Sweet Surprises

Dave and I made the three-hour drive to Annapolis on Friday in the rain. We slipped into the Outback and anticipated the celebration.

This photo, registering my brother’s surprise at his 60th birthday dinner, made our day! Ken’s oldest son, Ryan, expected us, but no one had let the surprise slip to my “baby” brother.

Sweet surprises come to us when an old friend sends a card, when the sunlight comes streaming through gray clouds, after something wonderful occurs that we didn’t expect at all.

Some startled expressions like this one take  a measure of pre-planning.

Meanwhile, other surprises come as gently and serendipitously as the kiss Uncle Jason received when he arrived.

Infants often give the best unplanned surprises! Not at all jaded yet, wee ones lavish us with emotions that brighten our day.

Come home exhausted from a hard day’s work and a wicked commute? Let your eyes rest on a baby’s look or a baby’s kiss, and the cares of the day dissipate faster than a summer thunderstorm!

Stories and memories spill out easily, making every course of the meal a delightful dessert.

“Remember when…? ” prefaces many sentences throughout the evening. Ken’s four boys listen to the tales of their Dad’s single life in high school and college years. Many remarks fly, especially when we view the slide show later.

Sandi had scanned hundreds of old photos for us to watch back at Jason’s place.

She’s always worked long into the night to make sweet surprises a reality for the almost 36 years of their married life!

I remembered that her first day on a job in Rockville coincided with Ken’s last day at that job. That’s how they met! Talk about sweet surprises!

Back at the house, the three younger sons dished out cake and ice cream, simultaneously dishing out comments about their Dad’s age.  But each remark came with love and warmth because of the years invested together as a family.

Raising a family is work, but reaping the benefits yields a sweet harvest that brings God glory and us a  sense of satisfaction.

Since Adam and Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel, we have hard evidence that raising sons is hard. Yet consider these verses from Hebrews 2:10-12.

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.’”


So Christ calls us His brothers! What an amazing calling we have!



So here’s to my brother, Ken. Happiest wishes for many more sweet surprises!


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