A Hero’s Parade, Family Zoom and a New Hymn…Day 41

Our day began like a typical Sunday in isolation with our family of three gathering by the big screen to worship together. Little did we know the excitement that awaited! The day was filled with adventure… a new hymn, a multi-generational family reunion on Zoom and a surprise from our favorite baseball mascot, Fred Bird!

 An Anthem During Isolation– We sang a new hymn in church today. “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death,” is a modern hymn that expresses the comfort and assurance that flow from trusting Christ, who has conquered death and guaranteed our future by his resurrection. Written by the modern hymn writers, Keith and Kristyn Getty, the words we sang reminded me to trust in God during this time of isolation and uncertainty; through the troubled storms, trials and fear, God is good and the blood of Christ is our hope in life and in death. CLICK HERE to listen to the song on YouTube and CLICK HERE to view Zion Lutheran’s worship service.

Getty song

Family Zoom Reunion- My husband participated in a Talley family Zoom with his father, most of his aunts and uncles and some of his cousins. There were 20 family members in attendance and they represented 8 different states! My daughter, the third generation, enjoyed waving to her extended family. The conversation for this week centered around the old house on the family’s homestead in rural KY. It had recently been torn down and the first generation had a lot of memories to share. Filled with family history and updates from the present, these virtual family reunions are becoming a weekly tradition!

A Parade For Heroes– During our Zoom call imagine our surprise when we heard a commotion coming from behind our house! From across the pond we heard horns honking, music playing and saw a parade for our medical heroes being led by our favorite baseball mascot, Fred Bird! Louie, the St. Louis Blues mascot, also joined in. They were heading to our local hospital to surprise the staff and thank our medical community for the hard work and great effort they are putting forth during the pandemic. They happened to take a detour behind our house along the way! My daughter has been blessed to meet Fred Bird, the mascot of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, multiple times in her short life. (5 times if I’m counting correctly) I’ll never forget how excited I was to have an up close and personal chat with him in the Cardinal Club. I told my daughter how lucky she was to meet Fred Bird and how I only dreamed of such a meeting when I was a child. My daughter, three years old at the time, replied, “Well, you’re getting to see him now!” A year ago Fred Bird was a special guest at a birthday party we attended and more recently he made an appearance at her school. My daughter had won a contest where Fred Bird came to her school to surprise her! He visited with all of the children but extra special attention was given to my daughter. The photos show that special day in December 2019, when all of the preschool students and their teachers happily gathered in the commons area. Fred Bird has been part of my daughter’s life so it should come as no surprise when she said, “Fred Bird drove past our house because he knows me!” Thank you Fred Bird for putting a smile on our faces during this time of isolation!

 

Live Generously, Virtual Happy Hour and Socially Distant Coffee Hour…Day 32

Living Generously- Beyond problem solving and learning Foundational Skills my hope for my daughter is that she is a caring and generous person who gives unto others authentically. One of the things that first attracted me to my husband was his huge, unselfish heart. Without wavering he immediately offers assistance to those in need. He never seeks acknowledgement for his good deeds, preferring to stay invisible. Like her parents, our daughter is growing up in a Christian home where these values are instilled but more importantly modeled and put into practice. During this time of isolation we are living generously by surprising loved ones and friends with care packages and parades. Reaching out to others we haven’t talked to in awhile and thanking God every single day for the many blessings He has given us.

Generously Living… Sharing meals, margaritas, treats, cards and more.

Virtual Happy Hour- This is the fourth Friday I have participated in a virtual happy hour with a few of my girlfriends. With wine in hand, we gather around our screens and talk. We begin with airing our weekly frustrations from facilitating virtual learning (for those with children) to working from home (for those who work) to social distancing, sharing recipes and finally securing some much needed toilet paper! But then the conversation turns to talking about the past, reliving cherished memories of when we were young and care free. As we laugh until we cry, the unconditional love from my girlfriends is just the support I need to get me through another week.

Pat’s Socially Distant Coffee Hour– My sister in law began a weekly Zoom chat and opened it up to any female on her Facebook list who was interested in joining in. During our first meeting we met each other, a group of eclectic women across multiple states who didn’t have anything in common except having some sort of connection with our host. Pat asked each of us to share a favorite coffee mug and the history behind the mug. Another week we shared something that was helping get us through the quarantine. This week we are sharing a favorite picture. Through the sharing we are connecting, learning about each other, processing our new reality and supporting each other. I look forward to our weekly chats and through my sister in law’s socially distant coffee hour chats, I have met some amazing Christian women who I no longer call strangers but now proudly name as friends.

