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Staying healthy and finding comfort in food need not be mutually exclusive. These days, being homebound for the sake of our own and our community’s health has revitalized life in the kitchen for many. For example, I’m considering re-assigning the status of my oven from convenient mouse-proof storage space back to life as a baking site. Cookies are a staple, right?

So what’s cooking at your house? Please share recipes here for dishes that provide both a worthwhile way to pass the time in their preparation and comfort that dispels our current anxiety.

It’s a really good time to share food for thought right here.

In my garden, I have a very scrawny orange tree that I have long ignored. There are no large handsome fruit on this tree. Sometimes medium in size but mostly small, they are marked, often mis-shapen and never reach that glorious vibrant color that is so appealing. I can’t tell when they are ripe until they fall to the grass below, where they looked even less edible.

Times have changed. As I have isolated, I have become less critical. Each day now, I eagerly go out to see what my tree has for me.  I am running out of some foods, but my Vitamin C is always there. There’s a lesson there for me, isn’t there?

I self-isolated early too. My youngest daughter is a critical care physician in Philadelphia. She told me to stay home, wash hands, keep social distance and isolate. That was March 6 so I was early to the “party.” Not a happy party, this one! I have a comfortable studio with all the amenities. My groceries are delivered. My oldest daughter who lives here brings things I may need. Dr. daughter is sending me surgical masks and older daughter is bringing me gloves in case I need to go out or do my laundry or when I receive groceries–to clean the bags and the groceries! It is an ordeal. My kids are wonderful and I feel loved, but I live alone in a large low income apartment building with 80 units so it is not “luxurious” but I have a fully equipped well appointed space with all the kinds of things I may need–but you never what will come up! I am prepared as I can be. Since I am a writer I am used to being home and working alone so this is not a big deal. I miss walking outside which I do daily 2-3 hours a day and visiting cafes, restaurants and coffee houses, chatting with neighbors and business owners, going to music and theatre venues! This is hard. I moved to the city for the myriad events one can enjoy in an urban environment which offsets the large amount of alone time I experience as a writer! So–we are all making adjustments. It is a consciousness shift for sure.

Highly emotional states produce good, authentic writing, usually.  For me, this anxiety overload has handicapped my literary juices from flowing. My on button has been stuck on off.  Every day when I awaken, I thank God I am alive, and I head for my coffee pot. Before I get there, I remember that the sky is still falling, just as it was yesterday, unless God has given us all the miracle I pray for each night. That will be in his time not ours, as the numbers continue to rise.

We decided early on to get lots of groceries, start cooking and freezing. We also decided to start self-isolating, before it was mandated, just to protect ourselves. The Virus can’t penetrate our walls and doors or us if we’re safely tucked inside. That may not be everyone’s choice, but it is ours. It makes us feel safe and that is important in the eighth decade of our lives. Our children are checking on us daily.  I’m online ordering groceries and asking for ground sirloin and half and half, wine and a few dozen other things and surprised when I get almost exactly what I ordered.

When our lives as we know them seem to be falling apart, we fall together. We are all in this together and this too shall pass. Our God is Mighty and He is Good.

Peace and Blessings!

From afar came an unknown, extraordinary and rare
Who would’ve imagined a pandemic, creating time to spare;
Limit TV news, be safe, don’t keep your head in a hole,
With constant changing news we can’t control
Rather, seize these weeks, so precious, extraordinaire?

Many options to explore, providing service beyond the call
To volunteer, connect, virtually visit …valued by us all;
Tap interests like music, cooking, movies on TV,
Reconnect with friends, a candlelit dinner or evening free
Or mend hurts, tackle projects, large and small.

This uncharted turf is real, at least for awhile
Personal “time out” for solitude, activity, whatever your style;
There is Zoom or Facetime to connect with friends, not insane!
Or do something special like puzzles for the brain
Tackle a house project, clear a space, or that teetering pile.

Breathe deeply, exercise, enjoy solitude, so rare
Shift priorities, manage stress, create time for self care!
Or throw your hat in the “gone fishin” ring?
And balance your weeks with gratitude, space, time to sing
It will all pay dividends if you take that dare.

For all that you’ll contribute with this bonus time in store,
Make time for YOU now; there are options galore!