What If?

When I was a child, my favorite poet was Shel Silverstein. His poems were about silly and unique topics and had a sing-songy rhythm to them that I loved.

I remember my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Roth, would read us poems while we were waiting to go to music, art or another special. She would grab A Light in the Attic or Where the Sidewalk Ends and would call on one of us to give her a random page number and she would read the poem on that page aloud. I, along with the rest of my class, loved hearing those poems again and again. Some of us even knew what page our favorite poem was on and would always say that number. Many years later when I taught 5th grade, I would do the same thing with my 5th grade students. I can only hope they loved it as much as I did!

Silverstein wrote many great poems, but one that has remained with me in life and something both kids and adults can relate to is called “Whatifs”. Here it is:

Whatifs

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

Has this happened to you? Are you strong and busy during the day and then you try and go to sleep and the “whatifs” come creeping in your head? I know many people are anxious about all kinds of things right now – school, jobs, money, rent, health, isolation, death. It is a very difficult time, there is no doubt.

But, like the saying goes, there is always a rainbow after a storm.

This change of life has had some positives and I could not help but wonder a few things. It is my own “whatifs” without the rhyming! Here we go!

Whatif we continue to volunteer our time to help others?

Whatif we keep talking with our families and having meals together?

Whatif we make the time to call our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and others once a week to check in on them?

Whatif kids start playing again instead of running from beforecare to school to aftercare to activities?

Whatif we continue to enjoy and appreciate nature and the outdoors?

Whatif we keep playing board games and card games as a family?

Whatif we continue cooking meals at home and doing more things with our hands?

Whatif?

Whatif we continue to pray every single day, asking for God’s help and guidance and thanking Him for keeping our families safe? For the roof over your head? For the food on your table? For the people in your home?

Whatif we keep praying for others?

Whatif we realize that our time on earth is limited?

Whatif we continue to realize the heroism and importance of our nurses, doctors, policemen, military and first responders?

Whatif we finally realize the difference between a need and a want?

What if we continue to be patient with others?

Whatif?

Whatif, when all of this is over, our world is a better place?

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:3-4

What if This Pandemic Happened 30 Years Ago?

Last Sunday, we had a virtual Sunday dinner with my husband’s parents, brother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Some of us were eating and drinking wine and others were hanging out in the sunshine, all at our own homes. We all appreciated that we could see each other without being near each other.

There are two things that were said during that video chat that have stuck with me this week. One was a question from our uncle, “What if this happened 30 years ago?” and another was a statement made by another participant, “the economy can’t get any worse than it is.”

It seems to me that both the question and the statement, though made at different points in our conversations, are related. If this HAD happened 30 years ago, things would be much different and SO. SO. SO. MUCH.WORSE!

This is due to one main reason – back in 1990, the vast majority of us did not have the internet. Imagine being told to stay at home all these weeks and not have the internet?? The economic impact would be 10 times worse than it is now. Or more.

Think about it.

People who are now working from home would not have been able to do so which would have led to a huge increase in unemployment, much more than there is now and those numbers are staggering. Last I heard, 1 in 10 Americans are out of work.

We would not be able to order our food and essential items from grocery stores, restaurants and retail giants (another tremendous hit to the economy with those delivery drivers’ jobs lost) let alone have them delivered to our doorsteps. We would have had to defy the stay-at-home orders and curfews to fulfill our basic needs unless of course, you were a farmer or someone who lived off the land. That kind of life gets more and more appealing to me as I get older!

We would not be able to video chat or do the now famous virtual happy hours to stay connected with our family and friends. And there would be no social media! Gasp! Imagine going through this without Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? How would we live??????????? Oh the horror!!!!!!! (Wait, I actually gave up social media for Lent and survived. But I am not going to lie. I missed seeing how my friends and families are doing during this challenging time.)

Only a few of us would have had cell phones. The cell phone camera came out in 2002 and the first Smartphone did not come out until 2003 so there would be no sending pictures, no Facetiming, no texting, no apps to make our lives easier and more entertaining. Nothing! We would have had to go back calling each other on the phone, writing letters and playing board and card games.

There was no Netflix or Hulu or Video on Demand or anything like that! We would have had to break out our VHS tapes or those famous shaky home videos (DVDs did not come out until 1996.) And, we had but a fraction of the channels that we have now.

Music would have been limited to what we already had in our homes. We would have had to listen to the radio, records and our cassette tapes on our boxes and walkmans. Only a few of us would have had CDs at that time and there was no such thing as downloading music! We would have been screaming “I want my MTV!” and would have fought with our parents and siblings for control of the remote.

There would not be access to online workouts on Youtube or fitness apps. Since the gyms all closed, we would have had to pull out our old workout tapes or rely on the 30 minute workout shows (like Bodies in Motion and Getting Fit with Denise Austin).

We would have had to totally skip our doctor’s appointments. There would be no virtual appointments. You would just have to hope and pray that you would be okay until you could see a physician.

Schools would be completely shut down. There would have been no online teaching. No pass/fail grades. Nothing. The school buildings and campuses are all closed right now in many states but students are still getting some type of education online. Back in 1990, that would not be possible.

These are just a few of the scenarios that likely would have occurred if this had happened 30 years ago. I’m sure you can think of more. And as for the economy “not getting any worse” – I disagree. The country is much wealthier than it was in 1990 and even during the Depression Era. While I do not like to rely or depend on the government, they, along with other businesses are trying to help in many ways by extending unemployment benefits, suspending mortgage and rent payments, discounting car insurance, and deferring credit card payments for those who have lost their jobs. The economy is like us right now, on pause, waiting to once again emerge triumphantly!

We will get through this – with the help of God, our family, our friends, our pets and…the internet!

By the way, there are people going through this pandemic without the internet. Think about those in low income areas and on Indian Reservations. Many do not have an internet connection and some do not even have running water, but that is a whole other problem and point of rage and disgust with me. How can people wash their hands thoroughly when they do not have running water or clean water? I digress and will save that for another post.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

Cannot. Stop.Cooking!

It has been a little over three weeks since since my employer closed and like many people, we are eating almost all of our meals at home. This was not a huge change for us, as we prefer to cook our own meals most of the time anyway. But the ability to order out or even go to a restaurant has been taken away from most of us and so we are adjusting. The problem is that I do not always love to cook, especially when I have to do so. I enjoy cooking in waves and thankfully, the cooking wave came ashore over these past several weeks!

Sidenote: My husband is a much better cook than I am. He likes to play with ingredients and spices and can cook a burger better than anyone I know. He learned how to cook from his mother, who makes food with love and care and no measuring! She uses mostly fresh ingredients from their garden and I have never once, in 13 years, left her home hungry. In fact, I usually try and wear stretchy pants when we go over there!

My hubby does appreciate my efforts with cooking and likes when I try and doll things up, so I have been trying to humor him. We both know I am a much better baker and prefer to bake cookies, brownies and cakes. I love decorating cupcakes and birthday cakes and feel that baking actually relaxes me. However, with just two of us in the house, making a nice tray of brownies is not really a good idea for our waistlines!

Anyway, here is a sampling of what I have made so far:

We will see what the next few weeks bring. I am sure the cooking wave will be going back out to sea at some point. Speaking of the sea, maybe this week I will make some shrimp. Or the mixed bag of seafood I found in the freezer. Or the mahi mahi fillets from Trader Joe’s. I guess I am still riding that cooking wave after all!

Stay strong and stay home!!! Try some new recipes and ride that cooking wave if it catches you!