Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Only the Bridge~

Ruminating about Facebook.  The blessing, curse, addiction and challenge.  I was invited to facebook in November by a friend.   Signed up, ready for something new.   Setting up my profile and being able to share interests, pictures, music and favorite everything-with the world!   
It was a good idea, as for 6 months or so I have been really isolated and somewhat shutdown and off.  People can speak words of death over a person that are crippling and paralyzing.  Creating my profile was like physical therapy and a way of taking action steps.  Baby steps back to life.   The process was so healing.  Never before blogged, been in chat rooms, instant messaged or anything.  A straight, boring e-mailer only!  
Here are some fascinating aspects and observations.  It hurts, even on cyberspace, when a 'friend request' is ignored.  Seriously, and cyberspace?    It also feels strange when someone who wouldn't connect or speak with you or pursue a relationship in real life for 8 years all of a sudden wants to be your 'FB Friend'.  Lots of people have application responses only, collecting alot of friends, or pokes, or snowballs.  Some people won't take the risk to make a friend request.  Some  people are friends, but after the click, there is NOTHING!  That feels weird too.   It is astonishing how we all want to be understood, heard, known-but not really.  Since I wasn't born with a 'filter' and there's just no pill for the problem, I say, ask, share and am curious - outside of the bounds, Facebook inappropriate, too much intimate information-in a public forum and setting. But I don't know these things ahead of time.  Woops! I'm learning!  Do you, like me crave a comment, a response, a notification, something in our inbox.  I love status updates-when I pull up my friend list at the end of the day and there is something current, pithy, funny, sweet, curious - I feel like I got a little glimpse into their life, for a moment in time.   A shared life and I'm not alone.  And yet, Facebooking can make you feel incredibly lonely also!  Hummmmm.   
Here's what I think.  I'm starting to want to have real relationships again, with people with skin on who I can snuggle up with, see the love in their eyes, see their face shine or their lips quiver.  Feel the music beating the air in our home and our walls absorbing laughter again.  Feed people comforting food which makes love to their very souls, who came empty and go away full.   
In short, Facebook was the bridge back to my life, to fun, to friends, to connecting, to being interested, to being known, to being curious.   But only the bridge.    :)   

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Childhood Christmas Memories

Seeing the sweet pictures posted of my friends' children this Christmas has brought a lump to my throat and some tears to my eyes.   Their faces and sparkly eyes so describe what I remember feeling, and to recognize it and almost feel it again is wonderful!   
My mom made a big Santa's Boot out of a large oatmeal container.  It was covered with flour/salt dough and baked on low.  She had painted it red, and shaped it like a big boot with laces and white fur around the lid, which came off.  It was brought out every Christmas and loaded with her yummy thumbprint cookies and white butterballs.  She also had gone out and found a bare bush which was painted white or metallic.  Little cellophane packages filled with fudge, penuche and divinity were tied on the branches with ribbons.  Whenever someone came over, they were invited by us children to pick one and untie it.  We opened our few presents on Christmas Eve.  
The tradition was that we always knew and looked forward to a new flannel nightgown.  If money wasn't so tight, my older sisters would get a robe and maybe slippers also.  There is simply nothing as wonderful in my memory as when we could finally get undressed and put on the crisp new nightie.  It was only stiff that one night, of course, which was odd to like it, but it symbolized 'new'.   New was a novelty.    All of us girls had long hair down our backs and every Saturday night we would sit on the floor in front of mom after our bath and she would comb the snarls out and section it off and roll it up in pink foam curlers.  We would then get our nicest pair of clean underwear and put it over our heads so none of the curlers would 
get rubbed loose during the night and horror of horrors we would have one straight section the next day.  We didn't really like the curling hair thing much, but sometimes endured it for looking pretty on Christmas day even when it wasn't on sunday.     
One time our family and another family drove up to a cabin in the snow-maybe Mt Shasta.  We lived in San Jose at the time.  It was dark when we got there and a snow storm made it impossible to drive into the cabin.  The dads packed themselves and everyone else up with the food, blankets and presents and we trudged what seemed like miles to me in the scary darkness.  I was probably 4 years old or so and the snow seemed really deep and was so hard to walk in.  My dad would have usually carried me, but he was loaded down like a mule.  I stumbled off the road a bit, because the next thing I knew, I was down in  a hole and could hear the adults calling for me after they realized I had disappeared.  It was a small creek, but must've been frozen.  They found me and we finally made it to the cabin.  The men got the fire going, forgot to open the damper or a nest was in it or something, because it was smokey and we had to have the doors open.  I was soooo cold and couldn't get warm.  Mom took me on her lap and put my frozen little hands one under each of her warm armpits.  It was heavenly to me, but it must have been terrible for her.  That night, the flannel nighties were especially warm and so cozy.  
When Tess and Brita were little, we lived in snowy Colorado.  We would bundle them up and put them on the sled and Craig would pull them up to Hardee's and get us all a hot frosted raisin biscuit from money we had scrounged from the car seat, the couch cushions or their piggy banks.  Especially made the effort around Christmas time.   Everyone would get water except me.  Craig made sure I could get a small coffee with cream.  
I carried on the flannel nightie tradition, matching ones, until the girls  rebelled and explained that they got tangled up at night, and mom, "NONE of our friends wear nightgowns".  Then, Craig rebelled when we got married.  Duh!   :) So you won't find any flannel nighties under our tree at Christmas, but thanks mom, for the memories.   

