Paper Plates & Surprise Lavender

Paper Plates & Surprise Lavender

I remember being told once about how everyone has a plate. On this metaphorical plate, we hold everything: all of the good, all of the bad, and everything in between. Each person’s plate is a little different size. Some people’s plates are large; these are the people who can handle many things at once. Some people’s plates are small; these people often can find too many tasks daunting or overwhelming.

But I truly believe we are all at a metaphorical cookout with cheap paper plates.

Picture how sometimes a paper plate can hold many many wonderful foods piled high when supported appropriately. But that same paper plate will collapse with the same or even fewer items put on it without the proper support.

I have had a looming doom-cloud over my head. I have been feeling concerned about the future. What is life going to be like as my husband, Zach, begins to have to work more as a teacher and he can’t watch Delilah quite as much? What is going to happen in November (please vote!)? What will happen in February when Zach’s school may go back to in-person classes? What can I do to be more anti-racist? How can I be more conscious and mindful of all human beings in our interconnected web? Especially as we are reminded time and time again just how connected we are by moments like this when a deadly virus is rapidly spread across the world?

And how can I worry about all of this when I have such a small mental and emotional metaphorical plate?

I can’t. It has been tough.

Just this afternoon I went out to my deck to take care of the plants I have in many different pots. I looked in a pot I have been ignoring since early spring when the seeds I planted in it never sprouted. It had some plants growing which I assumed were weeds. But when I pulled one I noticed it smelled like lavender. It couldn’t possibly be! But I googled and realized it was the lavender I had planted in that pot earlier this spring.

Why did I get so excited about a little plant?

Because it just felt like a huge win after so many months of not winning. My tomato plants haven’t been doing so well. Neither have my parsley, pepper, or strawberries. The thyme wilted and now I won’t have fresh homegrown thyme for Thanksgiving. The only plants that were doing well were my two basil plants.

So, this little win felt so invigorating.

And it made me think of a couple of other rejuvenating wins: Since Zach is going back to work we got our office set up for us to share. We have begun getting back into some kind of routine, even if it is different because we are both working from home with an almost 1-year-old daughter. I know it is a little early to get excited about Autumn but the evenings and mornings are growing cooler and Autumn is my favorite season.. And I had a successful, short, and fun camping trip with my family, myself, and Delilah.

Delilah 9/31/2020

Oh! And Delilah is almost a year old. Wow. Now that is a big one.

And suddenly my wobbly, flimsy plate has felt a little more sturdy and stable.

So since I found my lavender this morning, I’m just feeling kind of good, you know? And maybe that is just today’s mood and tomorrow I will sink back again. But then I will look back on this post and your lovely comments below and I can guarantee that they will keep me happy and motivated for a little while longer.

Because you, UUCC, are yet another thing that helps support my plate. And not just mine, but as the office assistant I am privy to many many beautiful moments you all share with each other and the community around us. You all support each other in so many awesome and beautiful ways. You should feel good about that, proud even.

So, thank you.


  1. Gail Thompson

    I look for you each Sunday morning and delight in Delilah as she grows. Yes, your plate does grow because you keep adding such lovely talent, energy and caring to it. Dry thyme can be used. Just shake a bit more love on the inside of the bird.

  2. Rev. Louise Green

    That is such a beautiful and timely essay, Hannah! Thanks, I needed that.
    So appreciate all you do at UUCC, and the ways you help weave the community together.

  3. Jim Wu

    Thank you Hannah for sharing your ever-evolving metaphorical plate and the delightful picture of Delilah at the beach. Good luck on becoming a Lavender farmer 👩‍🌾. It reminded me that my plate gets stronger whenever I Make Time to pause and appreciate our Six Senses – Smell. Sight. Taste. Touch. Hearing. & ESP/Awareness. L’Chaim.

  4. Margaret M Hegmann

    Hannah, you expressed what so many of us are feeling right now. I think we are so much more aware of these feelings because of the interruption in our lives that the pandemic has caused. Having your lavender surprise you is exciting, but watching Delilah grow is most exciting of all. Her smiling face in her cute pink hat reminds us there is a brighter future. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Kathy P arker

    Hannah — Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing the story about your metaphorical plate. This has indeed been a challenging time for many, but most especially for those like you facing the demands of work and raising children. Thank you for reminding us of that, and if we can be of help, don’t hesitate to ask. The picture of Delilah is adorable!

  6. Inge Hyder

    Dear Hannah,

    Thank you for your thoughtful letter – I’m wishing you and your family all the best in these trying times. Delilah has a wonderful smile and that hat is great!

  7. Herb Hartnett

    Your plate is sturdy even though there are days when we all feel the need of a delightful surprise. Like lavender and the coming of autumn. Thanks, Hannah.

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