The Covid Monologues

"From personal adversity comes great art" -Tan Redding, "A Banquet of Crumbs"

Armed with pens and stories to tell, writers and artists created monologues and personal essays and submitted them to the Studio Theatre at CCPA in Cody, WY for consideration in "The Covid Monologues" - a play on their traditional programming titled, "The Cody Monologues."

All items via The University of Wyoming and CCPA

The Call-to-Action

The Program


The Performances

“The Covid Monologues” was presented by Studio Theatre at CCPA on Monday, July 20, 2020. Below is a video of the performances!


The Works

Each of the written works submitted and performed may be read below.

Free Hugs

by Bethany Hamilton Sandvik

My 2020 New Year’s resolution was to hug more. Pretty bad timing, huh?

I’m generally not a very touchy, feely person. I don’t like public displays of affection. I hate it

when someone puts their arm around me. When I am upset, I would prefer you leave me alone rather than force me to be confined in your arms. When others are upset, I know I’m supposed to hug them, but it just feels like I’m lying to them in some way. Not that I don’t care, I REALLY do! But that is just not how I like to comfort people. I tend to make jokes or distract them with stories to help them think about something else. I do not hug people I don’t know and I barely hug those that I do know. My favorite thing to say to my husband is not those three little magic words, “I love you” but a much more direct “Get Off Me!” And I adore him.

I hug by daughter, who is ten, but my seventeen year old son, not so much. I think that’s pretty

normal, his choice not to have Mommy hugging him, but as he slips away from me, ready to head out into the real world, I don’t want him to remember me as what my Grandmother told me I was so many years ago, “Cold, and hard to love.” Thanks Gram.

So I made this resolution. I would hug the people I love more. (I still am not going to hug people, I just met. That’s just weird)

At first, I was doing a great job. You see, we have these magnetic letters in our kitchen and all of our cabinets are metal, so we spell out lots of things in there for various occasions. Well, each January, we put up our resolutions. So any time I was in the kitchen I would look up and see: Mom: Hug More! This would prompt me to go to my son’s room and give him a big awkward hug out of nowhere. He would stand there kind of still and roll his eyes while I hugged him tight. But, hey I was trying!

I moved on to my friends. I would say before I hugged them (because they know me and they know this is out of my comfort zone) Hey, my new year’s resolution is to hug more, and then I would open my arms and try to hug them as naturally as possible. I was doing pretty good actually, especially for me.

Then Covid hit. Isolation became a reality. Social distance became the rule. Suddenly, I was not

permitted to hug anymore.

The first thing I did on our first day of isolation was to redo our magnets in the kitchen. I put up

positive messages like, “We will get through this” and “Every Little Thing is gonna be alright.”

“Hug more” was gone, and just like that, I was absolved of my new year’s resolution.

What came next was about two months of just trying to keep my shit together. I made sure my kids did their school work. I kept the house the cleanest it’s ever been. I delved into intricate recipes and prepared grand meals. I put together thousand piece puzzles. I called Mom every other day and picked one friend a week to reconnect with; college friends, my best friend from high school, old work friends from three careers ago. I had Zoom meetings and Zoom dance classes. I caught up on all my Netflix shows, and sat with my daughter cuddling on the couch while she caught up on hers. Then at night, I’d sit close to my husband and watch movies or comedy specials of reruns of THE BIG BANG THEORY.

Then I realized something: cuddling on the couch with my daughter or my husband on one side of me and the dog on my lap is better than any awkward hug. Why force myself into something so unnatural for me, when it is clear to my family that I do love them and I do love being close to them? My seventeen year old son does not want me to hug him, but sitting with him in the basement, sharing popcorn and watching a movie together or having a family game night around the kitchen table can be just as intimate, and will probably be more memorable than any hug I try to give him against his will (or mine). I will no longer feel like there is something wrong with me just because I don’t like hugging people.

