Saturday, October 24, 2020

2020 Adventures

What a year it has been. 

It feels like it's been a lifetime since January in so many different ways. 

I have had highs, lows, and everything in between this year. 

A pandemic is not for the faint at heart, that's for sure. I have not had the CaronaVirus. (Unless I was asymptomatic and just didn't know.) As of today we've lost over 220,000 Americans to the virus. We'll lose more too, unfortunately. I could do a whole post on this topic, but I don't want to do that. 
I continue to pray for all of those affected and on the front lines. This is a year we won't forget for sure. *grin* 

So, I noticed my last post was in May. That seems like a lifetime ago too. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl this year too?  That was sooo long ago too. *giggle*

In March I started job searching. I know, job searching in a pandemic seems crazy, doesn't it? Well, it's 2020 so anything can happen, right? *giggle* After interviewing with several districts over the Summer for a teaching gig in the fall, nothing panned out. I was actually okay with that. I mean, I liked my job at The Whole Person. The Pandemic created a friendship with three coworkers that occurred daily at lunch. Yes, via zoom and then in person when possible. I also enjoyed the groups I led, so that was special to me too. I was happy. 

My financial life was getting to me though. I missed the income the teacher gig gave me. I remember praying one night in September that I needed more money. 

Then my phone rang that next morning while I was at work from a school district. I'll be honest, I didn't expect it to pan out. My heart had been broken by the districts I had hoped to work for and then they just didn't pan out. I had already told God I was okay doing one more year at TWP. Then He opened a door. *grin*

After three interviews, I got the job!!! Insert happy dance here. *giggle* I accepted a Special Education Resource position at a district in Kansas. *grin*

The afternoon I accepted the job I had all the feels. I was so excited about my new adventure, but I'm so relational that the idea of leaving the TWP family made me sad. Then I remembered that many other friends had moved on from TWP but we were still in touch. (Chiefs games mean text chats, and so does THIS IS US!) I let myself feel the feels but I didn't stay there. 

I was legitimately pumped about the new job. It meant fewer miles on my car, less gas, less time on the road, more money, better work hours, and I don't time in and out. (That last one is minor, but gosh it has made me smile daily.) 

I was SOOOO nervous. If I hadn't been, that would have been weird, right? *grin* I've been working in my new school 13 days and I can honestly say I LOVE IT! I do think the two years away from teaching was a gift. I also think doing something different was key. I'll openly admit, I miss my old school, but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. *grin* 

Now, I won't say it's been easy. We're still in a pandemic, and school had already started. I knew on day 1 that I was already behind since I didn't get to set up my room or lesson plan like usual. Upon arrival, half of my day was online teaching and half in person. Let me tell you, this has not been easy. 

All students are due back Monday and I'm so excited! I'm sure you're wondering, so I'll share that we are extremely safe at school. We wear masks all day, distance when we can, and spray cleaner every time students leave. We also stay pretty much in our own teams, and even our staff meeting was virtual. The district is doing a good job at keeping us all safe. 

At the same time, we're nervous that we'll have to quarantine with so many humans in the building. I am already praying about that though. I'm not nervous I'll get it, but I am nervous that we'll have to quarantine. I just keep reminding myself that God has us. *grin*

2020 has been an adventure for sure. I am walking Jay daily, coloring regularly to relieve stress, zooming with my family weekly, and am happy. Perhaps I'll do other posts about the amazing people that have gone on to Heaven this year, or the weight of a pandemic, political battles, a year without Barnabas family, well, the list of posts could go on and on.

Or maybe not. 


I'm smiling more, laughing more. and loving the people God has surrounded me with for this season. Life is short. Life is good. *grin*

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Pandemic Thoughts While Walking Jay

Since the weather started getting warmer in March, Jay and I walk almost everyday. I have learned to LOVE walks. I didn't hate them before, but I didn't enjoy them either. (Am I alone in that? Doubt it!) Yes, part of it is due to the Pandemic. Indoors for too long isn't good for the body. *grin*

So, we have a typical route we take, but it can vary depending upon how much time we have and if I need to be back here for a zoom meeting. I've enjoyed the apartment life so much more than I ever expected. I love my neighbors, who are super kind. I also like that we have A LOT of apartments here so we have miles of sidewalks to choose from. We're also surrounded by a nice neighborhood so we sometimes walk the neighborhood too. I let Jay choose the route most of the time, which he loves.

