The Sun Still Shines

blue sky

With the state of the world today, it seemed like a good time to start writing in this blog again. There seems to be so much, fear, chaos, anxiety, and panic that I can only hope my optimistic words will help somehow.

I live in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York and yesterday I received the news that my girls’ school is going to close for a month. While this has been happening across the country due to COVID-19, there haven’t been any cases of it reported in this county yet. I can understand the school districts wanting to take precautions to protect everyone, but it’s just so hard to fathom that something like this is happening in my lifetime.

Having seen the chaos and pandemonium at grocery stores due to fears about the virus and self-quarantine, I headed to Walmart before the sun was even up yesterday morning because I just needed basic groceries. I was most worried that I wouldn’t be able to get milk for the week but when I checked their grocery app it was still in stock so I was hopeful.

Although I was anxious to get my milk and other essentials for the week, I still took the time to stop by Canandaigua Lake and take some pictures. I think it’s vital that in these “dark” feeling times we still remember and see the beauty that remains all around us and that the light still shines strong. The only eerie part about my visit to the lake was the abundance of seagulls circling overhead but that’s really not unusual for them and perhaps they sensed something amiss about the humans around them.

When I shop early on Saturday mornings, there are usually very few people in the store and as a well-practiced introvert, I’m okay with that.

But yesterday morning there were more people than usual and indeed, the toilet paper, tissue, and paper towel aisles were completely empty. Fortunately, I bought a package last week that will last me and my girls a couple of weeks. Hopefully, by the time we run out, people will have regained their sanity.

I was able to get my gallon of milk and the other essentials I needed for what I thought would be a relatively normal school week. There were odd things missing from shelves such as frozen pizza, pasta, dish detergent, and macaroni and cheese. But when I went to the vitamin aisle, the only vitamin that seemed depleted was vitamin C. Also the bread aisle was nearly as empty as the toilet paper aisle.

While I did my shopping, there were employees dashing around fulfilling grocery pickup orders and people filling their carts. There was a sense of nervousness and uncertainty in the air and I tried my best not to let it infect me. To perk myself up a bit, I bought a colorful spring-themed bedspread and some flowery bell-bottom pants that are far too young for me. But in these trying times, a girl does what she must to lift her spirits.

When I finished shopping, I headed to my mother’s house for the usual Saturday visit which involves doing laundry and watching The Good Witch or something else we can find streaming. I usually play World of Warcraft too and my mom and I have interesting conversations.

Neither of us is panicked about COVID-19, we’re just being smart and taking precautions. My mother is in her 70s and has underlying health conditions so she’s at a higher risk but I pray to all the powers that be every day that she stays healthy and that this all blows over eventually and life can return to normal.

As far as the whole social distancing thing goes, as an introvert, I’ve been doing that for years without an issue. I work from home already so I’m fine with having my girls home from school. I do worry that more people working online might mean less work for me, but time will tell how that plays out. I’m hoping the work from home surge will actually benefit Rev.com and their online transcribers like myself.

I’ve been spending time by myself for many years because on days I don’t have my daughters, it’s just me and my four cats and one dog. I tried being more of a social butterfly in the past but it really wasn’t for me. The only social events I seem to thrive at are the pow-wows hosted by The Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness (MCNAA) and I’m hopeful those will resume and continue when it’s safe.

One of the most important things I do for my mental and physical health is to take the time to stop and appreciate the world around me. I go for walks, I sit outside on my deck, or I even just watch the birds out my window. Today the sun is shining and there’s hardly a cloud in the sky. The world hasn’t stopped spinning, the sun still shines, and I have a lot to be grateful for.

I don’t know what the next few weeks and months will hold, but I remain optimistic and hopeful and always try to find the upside of any situation. Just last week I was grumbling about the time change and how the early school mornings were dark again. Well now there is no physical school for a month and we can all sleep in until it’s light.

By the time school resumes-and it will resume, I have faith in that-the mornings will be light again, it will be spring, and life will begin its annual blooming. I don’t know about you, but I plan on enjoying every moment and focusing more on the light than on the dark.

October Already?!

October sky

Evening sky during our walk yesterday.

My oldest daughter went through the house last night flipping all the calendars to October because I hadn’t yet. I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that October is here already. September went by very fast and while it started out fall-like, there was a lot of summer heat in the middle and end of the month that made everything seasonally confusing. The poor trees that had started to change colors during the first bout of cool weather didn’t know what to do once summer heat returned. A lot of them just seemed to give up and start dropping leaves without much color change and I fear it won’t be a very colorful autumn this year. Nonetheless, leaves are still changing and falling and autumn is tied for spring with my favorite season.

