Looking ahead to this week, I did not anticipate that it would end with pop-up art journaling goodness.
TheIntention Day Retreat, scheduled in the early fall, has been planned for weeks. Several other events have come and gone, and there is a final day of art journaling at the end of December. (If you are a word of the year kind of person, check it out.)
When the request for a Friday morning session came through, I was more than happy to schedule. The result was a rich time of creating and sharing. I felt thankful for the unexpected opportunity to share what I love with new participants.
Thank you to those who showed up today. For those who have considered showing up to art journal with me, this is your invitation. It is easy to reach out and schedule your own event with friends on a day of your choosing.
For now, I settle into bed at the end of a good, full day, with visions of tomorrow dancing in my head.
Thank you for helping me hold fast and move forward in the trenches of parenting. I want easier, different circumstances, but these are the ones I have been given. You know the fear in my heart, places themselves young. Be with my children who have been harmed and are finding their way. Please bring your healing to their hearts. Guide us. Jesus, please.
I stare straight ahead through the Prius windshield. Brilliant fall colors meet my gaze. En route to the lake with a friend for a respite scheduled months out, little did I know what this timing would mean.
My prayer, journaled earlier in the week, is answered in a way unexpected and uncomfortable. It comes in the form of a hard conversation over lunch just hours before this departure.
I welcome these moments. I dread these moments. They need to happen more often. It has not been safe for my children.
I cannot adequately describe the level of grief that rises in the aftermath. I place my food, uneaten, in a to go box and slide it across the table to the one with an appetite.
How does one look up from the wreckage and meet the gaze of the walking wounded?
That’s how it feels. A small taste of what my child felt, I realize. I am the adult, at least on the outside. I hold the space as tears spill from my eyes.
It is not lost on me that hours earlier, I wrote of looking up with gratitude and hopefulness. How does one find gratitude and hope in this?
Today’s gratitude is for an adult child willing to sit across from us and name their truth about growing up in our home. It is for increasing ability and skill to be in the space together and to hold hope for change. It is belief in restoration healing from locust-eaten years.
And it is gratitude for space away to tend to the young places in my own heart and hope that she, too, will be heard.
The wedding is over. There is much to process. It was a beautiful, perfect weekend. I do not use that phrase lightly. Those who know me understand this. Nothing is ever perfect, but this event came mighty close.
The time was amazing. The weather was kind. The leaves were glorious.
The morning after returning home I sat in my favorite spot, looking out the window at my favorite tree. Its branches were mostly bare. Only a few leaves were left clinging to the ends of its limbs.
It inspired this art journal page and poem.
I am glad I took time to look at the leaves While their glorious color was still on the trees
Before they began the descent to the ground To be raked up and piled up and blown all around.
I know it’s the season, they never can stay
They all end up down at the end of the day
They don’t wait for me to have things all lined up To sit with the perfect drink in my cup
They fall when they’re ready, when their time is here Seasons and cycles, year after year
And I get to watch and see what they do From green to orange to brilliantly blue
The scene out the window, it changes each day As more sky appears and the leaves go away
So I’m glad I took time to look at the leaves While their glorious color was still on the trees.
I am not an expert in hashtagging on social media. I am barely a novice. I am learning and figuring it out. One thing that I discovered last month while creating art journal pages and sharing them on Instagram is that #compostingtheheartjournal has the words art journal at the end.
How surprising and fun!
I began using that hashtag for the pages I posted and plan to continue with future ones. If you hang out over there, you can see my latest creations by following #compostingtheheartjournal. You can also use the tag to share your own art! I would love to see your work.
October has ended, but that does not mean I plan to end my artistic experiment. It means I am not madly creating something to post and share each day. Now I can slow down, go back, look over, process, add to, and engage my journal in a more relaxed fashion.
October found me creating beauty from words in the day’s Bible reading. I plan to focus on cultivating gratitude in November. I don’t know what that looks like, yet. There is no a clear intention or set of guidelines like last month. It is the beginning of an idea.
I do know that this new territory for me. Uncharted waters. We shall see what unfolds.
I also look forward to sharing pages created before the October experiment. Stay tuned. There is more to come!
We left New Jersey late Sunday afternoon with hugs and goodbyes and a bag of baked potatoes. While the women were at The River Housecelebrating the bride, the men were home grilling steaks with the groom.
Would your family eat these potatoes?
There was a tray of foil-wrapped potatoes that had been baked and then overlooked. My mind immediately went to a meal I could prepare with them. I am always grateful for a gift of food, especially at the end of a full weekend when I am returning home after a 5 hour drive to a fridge with sketchy contents.
