Saturday, March 8, 2014

Serendipitous Saturday

Jan here, introducing you to a new, temporary feature here at the café. Our GAL Julie is taking a short leave from her duties, so the rest of us are jumping in to cover for her.

So, why Serendipitous Saturday?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines serendipitous as, “Occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.”

I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as rather Wind in the Willows-ish.

You can buy this beautiful annotated edition here.

Remember that morning when Mole was spring cleaning? He suddenly couldn’t stand the same old routine any longer. He wanted Adventure in the Worst Way. And what was his meeting with the Water Rat, if it wasn’t Serendipitous?

The OED goes on to say that the origin of the word “serendipity” is from 1754. It was coined by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”

In my research and in my daily life I’m always making discoveries of things I wasn’t in quest of.  Another term for it is “stumble upon.” Just in the last two days I’ve stumbled upon information on how to prune an apple tree, or how much it cost to homestead 160 acres of the South Dakota prairie in 1877, or the words to a hymn written by Bernard of Marlais in the 12th century, or the history of the Morgan horse.

(Now that last one I already knew. But it was fun to remember the year my children and I read “Justin Morgan Had a Horse” by Marguerite Henry.)

This is a wonderful book if you haven't read it - you can get it here.

 The great thing about these serendipitous discoveries is that they lead to bigger things, like books. Or whole series of books. Authors quite often form an entire story from one overheard comment in the grocery store, or observing one parent and his child (right, Missy?).

Still available in Kindle edition here!

 I hope you continue to make your Saturday visits to the café. The coffee pot is always on, and we’ll have a snack to share as we chat about this week’s Serendipitous discovery.

What will next week’s post be about? Your guess is as good as ours. J


  1. Serendipitous..... I did not know where the word came from, how perfect is that, Jan?????

    I wrote an entire book based on a cart guy at Sam's Club thanking me when I pushed my cart into a snowy corral several years ago, and he said, "Nobody ever does that. Thank you, ma'am."

    And that book became a refugee story of a woman who tries to do everything right, always going the distance, almost desperate to cleanse a soul that is in no need of cleansing, at least not in God's eyes. And all because of the cart guy's remark.

    I blame the Holy Spirit!!!! He rocks!

    Hey, I've got the coffee brewing, but I also did something different... In light of Lent and sacrifices and self-denial and all that, I've opened an omelette bar here in the cafe, so if you want a fresh-tossed omelet (spelling of your choice, LOL!) just say the word! We've got fresh veggies, ham, bacon, sausage (no scrapple, Ruthy does not like scrapple!) cheeses, olives, oh my gosh, you name it, and one of us will make if for you!

    1. I'll have a ham, spinach and mushroom omelette, please, with some sharp cheddar cheese! Mmmmm.....

      I overheard a conversation the other day at Walmart. One lady was saying to another one, "I can't WAIT for summer to get here." And it struck me...she was wishing her life away. Time goes so quickly, and she has no idea what summer will bring. There's a book in there somewhere....

  2. Ooooohhh, how serendipitous to wander into the café on the morning they are serving omelettes! I'm up for a mix of veggies and lots of cheese please. :-) Personally I think God is in the serendipity business.

    1. How serendipitous that you should stop by just in time for breakfast!

      And I think you're right, Kav. I don't believe in luck or chance, I believe in God's sovereignty. So that person you just "happened" to meet? Or that sermon you "stumbled upon" while changing the radio station? A God thing. Totally. All the time.

  3. You're right, Jan! I watched that man on the airplane trying his best to put a bow in his daughter's hair. And he just couldn't get it to stay. And I KNEW I had to write a book about a single dad with a daughter her needed a mother.

    I love those moments. :)

    Thanks for mentioning my book!

    1. You're welcome! When I was thinking about writers and serendipitous experiences, that story was the first thing that came to mind :)

  4. Oh, how fun is this?? And I think I have next week so hold on tight! I don't have a clue what I'll post about but it will be a hoot to do something new!

    And one day I was standing in line watching a cop in front of me, holding the hand of a little boy. He said, "Did you know I'm moving back to town?" and the little boy said, "Yeah. I heard Mommy telling her friend about it and she was crying."
    The man didn't respond, and I've always wondered what the story was there...

    1. I can't imagine what you'll come up with next week! Your life is full of serendipitous adventures, isn't it?

      And I'll be waiting for that story about the cop and the little boy!

    2. Oh, I want to hear the end of that story, too, Virginia!!!!