On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Posts tagged ‘Social Distancing’

To hug or not to hug | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 9, 2021:

What is one of the first things we say to our grandchildren when we see them? I have no scientific proof to back this up, but it’s probably something like Come give Grandma a hug! And more than likely, the kids come running. Maybe it’s because they know that Grandma usually brings treats, or maybe it’s because there’s something in human nature that craves the touch of another person.

One of my favorite stories from our family history is of a cousin who went to her grandmother and asked for a hug. It must have been cool, because the older woman had on long sleeves. She picked up the little girl and gave her a squeeze, but the child wasn’t satisfied. “No, Grandma,” she said as she patted her arms. “I need to feel skin.”

It’s a cute, feel-good story, but the theories of some healthcare professionals seem to back up the little girl’s need. In an article dated March 1, 2010, Maia Szalavitz of Psychology Today stated that touch can ease pain and lift depression. She further said that babies who are denied touch through lack of being held, nuzzled or hugged may fail to thrive and may even die if the situation continues too long. In April of 2018, the Healthline website quoted family therapist Virginia Satir as saying “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

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Living in a Micro World | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 28, 2020:

family cemeteryThere was a time not too many centuries ago when it was not uncommon for a person to live their entire life within a few miles of the place where they were born. The furthest they traveled was to the nearest town for supplies, church and school. They socialized with family and friends from nearby farms, picked a mate from that small pool of choices, raised children, died at home and were laid to rest in the community cemetery.

Then, in the early 19th century, Samuel Morse and other inventors developed a way to transmit electrical signals over long distances, and the communication revolution began. It wasn’t long before radios, telephones, televisions, computers and satellites opened up the world to those little insulated areas. While all this was going on, other inventors transformed travel with the creation of steamboats, trains, automobiles, airplanes and rockets.

Almost overnight, at least from a historical perspective, civilization changed from a communication revolutioncollection of micro or extremely small communities to one macro or large scale, we-are-the-world society. Most of us live somewhere between those two extremes, but there are times when I feel like COVID has pushed us back into a micro world. It’s not the ultra-isolated world of the pre-electronic age. We still have instant access to more information than we can or want to take in, but our pool of human contacts has dried up to a puddle. I became very aware of that this past weekend. (more…)

Kitty and the Virus | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 21, 2020:

(Some stories in this column may be a bit hard to believe, but keep in mind that I write fiction as well as fact.)

Kitty peeking out 043016Kitty may be just a cat, but she knows what’s going on. She’s aware that there is a virus out there that sometimes circulates among camels and bats – and cats. At first, she was pretty casual about the whole thing, but as the numbers have risen, she has become more cautious.

When the panic first hit and the world as we know it shut down, she could still count the number of COVID-19 cases in Rains County on one paw. She wasn’t the least bit worried, and she seemed to enjoy having us home all the time. She spent many happy hours lying next to David on the couch while he searched the internet for another British detective series for our next round of binge watching. She even came to visit me on the love seat two or three times. (more…)

Answering the Call | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 2, 2020:

curbside pickup signLast week I wrote about the fact that normal life is beginning to call to all of us because social people cannot stay in isolation long. The call to community is too strong. One of my calls was the fact that I needed a loaf of bread – not a long list of items that would meet the minimum requirement for a curbside pickup order, but just a single loaf of bread. I got my bread, but not by actually entering a store for the first time since March 13. After checking my list, I realized a Walmart run was overdue, I placed an order for bread and 25 other items, and we drove to Mineola. While I waited for the order to be brought to the car, David braved the elements and went inside in search of a particular car care item I hadn’t been able to find online. He returned with a smile of success and a request for hand sanitizer, just in case.

