Chapter 33 ~ A Room with a view

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” ~ Wyland view3

 

 

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viewAs we reached the top of the bridge in Bethany Beach, to our left was the glorious, ever peaceful, Atlantic ocean, brilliantly arrayed with an azure  blue sky, accompanied by billowy white clouds, (that seem to have  followed us from the Carolinas.)  :-OS To our right was an enchanting inlet cove with it’s lush reed grass swaying in the breeze, their roots fastened deeply within the august, untainted marshland. We had arrived at our final destination! Vito and Lilian’s home was  nestled upon the water with an entrancing  view of the Indian River bay. We had traveled to the beach to see Vito a few times while staying with Tina and Mark after our adventures in Connecticut, but now we were going to be living there for awhile, something neither of us had ever imagined.  Kit and I have always been drawn to life upon the water…allured by the oceans mystery and charm, and hushed beckoning call to enjoy it’s serenity, calm and quiet.

 

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“Do you think we will ever be friends?”

As we gathered a few of our things from the car,  Lilian and Vito greeted us with open arms and welcoming smiles. The lamb roast cooking in the oven filled their home with a savory aroma, which combined with the warmth radiating from their pellet stove in the chilly air, gave us a cozy, comforting feeling.   Their tiny, (I’m talking pocket-size,) dog “Itsy” greeted us as well…running around Grantham a few times , barking and making sure he knew it was her home.  We all chuckled as Graham just stood there, trying to make out what this little creature was doing. In seeing the two of them next to each other, I could only imagine how David must have felt when at first he saw Goliath. :-OS      Lilian showed us to our room where we began to unpack and finish bringing in our suitcases and bags from the car.  Easter dinner was cooking and we were hungry.

As Kit and I freshened up from our long day on the road, we could hear laughing and new voices in the living room. Lilian and Vito’s dear friends Denise and Randy were joining us for  dinner. We were all in for a real treat as every Easter, Vito and Lilian celebrated this festive day with a Seder Passover meal. Their ceremony with the unleavened bread, Lamb, and myriad of  symbolic foods accompanied by the story of the Jewish people’s victorious flight from their slavery in Egypt, was not only brand new to Kit and I but it was such a honor to be apart of this holy ritual. (And the meal was delicious.)

We said goodnight early as Kit was beginning his new job the next morning and we were exhausted… We slept wonderfully with our window open, truly blessed by the chilly breezes blowing in from off the water,  accompanied by the soothing sounds of the nightlife upon the inlet cove.

Kit was nervous…Graham and I felt it too…his first day at his new job, meeting his  boss and co-workers for the first time was both exciting and a little bit daunting. I missed him before he even left, after we enjoyed breakfast with Vito and Lilian. As Graham and I said  goodbye to him, I wondered what on earth I was going to do my first day alone. It was an entirely different life now with Kit working at a job and not out of the house.  To be honest with you, I felt an unexpected sadness inside.  I decided to take Graham for a long walk to the beach. My only problem was finding  enough clothes  to layer up with to  keep warm.  Being the end of April, I thought for sure it would be sunny and warm in Delaware, but spring had decided to postpone its arrival and winter was happy to stay on…(Kit and I had only brought summer attire.)  I ended up grabbing Kits dressy Pendleton suit jacket he had brought for work as  Graham and I began our venture to the shore. (Better to be warm than fashionable.)  :-OS

view26Graham loved the cold wind and air against his fur coat, as well as our long, vigorous walk…as we arrived to the jetty rocks , I was surprised to see so many fishermen, their thermoses of hot coffee in one hand and their fishing reel in the other, dressed in overcoats, hoping to catch their daily ration of fish. As we passed by, saying our “good mornings,” one of the men yelled out, “Are you walking a dog or a bear?”  It made me smile…I wasn’t  alone…It was Graham, Jesus and I now everyday…Monday thru Friday…I could  get use to this morning ritual…the ocean was breathtaking and even though it was eminently cold, I thoroughly enjoyed  watching  the water glisten as the suns light hit each subtle wave, the handmaid1seagulls calling out  as they dove  into the water and Graham  endearingly running from  the incoming tides.     We arrived  home close to 11:00 and  my first  task at hand was to try and make our room a little cozier with a few of the things I brought with us…Was it five o’clock yet? :-OS

 

