My Last Day of Isolation. (The seeming joy of a breakthrough infection.)

When I woke up last Sunday with my chest completely tight after a night where my joints were on fire and I tossed and turned in absolute discomfort which was after having dinner with my husband and feeling like I had been on a Florida shore with no sunblock all day, the first thing on my mind was getting a COVID test.

There was only one other time I thought about getting a COVID test. It was summer of 2020 and we were packing up the house in Bellingham to move the kids, cats, furniture and new husband to Saint Louis. I remember feeling really nervous about getting a test and screwing up our logistics. I had a few days to see about myself, never broke a fever, ended up feeling fine and we kept our plans.

Now, here in the fall of 2021, I was fully vaccinated and definitely sick. One pink and blue stripe later, we were masking in the house, I was isolated to the master bedroom and bathroom and the psychology of being sick with mild symptoms, fine but not fine, and overall figuring out how to handle being excluded when “baby, but you’re in isolation – you have to be excluded” (to use David’s words) was playing out.

I wasn’t sick enough to be nursed, cooked for and cleaned for. I wasn’t well enough to cook and clean without feeling absolutely frustrated (both of those things are really less fun in a mask). I had enough energy to start walking the dogs, but would get out of breath and want to lay down. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t know what to expect others to do for me. But I knew the answer to both of those conundrums was somewhere between “nothing” and “whatever”.

By Friday, I had convinced myself to treat isolation as a little sacred time. I had used the week to finish my book, Words that Rhyme and Lullabies, and get a file out to the printer for art samples, editor for editing, designer for tweaks. Having that pdf off and running gave me a mental break “holy smokes my book is done” moment and I realized I had the rest of my time alone to dwell.

I started working through some organization.. gathering the material for book #2 – a devotional guide to emotions. I pulled fall and winter clothes up and washed and worked out my wardrobe for fall / winter. I lit candles and ate ice cream sandwiches and let my energy pool back into my body until Saturday night rolled around and I felt up for a glass of wine outside with David.

I spent Sunday pulling and potting my favorite plants to give them a shot indoors. I cleaned out my front bed and harvested my lavender into bundles that are now drying above the piano. My favorite moments from isolation were when David was off of work and we sat out in our backyard with the dogs and a fire and took our masks off. We had coffee on FaceTime and watched a movie synchronously but it was that outside time that really filled my tank.

And now it is Monday, day 9 of my 10 day quarantine. I will gather feedback on my book this week and start forging into the business side of getting the word out there and gathering orders for the first edition paperback of my first ever book. WOW. I will also start the real work of “writing writing” which requires a daily reading practice, a daily writing warm up, and some mining of spiritual thoughts and content. So today – my last day of quarantine, is like a little morph into new work, a new week.

Anyway. I hope you are staying safe out there. If you are feeling sorry for yourself today – trust me – from my little red hen complex to yours, it really helps to remember everything you have in front of you is a gift of some sort.

Even the hard stuff. That’s where the growth is. Name the belief you have that is causing the shit to feel real and see if that belief is worthy of keeping around.

I’m thankful for my breakthrough COVID infection for reminding me just how in control of my own mental health I am by tracing my emotional vomit back to my beliefs and what I am or am not allowing myself … :) I am thankful I was not needing medical care as I waited this out. I am mindful of those who are super sick and alone.

I am glad I allowed myself the space to surround myself with notebooks and hot tea and candles and use my quarantine to reboot and transition.

Yeah. Somehow we made it work. OK….

Until next time… erin

Lavender bundles
crossing my fingers for these geraniums to live through winter indoors!

Garden Dance Party

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Alternate Title: What Protects You?

I had a dream last night that I was walking into a grocery store and there was a crimson red ribbon of color above me, spanning the width of the whole path way. And as I walked, it would come under my feet and fill me with confidence, that’s when I noticed it became a red carpet. And – just like that – it would be above me again. (While also still under my feet, but without me ever tripping or getting tangled.)

Then, in my dream, I heard that this was “the blood of Jesus”.

Now – I don’t really use Christianese language to that degree (yet?) but the women at the church I have been going to totally, totally do.

(And I love it, btw)

So, I have missed the 6am prayer line for a week at this point. I have been sleeping until 6:40 which has been totally and wholly necessary. But – even so – I know the women are praying for me – as I am praying for them, as I lay in bed – aware it is prayer line time. And I know that they are praying for me and my household, specifically, to be covered in the blood of Jesus.

One of my favorite things (but also one of the most mysterious things) is when you remember your dream during a certain point in a day.

And just when I was starting to question things, just when I almost got tricked into negative thinking (by the way, there really are different degrees that your mind can trick you into negative thinking – I really need to write a whole post on that), my reality just put me back on track.

Side note – isn’t it your reality that sometimes makes you think negative? 

I point this out because it was my reality, it was the things that were happening, that curbed that and put me in positive thinking.

This, is proof of prayer working in life. 

I put on a favorite ball cap over my fresh hair cut.

A random song  came on a play list that reminded me there is something bigger than me and it – (cool thing) – happens to be in me, too.

I walked my dog in the perfect morning sun and he didn’t rip my arm off when he saw those three bunnies that live on the corner.

I felt beautiful inside and out. I felt cared for, okay, on track, ready, productive, successful, able.

I felt confident in my ability to get this back to school schedule right in the ass.

