Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19, faith, Health, Home, mental health

Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic – Week 10

irisI’ve been home this week, after my ventures out into the community last week. On Saturday I face-timed with my son and the grandchildren. It is so lovely to see them. According to some insider information, it looks like the border will not be opening until after the July 4th weekend, so it will still be some time before we can have the grandkids over.

We also spent time with our other son and his wife on Sunday, meeting at a park and then actually having them over to our home! We haven’t had them come to visit since March 1, almost three months! In B.C. we are allowed to enlarge our contact circle, cautiously, beginning this past week.

park

There are some mornings when I wake up and almost have to convince myself that this is real. It is not just a bad dream. It’s like my mind wants to forget it’s true.

I continue to read, rather than watch the news. I’ve mostly stopped listening to the local daily updates by Dr. Bonnie Henry. I’m very selective about what I watch these days. No murder mysteries. Nothing intense.

I’m very curious to see how Sweden will fare without lockdown. Unfortunately they are seeing an upward trend in deaths. It is reported that, “while overall deaths are on the decline, Sweden’s had 6.25 deaths per million inhabitants per day in a rolling average between May 12 and May 19….the highest in Europe on a per capita basis and just above the United Kingdom, which had 5.75 deaths per million.”

The reason the world is watching Sweden with interest is because we want to be assured that lockdown is making a difference and is justified, given the high economic and emotional toll it is taking. Sweden has about a quarter of the population of Canada, so one would think that it should have a quarter of the deaths, however, at this time it has two thirds the deaths reported in Canada.

Canada is easing its two month lockdown as of this past week. My husband has noted, on his walks, that pubs, restaurants, clothing stores, hair and nail salons, and even a massage business, are open, with restrictions. Limited numbers of people are allowed. No walk-in customers. Only alternate tables are being used in some restaurants. A few restaurants have not yet opened.

I’ve been noting my response, this week, and the fact that I am avoiding the business area of town as it is opening up. While I went out to “normalize” myself last week, this week I wanted to remain home.

family

My husband brings me reports of what he observes downtown but I feel as though I need to mentally condition myself before I go and investigate what is happening. I think it is because I am not eager to see evidence of the struggle for survival I know many of these business owners are still facing. As I mentioned before, we once owned a restaurant and it can potentially be impossible to survive when you can only utilize half of your available seating. In addition, there are many people like us who are avoiding eating out and spending on anything besides groceries because we are still not working.

Don’t worry about us, though. We will manage. We’ve always been in the habit of keeping our expenses low and have little debt and a small savings to fall back on.

There is a plan to open schools on an optional attendance basis for the month of June. Some students of essential workers have been in school these past months. There will be distancing and alternating of attendance, with students only going to classes a few days a week. We will see how this will be worked out. My husband will likely not begin to teach again until September. Many of his classes are in daycares and pre-schools so his work will depend on whether these centers can remain open with reduced numbers.

As I mentioned, I try to be careful how much I dwell on sad stories. I’m glad when I see an uplifting article out there. I found a great article by AnotherSlice commemorating Memorial Day, today.

Awhile ago I wrote a light-hearted series of vignettes about the life of Dennie and Rosie in A Happy Life. “Denny and Rosie have downsized. They feel the squeeze of their small one bedroom condo and occasionally trip over one another, metaphorically speaking….After three decades together, the days are not as predictable as you might think. But for the most part Denny and Rosie have a happy life.”

denny and rosie
A Happy Life

When the coronavirus panic buying started, we said to our kids that we were pretty well stocked up. We didn’t even buy sanitizer. In February we ordered packets of individually wrapped hand sanitizer online. I like to carry them in my purse and have a supply in the car. We could only order them in quantities of 1000 from a restaurant supplier. Little did we know that we were facing a pandemic. Small things like this remind me that God cares for us in ways we could never anticipate.

I’m reminded of the verse, which is also a song, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee, Oh LORD.” I continually turn my mind back to the goodness and faithfulness of God. This is my unmovable rock of comfort.

worship cover

This week I edited a short book I published on Smashwords (above). I also improved my system for note-taking and keeping track of my progress as I work on various writing projects.

Another thing I did was create a recipe for fibre cookies to help me keep on track with my fibre intake. (I don’t think you’d like the taste so I’m not posting the recipe.) I noted that I need to cull my recipes. I’ve collected a lot of recipes over the years but we can find anything online so I only need to keep a few tested favorites.

The house is definitely getting more organized. Every drawer and cupboard and closet has been inspected and brought up to standard. I’m still anticipating the day when I apply the same diligence to cleaning up my files.

IMG_2416

Well, what’s next? Yes, we plan to tape Mr. Sheldon‘s Music this week again. One school is using the video in their classes so we will continue to create it until classes invite him back again to teach.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ravi Zacharias this week. I’ve only recently become aware of his teaching on YouTube. We have lost a great mind and an extraordinary communicator. Right to the end he was brilliant. He died of a cancerous tumor and spent his last days at home with family. I pray for comfort for the Zacharias family and so many who have lost loved ones during the past few months. Take care!

