Discouraged about “sheltering in place”? We totally understand. But it’s so important that we comply with the COVID 19 guidelines in order to keep our family, neighborhood, community, city, state, country and world as safe as possible! We’re all in this together and this 30 Days – 30 Opportunities post shares some ideas on how to make this a more profitable, memorable and helpful time!
It’s easy to get discouraged right now, isn’t it? I had a “down” day this past Sunday. I hadn’t slept well on Saturday night and it seemed that as the day wore on, I became more and more dispirited. Then, there was the straw that broke the camel’s back; the announcement that we would all need to stay at home and shelter in place for another 30 days. Yikes! I went to bed in very glum spirits.
But it’s amazing what a good night’s sleep and some time with the Lord can do. As I prayed about all of this, I began to feel my spirit being uplifted and I started having some encouraging ideas. Ideas on how to make this crazy, unprecedented time in history a profitable, educational, fruitful (maybe even fun at times) opportunity. It’s a moment in time that we’ve never had before and there’s a good chance we’ll never see again.
I mentioned this to Scott and we got together and did a little brainstorming. We talked about ways we could come out of these 30 days (we won’t think about longer at this point) better, smarter, happier and having helped our neighbors, friends, community. That’s what this post, 30 Days, 30 Opportunites, is all about. These are things that we came up with, some serious, some silly, some fun. I challenge you to come up with your own list. You’re welcome to borrow some of our ideas or just get inspiration from them.
I wanted to preface all this by saying that I know some of us could become sick with the COVID 19 virus during these 30 days. I’m adding a 31 to this list and hope others will too. Number 31 is that we will pray for each other and support each other in any way we can; bring each other groceries, cook a little extra and leave it on someone’s doorstep, send cards of encouragement and let’s just stay in touch.
30 Days, 30 Opportunities
- 1. Just because we’re in the midst of a pandemic, don’t let spring pass by without experiencing, appreciating, enjoying it. Here in the Western hemisphere, spring is bursting forth and will continue over this next month. It would be easy to miss all the beauty, new life and incredible metamorphosis that transpires over the coming days, weeks, months. Take time to notice and be thankful. Scott took a few pictures today in our yard after a spring rain. Life is exploding here, there and everywhere!
- 2. This one goes along with number one. Get outside and exercise. Walk, run, skip, hop, jump, whatever you can or like to do. The wonderful privilege of being outdoors hasn’t been taken this away from us, as long as we keep our social distance. Exercise is good not only for the body but also for the spirit and soul. I met a girl once when I was walking and I’ll never forget her statement: “I told my husband, either get me a psychiatrist or give me the time to get outside and walk”. That might sound strange but it definitely has validity. Exercise releases endorphins which help decrease stress levels and increase your state of well being. The Mayo Clinic says, “Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.”
- 3. Listen to encouraging music, podcasts, sermons, etc. while you exercise. Or use the time to call a friend or family member. My daughter and I have been coordinating the times of our walks and having some great “girl talks”. It’s been wonderful and we’ve been talking way more than we normally do.
- 4. Each day, take one little thing to clean and/or organize; a drawer, cabinet, closet, the windows in a particular room, the front or back porch… Scott and I love to entertain friends in our home. It’s sad that we can’t do that right now. But we can have our house shining, clean and ready so that when all of this passes (it will!) we will be ready to love and encourage whoever God sends our way.
- 5. Learn a new skill. There are so many things I’d love to know how to do that I don’t normally have the time to pursue. Now is the opportunity to read articles and watch YouTube videos on just about anything you might have the desire to learn. Even small things like making your own salad dressing, discovering how easy it is to make jam and jelly or learning how to make homemade bread. These are skills that will transfer to your life after this pandemic. How fun it will be to surprise our family/friends with this new expertise!
- 6. If you’re learning to make something tangible, like jam, bread, salad dressing – share it with others. My daughter Cait had a great idea. She’s going to make granola (our favorite recipe), divide it into mason jars, stick a little label saying “Made with Love and Gloves” on each one and drop them off on neighbor’s doorsteps. I told her I would design a label for her. If you would like to use this idea, just leave a comment below and I will send you the printable PDF for the labels too. There are two sizes, one for a regular mason jar and one for the wide-mouth jars.
- 7. Make masks and give them to friends, family, co-workers, healthcare workers. They’re desperately needed right now. If you sew, here’s a video on how to easily make masks. There’s even one on making masks for those who don’t sew.
- 8. If you have family and/or friends in the healthcare field right now, send them a text and tell them how much you appreciate them. Let them know that you understand what an incredible job they are doing.
- 9. Deepen your spiritual walk by spending more time in God’s word and in His Presence. Pray that He would reveal Himself to you and to this world in a time of desperate need. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 – it’s a promise!
- 10. Work in your yard: rake up dead leaves, plant flowers, plant window boxes, pull weeds, clean up your porch furniture… You’ll have a beautiful place to enjoy when the warm weather season rolls around.
