The floral delivery driver placed a tissue-wrapped bouquet of roses in my hand and left. I hurried inside to look for a vase. No doubt my husband ordered the roses and I couldn’t wait for my eyes to drink in their beauty. But, where was that smell coming from? It certainly didn’t smell like roses.
A card fell out and I tore open the miniature envelope. “Happy Birthday! With love from your brothers and sisters.” How sweet! As the only sibling who lived across the country from the rest, I miss celebrating birthdays and other life events with my family of origin. Usually, they each sent a card. Now and then, my sisters might send a little gift, but this was the first time they’d all gotten together and sent flowers. Why did I keep getting a whiff of paint? Like…spray paint?
I filled the vase with water, clipped off the ends of the stems and slid them down the neck of the vase before cutting open the plastic wrapper encasing the tissue paper. Oddly, the paint odor grew stronger. I ripped away the tissue paper and burst out laughing. The paint odor was coming from the roses. The black roses, sent to remind me I had reached the half-century mark!
Not only did my brothers and sisters send a bouquet of black roses, they continued sending (nicer!) flowers and bouquets for the next four days. With five different flower arrangements, my house looked a bit like a hospital room! Or a funeral parlor.
Still, despite the many miles that separated us, I felt loved and celebrated knowing they took the time to plan and order the flowers for my 50th birthday. In this age of social media, it’s so easy to simply type in a Happy Birthday, click to send and skip the bother of selecting a real card or gift, writing in it, finding a stamp and dropping it in the mailbox or at the post office. It’s still fun to receive e-wishes from people I don’t ordinarily hear from, but more treasured are the ones that show someone put some effort into them, took the time to do more than just type and click. I try to remember that when I’m on the giving end. The effort I put into the wish gives it meaning, and lets the other person know just how much they are truly loved.
Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. While raising her own three children, she was active in her church’s youth ministry, including serving as a camp counselor for a week. She decided once was enough.
Mary is a graduate of Long Ridge Writer’s Group and a member of ACFW. Her writing has won recognition in several contests including the Genesis and Selah contests.
When not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors watching sunsets. She and her husband make their home in Texas with a rescued Golden Retriever.
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Steven Miller guards a dark secret.
Dad drilled into Steven that blindness should never be used as an excuse. So when Steven finds an old triathlon medallion among Dad’s belongings, he’s inspired to follow in his footsteps. Maybe it’ll quiet the guilt he’s carried since Dad’s death three years ago.
While Steven continues his triathlon training during his final summer at camp, a serious illness keeps Rustic Knoll’s beloved Nurse Willie from managing her clinic. When Steven teams up with his friend Claire to encourage Willie’s recovery, his feelings for Claire grow beyond friendship.
But his buddy, Dillon, has started down a dangerous path that Steven knows all too well. Can he keep his friend from falling into that sin without exposing his own past?
Book link: http://amzn.to/1yslU36