Just Ask for the Milk

I was recently at the closest grocery store to my house – the one I go to for all the convenient things we eat or need – Grocery Outlet. I love that place…I just make sure I look at the expiration dates on dairy before I put it in my cart, but I love it there because they really do have what we need – all except “lactose-free” milk. I’ve been shopping there for years now, and every time, I just felt as if I had to make two separate trips – an additional one to Fred Meyer, JUST for our lactose-free milk. It’s so annoying! But I’ve just always done it.

Then it dawned on me to ask if it’s possible to get it there. Yeah… after almost 5 years, I thought to ask. The checker got a manager, and she walked up, and I asked her if I could ask for an item that I continue to not see -one that our family uses all the time. She turned me down right away, “Sorry, the way we work is that we get items delivered to our main warehouse from other stores, and if it’s not there, it’s just not there.” So I replied, “Oh, so it’s not possible to make a request for an item?” “Hmm… No, not really. No. Sorry.”

I normally would have just thanked her for her time and left, but that day I thought, why not let her know what it is. Not that it would change the policy or how they work, but why not. So I looked down, and then up at her again, this time, specific, “…it’s lactose-free milk. Not soy, almond, cashew, or coconut milk. Lactose-free.” She repeated it back to me and then said, I can ask our warehouse guy that does our orders to see if he can look for it next time he pulls he does one. Do you mind waiting here for a few minutes?”

“Not at all”, I said, surprised. And a few minutes later she returned.  “He said he’d add it to the order Thursday, and it can be here Friday. Homogenized or 2%?”

“2%.”

“Is $2.57 ok?”

“Yep! Thank you.”

What just happened? She went from saying they don’t “do requests for certain items” to “we can order that item for you this week”! What’s the difference?

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As I walked away, I heard her yell back to me, “2%, right?” I yelled back, “Yes. Thanks!”

And this might seem like the silliest analogy because it’s about milk of all things, but I really do feel like God was telling me as I drove home,

“Be specific when you ask for what you need of me. Even if it feels like the odds are against you. Even if you’ve not experienced it yet. Just ask. You never know.
I might say, Yes. I can do that.” This was a “wink from God” that really encouraged and empowered me.

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music, song-writing, singing, guitar and the kitchen sink

i have this urge to write more songs, sing ’em, & learn chords to them on my black shiny 6-string. the urge to act on the art within won’t go away…not that i want it to. it fades from the front of my mind to the sides, & some days sinks to the bottom pleading with me all the while to let it out. what i struggle with is who i’m supposed to let it out to.

i’m writing, maybe posting it on my songs, poems or lyrics page. i’m singing it to my family (but usually to myself trying to perfect it in my mind – love those shower acoustics!). i may find chords to it, play it as best i can, & then wait. on what? i don’t know! i used to be able to bring a selection (cover or original) up to a song leader i knew & could collaborate with on it. i have no one like that here. i tried craigslist ads, but two ads that i responded to so far didn’t work out. i tried my church’s 2 bands, but one’s not open to recruiting & the other i’m meeting with in a few weeks…so we’ll see. i think they’re lookin’ to keep doing all covers w/the david crowder band pop worship theme & may need one more bgv (background vocalist).

my heart is open to whatever God wants. it really is. but it burns for outreach. i may try connecting w/other artists thru above grounds, but there are so many in austin, it can be overwhelming. it’s not that i need an audience. God has been my main audience for, goin’ on 3 yrs now. i just dont want to miss an opportunity to bless anyone he puts in my path…or to grow in my potential by working w/other talented artists.

for now… i’m waiting with as much patience as i can muster, i’m writng, i’m changing poopy diapers, i’m singing & dancing around the house, i’m doing dishes, i’m playing the same old chord progressions over & over while the laundry pile seems to reproduce before my eyes (ew, that was a strangely vulgar image), i’m making chicken spaghetti, i’m writing and singing lullabies. i’m running out of gas.

it makes my heart slow & my eyes fill when i think about it long. i so want to learn more, create more music & serve a lot more ~ with all i have. you’d think since he put ’em all in me, he’d show me how to get them out…these gifts he’s given. maybe someday soon.

i’m listening.

listening on a back road

one early misty morning in the fall of 2001, i was driving to work. it was a route that at first i dreaded because we’d just moved 20 miles further away, but as time went on, i realized i could use it to think, listen to good music and pray each morning. you, know, get my head on straight before the day had a chance to ware me down. if it wasn’t overcast, the sky would show me brilliant colors as the sun would slowly creep up the horizon.

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i specifically remember one familiar back road as it wound first through the orchard. the sign that read “end of speed limit”. the steep downhill slope and valley. the fields on either side. and on the right about 200 yards in, the tree. a beauty-stricken lonely tree like you’d see in a “purpose driven life” calendar. i remember clearly its warm colors…and later its stark, creepy branches.

well, that early morning i was praying for the people i cared about. probably those i worked with and my family. i just plead with him, “show them your love today. let them feel your love.” and it was like i knew he was listening and he cared, but he cut me off in my habitual prayer and spoke directly to me like a clear voice in my mind, “i love you” he said, “do you not see it? chelan, my daughter, i love you so much.”

…and my prayer just turned to sobbing as i felt my spirit melt. i was steering the wheel, wiping the tears away, as well as my newly applied mascara, i’m sure. and i reveled in the knowledge that i am his child and it’s not always about who i can pray for – what i can get out to him in my 30-minute commute. it’s also about stopping – for even 10 minutes – breathing him in, letting your jaw drop in admiration of nature, opening your arms to him in quietness and to what he has to say, because he has so much to say.

if only i could learn to turn down the noise of the world & of my own agenda.

oh, speak to me like that again. cause now that i know i can hear you, i’m listening.

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