Elizabeth Isaacs https://elizabethisaacs.com Bringing Fantasy Into Reality One Story at a Time Tue, 30 Jun 2020 17:38:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://elizabethisaacs.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-Untitled-design-37-32x32.png Elizabeth Isaacs https://elizabethisaacs.com 32 32 31619703 Legislating Integrity https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/06/legislating-integrity/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/06/legislating-integrity/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2020 17:38:15 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=2115 Read More]]> Selfishness has gripped this nation in a way never seen before, and “news” shows use fear-mongering and misinformation to create alternative realities for our most intellectually vulnerable. Straw man, false equivalence fallacies, and conspiracy theories have muddied the communication waters, making it almost impossible to keep our communities informed and safe.

The willfully ignorant hate facts that contradict their beliefs.

“Do your research!” They scream, yet they watch Youtube videos full of cherry-picked facts and outright lies, and they haven’t read so much as a post-it note in years.

“Don’t be a sheep!” They taunt, yet the outliers gather in groups and continue irresponsible behaviors, even when overwhelming evidence shows they are doing more harm than good.

“Think for yourself!” They bellow, yet they parrot talking points and propaganda with little understanding of why they feel so strongly about the subject in the first place.

We all indeed need to think for ourselves.

But cherry-picking facts and data to show people what they want to see isn’t science … it’s manipulation. Every pandemic expert has stated we must give doctors and researchers time to find a way to treat COVID or develop a vaccine.

Until then, they’ve asked that we physically distance from others and wear a mask.

It’s such a small thing to do when compared to what our doctors and nurses on the front lines have to endure.

States mandated everyone follow the suggested protocol and most citizens were on board–until the president refused to wear one and recently declared that some Americans wore masks as a way to show their disapproval of him.

This combined message drew a line in the sand, and his staunch supporters stopped protecting others, openly defying community guidelines. Hostility festered into resentment as a mask became a symbol of opposition, and not wearing one was a sign of solidarity.

But those refusing to wear a mask are missing the point entirely.

That cloth isn’t a criticism of governmental leadership, nor is it supporting abject liberalism.

It’s a sign of respect and integrity.

It shows others that I care about them and am willing to sacrifice to keep them safe. It shows my students that I believe in science that I’m willing to respect authority and stand up and do the right thing.

The pandemic isn’t a political one. It’s societal. The virus doesn’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat. It doesn’t care if you watch Fox News, CNN, or PBS. It doesn’t care if you are Christian, Muslim, or an Athiest.

Can we please learn this and move on?

I’ve lost friends to COVID. I have friends going through it right now. One only a few days in, and another over a month dealing with it. Both of them are struggling to get through as they fight to breathe.

We may not be able to legislate integrity, but we can encourage others to do the right thing. We can shout out companies and local businesses that follow best practices, and we can stop financially supporting businesses that don’t.

We can realize that zealots and extremists can never be swayed from their willful ignorance. These people deserve our compassion but not our time or energy.  Learn to walk away.

The situation hurts my heart on many levels. So many people are hurting. So many hating. So many not even caring that their lack of integrity could kill another human being. But, as frustrating as it is, we must recognize that no one deserves to die because of misinformation, misplaced loyalty, or outright lies. I don’t care who they support politically or what they believe.

We’re in this together.

As COVID blazes through parts of Texas, Arizona, and Florida, it’s created new epi-centers, adding unbearable weight to an already buckling healthcare system. I can only hope that people stop demanding we legislate integrity and start practicing it on their own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Life We Choose https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/06/the-life-we-choose/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/06/the-life-we-choose/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2020 19:40:31 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=2095 Read More]]> There are people in this world that light up a room when they enter it. They live so boldly, love so deeply, and have an ocean of compassion, so much so that it’s a joy just being around them.

Ann was such a person.

Fierce as a lion with a heart the size of Texas, she was a force all on her own. Her life wasn’t easy, and yet, she always focused on her blessings. She didn’t have to preach her faith because she lived it. Those around her could feel it in her hug, see it from the spark in her eyes, hear it in her laughter, and be consoled from it by her tears. She truly was one of the kindest, most compassionate, deeply loving people I’ve ever known.

