Thursday, December 11, 2008

Providence and Chocolate Drop Cookies

Growing up, my favorite cookie to bake and to eat was a Chocolate Drop Cookie (with chocolate frosting). I think the recipe came from someone in my sister, Jean's Girl Scout Troop. These cookies were "cakey" cookies. Very rich. They froze well, which qualified them as Christmas cookie-worthy. And they tasted good frozen, which caused my mother much grief as her children raided the freezer in the days leading up to Christmas.

Somehow, the recipe was lost, never to be found again until about 1999. I purchased a new cookbook which contained a recipe very similar (but not exactly) to the Chocolate Drop cookies of my past.

Last evening, I was participating in a Cookie Exchange and I wanted to make these Chocolate Drop Cookies. True to form, I didn't try to bake the cookies until the night before. When I went to the bookshelf for the cookbook, I couldn't find it. I was scrambling through the house searching everywhere and couldn't find it. What I did find, however, was my 37 year old, hand-transcribed Sunbonnet Sue Recipe book with the original Chocolate Drop Cookie recipe.

I was madly praying for the substitute recipe and God answered with the better-than-substitute, original recipe.

There have been a number of instances like this in 2008.

About 2 years ago, I was wanting a new car, something more in keeping with the image I wanted to project - a small SUV. The key word here is wanting, not needing. My car (a '99 Taurus) was in good shape, reliable, and most importantly, paid for. I prayed, decided it wasn't a good time to buy a car and put those thoughts aside.

Last year at this time, I was in a minor car accident - no injuries, just some front-end body damage. But the repair costs exceed the value of the 10 year old Ford Taurus so the insurance company totalled the vehicle. Suddenly the car I wanted, became the car I needed. And at a decent price, I might add. And so I'm no longer driving a middle-aged person's dark green sedan with only a tape deck and (gasp) required KEYS to unlock the doors. Now I'm in a young person's Blazing Copper (ok - burnt orange) Ford Escape, equipped with a 6-disc CD player. And I no longer have to use KEYS to unlock the doors.

In December of 2000, I drove through a snowstorm from Erie to Findlay Lake, NY to buy myself a $75 dollar hat. Frivolous though this might seem, I'd fallen in love with the hat 12 months before and decided that would be my gift to myself when I lost 100 pounds. The very week I hit that goal, I was on the road to Findlay Lake, praying the whole trip - not for safe passage, but that the hat would still be there after all those months. The hat was there, and it looked even better on me than I remembered.

Fast forward to 2005. Each spring, I would store the hat in an old, beat up hat box I'd bought at a garage sale. The hat and the box combined were pretty light. I remember that around the fall of 2005, I went on a mad cleaning spree through my spare bedroom. I looked at the ragged hat box and thought why am I keeping this? So I threw it away. Remember, the weight of box + hat was not much. It was easy to mistake the hat box as empty. Then, come that winter when I couldn't find the hat, I realized what I'd done. It still ate at me that I'd lost the hat because of my own stupidity. I chastised myself over my disorganization. Months ago I prayed that I'd get over that silly mistake. Then in Oct/Nov of this year I was in my attic. Sitting out prominently was the hat box. I picked it up and it felt very light so I really didn't expect to find the hat inside. But it was there!

In each of these instances, I did the right thing - I prayed. My prayers were really unselfish and not outrageous. I prayed what made sense to me - please find the cookbook, help me be satisfied with my car, help me get over the loss of the hat and not be so upset over something so inconsequential...and in each instance God answered my prayers - in ways I didn't expect. If God had answered my prayers as I had prayed them, I might have been satisfied, but He was gracious enough to share His magnificence with me and exceeded my expectations.

So if you catch of glimpse of me driving down the road in my Blazing Copper (ok - burnt orange) Ford Escape, wearing my Cranberry colored hat with the rose pin, munching on Chocolate Drop Cookies, whether you realize it or not, you're also catching a glimpse of God's grandeur.

Monday, December 08, 2008

All Dogs Go to Heaven

"Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in." - Mark Twain

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My Rusty Armor

When the slings and arrows of sins against me become to painful for me to bear, I find I start to build a wall. It's built with bricks of anger and resentment and held together with mortar of indignation.

This wall may seem to provide protection, but it is in fact a prison where no nourishment or reinforcements can enter. And it's protective value is only temporary as the walls eventually crumble under the continual onslaught.

Funny thing, tossed off to the side unused and rusting is a Suit of Armor custom built for me and purchased with the blood of Jesus.

My King, please renew the armor for me. Scrape off the rust, oil its hinges and polish it to a heavenly gleam. I am unskilled in it's use; it seems heavy and awkward. In my untrained hands, it seems as if the wall would be safer. Please, my King teach me how to use it effectively until such time the war is over and it can be retired.