Mother’s Day 2020

“Normally“

Today will be different in so many ways.

Normally we would welcome Mother’s Day morning with open windows and fresh air. I would sip my coffee on the patio while listening to the birds. Not so today in northern Virginia. This morning it was 32 degrees when I awoke, and there was ice in the birdbath. Other neighbors to our north posted videos of snowflakes flying yesterday afternoon. How bizarre considering that last week I turned on the air-conditioner for the first time this season!

Normally we would enjoy a special dinner out with our family, including my mother and brother. This year we are unable to visit Mom in her nursing home due to COVID-19. My brother will drop off flowers and a card for her today, but they must be sanitized before she can enjoy them. And we hope to Facetime with her later, but this year she will not recognize our faces.

Normally, at the end of this day, I would go online and peruse all the photos of moms enjoying life with their kids, visiting grandparents, going out on the town, and dining in restaurants. Today I‘m sure I will see lots of family photos, but in a very different setting.

Adapting

We aren’t doing life “normally” nowadays, but we are adapting to a new way (dare I say, a better way?) of living.

  • Teachers, students and parents have all plunged, albeit reluctantly, into distance learning. (Well done!)
  • High school and college seniors have found unique ways to celebrate their graduations and commencements. (Congratulations!)
  • Military families are streaming commissioning ceremonies online, while demonstrating the importance of contingency planning. 🇺🇸
  • Families are spending more time outdoors, walking, biking, scavenger hunting, gardening, cooking and more. (Shout-out to my friend, Rita, for sharing this photo of a rock she discovered on a recent walk!)
  • Kids and adults alike are taking up new crafts and hobbies, or re-discovering projects they once enjoyed.
  • Churches, including small ones like ours, are streaming services online, reaching beyond their regular attendees. (Visit our Sundays Online page!)
  • And best of all, we are genuinely caring for our neighbors and those who are isolated during this pandemic.

Are you seeing it too?

For me, as a mom, this has been such a challenging, yet hope-filled time, to see everyone caring for one another. There is a lot of background noise in the world of politics and partisanship, but for the rest of us folks, we are just trying to get by. We are working together, at a distance, to make sure everyone has enough to eat. To make sure no one is alone. To make sure our front-line workers know they are appreciated.

We are living the example that Jesus taught.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” — John‬ ‭13:35‬

❤️❤️❤️


My Mother’s Day wish:

Don’t let this challenging time fade from your memory. Our doors and windows will swing open again one day soon. When they do, and when we all step outside again, enjoying our old, familiar activities, let’s continue to love and nurture one another.

 

Featured photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Fighting On

 

Beautiful Columbine

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. Last week I was really struggling. After nearly six weeks of social isolation, it finally got to me.

A thick blanket of fog settled over me, and for several days I felt listless and depressed. The weather certainly didn’t help either. It’s been rainy and cool in the DC region, typical for April, but the last thing any of us need right now.

Still, I got up each day, showered, and did my best to follow a routine.

Teleworking always sounds wonderful until you do it for weeks on end. It really is quite challenging. My normal tasks as a church Office Manager have morphed into a new world of Zoom meetings, YouTube videos and Mailchimp campaigns. These are not new platforms for me, but they have now become my lifeline, my connection to the outside world. Fortunately, I have few distractions at home, and can accomplish everything without interruption each day.

 

Empty Spaces

I’ve spent several mornings at the church though, collecting mail, paying bills and just making sure things are okay. One morning I sat in the empty sanctuary, trying to recall the last time we all gathered together. It seems like ages ago. Under normal circumstances, in the midst of my busy day, I would enjoy the peace and quiet of the sanctuary. But right now, it just feels . . . lonely.

I miss my church family. I miss singing in the choir, reading scripture together, and lifting our voices in prayer.

I also miss the people, and the fellowship we share before and after worship. But, I think most of all, I miss my Sunday morning hugs. No amount of social distance emojis can fill that gap.

I tell myself we will be together again soon, and that it will all be okay. But I know it will still be a while before we can safely begin meeting as we once did. Before the pandemic, when everything changed.

Victory Ahead

Each morning I begin my day by reading several devotionals. I have been faithful to do this ever since this pandemic began, and it is helping to pull me through each day.

On Saturday, as I was sipping my coffee, I had a breakthrough. This is what I read in Everyday Grace, a collection of 60 devotions from EllieClaire.com:

“Victory’s in Sight”
It may be hard to see your life as victorious in the face of failure, disappointment, or continued conflict, but every war that’s ever been fought was won through a series of battles. Not every individual battle will be victorious. What matters is how it turns out in the end.
Is a major conflict raging in your life? A rebellious child, chronic illness, the loss of the job, a betrayal by someone you love . . . whatever your struggle, both you and God are on the battlefield. Even if victory doesn’t seem close at hand, God is. Your fight is also His. Be strategic and courageous in pursuing the right course. Don’t let discouragement tempt you to give up. Today’s skirmish may be the decisive battle that wins the war.

The scripture related to this devotion was from Psalm 60:12 – With God we will gain the victory.

This truly is a battle we are all waging each day. It takes the greatest strength sometimes just to get out of bed. But we fight on, taking on every new skirmish in this seemingly endless struggle. And while we are fighting, we are keenly aware of our “battle buddies”, those who are suffering alongside us. We may know others who have fallen to the enemy; we grieve their loss, and pray for those left behind to continue the fight in their absence.

Keep Being, Keep Doing

So how are you doing? What are you doing each day to stay focused, to stay busy, to keep moving ahead?

I’ve been organizing my home office where I am now writing and working each day. And since I feel we each need to tackle a project or embrace a hobby to help pass the time, I have picked up a project I began over a year ago. I have my fathers letters that he wrote home every week he was in the Army, from his boot camp in January 1951, until he finished his tour in Germany in December 1952. I am transcribing the letters so they can be easily read by future generations.

My father passed away in 1986. I never knew much about his time in the military.  These letters give me a glimpse of who he was as a young man at 22, his character and integrity, as well as his love of his Nan’s fudge and all types of automobiles. I also have the scrapbook my grandmother made, which he references throughout his letters, as well as memorabilia and photos he sent home. It’s an amazing chronology of the two years he served, the people he met, and the places he visited. What a previous gift!

 

The Power of a Purr

Since I last wrote, some of you may have also heard about a new family member. On Maundy Thursday we adopted a cat from the local animal shelter. We saw only a photo and video of him before we met. He was brought out to our car in a cardboard carrier, and we didn’t meet him until he popped out of the box at home. His name is Gipper and he is truly a member of our family! Of all the cats we have loved over the years, this little guy seems to have the best of each personality.

Pets are amazing, aren’t they? Since our Nicky crossed over the rainbow bridge last June, I had forgotten the special bond we establish with our fur family.

Gipper purrs and snuggles close, and suddenly life becomes manageable again. I know that all will be well.

Remember, as my devotion says, “Even if victory doesn’t seem close at hand, God is. Your fight is also His.”

We are never fighting alone.