Pretzel Logic – The Art of Giving Monday, Nov 24 2014 

I had something special happen to me today. I guess special little things happen every single day and sometimes it takes a tap on the shoulder to recognize a sign. I’ve been worried about making ends meet for my little family quite a bit lately. I’ve been in a holding pattern of sorts trying to decide whether or not to make a career move in the hopes that any financial gain would be enough to supplement what I now need to support us. It’s HARD! I’m also pretty unconventional and frequently act on impulse so I may have even made it harder on myself by proclaiming that I may have to leave…. To. My. BOSS. I actually asked him to help me. Let me repeat that… I ACTUALLY asked my boss for advice on whether or not to leave.

I knew what I was in for when I took the job. Nobody accepts a position without knowing the financial compensation. I also knew the intrinsic benefits that were being offered to me and the kids. I’m close to them every day. They walk over after school and finish their homework while I finish working. They’ve also both laid down on the couch by the fireplace in the prayer room when they are sick and I can’t leave to take them home. It’s not a bad deal because what kid wouldn’t rather shoot hoops in the gym when they have to tag along with mom because school is cancelled for the day due to an ice storm? That’s all happened. I haven’t taken full advantage of the blessings I’ve received though – at least not to the best of my ability. I should be running on the track and swimming laps. Kicking back in the steam room would relieve some anxiety too. I haven’t given up all of that anxiety yet. In some ways I’m still clinging to old habits and hoping for things to change when they aren’t just going to change without a focused effort.

I took over my boss’s office today. I mean, I didn’t exactly usurp all of his power, but I did physically take it over with about 10 large boxes and my snack bag of pretzels. While I was sorting through things, both literally and mentally, we had a chat. I’m pretty much an open book, so ask me a question like, “Can I ask you something personal?” and I’m likely to give you anything you ask for plus an awkward 5 minutes of things you didn’t as an extended bonus edition. He KNOWS this so I’m fairly sure the question was calculated though he probably cringed shortly after. He asked me about what I give and do I designate a certain amount of my monthly income to be given. My answer was that I give WHAT I can WHEN I can monetarily meaning that when I’m comfortable giving I do, and when I’m not I save for a rainy day. He suggested that I rethink that idea, and give ESPECIALLY when it’s uncomfortable, and that we take a leap of faith in doing so despite being afraid. He’s been reading up on the subject because he has a speech to prepare on stewardship and tithing, and I’ve seen his actions far surpass what he preaches in this area. He gave his opinion, and then he TOOK my last pretzel.

Boss: “Are these mine?”
Me: “No. Did you buy them?? They’re mine.”
Boss: “Well, you only have 1 left anyway.”
Me: “OK. You can have it.”
End of conversation.

I continued about my sorting, folding, labeling & shooting the bull to alleviate the kind of awkward silences that can only happen when you’ve shoved your way into your boss’s protected little corner of the world & made a colossal mess. I even asked him if he wanted me to scoot on over to my own office so I wouldn’t be a distraction while he worked on his speech, but he said nah.

And THAT’S when it happened! My friend who works with the youth group and their concession stand was cleaning out a closet and sashayed in with her own box.… NO, it was a CASE… of pretzels. She wanted me to give what was left to my kids and keep them for snacks at the office. Boss stared at me and looked at me with disbelief.

Boss: “Are you kidding me??! Do you see this??! WHAT were we just talking about?”
Me: “Um, about my mess here??”
Boss: “No! We were talking about giving. You gave me your last pretzel!! Don’t you see??! You gave me your last one and you were repaid tenfold! I can’t believe she just happened to walk in here to give you a case of pretzels!!!”

But she did! She had no idea about our conversation or what we’d been discussing. She just happened to think of me and how my kids are always digging through my wallet for money for the vending machines. In a twisted & roundabout way, she was the catalyst that got me going and thinking of my friend Videssa who’s been going through a hard time lately. She and her family have been struggling with husband’s medical issues and he’s been unable to work while she supports that family on a teacher’s salary. She & I went to high school together and it was a very close-knit class. Every now and then, a request is sent out to alumni via a facebook group to help someone in need. Videssa didn’t ask for it, but her friends did, and I know she’s been grateful. I had not yet donated to my friend in need when my other friend came stumbling into the office today with her case of pretzels. We’re all intertwined.

