On my kitchen counter sits this darling lime green ceramic tray that holds treasures reminding me of the family and friendships I have been blessed with over the years. Yes, it looks like dollar store junk to you, but NOT to me. These are precious gems (literally in two cases) given to me over the past twelve years… and only the prized gifts land in the lime dish!
First, the green tray. It wasn’t actually a gift because I bought it. BUT, it was purchased in Prescott when I was on a retreat with my besties, a time I treasure twice a year with dear friends with whom I bare my soul and they love me anyway.
Left to right: the cobalt blue square glass vase. This was not a gift either because I bought it. (Maybe I should have gone right to left!) My mother has collected little cobalt vases ever since the 80s when we had a bicentennial couch (complete with soldiers, cannons and American flags with only 13 stars!) and red shag carpet with plaid wallpaper in royal blue and red. It sounds ghastly, or nauseatingly tacky, but back then it was cool! So when I spied this little vase at a second hand store, it jumped into my hands and happily traveled home with me to remind me of my mother.
In front of the vase is a chunk of a geode with purple amethyst chunks proudly displaying their beauty. This was purchased for me by my husband in a touristy junk shop near Carlsbad Caverns on a family vacation. You may think, “It’s just a dumb hunk of rock.” Au contraire, Little Bear. It reminds me of one of my favorite memories of teaching my kids about geodes when studying caves. One of my little sons kept mistakenly calling it a gonad… and I didn’t bother correcting him because I thought it was inappropriately HILARIOUS!
Standing proudly in the back with his hands in a prayerful position is my Sumerian man that was handmade by my eldest daughter, Larisa, years ago when we were studying Ancient History. The exact assignment has slipped my mind, but I remember being amazed at how little this statue was and how intricately it was crafted. He proudly guards the turtles and the gems in his own little bald way.
Let me explain the turtle collection. For over 15 years I have been in a group of girlfriends who assigned a collection to each other and gifts were given every birthday following your specific item. Mine is turtles. Do I like turtles? Not necessarily, but some have grown on me.
In front of Mr. Sumeria in a cocoa colored carved wooden turtle that my younger son, Keeve, picked out for me when he was on a mission trip to Nicaragua. How thoughtful!
Next is a mini heart shaped brass frame with a picture of me and my hubby when were were young and dumb and drove across Canada and back again. The photo was snapped in Nova Scotia with the sea wind blowing in our hair. Happy times!
In front of the frame is a tiny, navy ceramic heart-shaped bowl that I bought in Cave Creek when two of my dear Canadian friends, Shelley and Terry Mae, were down visiting me for the first time since I left Canada 19 years ago! That was a week full of laughter with three mothers of the brides and grooms!
The miniature silver key is engraved with the word HOPE! It is a reminder from a sweet friend in Washington, Sherry, who sent it to me as encouragement. It reminds me that my HOPE is in the Lord!
Tallest of the reptiles is the bug-eyed turtle in the back. He recently joined the ranks on my last birthday, a gift from my friend of 18 years, Suzi. We have shared many memories together over the years… laughing and crying together as only bosom friends do.
Next up we have a polished slice of a brown agate lying there in silence. This was a souvenir from our three month “field trip” to 17 National Parks. Endearing memories flood back of bear calls, sliding down icy paths, hugging the largest trees in the world, running in meadows at 12,000 feet in elevation, and looking at EVERY ONE of the 2,427 types of barbed wire.
Both the brown turtle with the green spots and the mini green ceramic turtle standing at the front edge of the tray were gifts from my friend, Jill. She didn’t limit her turtle gifting merely to my birthday, she picked them up all year long wherever she spied them for my turtle villa.
An unlikely contribution to my lime dish is the carved blue and white penguin standing thoughtfully amid the turtles. She originated in Chile, a much loved gift from my niece, Madison.
Arriving from the Mexican Riviera is the dark green turtle with the bobbing head. This pequeña tortuga was purchased by my husband in the port of Zihuatanejo on our family cruise for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. One of my favorite trips of ALL TIME!
Finishing up the role call is the royal blue glass heart that arrived in a little package from Lahaina, Maui where my sister lives. She knows I love this color of the ocean and she is always close to my heart.
They are not brown paper packages tied up with string, but they are a few of my favorite things.
What are you holding onto for the memories?