Hindsight Really is 2020 – A Recap

The saying goes, “Hindsight is 2020,” and many of us are rejoicing that 2020 is really truly behind us! I often wonder if you were to make a list of positives and negatives of the past year, would one outweigh the other? What about 10-15 years ago? Was that just as bad, but we only choose to remember the good things from that year? I don’t know the answers to those questions.

In talking with my youngest son this weekend, he was talking about the last year and listing all of the bad things from it. I told him that is really is easy to see the bad things, the negatives, or the sadness we experienced. I challenged him to try to find some positives among the negatives. As we drove back to my house, we were able to do that. I told him it isn’t always easy to find those positives, and sometimes there may not be any, but to always look for them.

December 31, 2019

As the world awaited 2020’s arrival there was great excitement. Many said, “This is going to be MY YEAR!” Others looked at the new year as a clean slate from 2019 (which they wanted to be over). I recalled the quote from country singer Brad Paisley, who said, “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book, write a good one.” We looked at 2020 as a year of happiness, recovery, new opportunities, new adventures, and so much more! 2020 had other plans.

2020

Looking back at 2020, the absolute high point was the birth of our daughter, Ella. NOTHING tops this moment! The blog announcing her birth was one of the most read of the year.

My first daughter. Daddy’s little girl. My wife, Sam, was just amazing throughout the delivery. It was the first time I had witnessed natural child birth and I was in awe of everything. My heart was overflowing with happiness. What a day!

This month, Sam and I were talking about what to do for her first birthday. With Covid, there is not a whole lot we can do. We are probably not going to throw the big party we wanted to, but we are working out plans for something special to mark the occasion.

Covid-19

I can’t even imagine if Ella had been born a few weeks later. By the time March arrived, the whole world was talking about Corona virus and Covid-19. Everything started to shut down in an attempt to “flatten the curve.” Our sleep labs closed and we were deployed to the hospital Labor Pool. During my time there, I heard stories and witnessed things I will sadly never forget. With a new baby at home, my constant worry was that I would bring it home to her. I eventually snapped. The doctor called it Acute Stress Disorder and she took me off work. I was out on FMLA for 6 weeks.

Finding the positive in a negative – I got to spend 6 weeks with my daughter. There are countries that allow both parents to stay home with their newborn child for a year when they are born. I wish the United Stated allowed that. There are so many wonderful moments that happen in that first year. It is a shame that we have to go back to work while our babies are still so young.

Another positive: As the curve flattened, I officiated my first wedding for my friend, Theresa from high school. To say I was nervous is an understatement, but all went well and I didn’t mess anything up too bad. It was nice to see other friends from high school at the wedding, too. It was a bit weird, as there were many masks in the crowd, but that had kind of become the “norm.”

Division and hate

2020 brought more division and more hate. There has always been division in politics, but it seems that both parties hatred for each other was over the top. I’ve heard a lot of mudslinging in ads, but the stuff being said was brutal. The politicians seem to have forgotten who they are supposed to be representing and working for – the people of the country!

Everyone was offended by everything in 2020. Social media was full of arguments, name calling, and much more. Really, the media just continued to “feed” the public and make everyone more angry than they were to begin with. Jim Morrison of the Doors once said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Noam Chomsky takes it a little further:

I had to finally stop watching the news, and scroll past so many posts from friends. I couldn’t take it. It is totally ok for you to be passionate about your beliefs and your political stance. If it is different than my stance or beliefs, that’s ok, too. You and I can agree to disagree. I was saddened that so many friendships were broken because of the difference of opinion. Friendships that have lasted 30+ years ended because of this, and that breaks my heart. If only more people thought like Thomas Jefferson:

Blog Milestones and Hits and Misses

In 2020, I celebrated two years of blogging. I wrote my 300th blog. I still wrote many movie blogs and music blogs. The music blogs slowed as I started to neglect Tune Tuesday. I tried something new with Friday Movie Quotes, but that didn’t seem to go over too well, so I stopped. Most of my blogs were ramblings about my life and of course, my daughter.

