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Got Questions While You’re Safer-at-Home? Me Too. (pt4)


Hi, friends!

How long have you been safer-at-home during this Covid-19 pandemic? Me? Since early-March. So about 10 weeks–I think. 😮 Wasn’t it the group Chicago who sang, “Does anybody really know what time it is?”

My routines are still going well. Sometimes too well. I might need to shake things up a bit. 😉 Do you also feel like you’re in the Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell movie “Groundhog Day“?

Mental health triggers have been minimal–partly due to distancing myself from too much news media (My apologies to fellow journalists and media industry friends.)

I’ve actually enjoyed not being as busy as I was prior to all this–and even at the beginning of staying at home, when I filled our time with activities and games.

This fourth question has been swirling in my head these last few weeks. Ready?


Here goes…


4. How am I staying connected?


  • Can I safely volunteer?
  • Can I safely help those with special needs–the elderly, immunosuppressed, etc.?
  • Can I safely attend community events?


Not so much. 🙁

All around us, the message has been social distancing, so most people have stayed home. As weeks have turned to months, the message has evolved to physical distancing–not necessarily social distancing. More and more, it’s becoming evident that connection is important to mental, emotional, cultural, spiritual–and even physical–health.

Have you ever seen that reality TV show, “Alone“? It’s on the History Channel. Ten participants are dropped off at a significant distance from each other on a remote location around the world. The purpose? To see who could last the longest. They bring only 10 items to help them survive in the wilderness. They’re provided with camera equipment and a satellite-operated communication device that they can use to “tap out” of the competition, at which time a helicopter or boat will arrive at their tracked location to take them home. My family and I love this reality show! (We’re excited about the new season in June.)

From having watched six seasons of “Alone” throughout the years, we’ve determined that more often than not, it’s not the lack of survival skills that makes someone tap out; it’s the isolation from family, friends, and loved ones–people in general. Even $500,000–the grand prize to the last contestant on the island–isn’t enough to keep contestants in the game. The desire to connect is that strong. Some have even constructed toy people or animals out of whatever they can find to have some sort of companionship. (Think Wilson in the Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away.”)

Despite the best of intentions, promoting prolonged isolation can have negative effects on our very being.

God created us to connect and to be in relationship–with Him and with each other. Even as early as the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).

Here are some other examples from the Bible about God’s design for community.


Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)


From Ecclesiastes
7 Again I saw something on earth that didn’t mean anything.

8 A man lived all by himself. He didn’t have any sons or brothers. His hard work never ended. But he wasn’t happy with what he had. “Who am I working so hard for?” he asked. “Why don’t I get the things I enjoy?” That doesn’t have any meaning either. In fact, it’s a very bad deal!

9 Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do.

10 Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn’t have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him!

11 Or suppose two people lie down together. Then they’ll keep warm. But how can one person keep warm alone?

12 One person could be overpowered. But two people can stand up for themselves. And a rope made out of three cords isn’t easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:7-12)



Pre-COVID-19, I stayed connected by:
  • Volunteering on the tech crew at my church, Lakes Church
  • Singing with the community choral group, Lakeland Choral Society
  • Visiting my elderly parents in their independent living community
  • Joining my closest girlfriends for breakfast the first Saturday of the month

I haven’t been able to do any of those things in the past ten weeks. But I have:
  • Called or texted those I haven’t talked to in a while
  • Added video to conference calls
  • Waved at our mailman from inside the house every day
  • Watched live concerts from around the world online
  • Joined my friend and fellow blogger, Kim Wilbanks, on her Facebook live tea times

Friends, connection isn’t just for the benefit of others. It’s for us too! We might think we don’t need it and that we’re doing it to help someone else. That might be true. But we’re also doing it for ourselves. And for those of us who are believers, we do it for God.



Take a few moments to listen to one of my favorites,
Superchick’s “We Live.”






Stay safe and healthy!


Big hugs,
Daphne

Come alongside… In what ways have you felt distant during this pandemic? What have you done to increase face-to-face or voice-to-voice activity? How has someone made an effort to connect with you during this time? How has staying connected helped you? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.


Questions in this Series
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


Got Questions While You’re Safer-at-Home? Me Too. (pt2)


Hi, friends!

How are you doing? No, really–How are you?

To be more specific, how are you really handling this Covid-19 pandemic?

