This post will be short. We just got home from visiting my mom in Florida. And let me tell you what: A four hour drive seems like an eternity when you have eight children aged 3 months to 11 years. It isn't that my children are BAD, just that there are a million reasons why having children prolongs car trips. Like teeny, tiny bladders. *sigh*
Anyway, I wanted to share two neat little blessings God had plopped into my lap this week. They may seem coincidental or trivial to some, but sometimes it's the little things in life that really make your day. Know what I mean?
So for a little background, I will let you know that Trever and I have been trying to a) Get rid of as much *stuff* as we can. Things we don't need, don't use, or have enough of. We are trying to throw it out, sell it, give it away, etc. And b) Be as frugal as we can with our finances so we can give to those who need it. Earthquake victims in Haiti, refugees in Burma, homeless people and orphans in our own city. That kind of thing.
We have a long way to go. I can't say I have done the best job in the world either. But I AM trying. And that is why these little blessings mean so much. It's like God sees my meagerest efforts and smiles.
For example, at the grocery store the other day, I was standing in line and looking at the candy bars. I tell ya what, whoever put them there at the front where you have to stand still and stare at them was a marketing genius. And I love me a good Hershey bar. I wanted one, and wouldn't have normally thought twice about buying a candy bar that costs less than a buck. But then I started thinking about what my dollar could do instead. I also thought about the fact that I don't NEED a Hershey bar. People need clothes, food, shelter... So I put it back.
Later that day we received a package in the mail from my father. There was a smaller box inside the larger one with my name on it. And when I opened it up, lo and behold, can you guess? A Hershey bar. Two actually. With almonds. What are the odds?
But I have saved the best for last. I have been occasionally going to the PX to *visit* a purse I will never buy. It is super cute. I fantasize about how darling I will look toting it around. People will stop and stare and whisper to themselves, "Did you see that stylish woman with the cute purse?" But my little daydreaming bubble is violently burst every time I check the price tag and find it is still $102. And I am just not able to convince myself that it would be a justifiable purchase.
Believe me, I've tried.
I brought it up casually in conversation to Trever. He smiled and nodded and looked companionably pleasant until I mentioned the price. Then he just stared. Gaped. And then he smirked. The smirk said, "She's kidding. She would NEVER do such a dumb thing." I hate smirks.
I pointed out there was no sales tax at the PX. I'm actually serious.
I called one of my best friends and told her about the dilemma. She was kind and said all the things I wanted to hear. But I knew better. I knew I did not NEED a $102 purse. And that fact remains solid even if I compare my $102 purse to the far, far more expensive purses out there. I know some people who own them. It doesn't matter. Not really. I know it is still not a good idea to spend that much money on an accessory.
So, imagine my amazement when I WON A PURSE!!! I entered a drawing on my friend's blog. I really entertained no hopeful thoughts that I would win, because I usually never win anything, no matter how many tickets I buy or positive thoughts I think. I was mainly trying to support my friend's contest. But sure enough, I came home, checked my facebook page and had a message stating I was the winner of a darling little purse she made with her own hands. How neat is that?!?!
As I sat pondering all this, I realized it is really much more than Hershey bars and purses. It's all the little ways God chooses to bless me. The Bible says every good gift comes from God. (James 1:17) When we choose to believe that, we see He truly has given us so many wonderful gifts. Our families, spouses, children. Our homes. Or even the simpler gifts.
A wildflower your little girl picks for you at the park. A misspelled love letter from one of your young sons. The tenderness that you feel when your husband comes up behind you in the kitchen and circles your waist with his arms. The timeliness of a kind word of encouragement from a close friend. A smile from a stranger.
God's gifts are truly all around us, if we only take the time to see them. Just a reminder to myself to be grateful for God's good gifts.
In the words of the old hymn:
Count your blessings name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one;
Count your many blessings,
See what God hath done.