In Answer to Quarantine: Beautiful Things to Keep You Sane

Hallo, friend, wherever you may be in your little corner of the earth.

I hope this post is finding you well, in good health, and in good spirits.

At this point, I’m starting to feel like a heroine from one of my favorite books. I wake up each morning (usually with my hair in either a braid or just down my back and wearing a nightgown), I look out the window, I see the rain on the glass (as it’s been raining the last few days), and I go downstairs to make tea and eat breakfast.

I am still inside my house, just as I have been for the last two weeks. But, as far as my mom and I are concerned, we’ve mainly been confined to our bedrooms (due to our COVID-19 symptoms). As for myself, I’ve officially declared my brain in a state of being “bored to tears” after a few days of sitting in my bed, looking at my phone, fighting off headaches, and doing absolutely nothing.

I’ve realized that the majority of humanity is in the exact same place I am, and COVID-19 isn’t leaving the world any time soon. I’ve even had to change my uni plans once more, and it seems as though the Lord would see fit to have me do online university for the next year.

*exhales*

Yeah, it’s been a week.

Despite the dreary attitude that has settled over the entire nation (and even my little bedroom), I’ve been trying to come to terms with the new way in which I live life.

That’s not to say that I’ve been socially deprived by not being allowed to leave my home. That’s not what’s put me in such a rut. It’s the fact that I can’t spend every moment of every day with the people I love most: my family.

I was fine, contented, and honest-to-goodness happy staying indoors with my sister to laugh with, my brothers to play games with, and my parents to talk with.

But now that I’m a little under-the-weather, I’ve had to isolate myself from them, which has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can still hear them downstairs, doing life and making food and studying and talking.

And I think I realize how must of the country feels.

In the absence of…people, I’ve had my cell phone. Thank the Lord for the texts I’ve received from my mom, my sister, other members of my family, and my dear friends who are, quite simply, scattered around the country and the world.

But in the quiet moments, when it’s just me…

…when it’s just me and the silence…

it’s sometimes impossible not to lose myself in the dreadfully bleak and unrelenting news feed and the stupid YouTube jokes and the horribly dank memes that have no significance other than providing a bit of cheap laughter for my lonely soul.

So, I looked up.

In an attempt to nurture my mind during this dark time, I’ve compiled a list of things with which I intend to keep busy whilst being stuck in this awful quarantine business. A list of beautiful things…and over the past few days of feeding myself with these beautiful things, I’ve found a bit of light shining in the corner of my mind and illuminating my heart.

And, since the rest of the world seems to be in the same place as I am, I decided that I ought to share them with you! I do hope you will love them as much as I have.

Let’s begin. 🙂

Books

Alright, let’s face it. I haven’t read as much as I probably should have with all of this spare time I’ve been given. For what it’s worth, I’ve felt incredibly lethargic and fatigued, but I shall not let myself off with excuses.

Reading is something I cannot live without, and I think for the vast majority of my time in quarantine, I’ve done very little of it. And my soul is now holding me accountable.

SO, now I am reading much more. And more never means too much.

  1. The Bible
  2. Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  3. Treasury of Women’s Saints
  4. The Divine Comedy (yes, Dante’s Divina Commedia)
  5. Boundaries in Dating
  6. Amazing Star Wars Fanfictions written by my dear friend Maribeth

Now, these are the lovely books I’m reading. These are the lovely books that are washing my soul with the beauty of heroism, invigorating theology, practical dating advice, and soulful characters whose acts of self-denial make me cry (if you’ve read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, please comment below 😥 ).

I’m not going to make specific recommendations here, but allow me to say this: read a book that excites your mind. Read something beautiful…something really and truly good, where every new letter, word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter whispers some noble thing into your heart.

If you are looking for something to read, allow me to recommend Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which is one of the greatest novels I have ever read. I’ll say no more for fear of going on a rant (I normally do with books I can’t put down), but if you’re looking for a beautiful something to read, go and read the novel that started the American Civil War.

Language

My German scribbles 😉

Quarantine is giving us a lot of free time that we don’t normally have as a society. And…in a society where the majority of the population speaks one language, would it not be fun and interesting and revolutionary to take up the challenge of learning a new language?

I’ve been hacking at German for about two, threeish years now, and with an official online program I begged for as a Christmas present (only homeschoolers ask for language curriculums for Christmas, ich weiß!), I’m beginning to make even more headway than I ever have before.

I can’t begin to tell you how amazing speaking another language is, my friends. I’m not even “fluent” in German yet, but the bits that I can speak and the small conversations I can have are so much fun.

