Coffee Talk: Life Update & Kitchen Makeover Reveal

Coffee Talk + My Daily Looks

Greetings, friends. It’s been a cold, dreary weekend here in PA, which feels rather appropriate considering the newsreel of our lives at the moment.

I just finished skimming my New York Times daily briefing email, and it’s grim to read about what’s happening in New York and New Jersey, two of our neighboring states.

Not that it’s surprising; we knew it was coming, but it’s still sobering to see it all play out so close to us.

Our area is being affected too, just not as severely. Philly is a much smaller city than NYC, and while the surrounding suburbs where I’m located have quite a few cases of COVID-19, it’s nothing like what the bigger metropolitan areas are experiencing.

That said, our hospitals are already struggling to keep up, so a few schools in our area are being set up as medical treatment sites to help ease the burden.

I’d say that’s a pretty clear indicator that our kids will not be going back to school in mid-April, as our governor and school district leaders have suggested. I assumed all along it will be more like 6-8 weeks, and we’re only 2 weeks in, so only time will tell, but it doesn’t look promising.

We also found out yesterday that another major event we were looking forward to will likely be canceled.

My daughter was super excited about a class trip to Quebec in June with her French class. I knew it was unlikely that it would work out, but I was holding out a wee bit of hope for her.

Well, we got word yesterday that the organizers have until April 10th to make a final decision about canceling, or risk losing the money we’ve already put towards the trip. They’re waiting to make the final call, but I cannot imagine that they’ll be able to go ahead with it.

So that makes one more thing in a string of fun plans we had for this spring and summer that are getting pulled out from under us.

The thing is, I can handle missing out on Paris and our Easter family vacation because I know there will be more chances for those things.

But in the life of a 14-year-old, this Quebec class trip is a pretty huge letdown. Especially when it’s piled on top of missing out on her last semester of middle school, with the spring dance and end-of-year awards ceremonies and all the jazz band events she was looking forward to.

She’s never been out of the country before, and she adores her French teacher and was looking forward to experiencing Quebec with friends. And I was excited for her to have that experience.

I will say this, though. She’s handing the news very well. I had warned her this could happen, so it wasn’t such a shock to get the email from her French teacher last night.

When she found it, she just turned her phone to show it to me, with a resigned look on her face as if to say, “And there it is…”

I know these are small disappointments in the grand scheme of life. We are so fortunate to be healthy and working and able to avoid exposure. That’s all that really matters, I get that. But when you add them all up, it’s a lot to process. And it’s harder to accept these things when they affect the kids.

Speaking of the kids, my 20-year-old son moved out of his apartment this week and brought all his stuff home. So that makes the end of his sophomore year of college as he knew it seem more final.

His classes finally resume tomorrow, after a 3-week break while the professors reworked their lesson plans for remote learning. They will finish out the semester online.

He’s still waiting to hear if summer camp will go on this year. It was going to be his last year as a camp counselor, and he was really looking forward to it.

So far, my 17-year-old daughter is the only member of our family who hasn’t had her life turned upside down by this stupid virus.

Her cyber school extended their 3rd quarter to be consistent with the rest of the public schools in our state, so she’s had more time than ever to cook and bake, and she’s been making good use of that time. It’s a wonder we all haven’t gained 20 lbs. over the past two weeks!

The only thing slowing her down is our ability to buy flour. It’s become as scarce as hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

Paul and I are hanging in. He’s able to work from home, but his job has definitely been affected by coronavirus. That has added to his stress level, and he doesn’t do stress well.

In fact, his diverticulitis might be flaring up, which is exactly what we do not need right now. I’m praying it calms down without any need for medical intervention.

As for me, my mood is pretty much directly affected by the weather.

On nice days, I feel like I can handle this new normal we find ourselves living in. I enjoy long walks in the neighborhood, and sitting in my backyard, and cooking dinners in my newly updated kitchen with sunshine pouring through the back windows.

I can bury myself in work to keep from getting bored, and I’m the one doing the grocery runs and errands, which helps me stay in touch with the world out there.

But when the rainy, dreary weather returns, I start to feel despondent and unmotivated, and the news reel becomes much harder to take in stride. I know that’s normal, and I’m so grateful for the nice days we’ve had.

And I’m beyond grateful that our family can stay out of harm’s way for the most part.

