Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Story Behind It

Photo Credit:  jjulian812 from
I love when someone tells me, “There’s a story behind it.”  I love listening to stories.  I also love telling them…especially funny ones.  Today’s story involves me, my youngest daughter, and a small (hot) dressing room inside a place called Wicked Wally’s.  Don’t get too excited over the name…it’s just the Halloween version of a local party store that opens every October to sell costumes.  Honest.

My boo-tiful friend, Chris, loves a good Halloween party and invited my husband and me to her annual event.  Costumes are a must for this party.  Don’t even think of showing up without one.  She won’t let you in.  So, two days before the party, I figured I needed to get serious about what the hubby and I would be sporting this year.

The shopping experience was as frightful as her party décor…I assure you.  I convinced my daughter that it would be a quick trip into the store.  I headed for the clearance racks first.  Surely something would work for less than $20 an outfit?  Surely.  I grabbed two matching Nascar racing outfits and two bowling shirts for starters (One size fits ALL?  Or even MOST?  Who made that up?  Seriously.)  Then, as my daughter rolled around on the ground saying that she was hungry, tired, and had to pee, I stepped over her to grab a couple of cute retro shirts just in case the other outfits didn’t work out.

There were dressing rooms in the back and a sweet lady that took the costumes out of the packages and handed them to me.  The matching bowling shirts were a bust.  I looked like a bouncer in my scratchy, stiff shirt.  Wanna itch all night?  No thanks.  I handed them back to the nice lady and she gave me the one-piece racing outfit.  I felt a little confined in the onesie-style romper.  It was a snug fit, so I couldn’t imagine that my husband would enjoy getting his outfit on (the exact same, one size fits everyone, outfit).  Right.

The lady then handed me the groovy shirts.  I was feeling pretty confident that the hippie style shirt would work for me.  How could it not?  It looked so super fab on the pretty lady in the picture.  Well, it was more fitted than I’d like.  It took me awhile to get it in place.  It was a criss-crossy top with a fabric band around the ole ribs and lots of ruffle layers down to the waist.  Tie-dye.  Cute.  But, did I mention tight?

Once I got the shirt on, I realized that there wasn’t a stitch of spandex or elastic in that top.  Not one stitch.  The fabric band around my ribs did not allow for expansion for something as important as…let’s say…taking a breath.  I don’t think I own a piece of clothing without some percentage of spandex, so THIS, I was NOT used to.  My daughter was rolling on the ground under me still whining about random things and I…could not breathe.  I didn’t completely panic at that point since I knew I would be able to breathe once I pulled that straightjacket off.

Important note…if you have an extremely difficult time getting a piece of clothing on…rest assured that you will NOT (I repeat…will NOT) get it off!  I tried to pull the top off back over my head.  Didn’t budge.  I gathered myself and decided maybe I could just pull it down over my hips.  Didn’t budge.  Did.  Not.  Budge.  I was stuck inside a small, now unbearably hot, dressing room with yards and yards of non-stretchy, tie-dye material adorning my rib cage.  The fifteen minutes I spent trying to remove it felt like fifteen years.  I tried to suck in my hips.  Doesn’t work.  I kept muttering to myself.  Will.  Not.  Die.  In.  This.  Store.

When I panic, the first thing I want to do is run.  Fight or flight.  That’s how we’re made.  However, would that be kosher, I thought?  I mean, would it really be acceptable for me to run out of this dressing room with only my shorts and bra on with this now highly detestable, despicable, vile, loathsome costume wrapped ever so tightly around my lungs?  With my daughter running frantically behind me?!  Prolly not.  But, I was so close.  Of course, my daughter was oblivious to my predicament and continued to belly-ache about her own issues.  I’m now profusely sweating and breathing in short, shallow bursts.  “Oh, this party better be fun!!  It better be so incredibly much fun, I tell you!!” I mumbled to myself.

Of course, the kind lady is still waiting outside the door.  “Is everything okay in there?”  I replied, “Um, just…(inhale)…a (exhale)…moment (inhale)…ma’am (exhale).”  Adrenaline is just amazing.  It had built up enough that I just dug down deep and I pulled that sucker off in one solid yank over my head.  I heard a thread pop.  Maybe two.  But, I looked that shirt over and couldn’t find an obvious tear so I felt okay about it.  At that point, I was ready to buy it…and BURN it.

