Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The Surprise Gift
Christmas was so wonderful this year. It was a memory making time with family. We had 22 people stuffed into Nana's home enjoying the Eve of celebrating. Stories were swapped in every corner of the house as adults shared over good food and children played downstairs.
This year we were able to do something very special in surprising my parents and Nana with a joint gift. They had an old plasma console tv that served them well for a good 12+ years. It was a great technological piece of advancement when it was new but over the past few months the screen was giving out and giving everyone a headache. The color was almost all black and the picture would flip and shrink in a random pattern that made the viewer feel something was about to implode.
Without their knowing it, we as a whole family pulled our resources together and bought them a new 46" flat screen with a stand.
Blessings and gifts are always wonderful but much of the fun also comes with being able to surprise them and the challenge was on. I took the wrapped tv and stand to my parents house a few weeks ago with a big card on it labeled for my husband and asked them to store it for me so he wouldn't find it at my home before Christmas. My parents, always ready to pull a good one over on my hubby (in loving fun), were excited to be able to be a part of the 'deception'.
Boy were they shocked and speechless when we presented them with the truth written in the enclosed card. Wow! They were overwhelmed.
Thank you God that we could surprise and bless them that way.
I didn't think of taking a close up picture of Nana's tree when I was there on Christmas. But I do want to share with you how special this tree is. Nana is so talented and dedicated to her craft. That tree is covered in bells she made from stringing beads together. She has made them for years and we all have her creations located through out our homes. There are so many bells of different colors and sizes. If I had to guess, I would say there are at least 250 beaded bells on her tree. My dad has to anchor the tree to the wall with a wire to insure it does not topple over from the weight.
The Sweetness of Friendships
Last night we had a special treat by being blessed with a visit from some friends. We had met years ago when our children were all in the same martial arts training class at the local community center. At that time we had struck up a quick friendship both in heart and also because I knew that God was doing something special between us. They, being Chinese and native to Taiwan, found my own cultural diversity to be a comfort to them while I completely enjoyed the ease and joy of being with them. There was a pretty big language barrier but we all pushed through and encouraged each other.
After several months of being together, the time came for them to return to Taiwan and we didn't imagine ever seeing them again. I had prayed for them so very often. I wanted so much to talk with them in detail about God and His goodness......but that language barrier never let us get very far. We tried to communicate via email for a while but lost contact after a while. At least that is what I thought. It turns out that our girls got back in touch via social networking.
Puddin' came to me a couple of weeks ago saying that the family is now living in California. They would be in our area for Christmas break and could we have them over for dinner. Boy what a question. I was thrilled at the idea.
An amazing blessing of a story unfolded at my dinner table last night as we sat around eating teriyaki chicken and rice. With bubbling excitement (and still pretty broken English) they told us a story of all that we didn't know was happening in our friendship. They said that all those years ago, they had cravings to know more of God and raise their children in a Christian environment but didn't know how to meet God. They said that God used our friendship to show them a direction. He guided them and answered so many of their prayers by our friendship. There were many of our conversations they brought up last night that I had no idea what was happening on their end. That language barrier may have been keeping me from opening my mouth every time I wanted to say something but God was using it to prove Himself to them by answering their every request as they uttered it in their hearts.
It was so humbling to listen to them and point at me exclaiming I was an angel to them sent by God. It was encouraging to see how God works His plan. It is amazing to think of how things mesh together with ripples that affect such change.
Are you wondering about this amazing edible art? Our friends brought these to us for our enjoyment. Oh my goodness! They are from Pix Patisserie. I know that downtown Portland is becoming widely known for its culinary flair but good golly lolly........I had no idea such treats were available. They are so pretty. I am scared to cut into them. But they can't go to waste right?
For now, it is after midnight here and my pillow is calling me.
I pray that you have an amazingly blessed week. Know that you are loved so greatly by the God of all creation. He moves mountains for you, dances for you and is overjoyed at the thought of spending time with you because you matter to Him.