Category Archives: Steady

Waning

Look at the moon!

Husband beckons me to look out the car window on our late-night drive home from a weekend wedding. I scroll my phone looking for music to play, or maybe escape, and glance skyward.

Is that really the moon?

An orange orb dances behind a mountain ridge, peeking out occasionally. I catch a glimpse before it disappears again. I have been known to mistake a Burger King sign for this wonder of nature and am unsure whether to get excited about the glow.

Then it appears in full glory. Hanging from the sky as if about to be dropped to earth, larger than life, Mars twinkling by its side, the deep-orange, waning gibbous moon.

waning: the act of decreasing gradually in size, strength, power, etc. . .

I oohhhhh and ahhhhh appropriately, for I love the moon in whatever phase it shows up, but this one is stunning. It is comforting and kind and sad. That seems to be the way I hold life these days, comfort and kindness in the sadness.

Date saved since January, this eagerly anticipated wedding comes with unlikely surprises. We witness outdoors with masks and eat charcuterie from individual plastic cups and drink lemonade as we wait for dinner. It feels a lifetime ago that I sat poolside drinking a margarita on a work trip with my husband that same month.

Steve and I sit around a table with the Big Boss (not to be confused with the immediate boss whose wedding it was) and co-workers and their wives. We talk and wait for our table to be called. I do well managing the small talk.

Until I don’t.

I lose my steady, and my brain goes offline just long enough to float away.

What?

It is Steve’s Big Boss who looks at me quizzically.

Shoot. I just did the thing I don’t mean to do but sometimes happens. My kids say What? Why are you looking at me like that? or Mom, you’re dissociating. depending on who notices when this happens at home.

It’s my How can I be here doing this when my mom is home dying and family is in town visitng? face, and it has just come out at the wrong time, and I panic and have to be real.

I’m sorry.

I explain, and everyone is gracious and kind, and I am just sad. How can I rejoice and grieve simultaneously? This is my lesson in this season. The both, and.

Usually I keep the right feeling in the right place, but tonight sadness dumps out and lands in the middle of joy and the eyes that bear witness to the beginning of new life together hold me as ! grieve the end of another.

And the moon shines down on us all.

Waning.

Standing

It’s Good Friday, and I stand at the new desktop in my home office, which brings me eye-level with the hole in the wall, because, yes, there is a hole in the wall of this tiny room full of stories, and I think.

As I think, no words come, and I am flooded with words.

What to write about? What to say?

My work buddy is silent behind me in his cage. I have things to say about him, but I cannot say them today.

The smell of late breakfast wafts up from downstairs. That, too, is something, just not words for now.

Time ticks by, and coffee grows cold, and the feeling inside rises.

You have to do this! It’s been too long since you’ve written something! You are avoiding so hard!

And I stand.

And my fingers move over the keys.

And my mind wrangles words and themes.

Because there are things to say about this year’s mama duck that feel important.

And there are things about the new neighborhood ducks that continue to show up in unexpected places but can’t be pinned down to a single location that are curious.

And it’s Good Friday for goodness sake which holds its own story.

And it has been four weeks since the kids were out of school for an unplanned teacher work day and then didn’t go back.

At the beginning I had lofty ideas about consistent blogging like my friend, Lora, is doing so beautifully over at Storied Living. That lasted four days, or at least four posts. Check out Lora’s blog. It is so beautiful.

I thought I would grow more knowledgeable and skillful in creating useful content like my sister, Sharon, of Kintsukuroi Counseling. I have taken tiny steps but nothing big enough to blog. But go check out her content, because it is so useful.

Small, steady steps has to be enough.

Because as I watch snowflakes blow past me outside and realize the baby plants need to be covered, and I hear the dog bark furiously, indicating there is someone at the door, and lunch time draws closer, I realize that this is the new normal of my work-at-home day.

I am still trying to figure it out. It is taking shape, but there is still that hole, like the one in the wall in front of me, that sucks time and energy with the energy it takes to simply exist and be present.

That has to be enough for today.

Now what can I find to cover that hole and how is it already mid-afternoon?