I also mentioned in my previous column that vanity might call some people to the gym, Gym wipesthe hair salon, or the shopping mall. Although my weight has fluctuated a bit in the last couple of months, I’ve pretty much maintained my pre-isolation size, and David has actually lost weight, so the mall hasn’t tempted us. And since I’ve cut his hair for years and mine for several months, we’ve avoided the salon with no problems. However, the gym is another story. (more…)

I was glad… | by Linda Brendle

Published  in the Rains County Leader on May 19, 2020:

Drive in churchI’ve missed a lot of things during self isolation: lunch with friends at the Senior Center, picking out my own produce and meat at the grocery store, going to the library to choose what books we would read next, and going to the gym several days a week among others. The thing I missed most, though, was meeting with my church family.

Even before the shutdown officially began, the elders at Believers’ Baptist Church began recording devotions and sermons and making them available for those who chose to stay away from public gatherings. As isolation continued, they explored options for keeping Lawn Chair ChurchBBC members and friends connected. For several weeks there was drive-in church where the congregation gathered in the church parking lot and listened to worship music and Pastor Jason’s message on KRER 102.5. Windows were rolled down and waves and greetings were shared from family to family, but everyone stayed in their cars. Then, last week a group of almost one hundred met for lawn chair church in front of the Family and Children’s Building.

David and I chose to forego those meetings and to catch the services on YouTube. One reason for our decision is that we are both in the vulnerable age range and both have health issues that might put us at increased risk. In addition, our car radio turns off five minutes after the engine is shut down, and it has no accessory switch. Finally, our inexpensive folding camp chairs have passed beyond their “best used by” dates after spending several Texas summers in a metal storage building. But when plans for resuming services in the building were announced, we were ready. (more…)

And it was good! with Stacy Rolen, Guest Columnist

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 14, 2020:

writers blockThe coronavirus isolation has not been kind to my creativity. I write about people and life and community, and my community is now limited to David and Kitty. I love them both dearly, and they provide plenty of writing material – but I’ve used most of the good stuff in my books, so I depend on outside contacts for inspiration. Consequently, when I sat down at my computer Sunday afternoon, I would write a sentence, delete it, and go to the kitchen to do a little prep work for dinner.

This went on until everything was in either the oven or the InstantPot, and I was giving serious thought to running an old column. Then I clicked over to Facebook and saw a post from Stacy Rolen, wife of Pastor Jason Rolen, both of Believers’ Baptist Church. As I read her thoughts about Easter in isolation, I wanted to share her words with my readers. I messaged her, and she graciously agreed to be a guest columnist this week.

By way of explanation, Believers’ has been doing drive-in church for several weeks. TylerDrive in churchJones, BBC worship leader and media expert, pre-records Pastor Jason’s message and several praise songs which he then submits to KRER 102.5. On Sunday mornings, the church family gathers on the parking lot where they stay in their cars and attend church through the magic of radio.

One last note – the Rolen family is made up of Jason, Stacy, Bree Allie who is a junior at Alba-Golden where Stacy teaches, and Brady – aka Bubba – who is working on his masters degree at Dallas Baptist University in Dallas. Following is a look into Easter with Rolens – and it’s very good.

We talked this week about how crazy it felt to not have the same kind of Easter morning we have had for every year of our lives. For the first time ever, there would be no plans made of what to wear, who gets up when to make this sunrise service, this breakfast, this praise team practice, this Sunday School class, or that service. We decided that we would just sit on the deck to see the sunrise together, in the quiet and the still. And it would be good!

Then the alarm went off, and the rain hit against the roof, and the thunder roared. So we snuggled in tighter and snoozed. And snoozed. Slept five hours past Jason’s normal Sunday morning alarm. It was different, but it was good.

Finally got up and ready for the day. A different kind of Easter morning. No fanfare. Caught an early service message on TV, followed by our normal Sunday morning Spotify playlist – but this time we were at home, together, and it was good.

All showered, all dressed for a different kind of Easter. But it was good!

