Your generosity might be part of His plan to change lives
The only time my husband and I fail at empty nesting is when we go on vacation. Then our vacation residence is a virtual bed and breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the guest list (and sheets and towels) changing every couple of days.
We love it.
This past week, we enjoyed vacationing at our favorite ocean-front condo on St. Augustine’s Crescent Beach. In between visits from each of our four sons, my daughter and her two children, Niko and Adira, came for two full days.
At dinner the first day, Niko, my oldest grandchild, started picking out the pecans in his butter pecan ice cream. For his sticky, meticulous efforts and occasional whine, he received a scolding. Two-year-old Adira, on the other hand, so delighted in the nutty dessert that Grandpa went to the kitchen and got her an additional scoop.
Her face — a picture of complete wonder and joy — was worthy of a photo. I grabbed my cell phone and took shot after shot, trying to capture this face that sparked joy in all of us. Except, possibly, Niko. I realized he needed some positive attention.
“Niko,” I said, peering at the beach, “Let’s walk down to the beach so that you can see the high tide.”
(We’d been swimming during low tide, but he’d insisted — due to the height of the waves — that it was at least “medium tide” if not high tide. The Atlantic Ocean on this part of the East Coast made great distinction between low and high tides, and I wanted Niko to see the difference.)
High tide, highlight
He could tell even before we reached the wooden walkover protecting the sand dunes. The ocean had crept so high that all the packed sand we had walked over earlier was underwater. We stomped our way through the powdery white sand, and Niko pointed across the encroaching tide.
“That’s where our puddle was,” he declared. (The puddle had been nature’s kiddie pool left behind by the previous high tide, filled with ocean water warmed by the sun and perfect for sand toys and his little sister. He, of course, had been up to his waist in the surf, holding my hand to launch himself into a jump each time a strong wave came to us.)
It started sprinkling and, after admiring the rain prints in the soft sand, we made our way back to the condo. I suggested we “explore” the downstairs parking garage (just to extend our time together a little longer). We climbed down the “zig-zag stairs,” as Niko called them, and walked through the parking garage that extended as long as the condominium complex.
We exited on the north end of the complex, using the zig-zag stairs there, and walked along the first floor of condos on our way to the stairs leading to our unit.
Just as we passed the last apartment before the stairwell, a pair of women — one holding birthday presents — emerged.
“Well, hello!” said the older of the two. We greeted her as well. She asked if we were on vacation, and I said we were and commented on the beautiful weather. When she spied Niko, she said, “How old are you?”
“Five,” he said, looking at me.
“Oh, well, since your mother is here, I have something for you,” she said. She retreated back into her condo. Niko looked at me with wonder. I was just delighted that she thought me young enough to be his mother (and that my grandson didn’t contradict her).
She came out of the unit with two illustrated children’s books: The Many Adventures of Freddie the Circus Mouse and Freddie and the Circus Train. ( She handed them to me, told me which book we should read first, and then turned the book to the back cover, pointed to the bio and the photo, and said, “That’s me, Becky Alexander.”
We thanked her. We were delighted — Niko loves books and stories, as do I. But I was delighted to meet an author. As an aspiring author of books, I felt I was in the presence of royalty. What were the chances of passing by her condo the moment she was emerging?
We read her books as soon as we got back to the unit. Adira emerged from her bath and joined us. The stories were wonderful! The pages included full-color illustrations of Freddie the mouse and a number of other animals. We took time to look at each picture. We enjoyed them very much.
More than a chance encounter
I had taken Niko for a walk to show him some attention, to give him a positive close to his day at a time when his sister was scoring most of our adoration. It was good for Niko. And what a surprise to receive a gift of the books on top of that!
But even though Niko was the one who received the gift of these books, I felt as if the encounter had been a gift to me. As if God were saying, “Daughter, I’m paying you attention too.”
(And not just because she thought I was his mother rather than his Gramsy.) 😉
Oh, how He loves you and me! He knows my desire to write a book, my struggles in determining what to write and how. He knows what inspires and delights me. Only He could orchestrate a chance encounter that would bless my grandson and encourage my writer’s heart, too.
Here’s why: The author, Becky Alexander, may never know how the spontaneous gift of her books touched our lives (unless she sees my blog, of course!). She demonstrated enthusiastic generosity, a willingness to put her words and pictures into our hands, and trust that we would receive her gift with joy.
As I walked the beach following my grandson’s visit, I came up with my own ideas for illustrated children’s books. I had never entertained that thought before! Now I’m inking out some ideas for a series of books. (Stay tuned!)
Dear readers, we may never know the full result of our words and actions either. We must be bold and confident to use our God-given talents — and share them with others!
Keep writing, keep sharing, keep giving! Glorify God by doing what He created you to do, and do it with all your heart. (And now that I’m back to empty nesting — and work — this week, I’ll get busy with my writing, too.)
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