Birthday Surprise!

We completely surprised them.

We only made our final plans to head to south Georgia on Thursday afternoon. Things were up in the air as to whether or not Glory could join us. I still hadn’t even washed my dirty clothes from the reunion the weekend before. The house is currently upside down with the rearrangement of living areas. This certainly wasn’t the trip that was planned months ahead like our end-of-summer St. Andrews/south Georgia vacation.

Friday, while girls snoozed and I drove, I remembered that my Mom’s birthday falls right after Joy’s and we would be oh.so.close that we really should find a way to dip over by the lake before we trekked home. I knew it would be a stretch to convince Glory this was a good thing with a boyfriend waiting back in Augusta … but she was game and I was thrilled.

So, Sunday morn, we dug deep into our haphazardly packed, shallow luggage that held clothing for a mere two days and found something that would pass for “church clothes” … quite a feat for a weekend’s worth of horseback riding, football cheering and swimming clothes.  My bag was so poorly packed that I found myself in need of borrowing a dress from Della.  I hadn’t even brought a pair of jeans since our packing was intentionally light as trunk space in Glory’s Mustang is quite minimal. And as the sun crested over the trees to brighten the inside of Summerhill Farm, we showered, packed and drove away …..
with surprise on our minds.

We were a.l.m.o.s.t late. The choir was filing into the sanctuary when we walked into the room … yet they didn’t see us from their vantage point. It wasn’t until Mom and Dad both sat down in the choir loft and surveyed the area that they spied us. We were as pleased as they were to be there!

Mom and Dad attend a rural Methodist church with a pastor who must be in his late seventies, at least. Age is no reason to become dull …. his sermons always ’cause me to think. He steps on toes and challenges and I really enjoy his messages. This week, we heard about Sloth, one of the seven deadly sins.  He, of course, talked about matrimony. The wedding is an event …. marriage is an ongoing labor. “Laziness is a primary reason for failure of human relationships.” I loved that thought … so true … and such a challenge. I think I will paint that one onto canvas.

And what if … we, as women, put as much intentional focus, as great an energy on the details of pleasing and respecting our husbands throughout our lives as we did for those few months that we spent travailing over that small window of time that others gathered to watch us create a union?  What if?

Mom and Dad often enjoy lunch at a Jack Wingate’s restaurant, around the corner from their home. We knew we’d have the chance at fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, several fresh vegetables and yeast rolls. But, better than that, we’d have the chance to fellowship with my folks for just a bit before we had to begin to make our way home.

We didn’t have much time to hang around, but Daddy convinced us to run by their house for just an hour. This gave us a chance to check in on neighbors, chat for just a few and walk down to the dock. It didn’t seem like much, but it seemed to be important to daddy … and I’m so glad that we took that time.

The days are fleeting. We lived in Bainbridge – just a 30 minute drive – before we moved to Augusta. But, my folks lived busy lives just like our young, little homeschooling family. We didn’t see them often. We would certainly travel their way more often if my van were in better condition. The day will soon come when we will have no choice: replace her or walk. I’d choose the first right now, if I was able. But, God has been faithful to keep her running when we need and provide a way to-and-fro when she is not … and I know His faithfulness will continue. This past weekend, we traveled in Glory’s car … which is always a treat.

As we count blessings here in the middle of a week of birthday celebrating, I add to my list of beautiful blessings
things for which I am grateful
my list of  One Thousand Gifts …

364.  a laundry hamper full of dirty clothes from visiting high school friends a week ago …
365.  lush, green south Georgia grass with blades wide and dense
366. the look of surprise on my Daddy’s face
367. a tremendous grin and hug from my Mama
368. baked chicken and fresh salad on a buffet
369. Giggles, a waitress at Jack’s …  and her warm, congenial personality
370. familiar Methodist hymns on a piano played by nimble fingers
371. a pastor who is brave enough to step on toes. He said, “See, you can stay home if you don’t want to hear what I have to say … but I have to be here and I have to say what the Lord has told me to preach.”  And I wanted to stand up and applaud.
372. the gentle roll of hills as you round the bend and head down to the lake
373. a best friend whose closet is filled with an eccentric style like mine
374. a little red Mustang that travels far and fast
375. dozens and dozens of policemen that stopped cars OTHER than ours as we traveled
376. matching traveling pillowcases
377. iPods full of gorgeous driving music
378. peanuts turned and drying in fields
379. the smell of fresh dirt
380. girls who sleep while Mama drives
381. a boy who waters birds and feeds dogs and cats so we can traipse across the state
382. money for gasoline
383. three banana pudding bowls, each with a birthday candle
384. still, settled lake water under a beautifully aging wooden dock
385. a sweet mama and daddy who are always thrilled to see us

Mama, I love you! I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!
{{{{hugs}}}}} and blessings to you!

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