In popular culture, we use the phrase ‘20/20 vision’ to mean that we have perfect eyesight, or as a metaphor to mean that we have a clear view of a situation. Sight is what you see with your eyes, vision is what you see with your mind.
The History of 20/20 Vision
When glasses were first invented, the corrective lenses were mostly available as just a “one size fits all” option; reading glasses with convex lenses for close up vision, and concave lenses for seeing into the distance. The ability to correct vision was rudimentary and inexact, because no one had devised a way to measure visual acuity accurately. Various doctors had different eye charts and their own methods of eye testing, but there wasn’t a standardized version, and so the studies and results of eye tests were often inaccurate.
But that changed in 1862, when Dr. Herman Snellen, a Dutch eye doctor, created the Snellen chart. The original chart used a combination of letters and numbers, but in 1959, the chart was changed to use 10 letters in a font that was specially created to represent an acuity test called The Landolt Broken Rings. The font was created by Dr. Louise Sloan and was designated as the US Standard for acuity testing by the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Committee on Vision in 1980.
Of course, as eye doctor's technology and knowledge of how the eye works became more sophisticated, they began to realize that even though the standard E chart testing used today is the primary measurement of visual acuity, it doesn’t include other important measurements of sight such as depth perception, night vision, peripheral vision or color blindness. Today, our expectation of having 20/20 vision goes a lot further than it did in the 1800s.
As we approached the year 2020, many people referred to this as the year to see things more clearly, like 20/20 vision. But I think this year exceeded those expectations. For me, I knew 2020 would start off with challenges because I was scheduled to have knee surgery the first week of January. But that struggle turned out to not even be the worst part of the year. A few months into the year, we heard of a virus called the Corona Virus (COVID-19) that was affecting people all over the world. When I first heard about it, I had no idea of the severity of this virus or how it would affect myself or my friends and family. In mid-March, our state (Louisiana) pretty much shut down and everyone was told to stay home. This came just weeks after I went to Mardi Gras and Family Gras, attended several American Idol viewing parties for our hometown girl, Faith Becnel, took Karter to see the dinosaurs for his birthday, went to Dancing with the Stars Live with my cousin and then to Bourbon Street afterwards, I celebrated my birthday with Faith and then a few days later had the "Most EPIC Birthday Ever" party, which turned out to be the last party of its kind until who knows when. Face masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing became an important part of our daily lives, if we decided to leave the house for any reason. In May, I was sick and they were unsure if it was COVID. Luckily, my test was negative and I was diagnosed with pneumonia. It was scary because at the time I didn't know anyone who had COVID and because we weren't sure of the accuracy of these tests, I stayed home alone, sicker than I had ever been. Restaurants had very limited seating or take out options (most people relied on delivery services to drop off food at their doorstep), movie theaters closed down, concerts and live shows were cancelled or postponed, grocery stores had limited capacity and hours and inventory, churches were closed or limited, kids had to learn virtually, people had to work from home...everyone was affected somehow. It’s been almost 10 months and we still don’t know when things will get back to “normal”.
I’ve had friends and family affected by COVID. My Dad was hospitalized for 69 days with COVID. He was on a ventilator and we were told he may not make it. He has been home for almost 4 months and he is getting stronger every day but he will always suffer long term affects from COVID. I know people that weren’t as lucky and died from COVID. This has been such a terrible virus that has changed the lives of so many people. But this has also given us a clearer view on life. It has taught us what’s important, what we can do differently, who we are and how to survive during the toughest times, just to name a few things. 2020 has been the toughest year of my life. But I’ve also had some of the most amazing times and appreciated some of the little things even more. I feel like God gave me 20/20 vision without the need for glasses or contacts....just a clearer look on life. 2020 has definitely given me a clearer vision of what I want my life to look like now.
Things I learned in 2020:
1. Family - I’ve always been close to my family. This year taught me how unpredictable life can be so there are a few things that are very important when it comes to my family.
