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.

When You Don’t Hit the Mark

Almost – But Not Quite

First of all, Happy June! It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through the year. (No pressure, calendar goal-setters.)

I went for some pretty big things last month – and two out of four times, I didn’t get what I wanted. Granted, on those two occasions where I didn’t get what I wanted, both times I was “close”. To me, being “close” is more aggravating than missing the thing by a long shot.

You’d think I’d be concentrating on the two awesome things that totally went right, but no. That’s not the way we humans are wired. Instead, I’ve kinda brushed off the two victories and moped around focused on the one thing out of the four that I sort of wasn’t sure I wanted in the first place (because it has nothing to do with writing) but went for it anyway… and almost got. It’s the “almost” part that I’m obsessing over.

It’s when you can see your target clear as day. You take a deep breath, aim and shoot – and you miss it by a quarter of an inch. You ask yourself why things went only slightly off-kilter. Was it something you did? Was it the wind? What happened in those last seconds before you let the arrow fly?

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Now, you’re at a crossroads. Yes, it feels quite comfortable to mope around for a little while, get some extra confirmation that the ones who “wronged” you are jerks and be reminded by the inevitable cockeyed-optimists that “Rejection is God’s protection”. (In that case, I’m incredibly sheltered, lol.) But what happens after that?

Set a Time Limit for Getting Over Rejection

As for me, I like setting timelines for my pity-parties. I can wallow and mope all I want for that set length of time, and then when that time is up, I can look at the situation from a more pragmatic perspective. After that, I reassess my goals, tweak my strategies, set my targets and go for them – again and again, and again. If I don’t use this method, I can imagine that it could become difficult to emerge from the self-pity cycle. So I don’t give it a chance to stay long.

I think this method worked perfectly for me when I was a performer, and at this stage in my life, I can already see how useful it’s going to be as I start approaching larger, more intimidating entities as I start asking for what I want. Sound crazy? Well, in a way, it is. But, if your goal is really what you want, you’ll do what it takes to get to it. The challenges are simply a means to an end.

What methods do you use to help you stay track towards achieving your goals? What do you do when you reach a setback that distracts you from appreciating the progress you’ve already made? I’d love to hear from you. (I’d also love some ice cream, so send some over. I already have a spoon in my pocket.)

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. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Gimmie A Break

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We Need Some Down Time

Now that the Ides of March is near, we’re incredibly close to ending the first quarter of the year. That just blows my mind. Too many things have been happening, and I honestly have no desire to keep up with it all. My To Do list is long enough, thank you very much. Nevertheless, I keep adding tasks to my ever-expanding Get-It-Done board. At this point, I’ve completely abandoned my digital calendars in favor of the old-school ones because I just have too much to do. Stop reminding me of that, Google Calendar!

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Search for Silence Beyond the Noise

It’s amazing to have a sweet small child at this point in my life because I get first-hand lessons on how to quickly distill things down to what’s really important. One thing that I’ve realized is quiet time is essential for everyone. Every evening, my Little Man and I will sit and listen to our breathing – and yes, we play fantastically crunchy, ambient music in the background. It’s so exciting to see how calming this ritual is as we transition from an exciting day to sleepy bedtime. I hope that this self-calming technique will be one that he’ll be able to use well into adulthood.

Why am I sharing our family bedtime routine with you? Well, it’s because I realized how much I’m benefitting from this as well. Taking the time to turn off devices, sitting in bed with my favorite little person in the whole world while my husband enjoys a few moments of quiet time himself is tremendously rewarding. I find that the simplicity of it all brings a satisfying sense of fulfillment. I’ve also noticed that with these mental pauses, I’m able to let go of trivial things that stressed me during the day. The best advantage is that I’ve been able to bring more clarity to my ideas, streamlining them into feasible projects!

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As we chase behind social media, trends, hot topics, the next thing, and so on, it’s terrifyingly easy to burn ourselves out, to drain what’s left of our energy – just to spend one more hour online. What exactly are we searching for?

Only you can answer that, and it will change day by day. But maybe consider inserting a pause or two every now and then. It’s a great way to recharge before jumping back into the race.

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.