Does weather like this ever just make you want to hide? Just hole up, start a fire in the fireplace, grab a warm cup of grog, snuggle under the blankets, and delve into a good book. That’s what this weather brings out in me. It’s the way I wish I could spend my 24/7. Alas, life… But I do find myself longing for these bits of hibernation: surrounding myself with warmth, slowing down, and shutting the world out for the most part. It’s blissfully centering. I love the way this pandemic has made me go back to the roots of rest and self-cultivation. The ability to just spend the weekend at sloth-like speeds.

This hibernation has followed me in other areas too. Much of the pandemic has made me feel isolated and craving interaction and physical presence. It’s been a struggle. But I’ve had much time to think about the reasoning behind the need for attention and connection. And so through some thoughtful exploration I’ve realized that I need to narrow my interactions and hone in on those people/relationship that bring me joy, genuinely support me, and amplify my life. As someone with a love/hate relationship with social anxiety (and the anticipation of things) there has been a great release in recognizing that I had been misguiding much of my energy over the last several years. And so I’ve “hibernated” by concentrating on myself: my needs, my dreams, my magic, my direction. I realize some will see this as a “pulling back,” and I can imagine that some might be hurt by it (definitely in no way my intention). I have learned (slowly and steadily) that I need to put myself first, and only but cultivating that relationship can I best show up in my outward relationships. Not easy to do or embrace as a giver!

This means I’ve also taken steps away from certain social media platforms. I’d like to think I’m capable of distancing myself from the “comparison culture” and the “refresh addiction” but I found that I wasn’t. And so instead, I just took away the temptation. And there is a certain loss there as it means I won’t see what other post or communicate with them on those platforms. But if it’s important, I know it will be shared anyway. It has meant cultivating and maintaining my connects in different ways, it’s a learning curve for sure. It has meant not everyone understanding my choices, which I am more and more comfortable with as I age. It has meant each day stepping a little bit more into the evolving me.

Hibernating has also shown me I need more time to read and more time to create (actually, that may be a chicken or the egg happenstance–perhaps reading more and creating more showed me the need for hibernation–I digress). I have read 11 books so far this year (number 12 and 13 have been started in tandem). I finished my OWU t-shirt quilt (finally) and have several baby gifts in the making. It feels good to remember to make time for those things (and people) that feed my soul. Somehow, along the way, I got away from that. But day by day (cue Godspell, or Meet the Parents) and inch by inch, I’m getting back there. Hibernating, I think, is a. good thing. It lets me breathe, set priorities, and just be me.

Artwork by Morgan Harper Nichols

The Magic of Movement

Surprise: I’ve been doing some deep thinking. I’ve been spending much of my down time reading. Mostly, so far, I’ve been diving into non-fiction. I’ve read 7 books thus far in 2021 (and on to book 8). It helps me do something other than mindlessly scrolling social media or binging television from the couch. And it’s been easier to do since classes haven’t resumed yet. I’m a habitual annotator. And so these books come out highlighted and marked up. But they also serve to instigate some personal introspection. I feel like I’ve lost that the last month or so: my commitment to looking deeper at what is going on in my life, determining the capacity at which I am operating, and learning from what has already occurred. But these books have been a kick in the pants. So many inspiring words. So many similar things. So much insight into my own self and being. It’s helping me reclaim my magic.

Part of that has come with personality enlightenment–a deeper understanding into me. Who I am now and who I am trying to be. Uncovering more and more about how my brain works and how that makes me, me. And when I read something that clicks, it gives me a sense of relief–knowing there are others like me, or that I’m not the only one. (I know, irrational thoughts to think otherwise). Every little bit I learn that applies to me helps me grow and evolve. That is a part of my core, my being. Learning and improving and trying to be a better me each and every day. The dog-eared pages are ones I will return to–because there is much from those 7 books that I want to return to: things I need to remember, things I need to embrace, things that I may need to be hit over the head with a few times.

Part of that has come with relationship enlightenment (romantic and otherwise)–a deeper understanding of how I operate in relationships, and what I need from relationships, and patterns within my relationships (the positive and the negative). I’ve learned to find my non-negotiables (though sometimes I forget they exist or that they apply in all instances). After a series of failed attempts the last few months (that sounds way more depressing than it is, but I don’t know how else to phrase it) I thought about putting myself out there again. I was ready to jump back in to the online dating world. But something that was said in a conversation I was privy to the other day made me reconsider. It made me do a deep dive of my dating habits from 2020 until now. And I was gobsmacked because I did not realize the timeframe of things. It all lines up; back, to back, to back. Ducks in a row with little separation between them. A complicated “friendship” (March through May). The commuter (June). The short-lived one offs (July). The first dater and the shock of a lifetime (August). The situationship (August-October). The voter (Halloween Weekend-Election Day). The devout Christian (brief days in November). The setup (a flop). The rescheduler (December-January). Woaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Insert many mindblown emojis here. When it’s plotted out I wonder how I breathed.

