I felt so very honored yesterday by many people, so I am going to turn the tables on them and share some of the things that moved me deeply. Here are some of the gifts I received yesterday.
- Chocolate Covered Oreos - I was blessed to be able to enjoy dinner at Benihana on Thursday night with the love of my life, my best friend, and the love of her life. The four of us gathered around the hibachi grill and shared stories and laughter. Just when I thought that my dinner was perfect, exchanging loving glances with my handsome husband, I caught a glimpse of those same glances being shared between my best friend and the man that has made her truly glow. Despite how much I love the Oreos smothered in chocolate that she gave me, to see my best friend so incredibly happy was the best birthday gift that she could have given me.
- An herb chopper - Now I know what you're thinking... "Really, Anna, an herb chopper? What is so exciting and invigorating about that?" One of my favorite food items to prepare is guacamole. I don't really care to sound proud, but I have been told that my guacamole is quite exceptional. One ingredient I use is fresh cilantro, and as much as I love it, I don't care to have my hands smell like fresh cilantro for two days after I make a huge batch of guacamole. A chopper similar to this has been on my "personal indulgence" wishlist for quite some time. I was even at a Pampered Chef party and saw it in the catalog and did not purchase it because I did not really have that much money to blow. So when my husband handed me the bag containing my birthday gift with the disclaimer, "It is not very much..." imagine my surprise when I pulled out a chopper!! It was an amazing gift, but better than the gift was knowing that I have chosen to spend my life with a person who listens and processes the things that make me happy. Herb chopper or not, his character is always a gift to me.
- A bottle of home crafted wine - A good friend of mine from Ohio Northern University has chosen to attend seminary in Atlanta. He has taken to home brewing and crafting wine. In the past two years I have been blessed to serve on the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of the United Methodist Church (we'll talk more about this later), and I met a wonderful woman, Diane, who has met my ONU friend at their seminary. She was gracious enough to haul a bottle of strawberry wine (complete with triquetra wax seal) from Atlanta to Chicago, where she kept it safe and unbroken through her journeys around the windy city. This bottle of wine has shown me the incredible network friends and colleagues I have not only in seminary, but also in the United Methodist Church.
- A generous donation in my honor - D (my friend mentioned earlier) serves on the Advocacy for Women Endowment Fund sub-committee, and she rounded up the executive committee of GCSRW to make a $150 to the endowment in my honor! How exciting! I so wish that I had enough money to match their gifts. I am so thankful that the wonderful people with whom I serve on GCSRW can honor one another in ways that can further the mission of not only our commission and the United Methodist Church, but also the mission that our God has called each and every one of us to. How blessed I am not only for this gift in my honor, but also for the blessing to spend my second birthday in a row with these wonderful folks.
** Shameless plug alert ** you should consider a donation to the endowment!
- A purse - One of my GCSRW friends in a deaconess from the Philippines, and each time she comes to the US for a meeting, she brings goodies!! This time she brought me a wonderful purse. Not only do I love purses, but I love the fact that each time I see/use it, I will think of her and her ministry in the Philippines. I have been involved in a lot of conversation about the global nature of the church in the past few weeks/months, and this gift is something that wil keep that in my mind for quite some time to come. D mentioned in her blog post about my birthday that I have a passion for the small church with a vision of the global church. I have never been more flattered in my life. In the course of the meeting I have participated in during the last 24 hours, it has (again) been made apparent to me that the United Methodist Church needs to truly live into the full connectional (my spell check on here hates that word... we're going to have to do something about that) nature or face some grave consequences.
All these things and my birthday festivities are not completed. My best friend is driving out to Chicago to spend the weekend with me. I hope that the weekend is truly restful for both of us!