What chicken wings taught me about living

This article was originally published on the Freed-Hardeman University Beyond the Tassel college alumni blog series.

That this is what we fear — no sight, no sound, 
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anesthetic from which none come round.

“Aubade” by Philip Larkin

Here we are, navigating the choppy waters of what seems like a never-ending global pandemic. While hope remains firmly planted on the horizon, it’s out of focus at times, cloudy with variants and surges. I know it’s far too early to “call it,” but with vaccines, we are thankfully doing some damage to Covid-19. We are cautiously and optimistically making our best efforts to return to all the things we so casually took for granted before 2020.

But are we truly getting back to all the things? Like we once were? Undoubtedly, this challenge has altered us in some ways—some good, some bad. Many of us have reconnected to a passion or recommitted ourselves to our families, our friends, and our faith. That’s all good stuff. 

For others, however, a once sparkling, colorful world has lost its luster. Wherever you are on the spectrum of fear to freedom, the world now can feel like an awkward, new space that is foreign, gray, and hollow.

For my college-age son, who had Covid-19 last year, this world has been exceedingly bland. He completely lost his taste and smell for more than six months. The aftermath has been tough on him. When I tell you that this young man has a deep, personal relationship with chicken wings, I am not kidding. He experienced a sudden break-up with food with no promise it would ever return.

In perspective with the tragic toll of the disease, losses like this are nothing. Even so, the slightest ripple effects are effects we’re learning to live with. Thankfully, after too many months of this void, my son’s senses are waking up from hibernation.

But just like our own current reality, life is different for him. He doesn’t love hamburgers anymore. Scrambled eggs are a chore. Special desserts aren’t that special now. Fortunately, chicken wings have made a comeback (the spicier, the better!), but there’s still something missing. The vibrancy in flavors is somehow less. His cravings aren’t the same.

I believe our cravings have changed too. I’ve noticed an unfortunate chilling effect on our craving for community. It seems simpler now to do everything remote, right? We’ve discovered we can worship, or study, or teach, or talk, or sing, or laugh, without ever leaving the couch. If we want to, we can depend solely on emojis to express how we feel. That is utterly 😩.

Let’s be honest. It got easy to do everything from a comfortable, sanitized distance. Too easy. And life is hard. Maybe this is better? What’s the big deal?

Here’s why I believe it’s a massive deal. 

If we choose to accept this and chalk it up to “everything’s changed since Covid,” and “life will never be the same,” then: 

1) Satan gets a foothold. Spoiler Alert: Satan loses in the end, but this virus has proven to be a crafty, divisive weapon against our churches, our families, and our relationships; and

2) We’re not giving God enough credit. We’re choosing to settle for a flavorless, flat world of our own making, not His.

God showers us with the most wonderful things to enjoy— to touch, to smell, to see, to taste, and to feel! Most importantly, he gives us each other. Despite what you’ve seen on TV, most people are still amazing!

As I approach my 50th birthday this year (ouch), I’ll admit the big picture has become clearer. Hindsight is a remarkable gift. During these grueling months of global loss, I witnessed and experienced personal loss too. In my college alumni family, we lost far too many incredible souls too soon. 

One of my best college friends unexpectedly passed from a non-Covid related illness. Sadly, we were out of touch for years. We had recently reconnected on social media, but I let the busyness of life keep me from reaching out to him sooner. I have deep regrets about that missed opportunity for a reunion this side of Heaven. 

It’s regret that resonates so clearly with me now. As we strive to move on and out of Covid captivity, I’m vowing to pursue more of the messy, but meaningful moments in person. Even when they infringe upon my comfort zone, even when I have to get in my car or put on make-up, even when they require more of me—who cares? These moments may not achieve Instagram perfection, but thank goodness they will be real. They are the best part of what we’ve got here for as long as we’ve got it. 

While this world is not our home, I believe it’s a 5-D preview of what’s to come, an infinitely small taste of Heaven. It’s up to us to get out there and savor it. 

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! 

Psalms 34:8 (NLT)

Forget the New Year: I’m Making Post-Covid Resolutions

My driveway where I walk almost every day while making mental resolutions for the other side of Covid-19. A girl can dream!

It’s officially fall, and while most people are overdosing on pumpkin spice and dragging their sweaters out of storage, I’m over here phoning in the fall season. While I love the leaves and their cheery colors, bowls of soup with bread, and the smoky scent of firewood, I’m already looking ahead.

