Into the Unknown……

Being the planner I am I decided to map out a route for a family hike, so I started down the road. As I was jogging along the road, I came to a fork in the road with 3 paths. I could chose Path #1 which looked fairly familiar at first glance, but further down the path you could see more rules and regulations, and if you weren’t cautious enough it led into Path #2. If I chose path #2 my world would become a virtual reality and I didn’t have control over what the outcome may be. It had a lot of questions about what the path even looked like. There were so many potential hazards along the way, not to mention the frustrations. If I chose path #3 there was a small chance of insanity at the end because peace and quiet may be no more. It would totally change the hike and we would have to rely on each other more than ever on Path #3. No matter what path I chose, there were risks involved and none of them were the easy, straight, and comfortable path I had expected when I set out on this journey. The once familiar road map had changed and now it was my job to navigate it for our family.

Now this may seem like a real scenario, but obviously if you know me at all, it was a dream. Because let’s be honest…. I don’t jog or hike! But it was a very real dream to me. This dream occurred night after night for over a month. This dream was a manifestation of my anxieties about making the right choice for our family in regards to schooling for the 2020-2021 year.

Path #1 was to opt for in-person learning which seemed to be the most normal, until you knew all of the guidelines that would be put in place for safety precautions. Once you knew all of the rules of hiking down that path it began to seem less normal. Plus there was a high chance (almost inevitable) that Path #1 would someday merge into Path #2.

Path #2 was to opt for remote learning. I wasn’t sure I wanted to relive even a portion of the remote learning we endured in the Spring. I knew it would look different, but I still didn’t have a clear picture of what it would look like. I didn’t want to get stuck with something that was frustrating to my kids or to me. It also gave me less control of the curriculum they would have to work on while at home.

Path #3 was a path I never thought I would be considering….. this path was homeschooling. As a former teacher I knew this path would be the most practical for our family because I had a stockroom of curriculum, resources, and supplies ready to go from my teaching days. I loved teaching! But to be responsible for my own kids educational year was a little scary — well actually — a lot scary! I didn’t want to lead them down this path only to fail in leading them out to the other side. What if I missed something along the path that was vital? What if we couldn’t work together well and they hated me at the end? So many what ifs….

After over a month of this dream (no…. nightmare is more like it), I knew I had to make a decision quickly because I needed to have a solid and confident decision so I could begin mapping it out and preparing our family for the journey this year. After careful consideration we decided to venture down Path #3. We have been traveling on Path #3 for almost 4 weeks now and so far we have hit some roadblocks, bumps, and we even have a few bruises. I had to carry backpacks because the kids weren’t ready to be completely independent yet. We had to change up our routine and schedules. But we are getting our into our stride now and everyone is beginning to pull their own weight. There have even been a few laughs along the way!

Is this year going to be difficult for us? YES! Is it going to be difficult for all families no matter which path they choose? YES! Can we find joy on the path? ABSOLUTELY! God has promised us that in Psalm 30:5 (MSG) “The nights of crying your eyes out, give way to days of laughter.”

Though the sorrow may last for the night….. His joy comes in the morning!

Psalm 30:5

I also have to remember that this journey we are all on as parents is ultimately re-shaping us. God can use this time of trial to test our faith and show us His goodness. We are a blessed group to go through this because He promises that too in James 1:2. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” God knew when before we were born that we would be living through this time in history. He created us to do this! If we can rely on Him and continue to seek His guidance and grace (which we will need both daily), we can get through this and come out BETTER on the other side.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

James 1:2

So as we begin down this path, let’s remember to support each other no matter what path we are on. Let’s pray for each other. Let’s encourage each other. Let’s support each other when the path gets rough. Send a care package, make that phone call, or write that letter. How can you encourage another family this week as they start their adventure down their path this month?

How God says to respond during the pandemic….

Paint Photo Gift Guide Blog Graphic

“I feel like everyone, everywhere has lost their minds…..”

This is  a quote that came out of my mouth several times during the past week and a half. Between the Facebook posts, conflicting news reports, and aggression from people over small things, I had come to the conclusion that the world has lost it’s mind. Things seemed so out of sync.

Once, only a few short weeks ago,  this pandemic had started bringing out the best in people like when we saw millions of hearts in the windows of homes across the country in support of our essential workers and to lift the spirits of those who saw them. People were social distancing even though it was hard to not see loved ones. We were protecting each other because we cared about each other. Everyone was coming together, regardless of political, religious, or other belief systems. The world recognized ourselves as the human race – a united group of people who together would help defeat a virus called Covid-19.

Fast-forward a few weeks to the present…..People are playing politics even though the virus doesn’t care how you vote. People are condemning others because of the choices they are making for their family. Others are name-calling and arguing back and forth like they were on an elementary playground. So many are only focusing on themselves and what affects them – selfish behaviors are becoming the norm.

Because I am a rule-follower, ever since I could walk and talk, I have been on the receiving end of these comments. Because I am continuing to shelter in place I have been told that I am “caving to the political agendas instead of fighting for my rights and freedom.” Because I wear a mask, I have been told that I am letting fear get the better of me. Because I am not “bucking the system” I have been called a sheep. And the lowest blow of last week was being told that I wasn’t really a Christian if I was allowing myself to be told what to do by those in power. That because I don’t speak out against the leaders of my state and nation, I must not be a true Christian. (mouth drop)

As a child I was always taught to respect those in authority. From my parents, my elders, teachers at school, etc. I was taught the important lesson of respect and how to follow the rules.

Titus 3:1-2 saysRemind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” (NIV)

The Message puts it more bluntly…. Titus 3:1-2 (MSG) “Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God’s people should be bighearted and courteous.”

