Happy New Year

This year, I have learned that you can be happy and healthy even amongst a pandemic.  COVID-19 has made me come to the realization that we now have opportunities with our families that we would normally not have pre-pandemic.  Life seems to have slowed down; there is more time to do things and be with the people in your life that truly matter.

With today closing out 2020, many of you are thankful for it to end.  2020 has taught me many things about myself and that I will forever be thankful.  Just because the last day of 2020 has come and will pass, it means nothing about how you view the world or the pandemic that we are still facing.  You must change the way your view the world.   Everyone thinks 2021 will be better, which it may; the important things will still be the same.  Be kind, love each other, slow down and smell the roses.  Find the beauty in the world around you.  Continue to focus on being a better person each day.  See the world with new eyes; find the beauty, because it is there.  Stay humble, show empathy and compassion, and remember it is the small things that really matter.  As I write this, I realize that my key words each year, always include making the most out of the 24 hours you are given each day.  Go out, make a difference, find what inspires you, and make each day count! 

I want to wish you a year of joy, blessing and most importantly right now, good health for you and your family.

XOXO

-S

There is “more to life” even in a Pandemic

COVID-19, we give you the permission to get the heck out of dodge. It’s time to be wild & free. I have been out wandering, but with all preventative measures in place. I have been using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The plan is to continue all measures that are needed to protect myself and others. I don’t think things will ever go back to pre-pandemic times. Now we spend more time at home and sometimes are even able to venture out close to home for exercise or visiting local sites. Pre-pandemic our lives were so hustle and bustle; this is time to slow down and smell the roses.

Zanne at Where Gals Wander inspired me to answer the question – “Is there more to life”?

There is still more!

Quit making excuses and find your “more to life”.

This Pandemic may have you thinking that maybe there isn’t more to life outside your home’s four walls. But that is a lie, don’t listen. There are tons of opportunities to get out and about while still maintaining social distancing and wearing PPE.

COVID-19 Road trips

We have managed to get in quite a few road trips in to Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and around our home state of Georgia. All of our road trips were within a 5 hour drive from our house; if someone would have gotten sick, we could easily get home the same day. We whitewater rafted, boated, played at the beach, ate a lot of wonderful food, found our new favorite ice cream spot, visited some museums, went glamping, hiked and chased waterfalls all while masked and/or 6-feet apart.  Mostly, we are spending time making memories, once again, the more to life.

Here are some of my favorite places that we have visited during 2020 (The year of COVID-19).

Dry Falls, North Carolina
Upper White Water Falls, North Carolina
Margaritaville, Florida
Driftwood Beach, Georgia
Isle of Palms, South Carolina
Linville Falls Winery, North Carolina
Linn Cove Viaduct, North Carolina

Staying Safe

Everywhere we have went the majority of people followed all local ordinances.  You can be responsible and still be able to keep everyone safe. During this whole pandemic I can say, that I have never felt like anyone was doing anything unsafe that would negatively affect my health.

I am very fortunate that I am working from home and still have a job (that a lot of people no longer have). COVID-19 came into our communities like a wrecking ball, wrecking jobs, turning schools upside down and for goodness sake, we can’t even find any toilet tissue that is not sand paper textured.

The important thing that we have to see is that things are getting better and as soon as YOU feel safe, it’s time to get back out and spend your time on the trails, meeting new friends, and visiting beautiful sites. Now the timing will be tricky as all states are in different phases of how everything operates; some restaurants are only take out, while others you can eat in. Your perfect time, is when you feel comfortable. One day the supply chain will start functioning at full capacity and we will be able to get products we once could easily get, we will get back to our favorite restaurants, and exploring in favorite or new cities.

Travel Responsibly

Travel responsibly though, make sure you are close enough to home, so if you get sick, you can get home quickly. You do not want to be a hindrance on another hospital (that already might be at full capacity). Some smaller hospitals cannot handle a lot of patients and if a surge of folks travel to said location and get sick, much stress would be put on the hospital and its staff. Make sure to carry some food and water with you in the car, because some areas, restaurants have still not opened or are opened for limited hours. Be prepared to get take out, find a park, and have a picnic; make it part of the adventure…See there it is…more to life.