I know many are reading along who are working on the frontlines in some capacity, or have loved ones in those positions, and you have much bigger fears and frustrations than canceled trips and the inability to find flour. I see you, and I thank you. 

When I sit down to write these Coffee Talks, I usually go wherever my fingers take me. They’re rarely planned out, and I didn’t plan for this one to be quite so dark.

You can probably tell by the title that I was planning to share some more pictures of my kitchen today, but now that seems rather incongruous to the rest of this post. I’m not sure even I can make that segue gracefully… and I’m pretty good with random segues!

I’d been holding out on sharing my final kitchen reveal until Alison could come and take professional pictures, and of course I wanted that wine rack touched up where the paint got pulled off.

At this point, there’s no telling when either will happen, so I decided to just take a bunch of iPhone pictures and share it that way.

But this post is long, and I’d rather let the kitchen post stand alone so I can reference it in the future without having it overshadowed by #coronadiaries.

Some day, I think I’ll be glad I have these posts chronicling our journey through these uncharted waters, but today, I kind of hate to put this out there. It feels very negative to me, and I don’t like to put negativity out there.

I’m tempted to save it for posterity and start over after our church services this morning. I’m sure I’ll be looking at the world through a different lens after that.

Our pastor has taken to doing worship services on Zoom, which is definitely interesting! It’s not the same as gathering together, but it’s amazing how hearing his voice delivering the message brings a sense of normalcy and comfort through the computer screen.

How about this? I’ll put this out there, and trust you all to be gracious. If I sound like I’m ungrateful or complaining, please know that I realize how good we have it. I really do. Some days are just harder than others.

Then I’ll come back this afternoon and put up another post with my kitchen reveal, before & after pictures, etc.

I’m sure by then, I’ll be feeling more like my optimistic self.

Join the Conversation

124 thoughts on “Coffee Talk: Life Update & Kitchen Makeover Reveal

  1. I hear ya!  When I start to get down or complain I have to stop myself and remember there are those who are suffering so much more!  

    I pray for all of those on the front lines fighting this virus.  May God keep you safe and well.  And THANK YOU!  

    And I’m praying for our government too – I know it is very difficult to make decisions for an entire country when there are so many unknowns.  I pray God gives them the wisdom they need.  

    And lastly I’m praying for all those who contracted the virus that it won’t be severe and there are no complications.  

    In Jesus precious name!  🙏🏻❤️

    1. Praying here from Texas as well. We’ve got friends and family all over…so difficult to be apart in these times. Praying for all those on the “front lines” and in industries so hard hit by this virus. There are times I feel optimistic and other times when I feel crushed by the weight of all this…thank you for being real, JoLynne. It’s the only way we can bear one another’s burdens.

  2. I appreciate your honesty and being real!  It’s where a lot of us are right now.  It doesn’t feel negative to me it just seems honest.  Thank you.

  3. Just like the grace day outfit, we need grace days for moods too! Keep it coming! We’re all in the same boat and it helps to vent for sure! 

  4. I hear you…I’m the same way-I need sunshine. It’s been gloomy rainy misty cold here in Lewes for days. I recognize it, which helps, but still…
    Yes I would love to see the photos! It is a bright spot and I enjoy sharing in your kitchen journey and reveal!
    Thank you for being you, Jo-Lynne ❤️

  5. Perfectly said.  In addition to all that’s going on, this PA weather doesn’t help with the mood!  We had 2 beautiful days of sunshine, now the last 2 days, ugh, dismal.  Our county only has 6 cases, but we’re surrounded by counties with way higher numbers. I really limit my media exposure, once  in the morning to see an update at the top of the hour, and maybe once around supper time. Never after supper, I need to sleep at night. It can really get one down, but I’m staying positive and focusing on getting some purging done, once small project at a time.  I’m excited to see the kitchen pictures!  We need something to look forward to!  Carry on!  

  6. Thank you for your honesty and openness. Everyone is handling this virus and uncertainty in different ways and there is no right or wrong when it comes to your emotions. There have been several trips among my family members that have been postponed or cancelled also. It’s difficult but it’s reality. And the best thing is to hold to your faith and family. I “attended” my church service this morning virtually and it really boosted my spirits. Hope yours does the same.
    And yes, please post your kitchen update later today or sometime this week. I’m getting many ideas of reno’s for my house!

