Dad’s Driving

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Buttery salmon-avocado sushi pairs with spicy-sweet sliced ginger on my tongue. A delicious aftertaste spurs me eagerly on to the next slice. Mmm, fabulous. Scalding mint verbena tea from the coffee shop here scares me just seconds away from it touching my tongue and I lower the cup, preferring to wait.

I dropped my parents off at the airport again today. Wheeling boxy black suitcases wrapped in rainbow nylon straps, they walked away from me, after our repeated hugs. Off to Tasmania for six weeks of teaching, they watch the sky for rain, urging it to fall on their garden and flowers here at home. Dish-sized purple and white clematis had overwhelmed their climbing plant, blooming furiously as we drove away.

“You can live here, of course,” my dad said, at their house as he showed me where the sheets and air mattresses were. My mom hugs me and heats me up a cup of coffee. Their house is lovely and already hosts a house-mate couple, but I am grateful for the option, and take note again of the little white disarm system.

I harvest mint from my mom’s garden and hand my car keys to my dad. “Do you mind driving my car? You know this downtown area here better than I do.” 

We load up the the car and he drives, my mom and I turning heads to talk over the air conditioning. It feels so safe to be a daughter loved. Resting my head on the seat, we talk and I watch cars and businesses flash by, bringing my parents up to date on the housing market.

Photo Credit: Michael Mingo

“We looked at five houses last night.” They were getting further and further out from our epicenter of Mark’s work, our church, and the kids’ friends and bike range. “We put an offer on one of them–the second house– but we aren’t sure it’s the right one for us or that we’ll get the bid.”

We had a little over a week left to find a home if we wanted to avoid renting after our house closed to its new buyer at the end of June. We tried not to feel frantic or rushed, but it loomed over us anyway.

“It’s a chance to practice trust,” I murmur back to my mom as highway traffic weaves around us. My dad expertly handles the stick shift, and changes lanes as needed, calmly driving us to the airport.

In my Thursday morning Bible study group, we are studying Francis Chan’s The Forgotten God study. This week, Chan challenges about whether our lives truly reflect the truth that one of the reasons the Holy Spirit is in us is to help us realize and feel that we are sons and daughters of God. Thus, if we really are kids in God’s family and he desires that intimacy too, are we talking with and relating to God as our Abba Daddy?

“Abba, we need a house,” I pray silently. “We’d love one close to our community. Can you bring one, please? Is it possible to avoid renting too?”

At the airport, I hug my parents a second time, kissing them and breathing in their cheek scents. After years of international travel and several war-torn countries, good byes are always savored and regret-free.

“I love you. Safe travels,” I tell them both. “Thanks for being a Daddy that helps me see Abba,” I smile gently to my dad on the cement curb.

I watched them enter the airport, pulling boxy black suitcases behind them, as I drove away.

“Abba… thank you: for cars that run, for wonderful parents, for my family, for a chance to trust you… Abba, we need a house…” He and I talked on the highway home, smiling gently.

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  1. Unknown on May 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    these sweet moments. ah. yes. talk keep the discussion in the present. ever fluid.

  2. Zoe Elmore on May 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Great post Jenn. Thanks for stopping by my blog and posting. Hope you and yours are well. Hugs

  3. Rachel Olsen on May 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Loved reading this, Jen.

    Yes, it does feel so safe to be a loved daughter, who knows she always has a place to turn.

  4. Jennifer Dougan on May 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm


    Thanks for stopping by, and I really appreciate the dialogue advice too. Thank you.


  5. Jennifer Dougan on May 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm


    Nice to talk with you again.


  6. Jennifer Dougan on May 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm


    Ahh, being a daughter loved is a precious thing, yes. I am thankful for our Abba.

    And thankful for you too,


  7. LOLITA on May 19, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Such a lovely post.

    And I so love the way you are grateful to your Dad who helps you see Abba. I can imagine how good he is to be a man of God. They always produce Godly kids too.

    And the chance to trust God fully is precious.

    I pray you would find the best one, knowing God will lead you to a home of your desire.

    God bless and thank you for finding time to visit my spot.

  8. Jennifer Dougan on May 20, 2012 at 1:11 am


    Thank you. Yes, it is a treasure to have a dad who helps me visualize a Heavenly Abba too. I am so grateful!

    How are you doing today?


  9. Pam on May 20, 2012 at 4:25 am

    I love the way you write this "conversation with Abba." This is beautifully written and portrays how natural such prayer is…like breathing. Yes, I want to turn to Him like this for health, job, home, loved ones…all that is on my heart. Thanks for the uplifting portrait in words…

  10. cabinart on May 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I like lists!
    1. Food often appears in your blog entries.
    2. Yea, you drive a stick shift too!
    3. Nothing quite like being in the back seat while Dad drives.
    4. Both your parents are living, healthy, and married to one another – such a blessing!
    5. Renting your own house back is better than renting a new place.
    6. Remember, escrow isn't closed yet.
    7. Isn't it great to be able to keep conversational prayer going constantly?
    8. I love the way you tell your story.

  11. Jennifer Dougan on May 22, 2012 at 2:27 am


    Hi! 🙂 Lists are fun, aren't they?

    1.) Food in my blogs? You're right, they do appear often. (Right now I'm drinking hot coffee, in fact. What about you?)
    2.) Stick shift: new this year. Now I choose it over the other car. Of course the other car doesn't have windshield wipers though…
    3.) Parents a treasure, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I feel rich.

    4.) House stuff, thank you for praying… Keep doing so please.

    I always enjoy talking with you, my friend.


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