Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday night at Starbucks

I knew I would be called in to work Monday when the football team had another win... so the call on Sunday evening came as no surprise. The requirement for my working on this day... a musical chairs type game, only with two drivers, one automobile, a University, a Junior College (Community College), and home. Monday began with Christopher dropping me off near campus around 7:15 so he could arrive at the junior college parking lot before 8:00. That was quite early considering I didn't begin work until 9:00...yawn.

I walked to my favorite coffee and bagel place where I sipped very strong coffee and nibbled on a pumpkin muffin. Fortunately, I had brought along an absorbing novel which kept me busy until I walked to the bookstore. Lately when I have been called in, I have spent my day working in the Textbook Department with students coming and going for work in between classes. Working with these enjoyable young people makes the time go quickly.

So, how did I end up at Starbucks on Monday night? It's that musical chairs/car thing again. After picking me up, Christopher stopped by McDonald's for a yogurt before I dropped him off at his Monday Night Guy's Bible Study and headed for home. I only had a little over an hour to say hello to my husband (who is ill with the environmental allergy symptoms) before I had to return into town, not far from the University, to retrieve him. I decided to go in a little early and wait at Starbucks for a treat. :)

The sun was just about to set as I pulled out of the gravel lane. It looked like the proverbial red ball all aglow where the county road met the horizon. I was happy to turn the car away from the blinding light and head "into town". My Starbucks allowance had actually run out this month but I was certain my husband would understand. When one leaves the house at sun up and returns after dark, one needs comfort food (or drink).

I emphasized a Decaf Pumpkin Spice Latte to the young woman behind the counter. Once I arrived home, I expected little time to pass before my head hit the pillow and I wanted nothing to stand in the way of sleep. Long past are the days of my youth when I could drink strong coffee before bedtime and sleep would quickly come.

I took my golden nectar outside and sat at one of the cafe tables. This particular Starbucks is near where a major street from campus intersects with a highway. It is the perfect location for me to stop as it is near the road leading from the country where I live and only blocks away from our church.

I wouldn't call it peaceful but it was still an enjoyable opportunity to sit outside in nice weather. With the heat returning today, I knew I wanted to take advantage of near perfect temperatures. I watched as the sky quickly became dark and the lights in the surrounding stores and restaurants became brighter.

I had brought a book with me but the darkness and the thoughts swirling in my mind kept me from paying attention. I was thinking about my life at the moment, the highs and lows, and how God has woven them together to bring them to this moment. (I'm reading a book called Grand Weaver which inspired the thinking, which I'll review later this week.)

I had not wanted to work at the bookstore. To be honest, it requires a lot of my energy to keep the home fires burning and everything organized. My guys have given up good meals at home on the days I must work. However, I knew it was what I was supposed to be doing and now I only work a day or two here and there for football season.

There's something about sipping a latte' at Starbucks that brings about moments of reflection. Then add a night sky, warm breezes, and a gorgeous moon... well, it is downright Celtic in intensity. I can almost see Bilbo Bagins sitting in the next table with a long pipe blowing smoke rings. (Hmmmm...by this time I'm rather tired, can you tell?)

However, my thoughts were about the many times God led me to a place where I didn't want to go at first. Homeschooling has been a wonderful experience that has brought unimagined good outcomes to the entire family. It had its genesis in tears and struggles as it became apparent ADHD symptoms would make for a less-than-desirable school experience. We made decision to "pull him out" of school for a year or two. An attempt was made a little later for him to go back to the public school in third grade and it proved to us that homeschooling him would be far superior.

As we took one year after another, enjoying the process more and leaving all desires to return to "real school" (as we called it at first) behind, we now look back and shudder at the thought of how easily we could have missed this adventure if we had been willing to keep him on the drugs (which were obviously causing him harm and us grief).

There have been many times in my life that God's blessings came disguised in situations I complained about at first. Owning our pretty and cozy place in the country was a direct result of a conversation we had with a woman at an agency who helped us pay our utilities because there had been no income (we were about to begin receiving Social Security Disability for my husband). I remember how I complained to God when we had to go see the woman that day. How He must have smiled because He already knew the outcome.

I remember when He led me kicking and screaming to live in Holland, Michigan. I remember putting my order in for North Carolina, God! My husband having just received his Master's in Wood Science and obviously we belonged in the South. We spent nearly nine years in the Winter Wonderland and I still didn't appreciate driving in snow and ice. However, what a place to raise a child! I have so many beautiful memories of life next to the Lake, living in (what was then) a quaint town with other equally pretty towns nearby. God must have smiled as I stomped my foot and told him I did not want to move NORTH!

