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Meaningful Monday

I felt that this particular message is important for us to focus on today: “Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”

Just yesterday, I watched the news for a good portion of the day. I had the news streaming on my tablet in the kitchen while I was brewing sugar mash for home-distilled alcohol, so there was a lot of news streaming throughout the kitchen for me to listen to all day. According to the nation’s top expert in infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, we have a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario.

Best Case: The entire nation practices strict “social distancing” to the point that we just basically stay home and away from everyone else unless we are considered an essential worker, going for groceries or medicines, or going to seek medical attention. Basically, we Shelter-In-Place. For a minimum of 1 more month, but realistically it will be 2-3 more months. (Listen to the medical experts, not the politicians on this!) IF we can manage to do this effectively, ALL OF US, we will have a nationwide death toll of 100,000 to 200,000. If we are very lucky, it will be under 100,000 but that isn’t likely.

Worst Case: The national economy opens back up as soon as possible because it’s important, right? We try to maintain social distancing, but it is really tough when we are all working in close quarters. Plus, there’s never an easy way to stay away from people when we’re out shopping and at the park or beach! Infections continue to grow in numbers and by the time all is said and done, we have a nationwide death toll of around 2,000,000 people. TWO MILLION PEOPLE DEAD!

Personally, I would take the best-case scenario over the worst, any day of the week and twice on Sunday! Yeah, a hundred thousand people dying from an illness is appalling. It’s hard to think of that many people dying of any illness in our country. We have good GDP. We have a stable economy for the most part. We have a strong medical and healthcare system. We have some of the world’s top doctors and research scientists. So why can’t we save everyone?

I wish we could! But the reality is that there are too many people already carrying the virus, spreading it among their community. They go to church and infect their fellow churchgoers. They go to work and infect those they encounter. They go to the movies/beach/parties and infect others there… you get the idea. We must all stay at home. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. US.

Yes, there are some people who perform a necessary job. Doctors and nurses, medical workers (including in the medical offices), grocery store employees, pet care store employees, Amazon employees, USPS/FedEx/UPS workers, fire department personnel, police department personnel and officers, utility workers, and so on… they provide necessary services and must still go to work and interact with others, though they are also doing their best to maintain safe social distances and sanitizing everything they are around as often as humanly possible. They are putting themselves at risk to provide these necessary services and for that, I salute each and every one of them!

For the rest of us, we just need to suck it up and stay home. As I have said before in other posts: yeah, it will suck and be hard. But it is a lot easier to stomach being bored and lonely than to know people DIED because I wanted to go out. DEAD. Because I was selfish. MY selfishness isn’t that important, it isn’t worth lives.

If you are one of those who think it isn’t as bad as the news reports or as other people say, are you willing to bet the lives of your friends and family on that? Are you so convinced of the falsity of the news reports that you KNOW and have scientific data to back your assumptions that you are willing to risk the lives of yourself or your loved ones? Remember, your decisions affect more than just you. They affect everyone you encounter, as well.

If you are one of those who think your faith will protect you, please remember that faith won’t protect everyone else you encounter. Faith, medicine and science can co-exist in peace if we take it one step at a time. Let’s assume that I believe you, that your faith will protect you from becoming deathly ill with COVID-19. That doesn’t mean that I believe your faith will protect you from contracting the virus and being one of the carriers who don’t develop symptoms. Do you believe it will? Will God extend your protection to non-believers that you encounter? Will He save those who are doubting their faith? Will He save those who lost their faith and haven’t discovered it again yet? Even if you believe He will protect you, please don’t assume that He will protect everyone you come into contact with. The Bible says that His ways are mysterious, His intentions unknowable to man. No one can assume to know. Anyone who says differently is obviously too self-absorbed to be a true man of God, and we shouldn’t trust such people who have given in to the ways of evil. Even if God protects you from developing severe illness, science points to the fact that so many people are carriers now, with no symptoms but able to transmit the virus to others who then become severely ill, or die. So you could be a healthy carrier, protected from severe illness by your faith. But able to transmit the virus to others. Your faith saves you, and science tells us that you could still make others sick. So, even if you have a 100% faith that God protects you, please don’t put others at risk. They may not have the same faith that you do. Even some of our faith leaders can have their faith shaken sometimes, and I would hate to see them get sick and die before they work through their crisis of faith.

