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Mothers do it all - they teach, listen, guide, and protect. They shelter us from life's unexpected storms, nurture us into adulthood, and know just when to push us from the nest. Now the creator of the best-selling Chocolate series offers up a rich, soulful celebration of motherhood, one that any woman - mother, daughter, sister, or best friend - will love. Here are more true stories that capture the essence of what it means to be a woman and that honor the unforgettable experience of mothering, from the ...
Mothers do it all - they teach, listen, guide, and protect. They shelter us from life's unexpected storms, nurture us into adulthood, and know just when to push us from the nest. Now the creator of the best-selling Chocolate series offers up a rich, soulful celebration of motherhood, one that any woman - mother, daughter, sister, or best friend - will love. Here are more true stories that capture the essence of what it means to be a woman and that honor the unforgettable experience of mothering, from the heartwarming and hilarious to the bittersweet: a mother sending her child off to school, or down the aisle…a mother who knows just what to say and when to say it - or keep it to herself…a stand-in mom who passes for the "real thing" with flying colors…a mother whose intuition never fails…You're sure to recognize yourself - or your own mom - in the pages of Chocolate for a Mother's Heart
From Part One: MILK AND COOKIES
The journey toward the heart is always a journey home.
-- Jennifer James, Ph.D.
A child does not thrive on what [she] is prevented from doing, but on what [she] actually does.
-- Marcelene Cox
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
When my daughter Adrienne was twelve years old, she took a photography class. She informed me that real photographers use black-and-white film. I agreed. We bought the film and she decided to take pictures of the St. Louis Gateway Arch.
The day was overcast. I recommended we wait for sun, but she thought the light optimal for the photograph she envisioned. The minute we got to the arch, Adrienne walked up to one of the massive triangular-shaped legs, arched her entire body backwards against it, arms stretched overhead, and pointed her camera straight up the side.
I said in my most caring, motherly voice, "Honey, you need to back up and get the entire arch in the picture." Anyone who has ever seen a photo of the arch knows what I mean. "It won't make sense if you can't see the entire thing," I said.
She ignored me and moved to the other leg, repeating her position. I tried again to tell her the best way to take the picture. I wanted her to get a good photograph, but she was dearly unimpressed by my sage advice and years of experience snapping birthday parties, dance recitals, and vacations."No, I want to do it this way," she said.
I thought, okay, we'll waste a little money on film and developing, but she'll learn her lesson.
It turns out I learned the lesson. Years later, Adrienne won a scholarship from the San FranciscoAw about taking on a challenge. His father died when John was young, so he took on the responsibility of keeping his mother, sister, and brother together. My husband knew how towork hard and smart. But as the months passed and no job possibilities materialized for him, I grew more and more fearful and less "faith-abiding." What if he couldn't find a job? Under other circumstances I could have returned to classroom teaching, but our fourth child was due in less than three months.
With little money in our savings account, the mortgage payment two months behind, and no possible income from any other source, I whittled away at our daily-living budget.
Eventually our food budget became almost nonexistent. One day while in the supermarket with my children, I noticed a young box boy packing overly ripe fruit and outdated food into cardboard boxes. Hesitantly, I inquired about the destination of the food. "We sell it real cheap, and whatever isn't sold is thrown away," he said. I eyed the aging carrots, celery, tomatoes. Food we could use for weeks. What, I wondered, is the proper etiquette for begging for food for one's children?
"We have a rare Mongolian rabbit!" I heard myself blurt out, glancing at my three hungry children. "I'd be interested in purchasing the food for the rabbit."
He replied easily, "Since it's just a rabbit, there won't be any charge."
That day he loaded five boxes of produce into my car. We talked while he worked, me sharing information about my soon-to-be-expanding family and him talking about his. His name was Jeff. I learned he came from a family of five where finances were tight. This job helped pay for his college education.
Weeks went by, and Jeff began packing the b oxes with outdated or damaged items -- peanut butter, soup, and cheese -- that were otherwise still good but would be thrown away. "Surely a rare rabbit would eat all these items," he said, explaining their inclusion. As the weeks turned into months, we discovered, hidden under the produce, laundry detergent, milk, juice, butter...the list goes on and on. Jeff started phoning me every time he had a box of "rabbit food" ready. Now and then, he brought the boxes to our home. He never inquired after the rabbit, content instead to leave its food and be on his way.
When our fourth daughter was born, my elation was tinged with worry about our financial future. "O Lord, please," I begged. "You promised you would never give us more than we can handle. What do you want us to do? Help!"
My husband slipped into the hospital room and said, "I have good news and sad news. The good news is that this morning I've been offered a very exciting job." I closed my eyes and thanked God for his many blessings. "The sad news," he continued, "is that the rare Mongolian rabbit is gone."
It turned out Jeff no longer worked at the supermarket. While I'd been busy with the birth of our new baby, he had moved, the manager said, and left no forwarding address.