So tonight we started out on our usual route, and I noticed we STILL have a trash problem. Yes, let me explain. The past few days our dumpsters have been filling up to the point that the area outside the dumpsters are full too. I should also mention we have A LOT of units here. Just in my area alone are about 80 apartments. So, as you can imagine, that's A LOT of trash. I actually need to take some to the dumpster but am waiting because there's not any space out there. We even had an email from the main office yesterday stating that they were going to come to take the trash today, but they didn't. Yes, so that means when we walked around 5:00 there was a lot of trash out for the whole world to see. Yeah, so it got me to thinking.

A lot of people have said that 2020 is a dumpster fire due to the Pandemic. I understand why they say that, I mean, we've lost 80,000 lives to the CoronaVirus since March, and the list can definitely go on from there. However, there has been good out of it too. As usual, I think it comes down to what perspective you take on the situation.

I love how ABC Nightly News regularly shows positive stories out of this challenging season. We've seen Birthday Parades, people applauding health care workers, singing nightly in some neighborhoods around the country, and loved ones visiting their elderly family through the window (closed, of course) to celebrate birthdays. I could go on and on, but needless to say I have been pleasantly surprised at the amount of good I've seen in the midst of the challenge.

A week ago social media exploded with conspiracy theories around this whole thing. I have to admit I sat here and pondered the whole thing. I mean, this is new territory for all of us. I also realize there's still A LOT that we don't know about the virus, and what we do know seems to change almost daily.

I've been working from home since March 24th. It hasn't all been easy, but it has been worth it. I initially wanted to work from home so that I wouldn't get the virus. I think through the past 8 weeks I've discovered that even if I were to get it, I would probably recover and life would go on. However, something hit me HARD the other night.

A friend of mine made a comment on zoom that made me stop and think. She said we're not wearing masks to keep from getting it, we're wearing masks to protect those around us. I knew that on one level, but then something hit me. Since we don't know (as of today) who has it and who doesn't (I'll refrain from my whole thought process about testing in America, you're welcome!) and you can be asymptomatic and never know you had it, you can pass it and never even know it. Just the idea that my sneeze or cough can affect someone to the point of death, well, makes me more cautious. I don't want to find out how well I would handle it if I caused someone else to lose their life due to my actions. That's a perspective I didn't have before. For real.

So you may be wondering where I'm going with all of this. Here's the thing, the overflowing trash will be picked up eventually. It won't be fast enough for those of us living here, but it will happen. Then having the trash company come three times a week like they were before will be taken for granted again. I think the same will be true of the CoronaVirus.

With places opening up, social distancing being the norm, cleaning areas will be cleaner than ever before, and hand sanitizer will be carried everywhere we go. All of those are good things. And honestly, hand washing and cleaning frequently used areas should have been the norm before all of this. Was it? I doubt it. We're learning though...

It may be a while before sports teams start playing in front of crowds and concerts can be held again, and that's okay too. My brother made a comment at one point that has also stuck with me, "one life lost is too many." He's right.

So yes, now I'll take my lawn chair and sit outdoors with friends from a safe distance in order to visit. I'll also carry my own beverage and hand sanitizer too. I'll also wear my mask when shopping, even though I hate wearing it, to protect everyone around me.

Years from now we'll know things we don't know today. It might look silly that I worked from home for 8 weeks. It also may seem silly that Camp Barnabas was closed during the Summer of 2020. It might even seem silly that graduations weren't held on their original dates. All of those things are the right things to do at this point though, because we are still learning about the Virus and don't have a vaccine.

One thing's for sure, I will NEVER take for granted a smile from a stranger, a hug from a friend or student, or being able to hang out without a distance. That's okay too.

I think God gives us chapters in our lives to make us better, stronger, and closer to Him. Eight weeks in this apartment, and I can say I am closer to him than I was on March 23rd. I also think the lessons gained will last my lifetime. *grin* God's got this, my friends, we just need to have some more patience & compassion for each other. *grin* I mean, the trash will be picked up soon, and we won't be in this pandemic forever. *grin*

Even in a pandemic. *grin*

Saturday, May 09, 2020


I lost count of how many days we've had the Stay-at-Home order, and I think it's better that way. I see a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. That's comforting and a little scary all at the same time. However, I am thankful for some things during this season.