It’s already been the worst fall of all time. I’m dreaming of a next fall when hayrides, tailgates and potlucks are the norm again. Sure, I can live in the moment—what choice do I have?—but I don’t think it’s too soon to start making some resolutions for a post-Covid world. 

I’ve decided that I’m skipping New Year’s resolutions. I’m going straight for what we’re all waiting and pining for that isn’t tethered to a date on the calendar. As soon as someone gives the all-clear that we can stop tiptoeing through our lives like nervous cats, I hope I remember these resolutions and live them well.

My Top 20 Post-Covid Resolutions

  1. Dress up and wear something that makes me feel awesome at least twice a week.
  2. Entertain more at home and crash your party. Who cares if our homes are clean? Clean is overrated.
  3. Hug everyone, give out kisses, invade personal space. I’ll bring the breath mints.
  4. Travel abroad and take the trips I was saving for someday.
  5. Bring back the mosh pit.
  6. Decrease my screen time. Screens aren’t our friends. Humans are.
  7. Forgive and move on. Life is short. An angry life is bitter and lonely.
  8. Shake hands with anyone and everyone. Hold hands with the people I love.
  9. Write the book.
  10. Ditch Amazon and go shopping. Browse the aisles. Touch things, smell things and try before you buy. Champion the resurgence of retail!
  11. Take a swing dancing class.
  12. Buy the tickets. Go to a nerd-fest fan convention or a writer’s conference.
  13. Visit Disney World or Universal Studios and never complain about long lines again.
  14. Stay for the reception. Dance.
  15. Go to all the parades.
  16. Make time for the family visits and do the traditions. Make them count.
  17. Double dip.
  18. Turn off the news and do something newsworthy (something legal and positive, of course).
  19. Schedule and keep the coffee date, the lunch, or the movie night with a favorite friend. Catch up with the people who always say, “we need to catch up.”
  20. Build a massive bonfire and invite everyone over to Burn. Our. Masks!
A proper high school Homecoming bonfire pre-Covid. Personally, I’m looking forward to the most epic mask-burning bonfire of all time!

I made my resolutions as realistic as I possibly could. They’re within reason, right? When reason is something we get the luxury to enjoy again, I will be ready. 

What are your post-Covid resolutions? If you’re like most humans on earth at this moment, there’s a fairly good chance you already have a list all your own. Like mine, your list may seem silly in relation to a deadly pandemic, but mental health is important too.

Writing down our goals by reflecting on what we’ve learned isn’t naive if it also makes us feel good. Feeling good is a worthy investment of our time right now. It’s also a boost for the immune system!

Visualizing what we’ll do with our unhampered hours once we get them back is the first step to redeeming some of what we’ve lost this year.

Commit to something different and a new appreciation of what’s important to you in the post-Covid years of your lives.

If anyone has an update on when that begins, just let me know.

Until then, make the resolutions. Start working on them now. Trash the ones you’re making for 2021. Lord knows we wish we could take back our 2020 resolutions. After all, hindsight is … well, you know the rest.

Surviving Covid-19: When Your Worst-Case Scenario is the Scenario

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.

One week ago, I was hopeful that my family would be turning the corner back toward normal in just a few days—normal being a relative term these days, of course.

To rewind, my husband, a high school football coach, had been quarantined from our family and others for several days following Covid-19 exposure. Sadly, he had to miss coaching a game for the first time in 22 years.

Before that quarantine was up, he had some flu-like symptoms, but after two negative Covid tests and no more fever, we all thought it was safe for him to get back to work. A new week was beginning, and we would hit reset then, right?

Wrong. Our worst-case scenario was only beginning.

After he got cleared to coach a football game last Friday night, he woke up Saturday feeling horrible. That same day, I had him check his oxygen level with a small device that my Dad sent to us over six months ago. Truthfully, I thought it was one of those weird items that your parents buy on QVC. I had stuck it in the back of the bathroom closet and forgot about it.

But then I remembered hearing that low oxygen levels are a telltale warning sign with Covid, so I dug it out of the closet. My husband’s oxygen level that day was 95. It was lower than what you want to see, but still in the safe zone.

Not the Friday Night Lights we hoped for as my husband attempts to assist in coaching while quarantined in his Suburban.