But this made me realize what a breather I need. A break, a respite. A chance to reconnect with me and who I am outside of trying to date. That feels really weird to say. It feels strange to admit. But it’s relieving (and funny, because the only person who has been putting pressure on me is me). And so, I am becoming okay with taking that break. Continuing to work through emotions associated with some of those connections from the last year (more the happenings, not so much the people). I reentering and returning to finding and claiming my own magic, my own unique and individual place on this earth. I’ve said it before that during this pandemic I lost myself in many ways. And I’m working to bring her back. One day at a time. One lesson at a time. One experience at a time. There are certain things I won’t forfeit anymore. Most of all, me.

I’ve also had enlightenment in terms of life trajectory, what is important, and why I was put here on this earth. It’s funny what stands out when you are doing the inner work. It’s funny how life can change at the drop of the hat. It’s funny what always manages to stick. We’ve all learned what is important, what we value, how we can stand up and raise our voices, where to place our trust and spend our energy.

Magic may be my word for this year. And I may be seeing it crop up in many places (and have friends who share their own sightings with me as well). But I am holding fast to my mantra (or rather my nightly prayer of sorts): more of what is meant for me.

Thankful for Maggie Smith’s Keep Moving. It’s lessons are deep and deeply moving.

I’ve Got the Magic in Me…

I really wanted to write this for yesterday. But I’ve learned to listen to what my mind, body, and spirit need and plan accordingly. So I took a step back after crafting the title. And so it gets birthed into the world a day later…go figure.

The last several years I have picked a word to guide my year. I don’t always know why the word has surfaced, but I find myself going back to it. For 2020, my word was “grit”…how ironic did that become as the year waned on. This year, as I think I’ve shared on this platform previously, my word is “magic”. At this point its a reminder to myself of what I have within me. I can (and should) trust my intuition, my magic. A reminder to slow down and witness the magic all around me: the magic of God’s grace, the magic of nature, the magic of the relationships that come and go and the threads that are woven throughout our lives.

My magic comes from generations of women before me: from my own bloodlines and from the tribe that surrounds me. It comes from gatherings and traditions. It comes from planned outcomes and new adventures. It comes from community and from introspection. It comes from fueling the spark within me and keeping the fire roaring. It comes from my spiritual self: that hippie/witchy/free-spirited, God-centered, nature-bound self. It comes from the creative genius that lives inside of me (and is rarely seen in full force)–creative in the sense of 2D and 3D arts, fostering and cultivating ideas, making space for other, and surrounding myself with music and artistic word.

I am sure this word will continue to mean new things for me over the course of this year. I have a friend who often sews banners of people’s annual words for them. She created a “magic” banner for me. I also created my own collage (which is very therapeutic for me). I hung them on my wall along with some artwork that has been gifted to me. It’s my very, very large vision board. I’m excited about waking up and seeing it every morning. Another positive in an ever growing list of pieces I’m trying to incorporate into my daily routines.

One thing I’d like to do is cultivate a playlist of songs that have to do with magic: whether it’s in the title or just in the song, whether it is a subtle reference or blatantly obvious. Send your recommendations my way!

amani: paix: peace

Funny that last week was the Sunday in Advent is known as Peace Sunday. It was the first day I felt back to myself–by that I mean back to the core of me (because really each segment of our lifetime brings forth a different me/us). I don’t think we ever really go back to ourselves, we just forge new selves. But we do have a core, and I think sometimes we can be separated from that core. For the first time in forever, I feel fully in tune with (or retuned to) that core. Do you have those moments (long or short) of feeling out of sync with yourself, with your true self? It hasn’t happened often for me, but I’ve been there a couple of times in my life. I think that this time has been the longest occurrence, and I’d love to thank 2020 for that, but I have some feeling this wandering would have happened even without a pandemic in our midst.

