Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tender Mercies: Chick-Fil-A

An excerpt from a talk I gave at church: 

We are getting a Chick-Fil-A!   It's the most exciting news, isn't it?  Finally, one will be opening up within a mile from my house.  We won't have to fight LA traffic to get to our favorite restaurant.

In case you haven’t heard of Chick-Fil-A, it is a made to order Fast Food restaurant, that doesn’t serve beef and serves a variety of chicken dishes.  It’s delicious and it is a favorite of our family, but there aren’t any locations close by that make it convenient to go for dinner.  (Curse you LA Traffic!) 

Today, my entire talk is about Chick-Fil-A.  Bear with me I have a point. 

About three years ago, my son started getting  regular treatments at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA Medical Center and has been facing some difficult health challenges.   Those appointments are no fun and our anxiety level is often really high.  I read in a book that when an activity is filled with dread, you should pair it with something fun.    I can’t remember if it was our first appointment or second appointment that we noticed that there was a Chick-Fil-A right by Hospital, within walking distance.  So we started a tradition of going there after every appointment or going there for lunch in the middle of our day at UCLA.   It’s a treat that we look forward to.  No matter what the day brings us at the hospital, at least we can look forward to going for a short walk outside of the hospital and eating at one of our favorite places. We often find that we can bribe even the most strict nurse with the promise of Lemonade or Sweet Tea!

I noticed on our first visit that the cashier glanced at my son’s telltale laboratory band aid and there was a milkshake on our tray that we had not ordered, and there was  a note of “Feel Better” on our receipt.   I think it probably becomes very obvious to the workers at this particular Chick Fil A, who is a UCLA student and who is a patient at the neighboring medical center.  I’ve gotten very good at identifying who are the other parents of these warrior children who fight childhood illnesses.   I could pick out the mom of a sick child out of a police lineup.  It’s one of my talents that I would gladly trade for the ability to sing on key.

A few months into our new routine of receiving treatment and visiting Chick Fil A, I got an email asking if I wanted to be on the Chick-Fil-A's Mom's Panel.  I have never written about Chick-Fil-A on my blog and I have no idea why Chick-Fil-A picked me.  How did they know I had an undying love of Chick-Fil-A? 

Every so often I would receive an envelope with gift cards to eat at Chick-Fil-A.  From that point forward, our meals at Chick-Fil-A became more affordable.

About a year into our treatments, we were eating lunch at Chick-Fil-A and noticed they were running a contest.  So on a whim, we entered and we won!  We won 250 free milkshake coupons.   As someone who never wins, I couldn’t believe it.  We were presented with a giant stack of coupons.

So over the next two years, everybody we met with during our visits to UCLA, from the person at the check in desk, the nurses, the lab tech, all received coupons for Chick-Fil-A milkshakes.  

Then during our lunchtime visits to Chick-Fil-A, we would pick out one or two people who looked like they could use an act of kindness and give them a free milkshake coupon.  For me, it is the highlight of what was usually a challenging day.

Why would I devote most of my talk to talking about Chick-Fil-A?   Because Chick-Fil-A has been an unexpected blessing in my life during a really hard trial.  It is an example of God’s love for me and a testament of God’s tender mercies.  Chick-Fil-A is my tender mercy and I know that God knows me and has provided this blessing in my life. 

My experience with Chick Fil A has blessed me in the following ways: 
-A cheap lunch that helps me feel better about the outrageous parking fee and the stack of medical bills that accompany each appointment.
-The ability to brighten those that help us during our visits.  I love hearing the staff whisper “Here comes Miss  Chick-Fil-A” when we walk in to check in.  People are eager to help us. 
-It’s been so fun to scan the restaurant to see all those faces of the other customers to find the person who we should give a random act of kindness to. 
 -Chick-Fil-A has brought me relief from the trial we are facing and has been a bright spot that has helped me cope.   

I like to think Tender Mercies are kind of like little love notes from God.  Kind of like when you find a love note in your lunch.  They are reminders that he is there and no matter how tough the challenge, he loves us.  Could we all look back on a challenging time and recognize the tender mercies God blessed us with during the trial?   

