Real life isolation | Friend Check – How are you holding up?

In this season of real life isolation and quarantine, my friends and I have been reaching out to each other via text and phone calls, saying “Friend check – how are you holding up?” It’s surreal, to say the least.

This entire mandatory-stay-home thing caught me off guard. And that’s an understatement. In fact, I didn’t even know it could happen. At least, until my sister over in Portland said the city was on a stay-home order. Then sure enough, two days later the governor issued the same order state-wide in New Hampshire.

And since we’ve still got a couple of days left of our stay-home order, I’m doing it again —

Friend check — how are you holding up?

Timing is everything

I know what you’re thinking — I’m a horrible friend. After all, it’s been weeks since I’ve done anything with the blog. It’s true, and there have been several things that have changed for me in a short amount of time.

First, my husband started a new position. He’s got a quirky job and is a contractor of sorts. When he’s not on assignment, he is “on the bench,” waiting for the next assignment. Aaannd that lasted for about two months. Selfishly, I love having him home (and so do the kids). It was during that time I made some great blogging progress, since he would watch the kids for about three hours every day so I could write.

Then a couple of weeks ago, he started a new assignment. Once again he was full-time in the office, with an hour commute one way. So the kids and I have been re-acclimating to daddy being gone about 50 hours a week. No big — just an adjustment.

To top it off, Speedy has been on the sleep-strike. Like…all month. Lack of sleep alone is enough to put all my projects on hold. Needless to say, precious blogging hours have not been a priority.

Then there’s the novel

About six weeks ago I got the brilliant idea to enter an old story into a contest. You’ve probably caught wind of it from other posts — or even the snippet I dropped on the blog a while back. And since I had a deadline, the story kind of took priority over writing posts.

Can I say it has been oh-so-much-fun working on this story again? If I had to put names to the voices that have been in my head for years, it would be these characters. Revisiting them and editing the novel (yes, novel — 62,000 words and counting) has felt a little like coming home and seeing old friends.

By the way, I’ll be sharing more exclusive snippets here on the blog as I go, but you can read my work in full — for free. In fact, the reason I picked this contest is that it is reader-powered. That means the contest winner is picked based on reader votes (you know, like how the New York Times used to be). So if dark thrillers with an urban-fantasy twist are your thing, check it out here. And don’t forget to vote or share it with someone who will enjoy it!

And being an introvert? Total blessing during real life isolation

Being an introvert has its advantages — especially in real life isolation. I absolutely love my friends and family, but after being social for a while, I need time alone to recharge. So being grounded from social gatherings isn’t too emotionally challenging for me.

But I will admit, I hate missing out on my loved one’s lives. I want to share those moments with them — the joy, frustration and pain. And right now, there’s a lot of moments going on that I can’t partake of in person.

Thank goodness for technology.

Even though I’d much rather catch up in person, I’m more than happy with engaging over technology right now. Whether it’s social media, texting, phone calling or video calling, I haven’t had this many focused conversations in a while.

Well, as focused as I can with the kids. What is it about kids and phone calls? The second I start one, they turn all Lord of the Flies in my living room. Oy…


Speaking of the kids…

Is it me, or is keeping them entertained a whole new ballgame? Especially when you can’t go to libraries, parks, or even the barn. And if your kiddos are young, well, explaining real life isolation is a trick as well.

I know many of you are homeschooling for the first time. Let me just say, kudos to you for stepping up and taking that on! As a home schooled kid and aspiring homeschooling momma, I’ve got an idea of the work entailed. It’s not easy — so give yourself a pat on the back.

Even though I don’t have schooling to worry about since my darlings are 3 and 1, finding things to fill our time has been tricky. Thankfully — by God’s grace — the weather has been warming up. So we have been hitting as many trails as Zoom’s little legs can handle (Speedy gets the royal treatment and rides in the hiking backpack carrier). Getting outside has been saving my sanity, especially with a hyper-active kiddo and unappreciative downstairs neighbors… Here’s to keeping the peace!

But I’m still inspired.

Is it me, or have you seen people going above and beyond to help out right now? I’ve been totally impressed by the stories I’ve heard of folks grocery shopping for each other, extra church givings to help out the jobless, bands putting on special free “concerts” online, and friends in general reaching out for emotional support.

I actually felt a little convicted on this topic a couple days ago. Obviously, us stay-at-home-mommas are a little more limited in the ways we can help out. But through Proverbs 31:13-14, I was reminded the woman of virtue was eager to work and creative. It made me think about gifts and talents.

A lot of us are gifted or talented in many ways. And even if it doesn’t seem like your gifts apply right now, you’re probably wrong. In fact right now, because we’re all stuck inside and away from each other, is probably the most important time to share our gifts with each other through whatever medium we can (again, hurray technology).

Maybe you’re an artist — share pictures of what you’re working on. Or maybe you’re into extreme sports; share your favorite articles, pictures or tips. What about antiquing? Got a mad trick for removing rust or re-purposing old things? Or maybe you’re a storyteller or writer like me — give us a piece of your work to pass the time (like I did with my novel).

Sharing something you’ve done/created/know to brighten someone’s day, and help positively pass the time during real life isolation is an act of service. So go share!

All of this to say, hang in there, friend. By God’s grace we’ll make it through this.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

Has someone encouraged you in this season? Comment below!

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