Seeing God in green jelly beans and maybe even bad hair days

No, not that kind of seeing God. Yeesh.

I met Sydney, or the Green Jelly Bean as she was known to some, just weeks before the end of my senior year of college. Today, she and I parted ways, in preparation for my move to Kenya.


Eight years ago, I was moving to Wyoming and needed a car. My parents and I perused the used car market. One day, we went to the local Ford dealer. There she was. Sitting in the lot, looking spunky and cheerfully green.

One test drive, and I knew.

A few signatures on paperwork, and I was a proud car owner.

Sydney’s maiden voyage

Just weeks before I crossed the stage and received my degree, I suddenly felt free. It had a lot to do with the fact that I’d spent four years of my life in a two-block radius. Oh, small college life.

Two days before graduation, my friend and I decided to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. As newly mobile, almost college graduates, we also wanted to stop in Pittsburgh on the way back. Because we could.

As a jaded Pittsburgh driver now, I snicker at our youthful initiative.

We made it to Fallingwater all right, despite its remote location in the Laurel Highlands. Huzzah for mobility! We toured the house and grounds, took photos and had a great time. Feeling quite pleased with ourselves, we hopped into Sydney and pulled out the next phase of MapQuest directions.

Let me backtrack here. When we sat in the dorm room, planning the trip, we thought it would be great to check out a fairly new section of Pittsburgh: The Waterfront. But we’d never been there, so we plugged in the Loews movie theater as the destination. When the address came up, MapQuest suggested the road without the directional indicator. So far, so good.

We made our way north. Our excitement mounted the closer we got to the city. How could we have gone to college 60 miles away and not visited Pittsburgh more often? we asked ourselves. It’s a straight shot down the highway. Easy peasy.

The skyline came into view and the directions started coming fast. Take this highway. Then, this highway. There’s a river! (Hilarious. It’s Pittsburgh. There are THREE rivers.) Exit here. Turn left. Turn right.

Someone I used to work with in New Hampshire said driving in Pittsburgh is like navigating “The Jetsons.” If you’ve seen “The Jetsons” and you’ve driven in Pittsburgh, the comparison is spot on. Highways stacked on top of each other. Bridges too. Vague signage. Sharp turns and extreme angles. No straight lines.

It took me years to get comfortable driving around the city. The key? As long as I am all right flying by the seat of my pants, I will get there eventually.

Looking back on that first trip, I cringe. We were so naive.

After making several turns, we were indeed near water. Ooo, this is promising! A couple more turns, and we started feeling uncomfortable. The area got shadier looking and the roads more potholed. It was decidedly less promising.

One last turn. We were in dead end road of older warehouse-type buildings. Uh, there’s the address, 300 Waterfront Dr., and it says … Three Rivers Rowing Association?!?!

That was last straw. We burst out laughing.

Needless to say, we never made it to The Waterfront.

When I moved back to the area and became a seasoned Pittsburgh driver, I figured out where we ended up: the complete opposite side of Pittsburgh, miles away from our actual destination. Turns out, that directional addition to 300 Waterfront Dr. was kind of important.

To this day though, we still giggle about the Three Rivers Rowing Association.

A God thing

Two days ago, I slapped the For Sale sign on Sydney. Less than 24 hours later, I had an offer.

No matter how many times God shows His provision, I’m still surprised. It’s happened in big and small ways since I began the journey to Kenya. But I’m still surprised. How fickle I am.

In some ways, selling Sydney is the final proof that I am really doing this. She’s made the move with me every time over the past eight years, but now, she can’t come. Instead of sitting around for an indeterminate period of time, she’s going to be another person’s transportation.

Life goes on.

I also got my hair cut this week. Instead of being fickle and worrying about impending bad hair days, I’m going to look at this positively.

I sold my house in less than two months without even having to list it. I sold my car within 24 hours.

If God provides in those situations, it’s not too much to ask for a good hair stylist in Nairobi, right?



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