The art of living in never before times

There’s a lot of advice buzzing around the internet about how to navigate this covid 19 crisis. As a writer, I’ve been encouraged that this is my time, the perfect opportunity to pour forth to the world all of my hard-earned wisdom. To that, I say:


Listen, friends… you already know what to do. You were born for this, although you might just now be realizing that.

The question is, will you accept the challenge? Because, like I always say, you have a choice.

But you already know that, too. Soooo… what should we talk about?

As much as I really. don’t. want. to write about this present crisis, (because who needs to read one more list or opinion?) NOT talking about it feels like avoiding the elephant in the room. Since we can’t avoid the elephant, let’s just feed him a handful of peanuts and hopefully keep him distracted for a few minutes, while I share a few random things I’ve been thinking about.

Here they are, do with them what you will, and don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards.

Sharing is caring

Anyone else feel a little stab of scarcity when you give away a precious roll of toilet paper? (By the way, Costco had toilet paper this morning, limit one per customer. The line to get into the building wrapped around to the back. Apparently, now is a good time to work on that nagging patience issue.) Seriously, though, a scarcity mindset is not your friend. Give and it will come back to you, maybe not in the form of a roll of toilet paper, though.

(My granddaughter, Alexis, asked me to make a video of myself throwing toilet paper around, so she could make it into a tik-tok video. I have yet to see said video. Maybe I’m famous.)


[videopress 22YD0lze]


Sunday chicken


There was a time in the not so distant past, when chicken was a treat that was saved for Sunday dinner. We live in such abundance, chicken is boring. I don’t know about where you live, but there isn’t a bird to be found in Raleigh, not whole, not parts, and especially not the feet, which are great for making bone broth, which is great for building immunity.

“No chicken” is an inconvenience, but maybe when it becomes available again (hopefully we won’t have to wait until an entire new generation of chickens grow up) why not revive Sunday chicken dinner?


Put my best face forward


For some people, social distancing is a blessed relief from the Monday-Friday, “grown-up, dressed-up, ready for work,” ritual. For you, jammy pants and messy bun are your new go-to looks. Understandable. Totally.

Some of us need to lighten up and learn to love ourselves au naturel (myself included) but I’ve found that I feel better when I take care with my appearance. There’s something about being groomed and dressed for the day that makes me feel ready to tackle whatever the day might hold.

This morning I was tempted to stay in my pj’s because it was a writing day, but I decided to put on some makeup and jewelry. Never underestimate the power of lipstick and dangle-y earrings.


Dressed for my day

Get outta’ my head


At times like this, things go to my head, literally. I’m prone to think. And overthink. Then watch the news and think (worry) some more. It helps to put my hands to work and for me, that means watercolors or baking or digging in the dirt.


Watercolor botanical


I’m not an expert at any of these things, but they’re fun and relaxing and I can share the results with others.


Go outside and play

There’s a park-like place near my house that we call “the circle,” where people walk their dogs. Last night, it was filled with people. I couldn’t believe it. There was a group of moms laughing and talking while their kids played nearby, several couples chatted while a group of men played a Frisbee form of Top Golf.

It reminded me of when I was a kid, growing up in a small town; we were always outside and the grown-ups were, too. As the group of moms disbanded last night, I overheard one say, “Nice to meet you. We’ll be out here every night. There’s nowhere else to go.”

And I thought to myself, “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” Outside, having fellowship with friends? Sounds like heaven to me.


I’m not stuck; I’m in luck

I really don’t want to refer to myself as being “stuck” at home. Funny thing, that word, “stuck.” It means unable to proceed further, to bring to a standstill, to impose something disagreeable, to confuse, puzzle or bewilder.

I know, I know; it feels like that, doesn’t it?


But a remarkable thing happens when I switch from saying, “I have to stay home,” to saying, “I get to stay home.”


It’s the difference between opposition (feeling like everything is against me) and opportunity. Ah, friends, there is sooo much opportunity right now.


What's your mindset, opposition or opportunity?


Right at this moment, we have the opportunity to:


  • Serve like never before
  • Pray like never before
  • Trust God like never before
  • Be resourceful like never before
  • Lean on Him like never before
  • Be creative like never before
  • Rest like never before
  • Spend time with your kids like never before
  • Think outside the box like never before
  • Experience true freedom like never before
  • Learn new things like never before
  • Practice His Presence like never before
  • Be fully present and engaged like never before
  • Be His beloved child, like never before


We may be living in “never before” times but we are never alone


You are never alone


Psalm 94:14 says, “For the Lord will not abandon His people.” Abandon means to forsake, cast off, reject.

Psalm 91:15 says, “I will be with him in trouble…” that word trouble means “tightness,” which is a pretty accurate description of where we find ourselves currently. But within the confines of our circumstances, and the confines of His arms, we can experience freedom.

