Monday, January 28, 2013


I’ll admit there are times when I don’t understand why God does what He does (or doesn’t), when He seems to be dangling a carrot in front of your nose *just* beyond reach...then snatching it away right as you think you have it in your grasp.   Such a time came for my family—Mom and me in particular—recently. (Quoth I, “Turns out the ‘carrot’ was actually water hemlock, but why entice us with it in the first place??”) But God is merciful and patient, and through this ordeal He taught us a little more about His sovereignty in our lives
—in a very big way!
It all started last Summer, when Mom, Peter and I went to visit an elderly lady from church who was bedridden and not expected to live much longer. We sang some songs for her—which she enjoyed immensely—and sat and talked with her a while afterwards. During the course of the visit, her son asked if we knew anyone who’d like a baby grand piano (namely, his mother’s). Quoth Mom: Yes. ME!” She’d been praying about getting a “real” piano to teach her students on, seeing as the electric Costco special was (and is) out of tune at both ends, doesn’t have any weight to the keys, the foot-pedal is rubbish, and of course there’s no way to tune it. The lady was thrilled at the prospect of her beloved old piano (about a hundred years old, more or less), which she had learned to play as a girl and taught her own children on, would be going to a good home after she was with her Lord. “But you can’t have it till I’m gone,” she said.
Fast-forward to December. The lady went Home to be with Jesus on the 10th. We attended her memorial service. We waited…not a word from the son about the piano. We waited some more, not wanting to seem vulturish* about it. Still nothing. Finally Mom called him up during a sunny spell in the weather and asked about it. She figured the break in the weather would be a good time to move the piano.
He’d forgotten his mother’s promise and given the piano to his niece. 
My reaction, in pictures:


* Vulturish = More concerned about things/mementos one will receive upon the death of another person, than with the feelings of the deceased person’s family. Being overly eager to receive same, without waiting a decent interval after the death of the deceased.
Source: The image of vultures or other carrion birds circling around an animal before it’s completely dead.
~Tom’s Dictionary of Whacked-out Terms and Old Family Sayings

I’ll spare you the gory details of the upheaval in our household (and my thought process because of it) during the weeks that followed. Let’s just say it’s a wonder I’m not a smoking crater several times over right now. *Sheepish grin* But God is merciful to idiots like me, and sometimes He shows us, in this life, the whys and wherefores of His sovereign plan for our lives…if for no other reason than to remind us Who is the Creator and who are the creation around here anyway.

Shorter than an upright; taller than a spinet
Anyhoo, I should mention that one of Mom’s piano students (a lady whose daughter also takes lessons from Mom) gave her a certificate for a local piano turner/repairman, to have the baby grand all turned and fixed up. Well, obviously we weren’t going to get the baby grand, so Mom was stuck with a valuable certificate and nothing to use it on! So sometime last week—I think it was a week ago today, actually—Mom called the man and asked if he knew of anyone who had a piano for sale, or something like that. He said—and this is where things began to fall into place—that he’d recently bought a console piano from an estate sale that had been refurbished, and he had done some work on it himself. He was charging $800 for it, but that if Mom liked the piano and gave him the gift certificate, he’d knock off $100! Which is a great price for a piano, especially when you consider all the work put into revamping it is a $900-$1,200 job in itself.
But wait, there’s more!
Mom told her piano student (Mrs. J) about it, and Mrs. J was ecstatic. Fast forward to Tuesday morning of that same week. Mrs. J had told her husband about the situation, and they both decided to pay for the piano—if Mom liked it—as a gift!
Club me with a feather!

Mrs. J came over in her SUV (better snow-traction) on Wednesday and took us over to the “piano guy’s” house to look at the piano. After examining it and playing on it a bit, we decided it was a good investment, if not quite what we had hoped for. After all, nothing can quite compare to a baby grand, but this one will be a good student-quality instrument for teaching music. Plus the keys, being weighted, will help strengthen the students’ fingers, and if it goes out of tune, Mom can fix it—not so with the Costco special! So that very afternoon, the tuner rented a trailer, we helped him lift the piano onto the dolly and load it in, then we brought it home and installed it in its new home—the front part of the work-building—just as the first flakes of predicted snow began to fall. Awesome!
"A REAL piano!"
"Tiger" in his new home
 The piano was built around 1925 of an exotic-looking wood called “tiger oak” for obvious reasons. Apparently it’s sawn at an angle to get those distinctive tiger-stripes in the wood grain. Some of the black paint has worn off the keys, and the new bushings in the key mechanism make the action a little flaky (some notes go silent when repeated quickly), but overall it’s in good shape, and in time the bushings will settle in and make it easier to play. The tuner will be back next week (Lord willin’ and the snow don’t fly!) to see how it’s settled into its new home, and tweak the tuning and what-not where needed.

Oh yes...and of course Mister Licorice had to check out the piano bench!
"This smells all kinds of interesting...."
I'm not 100% sure the (very dirty) needlepoint seat-cover will come clean. I tried soaking it in the bathtub, but the water got dirty so fast (black tea, anyone?) that I finally had to throw it in the washer to get the majority of the dirt out. That frayed the loosely-woven canvas edges like crazy, but the thing still looks dirty, and it may have shrunk too much to fit the bench, anyway. I may just make a throw-rug out of it.

The bench, on the other hand, is in wonderful condition (apart from the holes left over from the upholstery nails...and the inevitable scuffs Peter and I made removing them). The tuner said a long bench like thisespecially with the supports underneathis an unsuual one to be paired with this type of piano. Usually, he said, a bench like this goes with your Steinways and what-not, and is way up there in price. Score!

So now we see why God didn’t let us have the baby grand. It would have taken up too much space in the room, and we would have had to put out the money for repairs ourselves (the strings on it were the originals, and apparently there was some concern that they’d snap at any moment). Peter said the baby grand “might end up being a money-pit,” and since we just squeak by paying the bills and putting food on the table…yeah. Plus the old lady was a smoker, so the thing might have reeked of tobacco, anyway—not the best for this sensitive family. So as you can see, it makes this piano all the more special. God really does know best!

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless


  1. What a beautiful story!!!

    I agree sometimes it is so hard to know why things happen the way they do, until you get a little further down the road and when it works out go, "That's why!!"

    1. The "Aha!" Moment, aye? (Not just for writers, neither!)

  2. Fantastic story! You had me laughing with the whole "vulture" description haha :) too funny. I'm so happy everything worked out for your mother. What a blessing! So neat when one door closes that you think was just the one God was sending and then it shuts and you're all like, what the??? and then God turns around and blesses you with something different, but equally awesome and wrapped in love. So cool :)

    1. Welcome, Jeanine!
      Haha--I'm glad you liked my description; I was afraid it might be a bit macabre. :-P

      Like the song says, our God is an AWESOME God!

  3. Awesome story! The Lord really provides! I have a similar story about my "real" piano. Been playing for 17+ years and in December finally got a real piano. You can see the pictures and story here ☺ I have a really long bench too!

    I am also having a Valentine Series for Singles and a GIVEAWAY!! German chocolate and more!

    Iris♥ (Valentine GIVEAWAY in the Blue Birdhouse)

  4. I love your story! It is so amazing to see how God works all these things out for our good. :)

    Rebecca of "Whimsey Keith"


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