I think I’m getting the job done in the Time of Corona – tending the dogs and the mostly grown kids and the new flower beds, trying to be an encouragement to those around me. Daisy Baby is a big help with the flowers.

Pepper in the background watching out for coyotes and keeping a safe distance from the small menace AKA Daisy

I’m finding contentment close to home – often – despite the worries and the despair at the ways I fail and have failed.

I love how my friend Monica Fawknotson gets the job done – with talent, humility, grace, and strength of character. She’s Executive Director of Metropolitan Nashville Sports Authority, and I’m delighted for her to stop in today with her take on the times…

Hi Monica! I’m so happy for you to spend some time in the Bacon Neighborhood today!

How are you doing? (How does one even begin to answer that, right?)

I guess we could start with work.

What have the last few months been like for you as head of the Metro Nashville Sports Authority? Are you working from home? Zooming? Have you settled into a good rhythm? 

For the most part I’m working from home and relying on Zoom and WebEx meetings. I’m grateful I can work remotely – so many people don’t have the luxury.  The Sports Authority hasn’t slowed down during pro sports’ hiatus. A tremendous amount of our work right now is preparing for construction of the MLS Stadium. We’ve also been working on tornado recovery at First Horizon Park. Compared to many our Germantown neighbors, damage to the ballpark wasn’t bad. It could have been much, much worse.

What lies ahead for you – and our city’s sports – in the coming weeks? I know it’s hard to predict anything…

After months of uncertainty we are seeing the return of sports. Ford Ice Centers in Antioch and Bellevue have reopened, Predators are in Training Camp preparing for their return to play and Stanley Cup qualifying matches, Titans’ training camp is getting ready to start and, as I mentioned earlier, construction on the MLS Stadium is scheduled to start the end of July.

What has been the most challenging part of the last few months at work?

I knew juggling work and kids (i.e. homeschooling) would be a challenge, but I’ve been surprised by how much time I spend trying to resolve technical issues and computer problems. The Sports Authority has been meeting virtually and I’ll just say technology has not always been on our side!  

What has been the best part?

Watching colleagues and our facility partners extend so much grace and go out of their way to help each other during such a difficult season. I’ve found people to be more patient and understanding even though everyone’s exhausted. And not sitting in traffic is fantastic!

I assume you’ve spent a lot more time at home over the last few months, like the rest of us. How has that been? How are your kids doing? Your husband?

I love being with my people! The kids are great. My husband has recovered from COVID and we’re so grateful that he’s doing well. I’ve learned so much about the kids this spring – especially the ways they learn. I’ve also learned my seven- year old is a complete homebody! He’s content to be at home all the time. My daughter is a different story.

What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?

I don’t think we have one favorite. We love to travel but since that’s not really an option we’re playing a lot of UNO and War (my son’s request), watching movies, baking and taking walks. My husband is from the Bahamas and our kids love Caribbean music so there’s a lot of that around the house.

How do you relax? Do you ever have any time to yourself?

I’m a native Tennessean, but the Bahamas has become a second home to me and is the place where I’m most relaxed. I’m learning to carve out time for myself; otherwise it doesn’t happen. I’m an introvert at my core. I need alone time – even if it’s just 20 or 30 minutes. I read when I can (I was an English Lit. major), but not as much as I’d like.

What do you miss the most right now?

Being with friends and family in person. I’m thankful for Zoom but it’s not the same as being with the people you love. 

Any guilty pleasure?

Just about anything on HGTV. I love interior design. My father was a college basketball coach, but my mother was an interior designer. Growing up I hung out in fabric/wallpaper stores as well as the gym. 

Do you watch the news or read it or both? What are your go-to sources?

We watch and read a little bit of everything, from local and national news to the BBC. And, of course, Bahamian news. We try hard to be balanced.

TV shows, books, podcasts… what are you enjoying?

The entire family is loving Renovation Island on HGTV where a Canadian family is renovating a resort on Andros, the Bahamian island where my husband grew up. 

I’m slowly making my way through Bound for the Promised Land – Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero

We’re also loving Hamilton on Disney+.

What have you learned about yourself or others in the Time of Corona? What advice would you offer?

We really do make time for what’s important to us. I’ve had to admit that some of the things I’ve said are important to me really aren’t, because I still haven’t prioritized them even with the extra time being at home has afforded me.

What worries you the most right now?

I try not to worry, but as a wife and mom raising black sons (and our daughter) I’m really concerned about and the safety and well-being of my family and other families of color. My kids are unbelievably kind and compassionate. The thought of them being mistreated, not being given a chance, or of people assuming the worst about them because of the color of their skin both angers me and breaks my heart.  I pray that people will, “ …act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)

What gives you hope in today’s world?

Above all, my faith in God gives me hope. Last year we moved to a wonderfully diverse neighborhood. My husband was on a walk recently when an elderly, white lady he’d never seen before stopped him and called him over to see her garden.  She introduced herself, looked him in the eye and said, “I just want you to know that I see you… and that I welcome you.” We often get focused on the bad actors, but I believe there are many people like her showing love and kindness to strangers and to those different from them. They also give me hope.  

This interview gives me hope, Monica. Thank you. Xoxo

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Yellow and pink coneflowers from the garden; the blurry purple image is salvia.