When my son was first starting to have health challenges, we were told from the beginning that this would be a long trial.  I sought out a distant cousin who was facing a similar trial and she told me, “It’s hard, the appointments get overwhelming, but keep your eye out for the tender mercies and blessings you will receive.  It doesn’t make the trial worth it, but it helps to realize, you aren’t alone, God is aware of your trials.”  I took her words to heart, and God decided to show his love to me via a restaurant named Chick-Fil-A.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Five for Friday - March 31st

1.  It's almost April Fool's Day.  I'm not quite sure what I'm doing with my family, but I just want to remind everyone that it's not too late to send your kids a "Welcome to Chore Camp" letter and brochure.  I sent my son a letter telling him that he was accepted to Chore Sleepaway Camp, and that he will spend all day "learning to clean and scrub" and will even take a field trip to another camp to clean up their camp... because the other kids are too busy swimming and having fun to clean.  Still one of my favorite pranks!  Click here for the letter and brochure post.
2.   I bought a magical shirt, actually two magical shirts, because when you find a magical shirt you buy it in all the colors!  I first saw it on a mom at school and thought it was pretty, then I saw it on a different lady at the bank, and thought it looked good on her.   They both were different body types, then I stumbled on the shirt on a Target rack, and I love it.  I'm pretty sure it looks good on everyone and everyone deserves a pretty blouse, so I'm telling the world about it. 
3. Go see Boss Baby this weekend!   We got to get a glimpse of this movie on a tour of Dreamworks and the few bits we saw were hilarious. Plus we know a person or two who was involved into bringing this to life and love supporting our friends in their success.  You can see the trailer here. 

4. I love Scout Bags!  This is the BEST reusable bag ever.   I have had two of their bags for five years and they are the strongest and sturdiest bag I have ever seen.  They are really sturdy plasticky textile, so you can hose them out after the beach, or wipe them down, and the Original Deano bag holds everything.  (I also love the Bagette for groceries!) People always ask me about these bags when I'm out shopping and right now they have a free tote with $50 Purchase and a rare sale!  At first when I saw the prices of these bags I cringed, but they last forever. It's worth it and you deserve it.

5. So, print out a chore camp letter, buy a magical shirt, see Boss Baby, and buy a Scout bag!  Man I am bossy today!  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Five for Friday - St. Patricks Day Edition

1.  It's St. Patricks Day.  Today not only do we celebrate St. Patrick, we celebrate birthmothers everywhere.   Fourteen years ago today, we met an amazing woman who would change the course of our lives.   We met Mr. Boys Birthmom on St. Patricks Day and a few months later she placed a beautiful baby in our arms.  I can not describe the love I have for birthmoms. Without them, I would not be a parent, it's a gift I don't take for granted.  Today, we celebrate Birthmom's everywhere, they are truly angels that roam the earth.

2.  I love my house, probably too much.  My Chalet is my happy place.  Right now the hillside is covered in green and yellow blooms and the weather has been sunny and warm.   We are swimming and I'm taking my computer outside every day to do some work.  It has been heaven.

3. The only downside of the beautiful weather and the abundant winter rains is that there are about 74 million bugs.  I'm pretty sure this is what it's like to live in Florida.  Also, I learned that my kids cannot close the back door even if their life depended on it.   So, I spend my evenings trying to shoo the bugs back outside.

4.  This St. Patricks Day, we are going to try playing "Cabbage Baseball"  It's like regular baseball, but you use a cabbage as a ball.  I think it might be a terrible idea or a brilliant idea, I'll keep you posted.   

5.  I am fairly late to the Podcast game.  I really only started listening to them a year ago.  However, I keep finding new ones that I love.  Currently, I'm loving My Favorite Murder.   It's entertaining and mildly intellectually stimulating.  I love a true crime story and I love being entertained, so this is a perfect blend for me.  If you like that kind of thing, check it out.  (Fair Warning, there is a lot of language.)

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Five for Friday - March 3rd

1.  I had the worlds greatest 40th Birthday Party.  It deserves a post of it's own, but I can't believe I'm 40.   I'm a lucky gal.

2. In preparation for the party, we needed more seating.  I ended up buying some chairs that weren't the right fit.   Then I realized, what I really want are covers to dress up the folding chairs we already have so that everything looks the same.
These chair covers are so crazy cheap! I always thought they were like $15 -20 each for a chair cover, turns out they are not. I wish I had thought of these earlier.

3.  Currently, my family can't get enough of Trader Joe's Gyros.   Delicious and super easy!

4.  I am completely obsessed with Richard Simmons!  Actually, the podcast "Missing Richard Simmons". It is fascinating and I can't stop thinking about it.

5.  After listening to each episode, I can't help but reflect on my encounters with Richard Simmons. My mom and I would watch him on QVC, selling his Deal-a-Meal and crying along with the people who called in.   Then fast forward to when I was in college, I was the bookkeeper at a business two doors down from Slimmons, the gym Richard owned.   I would often leave at the same time as him and we would talk in the parking lot.  He was the nicest person, always complimented me, and remembered the name of my dog!  Seriously, he is the most genuine person I've ever met!