Health, Inspiration, Mind, Soul, Body


If you are like me, you’ve probably gone through every emotion right about now, trying to wrap your head around COVID-19. Some of our responses are how the virus has affected our lives and others are a response to the people we care for and who help us go about our day to day lives.

First, it started with just believing this was just like any other flu. Then a couple of weeks ago we were asked to begin distancing ourselves from everyone. Now, with many ill and dying, we are asked to refrain from our normal way of life with practically no outings except to the grocery store or perhaps a doctor’s appointment. Many people are still working and those on the front line in hospitals and serving the community are heroes and saints.

At the beginning, since my work as a temp for the school district went south with the school closures, and social distancing started, it almost felt like a guilty pleasure, to be able to stay home and hang out or work on projects or blog. No commitments, nowhere to be, tasks completed with ease, almost like a stay-at-home vacation. The reality of life has a way of catching up when opening the mailbox to retrieve the latest bills.

The only window to the outside world has been television news, Facebook and Twitter and very infrequent trips to the grocery store. Of course, frequent calls to family and friends are a boon to having some semblance of normalcy in or lives even if we know in the back of our minds that we won’t be able to ignore the fact that we might need to remain physically distant.

Public gatherings, including church services and Mass are all going on-line and what I am finding is there seems to be an influx of churches and businesses getting into the social media “business.” Perhaps it’s becoming the “new normal,” at least temporarily. I am in a Lenten frame of mind, so I suppose less is more right now for me and I am tending to view a smattering of what is offered online.

I have all of these ideas for projects or blog posts but it almost feels like I am out of my element as worry and stress places a toll on energy. Since my husband and I are empty-nesters, we used to eat out occasionally, but now with dining in, we have been taking turns cooking so it doesn’t become so monotonous. I fear for the retailers and restaurant owners.

I haven’t mentioned anger, probably because I haven’t experienced that emotion yet. When you are grieving, you run the whole gamut of emotions over time. I think, as Americans, and I am sure all those around the world, are still trying to gain an acceptance of this silent killer because we are still in shock and grieving our former way of life, at least for the time being. We do and will have to grieve this as many things will be missed or altered-graduations, weddings, birthdays, sporting events, church services, classes on college campuses, dining out. In the end, perhaps we will gain a new appreciation for what it means to be an American with our many luxuries and freedoms as this is the greatest country in the world.

Some things you can do to cope with COVID.

  • Talk to those in your immediate family or call a distant family member or a friend. There are also numbers you can call in your community.
  • Remember to give your immediate family members space and ask for space if you need it.
  • Try to stay in touch with the outside community, be it your church or other organizations through email or phone, Skype or Zoom.
  • Take frequent walks in the neighborhood or local park if there aren’t too many people there. Many of the national and state parks are closed.
  • Listen to music, dance, jump rope, get out of bed and get dressed.
  • Try to watch the news just briefly and limit time with electronic devices, unless, of course, it is your job to be on the computer.
  • Do something for someone else, whether you mail a package of cookies to family members or donate on-line or volunteer (with precautions) which leads to a sense of purpose.
  • Hold those you love in prayer or intentional thought. Have you ever received a phone call from someone you recently had intentionally been praying for or thinking about?

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Health, Health and Beauty, Mind, Soul, Body

I Wore a Face Mask and I Liked It

Renewing Regimen

I don’t normally use facial masks but a sample facial mask packet arrived in the package of an online order for a different product. I gave it a try and I liked it. I don’t remember the brand but it was a light-weight mask and my skin felt truly luxurious after I applied it and rinsed it off. It reminded me of applying mud masks when I was a teenager. I think it was a fad then–at least for teenagers. There is a benefit to taking care of our skin as we age.

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Masks aside, my absolute favorite skin care product is Yon-ka which I have used for a number of years. The Yon-ka toner which the company calls lotion is what I live for in the morning! The toner is infused with essential oils and paired with the Yon-ka moisturizer for my skin type keeps my skin feeling its best. Occasionally, I get a Yon-ka facial that includes a hydrating mask. If any men are reading this wondering what a great gift for their wives might be, look no further than an esthetician’s chair. I don’t get a facial as often as I would like but when I do, I go for a Yon-ka facial. The essential oils in the products take me away and the deep hydration is pure heaven! Plus, the facial uses steam to help deep-clean pores. If you are interested in using steam look for a classic European facial and better yet a Yon-ka European facial.

The tried and true

A new year skin care ritual that is easy to perform at home and that I take great comfort in is my skin sloughing regimen. Whenever I tell anyone about it, they get a big kick out of the word sloughing, but honestly, when one takes a bath to soften the skin, the dead skin cells come off more easily, especially if using a towel that is a little on the “rough” side. Towels that are line-dried have this quality or not using fabric softener also works. Since the weather is dismal and the flurry of activity before, during and after the holidays has me feeling a little spent, this ritual gets me revitalized to take on the new year in all its’ newness. Time to clear the old skin away, the old clothes, old papers, old mindsets. etc.