By the time my son was ready for a ride home, I was equally ready to head for the country and my pillow. Tiredness and fatigue continue to be constant companions and they weren't taken away just because I was called to briefly work outside the home. However, He also provided a clear night, a Starbucks, and pleasant memories.

I doubt I'll ever know complete health again this side of Eternity. Financial expenditures always need to be thought through carefully. Even the smallest of crisis continue to come up (as today when we're looking for a very important piece of paper which has been "lost"). It still gets too hot when we long for the cool in September and too cold when we want the warmth in April.

But I think life is what I told my son as I drove him to a long day of work today. (This came about from the discussion he and the other guys were having at Bible study last night.) I believe this life is a Schoolroom where God gives us ample opportunities to please Him, to learn the right thing to do, to follow His lead and His Word and become the people He desires us to be. That doesn't mean life will be perfect or easy. We have eternity to enjoy but lessons to ponder today.

Photo: Good Book-Good Java Print, Art.com


Cathy said...

lol, you sound like me with the Starbuck mind. I thought of you this morning as I headed past the restaurant on up to Starbucks. I like their wheat bagels with cream cheese. I ordered a frappachino ( who knows how to spell it!) with 1/2 decaf and 1/2 coffee. The young man looked puzzled, but that's what they had told me they could do. Heart doctor says "Do you drink caffeine?" I usually drink tea now.
Sounds like the job is going
better. :o)

Anonymous said...

It is a great encouragement to me to read about how the Lord has brought you through such difficult times, Brenda. I love reading about those times that turned out to be surprise blessings. You are very courageous in following the Lord's leading.

I worked in a college bookstore (and other parts of the college, such as the library and the extensions programs), on call, at the time that my fibromyalgia started up. The bookstore was my least favourite place to work. Obviously, the library was my favourite ;) It was a real challenge, learning how to do all those different jobs. I don't miss it a bit!

Quinne said...

"How He must have smiled because He already knew the outcome."

Hi Brenda :) Thank you for this today! When I read those words, I knew that the Father was using them to help lift my heart and eyes and to steady my feet for this time in this afternoon. Love, Q

meg said...

What a thoughtful, peace-filled post; I needed a reminder to be grateful for everything God gives me- that He works everything together for my good.

Donetta said...

:0 Thank you for the pleasure of your shared thoughts. I ave enjoyed them. It is so true that we complain and we are to be content so we don't miss the moment, each moment.

Heather said...

Thanks so much for your post today. It was encouraging for someone who is also walking a journey which is filled with bumps and surprises and trials that cause us to lean on Christ.

Anonymous said...

One of your best, Brenda.
p.s. I tried my first pumpkin spice latte last week and a pumpkin scone. While I liked them, I don't think I'll be giving up my macchiatos and frappuchinos any time soon. :)

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Dear Brenda, I read your blog every day and sincerely appreciate what you have to say. You think deeply and have blessed me by sharing yoru thougts. So please do not be offended, please, please, if I mention something that I feel as if I am meant to mention to you. I am also a diabetic. The book Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution has helped me be a much healthier diabetic than I would otherwise be, and I want to recommend it to you. I hope it will help. But if you want to disregard this, just do so without being angry at me. As I say, I felt as if I were meant to mention it to you, even though it makes me feel uncomfortably meddling. Forgive me.

Elizabeth B said...

Reading through Wilberforce's Biography online at Google Books, I found he struggled with ill health most of his life. It is amazing how much he accomplished given his condition.

Also, I recently read one of Catherine Marshall's later books, I think it was Light in My Darkest Night, and found she struggled with poor health from lung damage due to her battle with TB, and also insomnia. And yet, during this time, she wrote some of her best books!

smilnsigh said...

I'm happy for you, that this view gives you comfort.


Anonymous said...

I love to sit at It's A Grind and read, do Bible Study, or reflect on God's creation.

But what is wonderful is you sitting there why? Because your son was in Bible Study! That is a great reason.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post today. Gives me much to ponder.
Thank you and have a beautiful day.

KJ said...

As always, a beautiful visit!

My Mom was just diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It definitely is alerting me since her Dad had it as well...

Hugs, kj

She'sSewPretty said...

My date last night with my hubby was at Starbucks. I was having a pumpkin spice frapacino and it just felt so good to be able to sit and enjoy talking to my husband. Thanks for reminding me to count my blessings.