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Counting Hope tells the story of the small steps I took to create confidence and security for myself and my daughters. Today this approach has helped me create some boundaries for the quarantining we are all doing. We have defined each day of the week with a simple ‘to do’ task. This has helped create a separation for each day, look forward to something, and provide some predictability for our family. Monday is clean the floors day. And we have Toilet Tuesday, Left Over Wednesday, Sheets and Towels Thursday, and Movie Night Friday. Movie night is complete with home made pizza, movie candy, and popcorn. We cap off (or start) the week with a fancy dinner on Sunday in the dinning room.

“These mechanisms have generated a routine and some definition of each day. I now look forward to Saturday morning and sleeping in, something I have not done before.”

Our family has always been into board games and puzzles and this quarantine period has allowed us to take it up a notch. Lauren is now well versed in Scrabble and the girls and I have mastered Harry Potter Clue. These are new games we have added to our evening activities. You name the board game, and we have probably played it. We have finished two 1000-piece puzzles and the next one is waiting for us on the coffee table. The northern Illinois area has not warmed up much and we are eager to expand our adventures outdoors once the sunshine is more prevalent.

Board games and day boundaries are good, and we top this off by trying to find joy in the little things. I light a candle and a cedar stick at 3:00 pm each weekday. The scents are soothing and create a sense of peace in the home. Lauren has started a bit of fun with a weekly (or daily) question on the white board in the laundry room. This week’s question is “What is your favorite animal?” She and I have spent ten weeks together and each morning is started with coffee and breakfast. She gets a hot meal and I get a cup of coffee. We dabble with the crossword each morning, then I am off for days full of conference calls and she joins her class via zoom. We are conscious about our moments of happiness and celebrate the coffee and crossword puzzle time.

Although helpful there is not a list of activities or advice that answers all of the questions and fears we might be experiencing. It is real, this fear, this uncertainty that stays with us throughout our days. Fear about falling ill, a loved one getting ill or dying, and how this pandemic will affect our economy. Who will we be as a society on the other side of this? How will we change? How can we use this pivotal moment to improve who we are? These small steps and daily boundaries do not answer all of our questions but are gentle coping mechanisms that may help during this tumultuous time.

Here is hoping all is well with you and your families. Stay well, stay safe, and find your little joys.


May 22, 2020