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.
124 thoughts on “Coffee Talk: Life Update
& Kitchen Makeover Reveal”
There you are being real again. That’s what we all need! Too many are concerned with looking perfect while everyone knows nothing is perfect. Especially while everyone is in this same boat. I appreciate your openness. It helps others realize the same feelings they are having are very normal. Thanks, Jo-lynne:)
I love that you just keep it real! We are all feeling this way about the “little things” that aren’t really little, especially to our kids.
Thank you for keeping it real. A little darkness is just reflecting what we all feel right now… so I appreciate your openness to talk about how you are feeling. Thanks. And looking forward to seeing the kitchen! 😀
Thanks Jolynn for your post ❤️ We are all feeling about the same but there is a light at the end of the tunnel for us . We WILL resume normal activities soon . I’m thinking this may have all changed us a bit for the better too .
I think this is exactly what these posts are supposed to be…a coffee talk with friends. Everything doesn’t have to be sunshine and roses and it’s not right now! I completely identify with what you’re saying. I am sad for the disruption in my kids lives and the disappointments this has brought. I hope it will help make them stronger and more resilient. I’m grateful for the increased time with my family, walks with my husband, game nights and Zoom calls with friends who are normally so busy we rarely get together. There is a part of me that feels guilty that I am not able to help people and an so grateful to those nurses, doctors, emergency responders, pharmacists, grocery store workers, restauranteurs who have stayed open and all those who continue to go to work and provide for the rest of us. I pray for those who have lost their jobs because of this and an so very thankful that my husband and I work in jobs that are essential enough to keep going but flexible enough to work from home. Thank you as always for sharing and for being real with your readers. Blessings to you and your family.
Thank you for being real! I feel the same way regarding the weather and how it affects my mood.
Thanks again for your blog from across the river in South Jersey!
Thank you for sharing. With the world of social distancing, it helps to know that there’s someone else who is feeling the same. It keeps from feeling alone. Be safe and well.
I follow you because you are authentic. Your style advice is thoughtful and real. Your concerns now are both thoughtful and cognizant of the plights of others. Your voice is a good. Say on!
I’ve been trying to get outside and walk every day. It helps. It feels “normal”. In the past, during hard times, I’ve always drawn close to my kids. Mine are all adults and live on their own. But this time, with a 5 month old grandson and another daughter who works in the medical field with cancer patients and can’t get exposed, I’ve been isolated by myself. I’m blessed to still have a job and be able to work from home. But it’s been harder than I thought it would be. I’ve enjoyed hearing every day from my FB “friends” such as you. As a nation and world, we are all experiencing a trauma together. Unlike 9-11, we can’t physically gather together and hug and offer support. It affects us all but sometimes in different ways. I’ve noticed many kindnesses and also a huge need to extend grace to those around me.
Thank you for the Coffee Talk today and isn’t it amazing that we are all feeling the exact same things, regardless of station in life, age, and location. I read a blog yesterday – yes I do read more than one heehee- and she basically outlined a prayer for all the kids who are missing out on this season of their lives. This is their reality and much like many other traumatic events that have happened through out history, this will be their story. I have a 5th grade granddaughter who is missing out on her little rite of passage going into middle school. She is distraught at all she is not going to be attending, and it affecting her adversely. She is doing zoom lessons but of course, not the same with no social contact. I know this is not the same as the seniors, but in her world it is. OK so segue – I look forward to seeing the kitchen. Blessings and hugs to all my fellow fashion blog following sisters out there.
John O’Donohue has some beautiful poetry that might soothe you on these days when you feel exhausted. Sharing how you feel in the midst of all of this — our common experience — is unifying for your readers — and a healthy model for self-expression. Like you, I gather around the laptop with my family and watch Zoom worship, and it is a huge comfort. God bless you and keep you.
This is our reality! Yes, your post is more negative than we are used to during Coffee Talk but that is to be expected. I know it’s particularly hard when you still have children at home and you see their lives turned upside down. You want to absorb their disappointments.
Stay home, stay healthy, and keep a positive attitude to carrying your family through these weeks/months of the pandemic.
We’ve closed our borders, as you have, to prevent the spread of the virus. I do hope your daughter gets another opportunity to visit Quebec. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the French culture and to practice your French. Quebec City is absolutely charming!
No apologies; I feel the same way. Thanks for expressing it so well. 🤗
Thank you for sharing what’s on your heart! ❤️ We need to hear your thoughts since we all feel this way from time to time too. Nice to know we are not alone in our feelings, and after all, you’re human too! I read recently that we can consider this time an opportunity, not an obstacle. And that opportunity is an invitation to go deeper in our lives – spiritually, artistically, whatever calls to you. Thanks for your hard work, Jolynne!