(I haven’t shared yet that BTS schedule requires me & my girl grew LEAVING the house at 6:55am, have I?)

And it was then – in this zest of a moment when I was stepping off my mowed happy watered lawn, happy because of all these things, that I remembered that red ribbon in my dream.

So – as I press on in this new season of writing regularly, taking my game up at corporate, raising teenagers, praying my dog doesn’t eat that thing that really is finally a problem, teaching – convinced that there is something bigger and it’s pulling me forward, I guess I just am sharing this idea that being rooted is one thing, but being covered is another thing.

And we need both. We ground ourselves but something else protects us.

Is this the grounding hope and the protection faith?

This is kind of blowing my mind. So I am going to think and pray more on it.

But for now –

What do you believe is protecting you?

Maybe an angel? Maybe the blood of Jesus. Maybe Kesha and Macklemore?

Just sayin’ – to me, in my very much non monk, non pastoral role of blogging here in my studio – it could be anything positive that makes you feel good.

The point is that you believe, energetically, that you have a shield that helps you stay on track and provides you confidence.

And now I am even remembering getting wigged out about work as I have not been feeling the protection on this upcoming project like I have felt on past efforts.

But that wigging has even been diminished by this notion.

Because what can hurt us, really?

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

If the universe is throwing me perfect morning dance parties and my day old coffee tastes good? I mean … that’s making it, right?

Whom then shall I fear?

Not a single person, place or thing.

Have a good one :)

erin

Aces, Trust & Remedied Lilies

UB40 is playing on my “Three Little Birds” Pandora Station and the mildly annoying chatter of two teenagers and my sweet Lucy rattles and laughs against the clank of dishes and commands of dogs (<< plural for poetic effect, though I am so preparing my heart for the right puppy number 2) from the kitchen. Ranger is not by my side, surprisingly, but is in the kitchen – hoping for an Alfredo noodle or some cheese or pretzel crackers to be dropped to him during the process of cleaning up.

I? Am in my writing studio, wanting to capture this week – this moment in time. My whole life, it seems, is coming together – tightening correctly, woven seams. And the reason I am confident in this is based on the fact that it is based on what I am seeing happening in *other people’s lives*.

But, this is the fun part of trying to find the threads in my own life. Let’s start here:

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So, when I bought my house (two summers ago), there was this big circle pod of day lillies right in the middle of my lot. Pretty, but odd. So last year, I dug them all up and put them in new corners, some in new rows and some in the trash :) And when I finally saw this crew in the one corner of my house bloom – this fleshy peach and ruby – I couldn’t help but feel some sense of validation in me doing what I wanted to my yard.

Sometimes, I don’t do what I want because it directly changes or opposes something somebody else intentionally did. The way my yard looks lately is proof to experiment with your own way.

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This is from Tuesday. That’s my oldest daughter, rounding home – listening to music – with a pack (complete with a full water bottle) – on her scooter. She was coming home from my brother’s house who lives up a few blocks east of me. This sight of independence was actually a reflection of my trust in her.

And let me tell you –

Seeing your trust in other people is a beautiful sight.

<insert prayer for the spiritual math on trust, giving trust, and building trust>

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So, the other day, I did not could not would not cut my grass. But it was uneven. And there were weeds. And some high spots. And it just “didn’t feel right”. So I poured a little bit of margarita and weeded. Checked it out. Wasn’t good enough. So I got my edger out and trimmed it up. Checked it out. Wasn’t good enough. Pulled out my mower and whipped through it. Blew off the clippings. Hosed off my porch. Wiped things down. Put everything way. And… twenty minutes later when it started to pour – I stood on my porch, in my Superwoman tank top (picked out for me by my daughter in a California Thrift Shop) and felt the power of doing things to your personal standards, even when you really don’t want to – and that relief, that satisfaction of having it done right when it’s complete.

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Wednesday night was an interesting one. It came with a dose of “personal conflict” as I decided where to spend my hour by hour over the course of logistics, farewells and seeing one of my best friends. As I was leaving the house where my daughters were swimming, I saw this on the host’s wall. And I love it. Because, at the end of the day, there is family, there are friends who love like family, there are friends, there are acquaintances and there are complete strangers. And I grew thankful I have family, of course, but especially aware of friends who love like family.

But you have to prioritize those friends who love like family. Those don’t grow overnight. Seasoned friendships deserve you, in your fullness.

This week has been really full of a lot of happiness. I almost can’t believe it. It hasn’t always been easy. But I can gladly say I am no longer learning from certain past mistakes but that I am actually a learned person. On our hike Thursday, Ellen started her inevitable complaints. But as soon as my agitation grew, I remembered I knew this was going to happen. And I also know not to get worked up. Go slow. Offer lots of support and encouragement. Validate everything she is feeling. Kick her in the butt when she needs it, but coach her through the experience. Then be quiet. Draw boundaries (ok no complaining now until we are half way). Let her get upset. Let her cry. Watch her frustration and pain and suffering chip away at the outside. Watch the process. Don’t battle it. Then, on the downhill side, watch her joy emerge. Watch her adrenaline kick in, see her gem. Watch her get excited. Wait for her to say it wasn’t that bad. And be thankful you didn’t lose it, because that would have really ruined the time.

Then, go get a milkshake.

Then, go jump in a pool.

Then, go home and take a shower.

Put on your favorite V Neck tee and go to dinner.

With a deck of cards.

PEACE.

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