal end-of-the-year activities, fun, and special party.  They won’t be able to say goodbye to their favorite teachers, at least not in the traditional sense.  So that also is very sad.

I am sad for everyone as they finish out the year not being able to go back to school and give that favorite teacher a hug, or see a friend at lunch, or walk down the hall to their locker and run to class.  I am sad that life is so very different and so much is unknown.

My heart is with everyone as we try to figure out how to move forward.  How can we remotely celebrate these students who cannot be together to celebrate?  What can we do to help them know how very special they are and how much they mean to us?  How can we reassure them that life will be normal again?   I am thinking about that and know many others are as well.

My prayer is that we can continue to support one another, that we can lift one another up, that we can make plans to help our students and our communities, and that we can practice kindness and unity that is distant but together.  And, that we always, always love.

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia

Hello and Happy Easter!  He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!

Here are the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns, “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” —

“Jesus Christ is risen today Alleluia
Our triumphant holy day Alleluia
Who did once upon the cross Alleluia
Suffer to redeem our loss Alleluia

Hymns of praise then let us sing Alleluia
Unto Christ our heavenly king Alleluia
Who endured the cross and grave Alleluia
Sinners to redeem and save Alleluia

But the pains which he endured Alleluia
Our salvation have procured Alleluia
Now above the sky he’s king Alleluia
Where the angels ever sing Alleluia

Sing we to our God above Alleluia
Praise eternal as his love Alleluia
Praise him, all you heavenly host Alleluia
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Alleluia Alleluia”

And, here are the words of a more contemporary song — “In Christ Alone” by Adrienne Camp

“In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me…”

May these words having meaning of all that Christ did for us so that we might live.

May you be blessed and comforted on this Holy day.  May you celebrate remotely with loved ones.

May you remember to always, always love.

Good Friday Thoughts & A Prayer

Today is the day in our church calendar when we remember the crucifixion of our Lord.  This is the day that He was killed on a cross so that we might live.  I have often thought that the name Good Friday is an odd choice for what happened on this day so many years ago.  It was good for us but very bad for Him.

He suffered and was in massive pain, such that I cannot imagine.  He was ridiculed and found guilty of crimes He did not commit, and then was punished for them.  After last night’s Last Supper with his disciples, he was betrayed and then beaten.

Now, many of us are in major pain and have lots of worries.  Like us, he suffered the not knowing, the begging for the bad things to pass by Him, and wondering why it had to happen to Him.  In fact, He asked for the cup to pass Him by.  However, it did not.

I am not sure if that comforts you, but it does me. To know that the Lord who has helped me through so much, also suffered, lost loved ones, and was betrayed is amazing.  He knows how I feel and He knows how you feel.  He has been through it all and has promised to be there with us.

As He was dying he uttered seven statements that showed some about the loving man that He was.  He still had compassion for those who were persecuting him.  He was concerned about His mother and His disciples.  He also had to deal with physical pain and suffering.

Our church remembers these in the Good Friday services that we will miss sharing with others this year.  Still the meaning is there.

  • “My God, My God, why hast though forsaken me?”
  • “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
  • “I tell you the truth that today you will be with me in paradise.”
  • “Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother.”
  • “I thirst.”
  • “It is finished.”
  • “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.”

This man laid down His life for us and then in three days conquered death and the grave.  I hope that can be a comfort and a blessing to you and your loved ones.  It is to me.  Still, there is so much suffering and that is very hard to deal with.  We try and we pray and we hope.

This morning we watched an interview of John Meacham by Stephen Colbert.  Meacham is an amazing historical writer.  He has a new book about Jesus and these last 7 words.  It is called “Hope of Glory.”  Sounds like one that I want to read.

During this interview, Meacham mentioned that this Easter will be more like it was at the first Easter.  He mentioned that the disciples were in hiding and that those of the early church would meet in their homes.  So, we can remember how that must have been since most of us will be home to celebrate this Easter morning.

This meant a lot to me. To think back to those times and what Jesus and His disciples and followers must have felt will be good.  Ian and I both enjoyed that interview very much.

A prayer for this Good Friday:

“Dear Lord, please watch over your flock who are suffering.  May we remember that you are here with us through this hard time. You will not forsake us, although it may feel that way at times.

“May we remember that third day when your son rose from the dead and conquered death so we would have eternal life.

“May we remember those who are essential employees who are in harm’s way.  Please watch over them and keep them and their families safe.

