Goodness. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted on my blog. Almost two years, actually. And, it’s truly NOT that I haven’t had every intention of updating more often, but, you know…LIFE. I have all these posts formulated in my brain and then I just get through days and I don’t post them. One day leads to another and here we are, almost two years between blog posts. Now that we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic and we are living in a time that I’m sure none of us really expected, I thought it was time to dust the cobwebs off the blog AGAIN and post.
So, first of all, if you’re reading this – I hope this finds you well. I’ve honestly lost count of how many days into the quarantine we are at this point, but that feels less relevant with each passing day to me. Not so much counting the days behind us as looking forward with HOPE to better days in front of us. No one really knows how long we will need to “shelter in place” in order to flatten the curve, so I’m not even trying to focus on a specific time or date – just going forward with HOPE. Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Last night, I was thinking of lessons I have learned so far in this season of life and I wanted to share some of those. I have NO doubt that this list will grow/change as we progress through this quarantine time, but for now here are some of the things, in random order, that I have gleaned from this time.
- Routine is more important than a rigid schedule. Actually, I’m going to be honest, this is an old lesson that I have RE-learned. This is something I learned when Macey was a little one and held onto through both girls’ childhoods. Routine is very important, I think we can all agree. Most, if not all of us, flourish and thrive within a good routine. But, being absolutely SET on trying to have a formalized schedule right now is not important. It’s just like when the girls were younger – we had routines for our days, but not set times for every…little…thing. We wanted to allow for life flexibility, so we had our plans in place and went about our daily routines, but there were times when we chose to be flexible as to absolute timing. Same goes for these new days we are living in at the present. I admit that I kicked around the idea of a school day schedule for the girls, but I quickly dismissed that idea. Yes, they need to do their school work and keep up with assignments and studies, that’s a given. But, our day at home is much longer than a typical school day and we can’t/shouldn’t exactly be going places and doing things outside the home right now anyway, so our days absolutely allow for flexibility. As long as they get their school tasks done, that’s the main thing. I’m ALL for them taking breaks to be creative, to go outside, to exercise, to chill, etc. I’m not about to stress about things that are beyond our control, so allowing them to have some ownership and accountability in their day is what we have chosen and it’s working really well.
- Outside time is a MUST. Alright, no one yell at me for this – I’m not talking about having a block party with all the neighbors. (wink) I’m talking about working in the yards, sitting outside to read, going for a walk. Sunshine and fresh air do amazing things for my soul and spirit. In order for me to TRULY feel my best, I have to have time outside. We have been doing a lot of clean-up work in our backyard as a family and it’s been awesome seeing it all come together. We have cleaned up tons of leaves, put in a raised box garden to plant soon, pressure washed, and begun the process of taking down the girls’ old play fort. Not only has it been great for us to work together as a family, but we have benefited so much just from getting outdoors. I would probably lose what small shred of sanity I cling to each day if I couldn’t get outside, so I am thankful for beautiful spring days, pollen and all, that allow me to get OUT of the house in a safe way.
- Cooking/baking is therapeutic. I enjoy cooking and I really enjoy baking. I basically always have, to tell the truth. But, lately, I find preparing meals and baking various things to be a good outlet for creativity. I’ve very much enjoyed trying new recipes for meals, for treats, for guilt-free/Keto-friendly desserts and more. I also find that trying new recipes gets me out of a “food rut” and gives us opportunities to try new things that we might not have otherwise. This is typically a VERY busy, on the go, time of the year between dance, soccer, etc, and we usually have the same things pretty often and/or eat out/pick up food from the same places. The last few weeks have definitely been a chance for us to have most of our meals made at home and to try out recipes I’ve wanted to make, but didn’t make the time for previously. We have also taken opportunities to do pick-up/delivery a few times to help support local restaurants, but mostly been eating meals from our own kitchen. I plan to start sharing more of these on the blog soon. Stay tuned.
- Remind people that they are seen and cared for. This seems like such a given, right? We should always let our family and friends know that we see them, we care about them, and we love them. Always. But, you know, when we are in odd (to say the least) times like these, I think we can get so caught up in our own daily lives that we just might not remember to reach out as much. I mean, let’s be honest, WHERE does all this laundry come? How did we use THIS many dishes in half a day? Is the school work up to date? Has the dog been let out lately? What meals are we having today? Even though at home time kind of seems like “weekending” in some ways, at least initially, there is certainly a lot to think about and a lot to do each day. But, in the midst of all that, I just want to encourage us all, myself included, to reach out and let our loved ones know we are thinking of them. Even small gestures mean a lot. Our girls have taken to writing letters and sending cards to their friends in the mail. How cool is that? Who knew we would have pen-pals in 2020, right? But, I love it! And they love sending and receiving mail too. That’s one idea. Another would be to send a quick text/snap/message to a family member or friend to check in or, hey, even use the phone as a PHONE and call. Maybe send a little gift via Amazon. Send cards to nursing home residents. Offer to make a grocery run for someone if you’re able. The possibilities for showing kindness are endless and we can still do that even as we stay safe.
- THANK our “silent” heroes. This sort of goes with the lesson above, but it deserves its own, I think. We need to be thanking those who are out there working during this pandemic. Naturally, this means doctors, nurses, therapists and hospital/medical personnel on every level. They are in the trenches with the patients working hard to combat this awful virus. But, we also need to be thanking others such as mail and package delivery people, food service workers, store employees such as grocery clerks, first responders, and community service employees. We would be sunk if so many people like these I mentioned, and even MORE, weren’t out there giving their efforts every day. And, I realize more than ever that they need a big THANK YOU from each of us! I have yet to see one of these kinds of people asking for any accolades, but they sure deserve our gratitude.
- Help as you’re able. This may be a given, but I’ve definitely be reminded that helping can be doing what you’re able to do as you’re able to do it. Maybe you can’t go out and by food for a food drive, but you can contribute funds, so…do that. There are so many ways we can help while being safe. In my opinion, ANY help that we can provide is GOOD and NEEDED. Don’t feel like anything you can offer is insignificant because every effort we can give adds up greatly.
Like I said before, there are so many lessons to be learned during this time. These are just a few I’ve gleaned thus far and there are more to come. As we continue to navigate through this, let’s keep encouraging one another and let’s keep clinging to HOPE. Better days are coming. I believe that. And, all the while, I’m praying…believing…and hoping while we wait.
Best to all,