I gained some semblance of composure, wiped away the sweat, put my hair back in place, picked my daughter up off the floor, found a smile, removed the buggy-eyed-adrenaline-overdose look from my face, and handed the shirt back to the lady.  With quivering lips, I said, “This didn’t really work out.  But, thanks so much for your help.  Um, where is your bathroom?  My daughter needs to go.”

After the potty trip, I went down the pirate aisle and grabbed two plus-sized-super-stretchy-elastic-waisted-wonderfully-loose pirate costumes and I was OUT.  OF.  THERE.  If the costumes were way too big, that was just a sacrifice that I was willing to make.  Aaargh mateys!  We were THE most comfortable pirates I have ever met on this side of the sunken treasure, I promise you.  AND…we had a great time at the party!  Thanks, Chris.

My point?  There is always a story behind it…whatever “it” may be.  My hubby and I showed up in our comfy, cozy pirate attire that night and no one had a clue what I had gone through to be there.  Well…not until I shared my story with the gals.  They giggled till their sides hurt.  But, it makes me more empathetic to people in general.  Everyone has a story behind their smile, their frown, their laugh, or their tears.  It helps me to be more patient with others when I remember that.   As for my dressing room disaster…we never know what a person has been through to get somewhere…wherever “somewhere” is for them.  It’s true.  We don’t.

In addition to my Halloween story, I want to share a neat little story with you from Lou Holtz.  His tale is called, “You have to wait and see.” (Taken from his book, Winning Every Day).  We shouldn’t miss out on blessings because they aren’t packaged the way we expect them.  Most problems are blessings in disguise.  Tragedies can be transformed into something positive simply by altering our perspective.  Whenever we are tempted to judge a situation too hastily, it would be wise for us to remember this story:

John is a fellow who owned a valuable horse.  One night, the horse ran off and all the neighbors were consoling him about his loss.  John just replied, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad.  We will have to wait and see.”  Everyone was so shocked when the horse returned, accompanied by two beautiful wild stallions.  All the neighbors said, “Oh, John, you are so lucky.  You have three fine horses now!”  But, John replied, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad.  We will have to wait and see.”

The following day, John’s two sons were riding the new horses and both were thrown off, suffering broken legs.  Everyone immediately cried, “Oh, John, that’s so terrible that both of your sons broke their legs.”  John replied once again, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad.  We will have to wait and see.”  That week, war broke out and all the able young men in the village were summoned into military service.  All of them, that is, except John’s sons.  Their broken legs earned them deferments.  Everyone declared, “Oh, John, that’s so good that your sons don’t have to go to war!”  John just replied, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad.  We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Like Lou Holtz said, “We can’t classify anything as good or bad until all the results are in.”  Likewise, with the Halloween tale, we shouldn’t assume that we know what someone has or has not gone through.  It’s impossible to know.  We should be careful not to judge as we may not know the whole story.  We should always remember to just wait and see.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  And, best of luck with those Halloween costumes.  Surely, there’s a story behind yours!  Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bring It To The Table

Photo Credit:  earl53 from
We’ve all heard that “attitude is everything” and that we should have an “attitude of gratitude.”  Isn’t that so much easier said than done?  I’ve certainly found that to be the case…day after day…year after year.  Just this morning, I was in need of an attitude adjustment.  But, it is indeed up to us to make the choice:  Will I have a good attitude or a bad one?  Attitudes are just like the flu.  They are extremely contagious.

I’m in the middle of reading Lou Holtz’s book, Winning Every Day, and one of his quotes has stood out for me:  “Your talent determines what you can do.  Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do.  Your attitude determines how well you do it.”  There’s that word again…attitude.

Here is an e-mail about attitude from Mikey’s Funnies that I think you will enjoy as well: 

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate.  He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say.  When asked how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I’d be twins!"

