Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

Give and Take

It’s difficult to see God as a giver of love when you feel like He ripped it away from you, pulled it from underneath you while you were floating on cloud nine. You quickly realized, there really is no sunshine when they’re gone. You were taught God is love but the evidence you possessed of that love has vanished so you’re forced to truly learn to believe in what you can’t see. You don’t do this overnight. There are times when it doesn’t feel like God’s for you. When you not only question if He’s love, but you start to wonder if He’s even good. These are dark days and long nights but time passes and things happen, and light starts to peak through. One smile turns into another and joy no longer feels like a stranger. You no longer equate proof with truth. God helps your unbelief. You find a way to have hope and wait patiently for what you don’t yet see. You cling to a faith you didn’t know you were capable of holding on to. And soon enough, God reminds you that He’s still who He said He was. That He’s good and He’s love. And He may take, but He certainly gives.

Keep believing in what you can’t see and one day you’ll look up and find love staring you in the face.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Failing Virtually

If you’ve been reading my blog since the pandemic has started, you’ve probably read about my disdain for virtual anything. Calls, conferences, meetings, workshops, workouts… I’d rather you email me. I’ve unmuted myself by accident (thankfully I didn’t say anything too crazy). I’ve fallen asleep and woke up long after the meeting ended. One of the things I’m dreading happens is I’m called on to speak but I don’t realize it because I’m not listening. I’m relatively tech savvy and definitely see the benefits, given the current state our world is in and I’m grateful people who don’t mind this medium have access to a variety of content and resources, but it’s difficult for me to sit in front of my laptop and be engaged (which is kind of strange considering the amount of TV I watch, but that’s a story for another day). With all that being said, I can feel how I want to feel about it, “virtual things” aren’t going anywhere any time soon. I recently had the opportunity to present virtually and it was a fail guys. Well, a fail by my standards.

I wrote previously about me being an undercover perfectionist so it should come as no surprise this carries over to me presenting virtually. Why do I think I failed? Basically because things did not go as I thought they would. At one point, I was talking while music was playing loudly in the background without me realizing it, so the participants couldn’t hear me. I couldn’t do the interactive game the way I wanted to so I had to come up with an alternative. I wish I had incorporated more information from the topic I was given. Although some people responded to my questions, I thought we were going to have a livelier discussion. I could honestly keep this list going but I kept thinking about how different all of this would have been if we didn’t have to do it virtually. I wondered how many people it would take to tell me that I did a good job in order for me to believe it, and I realized that number did not exist. I had to accept defeat and try harder the next time. Or so I thought…

As I was complaining about all the “terrible” things that went wrong, I finally said I would accept the success I did have, and a wise person told me to CELEBRATE the success. Afterall, so many things went well. Children from different areas got to meet each other. I was able to share scripture and talk about the wonderfulness of God and connect it to their daily lives. Even if the children didn’t do very well on the interactive game, they were exposed to new information. Some children received monetary prizes. I became more familiar with how Zoom works and different features available. It was a success worthy of being celebrated.

As we navigate this virtual world and life itself, I encourage you (and myself) to acknowledge what you may deem as failures but don’t forget to celebrate the successes. Don’t just accept it, don’t push it to the side, don’t minimize it, CELEBRATE SUCCESS!

Proverbs 16: 3 Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed

July 2020

If God Said It…

So I was teaching Sunday School this morning and we were talking about Abraham and how God kept His promise to give Abraham and Sarah, his wife, a son and he would make Abraham the father of many (Genesis 15, 17). God didn’t do it right away and while waiting, Abraham and Sarah became doubtful, but God still delivered on His promise. This made me think about a previous post I wrote in 2017 called Promise Keeper, and I’m amazed at how I’m living out some of those promises God told me back then.

It’s so easy to get distracted by what we don’t have and the more time that goes by without it, the further away it seems. But today, I was reminded that God is still a promise keeper. In 2017, those things God had promised me were nowhere to be found (like they may as well have not existed). And since then, I’ve had all kinds of doubts but just like God delivered on His promise to Abraham, He’s delivering His promises to me.

