Who remembers when buying U.S. savings bonds was the thing to do? A new baby? No diapers or bottles. Buy a savings bond! A wedding? No dishes or silver. Buy a savings bond!
Someday, that child will need a car and that savings bond will help; that couple will need a house and it will help. That may have been true when a $100 savings bond bought at $50 would mature to the $100 in a few years. But economy issues came along.
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, those same savings bonds often took two or three times as long to mature as they used to. Our daughters had some bought in those decades. When they went to redeem their bonds, they discovered they wouldn’t mature for another several years.
But the story I have to tell is about a U.S. savings bond bought in the 1960s for me as a child. I’d tucked it inside my cedar hope chest, along with my birth certificate, my SAT scores (in case I decided to go to college), and other important papers. I never looked at it or considered cashing it in, so I had no idea if it had matured or not.
In the spring of 1997, I attended my first writers’ critique group meeting. One of the members had a brochure for the Montrose Christian Writers Conference to be held that July. I’d never heard of this and was interested to see what it was all about, though I knew I couldn’t do it. For one, it would cost money … something we didn’t have.
However, one look inside the brochure set my heart pounding with “What ifs”! One of the instructors slated to teach was Elizabeth Sherrill, someone whose writings I’d long admired and would have loved to meet in person. But one look at the amount required turned my heart to stone. No way on earth could I ever find that kind of money. Still, I slipped the brochure into my notebook and sent a silent prayer heavenward.
At home, life went on. Homeschooling to finish, portfolios to make, evaluations to schedule. Now and then, I’d think about that brochure and sigh. Towards the end of May, I prepared for my annual writer’s club picnic. I’d led writers’ clubs in my home for eight years. Homeschool parents brought their K-12 students to the meetings every other week, where we learned writing techniques in fun ways. The picnic was a highlight of the year with nearly 40 kids. I had never charged for this club, nor any of my teaching or tutoring. I enjoyed it and wanted to serve my fellow homeschoolers.
At the end of the picnic, one of the mothers approached me and handed me a card. I figured it was just a simple thank-you card and stuck it in my box of supplies to take home. When I opened it, though, I discovered not only a card signed by all the kids and their parents, but money! A lot of money! I was shocked. A still, small voice whispered in my ears: “Writers’ conference ….”
Was it possible? I hurried to get the brochure and looked at the cost again. The money they’d given me would cover part of it, but where would I get the rest?
Then, God brought to my mind a slip of official paper in a yellowed envelope inside my hope chest—my savings bond. I’d heard that often older savings bonds kept accruing interest even after the maturity date, sometimes doubling the base amount. I wondered ….
As soon as I could, I took that savings bond to the bank to cash in. I waited, hoping it at least doubled. It was only for $25. Doubled would be a nice amount to add to the money from the writers’ club. Still not enough to go, but closer.
When the teller came back with a stack of bills, she began counting aloud as she laid the bills on the counter, “20, 40, 60, 80 ….” At some point, my mouth dropped open and I just stared at her.
Would you like to guess how much was there? To the exact dollar … enough that when added to the money in the card from my students would cover the cost of the Montrose Christian Writers Conference!
Does God delight in surprising us or what? Believe me, He gets all the glory for that year and the next 22 years at my second favorite place on earth.
And that brings me to letting you know to come back next week and read our daughter Faith Weaver’s guest post in which she tells about how she went to Montrose her first time by surprise. Also, check out her blog site (https://faithcolleenweaver.wixsite.com/faithcolleenweaver) for my guest post there this coming Saturday, May 16, 2020. All three posts go together!
And what about you? Did you ever have or purchase a U.S. savings bond? Did you redeem yours? Any interesting stories about them? Do share! We love to read your stories!
