COVID-19 quarantine, it’s hard enough!

PREFACE:  I know I can be dramatic. I admit that. I own that. I am working on that. Read on if you’d like:

Soooo, last night on day 12 (or was it 11?…or was it 541? I forget), Josh and I were sitting in our chairs. Neither of us were overly talkative. I was trying to not complain, so words were few. Then, Josh decided to present the family with a challenge and wanted to run it by me before bringing the kids in the room. “I was thinking of how we could make the most of these strange times we are in,” he started.  I looked at him, unsure of what he might be about to propose, but after being married to this man almost 20 years, I had a hunch he was about to get on my nerves.  “…we should each think of something HARD and HELPFUL to do each day. Like, for me, I could set a certain amount of pushups in a day and y’all can tell me if it is hard enough and if it is helpful enough.”

I thought, but didn’t say out loud, “How about I knock you in the head? That would be hard on you and helpful for me?” But I kept my mouth shut. 

I looked him square in the eyes and said, “PUTTING MY FEET ON THE FLOOR EACH DAY THIS WEEK HAS BEEN HARD FOR ME AND HELPFUL, SO I WILL KEEP DOING IT, but why must we play this game? Don’t you think we are all doing hard things every day that are helpful? I don’t think I am going to play.”

He dismissed me and my drama and said he would just include the kids. I said, “Fine.”  They had their little talk, and I just sat back and let them. I don’t need someone telling me to do something hard and helpful. Good grief! I am in a quarantine and back to having the kids at home and overseeing school again. I’ve got enough hard.

But Josh enjoys challenges. I mean, it’s like—life is about as crappy as it can be right now, how can we be sure we are squeezing every bit of life lessons out of the situation? That sounds good to him! It genuinely does! And he will rise to the occassion and be a better person than me for all the days of his life. And I am ok with that. 

Here are some photos from the aftermath of school at home and kids at home 24/7:

It gets on my nerves. Maybe you are struggling, too? Here is a little tip—take care of one room in the house that you can escape to when the messes all over the rest of the house are getting to you. For me, it’s my bedroom. It’s small and simple and easy to make look neat and clean. So when the kids are taking over the house, I can come sit in here and read or just sit in here and breath for a minute. I have stayed away from news today and haven’t read any articles about COVID-19 and it has been soooo helpful!!! That’s all I’ve got for you today! Hope you are all hanging in there today. 

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Day 11.

Today the weather has been on the brink of rain. And today my heart has been on the brink of tears, but no rain has fallen and no tears have actually fallen. 

The kids and I are on day 11 of quarantine besides the two times we went to church to record for their mid week services. 

I want to record this time, but I don’t want to share all of my depressing thoughts.  How about just some facts?

My county is under a shelter in place ordinance starting Thursday and going through April 16th? Or 13th? I mean, maybe Jesus will come back before then so why keep up with the details?

My friend and brow gal had to close her business for a while.

My friend and hair gal had to close her business for a while. 

My trainer has to drastically change his business approach for a while.

Kids started online school Monday and things are going ok. That’s all I am willing to say about that. 

I got my third instacart delivery today. She couldn’t find any chicken, nor pizzas, nor peaches, nor pork chops and they limited my rice order even though I was not hoarding. I have three hungry children that are here all day long. The text exchange between the shopper and me was hilarious. “Sure, I’ll take whatever meat you see.”  “My husband just texted asking for Vienna Sausages. That’s gross, I know, but if you see any, can you grab them?”

I hear gas prices are super low. I haven’t noticed.

Mack is napping at 4:00 because he has been sleeping on an air mattress in Molly’s room. When I try to make him go to his own bed, he starts sulking about this being his 13th birthday week and what a disaster everything is, so I give in and let him sleep up there. Manipulation. It works on me.

Rolo seems to be happy that we are all here most of the time. I some times catch her going away from everyone and napping. I am sure she is still super confused.

I don’t have much of an appetite these days. My stomach is in knots. It’s disappointment monsters wreaking havoc on my insides probably.

The weather looks like it’s going to warm up and be lovely over the next few days. 

I exchange funny memes and texts with my sisters, and I heave complaints in their directions because they will always love me.

I am sad today.  I do not like being sad. 

COVID-19 quarantine, 3/20/20

Day Seven.