On Sunday, his hacking cough never seemed to end, and he could barely talk. So we checked it again. This time it was 92. I decided to call a physician who recommended he see a doctor in the morning to confirm the reading and seek necessary care. Suddenly we were preparing for bad news—what if he did have Covid-19 after all?

At 8 a.m. the next morning, his oxygen level read 86. It was time to go to the doctor and accept the strong possibility that his Covid test had been wrong. By the time he got to the doctor’s office, his oxygen number had plummeted to 81. He was sent straight to the ER where he was hospitalized and diagnosed with Covid-19. I know now that my Dad’s gift may have saved my husband’s life.

For the next three days, he remained at the hospital in isolation from us and anyone else except an excellent team of healthcare professionals. He received an intensive protocol of oxygen, breathing treatments, Remdesivir, antibiotics, and steroids. He wasn’t put on a respirator because he had no underlying health issues and was breathing well enough on his own. In just a few days, he made huge leaps and was home with us again.

Unfortunately, coming home was hardly the caboose of this crazy train.

For starters, we remain completely separated from him as he continues to heal. I have not slept in our bed for almost a month. To be anywhere near my husband to deliver food or medicine, we both wear masks while he stays far away. He can have no interaction with us except through doors or our cell phones. It also means that we’re back to a quarantine lifestyle outside of the house too. So yes, that means high school homeschool has resumed—groan.

To make things much, much worse, this all happened during football season, meaning that everything has been shut down for two weeks. Two big games are now gone. Memories and opportunities for my son and his teammates are now gone. Many lives have had to change their plans because Covid had plans of its own. I seriously couldn’t have written a more depressing story. For us, it feels like the worst-case scenario came true.

Thankfully, despite all this doom and gloom, I know that our scenario truly wasn’t the absolute worst. My husband survived and everyone is fine, even as our story continues to unfold. We are still living in this story and learning a lot about the disease, our attitudes, our priorities, and our survival skills. We’re also learning more about God’s mercy, our faith, and the value of community.

Regarding our relationship with the disease, my 20-year old son also had Covid two months ago, and he still hasn’t regained 100% of his taste and smell. I sincerely hope that the worst is over for this household. I believe we will overcome it, but what that looks like is out of focus. I wish I could be more optimistic, but we are a long way from the days of toilet paper memes. Weren’t those the best days?

I think it’s now probably safe to say that this virus may be inevitable if you’re going to be out and about among the living. We should continue to exercise common sense and precautions, of course, but I think it’s far more tenacious than I ever imagined. It honestly sucks. 

In full transparency, I’ll share what the sucky side of Covid life looks like at our house right now.

I make everyone sanitize their hands all day long and I bleach clean everything constantly. Our home smells like a hospital. I’m tired of choking down huge vitamins.

I’m a cranky and unimaginative cook. No one wants leftovers, and we fuss a lot about food. I yell things like, “no one cooks full meals during the day unless they’re Amish!

I’ve lost my home office (aka the master bedroom), and have had to call clients from the laundry room this week.

My boys miss watching and talking football with their Dad. We all miss hugs and physical touch.

My husband misses social contact. I honestly don’t know how he’s made it in isolation this long. He mostly spends his days alone despite our best efforts to remind him we’re here.

Even our two cats know that something is up, and they’ve been sleeping in weird places. Yesterday I stepped on a fresh hairball in the living room with bare feet. That was a low point.

We’re all more sensitive and irritable and prone to complain about anything. No one is sleeping on a regular schedule. It just seems impossible given the circumstances.

It’s very easy to slip into pity party thinking when that’s the only party you’re attending at the moment.

On a positive note, and there is one, we have also received incredible support from near and far. We can’t figure out why, but apparently, people love us! In an ironic twist, the most viral thing we have ever done as a family is to come down with a killer virus, no pun intended (okay, actually it’s a perfect pun).

Not that I recommend catching Covid-19 to be reminded of how many friends you have, but it has given us a beautiful picture of the people in our corner. While the last few weeks have been exhausting and disheartening at times, we have also felt such a powerful calm and confidence from the outpouring of support and prayers.

I am 100% convinced that our journey through this weird, dark place was strengthened and accelerated through prayer. Prayers, texts, calls, and gestures of kindness have brought us comfort in the face of uncertainty.

