In today’s episode, I’m reflecting on the last month of life under the COVID 19 restrictions. I’ll share 3 hard things about this season, 3 good things, and 3 things I’ll remember. As we talked about in episode 17, we know God is at work right now and we don’t want to miss what He’s teaching us. Taking time to reflect is important!
You’ll get the chance to share 3 hard things, 3 good things, and 3 things you’ll remember this week in our Facebook group, self-care for the special-needs mom. You can find a link to the group in the show notes at sandrapeoples.com/thepodcast or just search for it! We’d love to have you join us.
- episode 17 – Gifts to Give Your Future Self
- episode 18 – Introverts and Extroverts as Caregivers
- episode 11 – Meal Planning: The Key to Making Every Week Go Smoother
- on Instagram, @sandrapeoples
- Unexpected Blessings for $2.99 on Christianbook.com
Three Hard Things, Three Good Things, Three Things I’ll Remember
Hi friends! I’m Sandra Peoples and this is self-care and soul care for the caregiver. I’m so glad you’re joining me today for episode 19! So much is different about our lives right now as we continue this season of social isolation. Celebrating Easter yesterday was especially bittersweet, since as a pastor’s family, we’re used to a very busy Easter season and lots of time with our church family. Instead of joining together like usual, we were all scattered like Jesus’s followers after the crucifixion. But we were also brought together from all over to celebrate His resurrection and the new life that’s available to us because Christ conquered sin and death. We can celebrate that today and every day, even during what feels like a dark season.
In today’s episode, I’m reflecting on the last month of life under the COVID 19 restrictions. I’ll share 3 hard things about this season, 3 good things, and 3 things I’ll remember. As we talked about in episode 17, we know God is at work right now and we don’t want to miss what He’s teaching us. Taking time to reflect is important! You’ll get the chance to share 3 hard things, 3 good things, and 3 things you’ll remember this week in our Facebook group, self-care for the special-needs moms. You can find a link to the group in the show notes at sandrapeoples.com/thepodcast or just search for it! We’d love to have you join us.
Let’s jump in now to our topic, starting with three hard things about this season.
- mourning big and small events – Just like yours, our calendar for the spring was full. I had speaking events around Texas and in Maryland, Arkansas, Illinois, and Ohio. As a writer, I rely on speaking engagements to provide income, so we’re missing out on that as a family. But I’m also missing out on time with the friends I see at these conferences and new friends I make wherever I go. I’m thankful for the opportunities we have to continue to connect online, but these in-person time is extra special. When I look at my event calendar for the year and see where I should have been that weekend, it makes me sad. Allowing myself to feel that sadness will make our time together next time even sweeter though, and I’m already looking forward to hopefully attending events in the fall.
- missing time with family – this is hard for me and my boys! We live in the town next to my parents and big sister, so we are used to seeing them at least once a week. Last week Mom came over to drop off cookies, pound cake, and Easter candy, which we were super thankful for since I’m not much of a baker, but she is the best. But it was hard to see her for just a few minutes and not really get time to hang out. James especially is missing his time at Grandma and Paw Paw’s house and asks to go there every day. We can’t wait to get back to see them again!
- James’s anxiety – Like most kids on the autism spectrum, James thrives on routine and predictability. And as I mentioned in last week’s episode, he seems to be an extrovert because he loves going places, especially the grocery store each Saturday morning and McDonalds anytime he can talk Daddy into taking him. So right now his anxiety is high. As is his OCD behavior. It’s so high I called the doctor to talk about medication. We’re in the process now of getting a plan put in place, but as you know, starting a new med and adjusting to the side effects is a tough process. I’m thankful this season is pushing us to get a plan in place because we’ve tried before and haven’t found one that really works for him. But puberty brings so many changes, including brain chemistry, that what didn’t work before might work now. And we’re willing to do what we need to do to help him. Hopefully this will lead to a calmer summer as well!
Ok, now that we’ve hit 3 hard things, let’s talk about 3 good things!
- less intense schedule – When this all started, I amped up my social media postings because we were all on more and I thought I’d have plenty of time to get all the projects done that I had on my wish list. Well, it took one week of reality to see that wasn’t going to work. I had to relax a little, prioritize the to do list, and remain flexible. Now that we’re a month into the new routine, I’m really enjoying the less intense schedule. But I’m still having to remember what we talked about in episode 5 when we wrote out purpose statements and talking about saying no to things that don’t align with our purpose. My purpose didn’t change during this season. So I need to keep saying no to things that aren’t mine to do so I can keep my focus on my family and our home.