I don’t have a lot to give so I frequently hesitate. I worry and wonder over the daily stresses that keep my stomach tied in knots when I probably shouldn’t. So far, everything has been ok. I’m not starving, and neither are my kids. My mom won’t let me starve and neither will my grandmother. They are both getting ready for Thanksgiving and sent me home tonight with Ziplocs full of their “practice turkeys” until the real thing comes along this Thursday so I think I’m doing just fine. Sometimes it’s scary to give when you’ve gone through periods in your life where you’ve been conditioned only to save. I think lots of people out there have been in the same boat and are just struggling to stay afloat sometimes. If you haven’t, then some day you may be.

If you feel so inclined, please consider a donation for the Owens family here:

Food for thought:
Pretzels have been around for almost 1,400 years. History has their origin about A.D. 610 when a baker in a monastery in southern France or northern Italy twisted leftover strips of bread dough into the shape of a person’s arms crossed in prayer, traditional posture for prayer in those days. Pretzels were also a convenient way to give food to the poor and became typical alms for the hungry. Those who gave pretzels away were considered particularly blessed. 🙂 Give, and you shall receive tenfold!

Guys and Their Trucks Monday, Jun 27 2011 

I woke up this morning with BURNING PAIN in my hands. I think I’m going to have to face the fact that I have arthritis. There. I said it. And my first thought was, “How am I going to write today? I’ve gotten on a roll here, and doubt I can even sit down at the computer much less type out my thoughts on my iPhone which is primarily where I take notes.” Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME?! I just got going here, found a gift that I want to share, and have now gotten to where it HURTS to share it. I think if I were in a self-conscious or insecure stage right now, I’d take it as a sign, and y’all KNOW how big I am on signs now. I’ve gotten to where I don’t really force things anymore. I don’t look for the signs, because when I actually look for them, I miss what’s right in front of me. I guess, just thinking out loud here, that PERHAPS my sisters may be a little right about me being obsessed with my blog? Nah! Not me. Not ever. I just need to quit typing everything on a teeny tiny keyboard because it’s screwing up my mojo. I am not getting older either. This hand cramping thing is just a sign that drugs are good and I’m gonna get some. That’s all it is. Because I’m writing a book here, and the blog is just a teeny tiny portion of what I write every day. I’m living a dream, literally, and I’m documenting it as I go. And I’ll SIGN my book of SIGNS for the sisters when it gets published.

Before our big New Kids On The Block concert, we passed a giant truck just a few BLOCKS from my sister’s house. It said “Viva la Waffle.” I was SOOO wanting to jump out and take a picture in front of this cool truck/bus parked in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but my sisters wouldn’t let me because they thought I’d put it on my blog. There were cars behind us anyway. It stuck in my mind though. The BIG waffle truck. And it rolled right back through my mind later when my sister actually googled it and found that it is a new business that some guy is starting. Very cool, Man! I dig it! Viva la Waffle and viva the dream. I am going to live my dream too, and when I have my big book release party, YOU GUYS are gonna cater it for sure! I don’t know these guys from Adam – never met them. But I like their site and I’m pretty sure I’d like their story, too. Check ’em out.

Yesterday when I was leaving my sister’s house in my dad’s truck, I was contemplating guys. And their trucks. And why they like them so much. Around here, I would say most guys drive trucks. Some are flashy, big, and expensive, and they serve as a sort of status symbol. Others are simply workhorses that aren’t really pretty to look at and may have lots of miles on them, but they get the job done. The trucks are often like the guys who drive them, huh? I remember one time in college going to a bar and dancing with a REAL cowboy. Here was his line, “You know that big white truck outside with the pink and blue pinstripes? Well, That’s mine.” And he grinned. “Um. OK,” I said. “Have fun with that,” I thought. And went back to my girlfriends. I think the line was supposed to impress me when his line dancing didn’t, and perhaps for some girls, it might. Not this chick though. Dude was BRAGGING about a pink and blue striped truck which sounded to me like something a hillbilly stork would use to deliver babies in some animated country bumpkin movie. Thanks anyway. NO babies, and NO guys with pink & blue trucks for me.

As I was stopped at a stoplight, still pondering GUYS and TRUCKS, you would not EVEN believe what passed by. (Maybe you would after hearing my bunny and Miracle stories though.) I was idling next to a funeral home and a guy walked into the street to stop traffic and THIS is what passed: (more…)