Hidden Dangers of COVID 19: Love Shouldn’t Hurt

 “Husband for Sale”. We have all seen funny memes on Facebook during the quarantines of COVID 19 and thank goodness most of us have been able to see some semblance of humor in the darkness of this period in our lives. When can our kids go back to school? When can I go back to work? Will I even have a job to go back to when all this is over? Cohabitating with another person, or more if there are children or aging in-laws in the house, is hard enough as it is, but when you add quarantine and 24/7 isolation with each other, it adds another whole layer to the foundation. When people retire, I have heard jokes about how they will be able to tolerate the other person when he or she is home all the time, but many a truth is said in jest, and this is a real concern for some people. Routines are disrupted and things one may have disliked about another that used to be like a pebble in the ocean may now look like a boulder in a dry creek. Most household members can ultimately learn to cope and live with each other with minimal damage until the existential crisis is over, but not all.

The crisis we have been facing since Feb 2020 has given birth to even more concerning crises for some couples. Not every couple lives in bliss.  According to a February 2018 article sponsored by eHarmony, 64 % of couples reported they were happy. That leaves approximately 36% that are not. A certain percentage of these unhappy couples may have an even darker side: they may be either perpetrators or victims of domestic abuse. One in four women and one in seven men have been injured at the hands of an intimate partner. Every three seconds someone is assaulted by someone with whom they should be sharing love. Since the COVID 19 pandemic, calls to crisis centers and demands for emergency shelter have been overwhelming. These are the unseen tragedies directly related to COVID 19 that you may not see in the news every day. All of the stressors that everyone feels are exponentially worse for those with anger and control issues.

The term Domestic Violence has been all but replaced by the term Intimate Partner Violence, since not all violence occurs within the confines of a domestic situation. It can occur with dating couples, even in high school. It’s not always women who are victims, either. Although usually in less violent ways, women do abuse men. These cases often go unreported because men may be embarrassed about being assaulted by a woman. She might also threaten to take the children away from him, or if she controls the checkbook, she can withhold financial information from him. She might also threaten him with slander to family, friends, and even employers. In addition, there are no shelters for men at this point due to the supply and demand factor. Since there are generally more women than men who are abused, and because the danger to women is greater because men are usually more violent than women, the demand is not there for men. There is help for men, though, in the way of counseling resources and the legal process, if necessary.

There is another group that is also underrepresented in the statistics, and that is same-sex couples. There is a dearth of information on this group because few studies have been done on them, but, despite what may be the perception people have, it seems that the incidence of IPV may even be higher than that of heterosexual couples because of stressors that are unique to them, mostly from a societal standpoint. They need more specialized help than others, from professionals experienced in dealing with those with this unique set of issues. There is little doubt that more studies need to be done on same-sex couples and Intimate Partner Violence.

When I wrote my book, ”The Prettiest House on the Block: A Revealing Story of Domestic Partner Abuse”, I had absolutely no idea of the significance it would carry when it was released. My subject and I wanted to increase awareness of this persistent and devastating piece of our world, but we were oblivious to the impending  pandemic that would change our lives forever. I go into great detail on many aspects of this problem in my book, which is available on amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Prettiest-House-Block-Revealing-Domestic/dp/0999146092/ref=sr_1_1?crid=21MX4G0A71RLC&dchild=1&keywords=the+prettiest+house+on+the+block&qid=1600750507&sprefix=the+prettiest+house%2Cfinancial%2C162&sr=8-1, and at

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-prettiest-house-on-the-block-patricia-a-schoch/1137577058?ean=9780999146095.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know may be in trouble, please call The Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or if you cannot speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474. Love shouldn’t hurt.

Bloomin’ Thought for the Day: Love One Another

John 12: 34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

When I was planning my new rose garden, I chose 5 roses, each with a different color. I’m not a vanilla kind of gal; I need a variety of flavors in my life. I think that’s why I worked in Emergency Rooms for the majority of my nursing career. We never knew what was coming in, so we had to be on high alert through the whole shift. I enjoyed the challenges each new day presented, and the knowledge I acquired from them. There was always something new to learn.

I’m feeling a bit frustrated right now, though, because the challenges that are smacking me in the head are those that we are all facing, not just nurses and doctors. We are all trying to discern ways to deal with COVID 19. This is something that none of us have ever experienced, and one that seemingly has no end.

There is a larger problem, however, that also seems unlikely to end any time soon. The racial tensions in America are at the highest levels I think anyone has ever seen, and I can’t help but think we are making matters worse instead of better. Hate is spilling over the top from both sides, racial and political, and the chasm between them seems to be growing deeper.  As a child, I never felt any fear or animosity against anyone unless they hurt me, and even then, by the next day the transgression was forgotten. I still give people who hurt me multiple chances at reconciliation.

Now, though, I struggle to understand, or make sense out of, the violence that is poisoning our lives. I’m angry seeing innocent people being harmed or killed or businesses destroyed. So many people have tried to explain that this is in response to many years of persecution that African Americans have endured. As much as I do understand that, no one can convince me that violence is the answer, especially since I believe that the residual riots have little to nothing to do with the initial trigger. Changes need to be made for sure, but it will take time, and we have to be patient. I must believe that peace will come. I don’t know when or how, and the resolution may be painful, but I can’t imagine we can sustain ourselves as a nation with all this hate and anger.

