Thursday, September 2, 2010


It is amazing sometimes the perspective that the ordinary events of life can bestow upon you. How much in this life we take for granted. How much joy and beauty and kindness surrounds us every day.

It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. To succumb to the hurry.

It's as easy, if not more so, to look at the world through jaded eyes. To filter all that comes in and only see the bad. The unfairness. The unhappiness. The dreams unfulfilled. The opportunities passed.

Then you have something happen like I just did and you reevaluate it all.

You smile a little bigger. You laugh a little more. When your heart is warmed by the simple and ordinary, the things you have in your life every single day, it's easy to find joy.

What exactly, you may ask, did I do today?

Don't get all excited thinking it was something magnificent. I went to the grocery store.

I had to pick up some things for dinner I am making tomorrow, a special one. I tend to stress bake, but I love cook. Anyone who really knows me knows exactly what that means. If I have the chance to warm the soul of someone I love with a hearty home cooked meal, I go all out. And this someone is a someone I haven't seen in a very long time. Someone that knew me when my world ended. Someone who knew who I was before and after.

Someone I will actively persuade to move closer to me. If I need to cook her a kick ass dinner to help bolster my cause, so be it.

So I went to the store, loaded my basket with the ingredients of said kick ass dinner and the other little random things I need from the grocery store on a regular basis. Like 15 apples. (That whole four kid thing....)

Ally is off school today, so I had her along with AJ for the trip. She always asks if they can have the cart with the car attached to the front, and up until today I have always said no. Something in my head said, well...maybe AJ would actually sit in there given the option. And he did. Which, let me tell you, is awesome. He doesn't enjoy containment at all and grocery shopping with him has become downright exhausting. This seems to work. And I'll take whatever I can get with him.

We did our shopping and paid for the groceries, then I asked them if they wanted to ride the horse. There is a electric horse kiddie ride in the store, and it only costs a penny. Seriously, what costs a penny anymore? Literally nothing.

Of course they wanted to ride the horse. AJ has been on it a few times, and in his universe, it is super fun. Lots of whees and yee-haws. As I was putting Ally on, AJ actually stayed in the cart patiently waiting his turn.

At that moment, a little old man came walking over, pushing a little cart with a few things and dragging his portable oxygen tank behind him. He stooped down as much as his body would let him and said hello to AJ. He then asked if it would be okay for him to pay for their rides, digging around in his pocket for some loose change.

Out came three pennies and a button, which he promptly dropped on the floor. I went over quickly to pick them up for him, and he told me he could get it. He thought. It took him a good long while, but he got down there and back up all by himself. He wondered aloud how that button got in there, then handed me the pennies. And smiled. Told Ally she had beautiful blue eyes, and commented on what a good horse rider she was. Both the kids actually said thank you without any prompting from me.

He walked off to pay for his groceries. Ally figured out quickly that the three pennies he gave me meant she could go for a few rides on the horse. And she did. Then it was AJ's turn. By that time, the man had paid for his groceries, in cash.

In his change, he got two more pennies. He walked them all the way back to the horse, hoping we were still there. Then he told me if it was up to him, he'd bring me pennies all day long just to know that the kids were having fun.

He didn't just give us pennies.

He gave my children joy. He gave me kindness. And he gave me a reminder I needed. To slow down, to be grateful, to see happiness in it's simplest form.

As I sit here and write this, I can't help but see the gift of today. And for the first time in a really long time, I felt like my Pap was watching over me...he always had a thing for pennies.

Maybe there is something to the phrase pennies from heaven.


  1. Sweet story...gotta love the Soopers' and their penny horse ride. What a kind man, whom I am sure counts every single penny.

  2. Sweet friend, way to make me misty. I am so so very blessed to have you in my life. We cannot wait to see you all and enjoy what will definitely be a kick ass dinner.

    What a joy you experienced in the kindness of a sweet stranger. The kids probably brought him as much joy as he gave them. You paint a clear and poignant imaqge with your words. Thanks for reminding me that God works in all sorts of ways.

    And by the way, we are getting closer to being convinced!


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