 

 

Posted in anxiety, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health

Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic – Week 9

white rhodos

Note the title change. I’m no longer staying at home. I am venturing out, now. I’m still distancing, but I’m not isolating.

This is the new reality. We will think twice about going out to public places and will reduce the number of times we go, maybe by half or more–one of many adaptations we plan to make.

I bought disposable masks at Canadian Tire this week – 20 masks for $27.99. We went to home Depot and stood in line, distancing. The sign said they were open for urgent needs. I ignored that. After two months at home, it was urgent for me to get back to feeling somewhat normal.

It was finally time to buy toilet paper. We didn’t stock up. A package of thirty rolls lasts three months at our house. I calculated. Walmart’s home brand was still not available, even online. So we bought Costco’s version. I wore a mask because I’d heard Costco required masks in the U.S. Half of the people waiting outside in line were not wearing masks. I saw a burly man of about sixty look around at the line and whip off his mask and stuff it in his pocket. That made me laugh as I thought about how he had probably been “convinced against his will” by someone to wear it.

“To mask, or not to mask. This is the question.” And a big question it is. In B.C. Dr. Bonnie Henry, our Provincial Health Officer who specializes in pandemics, does not think wearing masks is a significant precaution for our setting. In other countries masks are a priority, particularly in densely populated areas. So far the restrictions we have put in place in B.C. have served us well.

Wednesday evening my husband and I went to a track at a local park for our walk. I admit there were more people at the track than I had ever seen there before. They were mostly maintaining distance. A game of cricket was in progress. It looked wholesome to see people outside exercising. As we walked, the smell of freshly cut grass permeated the air while the sun sank behind the trees. It was just cool enough for a light jacket. I found the experience greatly uplifting to my spirit. I felt like I was turning a corner in this pandemic.

horse

I made a brief foray into Michael’s this week. Suddenly nothing in the store tempted me. Michael’s is nearby so I tend to drop in frequently. I wanted to do something normal, after two months, but it was a bit of a letdown. I think these weeks are changing how I see things. It has something to do with the word, essential.

I’ve been browsing articles and watching informational YouTube clips. I’m a bit of an information junkie. I actually email myself links to news and other articles I find interesting. Otherwise they disappear into a dark void and I don’t know if I will find them again. So, I’m a ‘virtual newspaper’ hoarder.

I watched an interesting conversation between Mike Rowe and Dave Rubin on the subject of language and how the current use of the words essential and non-essential might be creating an existential crisis for people who are suddenly hearing their work classified as “non-essential”. This is an unintentional result. But we might want to be thoughtful, moving forward, in our conversations.

Elon Musk just got the go ahead from health authorities to open his business. I don’t advocate carelessness and indifference, but given who Elon Musk is, I don’t think he falls in that category. I actually trust a man of his intelligence to calculate risk and come to a reasonable conclusion.

I still hear people compare the coronavirus to the flu, saying that similar numbers of people die of the flu as die of COVID-19. Well, here is the article I’ve been waiting for that explains the difference.

To demonstrate a more apt comparison of flu and coronavirus deaths, del Rio and Faust looked at numbers from “peak weeks” of seasonal flu outbreaks (not estimated numbers) and a week during the coronavirus outbreak. During the week of April 14 to 21, there were 15,455 COVID-19 deaths in the US, while the average number of counted flu deaths during the peak week of influenza seasons from 2013 to 2020 was 752.

That’s more than a twentyfold difference.

pink rose

Another subject I have seen under discussion is how much risk we can tolerate. Right from the beginning of this shutdown I have been calculating risks. Risks are low if we keep distance between us and others, particularly when we are in conversation. Risks are lower for us if we wash our hands after touching surfaces that might possibly be contaminated. Installing plexiglass shields at cash register is an excellent idea because these workers come into contact with any number of people who may or may not have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Masks? Unless they are the N95 masks, they will not protect us if we are sneezed on, or coughed on or inadvertently spit on. When people open their mouths to speak, or to eat, little spray droplets can squirt out of their mouths onto others nearby. So, this being the case, they could get into our eyes. A mask will not fully protect us. I’m not trying to make people paranoid. I walked by someone in Canadian Tire whom I didn’t see at the end of an isle. He was talking on his cell phone. His spray droplets could have reached me. I was exposed to risk. The truth is, if we want to have a normal life again, we will be exposed to risk from time to time. We now need to develop risk tolerance, while exercising reasonable precautions. It is reasonable to isolate if we have flu-like symptoms and to get tested if we suspect we have the virus.

As I said, I’ve thought a lot about this, as I’m sure my readers have. My sister had to strictly self-isolate for a month because of her cancer surgery. Five days after she came home family went to see her, practicing precautions. I think this was a good thing.