In some ways, social distancing is a dream come true for me. I can show people I care about them with a phone call, a letter, an email, a text. I can sit in my back yard 6 feet away from my friends around our fire pit and we’re all good. Connection is important, but how that connection is made and continues on can take many forms. It’s ok to not be a hugger. I’m a talker, a listener, a joker and an advice giver and that doesn’t make me cold and hard to love. That makes me a friend that is there for you in the best way she can be. My family knows they are loved. My friends know that I appreciate them and my conscience is clear. So my silver lining for the Covid-19 crisis is this: My Hugging guilt is gone.


by Erin Zagorodney

A hug, a handshake, a consoling pat on the back, checking boo-boos for little kids, a flirtatious brush on the arm, reaching out to help catch someone when they stumble. How many times did you do one of these things this week? Do you know? Are you even conscious of doing these things?

In high school I had friend who was on touch bans. Now what the hell is that?

Ok first I need to provide you with some context. I went to a therapeutic boarding school. There were many restrictions in behaviors and activities, but our most intrusive restrictions were put in place individually; either not allowing you to talk to certain people, or not allowing you to do certain things that were perceived as unhealthy to you. I wasn’t allowed to talk to any boys for over a month. I wasn’t happy about it, but I understand why. One of my friends was put on sarcasm bans. He wasn’t allowed to say anything sarcastic or facetious because it was seen as a coping mechanism or defense tactic. I wasn’t allowed to speak to a dear friend that I had romantic feelings for because he touched my leg and we held hands. None of these things seemed fair in the moment. But now I’m angry about someone else’s bans. For over a month, he couldn’t hug, high-five, shake hands, goof around or anything that allowed him any physical contact with anyone. He was accepting of his bans but now I'm not.

For over a month, I have quarantined myself. Completely. In that time, I have only had face to face contact with five people and all of it was brief. But no one has touched me in a month. I don’t need romantic or sexual touch to get by, but I am a teacher, a dance teacher, and I have to physically interact with my students to teach them things. To learn the placement of your leg in second (position) I need to help you guide it there. To teach you how to do a back walkover or back handspring, I need to spot you to keep you safe. My little ones need validation, so they need to hug me, they need my attention, they tap my leg (because that’s how far they can reach). To comfort them when they fall down, I need to scoop them up in my arms and tell them it's going to be ok.

I haven’t been touched in over a month. I don’t know what it will feel like the first time it happens. Will I notice it? I probably don’t usually pay attention to it. Will it make me uncomfortable because it's been so long? Will it be comforting? Will it feel extra electric and become addicting like a new drug? How much does it mean to me? How can I know?

Nick knows. He did the same thing but surrounded by people. Is that more lonely? Or is it more lonely to be completely alone? I don’t think I mind it. But what if I'm getting depressed without even knowing? What if I am developing a fear of touch? What if I can’t adapt back into our new world?

The last person I touched was my mom. I gave her a hug before she got on an airplane to go back home to take care of her mother. But I’ve already forgotten what that hug felt like. I'm trying to remember and intellectually I do, but emotionally it’s lost. Was it not as important as I thought?

Loneliness. What does that word even really mean? I am alone. I am connected with technology but I am alone. For years we have talked about social media making us more distant, having dinner with everyone on their cellphones. Now we are reliant on that technology, and we realize all that we were still doing. You can connect with someone without talking. My mom and I often sit in the same room and do our individual work without a word being said to each other, but we have still just spent time together because the comfort of having her in the same room is still there.

I know our world will change once again. but I don’t know how that will affect me or how I will adapt. How do we adapt to a world where something we once thought so little about but yet cared so much about is gone?

Kimmy the Cat

by Palmoa Russell (age 8)

Hi, I’m Kimmy the Cat and this is my story.

O.M.G! Why are they home so much? I wake up every morning thinking, “Please say they are leaving!” But NO! They are still here! And It could be for three weeks!

So the real reason that I want them to go is that they leave the plastic straws on the table, and I want to eat them. I thought they were for me, but NO! And whenever I get on the table I hear, “No Kimmy, No!” Yesterday I was in Paloma’s bed and I heard “No Kimmy, No!” I hear it so much now! “No Kimmy, No!”

What’s even worse, I heard they will be home for THREE WEEKS! Oh, and Paloma has a giant craft box, but it is right in front of my food! How am I supposed to eat?

So I like to walk on their keyboards while they are working even if they do say “No Kimmy No!) This is going to be a long three weeks!