He was a unique manager in that he had several waiters who followed him when he moved from restaurant to restaurant.  The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude.  He was a natural motivator.  If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling them how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it!  You can't be a positive person all the time.  How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘Jerry, you have two choices today.  You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.'  I choose to be in a good mood.  Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it.  I choose to learn from it.  Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life.  I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.  "Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices.  When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.  You choose how you react to situations.  You choose how people will affect your mood.  The bottom line:  It's your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said.  Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business.  We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.  Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers.  While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination.  The robbers panicked and shot him.  Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.  I saw Jerry about six months after the accident.  When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins.  Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.  "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied.  "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices:  I could choose to live, or I could choose to die.  I chose to live.”

"Weren't you scared?  Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.  Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine.  But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.  In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man.’  I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.  "Well, there was a nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything.  'Yes,' I replied.  The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply.  I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'  Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I’m alive, not dead.’"

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.  I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.  Attitude, after all, IS everything.

I really enjoyed that story and I hope you did, too.  I love surrounding myself with people who choose to truly live.  Just waking up each day is a gift that many of us take for granted.  We are each here for a particular purpose.  Praying about what that purpose is, is a great place to start.  And, this isn’t dress rehearsal, so we shouldn’t waste one precious moment of our limited time on earth.  It’s go time.

I’ve also heard that, “Success is more attitude than aptitude.”  And, that word strikes again!  Attitude.

Reading Lou Holtz’s book reminds me of several things.  We can choose to act or procrastinate, believe or doubt, help or hinder, succeed or fail.  Lou has a list of ten steps that cover the bases for success.  Guess what the number one item is?  Yep.  The power of ATTITUDE.    The attitude we choose to assume toward life and everything that life throws our way will determine whether or not we reach our goals and aspirations.  Remember Stephen Covey’s 90/10 rule?  10% of life is made up of what happens to us and 90% is decided by how we react.

Lou’s other steps for success include tackling adversity, having a sense of purpose, making sacrifices, adapting to change, chasing dreams, nurturing a positive self-image, fostering trust, committing to excellence, and handling others with care.

I like that last one – handling others with care.  It’s a simple step on paper.  “Treat others as you would like to be treated – with concern and care.”  But, in reality, it can be more challenging, no doubt.  Can you just imagine if we all took that one to heart…all the time…everyday?  Hmmmm…

Another thing that Lou mentioned that I absolutely love is this – We should always remember that the Lord gave us two ears and one mouth because he wants us to listen twice as much as we speak.  Yikes.  How often do we just go on and on and on?  How often do we plan what we’re going to say next while the other person is still talking?  Gulp (guilty party slowly raises hand).

I chatted with my friend, Larry, over the weekend.  He has a wonderfully positive attitude and handles others with care – two of the important steps to being a successful person.  I have yet to see him without a smile and a “can-do” attitude.  And, he is genuinely concerned about others and what they have to say.  It’s contagious.  It truly is.  I’m thankful for people like him.

Larry and I discussed how when he was growing up they would have family birthdays and to lessen the burden on the hostess, everyone would chip in and bring a dish to the gathering.  Every dish was different…just like us.  We all bring something different “to the table.”  And, that’s a good thing.

But, before we bring our dish, let’s think about what it is that we want to bring.  Do we want to bring a bad attitude, selfishness, negativity, cynicism, distrust, or mediocrity?  Or do we want to bring a good attitude, selflessness, enthusiasm, trust, love, care, and excellence?  It’s up to us.  We choose the dish.  Let’s choose carefully.  Will our dish be worth sharing?

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It Is What It Is

Photo Credit:  yarnh from
As I sit here typing yet another Sips from my parent’s laptop, I just say to myself, “It is what it is.”  My internet should be up and running by next week.  Or at least…within the year.

I’m trying more and more to have an it-is-what-it-is mentality about things, especially since that was the motto of my dear neighbor who recently passed away after a 14 month struggle with pancreatic cancer. 

Bill was such an incredible man.  Our family knew him as the master gardener, the nature enthusiast, the works-magic-with-wood man, the genealogy buff, the traveler, the birdhouse maker, the simple man, and the lover of long chats.

