Coping in Crisis (COVID-19)

How Are You Doing?

We need hope now more than ever. However, there’s a time for naive hope and a time for common sense coupled with faith. Wash your hands and stay at home if you can, please.

I’ve been debating whether or not to post about the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly because it’s all we see, hear, and think about these days. Believe me, I’d much rather be writing about how amazingly prolific I’ve been while “staying-in-place” here in California – but that wouldn’t be true. Currently, my creative works-in-progress are simply works-on-file.

But that’s okay.

Now is a good time to turn our thoughts to others. Man, it’s hard to do right now! Of course, I’m worried about my family, my friends, my community. (And myself.) The population of the entire world is in crisis (I’m making a specific distinction here, because our earth has been in crisis for some time, but far too many have been ignoring that for a while now). In so many ways, we feel utterly helpless, especially knowing that the worse is yet to come for those of us in the U.S, throughout Europe and honestly, around the world. What can we do?

It would be nice if I had a fitting, blanket answer for everyone, but I don’t. As a woman of Faith, the answer for me is listen to our sensible medical experts and pray.

It always saddens me to know that many folks find prayer offensive. I hope those people are able to have a deep appreciation for meditation & can also access the sense of comfort that comes to many of us who pray.

I’m grateful to be able to utilize both methods in order to keep the overwhelming currents of anxiety and paralyzing fear of the unknown at bay presently. I’m also reading more, especially when I can’t sleep at night.

What are you doing to help ease your emotional burdens?

Please find whatever supportive communities you can to help you hang onto hope in your heart and common sense with both hands. If you can help the most vulnerable communities like the elderly and the homeless, please consider making a monetary donation to local charities. Right now, many children out of school still desperately need access to warm meals. School districts and volunteers around the nation are stepping up. Consider checking out feedingamerica.org Let’s do what we can!

Because I’m feeling so physically idle, I’ve been sewing cloth face masks for our healthcare workers, just in case. Honestly, I hope that no one will be so desperate to have to use them, to be honest. I mean, when I read this Forbes.com article stating there’s truly a legitimate call for volunteers to sew masks, I couldn’t believe it. But here I am, gathering materials from my quilter’s stash and learning how to make what I’m calling “desperation masks”. (Truly, I hope that our healthcare workers will soon have enough APPROPRIATE MEDICAL-GRADE PPE to meet the inevitable demands that are soon to come.)

These homemade masks are surely a last resort for our healthcare workers; they remind me of a thick bandanna with 4 layers of fabric. Perhaps they can be used to cover the singular N95 mask that many of our healthcare workers, such as my sister-in-law, are having to reuse day after day.

I hope my collection will soon return to my fabric stash, unneeded, because our community’s appropriate medical-grade mask supply needs have been met. But the mere act of making these masks is a bit therapeutic for me. It gives me something constructive to do; sewing these masks lets my idle hands work while my frantic mind finds a quiet space.

If you’d like something to do & you have more fabric than you know what to do with, check out these two resources: Joanne’s and freesewing.org. My masks are a bit of a hybrid because I don’t have liner & I made ties out of fabric instead of using elastic (I called my local store, but they were out, so I improvised).

I’m truly sending Love & Light to all of you. Please be safe and connect with all the valuable things you hold dear that have nothing to do with money. Be well.

Sending Love & Light,
Atina

©Atina Atwood 2020 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

Ready for California sweet romance? Add Luck of the IrishLove Games and Playing Cupid to your reading list. All titles are currently $.99 or free through March.

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Honesty, People – Do You Practice It?

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TRIGGER WARNING: I’m ranting about discussing some genuinely disturbing current events in the news. Full disclosure – this is a rant, so if you’re not in the mood, walk away.

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gifer.com

Also, I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction, but it’s so iconic that even I am familiar with many scenes from the film. I’m a day late posting, but it’s mainly because I’m at a loss for words. All I can do is wear a look of disdain that only Mr. Samuel L. Jackson can best convey when people are full of crap and have lost their everloving minds. Which is why I have to ask –

Honesty, people.

Why does it seem difficult to be an honest, decent human being these days?

I’m SO disgusted with the Catholic Church. I’m also quite proud that I politely and firmly declined to enter that hot mess through marriage, especially after I was handed a contract that literally signed away the souls of my unconceived children. No joke. (My husband & I quickly walked away from that dandy offer. Just, wow.)

