43rd Birthday!

Move over, December birthday whiners!!!! There’s a new kid in town–the quarantined birthday recipients.

Today is my 43rd birthday. I am on day 17 of quarantine/social distancing. 31 more days of our state mandate to stay at home except for essential business. 

I woke up, gave myself a pep talk about getting out of bed to start this day, and then remembered it was my birthday and was able to put my feet on the floor. I made my bed and then opened my door to go get the coffee going. And I was surprised to see that Mack had worked hard while I slept!

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I cannot believe how amazing of a kid he is! He thought ahead and snuck my gift wrapping bag into his room earlier in the day so he would have all the supplies he needed. I love him so much. What a thoughtful guy.  Josh saw it when he came out of the closet and said, “Yeah, happy birthday, Kristy. It hardly seems enough with all this that Mack did.” And we laughed. Then, Josh and I were both in the kitchen and he had to write a check. He looked at me and asked, “What’s the date today?” And then he caught himself, and we started laughing again. I laughed really hard. He didn’t find it quite as amusing. But let’s just say, Mack outdid himself. 

I had a great walk this morning and sensed the Lord’s presence so near. I saw several birds with food in their mouths as they hopped along the road and flew into nearby trees. I thought about God’s Word that clearly tells us God takes care of the sparrow, and we are of more value than they are. He sees me. Every step I take. Every emotion I feel. Every disappointment I face. Every need I have. Every fear I encounter. Every dream I dream. He has seen my whole life before a day of it even began. He cares for me and reminds me not to worry about anything—and that’s a great thing to think about on my quarantined 43rd birthday. 

Mack’s 13th birthday (quaranteenth birthday)

Thirty minute increments at most. That’s what I choose to bite off these days. I cannot take more than that. 

On Saturday, March 28th, we celebrated Mack’s 13th birthday. March 27th was supposed to be a 7th and 8th graders banquet, and Mack was really looking forward to it. He got a new outfit. New shoes. And he thought the timing was perfect. Fun Friday night with friends, eating and dancing and karaoking and then waking up the next morning as a teenager. 

Of course, that isn’t at all what happened. We finished up our 16th day of quarantining on his birthday. But he woke up to a fun sign in the yard so all the neighbors out and about would see that it was his birthday. He got all sorts of honks and hollers from passerbyers wishing him a Happy Birthday. That was different and fun. We went for a family walk and bikeride in the neighborhood.

We cooked ribs, peas, dressing, and mashed potatoes for lunch and enjoyed a homemade cake with “1” and “3” candles that instacart shopper picked out for him. We had lunch with our youth leader that came by with a cake for Mack! They shot some hoops. And then we all got freshened up for some photos. I wanted to get pictures of Mack in his new outfit before he outgrew it while we sat at home under quarantine. I could have held off for Easter, but that ain’t happening. I mean, Easter is happening. Just not the whole dress up and go to church part. So, I got some great photos of my big 13 year old son. He seemed to have a great day and enjoyed being together and hanging out as a family. I am glad he felt special on his birthday.

But I had to take the day in thirty minute increments to make it through. And that has been my mode of operandi the past few days. When the mayor told everyone to stay put til the 16th, I was expecting it. Then, a couple of days later the governor told the whole state to stay put until the 30th. Y’all. It’s too much. Maybe if I had been someone who didn’t take the President’s warning and encouragment to stay home way back on March 13th seriously and had actually taken note of the world and decided to stay home, then it may not have been so bad. Thirty days versus 45 is a big difference and who is to say they’re done with the extending of stay at home dates? So the thought of staying home for thirty days straight is too much. Thirty minutes, I can handle. Just make it through thirty minutes. What is right in front of me to do? Is it switch the laundry? Ok, I will do that. Is it make the bed and get dressed for a workout? Ok, that’s what I will do. Is it text a friend and then read my Bible? Ok, for the next thirty minutes, let’s do that. Or maybe it’s sit and help Mack get organized for his school day and make sure he has all he needs. I can do that in these next thirty minutes. Beyond thirty minutes, I can feel my chest tightening and my back carrying the tension of “How much longer?” I know some people are organizing every nook and cranny of their home. Good for them if that’s what helps them cope. I, on the other hand, am completely unmotivated by these projects thus far.  I am doing good to keep everyone fed, clothes washed, and oversee the school work. All in thirty minute increments. 

So maybe this, too, will help you get through the days ahead. You don’t always have to have a five year plan or even a thirty day plan (and let’s be honest, who is acutely aware that even the best laid plans can be interrupted?!?!???!!!). Give yourself a break. Make what you can of the next thirty minutes. These increments will make up your day. You can do it. 

Addendum: I do glance quickly ahead thirty, sixty days and imagine this all over and behind us. Whether it is in two months or six months, I don’t know. But God does know and sees all things. I want to be able to look back and see my faith more mature, my relationships stronger, my perspectives clearer. There will be an end to this particular suffering. I want to be better then, but in order to be better THEN, I must figure out how to live NOW, under these hard circumstances. 

Mack’s fun birthday photos:

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.