Updated: Jul 25
I took a picture of my food the other night. Yup. Our point-and-shoot camera bit the dust over fall break (I guess it could only handle so many thousands of photo ops), so I pulled out my iPhone, and I took a photo. I do that sometimes. And Saturday evening, I was so impressed with my husband. He had a full weekend day. Running errands, working away (as always) to provide for our family, but it the midst of it all, he took an hour to pop in back at home and whip up a batch of chili. It looked amazing, and the taste matched the goodness it portrayed. He had a few more tasks to accomplish, but when 9:00 rolled around on Saturday night, we finally settled in to enjoy our steaming-hot, kickin‘-my-butt-just-a-little, good-old-American chili.
And then Sunday arrived. And I permitted myself to have a (half) lazy day. I never got out of my pajamas. I finished my lesson plans early, threw some laundry in and snuggled up on the couch, in between the revolving door of little tot requests, and lost myself. In a book. Something I n.e.v.e.r. get to do. Love, Skip, Jump. I mentioned it a few weeks ago. I started it Thursday night, while snuggling up on our almost-ten-year-old-couch that we vow to replace soon. And I fell asleep while reading it. I couldn’t wait to pick it back up. Tried it again Saturday night (maybe it was the room heater, blowing directly on my chilly self, just feet away), but once again, my eyes couldn’t stay open past a few chapters. So, I put it in a safe place away from the girls. But yesterday, although tired, I decided midday was the perfect time to read. If you’ve ever heard little girl shrieks, you will understand why there was no. way. I was falling asleep this time.
And I didn’t. No, sweet friends. I read until it was finished. And I was e.m.b.a.r.a.s.s.e.d. There I was, taking iPhone photos of last night’s meal, while reading about a little boy who was so hungry that his insides were literally eating themselves. About a mother in Haiti, who had to sell one of her daughters, just to feed her other three children. About a teenaged girl in “slums” of LA, living in poverty, and unable to read a basic fast-food menu to enjoy a special treat from a new friend. And here I am boasting about my could-feed-our-family-for-days pot of hot chili.
I hate wasting food. And I try really hard to store leftovers. To bag those extra Cheerios left behind. But I am still guilty. Of staring at a plate of food that I just tossed into the trash, know that it could have fed a family across the world for days. Ugh.
The other day, my incredible mom was working with my girls in her kitchen to make lemon bars. My f.a.v.o.r.i.t.e. dessert in the world. She was going to give them out to family members as a little gift. It melted my heart to see them working together. And they couldn’t wait to bring their sweet treat home to eat and surprise Daddy. We got home as normal that evening, and I unloaded the girls into the house, followed by some of my personal belongings…and the lemon bars. I set them on our kitchen oven, and we started baths.
After the girls were settled into pajamas and playing away upstairs, I snuck back down, fully prepared to devour my first lemon bar in peace and quiet. One of those “me” moments. But something inside of me told me not to. So, against better judgment from my taste buds and stomach combined, I moved them to our dining room table. You see, the night before, I had made brownies. One batch for our family, and one for a local homeless shelter. It wasn’t hard to give the extra set of brownies away, because we still had plenty for our own family. It was easy.
But something inside of me was telling me not to eat those lemon bars at all. Not to touch even one. So, I got into the pantry to pull out our aluminum foil, and I wrapped them up. Well enough that undoing them would give just enough time to realize these lemon bars weren’t for me. I kept them out-of-sight until the next morning, and before the girls would see what I was doing, I tied them up in a Wal-Mart bag. (That was a little harder.) And off we went.
I handed that very bag off to a coworker as soon as I arrived at work that afternoon. I set it behind her desk and sent her a note that inside the bag were lemon bars. To be added to the pile of goodies being donated to the monthly “Game Night” at our local homeless shelter. I never told my mom. But, from the woman who took us to serve a Thanksgiving meal at an adjoining shelter every year, when we were in grade school, I am fairly confident she would not mind.
So, today, I find myself embarrassed. Embarrassed that I had the gull to take a picture of my super-sized pot of goodness, while less then 10% of our world’s population even has the Internet access to look at it. Ashamed. That each-and-every-day I take for granted the “luxury” of having food within my reach anytime I desire it. Most importantly, grateful. Beyond grateful. For just that reason. That whenever my stomach releases even a puppy-worthy growl, I have a refrigerator and pantry stocked with food, ready to eat. It might not be what I crave, but it is present. Within reach. Ready to provide my body with the nutrients it needs.
This is only the beginning, sweet friends. This book has inspired me in more ways than I can describe. Last Thursday, I “skipped” out on my favorite dessert in the world. So, that someone else could enjoy it. Someone who may very well at this exact moment be out in the cold. Scrounging through street-laden leftovers. Or waiting in line, yet again, for a meal served to her by complete, angelic strangers.
While my pot of chili is still two-thirds full…
This link is part of ember grey’s Grateful Hearts Monday.
**Please take a moment to click on the following link. Hopefully, it will not only fill you with a sense of gratefulness, but also one of desire. To help those in need. http://www.skip1.org