Coping with COVID-19

Every day we are hearing various suggestions related to how we may cope with the necessary restrictions that have been put in place due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. These are confining days of unprecedented and mandated social isolation. It has been hard on all of us, yet predictably we are helping each other to find ways to make this temporary "new normal" manageable and even instructional.

The Keppler's have been maintaining our schedule. Those of you who know me well know that I love my routine! I can hear Monique shouting out, "Amen to that!" We have been getting up fairly early to get our day going and then getting to bed just after the conclusion of the early version of the late night news. The day for me starts while viewing the broadcast news with a forty-minute workout regimen downstairs involving the recumbent bicycle (1 mile at 13 mph), 31 minutes of walking (mostly 3 mph) on the treadmill with light weights ("wimpy" 5 pounders) and concluding with a five-minute workout of 135 reps in 2 sets with 8 pound weights. That's it!
Sunday Dinner for Two! 😀

Upstairs then to shower, make the bed (sheets pulled tight enough to bounce a quarter!) and breakfast with cold or hot cereal, fruit, toast, and coffee! A couple of times a week I mix it up with eggs and grits or toasted waffles and sausage. I like my breakfast!

Throughout the day, I am reading, writing, calling, texting, answering emails, conferencing with a chaplain's group and of course, allowing time to indulge myself in some favorite shows like Star Trek's Picard with Patrick Stewart or Fox's hit series, The Deputy!

Monique has her own routine as well. She is up early "getting her steps" (10,000 per day including aerobic!) followed by a regimen of stretching exercises. She usually is talking on the cell phone with one of the children while she is pacing around the house. She eats her breakfast and is reading her devotionals about an hour later than I. While at the table, when not bill paying or sending cards to friends, she is writing notes of recipes and plans for our meal schedule for the day and week.  She has created some of the best made-from scratch fare anyone can bring to the dinner table! Sunday, it was baked pork chops, mashed vegetables (potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and turnips) with stuffing and Brussels sprouts. Yesterday, it was a creole jambalaya, salad and cornbread! Yum! I'm a happy guy!

Our evenings are spent watching television together while sipping coffee or tea with a sweet snack.  Occasionally, we delight to put the Roku on pause as we take a call from one of our kids or grandkids! We love keeping up with them. FaceTime and Skype are getting used frequently with family members and friends who live in the "further parts" of Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and France. We are thankful for technology like this that makes our relational world seem so much closer than it was thirty-five years ago before we had our first computer or before we even spoke of such things as "smart phones!"

As you can see, we are coping quite well! We love seeing and hearing how others are coping too, by using music, crafts, video posts, and by even texting prayers to comfort others. Isn't it amazing how we find that inner creativity at trying times like these?  God is bringing us his comfort in different ways! We are seeing more social interaction with each passing day as friends and family reach out to one another. Let's keep connecting and building relational bridges with others. As we know, we are encouraged as we reach out to encourage others! Paul said, "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing."(1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

Allow me to close with a brief prayer for each of you..."Dear Lord, thank you for those who read these humble paragraphs each week. I am encouraged by the gift of their time. The feedback by text and email has motivated and inspired me. One dear friend has repeatedly said, "Keep writing!" That is what I want to do. Father, bless and protect each of us with your presence, peace, and comfort.  May we all be better having walked through this health crisis together. And may you, O Lord, get all the praise, for You are the Good Shepherd who loves, knows and protects His sheep! In Jesus' precious name. Amen!" God bless you, dear friends! Be safe!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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