Saturday, October 19, 2013

Warning: Surprises by Nature Cause Unexpected Results

There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved: It is God's finger on man's shoulder.
~Charles Morgan

My Week:
This was actually over two weeks ago. I began feeling rather unappreciated. I complained quite a bit that week. There was dirty dishes left in the sink as if they are going to jump into the dishwasher magically all on their own. There was the empty toilet paper roll as if a new toilet paper roll in the closet would escape and replace it. There were piles of personal items left here and there as if they were squatters with no other homes. There was my daughter who referred to the beginning of our weekday as doing "doom and gloom" lessons, which I reminded her that I sacrifice many things I would like to do in my life to homeschool her and that it is time we spend together so when she refers to it that way, it hurts me. Yeah, by Thursday of that week, when my upper back began its nagging aching, I was miserable and probably even more miserable to be around. On Friday, I was starting to come out of the mood...sort of, as I was trying to look forward to the weekend as we had plans with some friends.

The Plan As I Knew It: 
I would pick up my friend to go to the women's meeting at church on Saturday morning. While we were there, her husband and her daughter would come over to my house so that afterward we could have lunch and play a game while our daughters play together. Even though there is a difference of 5½ years with theirs being the younger, most of the time they play well together.

My friend and I were talking about her upcoming birthday that we planned to celebrate the next weekend by going to her favorite restaurant, Bahama Breeze, so I had been thinking about the orange  glass bead bracelet (like my love bracelet) I was going to give her, because the woman loves everything orange and having to do with pumpkins; it reminds her of autumn—even her daughter's middle name is Autumn.

The Arrival Home:
My friend's upcoming birthday was foremost on my mind as I walked into my home and up the stairs from the basement garage and saw that the top rail was decorated with crepe paper streamers and balloons. When I reached the top of the stairs in the living room and turned toward the dining room to see more decorations there. I was a bit exasperated at that point saying to my husband "I have not even wrapped her present yet!" and immediately following that I heard a child say "Happy Birthday, Mama" to the left thinking that sounded like my child, but surely it was theirs.

Even as I looked around at the color scheme I wondered why they would use purple and green which are my favorite colors together instead of orange for my friend. Okay, I admit that was beyond just being dense, but honestly I have never had a surprise birthday party in my life. My birthday was forgotten in my mind as it was two weeks past when my husband was working away from home. When it finally dawned on me this was for me, I immediately dropped my exasperation and enjoyed the leopard printed paper plates and table cloth. Yes, these were definitely decorations I like.

Their Secret Plan:
All week, even when I was melting down and the temptation to let the cat out of the bag was so great, so my husband told me, my husband and friends had been conspiring, but I suspect the real ring leader was my daughter, who can keep a secret about a party since she was three, even under extreme duress. My husband told me he was not sure how it would work out between the leopard print and purple and green, but our daughter knows how to pull a party and the decorations together. (I think she even plans parties in her sleep.) The balloons, still meandering in a slightly deflated state in her bedroom, were purple and gold. Even if the decorations looked silly together to anyone else, I truly enjoyed them: I felt loved and appreciated.

We had fried chicken from Publix (which is the best fried chicken, better than any restaurant—except maybe Chick-Fil-A) and a cake with ice cream. My friend gave me a pumpkin roll with a cream cheese icing filling (I did write that she loves pumpkin, did I not?) and I had my love bracelet on. I also had just received a new cover for my Kindle that I ordered from Amazon because the bright green one I had was falling apart and the new cover was—can you guess?—a lovely leopard print! Yes, this is about as good as it gets in my little world.

My Friend's Birthday
For her birthday the very next weekend, my friend wanted to eat out at Bahama Breeze, her favorite restaurant to which I have never been before, but my traveling husband had. I was concerned that I might not be able to go or that I might dampen the mood. I was on the tail end of a flare up with my upper back that day and normally I would not have gone to church as sitting up always makes it worst, plus those hugs many like to give can be quite painful. Thankfully, I did get better after the service as the day progressed.

We went to the early church service as we normally do on Sunday and then we stopped at Carlton Farms, which is nearby, to get raw milk. The girls took off to the petting farmyard area. My friend was hoping to buy a pie pumpkin but even though the farm store is always open to sell milk and eggs, they were not ready for selling pumpkins until noon when they also open the corn maze, which was another 30 minutes after we had gotten the milk.

We decided not to wait, driving both vehicles to our home, dropping off the milk that would stay just fine in the cooler, since it is kept just two degrees above freezing at the farm, until we got home later to prepare it for freezing. (We place it in half gallon containers because then we use it all before it begins to clabber.) We left their car at our place and drove together in our van to the restaurant. I liked the atmosphere and the food was good too. My friend loved her orange bracelet present.

Another One Coming
Next weekend, two weeks after her mother's birthday, it is their daughter's turn to have a birthday. Her mother began planning it last weekend while she was beating us at Uno after we returned from the restaurant. They discussed Chuck E. Cheese as that is what their daughter wanted since she had been to a birthday party there, but her parents decided on inviting her entire school class and a couple others outside of her class like my daughter to a birthday party at their home. As she was brainstorming, I offered to do face painting, but suggested that she have an activity where a child could be pulled out during it without missing something. Leave it to my friend to come up with painting pumpkins! Yesterday she asked me to bring our Twister spinner as she is going to spray paint red, yellow, green, and blue dots on the lawn so everyone can play at the same time. It seems it will be some party!

~ Thank you, my Lord, for good friends and celebrations of life! ~


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.