Purse snatcher teaches a lesson

It hasn’t even been twelve hours yet.
Last night, at 7:02, Glory’s credit card was declined at a gas pump at Raceway.
But, her next card worked. So, it was used to filled up a gas tank.
Not long after, she walked the bicycle up the hill at the Savannah Rapids Tow Path,
a mile and a half away from her stolen purse,
to find this:

She called me first.  I instructed her to call the police and then immediately cancel her bank cards. By the time I got there, she was surrounded by police cars.

Her trunk latch was knocked ajar some time ago and didn’t work properly, so for a bit, things were actually a little safer in her locked car than they were in her unlockable trunk. She got out of the habit of using her trunk as a “safe place.” Her trunk has since been repaired, but she still forgets to use it.  Honestly, I think she’s just too trusting.  Youth allows us that treacherous deceit though, doesn’t it? She was shaken up a bit, but in my motherly-eyes, that’s such a blessing.
This youthful, energetic girl works at a restaurant where she gets off late.  She works with her two room mates and a handful of friends.  She gets off work late and sometimes runs by a grocery store, Wal-mart or meets friends at an all-night diner before going home.  So, she is out and about late at night, in a car that has a roof that can be opened
more easily than a box shipped through UPS.
“Locked inside her car” is a concept, not a physical reality.

And so, I praise God for this theft. The person slit her roof, drove down the road to our favorite gas station, pumped gas and tossed her purse into the dumpster. We know some of the workers there by name.  Raceway does not sell pornography and they only charge $1.50 to use their ATM machine. How amazing that they would drive straight to the only gas station that we ever use!

The police went to the business to ask about video tape, but didn’t look around for the bag. Joy and I went home and grabbed our maglights and did some detective work. I didn’t want the dumpster to be emptied before we had a chance to do some digging.  We looked in each trash can and then in the dumpster at the station.

I thought we would have to look harder,
but I could see the black liner of her purse in a corner of the dumpster
behind a Budweiser box and on top of a trash bag.  The whole episode took look than three hours
and so much good came from it. Truly, I’m praising God.

Everything was in her purse, except her three bank/credit cards and eighteen dollars in cash. Only one card was used before all three cards were canceled.  Even if the bank doesn’t reimburse her for the single transaction, a tank of gas is a small price to pay for a lesson well learned.

I am so thankful.  Had this not happened, Glory and her bff/roomie, Barbie, might have run an errand after work one night and turned the corner into an unknown neighborhood.  They might have been followed to their car in a parking lot. They might have been jumped at a stop sign when they weren’t paying attention  … only canvas separating them from danger.

They might have had much, much more than a few bank cards and some cash stolen.
This scare has helped her realize that a thin, fabric roof offers little to no personal protection
from one that wants to do harm.
I am thankful.

You know there is no such thing as “coincidence,” right?
Everything that happens first sifts through God’s hands of approval.
God has a purpose for all things.  He can use all things for good.

And so, I wonder … what if the person is caught?
What responsibility do I have in God’s eyes to this life
that may have saved my daughter’s?

If the person is caught,
I’d love to go visit him/her.
I owe them so much more
than the value of a tank of gas.

Roaches in cereal

We live in the deep south. We live in an established neighborhood full of trees.  “Palmetto Bugs” live in trees. Call them what you want; “Palmetto Bug” is just another name for the American Cockroach.

I don’t like them, but I don’t scream and jump up on a chair when I see one. My Drama Child? She screams. It’s a blood-curdling scream, usually accompanied by a huge leap backward with arms thrown up to the face. If she locates an escape route, she barrels out of the room, down the hall and into her room with a *SLAM* of the door (because we know that palmetto bugs chase people, right?).  The man/child? Well, he used to act like a girl when he saw one, but now he and Glory both find a way to kill it and move on.

