Bright yellow blossoms have appeared on my forsythia bushes and the crocuses are in fragile bloom. Spring arrives this week and despite the pandemic, spring heralds renewal and hope. Although it's raining as I write this, the birds are singing outside my window, their songs bright and cheerful. The robins have returned, always a sign of spring.

Although it's been cool, the winter has passed and spring is here.

Spring is considered a season of hope and despite the current situation around the world, I like to believe we can embrace the hope of the season.

In a week, the world has changed. Last Monday, I could go to the market and buy what I needed, without question. Now, the store shelves loom empty as people gather up goods to weather the pandemic.

Last week, the much anticipated 28th Annual Neosho Business Expo was postponed. It was a wise decision and it will take place sometime this summer. Since then, events large and small have been cancelled or postponed. Spring break in Neosho has been extended for another week.

I'm working from home - per corporate direction but I'm still finding news, bringing the readers what's happening although at this point, it changes fast.

Among the updates on the Coronavirus, I'm striving to deliver good news as well, stories that might bring a smile or a positive distraction.

At church yesterday, we were reminded that no matter what happens, God is there. As Christians, we're supposed to fear not - easier said than done but I'm working on the peace and calm we should have.

I am, after all, human.

I find joy in spring, the eternal promise that the seasons endure and that this situation will pass.

I find joy in my faith.

As the pandemic continues, however, I will do my best to bring up to date information to the community, in the pages of the paper and online. Our website and our Facebook page will be updated with the latest as soon as I have the information.

Although I'm not at the office, I remain accessible by email and by phone.

Join me in keeping calm. When the store shelves are empty of bread, bake bread. Take time to sit on the porch and enjoy spring. Admire the blooming flowers. Listen to the birdsongs. Watch the world grow green again.

Take time to read a book or watch a favorite movie.

Take a nap.

Share with a neighbor.

Endure.

For, as it says in the Songs of Solomon 2:11, "for lo the winter is passed, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is heard and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is community editor for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser. She writes a weekly column, A Writer's View.