Freedom from: fear and anxiety

Freedom to: trust, love, explore, create, serve

There are other, more positive definitions of the word, “stuck.” It can also mean, “to hold, cleave, or cling. To remain, persistently or permanently. To remain firm, as in resolution or attachment, to hold faithfully, as to a promise.”


Maybe being stuck at home isn't a burden, it's a blessing Click To Tweet


I’m grateful


I’m thankful for the storms I’ve gone through because they have all served to prepare me for this one. My years as a young wife and mother taught me how to stretch a dollar and turn one chicken into three meals. (Now, if only I could find a chicken.)

When I went through the loss of almost everything, it forced me to learn contentment. Wilderness seasons taught me to worship. Pretty much everything I’ve learned is a result of storms. Age brings perspective, doesn’t it?


Storms have been my teachers


Please don’t get the idea that I’m “navigating the present crisis” perfectly. Far from it. Even though I’m not a big shopper, there’s something about knowing that all the stores are closed that makes me want to shop. I’m no stranger to stress-eating, so there’s that little issue. I’m a little concerned about the bills. (My husband is in outside sales and people are pretty leery about inviting strangers into their homes who might be carrying the virus these days.) Plus, he’s at risk with his health issues, anyway. It’s all a bit disconcerting, isn’t it?

But it’s ok. Really.

Ok to feel off our game, slightly claustrophobic, a bit hesitant at opening our doors. Weepy. Like you have a touch of vertigo. Of course. Perfectly normal.

Author Lore Ferguson Wilbert says, “… we’re all going to be feeling the effects of being quarantined the next few weeks (or months). We’re going to feel it financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It’s going to refine us and come out sideways at times. It’s going to result in some beautiful things and some heartbreaking things. It won’t be all bad or all good for any one person. We have a global opportunity for patience right now, for kindness to ourselves and others, gentleness with others and ourselves, and more. More than ever before, we’re going to have to fight to not check the Holy Spirit at the door and give our homes the worst of ourselves.”

Here’s the only thing I know for sure: God’s got this. You’ve got this. You’ve got Him. (If you don’t, message me and we’ll talk.)

Peace is available. Grace is waiting for you to grab onto. Hope is hanging out at your door. And I just heard from my daughter that Aldi has restocked the chicken.

Guess what we’re having for Sunday dinner?



Praying for you,





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7 thoughts on “The art of living in never before times

  • March 19, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you, Susan! Lovely words to live by in these strange new times.

  • March 20, 2020 at 2:25 am

    Never underestimate the power a great lipstick and AMAZING BROWS can give you:) Looking great my beautiful friend. Also don’t underestimate how power filled your words are in the lives of others!!

    • March 20, 2020 at 2:30 am

      Haha – brows gotta’ be up to par so they look good when I raise them! Thanks for your kind words and encouragement!

  • May 11, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Susan, Hi!
    Would you just howl if I told you I just had chicken for dinner! Baaooocckkk! Loved your posts. Keep going!
    I’ve been wanting to join Hope Writers, and just listened to several testimonials – yours being one. I relate. I’m older, a bit fearful, and an absolute tech neophyte.
    Pray for me. Things are a bit wobbly currently (for me and the rest of the planet). I’m hesitant re: three things: 1. The cost 2. Asking for the credit card to pay it, and 3. Really stinkin’ nervous about the whole social media thing – I’ve avoided it. Now, the writing challenge is being done on Instagram, and I found out you have to give your credit card info. Yuck. Stuff like that just makes me ‘exit stage left.’ Yes, I’ve successfully avoided entering the 21st century.
    I am a writer, but have had a long hiatus. I was blessed to write for a few newspapers, etc.,way back, and had other great experiences. Right now, I feel like, if I don’t write, I’ll either explode, or disintegrate, and neither is a pleasant option.
    Your support and prayers would be awesome. Many thanks for taking the plunge, and encouraging others to do the same.
    Sharon TenHagen – originally a city kid – Trenton, NJ and Philadelphia, PA
    Now in Elgin, PA – (near Corry, which is east of Erie,PA) – population 226

    • May 12, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      Hi Sharon, thanks for reading and taking the time to respond. Sending you an email now

  • June 24, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    This was extremely encouraging – I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression and I needed this encouragement. I’d love to talk more to you as you said, “Here’s the only thing I know for sure: God’s got this. You’ve got this. You’ve got Him. (If you don’t, message me and we’ll talk.)” I don’t “feel” like I got this!

    • June 27, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Elaina! Thanks for your response. I’d be happy to chat with you about this! Let me know how you’d like to do that: message, email, phone…? Look forward to it!


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