It’s time to see how close to normal we can come. This is why I somewhat forced myself to do things this week. I will not allow myself to become paranoid.

Lonsdale Quay

One afternoon I saw a long strand of some sort of leaf or grass on my balcony. It looked, at first glance, like a snake. For years I’ve been paranoid of snakes. But over time I’ve forced myself to look at them, to watch them when I see them in movies, to become familiar with their movements. Usually I still look away but I left that blade of grass or leaf on my balcony for a couple of days and glanced at it from time to time, thinking, what if it were a snake? How would I feel?

Sometimes I think about disease and death in the same way. I condition myself. I tell myself it has happened to others. I tell myself some people survive, and some don’t. I tell myself that doctors, nurses and paramedics have to expose themselves to known an unknown risk. We are all mortal. Even if I do everything possible to protect myself, there is still the risk that I could die prematurely, of the coronavirus or another disease or accident.

So, I ask myself what kind of life do I want? Do I want a life that is shadowed by fear? Or do I want to live courageously?

We’ve done our part, isolating. Now we need to take the next courageous steps.

Some of us will not be able to go to work for sometime. We can continue to do the things that this unique opportunity affords us the time to do. Below are some of the more common trends I’ve noted.

  • Reflecting and re-evaluating priorities.
  • Working on personal character building.
  • Putting new effort into relationships.
  • Learning skills and attempting new things.
  • Being more intentional about caring and responding to the needs of others.

I’d love it if you would add to this list in the comments below. One thing I want to encourage is for people to think about uplifting artists and other creatives. We know that writers, for instance, put a lot of effort into their work with little or no compensation. Consider clicking “likes” and even posting actual “comments” on blogs you read. If I feel a slight response in my heart to something I’ve read, I take a few moments to consider whether I can say a few words and make a connection with the author. This sometimes makes me feel vulnerable, but I tell myself that’s OK. My generation is not as adept at cheering others on as the younger generation, I’ve noticed. In fact, I was surprised to learn in an assessment that I tend to give few words of affirmation. Changing this is hard work, but it’s very rewarding.

One last thing, if you are reading articles on Reader in WordPress, make the effort to click Visit Site. That way the author will know an actual person stopped by to read their writing when they check their stats!

So, going forward, let’s continue to be cautious, but let’s be courageous too!

knitted sweater

This is the sweater my husband finished knitting during the last two months while he has been off work. It’s made of sheep’s wool and alpaca yarn. He is hopeful that he will soon be called back to work but in the meantime we will spend tomorrow producing another Music with Mr. Sheldon video for children.

Posted in anxiety, Children's Music YouTube, Coronavirus, COVID-19, faith

Surviving Coronavirus Isolation – Week 8 at Home

tulips

We’ve had two months of isolation. In Canada, things are beginning to open up.

This week I have been thinking about the economy and wondering what the impact will be of closing down businesses, schools, etc. We are seeing resistance to closures. We need to find a middle ground, a new normal going forward.

For Mother’s Day we met at the border with our children and grandchildren. It was 28 degrees Celcius which is 82 Farenheit. The sun was beating down as we sat next to the pavement on 0 Avenue. Two roads run parallel to each other, one on each side of the border, with a small ditch between them.

0 avenue

I wanted to pass our umbrellas over to the other side, but we were not allowed to pass anything. This is the border. There is surveillance. However, sitting here is allowed. Marked and unmarked border patrol vehicles constantly drive by. Not ideal, but so nice to see the family after so many weeks.

The grandchildren don’t like coming here, we are told. I don’t blame them. They have seen their cousins and their other grandparents here. There are many families doing the same thing along this stretch of road these days.

As we drove back we got a phone call from our son telling us that his wife’s friend works in border patrol and she said that the Peace Arch Park had just opened. It is a no-man’s land, between Canada and the U.S. A symbol of peace. We decided to see if we could meet there, and to our surprise, we could. What a difference! But so eery to see the closed boarders, normally packed with vehicles, completely empty! Only one lane was open.

empty borders

We need to get back to work. We need to get back to normal, as much as possible. Thank you to everyone who cooperated so well and helped to flatten and lower the curve in B.C. Now that we know what we are up against, as we have seen around the world, I think we can loosen the restraints.

As I said before, I have been trying to picture what this will be like. My imagination fails me as I begin to visualize who has all been put out of work.

I am haunted by homeless tent cities that have been dismantled as people have been placed in motels, locally. Haunted as I think about how many more people will be homeless in coming months.

I am haunted by seniors’ homes that are understaffed, where there is sub-standard care and unacceptable neglect. Haunted as I think of a country that is facing a financial crisis.

I am haunted by playgrounds that have yellow hazard tape around them. Haunted by the thought of how long we will fear this virus.

I am haunted by hearing of a woman being fined for taking her child to a swing in a park.

We will all be scarred.

playground

“Look for the helpers” – Mr. Rogers. Look for the good people.

