Updated: Mar 21
Thank you Facebook memories. Three years ago today we were in Niagara Falls, just arrived in Canada! Five years today, was our very first time in San Francisco as a family :-) I was standing on Pier 39 watching the seals be silly. Amazed I'd never known how engaging sea lions could be. Nine years ago today, we were at Busch Gardens riding all the roller coasters, and had to take my kids to the kiddie play area as they were not tall enough to ride! Ugh they were so little and sweet then. I loved those days! We've been doing this now for a while...
In fact last year at this time my sister and I were recuperating from the Mary J Blige concert in Tampa, and my family just returned from our South West expedition to the Grand Canyon. WE have been blessed with so many good times. It’s easy now to lose sight of our blessings and now get caught up in the hopelessness embracing our world.
2020- I had other plans !! I am allowed to be disappointed even though I am grateful for our health and home.
For spring break we were going to drive to New York and stop in Washington DC to catch some of the monuments we have missed in the past. Cherry trees, museums and history were expecting us! We were going to hang out with my uncle in Long Island and catch up with some family and friends. All our favorite foods and people in NY were there.... we were not. But this has been the year of the home. We’ve been here. Patiently (mostly) waiting for the curve to flatten, or something like that. That trip never happened.
My grandmother always said as we make plans God is laughing. She never made a plan that did not have the words ”God willing” added to the end of her sentence. And now I understand.
I really didn’t write this to complain about all the stuff we are missing. Although I miss going to the movies, dancing with my girls, and wandering through a city eating what ever I see on the side of the road.
We did salvage our Lake Lore trip to North Carolina, and while it all worked out at the last minute, I know that was good medicine for our families! It was a graduation trip for many of the kids in our group who didn't even get to walk. Planned a year in advance. Right up until the weeks before North Carolina was shut down... would it happen? We needed a change of scenery. We needed mountains, waterfalls, lake time, and laughter with friends. We needed wine from the vineyard, and to take over the outdoor seating area of the Mexican Restaurant. We needed to show up. And we did. Thankfully. Gratefully. Yes we social distanced. As a large group. We all agreed ahead of time we were willing to take the risks and felt healthy enough to do so responsibly. What a success. Hiking, boating, and eating like one huge family, building those memories we so need to get through the challenges… (and no sickness - YAY)
But: I love my home. We have had a lot of quality time here and we’ve done a few things that I did not expect just because we’ve spent so much time here. In the past I’ve said to really enjoy my family we have to get out of the house. So I’ve worked on that. It’s ok for us to have down time, and just relax here. Who knew?
In the face of covid I worked a little more, made a little extra money, and applied all of that extra money to our home. Normally this would’ve been vacation funds. But seriously, we live in Florida where most people come to vacation eventually. My house has never been this clean. The yard has never been so clean! My garden has been blooming. The dragon fruit finally flowered! We’ve been fixing some of the things that needed repair. Like the driveway. We dug out some old cracked concrete and poured more. Not very exciting but definitely needed. The light fixture on the back porch which has been broken forever – new light now. The pool area got some pressure washing and updating. We’ve been looking closely at our own home. It’s been great. Productive.
When I first created the home office back in March I was really focused on organizing the garage as I'd taken home a classroom of materials I'd never organized. So I separated items I'd use from those I wouldn't, and gave many things away. There were a few other sorting type projects. I didn’t imagine I’d be home forever. I wanted my work space to be clean and easy to navigate. Webinars, Zoom meetings and lot's of consulting took place. Then I started to teach Summer VPK toward the end of June. I can’t lie, it was hard getting myself back into my usual routine. After months of not having to leave the house in the morning, it felt a little strange being back out in the world. As much as I enjoy my job and even being active in society, it felt foreign. Waking up, showering, and leaving is a totally different life than waking up to get to the computer. Going from being remote to back in person was a little weird at first, but as it got going - felt so good! How quickly we as humans can get in or out of a routine!!!
We've been uprooted. We've been replanted. Are we all still rooted in the Earth and in our journey's? Where do we go from here?
Meanwhile, we are all more human than ever. We are more vulnerable than ever. We are more susceptible, we are more alive, and more self-aware than ever. We are forming opinions and beliefs every day based on every experience we’ve ever had up until this point. We are working together, we are working for our families, and doing the very best that we can each of us. We may not agree on how to do this but we are all in this same situation of how to best survive.
