Monday, February 24, 2014

Hidden Treasures in Secret Places

I have always leaned a little toward the sentimental side of things, which if not careful can easily lead one down the path to becoming a full-fledged hoarder. I mean, I can be sentimental about  a generic packet of sugar if it comes from a restaurant where one of my grand-babies celebrates a birthday! I just slap a date on that sucker, record the event and location, and ta-da!..keepsake!!

I soon began to realize, however, the older I became and the more God blessed me with these special events, I had to come up with a more selective method of remembering them. Especially trips and vacations. Pictures are a given. But come must have more than simple photographs. They only let you relive the trip frame by frame. Let's face it, you can only bore friends and family to tears for so long repetitively showing pictures of a trip they were not a part of.

So I moved on to shot glasses. Yes, the preacher's daughter said shot glasses! I did not say I drank anything out of those shot glasses, nor did I say I plan to drink anything out of them. I did, however, collect them for a while. I have a shot glass from a gift shop in Baltimore, a shot glass from a gift shop in Cozumel, a shot glass from a gift shop in San Antonio...well, you get the idea. I was okay with this until one day a few friends were sitting around joking about sentimental items we leave behind for our grandchildren. The more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea of my grand-babies fighting over Maw Maw's shot glasses. So, I quickly and happily settled on coffee mugs instead.

I especially like the coffee mugs because I actually use them. Each time I do, they bring back fond memories of the places where they were purchased. I can sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee in mountains of Estes Park, Colorado, or overlooking the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels, Texas, or even at the Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois! (I have a really good imagination.)

If you read my writing from last week, my husband had planned a trip to Louisiana in order to replace one of my favorite cups that had gotten dropped and broken. It was a beautiful cup. For the longest I would not drink from it, but I finally decided it was silly to have something so pretty and not put it to use. I had bought it at the Tobasco factory at Avery Island whenever my son was stationed a few miles away at a Coast Guard base in Abbeyville. The cup represented a special trip to me as a Mom. I gotten to see my son's base and the boat he rode out on, and I got to visit the apartment where he lived in Lafayette. This was probably one of the last trips we took as a family where all of our kids were together before going their separate ways, moving on to their individual lives. The cup represented a lot to me, but it was simply a tie to a sweet memory, and the memory itself lived on. The change in travel plans last weekend to visit Duck Commander brought great fun, and the trip to Charlie's family's old home-place was priceless. I would not have traded that experience for the world. I truly believe that trip was directed by God's hand.

The next week life moved along as usual. Saturday, I drank my coffee in Estes Park before getting dressed and heading out on our weekly treasure hunt for items to place in our antique/craft store booth. One of our regular stops is a faith-based thrift store not far from the house. I always enjoy searching for the one little treasure... something just waiting to be discovered and given new meaning with a new owner. Walking through the store, a colorful object caught my eye on the shelf on the next aisle over. The closer I got, I couldn't help but smile. There, sitting at eye level was a perfect Tobasco coffee mug from Avery Island, Louisiana. The words to the song that was playing? "You're everything good, everything true, when all the world is fading, You're everything new, You are my eyes, when I can't see, When all the world is broken, You will always be, everything good." Ashes Remain's song, Everything Good

You might say this was just coincidence, and you are entitled to your opinion. I find it difficult to believe, however, that everything aligned so perfectly - the object, the timing, the place. As for me, I believe this is yet another instance in which my Heavenly Father showed me that even the little things matter to Him. The more I come to know Him, the closer we become, I am finding much more than wondrous, amazing grace. I am finding astonishing abundance in the tiniest of gestures. I am discovering immeasurable joy. As an added blessing, in the times I least expect it, He throws in a little secret treasure...the least expected surprise that reminds you that you are His, and He knows you by name.

"I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places,so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:2-3

Click link below to hear the song, Everything Good

A Poem for Bear By Maw Maw Cindy My dear little Bear who sleeps soundly and tight So peaceful and trusting, your cares free...