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Loving: Summer 2020

Happy summer!  Summer is here, despite the ongoing pandemic.  Below are a few things I have been recently loving this summer!

 

 

1. Podcast: The Way We Live Now — I love this podcast!  The episodes on this podcast are relatively short, and the content is really interesting and timely, providing insights into others’ lives during this time.  I highly recommend!  And, Episode 31, is one of my favorites!

2. Money Heist  — Doug had heard that Money Heist was really good!  We do not get to watch too much television, but we have been watching this show, in the evenings, and it is really good and quite addictive!  (It takes us much longer to get through a series — gone are our days of binge watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu!)

3. Dog I.D. Tag — We recently had to replace Victory’s I.D. tag, and we really love this one.  It is small and simple, while containing the necessary information.

4. GLDN Necklace — For Mother’s Day Alex (and Victory) got me this necklace with her name engraved on it.  I love it.  It is simple and lovely!

5. Chesapeake Bay Candle  — I love this line of candles!  A good friend gave me one for Mother’s Day this year!  They come in a variety of scents, and they smell really great!  I have given them to friends who have also loved them, too!  We have been lighting candles a lot more in the evenings during this time, and they are a nice way to end the day.

6. The Conscious Parent —  This book by Shefali Tsabary is very good.  I am part way though, and I have learned so much helpful information that I was not aware of prior to reading.  There is always so much to learn, each day, raising a little person!

You can view other things I love here!

What’s Bringing You Joy Right Now?

 

Due to COVID, this summer looks a bit different than past summers.  Presently, we are enjoying the pool that Doug set up for Alex, on Father’s Day, as our neighborhood pool has been closed, including the pool where Alex took her swimming lessons prior to COVID.  So, we are making due with this pool, for now; and, fortunately, Alex really loves it!  She especially loves getting in and out of the pool, while playing with her toys!  It entertains her for hours, which is so great!  And, it is even big enough for her to lay down on her tummy and move around the little pool!  So, we are enjoying the small things together.  Due to COVID, we have all been home, together, and we have all bonded even more.  Alex really loves her Dada, who is her favorite person right now, who she wakes up asking for, who plays with Alex for hours and reads all of Alex’s book requests on demand!  During these challenging times, these little things matter more than ever.

What have your silver linings been these days?  What has brought you moments of joy?

Elisabeth Eagan: Life Advice for My College-Bound Daughter

 

Elisabeth Egan is a novelist and essayist, and she writes about parenting.  Below is a brilliant letter she wrote to her daughter, when she headed off to college…

The time is fleeting with our little people, and I am sure many women have felt similarly, as described below.


I was 14 when my family moved my sister into her freshman dorm at the school where our parents met.  I don’t remember the official goodbye, but I do remember what happened when we got back into our mauve Mercury Sable with its suddenly huge backseat and opera blaring from the speakers.  My mom turned to my dad and said, “If she doesn’t wave one more time, I think I’m going to die.”

Despite her passion for ear-splitting arias, my mom doesn’t do emotional outbursts in real life.  Her response to any injury, from a paper cut to a fractured pelvis, is “You’ll live”; she tosses heartfelt cards in the garbage without a second thought (“What? I read it already”); and, on the morning of my dad’s funeral, she actually said, “No blubbering, girls.  We’re channeling our inner Jackie Kennedy.”

The day we dropped my sister off at college was the one time I’ve ever witnessed the faltering of my mom’s stiff upper lip.  I can still see her profile — hand clasped over mouth, eyes filled with tears — as she watched her firstborn walk across a courtyard to the high rise she’d call home for the next nine months.  Thankfully, at the last possible moment, my sister turned and shot us a dazzling smile.  Then she lifted both arms overhead, gave us a double wave and stepped through a door held open by someone else’s sweaty dad.

She was gone.  We drove away.

My mom cried for the next four hours, then sporadically for about a week.  I didn’t have much sympathy.  I was deep in the sneer and loathing phase of adolescence, and my sister had been so ready to go, she’d taken her shower caddy for a summer-long test run, leaving me without shampoo or saline solution in the bathroom we shared.  Plus, there were the clothing leftovers for me to feast on in her closet!  And the cassette tapes to steal!

