Did you give a loved one a very meaningful gift this Christmas? Isn’t it a satisfying feeling? Four of the presents I gave to loved ones fell into the category of little things that mean a lot.
This holiday season I discovered a talented watercolor artist and fellow West Point mom. I admired Janet’s beautiful work on facebook and contacted her. Upon sharing a bit, Janet agreed to the daunting task of painting (in miniature) a time this year when God literally and figuratively used the Hubs and my three olive shoots to save my life.
On Christmas day, after opening all the other presents, I stood in front of my family. With a silly clearing of my throat meant for dramatic effect and levity, I read the cards I had written. The atmosphere in the living room grew from festive to reflective as I became emotional. I’m blessed (and cursed) with very active Lacrimal glands; soon my pajamas became tear-stained.
After reading each card, I simultaneously handed the Hubs and my OS their gifts. (Nate received his gift after returning from El Salvador). There were no shrieks of delight, the kind that are often associated with Christmas; these presents summoned brief silence instead. Each painting was similar yet each had a unique touch.
Without getting too personal and making things awkward, I’ll share part of my literal journey.
In the fall, while traveling to Chicago to see my ministry-minded OS Aaron, I drove through miles and miles of hazardous fog. It was the second worst fog I’ve ever encountered. The most terrifying fog was to happen on the way HOME from this trip and it wasn’t the serene, mysterious kind either. There was nothing ethereal and lovely about it, this fog was treacherous and blindingly thick, a wrong tilt of the wheel would result in certain death. And I had precious cargo aboard in both directions – my orange hair, freckle face Ike. There was no safe way off the highway, I just had to drive through the fog until things cleared. Anxiety still looms in me as I type these words. Had I veered off the highway, we would have plunged deep into the valley below.
Yet during this journey, Ike and I also encountered a rainbow. He saw it first and pointed it out to me. Both the fog and the rainbow are metaphors for other aspects of my life and we’ll just leave it there.
Janet was “commissioned” to combine elements of both the fog and the rainbow into a 2″ x 3″ watercolor (the Hubs’ painting is a bit larger and trust me, he deserved it!).
And this blessed woman unbeknownst to me at the time, not only created paintings for the Hubs and my three olive shoots; she made one for me. I now own an original watercolor which travels to different rooms in my house lest I am unable to see it.
These paintings are small but Janet rendered them magnificently. Though I fancy myself as a thoughtful gift giver, the Lord gets the credit. He provided the backdrop and graciously allowed the Hubs and my three olive shoots to bestow hope and support to me at a time when the valley was dangerously tempting. The Lord created the scenery and granted me insight. Then at just the right time, God carefully provided an artist, someone with whom I share a kindred spirit.
and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
you have set my feet in a broad place.
It was a privilege to give these gifts and I’d love to hear about a special gift you gave or received this Christmas. If you are interested in learning more about Janet, contact her at email@example.com.
I believe that you, dear Cindy, came in to my life via dear ‘ole West Point, as you have pointed out many others did for you, and I am reminded of your fine perspective on life when I read your blogs, see your wise postings on Facebook, and when the girls of my class (and boys, too!) gather up the “ladies” you made for me and “fight” over them to hold them, love them, and take them around with them throughout the day. Precious gifts from precious you. Thanks for your generosity of sharing your perspective of life. Always. Truly.
Thank you Margie! You are so sweet to share these stories with me! I just love hearing them and am delighted that our paths have crossed! Happy New Year and many blessings!
This is such a sweet blog..so heart-felt and full of lavish gratitude..so sweet! My eyes pool to see how you were able to express your heart and love to your family, with the help of another one’s talent…isn’t God so very good..all the time? What a treasured time with your family..one they will remember all the days of their lives. Thank you for sharing!
Gigi, I like to think these little pictures find a quiet place in their homes one day and serve as a reminder of how they blessed their mama in ways they did not realize. You are a precious woman, thanks for your comment!
I happened to have been the elf recipient of JC and can not express the quiet satisfaction my mini holds in my heart, I am as sentimental (mental being key) as you are, so as I sit I stare up at my little picture and smile at the pleasure it brings, I think of the wonder in your mind the meanings behind each special gift you have given. Happy New Year
Thank you Linda! We have a very unique sisterhood among us West Point moms and I love being connected to each of you. You pour out so much for others, I’m sure JC took extra time to make your beautiful picture! Happy New Year to you as well!
Hey my friend! Such a beautiful post and lovely paintings. God is so faithful to give us glimpses of hope as we walk this earthly journey. I love you and miss you! Big hugs!
I am a person who greatly appreciates God’s visuals! I try to be attune to the signs and wonders He puts along the way! I miss you too, it sounds like you are doing great! Love you!
Cindy, I love the thought and heart poured into these beautiful gifts. Your guys are so blessed to have ‘Lil Mama. Hugs to you! (I’m ready for our next meeting–missing you!)
Thank you Amy! Your boys are equally blessed to have such a giving and talented mama! See you soon, I hope!