We are incredibly blessed to have people who continue to put themselves in harm’s way to help. Meanwhile there are those who now do not want to go to work. The “help” our Canadian government has given could turn into a nightmare. I’m concerned about the impact of CERB. There will be some dismantling to do and I know not everyone will be happy.

Sometimes my husband is irritable when I bring up these subjects. I try to strike a balance. I have a bit of an obsession with trying to figure out where we are headed. Yes, it might make me a bit anxious, but this is better for me than not knowing and then being taken by surprise.

In the midst of all this I understand how important it is to keep faith. Faith in people, and faith in God and his goodness. He will carry us through.

Yesterday, Sunday morning, I wanted to drive to a church parking lot and just pray and read a scripture. The lot was empty. We don’t have a home church right now, and the first church we went to had a gate that was closed so we drove on to another church.

After that we went to a small park and had a time of “worship.” That’s how it felt, being out in the fresh air, viewing the beauty of God’s creation. Someone had made a chalk drawing on the sidewalk.

brighter days

Yes, brighter days. My sister is recovering from surgery, and it feels like brighter days. I noticed I was very distracted this week, as she went in for surgery. I did not write anything in my planner. That’s a sign. My mother seems to be doing well, still going for weekly tests. Her calcium is still high, but not so high that she needs treatment. This need for constant monitoring is concerning, though.

I called my mother on Friday and she was doing well. Another thing I failed to do, for the first time ever, was to send Mother’s Day cards. I can scarcely believe it.

One of the centers where my husband teaches notified him that they are opening, however, he has not been called back at this time. He is hopeful that things will open and he will be able to teach again, soon.

Tomorrow we will record another episode of Music with Mr. Sheldon. Last week we sent a package of activities to the grandkids which they will receive any day now. They still had not watched this past week’s “Mr. Sheldon” when we met them yesterday. Maybe our son is distracted too, and forgot.

My heartfelt prayers are for all the various needs of people around the world, and specifically in Canada and the U.S. at this time. I just wrote another article about hope and salvation. I have a site entitled Faith Insights where I write about spirituality.

I hope this is the last “Isolation” article I need to write. I hope we are open for business after this week and I can write about normal life. But of course, we know life will not be normal for sometime. In the meantime, take courage, all of you “helpers” out there!

be calm

Saw this and the end of season tulips on a “distancing” walk in New West on Saturday.

more tulips

 

Posted in Children's Music YouTube, Coronavirus, COVID-19, De-stressing, Food, Food Security, Home, Marriage & Family, Music, sustainability

Surviving Coronavirus Isolation – Week 7 at Home

tsawassen Mills
Tsawwassen Mills May 3, 2020

Went to Tsawwassen Mills for our weekly social distancing walk yesterday. I realize now what I am subconsciously doing. I’m conditioning myself for the new normal. My brain feels like it is spinning, sometimes, like it lacks traction, when I try to imagine what we will be walking into in the next months, maybe years.

I read an interesting speculative article in the National Post. “We’ll have to reinvent ourselves,” futurist Nicola Danayov says.

Regarding the measures to control the virus, Danayov says, “when you’re selling survival you can justify anything.” He adds that the public will have to weigh in on these measures with “debate and discussion and a vote.” We will need to give careful thought to the best way to move forward, calculating the risks. As I mentioned in a previous article, I pray that we will come up with new, creative solutions.

One solution I saw this morning, in an article, was body temperature scanning at a liquor store. The concern, of course, is around privacy and the storing of information. Maybe the risk is minimal if there no identifying information attached, like when your speed limit is read back to you from a road sign. I don’t know anything about this technology, but it sounds like a possibility. You can go to Science World and have your body temperature scanned without submitting any information about yourself. Maybe it’s like that.

Looking ahead I picture there will be a lot of mask wearing. Airlines already require passengers to wear masks during flights. We will continue to physical distance. Sanitization and hand washing will continue. Full face shields might be required at public events.

We will need wise leaders to guide us into the future. People who are actually thinking things through to their logical conclusions. We’ve all seen knee jerk reactions that have not proved to be helpful.

Apart from keeping the food supply chain going, and people keeping their homes and having a means of providing for themselves and their dependents, my concern is that we not be trapped by fear. That is why I am traipsing about a little now. We went out twice this week.

I see meet-ups in parking lots, distancing by six feet. I see families doing “virtual hugs” with grandchildren after a social distancing walk in a park. Face-time and Zoom are great but we need to figure out how we can move forward in closer proximity with one another, with some degree of physical connection. I read that handshakes may be a thing of the past. Let’s find a way not to allow that to happen.

I’ve thought a lot about “essential services.” Never have lowly tasks been so highly valued. I think there is a lesson in this for all of us.

What is truly essential, I ask myself? Some businesses will collapse under the strain of protective restrictions and this has made me ask the question, “What is essential?” What could we reduce or even live without?

