Pandemic Life in Hooterville

Is it ok to say this whole “pandemic” thing has had me the least little bit stressed?

I don’t even mean the virus itself. I pray over that whole mess and leave it there. The sudden change to my predictable rut is what’s had me out of sorts. 

The biggest obstacle I’ve had working from home turned out to be unreliable internet. Rainy days ruined any hopes for connecting to the work world. For awhile I felt like I lived in Hooterville –  went outside looking for a telephone pole to climb.

It turns out my former internet supplier had things hooked up inside a plastic box by the side of the road where rain runoff could flood and/or a car could slide into and knock the whole thing to kingdom come. I do live in Hooterville! I even had to set up shop at my neighbor’s house for a few days until we switched over to a new provider.

In the midst of all this, my day job hasn’t slowed down a bit. This is probably the busiest time of year for a medical school, so I have been mucho busy (and stressed!) learning how to lend support via electronic means and making sure the learning environment still happened for our group. 

My technical creativity went up, while my writing creativity took a bit of a nosedive. Writing anything worth reading was just not happening. My brain felt like it had taken one too many rides on the tilt-a-whirl. Jesus take the wheel!

I decided that the tide had to turn or I was going to go get a job at the doughnut factory and forget everything else. That’s my contingency plan, anyway.  Getting up early every morning to go make the doughnuts isn’t the worse thing that could happen.

Until I resign myself to rolling out dough for a living, I will be writing the dough. Maybe I’ll invent blog doughnuts with messages on them. See, I know God has a perfect plan for me. Why else would He give me all these whacky ideas? Some will come to life in this blog, some in books and in other avenues. 

The bottom line is that even though I get stressed, I don’t have to let stress overtake me and have me so turned around that I can’t even find my way out of a paper bag.

I think it’s the same for all of us. Fear will present itself. It tries to look like a big ‘ol bully coming in to steal your lunch, eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and then pop the bag  in your face. Fear don’t care.

The truth is, fear is only as big as you let it be in your life. There is a defense that’s way more reliable than gloves and masks (no, I’m not saying don’t wear your gloves and masks). When you get into God’s Word and find out what He says about you and about standing up to fear, you’ll realize that you don’t have to run off and hide from everything. You can stand strong in faith.

So, make a decision to live! Live in the face of all the bad news. In fact, turn off the news. Let go of stress. Live like you’ve never lived before.

Go forward on purpose.

Don’t Fence Me In

Thank goodness I have plenty of room to roam during all this quarantining that’s going on. I know everyone doesn’t have a farm next door to wander through or neighbors you can sit with in the driveway waiting for sunset so you can take photos. I’m sorry for all of you living in crowded cities who are in that predicament and I’m praying for you.

I’m praying for all of us.

We aren’t used to this. Saturdays are for running the roads and stopping to eat lunch wherever you have a mind to. Weekdays are for being at work with your workmates and meeting in the kitchen for coffee and talking … ahem … discussing important work matters.

Working from home really isn’t so bad. I’ve always wanted to work from my living room office and have my own private bathroom stocked with all my stuff. Another bonus — my dogs are here! Every day is “take your dog to work” day!! Yep, it’s kinda nice. I know I’ll miss this when we return to our offices. Do you think they’ll let me bring my dogs with me? Pets help relieve stress– it’s been proven.

I also miss going to church and seeing all my friends up close and in person. (well, not too close — I was never one for that even before the pandemic hit)

People, we’ve got to figure out a way to get back to semi-normal and still be safe! I need my Hobby Lobby fix!! You can only shop online so much. I like to browse and look at stuff, feel the textures on the fake wood and imagine how I’m going to decorate a room or whatever I’m fixin’ up. I want to wander through the aisles listening to the church music. It’s so relaxing. I could almost lay down in the floor and take a nap right in the middle of the place. Maybe I should take my pillow and blanket next time — I’ll go in when they’re about to close and hide out in the candle aisle. They’ll never know I’m there until the next morning when the opening crew comes in and finds me snoozing away, with a snowman from the Christmas clearance section tucked under my blanket. Don’t worry, I’ll pay for it. I don’t steal from the Lord’s home decor store (or anywhere else, for that matter)!

I know all of this will be over sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’m going to look at all the good going on in my life and enjoy the *pause*.  I am still working everyday, but there’s something to be said for not having to put on makeup and then drive through traffic and redlight cameras to get to work. And gas prices are down!! Though I’m not really using much gas right now. But that’s another point to ponder.

The key is – Count your blessings. Help your neighbor whenever you can. Be kind.  And know that you’re going to have to wait a few minutes outside in line at the Mexican restaurant when you go pick up your order of burritos with extra salsa.

When all this is close to being over, you just might find me by the door at Hobby Lobby waiting patiently for them to open back up. I might spend my whole vacation week in there. Don’t judge.