I venture to say that Easter 2020 won’t be one we will ever forget. I doubt we will ever have the conversation that goes “What year was is again when we couldn’t have an Easter program at church because of mass contagion?” It’s unlikely I’ll ever be on the couch with my future grandchildren, looking at family photos of us in our traditional front porch Easter picture wearing face masks, latex gloves, grey hairs showing, several pounds heavier in our pajamas and say, “what Easter was that?” I doubt (hope) I’ll ever get crazy enough, even in my old age, to forget this one.

Sunday will mark day 23 of quarantine for my family. I’ve had lots of time to think. Lots and lots of time. So much time. A ridiculous amount of time. In that unprecedented alone time I’ve found that I am grateful, thankful and feeling immensely blessed.

1. Over the last 2 years, I have learned what it looks like to continue to grow my faith and stay in community with fellow believers without sitting in a church service on Sunday morning. All of my life, Sunday morning church was a way of life. However, through a series of events that are for another day to discuss, my learning a new way to worship has prepared us for this quarantine, spiritually speaking. Thanks to technology, my family will also be here, virtually, worshiping via online church this week. Easter will be happening in my home on Sunday.

2. Speaking of technology, had this pandemic happened even a few short years ago the connections that are being made wouldn’t be happening. Thankful for social media, FaceTime and for Zoom (except for Monday morning conference calls with work because looking presentable from the neck up takes work). My family divides up the holidays and we all take our turn hosting. Easter is the holiday I host at my house each year. There will be far less cleanup for Easter 2020 thanks to covid19. Cleaning dishes for a dinner for 4 people is faster than dishes for for 24 people. That’s a teeny tiny silver lining in this. This Sunday, my extended family may be only visible via an iPad propped up on the end of the table, but in times like these, it’s better than not seeing their faces at all. We’ll still “see” each other and laugh together like always. That’s for certain. Easter will be happening in my home on Sunday.

3. I planted some seedlings in a tray. Sweet peppers, pumpkins, watermelon and sunflowers are sprouting from little square plastic cups by the window in my kitchen. Each day they are noticeably taller. Red tulips, that my husband’s aunt and uncle gave me when my Dad died 6 years ago, are in full bloom in my yard. A bird’s nest has already appeared in the awning of my back deck. There is growth and life everywhere you turn. Despite illness that has touched so many families and continues to do so, there are still signs of life. Jesus rose from the grave, giving all of us the hope we need to survive our time on earth before we see him face to face one day. I can’t help but think of how many new faces will be seeing Jesus this Easter due to the pandemic. It’s both heartbreaking yet beautiful. It’s both something to mourn yet celebrate. Easter will be happening in my home on Sunday.

Today I’ll be working from home with my day job, writing an article for a local magazine with my for-fun job, blogging to “twist the release valve” as my therapist would say, cooking, dying eggs with my teenagers who are bored enough that they are excited about it this year and will walk outside to take some deep breaths of fresh air. So thankful for God’s provisions. Grateful for those essential workers who go out and get it done, pushing through their own anxieties and worries because there is a job that needs to be done; heroes without capes.

I’ll also prepare for our Easter dinner of 4. There will be all the traditional foods, minus my aunt’s strawberry cake, which is the worst part of the deal. If you happen to be someone, at home alone or without anyone to “eat” Easter dinner with email me! My family would be happy to have you! I’ll add you on our zoom call!

Easter will be happening in my home on Sunday.

On Christmas morning, after gifts were opened and before the extended family celebrations began, my husband and I went to Starbucks.  It was like an extra gift to us that no one was in the drive thru.  The Starbucks angels were sitting there waiting on me to show up.  But they weren’t.  The friendly voice on the speaker greeting me with “what can I get started for you today” was silent.  Thinking their speaker may be on the outs, we pulled up to the window.  Window closed.  Lights out.  No overly energetic 20-year-old hipster standing at the register.  It was then that I realized they were closed.  On a day I really needed them.  I was stuck in the uncomfortable dichotomy of being disappointed that I wouldn’t get my grande café latte, almond milk with sugar free vanilla and knowing that it was the right thing for Starbucks to do for their employees.  Letting those tattooed, long haired friendly people stay home to celebrate the holidays with their families was the Christmas spirit.

