Prize-Winning Prayer

A cookie and a prayer are the ingredients to an all-expense-paid trip for two.

By Heather Lynn Ivester, Carrollton, Georgia

WEB EXCLUSIVE

"Maybe next year,” I said to my husband, Andrew, one night as I punched numbers into a calculator. Andrew and I had always dreamed of going away someplace special for our tenth anniversary, but with four kids, my mother’s illness and a pile of bills, our dream seemed impossible. Please, God, I prayed, we need a break. But I can’t figure out how to make it happen. Can you help?

A few days later I took my daughters grocery shopping. “Mom, please, can we buy this tub of meringue cookies?” one of my girls pleaded.

“I don’t think so,” I said. No room in the budget for trifles. Just then, the funniest feeling came over me. I looked at the bright pink and yellow cookies and saw my girls bright smiles…and I tossed the cookies into the cart. When we opened the lid at home, I noticed a small advertisement for a recipe contest.

“Look, girls,” I said. “They have a cooking contest for recipes with these cookies.” What to make? A cake? Ice cream and meringue? “Let’s have a party.” Then I remembered my grandma’s trifle. I created a dish using the cookies, and set up a tea party complete with pink flowers and balloons. My girls giggled as I took their picture while they enjoyed my “Miss Meringue’s Magical Vanilla Rainbow Trifle.” Not a winner, I thought, but at least they should see what fun we’ve had. I sent the photo and a copy of the trifle recipe to the contest.

I was so surprised when I answered the phone one day to hear a voice say, “Congratulations. You’re the grand prizewinner of our contest.” I’d won an all-expense-paid trip for two to Santa Barbara, California. I gave him my anniversary date. “That’s perfect,” he said.

A prayer, a tub of cookies, a recipe for trifle and a need to get away. Somehow they all connected into a dream vacation that was a godsend. Literally.