Missing all those fall activities, we decided to make some of the most well-loved autumn treats at home this year. On a cool evening, we made chili, these apple cider doughnut muffins, and sat around the fire pit in our backyard enjoying it all.
You’ll find the recipe below which is from the NY Times. These can also be made into doughnuts if you had a doughnut cutter or pan. I like that this recipe is baked and not fried, so healthier than traditional doughnuts that you might get an attraction out and about, but still, just as tasty.
Sometimes I wonder if people are really listening. Even if you don’t agree, please take the time to read/listen to the voices of these Black women in reaction to the Breonna Taylor decision yesterday. It’s important.:
“Sept 23 1955 – Emmett Till’s murderers are acquitted, September 23, 2020 – Breonna Taylor’s murderers are acquitted” – Viola Davis
“I had to cry today. Like so many days this year. My heart hurts for Breonna and her family. I’m sad for all my Black brothers and sisters. To live everyday with such anxiety and fear is not our purpose, yet here we are. I feel helpless. I will VOTE and continue to use my voice, writing and platform to uplift my people. But what I fear is that it won’t be enough.” – Julee Wilson
“I know many of us are confused and frustrated and broken hearted and angry and we have every right to be. But all of us have heard the news of Breonna Taylor in the offices today. And many of us feel like her life was in vain, like all of the protest and everything has been vain. And the song that keeps coming into my head is “Is my living in vain, is our prayers in vain, are we wasting our time” but the Word says “no”, of course not, it’s not all in vain” it ain’t all in vain. I know that it feels like it because it is frustrating, but it is not all in vain.
I truly believe with everything in me that before our loved ones who passed on, our Breonna Taylor, our George Floyds, more names than we can call out, before they came here on earth they agreed to this mission because they knew it would start the movement, they agreed on it and that’s what it has done. It has created a movement and it is not done. We are all in this together but a movement only happens with movement so this is not the time to stop, this is not the time to shut down, this is not the time to forget, this is the time to continue to move forward, okay? It’s frustrating but it’s not in vain.
I pray our movement, our protests, our love, our support, our fallen loved ones, has not been in vain it’s been for the movement. That every person in the world that we should be treated equally, that we should all receive justice when we’ve been wronged, right? I’ve heard it a million times all lives matter and Lord knows I look forward to the day that that is a true statement and it rings true because the proof is in the pudding, it rings true because the justice system always works for everybody, it favors everyone the same. I look forward to that day and I do believe that that day can come but it didn’t come today. Will it come tomorrow, maybe not but the movement is here and we must continue to move forward in the smartest of ways. I know you are frustrated and are tired but it has not all been in vain. And while we are here make sure you register to vote, let us do that, and do everything we can.” – Tabitha Brown
“We just continue to toss all our worst traumas down the ladder of privilege so Black women, Black CIS women, Black Trans women, we expect Black women to lift everybody up and that is exactly what Breonna did. She decided to be an EMT because she wanted to save lives and she was an essential worker during a pandemic and a crisis that was decimating our community and in return the local police pumped bullets into her sleeping body.” – Brittany Packnett Cunningham
“Our spirits, I promise you, are bigger than the systems we face; and I promise you our purpose is greater than the oppression that tries to grab hold of us. Those systems, they may have stolen Breonna’s life but they will never steal her light. That oppression may have taken her life but it will never steal her legacy because we will fight for that.” – Brittany Packnett Cunningham
“If we thought the problem and the solution to the tragedy of Breonna Taylor was simply prosecuting these cops, then we’re not understanding the broader systemic conditions that allow for the kind of policing that disproportionally imperils Black Americans…” – Kimberle Crenshaw
“The problem with racism is not that people know it exists and are being trained on how to do better. The problem with racism is racism. And today, tragically, makes that all the more clear.” – Kimberle Crenshaw
“The same systems responsible for our oppression cannot be the same systems responsible for our justice.” – Derecka Purnell
