April 29, 2020

A Love Letter

Dearest Jim,

Twenty years ago today, our life together began in the little chapel in the woods that you found for us after an impossibly short courtship. Planned in six weeks, during the height of tax season, on a shoestring budget that did not include a photographer or a honeymoon but instead a celebration in our new home with just the people most important in our lives. Even then we had our priorities straight.

Walking down that aisle to the music of the classical guitarist you chose, I had no doubts, no fears and no worries. There was only you and the dream of our life together. We began the way we would go on for two decades, diving head first into new experiences without dwelling too much on the process. This has paid off for us time and again. Every choice we've made has been based on our marriage, family and happiness. We have been through more challenges than we ever could have imagined and each one has made us stronger. Our first three years of marriage alone, offered enough trials to do a relationship in, but we just kept forging ahead, hands and hearts intertwined.

Thank you for always showing up and doing the work, for sitting next to me as my equal, for holding me up when I have needed extra strength, for telling me I'm beautiful every day and still looking at me like I'm the only person in the room, for telling me you love me more times than I could count in a day, for respecting me, going along with my crazy schemes, giving me heaps of grace, encouraging my dreams, being the one who brings my ideas to life, for being a great provider for our family, for listening, learning and growing with me, for being a hands on daddy, for making us all laugh, for making me feel safe for the first time in my life. For being my shelter, my partner in crime, my best friend, my soulmate and the person who always has my back. More than anything, thank you for loving me the way every person should be loved and for giving me a life I had no idea was possible.

At last,

March 19, 2020

Courage, Dear Heart

Hello, friends. Since last we met, the world has become a strange place. How are you dealing with it? It affects all of us but I am feeling especially tender hearted towards the medical professionals as well as any other profession who is working to support the rest of us so we can hopefully shelter in place. I know that is not a reality for all but I surely hope you are keeping well as best as you can.

I have seen so much kindness in the past week. It really does warm your heart. In a lot of ways this reminds me of the days after 9/11 and also makes you think about what it must have been like during the big World Wars. I happen to be reading a story that takes place in France during WWII so that naturally comes to mind.

Are you taking care of yourself? Being gentle with your soul? I know being shuttered in must be making some of you antsy. I'm an introvert so I was essentially born for this and have been training for this moment my whole life. ;)

I thought I might pop in here for some suggestions to help you get through this. Maybe these will be helpful, maybe not. Maybe these will be obvious to you or maybe not. I'd also love to hear any suggestions you have. These are just things that I'm planning to implement or that have helped me. Never have the small joys in life meant more and small joys are kind of my thing. :)

Some suggestions for your days:
-While it's a great time for a jammy day, it's also a great time to get dressed purely for your own enjoyment. Wear that quirky outfit that makes you happy!
-Enjoy daily rituals. I always start my day in the corner of the studio with a chai latte and my knitting. Now I'm adding in a mid afternoon tea party with Emma.
-Get out and get some fresh air. In wide open spaces and keeping appropriate distance from other people! Go for a walk, a hike, a bike ride or car ride.
-Check out your library's digital offerings. Aside from online books and magazines, ours offers videos, creative bug classes and even Acorn TV viewing.
-Spend more time in the kitchen baking, or cooking from scratch. Have the family choose a menu together and pitch in to cook together.
-Fill your house with music. I'm a big fan of 40's in the morning on Pandora.
-Read that stack of books and magazines you haven't had time for.
-Take an online class
-Learn a new hobby or spend guilt free time indulging in one you already love.
-Play games with your family.
-Have a movie night. Did you know that the new Emma movie is being released digitally for renting on Friday? That's what we'll be doing!
-Try meditation or a yoga class on youtube.
-Support local businesses and neighbors in any way you can.
-Pick up your camera and search for some beauty. You will always find it.
-Work in your garden.
-If you're feeling lonely, find a way to reach out and connect and if you know somebody else who is feeling lonely, reach out and connect to them.
-Carve out some alone time within your house. I went from an abundance of alone time to a hubby working at home and the premature return of a college daughter. There was a little learning curve there for me but I'm figuring it out now.

I think it can be important to find some purpose in your days, whether that's organizing your closet or giving yourself a spa day. Something to look forward to can make all the difference for our mental state. I personally like to have some structure to my days so that I don't feel untethered but right now doesn't feel like the right time for a strict schedule. I need some flexibility. I'm practicing kindness to myself and finding balance in my days. I'm learning to still my mind and body in a way that can be hard to do when my days are moving at full tilt. This can be a Sacred time.

Be well my friends,
Jen xo