Covid in Cody; Parts I & II

by Lynne Rheinhardt

Part 1

A darkness spread over the land. The people were afraid.

The darkness took away their hope, and the fear became a terrible burden to bear.

The people longed to be together, to share the darkness and fear, and try to make it go away. But the darkness kept them apart, no longer to take comfort in each other’s arms. No longer could they gather to sing or to pray. The peoples’ schools were closed. No longer could they see their schoolmates or their teachers, or eat at their favorite restaurant. The people who were not victims of the darkness were not allowed to see their doctor when they were sick. The people were prisoners of the darkness. Families were not allowed to celebrate together. Old memories were cherished, and the time they could make new memories seemed so far away.

Fear grew as the people watched the grim news, the sad news of lives lost and dreams crushed. Lives in peril. How could this happen, they asked? Who can help them? Distance was maintained, masks and gloves were the watchword of the day, in the hope of keeping the darkness away. In the hope of killing the darkness. The people suffered, hoping for sunshine to return to the land.

Some of the people who were alone, who had lost a loved one, who had lost their jobs and businesses, whose journey through the darkness had become a nightmare, fell into depression and illness, and some were lost. They could no longer survive in the darkness, or search for the light.

In the corners of the darkness, hope was not crushed. Fear did not hold sway. Doubts and hopelessness did not drown faith. Faith kindled glimpses of the light. The people helped each other, in spite of the danger. They began to feel a togetherness, and to share their hope. The news spoke about overcoming the darkness, and the sunshine did not seem so far away now.

The flowers began to spring from the earth, and the trees sprouted their velvet hair. The people began to leave their houses and basked in the light. Hope lit their eyes, and they were grateful that the darkness no longer seemed invincible. The sound of the birds singing from their perches, and the laughter of children filled the air. The businesses slowly and carefully opened their doors, so the darkness that remained could not enter. Spring was coming over the land, and the spirits of the people were no longer filled with dread. Now they knew that “someday” was nearer. When can this end, the people asked, and the leaders said, soon.

Soon. That very word offered so much hope. Faith was going to be rewarded, and lives would be saved. Prayers would be answered. Families would gather and give thanks for their love.


Part 2

Soon. That word seemed to be for the dreamers. Soon hasn’t come. The darkness lingered and refused to leave, and the people are suffering. They’ve struggled to keep their businesses open. To pay their bills. How can they protect and care for their children, if their jobs are considered “essential?” The schools are closed. Are they going to lose their homes?

Some businesses have suffered so badly, that the people have had to close their doors forever, and their dreams and hopes and livelihood are being crushed.

When will “soon” happen? Can we wait? For how long?

Anger and hatred is spreading over the land. Some of the people have turned against each other, and have lost their way. They have committed such terrible acts of lawlessness, and have hurt the innocents, while we watch with horror at the devastation. Once beautiful streets in the cities, once beautiful buildings, once flourishing businesses, have been destroyed. The lawless have lost their ability to care. They only want to make noise and destroy. Ruin is left in their wake. We can care about what is important to them, and can listen, but they don’t know how to listen and care about us. Their anger blocks their hearts and their ears and their eyes.

The people keep hoping for soon to come, but the danger and sadness grows and chokes their hope.

What future do we have? How long must we live in fear? Hope for the end of the darkness suffers as the faithful try to fight against spreading the sickness, while the people who could help stop the spread, seem not to care. Wearing a mask is not a lot to ask, to keep all the people safe. The elderly people are fearful of the sickness as they go about their lives, worrying that the darkness will enter their lives and homes.

Fear. Anger. Helplessness. Despair. Resentful for the freedoms the people have lost. What will become of the children? How can they learn? How can we teach them?

The leaders of the people cannot lead. Their decisions have had unspeakable consequences. They cannot protect us. When will the day come when our world turns right-side up? Soon. Really? Seriously? Why? WHY?

The word is when. When.

Together we must find the answer. Before it’s too late. When will the people find their way? When?

COVID 2020

by Kary Schumpert

Back in January as we turned to the new year, I was thinking about three things: that 2020 might be the year of clarity for me, that I might finally do some traveling, and that I might finally apply for and take time for a writer’s residency. One of my favorite, and oft-repeated cliched sayings is “Hindsight is 2020.” It’s true and it comes in handy at times. It helps me to remember that in a certain moment I had certain knowledge and choices that looked apparent. It’s only when looking back to reflect that things become clearer or different, because now you have the knowledge and maybe ahem wisdom and perspective.