A bag of New Jersey baked potatoes traveled home with us. I used them for supper last night in the form of Canoes, which is our version of twice-baked potatoes.
Here is the recipe:
Canoes Baked Potatoes Butter Sour Cream Milk Cooked bacon Shredded Cheese Green onions or garden chives
The proportions, and amounts are based on the number of potatoes being prepared. I don’t follow direct measurements I just put everything into the Kitchen-Aid and mix it together until it looks creamy and delicious. The ingredients can be adjusted based on taste preferences and fridge contents. It is a forgiving, flexible recipe.
Slice potatoes in half and scoop out the middles. Put the insides in a mixing bowl and the skins on a cookie sheet (like canoes).
Add a bit of softened butter and sour cream to the bowl and mix well.
Begin adding milk until desired consistency (like making mashed potatoes).
Chop the cooked bacon into bits (or just use bacon bits if you have them). Stir the bacon into the potato mixture.
Add the shredded cheese, saving some to sprinkle on top.
Season as desired (salt/pepper/chopped green onion or chives).
If you have people who don’t like onions, then scoop out some filling into the potato skin canoes before adding onions to the rest.
Sprinkle the tops with cheese. Sprinkle a bit of chopped onions or chives over the ones that contain onions to mark them from those that don’t.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until everything is heated through and the cheese is melted. You may need to adjust the time or temperature for your oven.
This is a delicious summer recipe. I served it last night with sliced watermelon, a salad filled with goodness from our garden, a heart full of thankfulness for daily provision and happy memories of a special weekend.
It’s July, and I am making space for a deep breath or several. This month is the one that is all summer, no days of school for the kids. It is time to rest and recharge and resist the urge to structure the unstructurable. I realize that is not even a word, but it gives voice to the impossible I often try to achieve.
Kindness says, Let it go.
July looks different for us this year. Beginning with a local vacation and ending with an out-of-state bridal shower, much is sandwiched in between. The teenagers are each traveling to various destinations on their own, leaving the family dynamic in constant flux. We will not be reunited under the same roof until August.
Resting and recharging is a desire that feels uncertain. I plan to journal and read through a small stack of books this week. I hope to be intentional with my girls in a space where we can be both together and separate. I will exhale.
July is not a month to make big proclamations and plans. It is a month to savor space. With a tendency to just push right through things, my challenge is to remain present to the moments.
I don’t want to fight the flux but embrace it. I know that I can’t control it. Here’s to being in it along for the ride and for coming out on the other side.
It was time to roll the dimes. A certificate payment deadline loomed close, and while there were funds in the account, the numbers ran tight.
This season of being at home feels like a luxury item, one that I am trying to steward well. I am not actively bringing in funds from a job, though I am working hard to help manage those brought home by my hard-working partner.
He reminds me we are a team, and I believe that.
Dumping some of the dimes from the two-liter Coke bottle onto the floor, I began grouping them by tens to roll in bundles of fifty. Each roll held five dollars worth, and by the end I had fourteen rolls. That gave me $70 to deposit in the account. Every little bit helps.
More than the $70 was the tangible reminder that 700 times I felt seen. Each dime appeared in a random place when I most needed the encouragement of provision.
My banker friends might appreciate and eye-roll over the drive-through blunder I made at the window the afternoon I took them to the bank. As the drawer slid out, I placed a gallon Ziploc bag with fourteen rolls of dimes in it. Is it okay if I deposit these here in the drive-thru?
The teller graciously nodded as she pulled the drawer shut. I scanned the window while waiting, and my eyes landed on a red sign lettered in white No baggies or rolled coins in the drive-thru. Little Mae’s landed on the jar of dog treats.
Can we bring Dewey next time?!!!!
Waving frantically to get the teller’s attention I pointed at the sign and mouthed, I’m so sorry!
She responded that it was okay, and I asked if she had told me to come inside. She hadn’t. Then she asked if I needed a balance for the account. I didn’t. Sending two blue lollipops out to me and Mae, she sent us on our way.
I will be sure to go in the lobby next time! I am already on the lookout for more dimes to roll.
My daughter faithfully rises early each weekday morning to walk and care for her dog. She is often up before me, pulling on a coat and slipping on headphones before grabbing the leash. I remain in my room, doing my morning routine, preparing to engage another day.
One morning, I heard unusual scrambling and barking from Dewey upon returning from his walk. Run-in with Zephyr, I conjectured. She’s the boss of us all. I wonder what is up with them this morning. He must have crossed her.