 

That’s how I feel about the corona virus shutting down my life.

 

It sucks.  Pardon my turpiloquio (that’s as close as we are getting to Italy for a while), but I am so bummed that my NCAA basketball tickets are worthless now, my weekend in Nashville got nixed and my kid is missing the best part (the ending) of his senior year of high school.  Also, I’m thankful our country is taking it seriously.  Sure, I’m 43 and mostly healthy so it’s unlikely I’ll get more than cold-like symptoms if I contract the corona virus, but that would mean I may expose my sweet 84-year-old neighbor, Mrs. Peggy, with it and it would very likely be deadly for her.  I love Mrs. Peggy.  If looking out for her best interest means my life needs to come to a screeching halt for a few days, then I think that’s reasonable. After all, I think we’d all agree that these cancellations are 1st world problems when compared to someone’s health.

 

It seems odd to me that the virus is so political on Facebook with many of my republican friends calling it an overreaction and my democrat friends planning their own funerals.  The virus has no political affiliation and it’s spreading.  I probably won’t need a hospital bed, but Mrs. Peggy could so let’s all think with some heart.

 

Call each other to check in…..but God forbid don’t come to my house, because we don’t have enough toilet paper for everyone.  Ride it out.  Show kindness.  It will all be over soon, and we will have things to talk about for a while afterwards.

 

And I propose that Starbucks be proactive by installing self-serve drive thru lattes.  For the good of the people.

My dad was battling brain cancer. We had 2 pre-teen middle schoolers. Job changes were around the corner for both of us. Volunteering at school, sitting on boards, leading a team at church; to list a few. We were on the move. We moved so fast that it’s hard to recall all of it.

These 6 years have changed us so much.  I always say I’d love to go back in time, but the truth is that I’d only want to be there for a day or 2. A day here and there of my choosing. Cherry picking only the fun, special moments to revisit.

On Saturday, we move baby #1 into a dorm room in a town that isn’t this one, in a home that isn’t ours, around people we don’t know. Our family will change in so many ways. She is happy. I’m a little less happy than she.  We’ve done our jobs and churned out a smart, independent girl. That deserves celebration not moping. My goal, and I’ll need y’all to hold me accountable, is to feel all the feels. To take our time, notice it all, embrace the change and be excited of what is to come.

Baby #2 has never had time with just us. We are about to get to know him on a new level while he’s still under the same roof as us.

We’ll finally have more time together as a couple.  We’ll get to go on trips while only coordinating with 1 kid’s schedule instead of 2.

Parent’s weekend, rushing for sororities, football games, all the fun stuff is around the corner.

The right now is a great place to be.

Right now is exciting.

This FB memory of my husband and I may show a few pounds gained and a couple more lines on our faces in the time that has passed, but I wouldn’t go back. The now is too good. And in 6 years if the government hasn’t shut down FB and the memory reminders are still a thing, I want to see pics of this week of our family transition and remember it in grand detail and with fondness. I want to look at it and think “that was a great time in life, but I wouldn’t want to go back because now is too good.”

Absorbing it all. Noting the good.  Talking myself out grieving the past.  Pressing on.

90/10.  That’s the ideal ratio for my idea of the perfect guy.  90% chivalrous, charming, thoughtful, laughs at your jokes, just because flowers, remembers your mother’s birthday, does his own laundry.  10% drags you, consensually of course, to the bedroom like a caveman.  This balance is delicate and necessary albeit hard to find.  If you have found that 90/10 hold on to him tight, you may not ever find a second one in your lifetime.  There may not be 2 of them in your town.  90/10s are scarce, but they are out there.  I found one in rural Kentucky so that should give you hope, especially for those of you in more populated, fewer Super Walmart type towns.