“May we remember those who are at home and trying to adjust to this new way of life. Please help us in the trying days to stay strong and at a distance in order to protect our loved ones.

“May we reach out to those we care about via emails, online chats, and phone calls.  May we bear one another’s burdens by being there remotely for each other.

“May we keep those students in mind whose lives have been upended so much. Please help us work together to help them learn and to be safe.  To our seniors this year, we feel for you.  May you know how special you are and how loved.  May we be able to celebrate soon.

“May we remember those who have lost loved ones due to this virus and other causes as well.  Lord, please give them comfort in their loss. Please be with them throughout their grief.

“May we remember that Sunday is on the way and that what happened today is not the end of the story.  May we remember that Your rising can give us hope.  May we also remember to always, always love.

“In Your holy name, Amen”.

On Grief and This Damn Virus

Since my husband’s death in late 2018, I have been dealing with grief.  I did other times with other losses prior to his death, but his is the one that has affected me the most.  So, I know something about grief and trying to put the pieces back together.

I have been thinking of all of the changes in our lives due to this damn corona virus.  There have been so many changes and they may continue for a while.  I am realizing that there is a lot that we need to grieve and then be able to move forward.

Merriam-Webster defines grief as:

  • 1adeep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement 
  • 1ba cause of such suffering — life’s joys and griefs
  • 2a: trouble and annoyance

These definitions are appropriate and part of what we are dealing with right now.

I think that social distancing is very important to slow and hopefully stop the spread of this virus which seems to be spreading more and more each day.  It is something that many of us can do in order to help those on the front lines become equipped to deal with it and all of the illnesses that people have.

Still, it is hard since we are so used to always being on the go, being with our friends and family, and not having to think twice of when we come and go.  I think it is important to deal with this grief and the fact that our life is just not the same now.  I also think that we can do that and then move on and make the best of our situations.  At least, I am praying for that to be the case.

My heart aches and breaks for those who are losing loved ones because of this virus. It saddens me that they can’t be with them at the hospital to say goodbye, or be at the funeral home to make plans, or have a funeral or memorial since it isn’t safe.  As hard as all of that was for me, I am fortunate that I had that chance.

I am thinking of the high school seniors who cannot see their classmates, friends and teachers and enjoy the times of being the big men and women on campus.  I am heartbroken for college students who had to pack up their dorms, go back home, and do online classes.  They should be able to enjoy life away and go to a lecture hall full of other students.

I am thinking of the middle school and high school students who don’t have the chance to see their friends in the hallway between classes, or at lunch, or at the many activities that they enjoy — sports, the arts, music, and clubs.

I am thinking of the elementary school student who doesn’t understand why they cannot go to school and see their friends and their teachers. They want to be there to read something and to color and sit on the floor at story time.

I am also thinking of all of the nurses and doctors and other medical staff who are on the front lines of this.  They are why we have to be home.  They are why our lives have been upended.  They have to be able to treat those who need the help without worrying that they don’t have enough beds or supplies to do so.

I am thinking of all of those out of work right now and struggling to pay their bills.  My hope is that they can find something in the meantime or get help from others.  Food is being provided at various agencies and many companies are waiving bills and shut offs for now.  So that is good.

I am thinking of those who are still having to work in other industries and not sure if it is safe or not.  Thanks to them for continuing to keep what we need going.  We appreciate you and your sacrifices.

I am thinking of the teachers, principals, school boards, and other educators working frantically to have at-home school options for students.  They are working hard to ensure that all kids have what they need to keep learning.  It has been a challenge and is taking time but is important.

I am thinking of our leaders and officials working with the medical professionals to try and do the best by us.  Granted there are problems, but they are trying.  After all, this is unprecedented, never-before-seen stuff.

I am thinking of our elderly at home or in nursing homes or assisted living when visiting is not permitted.  Perhaps we can do it through a window, or with regular phone calls, or with letters.  We should check with each facility or those at home and our doctors to see what to do.

My prayer is that we can all try to deal with the changes in our lives and then figure out what we can do to help.  We are in this together and are dependent on one another now like never before.  May we be considerate of others, help as needed and as we can, and may we still try to find some fun and happiness, despite no much negative.

If we can sew, let’s do that.  If we can provide some food or money to a local food bank, let’s do that.  If we can call our friends and check in on our loved ones, let’s do that.  If we can gather our families together online, let’s do that.  If we can buy just enough for what we need without hoarding, let’s do that.