At 5:30, when Kit walked through the door, the look of peace, ease and his bright smile told me his day was blessed. My heart  was brimming with such joy at the gift God had given Kit.  He talked a mile a minute of how  friendly his  two bosses and coworkers were…He was so excited to be doing graphics again (as well as getting paid for it.)  :-OS The two partners he worked with were younger than Kit and did not have as much knowledge and experience as he did with computers, graphics and programming. In many ways, it was a good thing as he had an abundance of knowledge  to offer, yet they hired him at an entry level position, so there was only so much that he felt the freedom to do, unless asked. Kit knew in his heart that this job was Gods way of bringing us to Delaware… He was committed to be or do whatever he could to be an asset to this small company.   The four of us shared a wonderful evening of celebration with one of Vito’s scrumptious, home cooked meals. It was a prefect ending to our  first  full day at our new abode.

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I’ve been Grantham’s number one girl for 16 months now!

The next day, Graham and I drove Kit to work and then ventured  down to see Tina in Milford. (About an hours drive from Bethany beach.) We had the best time…What I loved most about our time together was it didn’t matter ‘what’ we did…we had so much fun just being together...Tina and I would sit on the porch for hours, sipping our Starbucks coffee with French Vanilla creamer, talking and laughing…we’d get in her car and go to McDonald’s for some French fries or venture over to a few thrift shops. (She and I could spend and hour in heaven there, leaving with a bag of new treasures for only 5.00.) It was a double blessing as Graham got to be with his girlfriend McPherson all day and his little  adopted sister, Kisses. Tina reassured me that I could come down any time I wanted to and that her home was our home. As we left, she invited us to come for the day on Saturday and stay for dinner…already I was feeling better!  I drove back to Millsboro, picked Kit up and met his boss and co workers…they were so happy to have him on on board. Our drive home was so beautiful…every road blessed with a magnificent view of the water…I loved the old country roads , the tall , junoesque maple trees that lined the  streets and though it still felt like winter, every-now and then we would see Lilac  and azalea bushes in full bloom.. their eloquent purples and vivid pinks, sparking a hope that yes, spring was not passing-us by.

 

Getting settled in.

I think I was experiencing a little bit of culture shock. One week,  we were enjoying  our own home, the next we were packing it up and now, we were living in a new home, with new people and Kit was gone all the time…It was not an easy adjustment but the Lords grace was certainly abundant in all the sudden changes.

Graham2Kit and I had agreed that while he was working at his new job, I would not secure employment as we did not want to leave Graham alone at a new home as well as leave the responsibility of taking care of him with Vito and Lilian. I think this was a season I just needed to hear from the Lord exactly what HE wanted me to do with my time.

 

Vito was one busy guy!  He and Lilian had a quaint two story office built on their property separate from their home and it was where Vito spent most of his time during the day. His ministry was full time, whether traveling to other states, home bible studies, or helping people during the day that met with him in his office.    Whenever I did see him, he was always so full of light, joy and yes, I really mean it, HAPPY! He was what I called a big ball of sunshine everyday…How great is that to wake up to every morning?

 

Lilian was his ministry partner but did not travel with him as often as she would have liked due to health issues…She loved her home, spent a lot of time  in her room on her computer and website and was a connoisseur of old classic movies…Every time I would go to the  kitchen for a cup of coffee, I would smile as I could hear her laughing at one of the old black and white films she had already seen 100 times, but enjoyed it as if it were the first time she ever saw it. (Definitively a connoisseur of classic movies!) :-OS

I really don’t know what I was expecting our stay with Lilian and Vito to be like. ..the only thing I had within my mind to compare it to was when we stayed with Tina and her family.  That expectation did not come into fruition… (But in all honesty, our months at Tina’s was an extremely rare gift.) How many times do you meet someone one time, move in their home for  three months and hit it off with everyone immediately, feeling totally at home and like one big happy family? That was certainly not the norm.

I probably should have read, (by now,) the advantageous book; “ The housemate survival guide and the 15 strategies that make it work.” :-OS   Kit and I (in the beginning of our journey,) had never thought that part of Gods plan in molding us into His vessels for our ministry up ahead would be having us be house guests at other peoples homes…We were now realizing what He was doing…and, it made perfect sense as one day we would be the ones hosting many guests in Gods home.   The Lord was using each home that we stayed in to teach us as well as change us, into the servants He desired us to be.

