I Find Comfort In

  1. The sound of rain on the roof as I drift off to sleep
  2. My dressing gown
  3. Lots of house plants
  4. Seeing windows full of light
  5. A warm kitchen
  6. Snoring dogs
  7. A bunch of opened letters received from friends
  8. Watching Community (my comfort blanket TV show)
  9. Piles of half-read books stacked next to my bed
  10. Stomping through scattered autumn leaves
  11. A deep conversation shared over a walk
  12. Slow morning coffee
  13. Brewery smells
  14. A piping hot shower
  15. Orange juice
  16. Painting splodges
  17. Slight mess that lingers
  18. My dad’s homemade jam
  19. Reading recipe books before bed
  20. Being listened to
  21. Cooking to classical music
  22. The prayers of others
  23. Cycling along a river
  24. A cup of tea made by someone else
  25. Jigsaws
  26. Watching bugs carry food/leaves
  27. Low level mist
  28. Streetlamps
  29. A pair of worn out shoes
  30. Baked beans on toast
  31. Picking wild brambles
  32. Slow Sunday afternoons
  33. Woodlands
  34. Peering out at the night sky from a window
  35. Wood burning stoves
  36. A dram of whisky
  37. Running in the rain
  38. Poetry spoken aloud
  39. Photographs of Scottish landscapes
  40. Writing lists like these

Breath

Breath.
Breathe.
Breathing.
2020. A year to focus on breath(ing).
In and out
In and out
In and out.
I cannot breathe. A refrain for this year.
Australian wildfires.
Respiratory disease.
Systemic racism.
Each dilemma pointing out the wounds in
our globalised body.
Be it climate change.
Healthcare inequality.
Racial injustice.
Every wound runs deep.
Every breath runs shallow.

Bewilderment

Bewilder.
Be wilder.
Be wild.
Be full of the wild.

What does it mean to be full of wilder?
A mishmash of
negative and positive
adrenaline and anticipation.
Profoundly exhilarating
yet
profoundly debilitating.

Looking round with eyes wide,
an uncontained sense of
surprise,
shock,
suspense.
Unearthing some juicy gossip,
swallowing a spicy chilli,
submerging in icy water.

Time
slows
down.
It could be over
within seconds
but linger there for
hours,
days,
years.

Sweating of palms,
skipping of heart,
lurching of gut.
Embodied and disembodied
simultaneously.
Being full of wilder is
curious,
joyful
and
human.

Things I Like (Unashamedly)

  1. Eating lime pickle out the jar
  2. Heist films
  3. Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Breakaway’ album
  4. Piles of half-read books next to my bed
  5. Once a week hair-washing
  6. Tunnels
  7. Naming TV presenters
  8. Sriracha and tahini together
  9. Curating my Instagram stories into highlights
  10. Poetry (reading it even when I don’t ‘get’ it)
  11. Receiving letters (hint hint world)
  12. Rewatching ‘Friends’
  13. Cookies (all varieties)
  14. Drying out leaves
  15. Swimming/mulling around in water
  16. My pink high vis
  17. Laughing out loud
  18. Listening to/watching sad things
  19. Physical diaries
  20. Knitting
  21. Taking photos of shadows and light
  22. Voicenotes
  23. Turtlenecks
  24. Watering my plants (a lot)
  25. Big gold hoops
  26. Live jazz music
  27. The Tudor era
  28. Controversial topics
  29. A tote bag
  30. Watching clips of ‘This Morning’
  31. Life drawing
  32. Silent retreats
  33. ‘Home and Away’
  34. Strange theatre performances
  35. Freebies
  36. Dancing like crazy in da club/at a ceilidh
  37. Piercings
  38. Munros
  39. Skinny dipping
  40. Traipsing through puddles
  41. Scottish music
  42. Impersonating accents/others
  43. Beer
  44. Flamingos
  45. Mustard (colour and condiment)
  46. Denim
  47. Seaweed (on beach and under water)
  48. Looking out the window
  49. Yellow flowers
  50. Running in the rain
  51. Pondering
  52. Frozen grapes
  53. Salty hair
  54. Maps (even if I can’t read them very well)
  55. Cats
  56. High quality coffee
  57. Socks and sandals
  58. Asking kids how old they think I am
  59. Wasabi
  60. Messy hair
  61. Bowls, bowls and more bowls
  62. Fresh bed sheets
  63. My independence
  64. Colourful art
  65. Playing imagination games
  66. Listening to people speaking French
  67. Menstrual cups
  68. Wearing sunglasses when it’s sunny but cold
  69. Party bags
  70. Swimming in lochs
  71. Using a disposable camera (and feeling #hipster)
  72. Middle aisle in Lidl
  73. The Today Programme
  74. Brewery smells
  75. Buying miscellaneous food
  76. Dewy grass on bare feet
  77. Apple crumble for breakfast
  78. Daydreaming
  79. Liturgy
  80. Oversized coats
  81. The sound of the ocean
  82. Edelweiss
  83. Lounging in leggings
  84. Enneagram Instagram posts
  85. Stained glass
  86. Learning new things
  87. Espresso martinis over brunch
  88. Old cathedrals
  89. Memes
  90. Receiving flowers
  91. Smiling at strangers
  92. Videos of the deep ocean
  93. Back to the Future
  94. Talking aloud to myself
  95. Cereal for dinner
  96. Colourful vegetables
  97. SNL clips
  98. Dungarees
  99. Harmonies
  100. Myself (just about)

The Call to Stay Rooted

I’ve been wondering about writing something like this for a little while. I feel like there’s a growing amount of content being pushed out there into the world about living life as a twenty-something. So, I’m throwing my hat into the ring. I’m not sure if my words really add much depth or breadth to the thoughts of others but here we are.

