Taking Time to Grieve

My Facebook memory was pictures from a visit to the Children’s Museum last year. It was the last day of the Paw Patrol exhibit. I promised my son I would take him. We almost missed it. Thinking back to that day, I remember him running freely through the Paw Patrol exhibit. Touching everything! Exploring! Having a blast, without a care in the world! We continued to roam the museum, brushing shoulders with other kids. Eyes wide, he took in everything around him. That was a great day!

That memory reminded me how care free life seemed before coronavirus gripped our world. Sadly, we aren’t planning any visits to the museum or very many places, for that matter, anytime soon.

Our youngest is too little to wear a mask. The oldest doesn’t technically have to wear one according to our local mandate, but we would feel safer if he did. He is just now coming around to the idea of wearing a mask since we purchased new ones from Target, but we haven’t tried them in public yet. He says he will wear one, but knowing my son, I don’t see the mask lasting very long. He’s 4!

Those pictures got me thinking of all the things we have missed out on. The freedom to move freely, without masks and sanitizer on hand. Impromptu store runs. Family vacation. The trip to California that I always dreamed of. Face to face connection with friends and loved ones. These things may seem trivial to some, but I have to admit it pains me to sit with the reality of all the that we have lost or missed out on because of this pandemic.

When this all started, our pastor invited our entire church to take the time to grieve what we had lost because of coronavirus. Back then, I didn’t take the time to do it. Maybe I was in denial, maybe I was still trying to come to grips with what was happening. Regardless of what it was, I didn’t take that time to grieve.

So here I am now, processing, grieving. Will you join me? Will you take the time to reflect on what this pandemic has taken from you? I’ll give you a few minutes. Take more time if you need it.


Lessons Learned in Quarantine

Within the last month, our lives have slowly started to return to “normal.” Our kids returned to daycare and I am now working from the office one to two times a week. We have also resumed visits with our immediate family and a handful of friends.

From the middle of March to the beginning of June, our family of four was quarantined together, spending all day, everyday with no one else but each other. There was the occasional drive by to see grandparents, but those visits were few and far between. With two parents working full time, a preschooler, and a newly walking toddler all under one roof there were plenty of lessons learned. Today, I’m sharing four of the most important lessons quarantine taught me.

Lesson 1: It takes a village. 

The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” couldn’t have become more clear to me than during quarantine. In March, we made the decision to pull our kids out of daycare. Social distancing meant no visits with grandparents, no play dates with friends, and no church. We were now the sole caretakers for our children. While I understand that is my role as a parent, we rely on so many others, like their daycare teachers, our parents, friends, and church community to help raise and guide our children as they grow and develop. In a matter of days, that village was ripped away from us. We wore the hats of parent, friend, playmate, teacher, and chef. Sometimes all at the same time. Let’s not forget our other responsibilities of spouse and employee. It was very exhausting. Needless to say, I have a greater appreciation for our village.

Lesson 2: Community is essential. 

I’m so grateful for my friends and church family. Just like our village was torn away from us, we were no longer seeing our friends. Thank goodness for all the tools we now have available to connect with others virtually. Under stay-at-home orders, I connected virtually with friends and my small group at church almost weekly. Those check-ins filled me with encouragement, hope, and joy. They also gave me a safe place to vent and share my frustrations. Even though quarantine changed what community looked like, it remained essential and will always be important to me. I don’t know what I would have done without all of my friends.

Lesson 3: Enjoy the ordinary, everyday moments. 

Quarantine was filled with ordinary moments that I sometimes took for granted before stay-at-home orders went into effect.With nowhere to go and nothing to do, it was easy to find the joy in the everyday experience of doing life with my family. Tickle fights with my one year old. A midweek movie night with my oldest. Staying up late, binge watching the latest Netflix series. Sleeping in (sort of…if you have young kids you know that sleeping in doesn’t really happen). Eating meals together as a family. Midday walks in the park. All these ordinary moments seemed to be magnified during quarantine. As things begin to return to “normal,” I don’t want to take the ordinary, everyday moments for granted. It’s in those moments that the best memories are made.

Lesson 4: It’s good to slow down. 

Our calendar was suddenly empty. There were no evening commitments that required us to leave the house. No weekend events to work around. At most, my husband continued the weekly grocery trip, but outside of that we literally had nothing to do and nowhere to go. Our lives took on a much slower pace, which if I’m honest was much needed. As a working parent, I was starting to feel the pressure of trying to “balance” it all. With an empty calendar, I suddenly felt a little sense of relief and freedom. I actually hope this slower pace is something that we can continue to cultivate as life returns to “normal.”

When COVID-19 began to spread, I could have never imagined we would be where we are now. I could have never imagined I would be working from home with my kids for over two months. I could have never imagined that I would be isolated from family and friends. I could have never imagined I would be forced to slow down. I could have never imagined the sweet moments I would experience with my family. I could have never imagined any of this. But I know now that if, or when, we are forced back into our homes for an extended period of time, the lessons I have learned over the last few months will guide me through.

Photo by cottonbro on

It’s Heavy…

Today I’m sharing part of a post I wrote in the fall of 2019 after an officer in Ft. Worth, TX shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her own home. I wrote this, but didn’t share it at the time. The scary thing is that I actually thought, “if I don’t share it now, I will probably have another opportunity later.”