In my youth we were not wealthy. Most of the time our family lived very frugally. One advantage we had was that we lived on a farm and were pretty self-sufficient in terms of fruit, vegetables and meat. We bought our milk from a neighboring dairy farm. We still purchased staples at the grocery store.

I think of the list of non-essentials we did not spend money on back then because we could not afford them. A lot of businesses would close today if people lived as we did back then.

I spent a number of years in the Philippines and was impressed by how well people could do with so little. I was touched by their sense of gratitude and joy, too. My parents grew up in poverty. My mother told me that her family was able to write a letter once a month when they tore the page off the calendar and wrote on the back of it. Often when I see junk mail in my mailbox I think about the fact that not once did we receive a flyer of advertising in the Philippines. The average citizen could not afford a newspaper.

What would our society look like without non-essentials? Jesus admonished us to be content with “food and clothing.” That’s really paring it down to essentials. Analysts are saying that we will be spending less on non-essentials in coming months and maybe for years. What will that look like? Can stores reopen and stay open with the restrictions imposed on them? Will there be customers? How many people will hesitate to go out? Will their spending habits change?

As I said previously, in one of my updates, I am troubled when I look at high rises. I wasn’t sure why, but I am beginning to get some clarity. They are the exterior symbol of prosperity, of modernization. But when we really think about it, they are a visual of how people are treated like a commodity. They say, all you need is a box to live in, a space from which you can go to make money and then go to all the places where you will spend your money. You are needed to keep the economy going and the more of you we have in a small space, the more money will be spent.

The economy is reeling. But suddenly the economy is taking second place to life itself.

Where I lived in the Philippines life centered around harvest, not the economy. Essentially life centered around procuring food. A good harvest provided food and a little money for essentials. If you had a job or a business, your aim was to make enough to buy food. Unlike Canada, the focus was not on bringing in as many immigrants as possible to boost the economy.

I read today that the coronavirus will affect enrollment of foreign students in Canada. Why is this a concern? Because International students contribute C$21 billion annually to the nation’s economy, according to government data.” International students “are crucial to Canada’s higher educational institutions as they pay higher fees. They make up more than a fifth of the post-secondary student body and bring in close to C$6 billion ($4.3 billion) in tuition annually, according to a Royal Bank of Canada report.” (see article)

It is essential to train students in Canada so that they can then stay and work here, which means we are draining the best resources out of developing countries. Of course, the U.S. has done the same to Canada, head-hunting our most skilled. I read recently that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) send home money equivalent to one tenth of the Philippine GDP. I have witnessed mothers separated from their children for years on end. One mother’s young son died while she was working as a nanny in Canada.

flag

These are thoughts that run through my mind as I ponder our future and the future of the whole world.

Tomorrow we will create another Music With Mr. Sheldon episode for the children. My husband is doing a few domestic things these days. Here is the kombucha he bottled this week.

kombuchaMy mom is somewhat improved after her I.V. so this is good news. My sister’s cancer surgery is scheduled for Thursday. She will not be allowed any visitors during one week of hospitalization. As difficult as I find it not to be able to fly out and be with her at this time, it must be even more challenging for her family. She has been isolating from them for three weeks now.

While some send cheers, thoughts, sighs and best wishes, my deepest comfort arises out of the knowledge that my concerns are brought before the throne of God in prayer. The same God who pays such intricate attention to every detail of creation will care for me and those I love.

On a final note, I know families are struggling relationally while being isolated in close quarters. There are ways we can approach these challenges that can actually draw us closer together if we have a long term vision for our relationships. Show a little faith in each other. Speak words of support. Your kids and your spouse are trying. Give love room to grow.

Posted in art, Children's Music YouTube, Coronavirus, De-stressing, Health, Home, Music

Surviving Coronavirus Isolation – Week 6 at Home

latte
Latte delivered to my “office.”

I missed my weekly distancing walk on Sunday with family. I was sad about that, but it’s OK. I’ve been having some minor health issues, not coronavirus related. My system has always been sensitive and requires a delicate balancing act.

This past week I celebrated a birthday, in isolation, as many of us are these days. The day before I was a bit down about this, but then I told myself I would make this day great! And I did! Our son and daughter-in-law gifted us with Skip the Dishes so my husband set up the app and we ordered a meal. Another new experience!

skip

For breakfast I requested that he make us waffles. His first time.

“I gave you the opportunity to do something special for my birthday,” I smiled at him as we were in the living room later that evening. He smiled, a little tentatively.

“I had never made waffles before.”

“It’s really not that difficult. The only thing you have to do is be willing to stand over a waffle iron and know how to beat egg whites,” I told him.

The waffles and the latte (above) were his “gift” to me. We used bacon drippings in the waffles and had them with eggs. The drippings gave the flavor of bacon and eggs. It was delicious!