  7. Totally get where you’re coming from! It’s hard to adjust to all the changes we’ve been hit with in the past few weeks. My family cancelled our spring break trip to Madrid (& we’re disappointed but, of course, also thankful to be safe at home). Other work trips have been cancelled, and our summer plans are up in the air for now. My son is an 8th grader & is missing his friends & all the end-of-year activities he was looking forward to. And like you, I’m not complaining because I think we’ve got it “bad.” I’m just disappointed overall & missing life as we knew it. I’m grateful that I have a safe and comfortable home to be in as we practice staying-at-home. It’s odd to know we are living in the middle of a giant historic event—because when we’re in the midst of it, we just have to deal with it one day at a time.  I continue to enjoy your blog. You have a nice way of acknowledging current events while also providing us with other things to think about too. Thank you for that. 

  8. Thank you for keeping it real and sharing what we all are feeling. I’m a nurse and scared to death. It helps me to know others understand the uncertainty of our situation.  

  9. It’s hard NOT to worried or upset with everything that is going on. I do feel bad for kids like your daughter with missed trips, or missed Senior proms and graduations. These are occasions they can’t get back and it’s sad for them. I live in a coastal community so life is not too bad here yet, although we do have a few cases of coronavirus in our county and we’re certainly practicing social distancing, especially since we are a somewhat older population.  We worry about those from other areas coming here to “escape”and bringing the virus with them….our hospital is not equipped for a lot of sick people.  I just pray most people will use common sense and stay home! Hope you and your family continue to be safe and healthy!

  10. My son is a nurse in Phoenix, AZ. He is helping other hospitals who are short staffed and are in need of help. He said to me: “I’ll be fine. This is my call. You know this.”

    He is the most loving and caring young man.

    My heart goes out to all people on the Front Line of this pandemic.

    1. Oh, wow! God bless your selfless, compassionate son & all those who continue on serving others at such a time as this. 

  11. You’re not being negative. You’re being real. Thank you! Even those of us with great hope get down, especially when it’s gloomy out. It IS comforting to know we’re all in this together. And that God is in control. Even so, I’m especially sorry about your daughter’s canceled trip. Kudos to her on handling the news with such maturity!

  12. I’m with you. Thankfully we’ve had lots of sunshine lately. I love my walks. I appreciate your honesty! 

  13. You are saying what we are all feeling right now! Our lives have been turned upside down and the unknown is a little frightening. I don’t know how people that don’t have Jesus in their lives are getting through this. 

  14. I, for one, appreciate your honesty and sharing the hard times and disappointments that you are going through. It’s no small thing that all these events  are being cancelled. The disappointment is real. And we are ALL going through some sort of letdown in one way or another. We don’t need to qualify any one or the other as worse. It’s all relative. And I’m saying this as the mother of an ER nurse who works in Jersey City NJ. It’s all just layer upon layer of sadness and disappointment. My son is a college senior. His graduation has been moved to September hopefully. He, like many others, had their senior year cut short. No last get together with friends, no end of year celebrations, no spring sports for their last time. I do believe somehow this will be okay eventually. But right now, it’s hard. And I am thankful you are sharing all of it. 

  15. You always make readers feel like friends and sharing your honest feelings and your kitchen reno are part of friendship. So I hope you get another post ready for this afternoon and I hope you continue to keep it real with us because I need it right now. And I am sure I am not the only one ❤😊

  16. I think we are all in the same place. Trying to feel grateful and not complain when we know others are truly suffering, but having our moments….and part of that is the unknown. Will the travel ban, social distancing, and staying home help the situation?  I think we all appreciate your honesty, especially in your coffee talk posts. 

  17. I think most of us have followed you so long because you ARE real and relatable. No apologies needed. As someone else said, we give ourselves grace days for everything else mood should be included. It’s impossible to stay up 100% of the time. My 16 YO was going on her first mission trip to Nicaragua this summer. She was fully funding it herself via personal savings and fundraisers. I think that’s a no go too. It hurts as a parent more to see their disappointment than for our own I think. I keep telling myself this is building character and resilience in them & I’m going to stick with that and hope I’m right. Prayers for you & your family as well as the other women who read this blog. We are in this together thru the ups and downs. Have a blessed Sunday all! 