May we work on this together, although we are apart.  May we help one another.  And, may we always, always love.

Grocery Shopping in the Pandemic Era

Hi and Happy Sunday!  At least I hope it is a good one. This morning, I went to the grocery store.   It was Aldi and it went better than I had expected.  Before going, I didn’t know what to expect in this era of the worldwide pandemic and everyone trying to avoid one another. I told the employees thank you for being there and working so we have the food and items that we need.

I found most of what I wanted and that was a great thing.  However, many shelves were empty of Kleenex, wipes, and cleaners.  They had some but not a lot of toilet paper.  Canned vegetables and bottles of water had limits on how many you could buy — four for the veggies and two sets of 24 bottles for the water.  And bread and some other items were limited.

The store wasn’t crowded and I have to say that was a relief.  I had a hard time deciding to shop and where to shop but ultimately decided to go to this our normal store.  People stayed a good distance from one another and were polite.  I wore my regular winter gloves while I was there. Not sure if they did anything, but it helped not directly touching things.

In addition to food, I found some work gloves that include latex.  I haven’t been able to find the other kind of gloves and wanted to have something.  My city may be shutting down soon so I wanted to be sure that I have what we will need for a while longer.  (Images are from Power Point clip art.)

My shopping took about as long as it took me to clean everything when I got back home.  Before taking stuff out of the trunk of my car, I wiped all items that I had purchased with disinfecting wipes, including the shopping bags, which were recyclable. I left my shoes in the garage that I wore to the store, wiped several parts of the car, and then went inside, and put the gloves in the washing machine.

I then washed my hands and went back outside.  I then brought the food, drinks, and waters inside, washed my hands again, and put them away.  Right after that I took a hot shower.  When finished and dressed, I put all of the clothes in the washing machine on hot.  And washed my hands again.

It was a tough decision this morning to go to the store, but I knew I needed to now before things get worse and I don’t want to leave the house.  In addition, I have ordered a few items that we need for home projects, a DVD of a favorite show that Kirk and I enjoyed, and some items for our growing boy.

Those will be delivered soon and will also be wiped down. Boxes will be left outside and we will be washing hands after touching them as we do with everything that is coming in to the house.  We are wiping down surfaces and doing our best to have a clean house.  I just hope it’s enough.

You see, I have mild asthma and a lot of allergies.  I have had my share of upper respiratory infections and bronchitis over the years.  For months, my son and I have been using OTC allergy medications which help us stay healthy during the high pollen season and cold and flu season. Also, I have an inhaler that I use as needed and nose spray.  I hope and pray that these habits will help us through this.

So much is unknown and being speculated about. We are listening to the numbers, paying attention to the scientists, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. We are also listening to the White House Task Force, Governors, and other elected officials. We are taking it all seriously.  Still, I cannot watch too much or I get overwhelmed with worry and fear.

We normally eat take out and food from drive-thrus and enjoy going to restaurants.  We aren’t doing that now and probably won’t for quite a while. More than a week ago, we got takeout from a restaurant run by family friends. This is one of the few places that I feel comfortable doing that but, that too is on hold for now.

It is amazing the number of people all over the world who are staying at home to try and stop the spread — or at least slow it down until more can be learned about it and until the hospitals can catch up and have all of the supplies that they need.  I am glad to see that we are, for the most part, in this together.

Also amazing are all of the brave and wonderful people who are working outside of their homes so that life can continue on in some form or another.

Here a few of the people who I want to say thanks to (I hope I included everyone) —

  • Nurses, doctors, researchers, EMTs, paramedics, the national guard, our military and civilian forces, first responders, firefighters, X-ray technicians, police officers, janitors, volunteers, bank tellers, journalists, reporters,
  • School superintendents and school boards, principals, teachers, assistants, pastors, counselors, truck drivers, mechanics, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, cooks, servers, clerks at stores, those in transportation and travel,
  • Retail store employees, those who stock the shelves, librarians, civic leaders, plant workers, farmers, mail carriers, utility workers, those advising on how to use technology to communicate with each other,
  • Drivers delivering food and needed supplies, small business owners, financial advisers, accountants, parents, children, families, friends, and our government leaders who are trying to do the best for us.