3 thoughts on “Tell Me a Story about … a U.S. Savings Bond”
I’ve never had a Savings Bond, but I have seen the Lord provide exact amounts needed for certain things I’d prayed about. I too was trying to attend a writers workshop in my own town but just couldn’t afford it. Janette Oke was the keynote speaker. I couldn’t see any way I would get to go so just resigned myself to the idea that it would have been nice, but maybe some other time. It’s been so long ago now I can’t honestly remember what happened that provided a way for me to go. I think it might have been an unexpected tax return that year. But I went and it was fantastic! Three days of classes, presentations, a dinner and even a dessert theater. I met Janette Oke and bought two of her books which she signed. I had never read her books before that and once I started I couldn’t stop! My mom came with me to the session where Janette Oke spoke and also began reading some of her books. Rod came with me to the dessert theater. It was really a blessing, the whole thing!
But several years later there was another thing that happened. A Matt Redman concert with also Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio. I needed a set amount for travel, hotel, dinner and the concert. I wanted to treat my son Tim to the concert too for his birthday. It was only 80 miles from where I lived, but I couldn’t just drive there because of the car fume allergy I had which prevented me from being able to drive very far. If I spent too much time in a car, my lungs tightened up, the lack of oxygen made me drowsy and would eventually knock me out (if not worse) and it would take days to detox from it. Neither the bus nor train was an option because the routes weren’t right. I had to fly! Get this, I had to fly to Chicgo (90 miles west of me), then from Chicago fly to Ft. Wayne, IN (80 miles east of me) over several hours, just to get there!!! It was the only way I could do it. For my son, he could drive and meet me there but his car wasn’t in good shape, so I needed to rent him a car! So I had to buy a plane ticket, a car rental, hotel for 2 nights, concert tickets and food money. I did the figuring and knew the exact figure that I’d need. I knew I’d have the money from tax return but couldn’t know for sure when that would come in, so I wasn’t sure I could do it. Again I was starting to accept the fact it probably wouldn’t happen, but I kept praying. I had just sent off an email to my son telling him I still hoped to be able to go but couldn’t yet promise anything. Right after I sent that email off, a lady from my work stepped into the office where I worked and handed me a check. They were paying me for all the overtime I had racked up but had never gotten paid for. They didn’t allow overtime pay at that job, but instead allowed comp-time. But I had so much overtime, there’s never be any way I could take enough time off to make up for it, so they decided to pay me for it. It was the exact amount I needed for that concert trip/birthday gift! I knew that was God. I’d be pretty dull if I didn’t! We went and it wasn’t just a fun time, it was meaningful to my son because so rarely did just he and I get to do something together and music is always one of the best ways we connected with each other, but also the concert itself began a spiritual revival in me that was long-needed.
So — not a Savings Bond story, but it WAS God’s provision, the exact amount at just the right time. Only God!
Fun memories. Thanks for sharing your story and for the heads up on the 3 connecting blog stories!
LikeLiked by 1 person
YOU MET JANETTE OKE??!!??!!??!!!!!!!!! THAT would have been my dream-come-true in all facets of the word!!! I have every one of her books and have read the Love Comes Softly series through almost every year since I bought the first one when it first came out!!! And I now have all the movies – no, not the same as the books, but I forgive them (sort of) since they’re so good. AND CHRIS TOMLIN!! WOW! You sure trumped my story! LOL! But God is so amazing when it comes to things like this. Thanks for sharing them. I missed you last week!
I loved Janette Oke’s books. I had never read any until that Writer’s Conference. I bought 2 of them before the event so I could ask her to sign them and started reading them afterwards. I’d heard of her but just hadn’t read her yet. The Bluebird and the Sparrow was the first one I read. My very favorite of all though is When Calls the Heart. Turns out that Janette Oke used to live in the town where I lived before I moved to SC. Her husband had been president of the college for many years which was where she came back to for the writer’s conference. Her twin sons still live there and teach at a local high school. One teaches orchestra, the other math. My son had the one for a math teacher. The orchestra teacher led the music at my son’s graduation. I wrote to Janette years after I met her and she was so kind to write back. I never met the daughter though I did read one of her books. Janette’s books were my introduction to Christian fiction and the beginning of my love for Christian historical fiction too.
Sorry I was absent last week, I did read your tea story and enjoyed it. I sat there for the longest time trying to think of a tea story to share, but I just couldn’t think of a one! I’m more of a coffee drinker, though I do have a cup of herbal tea once in awhile. Usually peppermint or mint medley. So I just sat that one out and left the comments to the tea drinkers 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person