Sheltering With My Blessings

2020 WildeOur girls were sent home from college on March 13, so it’s been three weeks since we started social distancing and two days since shelter in place was put into effect in our state. To say that we are living on top of each other is an understatement. To say that there haven’t been arguments and disagreements would be a lie. However, to say that it’s been 24 hours each day of nonstop misery would be grossly inaccurate.

Throughout these past few weeks, we’ve experienced both good and bad, and I’m determined to come out of all of this remembering the good, such as…

Channeling our inner Rachel Ray. From scalloped potatoes with broccoli and homemade kielbasa to Bailey’s Irish Cream brownies, we’ve been whipping up things we’ve always wanted to try and anything that sounds like it will bring a bit of fun and fancy to our meals. Mexican night, Italian night, and German night have inspired some great meals!

Rekindling old loves. For years, our old bikes have been hanging from the ceiling of the garage. Not anymore. They’ve all been taken down and had tires replaced and gears tightened. Last week, I joined Ken and Rebecca on an eight mile bike ride from our house out to the main road that links these many small peninsulas to the mainland. While that may not sound like much to some, it was a huge feat for someone who hasn’t really ridden a bike in many years!

Reading for pleasure–during the day! With her internship canceled, and my workday greatly reduced, Rebecca and I have found time to sit and read during the day instead of just through bleary, sleep-heavy eyes before bedtime. That’s a rare treat for both of us.

Expanding our minds and patience. We’ve had puzzles going around the clock. I’ve lost count of how many we’ve completed, but suffice it to say, I’m dreaming of edge pieces and purple ribbons and and jars of candy and indigo skies at night.

Rewatching the old and enjoying the new. We’ve binge-watched Stranger Things and The Crown, delighted in the early to streaming release of I Still Believe, and returned to Panem in the Hunger Games. Everyone gets a chance to pick out something, and it’s always interesting to see what the choice is.

2020 games

Learning new life skills. Such as building a railroad from Quebec to El Paso, tiling a Portuguese floor, or creating a stained glass masterpiece. Games and art projects have become part of our daily routines. Whether it’s a painted canvas or a multi-hour session of Dominoes, we’ve found plenty to keep us busy as a group or individuals.

2020 sheets

Making the absolute most of those rare sunny days. Rebecca and our dog, Rosie, have taken advantage of the few warm, sunny days we’ve had by sitting on the back deck with a paperback in hand (or a chew toy in mouth). Morgan and Katie have put up our driveway tennis net and practiced for the tennis season they are missing. I’ve enjoyed the unparalleled sweetness of sliding between sheets that were kissed by the sun and breeze. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count the most when the world seems to be going crazy.

Spending quality time with God. Prayer time has become sacred, and I’m not just saying that as a catchy euphemism. With a bustling house and a whirlwind of activities, I’ve had to work at finding time to say my morning prayers, “attend” daily Mass, and read my Lenten book, Rediscover the Saints. It’s made me appreciate, so much more, how precious those moments are when I can talk to and listen for God. And I’ve come to see Him in many more places and experiences throughout my day.

While we will not forget those who are sick, those who have died, and those families who are suffering, we will cherish this time to slow down, enjoy the little things, and remember what life was like before we all got so busy and our days became consumed with the outside world. May this time of sheltering bring us closer to God and to each other. May this time of uncertainly remind us to put our trust in the One Who is always certain. May this time of fear help us to remember that we have much to be grateful for.
2020 House

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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy,  Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.

Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy is available as a complete set for your Kindle and is also available on audio!

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Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).