Keep the Receipts


It was one year ago today that everything changed. We were putting in a full day of work and training a new employee. We attended an event that evening… and an hour after we left, the building and surrounding neighborhoods were hit with tornadoes. Mere weeks later, the country quarantined from COVID. Everything was different.

Maybe even me? Yes, me too.

I tend to move through life collecting moments. There are really special ones, though usually small, that jump out from time to time as if to say “do you see the gem here?!” If nothing else, they’ve taught me to keep my eyes open. (And in a time that’s caused me to slow way down, they’ve shown me a lot of lovely in the small stuff.)

Last Wednesday, I skipped my first-thing-in-the-morning quiet time for a CreativeMornings Field Trip — free virtual “classes” that I’ve enjoyed since the beginning of quarantine, allowing me to connect with fellow creatives worldwide. This one in particular was a masterclass on drawing Moroccan geometric patterns.

The artist was an apprentice in this field. His father taught him, his father was taught by his grandfather, and so on. A lot of it (maybe most of it) was math-involved, measuring and finding the center of things. The artist paused and said, “this is actually a lot about looking inward. What is our center? What is the one thing we start with and always return to?”

I switched to Gallery View on Zoom just before signing off. The rest of the class was waving and showing their work, but there was one woman with red hair named Laura who caught my eye.

I don’t know her. I don’t know where she’s from or what her circumstances were, but I could see the experience in this workshop moved her. She held a large smile, wiping her eyes and choking back emotion.

Typically late to any party, my husband and I have also been enjoying The Crown on Netflix. We’ve made it to Season 3 and just completed a gut-wrenching episode about a sinkhole in a coal mine which caused a landslide avalanche in South Wales, killing 144 people (116 children!) in 1966.

It apparently took awhile for the Queen to visit; the Duke of Edinburgh went first. In the episode, he described the grief of the people as so angry, but seemed surprised when they didn’t fight. My heart nodded a resounding “yes” as I watched the small town of Aberfan express all the heaviness in their own hearts with a unifying song.

There’s a commonality here. Whether watching Laura in the masterclass or a historical reenactment on The Crown, I’m realizing the power that lies in creating. There’s something in this that makes us come alive. And that feeling of pure life is electric and emotional. It’s a gift that brings forth so much gratitude from the very depths of our souls. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

I picked these moments and collected them for safe keeping.

We returned from a long weekend trip to Montana last night. It’s been over a year since I’ve been on a plane. I cried on both flights fighting an intense fear, wondering if we’d actually make it home in one piece. I’m not sure I truly believed it, but the thought was there taking up space in my brain.

We spent a full day in downtown Bozeman on Saturday. Inside one of the cute shops, hubs pointed out a sticker and said, “Aw. Who does this remind me of?”

I gave him a blank stare to which he responded, “YOU.” All I know is I’m glad to be home, walking on the ground, sleeping in my own bed. I may cry, but I can also do hard things.

Montana was beautiful, though. I’d never seen so much snow or so many majestic mountains. Breathing the crisp air, seeing those colorful sunrises — the way the sun highlights the ridges with those deep blues, pinks, and purples — it was therapeutic.

A gift! Another receipt of goodness and grace. More evidence of where I want my center to be: the place in my heart where I start and always return.

I’m tired, but grateful and persevering with renewed strength and a sense of accomplishment. We’re still here. We made it through the year.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Kwyler says:

    No words….I love you, Mom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda says:

      I love YOU!


  2. Bill Wyler says:

    Enjoyed the write-up on experiences, the pictures, and your thoughtfulness in sharing.


    1. Amanda says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Dad! ❤️


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