Quick photo op before Ivan started “classes!” 🙂

“I can’t! It says my username is already taken!”

“Well, that means you need to make up another one.”

Spying on Ivan’s work life was my favorite part of Shelter-at-Home Week One. 60-minute online classes may be sprints compared to the 90-minute live marathons he runs on “normal” weeks, but even these sprints proved enlightening – especially to my homeschooler’s brain. Equally enlightening were exchanges such as the one above. A simple sequence like downloading an app and creating a new-user account perplexed some junior highers, the generation we’ve labeled hopeless technology addicts.

As to the technology itself, most of Ivan’s classes weren’t exactly Zoom-friendly. The choir kids produced zero appealing sounds during their single attempt to sing into their microphones, and the piano kids logged into class without expecting to actually play the piano. (Some don’t have a keyboard at home.) But “sheltering boredom” played to Ivan’s advantage. Video lectures and group discussions were suddenly much more appealing once students realized Netflix only goes so far in one day. Learning and recreation had effectively swapped places – or at least negotiated a truce.

But what about those of us whose grown-up diplomas are stuffed in tubes or displayed on walls? How did we process our Shelter-at-Home Week One? I’ve noticed three recurring themes as I’ve scrolled my social media feed: Creative indoor activities, rants about the new “rules”, and variants of “In these uncertain times…” As someone who’s “sheltered-at-home” for three and a half years and currently “shelters in bedroom” when Ivan turns on extra lights to teach his classes, I’d like to offer words of encouragement to both inspired and anxious shelter-ers. For those of you stretching your creative limits and spreading your success on social media, keep up the good work! Learning isn’t linked to age or education, and what better time to learn a new skill, recipe, etc., or revisit an old one, than right now? You never know how sharing your experience might encourage someone who is feeling isolated or depressed.

For those who might be feeling overwhelmed by multiplying government orders, distressing news reports, sick loved ones, or just plain loneliness…Our times are certainly uncertain. We’ve grown complacent about wars, natural disasters, and even sickness as long as it’s somewhere else. What makes COVID-19 so disturbing is that it’s right here. But so is God. And God is more certain than any vaccine or treatment plan. If surfing social media feeds your anxiety, perhaps consider stepping away for a couple of days. I ‘ve reduced Instagram/Facebook use during difficult periods of my own recovery journey, and benefited from each break. There are plenty of other ways to connect with loved ones (think texting, phone calls, and Skype or FaceTime) that don’t expose you to negativity. But no matter how you opt to keep in touch with family and friends, make sure to keep in touch with God first. Praying and memorizing encouraging Bible verses are great places to start!

Whether you’re working, studying, or exploring new ways to invest your time at home…Wishing you a safe and healthy Shelter-at-Home Week Two! ❤


If you’re not a Christian but you’re curious about what it means to trust God, you can find out more here.


7 thoughts on “Ready for Shelter-at-Home Week Two?

  1. Very good words of encouragement dear friends!!! Grace you are on a roll as a blogger and Ivan so good to see you looking like you are feeling so much better. Much love to you both and missing you always,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the words of encouragement from a pro! You remain in my prayers, and we know God is using this time of stripping away much of what we depend on to remind us of what’s really important – and to bring us into a closer relationship with Jesus that will last through eternity!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for a very wise, heart-warming blog today! I admire your creativity and enjoy your insights! Hugs, Kathy Y.

    On Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:09 AM Walking With Grace wrote:

    > graceutomo12 posted: ” “I can’t! It says my username is already taken!” > “Well, that means you need to make up another one.” Spying on Ivan’s work > life was my favorite part of Shelter-at-Home Week One. 60-minute online > classes may be sprints compared to the 90-minute live ma” >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Grace!! This is Rachel Hill 🙂 Thanks so much for these excellent and encouraging posts!! I’ve been reading since day one and love it!! Question for you. This blog that you have going – is it a blog? Or a webpage? I think this tool would be an excellent communication piece for Sunrise and our worship arts community. Would you be willing to help me start this up? I’d love to work on this this week, while I’m at home, and get as many people connected as possible. Would it be possible for others to post via this tool as well? For example, if I write something and send it out, could I have others on the team also write and send out?

    Thanks so much for your help!! It is indeed a season filled with learning!! 🙂


    1. Hi Rachel! Great question! This is a blog, but you can add accounts for multiple “authors.” For example, I’m the blog’s “administrator,” but Ivan has his own “author” account. Our platform is, and it’s really easy to get something up and running. Hopefully this helps! Otherwise, feel free to message me on the “Contact” page, and then I’ll be able to reply from my email. 🙂


  5. You are always so positive when you write. The first thing I see are two smiling faces even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Thank you for your encouraging thoughts and smiles. God is truly working in your lives.


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