heart tree

Still bumbling along my new road of follow-through rather good-intentions. It hasn’t been pretty, but I have taken steps. Teeny-tiny, sometimes microscopic, baby steps. But steps, nonetheless.

This morning, getting past the many months of good intentions to go the dentist for a cleaning, I made an appointment … and went. Is it necessary to admit that Petra, our dentist’s office manager, might have heard that we were next door at the neighboring orthodontist and that she actually got up, left her desk, came to the other office, and took me by the hand (literally) to make my appointment? Nahhh… at least I went.

And, in the process, I decided to knock off my list another one of my ever-present, or should I say “slowly disappearing,” good intentions. I have the best intentions to exercise every day. Mostly as a stress outlet, but I’ll welcome any other side benefits. With my dental appointment scheduled for 9:30. I figured I’d get home from carpool, grab one more cup of coffee than head out the door for my 2-mile trek.

At 9 am, my phone rings. It’s Dr. Rainwater’s office.

“Petra?” I answer. “What are you doing?”

“I’m calling you,” she answered. “To make sure you’re coming.”

I laugh. What can I say. “Yes, I’m coming.”

“Well, I just wanted to be sure you remembered.”

“Thank you for reminding me … we both know I need all the help I can get … and I will be there.”

“Good,” she replied.

“In fact,” I add, “I’m walking.”

“What?” [sidebar: We live in Dallas. Enough said.]

“Yes. I figured if I lived in New York, I would walk everywhere. And a couple miles is not a big deal. Of course, I have no idea how long it will take me, but I will leave in 20 minutes and will hopefully be on time. If not, I’m almost there.”

“Well, you can run the last little bit if you need.”

“Oh no..no..no.. That would constitute exercise. And I would hate to do anything too strenuous.”

We both laughed and hung up. I tried to charge my phone’s battery, but it totally ditched on me ten minutes into my walk. Then, a friend drove by and pulled over to say hi. We chatted … and, believe it or not prayed right there on the spot. She told me about her friend who passed out yesterday and is in the ICU at a local hospital. The friend has five kids and doctors don’t know what’s wrong, but think her heart stopped beating for over 15 minutes. Groaning at the heaviness of such a grim turn of events, I told her I would pray for her friend. Then I stopped. I say I’ll pray all the time and sometimes forget. I decided to zip that good intention and prayed right there on the side of the road. I knew she wouldn’t mind or be uncomfortable. So I figured why not.

After that little side-track and unaware of the time thanks to my lame phone, I did what I didn’t want to do… I ran. I had to. No choice. And as I did, I wondered why in the world I’ve been putting off running. I love running. I’ve just been so blahhed about the months that have passed since running, I let inhibitions rule. Concerns about what I might look like slugging along have kept me from running in daylight… but it wasn’t so bad. Hmmm… maybe another good intention on the way out.

And I thought about all my good intentions. How they act like shackles, holding me back from what I’d would like to get done. Then they weigh heavy and send mixed messages that more often than not just aren’t true. Like running. Maybe I did look like a doof (for anyone who might have been driving past, no comment, please), but once I got going – I didn’t care. Who knew the freedom in just following through?!

My friend, and your friend, too – Jane Jarrell and I were laughing about the good intention road. “Valentine’s Day,” she said, “is the albatross of good intentions.”

I laughed so hard when she said that … because it’s true. All the wonderful plans we come up with … in our minds.

“Tea cakes,” Jane continued. “Yup… heart-shaped tea cakes. That’s my good intention. It started with the intent of inviting neighbor kids over for a heart-shaped cookie making and decorating party. Sounds good, right? … Sounded good.”

Life has thrown Jane a few curve balls of late.

“With all the emotions of late, that good intention was shelved. Then, the nursing home [where her dad lives] … tea cakes for the staff? Mmmmm… No wait … the super teachers at Luke’s school! Then came another unexpected emotion – as I stare at the softening butter. Maybe one batch?  … Or, maybe those cute raspberry filled ones at La Madeline.”

Sometimes buying is better than baking for sure. Around here, just remembering goes a long way. Somewhere between SAT scores, basketball, and end of of quarter grades, I forgot that a certain 6-year-old might need a decorated shoe box for his class party. Nothing like racing to Walgreens at 8:30 the night before to figure out a solution! There’s a first time for everything. I would never have imagined myself using a pre-made box. But I’m grateful. And like the tea cakes, bought works for Valentine boxes too.

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Anyway – here’s wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. Filled with love and celebration of others. Keeping our intentions in check, fueled by the right stuff (not one-upmanship, guilt, fear, pressure…. an entirely different topic – maybe book-worthy :) and following through where we can. Home-made or bought.

Thanks for walking the road with me!!


From Jane, for those who would like to make, rather than purchase a Valentine delectable:

I make a simple powdered sugar, cream and color recipe. Put it in squirt bottle and splatter paint over tea cakes. Vary colors for pizzazz.”
A simple tea cake recipe with butter, eggs, and other ingredients.
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the sugar and butter in a mixer bowl, beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape cookie dough into small balls. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Press flat with the flat bottom of a glass. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
Makes 3 dozen.

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