MIAGD: Make it a great day
I absolutely love God winks or Angel Wings Flutters.
They seem to happen often in my life, and I have countless stories to what some folks refer to as “coincidence.” At 53, I just do not believe things just happen.
God Wink = GW Angel Wings Flutter = AWF
Sometimes, a God Wink is monumental in a large decision. However, there are little moments, perhaps an AWF, that just makes me smile.
In 1996, I began a music ministry at a local church where I met this wonderful, formidable, best hugging lady, Peggy Barbour Straughen. Peggy was the music librarian and I got to spend a lot of time with her. Peggy was a straight-shooter with gaze that could intimidate, but her wide embracing smile could yield more warmth and beauty than the paradise of a Hawaiian island beach. It did not take me long to learn Peggy was, simply put, confident.
As I prepared for one of my annual trips to Washington DC, I explained at a church choir rehearsal the school buses, filled with 8th graders, would stop first at Gettysburg before moving on to Fort McHenry, Baltimore and then Washington, DC.
After rehearsal, Peggy pulled me aside to explain she had been born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and that our buses would probably travel right through the town en route to Gettysburg.
“If you pass through Chambersburg open the bus window and say, “Hello, Chambersburg! Peggy Barbour says, “Hello.'”
For most, that would have merely been a playful exchange; however, this was Peggy and I loved her enough to explain to the bus driver what I’d be doing, and followed through by cracking the window a bit and whispering my command into the passing air as not to wake the sleeping students and chaperones just as the sun was making its first hint of an appearance.
For many, many years, just as the sun was rising over the purple shaded hills of the Southern Pennsylvania springtime haze, I passed through Chambersburg on a bus with students and greeted Chambersburg on Peggy’s behalf. With my sons, we even drove out of the way to greet Chambersburg.
In July 2008, Peggy suddenly left this world. A number of times, I’ve felt her angelic presence, and often think of her.
A few days ago, Peggy’s daughter, Heidi, one of my favorite musical theatre costumers, posted a recipe which I’ve included in this post. Last night I gathered all the ingredients to prepare Heidi’s Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup today knowing the weekend’s wintery forecast is nearing.
As I was stirring the ingredients, I received a text message from some retired friends traveling to Gettysburg and Washington DC for a winter-break vacation. I had given Nancy a “please do this for me” if you pass through Chambersburg.
“Hello DJ. We got on PA30 after hopping off I70 after Breezewood. We got into Chambersburg & I rolled down my window, waved & shouted, “I love you, Peggy.” No one heard me except Joe & he just laughed with “What did Darin put you up to this time?” I need to know the story & who Peggy is when we get back. We will keep you posted. Weather is iffy but we’re troopers. Love you. Nancy & Joe.”
Hmmm…. standing at the stove, which is always a strange thing for me, preparing Heidi’s recipe, and friends pass through Chambersburg, the birthplace, and hometown of Heidi’s mother, Peggy.
Yip! That’s both a GW and an AWF!
Whether you believe things to be coincidence, or God/Angels acting anonymously, make it a great day.
HEIDI’S BLACK BEAN & SWEET POTATO SOUP
1 bell pepper (I use yellow or orange)
1 large sweet potato
4 cloves garlic
15 oz. can black beans
15 oz. can pinto beans (or kidney, black, etc.)
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
- In a stockpot over medium heat, saute onion and bell pepper for 6-7 minutes
- Add sweet potato, chili powder, cumin. Saute for 3 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
- Add vegetable broth and diced tomatoes with juice.
- Rinse and drain beans. Add to stockpot. Add a little more broth if desired.
- Increase heat and bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust seasoning if needed and salt to taste.
- Add any desired toppings (avocado and green onion are my favorite.)
*** I also added a can of sweet corn and chopped celery.
NOTE: Heidi created a beautiful, loving Christmas ornament of Joseph’s coat after we produced JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLORED DREAMCOAT. It is always one of my favorite ornaments and connections to Heidi.