Monday Musings: Links & Words

"I have decided to stick with love..." Martin Luther King

A ton of things happened in January while I was publishing my 31 Days Of Healthy Recipes. So many things I wanted to talk about and process, but that I knew would have to wait.

Now that the month is over, I’m finally able to take a moment to step back and reflect on things.

I try to keep politics out of this space, but to be honest, it hasn’t been easy. Sharing recipes feels like a hollow peace offering in the wake of all that’s been going on. On the inside, my heart oscillates between proud and motivated (I’m still wrapping my head around how more than two and a half million people from all around the world marched on January 21st), and despair for all the hatred and fear that seems to be driving our country forward.

My heart hurts from reeling, and I suspect many of you feel the same.

I want this space to be safe. A place people can come to find nourishment for their bodies and spirits, to gather strength with which to stand up for what they believe in. I believe this kind of self-care isn’t a distraction or a dismissal of what’s really going on in the world… it’s a necessary part of keeping ourselves sane.

So I thought I’d share. Here are a few of the things that have made me smile recently. Hopefully they will brighten your Monday, too.

  • Be kind. I find this video so inspiring. It’s easy to convince yourself that little things don’t matter, and then not do them. But when it comes to gestures of kindness, the little things can mean so much more.
  • Why I love my gray hair. Anyone who puts themselves out there on the internet knows first-hand what getting negative comments is like. You become hardened to them after a while, learn to brush it off, ignore them, move on… but this blogger had a better response, and I love it.
  • I cannot stop watching this and thisInstant mood boosters, both of ’em.


I hope your Monday is going well, friends. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below. And if you’re looking for ways to make a positive difference, here’s a helpful list of organizations that could use support, beyond the ones you already know.


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16 Responses to Monday Musings: Links & Words

  1. Laura (A Beautiful Plate) February 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

    I totally understand the struggle of posting recipes and talking about food (it seems trivial) when so much is happening in the world. I try to think that I’m spreading some sort of positivity/levity in light of everything – but it can be a struggle sometimes! I don’t want to appear oblivious either.

    Love these positive thoughts and links to peruse! We could all use more things to make us smile these days!! :)

    • Willow Arlen February 6, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

      Exactly! I’m relieved to know I’m not the only food blogger feeling this way. I debated sharing this post for a while, actually, but now I’m so glad that I did. Thank you.

  2. Thalia February 7, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

    omg!!! mari’s instagram account is my fav too! i love and resonate with every single one of her posts. THANK YOU Willow for this post, it’s just gorgeous! Xx

    • Willow Arlen February 7, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

      Isn’t her work incredible? And thank you so much, you’re too kind!

  3. Claudia | The Brick Kitchen February 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these Willow! I especially liked the youtube video, Why I Love My Grey Hair – especially relevant after receiving a couple of negative comments on my most recent blog post. I wrote about politics for the first time as, like you, I struggled to ignore it every time I sat down to write a post, but it didn’t go down well with a couple of readers! So thank you for sharing this post with us <3

    • Willow Arlen February 8, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

      Thank you for sharing that, Claudia. I know not everyone who reads this will agree with my politics — I’m okay with that, and I would actually love to have a (respectful, constructive) discussion with them if they wanted to. I just felt the need to write what I was thinking. I’ll keep sharing recipes, of course, but I’m not I’m a person, and I think that’s what makes blogs special. They’re run by people, and it’s the bloggers who write honestly that I admire most. I’m sorry to hear you got some negative blowback from your post, but I say keep being you. You can’t please everyone.

  4. michelle @ hummingbird high February 8, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    yasss. i think it’s important to acknowledge what’s been going on in the world. i get turned off by the blogs that are still syrupy sweet and chirpy, business as usual without any nod to the fractured state of the country. excited to see the rest of these series!

    • Willow Arlen February 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

      Thank you, Michelle. I agree completely, though I also feel all kinds of pressure (self-afflicted, of course) to be chirpy and bright in this space. It’s always been a struggle for me to strike a balance between what to share, and what to keep private. At some point, though, it just feels fake to keep going like nothing is happening. I’m glad to know others feel the same.

  5. Jennifer Farley February 10, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    I hear you. I have barely been able to find words, and I’ve bene trying to dig my way out of a deep depression. I did one post of a political nature and received some very nasty emails. This is a rough time. Lots of love to you.

    • Willow Arlen February 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

      I’m so sorry, Jennifer. I know it’s been hitting you hard — and for the record, I thought your words were perfect and honest and true. I’m all for constructive discussions and listening to opinions different from my own, but nasty responses are just uncalled for. That’s probably one of the most depressing parts of this, for me… I want to see civil, thoughtful discourse, and instead all I see is the opposite of that. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Please keep writing them, and being honest and true to yourself.

  6. Abby @ Heart of a Baker February 10, 2017 at 5:14 pm #

    I’m totally right there with you. I love posting recipes and making pretty things, but the heaviness that weighs on my heart is important too. Love your words and links! xo

    • Willow Arlen February 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

      Thank you, Abby. It’s hard to find balance, right now, between the heavy subjects and the lighter ones. I’ve had so much heaviness lately, though, it was definitely time for some lighter things!

  7. Valentina @Hortus February 11, 2017 at 3:42 am #

    I think the best thing to do is still include politics if you feel like they need to be mentioned (which at this point they really do), but in the same loving way you did it in this post. Of course the world needs to go on and we NEED to talk about pretty things, because that’s what it’s supposed to be ‘normal’. Good spirits should never be buried. I am sure even those who lived through the darkest times in history had something to keep them motivated :)

    • Willow Arlen February 12, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

      Thank you, Valentina. That was my hope — that what I said here would come off as kindly as I intended it. People are very sensitive right now, I think, and my goal is not to offend or upset, but to encourage thoughtfulness about what’s going on. And you are absolutely right, we need the lighter stuff, too. I love what you said “good spirits should never be buried.” Even when things get tough, we need good, simple things to keep us afloat. :)

  8. shannon @ a periodic table March 2, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    you said all my feelings, exactly. probably it’s one of the reasons i wasn’t full-speed back into blogging as of January 2017 (because that was the plan). i had other work come up, but…yeah. i had other feels come up, also.

    *GIANT HUGS* thank you for this. you’re right: lots of us feel pretty dang dumb talking about food when there’s more to care about, but I think all of us are built out of so much more than the food we post, and just having a loving community? that’s the BEST, even when you don’t know what to say or do.

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