I know our story is just one of millions in this continuing saga. Our experience with Covid-19 has been an unfortunate, annoying setback that was scary for a short time. We do not take this for granted. Many families have not had the same outcome. This disease is random and relentless, but it will not define us as a family, a community, a country, and as people. 

We still get to choose how to respond to whatever it hurls at us. We aren’t perfect and will experience highs and lows as we process our response. But if I’ve learned anything while spending time with the ‘Rona, I’ve discovered that we are stronger than we think we are. God built us with incredible fortitude and He is always near. 

I am forever grateful to those who haven’t let us forget it.

When in doubt, show up


I’m thankful to Mateo the Handyman for the inspiration on the tailgate of his pick-up truck. I’m pretty sure this guy is getting the job done.

I’m fairly observant most of the time, but I’ve noticed that I’m beginning to tune out the sights and sounds of our current situation. It seems easier that way. It may also be denial, but that’s where I am. 

I have tapped into every facet of my being to will away, write away, pray away, and push away the fact that things are not getting substantially better yet. I’ve come to accept that this uncomfortable place is our home for now. For me, it’s been simpler at times to numb my senses. 

Thankfully, I still managed to see something recently that demanded my attention in the most unlikely of places. In a city parking lot on the tailgate of a local handyman’s truck, I discovered a short slogan that spoke to me like a prophetic calling.

I Show Up.

That’s it. That’s his marketing strategy. And I love it.

When your faucet is leaking or a window is broken, who do you need? You need someone who shows up. Until the repairman arrives, he can’t diagnose the problem, buy the essential parts, and get to work. Those three words really simplify things.

We can’t slay a dragon if we’re hiding behind a rock.

Right now, we’re all trying to slay a really BIG dragon in our lives. The size of its flames and ferocity depends on how this virus is disrupting or even threatening our very lives. If we want to get a handle on our everyday experience and stop living on the edge of our seats, we just need to shut up and show up.


What does your dragon look like right now? When I picture mine, I always see the dragon fiercely guarding Gringott’s Bank in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

We can’t control a lot, but we can control where we are.

Here are four ways to take back some control.

Show up for family members and friends.
Especially if you have loved ones in isolation, make a call, write a letter (with actual ink ON paper), send an email, make a video, send a voice text, organize a video chat, or just sit outside in a chair and make some noise with banners and confetti. Deliver or mail a favorite treat, flowers, or a special book. Be a human person. Go beyond a “like” or an emoji. Be as real and in the flesh as you can be.

Show up for your home.
Cook a favorite meal, sing loudly even if they protest, pull up a chair to talk
and listen, plan a surprise day trip, help someone with homework, unload the dishwasher when it isn’t your turn, hang the towel up, and turn off your stinking phone. Look for opportunities to do things you haven’t done before. Reinvent what you can be for the people who live with you and love you.

Show up for your community.
People need people, even in places that aren’t open in a normal way. Our souls crave community. Visit a city park, buy local, pick up trash that isn’t yours, send an encouraging email or note to your local leaders, visit your library, help someone who seems overwhelmed, pray with and for people who are suffering in silence, and smile at strangers.

Show up for yourself.
Maybe this should have been first on the list because until we are fully present, it’s hard to show up for everyone else.
Invest in YOU. Use this time to return to a hobby you once loved, start a journal, learn a new skill, take a hike, make a new friend, watch a favorite movie, watch a Christmas movie (!), or take a mineral bath (it’s the new bubble bath, friends, and it’s amazing – check out Dr. Teal’s – the Pink Himalayan Mineral Soak is my favorite). Just identify what feeds your spirit and fill up!

If we keep showing up, we get things done. If we keep showing up, we focus more on the important because we’ll be too busy to focus on everything else. If we keep showing up, we can overcome this challenge with fewer battle scars. If we keep showing up, we get to write the ending to our chapter in this upside-down story.

Don’t forget that you are in charge of YOU. This mess of politics and the pandemic is NOT the boss of you. Don’t listen to your doubts. They are greedy. They want you to miss out. We all have important work to do. We just need to show up so that we don’t miss it. 



How to get past the pandemic blues



Professional photos aren’t in my budget, so I volunteered myself as a “tribute” for this photo to illustrate my pandemic blues. Note I am NOT a “Happy Camper.” Photo credit goes to my son, Canon, who is still making fun of me and refused to take any more (see outtakes below).