Mack, after not finishing his chores and asking for a break and balking that I gave a time limit if his break included a screen, just came into my room where I was folding clothes and said, “Let’s talk about it. I am feeling some tension.”

YA THINK?

I said, “You go first, Mack. What’s the root of the tension?”

“Well,” he says, overly assured of himself, “it seems to me that the patience level is down and the tension level is up.”

Truer words have never been spoken. 

I grappled with God about it this morning, as I have every morning since learning the kids would be schooling at home again and BONUS!—we get to pay big bucks to school at home now. The Lord has heard my lamenting, and He is more than capable of handling my hissy fits. And He uses His word and presence to redirect my thoughts and help me see better. But I quickly lose my vision-HIS VISION- for this season. I am having flashbacks of our worst home school days and sheer dread falls over me. I thought I was finished with this. God says I am not.

So day 7 of quarantine may be best summed up in photos rather than words. I am not mature enough to share my raw thoughts. I could wrap them in spiritualities and only give you the bright spots, but I’d rather wrestle through some things and hope I have something worthwhile to share at a later date. 

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Woke up and spent time with the Lord. All was going well. Kids still sleeping.

Time to wake kids and go for a walk. (Not pictured: Rolo and Ruby because I snapped at her out of frustration and Ruby decided she’d rather walk a different route. Fine. This is reality, people.) All is starting to unravel, but I apologize and Ruby forgives me. We keep going on with the day.

We move on to the chores. Please note Mack laying in the hallway behind Molly while she mops. Things rock along until Mack begs for a break and then, as he said so eloquently, patience began to get low and tensions began rising.

I need to get some more verses written and posted around the house. These two aren’t cutting it.  I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

I pray that patience isn’t running low in your house and that tensions aren’t running high. But if they are, know you aren’t alone and forget about the chores and just go for a walk.  Alone.

 

 

COVID-19 Quarantine, 3/19/20

I can remember sitting in Dr. Hines’ English 101 classroom in Cochran, Ga at Middle Georgia College in 1995 as an 18 year old. For some reason I had chosen to memorize 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; I would write it every morning while I waited for class to start. 

 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I was reading in Hebrews 11 this morning and looking closely at what was written about Abraham in verse 10:

“For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”

Abraham was looking at what was unseen and eternal and it allowed him to live differently as he walked this soil. He knew this broken earth doesn’t offer foundations found only in God. And this season of life is offering us the reminder that this broken planet is not our home and offers no foundation, no certainties.

I am asking myself this morning if I am walking wobbily on this uneven soil looking at what is seen and temporary or am I fixated on what is unseen and eternal, the solid foundation that Jesus offers me.

If I focus on what I see here and now, these are words I think of: floundering, changing, unknown, fear, unsure of what is next, up and down emotions.

If, like Abraham, I look at what I don’t see, I think of: solid foundation, unchanging, fully known, trust, certainties, rest. 

Floundering Solid foundation
Changing Unchanging
Unknowns Fully known
Fears Trust
Unsure Certainties
Up and Down Emotions Rest

So, on day six of this self-quarantine, I am going to do something for my mind, body and soul.

MIND—scroll less, read a book

BODY—workout, shower and get all the way ready

SOUL—read God’s Word, go for a prayer walk, pray as a family

I am going to rest in God today and be thankful this earth is not my home. 

COVID-19, 3/18/20

COVID-19, day five quarantine for my kids and me.

It was challenging to get up this morning. I mean, what for? We are staying here all. day. long. again. This makes five days of quarantine for the kids and me. So, I believe it is safe to say none of us have it since I think I read that you can have it for four days without showing symptoms. And everything I read on facebook and insta is true, so I am certain we are all ok (sarcasm).

Josh is the one that is going to work. He’s doing all the right things—social distancing (very easy for him), washing his hands long and often, etc. But if any of us get it, he’s solely to blame, so there’s that. But he is also the one I will send to the grocery store when that becomes a necessity. He will be “taking one for team” for the next couple of weeks. And we love him for that.