Married for 32 years to a man steeped in their faith, together, they raised three boys that grew to be incredible men, who carry that same pervasive ability to live God’s word.

Her sons and grandbabies were her greatest joy, and she loved them to distraction. Her legacy of integrity, compassion, and faith will live on in them, of that, I have no doubt.

But it will also shine in every child she taught.

You see, among her many talents, Ann was an incredible early childhood educator.

Her classroom was full of laughter, creativity, and love. She believed in exploration, curiosity, and developing conversation skills. Music, stories, and art were always front and center in her room, and she treated each child as if they were her own. She modeled kindness. She listened with intensity.  Most of all, she made sure every child knew they were important–that they mattered in this world. And that is a gift they will carry with them forever.

I loved watching her teach. I loved talking with her about education. I loved learning from her example.  I loved her joy.

The world isn’t as bright without her light shining in it. But I take solace in the fact that everyone who knew her carries a flicker of her tenacity, her integrity, and her passion for the church and the teachings of Jesus.

As for me, I’ll take Ann’s precious spark and honor her by letting it shine in my classroom. I’ll let it ignite my compassion for those less fortunate, let it flame for justice for the poor and marginalized of this nation. I’ll let it forge my integrity, so I have the courage to stand up for what is right. And when I feel empty and alone, I’ll let it warm my heart and remind me that where there is compassion, there is love. Where there is empathy, there is hope. And when we forgive, there is grace. And then I’ll do what Ann did. I’ll choose to embrace life and be grateful for the many blessings in it.

So go rest high, my fierce friend. And know that we will honor your good work until we see you again.

 

 

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An Art’s Intent https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/06/an-arts-intent/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/06/an-arts-intent/#respond Sat, 06 Jun 2020 17:59:25 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=2085 Read More]]> For those that haven’t read the Kailmeyra series, in book two, The Secret of the Keepers, Nora, the protagonist in the series, develops the ability to feel an artist’s intent simply by touching their work. She sees their memories, hears their thoughts. She understands their heart, their passion, and their inspiration.

It’s a trait I’ve always dreamed of having. Historically, it would clear up a lot of things, wouldn’t it?

Take, for example, the recent controversy over removing confederate statues from our nation’s landscape. Most of these monuments depict leaders of the Confederate army, but very few of them were created during the post-civil war era from 1865-1900. Instead, the majority of Confederate statues were commissioned during the Jim Crow era, a time between 1900 and 1960 when states initiated statutes and laws that legalized segregation. Named after black minstrel shows, Jim Crow laws denied black and brown people voting rights, employment, education, and other opportunities. People who defied these laws were arrested, fined, sentenced to jail, faced violence, or were outright murdered.

Some are horrified that these statues still exist while others say they’re no big deal. It’s a piece of art, and that big horse with a soldier on top looks cool in the town square. Who really cares if it’s General Lee atop his trusty steed or just a soldier in a uniform? Art is art, right?

Uh … no. Not really.

Art is an expression of the human condition. It speaks when words fail. It has the power to shape our mindset, solidify our beliefs, and change how we see the world.

The arts are a tangible manifestation of our humanity, and the intent behind that creation should never be discounted, nor its power underestimated.

For example, the Confederate monument in Arlington Cemetery was commissioned in 1900 when Congress authorized Confederate soldiers’ remains to be interred there. I believe the intent of this statue is one of unification, it was an effort to give solace to those who still mourned the loss of their family. If Nora were to touch this statue, I imagine she would feel pain, grief, and loss, but also hope for a better future and a fierce desire that we never forget the mistakes of the past. There are smaller monuments like this in Confederate grave sights across the south.

Most Confederate monuments aren’t in cemeteries. They stand in town squares next to courthouses across the south. While a few of these were created pre 1900, the vast majority were erected during the Jim Crow era.

I wonder what Nora would feel if she ran her hand across a portrayal of General Lee, or the monument to General Bragg in Georgia? Would she experience overwhelming economic and human loss? Would she sense arrogant pride and misguided loyalty to those who fought to enslave others, or would she see hatred and anger toward a group of people that wanted equality and justice?

