I'm just breathing in, breathing out, over here. I don't write that in a melancholy way. In all the moments and things that occupy our time, there is so much that we forget to notice our breathing. There is a lot of beauty in all those in-between moments. Life is a few big things with thousands of little ones between. The little ones that aren't flashy or particularly bright, but ones that spark a little bit (or a lot!) of joy.
Nicholas and I walked to the mailbox together when he finished work today, "bundled" as much as we (finally!) can, me in layers and a scarf and him in the hat I knit him last Christmas. This is the season where I notice a shift in my mood—a release of sorts. I feel like there's more room to breathe, more room to live in this season than there is in the hot months. I found one tiny, red maple leaf on the walk to the mailbox. We got there and the mailbox was empty, anyway, but it was worth it, to be at his side, finding a tiny red leaf, breathing October air, feeling a bit of drizzly rain on our faces, finding those sparks of joy, and choosing to breathe deeper.
Here are my October bits of joy:
- raining all the time; rainy, cozy days
- buying "nice" coffee for the first time in months
- dates out for smoothies and lightbulb shopping at the hardware store (I wore overalls out of the house for the first time)
- keeping our small apartment cozy and tidy
- lemon + purify in the diffuser
- dates on the porch (at his suggestion) for smoothies or crossword puzzles or just sitting and talking and knitting
- cozying up in the new pullover I got for my birthday
- ordering a special fall latte that was so tasty (and not too sweet!) with lots of nutmeg
- knitting on Christmas gifts (almost done!)
- slowly taking my time and working through this beautiful book that I received as a birthday gift
- admiring the wet leaves on the ground
- coffee dates with one sweet friend
- and walks in the park with another and her little buddy
- pretty river rocks by the apartment office
- earrings from a friend for my birthday; they're my new favorites!
- wearing a dress over leggings; feeling the most like myself when I'm dressed in layers
- making creative plans
- making soup for dinner
- driving with the windows open
- working on typing up my own chili recipe that I'll share soon
- keeping the apartment windows open from one day, overnight, and into the next
- sharing stroopwafels with decaf coffee at bedtime
- taking a fun mini day trip to San Marcos (halfway between our homes!) to meet a friend and her man for a meal together, a walk around a campus at a school none of us attended, and some coffee
- wearing the prettiest and most versatile linen scarf that I got for my birthday
- (I love how God weaves the stories of lifelong friends together for our good)
- roasting onions and potatoes and serving with chicken I cooked in the instant pot and shredded (basically we're forever loving bowl meals)
- indulging in afternoon and/or post-dinner naps on the couch with Nicholas (naps in cooler weather are the best)
- listening to Gregory Alan Isakov's brand new album (in anticipation of seeing him perform live tomorrow tonight!)
- compiling and listening to my own fall playlist (which you can listen to here, if you want!)
I'm reading a bit in Jan Karon's A New Song every night before bed, and savoring the quotes that move me, like this one, which resonates so deeply with my Enneagram Type 2 heart:
It wretched his heart to say goodbye. But what were hearts for, in the end? A little wretching now and then was far better than no wretching at all.
And for anyone reading this in a waiting season, or a season of longing (and heartbreak), I loved these lyrics from Jess Ray's You're Gonna Love Me:
Oh, If you ask me, you will receive, If you seek me, you're gonna find me, If you knock, the doors will come swinging free So come on and ask me, ask me So come on and ask me, you can’t make me weary, Come on and seek me, I’m not hiding Come on and knock down the doors, My kingdom’s yours! My kingdom’s yours!
In a season of repetitive prayers, it's so good to be reminded that we cannot make Him weary, He doesn't lose patience like we do. And He hears every prayer.
I love baking. I truly do. The difference between a bad afternoon and a good one can be as simple as a baked good. I love the slow process, the premonition of preheating the oven, sometimes playing around with different flavors. My favorites are your typical "home bakes," nothing couture. Cakes, cookies, brownies, etc., are all my go-to baked goods to make in my own kitchen.
Some projects come along at just the right moment, and this shawl is one of them. After several rather hectic months, I wanted to get back into the rhythm of knitting, but wanted a fun, low-pressure, but still creatively inspiring project. I love knitting socks, but I wanted to knit something with more colorplay and this shawl was just the thing.
It's that time of the year when typically, as a born-and-raised Northerner, I'd be yearning for spring. That yearning isn't quite so pronounced here in Austin, but nonetheless, February is a month of almosts. Winter is almost over, spring is almost here, etc. And so it has been timely for me to indulge in a few self-care practices (and treats) while we're living in the almosts.