James loathes spiders, but he’s a ninja when it comes to roaches. I’ve seen him don a mask and black clothing while he goes on a hunt, stalking quietly until the enemy is at close range. At times, James knows that swatting it with a flyswatter would create too much noise and the buggy would just get away, so he has found more creative ways to get rid of these pests.  He has been known to trap them in a cup (taking lessons from the Master Spider trapper/hater, Zack Scott who has mad skillz…you really need to watch this video) or under a dish and then move it outside in the middle of the driveway …. where it will be an easy kill as it runs across the ground.   He will then quickly
UN.COVERS.IT and
*BAM*
…. bug is dead.
He’s my hero: creative and quick. Yay, James!!! (I wonder if Zack is a roach killer or saver? I dunno…)

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t have them inside our home by the dozen. We see them more often when there is rain outside or a strong change of weather. But, on the average, we see one every few weeks.  We have an exterminator come and that has helped. But, unless he climbs all the trees that are close to the house and canopy over it, we simply won’t completely eliminate “palmetto bugs” from our home.

So, I figure, if we’re going to have roaches, let’s make this fun, right?

All the kids in the house have been hoarders at one time or another. With three kids in the house, any delectable, trashy treat that comes in the house is going to be devoured quickly.  James has been known to hide boxes of microwave popcorn in his room. Joy has a stash-spot that she hides her Easter or Fall candy.  And Glory has been known to have a bottle of Dew on her chest of drawers. Don’t get me wrong – these food items are sealed, closed and in clean containers.  We rarely, rarely see a bug anywhere other than the main living/kitchen area.

But, Glory …. well, she left herself wide open for a prank.  Before moving out, she bought herself a box of Cap’n Crunch,  took it to her room and kept it there. One morning, after she finished her bowl of sugar-laden, sugar-filled, sugar-coated breakfast, she left the box open. I saw this as an opportune time to slip a bug into her box, since we know that roaches will find food that’s available. Right?  The little guy looked incredibly convincing.

Later she admitted that she saw him before she poured herself another bowl of cereal and began to pour KNOWING that he was an impostor
. . . . .  then the thought occurred to her,
“Uhm…..
I wonder if he’s a REAL roach?”
So, she didn’t drop the box and run out of the room screaming, but I did “get” her.
She had second thoughts when she saw him.

We have a handful of these fake little guys.  They all look very real.  Back when I was still enjoying chocolate, I can vividly remember finding one in the Nesquik container and being scared silly….scream and all!!   They have been dropped into dark tinted drinks like soda. They have been left in bathrooms, drawers and on plates on the kitchen counter. At times, I have kept one in my purse … you know …. just in case the perfect time arose to trick someone.

So, if you take me up on the offer to stop by sometime, don’t be surprised if you spy a bug in my house.

Chances are – he’s a fake.

I miss her

The sunshine pours into her room, spills across her bed.
Her hollow room, empty and clean.
Her walls that echo of green and quotes.
I miss her. The kitty cats still go and sleep on her bed. She was their snuggler. When others in the family had no patience for night time visitors that might move or reposition themselves in the darkness, she had space.  And now, one of those kitties, she has taken on with her to her apartment. And the lone, forlorn Smudge continues to check. He goes in to nap. He snuggles there at night. He waits for her.

She does come back. She drops by to do laundry. She stops by to say “hello.” She comes in for a quick chat. She even drops by for a nap with the kitty.

Even if I wasn’t here when she came by, I can always tell if she has been here. Like sparkle dust that falls from a pixie’s wings, she drops bobby pins when she visits. It’s entertaining to me. She only wears a few when she puts her hair up for work. But, when she comes over, she leaves them. Bobby pins on the floorThey are on the carpet on her bedroom floor. The carpet that she bought at a yard sale with bartered babysitting time when we first moved to Augusta.

Bobby pins & coins

They are on the dryer,  mingling with change from tips at work and energy drink and chewing gum receipts from the gas station.Bobby pin - left behind by my sunshiney girl

And then there are those lonely pins that end up on the hall, kitchen and den floors.

But, she has left me sweet notes … notes that I won’t erase….
until they wear illegible.

They are on my mirror and the menu board that now lies too dormant … as there are so few mouths to feed now on a consistent basis that …. I wing it more than I plan. I’m happy for her.  She is doing well.  She has wonderful room mates.  She’s paying her bills on time. She enjoys her job.  She’s back in school. She’s having fun. She spends time with a guy that seems to be wonderful.

But, even with all the good … and the fact that this is all perfectly natural and healthy …

I still miss her.

I’m just sayin’ ….

Own it

We have a big festival here every year that celebrates the arts.  James went downtown with a friend on Friday night.  Later, I decided I would go downtown and search for some creative inspiration.  Having already arrived at home, James offered me the pass that he had purchased and used earlier in the evening.