And what about the statue of Jefferson Davis, which stands in Kentucky’s capital in Frankfort? This was carved by famous Confederacy monument artist Fredrick Cleveland Hibbard. The United Daughters of the Confederacy raised $5,000 dollars and commissioned the work in 1934. Governor “Happy” Chandler unveiled the work in 1936, and the statue has been in Kentucky’s capital since.

It is an incredible piece of art created by a master craftsman. But what is it’s intent?

That’s the important question here.  Most believe the Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned the statue in an attempt to redeem the names of their fathers and grandfathers that fought on the losing side of the war. Some believe that glorifying Davis, the president of the Confederacy, is a way to rewrite history, to justify the south’s decision to secede from the union in the first place.

The controversy of Davis’ statue isn’t new.  A few years ago the plaque commemorating Davis as a hero was removed and replaced with historical pamphlets for visitors to read.

Today, some vehemently oppose rehoming the statue because it’s part of our history. Others feel it glorifies a man that led the charge to keep this country divided and its black and brown citizens enslaved.

Personally, I’d like to see the sculpture moved to a museum where people can focus and reflect on its historical significance. It seems more appropriate than keeping it in a place where Kentucky legislation is decided upon.  After all, it’s a larger-than-life depiction of a Confederate President that was hellbent on white supremacy.

And I don’t think we need Nora to understand the intent of that, now do we?

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What is it about this man? https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/06/what-is-it-about-this-man/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/06/what-is-it-about-this-man/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2020 15:55:47 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=2061 Read More]]> Some will view this as a political post. It isn’t intended to be. This is not a criticism nor an endorsement of any political party. It’s a question I’ve had on my heart a long, long time.

I have a diverse group of friends that represent a wide range of points of view. They come from different countries, different political ideologies, different sexual orientations, and religious affiliations, or no religion at all.  They make me look at the world through different eyes, question my own perceptions, beliefs, and implicit bias.

They make me a better human.

They do have one common trait though–they have integrity.  If you’ve read any of my work you’ll know that integrity is a trait I value more than anything.

In order to get to the heart of the question, we have to go back a few years.

To a time when there were seventeen people on a stage.

Sixteen men. One woman.

Creator: Mark J. Terrill | Credit: AP

Creator: Mark J. Terrill | Credit: AP

Senators, governors, a neurosurgeon, a CEO of a major tech company. They came together to discuss issues and throw their hat in the ring to represent the Republican Party, a party that stood on the pillars of conservatism and fiscal responsibility. A party that branded themselves with integrity and values. This was the party of Lincoln. The party that denounced slavery, called for social and economic modernization. Under Roosevelt, they started the National Parks Service to conserve our natural resources, and, under Nixon, created the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sixteen of these candidates had shown, through time and experience, their loyalty to these beliefs. All but three had already represented their party in political offices before.

And yet, one of these candidates had declared bankruptcy four times.

One candidate was accused of contracting jobs yet only paying a fraction of the bid, which led to numerous lawsuits.

One candidate had bragged about “going after” women. He didn’t ask … he just started kissing.

One candidate openly mocked the disabled.

One candidate had taken out a full-page ad demanding New York bring back the death penalty for five black men accused of raping a white woman in Central Park. Years later, the men were proven innocent, the convictions overturned,  but this man refused to admit he was wrong.

One candidate stated that hundreds of Muslims celebrated on the streets of New Jersey as the twin towers fell. The lie fed misdirected hatred and rage that had Muslim Americans in fear for their safety.

One candidate claimed a previous president hadn’t been born in the United States. This false conspiracy fanned the flames of racial and religious bias that grew for eight long years.

One candidate was charged in a child rape case alongside convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. He denied the charges, and Epstein died from a reported suicide before the matter could be settled.

All of these events have been reported in hundreds of news outlets throughout the world and are, unfortunately, factual and true. For any of the other sixteen candidates on that stage, just being implicated in one of these would have been a death blow for political aspirations, and, most likely, the Republican National Committee would have demanded they leave the party.

