As a demonstrator and team leader for The Angel Company, I really enjoy the annual seminar and catalog release. I have made some good friends though this company and its fun to get together with people from all over the country. 2006 was an extraordinary year for Seminar, because GOD planned the whole trip as evidenced by this series of e-mails:
At the February retreat I told my angel sisters that Seminar was sadly out of the questions for me. Money was an issue, plus my dear friend (and team member) Kelly would be visiting from CA at the beginning of June anyway. Kelly is beyond stressed with two teaching jobs, working on her second Master's Degree, and a foster child to add to her family (she has two children of her own.) I figured Seminar was impossible and I was glad to have Kelly coming so I had something to look forward to in June.
Then Mischelle announced the date change. At first it didn't register, but then Kelly called to tell me she had purchased her tickets to fly out to GA from CA. June 11-23. EPIPHANY!!! Every now and then God smacks me upside the head with an idea that could ONLY be His. Why not sneak Kelly off for a Seminar road trip???
I checked the mileage--drivable. Okay...check with the husbands. I e-mailed her dh privately and let him know my idea...and he LOVED it...except their budget is tighter than ours. I told him that if it was God's idea, God would fund it. He knew that Kelly needed real decompression time with me where she had no control over the situation. So he committed to watch and pray.
In the meantime, I had planned to help Melissa Baldwin with her booth at a stamp show in Chattanooga. I also planned to teach a class. We had great fun that weekend--and then the stamp show operators paid me for my class--$120!!!! WOW!!! Then I had two huge workshops (bigger than any I had EVER had) and got a commission check. Then I got a check in the mail from Scott Publications for the card published in Just Cards back in January. And I sold a catalog. Suddenly---within TWO WEEKS of getting the idea, I had EXACTLY enough money for TWO registrations!!!! Is that God or what?!?!?!?
I let Kelly's husband know what was up and he just rejoiced and was even trying to figure out a spending budget for Kelly---for a trip she STILL doesn't know she is going to take. I am now watching God provide for the hotel and gas money. He's given me two craft shows--the first I profited about $100---the other is this weekend. I am persuaded that by Seminar I will have enough money for all our expenses--without dipping into either family budget----and God will get ALL the glory!!!!!!!!
Our registration materials came here (I sent a letter explaining it was a super secret road trip) and I have our kids in on the secret. The plan is to have the girls pack and load the car while we go for a walk. Then we'll go for a drive to Starbucks...but we'll go to one in Tennessee or somewhere down the road. I'll give her the registration stuff over lunch as we drive on Wed the 14th....
Isn't God AMAZING?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Okay-for those following my surreptitious plan--a new twist on my super secret surprise Seminar road trip----Caty Mae has swim team practice every morning at 8:45. It just happens that Kelly used to be a competitive swimmer. Soooooo, I think I'll suggest walking down to watch Caty Mae's swim team on Wednesday morning--and Corinne and
Megan can load the car so it's ready to go to "Starbucks" as soon as we get back. (For the record, we WILL go to Starbucks--in Tennessee.)
God has worked out EVERY little detail--I just have to keep my eyes open!
PS. for those of you interested in etymology, I used surreptitious for good reason:
Middle English, from Latin surreptcius, from surreptus, past participle of surripere, to take away secretly :
More of God’s hand… (written 6/03.06)
One final (for now, anyway...I don't know what else God has in store) note about God's hand on this trip for me and Kelly-----
On Wednesday, Brian went out to his car during the workday and saw that he had a flat tire. (It's the car Kelly and I will drive to KC) Costco is near where he works, so he was able to get it fixed---turned out there was a screw in there and a razor blade that had been there for awhile. Can you imagine if we had a flat somewhere in the middle of nowhere???? Now there are new tires on the car, gas prices are inching down a little, and God has provided it all!!!!!
The kidnapping was a tremendous success (we were confident of that, weren't we?) The girls packed the car while Kelly and I watched Caty Mae's swim team practice. I suggested one more shopping trip...Kelly balked, but went along (She didn't want to abandon the kids again...) She noticed that her suitcase wasn't where she left it, and told the girls that 1) she is not easily fooled and 2)her stuff had better be in place when we returned from shopping. It was all Megan, Corinne and I could do to keep straight faces. When we went out to the garage, the van was gone (Brian took it so we could have the hybrid honda) Kelly said, "What was he thinking leaving us here with a little car and six kids?!?!?!?!" I told her that he must have had a good reason for taking the van. (tee hee)
Knowing Kelly as well as I do, I waited until we crossed into Tennessee to let her know what was really up. About Dalton I could sense her start bristling about going so far to shop. She didn't say anything, but I knew...and was tempted to tell her. She'd have made turn around had I told her before crossing the psychological barrier of the state line. Anyway, as we crossed into Tennessee, I reached for the envelope that had her registration materials in it. The Angel Company had sent it to me, but with her name---a perfect ruse. I said, "For some reason this came to my house." HAHAHAHAHA Some reason!!
She opened the envelope and had to process before she figured out we were going shopping, but in Kansas City where Seminar was held. Before she could protest too much I gave her the card from her husband that explained he was in on it and he wanted her to go and have fun. He sent money along as well. That did it, and she burst into tears. We stopped at the Chattanooga Choo Choo for pictures. She called her husband and then called the girls. She may not be easy to fool, but we did it!!! It was great fun.
Once Kelly relaxed, we really enjoyed the drive. We stopped at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville and arrived in St. Louis that evening. The second day we drove into Kansas City and the fun began all over again. I had told several of my Angel Company Yahoo groups about the surprise so there had been many prayers going up. Everywhere we went Kelly was hugged and told that everyone knew but her. The Angel Company staff welcomed her with big smiles. She had to tell the story at least 30 times. I figured there were probably close to 100 people who knew about the kidnapping (including a few of her students) and NO ONE leaked even a hint.
We stopped in St. Louis on the way home to take pictures of the Arch and then drove the rest of the way home...about 17 hours including stops. It was a grand adventure--God is soooooo good!!!