  18. I live in the Seattle area and this entire situation just seems surreal to me. I’ve been a long time subscriber and always enjoy reading your daily postings. I think you were eloquent in expressing your thoughts and feelings as we deal with this awful virus. Thank you so much for sharing your them during this scary time, it helps reduce the isolation we’re all trying to manage.

  19. This post is one of the reasons you have so many followers.  We all love your honesty and your faith.   I read an article this week from Harvard Business Review that this emotion we are feeling is grief – and that is so true!  Keep the honesty coming!   Praying for you and your family during this crisis!   

  20. I’m glad that you posted your message this morning. It was real, and that counts for so much. While I also really appreciate your regular  posts that don’t have anything to do with the virus, I loved  your openness and honesty about how you and your family are coping with this. Thank you!

  21. I think this is real life, Jolynne. Feeling more for your kids than yourself. Having good days and bad. Appreciating the good, like our medical personnel and the ability to connect online.

    I’m not buying clothes right now. I don’t need them and I don’t want deliveries. I’m only wearing tinted sunscreen and penciling in my brows if I go out to walk the dog. I’m giving my hair a rest from products and styling.

    So why do I keep reading your blog as soon as it is posted every day? Because this is a community and you are real and genuine. Thank you!

  22. Thank you for sharing – so many of us have these same feelings. I feel very fortunate but I so miss my children and grandchildren – I’m even afraid to visit my 93 year old mother. My arms long for those hugs I enjoy with my friends and family and wonder when or if we will get back to those….
    I, too, am grateful for all of our awesome working people and pray our world will soon resume some normalcy- whatever that may be. Continue to enjoy your family and know that this too shall pass. 

  23. I’m so sorry for all of your plans being upended. This is such a difficult situation for everyone. My son is supposed to be getting married in Banff in September. I’m just praying that things are much improved by then. If this virus has taught me anything it’s that I can never take things for granted. Prayers for our country and the the whole world.

  24. I totally get it!  It’s actually nice to see that someone is feeling the same way I feel…thankful that we are employed and together, but still sad for our college kids who have had their lives turned upside down.  We know it’s small compared to what others are facing.  Thanks for keeping it real. I appreciate you!

  25. I always enjoy the coffee talk.. no matter what the discussion. No need to feel that you can’t share your feelings.. We are all in this globally and many of us are experiencing life as we thought we would never know it.. Just going to the grocery store can seem like an endless task. I’m praying for all that we stay safe and healthy through this and so thankful for those who remain on the front lines for needed strength and rest for them.. Thanks for your blog Jo-Lynne to be able to connect and share with so many especially during this trying time. 

  26. Jolynne, i understanding what you’re feeling and believe all of us are in the same boat. Everyday seems like an up and down seesaw of emotions. We just watched our church service online and the sermon was so good. All about how we travel through life believing and living each day as if we determine our choices and plans and that this is a time of stripping that all away and surrendering to the knowledge that that has never been true.  God is always in charge, His plans are bigger than ours and our emotions are not accurate indicators of reality. I needed to hear that today, and maybe others do too.  I’m praying for all of us that we take our eyes off of the daily news and place our gaze firmly on the one who is our anchor.  Have a very blessed day. 

    1. Wow… that sounds like such a wonderful message that so many could really use, and need to hear … what church service is that, if you don’t mind my asking ?  A link perhaps??? Thanks.

      1. The site is stjudechurchpeoria.org and the sermon is around the 25 minute mark. Love to all of you. 

  27. Hi from Sydney, yes it is very tough times. Thank you for not pretending.  We have been ‘attending’  internet church the last two Sundays as well, here in Manly Beach where I live (  I have just joined the unemployment queue this week.) and have found Psalm 46 and 91 helpful and comforting in these strange and at times fearful times. Prayers for strength and wisdom as you and your family have your world completely changed. God Bless. 

  28. I completely understand, we have had so much rain lately here in Arkansas and it just brings me down. My daughter is a senior in high school, she’s missing her last soccer season, and I’m afraid prom and graduation might be canceled. We had also planned on selling our house this spring, but that is on hold too. I try to stay positive, & do most of the time, but this weekend has been hard. I crave some normalcy. But this too shall pass.