Over the next ten years I made good on my silent promise to repay the kindness of all who had helped us throughout that difficult time. But my thanks were incomplete. Then one day, a decade later, there was Jeff standing in the store's office. I noticed the title MANAGER on his name badge.
How does one adequately thank the person who offers assistance without compromising your pride, extends a hand without sapping your strength, and believes in the rare Mongolian rabbits hiding somewhere in each of our lives? I'm not surprised Jeff's risen up the ranks. He has a rare gift. He knew how to listen loudly to my special plea.
"Mrs. Nunn!" he exclaimed, I think of you and your family often. How is the rabbit?" he inquired softly.
Taking Jeff's hands into mine, I whispered with a wink, "Thanks for asking. The rabbit moved on long ago, and we couldn't be better."
ADVENTURES IN GRANDPARENTING
I had a date with my five-year-old grandson to do some spring skiing in the California mountains at Bear Lake. I couldn't wait to wrap my arms around that boy and look into his smiling eyes. I'd taken him on his inaugural ski adventure some months before. He had hung on to that tow rope for dear life, and then spent most of his time bouncing and sliding his way down the bunny hill. No matter how he got to the bottom, once there he would throw his arms up to the sky in jubilation. I remember saying to him, "Justin, what I like best about you is that you don't give up!"
Before flying to California for our next special time together, I introduced Justin to the notion that you can "set an intention" for just about anything you want to do, and make it happen in spite of the obstacles. After talking on the phone several times before the trip, we decided on our intention: To have a fun and grand adventure together -- no matter what. I told him to picture that in his mind over and over again, and I would do the same.
I picked him up on a glorious sunny morning. "You know, there's just one possible little snag that we need to talk about," I said to Justin as we started our drive toward the mountain. "Last night, El Niño blew through and dumped eight inches of fresh powder on these mountains. The ski conditions are going to be great, but the road conditions might be tricky. There might be too much ice and snow on the road for this rental car to make it, because I don't have any chains."
True, we didn't have chains, and I didn't want to buy any. Why buy chains when I've never ever successfully put chains on a car? Justin turned to me, gave me his big, knowing smile, and said, "Let's go, Grandma!" So onward we climbed, gradually making our way up the mountain pass. We came around a bend, and the first challenge to our intention confronted us. Ice! Not just a little patch, but ice on the road as far as you could see.
Eight cars had pulled over, and a body was sticking out from below each one as these drivers attempted to put on their chains. Friends and family offered encouragement and advice to those contorted under their cars. Not a pretty sight. I found myself thinking quickly about alternative ways to entertain Justin.
"Well, Justin," I said, "this may be a challenge for us." Just as I was about to say, "Hey, how about we turn back and go see a movie instead?" Justin piped up. "You know, Grandma, what I like best about us is that we don't give up." Why did that sound so familiar? We were definitely at a decision point when I remembered that the intention of this trip was to be an adventure. And anything can happen on an adventure.
Buoyed by his confidence, I turned back to the market we had passed ten miles back to see if they had chains. Still feeling a need to point out the practical side of things, I said, "Now, there's no guarantee that they will have any chains, and there's no guarantee that I'm going to be able to get them on the car. I've never been able to do it before." Justin responded simply, "Let's go see, and then we'll ask God for help." He put his hands together, and with all the faith in his tiny body, he prayed, "Dear God, please help my grandma put on the chains, and if she can't, send a man." What a great idea! My excitement mounted as we confronted the second challenge to our intention of having a grand adventure together -- no matter what.
With lightning speed, the guy at the market sold us chains to fit the rental car, and we were back on the road. Approaching the familiar icy curve, I slowed down, ready to pull in behind a line of cars like the one we'd seen on our first attempt up the mountain. As we rounded the bend, no one was there. Lots of ice, but not a car to be seen.
My heart sank as the third challenge to having a great adventure presented itself. Once again, Justin focused on our goal as I focused on the obstacles. Just as I was about to prepare my grandson for the inevitable, he said it again: "The thing I like best about us, Grandma, is that we don't give up." So, of course, I had to give it a shot. And I did. And I failed. Time to go home and find a movie, I said to myself as I struggled fruitlessly with the heavy chains. Then, I heard a voice say, "Ma'am, can I help you?" I turned around and faced a John Wayne look-alike. Moments later, with chains in place, we were on our way again.
Several miles later, I heard the unmistakable thud of chains coming undone. It seemed like the forces were against us as the fourth challenge to our intention surfaced -- before we'd even reached the ski slopes. Fresh out of ideas, I muttered under my breath, "Set an intention, picture it over and over -- no matter what." Within moments of my pulling over, a man stopped his pickup, hopped out, grabbed his tools, and tightened the chains. I didn't even need to ask him for assistance. Maybe the Force was with us after all.