I hope my words make sense to everyone, and that we can all stay busy rowing the boat of our nation, keeping us afloat. Let’s all work together to get through this. We can do this. Together.


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Meaningful Monday

Living through the COVID-19 Crisis is challenging at best. As a country, indeed the whole world, we are all experiencing a certain amount of anxiety and trauma due to the unfolding health crisis. Recently, a friend told me that there wasn’t much more he could handle, that he is getting so angry at politicians acting like political party matters while people are dying. He is getting angry at leaders NOT LEADING, at the lack of preparedness, at so many people not taking it as a serious threat.

He, like me and so many others like us, is “at risk of serious illness” if we contract COVID-19. Before most people were even thinking it was a big deal, we were already practicing self-isolation and sanitizing the hell out of everything that enters our homes (people included!). Not because we were scared but because we have learned to be cautious. In the beginning, I got angry as well. I stressed out. I cried in frustration because no one was paying attention to a serious risk unfolding. I find it hard to comprehend the mindset of those who still don’t take it seriously, while we have entire countries in the midst of a complete collapse of their healthcare systems, and our own healthcare system teetering on the brink of collapse. But do I still get angry? Do I still get stressed out?

No.

The reason is simple: my anger and stress don’t do anyone any good at all. It just makes me miserable, makes my family upset, and is harder on my health. I am tired of anger. I’m so very tired of stress. I am also very tired of seeing the numbers of the infected and dead climb by the hour, while there are still some out there who just don’t get it. But they don’t make me mad anymore. They stay on their special side of reality, I stay here in the real world.

You might be asking why I am using this discussion in relation to the Meaningful Monday quote, “Happiness can only exist in acceptance.” But if you think about it, the meaning is very clear. When I was busy being angry, stressed, anxious and generally pissed off about the whole situation, I had absolutely no hope of being HAPPY. None at all. There’s a seriously small amount that I can do about the crisis. I do what I can to help who I can. But there’s honestly not much that I can do.

I can bake bread for friends who can’t find a loaf at the store because panic shoppers bought it all. I can make homemade, washable and reusable face masks for friends who need something to cover their faces. I can make homemade alcohol for myself and my friends who can’t find antiseptic at the store to use as a sanitizer. But, I am the McGuyver of my group of friends… you know, the type who has all those skills useful in a zombie apocalypse? I can preserve fresh vegetables. I can make bread from scratch. I can sew (clothing and skin, too). I know crazy kinds of first aid. I can find medicinal herbs in the back yard. I can distill sugar, water, and yeast down to almost pure ethanol with a homemade Frankenstein distillery made of kitchen supplies. I can knit winter wears and socks and blankets. I can do a lot of things that you never have to leave the house to do because I can’t leave the house very often at all in the best of times, much less now. I haven’t been out in public (excluding doctor trips) since January. I order nearly everything I use in my household and have it delivered to my door.

Basically, I live the life that most people are having a lot of trouble acclimating to. It was hard to learn to accept living this type of lifestyle. I used to be vibrant and full of life! I was a dancer (Bellydancing and Scottish dancing). I was a very social person, always out and about enjoying life! I loved laying in the grass in the sun. I now have allergic reactions to UV light, so I have to avoid sunlight. I loved running and dancing, especially in the rain! Now I have such bad arthritis in my feet, ankles and knees, as well as weak ligaments, that I can barely walk much less run and dance. I can sit on the back steps when it rains and close my eyes, remembering the joy of feeling the wet grass beneath my bare feet and let the rain wash away any sadness that I feel. I have had to accept my life, to play the hand I have been dealt and attempt to do it with grace.

I have been living this way for a while now. If people like me can do it for years, you can handle it for a little while. It’s not permanent for you. It’s not even that much of a long-term thing. It’s temporary. It’s fleeting. It’s nothing. So, sit on the couch and binge-watch every TV show you have ever thought would be cool to see. Use the time to take up some more healthy habits, like daily workouts and meditations. It’s not forever and the sooner you accept that the sooner you can be happy. Life is different when you have to live like this, but different isn’t bad. You CAN be happy, but that happiness can only come with acceptance. Those of you with kids, your children are looking to you for guidance now. They look to you to see if they should be happy or not, so let’s be good examples and show them that we can enjoy life in a different way for a little while.