I like to plan things and know when they’re going to happen but I’m grateful God is the ultimate planner and didn’t come through with the promises when I thought I was ready but waited until He knew I was ready. There are a number of opportunities I would have missed out on if things went according to my plan (I’m talking life changing experiences). I’m grateful God knew I needed more time so I could truly appreciate His blessings and was mature enough to handle the parts of the blessings I didn’t expect.

God keeps His promises. He always has and always will. Put your trust in what He said, not in how you feel. Take joy in knowing He will show up when He’s supposed to show up. He’s not going to forget (which, honestly, was one of my greatest fears). I don’t know who said it but I do my best to live by it: starve your fear, feed your faith. And remember, He said what He said, He promised.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

July 2020

If you’re struggling to believe God, I encourage you to read Promise Keeper.

Not All Dates Are Good…

Have you ever been on a date so terrible, it made you consider being a nun? Okay, this date wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t good, like, at all. My name is Jocee, and this is my story.

He was almost seven feet tall, caramel complexion, muscular build, with a few dreadlocks on the top of his head that were brown at the tips. They had been freshly re-twisted which sounds like a good thing but it wasn’t. He had on a muscle shirt with joggers that were tighter than my jeans and if I had the courage, I would have walked out of the lobby of that movie theater then but I told myself I needed to be open minded and just because I didn’t like how the gift was wrapped, didn’t mean it wasn’t a gift. After all, he had drove over an hour to go to the movies with me which sounds sweet but was a red flag. None of our conversations had been very in depth, so he really didn’t know me well enough for such a sacrifice to be considered sweet. But again, I’m trying to be open minded, maybe the Lord told him something that He didn’t tell me.

As soon as we sit down in our seats, I could already see what kind of afternoon it was going to be. Some people enjoy talking throughout a movie. I’m not necessarily opposed to this if I know you and we can laugh about things together. This was not one of those situations. He commented on the commercial before the movie regarding his car being better than the car that was in the advertisement. He commented on the commercial about tipping the waitress (dine in movie). He commented about putting his phone on silent. This was all before the actual movie came on! I’m sure he was nervous like I was, and perhaps this was his way of trying to loosen things up but it was not working. The movies is not a good first date, especially if you’re not doing dinner too, and to add insult to injury he asked what I enjoyed doing and the movies was not on my list (although I do enjoy the movies), so a part of me thinks he just wanted to see this movie. Once the movie got started, things didn’t get any better.

At some point he alluded to us being in a relationship and him protecting me from bad guys… Sir, I don’t even know if I would want to be your friend. He asked what I would do if he was as short as one of the characters in the movie, which to me felt like he thought he was better than because he was over six feet tall. Little did he know, I would have much rather been sitting next to a guy who was five feet and would let me enjoy the movie in peace.

All of this was annoying if nothing else, but the worst part of this whole date was when I realized he was using the same balled up tissue to repeatedly wipe his nose. I’m not sure if it was allergies or a cold, but I know it was unattractive. This was pre-pandemic, so I wasn’t nervous about COVID-19, but I wanted no parts of any other germs he had. Y’all, I’m not talking about one or two wipes; he had to wipe multiple times. I have really bad allergies year around so I know what a struggle it can be, but that balled up tissue was attempting to kill me softly. Then he looked over at me and I’m pretty certain he was trying to figure out how he was going to put his arm around me. Let me tell you, God was with me that day because I don’t know how I would have reacted if he had figured it out. Maybe slide down in the seat or act like I had to go to the bathroom, pretend I got a phone call, and maybe even holler, I just don’t know. But I do know, there was no way he was touching me.

Soon enough the movie was over and I was praying he didn’t want to go anywhere else. It would have made sense considering he drove that distance and we really didn’t get a chance to talk (well, he talked), but the Lord smiled on me again, and we said our goodbyes. I honestly would have agreed to go sit in a coffee shop or go get ice cream, hoping it would make up for the movie but I’m grateful I didn’t have to. We texted a few more days after that but eventually I had to tell him I wasn’t interested. I did feel kind of bad but I’m too old to waste my time or somebody else’s. He wasn’t a terrible person, he just wasn’t my person. So that was my not so good date. What’s yours?

