I love a day of surprises and the last two days have been full of them. Yesterday, I was in my office minding my own business when an envelope from the advancement office was delivered. I am always excited when I get mail from them because it usually indicates that someone has given to my hike project. There was one surprise gift for $1000! Diane – you are the best sister ever!
At the end of the day, I left work to hike home, donning my hiking clothes and backpack. Walking out the front door of my office building, I noticed the Dayton Christian High School baseball team practicing. Being a baseball coach in another life, I can hardly pass by a game without pulling up a seat and watching for several innings. Even with just a practice going on, I could not help slowing down and observing infield practice. All of a sudden I saw the shortstop throw up his hands and yell, “Hike it forward!” and then another player joined in, “Hey Dr.D. on the A.T.!” I threw my hands in the air as well and gave them both a whoop!
Turning the corner and walking in front of the elementary entrance, I came to the playground where a dozen younger students were testing the strength and durability of some of our monkey bars. Glancing over toward the activity, a little girl was waving with smiles of recognition – I waved back and she provided me an even bigger grin. A friend nearby said to her, “that’s the guy who is hiking the App Trail” (I think she may believe that I am traveling on my iPad via some sort of app). Another little boy asked, “Are you back from your hike?” I slowed my walk in order to share that I was just practicing and had not left yet.
I got home from work at Xenia today and found that two gifts were delivered for me at the Miamisburg campus. Cathy brought them to the house. One was in a gift bag and the other was a card. In the gift bag was a generous financial gift, a beautifully encouraging card and the coolest T-shirt. The shirt has a picture of the Appalachian Trail with the words Appalachian Trail, Georgia to Maine 2,180 miles/3,508.4 km. What a thoughtful gift – one that has now become my favorite hiking shirt! The other gift was an envelope from a married couple who have been longtime friends of Cathy and me. The personal remarks were so encouraging to both of us. An enclosed check was an amazing gift toward the hike. God is so faithful as His people respond in generosity.