Lilian and I, had a mutual respect for one another,  shared a love for Jesus, and had wonderful conversations about the bible and our experiences with the Lord, but we just could not seem to connect emotionally or as  friendsview 55.  Our relationship reminded me of (now, I am not referring one bit to the character or character traits of these two men, just their entirely opposite personalities,) Felix and Oscar in the popular sitcom The Odd Couple. Felix was a neat freak, eminently proper,  and a bit on the neurotic side, where as Oscar was fun loving, sloppy and as casual as one can be. As roommates , sometimes the conflicts that arose between them would make them want to scream or cry , while at other times, laugh hysterically…(perhaps in place of the tears.)  Life is just that way…until we go home to be with the Lord, we will always encounter people who we fall in love with, have an immediate connection and we end up being best friends. Then there are others who rub us the wrong way,view56 don’t  like us or are our exact opposites.   The scripture iron sharpens iron comes to my mind. :-OS   (God always uses these relationships to work on our characters and no matter how painful it may be, there is always great reward when one day we see, first hand, the changes He has miraculously made inside of us.)

That being said, there were times that I did feel a sense of belonging, but yet  many others, that I did not.  I felt as if  I was staying in someone else’s home, yet not so much feeling a part of the home, if that makes sense. It had its difficult moments, as Lilian and I were the only two within the home  during the day… I did know that The Lord knew exactly what HE WAS DOING in this season, even if I did not.

view 42One of my favorite times of the day living there was dinner time. There is just something about breaking bread together and sharing a meal that is heartening. Being that both Vito and Lilian were excellent cooks, we all enjoyed many a delicious meal together. view41Vito had a  homemade  recipe for clam spaghetti that  was out of  this world…It was so much fun to watch  him prepare, cook and serve his beautifully presented  masterpiece…his  seafood  pasta  along with a  loaf of hot sourdough bread and  a salad  was enough to make us all loosen our belts and start thinking about a good nights sleep, ( or stay at the table with a cup of coffee to share in wonderful fellowship  about what the Lord was doing in all of our lives.)  Lilian’s recipe for homemade chicken pot pie view 43was undoubtedly the very best we had ever tasted. We in return shared one of our favorite recipes with them, which turned out to be Vito’s dessert preference every time I offered…Homemade Louisiana bread pudding with a hot  butter, brown sugar and whiskey sauce.

 

view40As the weeks passed by and I was getting more of a feel of what I was to be doing with my time, I began feeling a greater peace and a sense of order and direction. The days I did not drive Kit to his job and use the car, I found my own comfortable schedule… The Lord  encouraged me to keep writing, (Vito gave me one of his computers for our room, and I had Kit’s laptop,)   I spent  a lot of time in worship and intercessory prayer, walked Graham to the jetty and continued trying to get him to feel comfortable with the ocean. :-OS   I was so thankful for our cell phone with free minutes, as I had many wondrous chats with friends and family on the west coast. We had brought our TV but we did not have cable, thus we enjoyed the collection of movies that Kit and I brought from home. Occasionally, I would play one of my favorite chick-flicks, grab a cup of coffee and call Graham up on the bed so we could snuggle and watch together. It was a perfect afternoon activity… the only thing missing was a large bag of buttered popcorn. :-OS

I missed Kit and our abundant time together, and of course the sound of Joshua, Tyler and Julian’s laughter, (and their big hugs.)  :-OS   I longed for some of our familiar  things as I did not find any comfort in our room with its ambiance.  ( It just wasn’t  a ‘Susan and Kit’ room.) With my longtime motto ; “Our homes are our retreats , where memories and quiet joys linger , filled with all the things we love surrounding us,” as well as being the visual person I am and decorator at heart, I just had to let it go and realize, God had given us a place to live, a comfortable bed, loving Christians who had opened their home to us and supported our faith, delicious meals and the gift of living upon the water. My heart truly was filled with  great gratitude for all God, Lilian and Vito had done for us. I took comfort in my belief that Kit and I would be able to move out by the end of summer and that our season living with Vito and Lilian would not be for an extended time.  (Isn’t there some kind of rule out there that 3 months is the limited time of staying with friends because then it starts to get a little hairy?) :-OS