If I had known twenty years ago that we were going to have a pandemic, I wouldn't have believed it. As I sit here in my apartment, I am thankful for technology in a whole new way.

I haven't hugged a human since this whole thing started. I haven't hung out with friends or family in a physical sense either. The weirdest part, I have moments of stress, but overall I'm doing pretty well. *grin* I'm doing well (in part) due to the technology available now.

I'm thankful for Netflix & Prime streaming services, as I'm currently binge watching show #2 of the day. Does it replace people? Gosh no, but to get through this season, it's been a gift. *grin* Favorite shows this Pandemic Season (to remember years from now): Northern Rescue, Dead to Me, and Upload. SO VERY THANKFUL for these shows since sports are nonexistent right now. *grin*

I could almost title this season, ZOOM. I meet with my family on Sunday afternoons on zoom. It has brought us all closer together during a time we can't be together. I look forward to it each week as we all process this once-in-a-lifetime situation. Our experiences are similar, but not the same. My book club also meets via zoom. I look forward to seeing everyone in person again, but, for now zoom makes this a little bit better.

And quite possibly the most unexpected gift out of this season is my zoom lunches with friends from work. It is the highlight of our days during a time when we're to be physically distant from each other. We have four of us who regularly meet, we're the Fantastic Four, although anyone is welcome. *grin* We plan to continue them even when we return to work, as we are still physically distancing to keep everyone safe. We even had a celebration for a co-worker who recently went to Heaven. It was really special. We may be physically apart, but we're close in the daily stuff. I'm blessed by that. TOTALLY.

I am praying OFTEN for healthy outcomes to this situation. Selfishly, I pray we don't have another round in the fall. But if we do, at least I know what technology can do to make this experience a little better. God made us to be with people, so, I also know I'll be thankful to be able to hug another person too. *giggle*

For tonight though, I'm thankful for technology to carry me through this Pandemic.


Friday, April 24, 2020

Margaret, Rest in Peace

Today my work family received word that one of our coworkers went to Heaven on Wednesday. Margaret Crow was in charge of transportation when I started at The Whole Person (TWP) in July 2018. I first met her during Orientation and she explained the procedures for taking our fleet cars. From the moment I met her, I knew she was special.

I had a few really special moments with her that will stick with me the rest of my life. Margaret drove us to Jeff City last year for Disability Rights Day. I'll never forget her coming in and sitting down by me after the event. It was the first time I had really talked to her. Her heart came through as we talked through some tough things, and I saw her (proverbial) heart. She was transparent in the chat and we both teared up. Then, someone needed her and she was gone to help someone with something. That was her heart for all of us, she wanted to help in ANY way she could. I also never saw her in a bad mood. Ever.

I'll never forget the first time I took the mod van and had someone that had to be buckled in right then. No one had trained me on it. Margaret was walking by and hopped on the van and taught me how to safely get the intern attached to the van. She didn't have to do that, she did it because she wanted to help. That will forever stick with me because she WANTED to do that. *grin*

Finally, the last time I saw her was in her house after her diagnosis. I hate Cancer. Hate, hate, hate it. I adored Margaret though. She sat on her love seat, and had just recently quit her job at TWP due to her diagnosis of Cancer throughout her body. She invited me to sit down and I learned a little bit more about her. I learned she loved art, and had some really cool art tools. I learned how much she loved Chiefs football & I'm so very glad that her last Chiefs season was the one where we won the Super Bowl. We texted more than once through the Chiefs most recent season which was cool.

As she sat there, she said words I'll never forget, "It's a new season, I'm getting used to it." That was Margaret. She didn't complain, she simply looked for the good in each situation I witnessed her in. Even when she would have had reason to complain, she didn't when I was around. She would always smile and make a comment about how fortunate she was in any situation. She inspired me several times in the short time I knew her.