Now that my oldest kid is graduating from high school and getting ready to leave for college, I see my sister’s leave-taking in a new light — the light of parenthood, which is one of the brightest bulbs there is.  In a funny, happy twist, our daughter is going to the school where my husband and I met 25 years ago.  She is as ready for the next phase as her aunt was, and as likely to make a beeline into it with arms open wide.  She may toss us a bonus wave at the last minute, but will not permit a love- and advice-fest in the parking lot.  And, unlike my mom, I’ll definitely want to host one.  So here, in no particular order, are the important things I’d say to my daughter if only she’d hang around long enough to listen.  The most important one is at the very end.

  1. I love you.  I’ll miss you.  Thank you.
  2. Ignore the New Jersey jokes.  Not everyone can be from a state as great as ours.
  3. I hope you’ll consider a hiatus from social media for the first ten days.  Scrolling through other people’s pictures may give you the false impression that your friends have settled effortlessly into their new schools.  This is just a filter.  If things are so great, why are they on Snapchat?
  4. Give orientation activities a chance even if they’re weird, boring, too early, too late or too far away.  I met one of my best friends on the bus back to campus after a canoe-jousting competition.  Have you ever known me to canoe-joust? No.  But I gave it a whirl that day, and we all love the wise, sparkly woman I met as a result.
  5. Along those lines: you’ve grown up among my college friends, but that doesn’t mean it was love at first sight with all of them.  Some are people I discovered after graduation; others I never would have stuck with if I hadn’t peeled away a few layers.  My point is, give people a chance.  Give them five chances.  However:
  6. Trust your instincts.  If someone seems like a creep, they probably are.
  7. Take your work to the library even if you have everything you need to get it done in your room.  There’s no place cozier than a college library at night.
  8. If you’re lucky, you will have long, late-night, soul-searching conversations with new friends.  You’ll trade stories about your high school, your town and your family.  Please go easy on us; we did our best!  And I’m definitely not the only mom who gossips, uses foul language, gets tons of parking tickets, drinks Diet Coke and steals her kids’ Halloween candy.
  9. Do not, under any circumstances, drink from a cup you haven’t filled yourself.  You never know what someone has slipped in there.  And definitely avoid punch, which is a recipe for trouble.
  10. I’m sorry I complained so much about picking you up from swim practice.  I’ll miss your red cheeks, your chlorine perfume and the gravity-defying bun on top of your head.
  11. I’ll miss your half-finished friendship bracelets taped to the dining room table.
  12. I’ll miss your trail of Cheez-Its on the kitchen counter.
  13. I’ll miss the thud of your backpack in the hallway and the particular rhythm of your feet on the stairs.
  14. Thank you for loving the books I love, with the glaring exception of Anne of Green Gables.
  15. Thank you for being the best big sister.  I can’t say anymore on this topic without crying so, moving on…
  16. Your room is an appalling disaster.  Still, I understand why the pets flock to your bed.
  17. When someone invites you to do something you don’t want to do, you don’t owe an explanation for why you’re declining.  You might say, “Sorry, I’m not going to be able to make it,” or “I have other plans, but thank you for thinking of me!”  Or just plain, “No, thanks.”  Don’t wait until your forties to learn how to say these words.
  18. You’ve already had the experience of not being invited to do something you wanted to do.  Watching you make other plans reminds me why I picked Grace for your middle name.
  19. Complicated relationships aren’t more meaningful than easy ones, they’re just more work.  The best people are the ones who make you laugh.  This applies to friends and lovers. (Yes, I said lovers. I couldn’t think of a better word!)
  20. Have fun!  Ride a cafeteria tray down a snowy hill, jump in a pile of leaves, make mug cakes at midnight.  You’re there to learn, but your brain needs a break.  And I’m not talking about back-to-back Grey’s episodes on your laptop.
  21. Listen carefully — to classmates, professors and the sound of the wind.
  22. Ask questions, ask for directions, ask for help.  Even if you think you can find what you need on Google, ask a human being.  We still know more than our phones.
  23. You’ve come to me with problems I didn’t have solutions for.  This is a strange feeling for a parent, like being upside down on a rollercoaster.  The upside is, I’ve watched you make good decisions on your own — which is not to say all your decisions will be good, or have to be good.  Just that you have the tools to make a smart call.  I admire that.
  24. You don’t need an earth-shattering reason to go to your professors’ office hours.  Just show up; they’re waiting for you and sometimes they have snacks.
  25. There are free condoms in the health center.
  26. Get a job, and please don’t waste all your money on chai lattes.
  27. I’d aim to do laundry once a week, which is roughly three times more than you do it at home.
  28. Be brave.  Go rock-climbing (on actual rocks); take an engineering class; join a singing group; be the hallmate who organizes a trip to see a lecture you saw advertised on a flier in the student center.  (Do they still have fliers?)
  29. Failure is an option, although I prefer to call it redirection.  You are the daughter of a writer, so you know what it means to start a story that doesn’t go anywhere.  The point is to start something, have the guts to admit when it isn’t working, and the gumption to begin again.  The world has an infinite supply of stories, but courage is a diminishing resource as you get older.  Dive in now.
  30. Try to resist the urge to “brand” yourself, which is so much less rewarding than establishing a meaningful, nuanced identity.  For instance, Daddy went for Deep Philosopher during our first semester of college; I went for Cheerful Girl (I’m sure this is hard for you to imagine).  Twenty years into our marriage, we still bump up against these boxes, which are empty and take up more room than they deserve.  Worth noting: we didn’t find each other until we’d stepped out of them.
  31. You know how I told you I’m your mother, not your friend? I lied.  I’m both.
  32. When you were in fourth grade, going through normal friend gymnastics — high bar, low bar, balance beam, backbend — I gave you a locket that my mom gave me for my tenth birthday.  Inside, I slipped a little piece of paper that said, “Be you.”  The locket is long lost to the sands of Maine, but the message remains the same.  Be yourself, no contortions required.  And know, with each step you take away from our house, that you are the living, breathing, blue-eyed, big-hearted embodiment of the word engraved inside your parents’ wedding rings: Beloved.

