The Dime Story

penny

Several days after my wife passed away, I found a penny and I remember hearing of people that kept finding pennies shortly after their loved ones died. I did find this one: 1957, the year Sherri was born....

But being the typical rebel I am (and sometimes cynic), I thought "What a bunch of hogwash.  Everyone finds pennies all the time.  It's just people trying to make something out of nothing to comfort themselves. God doesn't do that kind of stuff."

I thought it really ironic that the very next day I found a solo dime while working out at the gym I go to. "OK" I thought, "That is kind of funny and appropriate, she liked to be fit AND Sherri never was a 'cheap date'."  (For those who knew her: You know she had very fine tastes-i.e. "expensive".)

If I think about it, I've found dimes before-but usually with other coins, because while people usually won't pick up a penny or maybe even a nickel most of us will pick up a dime and groups of coins.  Maybe I've found a solo dime two or three times in my entire life. Maybe. And, as a guy, sometimes I'm not observant so I usually miss stuff.

Sherri and I laughed a few years ago when she came across this cartoon....yep, that's me folks!

After the gym find, about 10 days later I was walking our dog Ricci (below, Sherri's favorite animal ever) and came across another single coin.  You guessed it....

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A Dime.

At this point I thought, Ha ha, what a "coin-incidence" (pardon the pun) and gave it no more thought.

sprout

Two weeks later, I was at Sprout during the now defunct Friday's farmers market (Sprout was housed in a former converted church and is now redone as the Public House). Sprout was Sherri's favorite places to go for food (and also where we held her memorial service in July). While there on the floor, I found another single coin.

A Dime- of course.

Now I'm thinking, This is weird. Because in that same period of time, I neither found nor saw any single penny, nickel or groups of coins.  Just 3 dimes in 6 weeks and all in places that had meaning.

Then, two weeks later I found..... another dime.

At that point, it really moved me.  It made me realize that God CAN be bigger than whatever box we put Him into.  4 dimes in 8 weeks-and not one other coin. I was humbled by my previous attitude to mock others for finding pennies or a parking space or whatever.  Yes, sometimes, it's dumb luck. Sometimes we make stuff up to appease our conscience.  But sometimes the Creator of everything can show us that HE is in control of not just big things, but little ones as well.

About a month later I was thinking about writing about this Dime story, but I thought, Nah, even though I now believe God (who knows every single hair on our heads: Matthew 10:31-31) can do those kind of things, I assumed people will think it's just an extraordinary happenstance.

Then I found another dime.

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sherri concrete t

And we had to put in a 2015 dime. 

I thought "What a nice end to this story".

But God had other ideas.

In mid December (2015), I got back from a cruise I took with a friend (who works at Royal Caribbean and offered me a deal I couldn't pass up on).  Sherri also loved to travel. I was dealing with a bacterial infection during the whole trip, so I was quite tired when I got home.  Waiting at the busy baggage claim in Eugene, I decided to go over to lean against the wall, as I was feeling pretty weak.  Of course there were many other people there (baggage claim can be a bit of a pandemonium as you know).  There was a slight rail molding (No longer there) on the wall about 40" off the ground and on top of that rail where I elected to lean?

2 Dimes and 2 Pennies.

I laughed out loud to myself.  I figured, the dimes doubled up and I had a 2 penny bonus.  The dates of those pennies?  1980, the year we got married and 1994, the year Sherri sold her cafe/antique store to stay at home with our 1 year old son.   So I thought God was now done with this story.

Nope.

Sherri loved music-and we had over 100 music cds (pre I-Tunes).  As time went on she probably thought, well, we can't get rid of that one, Bruce might want it as I thought the same for her.  So they crammed our cabinet and with some exceptions, weren't played.

In late December 2015,  I took a majority of them into CD World in Eugene to sell. After they paid me, I went off to the side to retrieve the large plastic tub that I brought in holding all those CDS. On the edge of that counter, (a good 12 feet away from the cash register) was:

A single Dime.

 In winter 2015 I was booked to be one of the featured speakers at a large photography convention in Orlando in late January (2016).  Sherri and I decided for me to go alone, but with her passing, I thought it would be a good way to have more memories with my kids by going to Universal studios as well as Walt Disney World.

Sophia, me and Harrison at Universal's Diagon Alley.

