Weekend Away

Sometimes Mama needs a break from the nest. Mama and Papa Mallard were out walking late the Sunday afternoon I returned from a weekend away with my mister. Dewey was waiting for his walk, so off we went.

The ducks strolled near the nest, quacking and roaming. They took off for a brief flight when we approached. The eggs were safely covered. You would never know something was growing in the shade of the shrubbery.

I am grateful for an adult daughter who tended our nest so that Steve and I could get away for a marriage retreat. It was a gift to take time to learn more about our attachment styles, our story together, and all of the things that we know in our head but don’t have time to engage with our hearts.

We returned with a new sense of connection and direction, with more language to use. Refreshed by laughter and caught off guard by tears, we dove back into the life waiting for us. It is a forever dance, living in the tension. We continue to choose to dance together.

Something New

Two weeks ago I walked downtown to secure a business name and apply for a license. This was a huge step, and I am grateful for the support of a friend who has been with me on this path. She took the picture at the top of this post at our celebratory coffee afterwards!

Heart Path Story Coaching is my new thing. You can check it out here.

It is in the early stages. I am taking small steps, making movement. I share quietly with you today, as I work hard behind the scenes. Good things are coming!

To keep up with what is happening, sign up on the site. There is where I will manage all items business related.

Here I will continue to write about the usual and unusual things. Mama duck, art journal pages, deep thoughts. The new space also links to here, which makes for a fun connection.

Six years ago this month I began Composting the Heart, uncertain of what was ahead but knowing that I had words to share. From that small beginning, taking refuse of the heart and mixing it with words of truth, seeds of hope began to grow leading me to this place today.

I am so grateful and invite you, my faithful readers and encouragers, to celebrate this milestone with me!

Mama Duck

She keeps me grounded while faithfully tending her eggs. At last count there were four. Now she is consistently present when I pass by. There may be more. She keeps them hidden.

She offers a destination. I’m going to check on the duck. There is reason to head out for a walk and a reminder that it is enough to do small tasks faithfully.

She sits, rotating on her nest, building it up around her. Sometimes I see a beak, others a tail. Her eye looks out, feathers expand defensively. Small movements grow new things.

With nowhere else to be, she rests, trusting the process going on beneath her. I remember to trust my process, too.

I love mama duck. My kids laugh. I promise them I will not write about her compulsively. Only a little.

So that is what I do this first day of April, April Fools Day. I write about mama duck, because though there are many other things to say, I am tired and my words are few.

I climb onto my nest and sit, waiting, thankful for the gift of tea at a busy day’s end. I am grateful that my ducklings are growing up and that this April Fool’s Day has been kind.

Step by Step

March ends with a view from my art journal. It has helped me move through the month with kindness while taking steps towards a new thing coming in April.

These pages were created the Sunday before I took a big step that I will share about soon. They helped me remember to just do what is next.

A calm sea and sky in the background, steps leading up to a chair made from a birdcage, a door to go through, shadow and light, rolls of film, these images evoke a feeling of calm confidence.
Birdcages are the theme of this page. Some are open, repurposed, some have a bird in them still. Rolls of film line the top of the page and light shines down over all.

Here are the facing pages. I love how the door leads to what is on the other side.

Detailed post here.
Detailed post here.

The Gift of Space

This view from a Charlottesville winery was one of many gifts I received this weekend. Siblings spent time together in Richmond, leaving the house empty and quiet.

Steve and I took advantage of the kid and car exchange to drive around looking at some of his Charlottesville job sites and ended up here.

Selfie time!

This was the beginning of a lovely, slow weekend. After stocking up at Trader Joe’s and Martins for food necessities, we returned home to hang out and chill. We ate, drank, and relaxed. We watched some Netflix and took naps.

We grilled steak and roasted asparagus.

Sunday morning we woke slowly and arrived at church in time for me to hang out with my toddler nursery buddies during the Sunday school hour. Church followed and then more naps, some reading, art journaling, and a long walk.

We went to dinner downtown with friends. We made tea and went to bed early to start the week well-rested. I woke this morning to a silent house.

After feeding the animals and walking the dog, I took my time getting ready for the day before driving to Charlottesville to exchange cars again.

My ducks are all back in the nest. It was a nice break for us all to have the gift of space from each other, but it is so good to have them home.

Welcome, Spring Break Week!

Doing What’s Next

What’s next?

I have sat with this question for awhile now. Endings have left me wondering. People ask.

What’s next for you?

Next is tricky. Doing what’s next means different things in different seasons. I have been in a season where next has meant doing the next load of laundry, driving the next car pickup, having the next conversation.

I am still there in many ways.

Next has been nudging me. Speaking up. My mind was swirling with this when I opened my art journal recently and began arranging images to process my feelings about next.

These pages helped me to sort out and ground.

