Starry Night

We walked outside at 7:15, the sun had set at 5:30. It was chilly so we laid down blankets and pillows on the grass. You could hear the quiet rustle between the trees.

We laid down under the blankets and our body heat kept us warm. Our eyes adjusted slowly as wel looked up at the stars. They always seemed farther away in the cold.

I was carrying so much tension that day. As soon as I turned my eyes up to the sky with him next to me, the tension started to dissipate. In the middle of November this year, uncertainty is so strong. We had been wanting to go stargazing since the summer, but we made time for it now, as the days have gotten shorter but it wasn’t too cold outside. Looking up at the starry night makes me ask big questions and feel big emotions, most of the time I don’t know the answers to them. This time, it was comforting looking up at something bigger than ourselves. Like we are so small compared to the vastness of the galaxy. Eventually, I could name the feelings of content and wholeness settle over me as I looked at tiny shining specs that were slowly moving across the sky. No matter what happens next week, next month, next year, the stars will still be there every night, a steady reminder that we are small and our creator carries us in His hands. The blackened, starlight night covered us with ease, and I knew everything was going to be okay. I felt at home. This is the wonderful bliss of being alive.

This next morning I woke up and started reading, I came across this quote:

“The sky was enormous, and terribly high. It’s a funny thing, the colder it gets, the farther away the sky seems and the farther off the stars look. The sky was so thick with them it was almost as though it had been snowing stars, and down below us there was a white fog so it seemed as though we were looking out over a great lake. The Milky Way was a river of light…

“We sat there, close, close, and it was as though we could feel the love we had for one another moving through our bodies as we sat there…

“And I prayed, ‘Oh, God, keep us together, please keep us together, please keep us safe and well and together.’”

– Meet the Austins, Madeleine L’Engle

into the woods

we don’t know what is ahead,

but we’re taking the moments

step by step.

we don’t know what is ahead,

but we’re walking

hand in hand.

we don’t know what is ahead,

but we’re getting through the woods

together.

we’re going to get through what’s ahead

because we’re walking

step by step

hand in hand

together.

nothing is going to change this.

nothing is going to change us.

and that is all i could ever ask for.

Beauty Seekers

Be a beauty seeker. 

This is what I tell myself when I’m scared and worried, when I scroll through the news on my social feeds and it creates more fear than my body can sometimes handle. 

When fear grips me, I focus on the beauty of my surroundings and the people near me. Whether that beauty is the yellows and reds that are showing up in the leaves or the moment my mom steps through the door at 3 am, making it safely home after being gone for two weeks. It’s the beauty that the moment means that holds me together.

This past week I read Aundi Kolber’s book Try Softer. There is so much I want to say about this book but I’ll have to save that for another post. In the book she quotes John O’Donohue:

“Beauty isn’t all about just nice loveliness… beauty is about more rounded, substantial becoming. So I think beauty, in that sense, is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.”

It’s not just about loveliness, it paying attention to the great senses around, me, you, us. I want to live in the depth of beauty of the world around me. Beauty from nature and people. Joyous beauty that stems and grows out of the pain and anxiety of this life. 

The beauty of independence and pain that comes from an empty first apartment. 

The beauty that comes with staying at home during a pandemic, with people who love you and who let you stay.

The beauty of deep roots in your hometown, blooming where you’re planted.

The beauty of the guitar music flowing down the hallway.

The beauty of late nights driving home with my Plus 1, our eyes tired, night lights shining on our faces through the windshield. 

The beauty of an early morning with coffee brewing, the nearness a cold of winter creeping in, hugging against the kitchen window. 

The beauty of photos taken on birthdays and anniversaries. When you’re so excited or nervous your hands shake resulting in a blurred, grainy photo of the beauty of the moment. 

The beauty of days where you get pizza and a movie and cuddle up with a blanket and rest from a busy week.

The beauty of dirty dishes in the sink because after a dinner that was delicious and left you too tired to clean.

The beauty of a backyard full of family that you haven’t see together in months. 

The beauty of working through anxiety slowly, surely, coming home to yourself in the process. 

Sometimes the beauty isn’t what it always looks like, but it’s what it means. These are the types of beauty I love and I’m seeking. These are the moments of beauty I’m grateful for. 

Getting closer and closer to this beautifulness. Each day I want to come near in search and connect with the beauty around me and the lives we all live together on this earth. I feel as if so many people are distancing themselves from each other due to politics and differences and disagreements of the world these days. This may be on the verge of being cliche, but I think this is where we need to come together the most. 

In Mary Oliver’s poem, “When Dead Comes,” she writes of living fully present to the beauty of each person and moment of life. Her final stanza ends this way: “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” 

I want to live in a way thats not just surviving or striving or getting by. 

Oliver’s gorgeous words here are like a beacon for all of us who want to do more than survive, do desire the abundant life of which Jesus speaks (John 10:10). And perhaps this abundance is not made up of wealth and stuff, perfectionism or business… 

but of awareness, beauty, presence, and connection.

This is the beauty I want to seek, this is the way I want to live.

An outro, a prelude

We had two plans to close out the end of summer. #1: camping. #2: visiting a lighthouse and basking in the sun on a sandy shore.

The first was easy, there are plenty of places to camp in the middle of the Midwest. The latter is a bit more difficult. However, there is a place in Indiana where both a lighthouse and a sandy shoreline co-exist: Indiana Dunes in Michigan City. 

Michigan City is the only point where Indiana touches Michigan Lake and contains real beaches that were, in my opinion, better than Florida beaches. So on Sunday morning we packed our car, stopped by Jack’s Donuts to get some dough for the road (and two coffee because what’s a road trip without coffee?), and by 9:30 am we started off on our grand adventure north. 