Back to January. I was making plans to teach English abroad in Taiwan. I talked to my landlord about my lease expiring at the end of March and asked if I could go to the more expensive month-t-month option, so that I would be ready to leave in August or September or October, depending upon my new employer and the timing of visas. I bought a new backpack for travel after hours poring online, searching for the perfect one. I read the Taiwan travel guide I bought back to front and I emailed the teacher recruitment agency asking for tips on the application process. Then I remember a headline about a new virus in China, but I didn’t think much about it as I scrolled through travel blogs and articles about teaching English abroad. I put it out of my mind and kept dreaming of Taiwan as I made packing lists and brainstormed which possessions to get rid of and which to put in storage while I was away, for my upcoming year-or-two long adventure. I went to work at my local food co-op and debated about quitting my job and just teaching English online from home as a prep for my travels.

In late January, my newly renewed passport arrived in the mail. I was surprised at the speed as I had only sent off my expired passport, a check, and the requisite renewal form in a fat envelope in December right before the holidays. My backpack came in a big bulky box that I immediately flattened for recycling and stuffed the pack with a coat, my tent, and some odds and ends, strapped it on, and marched out to the parking lot to see how the backpack felt on my shoulders and back. It fit perfectly and smelled of adventures to be had.

Fast forward to early March. My head was still filled with adventures and I had memorized some basic phrases in Mandarin and I was narrowing my choices for cities to live in and schools to apply to in Taiwan. Randomly on a Sunday morning, I missed a call from a good friend who had been teaching English and living in China on and off for 10 years. I went to work prepared to tell my boss that I was ready to leave the co-op at the end of April or May, so that I could teach English online from home and prepare to leave the US in early fall. I blocked out the headlines of the spreading virus in Asia and continued making plans with my head in the clouds. On Monday night, I got a shock. The head of the co-op requested us to stay for an impromptu staff meeting as we closed the store early. I had a feeling of what it meant. I waved the last customer out of the store on the cool March evening as I locked the door behind them and scooted into a free spot near a work friend while I looked at the serious look on the co-op director’s face. There was a pause and he told us the news that I was expecting and yet still shocked to hear. The store was closing in two weeks, we would all be laid off, there would be small severance packages offered, we would be eligible for unemployment. I immediately texted my boss who hadn’t been notified of the staff meeting on her day off. Around me there were looks of surprise and even some with tears. I listened to the staff questions and the hesitant answers. When they released us from the meeting, I grabbed my bag and ran up the stairs to clock out. I avoided talking to everyone, offering some silent hugs to friends. I walked out into the windy night and pulled on my thick sweater and walked to the bus stop. Somehow, I had magically caught the early bus. I flashed my bus pass to the driver and found my favorite seat empty, in the second row of seats by the window on the driver’s side. I tucked in and zoned out as I watched the car lights and city lights fly by. I heard the ding of the bus stop bell and looked up shaken out of my daze. Perfect timing yet again as my stop was next. The passenger got out and I pulled the string for the bell to be let off at my stop. Still in a daze I walked the almost half a mile home and let myself in to my second story apartment. I hung up the sweater and backpack on the hooks by my door and kicked off my clogs. I grabbed a wine glass from the dish drainer and poured a glass of red blend from the box of wine (classy, maybe not, but cheap and good it is) that I store in a basket under the sink. I slipped the afghan from the back of the couch over my arm and took the few steps to open up the screen door and tiptoe out to the patio. I curled up on the turquoise Adirondack chair, tucking my legs under the blanket. I sipped wine and stared out into the darkness. I pulled out my phone and checked the time and sent a text to my friend in China. He pinged back almost instantly. He was back in the US temporarily and wanted to know my plans, but wanted to talk later. I put the phone on silent and face down next to me. All those headlines of the virus that I had been ignoring for weeks came flooding back in my memory and I knew that life had changed and I would need to make new plans.