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Health, Mind, Soul, Body

Living with Pain

I had a headache today and I was trying to determine the cause. It seems that I do have headaches a little more frequently as I get older and want to explore the root cause so that they do not become chronic. I think the headaches are caused from tension.

I can experience tension from the seemingly smallest things and I think tight neck muscles contribute to the headaches. I probably need to move my body a little more. I am becoming more attuned to my body and what might trigger it to feel poorly. I have realized that I need to eat at a particular time each day, which also helps with the upkeep of a healthy metabolism, and to keep my body hydrated by drinking a lot of water. Many headaches are caused by dehydration.

Muscles can become tense when working at a desk all day or tensed up with cold weather or cold air conditioned rooms. I find when I travel to warmer climes, my muscles tend to melt like wax. Ah, an excuse for a warm weather adventure!

When muscles become tense deep breathing exercises can help with relaxation, calming the body and also can boost energy. Yoga can target specific areas of the body and I am amazed at how different yoga postures can align the body. I cross my legs when I am sitting and that is probably one of the worst things you can do for you body and for your posture.

Massage also helps with tight muscles and drinking water after a massage session can eliminate the body of toxins.

I am also wondering whether eye strain from reading and working on my phone can contribute to tension. I like to work on my computer but find that working and reading on a phone even though convenient, leaves me with blurry vision sometimes.

Try to recognize the patterns when your body experiences pain or discomfort. Usually, it is your body trying to tell you something.

Inspiration, Mind, Soul, Body

It’s Easter

Alleluia, He is Risen!

Yes, it is still Easter. The Easter season lasts 50 days until Pentecost. Alleluia! What a great way to have the time to enjoy the church season of Easter and think about the meaning of the resurrection in our lives. After all, it is not the empty tomb that requires our attention but encountering Jesus after the resurrection just like the disciples did on the road to Emmaus.

On a recent trip to the coast, my husband and I encountered a tunnel which we hesitantly navigated through. The tunnel lead to an area of beach that was less populated and foreign to us. Climbing through the tunnel reminded me of the resurrected Jesus walking out of the tomb into the light.

Participating in the Lenten practice of fasting or sacrifice before Easter, I gave up watching TV for 40 days and it was a little like walking through the tunnel which was dark and rock-strewn, but I just kept my focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I focused on what I might gain from having extra time–extra time to think, to read, to cook, talk to family and friends, etc. I would say that I even gained an appreciation for being able to have the option for televised entertainment and news gathering.

Sometimes when life is dark, especially with so many atrocities we are faced with in the world, it is important to continue to focus on the light.

Inspiration, Mind, Soul, Body

The Uphill Climb

Well, it’s the 5th week of Lent and I have given up TV for almost 40 days. Now, I did watch one basketball game and one movie on TV and I watched a movie in the theater but other than that and some online Facebook videos, the TV has been off for me.

Tonight, I really wanted to watch some TV. It was just one of those nights where all you want to do is veg in front of the TV. My husband was out of town and I really felt like watching TV because the house was quiet and empty–just like a desert–like the desert that Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in. Jesus was tempted and I was really tempted tonight to just plug in. Sometimes it is hard to contend with ourselves when there is no activity planned. When our lives are so busy with so many activities we often feel guilty when we do absolutely nothing.

What have I learned these past days? Am I not just going to go back to what I was doing after Easter arrives? Isn’t it supposed to be about a conversion of heart–to cut away the slack-stripping the excess away? To draw closer to Jesus?

By giving up TV and having extra time available, I found that I experienced a pulling-away from my regular routine to discover something new. In the pulling-away, I found that I was more receptive to an unplanned life of sorts, allowing me to leave room for the quiet, still voice of the Holy Spirit.

Instead of coming home after work and turning on the news without a second thought, I would come home and cook something nutritious, read a book, call my kids and my mom, or just sit in a chair with a cup of tea and do nothing. I found that I picked up actual hard-covered books to read which I haven’t done in a while. I completed two of them and am on my third. I tended not to look at the denial of something pleasurable or routine as a “giving up” but a “honing-in.”

I also refrained from looking up the news on-line except for a few tweets or even clickbait that caught my eye so I probably didn’t miss much. Another thing I learned, is that it is hard to do something completely if the other person, my husband, is not doing the same thing-namely, giving up TV. I had to put my blinders on.

Yes, I can’t wait to watch TV again! I can’t wait to tune into the programs to watch my newscaster “friends,” (my husband gets a chuckle out of this) watch a few select TV programs, watch some of the Oscar movies or just relax and watch TV with my husband. I am going to enjoy watching TV, albeit a bit more judiciously.

I don’t mean to make denial of trivial things (yes, TV viewing is trivial) important. There are hardships in life that are more important and difficult to endure and I think that denying ourselves from trivial things from time-to-time, allows us to unite with those that are truly suffering and reminds us of how and why Christ suffered for us.