This photo was taken that day at Dutch Wonderland.
I let Norah decorate a cookie and eat as much of it as she wanted.

My daughter has a DVD called "Gigi: God's Little Princess." Her grandmom gave it to her for her birthday. I find it irritating, cause I think Gigi acts like a spoiled brat, but Norah loves it, and sometimes I doubt myself and I think my standards are too high, so I've let Norah watch the show again and again.

The story goes: Gigi wants a castle for her birthday, the same castle all her other friends have. But, Gigi's dad is thoughtful and handy, so he builds his 'little princess' a custom castle just for her. Gigi's disappointed with her castle at first, because there is no chocolate milk moat like she wanted, just a moat full of water, and there isn't a single pink flower like the castles her friends have, just a row of simple fir trees.

She insists that the castle be changed to look just like the one she had in mind to begin with. But, when it is changed, she almost gets stung by all the bumble bees attracted to the sugar in her chocolate milk moat and she can't spend any length of time outside cause she sneezes over all the pollen in the pink flowers. Turns out that her father knew what would be best for her all along and designed her castle accordingly.

Though the story is supposed to teach a lesson about how God treats us, I wasn't fully convinced this was, in fact, the way God actually works with His people, until certain things happened on our trip to PA.

Norah and I have been tagging along with Dwayne for two weeks. He's had to be in Lancaster for business, so to be together, I moved our home on the road. During the day, Norah and I have been keeping busy around town and I have seen God's loving attention in two particular things that happened here.

One day, I took Norah to Dutch Wonderland, a "Kingdom for Kids" and we rode tons of rides together, ran around the water park there and played games at the booths (games that I had to pay extra for, like at the fair... Grrrrr). But, I saw a sign that said "everyone's a winner" and all Norah has to do is choose a duck from the river. She picks a floating duck and hers turns out to have an 's' inside. S, as luck would have it, stands for "small prize" and she walked back to me with a tiny stuffed frog. Tiny. I felt cheated. I have a moment's glance of understanding with the 'greasy man in the booth' (really, it was a lovely looking teenage girl). But, I was upset and disappointed. I never would have paid two bucks for a tiny, tacky frog with over sized eyes, a smug little smile on his face and badly sewn seams.

Norah didn't seem to mind, though, so I tried hard to keep my disappointment to myself. But, I am thinking deep down, "We're children of God, we have spiritual "Gonnections," a Godfather, so to speak, and I know there is a Proverb somewhere that says every roll of the dice is determined by the Lord.. so why didn't Norah walk away with that man-sized teddy bear?' (Shocking, I know, but I am being honest about what I was thinking at the time).

Later that day, though, Norah and I were beat from playing so hard and she needed some down time. I didn't want to leave the park and go back to the hotel for her nap because I figured that would mean we wouldn't come back in the evening and I wanted to get our money's worth from the day. So, I found a shady spot in the grass and snuggled with her while she rested a little. She couldn't really sleep, but she was still too tired to play again full-force, so we proceeded to have an impromptu game of hide and seek with what we had on hand... our little stuffed "Froggy, Froggy."

She ran about fifteen feet away, turned around, covered her eyes and counted to ten, while I hid the frog under her beach towel, in the stroller's basket, in my shirt (that was the most fun, since Norah couldn't find the frog, even after all the hints of me sticking out my chest). We had as much fun with that little frog as we had at the entire theme park! We both genuinely laughed throughout the game and I really enjoyed finding new places to hide him before she turned around. And, I realized somewhere in the middle of it all, I got this feeling that had the frog been any bigger, I wouldn't have been able to fit him under a beach towel (or in my shirt) and we wouldn't have had that game of hide and seek at all.

Then, later in the trip, we had to change hotel rooms and got "stuck," so I thought, in a room with a handicapped bathroom. There would be no tub for Norah's baths, just a huge newly-tiled bathroom, with a shower head on the far wall and a floor that dips down ever-so-slightly to keep the water from draining over to the sink and toilet and then out into the room.

Norah and I went to the pool one day, but the wind made it too cold to stay and play as long as she wanted. We came back to the new room to clean up, but I wasn't going to be able to give her a separate bath like I normally do and I was dreading it. But, as soon as I turned on the water, her eyes got big like she had some great idea. "Mommy, I can pretend I am at the water park!" and she proceeded to play under the "waterfall" while we both cleaned off.

I finished my shower and realized there was no reason that she couldn't keep playing in the water, so I let her play there for at least thirty minutes using the plastic cups that came with our hotel room's ice bucket, splashing, emptying and pouring. Norah was in heaven and I realized again, from a subtle nudge of God's Holy Spirit in my heart, that had I had my way and gotten the room with the bathtub that I wanted to insist upon, she and I both would have missed all the fun of that huge shower.

So, I am convinced that God does take effort to bless His children with things that will bring us joy. And, I think we honor Him by delighting in our lives and acknowledging His careful, loving hands in the choices He makes for us.

Jesus teaches about God the Father with these words recorded in Matthew 7:9-11, 'Which one of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him?"


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