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2020

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. (pt3)


Hi, friends!

How long have you been safer-at-home during this Covid-19 pandemic? Me? Since early-March. 😮

I’ve been keeping up with my daily routines and kept an eye out for any triggers on my mental health. I’m doing much better than the first few days–although my cat went missing for 10 days, so that didn’t help. (By a miracle on Sunday night, we were able to find her a quarter-of-a-mile away past a major intersection. Thank you, NextDoor app!) Her prolonged absence triggered my depression to the point that I had to pull back from anything negative around me or on media–especially social media. I could only take so much.

I appreciate all your comments on my previous posts. Thank you for the ideas you’ve shared and what you’re learning about yourself and others during this time of social distancing. I hope the Scripture verses and songs have blessed your spirit.

Ready for question three?


Here goes…


3. Does “busy-ness” have a hold on my life?

  • Do I feel a need to always be doing something?
  • Am I staying busy because I dislike the quiet?
  • Am I avoiding dealing with issues that need addressing?

I’m usually a homebody, so following orders to stay indoors hasn’t really been much of an issue for me. I’m noticing, though, that as the quarantine gets longer and longer, I’m absorbing the nervous “energy” emanating from my children. People with my type of personality (INFJ) tend to do that–take in the emotions of those around them. And let me tell ya… our children’s “antsy-ness” can get overwhelming, especially if they’re not out doing something, going somewhere–anything but being indoors.

We’ve tried to keep things active and lively with games, challenges, movies, cooking, painting rooms. But all the “busy-ness” is starting to drain me (hubby too). At the beginning of the quarantine, I was eager to tackle projects, take on new hobbies–just something, anything to pass the time and to be productive. The barrage of ideas on social media has gone from helpful to overwhelming. And not just Facebook. LinkedIn too. I’m still seeing ads and specials for a course here, a workshop there. All great things I would, under other circumstances, take interest in. (My hubby will tell you I’m all for taking courses or watching documentaries to learn something new.) 🙂

But something doesn’t quite feel right about it–all the productivity talk during a pandemic. One meme in particular has stuck with me. It’s still making its way around Twitter and LinkedIn.


What do you think about that statement?

At first, I subscribed to that mentality. “I’m disciplined. Let’s do this!” But as time has worn on, I’ve wondered whether evaluating my discipline–and others’–is even fair, let alone now. (It’s also judging.) But what if I’m actually not as disciplined as I thought? Does it matter, especially now?

This type of thinking has sparked false guilt for me and I’m sure countless others during a time of widespread crisis. Am I really guilty of wrongdoing if I am not productive during this pandemic? And by whose standards?

Friends, we aren’t on vacation. Many of us aren’t in the right mindset to spend considerable time on self-help activities, projects, and professional development. I know I’m not. We are hurting. Many of us are uncertain about our health, our jobs, family circumstances, daily living–our very existence. I am. These are not times for constant mental, emotional, and physical action for the sake of being productive, or adding a skill to a resume, or posting another accomplishment on social media. (Regrettably, I’ve done all these.) This time of pandemic is time for compassion for others and for ourselves.

So why do I feel I need to be doing something constantly at a time like this? For me, it probably goes back to my tendency to find my worth in what I do. If I’m not productive right now, am I still enough? If I have nothing to show for my safer-at-home time, was all this a waste of my time? Do I keep hearing the words, “I should be …” running through my mind? Do I have FOMO–fear of missing out? (That’s actually a mental health condition.)

Friends, one thing I’ve learned from my years in recovery (and apparently need a refresher) is that God doesn’t love us more or less based on what we do or don’t do.


3 In the past we also were foolish. We did not obey, we were wrong, and we were slaves to many things our bodies wanted and enjoyed. We spent our lives doing evil and being jealous. People hated us, and we hated each other.

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was shown,

5 he saved us because of his mercy. It was not because of good deeds we did to be right with him. He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit.

6 God poured out richly upon us that Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior.

7 Being made right with God by his grace, we could have the hope of receiving the life that never ends. (Titus 3:3-7)



Isn’t it a relief that God loves us for us and not because of anything we do or don’t do? Does it set your heart at ease knowing that God accepts us not because of how much we’ve accomplished, but because of His compassion displayed through Jesus Christ, His son? God is the God of compassion–not of false guilt. He is gentle. He doesn’t push, and He doesn’t drive. He leads and guides. Never with guilt–but with love.

If I’m striving, piling through, and plunging head-first into something I think I should be doing, more often than not, God is not the one leading me to it. (To be clear, I’m not talking about taking on a craft project here and there. That’s self-care. I’m talking about having the drive to do more and more regardless of the situation.)

When I want to be busy and avoid quiet, I go and sit on the wooden bench my hubby built for me. It’s low to the ground on my front lawn. I soak up the sun. (Yay, Vitamin D!)
Watch my veggies sprout from the dirt.
Or admire the array of birds stopping by my birdfeeders.
And the squirrels hijacking their seeds.

