Month: March 2020

Isolation, Family and Spirituality

As we all know the world has been put on lockdown and we are all waiting for COVID19 to take its toll and finish its course across this country (to a reasonable degree at least). Just when I think it couldn’t get any worse it does until I want to hide away in a little ball in my room. In many ways I feel like Elsa in Frozen but without a sister knocking on my door trying to play with me. It’s been such a surreal time!

While this time of quarantine has been very difficult there have been some surprises. First, I have been cooking way more. For a single person I think I was pretty well prepared and have a robust pantry (and fortunately had just gotten my toilet paper order from amazon the week before this all started!). While I have made 2 or 3 trips to the grocery I’ve kept it to a minimum and have rarely left my house. This has left me to cook almost all of my meals. I honestly didn’t realize how much I was eating out, so it has been very rewarding.

Secondly, my family has grown closer from all of this. My family is a combination of people who love each other but are all very different. Everything from our ages, distances apart, to our life choices make it challenging to develop a close bond. However, when all this started someone began an email chain and we’ve kept it up and all updated how we are feeling and dealing with this situation. This may sound like a small thing but it’s been big for me. I feel closer to my family than I have in a long time and for that I am truly grateful.

Finally, this time of isolation has actually proven to be a time of spiritual growth. While I have definitely had my lonely times (thanks for helping me deal facebook friends!), I’ve also had more time with the scriptures and my thoughts with God. In order to help my friends who are without church I started doing a Sunday Devotional series over on my youtube channel where I share a talk on a nondenominational topic and then discuss the subject with a friend of mine (Caroline and twice Chris from Durbania). I’m very proud of the series and even if it doesn’t help others (which I hope it does) I have been very edified by it. It reminds me of my days as a Sunday School teacher, which was a very rewarding time in my life.

So far we have talked about kindness, courage and hope. Next week is on forgiveness. I would love your thoughts on topics or anything else that might help the series. I hope you find it as comforting as it has been for me to prepare.

Fortunately, I tested negative for COVID19 so I feel a calm I had been missing for some time. It has been a tough time but I am so grateful for my job with Kobayashi and everybody involved with both of my podcasts. I am extremely blessed beyond measure. I hope that you have found ways to be edified during this difficult time. Please share your stories and what you have done to survive (maybe even thrive) during this time of isolation. God bless you all

ps. If anyone reading has the ability to support my efforts as a freelancer/podcaster I’d sure be grateful. Every little bit helps


COVID19 and Taking Away My Third Place


Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well and surviving this crazy situation in the best way you know how. COVID19  or The Coronavirus (not sure when you use which name tbh) has come upon us and not only made people sick but done a thrashing on our entire society. Nobody has been left unharmed. We now just have to wait and see how long it will last and how we will recover/regroup.

Honestly when this all began a few days ago I was a little over-confident in my coping abilities. I thought with what I joke as my hermit lifestyle this would be easy. I work from home, am well stocked with a pantry/freezer and don’t have any kids. I kind of already did an experience like this when I tore  my MCL in 2014 and had to be bedridden for 3 months. It was all going to be easy-peazy.

Well, I am here to tell you I was wrong. While I certainly don’t have it nearly as bad as most the whole experience has been surprisingly emotional. While I am more home-bound than most people it has been eye-opening to realize how much the social interactions I did have meant to me.

Obviously the biggest loss for me is the movie theater. It is not uncommon for me to see 4-5 movies a week, if not more. I frequently love to go down to the arthouse theater and make a whole day of seeing movies. Just last week I saw 3 movies in a day:  Emma with my Mom, an early screening of My Spy (our last screening for a while), and because I knew it would be the last chance A Portrait of a Lady on Fire at the Broadway.

I saw Emma again on Sunday night and as I left the theater I started to cry.  It might sound silly to some but not having the theater is a real loss for me. As I was crying I realized the movie theater is my ‘third place’.

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg came up with the idea of the ‘third place’. Every human he surmised has 3 places- home, work and a third place. Usually this place is some type of communal experience with both familiar and new acquaintances. It’s a chance to bond with others and feel a part of a team in a different way than work.

Sometimes I go to the movies alone but even then it’s still a communal experience where I can relax and participate with others in enjoying (or not enjoying) the film. In addition, I have my community of local critics and fellow movie buff friends like Jen who goes to most of the screenings with me. Now that experience has been taken away from me and it has felt like a real loss.

Like I said, obviously many are actually suffering with illness and even death so I don’t have much cause to complain but it is a loss nonetheless. In addition, I have the added stress of speculating what the fallout of all of this will be. I don’t see how it is not completely devastating to the arts and the longer it goes the worse it will be.

Fortunately I have my podcasting which I can do right from home and that is a tremendous blessing. It allows me to connect with my fellow collaborators and cohosts and keep some degree of normalcy for myself and hopefully for the listeners as well. I am beyond grateful for both of my podcasts and I hope they can be help provide some entertainment and relaxation for you during this intense time.

For Hallmarkies Podcast click here.

For Rachel’s Reviews click here.

I was also obviously very sad to lose weekly church services. To try and have some spirituality during this time I started a series on my channel where I give a little talk and chat  about a topic with a friend of mine. Here is the first one on the virtue of kindness.