It seems I've lost track of how much time I've been adhering to the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order that our governor placed on us here in Washington. After looking it up though, he issued the order on March 23, yet I was already doing this for approximately a week prior... I think... maybe two... I'm not really sure because the days have run together in a blur.

I've been out just a handful of times, and always with a mask, even before they were telling us to (why they ever told us not to is a matter that infuriates me, but I won't get into that now, as I don't want this to be a political post). I've been out three times to go to the grocery store, and two mental health excursions out of the apartment. Yesterday, was one of them.

Our city has been fairly strict about social distancing, even to the extent of "boarding" park benches... only to "de-board" them less than 48 hours later after complaints from senior citizens and disabled who rely on those benches to temporarily rest during their times of walking exercise (which IS allowed as long as they're social distancing).

When I heard about them boarding the benches, I became very upset. Sometimes it feels like this is so invasive to my rights, and like it will never end. Although my husband tells me it will, and I believe him to an extent, I have little faith that it will ever be back to normal the way "normal" once was. Time will tell, but for now, I just really needed to get out and do something that felt "normal" without putting anyone at risk.

I called my Mom yesterday and she suggested going to Kubota Garden. It was my understanding that all the parks were closed except for walking, running or cycling through, so I had only been thinking about taking a drive. Park parking lots have been barricaded for quite some time now, so I wasn't sure what we would find when we got there. The parking lot was indeed closed, but per their website, the park is open. Yay!!!

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon, and this park visit was much needed food for my soul and emotional and mental health. We didn't make it through the entire gardens, but thoroughly enjoyed what we did experience. We'll take in the rest on another visit.

Here are some pictures from our walk through the gardens.

The pond was FILLED with Koi. It probably would have been nicer if the pond didn't look like a mud puddle, but it was still beautiful.
Mountain Peony - SO beautiful, I want to paint it!!!

Thank you, Mom, for the suggestion!!! Eric and I really enjoyed the beauty and serenity of Kubota Garden!

What I have to say will sound rather negative at first, but please hear me out to the end, if you will. This started as a Facebook post, but I decided to post it here too.

I have to say that the past two weeks have been the most unusual of my life. Never have I ever seen 6-week (minimum) statewide school closures or bans on large gatherings or pending interstate travel restrictions. I have seen epidemics and pandemics come and go, but I have never seen a similar response to the current one. The most recent pandemic previous to this one occurred 11 years ago when the H1N1 Swine Flu, or Bird Flu as it was also known, sunk its deadly talons into our world; yet there was no equal response.

While I have a hard time understanding the unprecedented response to this pandemic, I realize that I do not know all there is to know and I will probably never fully understand it. So, whether it is the right or wrong response from a medical standpoint is not my call, nor my focus when I say that the response has been utterly devastating to many of our citizens, and it has only just begun. There are working parents trying to determine the best course of action for their children whose schools and daycares are closing. There are people losing their small businesses. There are families losing their livelihoods as a result. The grocery store shelves have limited resources. Churches have had to close their doors. I just learned that our local West Seattle Farmers Market that operates year-round is being shut down… and the list goes on.

Personally, I have had an extremely difficult time seeing all of this unfold. It hasn’t had a significant direct affect on me and Eric… yet. We are both fortunate enough to work for large corporations that have the resources to keep us employed… for now. We don’t have young children to care for. We do, however, have elderly parents we can’t go visit because we feel like the risk of carrying the disease to them is too great. We also have grandchildren who have to have arrangements made for. We have children who are losing jobs and have had their small business income impacted.

Oh, and the media and SOCIAL MEDIA… it’s ALL you read and hear. I went to the ABC news website and as I scrolled through the page, article after article after article was either directly or indirectly related to Coronavirus. I’d say that was true of about 85% of what I saw. Where is all the other news in the world? Is there nothing happening outside of Coronavirus? It is consuming every corner of our lives and minds!

So yesterday morning I made the decision to disconnect from Social Media and I will limit my exposure to the news to once a day. This will be the last post I will make (or read) for a while... maybe longer! (on Facebook - I'll still post here) It is all just too upsetting to me to see the devastation to both health and well-being of all the people. It breaks my heart too much, and is disturbing, on several levels.

