Me In The Middle Of Feeling Christmas Spirit (Reblog from 2015 looking back during Pandemic 2020)

Christmas Roses #2 (2)
(c) mlq

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~ The Christmas Rose ~

She stood beside the doorway softly weeping,
without the slightest gift for the newly born
who lay within a manger, peaceful, sleeping.


Three travelers, all richly dressed, but worn,
brought royal treasures for him in their keeping ~
the shepherd maiden wept unseen, forlorn.
In the chill of winter, she had found no rose
nor blossom; ‘midst the rocky hills none grows.

An angel saw her sorrow; understanding
at once the reason, swept away the snow,
revealing there some Christmas Roses. Handing
these white and waxen flowers to her, “Go –
an offering so pure is right,” commanding
with gentleness that only angels know.
The gift was made – beneath the angel’s wink,
the petals blushed from white to palest pink.

© Margaret I. Gibson

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Some of the best memories I have of past Christmas holidays were when I let go of expectations and just let it happen.

 Ever since I was a little girl I’ve felt that Christmas was meant for all people of good will.  It never dawned on me that Christmas would belong to just one religion.  I knew it was the birth of Jesus ~ the tiny infant who was born in a humble stable ~ who came to love the world and the message he brought to us was to love one another.

My early memories of Christmas were more of the feeling of togetherness, belonging and acceptance.  There was a feeling of magic in the air.  There weren’t many gifts under the tree ~ yet it was my favorite time of the year.  There was something infectious about the outpouring of Good Will as you went about the day meeting people along the way.

When my children were growing up it was fun taking on the passing along of this tradition.  Seeing their eyes brighten with anticipation as the day grew nearer, and gathering them around the Nativity Scene to impress upon them that it was this humble birth we were celebrating.

Then there were the times when I was weary and burdened with worries and stresses.  When I didn’t have enough money to get them gifts or a tree.  When I watched the hustle and bustle of every one caught up in the season and felt isolated from it.  I thought it was all going to pass us by.  Surprisingly, these were the times I remember the most because it’s at times like these that even the smallest gift and the smallest gestures of kindness and love mean the most.  It was at times like these that I experienced what the real meaning of Grace is.  It was at times like these that I learned that Christmas happens every day when we’re open to it.  

That humble birth of that one small child speaks to all of us about the simplicity of Love ~ A Gift that shouts out at a World that desperately needs it.  It’s not a gift that belongs to any specific religion.  It’s a gift that belongs to all of us!  

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“Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

Pandemic 2020 ~ April

The World is Temporarily Closed

The World

By the end of March, there were 336,075 Coronavirus cases in the world and 14,613 deaths. The US held daily briefings from each State’s governor and the White House. It was stressed over and over again by  WHO and the CDC not to touch our faces because the virus enters through the nose and mouth. Throughout the whole month there was a stampede to stores that wiped out the supply of Toilet Paper. The warnings were more aimed at people in my age group, especially those who had underlying conditions like cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions and diabetes. Saint Patrick’s Day events were cancelled, foreign travel was stopped and businesses began to close. Hospitals were running out of supplies for handling the increase in cases. It was becoming clear that this virus didn’t respect borders and the only thing that would contain the spread is if we follow clear guidelines set down by the CDC and WHO.

The White House briefing became exhausting when the president resorted to blaming and politicizing. His narrative about the threat of the virus conflicted drastically with other credible sources.  I continued to watch mainly for the sound advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci who was becoming our national medical leader and because I wanted to hear for myself what the president was saying so it couldn’t be dismissed as ‘fake news’. The president opined that this would all be gone by Easter ~ a miracle. Wouldn’t that be nice!

 

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Mostly I stayed with our governor here in Virginia, a physician who gave intelligent, sound guidance. I also followed the New Jersey and New York governors because I had family there and those two states were the epicenter on the east coast.

We got to see who the Stand-Up Wonders were and who the Gutless Wonders were.