I love that you’re keeping it real. It would feel disingenuous if you popped on here and didn’t address this reality shift we’re all experiencing. The weather definitely adds to the dreariness of the news. We’ve had off and on rain and cool temps for the past two weeks which seemed to exacerbate all bad news. And I’d been fighting a bad cold as well which made me feel worse. But yesterday it was a glorious 70 degrees with a nice breeze and everything felt better. We took our dogs for a drive down to the beach & local harbor and there were tons of people out walking. So many crowds that my husband and I said to each other that it felt like a normal Saturday. I wonder if it’s the living close to the coast and the warm sunshine that fools everyone into thinking all is alright with the world. I’m not excusing it; I firmly support the social distancing orders and I am definitely following it, but we did get out and walk with the dogs and kept 6 feet away from others. But the ocean breeze was exactly what I needed to lift my spirts.
We can’t be cheerleaders all the time. Most everyone has their down moments/days. They are temporary. I always tell my children when they get down, everything will look and feel differently tomorrow. It may not be that this virus will be gone tomorrow, but we will have a different outlook tomorrow. It’s just the way humans work. I see a lot of folks around my area, smiling, being a little more polite, making attempts to make the best of a bad situation. I think a lot of it is denial, LOL, this can’t happen to us, right? But I also see a lot of optimism. I was at Home Depot earlier this morning and plants were out front, and people were loading up with soil, plants, flowering baskets, home improvement items. That spells optimism to me.
We can’t be cheerleaders all the time. Most everyone has their down moments/days. They are temporary. I always tell my children when they get down, everything will look and feel differently tomorrow. It may not be that this virus will be gone tomorrow, but we will have a different outlook tomorrow. It’s just the way humans work. I see a lot of folks around my area, smiling, being a little more polite, making attempts to make the best of a bad situation. I think a lot of it is denial, LOL, this can’t happen to us, right? But I also see a lot of optimism. I was at Home Depot earlier this morning and plants were out front, and people were loading up with soil, plants, flowering baskets, home improvement items. That’s a positive outlook to me.
I appreciate your honesty during this time. So many bloggers are trying to pretend that nothing is happening and trying to push sales. I understand this is bloggers job and income but we all are losing in this together. I don’t think there is a single person that isn’t struggling with this in some way. I try to stay positive but when so many people are hurting we need to focus on helping family, friends and neighbors with what resources we have.
Thank you for being real! Yes loved online church this morning and
Will be fun to see your kitchen this afternoon and dream of a day I
can hv my cabinets painted white!
I think it’s good to get the negativity out of your system! I live in Florida and we are grateful to have sunshine to Brighton our days. I woke up today for the first time in a long time since all this started feeling down. It just seems to be getting worse every day. I feel so bad for doctors, nurses and everyone who has WAY more to deal with during these scary times. Not being able to go to the beach right now is a very small sacrifice compared to the sick patients.
Today is our Sunday drive day. For the last three weeks we get in the car and go for a nice drive. We’re not around people. Just the two of us taking a drive. Last week we called in a takeout order at one of our favorite restaurants and picked it up at the window outside. Something all you ladies may think about doing. So nice to go somewhere besides the grocery store!!
I’m looking for to your kitchen post later.
Prayers for all of us joined by this delightful community of readers! My family has been through so much in the last nine years, too much to mention here. A dear friend gave me some valuable advice about seven years ago when I was just about at the end of my rope. Just take the day fifteen minutes at a time, pray for God’s guidance, and just live and be TOTALLY present in the next fifteen minutes of your life. After these fifteen minutes have passed, reflect for about 30 seconds…the world didn’t end, we are all still here, I didn’t spend one minute wasting time worrying…hey, that wasn’t so bad! Repeat as necessary and know, GOD’S GOT THIS!
Jo-Lynn I am so where you are. If the weather is pretty, I am okay. If cloudy not so good. I also feel guilty if I complain. So may have it so far worse. Our income might suffer a little, but not like people who have lost their jobs. We are all healthy. My parents, shut in at this point, are taking it well. Thank you Lord, and forgive me for complaining.
I am from Scotland UK and we have been in lockdown for 1 week now. I think it’s good to discuss how we are feeling during these strange times. The weather does make a difference as we are still in winter temperatures!
I work for the NHS as a respiratory nurse specialist and so I working at the frontline. Our numbers are rising in Scotland but we have not yet reached our peak. We are slightly behind London. I am feeling anxious about what lies ahead.