However, I also now know that he was an extremely humble and super-duper-ooper intelligent man.  Why?  Because after he died, I found out that he was an internationally known expert in the field of flow diagnostics with a specialization in the development and application of optical and laser diagnostic instrumentation for use in hypersonic wind tunnels.  Yep, that’s right - say THAT ten times real fast!  Seriously.

Bill had a BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering as well as a Ph.D. in Engineering.  He served on numerous Department of Defense, national and international, aerospace committees.  He published over one hundred publications, presentations, and seminars.  In 1974, he received the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.  And, in 1991, he received the prestigious NSWC Science and Technology Excellence Award (Scientist of the Year).

Yes.  All of that.  The kicker is that he never once mentioned a word about it to us in the eight years that we knew him.  We literally lived next door to a rocket scientist and didn’t know it.  How about that for humble?  I’m almost certain that if I knew anything at all about rocket science that I would have to tell someone in my neighborhood.  Plus, if I had earned the title of “Doctor” in front of my name, surely I wouldn’t be able to hide my excitement.

We enjoyed Bill’s humor.  We went to Hot Springs, Arkansas, this past summer and as we were leaving, Bill told us to be sure to visit Burning Mattress, which was located right above Hot Springs.  I didn’t get it at first so I told him that we would be sure to check it out.  I know that he was just a shakin’ that head at my ignorance as we drove away.  But, that was Bill…still crackin’ jokes amidst the chemo, the radiation, and the pain.

He had numerous greenhouses and could literally make a rock grow.  I hear that he was also an amazing Scout Master when his children were growing up.  One of his former scouts commented on facebook about the significant impact that Bill made in his life…that he would not be the man he is today without Bill’s influence.  With the background that I now know about Bill, can you only imagine what kind of projects he had those kiddos do?  “Okay scouts, today we’re going to talk about rocket science and hypersonic wind tunnels.”  Love it!

During his illness, I never saw Bill down-and-out or depressed.  If he was, he never let it show.  His smile could always be found under that salt and pepper moustache of his.  Up until the last few weeks before he died, Bill could be found working on some kind of project in the shop that he built beside his home.  He would always give me a big ole wave as I drove by.  I feel so blessed to have one of his signature birdhouses hanging in my home.

Bill would always look at the bright side, even amidst his terminal illness.  I would call and check on him after chemo and he would say, “Well, at least I’m not nauseated.  I’m so lucky that it doesn’t affect me like that.  You should see all the marks on my chest for radiation – it’s like connect the dots.  And, hey, I still have my hair and beard!”

He would often say, “It is what it is.”  I’m not certain that I would be able to accept such a diagnosis in that way…

A few months into his illness, he called up his good friend (and cousin) to write his eulogy.  He then wrote his own obituary and planned out his funeral Mass.  I admire him for staring his fate directly in the eyes and embracing it as God’s will.  He didn’t seem to be afraid of death like so many of us are.  He had courage.  He had strength.  I ponder…would I be able to do the same if ever faced with such a diagnosis?  Honestly, the way I cry and carry on with my blubbery self at funerals, I’m thinking not.

During Bill’s illness, I asked our priest, Father Bentil, to stop by and pay him a visit.  Fortunately, Father was able to chat with Bill on many occasions.  I thought Bill would be the one to get the most out of the visits, but from talking to Father, it was actually Father who greatly benefited.  Father Bentil said that his own faith was strengthened by Bill, a man who was able to look death in the eye and not be afraid.  Bill told Father that he had lived a very good life and had been blessed in many ways.  “It is what it is.”

Of course, I miss him and I know that his wife and family do too.  But, one of the things that really touched me was the way Bill spent his retirement.  His cousin said that when Bill moved to Texas after retiring, he wanted to be sure to take all of his textbooks along.  That’s what professors do I guess, because after he completed 36 years of government work and 7 years at Jacobs Engineering, he taught at The University of Maryland.  You can take a teacher out of the classroom, but you can never take the classroom out of the teacher, I suppose.

However, his unopened textbooks only acquired dust over the last few years.  Why?  Because he spent his time traveling with his wife, enjoying the outdoors, and locating all of the branches to his family tree.  His family’s story was so important to him.

Family roots.  Family history.  Family stories.  Family is the tie that binds.  What stories are we making with our own families? 

