July is perfect time for families, more chocolate

Every time I want to return to the frivolities of summer—outings with family, swimming, travel, and the like, there’s a gentle reminder that these are uncertain times and though things look “normal,” there’s nothing “normal” about where we find ourselves.

As Independence Day passed by, memories flooded in about our annual family reunion which had to be cancelled this year because of fears associated with large-group gatherings. Ironically July is National Family Reunion Month so I pray that you will find time to do a ZOOM call or some virtual gathering to stay connected.

There are eight children in my family and we’re scattered to the winds but for Mothers’ Day we ZOOMed with our mom and had so much fun, we did it again for Fathers’ Day. What made the second one so special was we invited our generations to join us and we were delighted to confess childhood misdeeds, see each other, meet the new little ones, and watch our mother enjoy her brood. It was almost like being in the same room.

Thankfully the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged innovation and we have become bolder with technologies and made other adjustments. As I said months ago, whatever the old “normal” looked like, this new, improved version is a welcome change.

Those who have grown restless and taken to the streets to demand the right to congregate, defy the rules, go without a mask, and do as they please have obviously forgotten that when we celebrate freedom, this precious right comes with strings attached. Yes, we have the right to do as we please but if that right infringes upon others’ ability to live and breathe freely, there has to be a compromise.

Sadly the pictures and coverage of people, including President Trump and Vice President Pence, who won’t/don’t socially distance themselves at rallies, beaches, churches, and other places has had dire consequences with several states experiencing serious spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases.  Even sadder is when they can trace the cause back to the places where every rule was broken.

There are still too many unknowns for me to be out and about freely. I am sheltered in place and paying close attention to my contacts and movements. While more and more things are re-opening, the news becomes scarier and when researchers say watching too much coverage is stressful and leads to anxiety, trust me, they’re not just whistling Dixie, or something less political and controversial like California Dreaming.

As the July 4th holiday passed by, please pause and say a prayer for those who are still not free. All around the world people are struggling with insensitive and oppressive governments, cruel and egotistical dictators, poverty, hopelessness, despair, disease, human trafficking, addiction, and a million other things.

After our prayers are finished, let’s do our part to bring peace, healing, understanding, and relief in all the places we can because we have the power and responsibility to make a difference. One person with passion and commitment can effect change, raise consciousness, agitate, advocate, and be the difference.

In addition to National Family Reunion Month, this month we get to celebrate World Chocolate Day on July 7. I think we should go ahead and stock up now and celebrate all month. If there’s anything more wonderful than chocolate, except more chocolate, I don’t know what it is. Whether it’s candy, cake, hot chocolate, or cookies, any way you run it, chocolate is a winner.

Enjoy your family and lots of chocolate. It’s the patriotic thing to do.

Having ideas on adding a little more structure to family virtual gatherings? Happy to hear from you at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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