I need to spend time with my family more. I let my work schedule and life get in the way sometimes. I
need to be there with my family because they are the most important part of my life. A few weeks ago I decided to take a Saturday off of work and bring my Mom and Karter to The Lights Fest that was in Mississippi. It was on my Mom's bucket list to see the lanterns and after the year we've been through, I thought this year was the perfect time to send off a lantern with our wishes. I'm so glad we went. It was unbelievable!
Pictures are worth a thousand words. Even the worst pictures or the ones that are hard to look at are important. I took a lot of pictures of my Dad during his journey with COVID. It was hard to see him so weak but at the time, we didn’t know how much longer we would have with him so I took as many pictures as I could. Thankfully he survived so these pictures actually show the amazing progress he’s made. And it’s beautiful to see him in our family pictures for the holidays. God is good!
I learned the importance of letting your loved ones how you feel. I know my family knows that I love them but I need to tell them more. The last time I saw my Dad before he was diagnosed with COVID was on Father’s Day. I was leaving the house and got down the steps and realized that I forgot to tell him that I loved him. But I was tired and didn’t want to go back up the steps so I just left. A few days later he was diagnosed and hospitalized and I had no idea when I’d get to see him again. The regret of not going back on Father’s Day to say “I Love You, Dad” was killing me. It would’ve only taken a minute and suddenly I didn’t know if he would ever hear those words from me again. Thankfully, I got to see him a few days later and I was able to tell him. I won’t ever leave without saying it again, though.
I have the strongest family ever. We have been through some tough times and this year was one of the toughest. But TOGETHER we got through it. I cannot thank my Mom enough for being the strongest woman I’ve ever meet. I strive to be as strong as she is. She is definitely the glue that holds this family together. And knowing what she went through while my Dad was in the hospital (and she was facing COVID by herself at home), she is definitely my superhero! Thank you, Mom! I love you more!
2. Changes - I don’t like change. I never have. But I’ve learned this year that sometimes you have no choice but to accept and adapt to the changes.
Music - I love music. I go to concerts and live music events every chance I get. So what happens when all concerts and live music events are cancelled or postponed? You rely on technology to help you and the artists get through the pandemic together. This year I’ve watched Zoom concerts, talked to artists and watched performances on Looped and watched many Facebook live concerts. Since the artists aren’t making money on ticket sales, I’ve put money in their virtual tip jars through apps like Venmo and CashApp, I’ve bought their products (shirts, books, cds, albums, soap...pretty much whatever would help them make some money to survive) and I did whatever I could to support them. I was also extremely blessed this month to be a part of Serabee’s release of her first Christmas single, “This Christmas”. Her song is on all platforms and her video is on YouTube. Being in the studio while she recorded the song and being involved in the release was a dream come true. Because she hasn’t been able to perform, Sera has spent more time writing new music and in the recording studio. So this change has actually been good for her and hopefully we will be able to release her EP in 2021!
Travel - I love to travel, whether it’s for music, fun or to meet people. I try to at least take one cruise a year but cruises were cancelled earlier this year when some bad outbreaks occurred (I’ll make up for it next year with my 1st Annual Live Like Lorie Cruise in September). I did get to travel a few times, though. Before COVID started, I went to visit some friends in Texas. I only stayed for a couple of days but it was the escape I needed. We had such a great time and I got to meet her new husband! Then I had the amazing opportunity to go to South Carolina to see Lauren Jackson TWICE! I meet her for the first time in September and we had a few of the best days ever together. I got to do goat yoga, meet all of the animals at Jackson Pine Farm, get our daith's pierced, meet her son and boyfriend and just spend time together! It was an unforgettable trip. (Read all about this trip in my blog “E-I-E-I-Ohhh!”) It wasn’t long after I got home that I was missing her and wanting to be back at the farm. Thanks to a great deal through Southwest Airlines and Lauren’s hospitality, I was back in December and we celebrated “Christmas in South Carolina.” I also got the chance to spend most of Thanksgiving week in Sevierville, Tennessee and go to Dollywood with some of my family, including my Dad. (Read all about this unforgettable trip in my blog, “Tennessee....I Will Always Love You!”)