I watched season 1 of ‘You’ on Netflix a few weeks ago.  It was good, frightening, but that is what made it entertaining. Because my phone is listening to me and maybe my television is watching me, I log into Twitter and in timely fashion, begin seeing several people tweeting about the show, mostly about the main character, Joe.  I begin scrolling through; reading, judging, rolling my eyes.  Most of the tweets are from girls who liked Penn Badgley from his ‘Gossip Girl’ days.  I missed that trend.  However, thank you Netflix, I did look it up and watched a few episodes.  I watched ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ when I was a teen.  ‘Gossip Girl’ felt like the New York version of 90210 only I’m several years older than all the characters, which took the fun right out of it.  I do understand the Dan vs Joe comparisons, however there is one big difference.  Joe is a sociopath/murderer.  Around the time that he, spoiler alert, kills Beck’s boyfriend his charm dissipates.  Joe is a 10/90, as in 90/10 flipped which is a bad freaking deal.  This is what makes the show so scary.  10/90 men should make you feel that uneasy feeling that makes you want to run in a parking lot when you are semi-certain the man behind you is following you to your car.

I’m mostly concerned for the girls on Twitter who are in love with that 10/90 character. What the #@%!

The age of the Joe lovers certainly plays a part.  I get it. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Jason Priestly, but come on!  Maybe they haven’t been alive long enough to have experienced the effects of toxic masculinity.  Perhaps they have daddy issues, I don’t know, but it’s not healthy.  As a mother, my protection mode kicks in and I feel the need to DM each of these stalker-doting girls and remind them they deserve a man who is better, so much better, than Joe.  A man who is not quick to anger.  That as soon as he waves a jealousy flag, or you discover he has checked your emails, run, run as fast as you can.  His jealousy will restrict your freedoms. For the love of God the moment you discover he has kept a bloody tampon in the ceiling of his apartment, the romance is over.

Be on the lookout for the 90/10 not the 10/90.  Or, don’t be on the lookout at all, just be, but know the difference when you see it.  I’ll absolutely be watching season 2 of ‘You’ because I must see what that terrible kid, Paco, has to say for himself.  I need for him to at least carry some guilt for being complicit in Beck’s death by not opening the damn door for her.  However, I’ll be better prepared this time for the girls who cause feminism to take 2 giant steps backwards by adoring Joe on Twitter.  I have my DM responses prepared.

Until then, may I suggest watching ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ next.  That will flatten your affections for Joe quickly. Or, perhaps, consider turning off Netflix, logging off Twitter and going outside.  It might help.

My husband and I walked into a restaurant on Saturday evening. We were taken to a table where a waitress quickly appeared asking for our drink order. Our 16-year-old son’s band was the entertainment for the evening. The band was already on stage tuning up and preparing to perform when we walked in. They had been there for quite some time getting the stage set up. A waitress, different from the one who took our order, buzzed by our table holding a tray of food over her head. “He looks like he belongs to you,” she said, pointing to him on the stage. “Yep, he’s ours,” I responded. She delivered the food then came back to us saying, “Well I’ve made sure he had something to eat before they have to start playing. He has a glass of water up there too.” “Thank you so much” my husband replied. “I told him that I’m his momma until his got here,” she said as she, again, quickly walked off to look after her tables of customers.

Loving my kid is loving me. It feels exactly the same. Loving my kid makes the world feel a little less harsh for him. Loving my kid makes the world feel a little less alone for me. Being a parent is tough, knowing someone out there is looking out for him feels nice.

It takes paying attention though. It takes practice mixed in with the God-given compassion that most women have built in them, to see a need. I have 2 children that are high school students. They attend a large high school full of kids from all walks of life. Some of the kids drive fancy cars. Some of the kids are homeless. Some of the kids are suicidal. Some of the kids are brilliant. Some are addicts. Some have loving homes. Many do not. It’s unlikely to know the difference with just a glance. They are all navigating new waters. It’s exciting and scary for them. They need us. They need as many of us as they can get to invest in their well-being. I’ll look out for you, you look out for me, we’ll look out for each other’s kids.

