Growth is exceedingly uncomfortable. I wonder if it is painful for the trees, too. I wonder if creating life at the tips of their branches is hard. Creating, reaching out, and becoming anew amidst rain and strong winds. The purple, white, and pink tulips rise up during the bitter transition of winter into spring. Sometimes they get buried in late-season snow. I wonder if they question themselves: if they are good enough to be blooming, if they’re in the right place, or good enough to bring beauty to an otherwise gray landscape.
There is a house I walk past often with bushes that are currently in bloom, with tiny yellow flowers and dark blue berries. They are a stark contrast to their soundings: muddy lawns, drizzly skies, strong wind, cool temps. Yet they don’t question themselves. Their blooming may come at a painful moment — a mark of becoming when all is uncertain — but they don’t let this harden them. Their delicate petals are an unapologetically bright yellow in a sea of gray. The little blooms hold on tight as gusts of wind rush past them, daring to rip them away from the branches and roots that ground them. They are a force to be reckoned with.
The days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting colder. The sun still has its ways of saying hello.
It comes up at an angle near the southeast in the mornings like it’s peaking in and saying hello to every nook and cranny the beams find their way to. The light even makes its way into my apartment on the bottom floor of my complex — where I’m burrowed and cozie halfway underground.
The sunlight likes to stretch across my kitchen island. When this photo was taken, I wondered how blessed I am to feel this warmth, see this light, and be here.
I made myself pour-over. I cut a pear for breakfast and used a little bit of whipped chocolate honey on the side. I felt grounded and grateful.
It’s one week until Thanksgiving.
I have to work all the way up until Thanksgiving day. Instead of taking the entire day before to do all the cooking, I’m going to take the evenings to cook several dishes for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
I don’t know how it has already gotten this late in the year. I felt like it was just 80 degrees outside, and I was sweating through my shirts. Part of me doesn’t feel ready for the holidays, but here they are, coming upon us as quick as ever. So I’m embracing it.
I’m not always good at practicing gratitude. My mind tends to naturally fixate on the things I want or don’t have instead of the things I do. But to combat this natural instinct, here are a few things I’m grateful for.
The morning this photo above was taken.
Crips leaves and the smell of a bonfire.
Being a daughter and a sister.
A lover who is like no other.
Ginger lemon honey tea.
The view of serious the dog star from my kitchen window.
A fridge full of food.
Coffee with eggnog.
The Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack.
Having my own kitchen this year. (Something I’ve been wanting for a long time coming.)
I felt the quieting and slowing down of the whole world a week ago when I went on a small drive. I was so curious to see what the suburb of Indy looked like. It was shocking to me because, for being rush hour on a Thursday, there were hardly any cars on the road. Instead, as I drove through town, people’s cars were in their driveways and apartment parking lots. The mall was stark, most restaurant lights were off, the only stores that you could see people gathering at were the grocery stores. I live in a suburb, only 20 minutes away from Indianapolis, and I’ve never seen it like this before. Never.
The midwest hasn’t been as bad as some other states. Even still, watching the country slow down to a craw is surreal. I don’t quite have the words for it yet.
The world is going to change in major ways. But taking the magnifying glass and zooming in a little bit, I can see so many things already changing just within this little house of mine. I’ve gone through waves of emotions within the last two weeks. Some days I’m great, others I can feel the cabin fever setting in. I’m trying to settle down in this space I’ve created, allowing myself all the feelings that come with living through moments like this one. Every generation goes through something (or multiple things,) and right now, we happen to be hunkering down in our homes. It’s not as bad as it could be.
Forcing myself to slow down has been an interesting endeavor. I started off quarantine by getting up at the crack of dawn, cleaning daily, always keeping my hands busy with some type of work. However, I went through moments last week where I was going crazy because of the monotony of home, the internet wasn’t working, or all the warm water was gone by the time I took a shower. Since then, I’ve had days where I’ve slept in, let a few dishes stay in the sink, and the occasional not changing out of my PJs until 2pm.
I’ve tried so hard not to let the worry of the unknown sink in, instead, being more present with each moment. I’ve worked on being here, and not in the past or way into the future. Slowing down to a point where I made brownies yesterday and had my full attention on the liquids mixing together with the dry ingredients—the eggs and milk combining with the flour, becoming one. The mixture bubbling slightly in the oven. Again, during my morning coffee, I had my full attention on the smell of it. The sound of it brewing, The time it takes for the hot water to drip through grounds and the black liquid to be poured into my coffee cup. My feet on the ground while I wait, one second after another lining up behind me, forming a life lived.
