Saturday Morning Message: Cultivating Hobbies and Skills

Author: Carol Lane


Good Morning,

During this period of quarantine, some have found the additional time to develop new hobbies or skills or have worked hard to enhance old skills, applying that new knowledge to various projects. Several survivors share about their experiences in this week’s Saturday Morning Message.

We have all heard that journaling can be part of the healing process when we are grieving. Lydia Joy, mother of Carl, explains what she does to enhance her journal entries in this week’s response section. She also shared the opening flower photo.

Terri, mother of Jason, applied her love of sewing to creating masks for those on the front lines. Her story can be found in the article, "Sharing Love One Mask at a Time".

Thanks so much to all who make the Saturday Morning message special each week.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Responses from Survivors to last week's question

We have all been spending more time at home since the pandemic first affected our lives. Have you developed or enhanced a hobby or skill during quarantine to lift your spirits?


From Kelsey, mother of Michael: During this long stay at home time, I've worked on enhancing my writing skills. I write short stories and, for years, they were all murder mysteries. This past year I tried other genres and find I enjoy sci-fi almost as much! I have written stories about my son and my grief as well. 

From Lydia Joy, mother of Carl: I've started doodling in my journal. I challenged myself to add art to each daily page of my bullet journal. I might not draw every day, but I managed to add something to each page. My theme for the month of January was flowers and greenery. Sometimes, I used stencils or looked at line drawings found with an internet search. Sometimes, I sketched from memory or used one of my houseplants as a model.  

celtic cross by Edward

From Edward, father of Misty and Edward: For many years I was an industrial equipment technician. That job required me to troubleshoot equipment, make recommendations on how to repair the machine and how to prevent the problem from recurring. I got tired of getting extremely oily and dirty, so I changed careers, but I still had the need to figure out how things are done. 

After that, I searched YouTube for how to draw a Celtic cross and found a video on how to draw a basic cross. From there, it just took looking at different crosses, using my imagination, hours of doodling and throwing away a lot of doodled-on paper. 

Drawing takes a lot of my patience and it will take more than a few days to come up with a way to put the image that is in my head onto paper; and again, I will throw away a lot of paper. Next, I come up with the color combination I want to use. Adding color is something I just started doing. 

I draw my crosses using some freehand and some drawing tools. Finding good drawing tools can be hard to find, so I use a lot of the same tools and techniques that elementary school kids use. These types of drawings are not hard to learn how to do. All It takes is a lot of patience, a clear head, and a lot of imagination.


We Welcome Your Comments

If you would like to send a note commenting on one or all of the responses in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to and your thoughts will be passed along to each contributor. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Sometimes something triggers our grief feelings, even many years after our loss. We would like to receive suggestions from other survivors on what they do to feel better when their grief comes rushing over them unexpectedly. How do you cope with the loss of a loved one even though it has been a long time?

Tammie, mother of Gregory posed the question this week. She wrote, “Last Sunday was the Super Bowl. My beloved son was killed Sunday February 5, 2012 on Super Bowl Sunday. I have had a rollercoaster of emotions for nine years, but this year it seemed like it happened yesterday. I cried so much and just couldn’t stop. I cried for two days on and off. The long term effects of coping have been a challenge for me. 

I know I lost my father in December 2018 and mom in December 2019 and they were my support when I needed to talk about how I was feeling. I would gain encouragement and strength from them and now they have journeyed on as well. So my question is: How do you cope with the loss of a loved one even though it has been a long time? I’m seeking answers, so I can get back on track. 

After this pandemic I will start family gatherings and outings that would otherwise help me cope as well.”


We Welcome Your Questions 

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. Questions for future messages are always welcome and can be sent to In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response by Tuesday morning.


Song for the Week

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Perry, father of Christopher sent the song for this week. He wrote, "It was a while back when I heard "I Have a Dream" in a movie about ABBA. They were one of my favorite groups when I was my son's age. I had never heard the song before, but it touched me to the point that I was in tears. To this day, when I hear it I cannot help but cry. It was the first line of the song that got to me, which is,

'I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything.'

When I think of the many Godwink moments I have had since Christopher was killed, it was like this was another one of them to me. So many of the words were telling me that I will make it through this darkness even if I sometimes 'fail. This song was something I wanted to share with my TAPS family as I believe it will resonate with everyone."

TAPS Spotify Playlist: One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a free playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs that are special to him. The playlist is called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance. I often play the list when I am working on the Saturday Morning Message.


Send Your Favorite Song or Recipe

This section of the message is set aside for songs and recipes that are special to survivors. If you have a favorite recipe or song for this section, please send it to and include a note about why it is meaningful to you.


Related Stories

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Article: "Art Therapy: Expressing Grief — And Hope — Through Collage

Making collages can help survivors remember happy moments and create visions of a more hopeful tomorrows.

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Video: Photographing Grief

This video recording presents photography techniques and exercises for exploring and expressing your grief story.



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Visit the TAPS Online Community Calendar for this week's schedule of text and video chats and other offerings. We have a virtual gathering most days of the week. Whether you want to share your story or just read how other survivors are sharing and coping, this online grief support community is a way for you to develop and strengthen your connections with TAPS.

Other Items and Events of Interest

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Breath of Fresh Air With TAPS Outdoors - Season 2

The Breath of Fresh Air series, presented by TAPS Outdoors, is for everyone and requires no previous outdoor experience! With bi-weekly videos and Campfire Chats, we'll help you find the right tips, tools and tricks to navigate the wilds of our natural world and the wilds of your grief.

In Season 2: Sowing Seeds, we will utilize the skills we developed over winter to plant seeds of hope for the flourishing summer ahead. Spring is the season of new beginnings, and we look forward to preparing the ground, planting seeds and growing with you in the journey to blooms. The official launch date is Wednesday, March 3.

Free Webinars Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®

Gain valuable information and coping strategies through the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing. In February, you have two opportunities to participate in free online sessions. 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

Virginia National Guard

Tips And Resources To Help You Navigate All Stages Of An Emergency

Our hearts are with our TAPS Families impacted by recent winter weather. You are not alone. You've got this! And we've got you! We are always available to provide compassionate care to our military survivors in any circumstance. We also want to lessen the added stress you may be experiencing due to such emergencies. If you are in need of support, due to a natural disaster, contact our Casework Team at 202-588-TAPS (8277) or via email at for information on available aid and supportive resources as well as read our TAPS Natural Disaster Response article.

We're All In This Together

COVID-19 Support and Resources

At TAPS, we’re no stranger to challenging times, and we’re all doing our part to support one another and get through these difficult times together. As always, TAPS is here 24/7, and our team is working hard to provide resources, services and support to surviving military families as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19. For more information or questions, visit our COVID-19 Response and Resources page or please email us at

Choose TAPS as Your AmazonSmile Charity of Choice

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support TAPS every time you shop, at no cost to you. Visit, log in, and select TAPS as your charity of choice. Amazon will give 0.5% of your eligible purchases to TAPS.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the Saturday Morning Message is to foster peer-based connection for support and encouragement.  It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive atmosphere where we can openly share in a non-judgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable, and explore any opinions/ideas shared that are most beneficial to you on your individual journey. Content submitted for inclusion in the Saturday Morning Message is edited for spacing considerations, grammatical corrections and may be used in other TAPS publications.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email

If you ever need to speak to someone regarding an urgent matter or just need a listening ear, the loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please feel free to contact TAPS at 202-588-8277.