About halfway through the year I felt a pull in my core, I knew big shifts were coming. It’s a hard sensation to explain if you’ve never felt it: to me it was a message from the divine (whether you call that God, Holy Spirit, Universe, etc). It’s an energy in my body that wakes me up and pushes me to pay attention, a shock to my system. I don’t think you always see and feel the shift until you are on the other side, at least that is my experience. But I knew it was coming and I prepared myself. This shift has brought me back to my self. I’ve been able to refocus and recenter. I’ve been able to tap into my own needs and wants (mind, body, and spirit). It’s helped me feel more at peace and concentrating on the here and now.

It’s easy for me to put others first. As an empath I am deeply aware of the feelings and energies of others. Sometimes so much so that they cloud my own emotions. To a fault, I pour into others way more than myself (working on doing better). But there are times that I cater to others, unconsciously, and want what they want instead of what I want. Those are the moments that I listen to the (mind, body, and spirit) needs of others instead of my (mind, body, and spirit) needs. SHIFTING. Well now I’ve woken up: I can pay attention to the needs of others while still keeping my own needs first. I can invest in others while still making sure I don’t ignore or sacrifice myself. The need to reclaim myself is long overdue. So what does this look like?

  • Spending time every morning with a mindfulness journal (shoutout to my Group Counseling small group and our over use of mindfulness/stress/anxiety).
  • Journaling about my day and what is on my heart before I go to bed every night.
  • New workout plan! Including routines from The Be.Come Project (doing at least 3 times a week). Check them out here.
  • Back to better eating. More fruits. More veggies. More lean meats. Less processed. Less sugar.
  • Taking a break from dating apps–though still open to set ups 😉
  • Intentional connecting with friends and family (mostly virtual these days).
  • Turning off my phone at a certain time every evening.
  • Reconnecting with my creative side: spending more time making content for my creative IG: curlysedgecreative; collaging; letting ideas run rampant.
  • Mantras…whenever I feel misaligned.
  • Breathing more, letting the little things effect me less.

It feels like a really great way to be heading into 2021.

I leave you with the recording below. I’ve been reflecting on it this morning as I’ve had it on repeat. I think it is a good lesson and reminder and will help me refocus for the last several weeks of 2020.

music by Courtney Bolinson, written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter

Slow. Down.

Do you ever have those moments where certain words or phrases just stick with you? Maybe you think it means one thing and come to find out later it meant something else. Or maybe you associate it with one person but then realize it’s pervasive and shows up in multiple places. Maybe you try and fit the phrase into a tight little space of what you want it to mean and the universe laughs and reminds you that your perception isn’t always reality.

For the last 4 or so months I’ve been sitting with a phrase. It came at first in a very specific situation. Promises and smiles and reassurances. Then it came and felt like a slap in the face. Broken promises and one-sided smiles and no assurances. And then I heard it from multiple people, not tied to just one. So I started to take note. Then it was everywhere. Everywhere. And I couldn’t overlook it, or feel the trauma of my own associations. But I had to listen. I believe many occurrences, repeatedly, couldn’t be chance.

So what have I heard, what’s been the message? Slow and Steady. It’s triggering at points because of what it meant (or what I thought it meant). But I also know it means something bigger than all of that, it does. It’s relieving at points because it reminds me that I don’t have to have everything figured out, that what needs to be revealed will be so in time. Honestly, I’m grateful for this lesson, and I am grateful that it transcends where it originally cropped up. It solidifies in me the purpose is bigger than one thing or one person. This lesson, this reminder, holds weight for many areas of my life. And it tells me that even though I am not patient by nature, that my patience will be rewarded.

It’s the reminder that I’m half-way through my grad program. And though I’m ready for the school work and projects and papers and exams to be over, I need to slow down and keep everything in check. It’s the reminder that I owe myself grace in the work that I am doing—things are rapidly changing (in ways predictable and unpredictable) and what I am doing is enough and things will find their new rhythm soon. It’s the reminder that online dating is weird. And though I know more and more about what I want, I need a break—dating with numbers elevated and such is freaky—not to mention people have very different trajectories currently than they may normally.

And so I’m slowing down. I’m listening to nudges from the universe and God’s whispers in my ear. I’m giving these things space and time. I’m breathing more and (hopefully) stressing less. Slow and steady things will fall into place. Slow and steady I am receiving more of what is meant for me. Slow and steady I’m stepping into my magic. I refuse to let “slow and steady” scare me or hold me back or make me feel like I missed out or something or lost someone. Slow and steady just means being more aware, using my intuition, and not letting others dictate my direction and growth. And I’ll keep listening to where else and how else this applies. All in time. Patience.

Short. And Sweet.

