Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19, prayer

Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic – Week 12

waterfront
Barnet Park

I’ve been writing for the purpose of journaling my experience during the pandemic. A phrase which has become almost agitating is “we’re all in this together.” Yet it represents a shared experience and the comfort we derive from knowing we are not alone in what we are going through.

I was just going over our budget and saw that in the last four weeks we have spent way more money than we did for the first six weeks. Initially we did pretty well sticking to our budget of $150 a week for anything besides fixed expenses.

Yesterday I made my first grocery shopping trip since we’ve had to stay home. I’ve been sending my husband to do the weekly shopping. I was shocked at the bill, $15 for parsley, cabbage, one sweet potato and one beet.

“We’re all in this together.” So, what exactly does that mean to us? We are all suffering? We all have to summon our courage? We all have to face our fears?

One positive thing I have noticed during this time is that people are more open, as though they are noticing others, not just walking by. My husband has spoken with a couple of men in the complex who have told him about their work situation. They probably would never have talked about their personal lives had it not been for the fact that they are facing a common challenge of not working. One man went back to work this week.

owl

My husband took advantage of free transit, which ends June 1st, and went to the mall. He noted there was activity in about 80% of the stores. He tells me this to encourage me. I don’t take a lot of comfort from immediate appearances, although I’m happy things are opening up. I am concerned about what happens six months or a year down the road when we see the real impact of closures and restrictions.

I went to my hairdresser this week. My husband and I both made an appointment because the shop he usually goes to was not yet open. We got on for 8:15 p.m. Everything about the experience felt strange, almost surreal…the masks, the newly installed plexiglass at the counter, the sanitizer we were encouraged to use, giving our phone number for contact purposes.

The last time I went for a haircut was on March 13, just before we started isolating. I didn’t talk about the coronavirus, then, although the women working in the salon were wearing masks. I was acutely aware that the owner is Chinese and I didn’t want him to feel awkward.

The salon owner’s regular staff was not yet working this week. We’ve been told strictly to stay home and now people are having difficulty believing it is suddenly safe to go to work. Business owners, however, are eager to get back to work because of looming bills such as rent. Our hairdresser pleaded with the owner of his building for some leniency in light of the virus, but the response was, “You’ve signed a contract.” He has applied for the $40k government business loan. The loan is designed so that a business gets to keep $10k if they pay back the balance of $30k. I’m sure this is helpful, but we could tell he was clearly stressed about his financial situation.

ladybug

Our son and his wife ambushed us, in a sense. I thought we were going for take-out pizza but then the restaurant was open and we went inside to eat. Another super surreal experience. Our waitress (the owner, I think) wore a mask and gloves and left discardable menus at the edge of the table. There were no condiments in sight on tables.

Once again, the woman who served us was eager to talk. When I asked when they opened, she said after the May long weekend, Tuesday, and proceeded to tell us that they had 4 tables on Tuesday, 3 on Wednesday and 7 on Thursday. But they were “busy” on Friday and Saturday. She gestured to the tables and said, as we knew, they could only seat half the tables. So, that meant half, or less, of their normal business. If I were to say what I felt I saw, I would say I saw tears behind her eyes. She kept thanking us for coming in. We were the only table. The restaurant is in a very central location and I kept thinking that they must be paying a premium for rent.

restaurant 2

I thought I had nothing to write about this week, but I guess I have made a few observations. I was unwell this week with a recurring health issue. That may be why I didn’t feel like writing.

Thankfully I did not have to go to the clinic. I picked up a prescription just before we isolated. It just “happened” that I saw my specialist for the same problem the week before lockdown and he gave me extra meds.

I had my first telephone appointment this week with a health professional regarding therapy for another condition. One more new experience. Normally I would go in for an exam. I received a follow-up booklet of information and instructions in the mail.

My mother’s calcium levels showed a drop this week. This is really good news. My sister’s surgery was successful, however, we learned that she will need chemotherapy once she has healed sufficiently. It doesn’t help for me to be a thousand miles away from them.

I am a woman of prayer. When it comes to my faith and my relationship with God, I believe in “walking in His presence.” To me that means being continually aware of the presence of God. It also means I notice the little “coincidences,” things which I could not have orchestrated but worked out perfectly.

I don’t expect to be exempted from trials, but I can rest in the assurance that God is with me. We are in this together. Truly. I derive great comfort from this thought that God is with me. When I feel pushed right to the edge of my endurance, I can call on Him. I have somewhere to go. And when I see a beautiful thing I can praise Him. I have someone with whom I can share my delight. I wish this experience for everyone on earth.

Here is the highlight of the week. Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket succeeded in launching into space yesterday. The craft manned by Robert L. Behnken and Douglas O. Hurley docked at the International Space Station this morning. Trivia – did you know that the U.S. has been paying Russia to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station? A seat costs 90 million. Now they can carry their own. This is the first rocket to launch from the U.S since 2011. It is also the first private space enterprise. A profound moment.

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.