The first night the three of us were there,  we went to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) for dinner and shopping.  As we were walking on the way back to the hotel I stopped and said:  "Look down!"

It was a Dime-heads up, all by itself.

This time I broke down and cried.  I felt it was a confirmation to me from God that I was being a good dad and doing the right thing with our kids.

On March 15th (2016) , I was photographing 3 year old Coen who LOVED fire engines, so his mom, Breanna, and Grandmother (Tonya Parcell)  and I arranged to go to the fire station a half mile from the studio. When we arrived, no fire engine.  I told them that I couldn't just stay as I had a head shot I needed to take in 45 minutes, so we can meet back here in an hour.

Coming back: Still no fire engine, but the firemen inside said there WAS one at the Fire station at 28th and Centennial, about 2 miles away, so we went there.

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To enter the station, we came thru the back door, but of course I wanted to photograph Coen in FRONT of the hook and ladder truck to get his portrait like this:  

When the firemen opened the large doors in front of this engine to let in light and give me access, Tonya and I walked outside and there on the ground was:

Another dime.  

(For me, it confirms my continuing in a profession I love.)

Trying to process grief of losing your spouse is huge.  Time doesn't heal wounds, but working through it helps like reading CS Lewis' "A Grief Observed" counseling but my all time favorite book on grief (I’ve now read 16) is A Grace Disguised. How the Soul grows through loss by Jerry Sittser and going to Grief Share (a national grief group with small groups all over the country). While the scar will always be there, the bleeding can stop. Part of that healing is dealing with "things".

green wicker chair

Sherri used to be a cafe owner and antique dealer (pre-kids) and had furnished our home with many beautiful vintage and antique items. I decided I wanted to sell a wicker chair that we never used.  I moved it into an area in the living room to take "cleaner" photographs of various angles of it (see above) and then returned it to it’s original location. When I was putting it back,  I tipped it differently so it was easier to carry. What fell out?

dime wood floor of house

I heard a single coin drop.........Yep, a dime. 

I thought maybe the kids planted this one as a joke?  They didn't.

A month later I was getting ready to pay the vet for Sherri’s little dog Ricci’s check up. Again dozens of folks frequent that counter in an hour and there was another dime, confirming my care for him.

11 times, in 11 months.

I don't know what the odds are of these dime finds and some of you may think I'm making this up.  I wish I could offer more proof than the 2 times I had witnesses, but honestly, this is all true. Each time I think it's the last time. God has been so good to me.

Ever since the 4th coin, I was convinced about the Omnipotence of God.  It's easy to talk about that concept, but to experience it-well that is another thing. A very comforting thing.

What do these dimes mean to me?  That the Lord of the Universe cares for little me. That Sherri is in a very, very good place.  That God can do anything He wants from moving nations to providing comfort to His children in minuscule tiny ways.

I grew up a Christian Scientist, which is neither scientific nor Christian theologically and borrows heavily (philosophically) from Zen-Buddhism.  For example their views are we don't need a savior since this life or death or sickness was not really real-we just needed to know we were God's perfect children.  There is no hell. There is no sin. Those just deny the beauty that is there. Jesus was the one who "arrived" and is our example of what we can be.

Fortunately while stationed overseas in the Air Force, I started reading the New Testament with an open mind.  After a few months, I was internally convicted and decided to surrender to Jesus and asked Him to forgive me and come into my life.  I was clueless about any Christian sub-culture.  No one told me what to do, no preacher on TV, no hand out booklet, no friend.   But once I surrendered to the Living God, I knew then it was real-I felt His presence for the first time IN me. Sinful me.

Jesus Christ was the centerpiece of our 35 year marriage.  I'm sure we would've divorced without His working in us and each of us constantly surrendering our selfish desires to Him.  So when Sherri passed, I knew she went to be with Jesus in a great place (John 14:2) and THAT is what gives me comfort, for life here sucks without her.

She was my best friend. Our marriage was the closest it had ever been. She was the mother of our children.  So yeah, it's hard. I've learned to adapt to being without her and that is why these dimes have given me comfort and hope.  I told my counselor, that "It's not as if my life has turned a page.  It isn't even a new chapter.  It's a whole new book.  And I liked the old book." But that is not what God has for me now.