Bill knew about facts…most scientists do.  He knew that facts inform, but he also knew that emotions motivate.  Stories are powerful instruments that stir up emotions that motivate us to action.  To do things different.  To do things better.  To make our story the best that we can.

I love the quote that some people have hanging on a wall in their house - “Home is where our story begins.”  What will our story be?  How will it end?  It is certainly up to us to choose the chapters in between.  Here’s to making our stories worth telling over and over and over again.  Here’s to making the branches of our family tree strong ones.

I miss you, Bill, uhem…Doctor Bill, that is.  And, if you can hear me, please tell Jesus I said hello.  And, tell Him that I’m thankful for the gift of life…for even being able to have a story at all. 

Until we meet again, my friend…
Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect...Sense

Photo Credit:  Alvimann from
Our priest, Father Bentil, had a great take-home message after Mass last week.  He said, “God wants us to trust, have faith, and be patient.”  I think it really touched a lot of folks because I noticed that several friends referred to that short message over the next few days that followed.  Of course, when we ask the Lord for more patience, He doesn’t just zap us with a magic wand of serenity.  Instead, He gives us ample opportunity to practice.  Right?!  And, practice makes perfect…sense.  How else will we ever learn?

So, in addition to my regular child-induced practice moments, my internet went out over the weekend.  Well, it wasn’t really a big deal at first.  The weather was beautiful so we spent some family time outside and we also had my hubby’s twenty-year high school reunion to attend (which, oh by the way, was such fun!  Go Big Blue!).  Plus, my husband and I actually turned in at a decent time on the second night since there were no computer distractions.  We were well rested and all was a-okay.

Then, on the third day, I began to get a little antsy.  Since I don’t text (WHAT?!) or have a smart phone (DOUBLE WHAT?!), a phone call or e-mail is pretty much the only way to catch me.  A couple of friends eventually called and asked, “Did you get my e-mail?”  Nope, sure didn’t.  Most importantly, I wanted to get my weekly Sips of Sunshine done.  I write as therapy for myself and as a ministry, so I was certain to have withdrawals if I didn’t write something.

Finally, this not-so-tech-savvy-girl decided it was time to use the “help wizard” for my router to see if she (I called her Wizzie) and I could figure it out.  The first thing that came up on the screen was the revolving circle that just went round and round and round.  So, at least I felt like something was happening in there.  But, how long can you stare at that circle without losing a bit of sanity?

Then, just about the time I started to lose hope, these witty little messages began to pop up from Wizzie.  Here is what her humor included:

“This is a tough one!  I’m attempting to get the modem and the router on the same page.  (Welcome to my world, Wizzie!)  Hang in there for just a few more minutes.  Some modems are tougher to wake-up than others.  (Ooh - I hear ya!  That’s me every morning!)  I’m trying to reason with your modem.  (Me too, girl, me too!)  This is quite a work-out.  (I’m sweatin’ with ya.)  Feel free to grab a cup of coffee.  (Really.  I ain’t got time for that, Wizzie.)  Still performing connection kung-fu and I appreciate your patience.”  (Thanks, Wizzie.  Thanks a whole bunch.)

Wizzie never figured it out.  We aren’t on speaking terms.  Before next week, I hope to have internet.  In the meantime, I decided to head over to my parents to write a quick Sips…on their laptop.  The keyboard is all squished together and I’ve pushed every button but the ones I intend to and all sorts of strange things have popped up.  I am nowhere close to being used to Windows 8.  My Microsoft Word at home is from 2003 if that tells you my style.  Again, another perfect opportunity to practice my patience.

Instead of crying about the ins and outs of technology, I’d rather laugh instead.  So, it was very appropriate that Aunt Irene sent this little joke as I was writing this Sips:  “We had a power outage last week and my PC, TV, iPad, smart phone, and game console shut down immediately.  It was raining so I couldn’t fish or play golf, so I talked to my wife for a few hours.  She seems like a really nice person.”  Gotta love it!  Communication…sometimes a lost art in the world of, er, tons of ways to communicate.  Strange.

