Results of the 2021 “My Year in the Pandemic” Contest

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As the pandemic moves further and further from our rearview mirror, it’s nice to bid it adieu, but it’s also nice to reflect on some of what got us through it. We’re happy to announce the results of the “My Year in the Pandemic Contest!”

We received a wonderful amount of most excellent entries, which certainly challenged our cast of 7 judges. After great deliberation, here are the winners!

FIRST PLACE: “My Home Makeover”, Casperdog: “Laundry Room to Pantry”.

I turned my laundry room into a pantry. Made all the shelves myself – nothing was Premade. The boxes were my template.



FIRST PLACE: “I Started a Hobby”, Sandra_Harrell: “Medical Cookies”

I have always enjoyed baking. During the pandemic I learned to do custom decorated cookies as a way to give back. I loved surprising teachers and my daughter in law’s medical practice with cookies letting them know they are appreciated.

One part of my hobby was to purchase a Cricut and learn how to make stencils and silk screens for my cookies. I was really excited to receive a phone call from Solace House of the Ozarks asking if I would make cookies for their fundraising event. Both of my parents, in laws and step in laws went through hospice at the end of their life. They will always hold a special place in my heart, I can’t wait to give back to them on June 6th, with cookies that have their logo on them.

FIRST PLACE: “My Greatest Pandemic Accomplishment”, John_Warsing_Jr: “Good Time Trailer” 

My greatest accomplishment was trading for a new job. I was, and still am, a sous chef, but the restaurant closed for 5 months and only for part time work. Unemployment insurance only lasted 3 months, so I invested in a food trailer! Scrubbed, scraped, cleaned, replaced, repaired and finished with a paint job to start a new business of my own.

I still cook part time 3 evenings a week but take my trailer out daily and have almost caught up with all my bills and paid off the trailer. Soon it will only be “Me and my trailer, cooking ol boy Cajun Recipes” Sing along with the tune “me and my shadow”. If you see me out and about try the alligator Po-boy. Tell em it’s Karma.

FIRST PLACE: “What I Learned During the Pandemic”, MGracia: “Living in the Present”

What I learned during the Pandemic is that life is meant to be lived. I learned that I must take care of my own well being in order to take care of others, especially my children. I mostly worked (12 hour swing shift nights) and slept throughout quarantine while trying to homeschool my two teenagers, provide for them and just be their mom as well. Their grades and schoolwork performance, and my relationship with each of them, suffered greatly due to my lack of organization, energy and mental/emotional stability.

I have learned that while yes… my income is necessary, it doesn’t have to be what it was 3 months ago. Later today I start working part time morning shifts making roughly $14 less than what I was 3 months ago. For over 17 years, (and through the heart of the pandemic), I have worked as a nurse in long term care. I also took care of my mother until she passed away 4 1/2 years ago… all as a single mom. My children grew up quickly and I feel as if I have failed them in many ways as a mother.

I have learned that not just taking care of others is my passion… but taking care of my children is. Over the past 3 months I have been learning to live in the present, to not just ‘provide’ for my children but to ‘be there’ for them, and most importantly to take care of myself. I have also learned that you are never ‘too old’ to make new goals or have new dreams. My oldest daughter (who is 20) told me that. I feel grateful and blessed to say that I am healthy (with my mental/emotional stability improving daily), I have 3 wonderful kids, and it is such a blessing to live in the present😊. I would like to add that for over a year now I have logged in at least daily to play my absolute favorite game – SOLITAIRE TRIPEAKS!! I still call it my ‘Tiki time’!


SECOND PLACE: “My Home Makeover”, Toryunter: “New Bathroom”



SECOND PLACE: “I Started a Hobby”, Kristie_Golden: “Watercolors”

I lost my job a year ago so I started painting with inks.

SECOND PLACE: “My Greatest Pandemic Accomplishment”, Sonja_Boer: “Unexpected Gifts”

I hope I have the good one!  I am not so good with English, but when the pandemic started, I began to make cards and send them to children, older people… lonely people (for those who were sick, or had a birthday). Last year I sent about 1,000 cards, and made little presents (for people in the neighborhood). For Easter I made chocolate eggs, Kings Day, a card, and in winter a bag of these with chocolates and bonbons I brought those around here where I live. Now I send about 2 or 3 cards a week (because it is to much money to send more).

So I try to do something nice for others during the pandemic.

I make all the cards myself, and boxes for everyone.

SECOND PLACE: “What I Learned During the Pandemic”, Elaine_Brofford: “I Am Resilient”

I learned what I already knew: my friends, neighbors, and strangers are the greatest and I am resilient. Tough too. As an essential worker – (you all knew that PIs were essential, right?) I was out there daily doing all the things I usually do as your average little senior citizen PI.