I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. It isn’t a numbered pass … just a little pin that you wear on your shirt. No one would know we were “sharing” it. But,  it seemed to me to be dishonest.  Using it might be the same as his sharing a movie ticket with me …. for a movie that he had already seen. Right?  He paid to get in – but now, I must also.

I’m not sure why this authenticity/honesty thing is so important to me  … but, it is. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched people be dishonest and hurt people they love. Maybe it’s because I’m always evaluating my own actions and reactions.  Maybe it’s because I’m seeing my oldest children stretching their wings …. strengthening their muscles …. stepping into their adult personas and I want to above reproach.

With this adult freedom, choices have been made that …. well, that a moma’s ♥ might not choose.  Both my kids have picked up cigarettes. I don’t like cigarettes. They know that. Glory has since stopped … and James … well, he’s not sure if he really wants to or not. But, I’m not going to disown them because they spend their hard-earned money on Marlboro’s any more than if they spend it on bubble gum.

Ya know what’s been harder for me?  The fact that they have hidden their cigarettes …. not from me, so much …. but from certain others.

A perfect example:  the two of them went to the grocery store together some weeks ago.  They were sitting in the car smoking cigarettes just before they went into the store, when a mother of a friend pulled into the parking space beside them. They slouched down in their seats and hid themselves AND their cigarettes. 

So, in their heart of hearts, they knew that what they were doing was not … good. Because, if they had been holding a coke and knew that this mom didn’t like coke, but preferred pepsi, they still wouldn’t have hidden their drink.  But, this was more than that. I think they know that cigarettes are a bigger decision than the “coke or pepsi” debate.

Turning the spotlight on myself, I’m also struggling with an internal brawl.  My iPod looks like it belongs to a schizophrenic.  I have music from Veggie Tales, Pit Bull and James Taylor, Josh Groban, The Black Eyed Peas and  Crosby, Still & Nash on my playlist.  You can find Ella Fitzgerald, Lyle Lovett,  DJ Khaled and Toby Mac in my band list. I have classical, country, folk and alternative choices galore.  There are a few songs – very, very few …. but still some – that I don’t want Joy singing. There are several songs that I couldn’t…. well, wouldn’t want to sing …. in front of … a Bible study group.

So, there I am ducking down in the car hiding my ….. cigarettes …… I mean my ipod ….. and hoping that the mom driving into the parking space next to me in the Kroger parking lot won’t see/hear my contraband.

I’m just being honest here.

If I were to choose a verse of scripture to have Jesus personally explain to me, I would ask Him to tell me HOW I can do what Paul instructs and be “all things to all people.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) Because, to come alongside a Mennonite, I must wear a modest dress and head-covering. But, in doing so, a student sitting next to me in class at school would not be able to find any way to relate to me. How can I be “all things to all people?”  I’m not sure. This verse has been perplexing to me … for decades … for.EVER.

But, what I do know, is that I must be comfortable with who I am today. I must let the Spirit of God lead me and remain open and teachable … wherever I am.  In the past, I have worn only dresses, home-schooled my kids and ground my own wheat to make our bread.  At other times, I have done well to find clean shorts for everyone and get Kraft macaroni and cheese on the table. Right now, I’m a single mom in school with two young adults stretching their wings and a pre-teen with an irreverent mouth who is spending her days in the halls of a public school (cringe).

And right now, as never before, it means more to me for my kids and I to do our best to be authentic. If we’re going to smoke, let’s do it in the open. If we’re going to have a margarita, let’s not hide it. If we’re going to listen to Uncle Kracker, let’s be comfortable with it.

Or let’s not do it at all.

Own it. Be yourself. Be real. Be authentic. Be honest.

So, may I ask you a question? Where are you struggling right now? What are you hiding from others … but enjoy in private?  And more importantly, do you hide it because the Spirit of God is convicting you that it’s not okay?  Or do you hide it because of fear of man?

Honestly?

My sweet Glory has been so incredibly gracious to loan me her car off and on …. for months …. as I’ve battled the demons within the engine of my van …. it limping in and out of the shop for months now.