Good Friday, The Sparkle Egg and Virtual Family Bingo

For the last two years my daughter and I have spent Good Friday attending an Easter event with my parents at a farm near their home. We pet baby bunnies, participate in an egg hunt, have a meet and greet with the Easter Bunny…a few of the many activities at the farm. This year that tradition, along with many others, was unable to take place. But as I reflect on the events that unfolded instead, simple as they may be, this Good Friday, the one spent in isolation, helped my family focus on the Lamb instead of the bunny!

Easter Scavenger Hunt– My daughter and I began our Good Friday with an Easter scavenger hunt. We headed outdoors on this beautiful day in search of the items on the list below.

As we went through the list, collecting the items around our yard, we were reminded of Jesus and the loving sacrifice He made for us.

The Sparkle Egg – This heart warming story about Easter and forgiveness will strike a deep chord with readers of all ages. The Sparkle Egg tradition will help readers and their families grasp the totality of God’s perfect grace. Go to The Sparkle Egg website and read the book for free! Make a Sparkle Egg and draw a picture of something you are holding onto or are ashamed about and put it inside the egg. On Easter morning, remove the paper and when your child opens the empty egg they will be reminded of the gift of complete forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Like the tomb on Easter morning, The Sparkle Egg is empty.

A Surprise Easter Egg Hunt– When we dropped off supplies at Maw Maw and Paw Paw’s house my daughter was thrilled to find they had hidden Easter eggs for her to hunt in their backyard. While keeping proper social distancing we all enjoyed this fun surprise!

Virtual Bingo– Via Zoom my daughter joined her cousins in Georgia for a game of virtual bingo. Virtual daily meetings with family and friends are becoming our norm.

Good Friday Tenebrae Service- Our family of three gathered on the couch and in darkness worshiped together. While worshiping at home we remembered the day that the sun stopped shining as the Light of the World was crucified for the sins of the world. CLICK HERE to watch Zion Lutheran church’s Tenebrae service.

Good Friday With Pastor Rouland and Gary– During the isolation a highlight of our week is watching a special message from our senior pastor, Pastor Rouland and his sidekick Gary. Each week, my daughter laughs out loud as she points to the screen. We ended our day watching their video before bed. CLICK HERE to learn why we call today Good Friday.

Recyclable Art, Searching for Signs of Spring and Letting the SONshine In…Day 7 Activities

Today was crazy sock day. These virtual spirit days has been a wonderful way for us to feel connected to my daughter’s school. A personal FaceTime conversation with her teacher and a surprise book sent in the mail from a family friend made for a pretty perfect day!
Recyclable Art– My daughter asked if she could use this paper tube to make a butterfly for our neighborhood art walk. Without any direction from me she planned and created this work of art completely on her own! It was a reminder that sometimes the unplanned activities, led by our children, are the most successful! I encourage you and your family to make works of art out of recyclable materials you have lying around the house. Signs of Spring– After completing the Scholastic Learn From Home lesson on spring we took a walk around our neighborhood looking for signs of spring. My daughter recalled many of the things she learned from our on line reading and pointed them out as we walked. I documented the signs she found and tomorrow we will print out the pictures and make our own book.
Spreading SONshine Project- A few days ago I began the Spreading SONshine Project where I encouraged others to share the love of Jesus by drawing a sun with a cross and or sharing a bible verse on social media with #spreadingSONshineproject The movement hasn’t caught on but my dad, who is an artist, began drawing daily SONshine crosses. If you are interested in seeing more please follow Spreading SONahine Project on Facebook or Instagram. Connecting Virtually- We connected with my daughter’s teacher, Mrs. Stanglein, this morning via a FaceTime chat and after dinner had a Talley family meeting on Zoom. My daughter enjoyed seeing Maw Maw and Paw Paw Talley (who live nearby) along with my sister in law and her family who live in Georgia. As virtual meet ups become our norm, seeing familiar faces brings comfort. We also watched our church’s weekly Lenten service. Participating in our normal religious practices brought joy into our home. My daughter even fetched her church busy bag before we gathered around the TV for worship. Our music director, who is the best organist I know, played an amazing prelude and postlude. His playing inspired our daughter to pull out her cat keyboard and play along! Do we have a future organist among us? Click HERE to watch.
As the news indicates that isolation will be extended through April 24, I pray you and your family create some special memories together. Make a personal or a family goal to try something new. While practicing social distancing, reach out to friends and family you haven’t talked to in months or even years. And in the darkest of days, remember the SONshine.