School - School has been a challenge for so many students, teachers and parents. Most schools went to “Virtual Learning” which meant the kids were at home learning on a computer. For some kids, this was overwhelming. For some teachers, it was very challenging. And for some parents, it was frustrating. Plenty of kids need the discipline of being in a classroom with a teacher. Being at home they faced distractions and some kids didn’t have internet connections or poor internet connections. Schools have tried various methods of learning this year and it hasn’t been easy. Another major issue was graduations. Large gatherings were not permitted so the Class of 2020 not only missed out on prom snd Senior activities but they also missed out on graduation ceremonies. I have a niece and nephew that graduated this year. They could only have 2 people at their graduation and the ceremony was available through a link online. However, there were technical difficulties throughout the live broadcast so I was only able to see my nephew graduate, not my niece who graduated with honors. I was devastated. My nephew is now a Freshman at LSU and his first year has not been the easiest but he is making the best of it.
Work - After my knee surgery, I had to go to rehab for a few weeks and then they were supposed to clear me to go back to work. However, the doctor's office closed down the day before my appointment. So I was out of work while I waited for their office to open back up. In the meantime, I became involved with a Social Activist in New Orleans, Rubia Garcia, that was fighting for justice for the 3 men that were killed in the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans in October 2019. The bodies of 2 of the men remained in the building for almost a year before they were removed. We worked together to bring awareness to others as to what was happening, we made a memorial for the men that we now refer to as the HardRock3, we stood on the steps of City Hall demanding justice, we were there to show support for the families and we did whatever we could to honor the men that lost their lives to a tragedy that should have been avoided. (For more information on the HardRock3, check out the HardRock3 page on Facebook) I continue to be a part of this movement and made a promise to the families that these men will not be forgotten. In August, (after the doctor’s office reopened, the store increased their employee capacity and I quarantined from having contact with my parents who both tested positive in June) I was able to return back to work. Work has been a little different. We still have to wear masks all day, the hours were limited until this week when we are finally open our normal pre-COVID hours, we have to sanitize our hands and the store daily, you cannot come to work if you or anyone you come in contact with has ANY symptoms (I had to quarantine for 10 days recently because I had a headache and what turned out to be a stomach virus), you have to socially distance and delivery time frames can be much longer which means sometimes you have to work harder to find something in stock or if they are willing to wait, you have to wait longer to get paid. However, sales are up and I’ve had the best months since I’ve been back! So not all change is bad, I guess. I was also given an incredible opportunity in October when I became a travel blogger for Grits, Grace and Granola! It has been a dream for most of my life to travel around the world and share my adventures. Lauren saw my passion and asked me to become a travel blogger for her website. On October 14, 2020, I launched my Facebook group, Live Like Lorie. This is my 5th blog! Thank you, Lauren, for taking a chance on me and making my dream a reality!
Kids - We often forget that kid’s can struggle with changes, too. They may not be able to express their feelings the way that we do but they can still be affected. I have 9 of the most amazing nieces and nephews ranging in age from 4 to 20. They have all been affected by the pandemic in some way. Some of them have adapted better than others (my 4 year old nephews, Karter and Grayson love wearing their masks). So throughout these tough times, I’ve tried to encourage them to have fun despite everything that is happening around them and just appreciate the life they were given. The little kids have enjoyed the simple things like painting, running in an open field, collecting pine cones, taking walks on the levee, leaf rubbing, learning to play pool and making wishes with flowers, to name a few. I’ve enjoyed showing them how to have fun. I’ve always thought of myself as the cool, fun Aunt and this year I think I’ve proved that.