Margaret, you won't be forgotten. I saw TONS of messages about you today, and A LOT of your friends can't believe you're gone. The silver lining in this is the fact you and Mo are back together again. That makes us smile. So many of us on this side of Heaven will miss you, but we'll also remember that you aren't in pain anymore. You loved people well on this side, and we are all better people for having you in our lives. You'll always hold a special place in my heart. ALWAYS. *grin* Rest in Peace, my friend. With Love, Shannon

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Pandemic Highlights

Here we are again, another day of stay-at-home order. While there certainly challenges along the way, I want to post tonight about some highlights in the midst of it all. None of these are huge, but, they're things I want to remember on the other side of this experience.

I've re-discovered FaceTime. Ohmygosh, WHAT A GIFT! I have been using it to talk to friends, and it has been a true highlight for me. I used to just text, but talking to other humans and seeing their faces makes me smile. It's a true gift for me. I recently reconnected with a few people, and gosh it's fun to catch up! *grin*

I've also started walking long distances again. Not today, due to rain, but every chance I get after work, we walk.(The furry kid and I) I've lost a little weight, which is nice too, but to be outdoors and moving is helping me clear my head and stay positive. It's not supposed to rain tomorrow. THANK GOODNESS!

I heard today that music helps reduce stress. I play music all day while I work. (unless on a zoom call) I am so glad I'm alive in a time when music is a so available for me to obtain. I love how I can see on Instagram or FB that a favorite band has released a new song (Cory Asbury!!!) and I can immediately download it. (Also glad I'm alive to experience Apple Music) Music is definitely something that has helped me more than words can say. *grin*

I'm also thankful for Social Media. I can follow what's up with my friends without interfering with their lives. I'm so very proud of the Missionaries I've had in my cabins over the years and love being able to see them getting married, having kids, etc. So very proud of all of them. *grin*

Finally, I'm reminded of how good people can be on a daily basis. I have people text me daily to check in on me, and make sure I'm doing okay in a time when staying at home is required of everyone. I think a common thought for people is, "It would be hard to be single right now." Meanwhile, I'm like, "I don't have anyone to bug me, I'm good." *giggle* At the same time, it's neat to know that people care enough to send a text, card, or call to make sure I'm doing well in this situation. Just knowing that makes me smile. *grin*


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Pandemic Thoughts

Here we are, in the midst of the first pandemic I've had in my lifetime. I hope it's the only one, but only God knows what life will look like beyond this season. I decided to take a few minutes this morning and post a few thoughts, as I can start work later this morning due to a group I lead tonight via Zoom. *grin*

CoronaVirus, or COVID-19, has hit the world in a BIG way. Today there are A LOT of unknowns, even though we're a month into this being "breaking" news. Things we don't know yet include: can you get it twice or after you have it once are you immune? When are you contagious if you have it? It is believed that you are contagious before you see symptoms, which is why this has caused such a drastic change in our lives. We have also had people test positive when they never had the typical symptoms, which include fever, body aches, and respiratory challenges. So many unknowns, and I pray daily that we will start to have some answers. The unknowns make this incredibly challenging.

So I've been deep in thought every day since this whole thing started. Today, 4.14.2020 we don't know when our stay at home order will be lifted. For me, the most challenging piece of all of this is not knowing when we can se a light at the end of the tunnel. The current stay at home order was set to expire on 4.24.2020. Yesterday on the six o'clock news, they said it may be extended one to three more weeks. My stomach dropped when I saw that. Part of me can't wait for the order to be lifted, and another part thinks the anxiety that I now have when I go to the store will still be high for a while. My prayer life continues to be deep, as I am not sure how I would have handled this otherwise. So, here are some thoughts I'd like to keep in mind in the future because this will end and I won't remember the depths of this experience like I do today. It's kind of like college, at that point in my life I thought my time in college was taking forever, but looking back, it was a FAST season. *grin*

Gasoline is at a low in the KC Metro. According to gas buddy this morning, gas at a nearby QT is $1.59 a gallon. I find it interesting that during a season when I'm commuting to work, I'm in a stay at home order and haven't filled up the tank in three weeks. I mean, I only leave to go to the store or to take Jay and I for a car ride. *grin* Ah the irony... *giggle*

I have lost 9 pounds in the past 3 months. I think it can be attributed to the fact Jay and I walk daily now. We were doing that occasionally at the townhome, but I think I was honestly in a little bit of depression and just didn't walk and I emotionally ate. I am now eating less (portion control) and walking more. And while 9 pounds isn't huge, I do feel better and my legs are stronger. I want to remember this for future seasons. I'll admit, the weather has helped a great deal! Well, until yesterday when we're back in cooler temps. We walked anyway though. I mean, I don't want to gain back what I've lost. We walk 1.5 to 2 miles per day now. I'm hoping to increase it to three, but Jay is done at 2 miles now. *giggle* I'm not kidding. Around the 1.5 mile mark he doesn't do his pokey "sniff everything" routine and books it home. *giggle* Building Endurance isn't just for humans apparently.