We have grown up with apocalyptic movies and songs, and are waiting for the end of the world. You may have seen a few New World Order documentaries by now. You may have read the book of Revelations by now. It’s kind of hard to deny that some of this is playing out before our very eyes and we are either in the chapter before the calamity or right on the edge of our entire system falling apart completely. Are we ready? There is a constant REM song replaying in the background “it’s the end of the World as we know it, and I feel fine….”
But just like you can manifest the end of the world by programming people to believe that it is coming any day, you can also manifest love and appreciation. LIFE. It seems as the world is falling apart, yet I personally feel stronger than ever. My fire inside of me is burning hotter than it ever has before. My convictions and faith are getting lots of watering during this down time. As men’s heart’s grow colder, and there is less love out in the streets – I have much more love with in, and at home.
Part of my strength comes from pulling on the memories of our family adventures and amazing times we have lived. Seeing my daily memories pop up is a great feature of Face Book. There was one day last week the memories revealed we'd been to Aquatica, Orlando's water park, on that day four times over the years! Talk about a pattern! LOL, I love our day trips and adventures. I've been riding our time at home cooking, cleaning, and "home making". I'm so surprised at my adaptability! Months of home, months now of laying low... Then we had this hurricane Isaias (which never showed up) and honestly, I am just kind of staying put at this point. No summer adventure. The beach is about as far as I'm likely to go!
I keep looking at my bucket list and hoping 2021 will still afford us the road trips and trips we desire. I am thinking of my suitcase and duffel bag collecting dust.. I am making plans for the future. I am looking forward to more family memories. The kids are getting older... I am looking at the clock now wondering how much time they will really still have at home!
My strength now comes from previous decisions I have made up until this point that I believe are factors of our health now. My strength comes from my faith in God that I am in the world and not of it, and I am not bound by this situation. My strength comes from hope that there are so many good people still working to improve this planet and overcome these challenges we face. I have witnessed some truly remarkable good deeds, right in the middle of this craziness. I am touched, and restored. I have planted some seeds that have blossomed, and I appreciate each new bud.
Healthy eating, cleaner living, less hustle n bustle, more time on the couch, was all of this a needed vacation from reality?
And you know what I discovered?
Since every summer we hit the road we miss the thing our Space Coast is known for (besides rocket launches) - being the Sea Turtle Capitol! The trick is getting to the beach just before the first light of dawn. The timing and placement is everything. I was inspired to go out and see hatchlings because after Isaias passed Florida to head up the coast, I was walking on the beach with a girl friend searching sea glass. What we found were a bunch of turtle eggs unearthed from the passing storm, the raging waters and winds had upset several of the nests. I saw many eggs that didn't make it, and also saw a few dead hatchlings. I resolved to see some living baby sea turtles to make up for this morbid image I was left with.
I will happily share that 3/4 mornings we went out we were able to see a Sea Turtle making his first journey from sand to sea. We missed the actual coming out of the shells each time but it is so dark and difficult to see, we were fortunate each time to catch these moments in the circle of life.
Then I remember, I live in a place people vacation. I spoke to people on the beach who have waited years to see this miracle. All I had to do was wake up early and drive over the causeway. I have LOVED the day trips and travels our family has taken. And I realize I am pretty happy THIS is where we live now.
I see the debates of schools opening or not. I see the hypocrisy of our government. I see the confusion of people. And I remember a few things I know to be true:
Here's some Bible verses to reflect on during these moments…. (A few of these hung on plaques in the hallway when I was growing up - I'm glad they kept their potency over the years)
The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Such will be the spread of evil that many people's love will grow cold.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
I share all of this to say: This is not a new way of life, a new normal, or our destiny. This is the world paused to stop and examine ourselves, our health, and re-prioritize. Let’s figure out how to depend less on the "system" and more on our selves, and empower our families. Grow as people... Let’s all agree to plant something we can eat, save something for a rainy day, and focus on deep breaths! Let’s increase our nutrition and decrease toxins. Let’s name all of the blessings we have, and share as we are able. Let's fix our homes and spend more time in them, since we spend so much money to have a home! Let’s show corona we are not a society about to give up our lives to a virus, and focus on how to fight a virus instead of how to fight our friends and family. We need friends and family. We need to rebuild. We need to live.
Stay strong in your faith friends and make the most of every day.
We need love now more than ever!