Opportunity Knocks

COVID-19 has made us come to the realization that we now have opportunities with our families, that we would normally not have pre-pandemic. Life seems to have slowed down. There is more time to exercise, hike and explore nature, participate in your hobbies, maybe play some backyard baseball, and time to prepare delicious recipes.

Things can be simple; even with simple things, there is still more to life. A lot of people complain about all things COVID-19 and I can be one of them too. When you think about the times 10 or 20 years down the road, there will be stories to tell about dinner table conversations, that time when mom made me hike on Mother’s Day, crazy graduation ceremonies, and inventive things we had to do to be safe while also having fun. We will look back and have memories of all the together time that we have been blessed with. Perspective.

Bottom Line: Even when things aren’t status quo, you can still find your “more to life”. Make the ordinary extraordinary by finding something fabulous in each day!

I have been hiking more, running some, recreating photos that I took on my travels in digital design, and traveling the world through food.  I have been cooking Mexican, Filipino, Indian (here’s my vindaloo & naan recipe), Italian, American, Canadian, French, Spanish, and Caribbean cuisine.  If I can’t travel internationally right now, I can surely pretend (remember we learned that in kindergarten) and enjoy the foods of my favorite places.

Planning for that dream vacation

And of course, being on the International travel sidelines…I have been planning two huge trips booked for 2021; Peru and a Mediterranean Cruise.  While sitting the bench, it’s a perfect time to get to plan that dream vacation; you can plan a local road trip too!

Start dreaming about what you want to do, where you want to go, how you want to make a difference, make a plan, put your mask on, grab the hand sanitizer, give people their personal space and most of all be nice. Everyone is dealing with COVID-19 and there could be things going on in others’ lives that you don’t see on the outside. Be the reason they smile today!

Life will go on!  Live it!

XOXO

-S

Perspective

I sit back and “listen” to people complaining on social media about this stay at home order, schools going online, missing out on events. Now isn’t the time to be angry, irritated or mad…it’s time to look at it with some new eyes. You have been given an opportunity to spend quality time with your family. It’s perspective! You are not stuck at home, you are safe at home. If you are healthy, be thankful!

If you are a frontline worker, I appreciate everything you are doing in the fight to end COVID-19. Thank you for caring for the sick. Also a big thank you for keeping the groceries stocked, so we can provide to our families and truck drivers who get the goods from distributer to grocery stores.

I have realized that this too, is an opportunity…to put a spin on making the ordinary, extraordinary. Think about everyday, how you can make a difference in your family. Read together, do crafts, play games, or just laugh and talk. These will be the stories you tell your grandkids and great grandkids in years to come. The death toll will be there and that I believe was acted on too late here to minimize the death toll by government leaders. But as we battle COVID-19 by staying at home and helping flatten the curve, it’s time to make history, make your family’s history! Teach your children life lessons; how to cook, organize, exercise, how to be consistent. Show them your silly side, because yes, this being inside all the time is uncharted territory for me and at times I feel a little loopy. I can be crying one second seeing the death toll and laughing a few moments later over something that only seems funny to me…but tears come at all kinds of times. This is the time for your immediate family to unite and build those memories. Protect your family and stay at home except for essentials! Food and medicine!

Find a way to help, if you can. I know a lot of people are without jobs…and they are stretched thin to take care of themselves and their family. But if the ones who have jobs still don’t help, our community could never be the same. Support your local businesses. Eat local, curbside pickup or delivery only! Make sure to attend “virtual” painting parties and yoga. Donate to a cause.

Check on your friends and family. Make sure they are ok. Mental health issues are on the rise. I believe it will only get worse. Reach out to make sure they know things are going to be ok…we will come out of this stronger, we just have to get out! So stay home and don’t let this beat us!