There is one thing God gave me everyday that I knew was one of those gifts, I dare not let myself take for granted,  as most likely, it would not be one of the amenities we’d be enjoying at the next place we lived. This wondrous gift was our  corner window view of the amazingly beautiful and serene  bay.view12  Our room was the only bedroom in the house  with this sublime and  enchanting panoramic lookout.  I loved listening to the gale winds blowing upon the tall reed grass, the songs of the motley sparrows and spirited, vibrant orioles, (their melodious tunes always brought such a cheerfulness to my spirit.) Grantham and I both were in awe at the prodigious horseshoe crabs, (something neither of us had ever beheld,) as well as the energetic, ruddy sandpipers as they scurried upon the shore line with their wispy long legs. I adored the days  when I was writing, and in my “deep thinking process,” I would look up from my computer and there before me was a phenomenal thunder storm brewing over the waters. I would just stop and enjoy the ominous black clouds that filled the sky, hovering over the once calm, bay waters, as they became vigorously choppy . After the sudden rain poor, the brilliant rays of the sun would come shining through , causing the bay to sparkle like freshly cut  diamonds, and the sunsets were absolutely breathtaking.  Our little room with a view was my gift…  It was so soothing and peaceful,  always filling my heart with such gratitude to the Lord for such a wondrous bestowal during this time in our life.

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A curve in the road and very unexpected surprise. 

Not even 7 weeks into  Kits new job, the two young men that ran the company had to let Kit go, due to personal reasons…Kit already knew in his spirit, that the Lord had brought this particular job to him to bring us to Delaware. He had not seen a long -term future at this company as he was a lot further in his skills and education than the position really called for and it only consisted of two partners and a coworker. Kits heart and dream  for some  time was to start his own Web Design company, but the timing was never right. As we prayed and sought the Lord, (Vito and Lilian praying with us,) the Lord revealed that now was that time... Vito’s excitement was contagious as he offered  to share his office space with Kit…already they were planning where to place his computer and equipment. He and Lilian  extended their offer to us to stay at their home for as long as we needed, so Kit could be at ease and not worry about finances while he began his new company and built up his clientele.

 

view63I was so happy for Kit. His dream, hidden within his heart was  now an open door from the Lord … He had stood by me (even when he didn’t want to live in South Carolina) so I could see if my dream of living there would come into fruition, now it was my turn to stand beside him as he had this God given opportunity to begin his. Kit and I were both comforted as well as assured within our spirits as the Lord reminded us of several things He had told us before this new adventure came about. While working at the Christian News Company in Washington DC, one of the ladies who had a gift of the prophetic, spoke to Kit one day during our worship in the morning. She told him that besides God’s heart for us to one day have a retreat home, the Lord also had a calling on his life to work extensively within the computer business.  (She saw a multitude of  numbers in her vision.)  I did not understand it then, but in seeing first hand, Kits work with graphics and programming, there are in deed, many numbers used in his creating text and graphics.  I also remembered one morning in my time with the Lord in Alexandria, Virginia, when the Lord specifically said to me the word ‘graphics,’ and that it would be a large part of Kits future. view68 Lastly, we both  recalled  how the Lord had told Kit to create a computer program the months we were in South Carolina. He fully obeyed God, not knowing  what it  would be for, but now he knew!    All the pieces were coming together perfectly and were ready for Kit as he began his  new company…Don’t you just love it when God brings  everything  together,  uplifting your faith and giving you that awesome,  wondrous confirmation within all  your bouts of anxiety,  that you are right on time in His overall plan and that all is well and will work out according to His plan and purposes?

In my humanness, I had a few emotions that were in need of the Lords touch. I had so hoped we would be able to move in the summer and now it looked as if we were going to be staying on with Vito and Lilian  for awhile. Yes, God could do a miracle and bring Kit an abundance of clients, (all at once,)  :-OS and the provision to move would be there….but, deep down I knew the Lord was asking me to submit to being willing to stay at Vito and Lilian’s until He opened the doors for us to leave, trusting He had a home already in mind for us and until that day came, His grace would be enough to meet the emotions of tension and uncomfortableness I at times felt .

view55Kits last day at his job was a day of celebration…Out with the old and in with the new!    Graham, (though I know he didn’t understand it all,) would be on cloud nine to have his dad home all day long with him…(and me too.) Vito was also very excited to have a co-worker in his office. Though they each had entirely different jobs,  I knew there would be plenty of wonderful fellowship between the two of them and what a blessing that would be in both of their lives.   God is so good and perfect with His plans and timing.