Nothing about this feels normal or familiar. The reality is that things are not going to return to normal next week or even the week after. The six-week (minimum) state-wide school closure tells me this. The thought of that today brought a sense of loss and a fear of the unknown…

It is NOT the end of the world, however. There is great hope in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Fear is a tool of the enemy of our souls, and I reject that. I admit I had a moment of panic this evening when all of this really sunk in during a moment of disappointment that I can’t go to church tomorrow or visit either of our parents; and I wondered when I ever will be able to do either. I spent a while crying and scared, but God has blessed me with a husband who loves me and helps me find my footing and balance when I’m off-center. He points me to God when I need Him most… which, is always.

In addition to prayer, there are a couple of “go-to’s” I have when I need to get re-grounded. One is music – always music, and the other is Philippians 4. It’s entirely possible that I’ve read that chapter 1,000 times or more. It is definitely my favorite chapter of the Bible. All of it has very powerful verses for me, but today this is the most important part, in verse 8….

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I need to know what’s happening in the world, but I don’t need to dwell on it. It is not beneficial and is destructive to my spiritual health. So, for the next little while, you can call me, text me, Message me, but I won’t be on social media. If I’m online it will be to read things like Philippians 4 or listening to something like this, which is how I’ve spent the rest of my evening…

A few things happened the past couple of weeks. I'll start with a couple of the better things, including one of the most important little creatures in our City of Seattle world.

First, a couple of weeks ago we went to Alki Beach for lunch where they were having the Polar Plunge. This 108 ft. buoyant beauty, who is a Seattle Fire Department fireboat named Leschi, was also there. She put on an aquatic exhibition for the crowds that was too far away for us to capture. However after showing off for them, she spent a fair amount of time just bobbing about the Southern end of Alki where we were, allowing us to do a photo shoot with her before she returned to the downtown side of the bay.

I was able to obtain this photo of her in action during another event. Credit below the photo.

Photo used in accordance with the rules on the website credited below:

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

We got new furniture this past Tuesday! Gracie promptly claimed the chair, but has tried out the sofa and loveseat too. Mainly, she goes where we go, but she was very cute checking out the chair. I wish I could have captured it all, but you gotta admit, she's cute no matter what!

Last Saturday's abrupt pre-dawn awakening was greatly unappreciated. She came in at 4:00 a.m. harshly kneading my muscles and mercilessly trampling the back of my throat. And the sinus pressure...


Oh, so sick.

As I sat on the couch with my cozy, chevron-textured fleece blanket and a steamy cup of coffee in hand, my attempts to feel human were failing. TV reports were announcing newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, followed shortly by the somber declaration that the first related deaths in the United States had taken place about 15 miles from my home.

I pulled out my laptop and the searching began. Do I have it? Don't I have it? If I do have it, how dangerous is it... really?

I would spend the remainder of the weekend sick and learning of new developments; more cases, more deaths, more and more information. Some of the details seemed to be conflicting, even from the same source, some of it was downplayed, some of it was doomsday-ish. Who and what do I believe?

What's confusing to me is that the CDC says that 80% of those who get it have "mild" symptoms. OK, great! If I do have it, I most likely have nothing to worry about. Right?

Oh, but wait! Even though 80% of cases are mild, cities are purchasing and setting up quarantine facilities and the government is sending out task forces and elected officials to plan and prepare.

So what is the concern - or not the concern... really? If thousands more people die of the flu even though there's a vaccine for it, and there are no quarantines or advice to work from home if possible and people don't run out buying up all the water and toilet paper in town for flu threats, then why this??? What makes this so much MORE serious, when far fewer people have died from it? Have you wondered about this? I certainly have - and it makes no sense to me.

There's a lot of options in response. I could ignore this, conspiracy-theorize it, say it's nothing at all, say it's the end of civilization, freak out, lock myself in the house, read a gazillion reports and every word on the CDC and my local area public health website... okay, admittedly I did read those gazillion reports and etc. that I mentioned last. Then I decided that with all the contradiction over just how much we should or shouldn't be concerned, I finally decided I just need to relax, but be informed and take reasonable precautions, like washing my hands even more than I used to, and being more aware of touching my face, especially when I'm in public, avoid eating out and going anywhere with large crowds for now. Beyond that, the only other thing I can do is trust that whatever happens, God will always be there for me, and leave it at that.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, no, I do not/did not have Coronavirus... or if I did, it was mild. Either way, I'm very much alive and recovering well. I did have to take off work for three days in addition to my two weekend days, and I was very sick, but as far as I know, it was not COVID-19 and not life-threatening.

On another note, I was able to capture these beautiful treats during a couple of my mornings at home. It's not often you get to see a bird and a plane in the same sunrise.

What gifts did you encounter in the past few weeks. I'd love to hear about them in the comments! Have a fabulous week!

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