Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29, 2010: Providence comes in sevens...

The amazing nursing staff in the Infusion Center at the Chao Family Cancer Center at UC Irvine Medical Center.  Thank you to the Gunther Foundation and to Arts & Services for the Disabled for allowing me the privilege of working with these amazing women in 2010.


Today was so full of Providence, I had to take notes at the dinner table to make sure I didn't miss anything in this post.  I don't even know where or how to begin.  Let's just start, and see where we go, shall we?

Okay, at yesterday's doctor's appointment, Ali was running a fever, so the doc said she had to stay home for 48 hours after her temp returned to normal.  Now, I was supposed to work at the hospital fulfilling the last two sessions of music therapy for the Gunther Grant that I am currently there through this Thursday and Friday.  So, on the way home from the doc's office yesterday, I called Grandma and asked if there was a day this week that she could come over and watch Ali while I finished off this grant.  She said that she could come over today, so I combined my remaining hours into one full day at the hospital today.

I head out the door a little late thanks to some east coast work I had to submit, and by the time I got the exit off the freeway for the hospital, it was POURING rain.  I noticed hiding behind the freeway sign was relatively young girl, trying to take refuge from the elements while hopefully picking up some donations from commuters along the way.  Now, regardless of what anyone else's attitude or philosophy is about "giving money to the homeless/beggars," I follow a very simple credo.  If I have it, I give it away, because it's not mine in the first place.  Second, Jesus was homeless.  Do you think most people at the time saw a man with flowing blonde hair and a beard?  Historically speaking, they probably saw a dark haired, dark skinned homeless man.  So, I think of the homeless as Jesus in Disguise.

Anyway, I open my wallet thinking I have a 5 or a couple of singles I can easily give away, and what do I see?  A single twenty.  Rats!  I don't want to give that much away, I immediately hear my mind say.  Then, I laugh at myself.  I'm asking the universe to give me 3 million dollars and I can't give away twenty?  I seriously laughed out loud at myself in my car, pulled the twenty out (with a little tinge of pain nonetheless), and got ready.  The light turned, and as my car made it to her, I slowed down and rolled down my window, twenty in hand.  A very happy - yes, happy - young woman emerged from her makeshift lean-to and reached out, and without looking at the money, just smiled a GIANT smile and made solid eye contact and actually connected with me.  Her eyes shone as bright as her smile, and I couldn't help but think, "What are you doing here?  You obviously have much to offer this world, if you can reach out and connect with me in an instant through the rain at a stop light while my car is moving."

I let it go, since the moment was moving by so fast, but I won't soon forget her.  What was funny was that my mind was wining, "How are you going to be able to eat lunch now?  You know you don't have enough money in the bank to pull cash from the ATM, and they don't take credit at the cafeteria!"  It was as if my mind was trying to punish me for listening to my soul instead of it.  However, within a fraction of a second, my soul replied, "Tim, they provide free lunch in the infusion center, and they have offered you free lunch before, you'll be fine."  Again, I laughed because if I had reacted to my mind and withdrawn from the chance, thinking I could only get food today through one way, my fear would have won out, and a girl would be standing in the rain with a chunk less cash, and I'd still be getting fed.

I'm not swimming in cash currently due to the 6 month hiatus I took from working, but I ask you, who needed that twenty today more, her or me?  If you find yourself thinking that standing in the rain at a exit ramp of a freeway the best way you're going to get money for what you need, you are having tougher times than me, and I'll help every time.  Don't care where the money goes, it was God's anyway.

Fast forward to lunch time.  I am in the infusion center, and before I even think about food, one of the AWESOME nurses grabs me and says something to the effect of, "Did you try the clam chowder yet?"  I'm thinking that's the soup they are serving, but she corrects me, "No, one of our patients brought in a VAT of amazing New England clam chowder!  Here, follow me!"  She leads me into a tiny room - the same tiny room I store my rain coat - and shows me the vat of soup and the giant bag of rolls to go with it!  Sure enough, a patient had brought in a full-on commercial grade vat of the tastiest, stick-to-your-ribs and warm-your-bones clam chowder I've ever had.

Folks, I grew up in Connecticut.  I KNOW New England Clam Chowder!  There ain't NOTHIN' better than a bowl of that stuff on a miserable rainy day like today was!  No offense, socal, but I have low expectations of anyone's attempt at NECC, but this guy NAILED IT!  It was soooooo good.

