When Iím going to be away from home the entire day, I plan ahead, make a check-off list and make sure I take along everything I will need. Last Monday, I made sure I had the ticket for the eveningís Encore program.

The day went well. I was parked near the front doors of Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. I always come early to get one of the disabled parking spots.

I reached for my wallet to get my ticket. I couldnít find my wallet. I searched, looked everywhere in my shopping bags, even under the seats ó no wallet.

In my mind, I went over all my steps during the day. I know when I used it last. I might have left it at the checkout counter, but they hadnít called me. So maybe I left it in the carryout cart. If someone found it and turned it in, they would have called me because my name and phone number were in it.

Now I really began to worry. I said a prayer that I would get my wallet back. There wasnít much cash in it, but I had credit cards someone might start to use.

I decided to go to the Encore program then go home. I found the phone numbers I needed to report the loss. The cards were deactivated immediately, which meant no one could use the card number, including myself. Then I could relax and just wait for my new card to arrive in the mail.

In the morning, I called about my driverís license. All I had to do was bring in two items of ID and $16.

I went to the car to come to Hays, opened the car door and guess what? In the daylight, I saw my wallet peeking out of the crack between my car seats.

The night before, I had felt around the area but the overhead light just wasnít bright enough. I was one really happy gal.

Now is the time I find the reasons to be thankful. Of course Iím thankful I found it, but before I found it, I was being thankful there wasnít much cash in it and that my insurance cards werenít in there. Thankfully I found the numbers to call to report the loss. I was also thankful the girl at the ticket window found my name on the season ticket-holder list. I am thankful my prayers were answered.

What did I learn from this frightening experience? Pay attention where my wallet is at all times and keep a flashlight in the car to find lost items after dark. And to take a picture of what I have in my wallet; it was hard to remember what I kept in it.

I am relaxed, happy, and my new card has arrived. So I am on the go again.

Opal Flinn is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.