Hearing my voice converse in another language is a bit surreal. Holding conversations in a language that used to sound like nonsensical gibberish is a mind blowing experience. And when the words start to feel normal, and the phrases and sentences make sense and you can understand what you couldn’t before…it feels like your mind opens up to an entirely new world.

German says things and explains things and sees things differently than English does, and there are things that only make sense in German because to explain them in English is impossible.

*ahem*

I love language learning (as you can see), and I would strongly encourage you, friends, to dig in to studying a new tongue! Get outside of our every day English and dive into the words, pronounciations, letters, and (God help us) grammar of another culture!

It’s hard and incredibly challenging at times, and I’m not going to even begin to talk about the tears I’ve cried over the Das Schrecklich Deutsche Kasus System(a grammar system best left to the imagination). I’ve wanted to stop many times, but at the end of the day, knowing the reward and the outcome has kept me going.

Learning German has become one of my favorite things. Maybe you’ll start learning a language that becomes one of your favorite things, too. 🙂

Music

Alright, here’s where I can get a little more specific!

M U S I C

I love it so much, and I could not under any circumstances go a day without listening to music. By music, I don’t mean mainstream pop, rock, rap, or anything like that.

I mean classical music, because I’m a classically trained pianist who can’t stand the “music” (if you can call it that) of “artists” like Ariana Grande or Camila Cabello. I’m sorry, but did they compose a ninth symphony when they were deaf? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

*high five, Beethoven*

Here, my friends, are my current musical obsessions:

Ludovico Einaudi

Okay, so technically Einaudi is contemporary/new age piano, but his pieces are honestly so soul-filling. Einaudi is an Italian composer who is considered a genius in the modern world of classical music. I guess he’s kind of classical? He incorporates quite a lot of themes into his music, but I love it all.

It’s quiet, contemplative, perfect for writing, and peaceful. Just the kind of thing we need in our ears right now…

Nuvole Bianche, which means “white clouds” in Italian, is one of his piano solos that makes my heart happy. The vocal version is also quite beautiful, and it’s sung in Italian. *heart eyes*

Not to mention the fact that his music makes for great background music to some of my favorite Doctor Who video edits.

Alexis Ffrench

I love this composer beyond words. He is a British African pianist (*shoots confetti for yet another pianist*) and has captured my heart with some of his compositions. In particular, “Bluebird” and “Rebirth.” I found the sheet music for “Bluebird” online, and it’s such an easy, fun, flowy, joyful piece to play.

I am over the moon about these pieces. They let a light in to my little heart. 🙂

Boccherini

Everyone knows Handel, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn. Those guys always get named in the Classical Music Group, and rightly so.

But no one talks about Luigi Boccherini! No one talks about him…unless you are immersed in the world of classical music, like I am.

*snort*

Ah! I digress.

Boccherini wrote some lovely cello sonatas. They are such fun, high-spirited, light-hearted pieces, and listening to them always brings a smile to my face. They’re so bouncy and airy. Boccherini needs more love.

My favorite is the Cello Sonata in D Major, the second movement (II), Allegro. I couldn’t find a YouTube video of that one, so go look it up on your streaming service! It’s bound to be there! But here’s the G Major Cello Sonata, which is just as fun:

Paganini

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Niccolo Paganini, the Chopin of violinists? Maybe it’s cliche that I’m adding Paganini to this list, but honestly…his music is mindblowingly difficult to play, complex to listen to, and just plain genius.

This is my favorite of Paganini’s caprices (no. 24) played by the most amazing violinist ever (who is a master to whom I give MAJOR respect as a musician) Hilary Hahn!!

Watch those fingers, friends! Watch those fingers! Yes, she is a bit of a music idol to me. She may as well be Paganini.

*exhales*

Sorry, this is about Paganini, not Hilary Hahn. Got on a little rant there. 😀

 

Okay, I need to move on before I die of music appreciation. She’s just—

*faints*

I love Hilary Hahn. She’s a master. Go listen to her Bach album, guys. For the love of all things good and pure in this world.

*flails arms*

Let’s move on to another little thing that I’ve been attempting during quarantine…before I get sidetracked by Hilary Hahn again.

Seriously, though, if you want more music recommendations, send me an email. I will GLADLY give out free classical music recommendations. I love classical music.

Film

I think, as humans, we run to this one the most, but do we always watch the best films that we can? A lot of cinematic media these days is nothing more than thrilling fluff, and the good, true, stories that cinema can tell sometimes get left behind in the wave of pop culture and stardom.