Elisabeth Egan is the author of A Window Opens and the author of @100postcards.

How Have You Been?

How have you been?  So much is really happening in our world right now.  It is really unbelievable.

I cannot believe summer is already officially upon us.  It is going to be a really different summer for us as we continue to navigate our way through this unchartered time we all find ourselves in presently.  This time is much different than our ‘normal.’  This summer there will likely be no trips, trips to the pool, play dates, or regular outings and activities.  Despite this, there have been gifts during this time as well.  Time has taken on a whole new meaning.  We no longer rush around; and we have all had time together that ordinarily would have never happened, given the circumstances.  I have also been able to finish my project and proposal during this time, which has felt like an enormous feat.  A lot of growth has occurred, even on days where we feel so exhausted juggling everything.  We have had the opportunity to witness Alex’s growth — she is growing like a weed and changing daily.  (We have also had the opportunity to work on listening, with Alex!  She loves to do everything on her terms with Mama and Dada!)  She is turning into a little girl, and I cannot believe she is turning two so soon!  She is so strong in every sense of the word.  Her name suits her well, we have found!

We did, however, have our first dinner out recently, while trying to figure out how to be as normal as we can, while being safe.  We did a picnic in the parking lot at Victory’s favorite BBQ place!  Victory was in great need of a morale boost!  It definitely has been a change for her as well!  We packed up the car, along with Alex’s high chair, and chairs for us, and we all had a great time together!  We have done lots of ice cream trips with the girls as well, which Victory really loves!  We are making the best of things, even though we do miss the ordinary spring/summer days we had prior to this virus.  Each day really is a gift.  I will never forget this time; and we will continue to persevere.