My usual bubbly perspective has lost its fizz lately. It isn’t easy for me to admit, but I think I may have been suffering from a case of the pandemic blues.

What, you say, are the pandemic blues?

Go put your sweatpants back on, watch about 30 minutes of any 24-hours news channel, and BAM… you’ll be right there with me. The thing is, I’ve tried to fight the blues by wearing real clothes and make-up, making plans, venturing out, exercising, avoiding the news, and relying on optimism, prayer and cinnamon gummy bears to get me through this waiting game.

But as I’ve been dodging and pretending, I’ve realized that I can’t will this new reality away. It’s not really summer, it wasn’t spring, it apparently won’t be fall, or even the winter we have always known.

For now, it’s simply pandemic season.

It sounds dramatic, but it’s true. You see, everything that makes those other seasons distinct and memorable is linked to the places we GO, and the things we DO, and the people we SEE. As the pandemic season is gobbling up our seasons (including the possibility of football season, I can’t even go there yet), there isn’t much going, or doing, or seeing. Pandemic season has its own dimensions, rhythms and rules.

With a valiant effort, I pushed this unwelcome season away for a few weeks. We all did in our attempt to convince ourselves that “hey kids, it’s summertime!” But it’s still pandemic season. Make no mistake. It is very much here and it demands our attention, no matter what we believe about its threat.

When I really let this settle in my heart, it hurts. I miss family. I miss friends. I miss the comfort of community that I clearly took for granted. Yes, we still see each other in short bits and spurts – on screens, behind masks, elbow to elbow, through windows, six feet away – but these are far from the deeper connections we crave.

Never before have I truly appreciated the value of presence, of humanity in the flesh, of hugs without hesitation.

It’s why we’ll never have a cyborg family that can serve as a substitute for the real thing. My apologies to those working in Artificial Intelligence, but you have much more work to do.

Last night, I was absorbed in a pity party for one. I didn’t have any grand 4th of July plans. Most events were cancelled or scaled down significantly. At our house, we were a bit weary, so we stayed in. I soon wandered outside, drawn to the sounds of fireworks that began exploding right after dark. Honestly, it sounded like Baghdad. I was curious, and maybe a little unsettled considering the state of the world.

It’s our first summer living in this house, which appears to be the epicenter of all fireworks in the state of Tennessee. From every direction, we had a spectacular show. I was running around outside like a kid, trying to find the best place to watch. My husband teased me, “Um, haven’t you seen fireworks before?” Together we sat under a brilliant sky and laughed at the competition among the neighbors. I heard a baby cry, and cheering, and dogs barking, and crickets. In the dark, it felt for a moment that summer was back in its rightful place. Briefly, it was if the coronavirus and the unrest in our country had been a terrible dream.


View from our front porch of the free fireworks show we enjoyed on this memorable, but very different 4th of July. Thanks neighbors, whoever you are!

But even with reality looming in the back of my mind, I was thankful for those loud, colorful bursts in a way that I’ve never been before. I was thankful for the lightning bugs with their tiny golden sparks that accompanied the show. And then, God lit up the sky with flashes of pink and blue lightning for the finale!  

The sights and sounds were a symphony of peace that my soul needed.

And then I cried, of course, but I believe that tears are a built-in release valve. Release is what we need! Yes, we’ve lost much, but we haven’t lost it all.

There is a great Protector who is holding you and your place in your story as you wait patiently for the page to turn. Don’t give into the temptation to skip over this chapter, to withdraw and become numb. Or worse, to become angry. It’s not easy, but it’s important that we feel our way through this discomfort and come through stronger and wiser on the other side.

Because feeling is living!

Be an encourager for others and allow them to be an encourager for you. Feel with people and be with people in whatever way you can. It’s always the right season for loving one another.


If nothing else will cure you from the pandemic blues, this ridiculous photo shoot might do the job. There was a lot of laughing (at myself) under that mask and probably some from my neighbors. My sons were horrified and were not sure if they should have called for help.