I vented in my journal this morning. So many people sharing about their first experiences with home schooling—which you technically aren’t doing—you are schooling at home and trust me when I say to you there is a difference. But I digress.  Good for you having a positive attitude. Making a schedule. Having fun snacks and breaks and creative PE times. I am happy for you. But I have BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT AND I DON’T EVEN WANT A T-SHIRT.  It is so selfish, I know, but I am disappointed beyond belief when I think about the fact that we have tasted the freedom and awesomeness of the kids being at school, and we have liked it a lot. We all feel that we have done our fair share of time of home schooling, of togetherness. We were really liking our new normal. Liking it a lot. And now we are back together again. It’s definitely a sore subject. We can add that to our list of subjects—“Learning to Cope with Craploads of Disappointment.” But if anyone wants my advice, spend your time teaching your kids the difference between their, they’re and there AND to, two, too. This, to me, would be success at the end of this month. I cleaned out the garage area and threw away copious amounts of home school assignments. And written often on papers was this:

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The kids all slept in Molly’s room last night. It’s sweet. They’re enjoying their time together. They are also watching shows and texting friends. They are caught up on laundry for the first time in months. They have gone on walks with me almost daily. Today on our walk, a three year old kid yelled out to us, “Hey, guys! I am putting out a fire!!” He was pretending to be a fireman, and I loved it. I do that, too. Not pretend to be a fireman, but talking to anyone who looks in my direction on our walks these days. I say to them—“Hey! How are you? Hanging in there? Got everything you need?” My kids are like—MOM!!!! And I’m like—SHUTUP. I AM JUST FINE WITHOUT Y’ALL AROUND ALL DAY. LET ME SPEAK TO WHOM I WANT TO SPEAK. It was lunch time after the walk. Everyone fixed something different and the kitchen is messy again. The whole house never gets a break when everyone is home like this. I don’t think I will ever again complain about them buying $6 lunches at school every day when they’re ony supposed to buy two days a week each. Just as long as you aren’t fixing and eating lunch in my kitchen, I don’t care. {if all of this sounds brash and harsh and insensitive….it probably is, but I make no apologies today.}

All the togetherness of these days and my dog asking me when these kids are going back to school so she can have her nap schedule back. She even wonders why I am here so much.

I told them no tv til 2:00, yet Mack just opened the back door to tell me he is going to watch something while Ruby draws. I said, “But it isn’t 2:00, can’t you find something else to do?” He replied, “No ma’am, it’s a pretty boring world these days. Don’t worry about us….” And off he goes to get dumber. SIGH. 

So this is day five. I’m wrestling with some negativity….BUT…The sun is shining outside. We are healthy. Josh has a job. I have plenty of coffee. My trainers sends at-home workouts. We have food. We have toilet paper. We are blessed even in the midst of my disappointment.

And I am learning some great spiritual truths. Spending lots of time talking to God. Maybe I will post a little bit about that soon. It’s good stuff and what is getting me through the days.

COVID-19, March 17th

Confession: I don’t know for sure if I am panic grocery shopping on Publix instacart or if I am just precautionary shopping. Ya’ know? Three teenagers home all day. Three meals three times a day plus snacks. We live in an older home—like, 1952 old—so I don’t stock up on items. We have no storage! The pantry is teeny-tiny. A couple of weeks ago I heard someone mention the possiblity of toilet paper shortage. I don’t remember who said what, and I don’t remember being scared at all. I simply thought that I should amazon prime some toilet paper and paper towels and dove soap, so I did. Simple as that. And boy am I grateful for that! 

Our days consist of sleeping in every morning. I have coffee and read my Bible and fight against filling my morning with news updates. We are staying on top of laundry and keeping things clean. We go for walks/runs daily. And I do some at-home workouts with the minimal weights I have at home. Again, no room for a home gym.

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We put large cut-out shamrocks in the windows for the kids on walks to find—someone organized a Shamrock Hunt for the kids in the neighborhood. Moms need all the help they can get to keep the little ones busy. Moms of teens, like me, have relaxed some social tech rules and allowed more FaceTime calls and texts. But we have stayed home. We aren’t going anywhere. And I sure hope others are actually taking this seriously because if we all sacrifice now, then the spread could be greatly impacted for the good. But we truly need to all be on the same page as much as possible! I definitely didn’t need the government to tell me not to go sit down and eat with my family at restaurants or to not meet with others socially. Josh still goes in to work—I realized many people have to go work, so that’s all the more reason for us who don’t have to get out to STAY AT HOME. 

