When I was in kindergarten, after my dad died, I got to spend about four hours each morning with my mom.
I’m from a large family so I especially loved this special time…particularly because no siblings were around. I sure enjoyed the close friendships my siblings and I shared…but getting my mom all to myself was the best!
I was the kiddo who all of the neighbors knew from either me picking flowers from their gardens (to surprise them with bouquets…oops!) or from me stopping by their house just to chat. I was the kiddo who ran around barefoot, loved being outdoors, singing and dancing – a very free spirit!
My free-spirited personality got me into trouble a few times while growing up.
Like the time I thought I was a chef…even though my mom had only taught me to cook one time.
On one warm day, when it was just my mom and me, we decided to go grocery shopping and then we came home to go swimming. After we swam, my mom went to get some dry clothes on so she could start lunch. I love my mama so I thought I’d surprise her by making lunch for her. After all, she was teaching me how to cook and had just showed me how to use a can opener the day before…Yikes!
By the time she had gotten out of the shower and got ready for the rest of the day, I had used majority of the items we had just bought at the store…and many of the other food items and beverages we had in the refrigerator and pantry, too.
I had gotten out the biggest bowl we owned, put every ingredient I knew my mom liked into it, and surprised my mom with a special lunch that I called, “Pig Soup.”
All in all, it was probably about $100 worth of ingredients.
I’ll stop right here and give a HUGE accolade of gratefulness to my mom for not killing me that day. Seriously.
My mom could’ve yelled at me or disciplined me…after all, she was in the midst of grief and learning how to live without my dad while raising four children…but she could see that my little five-year-old heart was just trying to surprise her by doing something especially nice to please her.
My little heart had no idea what money was, or what food waste was…I just knew how much I loved and adored my mama and wanted to make her happy. I wanted to show off my cooking skills to impress her.
So that very day, “Pig Soup” was created, and for the last few decades, my family has lovingly brought that day to my memory by teasing me about it on more than one occasion.
My mom could’ve completely (and understandably) royally lost it and crushed my heart that day, but she celebrated my creative attempt to surprise and please her instead.
My very first recipe I ever created…I was so exceptionally proud of myself. My attempt to cook and create something special was – thankfully – lovingly celebrated.
My mom had a choice to berate me or celebrate me that day. I’m glad she was careful to see the joy in my eyes instead of making those same eyes cry.
My brave mom was a trooper…she even took a bite of the Pig Soup I created just for her.
My husband and I were talking about the Pig Soup incident the other day, and he said, “I wonder what would’ve happened had your mom handled that wrong? I wonder how much that would’ve changed who you are…your creativity…your cooking…your love to do nice things for others? Would you ever have even wanted to cook again or surprise others like you love to do if your mom had yelled at you for that?”
We each have multiple opportunities in any given week to choose wisely or poorly in how we respond or react to others…especially our spouse, children, and families.
And just like my Pig Soup incident, every situation in life has the power to bring out the best – or bring out the worst – in others or within ourselves.
We all have a heart that gets written on every single day of our lives…by our loved ones…ourselves…and by everybody around us. And we write upon every precious heart we come into contact with, too.
I learned a lot that day from my mom after she unknowingly made a long-lasting impact by choosing to write mercy, love, kindness and grace onto my little heart. I learned that day how to be merciful to others, to see past mistakes, and to (most importantly) look at the intentions of a person’s heart instead of instantly reacting.
Life is about loving God and others, enjoying every moment life has to offer, challenging ourselves to become better every day, making a difference in our loved ones’ lives, and being responsible with our words and actions.
Sometimes, I miss the mark…but you “live and learn” while finetuning your talents and continually discovering, celebrating, and bettering life!
People – especially children – are such an incredible and treasured gift! It is so important to treat people as well as we possibly can.
What are we writing on our loved ones’ hearts each day? What about our clients and other people we serve?
Are we writing mercy, love, kindness, acceptance, and grace onto their hearts? Or are we scribbling harsh words that can negatively change who they are as a person?
We can’t do anything to change the past, but we can choose to be much more careful with how we treat others from this day forward.
Positive … or negative.
Loving … or unkind.
Edifying … or wasteful.
Peaceful … or chaotic.
Accepting … or rejecting.
Celebrating … or berating.
Encouraging … or disheartening.
Constructive … or destructive.
Uplifting … or degrading.
The memories we create, the words we “write” on people’s hearts, and the legacy we leave is our choice!
Let’s make them royally grand!
Gratitude & blessings,
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4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
Thank you. I need remember, even in my grief, not to be angry at those who don’t deserve it because I’m in angry stage.
Grief is such a tough process. So much grace is needed – for others as well as ourselves. We definitely live and learn.
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