Posts Tagged ‘God’

9 Years ago today, I was driving my Toyota Tacoma to work on I81 when I hit a patch of ice going over a bridge. The rear wheels slid out to the left and I tried to steer out of it. I didn’t want to slam on the breaks and go spinning out of control. I realized that I was heading towards the guardrail so I did a little mental checklist before I hit:

Seatbelt? Check,

Airbag? Check.

“OK God here I come.” Check.

I hit the rail at 65 miles an hour and the truck flipped over onto its roof and slid one hundred feet before coming to a rest in the snow bank. The air pressure blew out the back window so snow flew everywhere. I ducked instinctively when I felt the vehicle flip and it was a good thing I did. When it came to rest, the ceiling was only three inches from my fingers on the steering wheel. I heard the tires still spinning and realized that the techno CD I was listening to had stopped playing. Since I was an EMT, I knew the dangers of neck injuries and other trauma. I cautiously wiggled my fingers and toes before I moved my neck. I hunched my shoulders and took a deep breath to see if any ribs were broken. (This is all while I was upside down) Then I unclipped my seat belt and flipped/ crawled over to the passenger side which wasn’t as crushed. The airbag never went off. My Mom bought me an emergency hammer that can cut seatbelts and break glass. I stowed it under the driver’s seat, but because everything had flipped over and snow was everywhere, I couldn’t find it. I pulled out my Leatherman and tried to break the window. I slammed the point of the pliers into the glass repeatedly but it wouldn’t break! Since the CD stopped playing, I assumed power was out, but struck by a sudden thought, I tried the button for the window. Whirrrrrr. It rolled open and I crawled out…right into the arms of my coworker who was a certified first responder! But get this. It was her day off. She just happened to be passing moments after my truck slid to a stop. I also knew a few of the EMTs that arrived minutes later. How many injuries did I receive? None. Does God exist? Yes.

To top  off the day, I took my then girlfriend (now wife) out to dinner at Bangkok Thai in Liverpool. During dinner, I showed Joy (our waitress) the above Polaroid and got a free fried ice cream for surviving!

Here are a few recent coincidences that have happened recently. They deal with me leaving my job I have been at for nearly ten years. They are both musical.

The day came at work when I decided that I needed to resign. It was time to go. I packed up a few of my personal things that had acreted over the years, and typed up my resignation letter.The next day, I planned on telling my boss, but she was in meetings all morning. She returned after lunch and I waited until she was off the phone to go in and meet with her. Our offices are just down the hall from one another, so I could hear when she was free. As was my habit, I listened to Digitally Imported radio on iTunes. I especially like the female vocal trance channel. Just before I went in, the lyrics of the song playing were “It’s going to be a fine night tonight, it’s going to be a good day tomorrow.” This repeated as few times as techno is wont to do, and then the ad cut in, the first line of which was: “I had a great idea at work yesterday!”  Hmmmm.

Two weeks later, the day I left work for the last time, I got into the car and pulled out of the parking lot. The CD I was listening to had continued from where it left off in the middle of a song from that morning. The lyric was: ” Farewell! Farewell. Parting is such sweet sorrow!” (It was metal-core, hence the exclamation points from him yelling)

So coincidence? No. I don’t believe in coincidences. I think it was God hinting to me that I had made the right move. He does that occationally. Like the time I was flying to Australia, and everyone was asleep on the 16 hour flight there. It was 3:00 in the morning and I woke up very thirsty. I was in the middle of a 5 person row, so I would have to wake up at least two people. Just as I was about to unbuckle my belt, a flight attandent showed with with one glass of water on a tray and handed it to me. She was not handing them out to anyone else, there weren’t empty glasses or other people awake, it was just me.  Amazing.

lg310700Here’s proof. I’m reading “The Book of Coffee and Tea” and of course am all excited about coffee now. I have a list of all the best beans in the world and want to try them all. But first I had a bag of Dunkin Donuts whole bean that I had to use first. I know, I know. Definitely not world class coffee. I got it before I read the book. Anyway, I have a french press that my parents gave me when my son was born. But no grinder. So I have this bag of whole beans just sitting there. I tried ye olde mortar and pestle but that took forever. So I decided I needed to buy a grinder but there’s a catch. We joined the Compact this year, which means no buying anything new except for food and safety related things. (there’s other exceptions too but that’s beside the point)

I had a gift card to Wegmans left over from Christmas, so even if the grinder didn’t qualify as food related, I figured I could use my card and the purchase could still be considered “safe.” When We got to the store, my wife started looking at seeds for our vegetable garden while I went in search of a coffee grinder. They only had two models and one was huge, so I was stuck with only one choice, white, or black. With a french press, you need a course grind and this machine didn’t have any grind settings. You just have to eyeball it. So I decided to wait on buying one.

