Terri

Creating art used to be one of my favorite hobbies as a kid. I grew up in a printing company, and in my free time I would look through color books, and listen to conversations about what colors and prints would go well together, I would also sit with my colored pencils and  draw on A3 papers. In college  I took some product design classes and learned how to use different techniques and mixed media to create art.

Fast forward to life post graduation, I found that I didn’t have time to sit down and create something from scratch. It almost felt like I forgot about an old friend. And when I would sit down to make something, I never felt that it was good.. Instead, I spent a lot of my free time binge watching Netflix and Youtube videos. 

Since staying home in quarantine, I suddenly have lots of time on my hands and I began to rethink the way I spend my time. I told myself that this is the best time to pick up this old hobby again. No excuses and no distractions - other than my needy pup! I sat down and learned how to do abstract digital artwork in Photoshop! Creating digital compositions has made me extremely proud of myself! I have even started using some of these new skills to create illustrations and visual content for Rekindling! It has given me a sense of fulfillment that watching Youtube never could. If you also have a hobby which you’ve forgotten about, I encourage you to pick it up again! You may be surprised by how much it brings you joy.

Deirdre

I qualified for the Boston Marathon in November 2018 and it was a magical day where the stars seemed to align. You have to qualify to run the Boston Marathon, and the race where I qualified went better than I could have planned. After qualifying there were a number of steps I had to take before race day. I needed to submit my registration and I waited an entire week feeling like I was on pins and needles to see if I had been accepted. I spent the winter months outside running many miles when I would rather have been hibernating.

 

I was at the peak of my training and ready to taper - where runners start to cut down on miles before the race - when I found out the marathon had been postponed. I understood the need for this, but nevertheless I felt devastated and I thought about all the work that led me to that day. When the Monday of the race came and went without the Boston Marathon, I was taken back to the feeling of pride and accomplishment I had when I first qualified. I am working to hold onto that feeling for when I start my training again in anticipation of lacing up my sneakers to run Boston in the fall.

Hanya

Muslims are currently observing the month of Ramadan - which means fasting from food and drink during daylight hours and increasing our worship during the night. Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Qur’an (Islam’s holy book) were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and also a holy month with many blessings for muslims in general. Many muslims will complete a reading of the entire holy book (approximately 600 pages in the original arabic) during this month. Ramadan is also usually a very social month with muslims going to their local mosques to pray in congregation every night and visiting each others’ houses to break fast together. This Ramadan is quite different however. Following public health guidelines, all mosques have closed indefinitely and social gatherings have been put on hold until COVID is under control.

For many muslims this means a Ramadan spent alone or with direct family at home - and many of us are missing the gathering and communal aspects of this special time of year. While I am not with my family at the moment, I’ve tried to consciously shift my perspective and make the most of this Ramadan by utilizing the time I would have spent commuting to work or hanging out with friends and family to instead strengthen my relationship with the Qur’an and focus on self reflection and worship. I have spent time reading and studying the holy book everyday and finding joy in reciting Qur’an while standing in prayer at night. We are only a week in, and I am proud of the discipline I’ve shown myself in how I spend my time and the investment I have been making in learning and strengthening my faith. I pray you all have something which brings you comfort and makes your soul feel at home during this incredibly challenging time.

Danielle

Since quarantine started, I have been doing a lot of outdoor running. Every week I’ve been running faster and further, and it’s been very satisfying to watch my progress. I am also using this opportunity to challenge myself by looking at my own progress and not comparing myself to others. Running not only gives me something to look forward to, but also makes me feel accomplished and proud. I set new goals for myself every week. And during every run I try to run faster or for a longer distance. I find it incredibly helpful to have something new to challenge myself with during a time like this. It gives me hope and a goal to work towards.