Oh, What a Relief it Is!

My arm is sore, my fever finally broke, and my bottle of Advil is emptied.  However, yippee and Howdy Doody, I am vaccinated against the coronavirus!  Do you remember the Alka Seltzer commercial, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is!?” If you do, then you know why I was qualified to receive the vaccine.  

 There is satisfaction in knowing I contributed to kicking the dickens out of COVID.  So, I endured a few days of discomfort to further the cause of healing a world, and I need a new bottle of Advil. So what? It was such a small price to pay!

 Our children desperately need to return to the classroom, so I will gladly do my part to see them get there.    When folks are begging for food, jobs, stability, and sanity, we all must do what we can to keep each other from falling through the cracks of a fractured world.

Ending a pandemic

I am unnerved by those healthy individuals who can be safely vaccinated but refuse to do so out of fear, misinformation, or political partisanship.” So upset, I am afraid I might poke them with my one functioning arm! How selfish we can become when we put our personal bias before other’s complete misery.  

Sure, we do not know with complete certainty the conclusive results of the COVID vaccines, but we are confident this pandemic will not end without them.  

My relatives succumbed to the Spanish Flu of 1918 in droves, and their ancestors died of Typhoid Fever in multitudes.  Polio ended my friend’s life and left others disabled.    Smallpox took out half a BILLION people between 1880 and 1980 before it was eradicated.  The smallpox vaccine is considered dangerous as well, but what if it never existed?  I doubt you would be alive to read this story today.

Science saves lives

When I was a child, we formed school lines for vaccines and tests to be administered.   We were given no choice; we did so because it was better than the alternative.  Sometimes, the risk is worth it for the well-being of humankind.  Sure, something can go wrong in a horrible twist of fate.  However, how do you know it was not you or your child who would be lying in a grave today without a vaccination?

When the entire elementary school took their turns to be tested for tuberculosis in the early 1950s, I was the only child to test positive.   Luckily, in the end, I did not have the disease, but I do have a trail of mysterious scars on my lungs.  What if a TB test had not existed and I was positive? How many would have died from me being infected?

In the 20th century, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death due to its transmission rate.  Today, most cases are cured by proper diagnosis and the administering of antibiotic drugs for many months. However, in 2019, 1.4 million people worldwide still succumbed to TB.  How many more would there be without the invention of the antibiotic?

 How many lives have scientists saved?  Yet, we still often refuse to listen to medical science and advice.  

When I read an unproven theory about vaccines’ dangers, following the science, or folks pitting politics against medicine, I wonder how those who espouse such beliefs are even alive.  Did they not receive polio, smallpox, whooping cough, typhoid, or tetanus vaccines during their lifetime? Did a doctor or a politician administer them?

Dangerous distrust

 What do these dangerous folks gain by broadcasting skepticism over reason? Are we willing to pay the price if we listen or support them?

I believe the idea of promoting fear to gain recognition or a following is one of the vilest and most cruel acts we can possibly do today. I am ready to get a vaccine to eradicate such scrounge.

Cynicism and distrust should never overtake common sense.  Fear should never replace courage because when it does, it will kill us all.

The medical community of scientists, caregivers, and pharmacology can make mistakes, but how many times have they gotten it right?  How many lives have been saved by research and medical advances?  Probably, one of those or many saved yours.

  Oh, what a relief that is!

Observing the Power of Kindness

We were in a hotel enjoying a Sunday brunch a few years ago when I observed a woman standing at the small bar ordering a cocktail.  After watching her for a few moments, I discerned she was intoxicated, and I began to worry.  

I looked to see who might have accompanied her but soon realized she was alone.   I felt strangely uncomfortable and could not keep my eyes off the slim woman.  Suddenly, she fell backward onto the floor, hitting her head.

I ran to her, grabbed her hand, and asked if she was in pain. She clutched my fingers as if she did not want to let go.  Her glazed eyes investigated my face without speaking a word.  

I realized no one moved until I yelled for someone to call 911. Was I thinking unusually fast that day, or did others seem unusually slow?   The manager strolled toward us, and as I explained what happened, he, too, was in no hurry to obtain aid until I emphatically said, “Please!

