Elaine Wheat is a faith columnist for the Victoria Advocate.

Editor’s note: On Dec. 28, 2018, Elaine crossed over to that Eternal Shore and her family, friends and readers are missing her. The Advocate is reprinting Elaine’s articles.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above ...” — James 1:17

On July 12, I turned 80 years old and was so blessed to celebrate my birthday with all of my family at one time, even though my son, Buck Wheat, had to Skype from Chicago.

Many of my gifts were surprisingly not ocean-related.

Buck sent me a coffee cup with my photo on it from my column “Oceans for Emotions” in the Victoria Advocate. Of course, I am wearing my blue hat with a replica of a fish swimming through it.

My granddaughter, Marilyn Elaine Wheat and her 7-year-old son, Joseph, gave me shoes with fish on them, which I absolutely love. Marilyn also managed to grill enough chicken for my entire family and friends to enjoy at my birthday feast. Even though it was 97 degrees, Marilyn cooked outdoors without complaining — all of this done out of pure love.

My granddaughter, Dyanne, and her new husband, Jason, who flew in from South Korea where they both teach at an International Christian School, gave me gifts from Cape Cod. These gifts include lighthouse wind chimes and a lovely coffee cup with a beach scene and seagulls on it.

My best fishing friend, Mary, gave me a 3-foot-tall red and white lighthouse replica, which will forever sit by and guard my pool. She also gave me a beach towel, decorated with anchors and seashells. My great friend, Joyce, gave me a lighted picture of Jesus, which illustrates how He will always watch over us in our daily lives.

My wonderful teacher friends gave me birthday cards with scenes of beaches and one special card, which when opened, had cats singing “Happy Birthday” and was given to me by my cat Rocky Beach.

My ever-sensible sister gave me a new wardrobe of tops to enjoy wearing on all occasions, including trips to the beach, birthday parties and more. My nephew, Zach, and his dad, Charlie, gave me a bright bouquet of flowers, which went well with my lighthouse decorated dining room table.

My caring son, Brad, brought me lovely flowers which were my favorite colors of orange, yellow and blue, which brightened up the party and made up for the fact that he had eaten the entire panhandle of the Texas birthday cake, made for me by Dyanne and her husband, Jason. Jason is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever known. He and Dyanne cooked me wonderful breakfasts every morning they were here.

My granddaughters showed home videos of us throughout the years, which brought lots of laughter and tears. Marilyn Elaine asked me, “Granny, did we ever wear anything except swimming suits, your tie-dyed T-shirts and shorts?”

I answered, “No, and why should we?” It seems we were always at the beach or swimming and enjoying fun times together.

Dear Lord, thank You for all of the gifts that You give us daily. I am so blessed by my family and friends and I especially thank you for my great-grandson, Joseph, who always comes to me when he has to leave and puts his head down for me to give him a “kiss on head.”

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