In my previous post, we talked about daily routines. How are you doing with yours? (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m one of those people who asks how you’re doing and really wants to know the answer.) 🙂 Are you sticking to as many of your routines as possible during this safer-at-home time? If not, head over to part 1 of this blog series to read some of the ways our family is maintaining some sense of normalcy while we’re practicing social distancing and doing our best to slow the spread of the virus. I also have some encouragement for you with Scripture verses and a song to add to your playlist. I also received great feedback in the comments! Feel free to add yours.

In this post, I’ll share question two.


Here goes…


2. What am I struggling with most right now??

  • What is triggering me?
  • How am I coping with added stress?
  • Am I distancing and redirecting as necessary?

Since this pandemic started to blanket the world, my bipolar disorder has remained relatively stable. (Maybe I should ask my hubby.) I’ve taken a few more “time-outs,” sitting quietly in my bedroom even for a few minutes and collecting myself before rejoining the craziness that is my home. 😀

A couple weeks ago, though, anxiety had crept in and slumped on my chest when the numbers in our state and county started to increase dramatically. The pressure was so bad I burst into tears and hid in my room for a bit. I was thankful for my hubby who slid the pocket door to our bedroom shut and lay on the bed next to me. His presence alone calmed me.

After some introspection and trying to pinpoint when I started to feel even the slightest panic, I uncovered the source: The news. Although I love numbers, I let myself obsess over the flood of information washing into our home and hearts. Have you done this too? It seems anyone and everyone has an opinion on the spread of the pandemic and how to curb it. I allowed myself to be sucked in by all the sources, viewpoints, and even conspiracy theories.

Then came the discussions. I’m not much of a debater; I don’t like confrontation, and I try to avoid it as much as possible. (Ask my hubby.) 🙂 But … this pandemic is a data mine of information and as a data analyst by profession, the sheer amount of information available to mine was like leaving a candy jar open on the counter in front of a child. My candy? The numbers–ones and zeros. Lots of them. The researcher in me wanted to get as much of that information to analyze the trajectory, speed, and extent of the spread of the virus. Listening to press conference after press conference and reading article after article, intensified a drive in me to “join the conversation” among data science experts.

But it wasn’t just the amount of information I was exposing myself to–and the various viewpoints. The seeming randomness of the virus was–and still is–unsettling. What if I’m in the group of people who gets it? What if my immune system is compromised or suppressed? What if I come in contact with someone and don’t know it? What if…?

I’m usually pretty good about what I let into my mind and heart. But this… this coronavirus isn’t just novel in name. It’s novel in its stealth. It made me feel helpless, like nothing I could do–or nothing I stopped doing–would make a bit of difference in whether I contracted it. That alone was enough for me to downward spiral–and without even noticing it.

Since then, we’re distancing and redirecting our attention. First, we’ve turned off the constant barrage of news. We check numbers periodically and rarely listen to the press conferences–unless a major announcement is expected. To stay informed, we’ve tuned into more state and local news, focusing on our local officials’ response to any developments.

The night when it all crumbled on me, we turned on something a little more serene. Little House on the Prairie, the story of a family on their Minnesota farm in the late 1800s. (Have you watched it?) At first, my children scoffed at the idea. But they stuck with it and seemed to enjoy it. I enjoyed showing off my knowledge of who was who in the show, what they were like, and how they were related to the Ingalls family. 🙂

Another evening, we played Bingo! I can’t remember the last time we did that. We’re usually a Yahtzee family. But someone recently gifted us a Bingo game with a Bingo cage! The kids were gracious enough to let me turn the handle on the cage. I didn’t tire of watching the random ball selector pick up a ball and shoot it down the chute. We even took the game up a notch: We played until someone filled up the entire card! The laughter was a much-needed break.

Since then, we’ve played several different games, including some practical jokes. Here’s a picture of us playing, what we call, Corona Yahtzee. Oh, and please disregard my “Quarantine Hair Don’t Care.”


By the way, I won the game. 😉

I’ve been feeling much better since we started distancing and redirecting. We’re also …
  • Playing jazz, classical, and worshipful music
  • Searching for lizards with the dogs
  • Watching online chapel services from my alma mater Lee University. (Here’s the chapel service from Thursday, April 9th.)
  • Cutting down on sugar intake
  • Using the mini exercise bike my hubby got me as a birthday gift at about the same time our governor issued the safer-at-home order. (You know–the ones that fit under your desk? I’ve even used it while watching television.)

