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The great (blog) awakening

So we’re all trapped at home with houses full of children and little to distract us from the intensity of daily life and oh, yes, by the way, watching the news and/or pretty much spending any time on social media will make your heart pitter patter with an anxiety that evokes inappropriate urges to day drink?

I’m calling it, folks. It’s the great return of regular blogging as we knew it that we’ve all been wistfully recalling since somewhere circa 2015.

Anyway, I’m here for it. Literally and figuratively. But mostly, literally. All 8 of us have been recalled to home duty until further notice. Our school is shuttered until March 31 (but I think we anticipate going much longer than that) and we’re getting a crash course in homeschooling with direction from our wonderful teachers and as much online material as they can produce.

Dave is working from home until further notice. Our libraries shut down a few hours ago. Yesterday afternoon the bishops across the state of Colorado made the difficult decision to suspend all public masses indefinitely, effective immediately.

In a word? It’s surreal. I tried my best to get to Mass and confession yesterday morning, sensing what was coming (you’re overreacting, honey. spoiler alert: I wasn’t) but was foiled by a fierce 24 hour stomach bug that leveled our entire family except for, somehow, the baby and the 9 year old. Since neither of them have particularly good hygiene I can only assume it’s from the psychotic hand washing I’ve been indulging in all week, the antibacterial soap obliterating my normally excellent natural defense system built of carefully acquired friendly microbes associated with wiping all the butts.

I’m joking but only because I’d cry otherwise. Do you know how much toilet paper a family of 8 WITH A STOMACH BUG GOES THROUGH? Let’s just say good thing I bought 4 extra packages on Wednesday night and looked SuPeR CrAzY because, frankly, we’ve taken a heavy hit to our stash.

Our local Nextdoor feed is filling up with predictable rancor against wicked hoarders but also advice on where to still find industrial paper towel rolls, and I wanted to meekly insert myself into the scuffle at some juncture and suggest that some of us do legitimately look like we’re stocking a survival bunker during a regular weekly grocery shop, but I held off.

I’m not afraid of the virus itself, but of the strain it may well put on our healthcare system. I’m fleetingly afraid of Benny, recently discharged from oxygen as he is, and praying that his little lungs are 100% recovered and there is no residual scarring from his tangle with RSV. I am a little concerned for my parents and my inlaws, particularly the latter because 3 of my siblings in law currently live at home and work in the medical field and, therefore may be bringing stuff back into the home with them.

We’ll be doing our best to both practice social distancing and also work on becoming more Christian to our neighbors and the strangers we encounter when we do go out. My greatest sadness is that we’ll be without the Eucharist for so long, but I am really consoled by the centuries and centuries of the faithful who preceded our time and who routinely went months and years without Jesus in His Body and Blood. Christians in the Middle East and Asia still do.

I think a profound good can come from this in the form of a rekindled love and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and a renewed belief that it really, really is Jesus. When it became apparent that we were going to lose access to the Mass yesterday, the shock and sorrow were profound. It makes me want to reassess my priorities in life and make a complete and detailed confession (when I can again) admitting that honestly, my own heart and manner had grown lukewarm and somewhat overly familiar. Babies tipping off my lap, masses in folding chairs during building renovations, being physically uncomfortable during the liturgy: all conspired to render my attention and devotion far less than what Our Lord deserves.

Let this ultimate fast of Lent 2020 be a wakeup call to us all.

Also I literally finished reading Fr. Walter Cizek’s “With God in Russia” earlier this week so let’s just say my reaction to this all has been tempered by a mental immersion in the soviet gulags.

Now, how about a random list of resources and recommended reading to get you through spring break 2020, the Coronavirus edition (not to be confused with another form of Corona virus, self induced, which I suffered heavily from circa Spring Break of 2004)

What’s that, you’d love to see something like that?

For starters, when I saw the proverbial shit was hitting the fan in terms of the local toilet paper supply, I hopped online and channeled my inner Italian mamma and snagged one of these for our kids’ bathroom. Thinking of ordering another one in case two people are using two bathrooms at once. I also grabbed some of these (shudder) just…in case.

I anticipated that Clearblue test sticks (Marquette users hear me) might become scarce as demand for stocking up spiked, so I ordered a box from Walmart.com on Thursday evening, where they were still $38/30 as opposed to $59 on Amazon (price gouging cough cough). As of this writing, both locations are now out of stock. I also grabbed (don’t laugh) 5 boxes of Wondfo test stripsto have as back up because I am confident enough in my charting that I can make do, in a pinch, using OPKs only. Since I have a lot of local Marquette users in my circle, I wanted to have extras on hand in case any friends or sisters run out.

We’re going to run out of toilet paper sooner than later, because 8 people just go through a lot. I’m taking our extra rolls out of the bathrooms and keeping them in a closet for safekeeping from Zelie, because the other day I found her saturating one in antibacterial hand soap (oh the HUMANITY) and I grieved for the dual loss.