*Certain details have been changed out of respect to the other party involved 

Wasted outfit

Halfway There

Believe it or not, we’re almost halfway through 2020. With everything going on, it certainly feels like we’ve been in 2020 longer than six months. Never in a million years could I have imagined that we would be where we are when I wrote down my goals for 2020. From pandemic to protests, these past six months have not been for the faint of heart. But even with so much going on, you are here! You are alive and breathing, and that’s worth celebrating.

At the beginning of every year, a lot of people set goals for the year. Some call them new year’s resolutions, some call them a vision board, some call it a plan, and for some it’s just some stuff they want to get done. Whether it’s lose weight, write more, read your bible, go to church, go to therapy, start your business, eat better, draw more, get a new job, meditate, save more, whatever it is, I’m encouraging you to revisit it. You may have had more time or less time these past three months to accomplish your goals, just know there is still time. We have no idea what tomorrow holds but choose to do something towards your goals today.

One of my goals for this year was to read ten books. I certainly have had more time to get this done but I realized today it’s been a month or so since I finished my last book and I still have six more books to go. So I’m going to choose a book today and continue pursuing that goal. It’s that simple. Just because you’re not where you thought you would be this time of year, doesn’t mean you can’t get there. I know you paid for that gym membership and the gyms closed; start walking around your neighborhood or find some workouts on Youtube that you can do at home. I know you started saving money, then you got let go; even if it’s two dollars from that unemployment check, save that. I know you were set to launch that business and now everything is at a standstill; keep networking and promoting yourself.

When I played basketball, during halftime if my team was down, my coach would always say, “we have another whole half to go. We can do this.” You have another whole half to go. You can do this. We’re only halfway there.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

 

June 2020

Buy Black 365 (Part 1)

Whether you’re looking for something sweet to eat or your next outfit or a way to enhance what your momma already gave you, these three Black women have got you covered! This past Friday we celebrated our ancestors being free(-ish), and we also celebrated what we have managed to build since then. I am always happy to support Black businesses and I hope to make more of a conscious effort to do so in the future and encourage you to do the same. So consider this the first installment of #buyblack365. Sometimes it’s not about what you are buying, it’s about who you are buying from. Scroll down to learn more about these three businesses and the women running them, and make sure to place your orders and set your appointments!

 

Sweet 52 Ave Bakeshop

1. What’s the name of your business? What services do you offer?

The name of my business is Sweet 52 Ave Bakeshop. It is an online bakery specializing in small batch homemade desserts including cupcakes, brownies, specialty cakes, banana pudding and more.

2. What was the inspiration behind creating your business?

I always cooked and baked with my family and then as an adult, found a passion for baking. People suggested that I start selling my desserts and one day I sold my first pan of banana pudding and some cupcakes and the rest is history. It’s been all love ever since.

3. What’s been your proudest moment as a business owner?

My proudest moment as a business owner was participating in a black female entrepreneur sip and shop event last year. My friends and family came out to support me and I almost sold out of everything I had.

Not only that, I was able to interact with my customers in person rather than through email and text. I took pictures with

everyone who bought something from me and posted it all over my social media.

Kristal

My mom looked at me and said she was so proud of me. One of the best moments ever!

4. What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?

Sleeping lol. Seriously, my brain is always working overtime and I often pull all night baking sessions if I have big orders. So I run off adrenaline until the sleep monster comes for me and then I’m knocked out!

5. What are you looking forward to the most in the future of your business?

Selling wholesale to local restaurants in and around Atlanta and one day getting a dessert food truck!

6. What does it mean to you to be a Black business owner?

Empowerment. We hold so much power with how we spend our money. Why not buy Black? Anyone who chooses to support my Black female owned business is supporting a dream and a vision from a first-generation college graduate. I am a Black female entrepreneur and business owner only because someone that came before me helped me along the way and I vow to always do the same.