Why bother?

The omelet stations never missed a beat handing patrons’ plates full of fluffy eggs filled with bacon or ham, nor did the waiters stop pouring coffee.  Children kept eating syrup-laden pancakes; a customer asked for another napkin, another for a clean fork, as the woman continued lying still on the floor. 

To this day, it has disturbed me that no one, other than one staff member, cared to move from their position of comfort.  They all judged the stranger unworthy of their time and consideration because her condition was obviously of her own doing.  So, why go to the trouble to offer kindness?  Why bother to teach children not to ignore the fallen or never to judge? 

The ambulance arrived and drove the woman away as waiters cleared the dishes, and folks proceeded to go about their Sunday morning without pause, leaving compassion on their tables.   

I have this theory about living life.  Whatever we do not do for another, our callousness will be returned in full measure.  It is akin to leaving the shopping cart in the middle of a parking lot and walking away.  I figure God just observed our lazy actions, so when we least expect it, a speeding out-of-control cart will plow right into the passenger side of our shiny, new car.

Doing the right things

When we miss an opportunity to do the right thing, we choose to ignore the eyes of God, and we always pay the price.

 Trust me; I was no hero in the restaurant. Maybe it was just my day to notice unkindness.  As I recall that Sunday, I wonder how many times have I overlooked others’ misery and heartache?  How many times did I disregard God’s eyes as he gazed upon my transgressions? I guess I will find out when He brings the judgment book to the Pearly Gates.  I can guarantee there is going to be reckoning for yours truly. 

Since the tattoo parlors are now open, perhaps we should have this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson inked onto our arms: “You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late.”

How many times have we passed despair, grief, or need and never turned back to offer kindness?  Perhaps today is the day we should all start paying better attention.  Every act of compassion will result in healing, and open wounds will become scars. And boy, do we require stitches!

Years ago, I worked for a boss who was as harsh as one could imagine.  She could lose her temper and behave like a child, but she always responded when she recognized a need.

Kindness in action

After making a mistake in my checkbook calculations one month,  I realized I did not have enough money to make it to another payday.  I had three children to feed and questioned how in the world I was going to get by.  To this day, I do not understand how she knew of my plight, but she took my hand and placed a folded $100 bill in my palm.

“Why would you give me this?” I asked her, shaking my head in disbelief.

“She whispered her answer, “God told me.”  I believe He did because He understood her heart and knew she would put kindness into motion. 

I never again viewed her as harsh; I only saw a soul filled with generosity and empathy.

As Martin Luther King so eloquently said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” 

He understood kindness was at the root of human decency, honor, and Godliness.  We should never ignore its value nor its immense power.

Leaving Age on the Curb

Before Christmas, 2018, a group of girlfriends headed to New York City to see the bright lights, the holiday decorations, and hopefully catch a snowflake or two.  Our spirits were high because our friend’s niece managed the production of a little play on Broadway called “Hamilton,” and we possessed priceless tickets.   When we stood on stage and mingled with the cast of the famed musical, we were beyond excited.

 We drooled as we gazed into the city’s elaborate store windows, waved our way through throngs of people, and relished each moment. It was the “girls” trip right out of a movie.  We never stopped whirling in the Big Apple until a group of young 20-something youngsters poured a bucket of sand in our boots.

We were about to step off a curb and cross the street toward a park when one young man hurriedly ran around us, cutting us off.  “Hey,” one of his buddies yelled, “Watch out for the old ladies!” 

Did he mean us?

Michele looked toward me, “Did he mean us?”  It pained me to tell her the truth, but since there were no other females of any age near us, I nodded to the affirmative.   Michele turned pale, and the rest of us suddenly felt the need of a boy scout to help us cross the street.   

In all the hustle and bustle of loving the city’s vibrancy, we forgot we were not those teenage girls starring in the movie and remembered we were all within a few years of reaching whatever age it is when youth is left way back yonder.

I love living in my own mind.  I never consider myself old until I try to apply makeup and need a magnifying mirror to do so.  Those lighted mirrors are evil! They also amplify those other travesties growing across your face that resembles a map with railroad crossings and warning signs.