Another thing that made me giggle while trying to be patient with my internet was a story that my friend, Jamie, shared with me.  She said that she recently filled out some paperwork to be a substitute teacher and while waiting for them to review her papers, she read one of my Sips.  She said it happened to be one that left her laughing ridiculously loud in the beginning and then crying at the end.  She said she isn’t sure why they haven’t called her to be a sub, but we agreed that it had absolutely NOTHING to do with the outburst in the waiting room.  Be patient, Jamie.  They’ll call.  They’ll call, honey.  (hee hee!)

On the flip-side, my kids and I could not be patient in the kitchen recently and it actually paid off deliciously.  My son had a craving for some homemade soft pretzels.  We had never made them before so I googled (before the internet crash).  Most of the recipes called for yeast and hours of waiting.  Nope.  Not us.  We wanted them now.  So, I found one without yeast.  Then, I had to modify it further for the ingredients we actually had on hand.  Strangely enough, they still turned out to be pretzels.  The final product was truly delish, so I will share our decadent modified recipe for big, soft pretzels.  Here goes:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. salted butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 to ½ cup 2% milk
¼ tsp. sea salt
Cinnamon & sugar mixture

Mix the butter and flour together until it’s crumbly.  Add sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix.  Add milk slowly.  Dough should not be too sticky or too dry.  Once the dough is “just right,” divide into 3 equal amounts.  Roll each ball into a long snake.  Let the kiddos each make their own shape…a heart, pretzel, twist, circle, etc.  Place on baking stone and cook approx. 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  We didn’t have egg to brush on top, so they were light in color when baked.  After we pulled the pretzels out of the oven, we brushed them with melted butter and (uhem, ever so generously) sprinkled the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top.  Eat while warm.  Heavenly.

Back to the computer stuff…if you get an automatic e-mail response from Wizzie (or someone like her) that states:  “Thank you for your message.  It has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place.  Expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks,” don’t lose heart.  That allows plenty of time to practice your patience skills, visit with friends and family, make homemade pretzels, as well as get a healthy dose of laugh therapy in at the expense of possibly losing a substitute teaching job.  (They’ll call, Jamie…surely they’ll call.)

But, hey, practice makes perfect…sense.  The more opportunities we have to practice patience, trust, and faith…the better we will be at it!  Right?  At least, that’s what I tell myself…
Have a great week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Loaves and Fishes Moment

Photo credit:  clarita from
On Monday, the kids’ school celebrated grandparents.  I read once that grandparents are like moms and dads, but with lots of frosting!  (hee hee)  Or, it can be said that they are just antique little boys and girls.  Either way, we wanted to show our appreciation for the perfect love that comes from grandparents…so we fed them!

Heck, besides all of the hugs and kisses from my own Omi, Granny, and Grandpa back when, food is the other biggie that comes to mind when I recall the memories.  There wasn’t a visit to their home that didn’t involve a trip to the cookie jar.  And, my Grandpa always had homemade bread and sausage on hand.  Yum!

Okay, so it was the school's first time to do the Grandparent Breakfast and we weren’t sure how it all would go.  How many grandparents would actually be able to come?  Was it too early in the morning?  It was a trial run…kinda like a first born, huh?  (Kidding!  Only kidding!

As parent volunteers, we served a simple meal of sausage rolls, juice, and coffee.  My new friend, Carissa, coordinated the décor and made some precious arrangements of fresh and dried naturals.  For a personal touch, there were blank handmade cards for the children to fill out and give to their grandparents.

It was all set.  Carissa was playing the piano in the background; other friends were serving juice; and I was in charge of the sausage rolls.  Echoes of Papa, Popo, Grandpa, Pops…Mimi, Momo, “Grandma rocks” started to fill the room.  I couldn’t believe the long line of grandparents!  It was amazing to see the silver in their hair and the gold in their heart.  I soaked it all in for just a moment and then I got to work.

I opened the lid to the silver warmer and grabbed my handy tongs.  My four-year-old was helping out by giving me the plate and napkin combo to put it on.  We had a rhythm going and certainly felt like a dream team.  In between happy “Good mornings” and “So glad you’re here,” I noticed that as the line grew longer and longer, my pile of rolls grew shorter and shorter at an alarmingly faster rate.