Didn't need that twenty after all.

Okay, there are literally SIX MORE STORIES from today alone, but I just don't have it in me to write them all out in one blog post, and you don't want that much, as much as you love being here.... hahaha.  So, I'm going to share one a day for the next six days, and if more come along the way, we'll just have to double up.

You know, I used to write "Providence Story of the Day," way back when Bella was born.  No what I realized today?  I used to think that I got one Providence moment per day... like an allotment or ration.  No what I realized today?  I am the one who said that.  Therefore, when "the" story of the day would happen to me, I thought that was all I was gonna get that day.  Don't get me wrong, I was super excited I got one a day, and never for a second wondered why I didn't get more.  Today I realized that God's Providence is all around me, just WAITING for its chance to shine upon me.  The only limits are the ones I PUT ON GOD, not the other way around.  I was honestly exhausted by 4:30 today just trying to be with the fact that no less than SEVEN phenomenal stories of God's love showered down upon me today.

Do you allow for God's hand in your life daily?  How many acts of his Grace do you consider yourself worthy enough to receive per day?  Ever notice who made that up?

My friends, the lids we place on our selves, on others, ON GOD...  they are clear, but they are there.

What lids will you be removing in 2011?  DECLARE IT HERE.  You have an audience of committed listeners here who know you, love you, and will stand for you that it be so.

What lids will YOU be removing in 2011?

God night.


  1. I try to live by my golden rule; J JESUS first
    O OTHERS second and Y YOU third. what do O have
    JOY JOY JOY. bless you and yours from dawn in Canberra

  2. Tim, your stories for Providence today were awesome. I have a hard time giving away money sometimes to strangers but you are right, it's not my money, it's Gods and if that person has to stand there and humbly ask for money from strangers then, they obviously need it more than I do. Back when I was about 21 I worked at this fabulous hotel in downtown Riverside called The Mission Inn. There are A LOT of homeless people that hang out around there because the grounds are so gorgeous. Of course most come and go but there were a few that actually really lived there. One day a lady "resident" asked if I had any money to spare and the only money I had was a $10 bill in my purse. When I gave it to her she immeadiately grabbed me and gave me a HUGE hug. Although, that kind of weirded me out, it also warmed my heart and has left an impression on me that I will never forget.

    I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy some great Clam Chowder today too. How thoughtful of a patient to do that for the staff. That's awesome.

    I'm glad you had a great day and I hope that Ali has started feeling better.

    Great picture of BEAUTIFUL BELLA tonight.

    Lots of Love,
    Amber, Craig, Malorie(2), and Liam(1)
    The McLaughlin Family, CA

  3. Every day i try to be a better person, and believe me Tim when i say that your blog is a true inspiration to my life. Even when i am down for some reason, when i read you i see things in a diferent perspective, anda i feel better. I try to help others every day, from friends to stangers, nad when i succed i feel a real peace and joy inside me, and that´s what i will keep doing in 2011/2012/2013...and so on and so on.

    Today once again i was moved by your story of the day... and it is true, if there is anyone needing more than we do, why shouldn´t we help?


    Sandra Coelho - Portugal

  4. When I was reading your book, the providence
    stories were one of my favorite parts. I think many times we come face to face with God but don't recognize Him. I mean, really, in a bowl of chowder? Thank you for the challenge to remove our lids and allow God to truly work in our lives. May we also be able to remove that which blinds us so we will recognize Him when He appears...wherever and however that may be.

    Looking forward to more stories of providence. Hope Ali is feeling better too!!

    A friend in NC

  5. You know what I've noticed? The less money I have, the more likely I am to give it to a stranger on the street. I wonder why that is?

    I can't think or write at the moment about 2011 - not enough time - but I did want to stop by and say hello. And guess what? Our good news from yesterday is that I finally figured out the deal with Ari's ear infections (and therefore his sleep as well). FINALLY! It feels good to have an answer and a plan.

    I love that photo of Bella. Looking forward to the upcoming days of stories. :)

    Cara in Tucson

  6. A large, regional VA facility is located in my hometown, and it's not unusual to see a homeless veteran holding a sign, asking for a handout, at the corner of an intersection. My mom is notorious for cleaning out cupboards in her kitchen and sending me home with the contents (regardless of if I want them or not) when I visit her.

