Sunday, November 26, 2006

ZEBRAS, CHRISTMAS TREES, AND SHOOTING STARS

IS THAT ALL?

As Thanksgiving approached, I mulled options for a traditional meal. Luby's, I decided. They provide a great turkey dinner. Instantly I was aware of a feeling inside that said, "Is that all? Is that to be our "Thanksgiving Event"? Good food, yes, but just food - no family or friends?

We've enjoyed many Thanksgivings in the past surrounded by family and friends. For example, this photo is from Thanksgiving 2005 when we had a wonderful visit with our son and his family in L.A. and were also reunited with a special friend from our past. (Our daughter-in-law, the photographer, is missing from the photo.)

This year I had expected my sister and her husband to be in town but their plans changed. And I certainly didn't feel neglected by my immediate family because we had recently hosted not one but two gatherings of our children and grandchildren, all of whom trekked here from afar. All six of the grandboys, 6 and under, had been together for the first time and had a grand time feeding the swans and fishing in our backyard. (Click here for more on this!)

REQUEST FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL

Years back I would have ignored my let-down feeling and just stuffed it inside. Or later, when I first became a Christian, I might have let my mind reprimand my feelings with religious peptalk about how I didn't deserve to feel let down since I had been given so much. But after years of experiencing the mercies and love of God, that's not what I chose to do. I took what I felt to my Father and released it to Him, something like this: Father, I thank you for the wonderful family you have given us and for the fellowship with them we had in October. Your favor was abundant and I am grateful. I lift to you my desire for something more for Thanksgiving Day than Luby's. Will you please provide something special? Thank you for whatever you arrange.

REQUEST GRANTED!

And here's my testimony to God's goodness. Last weekend, after church one of my favorite ladies asked if we had plans for Thanksgiving. "No," I said. I tried to come up with something cheerful or positive to add but nothing presented itself. "Why don't you join us?" she said. Now, this lady and her husband are the most gracious hosts I know. And she is a great cook. So, you can bet I said, "Yes."

A drive through the Texas Hill Country is always delightful but this one was to be unusually so. As we topped over a hill, I spied a decorated Christmas tree on the shoulder of the highway. My husband's first impression was that someone had left one there but when we saw the next one a mile later, it was obvious what that some inspired drive-by decorator had festively adorned live native trees, topping them off with a star. Neat! Would there be one at the next mile marker, too?

My eyes were straining to see if that could be so. And you know what I saw? Not a third decorated tree but a zebra! And then I saw another one. Two zebras feeding in a field. Real live zebras! No kidding.

It was time to exit the highway so I can't say if other adorned trees waited ahead. To increase my credibility about the zebras, I should say that here in the Texas Hill Country we are seeing more and more exotic animals on ranches, alongside our native deer.

THE MAIN EVENT

We arrived at our destination with a story to tell and in time for tasty hors d oeuvres, fellowship, and bocce ball outside on a perfect day: sunny and dry, cool and crisp but not cold. Peter, our host, showed us the rose garden and took us with him to feed the goats. Then it was time for a five-star meal and dinner conversation, followed by several "to-die-for" desserts. And I came home with generous portions to feast on again later. Somewhere in this mix, I learned from Mary, my friend and hostess, and her sister, Rose, how to fashion and hand stitch a beautiful jacket from a sweatshirt.

AND THEN . . .

My cup had already run over with blessing upon blessing on this Day of Thanks. But guess what? It wasn't over. Later that evening my neighbor Sarah and I walked just as night was falling, checking on the wildlife in and around the small lake in our community, as we often do. Yes, there are the seven swans. Where are the five resident mallards? How many wild ducks do you think we have now? As we crossed the dam, a flight of about a dozen took off. A second smaller group followed minutes later. They made quite a clatter as they rose above the water and angled just above our heads. They were as loud as Santa on the roof!

The stars were very bright on this clear dark night and the moon was just a sliver. A perfect night for stargazing!

Sarah's specialty is counting shooting stars. She's very good at that. But tonight I out-spied her. I saw three bright streaks and two brief flashes, some of which she uncharacteristically missed.

CORNUCOPIA of BLESSINGS

With all these happy experiences, Thanksgiving 2006 was uniquely delightful and special with many opportunities to give thanks. And so I prayed: Thank you, Lord, that it pleased you to honor my child-like request for "something more" with a cornucopia overflowing with blessing upon blessing. Amen.

2nd photo by bad sector @flickerCC

3rd photo by hol @flickerCC
4th photo by Steven2005 @flickerCC
5th photo by odoyle81 @fickerCC

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog today.. thanks for sharing and take care:)

betty said...

How beautiful! Thanks for sharing those wonderful thoughts and prayers! How blessed you are to have such talent! I soooooo enjoy your blogs!

Blessings!

Anonymous said...

thanks so much for commenting on my blog this evening! I need all the encouragement I can get. Happy early weekend and I shall visit again often! :)