3. Hobbies - I’ve never really been much into DIY or baking or crafting or any of the other hobbies that people enjoy. Photography was really my biggest hobby. I love taking pictures. But when you are under stay at home orders, there aren’t too many things to take pictures of. Luckily for me, I found things to keep me busy and an adorable little sidekick to help with my temporary hobbies. Here are a few of the things that got me through the pandemic.
Essential oils - The week before my Dad was diagnosed with COVID, I decided to try essential oils. I was tired of trying prescriptions that weren’t helping with some issues I had so I wanted to try a safer alternative. I was unsure how long I’d be out of work so I decided to become a distributor for Young Living so that I could get my products at a discounted price and also make some money on the side while helping my family and friends with their essential oil needs. Since I started in June, I have become a big fan of DIY roller blends, creams, lotions and whatever else I find a good recipe for. I'm always in my "lab"creating something. I use essential oils daily and I am grateful for the people I’ve met through our Oils Made Simple Team and the people I’ve been able to help. (For more information about Young Living products or any questions, please feel free to message me)
Baking - I love to cook but I’ve never been much of a baker. My 4 year old nephew, Karter, LOVES to bake. His favorite thing to make is cake with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. My favorite cake is funfetti cake with funfetti icing (I’m a big kid)! He is always looking for an occasion to bake a cake. I think we’ve celebrated his “birthday” three times already this year. So instead of baking just cakes all of the time, I decided to get creative and help him make something other than his favorite cake. He loves dinosaurs so we made different color mini dinosaur cakes with icing and sprinkles, ice cream cone cup cakes and indoor s’mores (he loves to make s’mores but only recently started to eat them because the marshmallows were too sticky). We also made “dinosaur fossils” (just to play with) which were made with flour, salt, water and lavender essential oils and imprints of dinosaurs. After they were baked and hardened, we hid the dinosaur
fossils for him to go on a fossil hunt. He had so much fun! He still plays with his dinosaur fossils. During most of these projects, we went live on Facebook to share these experiences. He loved talking to his “fans and followers” during the lives. He also loved being able to show off his chef apron. And now that he has the matching chef hat, I’m sure he’s ready for his next video. Having someone to bake with made it so much more fun. And the finished products were pretty tasty. (To order customized kid or adult chef aprons and hats, visit the GritsGraceandGranola Etsy store)
Fishing - I haven’t really fished much in my life. But earlier this year, I was invited to spend a few days in a vacation rental home in Eden Isles, La with Rubia. I knew being there would give us a chance to work more on the HardRock3 Project but she made sure we spent some time enjoying the beautiful home we were staying in, too. The backyard was incredible. There was a fishing dock so Rubia decided to buy us some fishing poles. That adventure taught me a lesson in patience and that sometimes we have to slow down and enjoy the little things. We sat out there quietly for hours and I didn’t catch anything. She caught a few fish. After we took pictures with our new fish friends and tried to figure out how we would cook them, the neighbors told us that they weren’t really good fish to eat so we had to throw them all back. All of that time and work for nothing? No...for memories that I’ll cherish forever. I had fun. I enjoyed myself and I am grateful for the time we got to spend together.