These dimes have been a sign to me that I will be OK, that God will direct me and take care of me and He can do the same with you if you let Him.

dime

What does it say on that dime? Liberty (of our souls if) In God We Trust.

That is what they have done for me.  Helped me Trust more in Him. And in so doing, giving me freedom from my grief.

So if you have a friend who is going through loss (death, divorce, job-whatever it may be), encourage them to read this so they can know that the Creator and Mover of all things can touch them in real ways where they are.

If he can place His hand on dimes to bring healing, He can do wonders on your heart.  <3

After getting back from taking our kids to Europe in June 2016, I assumed that my dime story had ended which was fine.  God had confirmed His care for me.

August 2016 I was at the Fred Meyer pharmacy to turn in a prescription for our then 9 year old dog, Ricci.

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There was someone at the window where you turn in submissions, but a clerk motioned to have me come to the pickup area and there on the counter was a single dime.  I think God likes us to take care of his creatures and Sherri LOVED her little dog (she was the pack leader).

A week later, I drove 4 1/2 hours to see our daughter Sophia at Washington Family Ranch near Antelope (OR) for a family open house from 330-8.  She was a volunteer at the Young Life middle school camp there. I really didn't want to make a 9 hour round trip trek in one day to spend just a few hours with her, but I knew it was very important to her.  And I  know it's important for me to be a good dad and suck it up.

We had a wonderful time and I was very glad I made the drive.  My car had recently been cleaned inside and out at a local car wash and as I was leaving to get something out of the back seat. there on the carpet of my car was: Of course,  a single dime.  Confirming to me that I did indeed do the right thing. Now, after these 13 dimes in 14 months God used those “miraculous moments” to comfort me during my grief process and I’m so thankful to Him and His kindness.

Others close to me have reported how they too have found dimes not long after Sherri’s death.

Debating important decisions in my mind, God has used me finding dimes to confirm my thoughts about various dilemmas.
In 2017 I tarried after church (University Christian Fellowship, where I attend, rents the South Eugene HS gym) talking to some folks. As I left through the exit that well over 100 others had gone, there on the concrete stoop was dime find #14.

In 2018, I was walking on the Middle Fork Path in Dorris Ranch with my brother. This path is where my wife’s bench is located (see below) because she would walk there every day that she could in the last 20 months of her life (thus the bench placement). As I was verbally telling him what I was thinking, but unsure of-he saw it: Dime find #15. Heads up where it says Liberty, In God We Trust.

Composite of Sherri' walking and her bench photo shopped in.

Composite of Sherri' walking and her bench photo shopped in.

memorial bench
 

On the 1st anniversary of Sherri’s passing on June 5th, 2016-finishing up our 38 day “Sherri tour” trip overseas of places Sherri loved, I was speaking at the Professional Photographers of Rhode Island. There, of all the people I could sit next to during lunch, I told a woman about my son’s love of tall ships and sailing. She then told me about her son who had attended IYRS, the International Yacht Restoration School (wood boat building and repair) in Newport RI. Sharing that information that evening with my son, Harrison, he researched it and exclaimed “That is what I want to do!”-rare for him because he has a hard time to be motivated for anything other than live action role playing and video games.

Flash forward 3 years. Harrison’s been accepted into the IYRS school and I’m prepping his van that we are driving back to RI. I had thought I had cleaned out all the back seats’ pockets previously, but there was still a few pens, maps, gunk and of course one coin. Yet another dime. Again, confirming that “Yes, you are doing the right thing by taking him there.” Dime #16.

On June 5th, 2019, the 4th anniversary of her passing, I had a client who really wanted to be photographed on that day. So I decided I would also take the calendar photograph of my two Springfield HS (where my daughter graduated) basketball players as well, just before then since I had to work anyway. When I got to the gym, the floor was super cleaned and freshly waxed in appearance. I asked one of the guys what end should we go to? “The other end has a table and chairs, so this one” he said. Setting up my lights along the baseline, what do I see? Dime #17. Heads up. What ARE the odds now, really?

My hope for you is that you can come to know that Jesus IS real and that the Love God has for you is absolutely incredible. He cares deeply for you, is a personal God and wants you to know His love and more, know Him.

Praying that you too will find your “dimes” along your journey of life. <3