12.28.06 @ 21:01
                                Little Reminders

                       Bet you really thought I was dead this time ^_^ Well, I'm not... yet.  But I might be soon.  Working six days a week opening to closing can do that to you.  If they'd quit firing people at work - or at least hire some new people I might live!  As it is I have almost no free time, and way too much stuff to get done.  I can't live without my hobbies I tell you!  But God is still good, and he still loves me and has a plan for my life, so I suppose I'll live anyway.  In fact, I might even have some fun.  So, since I brought it up, I want to tell you a story about why butter cookies remind me that God loves me.  But you'll have to expand this entry to read it.

Little Reminders

It always amazes me how God finds little ways to remind us that he is still there and he loves us - especially when we are having a rough time. A call from an old friend, finding just the perfect item - on sale too!  Some might call it coincidence, but I learned long ago that there aren't many of those around.  Instead of coincidence I see the hand of God in these pleasant surprises.  Then there are the things that remind me every time I see them that God is wonderful and that he loves me.  Like waterfalls, and clouds, and sunsets, and that tree across the street from the parking lot at work that is for some reason absolutely captivating to me.

And then there are Danish butter cookies.

You know, the little ones with the big rectangular sugar granules on top, or sometimes not.  I like the ones shaped like pretzels best. My aunt used to buy them when I was little and she lived six houses down the street from our house.  I loved those cookies. But that isn't why they remind me of God's love.

You see, when I was 21 (about two years ago) I had been working at Disneyland for almost three years and had been looking for a new job for eight months.  I liked Disneyland, but I needed something more stable.  I wasn't having much luck.  Then work got bad.  I wasn't getting any hours so I was basically paying to work there since I commuted so far.  They started scheduling me shifts outside my department, things like bussing which drove me crazy as it was tedious and boring, and also caused me physical problems since I'm allergic to cleaning chemicals (including soap if you'll believe it) and vinegar.  It was worse in the summer because there was little shade and I don't sweat like I should so I tend to overheat.  I was having some other issues too and for some reason it all seemed overwhelming.  I remember telling the scheduler that I couldn't take any more bussing shifts - that they made me want to drown myself in the "River" around Tom Sawyer's island.

I half meant it.

For those who don't know (which is probably most of you) the cast parking lot for Disneyland is about a five minute drive from the park (usually longer because of all the people and the lights).  We would park and then take a "Cast shuttle" (a bus) to the employee entrance (by the way - "Cast" is the word Disney uses for employees.) The ride took ten to fifteen minutes and I usually talked to my mother on my cell phone during that time. 

One day I was talking with my mother and I mentioned to her that I had been thinking about Danish butter cookies.  I loved them, and I didn't think I had had them since my aunt had moved to Orange county when I was a Sophomore in High School.  I remember telling her that I missed them.  For some reason it was kind of important right then. My mother is a sweetheart, but we don't usually buy things like that.  We eat practical food and the occasional on-sale desert, but she said that maybe she'd buy some.

Two days later when I got from home there, sitting on the table, was the largest tin of Danish butter cookies I had ever seen in my life.  And they happened to be my favorite brand.  I adored my mother at that moment and gushed my thanks profusely.  And then she told me that she hadn't bought them. In fact, she had forgotten all about it.

Where, then, did the enormous tin of cookies come from?  Well, apparently a woman at the school my mother worked for (she works one day a week teaching preschoolers) had bought the tin for her class and then decided not to use it.  She walked up to my mother in the office and gave them to her - they weren't even open.  As far as I remember my mother wasn't close to the woman.  In fact, she had never spoken to her before. As far as I was concerned God had given me those cookies himself.  I was so overwhelmed that I cried (and if you know me you'll know I cry about twice a year... always on my period, and only then if the world is falling apart).

I had begun to think that my life didn't matter anymore.  That God wasn't going to help me and I was going to be miserable forever.  And then, in a simple little way, God said "I'm listening.  I'm still here.  I still love you.  Trust me to give you what you need - and even what you want."  It's impossible to describe the feeling getting those cookies out of nowhere gave me.  God cared that I missed cookies, stupid little cookies.  He gave them to me.

Now every time I am tempted to fall into despair and think that God has forgotten about me - or just doesn't care -  I remember Danish butter cookies.  And every time I see a butter cookie I remember that God loves me.

I dare you to look at your life and find the little ways God proves his love to you every day.  Found that perfect sweater?  Got that raise just in time?  Just happened to find that thing you thought your room had swallowed whole?  Maybe God is sending you a little love note - and you didn't even notice. 

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