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A Forest of Trees

This year has been a roller coaster for me. There are things I haven't shared with you guys but I feel is evident in my life. Weight gain for one. Many of you have followed my page for a long time and have seen the weight loss, and the weight gain. While that is another story waiting to be written, I wanted to focus on joy for a moment. August 2021 I lost my best friends two weeks apart from each other. I have mourned and been saddened and felt so lost, all while projecting happiness and joy around me. It's been a very sad year for me, as I also began, and ended, my first real relationship since my divorce many years ago. I rarely ever spoke of my relationship during my lives, and never on my personal social media, so only my immediate tribe knew I was in a relationship. I can only imagine the hurt would have been even more deep had I posted about him or shared about him regularly. As a result of such a year, I have had to fight to stay above water. I didn't care of decorating my house for Christmas, thought to host no parties, thought of attending none either. I have a tradition when my tree goes up every year - Conway Twitty Christmas with the Twitty Bird - and I have yet to even stop and listen to it. Until last week, when a guy friend came over to my house, which I will share with you soon. Because of his visit, though, I decorated with a few items, and my trees were one of those items. And here is the story of those trees: I'm not sure if I've ever loved a gift so much.

It started over 4 years ago when I saw some pics of "turned" ornaments, ornaments made from wood with special tools and incredible talent.

I feel in love. They took my breath away.

Two years ago, I saw turned trees for the first time, and I couldn't break my gaze. I'm mesmerized by them. I want an entire forest, filled with different shapes, sizes, colors. I look at new ones when they have been created, share pics with people around me, and even went into an art gallery where they are on display so I could Ooh and Ahh over them in person.

Last January I caught pneumonia, and for 17 days I ran a 101 fever. I missed work for a month. I spent hours a day sitting, concentrating on a breath at a time. I didn't watch TV, listen to the radio, look at my phone. Instead, I put every ounce of energy I had in taking my next breath.

When my body started fighting with me and not against me, my fever broke, and I started to regain some life. One afternoon, as I was recovering, the man I was dating walked in with a surprise behind his back - a tree.

I have never been so excited, happy, honored, shocked, and humbled before at the same time. It took me by complete surprise, and in that moment, I had never felt so loved in a relationship. I cried. I laughed. I laughed as I cried. It was the act of thoughtfulness that made the moment so intense. I have fond memories of good times with my ex husband, but this was different. My "tree maker" had listened when I got excited telling him about the trees. My "tree maker" entertained the pictures I shared with him every time a new tree crossed my facebook. And in his spare time, his heart was set on me, and he created me a tree with his talents, hands, and tools.

He made the tree for me, and it made my heart so happy. Joyful.

To be honest, it may have been 2, the details are a little fuzzy, as I was just recovering from being very, very sick. Later in the spring, he crafted me another one. I now have 3, all made by his hands, made for me.

He and I are no longer in a relationship. I am still brokenhearted about it, and it has been months. I keep trusting that God has a plan for me and I will keep walking by faith until God puts that plan into place. These trees though. They sit out all year for me to enjoy, and last week, after my ah-ha moment when my visitor had left, I looked around the room to remind me that even on the dark days, there's joy around me. My eyes were drawn to these trees, my favorite gift I can recall receiving, and I was quickly reminded how much pure joy I have when I look at them, and how so very loved I felt when I received them, So, I added some lights and greenery for the holidays, wrapped some twinkling lights around them, and turned the radio on to Christmas music. This year, my Christmas isn't the same as previous ones, so my trees bring me a little extra tonight. Find the joy in what you have, and let it wrap its arms around you this season. Xoxo, Chris

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