Inside the box was this pop-up of a winter scene. Isn't this the coolest thing ever?
Nestled under the pop-up were these packages of German cookies. Wow, delicious! The givers were Ed's younger brother and sister-in-law, Ken and Eloisa. Ken is in the Navy and has been stationed in Italy for quite awhile, but he recently received orders to return to Virginia. They've already left Italy and are currently visiting Eloisa's family in Spain, where she is from, before Eloisa moves with Ken to the far-away United States next month.
I'm not sure whether they got the German cookies in Italy or Germany or somewhere else (they've traveled extensively throughout Europe), but Ken assures us the Germans make most excellent sweets. That must be where I got my sweet tooth! My great grandfather Jacob Beierschmitt came to the USA from Germany when he was about 8 or 9.
This is my most favorite Christmas gift of all! It's the first photo I've ever seen of my new husband as a child. What a cutie! Don't you love those big brown eyes?
Ed's mother, Caryl, sent me this school picture of Ed in our Christmas card. She knows I've been longing to see pictures of Ed as a youngster, so when she found this one she sent it to me immediately. Ed's father took lots of slides throughout his children's growing up years, and Caryl has graciously allowed us to bring the huge box full of those slides here to Arizona. Unfortunately, we don't have a slide viewer of any kind so I haven't been able to look at them yet. As soon as I locate the technology (I know what I need, but haven't found it available here in our rural community), I plan to convert the slides to digital photographs on the computer. Then we can share them with everyone in Ed's family!
Elder Carter with President and Sister Bunker on the day of his arrival.
Finally, although this wasn't a Christmas present, it was still a great gift to receive this picture in the mail yesterday, along with a letter from Jacob's mission president. President Bunker wrote:
"He arrived safely and looked well and happy. We had lunch and an orientation at the mission home with the new missionaries and were very impressed with them... Our desire is to help your son reach his full potential, to have success and to accomplish his goals. We know that as he shares the gospel of Jesus Christ, he will experience great happiness as his testimony will grow and be strengthened. We love and pray for your son and ask you to pray for us as we work together to build the kingdom of God."
Not all gifts come wrapped in pretty paper, but each one warms the heart!