Romans 13:1-7 says this “Every person must obey the leaders of the land. There is no power given but from God, and all leaders are allowed by God. The person who does not obey the leaders of the land is working against what God has done. Anyone who does that will be punished.

Those who do right do not have to be afraid of the leaders. Those who do wrong are afraid of them. Do you want to be free from fear of them? Then do what is right. You will be respected instead. Leaders are God’s servants to help you. If you do wrong, you should be afraid. They have the power to punish you. They work for God. They do what God wants done to those who do wrong.

You must obey the leaders of the land, not only to keep from God’s anger, but so your own heart will have peace. It is right for you to pay taxes because the leaders of the land are servants for God who care for these things. Pay taxes to whom taxes are to be paid. Be afraid of those you should fear. Respect those you should respect.” (NIV)

Scripture says this over and over again.

1 Peter 2:13 Obey the head leader of the country and all other leaders over you. This pleases the Lord. (NIV)

Instead of condemning our leaders, God actually says we should be PRAYING for them! We need to be praying for wisdom for our leaders. Even if we don’t agree with what they are choosing to do, God commands us to pray for them.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 says First of all, I ask you to pray much for all men and to give thanks for them. Pray for kings and all others who are in power over us so we might live quiet God-like lives in peace. It is good when you pray like this. It pleases God Who is the One Who saves. He wants all people to be saved from the punishment of sin. He wants them to come to know the truth.” (NIV)

God even shows us what to do when we disagree with someone else. In 1 Peter 3:15 He says, “Your heart should be holy and set apart for the Lord God. Always be ready to tell everyone who asks you why you believe as you do. Be gentle as you speak and show respect.”

As we go about our weeks and months ahead, I pray that everyone can be a little bit kinder, thinking about others, and representing themselves as Christ has asked us to. God gave us the two most important commandments:

  1. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
  2. You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.

So whether you agree with someone (leadership included), let’s move forward with a lot more love as we get through this pandemic together.

 

When will this be over?

After being “sheltered in place” for over a month now I often think, sometimes multiple times a day, “When will this all be over?”

I long for the days when I can get in my car, without my Clorox wipes and face mask, to go to the grocery store.

I yearn for the day when we can come together as a community of believers in our church building and give endless hugs and handshakes.

I get misty-eyed when I think of things I just knew would happen like taking my daughter to her dance lessons,  waving to the kids as they left on the school bus, and going out to a restaurant as a family.

I miss lunch dates with my friends, our weekly small group meetings at church, going shopping to find a new outfit, and other things that we normally just take for granted.

So when I am watching TV and see all of the sitcom characters doing all of the things we “used to do” in groups or gathering in various locations that are now closed – I say to myself…“When will this all over over? I wish it were over now.”

So many times in life we “wish things were over” quicker. When my daughter was born, she was very colicky and screamed 24-7 for 3 months straight. I couldn’t wait for those days to pass quickly, even though many parents love those first few months. I was wishing them away with every fiber of my being. They couldn’t go fast enough. I just wanted to rock a quiet, cooing baby, instead of the screaming baby that couldn’t be soothed.

I also remember in college that while going through “those classes” (you know the ones…. with the boring professor that went on and on about things that didn’t seem relevant to your life, let alone your degree.) I just wanted to get through my classes so I could get started in my career and with living my life. I was wishing away my college years, even though they were some of the best in my life.

Then there are the hard times that you wish you could get through by snapping your fingers so you were through them. Like losing a loved one, being laid off, breaking up with a significant other, or going through a season of illness. We just want to close our eyes and wake up with things being okay and normal, where there is no more pain.

So often we wish away these things, but don’t see the value in going through them. There are life lessons to be learned and good things to come out of every season like the ones above.

When my daughter was colicky I learned how to cherish those quiet moments that came after, to really appreciate the sweet moments that eventually came. It caused me to really try to learn many techniques in calming her that worked later on. It also caused my husband and I to work as a team and to communicate through this difficult season.

If I had rushed through my college classes and jumped straight into my career, I wouldn’t have built the skills needed in my profession. I wouldn’t have had the hands on experience that really made the difference in my teaching career. I also wouldn’t have built the amazing friendships I did when I was at college, some of which are strong today! And most importantly, at college I really found out who I was and found my identity in Christ for the first time on my own.

If we didn’t have to go through the hard seasons in our lives, like going through the grieving process, we wouldn’t heal. Sometimes it takes hard moments to bring us closer to God. He wants us to be able to lean on Him, not on our own strength. So it takes our moments of weakness to allow Him to be our Rock and Strength.

During this season of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be days we want it all to be over. But maybe instead of wishing this time away, we could rest in some of the lessons we are learning while we are “sheltering in place.” Here are some I have already discovered:

  • I need to take time to rest from the busyness of life. (My calendar has been wiped clear so I need to rest and enjoy that.)
  • I need to be thankful that my family is together and healthy. Not all families are able to be together right now, and many are worried about loved ones in the hospital or isolated that they can’t be with right now.
  • I am thankful to have time to really invest in my children’s education in a new way. It’s amazing what I am learning about my kids that I could only see from this perspective!
  • I am also learning to rest in the promises God has for me in His Word.  His Word has become fresh and alive for me during this time as I have been writing scriptures daily. His Word has become my anchor. Would it have been so desperately needed if I wasn’t going through this? Yes, but I may not have recognized it.
  • I am also thankful that I know there will be an end to this someday. Not sure when, but either we will find a vaccine for this virus, or Jesus will come back. Either way an end of quarantine will come.

