Girl Scouts made a difference in my life as a child and even more with my life as a Girl Scout leader and a mom. We touched so many lives with ripples that we may not always see...but last week I got to see a ripple...it was so big, when I went home that night I cried. It isn't your usual Girl Scout story...but it is one of great courage and strength to stand up for what is right even if it is scary.
Ah, Halloween! Such a fun time when adults and children have the chance to be someone or something else! Firefighter, super hero, witch or a ghost are just a few fun costumes you might see.
Last Halloween, I got the opportunity to wear a couple’s costume with my husband. We decided to go to a gala for a charity dressed in our costume. The gala was on the Saturday before Halloween and our attire was perfect for the gala. It was a masquerade ball and everyone would be dressed in ball gowns and suits and ties.
I was on the planning committee and at our last meeting, I asked the team if they would mind if instead of shopping for a gown, I came in a black suit, tie, and hat and my husband would do the same. Together we look like the Blues Brothers and they could use us to sell raffle tickets. I would donate the cost of buying a gown to the charity.
The team laughed and agreed that would work. My friend Cynthia was on the planning committee and let me borrow her son’s black suit jacket and her husband’s hat.
The night of the gala something happened that surprised me…
There are anchor moments in your life that change who you are and how you see the world. The summer between my junior and senior year of college, I had one of those anchor moments. I got the opportunity to apply for an international YMCA Camp Counselor program after a few summers of being a YMCA Camp Counselor. I didn’t know where I would be going since there are YMCA’s all over the world.
I ended up being accepted at a camp in Spain called English in Action. It was going to be great because I didn’t know how to speak Spanish but I didn’t need to know it. My job would be to help the children practice speaking English.
Two weeks before I was to leave for Spain, I found out that the camp no longer wanted American Counselors. The girls who went to the first session of camp were wild. Some of them even got pregnant so the camp director did not want any more American girls.
I was devastated! My family already paid for my plane ticket. It was my only cost to attend camp since my food and shelter would be paid by my service as a counselor, but the ticket cost $1,000. The coordinators told me they would try to see if they could find another placement for me.
Today I had a job interview. I prayed this morning in bed asking God to please give me a sign, if I am offered this position, if I should take it. I then lay quietly hoping to hear His voice or feel a nudging. After a few moments of silence, I got up, researched the company’s website, and got ready for the interview.
The interview was set for 11 am. When I opened the door of the building, I could hear laughter. I then was greeted by smiles from the volunteers at the front desk. I told them I had an appointment with Jan at 11. They asked me to wait for a moment while they contacted her. I could see other volunteers of all ages from teenagers to senior citizens busily stocking the shelves. People were coming and going with large boxes of food. The buzz in the room was so positive and friendly.
Last week, my friends and I were invited to go to a movie about human sex trafficking of minors at a special evening event at the Phoenix Zoo. Proceeds from that event would help one of my favorite non-profits, StreetlightUSA. I heard that Senator John McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, would be there.
I wanted to attend with my friends who have been working with me to put on another event, Gala Night for StreetlightUSA. I also wanted to be there because it would be an honor to meet Cindy McCain. I admire her dedication to working on this issue for so many years.
But, alas, I couldn’t go because it was on the same night and time as a computer class I am taking at Chandler/Gilbert Community College. I was so disappointed. During class that night, as I was studying Microsoft Office applications, my friends were posting fun pictures of themselves at the zoo with Cindy McCain. I wished I could be there, too.
God could see into my heart, and He had a special surprise for me a few days later.
The theme of the 10th Annual YMCA Prayer Breakfast was Miracles -- and God showed up delivering a few to our planning committee!
The first miracle that appeared happened the day before the breakfast...
A week ago, after mass, we asked Father John Coleman out to lunch. During our meal, I told him about feeling God lead me to the Seize the Day Conference to raise the C (Christian) in YMCA last fall. I told him about writing about that journey on my Anchor Moments website. The feelings of God pulling me there and setting up great learning moments while along the journey were intense. I also saw signs to leave my part time position at the Y.
While looking for a new career with more pay and benefits, I have continued to lead the YMCA Interfaith Prayer Breakfast as a volunteer this year and soon it will be here. But I do not know what I am supposed to do next. I asked Father John to pray for me and to help me figure out how to hear God give me the next steps. Father John told me to ask God each day, “God please help me use the talents that you gave me today.” He told me I would know and would feel His answer.
I tried it and Father John was right……
My favorite Christmas movie growing up was “The Little Drummer Boy.” It inspired me as a child and gave me hope. I didn’t know what frankincense and myrrh were but when they were given to baby Jesus by three kings who also gave GOLD - it sounded FANCY and EXPENSIVE! I had so much empathy for the poor Little Drummer Boy who worried because he didn’t have a gift to give. When he decided to give his time and talent to play his drum for Baby Jesus, I remember feeling the JOY the Little Drummer Boy felt when the Baby Jesus LOVED his present!
This movie instilled in me, that we all have something special that we can do to make a difference. I actually took up the drums in our elementary school band….it was NOT my talent! I often wondered….what can I do? What can I give?
I think as a child, what I gave most were smiles, hugs, and friendship. I especially enjoyed giving homemade cards and little baskets made with paper and tape filled with violets from our yard to the elderly people in my neighborhood.
Sometimes as an adult, I still feel like the Little Drummer Boy both before and after he gave his present.
Today on July 11th, I am inspired to write my eleventh blog post. The number eleven has been a favorite and significant number to my family. It started for me when I found out my sweet mother-in-law Marilyn La Benz, loved that number. She was married on the 11th of October and after having four bouncing baby boys, her first daughter, Julie, was born on September 11th. I wish she were here so I could ask her again about other important elevens in her lifetime—for I didn’t find out her favorite number was eleven until the last days before her passing to heaven.