I got two of them today.
First: I was asked if I'd be willing to give voice lessons. To a very sweet teenager who is actually very interested. She'll come to my house for 30 minutes on Saturday morning, so actually doing it, even with two kids, will (wonder of wonders!) be simple.
The reason that this is a present from God is twofold. For one thing, I love music and I love singing and I love teaching, and this opportunity has sent my brain into musical high gear and I am thoroughly enjoying it. :) But the real reason is that up until now I haven't tried to get students or pursue teaching voice because, well, I've been scared. Some sort of combination of false humility and feeling inadequate and just being scared to go out and advertise myself, because, you know, what if I ended up being awful? Having someone ask is totally different from going out and advertising myself. And besides, if I'm honest and try really hard to stop being scared, I remember that I'm a darn good teacher. My choir students liked me and they learned a lot and we had some great results. And some of the kids who I coached, after school, for honor choir auditions actually got in. So. I guess this feels like both a gift and a little tiny kick in the pants. :)
The second gift (which also showed up this afternoon) came in the form of a check. A very large check. Evidently last year our estimated property taxes (which we pay throughout the year into an escrow account) were estimated quite a bit higher than they actually ended up being. So all that extra got returned to us, in a very unexpected lump sum. Now, that would be pretty cool all by itself. But it gets better. See, last night I'd been stressed about how we were going to pay for a couple of large bills that had come up (one for the hospital stay for Thomas' birth, and one for the life insurance that I'd forgotten about!) I wish that I could say that I'd promptly committed that anxiety to God...but that wouldn't be truthful. Instead, let me simply praise his abundant mercy - he answered my prayer without my praying it. Even more awesome? This morning in church, Gabe had asked God to give us more money, so that we would be able to give more...and that check that we opened today had actually arrived yesterday afternoon. God had answered his prayer even before he asked it!
Doesn't he give us good presents?