I love taking off my shoes and wiggling my feet into the grass. There’s something about the pristine and honest quality of the earth beneath your feet. 🙂 It’s easier for me to ask introspective questions and to answer truthfully. Am I staying busy to avoid…
  • Interacting with my family members?
  • Processing any hurt feelings, anger, or bitterness?
  • Facing low self-worth?

Honesty can be challenging, but staying safer-at-home is offering me more opportunities to ensure “busy-ness” isn’t a sign of something deeper.


If you’re struggling with “busy-ness,” listen to one of my favorites: “Be Still, My Soul” by the group Selah.






Stay safe and healthy!

Come alongside… Are you trying to stay productive during this pandemic? Why do you think that’s so? How do you feel about the quiet? Are you avoiding it? What small step can you take to be at peace with silence? 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


Got Questions While You’re Safer-at-Home? Me Too. (pt1)


Hi, friends!

I hope you are safe and well.

Has your state or country issued a safer-at-home order because of the Covid-19 pandemic? Are you on lockdown?

Now that we know what it means, our family has been practicing social distancing for several weeks. In efforts to flatten the curve (or slow down the spread) of the virus, we’re not going out unless absolutely necessary. Only one of us is going out for essentials. Mostly, we’re just hanging out around the house, in our yard, and driveway.

All the extra time (do we really have extra?) has led to a lot of questions for me–not just about the numbers or pandemics in general, but also about how I’m handling it all.

Are you asking those types of questions?

I want to share five of mine. I’ll post one today and the others in upcoming blog posts.



Here goes…


1. How am I doing with my daily routines?

  • Am I sticking to a schedule as much as possible?
  • What parts of my routine have been disrupted?
  • How am I maintaining some sense of normalcy?

I work from home, so Covid-19 hasn’t made a big difference in my daily activities. I’ve been able to start work at the same time, take calls as necessary, and stay focused most of the day. I am receiving more alerts on my phone lately, so that’s stalled my train of thought on occasion.

A significant “disruption” has been having all three children home … all day … every day. 😉 I’m not used to people complaining and moping that they’re bored while I’m trying to work. 🙂 Although I’m good at tuning out background noises, it’s difficult to ignore someone standing over me asking me what I’m doing and whether they can get a snack … again.

To keep things as normal as possible, my hubby has established that we will all have lunch together, just like we do when we’re all home on any given day. During that time, we eat together, watch TV together, and then do our own things. When my lunch time is over and I’m back at work, everyone quiets down again. They’re good at whispering, which I appreciate, and are completely quiet when I’m on conference calls. Oh, and no TV until after I’m done with work at 5pm. Some might find these a little rigid, but they have really helped to keep to a schedule in our home. (Our kiddos need structure–as do I!)

The kids are now doing virtual school for the remainder of the school year. 😮 My hubby has been instrumental to set it all up. He’s aligned their tasks with their usual school days. They’re each interacting with teachers and classmates at assigned times online. (I’m quiet during their conference times too–it works both ways.) I like that they are willing to ask us questions when they don’t understand something, and it warms my heart that we’re interacting on multiple levels now. Hubby and I are tag-teaming on all sorts of questions, from pronouns, jazz music, to the theory of evolution. Having routines–however large or small–is helping us to maintain some control in what seems an out-of-control world.

Last week, spotty Internet connections sent our well-thought plans into disarray. We have 10 electronic devices on our WIFI now. 😮 The kids were getting upset their online classes were coming in and out. (Hmm. Maybe this will teach them patience.) 😉 Anyway, this hiccup stressed me out initially, but we’re staggering usage and trying to stay positive–and flexible–along the way.

Those are just some of the changes to my routine throughout the week. Evenings are usually laid back around our house, so not much change there. But weekends… they’ve been affected most. We’ve been hanging around the house instead of going on our adventures. And we haven’t been to church at our normal church location in several weeks. That’s a big change for us–we attend church weekly. I’m thankful for our pastoral staff at Lakes Church. They are continuing to do what they do best–pastor and minister to those in need, and in even more creative ways. They’ve been livestreaming services and doing worship services for children and teens throughout the week. Tonight our pastors start livestreaming daily devotions for Holy Week. It’s not like being together with others in church, but until we can see each other face-to-face, we’re eager to worship with them online from our living room.


Life in general isn’t going as anyone planned. Here are some Scriptures I’m keeping in mind …


Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21)

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8)

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)


Are we open to interruptions? Are we willing to put our plans aside? Are we using the interruptions to grow closer to Him and to each other?


Here is one of my favorite songs from
Kirk Franklin: “My Life is in Your Hands.”




Stay safe and healthy!

Come alongside… How are your routines going during this pandemic? What are your biggest disruptions? How are you dealing with those? 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


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Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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