Art by French Press Mornings, lettering by Alyssa Martin
I have a pit in my stomach. More out of irritation at myself than anything. At the risk of subjecting myself to “bad-driver” jokes (what woman hasn’t been the brunt of bad-driver jokes at least 3489349 times…in the last week), I have to admit something to you. I got a speeding ticket last week. FOR 21 MILES OVER THE SPEED LIMIT.
No, I don’t usually drive this way. And no, I didn’t deserve the ticket. Let me explain. I’m driving in unknown territory. It’s late, it’s dark. The speed limit is 70mph, so like the good driver I am, I put my cruise on 71mph. I unknownlingly come up on a little town in the middle of nowhere. Thinking back, I briefly remember seeing a 60mph sign, but I continued at 71 for a little bit longer. To me, it looks like a dark abyss ahead of me. No lights, no cars, no…nothing. That is, until I pull over a hill. I see a few lights, cars and a tiny little town. The story goes downhill from here (punny…see what I did there?).
I look to my right and I see a blacked-out cop car. I look at my speedometer. “Dang. 71mph in a 60mph.” He starts to move and I just pull over immediately knowing what’s to come.
He comes to the window and asks me no less than 10 questions. Where do you live? Where are you going? What do you do? blah blah blah. Yes, I did everything “right.” I didn’t cry, I was respectful “Yes, sir / No, sir”, I was honest, I apologized.
Then he said the dreaded words…and here is where the pit in my stomach comes in. “Ma’am, I clocked your speed at 71 mph…” Yes I know. “…IN A 50MPH ZONE.” WHAT?!? I never saw the 50mph sign. I quite honestly didn’t believe him. I explained my error and he went back to his car for what seemed like an eternity.
When he came back, he handed me my ticket and told me to have a nice evening (like that’s possible). I look at the ticket. He really did it. He wrote it for 21mph over. Not 20mph, which would have made the ticket $100 cheaper. Twenty-ONE mph over.
COUDLN’T HE HAVE SHOWN ME SOME GRACE? Didn’t he realize that the last ticket (on my record) was when I was 16 years old? Why couldn’t he have given me a break since, clearly, I was such a good driver, and clearly, their road signs aren’t marked well (I checked on my way back through – total speed trap). Oh and clearly, he is a bored cop in a small country town that needs revenue.
I called Mike crying. I just cringe when I think of ALL THE THINGS I COULD USE THAT MONEY FOR. The new bookcase I want. The new wall art I “need.” A new vacuum cleaner for heaven sakes. But not a ticket.
For a split second I thought, “God, where were you?” But I realize how silly that is. What about all the little things that God does for us? He gives us grace, provides in so many small ways, yet we fail to thank Him day-to-day. We chalk it up to “luck” or our own doings. Then when the bad days happen, we wonder where He is. I may have had a clean driving record since I was 16, but I’ve been pulled over a few times and have “lucked out” with a simple warning. One time I got a ticket but it was wiped from my driving record. Why didn’t I thank God for those moments of relief? Instead, I get frustrated at God the one time He doesn’t pull me out of the trouble I got my own self in. At the risk of looking too far into the situation, what if, by me getting pulled over and the cop taking forever to fill out the ticket, God was saving me from something else up ahead? Maybe I would have gotten in an accident had I not gotten stopped for 15 minutes. I will never know. But what I do know, is that God loves me and cares for me, and how foolish it is to not express gratitude for the day-to-day mundane, when everything is good in my world.
Luke 12: 22-26 says:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
I’m approaching this Thanksgiving with a new perspective – eyes wide open at the little ways that God provides throughout my daily routine. How many ways can I find to thank God? What areas am I overlooking in my life where God should be given gratitude? I encourage you to do the same.
“Do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16
I still have the speeding ticket. Maybe when I call the police department they will show me grace? Probably not. But you bet I will be thanking God for the several other times He pulled me out of this mess.
“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.” Psalm 107:1
There’s no better time to give thanks than the week of Thanksgiving. For this reason, the GLOW team will be focussing on gratitude throughout the week.
Many of you have also expressed that you would like to see more recipes in our posts! So to go along with our Week of Gratitude series, we will each be posting our favorite Thanksgiving recipe at the end of each post. Be sure to stop by each morning to grab your Thanksgiving fix.
My church has a meal every year the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite church events. The ladies in our church know how to cook! My sweet potato casserole has been requested again this year, but since I have already shared that recipe with you, I figured this year I would share my mom’s mandarin salad. It’s to die for.
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 Tbsp. Sugar
In a small pan over medium heat, cook almonds and sugar, stirring constantly until almonds are coated and sugar is dissolved. Watch carefully as they burn easily. Cool and store in airtight container.
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Vinegar
1 Tbs. Parsley
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I like Bernoulli Olive Oil)
dash of Tobasco Sauce
Mix dressing ingredients and chill.
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, chopped
1 11oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
Mix lettuces, celery and onions. Just before serving, add almonds and oranges. Toss with dressing.