Friday, December 26, 2008

Collecting people for my boquet...

I'm always interested in other people's pictures of their trips.  Nick's blog and pictures inspired me to remember.   What do they want to capture, what did they experience that you can't capture.  What memories did they make.  Who did they meet that was someone never to be forgotten.  Never ever.  What country stamped their passport? 
 If you go to Israel, some countries won't let you enter theirs.
 Wouldn't it be fun to fill your passport up before it came due?  Whoooaaaaaah!  
I journal when I travel, write down shallow info, impressions and defining moments.   Looking back through them, I can recall the exact experience, moment of tears, connection, or laughter.  It ends up filed in my memory box 'slideshow'. 
Some point and shoot snapshots from my slideshow:   
A mammoth clump of dirt and grass stuck in the bumper of my rental car, after 3 weeks of driving on the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of the car in the U.K.   The stunning rock walls distracted me.

The time in the highlands of Scotland when I exclaimed over the gorgeous doors everywhere one too many times for Amber's finally- weary- of- hearing -it ears, and she despondently said, "I have no response to that".  

Getting disorientated coming into Edinborough, when we stopped for gas, I casually asked a 
fine lad at the next pump, "Which way is north?"  He looked disgusted and replied with a broad Scots accent, "I don't know, I'm not lost, I don't need to know".   Amber would have driven off without me, except I had the keys.  I laughed and laughed and laughed-howled in a very unladylike manner, making me an extremely ugly american woman.   Couldn't help it.  It released a little tension, no high blood pressure.  Amber wouldn't talk with me for a while after.   

In a miniature little town at the border of the highlands-Pitlochry, we were travel weary, cold,
not sure where to go next.  We had just bought a wool scarf each to wrap our necks to protect us from the sour wind, sat down on a bench to think about things and get our bearings.  Both of us a little homesick and weary.  Two of the most precious little old women walked up and offered us  2 fancy cookies called madeleines.  It restored us, this kindness from strangers.  They must have known what we needed.  

A little tiny raisin faced woman in downtown Jerusalem, with a green beret on her head, came up to me out of the blue, hugged me and held both my hands, exclaiming delightedly, rapidly and energetically in a language I couldn't understand about something we should both be so glad about.  Her eyes were lit up and I couldn't help getting just as enthused.  Hugging and kissing her a last time, I had to catch up with my group, but I've never forgotten her eyes.  We'll recognize each other in heaven I think.  How did we know each other?  

At Masada the lesson I carried away was even though they knew the hour and day the fortress was going to be breached by the Romans, they spread a sumptuous feast, enjoyed it, had regular teaching classes for the children and literally 'lived until they died', and chose when to do that and how.    Uncommon courage and valor.  And died rather than betray or kill their brothers who were used to build the ramp that carried the Romans over the wall.  