    One day I was just starting out on the hour drive back home from my Mom's when I came to an intersection with a very long stop light. An older veteran was standing by the road with a sign asking for money. I rolled down my window and said, "I don't have any money to give you, but would you like some food?" He said "Sure!" I then handed him a plastic grocery bag filled with the contents of my mom's "snack drawer." It had individually wrapped granola bars, chips, cookies, - all kinds of food that my stepdad, who regularly packs his lunch, would pack in his lunchbox. Perfect, prepackaged food for someone living out of a backpack. I don't think I could have given the guy a better donation if I had planned it.

    Looking forward to more of your stories of Providence!

    Angela in Dublin, Ohio

  7. I love your story of Providence today. I fully believe that all things happen for a reason, and it is often hard to understand that in the moment--sometimes the reason is revealed to us later, sometimes it is not. I really like your illustration of "lids", you know that I have been on a journey of stepping outside of my comfort zone (mostly through running) and I will be pushing the boundries of that zone again in 2011. The image of a "lid" is something that I can put in my bag of! I can't wait to hear about the rest of your stories!

    Michelle K.
    The Colony, Tx

  8. Tim, I'm removing the lid of self-sabotage. Im going back to college. Put it off for a year doing my will. Time to get back into God's will. Amazing. When I listened to Him, (smiles), I was led. It's time to take action for me. I lifted the lid of self-sabotage. Im taking action. Traci, Alabama

  9. What a great event to share - it is so hard to part with money - espeically when you might be low on it! I always try to give whatever I can and not feel bad, but you are right there is a sting when you realize what you want to give will make the minute, day, week, etc hard on you! I am glad you gave!

    LOVE the picture of Bella!


  10. "Today I realized that God's Providence is all around me, just WAITING for its chance to shine upon me. The only limits are the ones I PUT ON GOD, not the other way around..."

    Love, love, love this and LOVE giving away is so satisfying and I agree..."don't care where the money goes it was Gods anyway..."

    What a gift...the clam chowder...I am just basking in HIS care for you and your family.

    Happy New Year & Happy New You!! Donna in NJ

    PS...thanks for the JOY, Dawn!!!

  11. you are so welcome Donna!!

  12. Wonderful post today...
    I, too, love when those blessings and such reach me in a special way...
    I used to keep a little journal of them all because I wanted to remember each and every one..
    then the journal was full-quickly...
    and then I lost track of writing them down and felt badly because I thought that if I didn't write them down, then I would forget them...
    THEN I realized how BLESSED I really was to have SO MANY, that I could not possibly write them all down or remember them all...
    but I remember many and they surely serve their purpose as God does in my heart and in my life..
    Happy New Year to you all. And if you ever need a sitter for Ali, we should meet because my 3 year old son, 7 month old daughter and I would LOVE to spend time with her!

  13. That picture of Bella is one of my favorites. Terri

  14. I want to hear the rest! Love today's post. And Bella's picture.

  15. Great post today - I have been thinking about the 'rules' (seem just like your 'lids')I make that serve only to make my life more difficult (and probably the lives of those around me). Thank you for both reassuring me that I'm normal and for adding to the push for me to be more aware of the rules/lids and to get rid of them.

  16. thanks for sharing this story - that is my favorite picture of Bella yet

    Lauren in Spring, TX

  17. A little story I dont think I have shared. I believe that one of the pictures on the cd I sent you had a picture of one of the fish that were in the "pond" at Bellas memorial. As I was sitting there that day I kept hearing the sound of someone "kissing" know the wet sloppy kiss sound like when a child sends an "air" kiss. So I started to look around trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. Then I noticed the fish. It was on the far side at the top doing that thing that fish do with their mouths (hope you know what "that thing" is) and the sound of kisses was the result. It is my firm belief that Bella was sending kisses that day. :)

    That was a great story you shared...cant wait to hear more!

    I love, love, love this picture of Bella. It captures her beautiful eyes. With all of the pictures you have on your blog when I go to other blogs I expect pictures! You spoil us. :)

    Sending my love to all and the sweetest of kisses to Ali (hope she is feeling better!).

    Denise WI