Gathering the Fragments of My Heart

I have been deeply enjoying art journaling, using my altered book. (Read more about Art Journaling HERE) I’ve discovered that whether I am writing or coloring or creating collages in my journal, my thoughts and feelings flow freely as energy onto the page. 

Gathering the Fragments of My Heart
This afternoon, during a quiet moment, I worked on another page in my journal. Surrounded by colored pencils and gel pens, I was delighted that on this day that focuses on love, it felt appropriate to draw heart shapes on the page. The words I had highlighted spoke of my heart’s journey, from adolescence to womanhood. 

I pierced the representation of my heart with an arrow. We all possess such wounded hearts, energetically at least. And many things can pierce us, including pain and beauty. I am learning to allow both to pass through while I keep my heart open, refusing to close down. 

Gathering the Fragments of My Heart
It was as I was coloring in the larger heart, my heart, that memories surfaced. I recalled that sixteen years ago I attended a retreat in Colorado, interestingly, a Captivating event led by Stasi Eldredge, whose book I was now using as an art journal. 

My desire during the retreat was to reclaim my heart. I recognized that over my lifetime I had given away many pieces of my heart…to people, to causes, to situations. My heart was not only fragmented, the pieces were scattered. I intentionally began the process of gathering those fragments, restoring each one to my heart. 

During our solitary times at the retreat, I made lists of all the people I had consciously or unconsciously given a part of my heart to. The list was long. My intention to live from a whole heart was strong. One by one, I gathered up those broken pieces, thanking the person I had given it to for the lessons learned, releasing the past, welcoming that part of me back. It was the beginning of wholeness for me. 

Gathering the Fragments of My Heart
Today, as those memories stirred, my heart stirred as well. Thoughtfully, I reached for my gel pen and transferred the tender memories to my drawing, creating an image of a heart lovingly pieced back together. 

The gathering of fragments was ongoing. Six years ago, I recognized that I had cut away the largest portion of my heart, while still a child, and hid it away. I embraced my other half, my intuitive heart, and vowed to live wholeheartedly as my true self. 

As I completed my journal page, it occurred to me that it had been a while since I checked my heart for missing fragments. What a beautiful invitation, to go within and seek wholeness. I found pieces and slivers that I had once again given away. I spent time gently retrieving them, releasing the past, expressing gratitude for lessons, and bringing those fragments back to my heart. 

How healing, once again. 

For those heart fragments that I gave away were never capable of giving or receiving unconditional love. Cut off from my great heart they were small, needy, faltering, seeking, easily bruised. 

Restored to the whole, back where they belong, the pieces of my heart lack nothing and expect nothing. My restored heart can love freely, and receive love, without grasping or clinging or needing anything. It is whole. It is full of light. 

The simple act of creating and coloring ushered in an equally simple invitation to remember, and then go within for a heart check. I am grateful. I am being love…from my beautifully scarred and whole heart. 

Gathering the Fragments of My Heart

Surrender 46: If I Cared for Myself…

Today’s post could be titled Being Love, Part 2. As I allowed love to guide me yesterday, I came across a wonderful post by another blogger, Allison Kenny. Her article was titled “If I Took Care of Myself Like I Take Care of my Daughter…”. Allison lists the ways she would care for herself if she had the same level of love and care for herself as she does for her child. I was captivated. 

                       Read Allison Kenny’s post here. 

At the end of Allison’s post, she asks, 

If you took care of yourself like you do your daughter…what might you do?


I took that question seriously, and I’ve thought about it since yesterday. I have two beautiful daughters, a beautiful daughter-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter. I also have a handsome son, two handsome son-in-laws (Nate Pugh will be the second one soon), and four handsome grandsons. I know the level of love and care that I show to them all. For this time of reflection, I chose to change Allison’s phrase slightly, and run with it. 

If I took care of myself like I take care of my grandchildren I would…

play more

be totally myself

tell myself “you are kind, you are smart, you are important”

put on a leotard and a tutu and dance my heart out

sing my favorite song as loudly as I can

wear my favorite color more

If I took care of myself like I do my grandchildren I would…

absolutely believe that I cannot fail

cheer for myself

be present by spending time with myself

encourage myself to be okay with my best efforts

celebrate my successes

cry when I’m disappointed or sad

If I took care of myself like I do my grandchildren I would…

splurge on myself

buy yummy treats after a long day

have dessert before dinner sometimes

play in the mud and enjoy it

hug and kiss with abandon

accept myself exactly as I am

If I took care of myself like I do my grandchildren I would…

take walks through the neighborhood

enjoy a bubble bath

play a new video game

say “I love you” so, so many times

say yes to myself a whole lot more than I say no

not be afraid to ask for what I want

If I took care of myself like I do my grandchildren I would…

paint each toenail a different color

sleep with a cuddly stuffed animal

binge watch a new show


tell jokes

say frequently to myself, with great enthusiasm as I attempt new things, “Oh WOW!” (Bit of an inside family joke 😃)

This was such a heart opening experience. And now, it’s your turn. 