The next two weeks flew by in a weird haze. The virus now known as COVID-19 had spread across Asia and Europe and pockets of the US. Social isolation was being talked about and the map with dots showing concentrations of the virus were growing larger and spreading around the country, making the map of the US and world look like a weird Rorschach image. Despite the headlines, I was focused mostly on the last two weeks of work. Letting customers know the store was closing and saying that yes, we were indeed out of toilet paper and almost everything else. Ironically in a store that was closing due to slow business, we were having our biggest sales week ever even though nothing was marked down. Panic buying was spreading faster than the virus to New Mexico. I hugged a few people goodbye, despite the new social distancing guidelines, and met a couple of work friends for beers at the local brewery around the corner from the co-op. In the morning before my last day of work, I was able to squeeze in an appointment with my barber, this girl with short hair loves his perfect pixie cut moves. On the last night of work, I went out for one last beer and got goodbyes and well-wishes from the bartender and waiter. They knew the co-op was closing permanently and that breweries and restaurants would be closed with the new public health orders from the governor.

Friday, my first day at home, I slept late and then made breakfast. I spent the rest of the day like a sick day, moving from couch to bed and back again, shrouded in an afghan with two books, alternating between the books and short naps. I spent the rest of the Saturday and Sunday like that.

I think of this spring like a bingo game. What unique to covid experiences did you have?

File for unemployment. Check.

Have a friend who had COVID-19. Check.

Share a shockingly funny, yet distasteful meme. Check.

Have a Zoom meeting with out-of-touch college friends. Check.

Start taking naps daily. Check.

Feel a listless sense of malaise. Check.

Write a few letters and postcards because I missed them. Check.

Vacillate between following headlines and taking a couple of days off completely from the news and my phone. Check.

Cooked and baked a lot. Check.

Stayed up all night because I had no schedule. Check.

Yearned for the simple-yet-taken-for-granted-pleasures of going for a drive, going out for dinner, swimming early morning laps at the pool, going to the library to browse and get lost in the stacks, meeting a friend for beer or wine at a local brewery. Check.

Back in January, when I was optimistically thinking about 2020 as the year of clarity, I remember wishing that I could just take two or three months off to have time to read and write and reflect. Weirdly, I got my wish.

What makes this season worse for me (yes, I do have a case of center-of-the-universe syndrome) is I got rid of my car last fall, in anticipation of moving abroad and wanting to cut expenses. In sprawling Albuquerque, it’s hard to be without a car. The bus system is pretty good if you live near a major thoroughfare and got me to the things I needed: work, basic errands, my barber, the bank. The virus almost completely shuttered the bus system and it’s hard to describe how hemmed in you feel when everything feels so far, far away.

I get the need for social distancing. I believe in science (not that one has to believe in it) and protecting the community and my mom sent me a homemade mask after the CDC changed their stance on masks. I watched several online videos and learned to fashion one out of a bandanna and two rubber bands. I enjoy the MacGyver maneuvering of it.

During Corona virus isolation, I stayed home. I cleaned my house from top to bottom. I took naps. I wrote some, not as much as I thought, but I can feel ideas percolating. I cooked from my full pantry, not borne of panic buying but because I worked at a natural foods store that closed and I was a beneficiary of marked off items: 23 red Spanish onions, 12 or 13 pounds of organic yellow gold potatoes, plenty of pasta, dehydrated beans. I used my last store discounts to buy frozen veggie burger patties and my favorite gourmet frozen pizza. My pantry was already full, because I like having plenty of food on hand, shelf stable staples make me feel cozy. I ventured out to the grocery store and stocked up on a bottle of shampoo and face wash and toothpaste and hair dye, a few 12-pack boxes of seltzer, a couple of boxes of my favorite red blend wine. I knew all of that would last at least two or three months.

I made a list of all the things I wanted to do in the next 13 months. I often make these lists, playing with the time period. This time I chose a year as I renewed my lease in late March for 13 months. I finally made peace with my financial demons, something I have been struggling with for my entire adult life. I filed my taxes and became familiar with the bureaucracy for unemployment and other benefits. I helped friends file for unemployment and help for insurnace and groceries. I updated my resume. I got really good at bureaucracy. I can riff on budgets and government-legal-ese for basic things that should be easier. I have done research for dreams, things that I have put off for years, being too scared or too unsure of my skills and talents to do them: a writer’s residency in Mexico, purchasing and retrofitting a van for a year of vanlife, a graduate program in education, a career that I could take on the road or do remotely, the year in Taiwan that was recently postponed.