Not so long ago, I came across a bottle of commonly used weight loss stimulate pills in Glory’s console.  I immediately sent her a text message that went something like this:

” ‘Scuse me.  You do realize that a VSD is a HOLE between the CHAMBERS of your HEART. It probably ISN’T a good idea for you to take a STIMULANT like {product name} since you’re already HIGHLY caffeinated.  I’m thinking this could be a really good way to DIE.”

I know. I’m dramatic.  She’s used to it.

She quickly texted me back to tell me that the bottle belonged to one of the girls that worked with her. I was quick to tell her to pass along the message to the girl that products like this really aren’t GOOD  for anybody …. whether you have a hole in your heart or not.

(Fast forward a few weeks)

I’m in Glory’s room cleaning up for a guest that will be staying in her room.  (You know what’s coming, don’t you?) I’m dusting and vacuuming.  Because her shelves are so empty, I was searching through her closet to see if she left behind anything that I could put on her shelving so her room would look less …. forlorn and abandoned.

There in the back left hand corner of her closet’s top shelf
was the {product name} box.

.

.

.

.

.

She lied to me.
She told me what she thought I wanted to hear
rather than being truthful.
“She just couldn’t tell me the truth right then.”

I’ll be honest.
I was … very sad.
I was disappointed.

But, I love Dr. James Dobson’s advice to never put any person on a pedestal
because one step in any direction
will cause them to fall to the ground.

Years ago, when my children were still small tots, God released me.
It was such a freeing thing.
See, once I had children, I felt this incredible need
to take better care of myself and be less risky,
because I had to be around to care for and raise my children.
I had a deep fear of dying
because I knew I had a responsibility to raise my children.
It wasn’t a natural thing.
It was a little extreme.  It was truly a fear.
But, I remember when I heard someone say that
God is a better Mother than I could ever be.
I knew then, that even if I were to die, my children would be okay.
God loves them more than I do
and could do a better job of raising them than I ever could.
He has their best in mind and, though bad things happen, I didn’t need to fret.
He would be their Mother and their Father, if need be.

If I’m an adult  …  a parent …. a grown up
and I fail as miserably as I do,
then why shouldn’t I be gracious and EXPECT my own children to fail?
A pedestal is not where they belong.
They will make mistakes.
And all of my fretting and worrying and controlling
will smother them
more than give them the freedom to grow.

So, rather than expecting perfection
and taking it personally when they fail,
I try to take it in stride when I see them making mistakes.

A day or two after I found the box, Glory stopped by the house.  She flitted around and we talked and caught up on life.  When things settled down, I went into her room and picked up the box.  I called her into her room. She walked in. I held it out and said, “You lied to me.”  It was hard – for both of us.  We talked … but mostly, I gave her a speech.  (I give VERY few of these) It was short, but it was real. I told her never to lie to me … never …. ever … ever.

It is so much more important to me to be honest
than it is for me to please you…. or anyone.
I want her to grasp that.

Glory, I love you.
You’re wonderful. You’re charming. You have nothing to hide.
I’d rather watch you fail ….
than find that you’ve lied to cover up wrongdoing.
You can’t please everyone. You won’t always please me.
I’m okay with that.  You need to be, also.
Be yourself.  Do what you know in your gut … in your heart to be right.
And when you fall, be honest about it.
You know the betrayal of having been lied to.
Don’t perpetuate that trait.
You’re MUCH too beautiful for that.

Tiaras and thunderstorms

The afternoon settles in and the heaviness collects.
It’s a repetitive scene of sultry, summer skies.
Four nights now … maybe five
have told the same story.  Cloudy SkiesBeautiful afternoon skies fill with dampness that collects
accumulates
and builds
until the weight is so great
there has to be a release.

The lightning is thrown from the heavens and crashes all around us.
It rumbles in the east and rolls across us to the west.
It  shakes the earth, the air and the thin panes
that separate us on the inside
from the downpour on the outside.

The Dalmatian paces the hall. She follows on the heels. She sits beside my chair. She lies by my bed.  At bedtime, sweet Joy drags Dulcie’s bed down the hall to my door to offer her some solace.  There, she knows she is close to family and out of reach of streaks that fly across the sky bringing pounding claps of thunder. We cannot truly comfort her.  She will pace through the night. She will pace until the clouds empty and the heavens quiet. Joy removes her collar to silence the sound of restlessness as she paces.

