First one is an old, old tree … Inspector said it was over 150 years old … It has been split by lightning yet still the tip tops show newly unfurled green leaves  … I fear this tree because when it falls the house will probably stop its decent … however, various and sundry animals make their home there … For years an owl family has lived there … Often we have seen fights between mother owl and blackbirds and, heaven forbid a hawk comes anywhere near.  Even we are watched very carefully from the time we leave the house until we are in the car …  That tree lived through the war between the states and stands in an area where there was much fighting … it lives in the way of Lee’s Retreat  … it hangs by a thread, this old ugly tree … yet it is beautiful …

2. Next is a forsythia bush that grows by our fence … it too has a story … a lady whose family owned a large farm out in the country was made to go to church all her young life.  After marrying and inheriting the farm she said she never again would go to church, that she would grow beautiful things to show her love for God …   Now, a hundred years later, you will find growing wild out there fields of daffadils, hanging wisteria and forsythia … Yes, that forsythia was the beginnings of ours here, as we were fortunate to purchase a portion of her land and my little man started the forsythia here …  it now is huge … birds and critters live there too, and we don’t wish to disturb … It is unkempt and ugly, but look at its golden spring beauty …  later it will be decked out in new greenery …

3. Last, is an old mill we pass in our travels … it seems wistful and almost sad to me … I wonder about its history, why it is still standing all alone on the banks of the stream … it too is ugly, but somehow beautiful.

Thank you, Father for three gifts ugly, but beautiful.