2020 Heartache

I’ve sat down to write this post several times. It’s hard to sum up 2020 and then turn to 2021 when a lot of what occurred last year is still at the forefront of my mind and heart. But then I remembered this. Back in October, I wrote a poem expressing my observations and angst about what 2020 looked like from this American’s view. I’m not a poet by any stretch but I do like to dabble in it. So, here it goes: 2020 Heartache

“Happy new year!” We shouted with glee. “This will be the best year for me.”

Whoa, the world’s warning, something’s coming our way. It’s a hoax, a scam. Now, move on with your day.

Doctors and nurses are risking their lives. But at the same time, we won’t empathize.

Sickness and death caught us deep in its snare. “Yeah, right. It’s just the vulnerable, so why do we care?”

“What about our rights?” People like to ask. It seems freedom only matters when it comes to a mask.

And then…I Can’t Breathe…

So we marched for all to be treated the same. But another month went by and we forgot his name.

“All lives matter”, we’ve been told to say. But does that include the weak, refugee, and gay?

“What about babies in the womb?”, we type in our feed. Yes, of course, but there’s still caged babies in need.

Parents are struggling, and kids are, too. We’re trying to adapt to this tiresome new.

Small businesses have had to shut their door, while big corporations seem to grab so much more.

We spit and shout and show little grace, but would you do that to me if we were face to face?

There’s left and right, both with lies to be told. Each day that passes, the gossip gets old.

Stories are weaved that should cause us to break, but when truth won’t serve us, we call it fake.

We preach kindness and compassion as a way to heal, but when our tongues lash out, both lose their appeal.

“Don’t live in fear”, so many have said. Why would we say that with so many dead?

If 2020 has done anything well. It’s ripped off the veil and cracked open our shell.

Don’t lose attention and expect a turn. Have we gone all year with nothing to learn?

America the beautiful, a memorable song, but this year we sure have gotten it wrong.

The pursuit of liberty is this nation’s goal. But does it really matter if we’ve lost touch with our soul?

My homeland, my country, that shining city on a hill. Truth be told, my heart aches for you, still.

Friends, One thing I keep coming back to is this. Even though we experienced 2020 heartache, and struggle with what’s going in the world, we need to remember that Jesus already overcame it. I wish you peace in this New Year.

Activities to keep your kids busy indoors

Note: I enjoy hosting guest posts on my blog. This one is written by Carrie Spencer. She offers ideas for activities to keep your kids busy indoors during this season of social distancing. You can find her over at thespencersadventures.net!

Whether due to a global pandemic or rainy weekend weather, parents often have to navigate days with their kids stuck inside. Coming up with things to do at home can get tricky, especially if you’re on a tight budget! But there are endless ways to keep your kids entertained—and educated—while they’re home from school.  Even as the lockdown restrictions loosen and your local attractions reopen, you can keep these budget-friendly indoor activity ideas in your arsenal to pull out whenever the weather turns bleak.

Make the Most of Screen Time

While you may not want your kids staring at screens all day, a computer or tablet can be a great source for educational activities. According to Earth Science Jr., you can find all kinds of fun things to do online, from taking virtual tours of aquariums and zoos to attending online musicals and concerts with the whole family. 

If you could use a device upgrade, consider getting your kids a child-friendly tablet or laptop that they can use for engaging learning programs, online courses, and educational apps. Don’t worry, this purchase doesn’t have to break the bank! Keep your new electronics under budget by shopping at retailers like Staples and using Staples promo codes and coupons for discounts.

Get Moving

According to KidsHealth, kids need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. Understandably, it can be difficult to meet these recommendations when your kids are stuck indoors. Get your family moving by searching for free online fitness classes designed specifically for kids and families. You can use items from around your home to create a fun activity course inside—as long as you remove potential tripping hazards. You could even hit two birds with one stone by turning your household chores into a game, helping your kids get the exercise they need, and tidying up your home at the same time!

Teach Them Something

Although your kids are getting an education at school, you can supplement their classroom learning by turning everyday activities into teachable moments. Get your kids to join you in the kitchen, and have them practice their math skills by helping you multiply or halve recipes. You could also revisit your household budget together and talk to your kids about money management—not only is this a great way to teach about financial planning, but it can also help your family cut unnecessary expenses! This is also an excellent time to help your kids develop essential values and life skills, like empathy, self-discipline, and positive thinking. 

Use Your Imagination

If you think you’ve finally run out of ways to entertain your kids at home, it’s time to get creative! Encourage your kids to engage in imaginative play. Pretend play is great for developing children’s decision-making and problem-solving skills! To get the ball rolling, you could create a pretend restaurant, have your kids put on a play for you, or build a fort out of blankets and pillows. If your closet is brimming with old clothes that you never wear, this could be a great opportunity to do some decluttering and create a dress-up box for your kids. No purchase necessary! Thanks to the power of imagination, your kids can play for hours on end without expensive toys or fancy products.

Keeping your kids busy during long days at home can feel like an endless battle, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Exercising, playing, and learning with your little ones are fantastic and affordable ways to strengthen your mutual bond. Use your time together to create lasting memories and help your children establish healthy behaviors that will stick with them for the rest of their lives! 

Medical Trauma Has Been on My Mind

Medical trauma has been on my mind. Despite, or maybe because of, the current pandemic that is disrupting all of our lives, I’m pressing onward in writing my story. I want to remember every detail; all of the moments of anguish just as much as the squeals of delight. Medical problems are traumatizing and often overlooked when we study trauma-informed care. I knew my mom would have more answers for me but I also knew that a hard conversation needed to occur.

“Mom, I need a favor. I’m working on a writing project and need for you to try to remember all of the details about my surgery and the time you spent at the hospital with me.”

“Um…well…I remember it as if it was yesterday but then I also have times during it that I’ve blocked out or something. I’ll try…I just don’t know if I can remember all of it.”

Within seconds, Mom started pouring out details of that fateful time in 1983. The paper quickly filled up with notes. I barely kept up with her. Her voice cracked a few times, followed by a drawn-out silence until picking back up where she left off. I knew she was holding back tears. I knew this was hard for her to go there again. As you can see in the image, Mom thought she couldn’t remember that much because of the stress involved at that time, but she did.

What I experienced is considered medical trauma. For her (and my Dad), it is also trauma induced by the near-death experience of their daughter.

Why am I telling this to you? Because medical trauma has been on my mind. I’ve been trying to dodge the fear of getting sick with this virus. I know, however, that it is a trauma-trigger for me. And, for anyone who has experienced significant, life-changing illness. It is also triggering for people who cared for those of us who survived serious illness.

Tonight, I’m thinking of all the people around the world who have just narrowly escaped death or the ones who are fighting it. I’m thinking about the health care professionals who are battling exhaustion and fear so they can keep someone else alive. My heart is with those who couldn’t be there for their loved one’s final days.

This virus is traumatizing for our society. As we push through it and prayerfully get through it, we will come out okay, but changed. Medical trauma is just as real and valid as any other form of trauma.

Let’s keep each other close in thought. Let’s check on each other, show grace and kindness. We will all remember the fear or worry that we are feeling right now, but we can also do our part in letting compassion and putting others’ needs in front of our own become just as memorable.