“Again, the entire legal system of the US is showing itself to be a farce that has everything to do with preserving power dynamics and nothing to do with justice.” – Bree Newsome Bass
“What is this picking out a few Black people like needles in a haystack, just to prove a point, when, at the same time, Black people are routinely lynched and millions do not feel safe? It’s abhorrent. Of course, arguing safety under any presidency may be a false net, but considering whole communities, what is the purpose of these needles? What is the purpose when the whole haystack is blowing in the wind? We shouldn’t be singularly focused–there’s too much on the line. We shouldn’t pick out one person and hold them as the standard–we need picture ideas the save the masses.” -LaTonya Yvette
“EMOTIONAL … I’m exhausted. The past 6 months have been a true test in almost every way imaginable. Yesterday’s verdict took me there. I cried. My heart is heavy. I am sending love and light to Breonna’s family. I am just sad. The daily anxiety and fear that we as Black people live with is real. It’s not anxiety about taking a test. It’s not anxiety about fitting in. It’s anxiety that centers around very real questions like will I be safe in my home? Will my husband be safe driving on a back country road by himself late at night? I remember my mom turning on gospel music when she felt weary from carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders trying to protect her two young daughters from the reality of the world we live in and praying her husband would make it home safely that night. I was too young to understand it at the time, this is my adult self reflecting back on those instances. My mother is a very strong and resilient woman; these occurrence weren’t often, but perhaps that’s why they left a lasting impression. Last night, I understood. I let the tears flow as I listened to “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired.”
I am down right now, but I won’t stop fighting. I am going to VOTE and use my voice and my platform to inform, educate and uplift. We matter too much and we’ve come too far. I see YOU sis. I got your back.”⠀ – Kalyn Johnson
Here is what the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg means to me:
I am not one to typically idolize a person, especially someone such as herself, who within the past decade really became an icon outside of just a person. I prefer to really focus on the humanity of an individual. I do though, like anyone, look to people as markers of inspiration, as someone with traits that I aspire to.
As with anyone she was multi-faceted and no portrayal can accurately convey anyone, still, she came across as quiet but fiercely convicted, smart and steady, demur and powerful, strong and consistent, and yet still being kind and loving despite ideological differences. A great embracer of her dualities in a way that we are really learning these days is how to proceed with grace and impact. She showed us that the world can be unfair but we can little by little persevere and make change, consistently, solidly, in the face of great opposition, even if it takes a whole lifetime. A woman, who at almost fifty years took on a mantle of leadership representing not just women and those oppressed but also women of a certain age, who are significantly underrepresented as powerful, sound leaders and professionals.
Without her work women still wouldn’t be seen by the law as equals. It is profound to recognize that despite and because of her efforts gender-based pay discrimination only became illegal in 2014 under Barack Obama and yet she worked tirelessly her whole life to enact such change through her very being and through her smart and compassionate legal actions.
I read that in the Jewish culture people of that faith who die on a certain day are considered great teachers. I believe she will be remembered as someone who led the way, was a light in a dark world but a constant shining light to show us the truth. And to have it extinguished in the middle of such a tumultuous and divisive world is all the more darkening but also all the more enlightening in its loss. Rest in power, Justice Ginsburg, and thank you. Beautiful artwork by illustrator @libbyvanderploeg
I’m excited to introduce the work of Lily Uoka (short for Uokalania) in the Gather online shop. Lily lives and was raised in the Berkeley/Oakland area of California and though she was creative all her life, she only came to painting in her late twenties when a boring cubicle job pushed her towards a more creative outlet. It was then that she purchased her first paints and paintbrushes. Her mixed media art has a tropical, beachy feel and combines dried flowers, collage, paints, and gold leaf. Not only does she carefully select which blooms she will press to later use in her art, but she also mashes up different flowers to create pigment which also finds its way into her pieces.