What lessons have you learned during this time of isolation? 

March Verse of the Month: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 | KendraNicole.net

Verses to consider about enjoying the present and not wishing away time:

2 Corinthians 4:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

 

Romans 8:22-25 (The Message)

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

COVID-19 Isolation Journal Week 3

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 3491 (23 in the tri-county area)

Number of Deaths in IL: 47

USA cases – 104,700 cases across the country now making us #1 in the number of COVID-19 cases

*The first infant has died of coronavirus in Chicago. Sad day in Illinois.   Today we got stuff done around the house and the kids just played. No school work today! Chad worked in the yard clearing out dead leaves and other things so our newly growing spring flowers and plants can flourish!

It’s a dreary day and we are constantly watching the weather because they keep reminding us bad weather is on the way. Central Illinois is at a high risk for severe weather including hail and tornadoes. Chad went and purchased a weather radio for us since our old one had quit. He also stopped by and delivered one to Grandpa Knapp. The two talked on the phone but could see each other through the glass storm door. It’s such a different way to communicate but necessary to keep everyone safe.

After a delicious dinner of pizza and salad, we retreated to the basement with a sugar free fudge bar in hand to watch Heavyweights on Disney+.

IMG_2458Then we turned on the news to see that bad weather was in fact coming our way with a tornado warning in place for the tri-county area. So we stayed put in the basement until 10:00 when it all blew over. There was a touchdown from a tornado in the Bartonville/West Peoria area. Scary but we are ok.IMG_2459

The kids stayed in the basement for a sleepover and Chad and I continued watching a new show on Netflix that we are completely hooked on…. Tiger King! The world is now obsessed and so are we!

 

 

 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 4596                                 Number of Deaths in IL: 65

After a late night with storms and tornado warnings, everyone slept in a bit to recover and rest. We were all up and ready for Crossroads Kids zoom call at 9:15! The kids had a chance to learn about the 5 finger method to praying – Praise, Ask, Repent (say I’m sorry), Thanks, and Share! Jennifer Sakata led this kids through the lesson and it was a beautiful thing to see all of them learning together, even from a distance.

Then at 10:00 we started worship online with our church. It was a great message about the Holy Spirit and how He gives us supernatural protections and grace. Then afterwards we went on a “heart hunt” around Washington to search for all of the hearts people have put up in windows. We picked up Michael’s for lunch and went home. Chad and I met with our small group via Zoom and it’s always a highlight to see everyone.

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In the afternoon, I turned on Space Jam for the kids and I to watch while Chad went to work on a “heart” project in the shop. I fell asleep within 20 minutes because I am just so tired. I think the anxieties and uncertainties that keep me awake are catching up with me – so my body just needed a time out to sleep. Upon waking up from a great nap in the recliner, I made a comfort food meal of Tater Tot Casserole which was delicious!

Chad set up the two hearts he made in the shop with lights on them so people could see them as they drove by. Since we are in the country its hard for people to see our hearts in the window – but this makes it more visible.

We ended the night with a “living room concert” by Elton John on FOX. IT was full of celebrities sharing their talents from their living room and raising money for 2 great causes. Some of the celebrities included The Backstreet Boys, Alicia Keys, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) , Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day), Camilla Cabello, and Mariah Carey. There were more too…. It was just an uplifting event!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: over 5000       Number of Deaths in IL: 73

Today Chad had the day off from work which was a great way to start the week! We began the day by finishing one of Lucy’s school projects that we hadn’t had a chance to send in since school was cancelled. She made her solar system mobile and was so proud to send the pictures to her teacher!

Daddy got to join in on our movement/workout time this morning which was extra special! Jack made his English Muffin pizzas with sauce, green peppers, and no cheese. He is such a picky eater and has some funny taste buds, but glad he is exploring new ideas.

We ended the evening by watching Mary Penn, one of our favorite local church ladies who happened to be part of the Washington Children’s library for many years! She is such a fun storyteller, reading with great inflection and doing all of the fun voices. Watching her has been a treat!IMG_2486

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 5,994 cases   Number of Deaths in IL: 99

This morning was officially the beginning of distance learning at Dee-Mack! We picked up learning packets from the front door today at the Intermediate school in Deer Creek. Every week they will get a new packet, complete it, and return it the next week.

We also Facetimed with Grandma and Grandpa Waughop today. Lucy and Grandpa like to get “up close and personal.” LOL Grandpa doesn’t have a smartphone so he uses Lori’s instead. We enjoy these chats and it usually results in laughter and fun! I know it has to be hard on all of the grandparents who can’t see their grandkids up close or give them hugs. That’s what being a grandparent is all about. This is a tough time for sure. The rule and guideline set by the CDC and government is “If they don’t live in the same household as you; don’t visit and have physical contact.”IMG_2489

Around mid-morning Lucy had her “PE time” with her dance teachers on YouTube. They had prepared her recital dances up to this point for them to work on. So she joined in the class and practiced. I know she misses her classes and teachers so much. Every time I walk by the recital costumes hanging up and “fluffing,” it makes me so sad because I know there is a chance that they may not even have a recital this year if the social dista

 

ncing continues through the summer. Same thing with competitions. Everything has been rescheduled and thought through, but we all know, even though we aren’t saying it… this may not happen at all.

On the bright side, we made a new bread today — Bread Bowls! It’s always been something on my bucket list in the kitchen, but I had never taken the time to make it. Today was the day!  We were going to have Tuscan chicken and white bean soup so it was a great time! They turned out halfway decent (tasted great!) but next time I want to do a Broccoli cheese creamy soup….Would be better than a broth based soup.