Meeting Arthur, a gentleman, scholar, storyteller extraordinaire.  He had the heart of a lion, the gentleness of a lamb, the intelligence of his collies.  His hands and eyes were so loving.   His 80 years of life so full that it was squishing out the seams.   He lived!   He really loved!   He let me comb his white silky curls like it was a totally common request.  In one night, he changed our lives forever, his highland peat fire, his completely obedient collies who only obeyed Gaelic, his tea.  Arthur was a highlander, legendary.   He casually gave me a sterling silver 
sugar spoon with holes in it, delicate and artistic and old.  It was his mothers.  Showed me his dead wife's bible.  Dressed Amber up properly with the tartan.  Showed us his (Antique) first 
kilt, that had followed him to war.  Told us the stories that held us spellbound.   During one 
bad fight, they were losing, all his highland lads donned their kilts, which they weren't even supposed to have with them, and suprised the enemy with their wild yells and unexpected apparel, and subdued them in one fell swoop of uncommon courage.  He was so beautiful and distinguished in his full kilt and tartan, which he did just to impress us.  I think I fell in love, with his spirit, his embracing style of life, his yes face, his hospitality and his wisdom.  Craig wasn't jealous, he understood when I told him.  Arthur traveled as a buyer for one of the big 
grocery stores.  Traveled all over the world.  I asked him if he had been faithful to his wife.  
He looked at me so puzzled, and said, "Yea, what would be the point not to have been?"   He 
passionately was disgusted with Princess Diana and couldn't understand our U.S. fascination. 
Arthur is gone now, but he would be on my list of people who changed my life and looked at me with eyes that were delighted with what he saw.   It was a gift.  When he came to Edmonds the year after for a Rick Steves travel workshop week, he called and came over to our house for 
lunch.  Our home was blessed.  I was blessed to meet him.   I hope he had a grand going home party with good music, good 'piping, good whiskey.  Amber and I brought him some from Ireland thinking it would be a treat, he was embarrassed for us picking out 'that paint thinner', then gave us a thimblefull of his hidden stash.    :)   Arthur said if a woman has pearls, she should wear them everyday so they become lustrous from her body oils and fragrance.  He loved women, honored them and respected them, collected them, but it was the purest thing.  He loved his mates, had some with histories together as long as his birth and death.  He spoke so 
well of his men friends, like he couldn't have done without them.   Every summer he and a friend would go cut peat from one of his bogs.  They were dug in strips, dried, then broken in chunks 
for winter fuel.  Made a nice hot fire.....   He told us that the Romans had been there, and he gave me a REAL roman coin, a mite, like the widow's mite in scripture, that they dug up often while digging.    Gave me shivers.   He knew stories of the glen that made me cry buckets-the betrayed hospitality, the betrayed trust.  Glencoe is called the weeping glen, because of it.  He 
made the stories from hundreds of years ago sound like 2 days ago.   His generous style, how he gave so much of himself-meeting him is a bold stroke on my timeline of life......  

The palestinian woman who let me see her and who saw me, we weren't enemies after all, we were women looking deep for a moment into each other's eyes and lives. 

The school children at En Gedi who sang for me when I asked them to.  We were all full.  

The vibrant, beautiful  young boy at Petra who would NOT take no for an answer and pestered me from beginning to end without letup to ride his horse.   I finally had to give to make him happy.  No money was exchanged but by his smile at his success, it would seem I had had given him 1000.00.  Even though I haven't ridden in years and years, I guess I can still sit a horse, for when he smacked it's butt, I stayed on and remembered to clamp with my knees...  We both won!   It was fun.  He offered 20 thousand camels for Debi.....Richard wouldn't take it.  :)   Taught us how to wrap the scarf so just our eyes showed.    When you really see and really look into someone else's eyes, countries, nationalities and borders are torn away.  We're all really the same and just want to connect, give something and take away something.....     




Thursday, December 25, 2008

About not getting 'the call'...

