I played the lottery on my father’s birthday…here’s what happened

We have 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day, many repeats like “What will I have for dinner?”  But some are random, like this number that flashed across my mind in black and white several weeks ago.

As random thoughts go, I forgot about it, but then the random thought repeated, popped into my head while thinking about something else.  Time passed but the number didn’t.

After telling my husband about it, he mused, “that could be a winning lottery number.” I laughed. Then, went on with my life.

But random number repeated, flashing across my mind, three, gray numbers that  appeared like a black-and-white TV show from the 60’s. The number is mixed with a feeling, an impression.  It’s not just seeing the number but feeling it in some way.  And by the way, the number is disassociated with any number that repeats in my life such as my phone number, birthday or anniversary.  It truly is random.

So, I asked God to tell me what to do with the number.

Time passed.

But then, on my father’s birthday the number appeared again and this time the “impression” was with a sense of urgency.  I sensed that I was to do something with the number right then and I wondered if it really was the winning lottery number.

Now, there’s a little rabbit-trail to make with this story.  My father taught me a lot about money – to make it, cherish it, use it.  He didn’t serve money but money did serve him, taking care of a family of girls on a manufacturing worker’s pay.  Since he has passed away I’ve seen in my mind him throwing coins into a body of water.

Back to the numbers story. So, I went to my favorite grocery store and had a nice chat with the clerk who had to explain to me how to play.    Using the ‘one-off’ option for the Daily 3, I bet a very small amount with the hopes of increasing my chances of winning. When playing one off the ticket plays numbers one-off from the number you bet.  For example, if you played “123,” “234” is a winning number.

I put the ticket in my purse.

That night around 12:00 midnight I got an impression that the number I was seeing and that I played was the winning number.

I googled “winning lottery numbers” for my state. And, guess what, it was the winning lottery number on my father’s birthday.

Here’s the catch.  Since I played “one-off” I didn’t win.  When you play one off the actual number you pick isn’t played but one-off of the number.

I was happy anyway – here’s why.

The number that was “flashing” in front of me I still believe was God speaking because He’s spoken to me before using His Word, but He also speaks through experiences, just as He did to people in the Bible.

The message to me from this experience was you did win the lottery.  Look at your life.  It is filled with experiences of God providing over and over again in “random” ways.

I’m a winner anyway – winning lottery number or not.  Although I’m not opposed to God using that method if He chooses to.

God speaks in all kinds of ways.

What do you think?  Has God spoken to you?

Dot’s “Do’s” and “Don’ts”

Another “Message from Mama” article for the write31days challenge.

According to the book of Dot, there are some things that work and some that don’t.

 

DOT’S DON’Ts

Don’t let one set back destroy your life.  You will make mistakes.  You are human.  That’s okay.  Mourn what you’ve lost, but then, it’s over.  Go on with your life, to your next challenge or next fun thing to do.   God isn’t holding a setback against you.  He loves you.

Dictate to your husband what to do.   If you demand that a man do something, this is  almost a guarantee that he will not do it.  If you want him to do something, anything, pray first.   Discuss the problem and work on things together.  God may direct the two of you to a better option than the one you came up with alone.   And, if your husband does what you want, thank God and then say, “Honey, what a great idea you came up with.”

Don’t take your anger out on your child, teach them.  God knows your nervousness (stress).  You may get frustrated and want to take it out on your child, but don’t.   Instead, calm down.  Slow down.  Pray.  Listen to him/her.  If they are acting out, find out what’s wrong first.  The child may genuinely have a problem.  Remember they are just “little people.”

Don’t do wrong expecting right to follow.  You can’t treat people wrong and expect them to turn around and treat you right.  They might treat you right out of the goodness of their hearts, but that’s grace.  In fact, just treat everybody right.  It’s simpler.

Don’t by cheap stuff. Cheap is too expensive.

Don’t tell everybody your business.  Be careful of confidants.

DOT’S DO’s

Dot said some things do work.

Don’t leave your house without praying.  God will speak to you through His Word and to your Spirit.  Pray and He will make what is confusing clear.

Go to church. Be with people.  You need them.

Give money, save money  You will be pleasing God as well as reap what you have sown.  Spend a little money too for things you want.  Just don’t over do it.  Live within your means.