 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 6980 cases    Number of Deaths in IL: 141

Today is the first day of Spring and we are still stuck at home… but we will make the best of it! The sun is shining and that makes things dramatically better.

Today I made cloth face masks with a pattern put out by a local hospital. It was challenging in ways, but super fun to see the final products. For an extra treat today, we purchased the movie Sonic the Hedgehog for Jack since he was unable to get his movie reward since the theaters closed down first. So while I made masks at the kitchen table, Jack and Lucy watched a new movie. Super cute!

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Lori and I also ventured out to Sam’s tonight to get moe groceries in bulk. I spent a lot more than normal but should be good for 3-4 weeks from what I purchased tonight. I will still have to get milk and fresh produce, but that’s about it.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 7695 cases    Number of Deaths in IL: 157

More school work again today! Getting into a routine has been a good thing.IMG_2508IMG_2509

We also got a surprise package from Uncle Bruce and Aunt Debbie in Texas today! They got Jack and Spiderman hat and possum stuffed animal. Lucy got a dog that spins around singing “You Spin Me Right Round Baby.” We love getting surprise mail. Makes the day fun and exciting! Good news is always welcome because the local news isn’t always good. I have to try to not watch, but how can we when things are changing every single day.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 8904 cases    Number of Deaths in IL: 210

Today was a day for fun! We finished up that last page of our social distancing packet, then the fun began! We cut out several hearts for Grandpa Knapp’s window at his house. Aunt Carol and Grandma Wurmnest had requested them. We also made him Easter Cards to make him smile.

When we went to deliver them we help them up to his window. He eventually came out because it was a beautiful warmer day. But we maintained the social distance recommendation of 6 feet. Afterwards we got a sweet treat of ice cream at Culver’s. Then dinner was a drive-thru fish fry at Chanticleer in Eureka. It was delicious!

The evening we enjoyed watching Onward which was newly released early to Disney+ just for our time at home of isolation. It was really cute and I may have teared up a time or two.

Finding the “Holes” in our Faith

Over the past few weeks, people have said several times on the news and social media that this pandemic is really shedding light on the “holes” we have in our healthcare. So there is a silver lining in all of this – that we will be able to improve and better our healthcare after this is over based on what we now know. In all fairness to our healthcare providers, no one could be prepared for a pandemic of this nature even if our system was perfect.

But there are other “holes” I am finding throughout this experience. They are the “holes” in my faith. I am realizing in the midst of something out of my control that is scary and unknown, my faith is not what I thought. It’s not as strong. It’s not a solid. It wavers and gives into fear. It doesn’t trust with my whole heart. It is imperfect.

James 1:2-8 descibes what I have been feeling after sitting with this thought yesterday…

“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (NIV)VOTD October 4 - Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James‬ ‭1:2-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The beautiful thing about this verse is it acknowledges we will have or faith tested. But when those tests and trials come we need to push through with determination and purpose. It says that we need to allow this determination to “finish it’s work,” meaning our faith isn’t complete and has holes in it. This verse acknowledges that we may not have a complete and mature faith. This verse gives us grace.

But then it continues on by giving us hope that we can continue to grow and strengthen our faith if we ask for it directly from God. He says in verse 5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” He promises us that if we ask for wisdom to make our faith stronger that God will give it to us. 

He also says this in verse 6-8 “ But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” We have to believe that God will deliver the wisdom and faith we need without any doubts. For if we doubt we will not receive anything from God. It says we will be double-minded and unstable in all we do. 

How many times have I felt conflicted in my thoughts and decisions, like I was double-minded? How many times have I felt like my decisions may be unstable?

About two weeks ago when the governor placed a “stay at home order” on the state of Illinois, I was relieved because I was comforted to know that we could all be in quarantine and safe from this vicious virus that was so unpredictable. After all of the news reports and social media posts I had been reading about how severe of a threat this virus could be, even to younger and healthier people, I was ready to shut my doors with my family safe inside and just be isolated. That gave me comfort. But then Chad’s company determined they were “essential workers” and he would have to continue to go into work. I remember feeling the grip of fear and doubt. I was scared that he would contract this virus, that he could bring it home….. I saw pictures in my mind of all 4 of us unable to breathe and dying together at home (worst case scenario). I became “irrational and unstable” because of the fear. I was starting to think of things like “Where could Chad stay where he would be isolated from us so we wouldn’t all have to be exposed?” I was starting to scour the internet for bottles of Lysol so I could disinfect our house even more than usual. I began contemplating all of the scenarios in my head that I could until I had to slow my mind down and turn my thoughts to God.

There was a verse that came to mind from Psalm 46: 1-3

God is our refuge and strength,If life hands you lemons, make lemon cupcakes!! GOD is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.”

 

and then one from Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.”

God was reminding me that He was my safe place. He was going to be the place I could run to when I was scared. He would be there with us every step of the way and we were not alone. He knows the future and He has a perfect plan for me and my family – whatever that may entail. He brought me His truth in that moment and I had a peace that I hadn’t had before.

I had decided then and there that I would persevere through this age of coronavirus with faith and trust instead of doubt and fear. I would come out on the other end of this withstanding this trial with faith. James 1:12 says

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of lifethat the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Illustration of James 1:12 — Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

 

TODAY’S THOUGHT: Where are the “holes” in your faith? Are you as strong as you thought? Do you trust in God completely when things are spiraling our of your control? Will you ask Him to equip you with the faith you need to get through this time of isolation? 

