Saturday, October 30, 2010


What I do, you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things in great love, and together we can do something wonderful.                                                 ~Mother Teresa

Welcome to A Sheltering Tree! This is a new venture for the Kuhn girls. Although you are just now seeing it, months have been spent in the designing, planning and writing stages.

In his poem, Youth and Age, 15th century writer, Samuel Colleridge, penned these five single words, "Friendship is a sheltering tree." I love the mind picture these words paint. Not many trees are fragrant; some flowering trees bloom only for a short time. But oh, can they ever shelter! They provide shade from the burning sun, refreshing breezes to calm our spirits and, as my daughter found out on a recent trip to Haiti, sometimes give us a juicy mango treat.

As Christians, we should be a sheltering tree to our families, friends, fellow-worshipers and those we come in contact with every day. My girls and I are passionate about sheltering. We come from a long line of sheltering trees. My mother epitomizes the whole concept of sheltering. Some of my earliest memories include watching her tie a big bow on a homemade cinnamon roll to take to a troubled neighbor or church member, sending a note of encouragement to school with me for my teacher, or preparing a beautiful table setting for her family. My mother-in-law, too, was happiest when sheltering others. When a baked pie or other dessert was cooling on the counter, RB would ask, "Who's that for?" knowing it was going instead of staying.

Thoughout our postings you will find stories of others who shelter--my sister, Melodie, who shelters through hospitality; my sister-in-law, Marsha, who shelters through nurturing love; Judith, sheltering children and teenagers by showing interest in their activities; Shirley, with an eye to my health by sharing her homemade sugar-free jams; matter-of-fact Beth, who shelters so poignantly through notes; and Lorna, whose caring voice results from the intuitive way she has of knowing whether you are having a bad day. Darnell lifted my spirits many times with thoughtful gifts: pressed flower stickers, old oatmeal dishes I loved--things that let me know she was thinking of me. The list goes on and on and we hope to share their stories with you. I think the fear we have in presenting this blog is that readers might think it's a "Look what I do" presentation. I hope you can see beyond that. Yes, you will read of the fun sheltering projects my girls and I love to do, but we share our thoughts and actions only with the desire that you will take our ideas as a whole, or allow them to spark innovation in yourself, thus causing you to extend leafy arms to others.

If you felt God's breath rustle the leaves of your tree while reading this post, ask Him to sharpen your focus as you learn to offer friendship. We're in this together. And in allowing God to adjust our leaves, we can hear the Holy Spirit's gently whispered words, "Go, shelter."