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.” — Maya Angelou

 

Some Happy News…

I have some happy news . . . I finally finished my long-term dog photography project after seven years of work, including a year of revisions!  I am very elated to have finished this body of work inspired by our sweet dear Biscuit, who changed my life forever.  It is just a feat to finish.  It was one of the hardest endeavors I have ever undertaken.  There were so many times I thought I would never finish; many times where I encountered problems that I had to figure out and resolve; many times I experienced intense fear; many times I felt like my revisions would never end; and there were many times where the path felt uncertain.  However, my desire to finish this body of work outweighed everything else, and I really learned to trust the process and journey.  I, ultimately, learned to have blind faith through this process.  I am ecstatic to be on the other side, which, often times, felt like I would never reach this point, during this process.  I learned so much about myself during this process, while seeing this project though to the end, through think and thin, which is the only way to make dreams happen.  (I previously wrote a blog post about what I learned during this creative endeavor, here.)  I am really proud of this body of work, and I hope that it will positively impact others; and, importantly, helps other dogs like Biscuit and Victory.  My blad and proposal are nearly complete, and I am excited to move onto the next steps of shepherding this work out into the world.

So, if there is something you really want to accomplish, it is possible, and I encourage you to try.  The Universe will always support you.  I am so sincerely grateful to my mentor, Deborah Samuel, who has helped shape my path and provides countless advice, feedback, encouragement, and support.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.  The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.  The courage to go on that hunt in the first place — that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.  The often surprising result of that hunt — that’s what I call Big Magic.”  — Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

(Image credit: Morgan Harper Nichols).

Twenty One Month and Twenty Second Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s twenty first month and twenty second month!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth months here; Alex’s fifteenth and sixteenth months here; Alex’s seventeenth and eighteenth months here; and Alex’s nineteenth and twentieth months here).  Alex is changing all of the time and she continues to grow like a weed and she has the loveliest hair curls — I think we might be getting close to her first hair trim in the near future!

Joan Didion said, “Life changes fast.  Life changes in the instant.”  This is so true, especially now.  Life as we know it has changed, greatly.  Things are very different due to COVID-19.  This post is different than Alex’s other blog posts, as during this period of time, we were in quarantine, which continues.   We have no idea when Alex will return to school; however, she is doing daily Zoom sessions with her class, which she enjoys.  I know that I will miss this time together, whenever this period ends.  We fell into a daily rhythm, early on, and we spend as much time as we can outside together, while embracing the nice weather, which has vacillated between warm and cold weather this spring.  Alex loves to run outside and burn her energy, always.  Alex loves spotting puppies and other animals, while on our walks.  Our Governor left one State Park open, which we frequent.  Alex absolutely loves throwing rocks with her Daddy into the river!  We have found new trails and places that we have never been during this time, as everything is closed.  During our walks and hikes together, Alex loves collecting sticks and she is in love with storm drains and water run off reservoirs — she finds them fascinating!  She also absolutely loves to do bubbles, too.  (We made sure we stocked up on bubble solution during this time, which has been hard to come by, along with other items, which we take for granted!)

Alex continues to change all of the time.  Her favorite song, currently, is “Skip to My Lou” — she absolutely loves it, and she dances to it as well!  She does not watch television, but she does like watching a few clips, at a time, of the Super Simple Songs.  Alex loves to FaceTime as well!  One of Alex’s favorite things to do is doing the Highlights “Find It” pages.  She is captivated with finding the items in the pictures; and she also enjoys greatly looking at her books asking us and telling us what is contained in the pictures.  Alex also loves looking and learning about animals in her Ranger Rick Cub magazine.  She is learning to count and she recognizes some letters, already!  She is talking more each day, too!

We celebrated Easter at home with Alex and Victory!  They seemed to have a great time with their Easter baskets!  We also spent Mother’s Day at home filled with beautiful weather and a fun walks together, along with take out for dinner!  I am so grateful.  I still cannot believe Alex is almost two-years-old!  The time is flying too fast and we are doing our best to savor it.  Due to the COVID-19, we cancelled her birthday plans, this summer, and we will celebrate at home together instead.  And, we will also likely cancel our vacation plans as well.  I will always remember this time for many reasons.  We will have many stories to share with Alex, someday, when she is older, from this time together!  I do my best to capture our time together via photographs.