There have been some beautiful things out of this experience, and I hope that won't be lost when our new normal begins. For example, people are helping people in new ways. Companies are donating things to front line workers, and nurses and doctors are literally dying to save other people's lives. Grocery store employees are now essential to our society when beforehand they were viewed just as minimum wage employees. I sure hope they all get huge bonuses out of this experience. According to the news, grocery store employees have died due to the CaronaVirus too. Apparently minimum wage earners are now heroes in our society, along with people in the medical field. Thank you, heroes. May you be blessed over and over again for the work you're doing now.

There are several things I took for granted prior to the CoronaVirus. One of the things I took for granted was sports. I LOVE college hoops, Royals baseball (when I'm at the stadium), KC Soccer, and Chiefs football. There are not any sports being played now due to the virus. On Saturday, there was a rerun of an NBA game, which I don't typically watch, and I LOVED IT. Sports and music are two things that bring humans together, and we're in a dry season and the sports players are now on the sidelines while the grocery workers & nurses are now on the front lines. I imagine sports players are getting some new perspectives on life too.

Right before the Virus changed our world, I saw TobyMac in concert at the Sprint Center and it was FANTASTIC! I love music. I mean, I LOVE music. I sit here with music going now (THANKS Air1!) and had three more concerts lined up for this Spring. Now they're on hold. I will never again take it for granted when I'm in a huge group of people and don't need to wear a mask. There will be a day when concerts are the norm again, but for now, this is one of the hardest things for me. At the same time, artists are still releasing music on various platforms (THANKS CORY ASBURY!) which is a breath of fresh air for me in this season. *grin*

I'm thankful for technology on some deep levels. I haven't had a physical hug from another human in who knows how long but the website zoom does A LOT for my emotions right now. Getting to see family (we zoom once a week) and coworkers (I hold a daily zoom lunch for anyone who wants to join) makes me smile and I look forward to that time everyday. I'm not hating this season, I'm simply trying to find the proper perspective through it all. *grin* Zoom is a fantastic tool right now. I'm thankful we have it today. If this had happened twenty years ago, I'm not sure how I would have handled it. Today though, Zoom gives me interaction with the outside world without concern for the Virus. I'll take it. *grin*

Movie theaters are shut down now, for the first time in my life. Going to the movies, having movie theatre popcorn, and sitting in recliners with someone beside me is one of my favorite things in this life. Right now that's on hold too. While that saddens me a little, I'm thankful for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. Streaming services make filling time more enjoyable when you're told to stay at home. For real. *grin*

Two Words, Tiger King. Who would have thought that show would be such a hit? It's a train wreck, but if you're stuck at home you wanna see what crazy thing will happen next. Honestly, I don't know it would have been such a hit if people weren't required to be at home right now. Joe Exotic finally got his dose of fame, but he can't enjoy it like you would think. (Don't wanna ruin it for people still watching)

Right now you can't go out to eat. You can order food for delivery, carry out, or drive thru. Yeah, McDonald's employees are also deemed "essential" now. I haven't ordered a pizza in this whole thing. I am eating frozen pizza because I'll be the only one to touch it. I'm probably being overly cautious but it is what it is. I started to order a pizza last night and just couldn't do it. God and I will have some serious time together when this is over and I want to eat out again. I'm actually praying that scientists can figure this out and we can go back to a normal close to what we had before. A friend told me recently that this experience will change us in some unknown ways. I agree with that, but I don't want fear to become my best friend again. So, I'm praying over that these days too. *grin*