Fight it to the end!

XOXO

-S

Emotional roller coaster

This COVID-19 has me on an emotional roller coaster. Every time I see the 12:00 and 7:00 updates, tears well up in my eyes. More deaths, more infected. Our governor finally issued a stay at home order that goes into effect Friday. I really hope and pray this helps. I wish the president would do it for the whole nation, but what am I for wishing? All I can do is my part and pray for everyone.

I read everyone’s posts on Facebook on how they are irritated or pissed off, mostly because school is cancelled and our seniors won’t get to go back to school. I have 2 that will be graduating in 2020. They will miss out on things that normal seniors get to do, awards ceremonies, class trips, maybe even commencement…that hasn’t been announced yet. But come on people get it…people are dying and you want to be selfish and care about feelings and if your kid gets to walk across the stage? Things happen, things change…we must adjust and make the best out of it. Is it really that important? We have all the opportunity in the world to make a difference in our kids lives…after all this is over, we can go, we can do, but for now it HAS to stop!

Just think if you could save one person by staying home, wouldn’t you? What if your family member was sick; wouldn’t you think about things differently?

I had a cruise scheduled for September and today it got cancelled…I was upset for a few minutes, then quickly reminded myself that it would be ok. Things had to come into perspective and I reminded myself to look at the big picture. I will adjust…it’s really not that important. When this is all over, I will go on a trip of a lifetime.

For now, we have to focus on stopping the spread, savings lives, and just doing the best we can. I am thankful that I have a job that lets me work from home, that my family has everything we need right now, and we are all healthy.

If you’re wondering why flowers for this post…well these are my resurrection flowers. They remind me, we will rise again. We will get through this!

XOXO

-S

COVID-19

Today the US broke 101,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 1,580 deaths and still government officials will not order mandatory stay at home orders. Our governor will not, our president will not…I just don’t know what to say. I can say that I didn’t think this would be as serious as it has become when we had our first few cases. At this point though, it is absolutely ridiculous that they are not taking action. I am working from home and taking limited trips for groceries…but when I do go out, there are people everywhere. There seems to be no fear. Get these first responders the PPE that they need to protect themselves and the needed items to take care of the patients. I am at a loss for words. At this time, all I can do is pray and trust that there is a plan that I just don’t understand.

Hang in there!

XOXO

-S

Sanity during COVID-19

For years, I wished for working from home everyday…well I got it.  For years, I wished I just didn’t have to work any longer.  But now that COVID-19 has me working from home, I can honestly say, I am ready to go back into the office. I also hope I never think I want to be a housewife again.  I miss my human interaction and conversations with my co-workers.  I miss being able to chat about things we are working on and bounce ideas around.  Calls and Instant Messages just aren’t the same and a lot is lost that way.

We are all in a place that we have never been.  Its kinda like an exploration all in its own.  Exploring yourself, taking a deep look at who you are.  I do wish I could get out and explore, but realize with the pandemic and the extreme number of cases and deaths, I need to stay home.  Right now, I was scheduled to be in California, but due to COVID-19, we had to cancel our trip.  Instead its working on puzzles, cooking new recipes, and trying to keep our sanity.

As of today, there have been over 40 deaths in Georgia due to COVID-19…with one being in central Georiga.  I didn’t know the  man, but it is hitting alittle more close to heart now that there is a name and face attached to the COVID-19 death.  Until this point, I had never really known a name or seen a person’s face that had died from COVID-19.  It seems way more personal now.  I see friends on facebook that are possibly infected and are waiting on tests to come back.  It is getting too close for comfort.  By no means am I panicking, but I honestly think the only way to end this is to make everyone stay at home.

Mental health is a huge concern too.  People who are isolating and having no human touch/interaaction are going to be affected; this can be devastating to one’s mental health.  The uncertainty, is very concerning.  I believe that everyone is going to be affected by COVID-19 whether it be physical or mental.

Just a few of my thoughts.  I hope you are all well and hanging in there!

XOXO

-S