A Billion Trees

This last weekend I went to the summer home of my childhood, a lovely lake in the southwestern corner of Montana, surround by beautiful Montana forests and just a few miles outside of the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. I hadn’t really experienced it in the Fall, so this experience was especially filled with wonder. The trees were gorgeous, many changing colors, some topped with a light layer of snow, and others pines looking just like they did in my childhood days.

I am not sure why I felt as I did while visiting this familiar place, but I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude for the individual trees, which together created the gorgeous forest where shadows of my childhood live. Each tree felt important to me, each one had a unique beauty. The ones that changed color with the seasons added splashes of red, yellow, and orange to a sea of greens and blues. The ones toward the tops of the mountains that were glazed with white reminded me of the beautiful season to come. And the pines that I so love had such great variety. The new ones were small and perfect. The older one tall with signs of disease, or imperfections.


This weekend I was in a place where a billion trees, standing strong in their own place, came together to create a beautiful forest. A forest that has enriched my life, a place where I feel closer to heaven and gratitude for this beautiful life.

Friendship Lessons

The other day I took my daughter to one of my high school friends house for a little playdate. My friend has a boy just a few months younger than my daughter, and I thought they might have a good time with each other. We arrived, and after a few moments of uncertainty my daughter began to make herself feel at home. She played out back while lunch was being prepared, and after eating a few bites she wanted to go play some more. The kids found two toy cars and spent the next while racing them around the table. When they got tired of that they got cozy on the couch looking at a book together. I am pretty sure there was some jumping off the furniture going on at one point. They were having a great time together and were fast friends. Then we left.

That night I went to a church activity. Everyone asked if I was new and how long I was planning on living in the ward. I replied that we would most likely be moving in about three months. Although everyone was super nice and welcoming, I always get the sense that if you are not in a place for the long haul, maybe it is not worth the time and investment to become friends. Then we left.

I have been pondering on both of these experiences that happened. I love how kids are so present in the moment, and just enjoy what it has to offer to the fullest degree while they are in it. My daughter didn’t ask me if we would ever be going back to play with this little boy, she didn’t worry about investing in a friend that she might not ever see again. I didn’t see any exchange between the little kids wondering how long they would be playing together and then deciding on whether or not they would actually enjoy playing together. No they allowed themselves to be friends, enjoying whatever time they got.

As an adult I have struggled with what kids so easily do. When I am with others, it is hard to just enjoy the time and experience because I am unwilling to invest myself in something that might just last for a moment. I feel it from others too. It is something I really feel like I need to work on because I truly believe we need each other. I know we want to come off as having everything under control and being able to do it all on our own, but even if we do have everything under control and we are able to do it all on our own, life is just not as sweet as when we have others on our side.

I’ll be the first to admit it. I need a friend. I need someone to talk about motherhood with. I need someone to sit by in church. I need someone to share ideas about the world, the meaning of life, and the deeper questions I wrestle with. I need someone to call when I am not sure what to do.

Sure, I am fine just sitting at home playing with my daughter all day. I have spent many days in church by myself, it’s not the end of the world. I can just enjoy the wrestle with the questions I have. And google will always tell me what to do. But my life is just enriched when I fill it with other people, people who are willing to open up a bit and need me too, even if it is just for an hour of time we spend together.

I hope as I try to open up to the world, I will find that the world is willing to open up to me too. Let us not forget that we need each other.