It is funny how we view aging as if it is something worthwhile to notice.  So, perhaps we should not put so much effort into seeing it.  My dad always said, “The worst part of growing older is watching others who leave before they reach an older age.” He was right about that because it sure is tough saying goodbye.  For the ones who remain here longer, we should be celebrating each breath we take.

Keep looking for new adventures

Shoot, I began writing at age 68: a new career, a new adventure, new friends, new dreams, and new deadlines.  I am the new Grandma Moses, except I write instead of paint. And, of course, I am not famous.  But, shoot, I might be!  You just never know what is around the corner if you never give up trying and keep your spectacles on so you won’t hit a wall!

The world takes aging way too seriously, especially women.  We try to stop it, alter its looks, worry over it, and try to become who we once were in that old school photograph.  The truth is, we are basically the same person as we were in school.  The only thing that has changed is the photograph and, perhaps, our added wisdom.

“There is a fountain of youth. It is in your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life, and the lives of people you love.  When you learn to tap this source, you truly have defeated age.”  Sophia Loren

Words from a beautiful woman to those trying to turn back the clock when it is not time that ages us; it is our spirit. 

Live every moment

Our spirits have all suffered this past year, no matter what age we are. It is not our government or a vaccine that will pull us out of our battered souls, but up to each person to utilize every moment.

Staring at that mirror, or wishing for yesterday, or aimlessly worrying over tomorrow will age you faster than laying in the sun slathered in baby oil.  There is so much more to life than fretting over something you cannot control no matter how much money you spend trying.  Instead, take charge of making the world a kinder, less selfish place, creating warmth, bridging gaps, causing someone to smile, and suddenly age will be put in its place…… forgotten.

Take care of the body you have so that you can enjoy living in it.  Your life is not over until they call your name from way up yonder.  Did the good Lord tell you to sit down or stop? No.  So, keep vibrantly moving and pour sand into the boots of those who try stepping in front of you. 

Live boldly, benevolently, and with God every hour of each day until you fly away.  

“Walk a Mile in His Shoes…”

Recently, I was delightfully honored to be asked to speak at a civic club meeting in the spring.  After my response, “Of course!”, I began to ponder the topic of my address.   

After conferring with trusted friends, it will be “Life Lessons.” I have not begun the process of writing my speech, but as I was settling on a subject, an old photograph of my mother fell out of an album I was dusting.

Her dark brown eyes seemed to be searching my face as I studied hers.  Elizabeth Walker was quite stunning and dignified with a quiet disposition.  She spoke softly, always choosing her words carefully.   I never heard her yell or demean another human being in her entire life.

 Between Mom and her mother, I recall the first of many life lessons they both lived by, which was, “Always walk a mile in another’s shoes before judging anyone.” 

The boy with dirty shoes

In the third grade, a small, shy boy sat in the back of our classroom.  He was always dirty, his clothes ragged, and often, his odor permeated the room.  Kids mocked him, shunned him, and I, too, found it difficult to tolerate the stench.  However, I recall hearing my mother’s words before joining the others’ taunts, “walk a mile in his shoes.”

His shoes were dusty brown leather with laces that did not match, and socks turned gray with age.  His blond hair curled around his smudged somber face.  Yet, when I put on his shoes in my eight-year-old mind, my heart hurt, and as I held my nose, I decided to be a friend with the boy who had no friends. 

“Mama, I have to pinch my nose, but I’m trying to walk in his stinky old shoes!” I proudly declared.  A wry smile accompanied her response, “Well, that’s good because God will not need to hold his nose when He is around you.”

At the time, I never understood why The Almighty would have to hold his nose when I took a bath every day, but as the years passed, it became abundantly clear.  Stench and dirt may not be produced only from the earth but born within our souls.

Feeling another’s pain

Compassion is the number one lesson we all must be taught before we acquire understanding.  We may have never experienced hunger, but if we put ourselves in the shoes of those waiting in line for food, we begin to feel the pain of starvation. 

Unless we have endured discrimination,  been bullied or mocked, lived in poverty, wracked with pain, hopelessness, or loss, do we really comprehend how any of it feels?  No, we do not.  God will begin to hold his nose because of our filth if we do not put on the clean clothes of understanding and empathy. 

