Sunday, February 14, 2016

Things that remind me that I am loved

I was standing at my kitchen sink doing dishes and contemplating the two orchids who currently call that window home.  The stories that are connected to those two plants brought a smile to my face and the idea for this month’s picture blog.  To take pictures of things that remind me of the love someone has for me.

The view out my kitchen window.

Yes it is February and Valentine’s Day is here, but that is not the point of this blog. My thoughts on the commercialization of a single day of the year when your “love” is exploited by retailer’s opinions and the “required” purchases of unethically sourced chocolate and roses are probably obvious.  I believe that shows of affection and love are just as important on every day of the year for everyone, regardless of the status of one’s “love life”.   Everyone should feel loved every day and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could each be a reminder to each other?  You are loved and lovely.  Now if you had a wonderful time and made this day special for you and your special one(s), I am truly happy for you and encourage you to do it again on some random day just for fun.

Ok, rant over, back to my pictures.  Several items immediately came to mind for this blog but for the rest, I literally walked around my house and just looked at things.  I took 167 photos, culled out the duds and ended up with 101 pictures to choose from.   Once I got started, everything in my house reminded me that I was loved.  So instead of taking you for a three hour tour (did anyone else sing Gilligan’s Island just now?) of my home, I’ll just give you the highlights.

My wedding bands and wow, my hands look like my mom’s hands.

Obviously this one is a no brainer, my rings remind me every time I look at them of the covenant my husband and I made to choose to love each other for the rest of our lives.  Yes, chose to love.  Love is a choice, an action.  It is not a feeling, for feelings are very easily swayed by what is comfortable.  Some days being married to me is not comfortable for him, yet he perseveres and loves me anyway.  He is my best friend.  Fun fact:  I take off my rings frequently when playing volleyball or working in the garden to protect them from harm or loss.  The multi “diamond” band is actually a cheap $15 ring from Walmart that stays on when the more expensive rings are taken off so that I am still “labeled”.  Ahem, there is also a story about the importance of being labeled.

Second year of bloom from this Sukkot gift

This orchid was a gift from a friend of mine who lives in Alaska.  She is a Master Herbalist who travels down to Missouri to attend the same Sukkot site (a Biblical celebration in the fall) that we have for the past several years.  She purchases plants and gourds to decorate the outside of our worship building each year and in the fall of 2013 she found this orchid on clearance at Lowes and couldn’t resist.  Now for an orchid to be on clearance means that it has already bloomed and is now just leaves and only a fellow plant person would dream of giving it as a gift… but she is and she did and it was lovely.  I was very excited to find it outside my door on the last day of the feast and knew exactly who had gotten it for me.  She is also the person who saved a fig plant for me that was being given away in the campground.  She would have loved to take it home herself but couldn’t because of her airline flight, and knowing that I would be delighted with it, saved it for me.  Both the fig and the orchid are doing wonderful.

I believe this mystery fig (no one knew who was giving them away to find out its name) is a Turkey fig.  It and the Chicago Hardy Fig that I also have are both hardy to zone 7.  I bring them in every winter since I want them to eventually grow into small trees rather than die back to the ground and perhaps lose them if it gets too cold in my zone 6.

I am a saver…. Perhaps almost a hoarder if I were not married to my husband who definitely leans towards minimalism.  Also the fact that I find it difficult to function if things are messy around me has turned me into a very organized saver of things.  Every box is labeled and most things all have a home, including all the cards, invitations and thank you cards I have received over the years.  I have a large book that I tape all my cards into and occasionally go back and read the handwritten notes people have sent me.  I have many cards thanking me for help with different projects, weddings, parties and volunteering that I have been blessed to be a part of and this is a small way to be reminded that everything I do is important and when I feel unlovely and unneeded, to take my mind off myself and think about how I can show love to someone else in service to be a blessing.

Thank you notes from a wedding, anniversary party I helped with, handmade card from my sister, art class thank you and birthday cards.
Cards from friends, baby shower gift thank you, cheering me up card and a Happy Sukkot card from my sister – in- law.  That is a picture of one of her foxgloves from her garden.

