Monday, October 8, 2012

Gifts come in so many different ways.

We returned home yesterday after being gone for two weeks.
It was one of those vacations that I will always remember.
Our entire family went to Kauai for celebrating my 60th birthday.

60 was the age I never wanted to be. You know when you are little and someone asks you what old is...I always said 60. So I dreaded this birthday more than any other. I didn't want to be old. I thought I would become old right away.
Fortunately for me, I have been blessed by four children who love me and know me.
They got together and decided that going to Kauai as a family would be one present and surprise they could give me.

It was truly truly wonderful.
Scud and I got to spend 10 days on my favorite place on earth.
Its the place that everytime I go, I see so much of the beauty and diversity of God's creation.
The ocean seems endless-which I am pretty sure it is, and the colors that come out in the sun: from aquamarine to crystal blue make my heart swell.
I am a beach girl. I have loved being at the beach since I was a little girl. I was so blessed to spend every summer at the beach at my grandmother's beach house in Ventura. I learned how to dive thru waves, being taught by my mom. I learned how to body surf, I learned how to surf. I even learned how to become friends with a seal.

The beach is where I always would choose to vacation. Its the place I want to go whenever I want to mull things over, contemplate life or just be with God. Getting to spend 10 days in Kauai is  my idea of a vacation.
And to be able to experience this with the ten members of our family and a girlfriend was just what I needed to ease into the 60's.

I really did learn that age is a state of mind. Walking the beach with my grandsons, looking for shells, laughing at the huge sandcrabs, picking up sticks that turned into alligators, and playing in the water -well nothing beats that.
I got to play with these little love bugs on the exact same beach that i played with their mom when she was three.
It made me realize how extremely privileged I am to be able to see the ocean because there are millions of people who never had. To gaze continually on the magnificence of God's creation brought shivers to me morning after morning as I watched the sun rise thru the clouds. I am so thankful for the thoughtfulness of my children to give me such an extraordinary gift.

We came home a day early to attend the memorial service of a friend of ours. This special man knew for 34 months that his time was limited and he was real and honest with his thoughts and emotions. But he faced his mortality fully trusting in the goodness of God, that God knew the perfect timing of his life on earth. I loved how Kevin did everything he possibly could to take care of his family while he was living and for after he was gone. I loved how he encouraged me in my faith and provided me with more opportunities to believe in a loving , grace giving God.

Then when we finally arrived home, there was a call telling me that one of my dear college friends, who also was one of my bridesmaids, had 3-4 months to live. My friend Sharon and I have lost touch over the years, but she's one of those friends,  the type who will always have a special place in your heart. So my heart hurts once again.
I'm staring my own mortality in the face having friends my age end life on this earth.

So right now I am making plans to go to southern California to visit my friend, who will always be known to me as "Garb". I want to tell her i love her, that I appreciated how she made me laugh like no one else. I want to remind her of what a phenomenal friend she is to her friends and what a fantastic daughter and sister she is.
Garb always cared deeply for the people in her life and now I have the chance to tell her how graterful I am that she impacted my life.

We don't always get the opportunity to say good bye to people who we know are not going to be with us much longer.  So for me, this is another gift that I have been given. A chance to tell someone how much they have meant to me. Which got me to thinking how many opportunities do I miss in telling those I love how much they mean to me. Of encouraging and cheering on people who I care about. Its a gift we can give to someone everyday-if we choose to.
And everyone loves gifts!
They don't have to be a fantastic trip to Kauai. They can be saying goodbye to a dear friend. They can be thanking someone for their thoughtfulness, Going to someone's game. Encouraging someone in their work, their crafts, their sports abilities, their gardening skills, their musical ability. We all have needs to be encouraged, to be thanked.
Why don't you think of who you could give a gift to today?? That's what I'm doing and really going to try and do this daily.
How about you?? Gift giving is so rewarding.

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