Farm Life - I’ve lived in the city all of my life. I love animals and think living on a farm would be fun but I’m a city girl. When I first joined Young Living, quite a few of the people on my team lived in the country, some on farms. They would talk about their goats and chickens and sheep and bunnies and whatever else they had (including the now famous bear). I’ve only had hamsters and fish and dogs and cats until this year. I kept hearing what sounded like a rooster crowing all hours of the day. I was at home one day and it was driving me crazy so I called the leasing office to complain about the noise. As I was standing outside trying to figure out where it was coming from, the girl on the phone told me that there were two chickens that somehow ended up on our property and that they were walking past her window while we were talking. Seconds later, a beautiful rooster and hen were standing a few feet from me. I didn’t know what to think. I certainly didn’t think I’d become so attached to them. I even gave them names. I named them Jackson (after Lauren Jackson’s “Jackson Pine Farm”) and Carolina (because the farm is in South Carolina). Lauren encouraged me to share the story of my city chickens with Facebook and the “City Chicken Chronicles” were born. That’s not the only thing that was born. After thinking Carolina was lost for awhile, she reappeared with 8 little chicks (only 6 survived). With the help of my niece, Madison, and nephew Karter, we named the babies. I have spent months watching George, Karter (Karter was so excited to name one after himself), Jax, Lilly, Faith and Grace grow. I’m sure people think I’m crazy for talking to chickens but they love me and listen to me (most of the time). Unfortunately, the complex doesn’t share in my love for these chickens so they have been trying to trap them. Some of them were caught and sent to a farm. George, Karter and Grace are still running around. Today Karter was running alongside my car. After I beat him, I just laughed at how amused I’ve been by these chickens. I’m gonna miss my babies. I’m thankful for all of the pictures, videos and lives that I have of them. I’m thankful for not only the adventures of my city chickens but that I also got to spend almost 2 weeks at Jackson Pine Farm where not only did I get to do goat yoga but I also got to snuggle baby goats, help trim goat hooves, feed the animals and love on all of Lauren’s babies (even the angry chicken). I also learned that farming isn’t just a hobby. It’s a way of life!
4. Don’t take anything for granted. If you would’ve told me on New Years Eve 2019 that I would go for weeks without a paycheck or have a hard time finding the things we use regularly like toilet paper, hand soap and cleaning products, I would’ve probably thought that we were talking about the aftermath of a big hurricane. And although we did have a very active hurricane season in Louisiana, we couldn’t find those things because of the pandemic. Shelves were empty and when there were products, there were very strict limits. All these months later and the shelves are just starting to have products on them. I learned during this time that you cannot be picky about toilet paper (I usually only use Scott) because we had to use whatever we could find but Scott definitely lasts longer than the competitors (1000 sheets per roll). I also learned that if you were lucky enough to find hand soap to wash your hands for the recommended 20 seconds, you could sing “Happy Birthday” twice if you didn’t have a watch or a timer. Another tip that I read on the mirror at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans is that you can sing these lyrics from Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”, too.... “I see trees of green. Red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” And while there has been a shortage of cleaning supplies during the pandemic, Young Living offers a line of natural products that smell better and are safer and they have been available throughout the pandemic. I recently used my Thieves cleaner to clean my refrigerator and freezer and I am looking forward to using that for all of my household cleaning needs.
5. Sometimes the little things mean the most. I’ve learned this year that little things like hugs and handshakes and being around family and friends and even strangers mean more than we realize. I am a hugger. But when social distancing started, hugs were one of the first things that some people gave up. Anytime I do get the chance to hug someone, I hug a little tighter because I don’t know when the next one will happen. Handshakes were replaced with fist bumps or in church, peace signs with your fingers. Girls nights were replaced with FaceTime calls or Zoom calls. Even birthday parties were done on Zoom. Because I’ve missed these things so much, I cherished my time spent in South Carolina in December (their COVID numbers are very low) even more because we were able to have a small birthday and Christmas gathering and I shared a few hugs. I look forward to the day when life is normal again. I’ll be the one out there hugging EVERYONE!
The phrase hindsight is 20/20 means looking back at a situation or an event and having a clearer understanding of it and how things could have been done better. Looking back at the past 365 days, I realize that this may have been one of the hardest years of my life but I’ve also grown more this year than any other year. I’ve learned what I can do in my life to be a better daughter, sister, aunt, friend, employee and human. I know what I need to do in 2021. My word of the year for 2021 is GROWTH. I want to grow in every area of my life and I feel like 2020 opened my eyes to this new direction. I am grateful for the challenges in 2020 because it gave me a clearer vision of how I want my future to look. I’d like to thank everyone who was there for me and my family this year. I also want to give a huge thanks to Lauren Jackson for EVERYTHING! I hope everyone has a Happy and Healthy 2021! And I hope you all have fun and LIVE LIKE LORIE!
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Dare to Dream,