Sometimes it is the little blessings that show us God's love. They are so small and seemingly insignificant that they are easy to miss unless you are looking for them. My trip home to Connecticut from North Carolina was so full of these "little" blessings that they were impossible to miss. Let me share some of them with you:
1. The rain that was forecast in every city all the way up never happened. It was clear the entire time.
2. I made the 12 hour trip in 10 hours (that includes a lunch break)
3. Going down to NC, I happened to meet at McDonalds a family driving the same way I was with 5 kids and the mom happened to mention an alternate route you could find easily on Mapquest (by pushing the miss tolls button) that by-passes NYC. That route completely skipped Baltimore, Newark, and NYC and was almost traffic free. Plus I saved a fortune on toll money.
4. The entire trip not one of my children fought (and Matthew never cried). This was despite the fact that we had no movie and few snacks.
5. We only had to break one time for lunch and gas. No potty breaks the rest of the time (This may not seem like much, but I was worried how one adult could safely allow all 5 kids to pee at a rest stop or gas station; it was a huge relief that the only bathroom I needed was at a relatively empty McDonalds)
6. Since my cell phone had died before the trip started, I bought a prepaid Tracfone for the trip home. It worked the whole way even though the system was down and I couldn't add minutes (when I got home there were only 3 minutes left)
7. I never even got close to tired (which I normally start to feel after 2 hours of driving). In fact, when I got home I had enough energy to unload the car before I went to bed.
8. I found my extra XM radio home antenna in NC, since my car the antenna has been not working I thought it might work, it did perfectly until I crossed into CT and then it got spotty.
9. Despite the fact that the bike rack I bought to bring home Elise and Ryan's bikes was missing pieces, I was able to get their bikes into the Suburban and still fit everything I wanted to bring home. (and get a refund on the bike rack!)
10. One exit from home I was passed a 2 minute old accident involving several cars. It was soon enough that traffic was not backed up yet and the police car came right behind me (Peter treated the people and none were seriously hurt). I was very grateful to have missed that accident.
These things may seem small, but put all together, it made a trip I was very nervous about enjoyable. I have never had such an easy long trip. Not only did everything go smoothly, it seemed to go really fast. About 3 hours from home I realized that this trip was a blessing from God and it was only by His help that things went so well. That realization was the greatest blessing of the whole trip.
As Elder Eyering said last conference speaking of finding the Lord's hand in our lives:
"I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.
More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened."