Today I’m joining the Christmas giveaway fun! I came across a neat little book that blends peppermint happiness with cooking love…and I’m giving one away to one of my readers!
This little book is 5 inches by 5 inches, and is packed full of recipes that use candy canes. If you’re a candy cane/peppermint lover like me, then your mouth is already watering. What could be better than 157 pages of candy cane recipes?! If you’re not a fan, how about giving it as a gift to someone who is?
Friday afternoon found me wandering around our local hardware store…looking for pipe insulation. (Is there such a thing?)
No, I’m not a plumber, nor do I have such aspirations. I’ve been preparing for a fun craft night with my Stay & Play moms group at our church. (Yes, I’ll be posting a tutorial of the craft next week, given that it is successfully created, lol!)
After looking (in vain) for pool noodles at various other stores in our town, I had given up hope that noodles could be found at this time of the year.
Which brings me back to the hardware store. My only other option was pipe insulation. I’d never seen it- I just knew it existed and that it might solve my predicament. And so into the store I marched and proceeded to skim the aisles.
Head held high, I browsed right alongside career plumbers and construction workers…and maybe one or two other ladies who also didn’t have a clue what they were looking at knew exactly what they were looking for.
Disappointed but still whispering prayers, I turned to leave. Couldn’t find what I needed.
“What should I do?” I asked my Grace-Giver.
I made it almost to the door when Employee walked up to me, “Is there anything I can help you find?”
I said randomly, “You know that stuff that pool noodles are made of?”
“You mean pipe insulation?” she asked. (Yes, there IS such a thing!)
She led me to some boxes of pipe insulation. They weren’t at all what I had in mind. They were too narrow, and a little short, but I thought I could make them work. I was ready to buy the number of lengths I needed when Employee said it:
“Do you want me to check the basement and see if we have any pool noodles left?”
Of course I do!!
“How many do you need?” asked Employee.
Without thinking, I blurted, “Ten.”
She was gone. I fingered pipe insulation and prayed.
Almost instantly, she was back with a bundle of pool noodles taped together.
“I have eleven” she announced with a smile.
Perfect, I thought, “Ten for the ladies, and one for my demo.”
Now I needed a dowel rod cut into little 2 inch lengths. Could someone possibly cut the rod for me?
“No, probably not. You don’t have a saw?” asked Employee.
No, I don’t. (Do I look like a girl who owns a saw?!)
Some employees in that department eyed us skeptically as we tried to fit different sizes of dowel rods into the openings of pool noodles. I was compelled to explain my plan for said pool noodles.
They were impressed. So impressed that they said Fellow Out Back would surely cut the rod for me…if he was still there.
Employee took the rod to Fellow Out Back and soon returned with a brown paper package of little dowel rod lengths.
With a happy sigh I walked through the store to the cash, carrying my bundle of pool noodles and dodging inquiring looks.
“I’m not going swimming,” I jokingly told the cashier, “I’m making a craft. Well, several crafts!”
And then she said it,
“I can’t believe you got these! We never have them in the store this time of year.”
Smiles. God had them in the basement just for me, for this day.
They are sitting in my living room as I type- a spongy pile of green, yellow, orange, pink, and tied up with tape that brings soul delight to me every time I see them.
Silly? Maybe. But these things remind me that I have a very personal God- One Who delights in pleasing me.
These are tokens of everyday grace– evidence of the blessings of God-dependence, even for the little things.
“Ohhhh Mommy!” she gasps, “It’s all alone on the floor! It’s lonely and cold and it doesn’t have a mommy! Oh, the poor little thing. I’m going to put it right up here so it will be safe and warm. There!”
I absentmindedly give my consent without looking at what she is doing. We don’t have much time before we leave for skating, and Tiny Daughter needs to be dressed! Pink pants, pink striped hoodie shirt, pink and white socks, pink shoes- (pink for dinner, anyone?!)
“See, Mommy? I put it there!” She’s gasping again and now clamoring for my approval that her good deed not go unnoticed.
Pink outfit in hand, I turn to see what precious creature has (this time) captivated Tiny Daughter’s shower of tenderness.
It’s a leaf.
A leaf, friends.
It wasn’t even whole. It was a tiny excerpt of a former leaf, mangled and twisted…dead.
My heart is touched. More than touched- it is smitten, convicted, torn.
A painful thought comes and doesn’t leave, “My daughter has more compassion for that leaf than I have for people at times.”
Compassion for the flock we are entrusted with comes more naturally, though still of grace.
But compassion for the unwhole, the devastated, the piece of life that struggles to grasp hope- this goes against our very grain as humans.
Why do we repel from that which we are?
Through Tiny Daughter’s eyes, the leaf was all precious. Not a thought of where it really belonged- what it really was.
The same sentiments are often expressed by her for other miniscule creatures in her life.
That fly that the cat is after (our cat enjoys snacking on flies) needs to be heroically rescued!
That spider should be given a chance to be released into the yard before we flatten him with a shoe! Don’t you know that he probably has a mother somewhere?!
That rock she just stepped on is surely feeling more pain than she is experiencing.
Not a thought of where they really belong- what they really are.
All are items of little worth in the eyes of a not-so-child.
But the beauty in the lifeless-
It’s Christ! It’s grace.
And, oh, how I need my heart to be broken again and again for the lives around me.
They cross my path. Then I cross theirs. Is there no exchange of grace?