And I know across town, there is another soul that stirs with angst.  Glory is just as irritated by thunderstorms.  I don’t know why, but she is terribly afraid of storms.  If she is out and about as one moves in, she will find a way to head home.  She prefers her room and its familiarity during distress.

But, home is no longer here … at my house.  Sunday, she put other things aside and packed her boxes.  Monday, she and two friends gathered their belongings from three different places and took them all to an apartment that the three will share …. for at least one year. I thought I’d be crushed.  I expected I’d cry. But, I’m okay.  It’s been a natural, slow progression.  She has spent little time at home of late.  She works long hours, plays hard and often spends the night with friends.

What I’ll miss is her flitting in to change and shower and her ten minute, fast-speech-updates on the activity of the last 24 hours.  I’d always get an update on who is doing what, how work went, if she made good tips and who she had seen at the restaurant.

Monday, she went to a funeral for a friend’s mother who battled cancer for years. I have yet to hear details, because we’ve not had a chance to talk.   Lynette left behind a teenaged son and a ten year old. I didn’t know her well, but I didn’t have to be a close friend to know that her death will influence her boys for life.  I pray for them.

I’ve told her that I’ll miss her.  She says she’ll come back and see us.
But, what she doesn’t understand but will quickly learn is that
there is no going home.
Things will never be the same.
There are some changes that can’t be un-done.
I remember the lesson from my youth as being one hard to swallow,
difficult to process,
laborious to take in.
Once I left for college, home was never the same.
And it’s not a bad thing, it’s just something that you don’t expect
no matter how much you expect it.

Her tiara rests on her bookshelf, darkness filling the night sky and emptiness fills her room. I listen to the heavens rumble and think of a princess across town. The storm will blow over, the night will soon quiet and the canine will settle down.
But, some things will never be the same.


There is always movement

And my oldest just spent a little over ten days in Colorado. The house wasn’t any more quiet, as he’s a fella that doesn’t create much noise.  But, his absence was deeply felt while he was away. I missed and I prayed.

Now, my youngest is off at camp for a week.  She was so excited to go….to swim and canoe and chapel and dine with old friends and make new ones. And I was excited for her …. but the decibel level is definitely lower without her here.

And my girl who leaves butterfly trails as she flits in …. out …. and around the house
is packing her straighteners, dozens of pairs of shoes and  monogrammed swim team towels.
She will soon be moving them to
another building
with another address
on another street
in another neighborhood
with roommates who are not blood relation.

When I became a single mom,
I couldn’t see myself telling my two oldest,
“I cannot afford to house you. You must leave”
or “I am moving and won’t have a space for you any longer.”

So, I stayed here …. and we remained together.

I think it’s important during these turbulent times
to allow my littlest the most stability I can afford her.
I did not want to uproot her from the home she’s known best and longest
with a wonderful pool and a neighborhood school within walking distance,
and the comfort that comes from familiarity
during these times that are not.

My plan was to stay here until the two oldest leave
and then my dream would be to move to a loft downtown with Joy.
Of course, dreams don’t always come true. We shall see.
She’s asking that we stay here even when we are the only two left.
We will see how God directs, but right now, we are definitely staying.

And I think of movement
coming and going
the ups and the downs
the ins and the outs
of daily, monthly, annual living.

There is always movement.
The tides rearrange sand bars just off the shore.
Termites remove limbs from forest floors.
New neighborhoods are built
and old buildings are removed
quickly by man or slowly by nature.

And so there is change at my home
. . . . . movement . . . . .
a new image of what represents
the people who live in my home.
A new representation of “family.”

I still remember when we first moved to Augusta.  Glory and I would go to the mall and she would hold my hand. Not that I would take hers, she would reach out and take mine. She was at least 14 years old. I noticed some people would look at us oddly from time to time, but she didn’t seem to notice.  And I wouldn’t dare drop her hand.  Other young girls held hands with boys and strolled the tile floors leisurely. Whether urban society embraced it or not, I was perfectly happy holding her teenaged hand and thankful that she didn’t even think it odd.

We would walk and shop and talk.  She has been my friend for years.
I enjoy her.  She makes me smile.  She brightens my day.

And she’s moving out.

