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Newspaper comics and pictures make great gift wrap.

As I reflect on the past year, I remember how I felt last December. The number 2020 simply sounded like a year of promise and opportunity. I was finishing up writing my second book. I was staying with my son, Jordan, in Ottawa for a couple of months. The sun wasn’t shining enough to power my tiny solar setup at home to operate my laptop, so I decided to stay with Jordan from mid-December to March. As my stay was coming to an end, I had the first proofs of my book printed. I was excited about what lay ahead.

My son informed me that there were big problems in China. There was word on the Internet that a serious virus was spreading. Parts of the country were starting to close up shop. Most people were without jobs. Those dying, were dying alone. It was absolutely horrible!

In late February, I moved back to my cabin in the woods. The sun was shining more consistently, and my book was nearing publication. I was ready to share my book with the world. The world, meanwhile, was shutting down. My only other income at that time was my greeting card line. The majority of my customers were gift shop owners, and they were among the first to close their doors during the first red alert.

The world changed quickly. It gave us time to stop, take a step back, reexamine things, scrutinize our lifestyles, assess our situations, and perhaps redefine our priorities.

For some of us, this challenge confirmed our conclusion: Living a simple back-to-the-land lifestyle was a good way to live out one’s life.

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