The other blog that got a lot of views was my recent blog about the loss of my friend, and high school band director, Tom Shaner. I posted a link to this on my Facebook, and his daughter also shared it, so many people I didn’t even know read it. I received a private message from his brother who told me that he really appreciated my blog and how it enlightened him on the impact he had on his students. When I finished writing that blog, I didn’t think it did him any justice, but that private message proved otherwise.

Conclusion

As I look back on 2020, I see life’s “circle.” The high point of the year was the birth of my daughter, while the low point of the year was the passing of my friend, Tom. Life and death. A new life enters the world, while an old one leaves the world. Happiness and sadness. As life moves on, the circle continues. We see new births and new deaths.

A pastor once told me that birth is the beginning of death. You begin to die the moment you are born. There is truth to that. So as we look on the new “book” that is 2021, and we begin to write on the blank pages, let’s try to remember the words of actor Michael Landon:

Here’s to a Happy New Year for all of us!

There’s No Place Like Home …

I’m sure you are familiar with the above holiday favorite, Home For The Holidays. This year, however, many won’t be going home for the holidays, they will be staying home. As I mentioned in my last blog, our Governor is already begging folks in Michigan to limit Thanksgiving gatherings to 2 families to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Sam and I have already decided that we are staying home this year for turkey day.

If the Covid numbers don’t start to taper off, and the curve doesn’t flatten, I fear that the Christmas holidays may be the same way. I really hope that this is not the case, but I understand the precautions that we need to take if we have to.

Since March we’ve all altered our normal way of doing things. Come on, if it weren’t for Covid, would you really let someone else shop for you and pick it up?! I can tell you I wouldn’t (this is based on the vegetables that were chosen by our designated shopper – YUCK!). My dad has already ordered Christmas gifts for Ella and the boys and he said “Now I hope they get here on time!” Isn’t that the truth?!

You can bet that deliveries of gifts and such will be delayed with more and more people shopping online. I’ve never been one to do online shopping. I have mentioned in the past how much I love just walking through a store to get ideas for gifts. Many of the best gifts I ever bought for people were things that jumped at me off a shelf at a store! It’s hardly the same scrolling a store website.

At any rate, I’m hopeful that by Christmas, life will be such that we can at least have a visitor or two. I would hate to think that I’d have to send my sons their presents via mail, or even drop it off on their porch. I really hope the holidays can be semi-normal. If not, I’m gonna try to brainstorm some things that we can do some family bonding over the holidays.

Speaking of bonding, I had the opportunity to do just that with my son, Dimitri, this weekend. On Sunday, while he was still sleeping and the baby was napping, I watched a really good message from a pastor friend of mine. It was a study on Satan. (When I taught the Sunday School message at my old church, I spent about 12-15 weeks on the subject. The subject is fascinating and I taught it because of a conversation I had with a fellow church member.) My son and I talked briefly on the subject a few weeks ago and I thought he might want to watch it with me.

After Sam left for work and the baby went to sleep for the night, he and I opened up our Bibles and watched the message together. What was nice about watching the recorded version was that I was able to pause it every time he had a question. The message was about 50 minutes, but with his questions, we were on the couch studying for about 90 minutes. He really enjoyed it and he said he learned a lot. He is with his mom this coming weekend, so he and I are already planning on watching two weeks worth of messages when he comes back in two weeks. What a blessing for me to be able to share that time with him!

Stuck Home – Now What?

This week, I was fascinated at the simulations posted by the Washington Post on how a virus (coronavirus or the flu for that matter) are spread.  You can see them here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

The coronavirus is everywhere.  Schools are closed.  Casinos are closed.  Churches are streaming services online.  Restaurants and bars are closing.  College commencement ceremonies are being cancelled.  The CDC is warning to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.  We are being told to “flatten the curve” and “stay home.”  Sure we have the internet, video games, and Netflix, but eventually, boredom will set in.

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I saw something on Facebook this week that read:

“Just thing of all the sit down family dinners that will be happening across America because of this inconvenience.  Practices, meetings, and more – cancelled.  So many people say they’re ‘so busy’ and now have been forced to slow down.  Here’s your moment.  Use it wisely.  Be intentional.  Stay home.  Clean a closet.  Paint a room.  Spend time just sitting and talking.”