I remember telling God before we even knew about the virus, how I felt like I was never at home as much as I wanted to be. Yes, I seriously made that statement. Then a new virus hit our world and I'm now working at home. I will admit, I like it but not for the reasons you might think. I do miss seeing people daily in person, BUT I love the commute and the extra time it's given me at home. Jay and I now walk right after I'm done working for the day, which is forty five minutes earlier. I also enjoy sleeping a smidge later because I don't have to drive anywhere. I also like that I'm sitting here in my wind pants because all anyone will see today is the hoodie I'm wearing and my face. Yes, there are some advantages to this CoronaVirus right now. *grin*

There are some things I hope we don't lose when this is over and we have our new normal back and we're not ordered to stay at home. The main one is that I hope people continue to get out and walk. There are more and more people walking each day, which is so good. Although I do look forward to being able to stop and chat from time to time instead of just staying six feet apart. I mean, I'm being real here. *grin*

Along with sports and concerts being put on hold, Camp Barnabas (and other camps from what I've been told) has canceled Summer 2020 Events. My heart sank when I read the email that came out. I expected it, as everything else is canceled. At the same time, for A LOT of us who attend camp, that's our time to feel "normal" in a world where we are not considered normal the rest of the year. Sure, I'm a volunteer, not a camper, but it really is a piece of Heaven here on Earth. At the same time, we're not any closer to knowing the unknowns yet, it was the right decision. My heart breaks for the families of the campers, as well as the campers who live for their one week at camp. In addition to camp being canceled this summer, costs will go up for Summer 2021 for all of us because funding has (understandably) been cut due to the CoronaVirus. So, if you have a rich family member looking to donate to a not-for-profit, Camp Barnabas is a great place to give. Camp Barnabas exists to enrich the lives of people with disabilities in their walk with Christ. Some of the campers have messaged me to say they can't go in 2021 because it's out of the reach of their financial means to go. So, wanna sponsor a camper? Reach out to You could help change the life of a person with a disability for a lifetime. Okay, come on, you knew I'd put a plug in here. It's my favorite place this side of Heaven. *grin*

Finally, my favorite room on the planet is currently closed to the public. This has bummed me out a little, but, we still have the livestream, so it hasn't STOPPED. It's just closed to us during the Stay at Home order. It's okay though, this is short lived. That room is interceding for all of us, I guarantee it. And yes, musicians and singers are six feet apart on stage. (I knew you were wondering) *grin*

Yeah, six feet apart. And we're now wearing masks (for the most part) when we're out in public. Those two things are what I hope we lose once science has figured the virus out. Masks seem minor, but it is different. I am thankful my friend sent me a KC Royals mask. I only wear it when I'm in a store. I don't wear it when we walk. I mean, you can control how close you are to people on a walk. Thankfully.

So here I am 90 minutes later and I need to log off and begin my work day. Thankfully, I won't have to leave my home to do so. *grin* I'm praying we all keep a healthy perspective through all of this, as we will one day be able to hug, hold, and touch other humans one day. And six feet apart will hopefully be a memory and not something we have to do ever again. However, if we have to do it again, this season will show us we can.

I'm praying for you, wherever you are in this journey. Hang on, this won't last forever. I promise.

GOOD...even in a pandemic.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

To My Barnabas Family

Dear Barnabas Family,

Today we received news that we won't be going to Camp this Summer. I know we're bummed, but I want to encourage you tonight. I have no doubt that the leaders at Camp wrestled with this decision, and ultimately it was made to HELP US STAY HEALTHY. *grin* It's okay to be bummed though, and it's okay to cry. At the same time, I don't want you to stay sad. This isn't forever, this is for one Summer.

I have thought a lot about camp today. Camp is such a unique place where God's love is physically evident. We will return. I can't give you an exact date, I mean, no one can. But, I do believe that our little piece of Heaven on Earth will return. In the mean time, there is some good news.

We have more technology than ever before. I saw a post earlier this evening of two campers talking to each other via iPads. If you have the ability to reach out to camp friends, I encourage you to do so. I have found a lot of life in online conversations where I can see the person on the other end. It might help you too.

I also encourage you to focus on the good instead of the sad. This season is foreign to everyone, because we've never had this before. Decisions have been made to keep us all safe so that we can return to camp in 2021. Don't focus on what won't happen this summer, but focus on the fact we WILL be back at camp. *grin*

We're family. *grin*

When it's safe, we'll all be back at camp.

And I will be one of the first people to hug your neck. *grin*

Until then, stay safe and positive.

We want you at Camp in 2021.