Rolens on EasterHow wonderful to see our church family! We miss everyone so much, but getting to gather in the parking lot for waves of hello to those whom we hold so dearly – it was beautiful! The smiles, the joy – it surely does the heart good! Then came Tyler’s voice over the radio, and I wept because it was beautiful. All this was followed by the reminder from Jason of the final act of humiliation which brought the first act of exaltation to Christ our Savior! A reminder that in these different days, our God is the same! He is still seated at the right hand of the Father. He is the same – yesterday, today, and forever. For He is risen indeed!

Easter 2020 will be a year to remember. We sure do miss our family today! We sure do miss the fellowship with our church family! I SURE DO miss my Bubba whom I haven’t seen in forever!!!

Times are different. But…things are still good. And that is beautiful! Love you all!

Thank you, Stacy, for sharing your Easter morning with us.

Blessings,

Linda

Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Grocery Roulette | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 7, 2020:

empty cereal aisleLast week I wrote about what will probably be my last trip to the grocery store until the coronavirus siege is over. When self isolation was relatively new, my son had put a post on Facebook listing things he had learned in the last few days. One was that cereal is a miraculous food. So when I saw the empty shelves on the cereal aisle, I snapped a picture and texted it to him with a note that said, “Apparently a lot of people agree with you about cereal.”

He apparently didn’t think it was as funny as I did. He responded with a note that said, “For the record, I don’t like you being out at the store.” He went on to outline his reasons for feeling that way. I responded with, “Noted and thank you.” Probably a little bit of payback for the times when, as a teenager, he sighed and rolled his eyes when I offered advice. Anyway, we talked a bit more with me trying to reassure him that I was being careful and him diplomatically talking about alternatives to in-store shopping. (more…)

It’s Getting Real | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 24, 2020:

cancelledLast week I published a light-hearted list of ways to use surplus toilet paper. At that point, COVID-19 had not really touched my day-to-day life. It’s true that we had altered our anniversary getaway plans from a trek to Florida to see friends and on to Kentucky to see The Ark and the Creation Museum to a quick visit to Louisiana to say hello to David’s sisters. I also had to do my weekly mentoring at Dairy Queen instead of the school since Spring Break had been extended, but other than that, my life was pretty much unchanged.

In the last seven days, though, I’ve seen almost all of our church activities cancelled for at least two weeks: AWANA and Student Ministry, Home Group Bible Study, Ladies Bible Study, Sunday School, Morning Worship, and Sunday evening study. Along with those cancellations, many events bit the dust: the SISTAs Fund Raiser Bake Sale, AWANA Photo Scavenger Hunt, and the Student Ministry Spring Retreat. Secular activities and events including the Friends of the Library March meeting and the Semi-Annual Book Sale scheduled in April were cancelled. And as of Monday, the Senior Center will pass out Grab & Go meals but will be closed for all other purposes – and just when David and I are beginning to see results from our workout routines, the gym has closed for at least two weeks. (more…)

Top Ten Uses for Extra Toilet Paper | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 17, 2017:

Empty ShelvesI don’t mean to make light of serious circumstances, but let’s face it, some of the situations that have arisen because of the Corona Virus are hilarious. The first time I saw a Facebook post that mentioned toilet paper, I thought it was a joke. However, a day or two later, Facebook and every other social media platform was flooded with stories, pictures, and jokes about empty shelves, hoarding, and panic at the possibility of being caught short of this bathroom necessity.

Two posts in particular fired my writer’s imagination. One was a narrative of a man who was in a Walmart about forty miles from his home. He noticed a stock of toilet paper, so he texted his wife to see what kind she usually bought. When he received his instructions, he bought six cases. Another post was a picture of two men in a checkout line. One was pushing a cart loaded with a stack of toilet paper higher than his head. The other one had a case of Corona beer. The caption was something about different coping mechanisms, and though the thought was funny, it wasn’t what caught my attention. I wondered if the first man had checked with his wife about the brand of tissue and, if not, what happened when he got home. (more…)

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