Laetare? Finding Peace Part Three

Hello everyone.  My friend shared this link on mental health in crisis, and I thought it was excellent. I want to share it with you. Click Here

I am working on a blog with health information from sources I trust as well as a blog listing a number of experiences available online that are pretty amazing.  For now, I want to share a bit about a spiritual side of all this.

Sunday we sent up candles, icons, statues etc. to make a sacred space in the living room apple-1122537_640in preparation to watch Mass on TV. The Gospel was John 9: 1-41, and I was struck by the line: “Night is coming when no one can work.” That is what it feels like right now. It feels like night when no one can work. It feels like a dark time in so many ways.

Sunday was Laetare Sunday for Catholics and many others.  “Laetare” means “rejoice.” The fourth Sunday of Lent is a time to rejoice in what is to come. Father Sean gave an amazing homily (click here and then click on Fr. Sean, March 22, 11 AM).  To inadequately paraphrase: It doesn’t seem that we have a lot to rejoice about.  Catholics (and some others) are deprived of the one thing that is the most important to us; the Eucharist.  We can receive Jesus in our hearts at all times, but we hunger to receive God physically again. We hunger for it like we never have.  Father Sean amazingly shared – I wish I had his words – how that hunger is increasing our prayer life. It is increasing our faith.

This time has already increased my prayer life. I had not been good at mixing prayer and busyness. These days, though I still have many things to do, staying put while I do them is so different. Daily, I am saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet with a friend, and  I pray with a rosary group most evenings. I have prayed with my immediate family as well, and we have more time to sit and talk. I can walk around the back yard and pray in quiet. I can do my writing and take time to find who I am again, along with opening my heart up again to the Source of my Strength.

One of the reasons I am praying more is because I have to. I could do all that is possible to help others, to reach out, to inform, to serve and support, and still so much of this would be out of my control.  There are people suffering for whom I have not the bank account nor medical expertise to help.  I believe in prayer.  I have seen miracles happen before my eyes. I know it works. The need is moving me to action.

I also don’t want to miss anything. This is a hard time, a difficult time. This is a time in which people are suffering. Even in this, there is a gift here that has been given to me, and I need to adhere to it. There is life in front of my eyes. I went to our forest and gathered Usnea, an antiviral, off of the fallen branches. I am in the planning stages of a garden which is something I’ve never done before. And I am taking time to go outside and soak in the Vitamin D and the wonder. I am living a balanced life more than I have in years. It is a gift.

Stress isn’t good for the immune system. And we should all do what is ours to do to help, but there will always be a huge aspect of this in which we have no choice but to trust in God.  I exhort everyone to let it make you a better person and to open up your eyes and see again. Most of you have been doing this, I know.  I am reminded of Joe in Joe Versus the Volcano, almost dead with little hope of rescue, shakily standing up and saying, “Thank you God for my life.”

May you be surrounded with blessing, healing, and love. May God bless your day.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

An Order to the Day; Finding Peace: Part Two

Tuesday I got hit with the information that schools are out until April 29th.  Honestly, it could be a lot longer.  Since I’m a substitute teacher, I’m out of work. I did get some excellent leads, however, and Tuesday, in my existential dread, I didn’t work on them. Wednesday was different.  I saw what some people were sharing about finding peace through time organization, and I tried it out. I also read what some people posted about how it is better not to have schedules. The two seem to contradict.  But do they? A summary of various thoughts is below.



With a stay-at-home life that hasn’t been done before, the human mind can feel like it is floating in the air with no way to ground itself to the earth.  A schedule helps a person deal with anxiety. It gives structure and a way to ground oneself. Studies have shown that school kids who play outside will use the whole field if there are fences and stay in the middle of the playground if there aren’t; the fence gives more freedom. Indeed, humans need structure in order to truly be free; just as if we didn’t have gravity, we’d simply be floating without the means to do a thing. Without any sort of boundaries, one can get lost in the void of Netflix of Facebook and feel like mush afterward; the human spirit doesn’t thrive there.  Children push for boundaries naturally;  there is something to the human mind that needs it, and kids need a sense of normalcy, a sense of what to expect in order to avoid anxiety.  Grownups do too; without it, many feel lost. Nature sets the days and seasons. There is a reason for having compartments in our lives. one can be freer with them than without. Having productivity makes sure important needs are met, and learning helps the mind exercise.