Other than that, we’re trying to establish a daily rhythm and routine for weekdays that should go something like this:

  • wake/breakfast
  • family rosary
  • breakfast dishes and other morning chores
  • Dave retires to the master bedroom to work from home
  • 1 hour of actual schooling (taking it easy here, folks) for all 3 bigger kids (kinder, 2nd, 3rd) with little ones “participating” ala play doh or coloring sheets)
  • lunch break
  • 1 hour screen time/naps for mom and littlest two
  • outside playtime
  • snack
  • sitting across the street from one another and “playing” with our neighbor friends (I’m sure this will go well)
  • dinner prep/dinner
  • dishes/final chores
  • 1 hour of screen time/mom checks in on work
  • reading for older kids, lights out for littles by 8 pm
  • mom and dad’s extended happy hour until the wine runs out …

My original plans for Lent were a little less…rigorous than this, but we get what we get and we don’t throw a fit, right?

Right.

Oh, a few more book titles I’ve enjoyed recently:

It Didn’t Start With You (just began reading it, loving it so far)

A Return to Modesty (re-read this for Auntie Leila’s Lenten book club rec and … meh. Loved it when I originally read it in college, but I don’t think it aged particularly well in terms of how much more awful culture is now than it was 20 years ago)

In Sinu Jesu (Another re-read. so consoling, especially right now.)

Stop Walking on Eggshells (intense…but interesting)

The Next Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Next Door

Playing with FIRE

Year of No Clutter (not gonna lie, this one stressed me out on a physical level)

Faro’s Daughter (last of my Georgette Heyer binge)

Plus a couple reading lists from the past several years: 2017, 2018, 2019.

That’s all for now, folks. Oh, wait, I wanted to share a couple more resources for if/when your churches get shuttered too:

Magnificat (offering their online content for free right now)

Formed (we love and use this daily)

Ebreviary (for Liturgy of the Hours)

Blessed is She (subscribe for daily Mass readings and reflections)

9 Comments

  • Emily

    So glad you blogged! Prayers for good health.

    May I also recommend He Leadeth Me by Fr Ciszek? With God is a good overview but the other is a spiritual masterpiece and a perfect read for now!

    • Emily Yuhas

      Ciszek: “ We go along, taking for granted that tomorrow will be very much like today, comfortable in the world we have created for ourselves, secure in the established order we have learned to live with, however imperfect it may be, and give little thought to God at all. Somehow, then, God must contrive to break through those routines of ours and remind us once again, like Israel, that we are ultimately dependent only upon him, that he has made us and destined us for life with him through all eternity, that the things of this world and this world itself are not our lasting city, that his we are and that we must look to him and turn to him in everything. Then it is, perhaps, that he must allow our whole world to be turned upside down in order to remind us it is not our permanent abode or final destiny, to bring us to our senses and restore our sense of values, to turn our thoughts once more to him—even if at first our thoughts are questioning and full of reproaches. Then it is that he must remind us again, with terrible clarity, that he meant exactly what he said in those seemingly simple words of the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not be anxious about what you shall eat, or what you shall wear, or where you shall sleep, but seek first the kingdom of God and his justice.”

  • Callie

    So happy that you will be blogging! I have actually been reading archives of my favorite blogs to get my mind off of current events. Please help bring blogging back! 🙂

    My husband is an internal medicine resident, so I’m especially praying that hospitals will have all they need to effectively treat their patients. Prayers for you and your family as well!!

  • Jenna

    My 4yo unrolled a whole roll of toilet paper while he was pooping and I lost my figurative sh*t. 8 people in this house too and I didn’t realize until people bought out both our Costcos and our Sams, that our last 2 Amazon orders had got canceled due to no inventory and thus we had 3 rolls left… Trying some scented one ply stuff I found in a dollar store and rounded up our hundred baby size wash cloths…. Feels like Hunger Games unity here 🙂

  • Allison

    I appreciate the posts! Would be interested to hear your take on the FIRE framework sometime down the road. Positives/negatives/how it does or does not match up with a life of faith.

  • jeanette

    I am catching up on your blog, and first I want to say I LOVE that photo of the trees! I also want to sympathize on TP troubles…I’ve not seen toilet paper on the shelves for the past 3 weeks, which is terrible. No Kleenex or liquid hand soap, no disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer (though my husband found one last huge bottle on the shelf, it was the store brand, and he started to pick it up and I told him to leave it there…someone else surely would need it). So if someone has the virus and needs to blow their nose and then wash their hands they are out of luck. Maybe we will all start having to use our old socks with holes in them.

    Everyone is also getting shut down on mass, so you are in good company. People should check to see what is being livestreamed in their diocese/parish. I did that this morning for mass, and was exceedingly grateful to our bishop for being able to do that. Missing daily mass is a bit different than what other Christians are deprived of during this time of shelter in place and church doors closed.

    But our Lord is with us, even if we can’t see Him, touch Him, taste Him. If you’ve ever sat and meditated upon the empty tabernacle on Holy Thursday as they strip the altar bare, you know what if feels like for Jesus to be GONE. He’s not gone now. He’s here, so be near to Him in your heart. Likely there will be no Easter Sunday mass, and we will have to experience Easter in the raw joy of knowledge that Jesus is RISEN!

    God willing, we will all experience that day in peace of heart.

    Everyone being at home together is really hard on most people, even couples who are retired and already spend all of their time together can tell you that. So, I’m really praying for all families and couples.

    I also want to second Emily’s comment about “HE LEADETH ME”– it is probably one of the best spiritual books you can read for learning how to see God’s hand in everything we experience and know that He truly is with you and leading you in all things. Very powerful book. Read it! It instills such a sense of trust and confidence in God in the most difficult of circumstances. Even the Coronavirus situation.

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