The most intelligent and satisfied people I have met were those who were educated in insight and love.  They never owned the shiniest cars or the biggest houses, but they had no need for them.  Their worth was rooted in the value of the lessons taught by those who understood the art of living. Those brilliant folks who knew this earthly life is made richer only by humility, sharing, kindness, and easing others’ burdens.

Everyone needs a flower

My Grandmother, aka Grandpa, gave away more things than I believe she ever kept.  Whether it was her canned green beans, pies, or quilts, they found their way to those who wanted or required them more than she did.  She overcooked, over cared, over loved, and over-enjoyed her life.

“Grandpa, what are you going to do with all those white gladiolas in the garden?”  Every summer,  the same flowers climbed toward heaven in row after row.

“Honey, they go to the church on Sunday and then to the nursing home after that.  Everybody always needs a flower!”

Everyone should require a heart like Grandpa’s.  Her life was abundantly full because she gave it away one flower, one pie, and in doses of kindness all the days of her life.  She continually walked a mile in another’s shoes and felt every pebble under each sole.

I also found a photograph of my third-grade class in the old album. Not every student is in this snapshot, but I am in the first row with Sally, Mary Margaret, and Wanda.  I recognize most of them, along with the boy in the back with his sweet face smiling at the camera.  His pale eyes search mine as I look back to the year when we were eight.

It was the year I walked a mile in his shoes and was blessed by the lasting lesson it taught me.

Stand Tall and Shine a Light

After writing a column that addressed the Capitol riots, I was shocked by the responses of a few.  I was amazed how many read between the lines, deemed it politically biased, and defended the actions of the assault. 

Readers wrote, “You’re an idiot!” and another, “You better watch yourself when you go outside!” Strangers who never met me sending threatening and demeaning insults they probably would never say to my face but felt it necessary to bully behind the computer. 

Fortunately, I have only received a handful of those hateful responses through the years. I cannot imagine how people in the public eye feel who receive this type of messaging continuously.  Boy, they must have thick skins! Personally, I wanted to climb into a closet, throw away my keyboard, and shrink into quiet oblivion.

In the darkness of my safety, I prayed, “God, I do not understand why or how people become so full of malice they lose sight of decency, respect, and you.  Are they going to win the battle of good vs. evil after all?  Where are the bands of compassion, the marches for kindness, the voices of reason? Why do we seem to always succumb to the bullies in the world? Their numbers are many, and their legions are strong.  I am so sorry, but my heart is not courageous enough for the battle.”

A ray of light

Just as I was ready to throw the computer out my window, a ray of sunlight illuminated the Bible lying atop my printer.  I leafed through it and found a passage that stood out.  “Don’t let evil get the upper hand but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21.

It was then I decided, “Nope, Sir, the bullies who spread rage and evil are not going to win!” An unseen hand provided me a bit of armor to cover my thin skin. 

The good and kind people of our nation must rise to challenge the bitter hatred which permeates our society and for many reasons.  Whether we disagree on politics or religion or which ice cream is the best, there is no use for sinister words or violent actions. 

A friend who knew I was ready to retreat into my dark chamber of gloom sent me a wonderful message. 

“We live in a world of many differing opinions on many issues.  We must always remember that in dealing with those whom we disagree, that our goal should be to draw others closer to Christ rather than our opinions.”

Applaud decency & concern

A woman was in Publix last week, waiting to receive her COVID vaccine along with other folks who were over 65.  A man walked by without wearing a mask.  She kindly said, “Sir, did you forget your mask? I have an extra one if you like.”   He snarled, “No, that virus is just a hoax!”  He strolled carelessly through the senior citizens who were doing their part to stop this insidious disease and its countless mutations.

Today, I would have followed him and gently said, “Sir, just so you know, the earth is flat, be careful, so you don’t fall off.”   Usually, when we search for truth and use our common sense, we will not fall.   Selfishness reaps nothing, while concern for others grows goodwill.

The quiet, considerate people who believe in peace more than discord must be heard. Those who believe in healing and desire to help those in need should rise.  Those who are called to stop the hate, who pray for all humanity to survive a pandemic, who heed our better calling, please stand tall and not fear.