The day became one Disney moment after another. The hills were alive with the sound of music as we sang "Banana, bobana" while racing down the slopes. The brook was babbling. The sun was shining and Justin was skiing powder -- a grand adventure -- just as we intended!
Exhausted and exhilarated at the end of a glorious day, we loaded our skis and boots back into the car and I slid behind the wheel. My grandson, this five-year-old bundle of joy seated next to me, looked up at me with his radiant eyes. Confidently he said, "Grandma, you know what I like best about us?"
Rev. Mary Omwake
Copyright © 1999 by Kay Allenbaugh
MILK AND COOKIES
A Different Perspective Linda Nash
The Rare Mongolian Rabbit Maureen Nunn
Adventures in Grandparenting Rev. Mary Omwake
Family Scents Debb Janes
A Long Way from Home Joan Roelke
Baby Mark Judith McClure
A Bountiful Harvest Patricia Kulzer
Thelma Saves Louise Joanne McCall
MOMS KNOW BEST
The Ties That Bind Kay Allenbaugh
Sam's Purpose Linda Ray
Dearest Last-Born Joyce M. Saltman
Lucy, Ethel, and Me Debra Ayers Brown
The I Am's Joy Boyd
The Wisdom of the Rug Candis Fancher
Goodbye, Eddie Marlene R. Jannusch
Leaving Home: A Mother's Perspective Carole Bellacera
THE INTUITIVE EDGE
A Mother's Intuition Anne Spollen
Pale-Blue Letters Michele Wallace-Campanelli
The Fortuneteller Toni Wood
Stories of the Red Lamp Jacquelyn B. Fletcher
She's Just Like You Donna Hartley
Lost and Found Tannis Benedict
One More Chance Tag Goulet
Family Connections Mary LoVerde
The Voice of God Renie Szilak Burghardt
Thanks, Joe Lynne Layton Zielinski
Doubly Blessed Sarah Newby
The Power of Prayer Martha E. Nicholson
You Rang, My Dear? Maggi Boomer
Ryan's Angel Catherine Lanigan
BETWEEN US GIRLS
When Less Is So Much More Karin Esterhammer
The Reunion Mary Sass
That "Kodak" Moment Lillian Quaschnick
Second Wind Karen Howells
Fishing with Grandpappy Linda G. Engel
Leg Shaving 101 Marnette K. Graft
Straight to the Top Marguerite Murer
Maggie Patricia Wilson
A MOTHER'S IMPRINT
Two Crabs Burky Achilles
Coming Home Terry Cohen
Timothy's Legacy Kathy Adatte Ott
I Don't Mind Waiting Susie Troccolo
In Honor of Mom Carolyn Masters
In the Driver's Seat Peggy Kline
An Ending and a Beginning Lynne Swartzlander
Their Goose Is Cooked Lola D. Gillebaard
Houston, We Have a Problem! O. C. O'Connell
Double Talk Jennifer Brown Banks
Dust to Dust Lillian Quaschnick
Succor and Spice, My Sister Is Nice Debbie Petricek
More Chocolate Stories?
The inspirational stories you're about to read all deal with motherhood -- you'll enjoy them whether you're a mom yourself or simply in need of a little mothering.
Moms have one of the simplest but toughest job descriptions around: Do it all, and then some! We're teachers, friends, chauffeurs, cooks, nurses, stage managers, career counselors, and most of all, safe havens. We need to know when to be there, and when to bite our tongues. We must shelter, guide, and protect -- and then at precisely the right moment, push our precious offspring from the nest. Motherhood is a job with more variety than the biggest box of chocolates you can envision! And that's why all the stories in Chocolate for a Mother's Heart were written with so many different types of women in mind.
Of course, you don't need to be a mom or need some mothering to understand the double-edged nature of the maternal instinct -- women who have a motherly nature always seem to be the ones others depend upon, whether it's at home or in the office, whether it's a child who needs some mothering, a spouse, a best friend, or even our own moms! And because all mothers seem to hold themselves up to such high standards, sometimes they need a little extra nurturing -- and indulging -- too. That's why the stories in this new "chocolate" book were written to inspire, empower, and delight you.
Chocolate for a Mother's Heart is an extension of my journey after being divinely inspired to write Chocolate for a Woman's Soul. My own mother died young, at age forty, when I was fifteen years old. The enormous loss I've felt over the years has been a constant reminder to me of how irreplaceable mothers really are. But though I miss my mother, I know that she's always been with me in spirit, protecting me as I go through life. Losing Mom has also made me incredibly grateful for all the time I've been given with my children.
With the kind of unconditional love that only a mother can provide -- and a reminder that mothers know best -- I offer you a variety of deliciously rich, real-life "chocolate stories." So go ahead, indulge in these soul-satisfying treats, and take it from this Mom: they will just whet your appetite for more!
Copyright © 1999 by Kay Allenbaugh