Growth. This year has been about growth (really every year has been). But take it in, lovebug. Breathe deep and soak it all up. You have grown. And you get to repurpose what you thought was lost or left behind. You have been reclaimed—you reclaimed yourself, because you got lost along the way. But you are right here. Right now. You bloomed through it, right where you are planted. You grew.

Grateful, Blessed: A Year in Review

Yes. I know the year isn’t over yet. But it’s #2020 and I don’t think there are rules anymore. So I’m throwing caution to the wind. It’s an understatement to say this year is not what we expected. The last couple of years I have had a word that’s guided me. The first few I forgot part way through the year, I couldn’t even tell you now what they were. But this time my word has stayed with me all year: grit. Even when I haven’t realized it in the moment, grit has been with me–I’ve seen it surface in hindsight.

And so I’ve been doing an assessment of my year and what I’ve learned. I truly believe part of the reason we’ve experienced this shit show of a year is to remind us to slow down, to listen, and to learn more. And I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been more comfortable coming into my own during this pandemic, go figure, and it’s pushed me to my limits more than once. It’s let me try out many versions of myself, some which were updated throw backs to high school or college. But I realized that none of those versions of Shannon were the right versions. And so I keep seeking, growing, learning. I know more and more what I don’t want in life–honestly I think we learn this a little more every.dang.day.