Freedom from Schedules 

It is better not to worry about schedules right now. Forcing one’s kids to learn math when they are sensing crisis might not be the best thing — just play with them.  It is not the time to focus on productivity; give yourself a break.  Use the time to teach your kids to plant, cook, etc., and don’t restrict the time. Children are scared. Hug them and spend time with them right now; don’t worry about when you do what. For those who aren’t parents, give yourselves a break as well. Watch TV if you need to. Rest.


Scheduling is a way some people are finding freedom from anxiety. Freedom from schedules is another way people are finding it. I want to share a few things that I’ve seen in schedules friends have posted, that show me a way to have peace in this scheduling category.  These are shared with permission.

The first one is from Cirra. I’ll put the link to this at the bottom of the page if you want to read more about her philosophy; she has a lot of wisdom here. If you look at the list, you’ll see something: Recreation time. The family has two small children, and they make sure they have time just to spend with them. Later, the couple makes sure they have time to spend with each other.

Goff rule of life

This one here is from Trista. I love how bright it is! I also love how, in amongst the education (which is not just necessary, it can be fun) is a lot of free time. What large school gives you an hour of recess and snack in the morning and two hours of free time and recess in the afternoon?  Even in preschool, the breaks weren’t that long.  The kids know because of the schedule that free time is coming.  I love this one.


I’m guessing that most people will do it the way you see below from Artie. The whiteboard makes sense, the materials are probably already there, and it can be changed per day.  I love again how much free time there is in this. The kids have structure and education, and a lot of fun stuff too. Not pictured is the family menu for the day, which is posted at their house and adds to stability for the kids. The kids in this family are older so the mom can say, “Play and don’t fight,” and do what she needs to do as well.


I also saw a schedule with time in it for taking those virtual field trips, zoo tours, etc.  There is so much available for free right now! I am working on compiling a list.

My Experiment 

Tuesday night, there were things I wanted to do, but I was much too tired to do them. Instead, I made sure to make a schedule for the next day.  In that schedule, I had a hoped to video chat with family members  (I need outside interaction daily, and I missed them). I went through the day, I found that certain things weren’t happening as planned. What did I do? I changed my schedule. There was a different job that it was more important to apply to first; the other would have to wait until the next day. I had scheduled story writing time, but the blog ideas were in my brain and needed to come settle on “paper,” so I switched one for the other. I was hungry later, so I moved lunch later, and I moved outdoor time a little bit later too as I was pretty focused.

I forget this a lot, but I do enjoy having a plan. Having one, I wasn’t stuck in that, “I am lost on FB now, but I really must be doing something” mode. I don’t lose hours of time just clicking.  If I got done with something, I rested without any guilt or worry, knowing that I had scheduled the things that need to get done; I would get to them; it didn’t have to be right now. And when it was time to do something important but difficult, I felt better, knowing that I had planned rest time.  It is also nice to have an order to the day. I feel more at peace.

At the same time, things happen. My household needs to verbally process COVID19. My 11-year-old nephew could use some one-on-one time with Auntie and vis versa. It is important to have that freedom. And taking it, and moving things I need to do around, I don’t have that, “Oh but you need to do this…” in my head persecuting me. It’s on paper and my brain can be free.  Neither do I have the guilt of, “You didn’t follow your schedule…” The schedule is there to help me. I am not here for the schedule.  As needs change, it can change. I don’t find rigidity helpful right now. But I do find frameworks very helpful.

I have found this in Substitute teaching as well. If the schedule gets interrupted by a fire drill etc., kids are ok with things changing a bit; they just want to know what is happening.

Thursday was a holiday. I prayed the rosary and made a pie, and watched a movie with my family. I put things I knew I needed to do on the schedule for the next day, freed them from my mind, and I rested.

If you’d like to share what approaches to time you find helpful, please comment below. May your day be filled with beauty and healing and peace. May God bless your day.