I knew I needed to sit down and have a pow-wow with the Lord to hear His heart on whether or not He had a job for me now that Kit would be home and the car available.  (However, I gave myself a little extra time)  to enjoy not having to say goodbye to Kit every morning, sharing lunch with him once again and being free to pray with him each day as he began the dream within his heart.

You will never guess what the Lord showed me my ‘new job’ was going to be. :-OS

 

view50But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” ~ Psalms 3:3

 

His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.” ~ Song of Solomon 2:6

 

 

We are so very blessed, (no matter what  the season we are walking through with the Lord,)  to have Jesus, our savior, deliverer, best friend and the true lover of our  souls. He is the one who lifts us up into heavenly places within our spirits by His presence alone.  I Hope you enjoy this beautiful rendition  of a song most of us know…

 

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or  graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

The prayers of a virtuous mom, REALLY WORK!

 Rabbit Trails Inc..bunny7

 

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. ~ John 15:7

 6:20] – See more at: http://www.prayers-for-special-help.com/bible-verses-about-women.html#sthash.wuJpaejX.dpuf
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“My mom with her 5th baby. (Little did she know, she would have 3 more little lives to mold in the years to come.” )

 

God is so eminently creative in everything He does…all we have to do is look at the heavens with its distinctive, majestic stars and galvanic, brilliant sun, the earths abundant array of flowers in every shape and color imaginable, the diverse and magnificent trees,  vast rivers and placid lakes, and one of my all time favorites , His creation of the mysterious sea, filled with creatures both colossal and diminutive. I am in awe at how detailed God is in His creations when I see the tiniestright10 residents of the ocean, gloriously dressed in their resplendent and vivid rainbow colors, as well as the graceful, eloquent sea horse and majestic and stoic great whale. Only God could think up such unique and extraordinary creatures.   With the Lord being this creative in nature, you know that as He begins to shape and mold our lives, creating the beautiful , unique and perfect vessels He desires us to be,  HE WILL BE THE SAME WAY. :-OS

I believe that God,  in knowing the trying seasons of our lives (before we do,)  as well as each and every day that lays before us, brings people into our lives that will be of great comfort, who will be supportive and pray for us during these difficult times.   In the same manner, when we are in our seasons of rejoicing and blessing,  I believe He will faithfully bring those in whom He desires, to share in our  joy and  be there to celebrate with us.

 

right20This particular time in my life, He chose to send my mom to me… A woman of God who loved the Lord with all her heart and who adored her children. In our family of 9, she was the first one of us who came to know Jesus. I believe the Lord heard her fervent prayers for each of us, as we have all come to know Jesus as both our savior and Lord. :-OS

How blessed are we when God gives us a mom, dad, brother, sister or close friend who loves Him first and has a praying heart… I don’t know where I would be today without my mom and her prayers, love and the life she lived for the lord .

When I would ask my mom what did she think I should be when I grew up, she would always tell me… “My heart for you Susan, is to know Jesus. As long as you are walking with Him , everything else will fall into place.” Its not to say that she didn’t encourage my God given skills and talents or my dreams, she just knew if Jesus was first in my life, I would be happy and fulfilled.

I would not be telling this story and sharing about Gods victory if it were not for the fact that He sent my mom for a visit this particular summer and used her to fulfill His will… For that I am ever grateful.

 

 

 

 

lsd1Picture this! I had just entered the wondrous year of turning 20 when the Department of Motor Vehicles issued me, (by accident through a clerical error) a Class 3 – Truck and Bus Drivers license. For quite some time, I was not even aware that I had been unwittingly graced with such an appanage as it stayed tucked away in my wallet until one day, while requiring our drivers licenses for paper work, my boss at the YMCA discovered it. Here begins my story.