Even with all of these events combined–the fiscal recklessness, immoral behavior, lies, and unethical practices–the RNC still supported him. Those that originally questioned his ability to lead remained silent as the Republican Party nominated a very un-Republican man.

Why?

I understand people were tired of the bickering and partisanship that kept our government in bitter gridlock. They were sick of nothing getting done in Washington. Corruption ran like wildfire through both the house and senate, on both sides of the aisle. Eight long years of political polarization had left politicians frustrated and angry. The American people allowed that anger to boil into a misguided rage. Political leaders from both parties were demonized, vilified, and condemned until people were so blinded by hate it smothered any hope of seeing the other side of an issue.

It only makes sense that they’d want to take a chance on someone outside the national political arena. Someone with fresh insight that might be able to break the toxic cycle and get something done.

But there were others on that stage that fit that bill. Others that didn’t openly bully and malign fellow candidates. Others that understood the importance of language and syntax, of setting the right tone, of reaching out to those that believe differently and working together to move this country forward.

Others that had displayed integrity through their actions and their words.

And yet, they chose this man.

Why?

Because he “told it like it was?”

Did he really?

Was our country weak? Were people laughing at us? Was Mexico sending their rapists? Were our airports disastrous? Were we losing? Is the American dream really dead?

Or was this man feeding people’s fears and fanning the flames of implicit bias of those supporting him?

The Republicans I know are good people. They believe in hard work. They pay their taxes, support their communities, they are devout in their faith and they genuinely want to do the right thing. And after the hardships of this past year, the majority of my conservative friends that voted for this man no longer support him, not fully, anyway. Some have joined the Lincoln Project in an effort to bring back the original ideals of Republicanism. Others are now active in RepresentUs to help fix rampant corruption and bring about change.

But for those who still love this man, who defends his behavior, who still blindly pledge their fealty to the man, not the platform on which he stands; for those that willfully remain ignorant on issues and facts that show this man’s flaws; for those that scream “fake news” at facts they don’t want to hear; for those that try and justify his condemnable actions by bringing up past wrongs from other leaders, I genuinely want to know.

What is it about this man that causes such cult-like devotion and blind, unwavering loyalty?

Because I gotta admit, I just don’t get it.

 

(cover photo by Christopher Aluka Berry—Reuters)

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Enough https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/enough/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/enough/#comments Sun, 31 May 2020 23:00:47 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=2045 Read More]]> Enough

I’m so tired of hate.
I’m tired of people excusing hate.
I’m tired of people giving their loyalty to politicians that never earned their trust.
I’m tired of lies.
And conspiracy theories.
And alternative facts.
And willful ignorance.
I’m tired of this damn virus stealing bright souls that served as beacons in this dark world.
I’m tired of greed.
And bullying.
And callousness.
And violence.
And death.
My heart aches from it all.

We need integrity.

That long-forgotten character trait of standing up for what is right.
Even when it’s hard.
Even when no one is watching.
Even when you stand alone.
No justification of one wrong deserving another.
No playground logic of “well they did it first.”
No strawman or false equivalence fallacies.
No “well that’s the way it’s always been.”
No justification for heinous behavior because people are too damn arrogant to question their own beliefs.
Just integrity for the sake of truth.
Hate is hate.
Lies are lies.
Racism is wrong.

We’re all Americans.

We have the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Every single one of us.
But with that comes responsibility.
A responsibility to fill out our census.
To show up and vote.
To shed light on corruption.
To watch out for our neighbors.
To listen with the intent of understanding.
To be a part of the solution.
We have a responsibility to create a better world.

Enough.

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We Must Do Better https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/we-must-do-better/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/we-must-do-better/#comments Sat, 30 May 2020 15:26:48 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=2028 Read More]]> I once tried to pay for gas with counterfeit money. True story.

It was years ago. I’d just taken the kiddos to one of those summer carnivals that had sprung up overnight in an old mall’s parking lot. The kids always loved to go, even though I wouldn’t let them ride the shoddy roller coasters. We went for the smaller rides, the games, and those ridiculously delicious funnel cakes. I gave the woman at the entrance a fifty and asked for thirty dollars in tickets. She whipped the tickets off a roll and handed them to me, along with a twenty-dollar bill. I divvied up the tickets, shoved the money in my pocket, and off we went to the tilt-a-whirl.