If you took care of yourself like you take care of your daughter (son, grandchild, lover, pet, nephew, niece)…what would you do? 


Surrender 45: Being Love

Today was Valentine’s Day, a time traditionally set aside to express love to the sweethearts in our lives. My theme for this day was about being love. I thought about the ways that I care for myself, which I’ll share another time. Primarily I expressed love and joy to my family today. 


I created Valentine’s Day gift bags for the grandkids, and presented the adult kids with bags of peanut brittle, made with love from Papa Bob’s recipe. Yes, peanut brittle is typically considered a  Christmas treat, however, I’m anything but typical. I declared it a Valentine candy.  

Greg joined me in making deliveries to each household. We had a fun afternoon chatting as we drove, appreciating our remarkable kids and our adorable grandchildren, finding much to be grateful for. I am thankful for Greg, and his willingness to help out and to chauffeur me around. 

First stop was to see granddaughter Aubrey, who was with her mommy and little brother AJ this weekend. The kids immediately swapped stuffed animals, which was perfectly fine, especially since they were in agreement about the trade! AJ calls me Yaya too, which I adore, and this cute little boy makes me laugh with his charming ways! Brittany and the kids very sweetly gave Greg and me boxes of candy to take with us. 

I appreciate Brittany and the connection we continue to share. She keeps me updated about events going on when Aubrey is with her and let’s me know how she and the kids are doing. Caring for one another is so much bigger than how relationships are defined. Brittany and AJ will always be family. Off we went, to continue deliveries, after hugs and “I love you’s”.


Next on the list of stops was daughter Adriel and her fiancé Nate. Adriel worked last night and had not been up for long. She and Nate were preparing to get outside for a bit, while the temps were in the 50’s and the sun was shining. We visited briefly and I loved on the “granddogs” and “grandcats”, who are all as sweet as can be. 

I appreciate these two animal loving, hard working, soulful young adults who plan to marry this fall. They care for one another and for others. They care for themselves too, being mindful of their health and fitness. After hugs and “I love you’s”, off we went to Carl Junction. 


Daughter Elissa, son-in-law Josh and grandson Jonathan were having a relaxing day at home, enjoying hot drinks and playing games. Elissa was also perusing Pinterest for inspiration. We had a running joke all day with Elissa about the winter storm. It never materialized, in spite of a winter weather advisory. That didn’t deter us in the least from talking as if it had. Imagination is a wonderful thing, and my family and I are blessed with an abundance of it. 

I appreciate Elissa’s and Josh’s quick wits and obvious enjoyment of each other and life. Jonathan and Dayan, who was with his dad this weekend, possess the same keen sense of humor and love of fun. After laughter and playful teasing, hugs and “I love you’s”, we headed to Carthage. 

Son Nate was still working, so we stopped by the house to catch grandsons Joey and Oliver before they left to go to their dad’s. I got to chat with them as they sorted through their gift bags and look at the clever M&M’s they received from their mom and Nate this morning. The candies, in their favorite colors, have the kids’ names on them and expressions of love. Aubrey’s stash is waiting for her in her room. Such a creative idea! 

We met Nate at the police station, where Megan joined us after dropping the boys off. I got to see my son’s new office. We enjoyed chatting and hearing more about Nate’s recent birthday celebrations. I appreciate Nate and Megan as they parent their active, growing kids well and carve out time from their busy schedules to spend quality time together. I’ve seen them navigate through challenging situations, beyond their control, with grace and a deep love for each other that sustains them. After a time of catching up, watching the kids’ birthday video for Nate, hugs and “I love you’s”, we headed back toward Joplin. 

I missed getting to see Dayan this afternoon, after having the opportunity to see everyone else. We communicated by text earlier in the day, since he’s with his dad, stepmom, and younger siblings all weekend. 

Greg made the suggestion that Dayan and I use the FaceTime feature on our iPhones to have a chat. That was a great idea! In a few moments, Dayan was visible on my phone, showing us the homework he was working on and making us laugh with a view of the lamp he was using in his room, a replica of the leg lamp from Christmas Story. Papa told a joke and I filled Dayan in on our afternoon and evening of deliveries. I appreciate Dayan’s flexibility and that he took time from his studies to talk. It brought joy to my heart to see him and talk to him face to face, and made the day feel complete. 


What a wonderful day, celebrating with my family, being love, and being loved on. I am so deeply grateful for each person, and the gifts of themselves that they bring to our family and to the world. 

“Every one of us has inside of us the innate power to heal and help another through the impact of our love.” Deeya 

That’s the amazing power of being love.