As I wrote in last year’s blog post at the start of October, I’m finally able to welcome October again. Losing my father in October of 2009 made it difficult for me to truly embrace what had until that point been my favorite month and season. On the 21st of this month it will have been eight years since his passing and that doesn’t even seem possible to me. While I still miss him every single day and there will always be a void inside me without him here, I’ve healed enough to understand that his spirit wants me to be happy. I’m sure there will be the usual random bouts of crying and sadness throughout the month, but I know it won’t be as overwhelming as it’s been in the past. Life is about moving forward and not allowing yourself to be stuck in a moment that can’t be changed.

I don’t know what this October will bring, but I’m looking forward to it. I never really know what each day will bring. I have a plan for the day and most of the time it follows a predictable routine. But honestly, every single day is full of amazing new experiences and gifts and I make sure I take the time to notice them and feel grateful for them. I’m sure October will be full of new adventures and of course my favorite holiday of Halloween. Maybe I’ll make it to a Halloween party of some type this year, one never knows! Whatever comes this October and beyond, I know that I’ll get through it just like I always do, with strength, determination, optimism, and hope.

Keeping journals

A lone oak tree holding its leaves among bare walnut trees.

A lone oak tree holding its leaves among bare walnut trees.

One of the ways I stay focused on the positive aspects of my life is by keeping journals. My “journals” are actually text entries on my little sticky note app but they work fine for me. I created the journals in August of this year to better track all the good things in my life. I know I have many blessings but some days are harder than others and it’s easy to lose sight of the good stuff.

I have two journals I update daily. In my “Positivity Journal” I jot down all the positive things that happened during the day. In my “Signs and Omens Journal” I keep a record of all the signs and omens I’ve seen throughout the day. I wasn’t aware of all the signs I receive daily until I started tracking them! Even on my toughest days, there are always numerous things to write in my positivity journal. It’s just a matter of shifting my focus to truly counting my blessings and not dwelling in the shadows.

An example of things I write in my Positivity Journal range from little triumphs like walking Jazzmin and working on beading projects to bigger accomplishments such as receiving a high grade on a college assignment or landing a new writing client who pays well. I write down important things like “The girls are both healthy” and “It was a beautiful day” in that journal too. I can be in the midst of tears over something or other, but the moment I shift my thoughts and start entering things in that positivity journal, I feel much better!

I look for signs and omens because they indicate to me that I’m on the right path and that my father, my spirit guardians, and all the powers that be are still looking out for me. Sometimes I ask for specific signs and sometimes I just look for my favorite positive omens of seeing a hawk or butterfly. I’ve been making mental notes of the signs I see for a long time but I had no idea how numerous they were until I started that journal. The powers that be always send me signs and omens at the right time and I’ve learned to trust in their guidance.

Today was a beautiful day full of blessings and on my walk with Jazzmin I saw three hawks and a monarch butterfly. The monarch was especially surprising because I haven’t seen one in days and thought they had all flown south. I also saw a robin this evening and was happy to realize that they haven’t all left yet. There truly is so much beauty, blessings, and wonder in every single day! If you’re having trouble seeing that, I highly suggest you start keeping journals. πŸ™‚

Promises on monarch wings

image

Took this picture with my phone and zoomed in. Trust me, there's a monarch in it.

The weather finally cooled off and became less humid enough to mow today. As I mowed this afternoon I was treated to the sight of monarch butterflies. I’m always so happy when the monarchs start appearing! They’re symbolic of transformation for me and carry messages from my father and other family spirits.

I love all types of butterflies and smile whenever one flies by me. I even bring my mower to a complete stop if there’s one perched on a flower in front of me. The roar of the mower is enough to make them fly away and I continue on my course. Seeing two butterflies flying together is a powerfully positive sign and never to be ignored.

When I was done mowing, I took Jazzmin for a walk in the lovely evening air. Shortly after we set out, a monarch butterfly appeared flying in the direction we were walking. He paused on a plant by the side of the road and I snapped the picture at the top of this post before an oncoming car scared him away.

Jazz and I had a great walk in the sunshine with the pleasant breeze and she was all happy, panting smiles on our way home. As we neared my driveway, another monarch fluttered by us and I paused to watch him as he disappeared further up the road. Wearing a wide,  happy smile, I continued toward home and started looking forward to the many wonderful promises awaiting me on monarch wings.