Embrace the sun this summer

Hilton Head Island, SC, Summer 2020

Is it plagiarism and lazy if you steal your own blog article that was a guest post on someone else’s blog from two summers ago? I hope not. I’m on summer vacation and this post seems especially nostalgic and appropriate for right now. Although I’ve given it a 2020 update, the sentiments are the same.
Thanks to my precious, longtime friend, Betsy Pendergrass, who invited me to write on her blog and reminded me that I need to make words more often. Betsy has an amazing website, a podcast, inspiring products and a wonderful community to join – check her out at Gathering Around


The word is packed with so much potential! The idea of summer always holds the possibility for unforgettable moments. When I think about the summer memories I cherish, they range from the mundane to the spectacular.

Just this morning, I’m sitting here on a summer vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina with my husband and two sons. We’re vacationing in the time of the coronavirus. The limitations of that make me especially grateful that last summer, we took an epic two-week trip out West when it was possible to travel with no restrictions.

Living in the moment  – especially now – is more important than ever. 


The Grand Canyon, North Rim (Summer 2019) and The Grand Canyon, South Rim (Summer 1985)

Over the years we’ve spent together as a family unit of four, I realize I’ve been borderline obsessed with making every summer special. I inherited this charge from my parents, who took me and my brother on a variety of memorable trips without ever getting on a plane.

I recall a cross-country trip in the 1980’s when my family left Alabama in a large yellow Buick bearing a ROLL TIDE bumper sticker and a handmade California or Bust sign in the window.  Clearly we weren’t trying to blend in on our journey West. On this trip, I somehow became the only witness to a shooting in South Central L.A. We were lost. There was no GPS. There were no cell phones. These were simpler times. Thankfully God had plans to keep me around to create equally terrifying and terrific memories for another generation. 

Even with the way technology has changed the way we travel today, my family has enjoyed and endured many similar adventures. We’ve packed a lot into the 20 years since my oldest was born. We’ve done the tourist traps at the beach and the mountains, we’ve been to a Yankees game, we’ve eaten Chicago deep-dish pizza, we’ve done the theme parks, and we’ve sailed on a Caribbean cruise. We’ve overspent and perhaps overcompensated for who knows what, but I still wouldn’t change a thing. 

Embrace the Sun
New York City, Summer 2011

As awesome and photo-worthy as those memories are, I’ve found that some of the sweetest memories have been much simpler, closer to home, and cheaper. When I was blessed to be a work-at-home mom and the boys were little, our summer days were magic. After they slept late, we would eat Cream of Wheat for breakfast, fill up the baby pool, and read stories at night before bedtime. We rode bikes, went to story time at the library, and slathered hydrocortisone on mosquito bites.

It wasn’t fancy, but it was good.

Years later, summers started filling up with sports and activities, but I still purposed to capture something meaningful. We would go swimming with friends, enjoy longer visits with their grandparents, and stay up late every night to watch movies and make popcorn.

As the years raced by and the boys naturally started gravitating toward more time with friends and their teenage interests (PS4 and working out — need I say more?), I’ve found myself sometimes feeling lost. Where do I really fit in anymore? In a true “Hail Mary” attempt to keep our evolving relationships intact, we bought a small, used camper several years ago. It was my desperate effort to make the most of what was left of our dwindling summer family time.

As possibly the least outdoorsy family to go camping EVER, we went for it and never looked back. Fast forward and I’m proud to say we’ve enjoyed several camping trips together. They were not without challenges such as getting locked outside the camper, toilet problems, rainy campsites, no heat, an incessant smoke alarm, and grumpy hiking treks. I also should mention that my family did not even fit comfortably in this camper that barely slept four (see update in photo below). To call us happy campers all the time would have been a stretch.

But regardless of how imperfect our summer memories may be, they are OURS and ours alone. For me, summer is perhaps the most defining part of childhood. It’s a condensed version of the highs and lows that define every family dynamic and it’s deeply personal. The point of summer isn’t to make it Instagram worthy or spend the most money, it’s just to make it uniquely YOURS and embrace every second.

Make precious family memories while you can in this brief ray of sun. It only shines for a season, but its warmth will stay with you forever.

The camper that was. In my normal spontaneous manner, I bought this camper before doing even five minutes of research. It is a “low profile” camper, which means the ceilings are lower for garage storage. With the exception of me and my youngest before he grew a foot and a half, we are not low profile people. We have since sold the camper since my 6 foot+ husband and boys have zero head space inside. I am looking forward to another camper with more vertical space in our future!

Are you over it yet?


Actual photo of me hitting a wall and my hair in its current quarantine natural state. This has to end soon.

This week, we hit a wall. Did you feel it?

