Today I’m not only talking about Christmas as I declare “It’s almost here!” I’m also thinking of the end of 2020. Thinking of it as the “year that was” should feel good.
And with those thoughts, we can move ahead into 2021 with hope and anticipation of better days ahead.
This Christmas season will be different for many of us. Traditions set aside for safer gatherings. Perhaps one less in that family photo or at the table. Inability to visit and cheer those housed in nursing facilities or in the hospital. And likely many more.
If we love as Christ taught us to love, we are willing to accept these inconveniences.
Looking ahead, we hope for the light at the end of this seemingly endless dark tunnel to lead to better times. The vaccine is here, injections are being given, and plans established for each of us to receive it. With gratitude in our hearts, a new year is beginning with the hope of healing and diminishing numbers of victims.
Live into that Light. The Light and Love that came down at Christmas of old is still with us. We need only to live it and share it with others.
Today I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt—PRESENT—leads me.
Likely many are thinking of the list of presents they need to buy, wrap, ship, or deliver. In our family, we’ve created a new process, thanks to the pandemic.
However, before I share that with you, I’d like to tell you about the decision my husband and I landed on some three decades ago. Each Christmas I’d make a list of things I needed/wanted, jot down the store where it could be found, size (if necessary), color, cost. Then Bob could take off shopping with a lot less frustration than if he had to come up with the list and figure out where to shop.
After watching his frustration for several years, we discussed a new way to give and receive. We asked what gift could we give each other better than we had given on August 15, 1981—ourselves! And so it has been since that long-ago discussion. We don’t buy each other gifts at Christmas or other holidays, not even our anniversary.
Now to today’s process for our kids, grandkids, and great-grands this Christmas. Since we are under lockdown in Oregon and we’re both immune-compromised, I’m shopping online for gift cards. Each family member who lands on our Christmas list will receive one inside a Christmas card via USPS. Hopefully, they can enjoy the delight of shopping for themselves online and not be disappointed.
However, with Advent upon us until Christmas Eve, present means so much more than I’ve written above. I’m stepping outside the busyness, the noise, and minimizing the financial element and stress of the season, only imposed by society and me. I’m inviting in the Christ Child, Jesus, as the presence I’m seeking this Christmas.
2020 has been a long slow slog for all of us. I think His Presence is what is needed for each of us. Being present with Christ is so comforting, soul-satisfying, and joy-filled. Why not make that the present you give to yourself on Christmas Day, 2020?
Day by day things are changing in miniscule and massive ways it seems. Especially in this pandemic state we find ourselves living in. It is like spring changing in small ways day by day. And then one morning the tree outside your window is a burst of color.
Blossoms unfurl their petals. Trees turn blossoms into fruit. Grass pushes through the earth to create a bright green lawn. Buds are everywhere. Future blossoms on camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas, peonies, tulips, daffodils, and more.
Some of the day by day changes aren’t so lovely as these. Let’s pull out a random change—I pick grocery shopping! Right about now I hate grocery shopping. Since Bob and I fall into an “at risk” category, our state guidelines suggest we stay home. This means ordering online to pickup what we need at Fred Meyer, the local Kroger-owned store. The store seems to have its system well organized and operating efficiently. For me, it is the ordering part that’s driving me a nuts.
About the time I have the order ready, something else pops up that we need. I rush to the computer to add it to our list. That happens again, again, and again. Then it’s the hassle of finding an open delivery date and time. Sometimes it can take several days to get locked in. Then the day scheduled for pick up arrives. You receive a text message letting you know what they’ve substituted or didn’t have at all! But the pickup itself is always a pleasant experience otherwise.
How much longer do I have to do this? Will I ever grow accustomed to it? It all rests on the restrictions set by our state government as COVID-19 peaks and flattens. We understand the opening of Oregon and its businesses will go slowly based on many matrices.
I’ve adopted a day by day process, doing what I can in the hours I’m awake and on my feet. That includes personal matters relating to taxes, estate planning, retirement funds, and more. The “more” includes household chores and cooking rather than writing and social media. AND continuing PT exercises at home.
I had wanted to restart my newsletter at the end of March, but didn’t quite focus on it enough to make it happen. For me, there’s a sense of being out of mind and body some days.
Coping with a change in the world around us is never easy. We are not always comfortable with change, especially sudden change. Even though life will return to the way it was, or almost, it is hard to accept the now as what some call the “new normal.” This isn’t the normal I want for my life.
Yet penetrating through these days is a light. If we cling to that light, a special Light, we will find our way back to some semblance of what we used to call normal. Life may or may not go back to exactly what it was. My hope is that we’ll be something better than we were before. It’s possible.
Spring flowers can be constant in coloring for two or three years. The next spring they may evolve into a different color. Isn’t it possible to hope we can change for the better?
Experiencing a bit of cabin fever? Government restrictions related to the coronavirus bugging you? Looking for a quick cure for cabin fever? Keep reading!
Today we bring an expert to the blog to share tips for coping with cabin fever. Our expert has four years or more under her belt of being confined. Chronic pain has been her nemesis, but her tips will apply as well to cabin fever patients.
Here’s a list of helpful tips and hints for coping with the frustrating symptoms associated with cabin fever:
Grab a good book and start reading. Need help finding a book? Check out book descriptions and reviews on Goodreads.
Do a jigsaw puzzle. It may seem a bit old-school, but they can be lots of good fun unless you have cats who want to help!
Schedule a movie and popcorn night. Especially popular if you have children around.
Call a friend or two you haven’t touched base with in a while.
Get out some board games or a deck of cards.
Sort through old photos.
Try a new hobby, like knitting, crocheting, stained glass, writing poetry, or Sudoku.
Pour through cookbooks looking for a new recipe to try out.
Start pre-spring cleaning. That way you won’t have so much to do when the good weather arrives.
That home improvement project you’ve been postponing is something you could work on.
If you’re a TV watcher, catch the newest season of your favorite show on Netflix.
Begin researching family history and start a family tree.
Plan a weekend getaway for after the restrictions are lifted.
Enjoy reading aloud rather than alone and silently? Maybe this is a good family activity if you have young readers.
Get some form of exercise. If you can get outside and continue social distancing, take a short walk, say 15 minutes. Or perhaps you have some slightly never used exercise equipment you could put to good use.
Continue to engage your faith or spiritual life through reading and/or prayer, or both.
Think about that spring garden. Perhaps it’s time to draw up a plan for what you want to plant and how.
Give in to that power nap. It’s amazing how much that few minutes improves your attitude.
Plan and treat your family to a picnic. Cook up hamburgers and hot dogs and all the fixings. Then spread a cheerful tablecloth or blanket on the floor and get out the paper goods and plastic forks and knives. Add some chips and condiments and have fun!
If you’re a writer, try writing in a different genre than usual.
And lastly, remember to practice kindness even if you are self-quarantined with your family–may be just you and your partner or spouse, and maybe a few kids, or some other configuration of family. Spread kindness even in these different and difficult times.