The bright side to Uncertain Times

Quarantine has led to more time to slow down and connect with others differently.

A woman asked me on a Facebook group page what my COVID-19 experience has been like. A moment of reflection led me to nail down this lesson: Don’t dwell on the things I can’t control and do my utmost to create ideal situations with the things that I can. Golden moments have materialized in conjunction with the trying times. It seems like the residents of Roy are absolutely making the best out of the things they can control.

One example is Marjean Jolley, who is a local photographer. She started going to people’s homes to take family photos after families began to shelter in place. She is the woman behind the camera for each photo of a Roy family on the cover of the magazine! Marjean is a part of a photographer Facebook group, and this idea for front porch portraits began circling around once quarantine began to isolate families. Marjean loves what she does, and she felt she could use her talent as a way to lift others up. “It creates a little bit of fun and joy,” she said, and that seems to be something valuable in these times. She has a lens that allows her to take family photos from the road, and she loves chatting with families while maintaining adequate distance between them. “It’s so fun catching families in their joy and having fun.” Having a camera in hand is therapy for her, and she has been doing these portraits for free and emailing families the galleries of the photos she takes.

It seems that a major positive has been how families have been connecting more with each other lately. Brody Abshire jokingly said, “I found out I have a 13-year-old daughter that lives with me.” Indeed, families are spending substantially more time at home now. Melissa Lynn Snow has noticed her kids are fighting a lot less, and she thinks the contributing factors have been more rest, less stress, and more time with mom. “They are serving each other too. I seriously see a night and day difference in their attitudes when they serve each other. They really like reading to and working alongside each other.” Becca Cain has noticed her kids are playing with their toys together more. There is “more imagination, more family time, more walks and bike rides, and my house is sparkly clean.” Jennifer Mayer Devine noticed that her kids seem happier, even though they still have school work, and her youngest gets her work done in three days instead of five.

Jeni Burgu is a stay at home mom, so staying at home hasn’t been a drastic change. She has focused more of her effort to eliminate mindlessly scrolling on social media and using her time to develop her hobbies, like playing the piano, playing outside with her daughter and dog, and learning a new language. “I’ve wanted to learn Italian since I was preteen, and I decided now is the perfect time. I use an app on my phone that’s totally free. I’ve learned more in the last 12 days than I did a whole semester at college learning Spanish.”

Melissa Beyer is a 1st grade teacher used to working 10 – 12 hours each day and being mentally and physically exhausted. “This old way of life left me little time to take care of myself. Now, I’m still teaching, but I have time to get plenty of sleep.” She now eats a meal for breakfast instead of grabbing a granola bar on her way out the door. She has had more time to make meals and try new recipes. She has also started walking five miles a day. “I’ve greeted and been greeted by so many friendly people walking on the path.” She is taking time to enjoy the flowers in the yard and have game nights with her family. “We played Life twice in one night! We haven’t played that game in about 15 years. I’m realizing that my normal life was too busy. I don’t like the pandemic, but I am enjoying having to slow down and relish in the simple things that mean so much.” Wendy Miller Barker has also enjoyed getting to relax more and spend more time with family. “Before, it was rush, rush, rush!!!” she said.

A few moms, including Tarica Bostick, have been potty training children during quarantine. Talk about ideal timing to stay at home, when fresh clothes and toilets are close at hand! She has also enjoyed taking her dogs on walks every day, being home with her babies, and eating more home cooked meals. Julia Giddens has also enjoyed going for a lot more walks, and Melissa Faulkner has found eating home-cooked meals over fast food to be a positive. Valerie Barsnick went for a bike ride one evening and saw “so many families outside using their yards and playing with their kids, brothers, sisters, and dogs. It’s so nice to see this.”

Facebook groups have been a Roy community resource, even before the Coronavirus pandemic effected so many lives. But with the change in circumstances, some residents have really turned to digital resources to take care of each other. Sandra Dowd has seen how the community has come together as a real positive.
If you haven’t joined already, the Facebook group, Roy Utah Community, is a great way to connect with your Roy neighbors. If you have a need, ask! If you can help in any way, offer! If you see something good happening in your area, share! As I’ve interacted and seen others interact in this group, I realized that this is what it means to love our neighbor. The good that comes from these groups will extend beyond the COVID-19 situation.

Social media has also been source of a lot of fun ideas. One mom said she has built upon what she has seen others do. She and her family have started having themed days. They had a Hawaii day where they learned the Hula on YouTube, had fruit, smoothies, and Hawaiian haystacks; they got in their swim suits and laid beach towels on the carpet and watched Lilo and Stitch for a “movie on the beach.” They’ve had a camping day where they roasted hot dogs and s’mores and a Disney Day where they make corn dogs and churros and took rides on virtual reality roller-coasters. Her daughter will be missing her 3rd grade economics fair so, instead, they will have an economics day and set up a little market where they will buy and sell from their living room.

The community has shown its creativity, given the new parameters to live in other ways. Community members participated in egg hunts or teddy bear hunts, where families hid Easter eggs or teddy bears around their property that are visible from the road. Parents and children could then walk or drive by and try to find the hidden items. One neighborhood took to the streets with their chalk. People used their artistic talents to create sidewalk artwork their neighbors could enjoy… at least until the rain or sprinklers descended.

More positives that have come from quarantine are the many online courses that are available for free for the time being. If you go to,, or, there are seemingly endless options for growth. There have been some very funny memes online about different transformations that will take place because of corona quarantine. One of them showed before and after photos of dilapidated backyards that magically change into a lush landscape of gardening perfection. Jonnie Angel started a vegetable garden and said, “I tend to kill anything that doesn’t have a heartbeat. So, we’ll see.” If you feel at all like Jonnie, there is an introductory gardening course you can take through Oregon State University that could probably teach you a thing or two.

Personally, I just finished a short little course on stop motion, and I loved it. If you find Trisha Zemp on Instagram and follow her directions in her “stop motion KIDS CAMP” post, she will give you access to the course for free! Look for my stop motion videos on social media this month, when we share some of the May recipes! The app I used is called Stop Motion, just in case you or your kids give it a try. We would love if you tagged us on social media so we could share your creations with the community!

Our hearts go out to those who have been adversely affected by the Coronavirus. Let’s be real, there are a lot of terrible things that have come along with it. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, as of May 1, there have been 56,245 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the United States. People who ultimately recover from the virus experience fevers, coughs, and poor health. Schools have shut down, businesses have closed, employees have been sent home, and everything seems to be canceled! Could we get a refund for April, please? I’m sure we could go on, but to sum it up in a few words… it has been a trying time. However, some amazing things have come from social distancing and spending more time at home. Focusing on the positive things happening within our communities has really lifted my soul, and I hope it has done the same for you!


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