Sunday, November 20, 2016


About 23 years ago, I think I bought my first piece of furniture that didn't come from Target, Walmart or the local Goodwill.  I think it came from Slumberland.  Solid oak coffee table with a drawer which soon became a chew toy for a black lab named Boozer, a great dane named Tank, another great dane named Storm and eventually, Abby the dachshund, and Hope the golden retriever.   The indentations are all over the table top; reminders of their lives, puppyhood; Hope is still with me.  At 11, she shows no signs of slowing down though allergies wreak havoc on her each fall.

The table over the years ended up in storage, the garage or the basement; it's been moved from Minnesota to Florida and everywhere in between. It was dented, paint marks on it from my son's earlier life.  It was a mess.

Goodwill didn't even want it!

Last winter, people dropped off furniture for someone who's house had burned down.  I said to store it with me until they were ready, saving the cost of a storage shed.  Flea infested when it showed up, cleaned up by me over a period of months; the person didn't want it anymore.  She wanted brand new.

I called Salvation Army and Goodwill; they didn't want those items either.

Rather than pay over $200 to have it all hauled away, I looked into repurposing the furniture.  That's when I stumbled upon ideas for my old, battered, dented, chewed coffee table.

Over the past few days, Lowe's has become a favorite stop along with Joann's.  Today, needing more screws with furniture pegs and a saw (somehow a saw got lost in the house), I left Lowe's with the latest round of supplies and stopped at the 7-11 on the way to Joann's (more foam; can never have enough foam!!

Inside to get my favorite diet coke and water, there was a young mom struggling with her squiggly young son.  He was moving around and apparently, heavy.  She used EBT for the milk and formula and then had 40 cents left, "Can you put that on pump 1, please"

40 cents she had on her for gas into her car.

In asking the store owner if that was all she'd given him for gas, he nodded yes.

Anyone who knows me, figured out what happened next.

Leaving my diet coke and water on the counter, telling the owner I'd be right back, I approached the woman.  In Zubaz, painted sweatshirt, I asked her if that 40 cents was all she had for gas.

She looked at me quizzically, no doubt expecting a barrage of crap spewed at her (remember, I've been the young mom without much and have had physicians tell me horrid things that no mom, dad or child should ever hear).

I asked her if she'd allow me to fill her tank for her.  She said I didn't have to.  I responded I knew that I didn't but I wanted to... then told her of a time, not so long ago, that someone who knew I was struggling, filled my refrigerator with food and my truck with gas.  It was simply, I said, just me paying it forward.

She agreed to let me help her, I thanked for allowing me the grace to do so.  Swiping my card, and telling her to make sure she filled it, I went back in and paid for my diet coke and water.

Coming back out, she was in tears.  The only thing that could be said was things will get better.  No matter what her struggles were, things would get better; maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they will.

"Be blessed" were the last words I spoke to her.

Conversion of someone's horrible day to just a little brighter happened.  I think it was my own conversion, not hers.

Just like the coffee table I'm redoing.  Battered, worn, ugly - it's converting.

Everyone should be so lucky.