7 Quick Takes: Good Things In the Midst of COVID-19 Edition

7 Quick Takes

Here in Washington, we are under a shelter-in-place order until Holy Week, and it will likely get extended until the COVID-19 situation is resolved. (45’s plan to reopen things for Easter isn’t going to happen in these parts. Even if things did, I’m not resuming a normal life until *ACTUAL* epidemiologists recommend it, not a failed businessman and reality star.) I was already under a more restrictive shelter-in-place than existed before the one in Washington went into effect, so this was nothing new. Since I could probably enumerate the ways this situation stinks, I thought I would turn that on its head and talk about some *GOOD* things that are coming of this.

— 1 —

I’m developing an entirely new skill set. I had used Zoom twice before March 11th when I had to suddenly become a power user for work. I had never done a live post on Facebook until March 15th. I am now teaching people how to use both, and I am contributing to putting my church’s worship service online from home. (I had to make the decision not to be there in person to record last Saturday, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it was a struggle to make the decision and I cried my eyes out because it was *ONE MORE* life-giving thing being taken away from me.)

This Sunday, I get to be the “cyber verger” and do all the cueing, embedding, and unmuting when we do worship over Zoom.

— 2 —

I’m rediscovering the beauty of Compline. Our bishop has requested that we not hold corporate worship through Easter (and we are complying because a.) we listen to the bishop, and b.) the shelter-in-place order from Governor Inslee prohibits it), so I asked my priest if I could do Compline on the church Facebook page as a way of creating community and praying together even though we’re physically scattered. He enthusiastically gave me his blessing, so I have been doing it on weeknights at 8:30 p.m. It is my favorite of the Daily Offices in the Book of Common Prayer, so it is been fun to get to do it. I accidentally recorded it on my Facebook wall on Tuesday night, which might not have been a bad thing because one of my college friends from Intervarsity joined me. 🙂

— 3 —

I am getting a lot of reading done. While I do read a lot, it tends to be online things. Being “bored” has meant that I spend a chunk of my day reading on my bed with Minion on the panther trap I have for him. (It’s a quilt that he tends to appropriate from me.) I just finished Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (finally!!!), and I plan to start another book tonight.

— 4 —

I’m having dinner with my parents more often. We don’t eat together as a family often because my parents and I are usually doing our own thing at night, and Daniel obviously is fed by pump. (We still encourage him to join us at the table for some milk or Cheerios.) We have managed to eat dinner together twice this week, which is nice. Dad was making hamburgers for him and my mom on Sunday, so I joined them with a “tuna burger” as my mom put it. (I am pesco-vegetarian for Lent and Dad has been keeping up a steady supply of tuna for me.) Last night, I made lasagna (because I wanted lasagna, darn it!) and they joined me for that. (I currently have 7 servings of lasagna frozen for me in the chest freezer in the garage so that I can vary my diet a bit.)

— 5 —

I’m blessed with an amazing resource in Daniel’s teacher. Daniel’s teacher is researching every possible classroom management program out there so that all of her kiddos have at least one that works well for them. We are going to be using one called ClassDojo for Daniel as well as Google Classroom because that is what the school district wants to use. I am really thankful that she is so dedicated to her students!

— 6 —

I am not having to hang out in waiting rooms and exam rooms with Daniel. Daniel’s specialists through Seattle Children’s and our pediatrician up here have been willing to do phone appointments so that we don’t have to go there. It isn’t that bad of a trek to Everett where Daniel would have had a G-I appointment last Friday, but it still meant that I did not have to be up at 6 to leave by 7 for Daniel’s x-ray and 8:00 appointment.

— 7 —

I am appreciating Max Lucado’s “Coronavirus Check-in” videos. Max Lucado is one of the few evangelicals that doesn’t make me want to stab things. His books are lovely, and he has been putting out videos almost every day on his YouTube channel and on Facebook where he is checking in, giving a short pep talk, praying for people, and inviting people to submit their prayer requests so that others can pray for them. It’s totally not something normally on my radar, but I came across this video on Facebook and have been sharing it all over the place:

People were ripping Max apart in the comments, but it is a beautiful video because it is so true. God can deal with our frustrations, and Max encourages us to have a meltdown if we need it… but to not stay there and to come back to a place of praise, using parts of the third chapter of Lamentations as an example.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

COVID-19, You Suck

I had just sat down at Daniel’s IEP meeting when Governor Inslee announced that all K-12 schools in Washington would be closing for the next six or more weeks, effective March 17th. The teachers and specialists present were feeling sick over it because they love their kids something fierce. They’re feeling sick over it because parents like me are being put in really difficult positions where our jobs could be on the line because being stay-at-home parents and homeschooling our kids is not a luxury we have. (I’m a single mom. I *HAVE* to work. I’m waiting to find out if I can work with students remotely until Daniel can go back to school.) They’re feeling sick over it because they know the kids are going to have a hell of a time dealing with school, the one place some of them feel joy, is being taken away from them.

