Top 10 Things I Did During The Pandemonium*

About two months ago, I wrote a blogpost titled, “100 Things Creatives Can Do With Their Time.” And now, here we are—two months later—still sequestered and sheltered, wondering not only when we can get back to normal, but what normal will even mean when we get there.

Recently I reread that blog post, and I began to consider how I have used my own time—as a creative, a musician, a pastor, an inventor, a husband and father and friend. I’ve been busy. But has it been a good busy? Have I taken my own advice? So as I take stock of the last few months, here are my Top 10 Things I Did During The Pandemonium.*

  1. Moved and Refitted my Home Studio. Every creative needs a creative space. A month ago, I moved my home studio (where I record, write, and chill) to a downstairs bedroom. Some paint, some rewiring, some furniture moving. Now, I find myself feeling much more creative and really looking forward to time in front of my Mac and piano keyboard.
  2. Released Two New Products. Warning: Shameless commercial plug ahead! My musical instrument venture, INNOVA Music, recently released the SounDot Tamb and SounDot Riqq, two accessories which provide increased musicality to the already expanding WalkaBout Drum universe. This comes on the heels of us formally receiving our second U.S. patent. We’re very proud of the fact that more musicians are adopting the WalkaBout, like the worship band, We The Kingdom.
  3. Assembled a Lot of Jigsaw Puzzles. Trains, kittens, landscapes, farmhouses. My wife and I will spill a jigsaw puzzle onto the dining table and slowly but methodically piece it together. We love being with one another (a marriage of two introverts), and the act of working on a jigsaw puzzle—along with a lazy glass of wine—gives us a calm and peaceful activity we enjoy together.
  4. Wrote Some Songs (Of Course!). Believe it or not, I’ve never personally released a worship album. And there are various reasons why that I won’t get into. But I’ve had a few songs come to me recently that may make me rethink that. But here’s a weird thought. Instead of going the regular route (i.e., copyright, CCLI registration,  and sales release), I’m seriously considering allowing free usage of the songs via YouTube, no strings attached. After all, I didn’t write these songs to make money, I wrote them as an expression to God.
  5. Zoom, Zoom. I’ve done more video conferencing in the last two months than I have my whole entire life. I’ve coined the term, “zoomed out,” to explain the wonky feeling I have after a day’s worth of meetings.
  6. Finished a Spec Screenplay. About five years ago, I wanted to learn the art of screenwriting, and through a fun and challenging process, ended up writing a very mediocre screenplay. I put it away, thinking I would pick it back up when I retired. Enter the Covid. In the last month, I’ve done two major rewrites, and even had an exhilaratingly-fun virtual table read with pro actors from LA and SF.  It is at the point where I’ve brought in a script doctor, and I’m being approached about how we might shop it or find funding for it. Can’t say more about it at this point, but I’m naively excited for the possibilities. Stay tuned for more on this, I hope.

  7. Napped.
    I used to joke that if God ever called me to be an overseas missionary, I would hope it would be to a culture that has siestas. Well, now I’m living in one.
  8. Worshiped Online. As a worship arts pastor, I’ve had to lead a team to figure out how to do church services in the midst of the pandemic. We committed early to a livestream approach (as opposed to broadcasting) because of our strong convictions regarding ecclesiology as it relates to worship. So we’re teaching our faith community how to be a socially-interactive, worshipful online congregation. And in the process, I’m leaning into that more expansive definition of the Church, in ways I’ve never had to before. Leading worship while staring into a camera, I picture the hundreds of families gathered on the other end of the screen, meeting God. It is honestly a little weird. But not a bad weird.
  9. Watched the Grandchildren. Working from home has allowed me more time to be with my two grandsons, Grant and Jackson. And it has been a blast. Once a week or so, they will invite me into their play world and give me the privilege of being a dinosaur or a race car driver or a monster, or just sit with them and pick up a crayon or some sidewalk chalk. It’s in moments like these that I am reminded that God invites us into His Wonder.
  10. Not Gigged. With the lingering protocols in place, I’ve not had the opportunity to book gigs through the summer, and all speaking engagements and shows have been cancelled. It is pretty much unprecedented, though understandable. Still, I know that this is a tough time for many artists. Gigs have dried up, businesses and galleries and studios are closed, freelancers are underemployed, people are buying less. As the current pandemic continues, I pray that you and yours are safe, healthy, solvent, and inspired.

*pan·de·mo·ni·um  | ˌpandəˈmōnēəm | noun, wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar. (mid 17th century: modern Latin, denoting the place of all demons, in Milton’s Paradise Lost).



3 thoughts on “Top 10 Things I Did During The Pandemonium*

  1. Well, Pastor Manuel, you sure have been very productive during this pandemic… :)

    As for me, I’ve been busy studying, esp. in theology, with the help of the free resources from They too have been very helpful during this time.

    I’ve also been busy making preparations so that I can come back to my own blogging. I mentioned to you while you were here in the Philippines that I also blog, and now I’m ready to push it. I hope that you can check it out :)

    P.S. I know that asking other bloggers to check out one’s own blog is frowned upon, but hey, we already know each other :)

    1. Hey Arjay, thanks for connecting with me. Please share a link to your website in your comment, and I will definitely check it out. Blessings to you.

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