COVID-19 ISOLATION WEEK 2

Monday, March 23, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 1285    Nocases in Tazewell yet.      Number of Deaths in IL: 12

National Count: 33,404 – over 400 deaths.

Back to homeschooling today! We started reading “Little House in the Big Wood” on audiobook since we are also in isolation. The kids are enjoying it. There was also regular school work with reading and math. We also got to use our new math game – POP for addition and subtraction. Amazon has been helpful in delivering educational materials to keep the kids interested in topics and giving us new things to look forward to .

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Once Chad got home, I took off to Sam’s Club in Peoria to pickup our “curbside order.” They put everything in my car and off I went. When I got home we wiped everything down with Lysol Clorox wipes which is  a safety precaution put out by the CDC. It amazed me all of the people out and about last night. You wouldn’t even know anything was going on . Except for the empty parking lots at the mall, long lines for drive-thrus since the dining rooms are closed. Many people are taking this seriously, but not enough. I have a feeling we are going to be doing this for quite a while.

At the end of a long day we all sat down to watch the first part of The Great Muppet Caper on Disney+.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 1865                Number of Deaths in IL: 19

Today we started off by filling up our “Snack baskets” to help ration the snacks. Apparently the kids have left their “school stomachs” at school and now are ravenously eating through all the snacks because they have been “starving.”  They can have unlimited fruit and veggies from the fridge and as much water as they want.

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We also had a fun day of baking and cooking along with school work. I made homemade Amish Sweet Bread. Unfortunately I killed off the yeast so it didn’t rise to where I would have liked it to be, but it was still delicious (and the smell in the kitchen was amazing)! I also made ham fried rice in bulk for leftovers – YUMMY! It was a pretty typical day around here – typical is a word I wouldn’t use to describe this two weeks ago but this is becoming the new norm fast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

USA confirmed cases: 59, 434  Deaths – 786         Global confirmed cases – 430, 607 deaths – 19, 479

Congress is trying to pass a $2 trillion dollar coronavirus relief package to help out the states, small businesses, and families across the USA. Hopefully this will pass and they can get relief checks to families that need it quickly. So many people are out of work — over 3 million applied for unemployment this week. So much of the country is seeing this virus spread across their states.

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The kids got to Facetime with 2 of their friends who live just a few houses from us. They don’t really know how to hold a conversation with each other this way yet, but are happy to see each other. Annabelle and Lucy talked about books they have read and activities they have done. Bentley and Jack also shared what they have been doing lately. It was cute to see and we are so thankful for the technology that allows us to do this.

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As we get used to our new normal of homeschooling for the time being we have things that we are loving like “Lunch Doodles with Mo.” I also have used quiet time as the time I listen to the governor speak every day. The TV is on but for purposeful things. It should be used to get our mind off this – but most of the time it just amps up my anxiety. Trying to release everything to God and breathe. Just when my anxiety from the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) should be getting better, it is getting worse. Trying to release this to God tonight and rest on the promise in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.” This too shall pass…. God has this! These are the things I have to repeat in my mind daily as we watch the numbers climb. At least the sun came out and it was a little warmer. It’s the little things that make these days go much smoother.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois:2538                 Number of Deaths in IL: 26

Today Illinois added over 700 cases of COVID-19 bringing the total to 2538 confirmed cases and 26 deaths in Illinois. The US now leads the world with 82, 404 confirmed cases. IMG_2424

Today I am beginning my day by praying over my friends across the country who have symptoms of COVID-19 but can’t get tested. It’s so frustrating because they want to know if they have it or not, but tests are reserved for those that are in respiratory failure, being admitted, or those in healthcare that have to come into contact with patients. Or the occasional celebrity who needs a test….not sure what to think about that?! Robin and Megan Bielefeldt in MN, Meg Sanchez in Bloomington, Jaime McGrath in NC, just to name a few. Beth is home after recovering from the hospital and doing well. Her interviews were on the Iowa news tonight so we could see how she doing.

Today it’s a gloomy and rainy day but we brightened up our day by cutting out paper hearts and making a window display to show our support to all of the workers that still have to go out and do essential work during the pandemic. This is something that is popping up all over the country. There is even a Facebook group called Heart Hunters. It originated when kids needed to take walks outside so they have hearts to look for like a scavenger hunt. How cool is that?! We also continued e-learning and other fun things with homeschool.

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Facetime and Zoom calls are the way we socialize nowadays. Lori has been snapping screenshots as we talk because they make her smile and bring her joy, so I snapped a few today as well.

 

And another thing in today’s big news is… “Lucy lost another tooth!” She got to share it with grandparents via text message/photo. Hopefully the tooth fairy can still get here on time?IMG_2425

Friday, March 27, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 3026                Number of Deaths in IL: 34

More schoolwork today, but we took the afternoon to get out the Easter decorations and to watch “Peter Cottontail” for a special movie time.

Today was also “errand day!” Chad picked up prescriptions at the pharmacy on the way home and I picked up groceries at Kroger through their pickup service. While I was waiting, I had to snap this picture of the Monical’s pickup drive up service. This was only half of the line up at dinnertime. Since no one goes in the restaurants except the staff this is the “new normal on a Friday night at dinner.”

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Tonight we ate Arby’s which was a nice change and I didn’t have to cook. I did back some cookies today from Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table cookbook! It is a new FAVORITE recipe. So yummy! After dinner we got PJ’s on and watched Phantom of the Opera (the musical). The kids loved it!

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Tomorrow we will keep our eyes to the skies. Because the COVID-19 isn’t scary enough we have a high alert for tornadoes and hail tomorrow afternoon/evening. Great…..? I just keep repeating Philippians 4:6 over and over…. God has got this!