I think it’s safe to say that any novelty related to our country’s pandemic lockdown has officially worn off. Toilet paper jokes are no longer funny. Our children are starting to resemble the children from The Lord of the Flies. We’ve made everything we know how to cook, and then we’ve made it again. Our home gyms are not getting the job done. We’re becoming a disconnected society all while scrambling to fight for a Wi-Fi connection in our neighborhoods.

We’ve reached a boiling point, and we’re wearing on the nerves of our household, and let’s be honest, ourselves.

It’s time… or is it? To roll the dice and reopen the world? Just a little?

Protesters who were once fighting for other causes are spilling out into the streets. The team spirit we enjoyed with memes and hashtags just a week ago seems a little less spirited this week. The Disney Family Singalong?? Yeah…even that felt too late and a little out of touch, even for my Disney-loving self. 

The replaying of the same routine, day after day after day, has finally pushed us all to ask ourselves – how much longer can we bear this burden?

I’m not a research scientist or a world leader, so thankfully the tough decisions won’t rest with me, or you. The consequences of these choices will prove to be serious in one way or another, to one group or another. Who plays God and decides who is the least of these? Again, I’m glad it’s not me.

While we all sit idly by, waiting and wondering, let’s cling to the semblance of unity we enjoyed over the last several weeks. And let’s not forget it. Resist the temptation to choose sides and brandish a bullhorn. Opinions are fine. It’s America after all. But regardless of where you stand on these serious issues, be kind, don’t judge, and show some grace. It may seem like we’re all in the same place, experiencing this crisis in the same way, but we’re not.

We can only defeat the virus if we focus on it as one very real, common enemy together. We must give it our best fight as ONE.

Until the day that we celebrate that victory together, stay safe and stay nice America!


Bojangles, my obese cat, who now has his own Instagram page thanks to my boredom during the quarantine. Yes, it’s come to this – Follow him at @mrbojangles21!

How the Coronavirus might cure us all


As the days turn into weeks during this new reality of the COVID-19 outbreak, I’ll admit I’ve participated in my fair share of mindless activities. I’m doing my part to “flatten the curve” while also working from home and trying to homeschool a 16-year old and a college freshman (I’m not qualified!). I’ve sucked down some whipped topping from the can. I’ve become catatonic watching daily news conferences. And while I haven’t watched Tiger King YET on Netflix, it’s next after finishing Love is Blind.

Although I don’t have much to show for this time, I feel like I’ve found some clarity in the midst of the chaos. Now that the daily “to do list” in my busy, American life seems largely irrelevant, I am listening more to my mind, and to my heart, and actually… (wait for it)…THINKING. In fact, the abundant gift of all this extra time alone with my thoughts has forced me to reflect on life in a pretty poignant way. My guess is that I’m not alone.

Over the last few days, I’ve reflected on my disdain for research papers even though I was once really good at them. My son has been working on his first major college research paper and OUCH… revisiting MLA format and navigating those waters with him has been a real downer during this quarantine.

This time has also been incredibly insightful because his paper is titled “The Effects of Technology on Learning and the Brain.” For years, I’ve been suspect that our society has essentially invited the “fox into the hen house” when we welcomed the magic of smart tech with open arms. We hardly paused. It can be so intoxicating! But now that the buzz has worn off, what’s left? Is our current state of dependence irreversible?

Ever since the invasion of the internet and its amazing devices, I’ve been confronted with my own lazy brain and a growing fatigue for reading books or processing complex information. And I don’t think it’s because I’m aging. My 80-year old Dad discovered a pure joy for reading books later in life, and guess what (?) – he doesn’t have OR want a smartphone.

So before I lose your attention (because let’s be honest, I’m competing with cat videos and karaoke in cars), I encourage you to read up and form your own opinions (see links to some of the source material for my son’s paper below). When we no longer have to “shelter in place,” what will we have learned? Despite the very real and tragic losses of this pandemic, maybe we’ll also walk away with something gained – a much needed reality check.

While we can’t go back in time and throw the baby out, I want to believe there’s still time to refresh the bathwater. Maybe we’ll finally turn something off and tune back in.

Is Google Making Us Stupid? by: Nicholas Carr
(And to think this is over 10 years old – telling and a little scary.) 

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction by: Matt Richtel

How Classroom Technology is Holding Students Back by: Natalie Wexler