- extra time with David – My older, typical son David is 14 years old. The time between now and when he goes to college or moves out and has more independence grows shorter every day. I can feel it when I look up at him, since he’s now a good 8 or 9 inches taller than I am. He’s gotten into a pretty good routine of doing schoolwork and chores in the morning, playing xbox with his friends in the afternoons, and then hanging out with us in the evenings. We’re watching movies and playing board games. I picked Little Women and That Thing You Do. He picked all the new Spider-Man movies. He’s also helping me more in the kitchen, learning more about reading recipes. This extra time with him is a true gift, and we’re making memories that will last for years.
- more accessibility (churches & doctors) – I’m talking specifically about churches and doctors here—as a special-needs family, church has never been more accessible. And doctors’ appointments have never been easier. First let’s talk about church. The truth is, caregiving families can’t make it to church as often as we’d like to. Even if we attend inclusive, accommodating churches, there are still circumstances that come up that keep us home. And even though I really, really miss seeing my church family in person, it has been great to watch sermons online from home and even join online discussions with my Sunday school class. I hope that when church life gets back to normal, churches keep some content online so families like ours can watch even when we’re home! I also appreciate the option for telehealth appointments. It’s super hard to get James to the doctor. He super-hates waiting. And for some appointments, like the ones we had last week to get him started on a new medicine, the doctors don’t actually have to see him. I hope online and on the phone appointments become more common in the future when they can work just as well!
We’ve hit 3 hard things, 3 good things, and now let’s hit 3 things I’ll remember from this season that will work in any season we’re in!
- consistent evening routine – No matter how different our days are, we have established a consistent evening routine that is comforting to James and to all of us. We eat dinner, we play outside and water the garden, James takes his bath and then plays in his room until he’s sleepy, and Lee, David and I watch a movie. Knowing what to expect from 5-9ish has been so helpful. And since we have a less intense schedule right now, I’m not working on things in the evenings and Lee has fewer evening meetings (he does have some since they are all figuring out how to Zoom, but still fewer than he did have!). When we transition back to normal-ish life again, I hope I remember the benefits of a consistent evening routine.
- meal planning – You may be tired of hearing me talk about how great meal planning is, but man, it has been so helpful during this season. Lee is grocery shopping for us, but we’re limiting it to once a week. I need to know what we’re having so he can get what we need. And of course, everyone is home for every meal, so I’m cooking more and need a plan. Last week I baked a whole chicken one morning for Greek pitas for lunch, cream cheese taquitos the next night for dinner, and had what was leftover in a cobb salad the next day for lunch. I had a plan, and none of it was wasted, which feels really important right now. If you want to learn more about how I meal plan, listen to episode 11. This season has really convinced me of the value of meal planning!
- my connection to community – As an introvert, spending my days at home with just my 3 family members and the dog isn’t awful. In fact, overall, it’s pretty comfortable for me. So I’ve been surprised by how much I miss people, especially local friends and church friends. I’m still talking to my parents on the phone and texting and voxing with my closest friends who live in Panama, London, Alabama, and Ohio. But I miss face-to-face time at my weekly Bible study. And my once a month book club meetings. And of course church each week. I hope when this season ends, I remember how much I need face-to-face time with friends and really appreciate it more.
Thanks for listening to my lists of 3 hard things, 3 good things, and 3 things I want to remember! I can’t wait to hear your lists this week in the Facebook group or on Instagram. Make sure you’re following me there at @sandrapeoples
Let’s end our time together in prayer, like we do each week.
God, weeks ago, I prayed about a verse to meditate on during this season, and You led me to Psalm 62:8 which says, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” I continue to be thankful for the reminders to trust in You because you are a refuge for us, and also the reminder that we can pour out our hearts to you. You love me, and you care about what’s hard in this season for me and my family. You also care about what’s good and what I’m learning. You don’t waste a single minute of our lives, so you certainly aren’t wasting this long season. I pray for my friends who are listening today, that they would know the personal love you have for them. That they would pour out their hearts to you as well and be met with your grace and compassion for them. Thank you that we have the opportunity this week to encourage and support one another as we share. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.
Thanks for spending time with me today, friends! I am especially thankful for your support during this season. I am essentially a small business and am feeling the effects of that like everyone else. I love the push to rally around restaurants in your area and support them right now, and I also love that there are ways you can support me and other content creators. Some of those ways are free! I’m going to list 4 options for you real fast: First, leave a review or a rating for this podcast right now, before you exit out of the app. It helps more caregivers like us find the podcast! Second, join my Patreon community starting at just $5 a month. Visit patreon.com/sandrapeoples to learn more. Third, buy a copy of my book if you haven’t! Christianbook.com has paperback copies on sale for just $2.99 right now! Forth, share this episode with a friend or share links to it from your social media accounts! We’re all looking for encouragement during this season, and God may use you to connect a friend to the encouragement she needs today through this episode! You guys are a huge blessing to me and my family, and I’m so thankful for you. I’ll meet you back here next Monday for episode 20!