There is a lot of truth to that!  I am guilty of complaining about not having enough time to do things.  On my days off, I don’t relax – I am out trying to accomplish things I don’t have time for during the week.  Things get in the way.  I get busy – too busy to focus on what really is important.  Is work so important that it should take away from time with our family – sorry, bosses, it is not.  The structure of the family is hurting, because “family time” is becoming less and less.

“Me time” is also dwindling.  You hear all the time how important it is to unplug, and recharge.  My doctor says how important it is to find time to do something I enjoy once a week, even if it is only for an hour.  The problem is finding that time in a schedule that is already full with other obligations.

Let’s be honest, if I was forced to stay home because my work shut down, I would be freaking out.  No work = no money.  I have financial obligations.  We have cars and a home to pay for.  We have groceries to buy.  We have a baby to feed.  I have child support to pay to be sure my sons are ok.  We have the usually monthly bills to pay.  My wife is already off work and not being paid, so this potential “stay-cation” can really put me in a state of chaos.  I hope it doesn’t happen, but I also 1) don’t want to get sick and 2) get others sick. Whether it happens or not, I have to consider that is a possibility.

So, as I read that quote from Facebook, I began to think about the things I might actually get the chance to do if I was told to stay home for a few weeks. It was quite easy to make the list.  Some things are chores or projects I have put off for some time and others are more family/me oriented.  Here is a list that I just started jotting down. If you get bored while at home, maybe you can steal some of my items or be inspired to create your own list.

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What To Do While on My Forced Stay-Cation

  1. READ. (The stack of “to-read” books at my house is HUGE).
  2. Put the clear coat up on the shiplap in the kitchen.
  3. Exercise.  (I never have time for this.  “Make time” people say.  Ok, I will have some now.)
  4. Purge.  (Old clothes, shoes, papers, etc.)
  5. Watch movies.  (My dad always seems to hand my a bag with DVD’s.  I have many of them on a shelf or in a box.  What a great opportunity to watch them!)
  6. Call an old friend. (“I’ll call you” we often say, and then life takes over.  Why not take the time to catch up?)
  7. Scan pictures. (I have a bunch that I have been meaning to scan for some time.)
  8. Organize my digital music.  (I have many CDs that I want to transfer to digital.  I also have a hard drive with a variety of random folders and songs.  Some songs, I will never play, so I should just delete them)
  9. Organize my computer files.  (So many folders – so little time)
  10. Go through old radio bits. (I have a hard drive of some of my best bits with my old morning show partner.  I keep telling her I will send them to her.  Maybe with the extra time, I can get this done.)
  11. Patch walls and paint. (Long overdue)
  12. Clean the basement. (Another project that is long overdue)
  13. Yard work (weather permitting)
  14. Clean the garage.
  15. Organize Blog Ideas (Lots of random “thoughts” and “scribbles” in my “To-Blog” Journal.
  16. Board Games.  (Family time – lots of laughs)
  17. Inventory.  (Make a list of valuables and such – just in case)
  18. Clean out my e-mailbox.  (Who knew that some of those things you thought you’d want to read, would end up being something that you never get around to?)
  19. Print out some of my blogs.  (I want to start making a “book” for my kids.  Many of these blogs will serve as “chapters”.)
  20. Sleep. (With a newborn, you gotta take advantage of as much sleep as you can!)
  21. Organize cupboards.  (My wife will oversee this – she is better at it than me)
  22. Create the Bucket List.  (I sorta have one.  I just have never written it down.)
  23. Write letters to my children. (Not sure where I saw this before, but I think this is something I would like to do once a year.  Eventually, they will get to read them and hopefully treasure them.)
  24. Learn a language.  (Yeah, I have been saying that for some time.  If I have a few weeks, maybe I can actually do it!)
  25. Unplug.  (No phones.  No TV.  No Internet.  Just sit and talk with my family.)
  26. (a) Take Pictures of Ella. (Cause a new daddy can never have enough pictures of his baby girl.) (b) Take pictures of the boys. (Cause they are growing up too fast!) (c) Take pictures of my wife (Because she is beautiful and I love her)
  27. Sort pictures and put them all in one place to print out (My phone had a gazillion pictures.  I need to send them to Walmart or wherever to print out hard copies)

So, how about you?  What are you planning to do with the gift of some extra time?  I would love to know what makes your list.

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