The glorious season of spring, the time when the earth is awakening with new birth and the land is filled with brilliant and majestic blossoms at every corner had come to an end. Arriving in all of its grandeur and spectacle was the long awaited and  widely adored “Good Ole Summertime.” you5000 There is no other season like it, as we are all captivated by the blue skies, billowing clouds, lush green landscapes, lazy days, fishing trips to the pier and the challenge to be creative and build superlative sand castles at the beach. It is the time where all  of the swimming pools are brimming with the sounds of laughter, water splashing and children’s chatter as they celebrate their newly acquired gift of ‘no school for 3 whole months.’

you600It was my first summer as the Assistant Director of summer camp at the YMCA in Orange County California. I was thrilled at my promotion and eager to start the season with over 80 highly energetic kids, my friend and boss Monique,  (the summer camp director),  and our staff of counselors and volunteers. Our summer-tide calendar consisted of an abundance of beach trips, Knots Berry Farm, San Diego Zoo, Disneyland, Sea World, Marine Land, recreational parks and of course the kids weekly favorite, Skate-land.

Two weeks before camp was to begin, the assistant Director of the YMCA, Terrance, was busily training all of the staff with his skills, on HOW TO DRIVE A SCHOOL BUS.  The sessions lasted about two hours.

“It is easy,” He said, “Anyone can do it.”

Well, not so! All of his trainees were not able to pass the D.M.V tests to  obtain  their licenses.  Perhaps because it was a ‘crash course’ training session and there had not been enough time allotted to properly train these potential bus drivers. Terrance had me on the bus as well  just to ‘learn the ropes’ as they say. He had assured me that I was not even in the running as a first choice as I was the assistant camp director and my attention was needed elsewhere.

Well, can you guess what happened next? When Terrance found out that I was mistakenly issued a Class 3 bus driving license, he nominated me to be the designated  Summer Camp  bus driver. (After all, legally, I could drive a bus. ) My life as I knew it had come to an end.

you601Besides perspiring profusely, tension headaches every afternoon, anxiety filling my entire body and my personality changing from bubbly and sweet to stressed out, edgy and irritable, I managed to begin to “chill out,” (a little)  and accept my newly appointed ‘berth.’ Driving around town was not too bad  and with in a short time I actually felt a tad bit comfortable. It was our ‘day trips’ that ruffled my feathers, rocked my boat and turned my life upside down. Now, as I look back on the summer of my youth, I can laugh at my story. At the time, I cried!

One exceedingly hot California day, when traveling over an hours distance to take the kids to Marine Land in Los Angeles, I found myself cruising up a steep hill, (which normally was OK, but this particular street had a stop light.) Oh Joy! Operating our over sized, stick shift, ‘bucket of bolts’ was pressing all my hot buttons and so, once again, I began to task4experience the abundant perspiration as well as a thousand butterflies invading my stomach accompanied by stress headaches.  You have to understand that I had a hard time driving through Laguna Beach with all of its winding roads and steep hills in my little red Volkswagen Bug…there was just something about my foot, the clutch and first gear as I sat on the peak of a hill.  I would always go backwards before I accelerated forward…I hated hills until I changed to an automatic. you603Thus, there we were, (all 95 of us,) In the humungous “big yellow bus,” idling on this steep hill. Every time the light turned green, I would try, attempt again, and strive to get the bus going, only to no avail. Therefore, our bus sat at the green light, (sometimes turning red,)  for quite some time, with plenty of angry people behind us honking, waving their hands and exhibiting angry sign language, thinking that somehow, it would give me the ability to move the bus! In order for me to successfully make it up that hill, the Director Monique, had to jump in my seat and get the bus going and then at the next stop, (where we arrived to level ground), we switched back into our original seats . (She did not possess a wrongfully administered  Class- 3 license as I did.)  :-OS Talk about stress! My heart rate went from triple beats to single when I knew the hills were gone and our trip home would be smooth- sailing,( level, even and flat all the way).

During this time, my sister Gin and I shared an adorably quaint apartment in Irvine California. Our little haven was quite the gathering place for all of our friends and family . This pargracenews7ticular summer, we were blessed to have two of my favorite people in all the world come for an extended visit. My younger brother Patrick and my mom….both visiting from South Carolina. I could not wait to get home each night to spend time with them as each evening, we all enjoyed one of my moms renowned, scrumptious home cooked southern meals and plenty of catch up chatter. (Plus we had plenty of Ibuprofen.)