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Just An Update…

I have been keeping an eye on the news and there’s so much going on, I don’t think I could touch on all of the topics without typing non-stop all day. There’s so much that I want to write about, but no time for most of them. Go figure…

But, I did decide to make a small update for you, dear readers, to let you know what I am working on.

By far, my most popular topics these days are DIY. This is completely understandable as there are SO many shortages across the country and, indeed, around the globe, for various items that we either need, feel the need for, or want badly. My focus is on using things you already have or can easily get even during times of shortage. Hopefully, I will be able to get some video walkthroughs together to go with each DIY.

Some of the things I am working on are a little risque- things like an easy DIY still for making homemade antiseptic. When it comes to building a still, check your local laws! Distilling spirits are illegal in many states and countries, I’m not responsible for you failing to check local laws! Also, the simple DIY still will NOT work to make spirits for consumption, only for antiseptic! That’s because I’m working on a design that uses things a lot of people already have in their homes or can easily get their hands on, even in this crisis. So, it won’t be a pretty copper still… more like a Frankenstein kitchen monster with plastic tubes poking out of it! Also, please note that even in states where it is legal to own and operate a still, it is still illegal to sell the distilled spirits to anyone for any reason. This publication will be for personal use ONLY. More coming on that soon…

Other things I am working on are more easy and quick- like a DIY face mask. During this global face mask shortage, it is important for us to be able to get our hands on a reliable face mask. Keep in mind that something is better than nothing when it comes to personal protection. While DIY face masks may not be as reliable or protective as a true N-99 mask, it does work better than nothing. I’ll have scientific experiments linked to on the pattern page to show how well you could expect your DIY mask to work for you.

I’m completely open to ideas! If there is something you want to see a published DIY tutorial on, let me know in the comment area below! Subscribe to receive an email when I publish new articles so you can be notified when I post these new DIY articles. You can use this form to subscribe.

To close, please remember: Take care of yourselves and take care of each other. We are truly at our best when we pull together and take care of each other. Check on your neighbors. Shop for your elderly community members so they don’t have to go out. Maintain social distance, but that doesn’t mean to completely isolate. We still need each other, more now than ever before!

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Meaningful Monday

This quote is especially meaningful on this Monday. Facing this looming COVID-19 pandemic can feel overwhelming! As Americans, we like our freedoms. We love it. We love doing what we want to do, when we want to do it and with whoever we want to do it with. All of the time. This time, however, enjoying those freedoms could cost us more than we are willing to pay!

Seeing the pandemic explode on our nation is scary stuff. People are sick, they are dying, and some are obstinately refusing self-quarantine or isolate as a preventative measure. This is serious business, people. Quarantine and isolation aren’t just for those who are sick. In addition to sick people needing to quarantine, it’s also for those who might become sick. It isn’t just for people who have traveled to another country recently. It isn’t just for people who can easily handle the potential boredom of isolation. It is for every single one of us. At least for the next few weeks.

Let me break it down simply. Experts spent the majority of Friday (March 13, 2020) telling us that the projected rate of infection will quickly overwhelm our medical system. As a country, we can’t handle the sheer numbers of sick people. We don’t have the hospital beds for everyone who would need them and we don’t have ventilators for everyone who would need one. That means a lot of people would die. Not go home and be miserably sick. DIE. Mothers, Fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Friends and lovers. Husbands and wives. DEAD.

And it can be prevented, but we all have to do our parts to prevent it. Each and every one of us. Even you, who go on your morning run through the city every single day… use a treadmill for a few weeks. Even you, who feel the need for social contact to keep your sanity… it will be hard, but go online to socialize. Even you, who need to run your business… do everything you can online from home – Zoom/Duo/Snapchat/Skype your meetings and tunnel to your work computer.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DO. Yeah, it will suck. But the alternative is a disaster. Disaster will suck so much more. And just think… if you are the one who thought “it doesn’t apply to me, what damage could I cause?”, just remember: at the time of this writing, over 40 people are dead in Washington State and that area’s entire outbreak came from ONE PERSON. A SINGLE PERSON. 40+ dead. Is it worth it? No, it is not.

