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2020 May

Counting Our Blessings

Share your reasons for being thankful with your family.

Rather than write a column filled with doom and gloom, I’ve decided what we all need is some good news. So let’s think about the many blessings we have during this strange, never-ending spring. Thinking about positive things does a lot to dispel stress and worry. In fact, you and your family might want to try spending a few minutes over the dinner table each evening talking about the things you have to be thankful for.

At the top of everyone’s list is family. Many of us are fortunate to enjoy more quality time with our kids than ever. That’s because instead of rushing around to school functions, clubs, lessons, etc. we’re able to spend more time together—talking, cooking, reading, playing games, walking, gardening. What a blessing to be together.

Communicating with grandparents via our phones and computers has become the new norm. It’s wonderful to see how much joy it brings to loved ones far away to talk and share on the phone or in a video app. Take this time to ask the grandparents to share stories of their own childhood. What games did they play? What was school like? How were clothes different? What were their favorite meals?

Another blessing is the luxury of having more time these days. I have begun enjoying crossword puzzles, an activity that I rarely had time for in the pre-coronavirus world. I love escaping into those little boxes a few times a week, challenging my brain, and the feeling of satisfaction when I successfully complete a puzzle.

Many of us are finishing overdue projects around the house, discovering new hobbies like baking and crafting, and getting more rest. What a blessing this is for our emotional and physical health. Another benefit of having extra time is the ability to exercise and take care of our health. We can walk more, ride bikes with our family, watch exercise videos, and even learn new dance moves.

Parents everywhere are learning the joys of cooking homemade meals full of healthy ingredients. No more frantic trips to fast-food chains for unhealthy burgers and pizza. Instead you can make food like your mom used to make for you: fresh salads, veggie casseroles, main dishes filled with flavor and love. And everybody’s favorite: desserts. Make cupcakes with your kids or ice cream sundaes. You can afford the calories since you’re eating healthier meals.

Finally, we are blessed with learning to love a simpler lifestyle. It’s amazing how simple our needs are these days. True, some of us are working from home, which can add a little stress to your lives, but without the hours spent commuting each week, you have more time to relish the simple things that matter, like curling up with your child in a comfy armchair and reading her a book.

When my boys were young, I read C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud to them. It was a special time, and my sons would listen avidly, using their imaginations to picture the journeys the characters make into the fantasy world of Narnia. There are seven books in the series, so you can enjoy this tale for weeks to come. If you haven’t shared this book series with your kids, I highly recommend it.

Above all, remember to think positive and take care of yourselves and your kids. As we begin to re-enter a period of normalcy, don’t forget the many blessings this slowdown has brought to us. Keep smiling and keep the faith.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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