During this time we are trying not to waste anything, however, we pulled a glass container out of the fridge today and neither of us were able to identify what it was. It was green and furry. Well, we try.

I just finished my part in the production of Music with Mr. Sheldon. My husband has gone down from full-time work to about five hours a week, but he is a trooper. I’m glad I live with someone who insists on being optimistic. This morning when I awoke feeling really off, he had to take over the filming on his own, for the first time.

Guess what I did, after I rested today? I got out my guitar and started singing. I even printed three new songs off of Ultimate Guitar. I want to put a plug in for the site. It is one of the best investments I’ve made. Lately I’ve learned to sing Tennessee Whiskey, Chris Stapleton. Never thought I could do that, but it’s amazing what you can do if you try!

For about twenty years I stopped listening to the old Rock’n’Roll music I used to love. I think music was my surrogate parent and taking a break was actually a good thing. During those twenty years I was a worship leader. Last week I organized all of my worship music. I have a huge collection. Now, strangely enough, I’m picking up some of my old secular favorites again. I can’t say why a lot of the worship music just does not appeal to me at this time in my life. It’s not like I’m having a crisis of faith. But I am re-evaluating a lot of things.

After singing for awhile I decided I might as well put my adrenalin to use editing and I finished the Mr. Sheldon video in the bedroom, with a latte–did I mention my husband roasts his own coffee beans? He stayed in the living room to teach a couple of groups of students in a school that has gone online. Earphones come in handy these days.

I noticed flags near our place are at half mast this week. I haven’t seen any news report on this but between the coronavirus and the shooting in Nova Scotia, we have reason to give acknowledgement. Yesterday we met a lot of people applauding health care workers with bells and other noise makers during our walk, around 7:00 p.m. I became teary-eyed because I had just got off the phone talking with our son who is a health care worker in the U.S. Three people died in his dementia unit this week, but not of the coronavirus. I could hear his heartbreak over the fact that relatives were unable to visit in the past month and only came in during the final hours to be with their loved ones, outfitted in protective gear from head to toe and not allowed to touch their family member, but needing to remain six feet away. I do hope there is more leniency for seniors to have visitors soon.

One bit of good news is that my sister’s cancer is localized, so she will only require one surgery. We are so relieved that it has not spread. We are still working at stabilizing my mother’s electrolytes, with family taking her for weekly lab tests and an intravenous intervention that left her feeling unwell this week. She is a very stalwart and positive person of faith, so I read between the lines when she said, “I’ve had better days” and seemed eager to get off the phone to rest.

painting

This week I finished a painting I’ve been working on. Two paintings, actually. I’ve recently tried my hand at acrylics, after painting watercolors for years. It’s been a challenge. Here is another painting I did this year.

painting 3

We haven’t dug out the puzzles yet. Still time for that. Cheers!

Posted in Abuse, Children, Coronavirus, COVID-19, parenting

Is the Coronavirus Judgment?

clinicOn March 24 LifeSite News reported Pope Francis saying, in a March 22 interview, that the coronavirus pandemic is nature throwing a tantrum ‘so that we will take care of nature’. Coincidentally, I just read the headline of an article in which Joe Biden similarly called the coronavirus panic “a wake-up call to climate change.” Have they heard from the same prophet?

Melanie Phillips’ responded to the Pope’s statement with incredulity. She said he was essentially, “investing the earth with the capacity to make moral judgments.” Phillips explains that, “At a philosophical level, environmentalism anthropomorphizes the earth as ‘Gaia’, investing the natural world with supernatural qualities as some kind of goddess to be worshipped.”

We run into a problem when the earth becomes a goddess. What sort of obeisance or sacrifice does this goddess require? What will satisfy her?

Al Gore, a prominent climate change proponent, endorsed Biden on Earth Day, April 22. One of the core tenets of climate change, according to Gore, is population control. The whole premise behind climate control is control of human behavior based on the belief that humans damage the environment. Hence, population control through any number of means.

Reducing the population of the earth through human controls sounds sinister, to say the least.

Patricia MacCormack, a professor of continental philosophy at Angelia Ruskin University, has written a book The Ahuman Manifesto: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene, in which, according to the Cambridge News, she “argues that due to the damage done to other living creatures on Earth, we should start gradually phasing out reproduction.” A LifeSite News article reads,

Mainstream radio programs regularly host long discussion with people who have decided not to have children to preserve the planet for the children, and MacCormack is just a bit ahead of the curve.

The article also contributes the following:

Not so very long ago, the term “death cult” was considered to be a sinister term, not an aspirational description of the human race. MacCormack may be fringe for the moment, but she is the future of climate change activism: Actively hostile to the human race, and an advocate of “phasing out reproduction.”

I think, if anything, the coronavirus is judgment directed at our moral bankruptcy and hostility towards the human race.

Remove purpose and morality and population control can spin out of control. Existential nihilism is the belief that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. It is logically followed by moral nihilism, the assertion that morality does not exist at all. Nihilism will make monsters of us all when we have nothing to live for and no compass for right or wrong.

