dependent on the heart

Early on, when the stay-at-home order was first issued, we had lots of talks around our dinner table about how this is a new normal. We would not be falling into thinking this is a vacation, nor would we waste our days with copious amounts of screen time.

We would not, I declared, unravel into a stereotypical frat party house lifestyle.

It is true: there is more time. We challenged our kids to think of something they wanted to learn with the extra time, to consider something they wanted to accomplish. “What have you always wanted to learn or do?” we asked.

Jordan is working on becoming faster.

Sam is developing his airbrush weathering techniques on train cars.

Hannah is writing a novel…and reading a lot of books.

I’m learning to up my game when it comes to food presentation, including creating menus with side dishes and desserts that go together. Because of restaurant closures, Andy suggested I send lunch to his work once a week. I quickly agreed. I started trying my hand at developing menus. Not only did I prepare the food, but I challenged myself to consider the presentation, too.

It’s been about five weeks of sending in weekly meals. I’m having so much fun. Sometimes the food is pretty, mostly it is in practical containers for transporting food to a lumber yard. I’ve learned so much about prepping and presenting. I’ve started considering things like textures and colors. I take extra time with things like lime slices and piping bags.

Cooking reminds me of writing, at least, it reminds me of the way I write.

If I try and calculate so that things are just perfect, it typically goes haywire. I can get lost in planning and research and planning. I can jot and jot and still not have a draft, just like I can season and taste and still not have a meal. Simmering and macerating and cooling cannot be rushed — in cooking, writing or life. The presentation matters and  everyone likes a bit of whimsy, an unexpected creative approach.

I think what I’m discovering is that cooking, like writing, is depending on the heart. Although, I might be discovering more than just something about cooking. Perhaps, what I’m discovering is that I like to live a life dependent on the heart.

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

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  1. “I like to live a life dependent on the heart.” – a beautiful guiding idea. How wonderful that each one of you used this time as an opportunity to lear. I agree with you that writing is like cooking. For me I drift towards simple when I am rushed. When I have time I am more creative and the result is more interesting. Sometimes the simple tastes better than the complicated.

  2. You have this way of bringing things together, which YES turn out to be about life! Living a life dependent on the heart…I day yes to this too.

  3. Hannah is writing a novel… she does take after you. Joy comes through this story. You are spreading joy and learning something too. Generosity of the heart!

  4. I adore cooking.I thought because it was soothing, or a distraction from the rest of my life, or because it was yummy. But maybe you’re on to something: The heart. Which is about giving, too–preparing food for others as an act of love.
    Beautiful writing, Ruth!

  5. Wow what an amazing project, Ruth! I am cooking more but its just for an audience of one but that does give me some pleasure and I am intrigued by your comparison with writing. I have to think more about that…

  6. “I like to live a life dependent on the heart.” I, too, love cooking, but I never have enough time and am always tired. But in these days at home I have tried new things and made old favorites and have loved the whole thing more than I have in years. It’s been so much fun seeing people have time to enjoy what I made. You’re right–there’s a real connection here.

  7. I like to live a life dependent on the heart. – is my favorite line. Of course I love the ideas of cooking like writing and how with cooking you are noticing new details.

  8. I love how you reflect and find the deeper lessons in everyday events. That is part of your gift that you help me to see it, too. The way we live the ordinary makes it extraordinary!

  9. This line made me laugh, “We would not, I declared, unravel into a stereotypical frat party house lifestyle.” Do they even know what that means? 🙂 I love that each person is working on a passion. What a richness to their lives! Lucky co-workers of Andy!

  10. As someone who finds herself in the kitchen any time she needs a “break,” I love how you have taken up crafting meals. Good cooking, like good writing, requires practice – patience – a sense of play – an the willingness to fail… and fail again…

    Much of life, as you observe, is dependent upon the heart… oh, so much.

  11. Cooking and writing! I like to do both but never considered them as equals. Lots to think about this concept. Thanks.

  12. Ruth, I love that you are crafting with textures and colors—like you do with words. But mostly I laughed out loud that you declared that the house would not descend into a frat party lifestyle. Laughed. Out. Loud!

  13. I love how everyone in your household is pursuing a heart passion. I’m off to plant my scrawny tomato plants, apply Miracle Grow, and pray for tomatoes in July.