Would my son have survived the evening had she not stepped up? Yes, but she couldn’t know for sure just by looking at him and I’d like to think it didn’t matter to her anyway. I’m thankful she offered it. Did my son order a 2nd meal once we got there then ate again at Denny’s afterwards because he is a bottomless pit? Yes, but for all she knew, he was there alone and needed some care. Even in the small town that I live, there are enough kids to go around. We should all be looking for them. We should be looking for kids that we can be a momma to until their momma shows up.  Looking for a way to help make life more bearable. Each other, it’s all we got in this life.

I wish I had gotten her name. I hope she stumbles upon this and reads it. Busy waitress lady, you are my hero.

A few days ago, first thing in the morning, I had my first ever anxiety attack.  I was sitting on the couch, eating my breakfast and watching the local news when my heart began racing. The Fitbit I was wearing on my wrist clocked that my heartrate jumped from 57 bpm to 189 in a matter of seconds. I sat there for a couple minutes debating on if I should “wait and see” or call 911. Since I was still in my sexy lingerie I’d worn to bed the night before (sweatpants and sloppy t-shirt) I opted to monitor the symptoms from home. Exactly 7 minutes later, my heart had returned to my normal resting heart rate, my hands had stopped shaking and I was relieved that the EMT’s didn’t have to see me in that ratty 2012 marathon shirt I’d stolen from my husband’s drawer.

Amanda Waggener, M.I.D. (medical internet doctor) went to work. I began my degree work about the time we went from dialup to broadband. I was top of my class thanks to my proficiency with Mayo Clinic, WebMD and Google searches. I graduated with honors. Gold star stuff. Anyway, according to everything I read, what I had suffered from that morning was a full-blown anxiety attack. Anxiety is something I know. I’ve had it since I was a teenager, but an anxiety attack is new and not cool, at all.

I prescribed myself a month-long break from the stresses of my life in effort to keep it from happening again anytime soon. Step 1 was to identify the stressors. After a brief staring off into space session, I discovered that many of the stressors I can’t ditch or social services would be at my door.  However, there was a short list of my stressors that I could eliminate, short-term at least.

So, I began making a list:

Things I Need a Break from Before I Completely Lose My Sh!t

1. Facebook
2. Instagram
3. Sunday Morning Church Services
4. Volunteer Roles
5. Counting Calories

And, then, I began making another list:

Things I Need to Focus on To Retrieve My Sh!t

1. Read
2. Write
3. Pray
4. Only communicate with people who infuse love into my life.
5. Schedule an appointment with my therapist.

I prescribed my treatment commence on August 1st.  August would be the month long Zen party that my body was physically screaming at me to attend.

I accepted the invitation to my own party.

I’m only 2 weeks in on this break, and so far, I have learned that without Facebook reminding me of everyone’s birthdays, I forget them. I remember birthdays, but I forget when the day comes without that little nudge from the Facebook. I’ve not seen engagements, weddings, gender reveals or endlessly-perfect via overly-edited selfies on Instagram lately either. I have no idea what sex your baby is nor have I read the inspirational quotes below your selfies in a few days now. But, I did schedule my appointment with the counselor. Hoping, when I get there, he doesn’t tell me I’m crazier than last time we spoke. I’ve been reading and, obviously, writing. I’ve been checking things off my lists like it’s my job.

The biggest change I’ve noticed so far is the difference an emphasis on prayer makes. I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

Just sitting still. Being open. Listening. It’s like Zoloft to my heart.

Prayer not only has a calming effect on my soul, but also inspires epiphanies. Like the one I had yesterday about how a large majority of what I know about Jesus comes from men standing on a stage at a church. Here’s what I know about men (ok, I’ll concede, women too), they are flawed. The light bulb moment I had was that maybe the hang-ups I have, aren’t even the truth at all. Maybe those hangups all came from the ideas that grew in me from men who went to seminary (also mostly taught by men, all 100% flawed, again, like me). This is not a feminist epiphany. Although, being female, I am pro-female, because duh. I’m also pro-lots of things. Besides the point.