  1. You dictate your own learning. You can choose to look the other way when lessons are in front of you. You can close your ears and pretend the world has it out for you. But who does that help? I think instead it’s important to learn from everything we do, every interaction and moment. Because it helps us keep stepping into the world and showing up. Day in, and day out.
  2. Take people at their word the first time. No matter what you want them to say instead, take them at their word. And when what they say isn’t what you want to hear, be open in communicating that and determine whether that means: 1) you both will make a compromise or 2) you will walk away. Because giving in completely isn’t an option. It only damages you, and stunts your growth. And it will come back around in full force and bite you in the ass.
  3. Some people will refuse to hear you or communicate. Some of this is because not everyone communicates well together. That’s a part of life. Sometimes people would rather ignore what you are saying. Some people just don’t have the capacity to hear or understand you, no matter how clear you are being. This can be excruciating. It can. But there is only so much you can do and then you need to move on.
  4. Physical touch is important. I’ve always been a touchy feely person. Always (that’s why one of my love languages is physical touch). Granted, I’m pretty selective about it (I have to feel comfortable in the situation). But social distancing and this pandemic has reminded me how, as humans, how important physical touch is for our growth, development, and mental health. There have been two specific times during quarantine that I’ve had thrown in my face that physical touch goes high on my list of ways that I connect with others–these experiences have been interesting to move forward from–strange even. I can’t even imagine what our collective mental health will look like with this continued lack of human (physical) connection. But we persist, eh?
  5. Connection is like a drug. When I care about people, I care about them deeply. Once habits or consistencies have been formed, I get wary when it changes (hello, enneagram 6). But I see the good in others, to a fault. And I don’t walk away from people easily. Especially those who have (for whatever amount of time) provide safety, security, and attention. And when I know I have to move on (or someone else or something else chooses to move on first), its crushing and it pushes me into survival (maybe abandonment) mode. So I just latch on harder. Which usually causes more of the same problems. But what can I say, I like attention (we all do, in some form). I’m working on being “better” (we are all a work in progress). But woah…
  6. Maintain your boundaries. Even when you think there is something or someone for which you want to shift them. Don’t shift them. If you’ve grown and want something different or have learned something, great, then you can make an informed decision and shift them. But don’t do it to appease someone else. Your boundaries are there for a reason. And not everyone is going to understand them (or respect them). But that’s on them, not you. Stay strong–and oh by the way, it’s helpful to know why you have those boundaries too. Knowing the why makes maintaining them a whole hell of a lot easier. Which leads me to…
  7. Know your why. This has been one I’ve been working through the last several weeks. Why do you show up in the world like you do? Why do you support people the way you do? Why are you in the profession you are in? Why are you with the partner you are with? Why do you stay? Why are you feeling how you are feeling? Why do you make the decisions that you make? Why? It’s helped me a lot with perspective. To know deep down in my core that there is a reason I do what I do and act how I act and go after what I go after. There are things I want in life, and it has been eye-opening to approach them from a place of “why do I want this” or “why do I pursue this”. Knowing your why gives a place to return to, a place to keep taking the temperature of situations, a true north. And it forces you to keep being honest with yourself.
  8. Not everyone stays forever: sometimes that is your choice and sometimes that is their choice. And neither of those feel great. This one is extremely difficult for me. I’m very diligent and deliberate about the people I let into my life. When someone comes in, they quickly become a mainstay. If you’ve gained my trust, I give deeply. And so it’s difficult when people make their exit. The memories and “what ifs” abound. But you have to stay present, because you can’t change the past and a future of “what ifs” isn’t real.
  9. Memories can be difficult. But you can remember what was without wanting what didn’t come to fruition. Memories are hard. They can be full of grief and sadness. They can make you wish something was different. But they can also remind you of really positive things too. Memories shape us, and reshape us. They help us hold ourselves and others to the light. The challenge is letting the good memories stay without fooling yourself into something that can never be.
  10. Change is good. Change is hard. It throws us into the unknown, it pushes us to our limits. But none of us were built to be uniform, the same over time, one-dimensional, or simplistic. Change means unlearning old habits (generally “bad” habits). Sometimes those habits are deeply rooted in childhood dynamics (or are a result of past experiences). Sometimes they are really difficult to spot in yourself (until you see them, and then it’s all you can see). And often times they are tough to overcome or move through, but the change…the getting to the other side. That is worth the pain and hurt and work that goes into it (I have to keep telling myself this, it helps me get through).
  11. No one will hand you growth, it’s something you have to seek all on your own. And change allows us the opportunity to grow. Growth helps us keep becoming our true selves. But you have to be open to growth, and learning. No one else will make you do it, they are too busy with their own lives (as they should be). But stagnation is not okay–not for long at least. You have to advocate for yourself. You have to keep on your grind. You have to wake up every day and put one foot in front of the other. You have to keep going because there is no one else who can do it for you.
  12. Other people can see things in you that you can’t (and you can see things in others that they can’t). This has been a God send for me throughout this year. People who can see things in me that I’ve forgotten, ignored, or never noticed. People who remind me of my strength and my worth and my abilities. I’ve learned I need to listen more: when they share their hesitations, when they build me up, when they ask questions. They have a different perspective. They can see signs that you can’t see. Don’t just brush aside their opinion because you think you know the situation better (and don’t make excuses)–I’m just learning to take a step back when someone shares their insight…to digest what they say and reframe what I am feeling (because my feelings are not always just my own). Hindsight is 20/20, but also your people can oftentimes see it before you can.
  13. Some will keep you around merely for the convenience. This I will keep rereading and telling myself again and again. Especially in this world’s climate, people will keep you around because they are getting something from you–mentally, transactionally, emotionally, physically. That doesn’t necessarily mean it goes deeper than that (even if they say that it does). Not to imply that everyone is lying about their intentions but there are definitely signs that you can see, vibes you can feel, that show who or what they are under the surface. Trust your intuition, watch the signs. In this climate it is waaaaay easier to be okay with things out of convenience, and dishonesty (or unclear intentions)–because there is comfort in instant gratification, no rules, and no defined trajectory. But I’ve learned not to succumb to convenience–of my own accord or someone else’s. Situations of convenience, though they have nice effects in the moment, never last. Something bigger, brighter, shinier always comes along.
  14. Remembering that I’m an empath and HSP is very important. My emotions are not always mine. That means what I am feeling is also heightened by what is happening around me (and by what others are feeling). It means that sometimes my own emotions and feelings can be pushed to the side or hidden because of the energy surrounding me. Sometimes I can’t “see clearly” about my own situations–my thoughts are clouded by the other emotions and energies floating around me–this can be good and bad. But I have to remember to stay in tune with myself, my being, my core. And I have to remember the magic that being an empath and an HSP adds to my life. It adds to the lives of others too. But sometimes I have to remember that as only 15-20% of the population not everyone knows what this magic is our how it operates inside of a person. Sometimes we have to slow down and explain to others.

Maybe it’s ironic that I finally finished this post today. Ironic because today is (was?) my mom’s birthday. And she continues to teach me so much. She continues to help me grow and be my rock. Perhaps the universe is working because it makes me view all of this from a different light because it’s her birthday. A silent reminder, a deeply felt celestial nudge, a quiet whisper spoken in my ear “there is always something deeper to see. There is always light here. You, my child–my goofy, and witty, and intelligent, and caring child–you are loved and important and enough. You have learned and you are growing. Do not silence yourself. Do not stop seeking.” I will keep learning. As my mantra says, “more of what is meant for me”.

