I thought the biggest surprise I ever got was when I insisted I was having gas pains or at best Braxton-Hicks contractions and instead. turned out to be on the verge of the real thing - our son was born after a hotly contested trip to the hospital during which my husband insisted that gas pains didn't come every three minutes...
However, it turns out that was NOT the biggest surprise I've ever had...
This past Saturday I had absolutely no clue that I was about to become the focal point of a surprise birthday party. In retrospect I can see things that should have tipped me off but didn't. Times when my husband started to say something and then... just didn't. The fact that I recognized one car on the parking lot where the party was to be held and walked right by another car, which I should have recognized, but didn't. The fact that after we were seated at Santa Coyote my husband worried out loud three times, saying, "I didn't time this right; we got to the restaurant too early." Which seemed odd to me because we were just meeting a another couple at a restaurant - people we've known for years and who are very laid back about things like that. Still, I didn't clue in on what was happening.
Not even when one of the friends we were meeting asked me to walk out to her car to get my birthday present and then proceeded to look first in the trunk and then in the back seat before exclaiming something like:
"I must be losing my mind! I was sure I put your gift in here!"
No... she wasn't losing her mind; somehow I had misplaced mine...
Not even when we walked back into the restaurant and instead of returning to the table where I had been sitting - to the right of the restaurant - we were directed to the left of the restaurant, to which my friend said, "We're sitting on the right side. Did you move our table or something?"
The answer was: or something...
I cannot express how much that party meant to me, to see friends from various walks of life gathered at one table, laughing and visiting and getting to know one another. When I think of all the work that my friend, Susan, put into it in order to make it happen or the time that others contributed, including my niece, Charity, I just don't have the right words to convey what I felt at that moment and how grateful I still am, several days later.
Seeing everyone together, as I've said, was a highlight. Partly because it made me realize just how blessed I am to have friends who love God, who are so different, yet who are united in their testimony of His faithfulness along their separate journeys. I've learned from each of them.
Another highlight was having a friend there who is in a wheel chair and oxygen dependent and just happy to be there. If anyone enjoys life and loves God, she does. When I saw her I was amazed because I know that going somewhere is not a simple matter for her. And yet she came.
Another humbling thing was to see one of my friends there whose father was in the hospital, yet she took the time to come and her father urged her to do so. Another friend has the busiest schedule of anyone I know, plus a grown child at home who is visiting from overseas, yet she also came.
But the thing I think I cherish the most is the scrap book album that my closest confederate in crime :) and the one behind the whole party idea, made for me. (Susan, I seriously owe you... forever!) Over what must have been weeks literally she gathered pictures and written tributes from various friends and scrapbooked them in ways that I would never have envisioned.
I think the Scrabble page is my favorite but I love them all. (And, yes, I have gotten out of bed since then when I couldn't sleep, have grabbed the over sized scrapbook, and carried it back to bed with me so I could look at everything yet again. I love, love, love it!)
Sooo I managed to download some of my friends pics from FB and have (finally) gotten them to load onto my blog. (Won't even begin to mention how much I've eaten while waiting for these pics to download and then download onto the blog site and then finally download onto my blog page. But I will say the Russell Stover dark chocolate with cranberry filling was the best... ha!)