Later that day, after church, we were over at my parents so they could get their baby fix. I told Mom that I needed to find a good coffee grinder while I was looking at hers, out on the counter.

“Why, doesn’t the one we got for you work anymore?” She said.

“What do you mean?” I asked “You only gave me a French Press, not a grinder.”

She looks at me suddenly and holds up her finger. “Wait a minute!” She says. She bends down and reaches under a kitchen counter and comes up with…a brand new coffee grinder, still in the box! Sweet.

So you may say: coincidence, but I say no. God. The very day that I finally decided to buy one, then held off at the last minute, only to recieve one a few hours later for free… That’s God. So thanks, God, for the coffee grinder…and thanks Mom too. MMmmmm coffee.

My family and I will be officially below the poverty line starting next week. My job hours (and hence, pay) were cut in half this morning. This comes as a surprise to me because this morning, I was full-time, salary, with benefits (medical/dental, 401K, 3 weeks vacation) and almost 10 years with the organization. I suppose this is how it feels to most people. They say, “Well, the economy is bad but I still have a good job. It won’t affect me. I can still pay my mortgage every month.” Now it’s time to re-evaluate. The good news is, I still have a job. I did a little figuring and I think I can still pay my bills every month. Maybe. Now that we are officially “poor,” we qualify for food stamps and other things. My wife and I might not have health insurance, but we are usually healthy anyway. We eat well and mostly organic. (that might change though…too expensive) Now we have an incentive to start that Victory Garden in the backyard. Our 9 month old will now qualify for Medicaid too. Maybe we will as well, I’m not sure. My wife was a little shocked when I told her I was going to look at buying an army surplus field suture kit so I wouldn’t have to go to the Emergency Room.

Our situation isn’t as bad as I make it sound. I know that compared to most of the world, we are still very rich. Our car is paid off and I can bike to work if I want to, which most days, I do. We have some debt (house $52,000/student loans $10,000) but we also have some savings, but that has been shrinking by $1,000 every month since my wife stopped working last year to stay home with our new baby. We only have to survive until September when she will start her teaching job again. Our new roof will have to wait.

This is also good timing on God’s part for several reasons:

1) It’s almost spring time so our heating bills will drop from $200 to $40.

2) We only need to hold on for 6 months.

3) Better weather means we can grow our own food. We’ve never done this, and my wife has a notoriously black thumb (meaning she kills plants, no offense to my African American readers) but I think our motivation is high enough that we will see success.

4) We had already decided to join The Compact this year (you can’t buy anything new, except food, health/toiletries etc. You’d be surprised how excited you become when you visit a second-hand bookstore, architectural salvage store, or Thrift store where everything is allowed.) So this won’t be a stretch as far as deprivation is concerned. We already consigned ourselves to not buying much this year. Entertainment is cheap too. It’s called a LIBRARY. you can get books and movies (even recent releases) there for FREE.

So here are my options. I can try and get a second job and struggle with that whole hassle of driving twice as much and being away from my family even more than I am now. This might be cool because I have a chance to start fresh so to speak. For instance, I’ve always thought I would be a good security guard, landscape architect, ninja, or something else. OR

I can stay home. Enjoy this new turn of events, spend more time with my wife and son, finish my novel-get an agent- become a best selling author, have perpetual 3 or even 4 day weekends, etc. We may even qualify for getting our house painted because of the lead program. We always made too much before. We could even get new windows! The thing with this plan is that we really need to focus on saving money. See Compact above. Not too hard. So that’s where I am right now. Poor, but optimistic.

2009 Federal Poverty Guidelines

The 48 Contiguous States and DC
Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $10,830
2 14,570
3 18,310
4 22,050
5 25,790
6 29,530
7 33,270
8 37,010
For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,740 for each additional person.

Peace in Nature

Posted: October 16, 2008 in writing
Tags: , , , ,

Anyone who knows me knows I love the outdoors. It is where I choose to play and where I can live life to the fullest. And, in no small part due to the Rescue Mission, it is where I find God.

I started going to Camp I’d Ra Ha Je (I’d Rather Have Jesus) back when I was six years old. From then on, I have always associated a love for the outdoors with a love for God. After all, you can’t fully appreciate a beautiful painting without some measure of respect for the creator of that work of art. Creation has always been one of my big reasons for belief as well. How can someone look at a magnificent sunset and not believe in God? Can you say purple mountain majesty? These are the Sawteeth Mountains in central Idaho this past summer. Part of God’s

“Inspiration” series of paintings. Bob Ross has nothin’ on The Lord of Creation. (more…)