Every Christmas for the last 10-15 years, I would dread 'the call' from my dad.  It felt obligatory on his part, he seemed uncomfortable, there was nothing to talk about, as in NOTHING.  We had no idea what the other's life was about.  The call would be short and mostly made up of how he only had so many minutes on his calling card.   It was dreadful, I loved it and hated it and wanted so much more.  The disappointment was agony.   Craig always waited for me to collapse in a stormy, tearful, heap in his comforting arms.   The grief would pass and I would forget until the next Christmas.   We would see each other for short periods a couple times a year when I visited family in Idaho.  It was not very satisfactory, but not so brutal in exposing what 'wasn't'.   
Dad died last spring.  Divine providence provided perfect timing for me to be there.  We gave and received all the love we had somehow missed with each other.  It was short, intensely sweet, real and then over.  I saw and felt and heard our love.   It was there after all, buried.
What was amazing, but also hurt so much is that there was this whole circle of people who showed up at the hospital that had parts of my daddy that I never had, maybe when I was young, but not for years and years.  They loved him and he was a huge part of their lives and they obviously felt incredibly loved by him.  It was weird and surreal, like they knew someone I didn't, and I felt robbed!   Angry!  Hated them!   Wanted them gone, so I could have some last crumbs.  What I realized was that there was enough to go around.  I had to come to this, because they stayed and wouldn't leave.   I started being thankful to see this man through their eyes.  To hear their stories of him.  My sadness and memories mixed with their tears and stories made the air he was gulping with his last breaths sweet, I hope.  I didn't get a call from him, from my dad this year.   Didn't have anything to dread.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Present to Him

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I was able to write and articulate my spiritual journey.  Tried to be succinct.  I think testifying of God's goodness and our relationship shouldn't be about what happened 20 years ago, or 30 or 10 or 5, but catch up to when was my last 'now'. .......  Here goes:
My whole childhood and young adulthood were dunked and coated with what we could do to please God.  Or, what not to do in case it made Him mad.  Or what lines to color inside of to be 'right'.  Everything is so different now!   Knowing Jesus as God, experiencing His amazing and 
specific ways of loving on me.... 
Everything I am and do is simply a response to this....truly amazing grace.  I am most grateful and wonder why everyone doesn't feel like the favorite, the one reclining on His breast, the one sitting at His feet, the one who broke the alabaster box.  Saying this out loud isn't meant to be crude, but I would have wanted to make love with Jesus if I had been with Him on earth, and He would not been shocked or appalled!   He would have protected me and redirected my 
desire for intimacy to the spiritual, not just the physical, without shaming or embarrassing me! 

"True potent powerful authentic ministry flows from intimacy. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we're doing for the Lord that we don't have time for the Lord.  It just ain't right!  It just ain't right."  (Britt Merrick, who also quoted this below)  
Oswald Chambers says, "we slander God by our very desire to do things for Him, without really knowing Him."  
Tozer says, "We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God."  That's what we're called to!  And from that primary relationship flows ministry and not the other way around.  Tozer 
says in "Whatever Happened to Worship" - "We have it wrong, what we do is we take converts and make them workers, what we ought to do is to take converts and teach them to be worshippers.  The work that is void of worship is destined to become wood, hay and stubble on the last day.  But work that flows from worship will have eternity in it.  We're to be worshippers first."  

In a nutshell, I'm a worshipper, I love it that God craves me and I love it that He craves me craving Him just as much!   That's all.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Positive adjectives.....

