Meet me under the willow tree…

A beautiful outdoor space has always been a big part of our home. For starters, our house in Florida was small so the additional living space was a necessity there. The house in Kentucky is much larger, but we still knew that we wanted and needed outdoor living spaces. As much time as we were thinking and planning ideas for the inside of the house, we were also planning the patio and deck areas. We planned and planned, and came up with the perfect spot to put our deck. I couldn’t wait to have a cup of coffee there!

We pulled up to the ranch the beginning of July. We had been there before, but something was different. The old willow tree in the yard seemed to have tripled in size. We had left the ranch just a month earlier, but somehow the tree had transformed. It was incredibly full and lush, with its leaves creating a dense curtain that seemed to enclose a secret world.

“Wow” I thought.

A few days later, I was sitting in the area where we plan to build a deck feeling frustrated. The area would be perfect in evenings, but the morning sun made it impossible for relaxing with a cup of coffee. I had spent the afternoon trying to position our furniture in the shade, but I was having no luck.

I felt defeated. Where was I going to have my coffee?

I looked all around, until my eyes caught the tree. I starred at it for awhile and wondered what was hidden under her curtain of leaves. Would it be full of bugs? Would the ground be muddy and damp? I wasn’t sure, but decided it was worth checking out.

I gently pulled the leaves back and walked inside. The branches quietly closed behind me. I looked around me. I was speechless.

I felt as though I had entered another world. I was hidden from everything around me; surrounded by a thick canopy of branches and leaves that cascaded all the way to the ground. To my surprise, there weren’t bugs or mud. Instead, the ground was covered in soft grass. I looked all around. It was nearly impossible to see anything outside the tree. It was incredible.


Views from inside the tree

I decided to bring a small table and chairs under the tree. THIS would be the perfect place to have a cup of coffee.

The next morning I told Nick that we were going to have our coffee under the tree. We brought out our breakfast (in our little picnic bag) and coffee, and sat under the tree. The space was incredibly peaceful and beautiful. We both loved it.

“This should be our breakfast spot!” I told Nick

Days went by and it quickly became one of our favorite parts of the day. “I’ll meet you under the tree!” I’d shout, as Nick poured his morning coffee.

My mom and aunts sitting under the tree when they visited the ranch.

One day, after breakfast, I stayed a little longer under the tree. I sat alone and took it all in. I felt so lucky. It felt like a gift; to have this incredible place to sit every day. This is what heaven must be like, I thought.

My father died four years ago. I always feel like he is with me, but sometimes I get sad that I won’t have memories of him physically at the ranch.

I have a set of wind chimes from his funeral. It was important to me to find a very special place to put them in Kentucky. Maybe he could not be there physically, but the chimes would be my way of including him in my life here. Until this moment, I did not know where I wanted to hang them…

God puts little pieces of Heaven here on Earth for us. He does it so that we can have hope and faith in a life beyond Earth. He does it to remind us that we will see those we love again, even after death. I went inside and got my chimes. I hung them in the branches of the tree, over our breakfast table.

It was perfect. This tree is perfect.

“I know Heaven is beautiful, because they have you”

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