7. How do we reach you?

http://www.sweet52ave.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/sweet52ave

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sweet52ave 

 

Royalè

1. What’s the name of your business? What services do you offer?

The name of my business is Royale. We are a clothing brand that specializes in young-contemporary style clothing for women.

2. What was the inspiration behind creating your business?

I wanted to create a line of clothing that represented me. After becoming a mother, it was hard to find clothes that complemented my new body. Clothes that covered the unflattering parts of me made me feel matronly, but there was absolutely no way I could get away with wearing some of the things that I wore before. 🥴 I wanted to create a collection of clothes for every woman that felt the same way that I did.

Janayia

3. What’s been your proudest moment as a business owner?

I’d say my proudest moment was when we opened our 1st brick and mortar location in one of Philadelphia’s most popular fashion districts. I was the youngest African American business owner in the district of over 300 businesses…at age 26.

4. What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?

There’s been quite a few challenges, but I believe balance is the biggest struggle for me at the moment.  The business hasn’t grown to a place where I can hire the help that I really need, so I wear many hats. At times I’m the photographer, editor, buyer, customer service rep, shipping and receiving…I literally do it all. But I believe that one day we’ll get to a place where we’ll be able to hire the help that we need. 

5. What are you looking forward to the most in the future of your business?

I’m hoping to one day open several brick and mortar locations, not just in my hometown, but nationwide. It’s extremely important to me to open these locations in Urban communities like the one I grew up in. I didn’t always feel this way, but as I’ve grown in this industry, I now realize how valuable I am to the next generation.  Businesses like mine need to be seen in our communities. Young ladies need to know that it’s attainable. I’d love to be an example to other young women, letting them know that they can “secure their own bag.”

6. What does it mean to you to be a Black business owner?

I’m extremely proud to be a Black business owner. I come from a long line of strong black women who have worked tirelessly for me to have the opportunities that I have today. Many of them have worked for less than their value, been paid “under the table”, and sometimes not paid at all, simply because of the color of their skin. They’ve instilled the importance of ownership, and an entrepreneurial spirit in me. And I hope that I have made them proud. Although they haven’t reached the level of success that I have, I know that if it had not been for their sacrifices, teaching, and tough love…there would be no Royalè.

7. How do we reach you?

www.ShopRoyaleClothing.com

Instagram: @ShopRoyale

Facebook: facebook.com/ShopRoyaleClothing

 

Artistry Defined

1. What’s the name of your business? What services do you offer?

Hi, my name is Dariana, and I am owner & lead makeup artist for Artistry Defined.

2. What was the inspiration behind creating your business?

The inspiration behind my business came from the desire to make women feel like the best version of themselves. There’s a certain pep in a woman’s step when she puts on her favorite lipstick after battling depression.  Or the power in her posture as she sits straight up & smiles because her blush, especially Brown & Black girls (who are told they can’t wear blush), is perfectly applied to compliment her smile. There’s power in knowing I get to be a part of that.

3. What’s been your proudest moment as a business owner?

My proudest moments are when I’m done with my brides and they look into the mirror & tear up. Luckily, I always use waterproof mascara & eyeliner. There’s

Dariana

this look that every bride gives me that lets me know, not only did they select the best artist that fits their needs for their special day, but also that they are ready to say yes to their soulmate. It’s beautiful & I get teary eyed almost every time, but quickly snap out of it to make sure my bride is picture perfect. Those are the moments I cherish the most.

4. What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?

My biggest challenge as a business owner is not giving into current beauty trends. Popular social media sites like Instagram, often popularize trends like glitter & cut creases. It’s challenging when brides or even everyday women come and sit in my chair and I have to inform them that, those looks aren’t realistic and don’t compliment their features.

