5 Ways To Be A Rainbow (as the COVID clouds roll on)


It’s been a long, cloudy year friends. Though I know we’ve been looking for rainbows in the midst of the storm – I also know we’re tired!  We’ve passed a year since lockdown began and masks became part of every outfit. A year of living in isolation. A year weighed down by oh, so much extra stress and worry. At this point – we’re all pushing through some serious pandemic fatigue.

While we’re waiting for blue skies, let’s remember that Maya Angelou taught us to “be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud!”  So, as these COVID clouds roll on – here are 5 simple ways we can be a RAINBOW for others, and for ourselves too!

#1 Be considerate with masks and distance.

There are vaccines!!! People are getting vaccinated! It’s safe to get back to normal now, right?

Unfortunately – no. Not yet. While there is so much hope on the horizon, our nation only has around a 15% vaccination rate right now. More vaccines are being approved, more doses are shipping out, and new groups will be able to be vaccinated soon – but the “general public” in Alabama can’t get their shots just yet. With more contagious variants on the rise, lots of vulnerable people still unvaccinated, and no vaccines available for children – it’s important that we stay cautious and remain compassionate toward others!

One of the kindest things you can do right now, is to wear a mask and keep your distance while out in public. As someone with multiple pre-existing conditions, with a daughter who has a concerning history with respiratory illnesses, seeing you masked and distanced looks like a giant RAINBOW to me! (Just remember to make sure your mask covers your mouth and nose!) You help keep our family – and so many others – safer just by taking these two simple steps. 

#2 Be generous with eye contact and compliments!

Just because you’re masked and distanced, it doesn’t mean you can’t connect with others! Most of us feel lonely and disconnected after this difficult year. Be generous with your eye contact and compliments – even to strangers! It only takes a moment to share a kind word with someone, and that could be just the RAINBOW they need to brighten their day!

#3 Be careful with your words. Consider the grief of others.

More than 549,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and thousands more are living with the lingering effects of the virus. Please be gentle with your opinions and complaints – especially on social media. I have cringed at some of the thoughtless things I’ve seen people post (as I know they’re being read by friends who have lost loved ones to this virus). After almost losing my own mother to COVID-19, I’ve found that I’m much more sensitive to people’s inconsiderate comments too. 

If you or your family haven’t been personally impacted by this vicious virus, then consider yourself incredibly lucky. Please respond to that luck by living gratefully, and graciously. Many of us are grieving devastating losses, and/or watching our loved ones struggle to recover. Consider how your latest “rant” might feel when it hits a hurting heart.

#4 Be intentional with those you love!

If this year has taught me anything, it’s to LOVE my people well! As we continue to be cautious and wait for vaccines, keep checking in on your people! Schedule intentional phone calls and FaceTimes with friends and family. Send care packages or other “happy mail.” There are so many little “happies” my friends and I have mailed each other this year – and it ALWAYS makes my day to get a treat in the mail! Even if it’s just a quick, handwritten note – I promise it will bring a smile to someone’s face! Pop in a seed packet, fun stickers, a framable quote, or a favorite photo to make that RAINBOW even bigger! 

Get your kids in on the fun too! My daughter has painted cards for family members, created bookmarks with dried flowers, and even written her own notes to mail or to drop off at neighbor’s houses. She’s also had fun picking out little presents for the “mailman to bring” to people (thank you Amazon prime!).

#5 Be kind to YOURSELF. No shame.

Did I mention that it’s been a long year? It’s been a long, hard, stressful, exhausting, overwhelming year. If you feel burnt out – be gentle with yourself. If you’re not “crushing it” right now – be kind to yourself. If you’re feeling fragile or sad, and you need a reminder to be tender with yourself, click here and here. If you need extra time, extra space, extra love, extra rest – then give yourself all that, with heaps of GRACE. And if your pants don’t fit (because pandemic weight gain is so, so real) – don’t you dare curse yourself in the mirror sister! Look at your body, thank it for all the ways it’s helped you survive this year, and then order that tired body a happy pair of soft, stretchy, comfy, cozy 🌈rainbow pants! (And maybe a pair for your little one too!)

We are all worn out, and we are doing the best we can. Don’t make life harder by shaming yourself. Let’s all be extra kind to ourselves and others as the COVID clouds roll on by. And before you know it, we’ll all be singing together…

… and the rainbows too!

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Just days after graduating from Auburn University, Ericka took a trip to Africa that changed her life forever. She discovered two unexpected things there: a passion for orphan care, and her husband Rusty! Together they founded The Sound of Hope, and have spent the past 10+ years working to provide holistic care to vulnerable children around the world. Though her heart (and time) is divided between other countries – she’s proud to call Birmingham, Alabama home! When Ericka & Rusty decided to grow their family through adoption, they never guessed it would take five heart-wrenching years to get their daughter home from Thailand. These days Ericka tries to soak up every moment of long-awaited motherhood to their beautiful little girl, Kate. Their Thai darling is growing up way too fast, and Ericka is mildly obsessed with over-documenting it all on Instagram and her blog! In addition to managing The Sound of Hope, Ericka and her husband run a video & photography business called RJackson Media. In her “free time" (do moms have free time?!) Ericka enjoys gardening, decorating, and DIY projects. She also loves singing, dancing, and acting – and was cast in her very first musical theatre role last year. She firmly believes that you’re never too old to try something new!