 

 

COVID-19 Isolation Week 1…

Friday, March 13, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois:  46    Number of Deaths in IL: 0

Today at 3:00pm Governor JB Pritzger announced that he was closing the schools for at least 2 weeks due to a new virus called Coronavirus (COVID-19). When the announcement was made I felt a sense of relief. For the past week I had been sending Jack and Lucy to school and praying fervently over them because I knew this virus had begun to spread into the United States. It was no longer a virus overseas in China, it had arrived in the US.

Immediately I was flooded with emotions of excitement that my kids would be home, terror that my kids would be home, and every other emotion possible. What was this period of “staying at home” look like? How long would it REALLY last. So many unknowns…..

As someone who likes to have a sense of control, this was really sending me into a tailspin. But all I could do was take a breath, make sure I was informed, and do what I needed to protect my family. I knew I had enough food as I had been to the store twice that week making sure we had a little extra of a few staple items (not stockpiling, but extra ). Luckily 2 weeks before all of this I had purchased 2 new club sized packages of toilet paper, which was now almost non-existent on store shelves.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw rows and rows of paper products – EMPTY! But this was just the beginning. I could feel it.

Now to make plans for the kids since we are all going to be inside, together, at home…..

New terminology — Social Distancing (3-6 feet apart in public places)

 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 64     Number of Deaths in IL: 0

I shouldn’t be anxious or worried, but I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said I wasn’t. Trying to surrender all of this to God – but I am asking for His help today. Today wasn’t supposed to look like this. Lucy was supposed to have her very first dance competition in Chicago today. Thankful we aren’t having to travel that direction since the virus has begun to spread in that part of Illinois, but sad because she is missing this milestone.

I can’t peel myself away from the news. I know I should since it is making my anxiety spin out of control, but I just can’t. What if I miss something important? What if something worse happens? What can I do to help reduce the spread of COVID-19?  Is it in the Peoria area yet?  And then I saw it…. The first confirmed case in Peoria county today.

Today I have been praying a lot for God to help me with placing my trust in Him. It’s harder when the world seems to be crumbling around you in panic. So I am asking Him for extra help and I have immediately received a peace. While I am not scared or afraid of the virus itself, I am concerned for our world right now as we are facing something new. People are reacting by buying extra toilet paper and water… why that? It’s just a crazy, scary mess and we will take it one day at a time.

My new handwashing routine — to the right!

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 93     Number of Deaths in IL: 0

Today is deemed a National Day of Prayer from our President. What a wonderful thing to see the nation as a whole coming together to do the most important thing we can do, even before washing our hands or social distancing…. PRAY!

This morning we went to church in our living room. Our church (along with many other churches around the country) have moved their services to streaming online to protect their congregations. So thankful for the community, even if we aren’t together in body, but just in spirit. It was comforting to know that all of the families we know and love from our “family of the heart” were worshipping with us at the same time from their homes.

The afternoon is spent making lesson plans and trying to scramble things together for the kids. Since schedules and structure are good for our family, I made a schedule of what “Wurmnest family homeschool” will look like. I am feeling a sense of control and relief by doing this.

 

The numbers continue to climb….. we watch the news now religiously at 3:00pm for the governors address and I make sure when President Trump is on the TV live we are watching for any new news. Today Pritzger announced the restaurants and bars will closedown to become carryout/delivery facilities only. No dine in allowed!

 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 105   Number of Deaths in IL: 0

 

Tomorrow all restaurants and bars will close down to become only carryout/delivery venues. This will definitely look different and we need to look for ways to support local small businesses. Many bars are continuing with their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations a day early which I feel is irresponsible. This virus is here… it’s not going to wait until the celebrations are done. But we press on anyways… And go figure – the first COVID-19 case in Peoria county happened today. It’s here….

We also started the Wurmnest family homeschool today. We dove in this morning with the Free Scholastic website and a free Raz-Kids guided reading account! We learned all about spiders today. Not sure which is scarier – COVID 19 or spiders? LOL The kids read about spiders and then got to create a new species of spider using adjectives and a drawing.

After that we had movement time, free play, and chore time. We enjoyed a hot lunch of chicken nuggets, pineapple, chips, and yogurt. After lunch we had Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems who is one of our favorite children’s authors of books like Elephant and Piggie/ Pigeon drives the bus, etc. What a fun time! This will become a daily routine if we can work it in for art!

We had math time on our new Osmos from Christmas which was a great interactive time. We also had quiet time and free time in the afternoon which is essential.

So far so good! I may like homeschooling more than I thought.

 

 

Tuesday, March, 17, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois:  160        Number of Deaths in IL: 2        Cases in central Illinois: 4

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from home! Lots of green and shenanigans going on today even from the isolation of our house. There is honey/stout roast beef, carrots, and potatoes in the crockpot and there will be Irish Soda Bread today! Also watching Darby O Gill and the Little People on Disney+ tonight!

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Today they announced the first death in Illinois….  A woman in her 70s in Chicago with underlying health conditions. It’s getting more real than ever. It was inevitable this would happen sooner than later, but now it has. Our state mourns her life because it is an all too real encounter of what could happen to several people we know. As we mourn her death, we mourn for what normal life used to look like. We know this is a “new normal” for an undetermined amount of time.

Homeschool presses on and is going really well. The teachers began to send e-learning activities home and we are incorporating them into our routine and curriculum as well. It’s nice to hear from them. Makes life seem a little more normal.

URGENT Prayer request: It’s getting to close now to people I know.