Steady On

I want to write not just when I’m wiped out and done with everything. I am so tired tonight and have several things weighing on me. I would actually *LOVE* a snow day tomorrow . . . I think this is one of the first times I have felt that way. I would love the permission to have a little extra space. Today’s client cancellation was kind, because it gave me time to take down Christmas decor in the studio. I would love to do the same here at home.

Will there be snow? The only way to find out is to go to bed.

These words and more spilled into my journal at the end of a long Monday. Most curious to me was my hope for a snow day. That was a first.

I woke the following morning to school cancellations and bare ground. Glad for a slow start to the day and for the ability to work from home, I made a scheduled 8:00 phone call and then fixed waffles.

By 10:00 snow was steadily falling, creating a winter wonderland. I braved the elements to visit a friend. By the time I returned, a blanket of white covered everything, including the ornaments hanging from the tree in the front yard, a new place for them this year.

Usually they hang on the porch from the plant hangers. This year I thought they would look fun in the tree of friendship. I was right! Several neighbors commented on how festive it looked as they walked past our house.

My children thought otherwise. One commented that they were going to find a light blue blanket to wrap around the base of the tree next year. Another thought it was something only a Baab would do or like. Both correct.

Today I took them down. The same week that brought snow and two and a half days off of school for my kids brought seventy degree weather and sunshine for the weekend. Hauling the storage box from the basement, I walked to the front yard and removed the colorful orbs.

The tree now stands empty, unlike my planner for the upcoming week. 2020 has burst onto the scene with no sign of slowing. As I ponder how to remain steady throughout, I realize it takes living moment by moment. That is what I practice as I sit here writing.

I cannot plan for snow days or predict when a child will need me. I cannot know when a client will cancel or forget an appointment, or when I will get an unexpected, much-welcomed last-minute appointment call. I can only do the things in front of me and wait for what surprises may come.

Steady on, Friends! Enjoy your week, surprises and all.

Word of the Year 2020

My word came to me in October. offering two months to ponder and confirm that it was, indeed, the one.

firmly fixed, supported or balanced, not shaking or moving

regular, even, and continuous in development, frequency or intensity

Art journaling feelings around what I desire for 2020 confirmed my choice. I created two practice pages before designing the official page.

The first was arranged at the Intention Day Retreat. It holds the themes but not the word.

This page inspires me as I prepare for 2020!

The second I assembled while processing on my own.

I love the dog on this page.

2019 was my favorite year, yet. Flourish was the exact word I needed to get moving and take steps towards growth. So many good things happened, including the start of my business, Heart Path Story Coaching.

I love that in 2019 my friend, Angela, and I shared the same word! Here is her post about it! I look forward to reading about her choice for this year. We each flourished in our own way, proving that a word can be both general for many and specific to each person.

I recently took an online quiz that offered to choose a word for me based on my answers to questions. It came up with stand.

Looking at my art journal pages, I see how that fits in with the word I chose. There are a lot of standing images, including the dog!

I shared my untitled page during the final art journaling session of 2019. I loved the observations participants made for me. This is the beauty of the process. You choose and arrange images subconsciously that make sense when you and others name what is seen.

I love the polar bear. He is my favorite.

Comments such as This doesn’t seem like you. The seating feels structured and the gears appear rigid, not like the free-flowing Julie I know. But when I look closer at the pattern on the floor, I know that whoever is sitting in those seats is going to receive goodness.

The polar bear was noted. I knew he had to be on the page. Something about his presence and posture evoked the feeling of my word. Another participant said, That’s Steve!

Last year felt playful and open-ended as I set an intention to Flourish. From where I stood at the beginning, I knew that any movement would be forward. I truly felt like a plant that was emerging from the earth, poking its head out of the soil and into the sunshine before twisting and sprawling and blooming in a season of rapid growth.

2020 is calling me to be steady. To continue on a path of steady flourishing. To stand firm in what I have started and work on making progress towards specific goals. It is time to settle into more of an intentional routine.

The structured seating and clock-like gears are my reminders to stay steady and focused as is the runner on the path. Tho people stand on paddle boards, balancing, moving steadily forward. And the snail is playfully obvious.

This is a year to be steady in 2020, a phrase which only came to me after I chose the word.

Now it’s your turn to share. Please do in the comments. Happy New Year!