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.

Gratitude in the Midst of COVID-19 (I)

I vented my spleen out yesterday and it helped a bit, so I thought I would look for some things for which I could be grateful today.

  • The existence of Zoom which allows me to work with students remotely and meet with people while there is a prohibition on meetings and such here.
  • My house panther who is keeping me entertained.
  • My alcohol gel obsession which means that I still have a little bit left.
  • Amazon Prime which is helping me keep a little ahead of people’s hoarding habits
  • A roof over my head.
  • A Lenten diet that actually lends itself pretty well to eating shelf-stable food.
  • A boss who works with me to make it possible to deal with Daniel’s issues and work.
  • A job I love.
  • A church here who is committed to making sure its members can worship and me being able to be part of that.
  • The new case on the Skagit County Public Health site is someone who was released from the hospital to isolation at home. It’s someone who is getting *BETTER*. (My theory is that these are workers at affected nursing homes.)
  • A stack of books on my e-reader to work through if I’m bored in the next few weeks.
  • A beautiful view of Little Mountain and evergreen trees from my bedroom window.
  • An amazing publicity and web person to work with on the church website who gives me perspective.
  • Last, but not least, knowing WordPress well enough to set things to send comments from trolls into my Trash so that I only see them on the rare occasions I look in there. That way, it’s like they don’t exist unless I give enough of a rat’s butt to look for them, and I can go on with my life without having to care about their commentary.

Shut up, Elena.

Seriously, Catholic Twitter?

A friend told me about this Twitter thread yesterday in which some idiot was going off on people for eating fish on Friday and telling them to be vegan instead because that takes effort.

Wow. Way to have a crappy witness to the beauty of Catholicism. I’m sorry that eating fish on Friday isn’t a sacrifice for you because it is for a lot of people for whom the act of limiting their food choices that much causes them to think about what feeds them spiritually. You come across as a sanctimonious twit.

Then, I saw a news report about wine not being served in Catholic churches due to COVID-19. People were responding that wine is never served in Catholic churches, causing me to facepalm because people are making pedantic remarks about how it is the BLOOD, not merely serving wine. Y’all, I know the difference (and my church is in the same situation where we’re restricting the Cup), but making catty remarks is not helping y’all convey the beauty of Catholicism.

7 Quick Takes: Things I Will *NOT* Give Up For Lent Edition

7 Quick Takes

Lent starts for those of us in the West next Wednesday at midnight. Here are some things that I will *NOT* give up for Lent this year.

— 1 —

Coffee. My Lenten discipline should be penitential for *ME*, not everyone around me. It’s also a safety risk for those who have to interact with me.

— 2 —

YouTube. I need entertainment, OK?

— 3 —

Yarn. Let’s not deprive me of one of my stress releases, y’all.

— 4 —

My iPod. Again, let’s not make me get rid of one of my stress releases. Singing along to it in traffic keeps me from inflicting my road rage on others.

— 5 —

Sleep. I do this enough already!

— 6 —

Swearing. I’d be broke within the first day of having a swear jar for Lent. (I’m pretty sure my students would have a pool going as to which hour this was going to go down.)

— 7 —

Pens. I have a little bit of a pen addiction…

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

7 Quick Takes: OMG I’m Hosting!!!!!!! Edition

7 Quick Takes

Our intrepid hostess Kelly of This Ain’t The Lyceum has her hands a bit full, so she asked if I could host this week. My response: SURE!

So, who exactly am I? Well…

— 1 —

I’m a blogger. This July will mark 20 years of blogging. All but maybe 2-3 months of archives are here if you ever get bored one night and want to read them. Warning: I get a little verbose on occasion.

— 2 —

I am the mama of a special kiddo. My son is Daniel and he has a genetic abnormality called 22q duplication (in addition to others) that manifests in autism, ADHD, developmental delays, mild/moderate hearing loss, and a few other things.

I am also the servant of a magnificent panther named Minion.

— 3 —

I am a $tarbux junkie. My local $tarbux baristas know me so well that they start making my drink when I walk in the door if I haven’t mobile-ordered it already and me changing my milk preference is causing a great deal of shock. (They’ve re-made it a few times with apologies and expressed shock that it was supposed to be the way it was mobile-ordered.)

— 4 —

I am a tutor. I currently tutor all the Accounting and OBT classes at Skagit Valley College. I joke that my job is to teach people how not to crash their Microsoft applications and how to love Accounting. (I was sitting next to my priest at coffee hour one time when I said that, and he made the Sign of the Cross on me before saying, “bless you, child.”)

— 5 —

I am a proud Episcopalian. I sing in my church‘s choir, serve as a lector, help with the Facebook and web presences, serve on the Finance Committee, and edit the Advent and Lenten devotional books.

— 6 —

I am a 49’ers fan. I root for the SeaChickens when they aren’t playing the Niners, but I am OVERJOYED that they shredded the Packers and are headed to the Super Bowl.

— 7 —

I am a Giants fan. I gleefully root against the LA Dodgers Losers whenever possible.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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The Simple Woman’s Daybook: January 14, 2020

The kid and I are home for a snow day (because we got a few inches of snow and Washington doesn’t know how to handle it), so I thought I’d play along this week.

For Today… January 14, 2020

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… snowy. 22F at the moment, so the snow will be sticking around.

Snowy tree stump.