The epiphany was that I need to dig deeper to discover MY truth, from my own digging and researching; independent of other’s convictions or opinions. A truth based on the Biblical findings unearthed with my own God-given eyes by using my own God-given brain in my own time.

Week 2 Update: I’m digging. My break may need to extend beyond 4 weeks as it seems like I may need some time to investigate what people have discussed for hundreds of years. I’ll keep you posted.

Excited about week 3 and week 4.

And I’m sorry about the birthday thing. When I get back on Facebook I’ll catch up on that, but until I’m back, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Sorry for your Loss, I can’t believe your kids are already so big, Get Well Soon and Congratulations!

Outwardly calm, inwardly turbulent.  I took this pic from the window of an airplane yesterday. It was a beautiful, mild, spring day with blue skies and a spackling of fluffy white clouds. The sky looked calm and peaceful, yet the flight was riddled with turbulence. We were instructed by the pilot to stay buckled up as the plane rocked back and forth, up and down through the picture of serenity that I watched pass by through the airplane’s tiny windows.

Only a short time before the roller coaster ride of a flight began, I had been sitting at the crowded gate waiting for my turn to board. The voice from behind the ticket booth said in a muffled tone over the speaker, “1st class passengers, passengers with disabilities, those traveling with children under the age of 2 or active military are welcome to board now.” It is a great time for people watching. Since I always buy the cheapest ticket to get me from point A to point B, I’m normally in zone 4, last to board, and can be found seated no more than 4 feet from the crapper.  I sat and waited as all 120+ people boarded, one by one. I observed as some shoved their way through, as though there was a prize for being the 1st to get on the plane. I saw the ones with rambunctious kids I prayed I wouldn’t be seated near, the panicked person, the one who slows the line by oversharing with the man scanning boarding passes about when, where or why they are traveling despite his obvious disinterest of their unsolicited explanation, the vacationers in Nike shorts and the business people in suits with iPhones to their ears on conference calls. It’s a social experiment I always find entertaining.

This time, a young boy and his mother caught my attention. He was among the 1st in line. I noticed he was holding a carry-on bag and she was not. I also saw that she couldn’t quit touching him. Hug, back rub, hug, kiss on the cheek, hug. The ticket agent scanned the boy’s ticket. The teen then turned to give her one last hug and walked away.  The woman stood waving at him until he was out of her sight. She turned around, wiping tears, and walked back into the hustle-bustle of the airport. As a mom myself, my heart sank in my chest for her. I could feel her pain as she walked away without him…away from her protection…away from her reach.

As usual, I was among the last few to board the crowded plane. I walked to my seat all the way in the back, threw my laptop case into the overhead, and plopped down in my seat. I looked up and saw that the boy I had just observed at the gate was sitting next to me. He seemed uncomfortable. I make it a rule to immediately pretend to be in a coma-like state of consciousness the moment I buckle my seatbelt to help set the expectation to the traveler next to me that I’m not interested. This time, I couldn’t do that. “I saw you at the gate. Was that your mom? Are you okay?” He kept his head down, looked up at me by only moving his eyes, and shook his head yes. “You look 15. I can spot a 15-year-old because I’m a mom of a 15-year-old,” I continued. He finally lifted his head and laughed, “Yep, I’m 15.” I let him be for a while and sat quietly beside him.

We had a bumpy takeoff, which turned into a turbulent first half of the flight. I saw that he began fidgeting and rocking in his seat. “Is this your 1st time flying,” I asked him? “No, but it’s the first time I’ve flown by myself,” he replied. I started engaging him in conversation in effort to help distract him from his anxiety, much in the same way I do with my son when he’s about to get a shot at the doctor’s office. We talked about his dad that he was going to see in Michigan, what he wanted to do after high school and how his parents make him take choir at school even though he hates it. The plane finally found some smooth flying air and the knocking about stopped. Sam, I discovered was his name, seemed to relax and began playing a game on his phone for the rest of the flight. After we landed and walked off the plane, his dad was there waiting for him. Sam looked at me and said, “It was nice meeting you. Bye.” I smiled and nodded as we walked in separate directions within the airport.