Relief from anger

To rid ourselves of our destructive anger, here are a few simple suggestions we could work on:

  1. Put God first plus read and implement his words.
  2. Quit watching opinion news 24/7 and instead try taking walks, relishing the scenery, and breathing in life.
  3. Find a hobby you enjoy and do it; use no excuses.
  4. Create something to give away or offer your time to those in need.
  5. Pass a kindness to someone every single day.
  6. Do not spread errant information without checking the facts.
  7. Pray for our country and all its leaders, not just the ones you like.
  8. Teach your children the joy obtained from kindness by your example, for that is how you procure their future.
  9. Never let cynicism reign over hope.
  10. Embrace peace.

I know it is hard to execute change, plus defending goodness takes effort.   However, we are the hands of God, and it is our charge to pull back the curtain so that others find faith and glory in Him.  

“Turn away from evil and do good.  Seek peace and pursue it.”  Psalm 34:14

When we do, our light will dispel the darkness.

Meet God’s Soldier with a Mission

When I moved to LaGrange, Georgia, from Tennessee as a fifteen-year-old, my first Georgia beau was Dan Larry Payne.  I possess an old photo showing Dan, sporting a profoundly serious expression, standing beside me.  I was wearing a wrist corsage, a pretty yellow dance dress, and a smile across my face.  

Our teen romance lasted about two weeks, which was typical for that age, but we remained loyal friends.  He married one of my dearest pals, Jo, soon after high school, with the rest of our classmates questioning, “Wonder how long that will last?”

Mr. and Mrs. Payne were members of our wedding party a bit later.  And while their marriage still is intact, mine ended years ago.  So, our question is answered, “It lasted forever.”

 Dan’s rich heritage included generations of Payne’s serving America during the Revolutionary War to the one that was currently raging in Viet Nam.  Dan kept the family history alive by joining the Army Infantry in 1969 after graduating from college. He attended Officers Candidate School, completed his military obligation, and returned home to work in the private sector.  Of course, he thought his service was concluded; however, God intervened and whispered, “No, Dan, it is not.”

“I’m called to preach!”

When Dan accepted the Lord into his life, I doubt he had any idea where that new friendship would lead him.  I have learned that whatever God tells you to do, you might as well just go with the flow because there is a purpose for the direction you are to follow.

“Jo, I am being called to preach!”  His wife, being the sweet, Christian person she is, responded, “Ok, if that is what the Lord is saying, then I am with you. “

After Dan earned a Master of Divinity degree in Baptist Seminary, the ordained young minister with a growing family was spiritually motivated again.  “Jo,  I would like to rejoin the Army!”  This time, neither Jo nor Dan realized his service was only beginning.

Just before he reached the age that would not permit him to reenlist, he worked his way back into the military and to active duty.  The former OCS Tactical Officer was now a Chaplain in the United States Army, where he remained in service to our nation for 26 years.

The path God laid

By the time 2005 rolled around, Chaplain Dan Payne’s country had placed him from Ft. Fort Benning, Georgia, into nine more military bases across our land.  He crossed oceans to help his fellow comrades in various Korean assignments, then to Kuwait as the Command Chaplain for Camp Doha.  For his faithful service in aiding so many during Desert Storm/Shield, he was presented the Bronze Star personally by Major General Barry McCaffrey.

   By the time his military career ended, he had accumulated more medals than I can list in this story, including the Legion of Merit.  However, it was not the shiny awards that told of his bravery; it was his courage to follow the path God laid before him, no matter what.

When he was recently nominated and accepted into the US Army Officers Candidate School Hall of Fame, the accolades read, in part, “a fabulous listener, a gifted speaker, a compassionate soul, admired, loved, dedicated, blessed with God-given talent, plus, ready and willing to serve others.” 

 After retiring from military duty, he worked with the US National Park Service, where he served to maintain and protect our parks’ beauty from Alaska to Georgia.  Jo and Dan continue volunteering to aid veterans, youth, and those needing any assistance throughout America.