Alex still cuddles with me before bed and she sits with me in the glider where she loves to spot items in her Highlights and her books with me before bed.  She is sleeping and napping really well these days, thankfully, and she is eating well, too!  Everything is always changing and it is all so fleeting.  What I will remember from these months is how she wakes up talking to herself in her crib, while looking at her books, which she loves.  She is entertaining herself more in the mornings, which is great, especially during this time of great juggling between everything!  Victory and Alex are closer than ever.  Alex’s new hobby is feeding Alex from her high chair!  Victory, I believe, has no complaints!  Alex and Victory are always up for an outing and adventure!   We took the girls to get ice cream on more than on occasion, and we all ate our ice cream in the car together!  Alex is becoming her own little person right before our very eyes, and she is looking more, and more like a little girl!  I feel so fortunate.  It has been such as journey.  We are doing our best to embrace the now, the present.  We are so grateful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty first month!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex riding her Roadster!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex trying the Peloton for the first time!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex and Doug throwing rocks into the river together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty second month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex dancing on her hands to Redbone!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex feeding Victory some food!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex and Doug flying a kite together!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex running over a bridge!

What Does this Make Possible?

We are already into the eighth week of being in quarantine.  This is a scary and uncertain time, and the whole world feels crazy and bizarre.  I understand how uncertain this time can feel, and I hope you are able to transform this storm into a season of growth. 

I know this pandemic is causing pain across the globe.

People are sick and scared; they are hungry and desperate.

Many small business owners scramble and wrestle with some big questions.

Those that work in the retail or the service industry jobs are feeling another layer of pain and fear through all of this.

Brave medical personnel and other front-line personnel around the world are literally putting themselves at risk for each of us.

I am also watching a shift occur.

We are home.

We are spending time with loved ones.

We have the space to try new things.

We have the space to explore nature.

We have the space for introspection.

So many of us are falling in love with a new kind of simplicity.

People around us are longing for clarity, peace, and hope.

Through this experience, thus far, I have learned that a simpler life is not a limited life.  When this quarantine is over, I have no idea how things will look; but, I know that I will likely treasure my days together with our little family, even with the difficult days, the uncertainty, and the juggle of it all.  It is a time I will never forget for so many reasons, and we all get a choice how we choose to show up during this time.

What does this time at home make possible?  How can you grow and evolve intentionally during this strange season?

Wishing you peace, health, and safety.

 

Pandemic Puppy

 

Our sweet and beloved Victory, has been such a comfort during this pandemic.  We have all adjusted to our ‘new normal,’ for the most part, going on seven weeks of quarantine, and I am not sure what we would do without her.  Victory has always been a part of every facet of our lives, but she is especially such a source of comfort and solace during this time.  We love her so much.  In fact, other people, who normally would not otherwise have a dog are getting ‘pandemic puppies.’

According to a recent article, “[p]ets have been shown to help ease feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression—making them seemingly ideal companions for an emergency situation that demands isolating ourselves from friends, family, and our normal day-to-day interactions.  Pets can also decrease feelings of isolation, and force us to get off the couch every few hours, traits that are perhaps even more important in the era of social distancing, says Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.  According to PetPoint, an application that collects data from more than 1,000 animal-welfare organizations in North America, in the recent weeks, adoption rates have varied greatly across the country, while instances of fostering have increased significantly in aggregate.”  In some areas, there is such a high demand to adopt a dog or animal, that some people leave empty handed and have to return multiple times.

There are also many animals being surrendered to shelters and rescue organizations during this pandemic as their humans are unable to care for them for one reason or another, such as financial reasons.  So, if you think a dog might help you during this time, and you feel you are able to rescue and adopt an animal, for the long term, a ‘pandemic puppy,’ might just do the trick to lift your spirits.  According to this article, “[a]s long as new owners act intentionally and with long-term planning in mind, the prolonged stretch of time at home may likely provide a unique chance for owners to bond with new dog.  This difficult period may mean that people become more attached and attuned to their pets than if they were seeing their animals for only a few hours a day, while working under ordinary circumstances, which may help get them through the hurdles of pet ownership with less frustration.”

Victory has been with us for six-and-a-half years, already, which is difficult to believe.  Importantly, Victory, our rescue sheltie, has given us the invaluable gifts of endless love, joy, and peace during this pandemic.  We feel so grateful and blessed to have her as part of our family; and we are grateful to all be together during this time.