Dear Prayer Warriors,

My aunt’s step-daughter is in urgent need of your prayers. She was sent to Mayo’s ICU in Minnesota from another hospital because she has pneumonia and is now on a ventilator. They think it is from Coronavirus but are waiting for test results. She is there alone because her immediate family is quarantined and she cannot have any visitors. Please pray for her recovery and for a shield of protection for her family, the medical staff and anyone she may have had contact with. I’m asking the Holy Spirit to surround this young lady and her family and to show us supernatural healing.

Thank you in advance for your prayers. She is in her mid-30’s and has young kiddos and a husband being isolated at their home (they cannot go with her!)

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 288

Nothing new to report. The days are starting to mirror themselves. It’s like living in Groundhog Day but it gets worse…

But there are fun pictures from our time of staying at home…. Today Jack continued making his paper chain. I wonder how long this thing will get by the time we are out of here? Lucy did math flashcards on YouTube today. We also took a field trip to Disney world and went on space mountain in our magical laundry baskets! LOL

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We also made Jumbo Peanut Butter cookies today!

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UPDATE: Wednesday, March 18
Her dad heard this morning that Beth’s night nurse felt like she was doing better. Your prayers are working! Please continue to bless Beth and her family with more.

 

Thursday March 19, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois:  422

The numbers begin to climb and our death toll begins to climb. There is one case in McClean county – just one county over. Praying for all involved in these hospitals.

We start homeschooling every morning in my office where we enjoy learning something new from Scholastic’s learn at home videos and books. Mitzi even joined us today!

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We had a beautiful sunny day so of course we took a short family walk! We can still do that while in quarantine! I am thanking God today for the beautiful weather. I think with His provision of beautiful sunshine we can make it through anything. I am looking forward to Spring (today is the first day!) Can’t wait to see all of the beautiful flowers start to bloom around the yard. I will appreciate it with more gratitude than every before I have a feeling. Life looks a little different now. Things we took for granted are more precious than they ever have been.walk

 

 

Friday March 20, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 585                   Number of Deaths in IL: 6

Update on my Uncle’s Stepdaughter, Beth:

Update on Beth. Her test for corona virus (COVID-19) was positive!
So now we know what we are dealing with. Today her vitals were good and temp is dropping. 👍🏻 Expect her to be on ventilator 3or 4 more days. Thank you for your prayers and love. ❤️😘

Today the governor issued a “Shelter in Place” order. Nothing really changed for us since Chad’s job is considered “essential.” Lots of tension on that issue because their plant isn’t even running. But I will have to get over this too. No use in fighting over things I can’t change. But it doesn’t’ make it any easier. I just want to know that the 4 of us are safe and are in quarantine together. I am nervous that unknowingly he will bring this invisible enemy home. So is he. But together we will get through this.

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: 753   Number of Deaths in IL: 6

PRAISE REPORT…. Update on Beth: They took Beth off the respirator today! Hallelujah! Your prayers are working. She still has a way to go but we will celebrate this milestone right now!

Update: March 21, 3:34pm
Just got word that Beth is off oxygen!

I only got 20 out of 45 items from my Kroger pickup today because they are out of stock for so many items. Many people are hoarding and stockpiling which leaves the rest of us empty. Oh well. IGA had everything that I didn’t get so we are being provided for. We are lucky with so much food available still. Many countries don’t’ have this type of provision on a normal basis. So for this I am thankful. Today we are happy for board games! It was game night in our house… We played Yahtzee, Pass the Pigs, and lots of checkers. They love checkers all of a sudden.

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Observation: So many uplifting posts including people sharing their gifts of playing the piano or singing have been posted lately. Wouldn’t this be great if THIS part were the new normal? People are really coming together overall to encourage each other – even from a distance.

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Number of COVID CASES in Illinois: passed 1000 cases today (4 times than 1 week ago)    total:1049

Number of Deaths in IL: 9

The woman in McClean county that tested positive just a few days ago dies today. It’s hard to have hope when you see things like this, but this is normal now and will continue to happen.

Today we had church again online. Pastor Sarah gave a great sermon and the worship was very much needed. Then later in the evening we had a special treat! Brian W and Julie C from church had a hymn singalong and were taking requests live on Facebook. What a blessing it was to get to sing songs that are so dear to my heart. We also had a meet up on ZOOM with our small group this afternoon! What a blessing to see some of our best friends and get to share in this together. Brandon gave us some of the grim realities coming up that he is observing from a healthcare professional standpoint. But overall we are staying upbeat and will continue to meet on a weekly basis.online churchclipperssmall group zoom

I have finalized all lesson plans this week and am ready to roll. Homeschooling has given me something to take my mind off the rest of the world. Such a blessing!

In other good news… My Sam’s Club pickup order went through. Still can’t get everything on my list, but got 8 important things including the kids vitamins and flavored water! Yum!

I also ordered an Apple TV device today to assist with homeschooling and being able to pull things up on the TV quickly from my phone as we become more connected digitally.

Finding the Good…

Well here we are on Day 3 of our quarantine at home and we are finding our “new normal” for the time being. The kids and I have been working through homeschooling. (Thank goodness for my degree and 7 years of teaching before I became a mom! It truly has helped.) Chad goes to work each day but is staying in his own office and conducting most of his work from there via phone calls and conferences. We are trying to figure life out in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic.

So many people have begun to document their daily happenings in journals for posterity sake because we are truly living a piece of history right now. This is a historical event that will be remembered for years to come. The idea of journaling and writing is a great idea. I too, am documenting some of the kids journal entries, our activities, etc for historical purposes in our family. But when I thought about what I really wanted to write I came up with something a little different to document our quarantine experience.

