Thursday, December 28, 2006

THE Gift

Once in a lifetime, if we're lucky, there may be a material gift given to us that takes our breath away, leaves us speechless, and brings everyone in the room to tears. I happened to be the most fortunate recipient of such a gift this past Saturday when I opened this book from Amy, my daughter. Later I found out that Donica had been in on it, as had Dennis.

When I first opened it, there was a mailing holder from Shutterfly and I immediately thought, "Oh, yes! Amy has given me a wonderfully framed photo of Nicholas or of her and Dennis." That's what Shutterfly does, of course--process our personal photos for us. But when I opened it and saw that it was this book on the castles of Scotland, with the Eilean Donan on the cover, I said, "OHHHHH! I've SEEN this castle! It's the most romantic and most photographed castle of Scotland!"

Amy just smiled and said, "I know!"

After reading her most lovely inscription on the inside front cover, I then started flipping through the 96-page book (12 x 12 inches), oohing and ahhing over all the castles I had seen with my own eyes. How special that Amy had found such a lovely book to remind me!

Finally Amy said, "NO, Mom! You need to go back to the first page!"

So I did. And when I saw that page, I finally got it! I lost my breath; I was speechless; I cried. We all cried. (If you can't see the words, please click on it to enlarge.)

Page after page, photo after photo (approximately 250 of them), I saw the castles of Scotland again for the first time. My photos, all of them, in a coffee table art-book format! I sure hope this doesn't sound like I'm tooting my own horn because that's definitely not my intention. But I STILL cannot believe Amy took the time and effort and had two willing cohorts in on the action.

I wonder if you have ever received such a gift that blew you away like this? If so, please share your story in a comment. I have a feeling we'd all like to hear it!


With that, I bid you adieu as we finish packing for our long New Year's weekend at the family cottage in Michigan. Amy, Mark, Donica and I, plus Dennis, who flew in from LA yesterday, fly tomorrow and return on the 1st (in time for the Rose Bowl game on TV!). We will NOT have Internet access (we don't think), so this will be my last post for a few days.



  1. wow Ginnie - that's so touching! I just cannot believe they were able to do that without you knowing and in a book! I want one like that too, but I'd love for it more and for it to be more special too if it were given to me just the way it was for you! I know I need to make up a book of my photos too...

    Hope your visit is a good one!

  2. That is such an amazing gift!! I'm not surprised you were moved to tears.

    Having looked at your own pictures with impartial eyes, not knowing that they were your pics, you must have realised how wonderful your photos are :)

  3. Oh Ginnie - I just came to put a comment on your family photo - which I love by the way - when I saw your new post. Oh my - reading it brought tears to my eyes. You know how I love your photos and imagine seeing them in a book! How very exciting - I can't even imagine! Now does that tell you something that I've been saying??? You ought to be in print! and now you are. From one of your biggest fans - me, JD

  4. You are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO blessed!
    Have a fabulous vacation and a most wonderful New Year!

  5. WOW. You're published! :D How does that feel?

    You've an amazing family, Ginnie, and it's apparent they hold you very dear. You're a lucky woman indeed.

  6. ET: I still can't believe it myself! I'm actually taking it with me to the cottage for my family to see what Amy did!

    DW: I must say that I was totally bamboozled! It never occurred to me that those could be mine! It reminds me of those rare times I have written something well and then later I reread it and ccouldn't believe it was mine. Maybe those things really don't belong to US but to the collective artist out there in the Universe!

    Judy: You're just way too kind about my photos, as always, and I love it! Everyone needs someone like you to be so effusive! :) You ARE one of my biggest fans!

    T1: Yes, I am blessed! Thanks for stopping by and you, too, have a most wonderful New Year, there in Albania.

    Lisa: Published AND lucky! :) It doesn't get much better than that.

  7. Oh WOW! What a fantastic, precious gift. You have such a thoughtful family. I knew there was something familiar about the cover picture and then started to wonder...

  8. Wow! An amazing, amazing gift! It's sure to be a treasure in your family for all time.

  9. Guess, this is touching. It's just like my second oldest son gave me as presant to Christmas a Scanner which are able to digitalize all my old slides and prints. Then in one of the Albums, i saw my late father, he was dead then and 3 of my children talking to him. Memories came true.

    Thank you for letting me reading your blog.

    PS Happy New Year

  10. Hi Ginnie,
    thanks for this lovely account, it brought real tears to my eyes. Your love and gratitude is infectious.
    Thankyou for sharing.
    I am inspired to reflect on gifts I have recieved and to perhaps to be a little more grateful.

  11. Wow! That is a great idea! How lucky you are.

  12. I want to wish you and your family peace and happiness in 2007 :-)


  13. That is a neat and wonderful gift! But your photos certainly more than qualify for such a book to be compiled. :)

    Wishing you and Donica a very happy New Year!