Today, when I looked at this photo of the blue sky and thinking of the teenage boy with a wide smile, one wouldn’t guess the turbulence that was going on inside. The sky. Sam. His parent’s divorce.  His unhappiness at school.  Me. I think most all of us at some time or another. Sunny and warm on the outside, but deceivingly peppered with turbulence on the inside. Reminds me of how we are all not that different from each other.  Reminds me how human connection is sometimes all we need to relieve the turbulence. Reminds me to be kind. Reminds me that one day I will be in a zone 1 boarding group and those people will be turbulent too because all zones of people are.

But zone 1 still sounds nice.

No thanks. I don’t want to join your Body Pump Class. I appreciate you thinking of me though. I’m sure it’s great. You’re great. I’m just not interested. I’m cool with yoga only because, for the most part, people keep their eyes closed in a meditative state and aren’t judging me for my middle-aged-mom-of-two-lover-of-carbs body. However, if they ever dim the lights and ask everyone to close their eyes during Body Pump, just let me know, I’m in.

While I’m here, it’s also a no from me on the 5K you are doing on St Patrick’s Day. While I do agree that the green “Run-O-Luck” tee-shirt you got for signing up is cute, I’d rather celebrate the day with a green beer and not have it slosh around on my insides as I ran around downtown for no immediate reason.

I know that, in the past, I’ve always just done it. It was mostly because I liked you. However, I have a confession. Lots of my yeses were because I thought you may not like me back if I started saying “no” too often. Especially if I had said “no” without an excuse to back it up. I saved up my no for special occasions and used my no sparingly. That’s changing.

The first few times I said “no,” I was in a mood. I blamed the no on that. Then I tried it out on a safe person. One who I knew would give me some grace even if it made her mad. But it didn’t make her mad, she just said, “ok” and it was done. Mind blown. Every “no” became easier and easier until I stopped feeling a single twinge of guilt about it. In fact, saying “no” was liberating and stress lifting. Shocked the hell outta me.  I wish the 30-something me and the 20-something me and certainly the high school me could have felt at ease saying it. My goodness, the heartache it would have saved.

I’ll admit, this wasn’t my idea. I learned this from watching a lady say “no” to her husband…in front of people…without excuse…without anything…just “no.” I was sitting in a living room with a small group of people from my church. We were doing a devotional together in her beautiful home. She was an excellent hostess. She had snacks prepared when we got there. She engaged in small talk around her kitchen counter. She participated in the group discussion about the book we were reading. When her husband, who was leading the group, asked her to close us in prayer she simply shook her head and said, “no.” I laughed, thinking it was a joke, but she wasn’t joking. She meant it, in front of all of us, No. Living in the south and being church broken (a term I use to describe how I was taught to properly act at church or in the company of church people), I had never witnessed this before. It was amazing. I sat across from her and observed her face as he asked someone else to pray. I kept watching her after we got up from our seats and began mingling and eating again. I watched her as she walked us to the door and waved bye. Not a single excuse or explanation came from her mouth. She didn’t appear distressed, bothered or ill. Clutch your pearls, she just plain didn’t want to pray. After this, it happened again, on another night. I don’t even remember the question, but I remember her answer: NO.

That’s what inspired me. That and being emotionally tired of always pleasing and being pleasant and smiling and saying “yes” while hoping one of the kids would throw up and give me a good reason out of whatever I’d just said “yes” to.

40 was a rough year for me for so many reasons, but one thing that came from it was my voice. The one that wasn’t speaking for herself because she was too busy making sure everyone liked her.

No has freed up so much time to do other things. Things I enjoy. Saying “no” doesn’t make me unkind or negative or defiant. It makes me honest.  Saying “no” opens the margin for things I want to say “yes” to.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I’d recommend you give it a try. Maybe not wait until you’re 41 for maximum results.