By April 6th, the Worldometer website listed 1,343,107 total cases worldwide and 74,657 deaths worldwide. Here in the US our total cases were at 364,590 and total deaths at 10,841.

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Worldometer

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My reflection on COVID19 that I sketched on Good Friday. My heart and prayers go out to all those who are vulnerable at this time. 💚 (I feel like coronavirus is raining down on us.)

Pandemic and me Good Friday

“My eyes replaced the virus raining down on me with a beam of holy white light from the heavens. I moved all the virus to the outside of that beam thereby placing me in total protection.)

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By April 13th, on the day after Easter, the worldwide cases were up to 1,922,267 and deaths at 119,547. The US numbers had climbed to 585,469 total cases and 23,592 total deaths. Clearly, the president’s confidence that it would be gone by Easter, a miracle, didn’t happen.

People were told to stay home and celebrate the holiday virtually through the online services.The guidelines for Stay at Home were increasing and including everyone. Stay at Home unless absolutely necessary and, if necessary, wear a mask and practice social distancing of six feet distance from others.

Stay Calm/Mask Up

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Worldometer.jpg #1

Worldometer Report April 13th, 2020

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Homemade masks became the new craft as many took to their sewing machines or learned how to use fabrics to fold and use as masks. I used cloth Christmas napkins and following a video on how to fold for maximum protection.

Mask COVID19#2ab3resize

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My primary care nurse practitioner did a telehealth visit over the phone instead of my having to go to her office. It did turn out that I needed to go to the office anyway so that they could have blood drawn. I was the first patient to visit the make-shift tent that they had set up for ‘healthy’ patients so that the office waiting rooms could be for sick patients only. The LPN that drew the blood was very nervous and the fact that the wind was blowing around us made it more difficult for her. She finally got a full vial and the final results were all okay!

COVID19 Blood Lab

During this buildup, Pat and I spoke every day. I found it very comforting to listen to his voice and know that he was handling this sudden, abrupt change in our lives with acceptance. There wasn’t much news to share except for the day to day updates on the steadily growing numbers of positive cases. The assisted living/independent living facility had no additional cases. This was a relief considering we were hearing of multiple deaths in other nursing homes and long-term care homes.

At the end of April, there were almost 3,000,000 cases worldwide and 1,000,00 US cases. Deaths in the US were reaching the 50,000 mark.

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Image may contain: text that says 'Now Yesterday All America Country, Other Europe Total Cases Asia Searc South America New Cases Africa World Total Deaths Oceania New Deaths 818, 176 USA +95 007 Total Recovered 196, 575 916,348 Spain 658 +29,906 779 766 51,742 219,764 italy +1,508 +6,740 22,524 93,275 192,994 France 159 828 92,355 Germany +1,645 22,245 154,545 60,498 UK +389 +1,416 5,723 43,493 143,464 Turkey +5,386 19,506 06,800 104,912 Iran +3,122 2,600 N/A 88,194 China +109 +1,168 5,574 21,737 82,804 +6 4,632 66,599 77,257'

(Worldometer Report April 24th, 2020)

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Protests were beginning in some of the States that had stricter restrictions because of the density and contagion in the hot spots around the country. Some resented the ongoing restrictions and considered them to be an infringement of their civil rights.  The president seemed to be enabling this behavior which included armed protests that threatened the capitol buildings of some states. His comments and tweets egged them on when the governors of those States were democrats. The politicizing of this crisis by him was increasingly called out.

Our governor continued to brief us with science and facts. There was no politicizing going on while each of the people on his staff reported their findings. We were able to flatten the curve and avoid the anticipated surge. Our hospitals weren’t overwhelmed and were able to prepare for that possibility down the road.

I was very fortunate to have to nearby delivery services to rely on for food and supplies. My niece checked in on me to see if I needed prescriptions picked up or if there was anything else that I needed. My sons checked in to see how I was doing.