The epitome of an American

Chaplain Dan Larry Payne, the boy with the serious face, grew to be an exemplary leader among men and a humble missionary for God.  Perhaps,  greatness is found in the one who most unselfishly serves.  He is the epitome of the American soldier and citizen. 

  Dan’s patriotism cannot be told by mere words but by those soldiers who share their stories of this unsung American hero.  His words, devotion, love for Jo, and fellowmen from all walks of life are reminders of what a lifetime of honor is.  It is not in the fuss we make or the screams we shout, but instead in the quiet listening of God’s direction and the joy one finds in following it.  

Our nation is a bit topsy-turvy today.  However, like Chaplain Dan, our American narrative lies in those who serve both God and country with integrity, selflessness, and heart. 

The Chaplain is battling cancer, and his future is uncertain.  Rest assured, however, his earthly glory is no match for what awaits him when he meets his Commander in heaven. 

I salute you, my friend; you bless our country with your dedication and wear the armor of God valiantly. 

The Hallowed Halls of Democracy

There will be many stories, opinions, and theories floated around our country regarding the events of January 6th, 2021. Blame will be passed around like the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.  However, one aspect of that Wednesday we should agree on is that it will never be forgotten.

For the better part of my writing career, I have tried my dead level best to promote kindness and understanding.  When I write, I always envision God as my boss whispering, “Write from your heart, write healing stories, and weave it around my teachings.” 

Sometimes I know I failed, but I sincerely tried.  

Most of the time, I have steered away from politics, except to calm the reader or encourage each person to view the other side.  My best friends know how I stand on many issues, but publicly promoting my personal views was not in the best interest of all.

One of my editors questioned me one day, “When you write about our political environment, how do you seem not to offend either side?”  My answer is, “Hey, I am just trying to heal a big ole’ divide I feel is dangerous.”

The boiling pot

Our country has endured so much this year.  Every month has scared the dickens out of us as we attempted to hide from the coronavirus, inflaming political ads and arguments.  The virus and politics dangerously mixed with casting doubt on mask-wearing, statistics, and science.  Again blame, distrust, fear, and vitriol swirled in a kettle, becoming hotter and hotter until we could almost feel the sting of a burn. 

Fingers pointed, friends fought, and enough tears fell to fill buckets.  Yet, not enough weeping put out the fires brewing.   How much pain did we want to endure to seal our individual stances, prove our positions, and declare our patriotism was greater than our neighbors? 

Soon after dawn broke on January 7th, people posted on social media their theories on who was responsible for the assault on our Capitol. Who turned the protest into violence? Conspiracy theories reached a new low without basis in fact, only rhetoric. 

It must stop

Just a few hours after being sincerely frightened with the uncertainty of who was breaking into our nation’s house, Congress stood together and declared, “This must stop!”   The first thing they have said in a long time that made complete sense.  It must stop. 

We can accuse a group with whom we do not align with or hate for climbing into the hallowed halls of our American home, or we can call it what it was and still is.

Hate, anger, blame, ungodliness, and evil climbed those Capitol stairs in unison, and we are all responsible.  Patriotism is not found in our souls’ harshness but in the depth of our hearts. It is caring enough about each other to not tear down but build up. It is not condemning someone’s vote, but the glory in each American’s freedom to cast a ballot.

Democracy is kept alive by finding common solutions and coming to the table together before giving up. It is not about sparing and fighting in our individual, selfish, deep-seated corners.

God’s words matter

 We have lost over 370,000 citizens to COVID-19 this last year.   They should be our unifiers.  Their voices need to rise from every grave and shout, “Stop the madness and help each other get well!”

 Their muffled cries have been drowned by discord among those living.   And their lives reduced to percentages and numbers because our compassion failed.  

I pray every citizen would put the swords of conflict and animosity away.  Honor our veterans, our forefathers, and our children by being good, decent people. Now is not the time to declare who is right and who is wrong.  It is not the time to be just boastful Republicans or Democrats.  Today, we must be Americans first and foremost.  

We must understand it is the time to heed the calming voice of the Almighty, who pleads with us, “Will you please, just love one another.”  It is that which will get us to the table of healing.  It is God’s words that will douse the fires of hatred and honor the hallowed halls of Democracy.