That’s why my business motto is, “timeless looks, for the present beauty.” I hope that every person who sits in my chair, will be able to look back at pictures from their special moments, and still find their makeup to be beautiful & timeless, not tacky. *sips tea*

5. What are you looking forward to the most in the future of your business?

I’m excited about working with my brides who had to postpone their special day because of COVID-19. One of my bride’s, Sarah, is an RN, so it broke my heart when she not only had to postpone her wedding day, but also stand on the frontline as a healthcare provider. For some reason, I just know that this bridal season will be a little bit more meaningful.

6. What does it mean to you to be a Black business owner?

Being a Black business owner means that there’s no glass ceiling that I can’t shatter. I create opportunities not only for myself, but for others that share the same complexion as me. It’s knowing that while I’m on set, that little Brown girl will feel a little bit more comfortable because the person doing her makeup, is more likely to have her appropriate shade. To some it’s just makeup, to me, it’s not only revolutionizing Brown & Black beauty standard, but also evolving them as well.

7. How do we reach you?

Instagram: @ArtistryDefined1

https://instagram.com/artistrydefined1?igshid=16mmoptzsqd0f

Facebook: Artistry Defined MUA

https://www.facebook.com/ArtistryDefined1/

There’s A Fire

There was a picture of a building on fire in Minneapolis and however you may feel about it, I found some solace in knowing my rage could be photographed. Captured beautifully for all to see. Flames pointed towards heaven, hoping God would notice. There are no mirrors here, just smoke. And where there is smoke, there is fire. I’m on fire and the world has ran out of water, leaving me to burn with this rage.

You can’t scroll through your various social media accounts without seeing black lives matter hashtags or watch the news without hearing about protests. If your friendship network is somewhat similar to mine, you are consumed by all things related to black lives. Some of you have signed petitions, donated to different organizations, marched down city streets, shared relevant information, written letters, and had honest conversations with people who don’t look like you. And some of you are like me, no matter what you do, it just doesn’t seem like enough. Racism is sewn into the fabric of our society with a thread so fine, many will lead you to believe it’s not there. No matter how much of it we expose, there are still miles and miles left intact.


I heard someone ask their friend if they were going to protest. It was a fair question given the climate of our country but as I reflect back, I have to ask myself, “what year are we in?” I’ve been watching the series “A Different World,” and it amazes me that a show written over thirty years ago is still very relevant. We’re fighting the same fight and this week it felt like a losing battle for me. Not because I don’t think change can and will come, but I don’t know how to be a part of that change in a meaningful way. At least, that’s what I told myself but I realize that’s not true.


My dad’s family is from Mississippi and it’s not uncommon for someone to start a fire. Whether they’re burning trash, starting the grill, or keeping warm, one of my uncles or cousins always finds a way to contain the fire. With access to so much information, we can feel like everyone is doing more than we are or doing it better than we are. We think we don’t care enough because we’re not doing what they’re doing, like everyone has a fire going but us or the fire we do have going is far from contained. That’s simply not true. Do what you can where you are, however that may look. Not everyone is going to protest and not everyone is going to donate and not everyone is going to take the time to educate others, just do your part. No one gets to decide what your part is but you. Keep fighting the good fight knowing that a well contained fire will accomplish its goal.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.


Staff photo by Mark Vancleave of the StarTribune (May 2020)

Loving A Black Man

Inhale love for the black man, exhale love for the black man.
Inhale love for the black man, exhale love for the black man.
Inhale love for the black man, exhale love for the black man.

Sometimes I get upset that I allow tears to pierce the corners of my eyes. Once they are there, I cannot stop them from falling and it scares me that I will never be able to. That this feeling of despair is a prerequisite for loving black men. It is required learning, understood as necessary to carry such a love. And as difficult as it may be at times, I will carry it just as naturally as I carry the air in my lungs. When it gets hard to breathe, I will inhale a little deeper, soak up the particles of black boy joy floating in the air. The ones they do not want to see because they are too busy seeing a threat. I will hug a black man much tighter and much longer than I ever have before, allowing the sound of his heartbeat to be music to my ears. It will be a reminder that all of the good do not have to die young; that street pavements do not have to serve as death beds for black bodies at the insistence of white hands. I will let a black man see me cry, an act of vulnerability my own mother cannot tell you the last time she saw. Even with the tears falling against my will, my soul will be cleansed after it has been seen by this black man. I will pray I will be as safe a space for him as he has been for me. And I will breathe a bit easier and continue to breathe for all of those who no longer can.

