A Most Unusual Present


What is the most unusual present you’ve ever received?

It was my birthday last week and I got some lovely traditional gifts.
Lots of cards.
Bouquets of flowers.
Boxes of chocolate.
New mini blinds.

You’re probably thinking I’m going to rant about
how to be grateful when you get
mini-blinds or a vacuum cleaner for your birthday.

That will have to wait for another post.

The unusual present I’m going to talk about
is the one I gave to Adventure Boy (Craig) on his 40th birthday.

I got the idea for it on a visit to see his mom and stepdad.
As part of the trip, we went to the cemetery where Craig’s dad was buried.
We stood over a double marker with both his mom and dad’s names on it.

“Mom will be buried next to my dad,” he explained
pointing to the blank space on the marker that would exhibit the year of his mom’s death.

“Isn’t that weird, though?” I asked.
“Your dad’s been dead for over twenty years and your mom’s been married to Bob for ten.”

“Nope, that’s what they want. Bob will be buried next to his first wife over there,” he said, pointing across the cemetery lawn.

“They will be together forever with the spouse of their youth.”

Touched, I said, “We should be buried together like that,
with both our names on a bronze headstone.”

His eyes welled with tears.
“You’d do that?” he whispered.
“I love you! Let’s check it out,” I said.

For Craig’s next birthday, I ordered a marker with our names on it.
Our wedding date was entwined in two wedding bands.
“Together Forever” was embossed below it.
We hadn’t bought cemetery plots,
so I had it delivered and set in the front yard.

Craig was beyond moved—he was speechless.
He said it was the best present anyone had ever given him.

A year later,
when Craig was missing,
I spend a lot of time staring out the front window,
looking at the grave marker in my yard,
praying I wouldn’t need to use it yet.

After his body was found at the crash site,
I brought him home and
buried him under our marker
in the cemetery across the street from my house.


The anniversary of Adventure Boy’s (Craig) death falls within weeks of my birthday.
It’s bittersweet, that as I celebrate another year,
I remember that his life was cut short.

I remember that time is short for all of us.
You never know if today is your last.

No one I buried thought their last day was their last day.

Today, I have to ask,
if today is your last day,
and you find yourself at the pearly gates
facing your Maker,
do you know you are getting in?

The Bible says that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:13 (NIV)

Do you have a relationship with God the Father
through Jesus Christ, his Son?
Do you know Jesus as your Savior?
If not, today is the day for you, Girlfriend.

The Bible says if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord,
you will be saved. Romans 10:9 NIV

Don’t overthink it or make it complicated.

If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior,
you can enter into a relationship with him right now.
Salvation is the best present God offers you and
the best present you can give yourself.

You can use this little prayer or one of your own to
ask God into your life and heart
so that you know your eternity is secure.

Dear Lord Jesus, come into my heart. I believe you died for me, paying the penalty for my sins and rose from the dead after being in the grave for three days. I receive your forgiveness of my sins. Wash me and cleanse me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Lead me, guide me, comfort me and teach me the ways of your Bible so that I might have a life that works and the courage to proclaim you. Now and eternally. Amen.


  1. Amy Calvetti on October 2, 2017 at 12:51 am

    My husband asked me what I wanted for my 40th birthday. I told him I want a party! We invited a handful of friends & my mom, sister & nephew drove 5 hours to celebrate with me. I told everyone no gifts, but cards were ok. My sister decided not only did I need a gift, but I should get 40 gifts. So my mom & sister pitched in to buy (and my sister wrapped) 40 gifts. I was shocked & embarrassed because who opens 40 gifts in front of friends who were told no gifts. I can’t remember them all, but I love my sister for her crazy idea.
    So you might ask what I did for her 40th. My sister hates clutter so 40 gifts were out (and you can’t be a copy cat). So I found a stain glass pattern of a sock monkey that had 40 pieces to it. She loved her stain glass piece. I told her I was nice since I decided to solder it together instead of wrapping them individually. We had a good laugh over that.
    Thanks for sharing your story & bring a wonderful memory of my family back to me. I needed that.

    • Robyn Dykstra on October 2, 2017 at 1:56 am

      Oh Amy, What a fun memory. Thanks for sharing it. I can’t imagine opening 40 gifts. Your guests were good sports, too! Your family sounds very close knit. I’m glad you have that in your life.

  2. Lisa on October 2, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    My mom knew it was her last day. She knew she was never coming of the ventilator. Had been sick for months. Tried everything. The cancer was back. She didn’t want to suffer any more or ask us to be on that path either. She said good bye to us all the morning of April 6th and when she was ready, after we all had our time with her and together, she said she was ready. It was a blessing that we got to say good bye. It was still hard. I had the pleasure of praying over her with my family and asking God to please accept her into His kingdoms. She passed shortly after that. Her journey has just begun. She is with the Lord and I am very pleased with that.

    • Robyn Dykstra on October 2, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      So sorry you no longer have your mom here, but oh, sweet relief on so many levels, Lisa. Thank you for sharing this touching story.

  3. Elaine Hameister on October 2, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    A present for me: last week. A year ago we moved to a new home in Florida, and I was hospitalized with pneumonia at the moving day time, so Bob called to cancel until I was well. But…our good friends from church called the movers and said “Don’t cancel; we’ll do it..” and they did. The year before we had downsized from a big house in Petoskey, MI, and gave away, sold, and put boxes in charity shops, an accumulation of 60 years. I still had a lot of “stuff” and it came to Florida; after the move and someone else putting it all away, there were things I couldn’t find. Like my hand-mixer when it came time to cream butter for Christmas cookies….some books that I wanted to keep, etc. Last Friday I had a phone call from Harbor Springs, MI…perfect stranger, who said he bought something in a Catholic re-sale shop, for a QUARTER. It was a
    Bible, with the inscription handwritten: “To Bob and Elaine from Mom and Dad Hameister, 1978 in Jerusalem.” It had its own little wooden box, and he loves it. But he felt he should find its owners—and he searched. That search led him to FL; that little box is in the mail, and it will be a gift to our daughters this Christmas.

    • Robyn Dykstra on October 2, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Elaine, That is a wild story! Something like you’d read in Guideposts under His Mysterious Ways. You and Bob must represent Jesus very well to experience such love and support. And what a favorball to get that heirloom Bible back in the family. Thanks for encouraging and delighting us.

  4. Amanda Ripsam on October 3, 2017 at 3:07 am

    Oh wow. What a tear jerker and I am so sorry to see you in so much pain. Anniversary dates are hard for me to deal with too. l I light a candle at the Catholic church next to my apartment for my brother and grandfather. I also do something they loved to do such as bake pb and j cookies my baby brothers favorite cookies or I will watch old cop shows and call my grandma more often. Always just a facebook message away if you need a shoulder my friend. Blessings to you and yours

    • Robyn Dykstra on October 3, 2017 at 11:50 am

      You are so sweet Amanda. Thank you for your kindness and encouragement!

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