In all of this I feel both deep concentration and then spurts of scattered thoughts, much like this monologue.

I am a beneficiary of time and the extra unemployment benefits that passed in the spring in the flurry of the government trying to figure out what to do. I paid my sister back. I paid my taxes that in January felt like an insurmountable goal: more than $2000. I started another savings account and paid off my other debts. Weirdly, it took a pandemic for me to face both my dreams and my demons. I faced my financial mess and have spent most of this time at home really working through things. I knew that it’s more than just a low-income that have prevented me from achieving some goals. It’s also my relationship with myself and money that needed to be dealt with. I needed to learn new skills and let go of the old stories in my head and heart. It helps to be at home to have a safe and cozy place to deal with the monsters in my closet: my finances and financial mismanagement. I knew things had changed inside of me, but a couple of weeks ago, I knew that I had changed permanently when I woke up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water. I looked at the time on the microwave clock in the kitchen in the dark. I realized that the latest round of unemployment had hit my bank account in the middle-of-the-night-direct-deposit. I took the glass to the couch and in the light of the full moon I picked up my phone and with a few clicks, I paid the last of my taxes and debt. I left my phone in the living room and went back to bed. I woke up the next morning, lighter. I was recovered and whole. I know that all of this is a transformation. Like the caterpillars that go dark for a few weeks in their woven cocoons, I needed time alone and away. Time to ponder and dream and build. Time to shake out the demons and the dreams. I am lucky. I am whole. Somehow, I know that in this unknowable time, in this time of no plans and uncertainty, that it is okay to emerge, with a mask and an unseen smile beneath and the burdens of a lifetime lifted off my back. There is forgiveness and love and hope and a weird balance of being in the moment with flexibility for a changing and uncertain future. This is 2020 and that clarity all makes sense. All of a sudden, it doesn’t take hindsight to see in 2020.

Clear Thoughts on a Clear Day

by Nancy Hoffman

I do not sense that the sickly apple tree

shading my bedroom window is scared,

not like we are as the numbers climb

new cases, new deaths, reflected in that

gruesome arrow pointed straight at God

on the updated chart on the daily news

on and on and on, echoing my beating heart.

We know eventually it may be personal

that someone we love will sicken, die

But nature is unaffected by this curse.

The birds keep visiting my bird feeder,

no doubt puzzled that it has not been refilled.

The hawk swoops up an unwary dove,

three bucks stroll through my yard, icicles melt,

clouds roll back to reveal that old brilliant blue.

And now, because it is such a clear day,

the arborist armed with a chainsaw

circles my tree, pondering the best angle

for delivering his deadly cut to down her,

to clear my yard of her blighted leaves and fruit.

But not today, I think, not this week, this month

I cannot be responsible for this intentioned death.

It is too much to imagine, killing a living thing

right now, and making of myself the plague.

That Extra Ten Pounds

by Angie McKenzie

Some days are better than others but most days are good. Picture it….Friday, March 13th, blizzard, full moon, Friday the 13th, pandemic…..a trip to Wal-Mart confirms things are about to change. In Cody, people are still going about their business, but toilet paper is flying off the shelves. I am not sure how I feel at this moment just ready to roll with the punches and go on about the day. Sunday

rolls around, I have been to Billings and back and we get the call the schools are closed and I have to shut down my business. Now I feel a little anxious but am confident that we all will get through this and everything will be ok. Although eating an entire bag of Doritos and a chocolate candy bar seem to be the right thing to do at this moment.