Inhale love for the black man, exhale love for the black man.
Inhale love for the black man, exhale love for the black man.
Inhale love for the black man, exhale love for the black man.

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

By Jalethea Byrd

 

Filling Time With Feelings

I recently told someone it’s been May 20th the past couple of days in my world. Time has become such a fluid concept for me (which I’m sure my bosses did not appreciate considering I had deadlines to meet). However, as a child, I was obsessed with time. I wore ugly sports watches well into high school because I always wanted to know what time it was. Now, it just doesn’t seem to be that important. The days come and go. I’ve had really great days and other days, not so much. I’ve talked to friends a lot more than I usually would have. I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime most nights. I’ve read books. I haven’t written as much as I’ve wanted to. I’ve cooked (yes, me, I cooked). I’ve done bible plans. I’ve exercised. I’ve loathed video conferences. I’ve cried. I’ve taken breaks from social media and the news. I’ve prayed. I’ve laughed. I’ve done a whole lot since the world took a “kind of” pause but I’m realizing through writing this, that I’ve let a lot of time just go by.

Some days I’ve been really intentional. Sometimes I intentionally rested and sometimes I intentionally completed tasks, but I haven’t had enough of those intentional days. With that in mind, I’m going to do more to fill my time with things I set out to do (being intentional) instead of just going to bed at 4am, clueless as to how it got to be so late and unsure of what I’ve done with the day (being lazy). That may look like me sleeping in until noon some days and other days getting up at 8am (probably not going to do much earlier than that unless I’m highly motivated). That may look like reading a book for four hours or binge watching “A Different World.” That may look like praying/mediating for an hour or listening to music while playing Candy Crush Soda Saga. That may look like doing a video call with my college friends or harassing my younger sister about whatever comes to mind. That may look like writing about everything and nothing or looking up recipes I’m not going to make. And that may still look like, “today we’re going to just see what happens,” sometimes. We don’t all have to start a new business or become fitness gurus (shout out to those of you who did though; I can’t tell you how proud I am to call y’all friends!) but we all have to be responsible for what we do with our time. I want to fill my time with things that feel right for me. I want to look back and be able to say time did not pass me, but I decided how I passed it.

As in control as I thought God was, this whole pandemic has shown me just how true that is. He is working things out for good, and even after we get to our new normal, I always want to fill time with feelings.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

May 2020

From the Front Line

Whether or not we like it, we are all being affected by this pandemic. We do not have to know anyone personally who’s been infected by the virus or even died from it to feel its impact. We know we wash our hands more frequently and we wear masks everywhere we go and we can’t go and sit down anywhere outside of our homes to enjoy a meal. These slight inconveniences start to add up and can become overwhelming at times. We just want to go back to life as we know it but for too many, there is no such thing. COVID-19 has taken parts of them, they will never get back. I am grateful to have friends who risk their lives and well-being as they do their best to save others in a number of ways. Each of their perspectives helped me to complain a little bit less, knowing that although some states are opening some businesses, there are a lot of people still suffering.

 

 

What’s the most heartbreaking part about this pandemic?

The most heartbreaking part of this pandemic has been seeing these patients suffer and have no one there with them. Families talking with their loved ones through a phone, saying goodbye through FaceTime. It breaks your heart. – Jenn

The most heartbreaking part of this pandemic is seeing people die alone. At the most, we will set up FaceTime or something to let families see their dying loved ones. But for quarantine reasons no visitors are allowed in with patients who have the virus. – Ramone