That thought sickens me, but unfortunately it’s true. Just yesterday, I watched two videos of black men being murdered. Two in one day.

Sadly, the words I wrote in the early morning hours of that October day are still true, but really only scratch the surface. I still find it hard to put into words all the thoughts I’m thinking and emotions I’m feeling a result of what I continue to see.

I had a dream a few weeks ago. It scared me. It shook me. It made me realize that I’m more affected by what’s going on in our country than I thought.

The dream.

I was one of two black people at a gathering of friends. Something happened, I don’t recall what, but a police officer shows up and singles me out. He accused me of something I didn’t do and tries to get me to confess. I politely tell him I didn’t do it. He continues to pressure me. I get upset because I know am innocent. I maintain my composure, but continue trying to convince the officer he has the wrong person. The officer pulls his gun out and points it at me. My hands go up. I’m defenseless.

During this entire ordeal, others gathered at this place look on without any action. Finally, the only other black person in the room comes to my rescue. He steps between me and the gun. The officer doesn’t shoot. Somehow the situation is diffused. I wake up.

A mix of emotions rushed over me.

Fear. Anger. Anxiety. Frustration. Confusion.

What triggered a dream like that?

I can’t help but think it’s a response to the violence against black people we continue to see in this country. The images I have seen and the stories I have heard remind me that as a black person in America I’m not immune to the impact of the systemic racism that pervades this country. The stories we hear and see everyday remind me that black and brown people are not safe, even in our own homes [or while jogging]. The weight of having brown skin in America is heavy. It’s heavy.


Hello 2020!

Happy New Year!!

As I lay in my bed this morning and think about 2019, the word that comes to mind is challenging. When you read that word, it may carry an err of negativity, but for me, the struggles I endured in 2019, while difficult in the moment, resulted in some of the greatest growth I’ve experienced in my life.

Thinking about 2020, the first word that comes to mind is simplify. For me, that means slowing down, focusing on what is most important, letting the non-essentials go, relaxing the expectations I have of myself, and creating space for me.

Hello 2020! Let’s see what you have in store!


Three Lessons From Therapy

Today is World Mental Health Day. I’m so grateful that people are beginning to have more conversations around mental health and that the associated stigma is starting to diminish.

If you’ve been following my blogging journey, you may know that earlier this year I struggled with my own mental health issue after the birth of my daughter. Like most new moms, I loved my baby so much. She was a complete joy, but something felt off on the inside. I didn’t really have words to describe what I was feeling. I just knew something was different. I was tired, irritable, sad, and disconnected from those around me. Long story short, I decided to seek the help of a therapist so that I could start sorting through my feelings. In my first session, the therapist asked me about postpartum depression (PPD). I didn’t think I was depressed because I wasn’t exhibiting what I thought were the “typical” signs of PPD. I loved my child. I didn’t want to hurt myself. But as I read more about the condition, I realized that what I was feeling and experiencing was actually indicative of PPD and anxiety. I later talked to my doctor and she confirmed what I already knew to be true. To work towards healing, I decided to continue therapy and invited my husband to join me. We’ve been doing couples therapy now for about 6 months and it has made a huge difference, primarily, helping us navigate through some of the challenges of life with two young kids.

Here are 3 lessons I’ve learned through therapy:

Lesson 1. Perspective matters.

One of the first things we talked about in therapy was perspective. The lens through which you view the world matters. Your thoughts matter. What you think about will eventually manifest. Focusing on negative things brings about negativity. Positive thoughts bring positivity. I’m learning that in order for positivity to flow in my life, I need to fill my mind with positive things. One Bible verse that speaks to this is Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I keep a plaque on my desk at work with those words to keep me focused.

Lesson 2. You can only change yourself.

I realize that while there are things that I would like to change about my spouse and vice versa, we can only be responsible for our own actions. I don’t have the power to change him. He can’t change me. We both have to be willing to do our own work to better ourselves, which in turn will benefit our relationship with each other and those around us.

Lesson 3. Let yourself be seen.

Be vulnerable. Often times vulnerability is equated with weakness, but in reality being vulnerable is one of the bravest things you can do. I am learning that in order to experience true connection, with my spouse, children, family, and friends, I have to let my guard down and open myself up. I have to let myself be seen, all of me.

If I’m honest, these lessons are definitely easier said than done, but therapy has given me the opportunity to learn practical steps for living out these lessons. I feel more empowered than I ever have in my adult life.

If you’re struggling in anyway, need help sorting through your emotions or a difficult life change, I would encourage you to seek help. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Seek the help of a therapist. Even if you may not be experiencing a major life crisis, counseling can be a very effective preventive measure. Just as we see a doctor to maintain our physical health, seeing a counselor or therapist is a great way to be proactive in taking care of your mental health.

Need help finding a therapist?

1. Most employers include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in their benefits package that provides access to a variety of resources to help employees with work life issues, including counseling. Through an EAP, an employee and any dependents can confidentially be connected to a therapist and receive several counseling sessions free of charge. This is the method I used to find our therapist.

2. Look online. Psychology Today has a section on their website where you can search for providers based on location, area of concern, insurance carrier, etc. A simple Google search may also be effective.

3. Ask others. If you have a primary care doctor, you can ask for a referral to a licensed mental health professional. Friends and/or family members may also be able to recommend someone.

4. Local churches often have pastors available who can help you or can make recommendations of licensed professionals in the area.