Me next to a replica of the Liberty Bell inside Wisconsin's capitol building in downtown Madison.
I know blessings usually are undeserved, which is why they are called blessings. But, I was the beneficiary of some recent blessings that I truly felt were undeserved and some caught me by surprise.
I almost started crying. Not sad, goodbye tears, but grateful tears. Thursday morning was busy as I took care of last minute details at home, weighed luggage and shifted items around to make sure all three of my bags were at or below 50 pounds. Then there was the hour or so drive to the Portland airport. Because I had three heavy bags and two heavy carry-ons, my dad dropped my mom and I off at the curb while he went to park. After grabbing two luggage carts, I looked up to see a man who had seen our dilemma graciously lifting the bulky bags on to the carts. He recognized a need and stepped in to meet it. I was so grateful that I almost began crying. What an unexpected blessing.
With the three check-in bags, I knew I would be spending a bit of money. Most domestic airlines are now charging for check-ins and the bag limit is usually 2, with the cost for a third considerably more. But between carrying my own things and things for others in Uganda, I had needed to pack 3.
When I mentioned to the kind ticket agent that I was flying to Uganda Aug. 12, she immediately worked on waiving the fees for my first two bags (hooray!). She then patiently waited as we weighed luggage, shifted items and then re-weighed. I was so, so grateful for her kindness and patience.
Madison Scenes: Top photos - inside the capitol building; lower left, the capitol as seen from a downtown rooftop terrace; lower middle, one of the many lakes around Madison; lower right, a five-piece brass band performing near the Capitol Farmer's Market on Saturday.
I met Amanda and Jessica during my first visit to Uganda, from October 2006-March 2007. They were living on the Lingira Island YWAM base and were neighbors to Karina and I since we all lived in the same building. We four American single gals made lots of good memories together. And they became very dear friends. I believe Amanda and Jess are a key reason that I did not suffer from much homesickness as expected and I enjoyed that first visit so much. Almost three years after I last saw them in 2008 (when I flew to Wisconsin for Jess' wedding), they hosted me again for a few days this weekend.
Adorable Olivia - daughter of Chris and Amanda (She's even cuter in person!)
Food, laughter, lots of fun and good sharing and fellowship marked my visit here in Wisconsin. Oh, and did I mention good food - like fried cheese curds? ; )
Amanda and Jess love Uganda and the islands and are continuing to share that love with their husbands, families and friends.
I feel so refreshed after my time with these good friends and I am so very thankful for the undeserved blessing of special relationships. God knows what we need, and always bestows above and beyond what we could imagine.
At left - Me with Chris and Amanda
Now I am excited to hop on a plane to Pennsylvania and visit my dear sister Leah for a few days. Yay! I will try and keep you posted on my further adventures! : )
What undeserved blessing have you received lately?
At right - Me with Jessica and Ben