Think on these things.... 
able, acceptable, accessible, adaptable, admirable, adorable, affectionate, affirmative, agreeable, alert, alive, alluring, amazed, ambitious, amorous, amusing, angelic, appreciate, appreciative, artful, artistic, assured, attractive, authentic, awe-inspiring, awesome, balanced, beauteous, believe, beneficial, benevolent, benign, best, big-hearted, blessed, bliss, bold, bouncy, brainy, brave, breath-taking, brilliant, boundless, buoyant, calm, captivating, caring, calm, capable, charming, cheerful, clever, coherent, colorful, comedic, comfortable, commendable, compatible, compassionate, competent, confident, congenial, consistent, content, cooperative, cordial, courageous, courteous, cozy, creative, credible, cute, daring, dazzling, deep, decent, decisive, dedicated, delectable, diligent delightful, dependable, determined, deserving, desirable, devoted, disarming, discreet, divine, dreamy, dynamic, easy, eager, earnest ecstatic, efficient, elated, elegant, eloquent, enchanting, encouraging, endowed, enduring, energetic, engaging, entertaining, enticing, enthusiastic, equipped, exact, excellent, exceptional, exciting, exuberant, exquisite, exultant, extraordinary, fabulous, fascinating, faithful, fair, fantastic, favorable, fearless, felicity, fertile, fine, focused, forgiving, frank, friendly, free fruitful, fun, generous, gentle, genuine, glad, gleeful, glorious, godly, goodhearted, good natured, gorgeous, graceful, gracious, grand, grateful, great, handy, happy, hardy, harmonious, healing, healthy, heavenly, hero, hilarious, honorable, hopeful, hospitable, humorous, holy, illuminating, imaginative, immaculate, impartial, impressive, incredible, industrious, influential, ingenious, innovative, inspired, instinctive, intelligent, inventive, jolly, joyful, joyous, jubilant, keen, kind, kissable, knowing, knowledgeable, laudable, levelheaded, light, likable, lively, lovely, loving, luminous, 
magnetic, magnificent, marvelous, masterful, mature, mercy, merciful, merry, modest, neat, nice, nifty, noble, nourishing, nurturing, obedient, open-minded, orgasmic, original, outstanding, passionate, peaceful, perfect, placid, plausible, playful, pleasant, pleasing, plucky, poetic, polished, positive, powerful, pragmatic, praiseworthy, precious, premium, pretty, priceless, prime, privileged, productive, professional, proficient, profound, protective, proud, punctual purposeful, qualified, quirky, quiet, radiant, radical, rare, real, receptive, reflective,  rejoicing, relieved, reputable, remarkable, resolute, resplendent, responsible, reverent, rich, right, righteous, robust, romantic, saintly, satisfactory, satisfying, savvy, sedate, seemly, seductive, selective, self-assured, sensible, sensitive, sensual, sentimental, serene, sexy, sharp, shrewd, silly, skillful, smart, smiley, smooth, solid, sparkly, special, spirited, spiritual, splendid, sound, soulful, splendid, spontaneous, sterling, stimulating, strong, stupendous, stunning, stylish, sublime, successful, sunny sunshiny, super, superb, superior, sweet, swell, sympathetic, 
talented, tender, terrific, thankful, thorough, thoughtful, thrifty, tidy, tight, tough, tranquil , trustworthy, truth, truthful, unbiased, unique, unreal, upright, unusual, upbeat, valiant, valuable, vigorous, virtue, visionary vivacious, vivid warm wealthy, welcoming, whimsical, willing, winsome, wise, witty, wonderful, worthy 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Memorable Gifts

Some gifts have been memorable.  I'm 48 years old and still remember them partly because they were so perfect and I knew they came at great cost and the givers knew intimately what would suit me. 
 In 3rd grade, before 'maxi's were in style (at least in Idaho), after reading Little House on the Prairie and other old fashioned books, I was obsessed with a 'long prairie dress'.  
It had to be to the ankles, calico, ruffled and able to swing and swish, with a bow sash in the back. Letting my wishes be known, but mostly just dreaming of the day it could be real, I hoped.  That Christmas, I opened a soft package and shook out the perfect 'long dress'.  Tried it on immediately and twirled, skipped over wrapping and ribbons and didn't want to ever take it off.   I loved how it felt against my ankles, so practiced walking so it would swing around.   My grandmother had made it with my mom encouraging her.   I felt so loved!   Didn't care if anyone made fun of me when I wore it to school. If I was to be made fun of, I wanted it to be my pick. 
Another gift was a hand typed binder full of old folk songs from my grandmother.  Our family on my mom's side was very musical and on weekends we often got together to sing.  Everyone played something.  Guitar, harmonica, piano, organ....  
The old songs told stories verse after heartrending verse.  It was bliss to listen, even if I knew how it would end.  They were sentimental, and dramatical.   Most of them were traditional songs from the Tennessee appalachian tradition.  Young as I was, I didn't want them 'lost' and knew they needed written down.  Grandma painstakingly did just that and I received the first
original binder, full of our heritage.  Some of the tunes I can't remember any more, but when I read the words, I'm so thankful for the songs that colored my childhood. 
When I opened the package that Christmas, I couldn't speak, for somewhere in my soul I knew
it was priceless.  It is indeed one of my most treasured possessions.   
Another gift was when my mom sold her wedding ring set and bought me new shoes, a store bought dress and an engraved bracelet.  This was an EVENT!  It was pure frivolous for our lifestyle and money situation, not practical at all.   I had no idea of the sacrifice at the time, or the agony mom was going through.  
Gifts like this can't be had from Costco and Target.  Even Nordstroms doesn't sell dreams like this.  Can't find them on Amazon no matter what credit card you have.........
Only love, like the Gift of the Magi, brings a present like this..... 