 

Here is a video where Alex has learned to feed Victory from her high chair versus dropping the food on her mat for Victory to eat!  I know Victory is pleased!

Helpful, Wise Quotes

 

How are you doing today?  There have been so many moments lately where I am at a loss for words.  So, I figured, why not turn to the uplifting words of others?  Here are a few of my favorite quotes for whenever I need a dose of wisdom.

“You can cut all the flowers, but you can never keep spring from coming.” — Pablo Neruda

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” — Madeleine L’Engle

“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things that do fall under the jurisdiction… I can select what I can read and eat and study.  I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life — whether I will see them as curses or opportunities.  I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others.  And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

“The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.” — Sakyong Mipham

“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be.  Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose.  Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go.  Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” — Cheryl Strayed

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” — Maya Angelou

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.  You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over.  But one thing is certain.  When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.  That’s what this storm’s all about.” — Haruki Murakami

“We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved.  They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together and they fall apart again.  The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” — Pema Chödrön

“Being intelligent is not being studious.  It’s knowing how to be fulfilled in all circumstances.” — Wayne Dayer

“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“In every crisis there is a message.  Crises are nature’s way of forcing change breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can take their place.” — Susan L. Taylor

“I believe that beyond this space and time, all is well and all will be well.” — Oprah

Finding Grace During a Pandemic

How are all of you hanging in there?  I know that this pandemic is challenging for everyone’s lives, including animals, which has been turned upside down.  As a mom of a young child, I’ll admit that it is a difficult time for us, at times.  In the beginning, I felt more optimistic, as this time is feeling more like a marathon than a sprint.  Fast forward, we are now on day 33 of quarantine, and there have been moments of pure frustration and exhaustion, as a result juggling motherhood and working simultaneously without our support system.  We have been stripped of Alex’s school, sitters, local museums, swimming lessons, parks, libraries, book stores, playdates, playgrounds, etc.  It is all a great loss to us, and it is an entirely different way of living than we are accustomed to.

What I have learned through these past few weeks is that there is a ‘new normal’ and we presently cannot do work and parent in the same way or at the same level during this pandemic.  My ‘best’ right now looks a lot different now.  We are figuring things out as we go.  And, I have soon realized it is ok, and it is necessary to reset expectations and allow yourself grace.  Doug and I tag team the best we can.  But some days, we are honestly getting through the day because we are so exhausted.  Weekends no longer feel like weekends — they are not distinguishable from other days of the week.  Whether people admit it or not, we are all struggling, to a degree, trying to figure out the best way to live each day, together.  One of the more challenging parts of this pandemic is that we have no idea when this “sheltering in place” will end; and we have no idea how our world will look after we get to the ‘other side’ of the pandemic.  It certainly will be interesting.

I know that there will be many lessons and unexpected gifts to take away from this time.  Despite everything, Doug and I are really grateful.  We are being forced to pivot and be creative in many ways.  Someone wise said to me, recently, “this will pass and all we’ll have is what we did with the time.”  I found those words so helpful.  I have been photographing our time together during this pandemic as recording of this time in order to look back on together some day.  I have found getting good rest helps; having a gratitude practice really helps; truly being present in the moment also helps; feeling your feelings of disappointment and loss; cuddling up with your animal (our beloved Victory is a constant source of support for all of us); and allowing yourself much grace during this time.  I have found the following resources, during this time, helpful, and you might, too.  This is a great podcast; here is a great Ted Talk; and, here is another helpful podcast.  (And, as a side note, if you need toilet paper, check this place out.)  Stay safe.

Finally, I love these words, below, entitled Grace, by Morgan Harper Nichols.

“I cannot tell you what this season will bring out of you, but I can tell you that it matters to keep showing up every day.  I can tell you that it matters to give love, even though you do not think you are good enough.  Your presence matters, even in this chapter.  Even if you feel overlooked, alone, or far from home, you belong in this life just as much as anyone else, no matter how others see you, or how you see yourself.  Whether you are having the most productive week or you feel like you are falling apart at the seams, there are signs of strength and movement with every breath you breathe.  So take heart, breathe deep.  Even before things fall into place.  For even here, in these unknowns, you are wrapped in endless, boundless grace.”