A few weeks ago at a moms conference I was volunteering at, I was talking with one of the co-founders, who is one of my favorite speakers/authors, someone I have the privilege of calling a friend. As I was having her sign her newest book release that I was on the book launch for, she was amazed that I hadn’t written or highlighted in the book. I told her that instead of doing that, I had to write things down in another notebook to truly retain them because that’s how I learn best. She totally understood that statement and proceeded to sign my book. So as I was contemplating what to write down to document our quarantine experiences, I decided that I didn’t want to write down all of the scary thoughts, the numbers, and the fearful facts. Instead I wanted to document all of the good things coming out of this scary time.

Just like my journaling thoughts,  I wanted to remember to continue to praise God for all the good that He is, the good that IS happening, and not just ask things of Him in my prayer time. So before I petition anything of concern to Him, I am thanking Him for all that He is and all that He is doing right now in the midst of this time. I praising Him through this storm! But then I do ask for certain things on behalf of those around the globe as we fight this invisible enemy together.

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So what is going on this list of good things happening you may ask? Here is a sample from just the past 3 days:

  1. Monday, March 16 – Today a neighbor from down the road that we have never met rang our doorbell today. Her family wanted to do something nice for the neighbors so they were going to make cookies. But because of the risk of contamination right now, they decided to make homemade disinfecting wipes instead. So after we had a few minutes to chat (6 feet apart at the door of course,) we are now Facebook friends and hope to build a friendship! What an interesting way to meet your neighbors!
  2. Tuesday, March 17 – I am so blessed to be able to stay home with my children and continue their education. So many families don’t have an option to stay home and many don’t know where to begin with the education. Thank you God for allowing me this opportunity to have this time with my kids.
  3. Wednesday, March 18 – Today I am seeing what Mr. Rogers called the “helpers.” Stories are pouring in from around the country of people helping other people, even perfect strangers. What a beautiful picture! When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
  4. Wednesday, March 18 – Last night I sent a prayer request out to several of my villages that looked like this: “Dear Prayer Warriors,My aunt’s step-daughter is in urgent need of your prayers. She was sent to Mayo’s ICU in Minnesota from another hospital because she has pneumonia and is now on a ventilator. They think it is from Coronavirus but are waiting for test results. She is there alone because her immediate family is quarantined and she cannot have any visitors. Please pray for her recovery and for a shield of protection for her family, the medical staff and anyone she may have had contact with. I’m asking the Holy Spirit to surround this young lady and her family and to show us supernatural healing.

    Thank you in advance for your prayers. She is in her mid-30’s and has young kiddos and a husband being isolated at their home (they cannot go with her!)”

     

    Today I got to write this update: UPDATE: Wednesday, March 18
    “Her dad heard this morning that Beth’s night nurse felt like she was doing better. Your prayers are working! Please continue to bless Beth and her family with more.”

I am highly anticipating what the next few weeks/months will look like as I continue to look for the good. While I will continue to watch the news and stay informed, I will continue to make sure to find the good in each day no matter what else comes.

Our New “Staying at Home” Schedule

Here is a freebie I wanted to share while we are quarantined at home this month.

As a former teacher I am not worried about the coming days when dealing with the educational needs of my children. But not everyone will feel comfortable about delivering the educational supports their kiddos need. The most important thing for our household will be a schedule…. and because we won’t have many distractions such as appointments, errands, etc it will be easier to adhere to.
Here is a sample of what the schedule looks like and it can be printed in full below.
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Click here for your printable FREEBIE:
Make sure to subscribe to this blog for more freebies and ideas!

March 15, 2020 National Day of Prayer

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As we come together as a nation for this National Day of Prayer, specifically to pray over those who have been diagnosed, are waiting testing, or are quarantined from COVID-19, let’s be specific as we come before the throne.

Take a moment to pause and pray:
🌎 For our world as we all come together to fight off this virus. Also pray for the world to turn to Jesus because He is our ultimate comforter, healer, and strength.
🇺🇸 For our government leaders: That they will make decisions based on wisdom and not fear. That they will also be able to protect our citizens as best they can.
⛪️ For our churches: as churches are closed to protect us from large gatherings of people, pray for the technology to be on their side as they are still continuing to try to preach the gospel and reach as many people with the word. Also pray that people continue to give their tithes and offerings so the church can continue to run.


🏥 For our healthcare facilities and hospitals: that they will be able to care for those that come through their doors and continue to find the stamina to keep going when they are tired. Pray that the supplies are plentiful and that we are able to meet the needs of all that come in need of care. This includes all medical personnel from the doctors, nurses, techs, and custodial staff.


🚑 🚔 🚒 For our paramedics, police force, and firemen: pray that they will continue to stay safe as they continue to do their jobs. They cannot work from home and will be on the front lines in many of these situations.


🍎 ✏️ For the schools: even though many of the schools are shut down continue to pray for those that are still providing educational opportunities for our students via e-learning. Pray for our administrators as they continue to make decisions through the closures. And pray for the students that do not have access to food and make sure they are provided for.


👧👦 For the kids across the nation: pray that kids everywhere have an understanding of what is going on and while it is serious they do not need to be afraid. Pray for those kids that are left in abusive situations and whose safe zone was the school. Please protect them while they don’t have a place to go that may be safe.
I’m sure there’s so many other things we could pray for but those are the ones that came to my heart this morning! Above all I am praying that even in the wake of these scary times, I am praying that all people get to know Jesus Christ who has been my rock and comforter during these uncertain times. I pray that they find him in the midst of these unsettled times and make a life-changing decision to follow him the rest of their days.