Jessie COVID 19 2020

 

 

* You can read Pandemic 2020 ~ March here: Pandemic 2020 ~ March

Staying Home and Drawing Birds ~ Class Three

Staying home during the Pandemic 2020 has me leaning heavily on the enjoyable past-times that I used to enjoy. Turning to them once again has taken my mind off what’s happening outside my window and all over the world. I’m finding it hard to focus on reading. The things I’m turning to and finding rewarding are writing and sketching/watercolor.

One past-time that I’m getting a lot of joy out of is bird watching! What would I do without the view from my window watching all the local birds coming into my feeder. Little did I know that a huge portion of the world population is doing the same thing!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bird-watching.jpg

So, wanting to focus on something that would take my mind off of COVID-19, I began to think about sketching birds and watercoloring them with my new set of Sakura Koi watercolors. Or using colored pencils.

And along comes a Facebook Post about a cool webinar Audubon class ~ Drawing Birds ~ with John Muir Laws. If you’re on Facebook, you can find the videos on the Audubon California Facebook Page.

Class Three Drawings: Raptors (Birds of Prey)

Sketches (c) Mary Lou

Photos used from birdpixel.com, seeingbirds.com and pixabay.com

For more information on the Audubon webinar please visit their website: https://ca.audubon.org/?fbclid=IwAR1QD2Cgp8uW0B447dFt4KDzR-w7Z-uj3szdSqcVcYhxT4kinowhN7rcdYw

Staying Home and Drawing Birds ~ Class Two

Staying home during the Pandemic 2020 has me leaning heavily on the enjoyable past-times that I used to enjoy. Turning to them once again has taken my mind off what’s happening outside my window and all over the world. I’m finding it hard to focus on reading. The things I’m turning to and finding rewarding are writing and sketching/watercolor.

One past-time that I’m getting a lot of joy out of is bird watching! What would I do without the view from my window watching all the local birds coming into my feeder. Little did I know that a huge portion of the world population is doing the same thing!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bird-watching.jpg

So, wanting to focus on something that would take my mind off of COVID-19, I began to think about sketching birds and watercoloring them with my new set of Sakura Koi watercolors. Or using colored pencils.

And along comes a Facebook Post about a cool webinar Audubon class ~ Drawing Birds ~ with John Muir Laws. If you’re on Facebook, you can find the videos on the Audubon California Facebook Page.

Class Two Drawings: Shore Birds and Waterfowl

Stay tuned for Class Three Drawings: Raptors

Sketches (c) Mary Lou

Photos used from birdpixel.com, seeingbirds.com and pixabay.com

For more information on the Audubon webinar please visit their website: https://ca.audubon.org/?fbclid=IwAR1QD2Cgp8uW0B447dFt4KDzR-w7Z-uj3szdSqcVcYhxT4kinowhN7rcdYw

Staying Home and Drawing Birds

Staying home during the Pandemic 2020 has me leaning heavily on the enjoyable past-times that I used to enjoy. Turning to them once again is taking my mind off what’s happening outside my window and all over the world. I’m finding it hard to focus on reading. The things I’m turning to and finding rewarding are writing and sketching/watercolor.

One past-time that I’m getting a lot of joy out of is bird watching! What would I do without the view from my window watching all the local birds coming into my feeder. Little did I know that a huge portion of the world population is doing the same thing!

So, wanting to focus on something that would take my mind off of COVID-19, I began to think about sketching birds and watercoloring them with my new set of Sakura Koi watercolors.

And along comes a Facebook Post about a cool webinar Audubon class ~ Drawing Birds ~ with John Muir Laws. If you’re on Facebook, you can find the first video on the Audubon California Facebook Page.

Stay tuned for Class two Drawings: Shore Birds and Waterfowl

Sketches (c) Mary Lou

Photos used from birdpixel.com, seeingbirds.com and pixabay.com

For more information on the Audubon webinar please visit their website: https://ca.audubon.org/?fbclid=IwAR1QD2Cgp8uW0B447dFt4KDzR-w7Z-uj3szdSqcVcYhxT4kinowhN7rcdYw