Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Give 52 - Week 8: A Father's Love

Give 52 - Week 8
Cheryl Houston 2015
July 16, 2015, I get a text from my sweet husband saying that Darren has invited us to dinner. A friend that they use to work with was in town. Our dinner party consisted of me, my husband and 5 other men. When we walked in I thought, "Oh! I'm the only girl." but I was reassured that I was invited.

The gentleman that was in from out of town is Pete.

Pete lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Jen, his son, Dylan, and his daughter, Elliana.

Pete gave me the usual speech I hear when meeting someone for the first time that knows my husband. "Chris is a great guy! I love him." My response is always, "I know! I love him so much I married him!"

We teased Pete about living in Pennsylvania and how could you even think about not living in Texas. Isn't it cold in Pennsylvania? Ew! But he went on the explain that his wife has family in Pennsylvania and she loved being near them. Ah, sweet.

Pete told me about his son and how he loved race cars. Now, I could be making this part up but I'm pretty sure he told me that he wanted to be a race car driver. Is that right? Cool ambition, right? I like it.

And then, Pete started telling me about his daughter, Elliana, and how she has her own business with her own bank account and business cards and the whole works. I asked how old she was and I think I remember the age 12 being thrown out.... is that right, Pete?

Well, I was intrigued. A 12 year old girl with her own business? I asked what kind of business she had and he told me she was a balloon artist. I don't know if it was just me connecting with another artist, or the beer I was drinking or if it was actually the pride busting out of Pete's voice that touched my heart. No, I do know. It was Pete.

Sitting before me was a father beaming about his daughter being a balloon artist. Beaming!

Elliana wanted to perform in the school talent show and taught herself from the good ol' internets how to make balloon art. She continued mastering her talent and her parents recognized those talents and encouraged her by setting her up at a table at a party they were at and,  of course, what kid can resist balloons? I heard the kids flocked to her and I guess the rest is history- they started a business, Take It Up A Twist.

Of course, I went home and checked out Elliana's work, and people! It is so AMAZING!!! These are not just your regular swords and flowers and little poodles that some old guy made you back in 1970, though, I'm sure she's very good at those. Elliana is making reindeer, Santa Claus, Brides and Grooms and Pirates with treasure chests! Check out her Facebook page for the photos.

And as amazing as Elliana's work is, what touches me most about this story is the act of  her father sharing her story with me in a way that was so authentic and genuine that you couldn't help but to see how much pride and joy he has in her and her talent.

I'm sending this weeks artwork to Pete to gift to Elliana. Elliana, I don't know if you know this but your father has a great big warm spot for you in his heart.

Pete, thank you for sharing your story with me. I will never forget meeting you.

This is my gift. I give it to you.


  1. Okay...that balloon art is absolutely amazing! Those rainforest frogs! I love the story behind this week's piece and think we need to fly Elli out to meet Matthew Beeny!!