Two Scoops with a Cherry on Top

26 05 2010

When events during an NCIS investigation start lining up, the agents just have to look at their leader, Special Agent Gibbs, and they say what he’s thinking for him.  “I know boss, you don’t believe in coincidence.”

I don’t either.  Here are just a few from the last week.

Our church is in the middle of a capital campaign to do some much needed renovation.  The 1970’s décor is reason enough to do a few things, but there are also come serious cracks in the walls and roof, the pews limit the use of our largest space to congregational or audience-type gatherings, and the exterior is letting in the weather, contributing to the cracks and water stains.  So church leaders have encouraged us to pray and ask God what He will give through us.  So far it sounds like a typical money pitch.  But the cool thing is that it hasn’t been.  We are a mostly white, suburban church that has been comfortable for quite some time.  Until now.  I think this is just the first step in allowing Jesus to resume headship in order to take us where we can’t go on our own.

My husband and I prayed about it and through around a figure early on that was quite a stretch.  Then we heard the Spirit tell us to triple it.  OK.  This is definitely a faith-walk now!  We work for a ministry and raise support so we can buy groceries and pay the mortgage.  Not sure HOW we’re going to be able to help pay for chairs and new walls.  But that’s the point, right?

We decided the amount we will write on our pledge card on Thursday.  On Friday, we got a check in the mail for exactly the same huge amount.  We can’t just hand it over; it’s made out to the ministry we work for, but that’s not the point.  We weren’t expecting the check, and it’s exactly the amount we pledged.  And since we don’t get our PO Box mail everyday, the check was probably sitting there for a while – just waiting.  Coincidence?  Uh… no.

The next day I feverishly worked on an article all day that was due to a publisher on Monday.  Knowing we had a graduation party and baby shower to go to on Sunday afternoon, I kept thinking about going out and getting gift cards.  But it didn’t happen, and I didn’t stress about it.  (Normally, I would be stressed and figure out a way to make it happen.)  I DID at least figure out how much would go in each card.

Sunday after church a guy on the worship team gave me the tithe from his yard sale earnings with, “I know it’s not much, but here you go.”  Sweet.  THEN his wife comes up, does and says the same thing!  On the way home I realized it was exactly what we needed to put in the cards.  I even found two perfect cards in my stash – no stress, no craziness, just perfect provision.  Definitely NOT coincidence.

This week I’ve been home by myself in the evenings because my husband is playing in the band for a local musical.  Since I enjoy my alone time, it’s been good.  I also need to mention, however, that we are down to one car now, so I’m not just at home- I’m home without a car.  Monday evening, after eating leftovers while making a grocery list, I said out loud, “I want some ice cream.”  The food ads were definitely doing their job!  We didn’t have any in the house and walking wasn’t an option since it was over 85 degrees which would melt me and the ice cream.  Just then the telephone rang.  A friend asked what I was doing, and would I like to join her for ice cream, her treat, since she had a 2-for-1 coupon.  I laughed out loud-several times that night.

Some would say these were coincidences.  Some would say that God was showing off for me.  I say that He loves me.  A ridiculously, double-scoop-with-a-cherry-on-top whole lot!


Happy Apple Birthday

19 06 2009

This morning after sleeping in on a luxurious day off, I had a late Birthday Breakfast.  Nothing special—two rice cakes with unsweetened peanut butter and an apple.  But in that ordinariness a blessing was waiting!

Several days ago I left a note for our son to buy milk, eggs, and a bag of apples at Aldi on his way home from work.  He did, but I’ve been so busy with work (early mornings/late nights) I hadn’t been in the fridge to see if he had remembered.  This morning as I began gathering my breakfast, I noticed the five gallons of milk and three dozen eggs.  The bag of apples was also where it should be, in the fruit drawer, and I retrieved it and set it on the counter.


As I turned to get a plate, the label caught my eye:  Chazy Orchards.  “NO WAY!” I laughed out loud!  ‘The largest MacIntosh Orchards in the World’ were just a few miles from our previous home in West Chazy, New York.  My imagination walked back to our home there, and I smiled.  Not a clear-across-my-face grin, but a wistful nod.  Troubles and heartache have continued to bombard us since moving to Indiana several years ago.  Thoughts of home in West Chazy during a simpler time surrounded me—like an ample cloak, heavy with familiar comfort.  Yet as I remembered more realistically, I realized that even after 16 years, it still hadn’t really been home.

So I asked myself where home is for me.  Working backward through the places I’ve lived, I came up empty.  Both my family growing up, and now my married family, have moved into towns and cities and not been able to become a part of the “home town” circle.  My roots go down quickly and deeply, but they have always been stunted by the clay of long-established associations.  There are places, however, which have seemed more like home than others—and it’s always been because family was nearby.

For me home=family, whether or not I have felt included in the lives of others around me.  The sadness that no place feels like home is an emotional cord that grows stronger with each heartache, tying me with growing longing to my True Home and Forever Family.  That is my home where I belong—truly belong.  That is where real family lives and loves.  That is where every good and perfect gift originates… like a bag of Chazy Orchards apples!

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