Trying to rest in the stillness, I’ve noticed so many feelings bubbling up from the surface. I let the emotions come. It’s exhausting but it’s crucial I think, for learning, growing, and allowing myself to be changed by this experience.
So far, staying home has showed me what patience looks like. What living in the moment, right here, feels like. What really matters, and understanding that not every moment is guaranteed to happen again. When you kiss that someone of yours, or see them walking down the hallway and out the door, go after them. Sink yourself into that kiss. Allow yourself that much, that moment until you’re really there. Because it’s true when they say you’ll never get a moment like that again, or they can be very few and far between.
I’m thankful that the last few days have been so nice outside. I’ve taken the opportunity to go on several walks a day and I even got out my bike one to take a cruise around the neighborhood. There have been so many people out, at least where I live (and they all have been keeping their 6 feet distance). Kids have been playing in their yards, I haven’t seen kids play out in their yards for ages. It’s nice to wave at neighbors and occasionally see a familiar face on my walks.
However, even though I’ve seen so many people out through my streets, I’ve been curious about what downtown Indy looks like. Most of the businesses are closed or their staff is working from home. I haven’t driven downtown in what feels like ages, but I found this video that was taken not too long ago and it shows what the streets of Indy are looking like. It’s mesmerizing and so quiet. Take a look.
Before I end blog post no. 2 of Staying Home, I wanted to give a few shoutouts to local business I’m loving right now:
I won a giveaway for this amazing Indy Flag from Luna Mercantile Co. a few weeks ago. Based in Bloomington, IN, their flags are uniquely hand-painted. The ones currently in stock include a Brooklyn Pennant, an Indy Classic, and a Dayton, OH Spearhead flag. They also offer custom designs. I love hanging my Indy flag right above my desk. If you’re interested in that sort of thing and want to support a local business, you should go check them out.
I also want to mention these candlesticks that I got from Humboldt House. Their shop is in Chicago, Ill., so not Indianapolis local, but I love their selection of tapered beeswax candles as well as their unique home decor. I’m not sure if they are currently shipping, due to the way the world is, but I would definitely go check them out.
How have you been while staying at home? I hope you’re staying healthy, safe, and well.
January has stretched its days out far and wide. The new year feels like ages ago. None the less, when I look over the last few weeks, I have been been able to find hope in goodness. Here are just a few good things that have graced this month for me: Gloriously painted skies, coffee get-togethers with friends despite busy schedules, late nights baking even when the following morning is an early one, books that hold sacred words, museum visits, a Friday night swing dancing, picking up family who arrived safely from the airport.
“What gives you hope?” A new friend asked me this over lattes and it’s been hovering in my mind since. I’ve been asking myself, what does give me hope? Growing up is not always a straight line. What holds our hearts close to truth and joy? What holds us up when everything seems to be drowning around us? What keeps us alive when we are the ones who are drowning? I think every person, at every corner of the world, no matter what they are going through, is deserving of a little hope, even when all is lost.
For me, the inevitable place where I find hope is Christ. When I look at this world, even though the tragedy (that I am blessed to not be directly affected by currently), I see his figure prints on everything. It gives me hope to live fully, embracing even pain knocks on the door because there is hope in eternity. But regardless of whether or not you are religious, there are many things around to find hope in.
My friend, the same one who to asked me the question, said she “finds hope when people love each other well”. I totally agree with this. It’s uplifting and wholesome when you see people care for each other, to show up for one another when life can just be so busy and demanding of our attention
My boss told me once, “when something good happens, celebrate. Celebrate well. The good times will help you get through the hard times.” She told me this after a weekend when she celebrated her nephew’s engagement, but while she was also in a period of extreme challenge for her and her family.
There is also hope to find in creation. In her book, Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle said, “We can either fall apart in terror of chaos or rejoice in the unity of the created universe.” There is so much chaos around us, but looking deeper into the chaos to discover the cosmos, where beauty is, that what makes life worth living. L’Engle says, “but unless we are creators, we are not fully alive.”
Although each person finds hope in their own way and in their own time, it’s always there, waiting to be found. It is hanging in the air like a star, its hiding around the corner. Keep a lookout for it’s glistening and shimmer. Even among some of the heavy events that have happened within this past month, hope is still there to have and to hold.
Life is so fragile, so precious. I’m thankful to be here writing this today. I was looking through my camera roll today to ground me in what is good, what is whole. These photos are some of the ones I found. They make me smile and feel grateful for this life. Sunsets are painted in the sky despite whether or not I take the time to look at them, despite what I did or did not do during the day. Just that fact makes me feel my own aliveness and makes me feel grateful for every breath I am taking. Everything is such a gift.
Let us love each other well, let us celebrate when good times come, let us create cosmos from chaos.