Take care of yourself.  Go to the beauty shop (or barber shop), take care of your body it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  You are a steward of it.

Stand on the Word and expect God to answer your prayer.  God answers prayer. period.

Have some fun everyday.

 

“If You Are Going Out of Business Take Your Sign Down”

“If you are going out of business take your sign down,” my mother says, irritated about her treatment at a locally-owned restaurant.  Customers are treated like an afterthought at best and an annoyance at worst. This treatment begins as soon as you enter.  No one greets you.  There are people in aprons (called “aproned-ones” in this article since “server” wouldn’t be an accurate description), walking around but none of them actually acknowledge you.  Occasionally food is placed on a shelf from the cook and carried to a customer, but that doesn’t happen as often as you would think it would, given the number of customers.  So there are long waits between when food is ordered and when it arrives at the table of the hungry patron.   Every time a plate is set on that little ledge a customer hopefully looks to see if it’s their meal.  Frustration builds as the clock ticks.

Some haven’t placed their order and are now trying all methods within their power to get attention and a glass of water without being rude.   This includes glaring, raising their hands as though in school, half sitting, half standing, frowning and sighing loudly, while the aproned-ones walk by looking straight ahead, avoiding eye contact at any cost.

The cook puts the food on the shelf from the kitchen for the aproned-ones to take to the customers.  Since you don’t see servers getting the food quickly, you wonder how long that plate has been sitting on that lonely ledge.

As you stand at the door you wait with anticipation for someone to greet you and tell you what to do.   You wonder if you should just sit down, but are you supposed to wait to be seated like the sign says?  If you wait you might not ever get someone to come ever.  Anxiety.

Closed sign.png

You smell the food, you see the cooks and servers and the people eating but, everyone from server to cashier to the owner seem to have forgotten something….

that they are running a business and businesses have customers. I have walked outside of a place of business, looked up at at the sign – to see if it actually said “open for business.”  For some businesses instead of being greeted by “may I help you?’  employees are working on something and when they do acknowledge you it’s more like  “what do you want, I’m busy” than  “may I help you?”   Doesn’t a business serve customers?  Doesn’t a business have something of value for others? Doesn’t a business have a purpose?

Owning a business can be difficult.  Some sole proprietorships make a lot of money, some not so much.  And for some small businesses, including restaurants, there’s a lot of competition. The leader has to think of ways to get and keep customers in order to stay in business.  But one thing is for sure, ignoring them won’t keep them.

And business is about relationships.  No relationship, no business.  If you’re going out of business, in other words, don’t want a relationship and the responsibility of serving others,  take your sign down.

Some would say life is relationship.  Mama said this, “Your relationship to God is your most important relationship.”

And she wasn’t talking about rituals, e.g. going to church, giving to a charity, even reading The Bible can just be “putting up a sign” if your heart isn’t in it.  You’re just going through the motions.

Ever felt like that with your relationship to God?  That you were just going through the rituals and that you really didn’t mean it?  That means somewhere there was a disconnection from Him, because He’s right there.  He’s never left you.  And in fact wants to have a relationship with you.

No need in just going through the motions if you want to have a relationship with Him.  Just ask Him, kneel if you’d like and say, “Lord, I want to be your follower, to know you.  Show me the way to go.  I submit my life to you.  Believe that He loves you, cares about you and wants to have a relationship with you.

10: The Number of Times I Wanted to Avoid Something Today

“You can only lose if you quit.”  Mama This Message is For You

Today at least 10 times, I’ve wanted to avoid something.

First, it was daylight. My husband had already faced the inevitable but I was basking in the luscious depth of the dark giving way to dawn and enjoying just a few more deep breaths, laying in my bed before the startling noise of the alarm let me know, for sure, that resistance was futile. No more escaping the daylight, get up.

Then I wanted to avoid that all too important decision that comes around every Sunday morning, “Should I go to church?”  There is so much to do that hasn’t been done – housework, bills to pay, calls to make, cook, etc., etc., etc. Oh no, that doggone list again.  Maybe I should just escape to a desert island or something.

