In Los Angeles, we’ve seen a loosening of some COVID-19 health restrictions. But this week that our mayor also formally announced that mask-wearing would be mandatory when we leave our homes. I have no problem with this regulation. I’ve trained myself to don a mask, even when it was not previously required by law. A major highlight this weekend was our quick visit to see my mother in law, Norma. Norma and elders like her who live in my community are the reason that I am willing to put up with the discomforts of masks.
Unfortunately here, the virus remains a serious issue. We mask to protect not only ourselves but also in consideration for the health of those around us who are vulnerable. In our neighborhood, there is a house a few blocks away with a large dinosaur skeleton in their front yard. I don’t know why “Dino” lives there, but he has become a hallmark of my daily walks. Typically, he is decorated for whatever holiday we’re anticipating. He always brings me a needed smile. This week, he boldly wore his oversized dinosaur mask!
Being home so much has had an interesting impact on me. I’m not used to the regularity of a schedule. One fact of life for Greg and me in our almost 34 years of marriage has been irregularity – ER doctors work irregular shifts, so we raised our family within the parameters of a Monday through Friday school schedule, but a “whenever we have time off” personal schedule. Adding my work travel on top of that meant for us as a married couple that no two weeks ever looked the same.
I realized last week that I’ve definitely settled into a “routine” of sorts. It’s dictated by the schedule of care I keep with my parents (our four daily Alexa activity hours), but I also include my morning prayer time, workout and walks, errands in the neighborhood, and typically a Sunday drive along the coast after Mass, not to mention my “work”. This week, not only were we able to drive near the beach, but we also took a walk there! After so many weeks of closure, being able to breathe the sea air felt like a massive blessing. The absence of travel to far-flung destinations has caused me to see the beauty of my community with fresh eyes. It’s also caused me time and time again to thank God for my home and my husband.
Here are some of my personal highlights from the past week:
- The right kind of “contagious”: On last week’s Lisa Hendey & Friends podcast, I talked about the art and joy of sharing our faith with Marcel LeJeune as he discussed his new Ascension Press book The Contagious Catholic: The Art of Practical Evangelization.
- Heroes and Villains: On last week’s episode of “Secrets of Disney”, we got in touch with our inner characters.
- The Power of a Story: Today, I was blessed to speak with a class of sophomore theology students at St. Mary’s Academy (virtually, of course!) about the sacraments and storytelling. Their teacher is eschewing his traditional final exam and replacing it with a writing project. The students will craft children’s book and a parent resource that will focus on the sacraments. What a joy it was to share my experience and to field their questions!
- Little Libraries: In our neighborhood, we’re blessed to have a few Little Free Libraries. As part of my time at home routine, I’m trying to highlight one book per day on my Instagram stories and place at least one book in each of these libraries on my daily walk. I’m mixing it up, see keep an eye on my feed for some quick and enjoyable reads.
What They’re Saying
(I’m starting a little feature here to share reviews and feedback I’m receiving. I hope this will inspire you to review one of my books, invite me for a virtual visit, or simply to drop me an email if my work has blessed you in some way. I don’t offer this to be braggadocious. Your feedback fuels me and inspires me not to give up during these challenging times.)
“Lisa came to visit my sophomore Sacraments class to speak with them about a project they’re working on where they have to create children’s storybooks and a parent resource. Not only did she speak wonderfully about her own experiences as a parent and an author, she really encouraged my students to use their own gifts and talents for the betterment of the Church! I am so grateful for the gifts that Lisa brings to her speaking engagements, and I cannot wait to have her back for another one!” Jared Anderson, Theology Teacher, St. Mary’s Academy, Inglewood, CA (May 2020)
Social Media: I’m busily sharing updates about my own work and that of others who are doing amazing things! I hope you’ll join me in these places: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube
A question for you: What have you noticed in your neighborhood that surprised you or brought you joy?
Leslie Lenko says
Really nice article and reflection. I read somewhere that wearing a Face mask out in public is considered, “an act of charity”. That comment seems to just make it easier in these times. I see a lot of my neighbors walking in our neighborhood. It just seems people kinder and more patient with each other. It was a lovely surprise one day to have a neighbor stop by and leave a bag of fresh picked oranges from his tree at our door! Something, I also find delight in has been the tiny Little Library that I found. That week, I had also found a box of old children’s books in the garage. It was a joy when I went on my walks to add some to that library! So many small things that seem to bring extra joy!
What have you noticed in your neighborhood that surprised you or brought you joy?
Lisa – I am getting out in my neighborhood a lot more as I have less structure and more free time. I am taking long walks with my daughter and son, one-on-one. I am enjoying hearing their thoughts on what is happening in their world. My son shared with me his 10 year goals. He said he has a lot of time to think about these things as there is nothing else to do. If he reaches these goals, they are very impressive. If he doesn’t, that is OK also, it gives him things to strive for.
There is a retirement community on our walks and they have two sheep. They always decorate them for the holidays, kind of like your dino. I’ve had the chance to walk by numerous times and see their face masks and headbands changed.
We moved to this neighborhood four years ago and have barely spoken to our neighbors, but now that we are all out walking a lot more or just hanging around, it has given me the chance to talk to these wonderful people. I had said hi to one man for the four years and always called him AYSO man, as he works for them. I thought he was a grumpy old guy, but he is a very nice guy!
I am also enjoying all the flowering trees in the neighborhood. Enjoy your week!
Barbara Gibbs says
During March and April our town stopped cutting grass on the right of ways in the streets. This is a yearly project to help out the migrating birds we see every year by helping the wildflowers grow. It was so wonderful walking around and seeing all of the beautiful wildflowers. There is such an amazing variety of colors, sizes and textures. It brought a lot of joy during a time of uncertainty.
Lisa M. Hendey says
Wow, what a beautiful idea. When we lived in Fresno, they did that along one of the highways that led out into the country and it always became a springtime destination!
Lisa M. Hendey says
How wonderful to hear about your walks, Kathy! Walking was always one of my favorite activities with my sons. We still have a tendency to call one another when we are out walking! I love hearing about the sheep as well!
Lisa M. Hendey says
Thank you for chiming in Leslie. Certainly around my neighborhood, the walking has greatly increased! I notice more people pausing to nod, say hello and make room for one another. It’s a beautiful, small thing!