I stepped out of my room to find a ball of white scampering around and under the dining room table with Dewey following closely behind, barking and snapping at it. It was another terrier.
I found Louie this morning on the walk. He was loose, so I brought him here to call his owner.
Sure enough, the name on his tag read Louie, which was kind of funny considering we have Dewey. We wondered aloud if they had been at the SPCA together, and if there was a Huey out there, also.
The morning routine continued as Dewey and Louie dashed around underfoot, reminding me of why I was hesitant to get a dog in the first place and why we have only one. Steve called the number on the tag which went directly to voicemail. He then offered the following words while preparing to drive Kirk to school:
I’m going to walk Louie around the block to see if someone is looking for him while Kirk finishes getting ready.
I got in my car to wait for the girls to come out for their ride to school. They exited the house as Steve returned from his walk around the block with another little dog under his arm.
I think they belong together, because this little one came running up. I had to grab him quickly before he got away.
Then there were three! I was laughing out loud in disbelief. The little brown dog had no tag. Of course we called him Huey.
Please don’t call the SPCA until I get home. The little brown dog is SOOOOO cute! Can we keep him?
I was beyond my comfort zone as Steve deposited the dogs in the backyard while I assured my daughter that I would make no sudden moves without her. We left for school.
I am not exaggerating when I say that at the top of our street there was a large white dog off-leash doing his business. No human in sight.
We are not even stopping for Donald! We have GOT to get to school.
I returned home to the sight of two dogs looking longingly at me through the fence.
Inside, Dewey was waiting by the back door. I opened it for him to join his friends in the back yard.
There was an incredible amount of cuteness.
Then it was time for me to go to breakfast with my son. This meant bringing Dewey inside but leaving the others out in case their owner should come looking for them. Can you guess the dynamic here? Which dog is supposed to be coming inside?
Please can I come in, too?
After a leisurely breakfast downtown, my son and I returned home to an empty yard. The dogs had been picked up. At least I hoped so!
The call came later. The dogs had, indeed, made it home, and we had made a fun family memory. I’m grateful for caring hearts, bounding dogs, and healing laughter.
I would like to think that I had a hand in this, but I did not. It was my mother and grandmother who invited child six over to learn to make pie crust, and she picked up the skill like a champ.
I can make pie dough, but it always feels like a complicated and precarious process. My daughter whips up batches like a pro to the tune of random pies appearing on the counter. One day I find cherry, the next pumpkin, for no reason other than the joy of baking.
The day I packed the crockpot full of chicken thighs before embarking with my friend, Angela, to UVA’s Medical Center, I came home late at night to a container of leftover chicken in the refrigerator. The meal had not been a favorite, but it had been food, and now there was cooked chicken to be used. I stashed it in the freezer and added Chicken Pot Pie to the following week’s menu.
Since it is my son’s favorite, I planned it for an evening when he would be home for dinner. It happened to be a night when my daughter would be out. Since she is not a fan of Chicken Pot Pie, the timing was perfect.
I am learning to ask for what I need, and since daughter would be around after school, I asked if she would make a pie crust for me. She obliged, and in no time it was in a bowl on the Hoosier ready to be rolled flat.
I rolled the dough and lined the pie plate after preparing the filling on the stove top. Soon the house was filled with a delicious smell, and my heart was filled with a delicious warmth. I think it is called gratefulness.
I am grateful for the help of a daughter who is willing to do what she loves to help me do what I need even when the end result is not her favorite. I am grateful for the gift of grace, because that is all that anything is.
I am grateful that my kids are readers. I remember when the final child learned to read. It was as if I could let out a giant sigh.
I have always loved books. As a little girl, I remember being excited about trips to the library or school book club fliers. Caddie Woodlawn came from a school book club flier in fourth grade, I think.
I needed a reminder of the goodness, and my love, of books tonight when I walked up to tuck my youngest in bed and found her digging around underneath it. Just looking for Pony-wa. That was fine until I decided to actually look at what she was doing and realized there were tons of books stuffed under there, too.
Fishing book after book out from under the stuffed animals piled in the crack of her bed, I tried loosely sorting them into stacks in the hall to reshelve. You can see just a few of her very favorites still on the bed.
I’ve read ALL of them, too.
A redeeming factor maybe is that the lost library book that I finally broke down and paid for yesterday was not among the stacks. Also, I found something else in the process.
Those of you who follow the blog know this significance, and I smiled inside while tucking it into my pocket and proceeding to shelve the books in the hall.