I honestly feel myself like everything that brings me joy is being systematically taken away. My church is functionally shut down for the next two weeks at least. (I’ll be there Sunday only because I’m part of the effort to live stream worship, but there are only going to be 5 of us present and we’re basically going to record stuff and then vacate the premises.) Daniel’s teacher, aides, and specialists are part of my support network with him, and now I’m losing them for six weeks. My degree program, which transitioned into a job for me, was 75% of what got me through my divorce, and now I’m uncertain about how much of a job I’m going to have come April 5th.

I’m honestly pretty angry with the world right now, and it seems like Satan is rubbing salt in my wounds by throwing tone-deaf remarks from homeschooling parents in my path about how interesting it is that everyone is going to be homeschooling now, how we’ll never stop once we start, how we withdraw our kids from their public schools, and/or how we give notice that we’re going to homeschool them. They all seem to be from the people who are the absolute last people I would seek out for advice on the subject, especially because they managed to raise some screwed-up, sociopathic, and/or barely literate kids. All the people I would seek out for advice have been classy enough to trust that I’ll seek them out if/when I need their help. (I have a large number of behaviorists and special education teachers in my friend group.)

Comments are disabled on this post because this is me venting my spleen and none of this is up for discussion.

Redemption

Yesterday (March 1) was the 9th anniversary of this. Yeah, this also happened, but it was the worst day of my life and it has only been in the last two years that I have been able to talk about it without sobbing.

Yesterday was also the 5th anniversary of me being confirmed in the Episcopal Church. A day that was wrenching 4 years earlier is now also a day when I get to celebrate my decision to affirm my faith.

It never ceases to amaze me how God continually redeems the worst days of our lives…

How I Pray

Yes, I am technically writing this on Saturday and backdating it to Friday. Yes, I stink at doing Lent. Oh well.

As I am trying to figure out what to write about each day, I thought I would talk about some of the prayer resources I use in the event that people need something.

Also… I am an Amazon affiliate, so there will be Amazon affiliate links in this post.

So… here is what I like.

[+] Pray As You Go: This is what I mainly use right now. They give you some beautiful sacred music and a guided reflection based on Scripture. You can listen on the website, download it onto your computer, or get each day’s devotion on iTunes. I’m mostly listening on my laptop at 7 a.m. while I wait for my oatmeal to cool, but I’ve also listened in the car and it was my go-to when I lived in Montana and had an hour-long commute to and from work.

[+] Sacred Space: My best friend Rebecca introduced me to them 21 years ago. It’s guided reflections and they also have a prayerbook you can buy and keep on your e-reader.

[+] Devotional pamphlets: I used to use Our Daily Bread for 20 years, and I stopped using it in 2016 for reasons… which was also when I stopped praying as much. My church distributes Forward Day by Day, which is what we use on the occasions I actually make it to Mary’s Guild on Wednesday mornings. I based the Lenten devotional books around the format of these two. (If you want to download a copy of it, go here.)

[+] The Jesus Prayer: This is how I get through painful medical procedures. It’s simply “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I also do this a lot while I’m doing things like stripping the sheets off of my bed, cooking something that takes a long time, and on the drive home from Trader Joe’s in Bellingham. (That last one started when Daniel was being difficult on one trip up there, and I found that it calmed me so much that I made it a habit.) I find that things come into my mind to pray about when I do it.

[+] Extemporaneous prayer: Anyone who has ever spent time with me in a work environment has seen me randomly cross myself. It’s usually when I find out about someone who really needs prayer… so I pray for them. 🙂 It is also what I am doing as part of my kneeling prayers during Lent.

[+] Daily Devotions from the Book of Common Prayer: Again, anyone who has spent time with me at the college has seen me do this. I used to do it a lot while sitting in the hallway waiting for my Accounting class to start during my first year there. I had one person freak out because they thought I was in a trance and when I whispered “praying”, they got super apologetic. 🙂 Almost all of my classmates knew I prayed for them, and a number of my students know as well… and it’s actually been something really positive because it has started some interesting conversation and many of them have prayed for me during health crises. I have the BCP app on my phone, so I just use that.

7 Quick Takes: Long Time, No Write Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Just a head’s up that there may/may not be Amazon affiliate links in this post because I am an Amazon affiliate.