Magnum or Rockford I am not. Then, my house burned down. (Another lesson – make sure your smoke detectors are working). Thankfully my fur kids and I got out. My neighbors helped me open the gate because we were afraid the animals would be trapped in the yard. Then they promised the EMTs they would search for the dogs so that I would agree to go to a hospital. Animal Control came to the hospital, told me everyone was fine and safely sheltered for up to two weeks. My friends scooped me up when I was discharged. They took me where I needed to go and helped with some immediate needs as I had run out of the house with only the pajamas I was wearing at the time. One helped with the nightmare of checking into a hotel room my insurance company had reserved. Clerk: I need your credit card and ID. Me: __ Insurance made the reservation. My credit card and ID burned up when my house burned down last night. Clerk: I understand, but I need your credit card and ID to check you in. Repeat many times. Even after a friend gave her a credit card, she still wanted my ID in case I was someone trying to steal my identity. Was literally standing in the lobby in my pajamas and reeking of smoke, and shouting “who would want to steal this identity?” The folks at the shelter took great care of my animals. Was reunited with Poseidon, the cat, as he could stay in the hotel room. The dogs were put together in a grand room until I could arrange for them to be boarded. Just before Christmas, we were all reunited. It’s still a roller coaster. My identity really was stolen in March – along with millions of others. But for every bad thing, there are 57.9 great things, 1279.34 good things, 700,988,234 fair things, and skillions of wonderful people. I just made up the stats, but you get my drift. Lily’s Mom 5.26.21


THIRD PLACE: “My Home Makeover”, malorenz: “New Bathroom”



THIRD PLACE: “I Started a Hobby”, EmileeNoweta: “Rock Paintings”

My name is Emilee and the hobby I started during the pandemic (other than Solitaire Tripeaks ) is rock painting.

I would paint cartoons and band logos mostly during the day. Then go place them around my neighborhood in the evening. I noticed the rocks would be moved and some taken.

Then one day I ran into a woman pulling her daughter in a wagon with some of my rocks as I was placing others out. She approached me and asked if I was the one putting these rocks out and said that it was part of her and her kids routine to check out the rocks and move them around on her walk every day. So I did a few that were her kids favorite characters. Sometimes they will paint rocks too with messages about what they want.

I absolutely love this and remain anonymous except for that day. I hope that I can spread the joy and make someone’s day a little brighter when they see my rocks!

THIRD PLACE: “My Greatest Pandemic Accomplishment”,  x3jewbarbie: “One Year Sober Chip”

I’m going to go out on a whim here and open myself up to vulnerability by sharing that My greatest pandemic accomplishment would be receiving my 1 year sober chip just a few days ago 4/27/2021. 4/27/2020 is my sober date and It’s been one hell of a ride gaining the ability to cope with and overcome any obstacles along the way. 2020 was by far my hardest but most accomplished year of my life so far since being brought into the world on 8/26/1992. This was the year I almost lost my life, custody of my child, significant other and even the love, support, and respect from most of my family. On 4/26/2020 after many years of suffering, I had this epiphany and decided enough was enough and started my what it seemed at the time a ‘very impossible’ journey to learning how to truly love myself by making a decision that would change my life forever. 4/27/2020 was the day I made the leap and started rehab at crossroads 360. This is the place where I made a fearless moral inventory of myself and learned to process my emotions and traumas of the past by actually feeling them. I let go of resentments and forgave not only the ones who had caused me harm but myself for giving them the power to impact the decisions I made as a result of it. Rather than stuff away my feelings and temporarily resolving any issues I had with mind altering substances, I gained the tools to cope with not only the pain of the past, but the things that could potentially get in the way of my future. Since graduating crossroads, I’ve regained the custody of my son, trust of my significant other, support from my family, start to a career that I love, and most importantly LOVE FOR MYSELF!

There’s so many photos to choose from, I wish I could post them all! Lol. These are pictures of my son Christian and I together throughout my journey. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

THIRD PLACE: “What I Learned During the Pandemic”, Sue_Solzer_Haswell: “Be Grateful”

What did I learn during the pandemic?

There are many lessons learned from the time spent in quarantine during the Covid-19 Pandemic as we all learned how to cope with a new way of life.

I learned how to be patient with myself, my husband, my siblings and my children, and anyone else I happened to come in contact (socially distant contact) with. We all have our own stories and we all were experiencing different hardships and challenges- yes- I learned to be patient and tried to be kind-always.

Lesson two – tomorrow is not promised. Cherish every moment of every day-even of the day isn’t going how you planned. There is a little bit of good in every challenge we face. Look for it-you will find it.

Lesson three- you can go through a whole year of a pandemic with no symptoms of the virus – and then BAM! Two weeks before your son’s wedding, you get sick and have to quarantine!

Lesson four- be grateful. The pandemic started with the blessing of our 1st grandchild. It continued with the blessing of a new puppy, and still continues with the blessing of a special marriage of my son to his beautifully strong soul mate.