Monthly Archives: November 2015

Heart: Arriving with an Imperfect Crust


Pie crusts plague me.  The very thought of creating the properly textured blend of flours, salt, fat, and liquid breaks me into a sweat.

Yet pie speaks irresistibly. Its geometry asserts wholeness and the union of pieces.  Its sweet and savory fillings — chilled, set, steaming — draw friends and family around tables through the seasons.   Nourishing.   Encouraging conversation.  Who can resist this satisfying togetherness?

Not I, even with my crust-making phobia.

In October I agreed to co-host(ess) a neighborhood pie potluck.   Suddenly the challenge of patting together a passable crust — preferably low in sugar and gluten –was sitting front and center in my kitchen.  Over three weeks, I practiced and tested, eventually settling on an almond crust, easily pressed into a 9-inch pan.

In this experimental process I nearly surrendered the unifying spirit of the pie gathering to my personal desire for approval and narrowly defined success.  Fortunately I sorted our my motives.  I arrived at the party with a slightly imperfect crust. But with my Heart in the right place.  And that was quite good enough.

Heart: When Zinnias Takeover the World


zinniasMy Dad dug a zinnia patch next to his robust vegetable garden a few years before he died.  He created this butterfly-magnetizing oasis for my Mother, his beloved wife. Shade had overtaken her lakeside zinnia circle, and, knowing how she appreciated the intrepidly cheerful flowers, he took action.  A small kindness.  Motivated by appreciation.  Caring. Love.

I remember this simple act, when brazen cruelty takes the global stage. Or reveals itself in a heartbreaking snippet exposing suffering intentionally inflicted in some oft forgotten far away place.  Or even close to home.

I remember in honor of the Human Heart.   And to hold myself steady.

When I began planting zinnias in my own garden — more and more each year, a young friend joked about zinnias taking over the world.

What do you think? A takeover of kindness.  Caring.  Love.   A powerful spreading of the Heart.   A counterweight to cruelty.  A companion plant to unshakable resolve and courage.  One seed.  One act.  One Motive-filled moment after another.  And another.   

Heart: Gift of a Spider’s Web

spiders webOn the road’s west shoulder vacation cabins root into the plummeting hillside; their wooden decks affording unobstructed views of the White River meandering below and the forest rushing up the far bank.

Visitors come from far across state lines to temporarily inhabit the cabins and breathe in the rural tranquility.  Expectant of Ozark vistas.  Hoping for view-friendly sunny skies. A hope sometimes smothered in lingering, low hanging clouds.   Alas.

On such a grey morning, on my daily walk along the road, an unexpected spider’s web caught my eye.  It clung to a vacationer’s car door with delicate firmness.  A glistening gift.

An instinctual arachnid construction. A death trap for insects. An unconditional Natural offering in sympathy for other beauty obscured?   

Reminding that a well-placed, spontaneous gift can uplift.  Encourage.  Restore hope.  Evoke a smile.  Even on grey days.

Service: The Heart’s Vocation

Bryce AutumnQuite awhile back I graduated with a degree in social work and immediately landed a paying position in this serving profession. Years on, the form of my work life has evolved, as has my appreciation for the Essence of Service. An Essence whose extraordinary everydayness transcends societal labels and in its own way is as moving and shaking and rewarding as a respected job title or university diploma.

Living the Essence of Service is a vocation unrivaled in beauty and significance.  It is Being in the Heart and Responding from there.

The Heart’s natural work is to hear needs and embrace them. Touched by inspiration, the Heart reaches out.  It perceives healing opportunities and Initiates wise actions. Knows interconnection, responsibility, and well-being.  Is Tender. Fierce. Unrelenting. Generous. Courageous. Comforting.  Depending on the need.

Circumstances that propel us beyond the ordinary and that push personal buttons put our Service staying power to the test.  The normal routine of relationships, commitments, and professional binds brings its own challenges.

How then to stay fresh? Serving? In the Heart’s vocation?   Each of us, I believe, is charged to find personally resonant ways.


Last week my way brought me to three days of hiking with my Mom in Utah’s stunning Bryce Canyon and captivating Kodachrome Basin State Park. Penetrating sun. Clear air.  Exquisite rock formations. On the less traveled paths, away from the selfie picture taking crowds, the high desert drew me in, It played on my senses with compelling affinity, matching beauty for beauty my highest ideal of the Heart’s capacity to listen, touch, see, apply and know.  I had expected a nice get-away; this embrace exceeded my imagination.

I returned to my workplace renewed, but most importantly I was restored in the Heart’s vocation. Refreshed.  I’m grateful.