I woke up in the wee morning hours with a really heavy heart. I think I could have cried, but I didn’t. I started thinking about couples who have had to reschedule their wedding. Seniors who so suddenly had their senior year of high school abruptly interrupted and may not walk those halls as a senior again. The seniors that play spring sports and won’t get that chance. I think about business owners that may be scared about not making as much money as they would have if COVID-19 hadn’t darkened our doors. My hair dresser, my gym owner, the weary and worn health care providers, the teachers that have a love and passion for what they do and now it will look so different. I thought of Mack’s teachers, whom he loves to spend time with each day, and I could have cried. Then, there are churches that are having to re-think ministry during these days. And boy oh boy have I had a slap in the face about the PRIVILEGE it is to gather together as Believers. No doubt God is using technology and spreading His Good News in ways we aren’t used to. But meeting together, hugging, talking, singing together….we are missing out. 

In Hebrews this morning I was reminded that we need to remember the many times God has proven Himself faithful and good. I was challenged not to be of those who shrink back but “of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”  “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:35).

Let’s endure and continually and with confidence draw near to God as we distance ourselves physically from others for the good of all!!

And maybe add these into your nightly routine.

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COVID-19 Quarantine, the beginning

Imagine the heartbreak my kids are experiencing. Kids who had spent their whole lives homeschooled. Not so much as a day at a Mother’s Morning Out program. They finally get to attend traditional school and now COVID-19 Quarantine. They feel betrayed. Distraught. Borderline despair hit our home. So I thought I would pull out a story my counselor shared with me when I was having trouble accepting my reality.

There was a couple who was moving to a new state and city for a new job. They flew into town to house hunt and found a house for sale they wanted to buy. They loved the layout, the floors, the color of the walls, and the kitchen was gorgeous. They really wanted to buy this house. However, the outside of the house was painted purple! Purple?!?!! They made it very clear that they would pay asking price immediately, BUT there was one condition—the exterior of the house had to be painted white. The sellers agreed wholeheartedly. The papers were signed in the lawyers office when the couple flew back to town three weeks later.

They drove to their new home with excitement. They were in disbelief when they saw that the house had NOT been painted white. It was still purple. They were angry and disappointed.

{This is where Josh gets all technical on me and says that couldn’t happen because, of course, in the contract they would have made this clear….blah, blah, blah…he mentions that the previous owners would have had a walk-through with the couples’ realtor and would have had to paint the exterior.  WELL. Let’s just overlook small technicalities at this point, ok}

So, at this point, the couple has a decision to make. They can mope and whine and hate their purple house. They can complain against the previous owners and hold bitterness in their hearts toward them. They can groan and moan every time they drive up their driveway. OR they can radically accept reality and make plans to go buy paint and hire a painter. And we all know how a fresh coat of paint can immediately make all the difference in the world. 

I am reminded of this story as we are faced with a quarantine. Of course, no one is standing at my door making sure I don’t leave the house. But I do have a choice. I can mope and whine and be mad that staying at home is what we are being asked to do. I can decide I am more important than anyone else in my city and just keep going on about my business. The kids feel as if the Great Homeschool Wizard is playing a terribly cruel trick on them—releasing them into the world of school and then snatching the rug out from under them and sending them right back home! Poor things. They have a choice as well. Be mad, frustrated, angry, bored, discontent OR radically accept what God has given us. Time at home together again {they feel they have more than met that time quota, so this is taking a while for them to accept}. A more relaxed schedule. More sleep. Time to organize closets and drawers. Time to play piano and guitar. Time to eat as a family more consistently. Time to have their devotions in the morning. Time for exercising. Time for praying as a family about so many needs in these days. 

There are definitely a good amount of sacrifices being made by us and families all throughout our city, our state, the nation and the world. None compare to the sacrifices our health care workers are making, but I do want to be a part of helping slow the spread of the virus. So I do plan to stay home all week. I realize not all people can do that, but if I can, then I think I should. I do plan to keep my kids home all week long. I have ordered my groceries on instacart and tipped generously. I am praying for so many facets of this virus and its effects on the world….people of Italy, doctors, nurses, teachers, administration and the decisions they have to make, pastors and church leaders, business owners that will feel the effects financially, grocery store workers, amazon delivery drivers, and toilet paper production lines (!!! ok, not really praying about that last one)—among other things. I am asking God to open my eyes to needs around me, to speak to my heart during these very strange days, to stop the spread of the virus if it His will. Only He can do that. And I pray He will. In the meantime, I am learning to radically accept reality and move forward with a good attitude. I hope you will, too.