An example of this is the callous controversy we witnessed this past year over care for live births after failed abortion procedures. Planned Parenthood has been in court on charges of profiting from sales of fetal tissue for fetal cell research. In 2016 there were 186 abortions in the US for every 1000 live births with over 1% happening after 18 weeks. In Sweden midwives failed to gain the right to refuse to perform abortions.

We are losing our moral compass. Take, for example, the cutting of provincial funding for a hospice centre in BC that will not provide assisted dying.

Around the world children are at home with their parents as schools are closed due to the pandemic. Here is an article about action parents recently took in the UK to protect their children in schools. If you want to read more of what is happening in our schools you can go here, here and here.

Another matter of concern we saw recently was the movie Unplanned being called “propaganda.” Theaters refused to show it or severely limited showings. It received an R rating, which is ironic, since a girl of 15 can have an abortion without adult consent, but she cannot watch the true story, sensitively presented, of Abby Johnson who was once the Executive Director of a Planned Parenthood clinic and turned pro-life.

Two other, specifically Canadian issues have stood out for me as well. Trinity Western University in the province of British Columbia fought a court battle to open a law school and lost because their student handbook indicates that students are to “adhere to a covenant allowing sexual intimacy only between a married man and woman.” The other involved an attestation supporting abortion and homosexuality that had to be signed by applicants for summer student jobs, including charitable organizations and churches. An opinion article describes how our religious protections are deteriorating.

We have seen inhumane backlash against Professor Jordan Peterson author of Maps of Meaning and Twelve Rules for Life, and Lindsay Shepherd a T.A. who was disciplined in November of 2017 for showing a clip of Peterson for discussion in a Wilfrid Laurier University class. Peterson objected to Bill C-16 as an infringement on free speech. We were told that the bill would not “criminalize pronoun misuse” however this is now being disproved by our courts.

Canadian leaders have turned a blind eye to blatant human rights abuses and the pre-meditated murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate, in the interest of trade agreements. Government interference with justice in the case SNC Lavalin bribery scandal was unprecedented.

Our liberal prime minister can do no wrong. He can accuse others of racism but be excused for black-face, and groping. He refuses to show his face when a convoy of truckers from Alberta arrive at his doorstep and yet he can easily fly to Vancouver to march in a Pride Parade. Truckers who wanted to draw attention to job losses in the oil industry due to government decisions were maligned as giving a platform for hate.

There is no end of individuals and groups being accused of hate and de-platformed for their conservative views. Even I was threatened by Facebook when I posted an alternate view on Climate Change and a link to a letter sent to the UN by 500 scientists. Facebook warned that they would “reduce my distribution” if I posted the link. This to me was a huge red flag regarding the powers behind the climate change message. I have since left Facebook.

fb re climate

The bias of “Sensitivity readers” is now determining what can and cannot be published in Canada. Read this revealing article about what is happening as our institutions of learning censor publication.

Family values are trodden underfoot every day and every form of deviation is allowed and encouraged in the media. There is a consorted effort to socially condition our children in schools, beginning in kindergarten. Parental opposition is not welcome. Sex education in schools is suddenly funded and controlled by the ARC Foundation without parental knowledge or consultation (in a pilot project in BC in 2017) and those who have questions or objections are vilified in the media.

In Canada we face the introduction of Bill S-202 banning conversion therapy and making it “illegal to advertise conversion therapy services and to obtain a financial or other material benefit for the provision of conversion therapy to anybody under the age of 18, and punishable by up to five years in prison.” In other words, if a trans person wants to change back to their biological gender, anyone offering counsel could be imprisoned for doing so. In the meantime a father has been told in court, regarding his daughter, that “referring to AB as a girl or with female pronouns whether to him directly or to third parties; shall be considered to be family violence.” Medical doctors have to change the way they practice because the view they once held of what it is to be male and female was “incompatible with human dignity.” 

Of all of these, my greatest concern is for children and the fact that Planned Parenthood and LGBT lobbyists have more say over what children are taught in schools than parents. Even the courts are no longer making judgments in the interests of the family. Weaponizing “progressive” gender ideology against parents and families is of paramount concern. Check out the IGLA (International Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, and Intersex Association) website to see the level of organization and aggressive action being taken, using the United Nations as the instrument of implementation world-wide. These are the bodies of influence behind Bill S-202 which can result in parents being imprisoned for any attempt “to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or to eliminate or reduce sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between persons of the same sex.” See the Canadian government website as this bill had its first reading on December 10, 2019.

Yes, it could be that the coronavirus is judgment. Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” I hear that dying of the the coronavirus can be like choking and drowning. Judgment happens when God’s wrath is incurred. It could be that the cup of his wrath has steadily filled up and has begun to overflow. The spread of this virus, world-wide, may be what judgment looks like. If it is, then things could get much worse. The only antidote is repentance, turning from our wicked ways and returning to God’s righteous standard.

