The First Time

I suppose there is a first time for just about everything. Well, yesterday was the first time I submitted a story to a publisher to be included in a book. These books (Chicken Soup for the Soul) get lots of submission, so while I’m hopeful my story will be chose, I’m in no way counting on it. But I have to tell you it felt like a very big step for me to have the confidence (with the expert copy editing from two wonderful friends) to actually hit that “Submit” button. While I don’t think I should share the actual story that I submitted, I can share with you my original blog post that inspired my story. It happened while we were volunteering at Teen Challenge Boys Ranch in May of 2008 –

It All worked out in the end
So, this is parents weekend at TC and most of the 2nd Platoon boys were blessed with visits. Blessed with family hugs, food not served on green trays, and excursions either to the beach in Panama City or the movie theatres/Adventureland/bowling alley pleasures of Dothan. That huge blessing of going “off campus.” There were ten boys in 2nd however that didn’t have visits. . After we cleared it with the guys in charge (and found out that there could be some subsidy from the boys’ accounts), we piled those ten boys into a Teen Challenge van and headed to Dothan for our own brand of fun and excitement (and food not on green trays!).
When our miniature golf plan got rained out we opted for a movie. We pulled up to the theatre with just minutes to spare for the matinee. While Gary parked, I got the 12 tickets. Surprisingly, the ticket girl (also the manager it turned out) offered us a dollar off each ticket. Sweet! But I couldn’t find my wallet so I sent one of the boys off to get Gary’s wallet and hurry back with it. But much to our dismay, he didn’t have his wallet either! (How two responsible adults could drive away with 10 boys in their care and neither one of them have their wallets is beyond me, but alas, it happened.) So there I was, standing at the movie theatre ticket window with 10 boys standing there expectantly and no way to pay for the tickets. The ticket girl (bless her heart) offered to send a bill to TC for the tickets so the boys wouldn’t be disappointed. I was like, you’ll bill me for these tickets? Really, you’ll send me a bill for these tickets? So she wrote up an invoice, had me sign it with my name and phone number, and in we went. Have you ever heard of that???? So we send the boys in to get seats (since the movie was about to start), and I wait for Gary who’s making a quick head stop (as they say in TC land). The manager comes up to me and asks if the boys can have a soda and pop corn. Umm, they can, but remember, I have no resources, I say. My treat she says. I really support what you’re doing there at Teen Challenge! Now popcorn and a soda might not seem like much to you, but to those 10 boys who already saw us get into the movies without any money, it was close to a miracle. If not a miracle, certainly an unexpected blessing. Oh, and the movie was pretty good too! Nim’s Island – go see it!
Now, we’re back in the van and as I look for the 10th time for my wallet (how could we have been so remiss), I find $80.00 tucked away in the bottom of my purse! Since the movie problem was already solved, we decided that instead of just heading back home we could afford dinner at CiCi’s – all you can eat pizza for $4.99. Sounds like a teenager’s dream, no? We had a nice leisurely dinner and then headed back to Bonifay. Before we left Dothan, though, Gary thought he’d show them where he had found a geo cache several weeks before. So we stopped a neighborhood playground – and finding the little hidden treasure became secondary to the PLAYGROUND!!!! Oh. My. Goodness. If we had known how much fun they would have at a playground, we could have skipped the movie all together!

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Ah, but then we would have missed the extra blessing. How good God was to us this day!

6 thoughts on “The First Time”

  1. Steph, That story is great. I’m sitting here in a puddle of tears. Thank you for sharing that. It certainly is “chicken soup’ worthy!!! It really blessed me as I’m sure it will others. Love you. Debbie Wall

  2. I must have left my comment on the wrong place. I wrote concerning the Teen Mission story. 🙂

  3. This was when we worked with you at TC. A great story of God’s blessing upon your indeavor to bless the boys.

  4. Hey Steph- I’ve been reading and enjoying your blogs & pictures since ’05. I’m your #1 fan. Thanks for the bazillion pictures, the heart warming stories, attention to detail in technical writings, skillfully using colorful words like “thingy” or “gizmo”, writing words of welcome or encouragement to fellow Sowers, sharing precious family visits, plus keeping everyone informed and entertained by magically producing the first class monthly newsletters, etc., etc., etc. I’ve been living my dreams through the life and times of you guys. I’m not surprised you’ve made it to “Chicken Soup”. In my personal book, you’re still the best. Keep up the good work and know…you’re a special blessing to so many of us out here who love you and pray for God’s very best blessings to you.

  5. great blog story! then i saw the pics; these “boys” are teens [ guess i should have figured that from the name ] old enough to understand every miracle that happened that day. any way it was a great way to start my day. thanks

  6. Thanks for all the encouragement, friends! No word yet from the Chicken Soup folks, but I’m starting to work on another idea for story. Well, in my head I’m working on it. =) Thanks again!

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