Monday, I don’t want to deal with anything so my kids and I head to the mountains and go snowshoeing, sledding, and throw snowballs. The mountains and especially Sunlight Basin are a place I feel most at peace and when I am there feel I can conquer anything. I am feeling confident I can handle this at home school thing and am ready to make a plan. Tuesday morning we start out with bacon, pancakes, eggs, and juice….because every day should start that way when you’re going to be inside sitting. I’m ready seventh and fourth grade, bring it…..wait, what...ok never mind I have no idea. Let’s start with fishing for science and baking for home-ec., cookies, bread, cinnamon rolls, and good ol’ comfort food. We read, write letters to family, go on virtual museum tours, work on the house and things are ok. Friday we pick up chrome books and lessons from school so the rest of the week is spent hanging out and finding projects, I am feeling a little overwhelmed with my business, kids are not sure what to think but we all feel pretty good about life and are thankful to have the things we have and the life we have.

These people I live with are always hungry! So much cooking and so many dishes. I of course am eating right along with them, I mean I am not going to make a salad for me and grilled cheese for them, that is just too much work. I head to the store day 10 or so and as I walk down the freezer aisle things just find their way into the cart. Corn dogs..yep, pizza rolls, chicken nuggets...yep, Hot Pockets...for the kids you know. Mountain Dew, root beer, Lucky Charms, Pop Tarts, chips, chips, and more chips. I am not sure what has come over me other than anything that can be put in the microwave or eaten without much preparation seems fitting. My kids are over the moon and so excited for all of this junk, it’s the small things in life really. I think I won’t be eating all of this stuff and buy plenty of produce and such but who are we kidding everyone likes a good pizza roll or Pop Tart. I just added a carrot stick or two to the plate to make it a rounded meal!

The days go by quickly for us. School has me writing down checklists, going over work, and helping as much as I can. My seventh grader is doing well except for PE…..don’t get me started on the PE log. Work has turned into a full time guessing game trying to stay positive, keep the doors

“open” and finding creative ways to connect with students. Dad is now working from home too so the living room looks like an office. I have learned more about google classroom, facebook, instagram live than I ever thought possible and still have so much to learn. About midway through I am feeling confident that we will make it through but I am so tired and ready for the weekends when we can all put our computers down. So we make pizza!

It is easy to stay busy with all of our hobbies so I am really thankful for that. As summer approaches I am excited to have started my garden and have gotten some projects done. I am ready for campfire s’mores and hopefully small gatherings. I have learned that I really miss people’s hugs, I miss seeing

smiling faces, I miss sending my kids to school and going to activities, I miss my students a LOT! I am also reminded that I do love the people I live with and my husband and I make an excellent team. I am also reminded that tuna noodle casserole and sloppy joes with Jello salad are delicious. I am sure my eating habits are no reason I am tired….where is that bowl of ice cream.

My best advice in times like these is to help where you can, listen when you are able, stay positive but remember it is ok to have negative thoughts, just don’t let them hang on too long. Be understanding, be grateful, be respectful, be kind, and be ok just being you even if that means an extra 10 pounds. The glass should be half full and where someday’s are better than others most days are good.

Don’t be Afraid to Stop and Turn Around

by Virginia Schmidt

Sometimes when you need to turn around momentum stops. Movement must come to a halt. You’re afraid that now, you’re going the wrong way. Because if you were going the right way, wouldn’t everything instantly validate this?

Such fear is your ego talking. These are the false beliefs you’ve believed had power over you.


But really the opposite is True. When we stop and can then turn around, we can finally see, quite clearly, that we were actually going in the wrong direction. Now, turning to go in the right direction, we can actually begin to cover ground toward the end, which is, of course, the beginning.

When we seemed to be making progress before, we were actually just wandering further and further away from our True destination and origin: Happiness and Wholeness, Complete Connection with the Love We Are. Truth.

As for my own life, yes. I feel like I have stopped. It is very scary. I am making a massive, terrifying turnaround from my ego-led and therefore fear-and-lack-based life to asking to connect with Source, God, or Spirit.

I am asking for this LOVE and Limitless Power — my True Being and Inheritance as a Child of God — to be what leads me forth. This True Leader, being who I AM, will allow me to see and thus act Truly, and Truly share the Truth of Perfect Love that I actually am and we actually all are with all my Brothers and Sisters.

My ego wants me to worry about and stay focused on all my precious false ego conceptions of “religion” in the way only my ego can conceive of religion — a way which has virtually NOTHING to do with Spirit, Truth, God,Good, and Love. Ego really really wants to scare me like this so it can continue to keep me separate from and blind to my True Being. My True Wholeness. My True, Everlasting and Eternal Being of Wholeness, Love, Goodness, and Joy.

