I think I’ve fallen in love – just watch! This fitting tribute to Michael Jackson falls during the week of his birthday. Oh, and the guitar solo at the end will blow you away! The song speaks for itself. “There are people dying but if we care enough for the living, we’ll make a better place for you and for me.” If only …
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
When I was still a young girl, my brother, Joe, embarked on a journey of The Sandlot variety. It was epic. For years we’d heard rumors of a chocolate factory nearby. It was the legend that made children salivate. Chocolate. Factory. Just the words conjured images of confections out of our wildest dreams – like a Santa’s workshop for chocolate. One day Joe and his friends announced, “We’re going to find the chocolate factory.” Ooooh. Our eyes got big. That they would even contemplate the journey was fantasy, let alone attempt it. It was daring and adventurous. The group set out like Littlefoot and friends from The Land Before Time to do, what seemed, the impossible.
We didn’t tell our mothers, my sister and I, nor did the other girls, what the boys were up to. But back then, mothers expected you to be back home when the streetlights came on. So by the time it was full dark, my mother began to worry. Before she could raise the full alarm, though, Joe was back. In his hand, he carried a red square bucket (similar to the chitterling buckets seen in supermarkets). Melted dark liquid lay in its bottom. CHOCOLATE! We whooped and crowed at the success of their venture and dipped our fingers in it, licking it off our fingers. We paid rapt attention as my brother told how this was merely a portion of the original score, as he had eaten quite a bit of it on the way home. For years to come, I would think of his story and wonder just where the chocolate factory lay. I did have an idea of the general vicinity, for whenever I drove to a certain part of town, the scent of chocolate in the air would betray its presence. Instantly, I’d be transported to that childhood memory.
The funny thing is, I’m not a great fan of chocolate. I only eat it in certain applications – like with nuts (especially with caramel) or on cake. Still, even now, that scent can get me riled. So, imagine my pleasure and surprise while I’m driving into work one day and take a different route to avoid traffic. The smell assailed my nostrils – more tantalizing and pungent than Garrett’s caramel and cheese popcorn mix. It was strong and very close. I craned my neck in each direction, eager to learn the location. Just to know, at last. Maybe then, I’d feel like I’d completed the journey, too. (I’m a terrible Chicagoan, I know – I didn’t know where the Sears/Willis Tower was located until I worked next door, LOL) And there it was, right in front of me. A beige, non-descript building with a sign that read, Blommers Chocolate Company. WOW.
I thought it ironic that I could be down the street from this iconic place and not even know it. I was looking at a piece of my history, a page out of my childhood. Proof that Joe’s story was real. It occurred to me then, the implications of what it could mean. I look for God in everything – from the secular to the sacred, the ridiculous and the sublime. I recalled a dream I once had, coincidentally, of chocolate. It was of my favorite cake that my mother used to bake – yellow cake with chocolate icing. The triangular slice was so huge that my hand could hardly contain it. My hand was stretched to the limit and I could barely open my mouth wide enough to take a bite. When I told my friend, who is a believer in dreams, she interpreted it thusly: “It means something good is coming your way. Chocolate is dessert, decadent. It represents the best things in life. You’re about to be blessed!” She was right. I received a promotion and my own office soon after that.
As I think on that dream, chocolate on the wind has come to mean more than the distant memory of Joe’s adventure. It has become an omen for me of good things to come. It means something good is nearby – maybe even around the corner or up the street. It could be right in front of me. When I catch that scent now, it bring a smile to my face every time, because it reminds me that I’m upwind of wonderful blessings that may not be seen but are surely in within my reach. Good things are on their way. The wind fortells it 😉 God has great things in store for me.
‘See, the LORD your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’ Deuteronomy 1:21
I chugged the liter of water down, straight from the bottle, almost not stopping until I’d finished the entire thing. My friends looked on with disbelief, eyes wide, brows raised at the small amount that remained. I had good reason to be thirsty. I’d stood out in the hot summer sun for nearly a half hour with no shelter on a concrete parking lot as I waited for them to show, LOL! I was a little chagrined that I’d not thought to ask anyone if they wanted anything from the smoothie bar in the mall on that Sunday afternoon. Blame it on my dehydrated state. I drained the rest of the bottle.
“Wow,” said one. “You really WERE thirsty!” We all laughed. It was true. And then she added a phrase of which I reminded her, “Not a sip, not a swallow, but the whole darn bottle!” That comment has stayed with me ever since. I think God is using it to show me something about following through on the vision he has given me. The goals I’ve made for myself, I must reach. Coming up short is not an option. I shall continue on with determination and perseverance until I have accomplished what I’ve set out to do.
We know the Israelites were God’s chosen people and He made a promise that He would lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey. He did, but not without some bumps along the way. Once the fledgling nation arrived on the scene – after witnessing miracles of walking across the red sea on dry land, being led by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night – they were presented with a dilemma. Did they have the courage to take the land God had promised them? Fear stood between them and taking hold of their inheritance. They were counted unworthy of entering into the Promised Land because they failed to ACT as if they believed He would do what He said. So once God chooses you, there is a responsibility upon you to follow through. You must do your part. If you have faith in the One who brought you thus far, you must have the fortitude to act on it.
After they’d entered the Promised Land, the Israelitescouldn’t occupy itin full, immediately. God told them hewould drive out the nations before them slowly so that the land wouldn’t become overgrown and taken over by beasts. So it took some time. His people camped on one side of the Jordan, not fully realizing their inheritance. They’d only successfully conquered enough area for two and a half tribes so there remained “yet very much land to be possessed.” (Joshua 13:1) God then ordered Joshua to divide the rest of the land into nine and a half territories and encouraged the tribes to make each their own. He said to the Israelites: I’ve given you the land. Be brave and TAKE IT!
My recent book signing forImmaculatewas a resounding success (pictures to follow)! I’m so thankful for every opportunity and every person who came out, purchased a book and helped us to celebrate. I feel like we’re still on the edge, though. The dream has not been fully realized. We’ve got a ways to go and our work is cut out for us. But I believe in what God told me and I’m not stopping until I see it through to fruition. I’m finding that God can give you a dream, a passion and a desire to do something, be someone and to live a better life. But He doesn’t always plop it in your lap like on the Monopoly game where you find out a dead uncle left you money and you’re suddenly rich. Sometimes, he places the opportunity before you and you have to be brave enough to reach for it.
I’ve heard it said that the human brain is capable of extraordinary things and that we only use a small portion of that which our brain is actually capable. I think it’s the same with our other abilities, as well. We only do a smidgen of what we are able to truly do. Fear can keep us from accomplishing all that we are created to do, just as in the case of the Israelites. Sometimes, we need that extra push from God, that encouragement, telling us to take possession of our inheritance. How long will we sit on the periphery of our destiny, not fully occupying our given territory? I had a conversation with my son recently which gave me the confirmation I needed.
“God didn’t call anybody to be small,” he said to me one day over breakfast. “Anybody.” He went on to let me know that he is of a state of mind that he is not accepting anything less than what he wants out of life. And he’s willing to work for it. He’s not looking for life to hand it to him, but he’s coming for it. “I want the body I want, the job I want, the life I want. It’s my inheritance! I want all of it.” Wow. There’s no settling in that mindset. No compromise. No,we’ll do this and see how it works. Not just a sip or a swallow. The whole darn bottle. So I want it all! Not because I’m greedy but because it’s mine. God gave me these abilities for a reason; He wants me to give me the life I desire. I only need to have the courage to go after it.