I discovered Lily on instagram and approached her about having some of her prints in the shop. I love the multi-dimensional aspects of her pieces, the focus on women and flowers, as well as her color palette.
Since Lily is relatively new to selling her work and in selling it to stores I hope you will consider supporting this venture by purchasing one of the prints from the Gather shop below.
LaTonya Yvette is a writer and creative who lives in NYC. I love her sense of style and seeing glimpses of her apartment and the way she documents the world through her lens. She wrote a book called Woman of Color and just went under contract to write another. You can learn more about her on her website here and follow her on instagram here.
In addition to stunning home interiors, the firm also creates gorgeous commercial interior spaces as well. They curate an art gallery in the front of their studio offices called Front of House which invites collaborations from artists to create site specific pieces to display within the space such as this one by artist Saree Silverman and the studio heads up The One Percent Project an initiative to inspire Portland, Oregon based businesses to donate 1% (or more) of their profits to non-profits dedicated to issues related to homelessness. So inspiring, on all levels.
These days I’m often thinking in the back of my head: “what’s working, what’s not”? I’m also leaning into a lot of grace for myself and the world around me. I’ve learned that when my daughter isn’t in school (virtual or in-person – though we are squarely in the virtual camp) that it is somewhat fruitless to expect myself to be fully present to my business, to my own needs. One can’t be all things to all people after all. Energy is a precious commodity and one that I have learned over time is best expended in the ways it is flowing, which this summer and the many months at home before that, means being more present in my daily life and less to everything else. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. This intense season will pass, I am sure of it. Though it feels really uncomfortable to be in the muck to my knees, I know that I have to walk through it to get to the other side.
All around me the world feels like it is cracking wide open and revealing deep fissures all the way to its core. It’s overwhelming. It’s intense. Seeing so many people making such wildly different moral decisions in the face of so much change is also disconcerting. It can have the effect of feeling intensely disillusioned and sad. And at the same time, so many people are experiencing such deep pain, trauma and change. And so, what can I do but focus inward, to try to create a calm and stable home for my daughter, for my family, for myself, so that we can be more present, more available, more able to respond to the many crises around us. So that we can give ourselves when needed, so that we can fight for what feels imperative and crucial and necessary and broken around us.
So, all this to say, I am definitely dropping the ball. I am definitely not responding to emails quickly (or at all), I am behind on everything, things are falling through those cracks that are emerging but also I am holding on through that imperfection. I am watching the world fall away below my feet, and yet strangely and at the same time I feel grounded, the world is currently a dichotomy of itself. I feel empowered and resigned, I feel both tired and curious to consider something new. It’s all a swirling miasma of feeling, of processing, of pausing to wait and see where the chips fall but also just putting one foot in front of the other to move forward, even if at a snail’s pace.
I am currently sitting in a room at the back of my house that serves as both our dining area and a place to curl up and read. In it there is a folded up exercise bike, a cat that is snoozing at my feet, a ficus that has seen better days, jars full of plants being propagated in my windowsills, walls that are half painted white and half painted another color. This is my new workstation as my daughter works on the computer nearby practicing Spanish on duolingo. I try to carve out time to do something, to do anything, but with the limited time that I have (we try to limit her tech time too) it feels fruitless to pore into anything in a major way. And yet, I still am, just differently.
And now it is her daily “tech time” where for an hour and a half she texts her friends, watches a show, plays a video game. The house is blissfully quiet, there is no one demanding my attention. The most obvious thing is to dedicate myself to this, into work, into making that coveted progress, and yet, I have learned that the most valuable thing to do during this time is to be still, to read, to meditate, to just be, because otherwise, when would I? When could I?
So I leave you with this, a half-finished essay. Some thoughts that may not be fully strung together but thoughts nonetheless. I know many of you out there are feeling the same. I think it’s going to be okay but also it’s deeply not okay. We can get through this together but alone, if we just hold on and let go at the same time.