The drive really wasn’t that bad and felt way faster than three hours. Most of the drive was through cornfields with wide-open skies. At 12:00 pm, we made it. I couldn’t wait to get to the dunes and see the expanse of lake that seems for a split second like ocean. We only stayed at the beach for about two hours, but I could’ve sunbathed the entire day. As soon as you crossed over the sand hills and saw the lake, wind brushed up against my skin like a nice hug. Although it wasn’t too crowded, we definitely walked aways down the shoreline to get a good spot of the beach to claim as ours — laying down a turquoise blanket on the beige sand. Before we went to the beach, we stopped in town to get chicken wraps for lunch and more coffee-to-go. We ate on the blanket with seagulls inching close to see if we’d drop any chips (we did).  

The Chicago skyline could be seen from the shore, a gorgeous silhouette of the skyscrapers which held a bustling city in its grasp. We joked that we did what we called “The Full Chicagy.” This summer, we traveled to both the southern and northern edges of Indiana. In August, we visited a little riverfront town, Madison, Indiana, where the Ohio River is the border between our state and Kentucky. Then this past weekend we traveled as north as we could while staying in Indiana’s borders. Hence, “The Full Chicagy” being when you travel to both edges of the state in the same season. We’re very clever. 😉 

Another wonderful thing about Michigan city is the historic lighthouse on the pier. I’ve never seen a lighthouse in person before this trip, and even though it’s no longer a working lighthouse, only there for historic integrity, it lit inspiration inside me. When we walked out on the pier, waves lapping up onto the concrete, splashing us slightly. I couldn’t help but think that it was like a set for a rom-com movie. One where two lovers would be next to each other, walking hand-in-hand towards the lighthouse, sun setting in the distances. I mean that is basically what we did. And it was wonderful. This might seriously inspire me to write something along those lines… but we’ll see where that takes me. 

Nonetheless, I think we had a fairly good end-of-summer, hello-fall trip. Caleb told me that as we were walking away from the lighthouse, he felt that summer was wrapped up right then and there. An outro to what was probably the best summer we’ve lived through. A prelude to the rest of what this year has up its long sleeves, which are many more adventures and warm pumpkin spice lattes. That counts as a pretty good trip in our book. 

An ode to summer

Labor Day has come and gone. The end days of summer are here and already the approach of fall is upon us. Literally, everywhere I look there are captions and comments of fall in social media posts; Target has brought out their sweaters, long sleeves, and pumpkins in the dollar section; cafes and bakeries are serving pumpkin-flavored coffee and danishes; I noticed that there are a few crumpled brown leaves that have fallen in my driveway. I might have partaken in this joyful arrival of the upcoming season; I mean who wouldn’t? 2020 has been rough, the least we can do is stretch out this wondrous fall and make the most of it. It’s the beginning of the end of a once-in-a-generational year, which also means the beginning of a whole new year is to come soon.


Before getting caught all up in what is to come, I have to acknowledge that this summer was some of the best of times, during some of the worst of times. This summer I was in love with a precious human, my Plus 1. Even during COVID, we did so much within the hot mid-months.  We laid in the shade in our hammock while staring up at the blue sky, reading books we got from the bookshop down the street. There were nights we threw pillows and blankets in the back of his car and drove to the local drive-in to watch The Goonies and Dirty Dancing on the big screen. There were lemon pastries baked in kitchens. Film photos taken of us and animals at the Indianapolis Zoo during the sweltering heat, masks on with happy smiles underneath. There were drives through cornfields, stops at gas stations to get coffee, state parks where we hiked and found gorgeous sites, where we got caught in the rain. On July 1, in the heat of summer, we went out to a sunflower field and picked blooms that left yellow pollen on our figures and counters. There were nights where we just sat with each other and talked until sunset, which was around 9:45 pm. There were nights we watched movies, both scary (his favorite) and sappy (my favorite). There was a night where we both got so into the movie You Got Mail that we yelled and the screen when Joe Fox wouldn’t tell Kathleen Kelly that he was the person she was emailing all along. 

There was the time, when the city started to open back up, where we went out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate the months we’ve spent together so far. We got dressed up and went downtown to eat stake, asparagus in butter, fancy-ass French fries, and a dessert of cheesecake and champagne. 

This summer was a collection of wonderful moments that I dare never to forget, even as we move on to fall and winter. I’m writing about these happy things not because we didn’t have any hardships over the summer, but the joyful moments were found amount all those hardships. Even when things didn’t go as planned, we adjusted and went on. We moved to the beat of the rhythm we found ourselves in and found joy in it. We celebrated and made good memories out of everything that was given to us. 

It is this year that I will never forget, because even though it was some of the oddest of times, it was also the absolute best of times. And I am forever grateful.


This weekend, my family went on a camping trip. It was one of two plans my Plus 1 and I have to close out the summer. I logged off of social media and took each moment as they came, enjoying the time outdoors with family. I slept in a tent, listening to the hum of crickets and bugs throughout the night. The morning was one I’ll always remember, waking up as the sun was coming over the horizon, 7:15 am, drinking coffee to take the sleep out of my eyes, walking through wildflowers patches, and seeing the moon disappear has the day came into being. 

I’m ready for the sweaters and the colors and the chill that fall brings, but before I completely hop on that train, this summer deserved an ode, because these things and even more I haven’t mentioned are wonderful memories, ones I’ll never forget. Happy end-of-summer to you. Here’s to the golden days.

Currently listening to: Golden Days by Whitney