There Is Comfort In The Normal

There is comfort in the normal, at least for me.  I am talking about a normal routine of the days with knowing what is coming and what is expected. Of having things scheduled that are fun and items to look forward to.  And, life returning to normal.  We aren’t quite there but every day leads us closer to a happy new normal.

It has been a lot to adjust to.  We are doing our best, failing at some things, having success in other things, and continuing to move forward.  Two in our family instead of three is just one of many factors that we are dealing with.

Although it has been 1 year and 4 months since my husband passed away, it seems like yesterday in some ways.  I still want to talk with him and see him again.  I still want to hear his voice, his laugh, and something about his day.  I still want him here and probably always will.  And, I still don’t understand why this happened to him, to us, and to all who loved him.

Some people may think that I should be past it more than I am.  But, when you wake up every single morning knowing you won’t see your life partner again, it is hard.  Many days I am fine and remember him fondly and with happiness.  Yet there are other days when all I can think about is everything that he will miss and not be a part of.

As Vanessa Bryant stated during her eulogy for her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna, there are things that she will never get to see her child do or experience as well as her husband.  I can totally relate to that.  It saddens me to think that Kirk isn’t here to see his son graduate from high school, or get married, or have kids.  He doesn’t get to see his nieces and nephews and their children grow up.

He isn’t here for Ian to talk to as he goes through all of the changes of becoming a teenager.  He isn’t here to comfort him when he is hurt or upset.  He isn’t here to help him laugh in the way that only he could.  He isn’t here for a challenging homework assignment.  He isn’t here for family vacations or family game night or to see a new movie.

He isn’t here for the latest Lego build, latest story or idea.  And, in a few months, he will not be here for Ian’s chorus concert.  Yet, I know he is always with Ian and with me, just in a very different way.  And, he certainly is part of the reason that our son is such a great young man.

At times this causes me a lot of pain and anguish and tears.  But, I still have to continue on, live life, be there to enjoy times with our family and friends, and show up for Ian and other loved ones.  I try to remember that I am strengthened by a man who loved me for 20 years until death parted us.  What a blessing that is.

On a good day, I can focus on the fact that I am still here for all of these things.  I am here to be Ian’s champion, confidant, mother, and to love him with all that I have and am.  I know that he loves his dad and can carry their bond and relationship throughout his life. He also misses his dad but does grab life every day and makes the most of it.  I am learning so much from him.

Since emotions have been all over the place a lot lately, the times that life is normal are comforting and special.  I am talking about waking up, getting ready for school, making breakfast for Ian, talking with him on the drive to school each morning, then coming home for my routine before starting work in the home office.

I am enjoying my cups of coffee or tea with cream, my oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, watching a recorded show or the morning news show. I then have some time to think, pray, and read a passage from my book of inspiration in dealing with grief. And sometimes a walk before all of that starts or an afternoon walk.

I then am working and staying busy. Then when Ian comes home from school, we talk about his day, he tells me something that happened or an idea that he has, he has a snack, and then we talk about homework.  He has a short break and then gets to work.  I try to help him as much as I can.  My blessing is that I can work at home and be in the same room with him while he is doing that.

Normal also is reading a book from the library, going to church and then lunch with my parents, watching a movie or TV show, seeing friends and laughing over a meal, attending a baby shower or birthday party, having time with family, going to a store to buy what we need and occasionally the special treat, and exercising.

Since Kirk’s death, there are a lot of days when I haven’t felt like myself, or things haven’t been normal.  I am dealing with so much that we did together and that has taken time to adjust.  Each day, I have something that I am trying to accomplish. There have been days when all I could do was get dressed and get Ian to school.

I have realized that I took for granted some things that Kirk did for me and for our family.  He helped in so many ways that I would sometimes fuss about.  Now I think, why did I waste that time with him instead of appreciate it?  I suppose that is normal, but I don’t like that I did what I did.

Today, I am thankful for:

  • The gorgeous sunrise I enjoyed on the way to the grocery store on Monday morning (It is the photo at the top of this blog)
  • Sun peaking through the fog this morning
  • Our upcoming spring break with a business trip and opportunity to see some friends and family
  • Some days at home where we can work on projects
  • An interesting library book
  • My son, my parents, in-laws, friends, and family who have our backs and love us unconditionally.  We love them the same
  • My prayer group friends
  • Having more days when I don’t feel sad or lost, but instead happy and hopeful for Ian and for me as we press on

May God bless you and help you whether your life is normal or not.