You know, I think everyone probably blogs for different reasons. I originally started out keeping one to update our family and friends who live far away on the girls and their progress. It was easier for me to share pics and stories this way. When I started Mama Wants..., I was missing coaching and talking about physical training and eventually the two kind of molded into one.
I have to tell you that I am a writer at heart and have always loved to record thoughts and stories - so this has been an outlet for that as well. So please know that posts like this one are one of those that I am just so compelled to write because maybe SOMEONE else can identify with it.
And maybe that someone is you...who knows...
It was a couple years ago now, but I asked Scott to go to Target right after church so I could take advantage on a deal on razor blades. I'm a big couponer, and razor blades can be pretty pricey when your husband is a full-head shaver, so he was gracious enough to take me and wait in the car with the girls while I ran in.
Waiting in line, I was focused on getting the deal right (double checking my coupons against what I had picked up), but I couldn't help but notice the girl in front of me checking out. She only had a few items and they weren't what I would call extravagant. Some canned fruit, a box of mac and cheese, shampoo, deodorant...that kind of stuff. And it wasn't fancy shampoo either, it was probably Suave or something similar. It was obvious she was getting the necessities. Well, the total rang up and she didn't enough money to get all of it. So she had to do the pain-staking task of picking what was most necessary out of the necessities. As she took her bags, I saw her get on her phone in tears.
It wasn't until I paid for the razor blades and she was already out the door that it hit me.
You could have paid for that. I bet it wasn't even $10. You can afford $10.
Shame washed over me. Why didn't I think about that sooner? We didn't have a lot of money, but I could have picked up what she couldn't...regardless that I didn't know her. I ran outside looking for her, but didn't see her. I was thinking maybe I could just give her some cash to go back in to get the rest... I was crying by the time I got in the car, telling Scott about how I didn't think quick enough...how I missed out on an opportunity to help someone who needed help. On the way home, I prayed one of the most sincerest prayers of: Please help me recognize opportunities to give sooner. Forgive me for being too late on that girl.
Now I tell you this not to now brag about all the times I've been able to help people since then...because I can think of numerous everyday opportunities I've missed. And it still eats me up. Possibly because I am surrounded by so many thoughtful and nice people who pick me up every single day.
Like the other day, I had the girls in Goodwill, looking at shoes and Elizabeth was walking beside the cart. Whenever she's walking, I talk to her constantly and try to engage her...otherwise, she runs sprints down the aisles. You think I'm kidding...
Anyway, we were talking about the different shoes and then what we were going to have for lunch and how nice it was outside and Halloween...just stupid stuff...when a woman walked over from the next aisle and said, "I just have to tell you, you're a really good mom. I've been listening to your all's conversation and I just think you're wonderful. Oh, and what is princess soup?" So after thanking her a million times and explaining how Campbell's makes chicken noodle soup with the Disney Princesses on the label and "princess shaped noodles" and how my daughters will not eat chicken noodle soup but will eat princess soup, I walked away feeling humbled.
It had been a rough morning and I was really just hoping to get through the store without an incident. And because it had been a rough morning, I had been louder, crosser, harsher than usual. I sure wasn't feeling like a great mom. I needed her encouragement. Funny how a stranger with a kind word can give you just what you need...
Had I given any strangers kind words that day? Or had I been so wrapped up in myself to look beyond me...
The weather's getting colder for my pitching lessons and, looking at a past weekend, I was telling one of my parents about how I wasn't sure about pitching outside that Saturday. He helps coach on their high school team and I have several kids that take from their area, so he offered to get me a double cage in their indoor facility...and line up my lessons. And not just a couple lessons...more like close to ten.
What was in it for him? Nothing. Know how fun it is to line up lessons? Oh, about as fun as a root canal or labor pains. Fitting people into time slots and hoping it works for everyone. And he simply called me that Friday and said, you have ten lessons starting at this time...see you tomorrow!
Who did I give up my time for today? Funny how time doesn't "cost" much but boy, do we ever hoard it...
I could tell you a million of these. How I got a random box in the mail with Scentsy items that totally made my day. How I got another box with handmade toys for my girls at Easter. How I have received checks for money we desperately needed out of the blue and calls when I was at my lowest.
I'm not sure what you call that little voice inside your soul that guides you to do whatever you do. You may refer to it as your moral compass or your Jimminy Cricket, but I believe it's the Holy Spirit guiding me in the direction I need to go. And sometimes, He yells at me: Turn the car around and give that homeless man some money!! Offer to carry that woman's groceries! Tell that lady her dress is pretty. NOW! DO IT!!
I pray for that voice to continue...and get louder so that there's nothing that I miss. Keep me open and looking for people I can help. I think that's a good prayer to ask daily...simply because it keeps you accountable and less focused on yourself and woah-is-me-ness. And how dare I get caught up in the web of thinking maybe it will be one-sided and I might never get repaid and no one ever does anything nice for me but I do nice for others...that's the devil on my shoulder. I have been given so much and have been so blessed. I have wonderful, healthy kids, a warm house, plenty of food, a loving husband...how dare I look to man to provide blessings when I have been given so much from above.
Not to say that I'm not ever cautious. As a stay at home mom, my door bell is always ringing with people asking for support or help. And sometimes I buy boxes of cookies but others times, I feel everything in my soul yelling No! Not for you...don't trust! And I am quick to listen then as well.
Maybe you would like to join me in this prayer. I believe my life is much happier and healthier when I am looking for ways to help others rather than focusing on ways I want others to help me. I have a wonderful accountability partner in Scott on this and we know that we are on the same page. So whenever we come to each other with a desire to help someone - whether it be giving away something or donating money or giving our time...we never question the other...because we have been helped so much.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this...as this, too, was being led by the Holy Spirit yelling Write!! Good luck in your helping endeavors and please don't wait for a holiday or a specific "pay it forward" day to help others. There are those in front of you right now! Listen!!