Witchy Woman

I’ve always been tapped in to my intuition. Even from a young age, I knew there was a quality I had that made me some sort of social chameleon. It wasn’t until much later that I learned about what it means to be an empath and an HSP, what those mirror neurons are really doing inside of my brain. And even taking all of that into account, there’s something deeper there. A sense. A gut feeling. Glennon Doyle would call it “The Knowing”. But I’d call it the ancestral line of seers and visionaries. The thick thread woven from the gifts of greatgrandma Rosella. I’d call it magic.

A couple weeks ago during our live worship stream at church, I had an encounter with the divine. I’m sure I as tuned into it more as our current sermon series was “Fierce Women: Foremothers of Faith”. But during the service I looked outside and saw the wind moving, not just the leaves and tree branches…but I saw the wind moving. I’m not sure that I can put words to it for anyone else. But in that moment I connected with the divine. Some may think that’s too “woo woo”. That’s fine, no one needs to understand what it all meant except me. The moment was for me. And there were certain women I could feel calling upon me in that moment, like a ancient hew or curse, my name being invoked to something bigger than me.

Caren, my dear friend and magical spitfire. Caren was one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. She reminded me to never give up on myself. To remember that no one else defines me but me. She showed me how to be serious, yet silly, and to always keep people guessing. She accepted me as one of her own without question or hesitation. And that is something that I will cherish always. People underestimated her, and that was on them. Because she was a gem.

Marilyn, my mentor and magical guardian angel. Our friendship started early. I’ve mentioned her before in this blog. But she is one of the strongest reasons why I believe in intergenerational friendships. She reminded me of the power of human interaction, the power of a hug. To remember that listening deeply to those around you is so important, but not as important to listening deeply to yourself. She was my biggest fan, and for that I am forever grateful.

Great-grandma Rosella, the magical matriarch. Maybe she should have been at the top of the list. I never met her. Out of the three of us girls she only met my oldest sister as a baby. But more and more I feel her thread of life running through me. Sometimes it gives me chills. She reminds me to be my own person. To show up exactly as I am without excuses and without minimizing myself. To remember to listen to my inner voice, my intuition, my heart, the knowing. To be my own guide and do what is best for me even when others don’t understand. To feed into my own “magic”. To continue on my path of healing in all of the multiple aspects: in my own life and for others.

Mama, my magical papillon. This is tough. My mama teaches me more and more every day. Sometimes I have to look for the touch points more so on certain days. But she’s always there. Whispering into my ear, and reminding me that life isn’t always easy but dang, it’s worth it. She reminds me that things will happen for you when they are supposed to, when you are ready; not necessarily when you want them to, but patience is a gift (one I’m still figuring out how to use). My mama drives me forward, her spirit lives within me. Her fire burns in my eyes.

A Message from the Universe

A Message from the Universe Papillon.

Instagram has a new setup where it only shows you the recent posts of profiles you follow. Then there is an option to click “view older posts” and if you keep scrolling it shows you posts that you might like based on other posts you’ve interacted with, or based on posts liked by folks you follow. At first I haaaated this. I just wanted to endlessly scroll my feed of those I follow. But I have come to very much appreciate this new setup. I have found helpful quotes, new folks to follow, and messages that have felt timely.

Many of the quotes that have really struck home with me have had butterfly imagery. If you’ve been following along for a while you’ll know that butterflies are a connection point for me with my mom. My tattoo incorporates the letters of the French word for butterfly in a butterfly form, etc. I feel her speaking to me in many ways, and recently through these quotes.

Soap. Box. “Christmas”.

I don’t get up on this soap box often. Usually this site is just for my thoughts and opinions of my own life: faith, relationships, grief, discernment. But I saw a post on Instagram this morning that made me want to say something else more. We talk a lot around the holidays about shopping and gifts. We have Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. It’s a lot. But to me I am thinking differently this year (honestly, Ive been thinking differently for much of 2020). Christmas for me will be different this year, I am committing myself to that. (And I put Christmas in quotes in the title because I recognize not everyone celebrates this holiday…but this applies to anyone making purchases for themselves or others over the next few months).

I commit to shopping local exclusively this Christmas. All of my gifts will be from small businesses in Indiana. I live and work in two different cities so I think it’s unfair to just say “Indianapolis”. I want to be intentional about supporting businesses that I love and that add to my community. I don’t want integral businesses to disappear. I want them to thrive. I want to be a part of the solution, I want to hold others up. I want our communities to remain strong and to remember we are a support for each other. Below I am dropping links to some of my favorite businesses, restaurants, and non-profits. Do with it what you will.


Small Businesses

Non-Profits (Not all Local)