Only three months ago, she bought, what she calls, her first “Grown Up Purse.”  She’s had some fun, funky purses.  I still remember her first real purse.  It was a little black bag with small polka dots in lots of different colors.  She carried it for at least a year or two.  Since then, she has had many different bags, but this one, is her first purse with an adult feel.  Yes, dear, you are definitely grown up.

Her decision to move is exciting.  She is moving in with two sisters.  These are girls from work that she adores.  She won’t be terribly far away, but she’ll be on her own. I’m happy for her.

Yet, I will miss her.

I’m nervous.  Thoughts are racing through my head:  my time is up! Does she know that her interest rate will increase if she doesn’t pay her credit card on time? Did I mention that chicken needs to get to an internal temperature of 165 to kill food borne illness? Does she realize that how i.m.p.o.r.t.a.n.t it is to recycle … that plastic may last many hundreds of years in a landfill and glass … well, it never decomposes. Does she know to choose DEET free bug repellent? And never cut your big toe nail too short as it will cause an ingrown nail? We did cover that, second to your decision about following Christ, choosing the man you marry is the absolute most important decision you will make in your entire lifetime, didn’t we?  Mmmm….  I think I’ve mentioned that one before.

Did I mention that I will miss her?

She thinks she will come home often. I know better.  I already have to go to work to see her sometimes. I barely see her now and she “lives” here. It will be weeks in between visits when she’s gone.

I will miss her.

It is a natural progression.  And she will do well. I pray she will be wise and that, if she’s not, she’ll be miserable.  Yes, I really have and will continue to pray that. And I pray that she will be miserable so that she will turn aside from foolishness and call upon God.

But, I think she will be fine.

Yet, I will miss her.

There is movement in our home. The movement of bodies, furniture, hair straighteners

… and tears.

Makes Me Happy Monday : God’s Protection

As is the custom in the south, we had several wet days in October. It’s just the way things work around here.  The days get shorter … and wetter, simultaneously.  And after our long, hot, dry summers, it’s probably a good thing.

Unless you’re driving.

With slick tires.

Glory’s new car is such a blessing.  She’s let me drive it once or twice, and I tell you, it’s a FUN car to drive.  I’ve never been much of a “status symbol” kind of person, so it’s a little bit awkward driving a car that is so flashy.  In fact, I love my brown grocery hauler. It’s certainly no “Statement Maker,”  so it’s kind of unusual to know that people give you a second look in her sporty red ride.

She says sometimes she wonders if people look at her and think she’s spoiled because she’s driving that car.  She’d love to have a vanity plate that says “My Daddy didn’t buy me this car … I worked for it!”  I’d love to change it out when I drive.  Mine would say, “No, I’m not having a mid-life crisis, thank you! This car belongs to my daughter.” Glory & Ryan, on the way home from south Georgia when we picked up her new Mustang in October

My favorite part of the car, oddly enough, is the sweet purr that the engine makes.  It gets great mileage, as it’s a six cylinder… but it has a strong little engine that makes the sweetest sound.  I love to hear it “vvvvrooooooommmmm” as you shift from gear to gear.

The car is in excellent shape, but really needed two new tires on the rear.  They weren’t completely slick, but were definitely wearing a little thin. The plan was to put new tires on the car November 1st, but the week before, we had some heavy rain.

One Tuesday afternoon upon leaving school, Glory was at the intersection of a five lane road and a crossing two lane road (that leaves the college), when she turned left (with a green arrow) across traffic to catch our 520 Bobby Jones By-pass heading  home.  She gave the car some gas …. and lost control of the car. The car is heavy in the front (from the engine) and lighter in the back (empty trunk).  She didn’t have enough traction with the wearing rear tires and her car fishtailed dangerously.  She didn’t spin around completely, but could have easily spun into oncoming traffic, had God not had His protecting hand on her car.  She was able to regain control, but said that the whole episode … all three to five seconds …. was terribly frightening.

A girl in my class left school the same afternoon, out of a different school exit, driving a blue Mustang similar.  She turned left across traffic – and was hit and totaled her car.  She broke an arm and injured her knee, but nobody was seriously injured or killed.

And I praise God.  I thank Him that nobody was killed in Ashley’s wreck and that Glory was spared an accident.

Of course, these kinds of things always make you wonder, “Why one and not the other?”  It’s a tough thing, isn’t it, to trust that He is in control?

