It’s a cool, sunny fall afternoon as I write Part 2 of this post on dealing with the uncertainty of the times we’re in. Yesterday, Control. Today, Create, Learn, Express.
Create something: art, music, foreign language, a garden, a game!
Practice your musical instrument or try something new ~ a recorder, whistle, or harmonica for something relatively easy and inexpensive. One year I rented a beautiful double bass for two months. This year I’ll download a few pieces of holiday piano sheet music for just a few dollars from the online store Musicnotes.com.
Draw-color-paint something of any size. Enjoy Origami (paper folding), Kirigami (paper cutting) or paper weaving with online patterns. Make your own writing paper, or purchase some “butcher paper” and hand decorate it for holiday wrapping. Weaving and quilting, in fact many fiber arts, can be inexpensive and pretty, and produce one-of-a-kind creations.
Not as pretty as my son’s artwork made as gifts for me (pictured), but satisfying in a completely different way, I recently turned a used aluminum foil casserole lid into a hot dog bun pan(!) This sounds goofy, I know, but we had a couple free hours to roast hotdogs over an outdoor fire and play a new card game one chilly afternoon recently and I really didn’t want to go to the store for buns. In a matter of minutes, we had whipped up our tried-and-true dinner roll recipe , shaped the dough into long buns, and baked the buns in my humble foil pan. Think I’ll keep it for the memory, and maybe even for the next time. It truly looks like it should be from 2020!
Plant an indoor garden. Sprouting seeds are easy, don’t require special lights, and are inexpensive using readily available materials (a quart-size canning jar, small piece of cheesecloth, rubber band, and the seeds) and you can eat the crop. If you have enough light, create a small windowsill garden of violets. If your home is less well lit, enjoy the mind-body benefits of green growing indoor plants — both hanging and tabletop varieties.
On a large piece of poster board, make a winding follow-the-path board game (think, Candyland) with instructions for spaces and detours along the way. I’ve made several of these for different groups, all designed to do different things from “get to know you” to values clarification, and more. These can be reading exercises or entirely picture driven using stickers or rubber stamp art for the key.
Learn something: Cooking, foreign language, songs and poems
Learn the basics of a new language for free in Duolingo with a friend or in your family – and plan a “virtual” trip to that country.
Learn a new style of cooking, even just one dish. WordPress is GREAT for recipes of all kinds and all eras, and there are always the myriad other online free recipe sites that you can search by style, region, or ingredient.
Just like the music section of “Create,” enjoy learning something new or relearning something old again. Learn a new song or poem to sing, recite, or sign.
Express something: pray, sing, write, call
Pray. I do believe we have a Creator, Savior, and Sustainer who is an ever-present help in times of joy, sorrow, and need. I like the prayer form “ACTS” – adoration (praise), confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (needs.)
In that same spirit, write a prayer. It can be something you speak from your heart, or it can be another prayer or Psalm you write in your own words.
This pandemic is a great time to pick up the tradition of handwritten greetings. Take a few minutes to write a note to express your appreciation for a friend or relative. Share news, say thank you, express your love and care ~ then put a stamp on it and send off one of the few personal pieces of mail your friend is likely to receive this week.
Tape record (not easy to find, but there are still a few out there) family stories.
Did someone cross your mind today? Rather than text, pick up the phone and talk for a few minutes. Those personal connections can sustain us through times of uncertainty better than just about anything else we do.
Play Charades or easel-style Pictionary (aka “Win, Lose, or Draw” TV show.) These don’t require a game purchase, so they’re readily available for next to nothing in cost.
I hope one or two of these ideas begins to open the door to ways of dealing with the inevitable changes ahead in the country and in the world. Take comfort and strength knowing that any concerns you have are shared by many others. We’ll all do well to keep our minds, bodies, and spirits healthy, creative and positive.
Time for me to get some fresh air and take a walk. And, here’s what a 5-minute homemade hot dog bun pan looks like. Oh yeah.