I know this is going around all over the Internet, but it is impacting my normal writing routine. All of my kids are home, and I have to make sure they are submitting their online assignments to their teachers every day. I haven’t written anything since mid-January when I finished The Duke’s Secluded Bride and The Rancher’s Bride. My goal was to start writing new books this week.
Then, when I went to the grocery store last Thursday morning and saw that people were starting to panic-buy and my kids told me the teachers were telling them schools might close, I turned my attention to researching Covid-19. I’d been keeping up with it in the Current Events class with my homeschooled kid. He loves Current Events. I had seen what happened in China and what was happening in Italy. I did prepare because one guy on You Tube mentioned that it’s good to have an emergency stash for things like earthquakes and hurricanes, and I figured that the best case scenario would be that I had extra food on hand and wouldn’t need to grocery shop for a while. But I wasn’t in a panic over it. I just grabbed one more thing of whatever I was picking up each week.
And after this experience, I think having a three-month supply of food/water/other necessities is as important as paying off debt and having an emergency fund. I go by “three months” because I read that the CDC was telling their workers to plan that far ahead. I figured if the CDC was saying it, it was a good rule of thumb to go by. I did have to dip into my small emergency fund to be able to get the supplies, but you can’t eat money that is sitting in a bank. I don’t think people need to go out and buy three months of supplies all at once. It sounds like we’ll still have trucks delivering food and everything to our stores.
Just slowly build things up. Pick up double of what you usually do each time you go out. That will help to not overwhelm the system so others will have something as well. After this experience, I’m not ever going to let anything go low again. I was doing that all through last year as I was paying off debt. I would only allow us to get enough food to last one week. This has taught me that is not a good strategy because for one week, everything could be fine in your town, and when the next week comes, you don’t know if you’ll have what you’re looking for. It’s crazy.
Over the past week, I’ve gotten very little sleep because I’ve been doing a deeper study of Covid-19 and everything that is going on in the country and around the world. There are so many conflicting messages going on. I honestly don’t know if this is serious or if it’s being hyped up for some reason. I have heard quite a few theories, and it seems like no one is sure what will happen.
But I have come to a couple of conclusions. One, I do think it’s best to stay away from large crowds during this time so the medical system doesn’t get overwhelmed. I am concerned about the doctors and nurses. I am concerned there won’t be enough beds for the people who need them. That seems to be what is causing Italy so much grief right now. I don’t want to see the same thing happen in the United States where I live. My plan isn’t to be a complete hermit, but I am limiting my trips out so that we only go out to get things we need. My hope is that we’ll use this time to get more beds in the hospitals around the country and give the doctors and nurses what they need so that if something like this happens in the future, we won’t have to shut a lot of things down around the country.
My husband is still working at the moment, but I won’t be surprised if that stops for a while. He’s a car detailer, so he can’t work from home. He’s also “non-essential”. I’m not sure what this will mean for his job going forward. Will he still have a job waiting for him when this is over? I guess we’ll find out. So my heart does go out to those who can’t work at home. I also feel bad for the small business owners who are operating their businesses in a place that can’t be done from home, either. I’m lucky. Writing is online. Even if I’m not making what I once did, I’m able to keep things going around this house for the time being.
Thankfully, we got out of debt when we did. I know it seems like I keep saying this, but having no debt is probably the smartest move anyone can make. If we had debt, we’d be in a real panic right now. And while I’m on the topic of money, there are some “financial experts” out there who tell people to get a 30-year mortgage and never pay it off sooner so that you can invest the money instead. While I do expect the stock market to come back up, I’m glad I put my money into paying off my house instead of putting it in the stock market. I know banks are holding off on mortgage payments right now, but I like knowing I don’t have to worry about one when this is all over. So I heartily disagree with those financial experts. When everything is going fine, that method is okay, but what if you just lost all of your money in the stock market over this past month and still had that mortgage hanging over your head? I’m not opposed to investing money into the market, but I do think the priority should be the roof over your head.
Okay. I’m off that soapbox.
Now, I’m going to switch to a more religious tone, so if that’s not your thing, you should stop reading here.
I’m currently studying the Book of James in the Bible, and I like to listen to Thru the Bible Radio. I will read a book in the Bible first and then go back to listen to the Thru the Bible radio podcast on You Tube for the commentary on it. Over the past week, while all of this other stuff was going on (and it is scary stuff), it has been helpful to listen to J. Vernon McGee talk about trusting God and that He’ll get us through things. I don’t think the timing of this is a coincidence. I’ve been steadily going through the Epistles in the New Testament since the fall of last year. Then on the radio while I was in the car, the sermon was on what to do when you’re scared. The preacher mentioned that even in the Psalms, those men were scared. I remember passages where they mentioned crying and being afraid of what the day was going to bring. There was something along the lines of, “When it’s morning, I wish it was night. When it’s night, I wish it was morning. My bed is drenched in my tears.” I think being scared if a natural human emotion. It’s what we do with that fear that is important. Do we take that fear and tell God about it? Or do we take that fear, say, “God must not care,” and harden our hearts against him? The same is true with any emotion.
Emotions, in and of themselves, are okay. It’s what you do with those emotions that matter. You can use any emotion and chose to either let it draw you closer to God or let it separate yourself from Him. We have freewill. I believe He is always there, ready and willing to pull us up into His arms, but it’s up to us to take that offer. It doesn’t mean your fear will go away. I’ve found it makes the fear more bearable, and after time, things do “feel” better. There’s a certain peace that begins to take hold, but it is not immediate. It’s a process. I think the closer we get to God, the more that peace settles in. In our instant gratification world, we’re used to having everything right away. This isn’t like that. This takes time. I think this is what patience is about, and it is what ultimately builds character in our lives. The best to do this, in my opinion, is to make Bible study a habit in our lives. The Bible is the main go-to book, especially at times like this. If it weren’t for God, I wouldn’t know what I’d do. He is my anchor in the storm.
I’m not sure if anyone else needed to hear that, but I know I did. I feel much better already.