Photo Credit: Jen Thedore via Unsplash.

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Last week, we invited Daily Yonder readers to tell us how the spread of coronavirus is affecting their lives and communities. While we are working to provide you the latest news and information on the rural impacts of the pandemic, we also recognize at this moment of increased uncertainty, isolation, and fear, that listening will be essential too. That’s why we are encouraging you to connect with us and share your perspectives, concerns, and needs related to the coronavirus.

One Yonder reader who answered the call sent a report from their home in rural Wisconsin. Our team was inspired by the story and wanted to share it with our readers. Their entry follows below:

The past year and a half have been very challenging for my family. My husband was diagnosed with a rare form of colon cancer in December of 2018 and after a year of fighting, he lost his battle in November 2019. My three children and I faced a long winter of hard work, adjusting, mourning, and plowing through daily life.

When I heard last week that schools were closing, I was more concerned with how on earth I was going to manage with three littles home all day, and less concerned with actually catching the virus! But then I started to think, what if this was us FINALLY getting our chance to slow down a little? What if this was an opportunity to set aside the busy-ness of our daily lives and take time to rest? What if we could finally find time in the day to talk, to share, to heal together? What if this was exactly what we needed at such a crucial time in our lives?

And so, we are slowing down. The school my children attend hasn’t provided any distance learning or virtual learning programs, but I’m perfectly fine with that! I stocked up on crafts, and the children are spending more time outside. We’re gluing googly eyes on sock puppets and making porcupines out of pine cones. We’re learning how to compost, we’re planting seeds for spring gardens, we’re collecting rocks and sticks. We’re watching the deer forage in the apple orchard from the comfort of our living room. We’re cuddling in bed together each morning and enjoying homemade breakfasts. We’re watching the sun set in the evenings and making plans to camp in the backyard once the weather warms up. We’re talking about daddy more and enjoying the wonderful memories we have of him. We’re learning to say “please” and “thank you.” We’re finding ways to help others in our community, whether it’s a weekly outing to a family-owned restaurant for a take-away dinner or making cards for nursing home residents that could use some cheer.

We are very much looking forward to a time when life goes back to normal, but we are also enjoying this gift we have right now. We are praising God for his goodness to us, and we are allowing him to use this time to heal us and make us more like the people he intends us to be!

As our rural reporting on coronavirus and COVID-19 continues, let us know if you have a story or perspective to share, as well as any needs or concerns you’d like us to keep in mind as part of our ongoing coverage.