THE HEALING POWER OF A HOMEMADE PIE

Comic strips often entertain us with not only a funny moment but occasionally the cartoonist will introduce a bit of insight within their colorful panels. Such was the case when Jan Eliot provided such wisdom in her comic strip called, “Stone Soup.”

One of the characters is Alix, a nine-year-old precocious girl who is sitting at the kitchen table watching her Grandmother rolling the dough for a homemade pie.

Alix asks, “Gramma, why do you like to make pies so much?”

Her Gramma explains that when she was a young mother, they did not have much money, but she and her husband had an orchard abundant with pears, apples, and peaches. So, when they could afford only rice and beans for dinner, what lifted the spirits of her family, was a delicious homemade pie for dessert.

After hearing her Gramma’s explanation, Alix replies, “In other words… before Prozac, there was pie.”

Gramma ends the story with this statement, “That’s what’s wrong with everyone! Not enough pie!!”

Growing up, I recall my Grandmother making pies to deliver to folks who were physically ailing or mentally going through a difficult time. She regularly baked my brother his favorite chocolate pie and would always make a blackberry cobbler for my mother when the berries were in season. I don’t think I ever visited her when she didn’t bake a pie out of love or compassion for someone.

I remember one summer day, my grandmother’s friend, Mrs. Harris, was ill. First thing on a Saturday morning, we visited Mrs. Harris bearing an apple pie full of concern and affection. Before we left, Mrs. Harris was giggling with her friend before hugging me goodbye.

The tradition of pie giving was passed down from those ancestors who resided in the Southern hills to hearts who needed a pie’s restorative power. Aunts, mothers. grandmothers, a few uncles, and even some grandpas inherited the gift of producing a mouthful of joy. My Granddaddy couldn’t make a pie, but he sure could mend a mortal soul with his homemade peanut brittle.

My mom could roll out the best pie crust on the planet. Plus, she had the artistic talent to create the perfect lattice top over her delicious fruit pies. She would serve them warm with a dollop of ice cream. Mom could dry tears and melt hearts with her delicious creations. I once dubbed her the “Queen of Pies,” and to this day, I believe she undoubtedly was.

Friends and family frequently question me, “Lynn, why do you insist on baking homemade desserts? You can go to Publix and get a great pie or cake and not have to go through the trouble!”

My answer is the same, “It’s not the same!”

Generosity, compassion, and joy are only found in the work you go through to create them. Not everyone knows how to bake a pie, but they sure know how to gather flowers, write a sweet note, or hold a hand. When we use extra energy to lift another’s spirit, whether it is through baking a pie or going for a visit, we deliver healing. When we go to the trouble to love, we give hate trouble.

Our world is a busy place where texting emoji hearts, sad or smiling faces, makes it simple to share our emotions. We are “convenient” happy. Whatever makes our lives easier is becoming the norm. However, our days will become more comfortable only when our society becomes a less hateful place.

A peaceful world can exist only through loving each other enough to create a pie made of sincere compassion, prayer, and understanding. Comforting another is not about easy, it is about sacrifice and empathy. There is no emoji in the technological world that shows the recipe for genuine kindness.

“Before Prozac, there was pie,” Alix declared. I suffer from clinical depression, and I understand needing medications for this illness. However, if my family and friends had been too busy to hug me, pray with me, or cook my kids’ dinner through some of those wicked dark hours, would I have made it? When those compassionate souls took the time to physically aid me, they helped me see a sunny day was on the horizon.

“That’s what’s wrong with everyone! Not enough pie!” Gramma happily tells her grandchildren as she holds her beautiful baked pie above her head. What if we brought a homemade pie of kindness to the table of hate and calmed anger with a dose of warmed goodness?

Then our Grandchildren would learn just like I did from my Grandmother; when we take the time to create love, we might just witness healing our hurts one pie at a time.

WELCOME!

Welcome to my new site! Here you will find stories, both old favorites and new ones which I will change often. I will also write a post when something strikes me or I need to share important news.

You can send me a note, a question, or a request. I would love to hear from you!

In the meantime, keep reading, be inspiring, and change the world with kindness.

Blessings,

Lynn