On the way home, I stopped for gas and headed in to pre-pay and handed the cashier that twenty.

She looked at it for a second and handed it right back. “I’m sorry. I can’t take this.”

I frowned. “Why not?”

“It’s fake.”

I glanced over my shoulder and looked at the line behind me, humiliated that I had an audience as I fumbled through the story about getting change at the carnival. We exchanged a few more sentences, me apologizing profusely while she assured she’d warn other customers about the fair.  The next day, I took the money to the bank and told the cashier what happened. She thanked me for bringing it in and said they’d seen a rash of counterfeit money. She asked if she could give my name and number to the authorities in case they needed a statement.

I said sure, no problem.

Why am I telling this story now?

Because the cashier that refused to take the money didn’t assume that I was a thief.

Because no one in line automatically called the police.

Because at no time did I fear for my life or the lives of my children.

Because it never occurred to me to be scared when I went to the bank and turned in the money, nor was I afraid when the teller asked to give my name to the authorities.

I was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, southern mamma with two kids in an SUV.  At no time was I afraid that someone would accuse me of a crime I didn’t commit.  It never occurred to me that my children could watch their mother being carted off in handcuffs—or for that matter being choked to death with a knee to the neck as she pled for mercy.

Racism and abuse of power are painful on so many levels, and it has such a toxic effect on every aspect of our communities, especially with our relationship with the police. For me, that’s personal because my brother-in-law is a retired officer. For years, I watched him put himself in harm’s way to keep others safe. He never lost his cool and chose to defuse situations with humor and compassion instead of intimidation, fear, and brute force.

Clearly, the officer that executed George Floyd in broad daylight didn’t deserve to wear the uniform.

But he wore it for years–and that is an issue we must address.

If this were just a police issue, we could fix it by better implicit bias training to help individuals root out hidden prejudices. We’d pay more attention to officers’ mental health, recognizing that, over time, their high-stress job brings with it mental strain and trauma that can harden hearts and affect decision-making processes.

It’s a start. But this isn’t just a police issue–it’s a societal one.

Developing better training for our officers isn’t going to take care of a woman in the park calling  911 because a bird watcher asked her to put her dog on a leash. Nor is it going to fix racist assholes that hunt down joggers and murder them on neighborhood streets.

In order to fix this, everyone must acknowledge racism still exists in this country and we must reflect on how or if we play a role in it.

I cannot begin to fathom the pain that George’s family is going through. Nor can I understand the frustration of having the police called on me just because I look “suspicious,” or I “fit a description.” I cannot imagine what it must be like to jog down the street and wonder if the truck driving behind me is full of people who hate me simply because of the color of my skin.

But I can grieve with those that do. I can listen with the intent of understanding. I can look in the mirror and ask myself if I’m part of the problem or part of the solution.

And I can talk with others, stand up and speak when I see injustice. In time, God willing, through compassion, understanding, kindness, and love, we’ll find the ability to look past the soul’s husk we call a body and see the humanity within.

And then, maybe, just maybe, we will truly be one nation. Under God. Indivisible. With liberty and justice for all.

 

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The Danger of Ignorance https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/the-danger-of-ignorance/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/the-danger-of-ignorance/#respond Sun, 17 May 2020 12:13:28 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1996 Read More]]> Last week, sweet Lucy, my fifteen-year-old pup, developed a limp that turned into her hobbling around on three paws. I called the vet, but they were booked, and so I contacted a clinic recommended by a friend that took walk-ins.

A half an hour later and one town over, we pulled up to the little cement building. I’d been told to come in and register when we got there, but then we’d have to wait in the car until it was our turn. Mask firmly in place and sanitizer at the ready, I walked through the front door and froze.

Several people stood in the small reception area, and I was the only one wearing a mask.