Good news regarding the kid. We saw Daniel’s actual G-I specialist instead of just her PA this week for the first time in 18 months, and she was giddy to see him with actual weight on him. Kiddo was 59.96 lbs at weigh-in (we’re going to say 60 lbs because 0.04 lbs is basically the difference of a cup of milk), and he is now 4’7.5″ tall. I’m 5’1″, so kiddo needs to knock it off with getting taller!

— 2 —

Cleanse this weekend. His G-I specialist did feel a bowel blockage, so we “get” to do a cleanse this weekend in the form of senna and lots of Miralax dissolved into apple juice. I’m giddy… NOT.

— 3 —

A song I have had in my head lately. I’m working on my church’s Lenten devotional book and the name is “Agape”, so the following has been stuck in my head.

— 4 —

Update on the perimenopausal dysphoria. I saw my doctor about it a little over 2 weeks ago, and she put me (the girl who can’t get pregnant except involving an angel and the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit along with miraculously regrowing three organs) on birth control because she had never had a patient go into menopause this early and the thing she’d give me for the dysphoria is already a medication I take. It seems to be helping… when I’m not hitting grief wells inside of me because of my writing subjects for the Lenten devotional book and my students aren’t triggering PTSD-related panic attacks. (Yeah, that day was a freaking joy. My therapist had never seen me cry before my appointment that next day.)

— 5 —

Slacker mom Valentines. Are your kids in school for the first time and having to do Valentines for their class? Here’s the slacker mom way: address labels + a template from Avery.Com + appropriate fruit snacks = Valentines for everyone in 10-15 minutes. You’re welcome.

Slacker mom Valentines

— 6 —

Early morning panther selfies. Now that I’m usually up early and praying, I tend to acquire a needy panther who thinks it should be a “stay home and snuggle your panther” day. (He got one today because my morning student canceled.) This leads to some interesting selfies where my eyes aren’t fully open yet.

Early morning panther selfies.

— 7 —

Gifts from my grandfather. My grandpa sends me rainbows from heaven when I really need to know everything will be OK. This week has been no exception.

Rainbows from my grandpa.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: I Love the Pacific Northwest Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Bucolic joy. On Sunday morning, it was raining but the sun came out around noon. I was on my way to Trader Joe’s in Bellingham and was driving down the hill on Broad Street to get to I-5 North when I saw the most stunning sight. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and I was high up enough to see a stretch of the Skagit River with the sunlight shimmering on the water. It filled me with awe and joy to see it. I love the Pacific Northwest.

— 2 —

First snow. We got our first snow of the year here in Mount Vernon last night and this morning. 95% of it is melted off now (just before noon), but it looked like a giant hand had sifted powdered sugar on everything this summer. It was also nice and wet snow, which was great as it made it SOOOOOO much easier to clean off my car this morning.

— 3 —

Joy from today. In the interest of keeping my intention on making time for prayer daily (other than saying grace), I’ve made sure that I have various things at my fingertips like the prayerbook from the nice folks at Sacred Space, the Trisagion, and the podcasts from the Pray As You Go folks, so that has been helpful. Today’s Pray As You Go meditation was on Luke 5:12-16, which I know better in the Gospel of Mark. It’s the story where a leper tells Jesus that he can heal the leper if he chooses, and Jesus says “I choose to.” It is one of my favorites because Jesus looks on the leper with compassion when he tells the leper that he chooses to heal him. The reflection was interesting as it was talking about whether or not we choose to let Jesus in to heal us and what we ask to be healed.

— 4 —

The Iran situation. I go to church with a couple who taught English in Iran prior to the 1979 Revolution, so the news lately has been distressing me. I’ve seen the country through their eyes, and what I’m seeing is that we just assassinated a general in another country’s military. That is a war crime. I’m angrily stunned at what has taken place.

— 5 —

The cast of MASH on this situation. This describes my feelings well.

The best explanation of my take on the impending hostilities.

— 6 —

Daniel. We’ve had a couple good days with Daniel that are like what we had prior to the beginning of 2018 when his behavior started declining, he gradually stopped eating, and we think the bowel blockage was continuing. It’s always nice to get a brief glimpse of gaining back lost ground.

— 7 —

Our anthem for Sunday. We sing this during Epiphany every year at my church and I thought I would share. The words are from a hymn sung during Lauds at the feast of the Transfiguration, and the translation is:

O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
with loving-kindness deign to receive
suppliant praise and prayer.

Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be members
of thy blessed body. (Source)

The recording of the hymn is here.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.