What To Do Instead

I feel like a lot of us are doing a lot of stuff instead.

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Except for Libs. She’s living her best life.

Instead of sitting around in a restaurant, eating and talking with friends, we’re wearing out our stoves. Or maybe just our microwaves, but still.

Instead of cheering our favorite teams from the stands or galleries or even our couches, we’re yelling at loved ones who insist on jumping on our couches.

Instead of going to church for our soul’s sustenance, we’re stuck inside, looking for something to keep us sane and/or serene in books or music or art or hilarious made-at-home videos.

So I’m not writing much, but I’m doing other stuff instead, too. And I managed to get those words on the page for my Muffin post, Things to Do Instead (Of Writing).

But I left off a few things…

Sitting down for Sunday dinner and propping up the cell phone on the table because Darling Daughter and her hubs were eating, too. They joined us via Facetime and somehow, we still managed to laugh and fuss and I’m sure I probably said at least once, “You kids behave.”

Taking advantage of all the freebies out there from those in the arts community. A friend called and said she had to set up a spreadsheet to keep up with all the webinars for writers and artists that are available. I mean, sure, I can’t write much but that doesn’t mean I won’t write again some day.

Singing and watching music videos and listening to CDs…when I saw that Kenny Rogers died, I had to listen to all my favorites and apparently, I was still singing “You got to know when to hold ’em” on the way to the mailbox and Youngest Junior Hall heard me all the way inside the house. He should just be happy that I know the words to that song. (I’m notorious for putting all kinds of  wrong words into lyrics and it has driven the Junior Halls crazy for YEARS.)

I also know all the words to “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” And I’ve been listening to Perry Como sing it because Perry is pretty special to me. So instead of worrying and letting my heart get filled with fear, I’ve been singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.

It’s kind of like a prayer, that song. And praying for us all through these challenging times is at the top of my “Things to Do Instead” list.

Stay well and stay inside, friends!  And as Saint Thomas More wrote to his daughter, “Pray for me as I will for thee, that we may merrily meet in heaven.” (But not for a long while yet!)

Toilet Paper and Lincoln


So. It’s been a week, right?

I was supposed to be at a writer’s conference this weekend but we had to cancel it, due to coronavirus concerns. Just in a span of a few days, we’ve gone from “not too bad” all the way to closing down conferences, concerts, and now an entire continent.

And though we can practice “safe distancing” and stringent sanitizing, when all is said and done, we just have to ride out the COVID-19 storm. And hope that we have enough toilet paper (Will that be in the history books, do you think? Americans stocked up on toilet paper during the outbreak of coronavirus and caused a deficit in that industry that lasted for years. Even as late as 2035, storage units were filled to capacity with toilet paper.)

But on a more serious note, please consider a little extra checking on those who live alone. And a few more prayers wouldn’t hurt, either.

Meanwhile, I’m reminded of that old joke. “But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” Dark humor, I know, but it also ties in with my post today over at The Muffin: “Even Lincoln Needed Likes.”

abraham-lincoln-administration-adult-art-290150It’s a pretty interesting tidbit (from those wacky collections at the Library of Congress) that might take your mind off the news. And since we all might be hunkered down for a while, hoarding toilet paper and eating a lot of peanut butter, reading interesting tidbits might be a good option.

Take care of yourselves, friends! And as Saint Thomas More wrote to his daughter, “Pray for me as I will for thee, that we may merrily meet in heaven.” (But not for a long while yet!)

Pondering Ash Wednesday

altar-arches-architecture-art-632628In a world that’s beyond fast-paced, where news is instant and everyone is hyper-connected, when change is not just daily but moment-by-moment, I crave constancy. There’s a certain peace that comes with routine, with the assurance that some things will not change, not at their core, at least. I think that’s why I like Ash Wednesday so much.

From when I was just a little kid in a scratchy school uniform to this evening when I go to Mass, I know what’s going to happen. The familiar scent of the ashes, the church decked in purple, the same dirge-like music…it’s all there, just the same. And it’s comforting, these rituals; makes me feel like, despite all the crises in the church, there is hope and strength in these traditions that bind us together in faith and love.

So I like my Catholic traditions, even if some of ’em have fallen by the wayside over the years. Like giving up something for Lent. Holy Sister Mary Joseph, I used to give up something every year, even before I knew why. Mostly, it was chocolate back then, which made Easter morning baskets all the sweeter.

But as the years progressed, I’ve quit most of the easy vices to give up, or I don’t indulge enough to make giving ’em up meaningful. Now I’m left with the tougher ones on that Seven Deadly Sins list. Like pride, avarice, envy, sloth… for cryin’ out loud, how do you give up pride? And if I gave up sloth, does that mean I’d have to give up my naps? I LOVE MY NAPS.

I pondered this problem in my latest post over at The Muffin in “Giving Up to Get More.”And though it’s about how we can give up certain bad habits to become better writers, they’re bad habits that affect us in more ways than writing. They’re the kind of bad habits that keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves, whether that’s a writer or a mom or a salesperson.

So I’m giving up my Debbie Downer habit this Lent (according to Youngest Junior Hall, I start first thing in the morning by reading out all the bad news from the paper. I also read the wacky news and Dear Abby but fine, I’ll keep the latest on the coronavirus to myself).

I was about to say it’s not going to be easy but see? There’s that negativism cropping up already and I haven’t even gotten my ashes yet. Pray for me, y’all, it’s going to be a long Lent!