I threw Lucy’s name on the waiting list and left the area as quickly as I could.  Now leery, I wasn’t sure what to do. This place obviously was lax in pandemic protocols. But it was Saturday, and by the time I made it back home, most offices would be closed, and they wouldn’t reopen until Monday morning.  I had two choices: either stay and take my chances or leave and try and make Lucy as comfortable as possible until I could find another vet with an opening.

We spent two hours in the car, watching people meander in and out no masks on, acting like the pandemic wasn’t a thing. By the time they texted that it was our turn, I was completely stressed out.  I carried Luce in, and the vet tech had zero PPE and stood right next to me. When the vet came in, he didn’t have a mask or gloves on either. He asked a few questions, rotated Lucy’s elbow, poked on her a bit, and declared she had arthritis.  As he walked out to write Lucy’s prescription, and I finally asked the tech why no one was wearing a mask.

“It’s just a bad flu. I figure I’ll get it eventually. And wearing a mask don’t protect me from getting it. It only stops me spreadin’ it to others.”

I raised my brows. “Exactly.”

She just smiled, never making the connection that I was wearing a mask to protect her–it’d be nice if she’d do the same for me.

As I paid the bill and got Lucy’s medicine, I regretted ever stepping foot in the building.

On my way home, I came up with about a million things I should have said to her–stats about asymptomatic people spreading the disease. Or new cases that show just how contagious this thing really is. Maybe I should have brought up the fact that this is a novel virus, and we have no idea the long term effects of it or how to treat the disease.

But in the end, it wouldn’t have mattered what I had said. Everyone working in that office has access to the same information I do. Our governor gives an update every day at five, for Pete’s sake. And the state has given every business open strict safety guidelines they’re supposed to use during this pandemic. This wasn’t a matter of being uneducated. It was a matter of willful ignorance.

Willful ignorance is the practice or act of intentional and blatant avoidance, disregard, or disagreement with facts, empirical evidence and well-founded arguements because they oppose or contradict your own existing personal beliefs.

My granddad used to say that we can deny reality all we want to, but we won’t be able to deny the consequences. And he’s right.

The willfully ignorant can deny science, buck the system, and not wear a mask or bother with social distancing. They can scream about the rating-whore media blowing things out of proportion. They can cling to conspiracy theories that feed into what they want to believe, so they’ll feel justified when they protest about their right to open up the bars.

But when the virus spikes and finds its way into their businesses, their homes. When the people they care about fall sick and seek care, but the system can’t keep up with the cases. When one of their loved ones needs a ventilator and there isn’t one available, they won’t be able to deny the truth then.

And that’s what makes willful ignorance so damn dangerous.

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The Truth of it All https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/the-truth-of-it-all/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/the-truth-of-it-all/#respond Mon, 04 May 2020 17:44:51 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1980 Read More]]>  

Aristotle said, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”

Most artists I know feel this way. Art is an expression of inward truths manifested in words, brush strokes, movement, and sound. The most powerful art leaves its audience reflecting on the experience and how it pertains to their lives.  It helps us understand empathy, but it also allows us to question our beliefs, giving us room to grow.

This is why I love this video from the brilliant site of  Gregorybutifthis.  The piece gives me hope that enduring the pandemic may shape us into a better society and give us new insight into creating a better world.

Enjoy!

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Mother’s Day Giveaway https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/mothers-day-giveaway/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/05/mothers-day-giveaway/#respond Sat, 02 May 2020 12:32:03 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1971 Read More]]>

 

Mother’s Day Giveaway!
Enter to win $230 in prizes!!
$50 Amazon Gift Card, Deluxe Rosy Bouquet & Belgium Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
To enter follow each participating author on Bookbub. One lucky winner will be spoiled by all of us on Mother’s Day.
Giveaway ends at midnight on 5/7. One lovely winner will be contacted via email on 5/8.
*If for some reason we are not able to deliver the prizes to your area, you will receive an Amazon Gift Card in place of the cost of the prizes. In order to be eligible, you must follow all the participating authors.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sanity in the Storm https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/04/sanity-in-the-storm/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2020/04/sanity-in-the-storm/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2020 20:56:05 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1941 Read More]]> March 2020 officially goes under the “never would I ever” category of life. Never would I ever have thought I’d see a pandemic, nor the ravaging effects on what quarantining an entire nation does to the American psyche.

