Take Advantage of a Difficult Shut-In in Many Creative and Good Ways

window seat with books and pillows

As we huddle in our homes, there are so many things we can do, whether we live alone or are with our family members. Here are some ideas I thought about and wanted to share.

During a time of trials and hardships, there is always light that shines in the darkness. Always a sprinkle of blessings throughout the struggle and sadness of isolation and a sense of loss of freedom.

But it is for both our health and our neighbors.

So, here’s some activities I have for our homebound selves:

READ

Fragonard painting of woman reading

Now is your chance to catch up on your reading. I have a stack of books on my nightstand and also online fellow writers’ works that I’m reading, a little at a time. Help out authors, like me (ahem), in buying and reading our books. My book is in the processing step of publishing. Its publication date is May 4, 2020.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing my book cover and a book video trailer. Please be on the lookout!

HOBBIES

knitting skeins

If you like to do jigsaw puzzles, write stories, draw, paint, cook, knit, or whatever it is your hobby, you have so much time for it now. Catch up on all those things that give you comfort and joy.

MOVIES

up on poppy hill

You can binge watch, if you haven’t been doing it already, all the movies you’ve missed, or watch your favorites again.

WATCH LIVE STREAMING RELIGIOUS VIDEOS — If you are a person of faith, catch up on your church’s, temple’s, synagogues’, mosques’ worships, if they are being live streamed, to connect with those holy and edifying services.

NATURE WALKS

walking trail with woman

Walking is always a good way to exercise, clear your mind, and find peace in your natural surroundings. It does the brain, heart, body, and soul good.

FACETIME OR ZOOM WITH FRIENDS — This morning, I connected with my dear friends from church in a quick zoom video to prepare them for continuing my women’s bible study on Zoom Tuesday evenings. It was so wonderful seeing their faces and talking to them. You might want to do the same. Set up a time to chat with your friends on one of the platforms that allows for multiple people to chat, like Zoom, or maybe catch up with a good friend via FaceTime.

REST

woman resting 2

If your life has been too busy and exhausting, now is the time to rest, maybe even get in a few naps you’ve needed but never were able to take before.

BOARD GAMES AND VIDEO GAMES WITH FAMILY

family playing board game

You can spend a lot of time with family, if you are still living with them, or your children are still in the house with you. Pull out those old board games and play them. Or get out a fun family video game like Mario Kart or Mario Golf or whatever you prefer, and play with your family. Family time, to me, seems to have been lessened in the past few decades. But this is an opportunity to bond and reconnect.

CUDDLE WITH YOUR FUR BABIES

Jewel and I 12:5:08

(Old picture of my dog, Jewel (RIP) and I from 2008)

They’re always a comfort to you, and you can be one to them more than ever. Smother them with pets, strokes, and hugs.

CHERISH THE TIME TOGETHER WITH THOSE YOU LOVE — As was mentioned, reconnect with family, show them love, and include your pets.

 

Hopefully, this pandemic will dissipate in a few months. In the meantime, God be with you all, stay healthy, and love to you all.

 

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Sometimes It Hurts

woman in sunset sad

 

She grew up happy-go-lucky, spoiled, shy. She had an imagination that was infinite, with a kaleidoscope of ideas and thoughts on creativity and just plain fun.

She was the youngest of two daughters of parents that were there for her. Her father helped her with her homework when he was home.

Her mother and her were very close.

Her family moved around a lot because of her father’s job, and making friends was more difficult than ever. Her shyness was painful. It would take her several months to make friends, the one that never spoke first.

A tomboy through grade school and into high school, she had a lot of confidence playing whatever sport was provided in PE, or in her neighborhood streets. The shyness she felt evaporated in those moments. But at school, it clung to her like a blood-sucking leech.

She hated school, and her grades began to plummet in junior high and continued through her senior year of high school.

The bond between her mother and her started to fray in junior high school and throughout her adult years. At the same time she was bullied in junior high, made fun of, with hurtful words that dug into her very being and stayed there for twenty-five years, her mother added to the hurt.

Teens and parents have their clashes, but this did not happen between her and her father. He continued to help her in high school and support her, encouraged her to keep making an effort in her school work.

Eventually, after much verbal abuse for twenty plus years, she finally distanced herself from her mother, which was okayed and advised by her priest.

It took her over twenty-five years to realize she wasn’t stupid and that she was worth something.

So, when harsh words were said to her in the usual way they were, she learned to let it roll off of her, not allowing it to penetrate her heart.

Since then, for the most part, her relationship with her mother had become stabilized and seemed cordial. There were moments where glimpses of the mother she knew when she was a young girl peeked through like a hole in a cave that let in a pinpoint of sunlight, when there was true warmth and lovingness between her mother and her.

