We know a young lady who is marrying the father of her infant twins on Valentine’s Day, while he is home on leave from the Navy.  Many, many people who know her and her family decided that even though they’re being married in a little wedding chapel, even though lots of plans had to be made rapidly, every girl deserves to have a beautiful wedding day.  Crowdsourcing can be an amazing thing; it’s been remarkable to see people come together, each offering to share what she has, to celebrate.  If Christ thought marriage to be an institution worthy of honoring with His first public miracle, we can at least whip up a decent party for two young people and their two little babies.

Since we had a couple of ladies who knew me during my teaching days coming over this afternoon to help make decorations for the happy couple’s reception, I passed a decent part of the morning raiding bins, boxes, buckets and drawers for craft supplies in the couple’s favorite colors.  By the time the decoration fabrication committee had assembled, Bugaboo and Beanie were nearly rabid with excitement over all the pretty papers, stickers, ribbons, and flowers, and were pleading to be allowed to assist.

Beanie was the first one to the table, scampering into her chair before I had even put all the supplies on the table.  She loudly announced, “I want a craft!” to the great amusement of our guests, and happily accepted a magic paint picture, paintbrush, and water.  As she painted her picture, she kept a constant watch on the growing tumble of supplies upon the kitchen table, commenting on which stickers, paper, pencils, ribbons, flowers, etc. she thought were pretty.  Throughout the entire supply dump, however, she stayed in her seat and continued working on her wee project.

Then I took out the stamp pads and rubber stamps.

I don’t know exactly why stamp pads hold at least as much attraction for Beanie, Bugaboo, and Mr. Man as a U-Haul full of M&Ms.  I just know that I never, ever say what they are if I’m taking out  or putting away supplies, because any announcement of their presence results in a stampede of small feet and a chorus of little voices pleading for as many of each as their little hands can carry (Bugaboo has actually been known to drag out a shopping bag and ask if she can have enough stamps and ink to fill the bag).  Almost before I could react, Beanie and Bugaboo had opened four stamp pads and hijacked a pair of rubber stamps, and were proceeding to cover every imaginable surface with pink, orange, blue, and green hearts, cupcakes, and flowers.

I’m not sure when Beanie decided to use the ink pad to practice taking fingerprints.  I believe that she did practice on her piece of construction paper before she decided to decorate her face.  I’m almost positive that she made the fingerprints using the ink pad before she made the lip prints.

In an attempt to channel this torrent of artistic expression, I set up the kids’ little table and chairs in the living room, handed them a pile of coffee filters, a dozen markers, a couple of ink pads and a couple of stamps, and gave them some general instruction on how to color the coffee filters to make pretty flowers.  That way, I told them, you will get to help make decorations for the wedding.  I am absolutely certain that I instructed them to keep all coloring and decorating materials on the table and on the coffee filters.

I am, however, slightly fuzzy about when Mr. Man absconded with the orange ink pad, and exactly what the current location of said ink pad might be.

I first realized that Mr. Man had, in fact, scored an ink pad when he came into the kitchen with bright orange hands — roughly the same color Bugaboo generally uses for Jesus’s hair.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that he also had an orange chin, and as I’ve been sitting here typing this, I just noticed a neat orange rectangle printed on the wall in the hallway.   Shortly thereafter, Bugaboo announced that she and her siblings had finished their project and that she would still like some pretty flowers from the box.  I thanked her, did a double take, then realized that she had half a rainbow dribbling down the lower half of her face.  The other half was covering her fingers.

For the record, the three adults in the room managed to make what we think are some pretty spiffy decorations during all this mayhem, and all seven of us enjoyed an early dinner together.  It’s good to have friends who understand that children’s curiosity can have hilarious outcomes — and that, sometimes, it’s okay to laugh, because it is funny.

Bugaboo and Beanie went with my husband to his fencing practice tonight.  As I was attempting to make them presentable for their night out with Daddy, I realized that the label, “washable,” on the markers and ink pads apparently refers to cleaning with substances other than baby wipes, water, hand soap, and dish detergent.  At least the ink somewhat matches the colors of their dresses . . .

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for friends who give freely of their time and talent to make something beautiful for a person they’ve never met.  Thank You for letting Your blessings see what it is to give of yourself while expecting nothing in return, and for granting all of us a healthy share of joy in the act of giving.

Lord, Your blessings love color.  To them, the infinite number of shades they can create with paints and ink is one of the most marvelous things in Your creation.  Please help me foster and encourage that sense of wonder at what You have wrought, and remind all of us that we can honor You by stopping to admire a particularly arresting hue, then giving silent thanks for the beauty of it.


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