During the Advent season, the Harms family gave us “Twelve Gifts of Christmas.” Each evening we’d find a surprise gift on our bed, one of which included dinner for 2 at the Harms Restaurant. Most of the gifts were used or eaten but some got tucked away. To my obliviousness Ryan chose a day to redeem the coupon, surprising the breath outta me!

Ryan and I ran some errands to return after dark (+ the power was out that night, which is a common occurrence) to the Harms kids greeting us outside the gate, aprons tied around their waists holding a white board decorated with flowers and hearts and “Welcome to the Harms Restaurant.” Kady handed me a single paper red rose she crafted for me, then the pack of kids proceeded to walk Ryan and me around to the back of the house…

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As we rounded the corner, my eyes beheld a table set for two. Familiar, beloved music (a playlist we used at our wedding) was serenading the still evening. In the black of the night the twinkle lights twinkled brightly, the flames of the candles swayed with the breeze. The table was adorned with a bouquet of homemade paper flowers and a beautiful place setting. African fabric was draped on the side of the house to offer a cozy back drop. Drawings from the children decorated the “walls,” serving as the restaurant’s artwork. It looked like a scene from a movie, but even more serene and private and real. 

A table for two.

The children gave us menus, served our food, kept our water glasses full. Toby wore a bow tie. They all wore sweet, toothless smiles. And Erin worked to make us a special meal in a hot kitchen with only the light of a headlamp.

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A citronella candle to keep the mosquitos away. A glass of wine. A starry night. A bowl of coffee and chocolate chip gelato to end a delicious meal. A dance in the arms of the man I love. A recorder serenade by our beloved Alyssa.

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There was no anniversary to be celebrated.

No momentous occasion to notice.

Just because, my husband says.

To acknowledge love shared by two lovers.

With the help of a family who is “for us” {and impossibly cute}.

A memory that will not be forgotten. Thank you, husband. Thank you, Harms family. Thank you, God, for sweet gifts.

Editor’s Note:  Josi and her husband are currently in Africa working on their business. Read all of Josi’s stories on Her View From Home.  Or click on over to her blog at ryanandjosi.blogspot.com.   
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Josi Seibert

Josi was born and raised a Nebraska girl. As many Cornhuskers did, she grew up on a farm in a small rural community. Upon graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan University, she exchanged cornfields for skyscrapers as she moved to Chicago to attend Moody Theological Seminary. It was there that she met her beloved husband, Ryan, and grew an interest in cross-cultural relationships as she worked with international students, refugee families, and lived in one of the most diverse communities in the country. She and her husband moved to Ghana, West Africa in September 2013 with a team of friends to start a business. In 2015 they resettled back in Chicago to welcome their first child and are currently working with World Relief, helping resettle refugees and find them employment. You're invited to keep in step with them as they live, work, learn and play: http://www.ryanandjosi.blogspot.com/