My mom, dearest friend and the one person who knew me better than anyone in the world was ‘beyond shocked’ and disconcerted at the fact that her 20 year old, untrained daughter was driving a school bus with over 80 boisterous children all over southern California.you630 She was ready to go and confront all of my superiors to tell them to take me out of the drivers seat and replace me with a real, licensed driver. (However, she decided to ask the Lord to do it instead.) Talk about ‘prayer warriors’… My mom loved the Lord with all of her heart and when she prayed, things happened. :)

 

you607The first contretemps came about during a trip to the beach in beautiful Corona Del Mar. Upon our arrival to the parking lot, I had no choice but to parallel park amongst many other cars and a bounty of prodigious palm trees. Parallel parking was not my forte, even in my little red V.W.  Bug. I tried several times to ease my way into my spot as all the kids cheered me on. To say I was full of fear and feelings of inadequacy is an understatement. I was hoping that someone would offer to park it for me, but there were no volunteers. Finally, I made it into the space allotted  only to hear a loud, cacophonous noise. On top of that were a few screams and then a break out of laughter. I had managed to park so close to a towering palm tree that it actually came crashing through the window. Fortunately, no one was sitting in that seat or the seats nearby, thus, no one was hurt. I thanked the Lord for everybody’s  safety and the gift of laughter that day. An important lesson I learned during the fiasco’s of this disquieting  summer was that when we can laugh during moments of mishap and calamity, suddenly  an unexpected gift arrives to our souls.  Our anxiety fades and our world is once again filled  with a kaleidoscope of peace and hope. (Truly one of God’s blessings to us in this life!)

laugh500When we arrived back to the Y’ from our day at the beach, my Palm tree incident was the talk of the entire office. When the parents would arrive to pick up their kids, my little campers would stop, point my way and say; “Look mommy, that is the lady who crashed the bus.”Terrance called me in to his office to have me fill out an accident report for the Y’s insurance company. I was embarrassed yet I knew that I was never trained  properly to parallel park the honker bus and I knew I had tried my best. I was hoping he would say he wanted me to stop driving.  Not a chance.  With just a warning to be more careful and a smile, I was on my way back to the kids.

The Y decided to invest in a brand new ‘big yellow bus.’ ( Their slogan being, “Out with the old and in with the new.)  :-OS   It was a top model, very classy as it came with all the bells and whistles. The Director of the Y’  even had our YMCA title detailed on the side. When I shared the news with my family, my mom was so funny…in her charming southern drawl she said;

“Well honey,  don’t you  think for one moment, that just because they got a new bus that I am going to stop praying! …You need to be out of that drivers seat.” :-OS

To be honest with you, I do not know what I would have done that summer without her support, understanding and continuous PRAYERS!… when I look back at those frenzied months of fear and stress, I still shake my head that something like that could ever happen, or even worse, be allowed…(and I still surprise myself that I did it.)

One of the kids favorite activities during summer camp was our  trips to the skating rink. It was only a short distance as it was a local rink. I had peace as I thought ; “No problem…we are only going a short distance and there were no hills or palm trees…it would be a cinch.” As we pulled in to the parking lot, I once again was challenged with my parallel parking skills. I accelerated forward, then back. Forward again and back, inching my way in to my allotted space with my boss Monique directing me as I looked through my rear view mirror. Seeing that I was not going to make it, she motioned me to  drive forward and try parking the bus another way, so I did. As I was accelerating, I felt a slight pull on the side of the bus. I then heard a screeching noise….soon everyone heard it. I immediately stopped but it was to late!skate There was no longer a skate land sign sturdily implanted and standing straight in the ground. It had yielded to the direction of our bus and was now resembling a wilted plant that someone forgot to water. As Monique and I, sadly stared at the sign, we knew it had met its maker.  Our brand new bus had a thick, embossed 39 foot scratch along  the side of it’s  bright shiny body with the YMCA signage no longer spruce and classy. Monique immediately called Terrance to try to explain what had happened…this time he sounded a little miffed. I was thankful  that no one was hurt,  and quite embarrassed once again that I had yet another accident and was hoping and praying  that Terrance would say; “Your days as our bus driver are over.” (Surely he would see it was time.)

Soon after we returned to the Y, Terrance, Stefano, (the Head Honcho of the entire Y’), Monique and I just stood there in utter silence, observing the  undeniable , unattractive appearance of our new, once chic, big yellow bus. It was certainly side-wiped, just not by a moving car or a second party…  I went in to file another accident form for the insurance Company. By this time, I was obtaining a new reputation as the ‘accident lady’ amongst the kids as well as office staff. I got many a smile, a few smirks, laughter and a few shaking of the heads from my co-workers, office staff and the kids. Terrance, on the other hand was a bit anxious as he knew I had never been trained accurately and why I was the one chosen to be the bus driver. I was once again told to be more careful. THAT WAS IT?  I was in shock by this time that he still wanted me to drive the bus…Totally bewildered, I left his office.