But sometimes, that indifference shield would slip, and the attacks would strike, and she would feel the pain, but not in the same way she had as a teen or younger adult.

She would keep her mouth closed and let the mean words pass because she knew that’s just how her mother was.

However, the shield slipped again within the last twenty-four hours, and she wondered if she wanted to make the effort to talk to her mother again. A couple of her mother’s comments were, as usual, mean, and she nearly said something mean back to her. But she kept her mouth shut. Figured it would cause more trouble to retort in a similar fashion than to just let the insults go.

Does this still make her that young teenaged girl who took the verbal attacks and believed everything her mother said to be the truth about her? That she was selfish, she was stupid, she was scatterbrained, she wouldn’t make anything out of her life.

No.

She knew now, after two years of therapy and graduating from college, that she was not stupid or scatterbrained. That she had made something of her life in taking care of her two sons and working at being a decent wife to her husband, and striving toward a closer relationship with God. That she wasn’t totally selfish, although, sometimes she was. Was there anyone that wasn’t at least a tiny bit?

However, she wasn’t and isn’t all those insulting and hurtful descriptions.

Between pride and low self-esteem, it is a challenge. And she tries hard to be the person God created her to be. To cooperate with His will, to become transformed into a true human being sharing the Light and Love of Christ.

Sometimes it feels like she’s in a hamster wheel, getting nowhere on this spiritual journey, but she won’t give up.

As she has in the last decade, she will continue to show kindness to her mother and keep the protective shield over her heart whenever the stinging arrows of harsh words fly toward her.

After all, she loves her mother, no matter what. Loves her sister and father. She will always be a part of them.

 

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Plethora of Promising Projects

write and ideas

Last night, I started having the desire to write something new… a new story. I had an idea of one I’d thought of several months ago in which I wrote a couple pages of notes. I actually wrote an opening, full page, but since then, it’s sunk to the bottom of the trash bin of writing ideas and mediocre beginnings that have turned into dust bunnies.

Then I told myself I have so many stories I’ve written that needed to be revised, rewritten, strengthened, tightened, and polished, so I don’t need to worry about another story at this time. Truly, I have several stories written from 2014 to 2019 that I believe have the potential to be transformed into real gems.

Two novels:

Passage of Promise — Took me four and a half years to write, revise, rewrite, and edit. It’s still in the hands of the publisher I queried. Waiting to see if they accept my manuscript.

What She Didn’t Know — my most recent finished draft as of the summer of 2019. Took me a year and a half to write it. It is the longest novel I’ve ever written. At present, it is going through my online critique group. It’s my most complex and profound book I’ve written so far–three broken sisters, their encounters with relationships and life events.

Novella:

Mourning Dove — I ran it through my critique group a year or so ago. After running it through, I made the suggested changes, and I also added new scenes to make the story more comprehensive and complete. Gabby, a young widow, tries to help her deceased husband’s homeless cousin back on his feet, but a messy run in with another homeless man brings violent retaliatory behavior upon the cousin and envelopes Gabby into the vortex of that violence. I plan to run it back through my group after What She Didn’t Know is finished in the critique queue.

Novelette:

The Rocky Retreat — I’ve only run this story halfway through my critique group a couple of years ago. It’s a controversial piece having to do with contention between environmentalists and 2nd Amendment activists set in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It is satire and supposed to be more humor than reality. I have some questions on its plot–if it’s strong enough. Even though it’s supposed to be fun and entertaining, the plot needs to be there and concrete. Therefore, I’ll be running the whole story through the critique queue probably after Mourning Dove.

Short Stories:

Incident at Coral Canyon — a middle school/children’s book on bullying encountering mysticism. It was the first story I picked up a pencil and wrote on paper in 2014 after nearly eighteen years of treading in the writing desert. Last month, I worked on revising this from third person omniscient to close third person point of view, as well as overall revising, cleaning up some of the syntax and word usages. This is further back on the shelf of works to complete and introduce to my critique group.

Remember the Daisies — A touching story of an elderly woman’s memories and loss. This story was inspired by a real-life event in my neighborhood back in Lancaster, PA, that I used loosely to create a unique story for my fiction writing class in college at the time. I ran it through my critique group after I’d written up the first draft and got great responses, most of which were how touching it was and how much they liked the story, more than critiques on anything regarding plot, character, or tightening of sentences. I will run this back through my critique group sometime after the others.

 

As you can see, I really have no reason to start another story at this time. I’m thinking, when the time is right, a new, brilliant idea and storyline will come to me, and I think it’ll be after a few of the projects I mentioned above are done and published. God willing!

A whole stack of stories to work on. What could be better? Life is good.

What writing projects are you working on?

 

 

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