Light with lingering shadows

Light with lingering shadows

Today is the winter solace. The longest day of the year. The mark of winter. This morning I lit a small tea candle in a jar of water to celebrate that we made it through the night of the year where the darkest lingers around the most. That’s something, especially for 2020.

It’s probably just me that’s now noticing this, but we celebrate the time of light amid the darkest time of the year. When the days are the shortest, when the nights are the longest, we decorate our houses with lights, hang up decorative trees, and light candles that cast long shadows. We bake for celebration, cookies and warm soups, bread and pastries. We cozy up by fires. Some of us bundle up in sweatshirts and coats to walk through the cold and sometimes snow to attend festivals of lights. Some of us celebrate the birth of when the One, True light was born upon the earth. Because even in darkness, with the long shadows cast over the ground throughout the day, light penetrates through. Light overcomes. It takes only a little bit of warm glow to penetrate and brighten a whole room of darkness. 

Just like it only took a little baby of light to penetrate through a blackened world. 

All of this brings me to the thought of this year and its peculiarities and also the upcoming year. 

2020 hasn’t been isn’t the only time where the world felt an unusual heaviness. It hasn’t been the only time we have experienced darkness and sick and other undesirable things. This isn’t the only time and it won’t be the last. But even so, I strive to celebrate the light, hope, and joy that comes with this year and the new one to come. 2021 brings just as many uncertainties as it does hope. The type of hope and joy that aren’t present on their own, but coexist with fear and pain. The joy and hope that happens despite that hard times. 

As I celebrate Christmas, the celebration of light in darkness, and the birth of a new year, the hope and joy of what is to come, I hope to remember this year for what it was. Not as one that I never want to remember, but one that I made it through clumsily enough, the one where I found love, hope, and joy in the small things right under my nose. The one where I lit a candle with lingering shadows.

Love is weird and wonderful

Love is weird and wonderful

One year ago today, I met this wonderful person at a Mexican restaurant downtown during a holiday work lunch. Little did we know, we’d have our first date at Coat Check Coffee a little less than a month later. Our second date was a museum and dinner, our third we went swing dancing, and the rest would be history. When the pandemic came, and we spent 40 days quarantined apart from each other. But we came back stronger and I’m ever grateful for it. It will always be apart of our story. What a year 2020 has been, it has been my favorite. Love is weird  and wonderful that way.

Come the Soft Voices

Come the Soft Voices

I’ve always been soft-spoken. When I speak, my voice is audibly quiet. I’ve been told it’s like a whisper sometimes. It’s surprising because most of my family is very loud. I’m used to it by now,  I roll with it. I dub myself the listener. In large groups, I love taking account of what others have to say, I sparsely comment myself. Often times, I’m okay with it. 

I’ll be real and honest here though, sometimes I just feel like I’m drowning with the soft voice I have amongst all the loud ones that take up so much prominence in this world. 

Just because my voice is soft, doesn’t mean I don’t have words to say. 

In college I would always be told to speak up, I would lose points for listening during a discussion instead of loudly shouting my opinion out above the others in the class. The times I did speak up, I either wasn’t heard, having to repeat myself over and over again or raise my hand to show people I was speaking, or I was met with hostile ears that would completely negate my opinion and viewpoints. One time I was even called a hypocrite for my viewpoint on a simple children’s book. This happened in multiple classes. My soft voice with its opinions wasn’t welcome.  They wanted me to use my voice to agree with the them and them only, not speak for myself. 

By my senior year, there would be times I would intentionally not say anything. If they were going to meet my viewpoints with hostility, and only listen to what they agreed with, then I was bound to be silent. My silence was loud, I stood out because I was the only person in the room who didn’t saying anything. Looking back on it, I’m not sure that was the right approach to the situation. Some may have label me a bad student, but in my mind was intent on standing my ground as a silent person. 

Just shy of two years out of college, I’ve begun to realize just because I have a quiet voice, doesn’t condemn me having to be a silent person forever. 

Although I do think I made a point in being quiet during the class by letting my silence be loud, I’ve let that come with me into the rest of my life. I don’t always want to be a silent person. I want to speak even if the world isn’t listening or doesn’t agree with me. 

Everyone can agree that this day in age is full of noise, and the loudest get the most attention. With the riots, tyrant social posts, and non-stop news feeds with bold headlines, it seems like the world only makes room for the blaring, strongly opinionated, and loud voice. People will only listen to the voices that tower above the rest, and it’s a fight to get there. It is intimidating. 

But I don’t think the loud voices aren’t the only important voices in the world. There is a place for soft voices too. I’ve been searching for where that place is, but I know there is a place for them. 

The quiet ones speak softly, shaking, a murmur under the noise. They are only there when you calm down and listen for it. 

Along with having a soft voice, I notice I water down the voice I have to accommodate what I think people want to hear. But I’m determined to take back my language. Not being afraid to make mistakes and being corrected in a beautiful way, but also taking into account that I’m not going to please everyone. 

Maybe it’s time we say come the soft voice, come the quiet speakers, and ready listeners. Keep talking, keep speaking, keep using your voice no matter how much of a whisper it comes out.  It’s time you speak what you have to say, to whoever is ready to listen, to those who agree and disagree with you, or maybe even if no one is listening all. Speak away. 

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


we’re going to get through what’s ahead

because we’re walking

step by step

hand in hand


nothing is going to change this.

nothing is going to change us.

and that is all i could ever ask for.