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Getting Christmas cards and letters is something to look forward to.  They are hung all around the archway and help the house look festive.  They are beautiful. It's also a 'hard copy' of the love friends have sent. Getting something with a stamp on it, in the mail, delivered by a human being.  The expectation of getting to touch, open and read it while holding their love and effort in your hands....Delicious.  It is so fun to catch up and see the pictures.  
I can also feel however, like our life is dull, our girls aren't very 'successful' we must be duds, we are the only ones that have experienced loss, pain, hard times, stretching growth that came at great cost, relationships severed, hard decisions to make and other sometimes hurtful, REAL things.   If I compare, that is.   If I don't keep perspective and remember that it's a Christmas Letter-full of cheer, goodness and memories that my dear friends are grateful for this past year. 
Sometimes, though.... 
          would you, when it's appropriate and you can be vulnerable,
             share the black and blue spots in your year. 
                 Show me your scar and I'll kiss it
                   and then take the band- aid off mine
                     and see the tears glistening in your eyes
                       because you can relate. 
                         Compassion is also 'love',
                          but better, 
                              because only compassion understands. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

MRI's and Lists

Some years back I was having terrible body pain/neck pain from getting in a rear end car accident.  One of the last MRI's I had was the worst.  Right before I went in the tube, the tech gave me this long list of things not to do: don't sneeze, clear your throat, lick your lips, itch your nose or move.   It was torture and created an insane desire to exactly all those things.   It was impossible to not think about the list of things not to do.   It was a spiritual lesson I've never forgot. 
 Legalism, however it's wrapped and beribboned, camouflaged or recycled is always the same.  
 Because we are loved,  it keeps us from indulging or continuing to indulge, in anything that would hurt us or the people who love us so much, including our Maker.   It's not what we're against, or what we hate, or what we don't do.....what matters is who we love, how we love, what we're for, who loves us.   

Farm Kids and Metaphors

Craig and I are both farm kids, raised with animals breeding, birthing, being butchered, milked, grazed and fed. We are familiar with land being plowed, harrowed, fertilized, swathed, combined and raked.  Crops in the field and garden planted as seed, watered, weeded, thinned, harvested.  Fruit being stored and put safely by for winter.  Milk separated.  The butter churned.  Natural rhythm learned.  The law of sowing and reaping respected.  Wildlife being hunted to provide meat not sport.  Dogs being trained to be useful.  Neighbors that came willingly to help.  We have seen horses yoked together.  Watched while it was broke to willingly accept a rider and obey.  Handled reins and a saddle.   We have found where the mama cat hid her kittens in the haystack.  Incubated, doctored and bottle fed offspring abandoned or hurt.  Seen puppies, colts, piglets, rabbits and calves suckle and nurse.  Smelled a freshly dug field after a sweet rain.  Wondered at the rich soil of a field left to rest for a year.  Picked the rocks and thistles that plagued the same.  Stood under chaff being separated from the wheat. Ground it for flour.  Chopped wood, sharpened the axe, oiled the leather.  Watched yeast work its magic.  Seen hens lay eggs, nest and hatch a brood.  Seen them protect them under their wings and even give their life up to save them. 

Scripture is vibrant with metaphors that are familiar to us either first hand or by recent stories.  We can still relate to them and draw the proper comparison.  
What about our children?   

Heart rocks everywhere

Does everyone see heart shaped rocks everywhere?  Last summer, when we were visiting mom in Idaho, I mentioned how it seemed like the driveway we were driving on would be a good spot to find heart rocks.  She sadly expressed that she had never found one, ever.  I grinned as I met Nathan and James' eyes.  They knew.  When we stopped, James got out, looked down and picked up a big, perfectly shaped heart rock, bigger than her hand and offered it simply to her, saying, "Here's one".  He turned around, picked up it's twin and handed it to her saying, "Here's another one".  She was speechless!   The boys and I laughed.  We weren't suprised.  Delighted.  Grateful. But not surprised.  

I think I love them so much because some have cracks, scars and nicks.  Hard knock life!   They come in smooth, rough, sandstone, quartz, corral and granite and names I don't know.  Wonder where they've been, how they got shaped, why they want found?   THey have to be 'really truly' hearts, not 'maybe' hearts to count.   Fully formed.  Sometimes they shout, 'pick me up, pick me', and other times they are shy and need uncovered.  Once in a while, I leave them, if I can bear it, hoping someone else will see, notice and discover the joy of finding these natural wonders, tangible expressions of our Creator's love.