Most weeks before I sit down to start typing a blogpost I sort of map it out in my head. I might do this while walking my dog or baking or sewing, in the summer I do it while gardening and in the winter frequently while shovelling 😊
Today I thought-“do I start out by launching right into what life is like here in light of the pandemic or do I launch into my usual account of life in the world of Day Camps?” Then I thought about my own reactions to the posts I have encountered this week on the blogs and vlogs that I often check into when sitting down of an evening.  This week some of the people on those platforms have just published their usual stories of family life, or anecdotes about recipes they tried or their most recent craft projects. 
And what was my reaction to those sorts of posts? Well basically horror! How can any human being living on planet Earth possibly ignore the fact that our world has irrevocably changed this week? Everyone is impacted in some way, some way more than others but we are ALL in this together so I choose not to glibly jot down my usual activities but to think carefully, to reflect, to give thanks for those working on the front lines and to recount my week in light of a new “not normal” normal.

   It is as if each day another layer is added to the story and without a huge dose of God’s grace we can all feel totally overwhelmed and easily tip over the edge into panic mode.
    Last Sunday I was already dealing with fallout as a young couple with their baby who had planned to come for lunch after their church service called to say the baby had a fever so of course they would be staying home and also, of course, their church had been cancelled. Monday was the monthly Day Camp committee meeting. I had planned a meal for 4 people instead of just myself but realised that even the young adult committee members would not feel comfortable coming by public transit to a meeting so Plan B went into place. After much messaging back and forth we met virtually via Google Meet. Of course the meeting was tinged with some concerns but also included thanksgivings for the progress already made in many areas of Day Camp planning.
     We felt it prudent to postpone the April 4th Team Gathering to April 18th but otherwise it was “business as usual”.
     By the next morning a new reality was starting to set in as I spent most of my office time reading emails and texts about the many cancellations and closures in Montreal, in the province of Quebec, the country of Canada and yes, most of the world as all but essential services started to shut down and new phrases like “ self-isolation” and  “social distancing” crept into our daily vocabulary.
    The President of Crosstalk Ministries was stuck in England trying to find a flight back to Canada before all borders closed down. He finally made it home Thursday night and now we are figuring out if it is possible to hold an electronic version of our Annual General meeting, scheduled for March 29th
    It is evident that some serious issues will need to be discussed around the future of 2020 summer camp ministries and it would be wise to gather our membership together (virtually, if not in person!) to share corporately in making these weighty decisions.
   I covet your prayers on behalf of CTM as we face some sombre prospects.
   Personally, for the common good I am practicing social isolation and am thankful that I have a dog to keep me company. I am a total introvert and enjoy solitude but enforced solitude looks quite different from time alone interspersed with a constant stream of visitors and various meetings.
     Compared to many people, I still feel very blessed. A number of friends from near and far have reached out to me daily, to make sure I’m okay and to ask if I need help with errands. I have a safe warm home and access to food (even if the local organic grocer has closed its doors, the staff are still on site filling pick up orders). I have spent many hours, working on my pysanky or sewing Easter baskets while being fed and uplifted by podcasts and videos. Prayers have been shared via text messages, emails and phone calls and modern technology is no longer something to be taken for granted! Despite the current uncertainty and feelings of unease, it is so encouraging to hear all the stories of goodness coming to the fore and to sense more deeply than ever that we all live in one giant global village. 
     Let us remain steadfast in prayer and mindful of the present moment, leaning in on God’s mercy and grace to guide us through these uncharted waters. 
    Today has been “semi-normal” ,cold but with lovely sunny weather and the first sighting of a flock of  Canada Geese while Thomason and I were out on our morning walk.😊 
   I finished adding the final dye colour to my second batch of pysanky and spent almost an hour outside with a broom tidying up around the edges of the garden, even spotting the first snowdrops! However the neighbourhood is eerily quiet with much less traffic and way fewer people out walking. 
  As I type a second batch of Hot Cross Buns is in the oven so all in all there is much for which to be thankful despite the overarching weight of this crisis.
I was pretty sure I had previously shared my Hot Cross Bun Recipe here, but since a blog search hasn’t shown up a post including it, I’ve decided to include it today  and then finish off with a prayer.
Hot Cross Buns
2 Tbsps. yeast
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ cup warm water
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
4-5 cups unbleached flour
1 cup raisins
In a large bowl combine the warm water, brown sugar and yeast and allow to become foamy. Meanwhile scald the milk, remove from the heat and add the butter and brown sugar. When the milk mixture is lukewarm add it and the eggs to the yeast mixture and stir well.
Add 3 cups of flour, salt and spices, beat well and add the raisins. Continue gradually adding more flour until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Knead until smooth and set aside to rise until double in bulk.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide risen dough into 24 equal pieces and form into buns. Place on baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400º oven for 20 minutes. If buns brown too quickly reduce heat to 350º after 15 minutes.
Remove from oven to a rack and if desired brush with melted butter. Ice when completely cool.
For icing: – mix approx. 1 tsp. lemon juice with ½ cup icing sugar to achieve a thick spreadable icing.  
For many years I have followed the daily discipline of The Divine Hours. The prayer appointed for this week has been so extraordinarily apt that I shall close by sharing it here.
“Almighty God you know we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves. Keep me both outwardly in my body and inwardly in my soul, that I may be defended from all adversities, which may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul. Through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and  the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.”