After my two misadventures, my mom was thrown for a loop as well as astounded that I was still driving the bus. In my boss Terrance’s  mind, there was no other option as no one else passed the D.M.V. tests. He was the only one certified , besides myself, and had many other job responsibilities to tend to with the programs he ran out of the Y’, during our summer camp trips. My mom, like the Ever Ready bunny, just kept on going….praying and standing in faith, asking God to move in such a way  that I would be released from the bus driver position. (Bless her heart.) :)

you617The song that best described me at this point in my summer was, “Don’t push me, cause I’m close to the edge…I’m trying not to loose my head.” ( I always  think of that adorable little baby penguin singing that song in Happy Feet.)   I totally agreed with Confucius in the saying “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” But, I was getting to the place that even though I loved my job with all the kids at the Y, (Day Camp in the summers, Latchkey and Directing Tiny Tots in the months of September through June), I was ready to give notice . I felt I was burdened with undue stress, not to mention, being taken advantage of. The head secretary, Linda,  a woman I respected immensely,  took me aside one day. She confirmed everything that I was feeling and admonished me to write a letter, documenting everything that had transpired from day one and to send it to not only the head of the Y, but to his boss as well. I think at my young age of 20 , I blindly trusted those in charge and was very gullible as well as naive, but also reluctant  to tell Terrance I would no longer drive the bus in fear of being fired.   I began contemplating what my letter would say.

you609Okay, have you heard the saying, “The third time is a charm?” One sunny and  warm afternoon while backing out of a very crowded YMCA parking lot, (why was it always in a parking lot?)  :-OS I collided with what seemed to be an abnormally long and gargantuan Cadillac Seville. Very thankful I was alone, (no kids present at the time,) I was overwhelmed, my nerves were spent and I just wanted to go home , take a hot bath and go to bed. The next day, I was called into the office. My face was bright red, ( as I felt humiliation, frustration and was on the verge of tears.) As Terrance asked me to fill out the Insurance papers once again, he also spoke the words that I had given up hearing;

Susan, our insurance company has demanded that you be released at the driver of the bus, due to the number of accidents you have incurred.”

you620I thought for sure I heard fireworks in the distance, as well as a choir of angels singing and the voice of my mom shouting “THANK YOU JESUS.” I was elated with joy and could not wait to arrive home to tell my mom that her prayers had been answered. The rest of my summer was then free of stress, well at least the stress of driving a bus.  :-OS I didn’t have the butterfly stomach, extreme perspiration , tension headaches any longer  and was actually excited to go to work each morning.

I am happy to say, I did write the letter and it was given to the two senior Directors of the YMCA as well as the board. It was received and I did not get fired.  :-OS I got my license changed immediately…(to be on the safe side,)  and to this day, I have never driven a big yellow school bus again…(not even tempted to look inside of one.) :-OS

What did I glean from the summer of my youth? First of all, my heart was filled with such praise and gratitude that the Lord always kept everyone on the bus safe.   My beliefs were reinforced that God hears the prayers of a Righteous Mom, (and  that He truly does work in mysterious ways.)   :-OS   I appreciated my mom more than ever as through her prayers, counsel, support and love, I was able to allow God to “grow me up” in some areas that needed change.  I learned to not quit even though I felt like giving up and  I was learning to become a person that would eventually be able to freely say NO, no matter the consequences. Lastly, I acquired the knowledge , first hand, that laughter is a gift in times of stress, anxiety and fear.   I know that even though there are many ‘happy’ bus drivers out there who enjoy and do their job well,  this particular profession has never been, still is not, and never will be one of my gifts, loves or dream jobs.  Writing is much calmer on the nerves! :-OS

 

 

Whether it is your mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather or close mentor,  there is no denying the awesome blessing from God to have a praying parent. I absolutely love this inspirational,  beautifully written song and short video by artist Mark Harris, sharing about a fathers heart and  prayer for His child. ENJOY!!!


PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.