“Hmmm….is it hot in here?”  I began to wonder.  And pray.  “Okay, Lord, I need a loaves and fishes moment.  Seriously.  There is no way that these ten sausage rolls in my warmer will feed the rest of these sweet people.  Do your thing.  I trust you completely because I have not yet mastered sausage-roll-making-in-five-minutes-or-less.”

I truly believed in my heart that the Lord would come to my rescue.  He had done it countless times in my life and in other’s too.  So, my question wasn’t, “WOULD He do it?”  It was, “HOW would He do it?”  Would He just make more rolls appear in my pan?  Or would the line get shorter?  Or would the rest of the folks just want juice and no roll?  All of this while I’m smiling and serving Granny and little Billy.  Crazy what goes on in my head…

Anyway, I kept opening and closing the warmer.  Still no extra rolls.  The Lord would have to work quickly because I only had two rolls left in my warmer.  Two.  Dos.  Then, out of nowhere a glorious lady with a tray of sausage rolls appears.  I am not kidding.  I’m assuming she came from the kitchen, but to me she was a heavenly angel who sauntered down Heaven’s staircase and appeared by my side at just the right time.  I hugged her, poured the rolls in the warmer, and continued on my merry way.  And, you know how the story ends…we had several rolls left over.  No lie.

“Oh Lord, you rock!  You so rock!  I was told this warmer held all the rolls we had.  Oh, You are good.  So good.”  I thanked Him quietly.

Afterwards, I chatted with the juice gals and come to find out, they had a loaves and fishes moment of their own.  They were down to their last few sips of OJ and therefore poured smaller and smaller amounts in guests’ cups to make it last.  One poor Grandma looked in her cup and back at them and said, “Really?!”  My friend, Keri, said, “Oh goodness…just kidding,” and nervously filled Grandma’s cup with the last of the juice. 

About that time, a parent walked up with three gallons of juice.  Yes.  God is just that good.  No one left the breakfast hungry or thirsty and it was a smashing success.  We couldn’t have possibly guessed that the café would be filled to the gills.  But, lasting memories were made and that’s what matters.

As we cleaned up, my heart swelled with the thought of how blessed I feel that my children have a Mimi, a Pops, a Nanny AND a Popo to love them so dearly.  I want to thank each one of them for teaching my children…for playing with them…for listening...for sharing in their accomplishments…for being proud of them…for your faith…for letting them make a royal mess of your home with paper and tape and for displaying with pride all of their pictures and artwork.  I love you and appreciate you more than words could possibly say! 

There are so many quotes out there about grandparents and grandchildren.  Here are just a few I thought you might enjoy:
  • Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.  ~Welsh Proverb
  • Grandchildren don't stay young forever, which is good because Pop-pops have only so many horsey rides in them.  ~Gene Perret
  • Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.  ~Marcy DeMaree
  • Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies.  ~Author Unknown
  • Grandparents hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever.  ~Author Unknown
  • If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I'd have had them first.  ~Lois Wyse
  • Grandfathers are for loving and fixing things.  ~Author Unknown
  • My grandkids believe I'm the oldest thing in the world.  And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too.  ~Gene Perret
  • Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old.  ~Mary H. Waldrip
  • Few things are more delightful than grandchildren fighting over your lap.  ~Doug Larson
  • To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word "boo."  ~Robert Brault
  • Grandmother-grandchild relationships are simple.  Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love.  ~Author Unknown
  • No cowboy was ever faster on the draw than a grandparent pulling a baby picture out of a wallet.  ~Author Unknown
  • I would love to go back and travel the road not taken, if I knew at the end of it I'd find the same set of grandkids.  ~Robert Brault
  • Just about the time a woman thinks her work is done, she becomes a grandmother.  ~Edward H. Dreschnack
  • It's such a grand thing to be a mother of a mother - that's why the world calls her grandmother.  ~Author Unknown
As for me, I feel that the blessing of a grandparent is like the loaves and the fishes.  They always miraculously find more patience, more cookies, more time for you, and more ways to express their love even when you think there couldn’t possibly be any left.

May each of you have a loaves and fishes moment this week .  Be looking for it. 

Have a great week, Sunshines!