Monday, May 30, 2016

The tree and me

4 years and 2 days ago, in the evening, the triplets and I drove into Hillsboro.  How it went, how I felt, how I handled it--all that is well recorded history.  Tonight I am celebrating being on this side, having made it through some really difficult times to get to this place.


On the main street outside our neighborhood there is a big beautiful tree.  (Not being good at identifying trees I'm not sure what kind it is, maybe some kind of oak.) This tree has had the misfortune in it's life of growing straight up into the power lines, and over the years the tree has been pruned to accommodate the lines.  

The first winter we were here was long, dreary, and difficult.  The summer had not been so bad--there was lovely weather, fruit to pick, a family reunion, and a long trip back to the beach.  There was a house to buy and moving to do, all of which kept us busy.  But the winter, that was hard.

One day I noticed the tree.

And I thought, that tree has had it's heart ripped out, just like I have.

For a long, long time, every time I drove by the tree I silently commiserated with it.  I know how that feels, I thought.  I feel that pain.  


It took a long time; several years, really, before I was able to move beyond those thoughts.  But eventually I was able to celebrate that even with it's middle all chopped out, the tree kept on.  Every spring it leafed out again into a beautiful stately tree.

It kept on living.  Thriving, even.

One day I had the thought that my heart was just like this tree--that if you could see it, there is a chunk out of my heart that is just the shape of the state of North Carolina.  

Thankfully I am leafing out and thriving again.  Thankfully (oh so thankfully!) we're still connected to our dear friends from North Carolina; some that are still there and some now in other places.  Thankfully I feel like I have real friends here in Oregon, now, as well.

But this tree will always speak to a part of me, a reminder of pain and time and healing.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Maybe not for naught

My memorizer is broke.

I suspected this for many years, and in the last 5 am certain. 

I've gone from being a prolific and easy memorizer of anything and everything (music, poetry, scripture) to bring a frustrated never memorizer, not even of one measure of music. 

All I can assume is that the triplets broke me.  😉

(Regardless of the cause, the situation exists.)

Several years ago I decided I wanted to memorize scriptures, and that I wanted to start with Paul's verses on charity.  They are beautiful to me, and since I struggle to have charity in my daily life, I thought it a good place to start.

I printed out a full sheet of paper with these verses on it.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind;
charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself,
is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly,
seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things,
believeth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things.
Charity never faileth.

Every day for a year I read and reread these verses as I stood in front if the bathroom mirror.  It sounds pathetic, but at the end of the year I couldn't recite the whole thing--only small bits and pieces, and not in any good order.  I pronounced my experiment a failure.


Today's topic in sacrament meeting was charity.  The first adult speaker was going along with her talk, and then she said that she wanted to"read words from Paul."

Immediately (far quicker than my conscious mind could have responded) there was an upwelling of joy from my heart.  She was going to read my beautiful verses!  Verses that my heart loves!!

As she read each line I felt my heart grow warm and warmer until I felt filled with joy.


Can you imagine how surprised I felt?

All I can say is--perhaps my failed project


And perhaps it's time for a new scripture on the mirror.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Old Plate, New Plate

Many years ago Russ and I were at Walmart and saw some darling plates.  It seems like we had been using corelle plates up until this point.  Their big selling point was that they wouldn't break, but of course we learned as everyone does that usually they don't break but occasionally they completely SHATTER.  So we saw these plates that were truly unbreakable and they also spoke to our hearts...of course we were going to buy some.  Now the problem was that there were two great patterns and we couldn't decide.  

So in the end we got some of each.  And since only one had matching salad plates and bowls, we just got those. 

We have oh-so-happily used these plates for many, many years.  I don't even know how long ago, but I'm pretty sure we were using them on Stephens Lane before the triplets were born, so that's at least 15.5 years.  Long enough that (especially because we didn't know they weren't microwave safe until relatively recently) some of them are starting to show their age.  

I've realized for the last several years that we were going to need new plates at some point and I've started watching.  Looking at melamine plates everywhere I went.  They were all TOO EXPENSIVE, and I DIDN'T love any of them.  So I haven't bought anything.

Recently I saw a darling melamine platter in a store, but there weren't any plates that matched it.  It made me curious again and so I came home and googled melamine plates just to see what was out there.  Eventually I saw that online at another store I could order a set of plates/bowls/cups that matched the platter.  They weren't cheap, which I didn't like.  But they were darling, and after a week or two of contemplation I decided to bite the bullet and go for it, before our old plates flaked apart entirely.

They arrived in the mail today and I'm very excited to present our new plates.

The salad plates have waves on them, and the bowls are white on the outside, aqua on the inside, and have a fish on the bottom.

Of course I got the platter that had started my whole hunt.

And now we can drink from plastic glasses with little fish on them too.

When Rachel saw that I was taking the old plates out of the cabinet she was so unhappy.  "Those are the dishes of my childhood," she said.  And it's true--they were.  I don't know if most people become as attached to their plates as we have been to these.  They have continually brought me joy to use, because they have been an expression of what we love.  

But no one likes dishes that start to flake off bits of plastic into their food, and that's where we were headed.  So we will bid a fond farewell to the old ones, grateful to them for their years of service and happiness.  And then, unlike the book "Old Hat, New Hat," we will say:

New plates.  New plates.  New plates.