Today, Matt and I have a long-distance conversation about some of the ways we can not only take comfort in the promises of God during this time, but also very specific activities (or, as our daughter has dubbed them “quarantivities”) to fill our time wisely and with fun!
It must be said that in the less than 24 hours since recording this, things have changed here in the US and also with me, Brandy. While much of our conversation is focused on dealing with anxiety, I rather ironically, have been feeling my fair share of it. That being said, I remembered this conversation and took a dose of my own advice (“listen to music” and “turn off the news for a minute”) and am feeling markedly better.
This isn’t just lip service. This advice is practical and beneficial. I hope you take it and share it with people you love.
Self-Care and Activities During Quarantine:
2. Read the Bible: Psalms are great – try Psalm 23
4. Write letters and send them to loved ones
5. Listen to music you love
6. Spend time with your kids: Conversations, shooting hoops, video games, reading books, crafts, etc…
7. Go for a walk: fresh air + Vitamin D = good for ya!
8. Jigsaw puzzles
9. Complete your To-Do List: or at least knock it down – all those projects that you’re saving for “someday”
10. Work on a dream project: write the book, learn the instrument, read the series…
Things to Avoid:
1. Steady stream of news: Stay informed, but don’t only feed on a media diet of the news
2. Hours of Social Media: See above…
3. Binging on Netflix for the entire time: Give yourself limits and keep your body and brain active
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health during this time, so don’t neglect it!
If you’re struggling with depression or thoughts of self-harm, please contact the
We’ve been home from Hawaii for a week now and boy, has it been hard getting back into the swing of things!
I, personally, could really get used to island time. Everything is a little slower and richer, somehow. There’s time to savor the moment and really take in the beauty that surrounds you.
That being said, we were so blessed and awed by our time in Kauai, that we want to share a little bit of it with you. Now, I know it’s not as good as actually flying you all there, but we did our best by stocking ourselves up with fresh pineapple and a yummy drink as we recorded this week’s episode. We encourage you to do the same while you listen as we share some of the things we learned while on the Garden Island.
First, I share the beautiful lesson we learned on what “aloha” means. As we were driving up to Waimea Canyon we stopped at a viewing area where there was a native man sharing some of the history and legend of Hawaii. It was the beginning of a profound lesson.
Meanwhile, Matt shares how God shows up in unexpected ways and blesses us in ways we can’t even imagine. Sometimes, that blessing comes in the form of a trip of a lifetime. But always, God is blessing us.
Poipu Beach – Kauai, Hawai’i
I’m sure I’ll post other pictures either here or on our social media accounts. It’s truly a beautiful place and if you ever have the opportunity to go to Kauai, by all means…GO!
What better way to finish it off than with a road trip with our favorite listeners?
Admittedly, the audio isn’t perfect in this episode, but we had a fun time driving to a local hot-spot, Dodge Park where we got out and sat by the river while we talked about road trips we’ve both taken recently and the lessons we each learned.
Stepping out of the car at St. Ignatius Mission in Montana, the air was thick with smoke from recent fires throughout the western US and Glacier National Park. Everything was quiet and still.
Before us stood the Mission Church, the place where, in approximately 1890, my great, great grandfather, Eli “Kelly” Cyr was raised from the age of 8, after his mother died of lung fever. The eldest of 5 children, Eli and his brothers were sent to St. Ignatius Mission while his two younger sisters, under the age of 2, were sent to live with relatives until they were old enough to join their brothers.
Eli (far right) and his younger brothers, circa 1890.
“The Mission, and the town that grew up around it, was founded in 1854 by Jesuit missionaries and named for their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola. In the following years it was the home of the first Jesuit theologate and industrial arts school in the Northwest, the first Catholic Sisters and Catholic school in Montan, and the first hospital, sawmill, flour mill, printing press, carpenter shop and blacksmith shop in the Mission Valley.”
– excerpt from St. Ignatius Mission: Historical Site. 1977
“Main Street of St. Ignatius with Mission Church and School in background about 1895.”
During his time at the Mission, under the tutelage of the brothers and sisters, Eli learned how shoemaking, music, and cooking. Each of these skills proved beneficial as Eli struck out on his own, eventually marrying and having a daughter. Through the years, he was a cobbler, a bandleader, and the owner of a confectionary and a restaurant.
While the Mission was founded in 1854, this church wasn’t built until the 1890s and is one of the last remaining buildings affiliated with the Mission due to multiple fires and lack of funding.
Construction of the Mission Church was completed in approximately 1893. Walking through its thick, oak doors one is immediately met with an impressive array of murals covering the walls and ceiling. These murals were all painted by the Jesuit cook and handyman, Brother Joseph Carignano. Brother Joseph had no formal art training, but he did have a vision and a dedication to the project he felt called to.
The three paintings behind the altar are representations of three visions that St. Ignatius Loyola had. Above, is a depiction of the Last Judgement.
Though the Mission Church was not fully completed before Eli Cyr had grown enough to strike out on his own, and while many of the buildings were destroyed by fire, there are still remnants of what was there during his time.
The flour mill was in operation from 1864-1934
The flour mill now. Just a shadow of its former self, yet beautiful all the same.
The flour grinding stones that remain are now located near the Mission Church as a testimony to the productivity of 70 years.
St. Ignatius Mission was a vast community in its heyday. There are no longer records to let us know how many boys and girls came through its doors as students or orphans, much less the Jesuit Brothers and Ursuline Sisters. And while many of its buildings are no longer standing, it is a treat to walk through the grounds and get a sense of the history.
Built in 1854 by the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers, what is now the Mission Museum was originally a log cabin that the Brothers slept in. The upstairs is no longer accessible as it has been ceilinged off.
I do wish I knew some of what my great, great grandfather thought about his time there. There aren’t any actual stories from him that have survived time, just shadows that he passed on to his daughter, faint traces of a young boy who, for the most part, enjoyed his time with the Sisters, especially in the kitchen.
It was an absolute joy to make a connection, however distant, to someone I’ve only heard and read stories about. Eli was a man who, like us all, struggled with his faith and how to live it out. I’m sure he didn’t do it perfectly. But he did it.
As an adult, he helped build a church or two. He and his wife, Clara, were constantly opening their home to whatever Father, Brother or Sister was coming through their small town. Their hospitality was bigger than their budget and everyone seemed to be blessed by their friendship.
And while my family now is not Catholic, it’s good to be able to see a bit of my ancestral past and know that there is a heritage of faith that has been built through the generations. I hope it will continue to grow for many generations to come.
My traveling buddies, left to right: Evan (son), Molly (daughter), Jenna (friend).