My husband, Richard,is a geekie-techie kind of guy and this helps to create a good balance in our relationship because I’m more of the arty-crafty type who, as already mentioned in several of my postings, tends to fly by the seat of her pants. Even though my husband’s attachment to his computer and all things technological sometimes drives me a little crazy, I have to admit that I’m very blessed to have him in my life. After all, I have a resident expert computer-problem-fixer.
For about fifteen years now Richard has created and maintained a web site about techie things, mainly connected to Windows related stuff. In fact his web site domain name is WindowsObserver.com just in case any of you other techies want to check it out. Over the last few years he has developed a strong relationship with Microsoft and has been involved in their Beta testing, has written a few articles for them, and has been nominated a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional).
Because of this latter status, he was approached and asked to sit on a panel at a Customer Support conference to be held in Orlando, Florida this week. When we looked at our planners and saw that I would be attending my Audire program in Winter Park from Friday to Sunday, we decided to combine our trips so that we would not spend five days apart. Consequently I find myself in the lovely complex called The Villas of Grand Cypress (Golf Resort). The accommodations are absolutely lovely, surrounded as we are by golf greens and trees, although I’m a little disappointed that a resort of this caliber does not provide a small mini refrigerator in each suite (I carry supplements and fresh juiced produce that need to stay cold).
So this morning as I woke up and came to, I opened the drapes to be met by a stunning scene. Right outside my French doors is a small patio that over looks a retention pond, and swimming across the middle was a group of ducks. The far side of the pond is flanked by the rolling dunes of the golf greens. On the other sides of the pond I see lots of trees and plants through which I can make out other villas.
About fifteen yards from my end of the pond there is a small island, no bigger than twenty feet in diameter, on which there are five or six large trees, a couple of saplings, a few bushes and some small sego palms. The sky was a clear blue, not a cloud in sight, and squirrels were scampering across the porch and chasing each other up and down the trees immediately beyond the porch. When I opened the French doors, a flock of white egrets (I think they were egrets – white with long, skinny, curved yellow beaks), appeared out of nowhere and walked right onto the porch, obviously looking for a handout.
Although it was not warm-warm, it was warm enough to sit outside for my quiet time with God. It was so peaceful and so lovely that the first thought was of gratitude. I read my morning reflections and then just sat back and took in the beauty of God’s creation and suddenly felt so blessed. Today is Veteran’s Day, and I think of all those men and women in far-flung and dangerous war zones around the globe, separated from their families and everything familiar and comfortable. My gratitude levels soar as I compare where I am right now and where they are.
I continued to contemplate and meditate and watched a small blue heron approach my edge of the pond and swiftly dip his beak into the water, drawing it out a second later with a tiny wriggling fish which he quickly devoured. The air is clear and fresh with a hint of wood smoke, that unique smell that permeates everything during the Fall. Then suddenly I see a small movement on the island. There, perfectly camouflaged in the shadows, was a “Big Blue”. He stood perfectly still keeping a watchful eye on the water, waiting for the slightest movement which would indicate breakfast!!
As I took this all in, I was overcome with emotion. My throat filled up and I felt tears spill down my cheeks. I am so blessed, my life is so rich in many ways. I may not be rich in the conventional meaning of that word. I don’t have lots of money, nor do I have a luxury car or a boat or any of those high-ticket items. But I do have the money that I need, a car that is more than functional, the possibility of being in this place at this time. I have an amazing, loving husband, and so many good friends. God has filled my life with so many gifts and I am truly grateful.
Toby stopped in his tracks. There, in the middle of the path, lay a shining, gold ring. Toby reached down to pick it up and gasped. A huge diamond sparkled up at him.
“Hey Toby, wait up for me,” shouted a familiar voice behind him.
Toby spun around and forced a smile for his friend Matt. His fingers closed tightly over the ring and he quickly stuffed it down into his pocket.
“What’s wrong Toby?” asked Matt staring intently at Toby’s face.
Toby’s brain was working at warp speed. He needed time to think, time to decide what to do. He looked at the ground and kicked at a stone.
“Nothing,” he replied. “Didn’t want to get up this morning. We’d better hurry or we’ll be late for school.
Toby and Matt had been friends since starting first grade. They had stood on opposite sides of the classroom, two little strangers pulled together by one thing they had in common – bright red hair! They had been inseparable since then.
Toby wanted to tell Matt about the ring, but something stopped him. Later he sat in math class and his fingers touched the smooth metal circle in his pocket. Then they rubbed over the cut surface of the diamond. He knew the ring had to be worth a lot of money.
He knew his mother really wanted an electric sewing machine, and his father had just said the other day how much easier it would be to cut the grass with an electric mower. And Toby himself really wanted that blue and silver mountain bike in the store over on Oak Street……..
“Toby Dawson, perhaps you can tell me what the answer is,” said the teacher.
“I, er…… uhm, I’m sorry Ma’am, but I didn’t hear the question,” stammered Toby. Matt grinned and winked at him. Toby immediately felt guilty about keeping his secret from Matt.
After that Toby forced himself to keep his mind on his work. When the lunch bell rang he grabbed his lunch and raced to the door. He didn’t want to face Matt because he wasn’t sure what to tell him.
Toby went around the back of the school to eat and to think about the ring. As he sat on an empty crate and chewed his sandwich, he heard a male voice above his head.
“I don’t know what to do. The ring was in my pocket so I could take it to the jeweler’s to be cleaned. It must have fallen out, and my wife is going to be so upset. Her father left it to me when he died last year.” The voice sounded desperate.
“Hey Toby!” shouted Matt as he came round the corner. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere. What’s up?”
Toby’s heart felt as heavy as lead. What was happening to him? Here he was keeping secrets from his best friend and hiding from him too. Worse yet, he was a thief!
Toby sat bolt upright. Suddenly, he knew exactly what he needed to do. He glanced quickly at Matt who was standing there with a frown on his face. He decided to tell him everything.
“Matt, I’m sorry I’ve been acting so weird this morning. I had to sort some stuff out in my head. I thought I could do it best on my own. Now I think I’d like your help.”
Toby told Matt all about the ring, and he even confessed that he had been tempted to sell it. Then he showed his friend the ring.
“Wow!” said Matt, his eyes getting big. “You sure could buy lots of nice things with that.” Then, looking puzzled, he said, “But how would you sell it? What would happen if you got caught?”
Toby nodded. “I think I knew all along that I couldn’t keep it or sell it. I guess I needed to hear it from someone else. So, what do you think I should do?”
“Just take it to the principal and tell him you found it,” replied Matt. “Come on, I’ll go with you.”
Toby felt a load lift off his shoulders. The ring may have been a great treasure, but having a friend like Matt was worth a lot more.