Today I’m writing about staying rooted and the challenges that come with that.

Before I begin though I want to caveat with a few notices about myself. These are things that inform my words, providing a bit of context for where I’m at in the world:

  • I’m 24 years-young. I’ve got a whole load of learning to do which I’m becoming acutely aware of (in a good way lol).
  • I went to Glasgow University and graduated over two years’ ago. So much of the life I live is still considerably informed by that time.
  • I’m a Christian and a lot of how I understand the world is through my stumbling, ever-evolving faith. (Yet, a lot of what I say might still resonate with you, even if you’re not coming from the same faith perspective.)
  • Finally, I want to say that I am predominantly very content with my life. I don’t want the things I write or say to be misunderstood. I feel so blessed by: family, friends, my health, my job, the outdoors, the arts and much, much more.

But enough notices. On to the topic of today: staying rooted.

To give some context, when I graduated, I knew I wanted to stay in Glasgow. It’s a place where I’ve done a lot of growing up, made incredible pals and is full to the brim with creativity, activism and friendly people. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve stayed.

And in the years since graduating many close pals have left, moving to other cities (and countries), sometimes out of choice, sometimes not. For many of these friends, it’s not been easy. Settling in to new (or old) routines, rhythms and social circles is hard and I massively respect them for it!

In the middle of these changes, I’ve done a whole lot of praying, asking God for direction. Questions like: where should I be? What should I be pouring my energy into? What opportunities should I be searching for? And in the noisiness of these questions, I’ve so far not felt any sort of nudge to leave Glasgow. (But I did recently feel strongly led to move to the east end and get involved in the community here. I’m honestly not sure how long I’ll live here for but it won’t be forever I’m pretty sure.)

Right now, I feel called to stay put and this has its benefits. I know others and am known at a deep level. Places are familiar and you grow into new spaces too (I’ve loved learning more about the public transport system in Glasgow haha). There are roots here. All of these things are significant and life-giving.

But staying rooted also brings challenges. It’s only recently that I’ve found ways of clarifying and articulating what these are:

  • Firstly, gaps appear in your life from where people used to occupy them. I imagine it like a boat that gets a few holes in it. It can feel like you’re sinking a little, as though you need to put stoppers in them all.
  • Differences develop between those that you know who are left in the same city – people move in with their other halves, buy properties, get pets, make new circles of friends. (While I was at uni, the field felt fairly level but now it sometimes feels bumpy.)
  • You can feel like you’re missing out on some exciting new life you could be living somewhere else – the grass seems consistently greener. (This is especially hard when I travel a lot and get to see cool places or visit pals in their new cities.)

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I feel called to stay rooted to where I am and who I am surrounded by. This, at times, feels hard. Rootedness requires commitment. Commitment requires obedience. Obedience requires discipline and patience.

I think we are called to stay rooted and present, even if we’re unsure about how long we might stay in a place. (This can feel particularly hard being a twenty-something when everything can feel unmoored or shifting.) But I’m willing to give it a go. I’m willing to commit, to obey, to be patient with myself.

My hope is that I can match this rootedness with openness. I want both to work in tandem with one another. For, ultimately, I want to be open to living, being and changing wherever God leads me.

Togetherness

Last week saw the 2019 world athletic championships play out in Doha. Over the course of the championships, there were some issues that drew attention away from the sport. The most notable one for me was the lack of attendance and the empty stadium. As the world watched on, there were empty seats and a sombre atmosphere.

However, this did improve as the championships went on, as people heard about and saw more athletic achievements. Crowds were drawn in by the celebrations and joy that sport offers. I watched it a lot from home and found myself joining in with the enthusiasm through my screen. Athletics, and sport in general, brings people together to thrill and excite.

This week we’re seeing a different type of gathering happening across London. Irrespective of what you think about their actions, Extinction Rebellion, have drawn thousands of people together in protests. In contrast to the athletics, these individuals have been gathered through crisis. They’re motivated by their distress over climate justice and want systemic change.

It made me think about togetherness. What draws us to each other? How do we connect with one another?

In the gospels, we see the disciples wrestling with these questions. They are people who gather in both trial and tribulation. In failure and celebration. Consistently they come to Jesus in moments of crisis and moments of deep joy. He is present throughout these times. It is profound to think of Jesus as someone who could both laugh and cry with his followers. Togetherness, for him, looks like being able to celebrate the miracles and respond to times of doubt and confusion.

Undoubtedly, we will all face times in our lives and world where there is cause for celebration or distress. During these moments, we can ponder what it means to do these things in community, not in isolation. For it is ultimately togetherness that brings about joy, hope, peace and love.

Beginnings

Imagine a piece of paper full of lots of words, torn up into lots of little pieces. That’s what I imagine this to be. Just scraps of thoughts. Shreds from a life full of dissonance and lots of other ‘nances’.
It’s as if these are little brainwaves being caught by a large (inter)net. This is a place where what I’ve observed or things I’ve thought about have space to be, grow and sit. Things I’ve pondered about myself, the world, God. Things I’ve noticed. Perspectives I’ve had.
I don’t claim to offer up anything new or exciting. A lot of it might feel same-old, same-old. But I hope this brings you something prism-like, where light is refracted. Perhaps new shades or angles will be seen. I don’t know.
So this is me adding my tuppence-worth of words and thoughts to what’s already out there. All in all, though, these are simply little pieces, fragments of a much fuller picture and story. And I’m ok with that.