It might sound harsh, but that’s the point when I say: if you are the one who doesn’t quarantine/isolate and spreads COVID-19, leading to more sickness and deaths: that is blood on your hands. I hope you can live with it because I can’t. If you are Christian, how will you answer to that sin when judgment comes? How many lives were lost because of you? How many could you have saved if you were a little less selfish? How many orphans were created because you just had to go out for a little social time or because you just couldn’t put off that important meeting? Was the meeting more important than their lives? Seriously.

Look at Italy. This is the real world and we must be good global and community citizens. Stay inside. Wash your hands. Sanitize. Clean your surfaces. Help your kids wash effectively. Don’t hoard supplies because while you do need those supplies, your neighbors do as well. Be a good person. Stay inside. Take a staycation, have a week of home spa days, enjoy the extra family time, binge that TV show you wanted to catch up on. Do whatever it takes to keep your sanity while we, as a country, work through this difficult time.

Yeah, most people don’t like change. It’s hard. It sucks. But the alternative sucks so much more. We have to adapt or die. You probably think I’m overreacting but I’m really not. If this country’s health system totally collapses and we have hundreds of thousands of deaths due to this virus, nothing will ever be the same again. NOTHING.

So, I implore you. I appeal to your better nature. I downright beg you. STAY INSIDE. The alternative is disaster.

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Meaningful Monday

Even small acts of kindness can spread and have effects that last for years, or even for generations! There is a story about an old man who is planting a sapling. Someone sees him and stops, watching with a sad look on his face. The old man asks, “Why are you sad?” The young man responds, “I don’t want to seem uncaring, but you are an old man. When that tree grows large, you will be dead. Why plant a tree whose shade you will never enjoy?” The old man smiles, old eyes twinkling in his weathered face. He pats the young man on the shoulder and says, “It is true, I will never enjoy the shade of this tree, but your grandchildren will! Perhaps they will hang a swing on its large branches and smile as they swing. That is enough for me.”

The young man went on to plant many trees during his lifetime, each time thinking of the wisdom of the old man who he saw planting a sapling all those years before. After he helped his grandchildren hang a swing on the large, sweeping branches of the tree that grew from that very sapling, he sat in the shade. He wiped the sweat from his brow and told his grandchildren the story of the old man who planted a tree whose shade he would never see, never enjoy, yet still found joy in the idea that this day would come to pass.

The young man’s grandchildren planted many trees during their lifetimes, each telling the story to their own children, who they taught to plant trees whose shade they may never enjoy… but someday, someone would sit under the tree and wipe the sweat from their brows and watch their grandchildren swing.

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Meaningful Monday

Happiness is never meant to be kept inside! Let it bubble forth and bring your joy to others. When people see your smile, they are more likely to smile as well… even if they don’t know why! Joy is contagious, so spread your happiness far and wide!

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Meaningful Monday

It is true, you never can reach the highest unless you start at the absolute bottom. When you hit rock bottom, never give up! Just start climbing, working, persevering. You will achieve a level of greatness that you never thought was even possible!

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Meaningful Monday

Don’t even let them try. They can’t break you. You’re a diamond.

You may be a cut and refined diamond. You may be a diamond in the rough, yet to be polished. Either way, you are the most amazing, the toughest thing on this planet! Don’t let the others get you down. They just wish they were you. They are jealous.

You are made from the dust of the beginning of the very universe itself! You are of stardust, cosmic and beautiful. You are a diamond, dear. They can’t break you.

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Meaningful Monday

Truer words were never spoken! If you are having a rough time, if you are having trouble making ends meet or just completely down-and-out… never, ever give up! Get back up, brush yourself off and get right back at it! You never bounce so high as you do from the bottom!

Our hardest times are what gives us the inspiration to continue on! Any success, no matter how seemingly small, is significant!

Keep on going, even though you are tired.

Keep on going, even though you are hungry.

Keep on going, even though you don’t think you can.

You can. And you will. And you will succeed.

If you are an Indigenous American, you understand this quote immediately… if you aren’t Indigenous, you might have to research a bit to learn just how significant it is… it’s by Red Eagle in the song “Still Here”. Give it a listen…

“Trail of Tears and we’re still here…

Wounded Knee and we’re still here…

Sand Creek and we’re still here…

Cortez and we’re still here…

Slavery and we’re still here…

Smallpox and we’re still here…

Boarding Schools and we’re still here…

F**k what they talking about! STILL HERE!

Red Eagle, chorus of “Still Here”