Fight or FlightThen, there was avoiding going into the grocery store. First, I’m wanting to escape from how much everything costs and then from waiting in that deli line, because it’s almost always long and the Chief Deli Specialist (just made up this name for the much-admired person behind the deli counter) is always busy trying to manage that long counter top that displays those delectable dishes, and the hungry customers who want to make sure that even though there is no official line that the Specialist knows who is next.

My next thing to avoid was doing anything mechanical.  I was not made with that gene so even simple tasks trigger my escape mechanism.   So, my bathtub drain was clogging up.  That meant getting a Phillips, finding and unscrewing the screw on the bathtub stopper. Now, yall, this is really two “avoids” in one.  First,  that whole mechanical thinking thing and then removing the hair that was causing the clog without gagging. Yuck!

And right now you are experiencing one of the other things I sometimes avoid, writing.  Sometimes the words just don’t come out.  It’s like they are hiding in some dark basement in my mind.  “Come out, I command you,” doesn’t work.  Yet, writing for me is something I’ve done since the 4th grade and when I don’t write, something, then I just run into myself and my gnawing urges to write.   Lord Byrum set me free when I discovered his quote, “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”  This was a phenomenon I couldn’t explain for years.  If I avoid writing or expressing the message within, I succumb to unhealthy habits such as overeating or anxiety.

Mama said, “You can only lose if you quit,” when pursuing those things that are most important in life – those things that are purposeful, meaningful, fulfilling for you, your deepest heart’s desires.    She said this to me once about one of my desires and right now, I don’t remember which one it was.  It could have been getting my undergraduate degree, finding a job I enjoyed, finding a loving relationship or it could have been mastering my negative thinking.

When she said, “Don’t quit,” she was really talking about don’t lose hope.  “Things happen in this life, Gwen, but the Lord said to me, ‘Your faith will outlast your storm.'”  She would know having gone through many storms, she was the encourager to those who were without hope that the God of Heaven and earth gives victories.

Dear one reading this, as another coach of mine said, ‘It is human to run. Just know what you’re running from and to.” It doesn’t do any good to keep running from yourself.  If you have a dream, ask God for wisdom for the next steps.  Sometimes, dreams are just that and they need to be surrendered on the altar of your heart.  Sometimes those dreams are resurrected and other times they are to be left there in God’s hands for something greater.  This isn’t quitting or running when you surrender it.  It simply means that God is birthing in you a greater vision.  Then, there are other times when you are moving in the direction of that dream and that dream is delayed.  But delay doesn’t mean “no.”  There are so many who had dreams that were delayed – Abraham, Joseph, David even Jesus’ Fulfillment and Resurrection happened after 33 years of walking this earth.  But change does come and will come.  For in due season you shall reap if you faint not.  Of this truth, I am a living witness.

The only way through some things is through. He is with us.Day14 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it-

 

The Bible-Mobile

“Aw!  You are stepping on me!” I said to the blonde-curly-headed boy whose hair was in my face and whose feet were on my toes as he sat on the only available space left in my mother’s car, the floor.

Like that old Volkswagen Beetle challenge, Mama stuffed kids in her car any way she could. (This was before seat belt laws.)   Her green and white Buick Skylark, just an ordinary  vehicle was transformed into “the Bible Mobile” every Saturday at 11:30 am as it transported kids from the inner-city to our church across town for Saturday Bible class.
“Yall ready to go?” said my Mama as she picked up that last child for church.

My mother, Dorothy, taught children’s church for 40+ years.  She was strong, bold, wonderfully capable of declaring what she believed about God and life.  She was inspirational and many times commanded the attention of hundreds, likely thousands of children over the years between ages 6 – 12 with her vivid stories.

One story she told was about apples – Seedy, Saucy and Sweet.  Seedy was small and had too many seeds.   Saucy was bruised and mushy.   But Sweet was just right.  Each one of the apples was used to explain how people are.

Someone like the Seedy apple is hardened by life. Saucy people are disappointed and have lost their enthusiasm for life.   Sweet apple people are filled with the spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering.  They are used by God to sweeten the lives of others.  Living life to the fullest is being a sweet apple.

These simple truths still live in my heart today and I believe in the hearts of many other children who were my mother’s Saturday Bible School students.   I am thanking God for a Sweet Mama!  Apple.pngDorothy Richards, transitioned from this life October 15, 2016.