Friday, November 7, 2014

Beautiful Gifts: Reminders of What is Most Beautiful to Me

Whitley and his hunting buddy recently went on their annual bow-hunting trip in Mason county.  This post isn't about their trip this year, (sorry guys) but has me all twinkly-eyed about something that my husband did for me on the trip that they took at this time a year ago!  Quite a while before they went on this trip a year ago, Whitley had learned that Mason county was the only county in Texas that mines our state gem, topaz!  This got him to searching around and finding out that he could go to a store in Mason that sold it there.  After the guys finished their time hunting together, Whitley went to that store, Gems of the Hill Country, in search of the perfect gift for me for our 15th wedding anniversary!  He knew I had been wanting a new ring to put on my right-hand ring finger for quite some time.  I wore one that was in our wedding ceremony for just a few years beyond that special day.  It wasn't a very expensive ring and was really showing wear and tear because I'd worn it since age 16.  So I had put it away as a keepsake 10 years ago or so.  Whitley had a mission this day to find a perfect ring in Mason to replace that one!  He ended up finding so much more than a perfect ring!  So much planning and chatting with Diane, who ran the store, commenced over the next several months.  I was completely unaware of all of it!  The store went through a move after he ordered it too, in case you went to the website and wondered why they aren't in Mason anymore.

I'm not sure how many times my husband has completely surprised me, but it has certainly happened plenty.  He's a pretty good secret keeper!  He planned and worked to pay for this topaz gift starting that November and finally was able to present this touching gift to me in May!  I figured something big was happening on our anniversary, but I wasn't completely positive about what "it" was and I also found out I didn't know when "it" would be presented.... Whatever this "it" was!  I did know that he didn't give me a Christmas present.... or a birthday present....  Hmmmm.....  Must be something pretty awesome.  That's about all I knew!

We went to Lake Amistad with my parents the week of our anniversary.  I blogged about that here, but am just now finally getting around to this second blog post, only focusing on this special event! The day before our anniversary, he arranged for my parents to keep our children while we went out in the canoe to go fishing.  Or... at least that's what I thought we were doing.  

On my way down to the canoe

My husband and I both grew up loving fishing.  Before we met, my kind of fishing was always sitting in the middle of a lake in the blistering hot sun, fishing for catfish!  Whitley's fishing experiences usually had more to do with much colder-water lakes and rivers.  But really, when it comes right down to it... we just like to fish!  It's the quiet, contemplative moments and being close to creation and the Creator much more than it really is about catching the fish.  Although, I must be honest, catching the "big one," doesn't hurt the enjoyment at all!  Whitley has learned to enjoy our "style" here, and married into a family who loves big boats and big water!  I have loved learning about fly-fishing in our 15 years together.  I've loved my fishing experiences in Montana, and no matter what water we are in or what kind of boat we are in, I just love being with my fisherman!  

This particular time... he brought a guitar...  and didn't even FISH!?!  I thought it was kind of odd, but quite romantic that he actually preferred for just ME to fish! (??)  Should have been my first tip-off that I was about to be shocked!  I mean, that was already quite shocking!

Whitley sang "Cheek to Cheek" for me while I fished:  a few of my favorite lines are:

Oh! I love to climb a mountain,
And to reach the highest peak,

But it doesn't thrill me half as much

As dancing cheek to cheek.

Oh! I love to go out fishing

In a river or a creek,

But I don't enjoy it half as much

As dancing cheek to cheek.

For those of you who know my husband well, you understand why I was already a little teary-eyed when he sang words like that to me!

Here is a small clip of him singing, but in his defense, he was juggling a canoe, music that he hadn't really gotten to practice, a guitar, his fisherwoman, and a few thousand dollars worth of rocks.  Let's just give him a break, and say he was nervous!!

Now for my part to all of a sudden feel extremely nervous!!

Song of Songs 8:6-7

"Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it." 

The day Whitley gave me these "seals" of love, was a day that was sweet, and we got to get all decked out the next day for our date and I felt so lovely.  It almost seems odd to me at this moment to share this passage that isn't exactly dainty and sweet.  Re-read it again, if you missed its not-so-sweet-qualities.  Instead of just bragging about my "rocks," at this moment I want to tell you what they represent to me.  I can honestly say our marriage has met challenges this year that weren't very pretty.  But the qualities that hold us together are both sweet and fierce.  You can't just be "sweet" and make it very far.  Choosing to love even when the waters are turbulent takes grit and hard choices.  The waters that crash against us could cause us to break, but it's the unquenchable that won't tolerate the wrong kind of brokenness.  We are far from perfect, so we know about grace.  Grace is the kind of power that will not let love be quenched.  Forgiveness is the unwavering constant we have today that we have to keep having every day, no matter what the world whispers that it will cost us.  There is a Rock that is greater than any I can physically see, sit on, stand on, or hold.  There are pieces of the two of us staring back at us through the faces of our precious gems God gave us to be stewards of.  They are worth braving many waters for!  Whitley gave me six topaz gems to represent each of our children.  I'm forever grateful for all of these gifts and remembrances!  May these thoughts bless you, as they have me. 

Love from our family, to you and yours,

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