One thing I have noticed is the increased sense of community. Our street has a Facebook group and today I was out gardening and chatting to the family across the road from their garden. Also last Thursday at 8pm everyone in the UK came out their houses and clapped for the NHS staff. It was very emotional to hear all my neighbours clapping.
It is easy to feel down especially as you have had a number of special holidays cancelled. My husband and my 2 teenage daughters should have been in Spain this week for my sisters 50th birthday. Instead I’ll be working extra hours at the hospital.
I really enjoy reading your blogs and I love your fashion style. It’s ok to discuss Your feelings about the current situation and I hope you and your family stay safe and well.
Thank you, Kim. And thanks for all you are doing to work on the frontline during this crazy time!
Hi Jo-Lynne! Based on the number of responses to your Coffee Talk, I believe that the takeaway is that we need this little community that you created. We are all feeling the ups and the downs of living with the corona virus and it’s okay for you to share how you are truly feeling. Thanks for all that you do!
Your words did bring me down a bit, but they had to be heard. This is our realty right now. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the kitchen pictures!
Do not feel bad about your mood! We are really in this together and we all are going through emotional highs and lows. We can pray for each other and the openness is helpful because it lets us know we are not unusual. Hoping for sun too! I appreciate you soooooo much!
Thank you Jo-Lynne for sharing your thoughts and voicing your concerns. We are all there; I get waves of anxiety that roll over me too. I am a health care worker in Canada. I have been redeployed from my regular out-patient position to the COVD-19 team. I am working in acute care doing shift work. To say that I am anxious is an understatement. I haven’t worked in acute care in 15 years. I am trying my best however have concerns about am I competent enough? Will I get infected and infect my family? Will we become the next Italy? I am too nervous to eat at work to avoid cross contamination. Living on power bars. As my mother in law tells me, “tough times don’t last; tough people do”.
I am grateful that your daughter’s school cancelled the school trip to Quebec. The USA – Canada border closed last week to non essential travel. Quebec is the hot spot for COVD-19 in Canada right now. Perhaps you all can take a road trip family vacation to Quebec one day when this is all over.
To all those who are taking staying at home seriously: thank you. I stayed at work for you. You stay home for us. To all the truck drivers who are working around the clock delivering supplies and food to us: thank you! You have a hard job with few rest stops open. To all the grocery clerks who have become front line workers keeping us fed: thank you! To all the front line workers and emergency responders: you are rushing into the fire when most would rush out. We shall get through this together.
Hi Jo-Lynne, Thanks for the post. I had a good week – just one really dark day of anxiety. I believe you can get my favorite flour for baking at King Arthur. they have regular but their gluten free Measure for Measure is the bomb. we’ve had fabulous results with it in baking (my husband has won First Place in chocolate chip cookies at our county fair two years in a row).
Please take care of yourself and the family. That diverticulitis and other gastro tract issues are nothing to take lightly – I know THAT very well. I’m taking my hefty probiotics daily and my husband takes them too. 80% of the body’s immune system is in the gut.
I was wondering today about all the kids missing proms, grad trips, and ceremonies. Maybe your daughter’s French class can do a “+1” in 2021 and take the trip then.
Hugs to you, I think you need hugs today. Wishing you very well. And hot tea.
Hang in there Jolynne! I think it’s fair to have a down day. It’s a tough time for everyone and it’s okay to be honest about that. Sometimes just letting it out is the first step toward feeling better. I look forward to your posts and hope it brings you joy to know you’re spreading happiness to others. 💕
As I read this post, I felt like we were sitting down chatting about how your week had been. This is real life! I am sorry about Becca’s trip! That would have been a wonderful experience. We continue to stay away from people. We did go down to a small gathering at the lake house Friday night for a bonfire, but all 6 of us practiced social distancing. The sun and clouds have battled all weekend, but we’ve not had any rain. We’ve had highs in the upper 80’s. There is a chance for severe weather on Tuesday, if the system doesn’t fall apart. I’d be happy if it does collapse. Last night we ordered takeout from a little restaurant in town that has the best fried chicken of anyone. There was no one else in the place when I went in, and I used hand sanitizer as soon as I got back in the car. We have enough for at least 2 more meals. I hope y’all have had a blessed day!
Thanks for sharing. I’m like you in that my mood fluctuates with the weather. Several days of grey and rain….we are going on 7 days in Wisconsin….and it really impacts my mood. It is good to know that I’m not the only one. There is a lot of grief that comes with this pandemic — loss of school trips, loss of community, loss of loved ones. But, I take solace is Psalm 46 and pray that the sun will shine soon.
