I feel like I went to South Carolina and back in the time it takes to blink.
Last Friday was the long-awaited day my daughter Leah walked across a big stage to get her master's degree. She made it through a very difficult two-year program with all A's. Yes, folks, that's a 4.0 average at the master's level. I could gush about how smart she is (and she is), but she also works her brains out and deserves every A she gets. Ben and I are very, very proud.
Friday morning she wrote on facebook: I'll have the master's degree special with a side of honors, please. No B's on that, please.
So we left Virginia Thursday morning for the drive to South Carolina, expecting to get there around three in the afternoon in plenty of time to have dinner with Leah, Abbey and her roommate Marly, and my parents, all of whom were meeting us there. Except for Leah, who lives there. I just had to clarify that last sentence.
About halfway through North Carolina, we stopped to get some lunch at Jersey Mike's Subs. (Exit 153 on I-40, in case you're ever going that way. Get a #2, Mike's way.) We were sitting at a red light waiting to turn into the shopping center where Mike's is located, and when the light turned green and Ben stepped on the gas, the car freaked out. It wouldn't go, the check engine light came on, and the gear indicator (the one that tells you whether you're in first, second, drive, etc.) started flashing. With 250,000 miles on it, I can't say I blame it, but it sure was an inopportune time for the transmission to die.
So like the good New Jerseyans we are, we went inside and had a sub first because we have priorities. When we came out, we fired up the old Droid and found the nearest transmission shop, which was about 7 miles away. I hope your transmission never dies when you're on I-40 in the middle of North Carolina, but if it does, go here:
Andrew is a great guy, very friendly and totally honest. We appreciate all he did for us that day, and enjoyed spending time getting to know him and his family.
Ben was able to nurse the car there by manually shifting, and we figured we'd have the fluid and filter changed and just try to get to Greenville in time for graduation the next day.
After much code-reading and book-consulting, it was decided that the shift solenoid was bad and should be replaced. That involved ordering it from a nearby town, Andrew's guy going to get it, and installing it. And there were several test drives. During one of them, Ben told Andrew his testimony and listened to Andrew's story. The abbreviated version is that Andrew's mother is a Christian who has been praying for her son for many years. So God sent Ben Sargent that way to share his testimony and give Andrew a tract. We're counting on God's Word not returning to Him void.
We could see evidence of a Christian influence all over the shop.
In the process of installing the solenoid, they noticed there was this little plug thingy that wasn't plugged in like it should be. So they plugged it in and *poof* happy transmission.
Five hours, $250 for a solenoid, and one tract later, we were on our way with our car as good as new. Or at least as good as 250,000 miles gets you. We made it to Greenville by 11 pm. It might not have been our plan, but we both agreed we were willing to pay $250 for the opportunity to witness to a guy whose mother has been praying for him.
Graduation day was blustery and busy, but so much fun to share with Leah and what family members could make it.
See that intensity? That's what gets you a master's degree with a 4.0.
Leah, Marly, and Abbey.
With Dr. Stephen Jones, university president:
A friend found this one on the BJU website:
The next graduation will be in May 2013, when Abbey earns her degree from Liberty University. Then we'll be down to ONE CHILD IN COLLEGE. Hallelujah. Glory to God.
And all the people said Amen.
Be thankful ~