I am thinking… about the lasagna I’m making for Sunday. One of my favorite people at church can’t have gluten, so I’m using brown rice pasta, and I’m pondering how to get the meat texture in the sauce. I’m thinking of adding some carrots that I’ve put through the food processor. My cattle ranchers in Montana loved it when I made it that way and had no idea it was vegetarian until I told them, so I’m thinking it should work?

I am thankful… that my mom took care of Daniel for a bit this morning so I could sleep. He was up at 4:45 a.m. (!!!), so that was a necessity!

One of my favorite things… quiet. Unfortunately, I’m not getting that until my human child goes to sleep.

I am wearing… a charcoal colored thermal shirt and blue jeans from Old Navy. I’m actually wearing shoes for a change because being barefoot on hardwood floors is irritating my feet.

I am creating… the skeleton for the Lenten devotional book I coordinate for my parish so that I can just paste devotions in when I receive them.

I am reading… Good Omens by Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman… and actually making progress because I’m doing a lot of reading while I eat.

I am hoping… Daniel and I are back to school and work tomorrow.

I am learning… patience with my child.

In my kitchen… haven’t thought about dinner yet. Maybe leftovers?

In the schoolroom… Daniel is apparently doing well with learning to type.

Post Script… here is how you can get your letters stamped with a Loveland postmark for Valentine’s Day.

Shared Quote… “Crowley had always known that he would be around when the world ended, because he was immortal and wouldn’t have any alternative. But he hoped it was a long way off. Because he rather liked people. It was major failing in a demon. Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse. Over the years Crowley had found it increasingly difficult to find anything demonic to do which showed up against the natural background of generalized nastiness. There had been times, over the past millennium, when he’d felt like sending a message back Below saying, Look we may as well give up right now, we might as well shut down Dis and Pandemonium and everywhere and move up here, there’s nothing we can do to them that they don’t do to themselves and they do things we’ve never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They’ve got what we lack. They’ve got imagination. And electricity, of course. One of them had written it, hadn’t he…’Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.'” –Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

A moment from my day… California kids in the snow. (Yes, Daniel is getting taller. I have a good 1-2 inches of heel on my boots, so he actually comes up farther on me normally.)

Me and my beach boy.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: Intentions for 2020 Edition

7 Quick Takes

Since Quick Takes are happening just a few days after the start of 2020, I figured that I would share my intentions for this year. Several of these intentions are getting a bit of a boost from one of my local readers (who I don’t know if I’m allowed to name) who sent me a fairly substantial Amazon.Com gift card. (The thank-you note for that is in the mail!)

Also, there will be Amazon affiliate links because I am an Amazon affiliate.

— 1 —

Word of the Year and Saint of the Year. At Rita’s suggestion, I got a saint assigned to me and a word assigned to me for 2020.

Saint: St. Isaac Jogues, patron of the Americas and Canada
Word: build

Last year, my word was “faith” and my saint was Joseph of Cupertino. I can understand “faith” because I was graduating from my degree program and looking into a lot of uncertainty, but I’m not sure how St. Joseph of Cupertino played into things except for maybe getting me through my Document Production class?

Both generators, by the way, were created by Jennifer Fulwiler.

— 2 —

To dare to be creative with my bullet journal. I used to love to draw and do art until 6th grade when I got a B in my art class in school. I’m a complete perfectionist, so taking up bullet journaling has been an exercise in letting go of that. I made the decision to take some risks with my January layouts after watching Mary Beth’s video and finding out where she got her images.

I ended up spending my New Year’s Eve in my jammies, and I worked on getting my January calendar spread done. It’s not amazing and I know that the “let it snow” quote box is crooked, but it’s heads and tails above what I’ve done before. I also have this, this, this, and this on order!

Left side.
Right side.

— 3 —

To lower the volume on my parenting. Daniel is having a hard time expressing anger without hitting and screaming, so I am trying to model good behavior for him. When he was asking for a new tablet, he would scream “I WANT” and that was not making me happy. I decided to try whispering to see if he would copy me… and he did! In the last three weeks, I have managed to train him to whisper his tablet requests to me, and I am trying to lower the volume on how I talk to him in general in hopes that it might stop some of the screaming.

— 4 —

Pray in an intentional way daily. I was commenting to our parish webmaster that the only prayer I remember to say on a daily basis is grace before meals, so I decided to add that to my intentions for the year. I now have this on my phone, and I’ll try to remember to take my iPod out of the car on Sundays so I can download the week’s Pray as you Go podcasts on it.

— 5 —

To find opportunities to move more. I’m really bad at finding opportunities to get up and move, so I appreciate that my Fitbit buzzes every so often to remind me. Still, I’ll be parking across campus from where I have to be so I intentionally get a walk in every day that way (which isn’t hard given that there is a serious shortage of parking on the west side of campus), and I will be taking walks on days when I don’t have work.

— 6 —

To clean up my diet. I have been wanting to try the Mediterranean Diet for a while now, so I just got this cookbook and this cookbook. I’m a perfectionist, but I know that it takes a few weeks to set a habit, so I am trying not to kick myself too much .

— 7 —

Read more. I tend to either stare at my laptop or phone while I eat, so I’m trying to read while I eat instead. I have both the Kindle and Nook apps on my phone, and the Kindle app is on my Nook. I restarted Good Omens and I am trying to get one book read per month.

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