On Friday night, August 27th, my husband, my son and I had a Tan Hua party in our backyard. During that party I had the thought, “This is not the sort of party that black people are supposed to have.” Then I thought. “Are there really things that are just for this people or that people?” No, not the God-given important things. And He is full of surprises!

Our Tan Hua party started around 9:30 p.m. I sent this text and photo to our immediate family: “Hey fam! We are having a Tan Hua party in our backyard. It’s a one night a year blooming cactus, and the blooms will die by morning. It’s the plant in Crazy Rich Asians. Some Asians believe that to witness the blooming will bring luck and prosperity for the year. We have had these plants for several years (a man at church gave us plantings), but this is the first time we have stayed out for the blooming. We think they will fully bloom by midnight. It’s 9:30 here and the blooms are already beautiful. I will share when they make their full ballerina-like appearance. Meanwhile we are watching, Man in Black International.

As we watched rubber creatures, we had popcorn and talked about Formula One racing and life. We laughed and every now and again we would glance over our shoulders to watch God work his magic. That cactus went from a big bud, to a bell, to a bloom, to a shining wide-open gorgeous white satin flower over a two hour time period. What a surprise - its brilliance, uniqueness, and beauty. Exquisite. It was just a flower, but to watch the process was God! And the next morning, the blooms were closed, drooped and gone. How many times have we missed things of beauty because we didn’t stay up or stay alert or just didn’t pay attention?

Did you really take note the last time that your husband kissed you on the back of the neck? When was the last time that you played in a rainstorm or stood under an icy cold waterfall? Have you ever been thankful that the Lord put you in the right place after being displaced? Did you notice the cicadas after sixteen years? Have you heartily accepted a sweet toddlers blown kisses? Are you thankful to be whole after COVID, Ida and unemployment? Have you ever had a baby? Do you remember that first mother’s kiss? Did you see that rainbow the other day? Have you taken a deep breath today? How did you do that? Blessings. Have you ever found a crawdad under a rock in a fresh-water stream with their little feather-like gills fluttering and flat tails flapping? Have you seen a praying mantis blending in? Surprise!

There are just so many God-given sweet, amazing, gorgeous, spectacular blessings and surprises for everyone to enjoy and ponder. Have you watched a lightning bug show over a wild grass feel lately? Or seen heat lightning spread through the clouds? Why is this popping corn? I am so glad that I can poop! Reproductive ants have wings! Truly, the Tan Hua was fascinating.

The specialness of this world is for everyone, but if you don’t look for it - you will miss it. So, breathe and you will prosper.

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