When all this started I thought I’d found a silver lining in a storm cloud. Being forced to stay home meant having time to finish those deep edits, then start on that new story I’ve been promising my agent I’d write. I’d blog every damn day. Call old friends and catch up. Relax. The world was giving me a chance to take a breather, and I was ready to grab the opportunity with both hands.

But I quickly realized it’s impossible to relax when my children have quarantined hundreds of miles away.  And as a teacher I’d wake at three in the morning, worried if my students have enough food and are safe and warm. My parents are at high risk. My sister works in a hospital, and my brother and his family live in another state. My aunt is extremely sick, and one of my best friends is recovering from cancer–what’ll happen if she needs help?

Suddenly, that silver lining became liquid mercury–toxic, poisonous when touched, seeping into the very marrow of my bones.

A week passed. I found myself  upset, sleep-deprived, and extremely self-critical because I’d been given the precious gift of time, and I was wasting it. And then came the social media posts about Shakespeare creating masterpieces while being quarantined. Even better, some “motivational speaker” on LinkedIn created a post saying, “If you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill, your side hustle started, or more knowledge, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline.”

Which, of course, made me feel like an utter and complete loser.

Thank God I came across an article by the incomparable Jane Friedman, entitled Writing from the Bottom Rung: How to Sustain Your Creativity During a Pandemic. In the article, Jane reminds her readers that creativity rests at the top of  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, where self-actualization exists. In order to get there we have to have security, safety, and a sense of belonging.

That day, I looked at my anxiety levels and how I could decrease them by helping to nourish the things at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid.

And then I went and fixed that LinkedIn graphic that had been bothering me so much.

It’s working. After two weeks of struggling to string a sentence together, I’m writing again. I thought I’d share what I’m doing in hopes that I might be able to help you if you’re struggling too.

#1 Limit your news intake.

Good Lord. Listening to the news anymore is the equivalent of a “shock and awe” military campaign. One bombshell after another, overwhelming me until anxiety forms in my throat like I tried to swallow a pill and it got stuck.

And so, I’m limiting my intake of news. The key is to take in information that helps control your situation. I can’t smack Wisconsin’s supreme court for demanding the polls be open during a pandemic, putting American lives at risk. But I can contact my state government and make sure that doesn’t happen here. I can’t stop the federal government from buying all the PPE. But I can stay home so the virus doesn’t spread, lessening the need for personal protective equipment on the front line. I only read COVID information here. It’s factual and to the point. And every day at five, I grab a glass of wine and join my fellow Kentuckians on Facebook to watch our incredible Governor, Andy Beshear. My friends and I text while listening to updates. Andy reminds us that we will get through this, and we’ll do it together. Honestly, his compassion while delivering tough news has made this horrific tragedy bearable.

#2. Find a positive place on Social Media and cling to it like a liferaft in a storm.

I no longer go on my FB feed, but I do visit groups, like The Society, or Mindy Ruiz’s Heartbreakers. And, of course, I love sifting through all the memes on the Andy Beshear Memes for Social Distancing Teens.  These sites frown on negative comments, which gives me a respite from the world.

#3. Compassion goes a long, long way.

Anger is rooted in fear. When someone lashes out, especially now, instead of getting offended or biting back, try to look at the situation through compassionate eyes. God knows we all need a ton of grace right now.

#4. Limit the times you allow yourself to complain but search for ways to show gratitude.

There’s science behind how constantly complaining affects your brain, your health, and even your intelligence. Complaining is a habit that affects our take on reality–but so is gratitude. I start every day by naming ten things I’m grateful for. And saying them out loud is a game-changer when it comes to shifting your mindset.

#5. Listen to music

Take some time to listen to music with strong positive emotional attachments. That song you played at your wedding, or the music you listened to when you first learned how to dance. For me, it’s Chicago, Tower of Power, or anything Genisis–music that we played in College and on the road in Drum Corp.

What about you? What are your coping skills to stay sane during this pandemic storm?

 

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