Here’s some truly beautiful stories that I’ve been watching over the last few days that have filled my soul with amiable characters and noble pursuits.

Little Women (2019)

Because I cannot get over how much I love this film, I have watched it twice over the period of the last two weeks, and it has made me cry both times.

Saoirse Ronan is the imagine of perfection as Jo March, and I’m afraid she has left poor Winona Ryder in the dust.

Don’t get me started on Florence Pugh as Amy, either. I didn’t like Amy in the book, but…I really actually did like her in the film. Especially her little speech about marriage being an economic proposition. *raises fist*

Soak it up, friends. This film melts me time and time again!

Onward (2020)

This is the kind of Disney Pixar Film that I’ve been waiting for.

Onward is officially my absolute favorite Disney Pixar animated film. I mean, seriously, people. It’s right up there next to Toy Story. It’s humorous, it’s set in a fantasy world, it’s heartfelt, and the ending made my mom cry (as all good Disney movies do).

And Chris Pratt as That Geeky Older Brother was the best thing that ever happened to Disney. The brotherly chemistry was fantastic, and I loved the message at the end.

1917 

Guys, guys, GUYS!

If you loved Hacksaw Ridge, then you have to watch 1917. I love a good war movie, and this one is at the top of my list.

The suspense was heart-stopping, the plot was amazing, the scenes were breathtaking, the acting was phenomenal, and the heart and soul put into this film is glorious. It’s a truly soul-filling watch, especially with the message of brotherhood and perseverance written all over it. The ending nearly killed me, and my heart was on fire.

Watch it, friends. It’s absolutely marvelous.

The Pianist (2000)

Hey, look, more pianists! Yay for musicality! *jumps*

In all seriousness, this film is a winner.

I just watched it today, in fact, and it broke my heart and put it back together. It is quite gory, and there are horrific, bloody acts of violence happening to so many innocent people on screen. It’s a Holocaust film, and it’s rated R for said violence, but when the overall story is considered, it’s one that needs telling.

In the darkest of times, there are always people who dare to be brave, to trust, and to stick out their neck for the life of another. In the darkness, there is always beauty waiting to be ignited by the smallest act of kindness.

You can’t help but root for the young Jewish protagonist, and this true story really captured my heart and filled it up with love for my fellow man. This one was really special.

And it’s a true story. 😉

In Closing…

I realize that tomorrow is the start of Holy Week. For America and for the rest of the world, Holy Week is going to look a lot different this year than it has in many years. Perhaps ever. We most likely will not be attending church, holding feasts with family and friends, or hunting for eggs on Easter Sunday.

My point is this, friends:

While we may not still have the festivities we are used to, the fact remains that it is still Holy Week. 

Holy Week will still be exactly what it is: a holy week. No matter how we celebrate it within the quiet atmospheres of our little homes, it will still be a holy time…a holy week. And that is what will hold our hearts high above circumstance.

Light a candle, read a good book, watch a heart-filling film, and listen to some beautiful music. Let us find and actively search for the holy, for the honorable, and for the heroic. Let us fill our ears with glorious tunes, our hearts with lovely stories, and our minds with the love of Jesus.

Holy Week will be different this year, but it can be and will still be what it always has been. Let us lift our eyes toward heaven and remember. In all that we do, let us feed our souls with the goodness of God.

And please, go watch Little Women. Just do. It’s the most pure, light-hearted, and innocent entertainment you will ever set eyes on.

Just look at lil Saoirse Ronan.

Okay I’m done!

Liebe dich!

Emily 🙂

14 thoughts on “In Answer to Quarantine: Beautiful Things to Keep You Sane

  1. My Emmy!! How I loved this post…I felt your heart and personality in your writing, cheering me on to greater things for my soul…I shall make beauty, and fill my soul with the goodness of God and look up…thank you for this encouraging post…it was such a delight!!

    Love You,
    Your Momma 😘

    1. Hi Ma!
      Oh, thanks so much for your comment! You are my number one encourager, and I am so grateful for your kind words and support. You are the best! I love you! 🙂 May we fill our hearts with God’s love and goodness always 🙂

  2. “A list of beautiful things…and over the past few days of feeding myself with these beautiful things, I’ve found a bit of light shining in the corner of my mind and illuminating my heart.” Ah, Emily, such a lovely post!! Your words are a blessing. ❤
    OH MY GOODNESS, I want to see the new Little Women SO. BADLY. I've heard nothing but good things about it, and I'm so excited to see this new take on that absolutely wonderful classic. And Onward!! I want to see that one so badly, as well! (Plus, seeing Tom Holland+Chris Pratt=lots of laughter, as already seen from Avengers: Infinity War XD).
    Oh, goodness. Hillary Hahn is AMAZING. Just…wow.