  14. What a thoughtful and meaningful gift, perfect for the photographer in you! And your writing expresses your overflowing joy and gratitude!

    Happiest of New Year's wishes to you and your entire family!!

  15. Just back to wish you everything you wish for yourself, and a whole lot more, for 2007!!

    to both of you :) There are fireworks going off in the background as I type this.

  16. Wooow Ginnie - what an honor to have a picture in the book and you are worth it since you are such a great photographer!

    I don't know if my story matches yours, but I still remember I got a self knitted scarf from my youngest sun 10 years ago. On the card is said: "Dear dad, to keep you warm".

    Wishing you a lovely trip and A Happy New Year to you and your family:-)

  17. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh! Marvelous!!!!!!!!!!!

    And do I understand what this could mean to you! Come on, I'm a book dealer!!! :O)

    But I don't understand why you didn't realize it was your photos! lol This is soooo funny! I guess you couldn't think of that! This is really a wonderfull gift, and Amy and everybody must be really proud of that! It is THE gift!!!!!!!!!!

    I'll tell you a story later...

  18. I felt stunned at the story of this gift when you told it, before reading it here. I imagined how I'd have felt, and I just love the impact of it! So intensely personal and profound. Leave to Amy, who is so thoughtful.

    My head is reeling with ideas from this one!

    Love to you as you settle back into your life in Atlanta this week. It was great to be with you and yours. I hope you stay healthy! Lesley is now over her food poisoning but Don seems to be getting it now. :|

  19. Happy New Year, Ginnie! This story is fantastic! Yes, it brought tears to my eyes toooo! :) You have fantastic people around you. :)

  20. Christina: Awww. You actually remembered, which means a lot! Thanks.

    Dixie: Yes, and now suddenly all the photographers in the family are getting ideas in their heads (including myself). It's such a great idea.

    Tor: Ohhhh, you'll have such a great project to give you amazing memories. Another great gift indeed!

    THR: Your words have touched me. Thank you!

    James: Yes--I feel VERY lucky!

    KPK: The same to you, Peter!

    Tim: Your words are so very kind. Thank you! I know YOU have a Gift this Christmas time that just about beats them all! I hope you'll tell us her name. :)

    Mad: Maybe YOU will get such a gift one of these years! I know you understand my gratitude.

    DW: You are such a sweetheart to come back and wish us a Happy New Year! Now that we are back home on the 1st, I feel that we're definitely off to a great start!

    Renny: I think your story definitely "matches" mine. I love it for you. Those memories last a lifetime!

    Clo: I want to hear your story so please don't forget! Yes, you would understand as well!

    Ruth: You got to see it with your own eyes, so, yes, you know! Now we all can settle back into the beginning of the new year, recuperating from all the festivities. I love you, dear sister!

    MP: Yes, you are very right! How can we not thrive when there is such a loving community to support us! I wish it for all of us here in the blogging world!

  21. Ok, here's the story...

    It was just less than a week before father's day. I went to a small antiques shop that was about four blocks from where we live. Gene was around 3 or 4 years old, she was with me. When I came in the shop, near the entrance, in front of me, was something that kept my eye because it was beautiful, but when I saw where it came from, I was so amazed that I couldn't believe my eye...

    I bought it (oh, I was so happy to have found that), I wrapped it, and when my late hubby came from the bookshop, he saw the gift on the couch. I gave him a lot of indices, but it was totally impossible for him to guess. Some of those were totally unfair... It was related to horses, dogs, the colour blue, but the best one was that it was related to his family... So he thought it was maybe an old photo I had found, but it wasn't.

    So on father's day he just unwrapped it, and without exagerating, I can say that he was so happy that for an hour after that, he used to came again to see it and say: "I can't believe that you had found something like that!"

    It was a beautiful calendar, I think it was of 1906 (I don't have it under my eyes right now), and the illustration on it was of a beautiful lady with a blue dress, with her dog and preparing to go for a ride on her horse. But the name of the shop that was printed on the calendar was the one of the great grand father of my husband! He used to have a small grocery store in the old part of the city in the beginning of 20th century. I still have that calendar, my daughter will surely keep it because it's from her great great grand father!

    I have to take a pic of that calendar and tell that story on my blog...


  22. OMG, Clo! I can understand the thrill that must have been for you AND your late hubby. Such a delightful keepsake and memory now for Gene as well.

    Thank you so much for sharing this story!

  23. Happy New Year to you and your family! What a wonderful gift and beautiful post. You are so lucky (and I know that you know it already) to have such a marvelous family.

  24. Oh yes, CS. I do know how lucky I am!

  25. Wow, that's better than 8x10's. Fantastic, Ginnie!

  26. I know, Josie. I still can't believe it!