  29. I am so sad for your daughter. I just had to cancel my daughters Bahama trip in June. She is a senior this year and it is awful to think these times are going to be her memories. I am still hopeful she will still have her senior prom and graduation. Your blog and other bloggers are keeping me sane through this. Stay safe and healthy.

    1. That’s terrible. I feel so sad for all the seniors… high school and college. So thankful none of my kids are in that situation. The 8th grade stinks too, but it won’t be nearly as memorable in the grand scheme of things as a senior year.

  30. We are all certainly feeling the weight of this. I am not at all put off by your CoffeeTalk post. I have always appreciated how real and personal you are, Jolynne! I also wanted to tell you that every one of my health issues that seem to come and go (ie skin issues, reflux, etc) are in full rage now. It reminds me just how much our stress levels affect our health. I  focusing on exercise and online yoga classes. Both are helping! Hope your husband can find time for something that relaxes him as well. 

  31. The weather affects me the same way. And here in northeast Ohio, we’ve had so many gray days this winter. Then lump the virus on top of that. I just keep reminding myself that this is not a forever thing and that we’ll all appreciate the day-to-day things we took for granted even two months ago. I’ve been off of work now for two weeks (ambulatory surgery center) and I really miss patient contact!! 

  32. There is grief over missing milestones especially.  My senior in high school is feeing it as are we.  Sadness is ok — a friend of mine always says, “you can visit Pity City, you just can’t live there!”  these are strange times and we all feel it.  Thanks for being honest!  Yes, SUNSHINE makes a world of difference.  Continued prayers for all the medical personnel working to help!

  33. Jolynne your are not being negative. You are gracefully talking about what is going on in the world today. We have all been disrupted by this. Some days it’s so lonely and it’s nice to read your blog to know that others feel the same way. I’m trying to be upbeat and fun for my son, but I’m going stir crazy!  Virtual school is a lot!  It’s stressing us out. Stay safe!

  34. Thank you for your very real and personal post. The way your feeling is unseeable and I too am effects but the weather. But today the sun is shining in Texas and I feel anxious so I just get out today, if even for a drive in the car. There is no way, any of us can feel at peace while this is going on. We just have to take it one day at a time. As I watch our pastor on Facebook Live, I am reminded that this isn’t just happening to me and everyone one around world is being affected and there’s something very surreal about this feeling. Hang in there and keep writing if it makes you feel better as you will always have an audience in us.  God Bless you and your family. 

  35. I can’t even tell you how much your daily posts mean to me. I look forward to them every morning and am always excited to see a new insta story. I dont think you were being unduly negative. It feels so good to read and think “ yep, that’s EXACTLY how I feel.”  I have a daughter who is a nurse in DC. They haven’t had the deluge yet. It’s scary to think about her work but at the same time I know that its so necessary for someone to do this job.  Please keep posting both fashion and also things about your daily life. It’s a true sanity saver. Xoxo, “ Annie” 

  36. I am so sorry your daughter is missing out on so much, especially the trip. I know our students, who were planning on study abroad this summer, are so disappointed, so I feel her pain. In the grand scheme of things, our disappointments seem small, but when it is what we are faced with, they seem big. I have so much to be thankful for, but the disappointments are real, and they hurt. It is a gray, ugly, rainy day here, and that doesn’t help to lift our spirits. I did take a quick walk early this morning with the dogs before the rain was really coming down. Just needed some fresh air before I headed back to the computer to work. I am baking more (luckily I am doing IF). Yesterday I baked a challah bread from my mom’s recipe (from the index card she had written out for me.) Sad that she can no longer understand what I am doing, or who I am when I visit, but I will bring her a piece when I see her tomorrow. May everyone stay healthy. Thank you to anyone on the front lines (medical, service industry, etc.) Know that we truly appreciate, each and every day, what you are doing for everyone.

  37. You’re voicing what we’re all feeling. I think most of us have our good days and then feel hopeless the next. I was talking to my daughter who lives 5 1/2 hours away from us this morning, and she was rather emotional and down in the dumps. She wants to come visit, but knows it’s not wise to do so, and that made her even more emotional. I just had to remind her that we’re all in this together and this will pass. I do feel for kids who are missing out on so many activities this spring, though. It’s a year they will never forget!

    Hang in there!

