Mandy's uncle, a very talented artist and craftsman, built us an end table for a belated wedding gift. I have included a couple pictures of the table below. It's an amazing gift on two levels: One is the fine craftsmanship and working of the table, the other is the fact that he thought to make it. From the pictures, you can tell that no small amount of effort was put into creating the table. It's artificial aging, woodworking, masonry, and wax finish are very high quality. He even used blends of woods and finish so it would match our couches (a detail I completely missed until it was brought to my attention). Mandy and I have personally set glasses of water of it to verify it provides the necessary functions a table should.
Gifts are always nice, but we feel they are especially effective in conveying love and gratitude when they are made, rather than purchased. The construction of a gift is a literal rendering of a person's feelings. Living in Kentucky, he was unable to attend the wedding, but he wanted to show his love and respect, so he crafted this table. The gesture was deeply moving for both Mandy and I, considering our general stance towards gift giving and for me in particular, considering an entire half of my extended family felt it unnecessary to even attend the wedding.
The many gifts we have received throughout the years, purchased or otherwise, are a powerful reminder that we live blessed lives, filled with an abundance of wonderful friends and family we feel deeply honored to know and love. I don't think we say thanks enough, so here it is: Thanks!