It also helped that it was Holy Week leading up to Easter, so tuning in to our pastor’s nightly devotions titled “Journey to the Cross” helped to offset any challenges of the day. Pastor Aaron’s Easter sermon also was full of hope found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also say that I’ve been careful to take my medications on time every time. Can’t mess with the chemistry! 😉

Friends, there are a lot of what-ifs surrounding this time. If we are not careful and intentional about managing potential stressors, anxiety can sneak up on us before we ever even realize it.

Here are some Scriptures I’m keeping in mind …


So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)


Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)


Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)


I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)


When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:19)



Our world is turbulent and replete with questions that don’t have answers. But God has given us comfort and peace. In John 14:27 in the Bible, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Let the Prince of Peace calm the turbulence in our spirits and grant us wisdom and strength as we navigate the waters of this storm.


Here is a song I sing to my children when we are lacking peace.





Stay safe and healthy!

Come alongside… What is stressing you out during this pandemic? How are you dealing with those triggers? Are you distancing? Redirecting your attention? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.


Questions in this Series
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


My True DNA


Hi, friends!
Have you had your DNA tested to see where you came from? I’ve been wanting to do that for years. I bought a DNA kit for my hubby a year ago for his birthday. And since then, I’ve wanted to send off for my own. (Darn jealousy–or curiosity, I guess.) I held off until sometime in November of last year, when I received an email for 1/2 off of the regular price. 😮 I requested one that same day.

It took a couple weeks until I got the kit in the mail. I made sure not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes before I gave my sample–or is it a specimen? Eh, it’s “spit.” I entered all the necessary information online and set it out for the mail carrier.

Can I just say it took forever? Or at least, it seemed that way. Maybe it was delayed because of the holidays–or all the other people who received the offer for 1/2 off. Regardless, I finally got it in the mail.

Before I show you my results, I want to share what I was expecting, based on what I already knew–or thought I knew. 😉

I am Puerto Rican on both sides of my family. I have some Native American background and possibly some Venezuelan. But other than that, I’m … Puerto Rican. That’s all I know. Generations and generations of Puerto Ricans. 🙂

So… I was incredibly surprised to see the following results:


It appears I’m from 15 different regions! (Rough interpretation, I know.) And somehow, someway, people from these areas migrated to a tiny island in the Caribbean years and years ago. Isn’t that cool? (I know you learn about migration patterns in social studies classes, but it’s different when it’s about your own ancestors.)

Of course, I wanted to know more, so I started building my family tree online. It’s addicting! So far, I’ve gone back to the 17th century. 🙂

What makes me–and millions of others around the world–so curious about where we come from and how we got here? What propels us to dig deeper into our past? How far back could we go? Could we be related to someone famous?

And the most important question: Who am I?

We can answer that in any number of ways.

  • I’m Puerto-Rican.
  • I’m part Venezuelan.
  • I’m part Portuguese.
  • I’m part West African.
  • So on and so on.

All that is true–for me. But who am I really? Who are you?



Who are you?



The Bible says, we–you and I–are children of the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth. He made us. We are His masterpiece, his handiwork (Ephesians 2:10). He fashioned each of us.



You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139:13-16)

From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. (Acts 17:26a)



For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (Acts 17:28)



He also planned each of us.



God decided exactly when and where they must live (Acts 17:26b).



I might not like where I was born or where I am in life now. I might have wanted to live in another time period, but that’s not what God had planned for me. I was not to live in ancient times. I was not to live in another country. I was not to live in a family of ten or a family of three.

God planned for me–Daphne– to live in the 1970s, to be born to a mostly Puerto-Rican family, whose ancestors had traveled from across the ocean at various times throughout history to a tiny island in the Caribbean. And just like them, I moved around and “wound up” in Florida in 2005–a 30-something divorced woman with a basset hound. Fifteen years later (:o), I am married and have three beautiful children.



What a Creator–and what an adventure!



Life has its ups and downs, its joys and disappointments, but I am a child of God. My DNA comes from my mother and my father. My true DNA comes from Jehovah God. I am His.

Have a listen to one of my favorite songs, “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship.





Come alongside… Have you had your DNA tested? What did it reveal? Were you surprised? How do you feel knowing that God is your Heavenly Father? That He created you and planned a beautiful life for you?



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