Why You Can’t Fail at Christmas This Year

After surviving a year like this one, I thought the Christmas season would redeem all the mess. I looked forward to gazing at lights, drinking hot cocoa, cheerfully decking the halls, and lining my countertops with cookies shaped like snowmen and snowflakes. I envisioned feeling refreshed.

Instead, I spent the month stress-shopping online, complaining about the mail and snapping at my husband as he walked by.

This year there would be no travel plans, no family to see, no church service to attend. And because our normal had been uprooted, I felt pressured to do more this Christmas, not less. Continue reading

How to Be Thankful When You’re Feeling Blue

The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the holidays. Mentally, that is.

Just this week my state registered a 39% positivity rate for COVID-19. Illness in my community is so widespread that the Department of Health developed an entirely new category of measurement.

As our cases surged, my heart sank. A “critically high” spread meant I would be home for the holidays. It meant more confinement. Less gathering.

Maybe you can relate. Across the country, cities are mandating that families forgo the festivities and guests this season. For most of us, this holiday promises to be different. Complex. Confusing and discouraging. Continue reading

Why “2020 Fatigue” May Be a Good Thing

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A few weeks ago, I drove to the park and wept in my car.

Because, 2020.

I’m guessing you can relate. Maybe you’ve had your own moments of hiding in your closet or alone time in your car. Perhaps the stress of this year is wearing on you, too.

I’ll admit, the last 6 months have been a bit much. My aunt died, most of my family got COVID-19, I lost a friend to cancer, my work dwindled, and the chaos of the world flared my chronic illness and PTSD.

In truth, I’ve got a bad case of “2020 Fatigue”. I’m tired of the stress, tired of the mess, tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop. Each new circumstance cues my anxiety like clockwork.

It’s like the world is on fire (oh wait, it is) and someone just keeps turning up the heat. And this girl can only take so much disaster bingo.

So I cried out all the feels in my car. I asked God to just make it stop. I was too weary, too weak, too inept to handle it all.

And perhaps that’s the point.  Continue reading

Navigating Fear and Uncertainty

woman masked on a bus

Don’t be afraid. Easier said than done.

Classified as a mass threat, this pandemic has given us plenty to worry about. And now that communities are reopening, a second wave of uncertainty builds as we brace ourselves for whatever comes next.

When I sat down to write this post I didn’t think it would take me an entire week. What started out as a quick tutorial turned into a personal wrestling match that forced me to examine the source of my own fears.

Fear is often pitted against faith as if they were bitter rivals. Christians who struggle with fear and anxiety during this time can easily feel judged, shamed, dismissed or misunderstood by other believers.

Continue reading

Navigating Confusion

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Society is clamoring to get back to normal but there are conflicting opinions about when and how that will happen. When will we reopen? How long will it take? Will it be safe to go back to work? How will we know? 

The blend of true and false information online clouds any clarity with doubt, suspicion and fear. Suddenly everyone on social media is an expert, adding to the mass hysteria and hype.

If you’re experiencing the harsher side of this pandemic, other kinds of confusion can arise. Why did this happen to me? Is it my fault? Does God still love me? Is He even good, in control or safe? Continue reading

Navigating the Overwhelm

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Losing your routine, sense of normalcy, employment, social life or a family member is a lot to deal with all at once. It’s like trying to drink from a fire hose.

Life-altering events can shatter your familiar assumptions and expectations about the world; the belief that it is relatively predictable and safe (Bessel van der Kolk). Traumatic events may fragment your sense of self or your belief about God and others. These events and the disruption of your internal world can overwhelm your ability to grasp, adapt and cope with what has happened. Continue reading

How to Successfully Navigate Your Emotions During a Crisis

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Today is day 35 of quarantine. The only escape from the four walls of my home has been the daily walks around our neighborhood. When it’s not snowing. Otherwise my life has revolved around deliveries, disinfecting groceries, catching up with family online, and drinking way too much coffee. There’s only so much I can clean and organize before I go crazy.

If that’s not enough, I’ve been experiencing quite a range of emotions lately. Maybe you have too. I’ve been cheerful, anxious, productive, lethargic, stressed, content, hopeful and heartbroken all in the span of a week. The last 35 days have been a roller coaster and I’m ready to get off this ride.

Continue reading

7 Questions to Help You Process and Survive a Crisis

woman drinking coffee looking out the window

This pandemic getting scary. Many of us are on a roller coaster of emotion as we hear the latest news about loved ones, ICU patients, makeshift morgues, and healthcare workers making life-or-death decisions on the front lines.

When this pandemic hit, I was already neck-deep in trauma recovery. For the last twelve months, I’ve been working through my own post-traumatic stress that had compounded for decades.  Continue reading