The most heartbreaking part of this pandemic is the older people that are in lock down in the retirement homes in the city that I work in. Almost all of these people don’t have a lot of family in the area because they are snowbirds and can’t return home and their families can’t visit them. We offer free delivery at my company, but we don’t deliver over-the-counter items so for a lot of the residents, it’s hard for them to get supplies and you can hear the desperation in their voices. Even the delivery driver is scared to deliver to these retirement homes because one of the locations had a case. – Susan

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of this pandemic is hearing about and seeing families who have lost loved ones but were unable to attend their funerals or have optimal support during this time due to social distancing guidelines.  It is also extremely difficult to watch people and their families suffer due to not being able to work or provide the level of income necessary to sustain their livelihood at times where depression, uncertainty, and anxiety already have strongholds over their lives. – Anthony

What is most frustrating?

The most frustrating thing is people not taking this seriously, rushing for things to be “back to normal,’ thinking it’s fake news. They are not here at the bedside seeing these people struggling to breathe, flipped on their bellies to allow their lungs more space to expand, on multiple lifesaving medications, and people think it’s a hoax. I wish they could be in our shoes. I’d love to be at home ‘bored” instead of being paranoid 24 hours thinking that I could possibly get my husband or my son sick. – Jenn

The most frustrating thing is seeing all these protesters claiming this is an overreaction or hoax. Some say, “my body, my choice.” Truth is, it isn’t just your body; it’s an entire population safety concern. If it is “American” to only care about yourself, then I don’t want to be American. – Ramone

The most frustrating thing is the misinformation in the media. There was this whole drug regimen of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin that was a potential cure for the virus. It has no substantial evidence proving that it was effective. It got to the point where we couldn’t order hydroxychloroquine from our wholesaler. They put a hold on the drug. It really affected people who were on it for other medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. We had to limit these patients to 2 weeks supply. – Susan

An area that continues to frustrate me as a responsible member of society is the misinformation, politicization, and polarization of a world crisis that has severe crippling effects at a time where unification and compassion are most needed to build resiliency.  It is a daily struggle to help people cope and stay grounded when any time they attempt to amass hope, it is met with confusion from the national and local levels. – Anthony

How have you been personally affected?

My love language is physical touch. [And it’s been difficult] being unable to hug and kiss my family as much as I want to because I’m afraid of getting them sick. [My son and husband] have asthma, so I have to be extra careful and more cautious than most. I have nightmares now and trouble sleeping. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. – Jenn

It’s very difficult to complain since I am lucky enough to still have a job and income. It’s heartbreaking to see what nonessential workers are going through. Yes, it personally sucks to come home to an empty apartment and have very little interaction with the outside world aside from phone calls and FaceTime. I turn 30 next week but unfortunately it won’t be anything more than a small celebration to myself. – Ramone

I just miss the simple things like going out to eat, walking around the mall, seeing my sister. She has asthma and since I work with the public she doesn’t want to be around me. – Susan

Both my aunt and grandmother are in the hospital struggling with the virus at the moment to which we have found different ways as a family to connect, support each other, and yet feel helpless all at the same time. – Anthony

Have there been any highlights?

Our patients are doing better and recovering faster than the national average. We were able to flatten the curve in my state because residents came together and took necessary precautions. We have a bomb ass governor who quickly took action. – Jenn

The highlight of my day is seeing how the non-medical and medical community have really come together through all of this. There is a level of comradery we have not seen before. Local restaurants often cater food to support front line workers. Everyone is doing the best they can in a difficult situation. – Ramone

I am so grateful to still have a job and that my routine hasn’t been interrupted that much. – Susan

There have been quite a few positive takeaways from this crisis as people have found unique ways to come together against a common threat.  Families have had opportunities to bond and share in experiences that they have probably not shared in a while or for that matter at all in their lifetime. I have noticed even in my own neighborhood families walking together, walking their dogs, speaking to their neighbors, and others acts of kindness at places like the grocery stores.  People have also been more open to seek out therapy services as well as engage in online sessions due to relaxed tele-mental health guidelines, which has allowed for individuals and families to access increased mental health services from their own homes thereby decreasing significant barriers.  – Anthony

Colossians 3:14-15 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (NLT)