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Unexpected Comfort, by Award-Winning Author Patti Tingen

Unexpected Comfort

I was certain she said her address was 528! Why wasn’t she home? And how could she have disappeared so quickly? I decided to leave the book in her mailbox along with my business card hoping she would contact me.

Four days later, there was still no word from Sylvia.

Ours was an unexpected meeting. It was April in our small town and the mother duck a few blocks away was finally starting to hatch her babies. Her nest was right near the sidewalk and I watched and waited as she patiently sat on her eggs. Several weeks later, I was thrilled to find two brand-new babies by her side. I also met some other folks who were equally excited. One of the people I met was a woman named Sylvia who somehow, in the middle of our conversation about the ducks, divulged that she had lost her husband just four weeks earlier.

I gently touched her shoulder and expressed my sympathy for her loss. She asked what street I lived on and she told me where she lived, along with her house number. We then returned to our duckling–watch. I decided to run home and get my phone so I could take some pictures. I also knew that I wanted to give Sylvia a copy of my book, A God for All Seasons. Based on Ecclesiastes 3, the yearly devotional offers hope and encouragement that God’s presence is with us through every time and season of our life’s journey. It seemed a fitting gift for my newfound acquaintance. However, in the few minutes it took me to hurry home and come back, Sylvia was gone. Undeterred, I took off at a brisk pace toward house number 528. But there was no Sylvia.

After four days of silence, I walked down to once again check on mama and her now twelve ducklings. After a short time, a woman walked up who looked vaguely familiar. She was eyeing me in the same way. Sure enough, it was Sylvia! I told her about leaving my book in the mailbox and anxiously waiting to hear from her. Well sure enough, Sylvia did not live at 528. But she was delighted to hear about my book and decided to head to 528 to get her copy back!

A few weeks later, I followed up with Sylvia by phone. I learned that she had indeed gone to 528, where she met a young woman who was going through some difficult times of her own. Keeping my book by her nightstand, she was greatly enjoying it but insisted that Sylvia take the book for herself when she understood what had happened. Sylvia voiced to me how deeply she had been missing her husband. She also described the comfort my writing brought her as she read from my book each night before going to sleep. She mentioned that she was also interested in my cat book for her daughter who loves cats but had lost her love for God somewhere along the way.

Sylvia and I agreed on a time to meet. And I walked down the street straight to house number 517. I gave Sylvia another Seasons book for her new friend across the street and she bought He Was Never a Cat for her daughter who was coming to visit that night. We chatted for a time and Sylvia told me about her husband and some of her struggles living life without him. She gasped when she saw the angel’s wing on the back cover of the cat book. Then she promptly showed me the program from her husband’s memorial service. In the middle of the tri-fold brochure was an angel’s wing that looked nearly identical to the one on the book. With it were her husband’s last words—“I hear the rush of angels’ wings coming towards me.”

Ours was an unexpected meeting. But not to God. He had every step—and every misstep—planned flawlessly. And in that, there is great comfort.

Author photo (148x150)Patti Tingen in her own words

 “We all have value and purpose. God has blessed each one of us with distinct talents and gifts. We are all individually designed and we have each been given a unique sphere of influence in this oft-troubled world. The size and shape of my part of the whole might be different from yours. But when joined together, we form a beautiful, intricate tapestry that God has woven together, using each and every one of us to carry out His plans and purposes. Won’t you join me in discovering and becoming all you were meant to be? You might be surprised at the results!”

I hope you enjoyed Patti’s story. Look for her at:
Website –

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