Thanks for keeping it real ! you are just saying what most of us are feeling in this uncertain time
I’m struggling today, too, JoLynne. 💞
I’m so sorry about your daughter’s trip. There’s nothing worse as a mom than to see disappointment on your child’s face. Our daughter is a high school senior and is in mourning over all that she is losing. Our graduation gift to her was a trip to London. We’re supposed to leave April 21st. 😕
We are all in this together and I am glad you are sharing the real and hard parts too.
Thank you for sharing your heart and opening yourself up to criticism! Don’t let any negative comments affect you, I think you just articulated what a lot of us are thinking and feeling. Much love to you and your family during this time. Thank you for being one of the “normal” parts of my day in this new strange world! Your transparency and sometimes loooong coffee talks are what makes you my favorite blogger! I’m pretty sure you’d be one of my great friends if our lives intersected 😉!
I wonder how this post stacks up as far as the number of comments goes. Near the top, I’d guess. This truly is a beautiful community you have going. I’m happy to be a part of this group.
I think that was a great post. I told my husband about it. Thank you!
Just a quick note to say thanks for sharing. I appreciate your honesty, I think you have been a welcomed daily distraction and a positive part in my day!!
Thank you for being real. We all have our difficult days and if it helps you to vent a little, okay then. 🙂 I am sorry about your daughters trip. I know life is a bit different right now but I’m sure that doesn’t keep her from being disappointed. Praying everyone stays safe and life is back to normal soon.
I think most of us are having those same feelings…wondering when all this will be over and life will get back to normal. I’ve decided to spend some time outside every day after work. I just need fresh air and (hopefully) some sunshine. I am planning to do my Bible study outside as much as I can. I think being cooped up in a building for work and then cooped up at home is a lot, so I hope the fresh air will help my mood too! And like you, I’m grateful because I do have my job and I am able to communicate with my family every day. Hang in there!
Yeah, once I can hang out on my deck, I think I’ll be fine. This cold, dreary spring weather is killing me. Good ideas!!!
It is important to honestly chronicle these times. You’re creating a primary source artifact that will contribute to future generations’ understanding of a historic event. It’s okay not to be “all right” occasionally. Your family’s love, and your faith, will help get you through this. Thanks for providing us with a little bit of normalcy!
I never comment but felt the nudge to do so today. You should never have to apologize for feeling the way you feel about this virus crisis or anything else. We’re all human. We all have different perspectives and different situations. While I’m able to work from home and my family is all currently safe and healthy, I’ve been very upset by some of the “things” we’ve lost. This is my youngest daughter’s Senior year of high school and while we are still hopeful, there will probably not be a prom (dress already bought:() or graduation. It’s hard enough that she’s the last one, but the fact that we will probably miss those things is pretty heartbreaking.
I too am thankful for those on the front lines doing all they can to keep us safe and help those who are already ill. I’m thankful I have a safe home to shelter in place. I’m thankful for needed breaks from the bad news via blogs like yours. I’m also sad and scared at times. It varies with the day and I think that’s ok.
Thanks for sharing your feelings – and your kitchen :). We are all in this together!
Have a blessed day!
Thank you, Martha. I appreciate that very much. And I’m so sad for you and your daughter… missing those major milestones is heartbreaking. Stay safe.
I feel the same way. Thank you for this post. I think you expressed what we are all feeling. I am working from home and my job is considered essential but I never dreamed that I would be working from home. We had planned on natural disasters and always making it into the office. This is not something we ever thought about planning for but we have made it work. It is so much more difficult and stressful to work from home. I am not complaining by no means. I am so grateful and thankful that I have a job and can work from home. The weather affects me too. I have been so looking forward to spring and summer and from the looks of things we will still be going through all this come summer and will have to stay put. I feel guilty complaining because of all the healthcare workers, grocery store workers, truckers and all others ttat are out there everyday wanting to be home. I have had 2 concerts that I’m hoping will be rescheduled and more than likely a concert in July will be rescheduled. Anyway, thanks for letting me vent. I enjoy your blog and it is a good distraction. Sorry for such a long post.
You never have to apologize for long comments on my blog. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
Understandable. We’re all in this together!
“Was It A Morning Like This”….I haven’t thought of that song in years! I sang it at church back in the early 90’s. My Easter song is “He’s Alive” by Don Franscisco…..now that’s an old one! I think I first heard it when I was 9 – on cassette tape of course! I had that song memorized and still do at 46!