Tonight we were wrapping presents, stirring up the breakfast casserole for morning, hanging out after early church and Chinese take-out. A tradition Mark continues from late childhood when the only place open in Shadyside was the Chinese restaurant around the block. Matthew is here from Croatia. Laura and James called on the way back from his parents’ home where they had spent Christmas Eve. Said they might drop by or not. They called again. Said they were at the front door. And James came in carrying a huge brown box. He opened it up on the kitchen table and there was a beautiful oil portrait of Laura looking at me, full of life and beauty, painted expertly by her mother-in-law to be, portrait artist Sharon Weaver. I was overcome, felt a lump well up in my throat, not just for the stunning and beautiful painting. I felt intense happiness that she is loved so well by his family. The painting was such an unexpected gift. An heirloom present. A gift of love. I’ll photograph it again in the light of day. Thank you Sharon!