After decades of scandalous revelations of child abuse and sexual depravity, now we learn that many nuns have been kept as sexual slaves all over the freaking world, and I just can’t even. I remember learning years ago in Europe that some tithing money was always set aside for “oops children” within the Church (both Protestant and Catholic, btw), and that was horrible enough. Poor children destroyed by “men of the cloth” is enraging, and now we may know why many nuns were seemingly unable or unwilling to protect the children – apparently, many were/are the victims of sexual predators and abuse as well.

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A part of me does thank Pope Francis for publicly acknowledging this, this EVIL that enrages me. I can also understand why the former Pope Benedict volunteered to give up the papacy when he learned this was a common “thing” and grew discouraged and dismayed as he actively sought to dismantle the festering infrastructure.

I admit that I’ve slowed down donating to churches in favor of donating to my local food bank, the Salvation Army, and WorldVision.org. They are all faith-based affiliations, and they seem to be relatively scandal-light, comparatively. These are not easy times to be a Christian (or any person of Faith, for that matter), but I won’t back down. There is still much to hope for, much goodness to believe in, and much more to be done.

Now, the next on my Honesty, Please list is regarding the Jussie Smollett story. No one truly knows exactly what happened yet, so I find myself to be in a really awkward position.

Am I supposed to actually hope that self-proclaimed Trump supporters ran after a Black, gay man, tried to lynch him and threw bleach on him – as Jussie has publicly shared? Or am I supposed to wait for the other shoe to drop, the one that strongly indicates that the actor purported a blatant and elaborate LIE, a debilitating one that will taint the valid struggles and honest accounts of marginalized people who are targeted, abused, and even killed more frequently than our society feels comfortable acknowledging?

Either way, those are two terrible expectations to have. All I know is that I hope this story comes to its inevitable conclusion soon, because no matter how you look at it, no one wins. NO ONE WINS.

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Actor Jussie Smollett (Source: ChicagoTribune.com)

Lastly, although I write in other genres, at this point it should be clear that Romance is Atina Atwood’s jam. Why is this the case? Because I strongly believe that with all the crap going on in our world right now, we are in desperate need of something that celebrates people connecting, finding companionship, hopefully even love – and celebrating the moment when likable characters realize that the right person for them has finally arrived in their lives. So, yeah – I’m a realistic optimist who enjoys happy endings.

But apparently, now is not the time for us to have nice things. Because in Romancelandia, a person has just been outed for literally BUILDING HER CAREER ON THE PLAGIARIZED WORKS OF WELL-KNOWN AUTHORS. Seriously, she had no choice but to acknowledge that this accusation is factual and she claims she paid some people on Fiverr to ghostwrite books for her and was unaware of any wrongdoing. Apparently, she submitted multiple, random passages from published books to freelancers, some who were not even paid fully for their services – already a highly suspect and low-morality move – and sold the cut & paste books under her own name for profit (at the time of writing, this news story is trending as #CopyPasteCris on Twitter). At least one ghostwriter has come out and said that she obviously didn’t know that the words this “author” submitted as her own were indeed plagiarized (the freelance writer assumed that the random, fragmented passages were original musings from the client). The fraudulent person has even entered prestigious competitions like the RITA with books filled with stolen passages. This person has been lauded as a USA Today bestselling author, for goodness’ sake! Now that she’s been totally caught (people are posting the receipts online), she’s claiming that she “wants to make things right.” Well, she’s not the only one, and any moment now, copyright infringement lawyers will be knocking on her virtual door.

I’m angry on behalf of all of the people who have toiled and cried over their original works, only to learn that a person stole their voices and was celebrated for it. Who cares if it’s Pulitzer Quality or not? If you put your heart and soul into anything, it should be yours to share in the way that you, the author, chooses – without the fear of brazen thievery that apparently quite a few people have no problem practicing. So, that’s a developing story, too.

These three examples of “trending news” are disheartening. In their own way, each one is a certain level of disgusting. All are angering and disconcerting. Why am I ranting about them when my blog is usually facing the sunny-side-up direction?

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Because it’s foolish not to acknowledge the darkness when you’re grasping at the rays of light. I see the crap that’s floating around, and it stinks to high heaven. I don’t feel as though I’m on a high horse condemning any of these alleged acts, because, if true, all of these acts are the lowest of low.

Let’s just remember not to get too weary, too bogged down by the toxic energy surrounding us. Find something – one thing – that makes you genuinely goofy-laugh. And go do that one thing. Yes, monsters are among us. But put on your armor of Light, your armor of God (who is not bound to any Church, FYI) and SLAY. Show your love and originality in a way that makes your unmistakable light shine.

Because we need it. We really do.

Rant over.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.