House & Home – The Two sided Christmas Tree

I have this thing, this THING for short fat Christmas trees.

It’s a combination of my love for their shape and because I know what my house needs in a tree (and well, maybe I do like them fat and full round the bottom because, well, I can relate!)  We live in a two-bedroom apartment, standard 9-foot speckled ceilings, decorated with love and care for its limited space.  I am happy to have to have less in a world that is always seeking to make you believe you need more.

And sure enough, our short, fat tree looks tall and full in our home.  With lights and glass globes and trinkets hanging beautifully from her limbs, a red burlap skirt surrounding the bottom and a large red and white gingham ribbon bow tied with many loops at the top.

So much of my “taste” or my “style statements” are just sentiments.  In this case, the fact that I did not want to make a huge deal about (or spend much on) finding a tree-topper or skirt, but that I did want to make it special and taken care of for my John.  Last Christmas was our first Christmas being married, with a tight budget and next to no collected Christmas decorations between us.  While my mom’s friend from work made the topper (with matching ribbon-loops to carry throughout the tree), my mom found and purchased the matching Christmas-red burlap to drape as the skirt.  They did it as a surprise and all of a sudden, that was crossed off of my list.  And i loved it!  I will almost always choose a story and a sentiment – others’ care for us – over a perception or opinion of beauty, perfection, or desirability.  That is a precious way to decorate a home, and our house is largely built on them.  Stories, sentiments, even if they are not worth much in the eyes of others.

I look at the tree and I see crocheted snowflakes from my late grandmother, about 7 or 8 of them hanging from the branches, which were given to me by my mother.  And I see my mother’s own gifts, globes that were selected just for John and I, with music notes, piano keys, my college mascot, or even our names carefully Sharpied in along with our wedding date.  Throw in some classic childhood wonders (the set of porcelain baby shoes with the year I was born, a tin can lid hammered in to make the shape of a bear (?), or Michael Jordan himself) and we have our beautiful, precious, room-for-us-as-we-grow Christmas tree.

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he reads

my husband reads to me

at night when the house is falling asleep

and his voice is steady and deep

i cannot describe a heavier peace.

he reads about the miraculous

taking grand risks

going on unthinkable adventures wherein

you lose your life to find it.

i have never been so afraid of this

yet it resonates in long, solid notes

with the bold and bright belief of my youth

which feels encased in corridors

in noble glass displays

whispering of the glory days when

i believed without an alternate scenario

playing in my head.

when he reads, and i must listen

and the scared side of me is confronted

with the faith that was authored strong on my behalf

and cannot be undone

i feel i must, without thinking of it much

take up the ax and sword and fist

and crash the glass into bits

spilling on the floor

because faith trumps fear every time.