Next is unknown, symbolized by stairs moving up into the shadows. What is up there? A rock at the bottom offers grounding while the stained glass effect is made by light shining through darker colors, like the dark purples and blues surrounding the stairs. A bouquet of flowers holds hope for the promise of growth.
The stained glass border continues on this page but stops as rising natural sunlight takes over. Now there is no filter. Inspired by the return of spring and “spring forward” bringing longer days, this page shows color and movement while still holding the tension of bare-limbed trees waiting to bud. A path is next to them. Where does it lead? While still early in the growing season, something is preparing to burst into bloom, symbolized by a giant tulip.
These facing pages hold the story of stepping out and up by faith. It is courageous to keep doing what is next. I love the flowing movement of the flowers, the bright sunshine, and the hope of a new thing coming.

There is something coming. Next is on the horizon. I am eager to share what it is in the near future. Stay tuned!

First Day of Spring

This first day of spring brings a brand new thing
A push towards the light
Movement

A walk that is brisk, a sky that is crisp
Steps taken by faith
Courage

A change in some limiting past beliefs
A facing of fear
Growing

Not knowing the outcome, still pressing on
Trusting the process
Patience

Holding the truth that this labor is hard
Yet laboring on
Birthing

Whatever happens this first day of spring
Held close to this heart
Soaring


Avocado Toast

Avocado toast is comfortingly crisp, its creamy goodness and spicy bite nourishing body and soul. Something about preparing food that is simple, yet complex enough to need forethought, makes this a special treat.

Unlike bananas, avocados are not perpetually present on my counter, unless I realize they can be if I choose. These days avocados appear more often. I make the choice.

When I am mindful about how I feel in my body, I notice hunger and take time to make myself this intentional snack. When I am mindless, I head to the pantry and begin foraging. The end result often involves barbecue potato chips consumed in less-than-mindful quantities.

Toasted bread, mashed ripe avocado, and swirled sriracha sauce satisfies the need for my mouth to experience crunchy, comforting carbs with a dash of heat. It fuels my body with something of substance.

This weekend my daughter asked what I wanted for lunch. I answered, Avocado toast. She made it for me. It was even more delicious than usual, prepared with love.

I have a complex relationship with food, yet I eat. Each time I answer my body’s call to hunger with mindfulness is a step of growth. Each time I respond to poor food choices with kindness and curiosity, I discover more of what lies beneath the surface of my heart.

Avocado toast brings me back.

Here’s the how-to.

  • Toast a slice of bread and put it on a small plate.
  • Cut a ripe avocado in half and mash it right in the peel. Save the other half for later. (I usually include it in lunch somehow or share with another person.)
  • Scoop the mashed avocado out of the peel onto the toasted bread. Spread it around.
  • Drizzle with sriracha sauce. My sauce of choice is Cha! by Texas Pete®

    What about you, Dear Reader? What is a comforting, kind food that you prepare for yourself? Do share!

Clarity

This year I planned to art journal something weekly and write on the blog three times weekly. When I looked back over my goals and saw that intention, I realized that, unlike art journaling, the writing part was not happening.

I find that creating pages in my art journal helps to clarify what is going on inside, sometimes more than written words. These pages from the first week in March are no exception. I realized I was carrying a lot of fear over the next steps to take, which, in turn, was holding me back and keeping me bound.

These images spoke to me. The flowers, sunset, trees, city, words, all of them. The process of trusting my eye and gut brought focus to my mind and joy in the finished product.
Remembering that I wanted to write on the blog three times weekly this year led me to the reality that the only way it will happen is if I just do it. The typewriter, flowers, and words all joined together on this page to gently remind me of that.

These pages brought clarity. I love the way they came together and how they remind me to just keep writing and moving forward.

And also love.

Love in a Cup of Pens

On an ideal morning I rise early, gather my Bible, devotional book, and prayer journal and head for a quiet space to read, think, and reflect. My favorite destination, the TV room couch. The trick lies in rising early enough to get there before it is taken over by a child or pet.

Shuffling out of bed, pouring coffee, hunkering down, I begin my morning reading routine. Sitting across from me is my love, doing his own thing. We are together in the early morning silence. On an ideal morning.

I wonder what it is like from his perspective. I imagine it is not ideal to be interrupted by conversation surrounding the random thoughts that pop into my head. It might not be easy to have me hunker down to begin journaling only to discover I have no pen, a common occurrence. (The need for tissues is another.)

He is always kind and patient with my interruptions and random thoughts.

One morning I felt overwhelmingly loved as I plopped down in my usual space and discovered a full cup of pens waiting for me on the end table. It was such a kind, generous act. I was seen and cared for, and I was grateful.

I have fallen off of my early-morning TV room wagon and cannot seem to climb my way back on. It has been weeks since sitting in my favorite space, and most mornings my mind shifts into overdrive as soon as my eyes open. I think of all the things all at once.

Then I turn off my alarm and fall back asleep.

The pen cup came to mind today. I walked into the TV room to see if it was where I had left it and if there were any pens remaining. Yes, it was, and yes, there were (three of them!).

Maybe I will put my early- morning book stack back in the basket under the coffee table next to the cup of pens. Maybe I will try to rise early, once again, and inhabit that quiet space with my coffee and best friend.

Maybe it is okay to push the reset switch on my early mornings and start over again, cheered on by a sunny cup of pens. Where are you feeling the nudge to push reset, these days, Dear Reader?