It’s cold in Kentucky. It’s cold all over this half of the country, but Kentucky is where I live and so I’m mostly pissed that it’s cold in Kentucky. Everything is frozen, even pipes.  Also, house breaking a new puppy while the ice coated grass crunches beneath my feet as I wait on this animal to poop in my yard makes me question my sanity.  I sit at my desk in my freezing office and work, wrapped in a thickly knitted turtleneck sweater that my husband describes as “not my favorite look on you.”  Every time a client says, “just email that to me,” instead of “see you in my office for that meeting tomorrow” I rejoice because it allows me a little more time to remain indoors rather than facing the artic reality of walking through a parking lot in heels.  Oh, and my children adore frost bite apparently by their aversion to wearing a coat.

“You have no choice. You are wearing a coat to school today. I swear if either of you come home without that coat on your body you will be grounded.” Things I never pictured myself needing to say to a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old on their way out the door on a 6-degree January day.

However, as much as it pains me to admit, winter is a necessary evil in nature. There is a whole lot going on under the soil, biologically. In fact, if a winter is too warm, it will negatively impact the crops and what we see at the produce stands come summer time. The deep freeze kills many insects and pathogens. For instance, there is a beetle that feeds on corn. A winter that’s not cold enough to kill them will almost certainly mean smaller harvests and frustrated farmers in the warmer months that follow. The frigid temperatures also bring a cycle of dormancy. The plants fall into a deep winter nap and reserve their energy, storing it up for new growth in the spring.

Winter is necessary for me too. It holds me indoors and forces me to focus on the people who live in my house. I cook more in the winter, which equates to more time around the table together. The entertainment options are limited to board games (which I detest, but will agree to play as long as it’s not Monopoly) and relaxing on the couch with some hot chocolate and a movie on Netflix. When we host company in our house, our friends are all together, corralled into one smallish space. Some fun times happen in those moments. I get in the mood to deep clean, which never happens on a warm June day, I can assure you. I do a giant purge that is cleaning out closets. I donate clothes to the needy. I get caught up on reading that book I got for my birthday in July, but never made time to sit still enough to finish. Winter slows me down. It slows me down physically and it slows me down emotionally. I reflect more. I sleep more. Just like the crops, the cycle of dormancy that winter brings me reserves my energy and prepares me for new growth. Also, like the crops by the end of February I’m bursting at the seams longing for the spring. My stored-up energy can only be satisfied by some warm breezes, a front porch swing and vitamin D. I confess, the last half of February is the worst part of the year. The good thing about the last part of February is that it’s the last part. Newness is coming. The sunshine is around the corner.

Winter isn’t my favorite, but it’s necessary.

However, if the air decided to turn a few ticks warmer, even if just for a day, I would not be mad about it.

Predictable and stable, yet different every time. I can look at my phone and find out the exact minute it will fade into darkness. It’s never late. Never absent. Dependable and strong.

No matter where you are in this world we all look at the same sun. There is something about knowing that which knits us together as a human race. It makes me feel small like a child. The combination of the strength it embodies and the art it displays is too powerful to ignore. Watching something so big, so beautiful and not having an ounce of control over it causes me to relax a little if even for a moment.

Sunsets have always stolen my attention.

It occurs to me for the 1st time why a hot star moving in the sky every evening has such an impact on me.

It reminds me of Jesus.

Sunsets remind me of the steadiness and power of their creator, my creator.

Today, Good Friday, I sit and wonder what the sunset might have looked like from the table of that last supper? Did anyone notice it’s exquisiteness on the night before such a beastly day?

Just like the glamor of the sunset fades away after it’s time is up so was it for Jesus.

Lovely, innocent, peaceful the day before, but only for a time. Thankfully, the ugliness, unfairness, hatefulness of Good Friday also faded away after it’s time was up, in time for the beauty to be restored 3 days later.

Anticipated. Strong. In Control. Amazing.

In my city the sunset is at 7:26pm tonight. I’ll be in my spot watching. Thankful. Viewing through the lens of a new perspective.

Today truly is a Good Friday.