My Pandemic Year

March 2020. It was the beginning of the pandemic–schools had just been shut down. Everything was strange and I was afraid.

I had been walking at the park down the street from my house since the beginning of the year–I’d stop on my way to pick up the kids from school and do fifteen minutes or so.  Now I started going every morning, working up to an hour every day.  Walking while listening to Catholic speakers or podcasts or praying along with Hallow or Pray As You Go became a lifeline for me.  As long as I could walk I felt stronger and braver.

I took the above picture last March. Since then I have taken many, many pictures of my beloved park, as I have continued to walk almost every morning through all weather and seasons.

In addition to these morning excursions I started walking for an hour every evening with my friend next door. She used to text me frequently asking if I wanted to come  with her but I was always too busy. Now I said yes, and our socially distanced treks were an important source of human contact as well as exercise.

Below are the shoes I wore from March until I got sport sandals in the summer, and then again through the fall and winter until February when I finally bought really good shoes to help with my foot pain.

I set many goals for myself last year, and achieved most of them, with the help of my Shine Goals Planner and the tools I learned in Sterling Jaquith’s Catholic goal setting courses. One of the first goals I set was to increase my steps per day.

That’s how my average step count changed from 2019 to 2020. Even better is the following picture which covers year one of the pandemic:

It’s even cooler when it’s translated into miles:

I set goals for other things in my life too.  I went from drinking no water at all to drinking several glasses daily. I finally eliminated my bedtime snack habit. I started going to bed earlier and ensuring that I got seven hours of sleep every night. I created a regular schedule of morning and evening prayer. In fact, I created a schedule for just about every aspect of my life and I have stuck to it for a year.

As you might expect, my physical, spiritual, and emotional health benefited from all this.  All those pesky numbers–insulin, blood sugar, cholesterol, and the like–saw marked decreases into normal territory. I have dropped about 50 pounds and several sizes. And I feel peaceful and happy most of the time even as life has grown more complicated with two virtual students–one high school, one college–in the house.

Honestly, I have grown very comfortable with my new way of life and am now feeling a little scared about how things may change for me as we emerge from the pandemic.  As an introvert having all this time to myself has been nourishing to me–while my extroverted husband has become drained of all energy!

I have coped with this unprecedented, uncontrollable situation by somewhat rigidly controlling my own life. And I know that is not how a lot of people cope with times like this. If you coped by lying on the sofa eating junk food for a year this post is not meant as a judgment on you! We are all doing the best we can.

Trusting in God; Giving up Control

Leaps of faith are a fact of life in our family.  Our family life has been built on radical acts of trusting that everything would work out one way or the other.
John and I had been married eleven months and had a baby on the way when we abandoned good jobs in Washington, D.C. and moved back to my hometown, where we had family but no prospects at all.  Oh, we tried to find jobs before moving, but our failure didn’t put a damper on our plans in the least.   In the year it took for John to gain resident status so he would be eligible for in-state tuition at the University of Tennessee College of Law, he worked at the UT Traffic Office by day and sold shoes by night.  I got a secretarial job just weeks before I could no longer conceal my pregnancy, which would have severely limited my ability to find a good job.
We had one kid by the time John started law school and the third was on the way by the time he passed the bar exam.  There were hard and scary times, uncertain times, and often it was only looking back at what we’d been through that we could see how our prayers were always answered.  Not necessarily in the way that we thought we wanted them to be, not always immediately, but always, in God’s time.
Read the rest at Everyday Ediths!

Out-of-Control Mothering: Putting It All in His Hands

Last night I told my daughter I felt like I had lived at least a month in the past week or so.  Have you ever felt that way?
Because of all that I and my family have been through in the last twelve days, I find myself starting at my computer screen this morning praying for inspiration for the blog post I should have had ready to go last night at the very latest–last night when I was completing a 550 mile drive back from an unexpected funeral.
Wait a minute . . . inspiration is coming . . .
Read the rest at Everyday Ediths!