Peanut Butter - We’ll start with the low hanging fruit, or in this case the legume with a protein punch. I love peanut butter. And I eat it out of the container with a spoon. I prefer organic, creamy peanut butter with salt but no added sugar. And did you know that if you melt a few chocolate chips with peanut butter in the microwave, the calorie count doesn’t count? It’s true. Don’t bother me with science on this one.
Finding Home Delivery Food - I like many have gone down deep rabbit holes looking for ways to obtain food online, both fresh food and staples. For the past eight months, I’ve mostly relied on Misfit Vegetables that have been delivered to me weekly. Since the pandemic, I have tried amazon and Thrive Market. Next week, my local CSA begins and so I’ll trade in my misfits until the winter months when the farm share finishes up. But in the process, I (like many) had a hard time finding yeast. That is until I bit the bullet and bought the price-gauged 2 lb bag from amazon. I have since been able to share the large haul of yeast with two extremely happy friends (who also were looking for yeast.)
Finding a Dog - Right before the pandemic, I had begun entertaining the idea of getting my first dog. My partner has lots of experience with dogs and so we had begun a list of what we wanted/ needed. (Hypoallergenic, medium size, young or adult but not senior, and male were our preferences.) I have applied for four dogs and have not yet been chosen because… EVERYONE IS GETTING A DOG EXCEPT ME! Although I am discouraged, I will persist. Today I filled out two more applications; maybe today is the day!
The NY Times Daily Mini Crossword Puzzle - Somewhere in the first week of the pandemic - see also a whole new reason to avoid the news - see also the President started arguing with the Governors - see also I began to literally loathe cable news for how their sentence structure seemed to only wish for my fear to increase - I subscribed to the Times online and with it, I get the daily mini puzzle. This is about the only puzzle I have a chance of finishing. And about every other day, I enjoy answering questions that have actual answers.
The Sunset - Somewhere in the middle of the last six weeks, I started relying on the sunset as a way of exhaling all of the worries and stress, uncertainty and unpredictability of the day.
Thursday Storytime - Truly, the best time of my job right now is a weekly facetime live storytime I do for the children (and adults) in my congregation. I miss the 3D interaction with my “flock” and for some reason, this feels more touchy than even our live stream worship on Sunday mornings.
17x24 graph paper - Many, many months ago, I started using large graph paper to map out my ideas and even my schedule. But during the pandemic, I start with a fresh page each week. I plot things out using boxes and arrows and different color sharpie markers. I’ve always been a random, non-linear thinker and this has kept me surprisingly on track since our world was turned upside down.
The Kaleidoscope on my desk - Years ago I read a book called Bee Season, where the wife in the story had a touch of kleptomania. She was stealing very small, random objects and placing them in a storage locker. When they finally caught her, the collection looked like a kaleidoscope and for some reason the image has stuck with me. (So weird, I know.) Since then, I have always kept a kaleidoscope close at hand. Turning it and allowing the color and small, random pieces to float to the other end is soothing and provides a perfect pause when I’m switching gears or when I’m looking for a different perspective.
My Home Workspace - I live 20 feet away from the church that I serve. And yet with social distancing guidelines, I realized I would not be comfortable in a big church building all by myself for the foreseeable future. So, I created a work space at home. I covered a plastic table and placed it by a window. I found some plants and the necessary books. It wasn’t until I carved out a new work space that I felt I could move forward under the new circumstances. And for the past week, two different families from church have gifted me with flowers that sit behind me as a backdrop for my zoom meetings.
Calling a friend - Last but not least? I put it last because I tend to try to do it on my own for as long as I can - longer than I ought. But eventually I remember that we are all meant to be interdependent and not independent and then I call, facetime, or zoom with a friend. What I've loved most in the calls these past six months, all emotions are welcome. All frustration, all questions, hope and hopelessness was allowed.
As I saw in a meme recently, we're all in the same storm, but we're not all in the same boat. All of us respond to stress and anxiety differently. We don't all have the same needs. We don't all have the same resources. We all have our lifelines though - sometimes they're an easy grab like a jar of peanut butter and other times, we have to reach further to make the phone call.
What are ten things that have served as your lifelines in the past six weeks?
Books I'm currently reading:
The Post-Quarantine Church: Six Urgent Challenges and Opportunities That Will Determine the Future of Your Congregation