As I was enjoying my rose garden today, I was struck by the fact that, of the seven rose bushes I planted, all are either already beautiful, or showing healthy growth, but one: my Peace Rose. Granted, I planted it later than the rest, but it’s not even showing even tiny signs of growth yet.  I placed it right in the middle of the multicolored roses. As I contemplated the question of whether my Peace Rose will grow or not it, I became sad. Isn’t it a bit like the turmoil of today? Different colors on both sides of the virtual battlefields, and peace hasn’t yet begun to grow.

Just as African Americans are trying to achieve recognition and reparations in the world, God is also at work trying to do the same thing. I believe He is pleading with us to turn our attention to Him and to His sovereign words, the most important of which is love. If we would all do that, “red and yellow, black and white”, and remember that we are all “precious in His sight”, this world might stand a chance at survival. “Jesus loves the little children of the world”, and adults, too, and He charges us to do the same.

New Life

Little did I know, when our Realtor gave us a bluebird house in 2001 as a house-warming gift, that it would bring us such joy. We get 2-3 families every year who grow up and fly away to spread their beauty and happiness in the world. I did some research on bluebirds and was totally enamored with them. When we moved to our new home two years ago, we brought the little house along, and the locals wasted no time in finding it.

During breeding season, I lift the door of the house to check on the eggs and babies, sometimes pulling out the insert that holds the nest to check on them. Contrary to what you might think, you can touch a nest and the parents will come back. They may not be happy about it, and they are never far away, but they will come back. I can see Mom and Dad watching me from a rooftop, from the basketball pole, or from my arbor with its graceful honeysuckle vine. I’ve read that you can even remove the babies and check them for insects. Nope, nope. That’s Momma’s job. The scariest time I ever experienced with my bluebirds was when I removed the nest to look at them and the babies flew out. Wow, was Momma mad! She flitted all over the place trying to round up her babies, dive-bombing me and yelling at me all the while. They were all fine, so I retreated into the sanctity of my home. I never took that nest out again when they started getting big!

These babies are different for me than the others. They were born on Easter Sunday, Jesus’s day of resurrection. I had looked at them on Saturday and Momma was sitting on the eggs, totally oblivious to the dangers lurking in the hands of this human being peering in at her. Animal instincts never cease to amaze me. On Sunday when I checked, there were the five babies, looking less like baby birds than tiny alien creatures. I slid my phone in above the brood and snapped the picture, never expecting to capture the wonder of life that I did. I had taken many photographs before, both inside and outside of the house, but I don’t think I ever caught them on the day of their birth.

These new lives came in the midst of chaos. COVID 19 has wreaked havoc on our nation and our world, without providing us with any information about when its destruction will stop or where to go from there. Just as a mother experiencing the birth of her child, we are living with fear, uncertainty, and pain, but just as a woman’s labor ends and bluebird eggs hatch, so will this pass. We will heal and we will prevail. My bluebirds convinced me of that. We, also, will experience new life, a rebirth. It likely won’t be as it was before, but we will get our lives back and we will survive. I don’t know the story of how bluebirds became associated with happiness, but I know that every time I see them, I smile. Find your “bluebirds” and smile. We have this.

Mask Not What Your Country Can Do For you

CALLING ALL SEWERS

What will this country do if we run out of masks? I think we are all getting a little antsy at home so maybe we can use this time to do some good. As a retired nurse, I feel helpless at home. I thought about going back to work, but as a senior citizen I’m in a high risk group, and I have a large local family to think about, so I’ll be taking a break from my book and opening up my sewing room for a bit. If you are like me, you have tons of extra fabric sitting around. If not, you can order supplies online and have them delivered. There are multiple sites that show you how to do it. The first one is on the Joann Fabric website and they provide a video on how to make them. They’re simple but you need to make your own (easy) pattern. If you are looking to sew en masse, these would be OK. Just be aware they won’t be much protection against COVID 19 because they don’t have a filter. https://www.joann.com/ . The next one is the one I think I will use. They look a bit more time consuming but still easy. They have a pocket to put a filter in, a bendy tie for across the nose, and the mask goes under the chin. I haven’t tried to buy filters yet so I’m not sure if they will be available, but if not, a heavier fabric is, again, better than nothing, I think. For all of them, the recommendation is a heavier, non-stretch fabric like denim, duck cloth, burlap, etc. https://www.properfitclothing.com/product-page/flu-mask-pattern-download. This next one is fashioned like the N 95 respirators. I did not watch the entire video yet, truth be told, but you can check it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSeDlVxQx1k.

There are other sites, too; this is just a sampling. Surf and see which one you like best. The CDC goes back and forth on what is acceptable, but if nothing else, they might at least protect the nose and mouth from the juicier coughs and sneezes.

And here is my next brainstorm for non-sewers. You can start laughing right now. I don’t see why we couldn’t fashion masks out of panty liners. They are made of thick, waterproof material and are soft. We could attach elastic or fabric ties to them with a couple of stitches. It certainly wouldn’t provide the coverage or protection that an N 95 or surgical mask would, but it would be better than nothing if we run out. And that’s all I’m going to say about that!

Ladies and gentlemen, use this time at home to help your community and your country and please, stay safe.