But thankfully I have already stopped. I have looked around to see what my ego made, and it wasn’t good. It wasn’t Good, or of God, and therefore quite literally, quite factually, all the things my ego made were not real. They were false perceptions. They were lies and illusions covering up the Truth of What Is.

We know that all God or Spirit or Source made is GOOD. We also know God is LOVE. So we know that which is not Good or does not reflect Love is simply not real. Anything that reflects lack or fear — the signatures of the ego — is not real. It is simply a false perception that your ego has tricked you into believing.

Of course you’ll remember the old cliché image of an angel (Love) on one shoulder and a devil (Fear) on the other. Each one is speaking in either ear; each one is speaking in your Mind. This is a metaphor for a very real choice that you have.

YOU GET TO DECIDE WHICH VOICE TO LISTEN TO. You can retrain your Mind, and your Mind controls your senses — that which you perceive.

You can stop. You can look around you. You can CHOOSE to be still and silent so the ego — that voice of the “devil” — can shut up. You can ask to hear that Voice of the Angel, of Love, of Goodness, God, and Truth. This is the Voice of your Divine Destiny. THIS IS THE VOICE YOU REALLY ARE. This Voice has always been with you, you’ve just chosen up til now to tune yourself to the voice to the ego. The ego or deception has kept you deaf and blind to your True Being, but it has been there all along.

It’s going to seem worse before it gets better — stay strong

Now, yes, I’m going to tell you right now this stop and turnaround point … this stop and be quiet to listen to the other voice point … is going to at first and for a little while be very scary.

It’s the point of the greatest final fear because your ego is TERRIFIED as it realizes its end is imminent. Your ego will do ANYTHING to keep you moving away from your Truth. Why? Because the ego is and can only live in deception, separation, fear, and lack. Listening to its lies, doing its bidding, being in the dark is the only thing that has kept your ego alive. When you stop, turn away from it, and see the Truth of Who You Are, the ego fades away into the never-realness from which it came.

For me, this stop and turn around point feels like a terrible fear that I’ll lose all my friends or “life progress” because everyone will think I’ve become “religious” (in the ego’s understanding of the word). Oh how the ego used to love to make me think I hated that word! This was such a brilliant way to keep me separate from Who I Am, scared of judgement, and feeling as though I was lacking legitimacy.

So now the ego kicks and screams and boos that no one will like me! No one will understand the Truth I am beginning to FEEL and everyone will think I’m fanatic or brainwashed or stupid or not really me.

Luckily, I know the ego’s game is to scream the EXACT OPPOSITE of Truth in an effort to keep me blind to it. Coming to see the Light of Spirit and to see my life and my creations in this Light is actually the ONLY way I can be “ME” and be truly connected to My True Power. It’s the only way I can honestly share the True Expression of My Spirit and the Gift of Who I Am with the world. It’s the only way I can make the world a better place — by seeing the Truth of how Good the world already really is.

Do not be deceived: When we ask and begin to listen to this Voice of Truth or Good or God— to the Voice of Our True Being — the flimsy projection of the ego doesn’t stand a chance. It never did. It desperately wanted us to keep believing in its pathetic charades of power and control so that we would remain unaware of the Limitless Power that IS US.

You already know the Real Truth of what was, is, and ever shall be. You just chose to pretend you don’t know, to be confused and divided, by listening to your ego. You can wake up from this nightmare and realize this waking nightmare of your ego has been no more real than your sleeping nightmares.

Don’t allow your ego to trick or scare or hide YOU anymore. We are all stopping so we can all turn around together.

The End is as certain as the Beginning. Don’t worry. The intensified fear of your ego (and our collective egoic consciousness) is a very good sign. It means we are getting very close to giving up all the myriad deceptions of fear and lack for the One Truth of Love.

Remember, that which is essential is invisible to the eye. Close your eyes. Only the Heart can see and speak rightly. Listen there: hear yourself… finally be willing to hear Who You Really Are so you can see What Really Is: Love. Only Love.

And the People Stayed Home

by Kitty O'Meara

And the people stayed home.

And they listened, and read books, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.