- 11. Encourage others who are having financial difficulties during this pandemic. If you can afford it, pay for regular services even if you’re not getting them. We’ve been paying for haircuts even though we’re getting shaggier and shaggier.
- 12. Eat healthier and lose some weight. Both Scott and I put on some “bear fat” over the cold winter months. I’m going to working hard on shedding this extra weight so that when I can shop again I’ll feel great about buying a few new summer dresses, tops, etc.
- 13. That being said, splurge every now and then. Make something that would be a special treat for everyone in the house like this Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake, this Raspberry Jam Shortbread Tart or this Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Cake.
- 14. Spend more time reading. I mean really, how often do you have the time to read during most of this busy life? If you have older kids, find a great book and have everyone read it, then have your own little personal book club to discuss what you learned, enjoyed or found interesting. You could also do this with friends or family that don’t live with you via FaceTime or Zoom.
- 15. This is for me and other ladies who regularly get their nails done. Learn to do them yourself! My daughter Cait shared these press-on nails with me. She’s been wearing them for 2 weeks without any issues. I’m going to try them. I have the weakest, crummiest nails and unless I get some kind of hard finish on them, they tear down to the nubs. I would save money and time by not going to the nail salon after this is pandemic is over.
- 16. Pursue new music. If you have Apple Music or Spotify, make a playlist to listen to on your phone when you’re walking or doing mundane chores around the house.
- 17. Share your skills with others. I’ve been teaching my daughter and daughter-in-law how to make bread via FaceTime. I’ve also had fun making a cake with my two younger grandchildren on FaceTime. I’ve sent some new recipes that are in the testing stages to some of my older grandchildren who enjoy cooking. They won’t be afraid to let me know if these recipes are “blog-worthy” or not!
- 18. Give others the satisfaction of teaching you something. So many people feel so helpless and unproductive right now and would love to share their talents and skills that they have with others. We are so fortunate to have the technology (FaceTime, Zoom) these days to be able to communicate with others even when we can’t be in close proximity to them.
- 19. Read about or watch movies about other times in history that have been difficult. Discover how the people survived and found hope. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about WWII recently. Learning about men of all ages going to war in foreign countries makes staying at home not seem so bad.
- 20. If you’re married, plan a “date-night” once a week (after the children are in bed if they’re still at home.). Dress up, set a pretty table, light candles, make something special. Celebrate all the blessings we do have right now.
- 21. Sing! My mom always said that “singing is twice praying”. I’m not so sure about that, but I do know singing does the heart good. And if you’re like me and don’t have the best voice, there aren’t many people around to hear you right now! HuffPost refers to singing as a “happy drug”.
- 22. Take an online class. There are so many virtual opportunities out there, voice, guitar, keyboard skills, gardening, piano… It would be so awesome to learn a new skill that you could carry with you far beyond this pandemic. A couple of my granddaughters take voice lessons. Of course, that’s not possible right now but my daughter found a friend who was looking for voice students she could teach online. It’s been a great experience all the way around.
- 23. If you don’t have kids at home, read bedtime stories (via FaceTime) to your friends’ children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, next-door neighbor kids, etc. It would give the moms and dads who have kids at home 24 hours right now a nice break. We’ve been doing this with our two youngest grandchildren and it’s been such a fun little ritual.
- 24. Take a nap! Think of how many times when you were working or hauling kids here there and everywhere and you wished you could take a little rest. Sleep.org says that “Naps boost alertness and improve motor performance, which is why you feel energized after taking one.” and that “Regular, short naps can help lower tension, which decreases your risk of heart disease.” So go ahead and indulge! It’s good for you!
- 25. Make more phone calls to keep in touch with family and friends. Check-in on those who live alone frequently, especially the elderly.
- 26. Do something unexpected and fun. Make a special treat like these Spring Shortbread Cookies or these wonderful Oatmeal Cookies. Hide them someplace fun, then send the family on a wild goose chase to find them: make little notes that will lead them from one place to another until they finally reach “the treasure”.
- 27. Memorize Scripture. It’s wonderful to have treasures from God’s word hidden in your heart to draw on when tough times come.
- 28. Start a journal. Write about what you’re learning through all of this. I’ve been journaling for a few weeks now as I’m reading a wonderful book by Lysa TerKeurst called What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. It’s been so valuable now but I know that it will also be benefical to look back on in the future.
- 29. Continue with regular get-togethers virtually (with technology like Zoom, Skype, etc) like small groups, book clubs, Bible studies, coffee dates,
- 30. Support local businesses that have had to close because of the pandemic. Lots of them have an online presence.
- Pray for our family, friends, neighbors as well as people in our communities, cities, states, country, and world, who have personally experienced the reality of COVID 19.
Thought for the day:
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.
Need to hear a good word? This message from J.D. Greear is medicine for the soul “for such a time as this”.
The Café Sucre Farine is a participant in the Amazon Affiliate Program. The Amazon Affiliate Program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon. The price you pay as a consumer does not change.