Welcome back to my blog! If you’re a newcomer, I’m so glad you’ve joined me on this creative journey.
I can imagine many things, but I never imagined that by the time I resumed blogging, the whole world would be on lockdown. Never would I have imagined a toilet paper shortage across the USA.
Panic is making the rounds — for good reason. We hear about Coronavirus all over the news, from the medical community, and lawmakers. Everything is suspended, postponed, or canceled.
Businesses are closing their doors and people are being told to stay home.
Sadly, the financial effect on small business owners and people with regular jobs is going to be catastrophic.
The impact on non-profits saddens me. The Adaptive Community Approach Program (ACAP)—that I featured in October—temporarily closed on March 16. They provide such a wonderful service to the community. Read about them here.
I featured another non-profit, Homes & Havens, with its founder Kaysie Strickland in May, 2018. She combines her compassion and creativity to make healing spaces for wounded women. Read about Kaysie’s work here.
Though the staff at Homes & Havens is also affected by the virus, they—like all of us—choose how to respond. In her last email update (March 26), Kaysie said,
“Just like in our homes, we decide what will take up room.
And I’ve decided I don’t want fear, panic, or anxiety
to take up any space in my house.
I need to use every square inch I’ve got for faith, gratitude,
vulnerability, bravery, and peace.”
She also shares a prayer request that could apply to everyone impacted by COVID-19:
Our staff is heavy-hearted over the applications
that continue to come in and we don’t know when
we will be able to resume operations and serve these families.
I know a lot of our clients have potentially lost their jobs.
Some may be sick. Others are unsure of how to survive yet another trauma.
Would you ask that God would make their home
a safe, beautiful place during this season?
That He would be their True Home
and provide for their every need?
Our mantra has always been
“We believe in a God of resurrection
and that beauty can be resurrected in broken homes.”
This remains true for us.
We look forward to seeing what God is doing in our community
as He brings beauty from ashes.
Thank you for standing with us,
believing in our mission,
and believing in the power of home.
Read about current needs from a March 11 update here. Hopefully, the staff will be able to resume their ministry to these hurting women soon.
Unrelated to the virus, I have sad news to share about my dear neighbor Judith, featured on four posts last April and May, 2019. In January, she unexpectedly passed away at the age of 80. My husband, Tim, and I grieve along with so many who have been touched by her over the decades. I feel honored that I got to interview her last spring and learn more of her story.
The depth and breadth of Judith’s activities and influence was so great, it will continue to reach others for years to come. In fact, she is posthumously being awarded the Peacebuilder Award through the non-profit Plowshare Fair Trade Marketplace, which she helped found in 1989. Hers was a life well lived. Read about her legacy here.
With all this mayhem, what can we do?
- First of all, thank the medical personnel, first responders, garbage men, and others for continuing with their jobs and, in many cases, working round the clock.
- We can donate money to www.FeedingAmerica.org and other organizations that provide food and necessities for those who need it.
- We can buy take-out food from restaurants so they stay in business.
- We can ask our elderly neighbors if they need us to pick anything up at the store for them.
- If we’re not providing medical treatment or other necessary services, we can stay home and follow the rules to try to stop the spread of this evil virus.
- Plus many other things . . .
Millions of people are being forced to stay home and/or work from home for the first time ever. Some folks have to balance work and home schooling—even if they’ve never home schooled in their lives! My heart goes out to them. That would have been me 15 years ago.
Telling distraught parents to not panic would be about as useless as this sign:
My daughter, who grew up with two teachers as parents, sent me this:
I agree! Teachers’ salaries should be the equivalent of doctors or CEOs. After all, teachers—like parents—hold the future generation in their hands. And molding those kiddos day by day is no easy task.
Being stuck at home also means finding new things to do after work is done. I mean, how much TV and Netflix can a person really watch in one week?
There’s no shortage of new books to read. Here are a few from two authors I’ve featured before, and a brand new one from an author who will be my guest in April.
Lioness — Biblical historical fiction by Barbara M. Britton. Barbara takes little known Old Testament stories and brings them to life. See my review on Amazon. Read about her on my blog (June 2018).
Pink Bonnet: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime by Liz Tolsma. Like stories of true crime? Read about her here, on my blog in April, 2018.
Incidentally, my daughter got me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and I’ve read at least 5 books on it since then, on top of my paperbacks. I never thought I’d want a Kindle, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. And thank goodness—since some books are only available on Kindle.
You can also brighten your day by purchasing a dazzling sunflower or other beautiful flower pictures by painter Marie Scott. She visited my blog in July, 2018.
These times call for creativity of a different sort
People are scrambling to figure out how to teach and/or entertain their kids all day long, juggle unanticipated schedules, and not go stir crazy.
Teachers are joining in the act, reaching their students in different ways—over the internet.
Check out these two videos from a middle school dean and an 8th grade English teacher (respectively) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Dean Winter’s friendly advice about routines—modeled after Mister Rogers—applies to all of us! (5:28 minutes)
Mr. Grell parodies “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II, with a message to his 8th grade students. It was recently featured on WZZM in Grand Rapids! (Only 1:39 minutes.)
Mr. Grell returns with a parody of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Hilarious!
Teachers aren’t the only ones posting youtube videos. I have a music therapist friend, Blair Frodelius, who daily performs a cheery song on his guitar and posts on Facebook. His tunes include “Stand by Me” (1961), “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” (1988), and the Temptations’ “My Girl” (1964).
That led to a full hour of tropical songs including selections from Bing Crosby, Harry Belafonte, & Don Ho to Elvis, Chubby Checkers, the Beach Boys, & Jimmy Buffet. My favorites are “Day-O”, “The Limbo Rock”, “Kokomo”, “Margaritaville”, & “Tiny Bubbles”. I learned new songs, too, along with tidbits of song history.
Good Morning America features people who are helping their communities as well as offering daily tips on how to stay connected in spite of social distancing. Each day they highlight different small businesses in their “Deals and Steals” segment.
Yes, in spite of the horrendous impact of illness and isolation, we have a daily choice of how to respond. We can count our blessings. Ask how to help. And choose to see the humor in some situations.
Like when I spilled blue paint in the driveway in January. What a mess!
But I decided that it made a beautiful fish. Then I poured multiple pots of hot water over it to wash it into the snow, hoping it would all disappear before Tim got home from work. The snow ended up with little blue spots and flecks, calling to mind The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and Little Cats A to Z—the one with VOOM that cleaned all the spots out of the snow.
Well, unfortunately, no little creatures appeared to help me out. And there’s still a blue blob in the driveway, though much paler than before. Tim has resigned himself to it. But it makes me smile.
Anyhow, if you’re looking for something to inspire you, check out “Are you Celebrating or Lamenting?” This lists all my posts, categorized and indexed, so you can easily find what interests you.
Coming up in the next few weeks:
- Some of your vacation stories (I requested them last fall)—It’s especially fitting to recall fun traveling memories since we’re all confined to home right now!
- Guest author Anita Klumpers
- Guest actor and theater director
- Guest “jack of all trades” educator, writer, and blogger
- Guest documentarists
What are you doing to be creative during this time? OR How is this time forcing you to be creative in ways you never dreamed of?
Please add your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!