  38. I am not reading the other comments before I write this because I don’t want to say I don’t need to write others have already said it.  Don’t worry about being dark or feeling a little blue right now, it is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.  We are all allowed to be stressed and seeing our virtual  friends working through it helps us all to know we are not alone.  As for the Quebec trip, it is sad to miss out on this adventure.  Quebec will be waiting for her visit after this is all over.   We had a similar thing happen because of H1N1 which hit our community very hard. The year after the teacher invited the year that missed out to come along.   Perhaps that suggestion can be given to your school.  My kids had changed schools but the high school was willing to work with the middle school to make this happen.  Hope your husband can stay well enough to not need hospital care, this stress is not good for him!  Cyber hugs to you all!  

  39. Good blog as always.  Doesn’t seem negative to me at all.  Right now life is a little disappointing to us all.  We know we need to look on the bright side and things could always be worse but sometimes it’s just plan hard.  I think it’s called being human!

  40. The weather has been making things tough for me too. I’m hopeful the rain will clear for a bit this afternoon so I can get outside. Our church has been streaming the service through Facebook live and YouTube. And then opening up zoom rooms after for those who want to socialize, or get prayer, etc. It’s so nice to hear from everyone!

  41. Do not apologize for being real, your “real ness” is what we love about you!  
    Stay strong!  
    Stay home!
    And don’t forget to wash your hands!

  42. I was really looking forward to your Coffee Talk this morning and it was a perfect mirror to my thoughts and feelings. I believe we must collectively acknowledge the fear, sadness and grief we feel  — and yet be grateful for small mercies in this terrible time. It’s going to be a rollercoaster of emotions for awhile and it’s fine to share that I think.

     I’m grateful that our house is in escrow, the deal looks solid and we are safely holed up in my little childhood home. With the move we have been too busy to spend much time in front of the TV. My only tears were for my grown son who had to lay off 138 workers on a single day. He was an emotional wreck and had tried so hard to keep his business up and running as long as possible. He and his wife are both furloughed now too with no income. My daughter is a NP/Midwife and has been at the hospital daily, but is home for 12 days as this was the time for a planned vacation, which of course is now off. I feel the worse for all the kids who are missing out on those fun spring and end of the year events they have looked forward to with such anticipation. Take care, JoLynn (and everyone) and keep being you! 

  43. I appreciate your perspective. You’ve been very thoughtful in posting about this whole thing. We live in NYC, specifically in Brooklyn. Brooklyn alone has more cases at this point than every state in the country except NJ, which is a bit crazy. We are riding this out in a small 1 BR apartment, and every time I cross the hallway to the refuse room to recycle a soda can, or take the elevator down to the lobby to grab the newspaper, I feel like I am taking a small risk. Nonetheless, I’m so aware of how lucky we are to have jobs we can work from home and the resources to ride this out in relative safety and comfort. I read your blog every day. Stay safe! 

  44. Jo-Lynne,

    Thanks for your honesty. I think we all can appreciate what you are saying. I said to my husband the other day that we are all busying ourselves and getting things done on our to-do lists, and trying to entertain ourselves, but the insecurity will catch up and we need to be ready for it. That’s the time when we might have to dig deep to keep those feelings at bay and do whatever we can to remain hopeful.

    In Michigan, the weather has also been kind of crummy. When you described how it made you feel. I thought about the term “pathetic fallacy” which writers know to be a literary device sometimes using the weather to describe feelings. Well, I have been doing the exact same thing as you and I’m like, 4 years of college and a writing degree later and this is what I’m reduced to. Aye yai yai! I just can’t help it.

    I am happy to have found your blog and your ability to put into words what almost all of us are feeling. Thank you.

  45. I look forward to your posts daily. Thank you for being honest. Just want u to know that I have been feeling the same. Stay safe and healthy!

  46. We’re right there with you all! Thankful to be well and doing fine at home but sad to see life take this turn. Thanks for your posts, Jo-Lynne. Stay safe and well!  

  47. Many of the same feelings here! Some days it feels that we have a handle on it and other days it is SO hard to put my head around what is going on in the world. We also are fortunate to continue jobs and school at home and all be under one roof with our needs currently being met by the grace of God. I so enjoy your Sunday morning coffee talks. Thanks for keeping it real. I look forward to seeing your kitchen reveal!

Want More?