Note: Scripture is sourced from biblegateway.com and found in Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:12

Posted in Children, Children's Music YouTube, Coronavirus, COVID-19, De-stressing, Home

Surviving Coronavirus Isolation – Week 5 at Home

tree with green blossoms

Saw this lovely tree during a walk in the park on Sunday.

I read recently that this is a good time to analyze your life strategyThis assumes we have a strategy. I haven’t really thought of a life strategy, in those exact words. Now I’ve been looking at my life to see what sort of strategy I have and it’s caused a bit of a shift because a strategy involves a plan and an objective–how to get the thing we want.

When I think of strategy I imagine scrambling to the top of the heap and I’ve never been that kind of a person. I like to come alongside. I like to help others. I’ve worked under people who clearly had a life strategy and I was part of their success plan. I actually didn’t want to be like them. My life has been guided by principles like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” “Give and it shall be given unto you,” and be “faithful in the little things.”

Yesterday my husband explained to me why I am having a difficult time with this isolation. It is because I want to help everyone. This morning I checked a few sites I follow to see what others are doing, what “strategies” they have, or words of encouragement. Here are samples of what I found.

Tim’s Blog “We are wandering, perhaps, but we are not lost. And we are not without opportunities.” Taken from his audio recording while he walked in the early morning. This is a great time to look for opportunities.

Another Slice writes with a beautiful pathos and optimism about an 18 year old son who is missing out on all the celebrations around graduation that we have always taken for granted.

Harsh Reality ‘s ten year old daughter set up a google classroom and was discouraged when no one showed up. Her father told her something I needed to hear today, too, that “if she wanted people to interact she needed to really take the reins of destiny and put herself out there.” Sometimes I wait when I need to take action.

Diane Reed is going through her house and reflecting and organizing, as many of us are doing these days. She ran across cards she made years ago and writes about the Early Diane. I encourage you to check out her lovely artwork and maybe buy something from her Etsy site Diane on a Whim.

Patrick Ross shares some insights for creative types who may wonder why they are not able to seize this opportunity for creativity as well as expected.

What I know from my past experience interviewing creatives about their process…suggests this isn’t a great time for many of them. A key element found in most creatives is empathy.

Empathy is what allows creatives to produce works that move the reader/viewer/listener. It also makes them more vulnerable to experiencing the pain of others, in ways that can at times be debilitating to the creative spirit.

I love these glimpses into the lives and thoughts of others at this time. They are so relatable.

This week I heard about one of the many amazing new things that have come out of this isolation. On Sunday friends and family celebrated two very special women by doing a drive-by “birthday parade” for one, and an encouragement “parade” for the other who will be having cancer surgery shortly. I was moved to tears by this show of love and support, even though I wasn’t there to witness it. There were cards and signs and balloons and gifts left at the end of the driveway. Both of these women are very giving and social. This isolation is particularly difficult on them. Maybe it is not a coincidence that the birthday girl is also a cancer survivor in the same family.

On a somber note, I’ve heard this week about a nurse whose ears are raw from wearing a mask as she sometimes works back to back shifts covering for others who are sick. Isolating may be difficult. Wondering how we will pay the bills may be difficult. Looking after young children 24/7 may be difficult. Not getting out to see the people we love may be difficult. But I could think of worse things, like being on the front lines without relief.

These days I draw encouragement from whatever sources I can, and try to give support in return, without beating myself up over how little I feel I can do. I remind myself, everything counts. This is my short term survival strategy (as I keep looking for ways to serve). Smile.

After four weeks of solitude, I broke out of jail for a few hours this week. I bought flowers at Superstore, making a swift ‘in and out’ of the store, from the outdoor, fenced, gardening area. We did our first take-out meal in five weeks – burgers at DQ. We took the burgers to the home of a senior friend and sat outside on the patio and shared them with her. It was lovely. Chilly, cloudy, but lovely. Human contact is suddenly so precious. (I know the admonitions to not meet with anyone outside your family, but let’s be reasonable.)

Once again, we recorded an episode of Music with Mr. Sheldon for the children. I’ve discovered a new gift. I simply love editing and producing video! This is not work for me. It is pleasure!

Now I have started a new prayer for wisdom for those who are deciding how to open up the economy again. I pray for creative ideas, things that may not have been considered, which can be implemented to help keep people well and make things work out better than expected. I also pray for the right timing. I’m leaning towards sooner, like two months, maximum, of isolating before beginning to loosen restrictions.

There are concerns about which I am not writing here in the interest of being mostly uplifting in my conversation. Our words make a difference. During this pandemic I am paying more attention to how I use my words.

tree curved branches

I saw this unusual tree on our walk. A good root system helps this tree to survive. If I think about my life strategy, I would say it boils down to learning to draw sustenance from my Source.

Trust in the Lord, with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5,6