The truly best way to deal with being in the dumps is to think about what you are thankful for.  There is a book called “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp which describes the idea of listing over a year’s time one thousand things that you are grateful for and how it can change your life.  Our small attempt to remember and celebrate our gratitude is recorded on our new Thankful Board.  We write down at least one thing every week on Sabbath and more if we think of them during the week and put them up.  At the end of the month, I put them into a scrapbook and we start over with a clean slate.  We have fun with it drawing small pictures and coming up with sometimes odd things that are meaningful to us but may make no sense to others.  That is ok, it is our thankful board.

The purple butterfly was cut out on my new Cricut Explore One.
I am still undecided if I am thankful for it yet.

I found the metal at our Restore shop, it was a stove pipe that T flattened out.  $2  The frame was found glassless, thus cheap, at a second hand shop. $1  I also found the magnetic pen and paper holder at a second hand shop. $1  My dad made the MDF board for me and I painted it with chalkboard paint and outlined the routed groove in it with white paint.  Pretty much free.  I then wrote on it with chalk and T hung everything up.  The push pin magnets were taken from the fridge.  I cut out a different shape for each month to make it interesting.

My camera was a gift from T and is one that I enjoy using on a frequent basis.  The lens cap holder was mailed to me from people who watched me “lose” it multiple times during a feast and did something about it.  I don’t remember their names now but I remember their thoughtfulness.  Best camera accessory ever!

T received this camera as a bonus from work about 11 years ago and a few years later gave it to me to use.  You have to understand that T is a computer programmer, tec guy extraordinaire and he takes his toys seriously. I am married to a geek people, a really cute, smart one, but still a geek.  His nickname is TAC man, how cool is that?  I do not touch or mess with his stuff.  Not because he is mean but mostly because I know it would cause him stress and he just wants to make sure that it doesn’t get broken or used improperly.  So when he gave it to me to use with no strings attached, that was a pretty big deal.

I really love this camera and have taken thousands of pictures with it.  T grabs it whenever we want to take pictures of the garden or cool stuff.  It has come on lots of hikes, taken wedding photos, graduation photos, Feast event photos and photos of things that interest me and probably no one else in the world.  It is beginning to show its age and the flash no longer works.  This has made me have to learn how to use the manual controls and to stand really, really still and breathe out and hold when I push the button and wait until the shutter goes.  It reminds me that he loves me and trusts me…  Price wise it is up there with the cars and wedding rings and so to replace it may not happen for a while but every time I pick up “T’s” camera, I am reminded of his love.

My baby Etrog plants came from seeds given to me this past fall.
Life is always such a wonderful gift.
This baby spider plant is a gift from my little sister.
It is in a pot and saucer that she painted.
My tzit tzit hang on my bathroom mirror,
ready to be color coordinated with my outfit.

Strings seem like a funny thing to remind one of being loved but that is what they have come to mean to me.  In the Scriptures it is recorded twice (Numbers 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12) that God asks His children to put blue tassels on the fringes of their garments.  These tassels are called tzit tzit and can be made in many different ways.  The main requirements being that they have a blue thread or string in them and that they are a fringe or tassel like ornament attached to clothing.   I have in the past, when explaining what these strings hanging off my shirt or pant loops are to the curious, said that they were to remind me to obey my Heavenly Father’s instructions.  This is still true, however, why should I obey?  Because all those instructions are for my benefit and blessing, given by a loving Father who knows what I need and how I should live.  They are a reminder that He loves me so much and I can show him that I love Him by my obedience.  My obedience does not earn His love, oh no, that was given and my salvation paid for before I was ever born.  My obedience demonstrates my trust in His wisdom and that His ways are so much better than my ways.  So these colorfully braided and sometimes beaded strings remind me that I am precious in His sight.

My Bible is filled with reminders that I am loved.

In the end, I cannot rely on any person to give me love or even myself to love me enough.  My faith and hope can only rest in Him, the one who created me, gave me life and continues to sustain me every moment of every day.  I am loved.


  1. I have your Lion on the fridge. Toni's bowl on the counter. Scott's visit dinosaur baby on the shelf. Pat's watch on the bookshelf. Kathy's photos in frames. Your point that we need to look at the things and feel love again is a good reminder for me. I forget.

  2. Love, love, love this blog! Very well done my darling daughter!