Chapel Valley Estate

Large yellow and red home surrounded by trees and an expansive outdoor patio with planters, tables and chairs

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The Element of Surprise!

Who doesn’t love a good surprise? February has Valentines Day. It’s that time of year that the thoughts of flowers, chocolates, wine and other gifts are prevalent. Be my Valentine! Along with the special romantic musings comes a time of surprises, whether you are on the giving end or on the receiving end. Surprises can be had at any time however… which enhances the surprise when it’s least expected! Recently, we were on the giving end and surprised our son, daughter-in-law, and two of our grandchildren. They just happen to live over 1400 miles away!

It all started out hearing that our 9 year old granddaughter was going to be in a school play. Our daughter-in-law’s mother who lives near us was going to fly out and spend a week so that she could see the play. The wheels started to turn. We contacted the school to find out about tickets and other details. We booked the flights, the lodging and the car and headed out west!

Stacy, one of the school nurses staff who we initially contacted just happened to have a daughter who was friends with our granddaughter who was in the play. It made life much easier as she was just as excited in surprising them as we were.

When we showed up at the School about 45 minutes before the performance, we were hidden in the nurses office until they could get seated and situated. Our new friend convinced them to get their picture taken at which time we did our photo bomb before we tapped them on the shoulder! The expressions and reactions were priceless!

As we’ve shared this story with others, we’ve sensed the excitement and then we hear other stories of surprises! One of our guests shared how a friend of hers had a bakery. One of her friends contacted her asking her to make a cake, which happened to be a surprise party for the baker. She asked the baker what she would recommend for this party so that the baker would be making her own cake with the style and flavor that she really liked. She found out the surprise for her when she delivered the cake! How cool is that?!

Several years ago, I decided to throw a surprise birthday party for Pat. She never gets on FaceBook, so I thought about inviting whomever that way, but then I thought about all of the lives that she has touched over the years and decided to do invites instead. Our one daughter and a good friend suggested keeping it simple, so we did.

I started out emailing family and friends… friends from High School, friends from Nursing School, friends from a previously attended church and our present church, friends from the Emergency Department and the GI Lab where she spent a good portion of her nursing career. All said and done, there were probably about 150 people. Yes, simple, right?

Many had responded with the question, “what can I do or bring?” My response was to bring an Hors d’ Oeuvre type of food while we furnished the cake and drinks, simple, right? The spread with the help of so many turned out to be fantabulous!

Now, when you run a bed and breakfast that has an Event Room, how do you hide that from your wife who knows all that goes on? That’s where Carissa comes in, a former employee and former college roommate of one of our daughters. We had her ask Pat if she could utilize the Event Room for a surprise party for her mom (All the room mates called all of their mothers, “mom”!). No problem. Pat figured everything was being set up by Carissa and for her mom and her family.

The next thing is how to get a room full of people into the room where she would definitely recognize every individual coming to the property? Simple, right? Since it was her birthday weekend, I just shared with her that we, our immediate family was planning on celebrating the next Sunday as one of our girls had a prior commitment. Since it was Sunday, and her birthday weekend, Carissa would be able to accommodate any guests for a late breakfast and handle the event taking place in the Event Room. After all, it was “her family”! The plan was to go to church and then after church, Pat, her mom, and I would go for a simple lunch at a local restaurant. Since Carissa was involved, we could take our time and not feel rushed.

Time to head home and see how Carissa is doing with her mom’s party. As we passed the parking lot, Pat commented on how it looked like Carissa had a great turnout! Pat and her mom were dropped off at the front of the house and I would take the car “down to the garage” as I usually do. Pat was met in the kitchen by Carissa who said, “come on down and let me introduce you to my mom”. The rest is history!

So tell us your surprise story whether you were a receiver or the giver! You do realize that we can be very beneficial in helping you out with any future surprises! Just ask the couple that booked a room. He knew that they were coming here, but did not realize that she booked a Ferrari for him to drive at for his birthday!

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