Glory is being careful with her car.  She’s caring for it and driving safely … but I try to remind her that it’s His anyway.  If something happens, we’ll praise Him through it. But, you know that we’re praying that she never has a wreck at all. But, I have to say that I was reminded of God’s protecting hand.  I’m thankful that he spared Glory and her car injury. I’m thankful that he spared Ashley’s life.

And so, this Monday morning, I’m thankful for God’s protecting hand.

What makes you happy this marvelous Monday morning?

The Sensible Mustang

Sometime in mid-July, Glory and I had the “Car Discussion.”  I have to tell you that I was quite surprised by Glory’s wish list for her first car.

She said, “Mama, you know what kind of car I want?  I want a car with air conditioning, but I don’t want a stick shift.”  I was thankful for such humble desires.  She really doesn’t like to get sweaty before she arrives at any given destination and she struggles with the only stick she’s known; our truck.  It needs some work and doesn’t have the pick up that it would have if it worked to its full potential.  So, her desires were completely reasonable and practical.

I have to admit that my first thought was one of thankfulness that she wasn’t looking for something showy. However,  my second thought was, “Oh, no.  No stick means a free hand to text. I want you to have to shift gears and stay focused.”

I almost felt ashamed as I sat there and thought of my desires as a growing teen.  When I was sixteen, I wanted an MG Spider.  I was certainly all about being flashy and sporty.  At eighteen, this young lady of mine was practical and sensible.

Just a week or so after our conversation,  I traveled home to visit my parents. I stopped along the way to visit with several friends.

While enjoying a cup of coffee on the square in Bainbridge with my friend Linda, I brought up Glory’s determination to have a car of her own. She began her summer with saving in mind, having spent a good bit of the summer before squandering her money on movies, restaurants and entertainment.  She had learned a good lesson and was intent on saving her money to buy a car of her own.

My friend Linda looked up at me and stated, “What kind of car does she want?” I shared Glory’s meek desires and Linda said, “Well, Randy is trying to sell Will’s old car, but it’s a Red Mustang Convertible.”  The car had been their son’s first car when he turned 16.

Had Glory had her sites SET on such a prize, I would have never entertained the thought of her purchasing this car for a moment.  But, I couldn’t help but  be curious how this might play out.  Linda’s husband had been asking the Blue Book value for the vehicle.  I didn’t think Glory would be able to come up with that amount of money for quite a while.  Linda made the call to see how much Randy wanted for this treasure.  She shared that his greatest desire is simply that someone would care for the car and enjoy it.  THAT part would be no problem for Glory.

As long as the children could remember, they had been promised with help on the purchase of their first vehicle.  We would split the cost 50/50.  Glory would only need $1,750.00 to be able to buy this car …. a fairly easy feat for a hard worker like herself.  She had already stashed away several hundred dollars and knew this goal was within reach.

Glory was more determined to save every penny and sit behind the wheel of that sweet car as soon as possible.Glory in her new Mustang

Sight unseen, this girl saved.  She refrained from squandering away money on the useless.  She chose new clothes carefully.  She picked up extra shifts at work when she could.  Before the pool closed, she worked her summer job as a lifeguard and her hostessing job at a local restaurant.

This past Friday morning, we went to the bank and made that withdrawal.
We crawled into my brown grocery hauler and headed south.
What an exciting sight to see this hard-working, determined girl
with a modest desire and a sensible goal
crawl behind the wheel of that beautiful, sporty car
and take it for a test drive.

I stayed south over the weekend,
but she headed home.  She made the five hour trip back to Augusta with Ryan, who had joined us for the road trip.
She was excited and I was both proud of her and happy for her.

But the best part of all, was her attitude.
She had a simple desire
and God chose to richly bless her ….
truly beyond measure ….
beyond what she had even dreamed.

Her desire
and her gift
remind me again
that my keeping my desires
simple and practical
rather than flashy, worldly or prideful
please God
and give Him great room
to richly bless me
in ways that I can’t even imagine.
I picture Him so pleased to see us giddy.
Surely, He loves to see us filled with gratitude
for that which He has gifted us.

Oh, how I want to keep my eyes on Him
that my desire might be as humble a request as
air conditioning and no stick shift.