Cirra’s post:

Related Blog:  A checklist approach: Doing the Thing

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Finding Peace in Quarantine: Part One

I’ve been gone from this blog for a long time; I made an announcement that I was going back to school and then pretty much disappeared. Well, school is over. I am just waiting on one big test to be returned in order to graduate.  And here I am.

The world seems crazier than the last time I wrote. Public Masses were just canceled for weeks; I never thought I would see this in my lifetime.  Last night was the first time in all of this that I really felt physical anxiety. had been concerned before, and nervous. But when I heard that public Masses are canceled, it was a tremendous blow.

There are so many people doing amazing things that help with anxiety, and these will take more than one blog. Here is the first.


The One Thing

If you are a person with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility like me and most of my friends, knowing a bunch of things that are wrong with the world has been anxiety-producing for a long time, and now it is more so.  It is very hard to know what is asked of you in particular, and sometimes I personally freeze up and stop trying anything.  But one thing that helps me to remember is that we are in this together, so none of us is responsible for more than our part. For me, I have to look at the situation.  I live with elderly family members.  That means that I am not called to be a delivery driver or to help hand out lunches to poor kids.  I can check those off the discernment list.  I am called to not bring viruses home to them. I also have a strong desire on my heart to maintain community for the good of everyone (including myself), so I’m reaching out to people via video chat.  Yesterday I got to talk with a friend I haven’t visited with in a really long time. I really enjoyed it. Others are doing this too. One friend organized a weekly video chat community party. Another group I’m in is having a nightly rosary together to pray for the world.

Many people I know are focusing on taking care of their families. A friend of mine is babysitting her nephew so her brother can work.  Some are posting advice on the internet or sharing where you can find resources such as virtual museums and symphony concerts which help both old and young alike. Some are giving support to others who are medical workers and grocery workers.  Some are buying gift certificates from restaurants and ordering takeout to help keep those businesses afloat.  And some are able to get out there and deliver food to others, especially elderly neighbors. And they are doing it.

I’ve also seen people share how many good things are happening in order to give us hope. China is almost over this ordeal for one.  Our governor here is making sure that children who relied on public schools for food are still getting free lunches.  In a city in China, people were reporting that the smog was gone and they could hear birds.  Hope is a good thing. The heart matters.

Saving the world isn’t up to me. We are all in this together, plus there is a Higher Power who really does love us and bring good out of evil. None of us are alone. Some people might choose to find a societal ill that they will fight to change, and begin to do research on what they can do when it is time. Some will use this time to write – Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a quarantine. Some of us will paint. Creating art really is doing something. Art lifts the soul.  Reaching out to just one person is doing something, and our kids and our parents count.  Prayer and Sacrifice and suffering offered up as prayer makes a huge difference.

How To Discern 

We can ask God what is that we need to do, and do that one thing, or those few things.  Verbal prayer helps, a prayer journal helps, making lists helps and reasoning out what makes sense or not helps. Paying attention to who you are and the desires of your heart helps.  The silence can help us hear what is resonating in our hearts.   If you don’t know what to do, I know a lot of people who are simply reaching out to someone to make sure they aren’t isolated. I am not sure that they discerned their role, but phone calls and video chats and checking in and conversing with isolated elderly neighbors makes sense (you can talk to them from three yards outside and still keep them safe). Sense matters. A friend wrote today, “I can only do what’s in front of me right now.” It is absolutely true.  Sometimes what is right in front of us is rest. Rest matters too. And if someone is still able to work, working is doing something. It matters.

For me, doing something, but knowing it isn’t my responsibility to do everything, makes a huge difference in anxiety levels. The “shoulds” tend to attack.  If I know I’m helping, I can rest in the few things I am called to do and not let the “but you need to save the world” paralyze me.  I can make sure to pray. I can make sure to write. I can reach out, and I can share information. And it is OK if I just do one a day.  I see a lot of people making jokes, and honestly, laughter can be healing. That is their way and there are a lot of people out there who are helped by it. It matters.

Wishing you peace in your heart to go with the prudence in your mind. May God abundantly bless this day.


“It is a lesson we all need – to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path. ” – St. Katharine Drexel


Image by Ajay kumar Singh from Pixabay