    1. Ah, dear Amelie! Thank you so much for your comment, friend. My apologies for not getting around to it sooner as this week has been crazy, as I’m sure it has been for you, too! Thank you for your kind words and I’m SO glad you enjoyed my post and was blessed by it.
      And yusssssss, girl, you must see the new Little Women! It’s my favorite, and I am inclined to share it with everyone I know and talk far too much about how dearly I love it. It’s a gem of a film. Definitely see it sometime soon!
      AND ONWARD! Chris Pratt and Tom Holland were wonderful, and it has been such a fun film to watch over and over again while we’ve been cooped up.
      And ALSO HILARY HAHN. ASDJKLFHKJL!!!! I cannot express my musical adoration and appreciation and respect for this amazing violinist. She is incredibly talented, so dedicated to practicing, and just overall an astounding woman whom I admire. Also David Garrett, the German violinist. *dies*

  3. Such a lovely post, dear friend. I gotta say, it’s QUITE an honor see my Star Wars fanfics up there with Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Divine Comedy! Not sure how Harriet Beecher Stowe would feel about it, but somehow I don’t think Dante would mind. After all, he basically wrote the most Famous Fanfic Of All Time™️–he probably wouldn’t judge 😉

    Clearly I need to listen to Hillary Hahn. I’m always very impressed by creative violinists (like Lindsey Stirling). And I DEFINITELY need to watch 1917. Hacksaw Ridge is one of my favorite movies, so if you’re comparing it with 1917…you’ve got my attention. And as I mentioned in our (numerous) texts, I WANNA SEE LITTLE WOMEN SO BAD. The Winona Ryder version has been my favorite for years, but I’m willing to be convinced by Saoirse Ronan.

    Thank you so much for reminding us that beauty will keep us sane. After working on my Camp NaNoWriMo project for a few hours, I shall take a walk and pick myself some fresh flowers for my writing desk. The weather is gorgeous this Palm Sunday, and I need to take advantage of it before Louisiana Summertime hits me smack in the face, haha!

    1. Haha, Maribeth!!! Yes, Dante wrote the world’s most celebrated piece of fanfiction, and that is a fact WE SHALL NEVER DENY! Even fanfiction can be literature, as Dante has pointed out, and your fanfic is also certainly so, my friend! I’m almost done with the TLJ AU, and I’m obsessed with what you’ve done here. SO SO BEAUTIFULLY DONE.
      And yusssss please listen to Hilary Hahn, the violin goddess of our age. I cannot express my little grasshopper admiration for such a genius. What beauty, what grace…
      And ahhhhh Louisiana summertime…I have never been to Louisiana, but I’ve been to Georgia and Florida…never Louisiana though. I’m gonna have to hightail it down there to see you soon once all of this blows over. You’ll have to take me to your favorite place to get beignets ;)))))

      1. Would you believe me if I told you…I’ve never had beignets??? Seriously, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to New Orleans, haha! So beignets are actually not my specialty. KING CAKES, on the other hand…(*grins a little too excitedly over the memory of king cake*)

  4. I hope whatever’s keeping you under the weather clears up soon!
    Alexis Ffrench’s work is very nice. I suspect I’ll be listening to more in the future.
    I’m afraid I haven’t read Uncle Tom’s Cabin yet, but I would be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

    That’s a beautiful closing point. I’m sorry that things will be different this year, but at the core nothing will change.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Sorry for not getting around to replying sooner! Alexis Ffrench is wonderful, and I shall forever recommend him to friends. And also Uncle Tom’s Cabin! Such a good book. I highly recommend it.

      I hope your Holy Week has been beautiful as well! Praying you’re blessed this weekend for Resurrection Sunday! 🙂

  5. Can you check my German please?

    Wie wundersam ist Gottes plan:
    Fur uns – die seligkeit;
    Und mehr – fur Gott durch einen Mann,
    Die ewge Herrlichkeit.
    Jetzt Gottes Herz ist kundgemacht:
    Dem Ihm sein Preis und Lob und Macht.

    1. Hmm…I’m not too sure I’m ready to start checking people’s German, but this looks correct to me! Usually German sentences have verbs at the end, so instead of “wie wundersam ist Gottes plan,” it would be “Wie wundersam Gottes plan ist.” BUT I could be wrong, so don’t take my word for it. Sorry…I don’t feel too confident with the language yet to be checking people’s grammar, if you know what I mean.

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