Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Unexpected Bouquet

At first - it was a bouquet of flowers ...

I am waiting in the checkout line for the second time to take advantage of a great deal on cheese. I have one squirming and nearing his time limit two year old in the cart plus two extremely energetic girls all around me.

I am frazzled and nearing my limit as well. There is a nice lady in front of me - she has on a pretty shade of blue with a cute gray coat. I notice that she has three bouquets of flowers in her cart plus a potted plant.

"She must be a lover of beauty!" I think to myself. Then, Emily spies the flowers and comments on their beauty - she is a lover of beauty herself.

The nice lady picks up the bouquets and I assume she is going to let Emily see them up close or smell them or something kind like that.

She selects one bouquet of flowers and hands them to Emily but looks at me, "I would like to treat you," she says.

Next, it was a bouquet of kindness ...

I said thank you in a louder than normal voice. Could she tell there were tears burning the back of my eyes? Did she know how hard it had been to bring my children to the store? Could she see them throwing our bananas on the floor, asking to go to the bathroom, running down the aisles, following someone who must've looked like me from the back but wasn't out of the store, etc...?

Then, it was a bouquet of encouragement ...

It brightened my outlook. Made me stand a little taller and feel a little better. Changed my attitude - why don't I think to do things like that for other people? I am so preoccupied with my trials and challenges that sometimes it is hard to see beyond my little world.

Now, it is a bouquet of thankfulness ...

It was a joy to tell David the whole story when we got home. It was a joy to trim the ends of the flowers, prepare some water and allow them to bring beauty to our home. To place them in our Giving Thanks jars ~ truly I am giving thanks for the giver and the gift.

Oh, to be more like her. It can be easy to do things for those I know - but I confess that I rarely reach out to those who are unknown to me.

Thank You, Lord, for the shopper in the gray coat in front of us in line. Thank You for the blessing of her giving heart. I want to have this kind of giving heart too - as You show me opportunity, let me respond. May You receive the ultimate bouquet ~ a bouquet of praise and glory!

41 comments:

Lisa said...

What a sweet story. It is a convicting reminder for the good I could do that I so often ignore!

Wendi said...

Very sweet! A great reminder that the smallest gesture can mean so much.

*carrie* said...

Yay, love that! The flowers are beautiful--enjoy them.

flyonthewall said...

Wow! Praise the Lord for His show of love through a complete stranger! It brought tears to my eyes and conviction to my heart...thank you for sharing.

Mom said...

What a lovely gesture by this kind lady who probably had small children with her in the store at some time in her past and remembers how hard it can be -- bless her! I wish she could read your description of the ways her kind generosity blessed you! Love you, Mom

asnipofgoodness said...

Great story Monica, and a great reminder of what just a small act can do!
You do kind stuff like this all the time for people you don't know! How about the store clerks at CVS, and your neighbors with the wagon full of goodies, and ....well I could go on and on. You are characterized by your random acts of kindness, and thats why we all love you so!

Grace said...

Yes we should remember to do this for others but remember you are in a certain season now and Someday (maybe tomorrow,Maybe many years from now) you will do this same thing for a very harried mother. so don't beat yourself up because you don't do it right now. Like you said you have your mind of 3 very active children. What I envision is that she herself was at sometime in your shoes and it paying it forward now. Love you!! and what an amazing story to learn from.

Susannah said...

This reminds me of a time when I had three little ones under the age of 5. We were all at the store, and I do not need to tell you how that was going. At least we were not getting much -- milk, bread, lunch meat, just a few items. Anyway, we got through the checkout line, all the way through to pay, and I discovered I had left my checkbook at home. The cashier said they would hold the groceries until I could run home and come back. So I headed back out to load all three kids back in the car, go home, and then come all the way back with the checkbook.

As I was fastening the two year old in his car seat, reprimanding the five year old for opening and closing the door over and over, and listeing to my hungry baby start to wail, a bagger came running out to the car with my groceries! The person behind me had paid for them anonymously and sent the bag girl out with them to catch me before I left.

Lord forgive me for not noticing the kind person behind me who knew my story without being told!

Amy said...

Oh, this is good, Monica. It reminds me of my encounter with an acquaintance yesterday--she with two crying children in tow, trying to buy groceries. I was blessed to have my dh along, so he was wrangling my girls. ;-) I wondered what I could've said/done to have encouraged her.

Elise said...

That is great!! I realized yesterday{and times before} that some days I am on survival mode and could very nearly loose my mind it feels like. One time in Wal-Mart{which has got to be one step up from Hades} I must have looked frazzled, because this lady said hey to me and smiled, then when I was checking out came and helped get my groceries onto the checkout thing. I thought it was so nice of her!!
What a very nice gesture of that lady to give y'all the flowers!!
Elise

Mattie said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story.

Sarah said...

Thank you for this post I read this morning!

Bridgett said...

I LOVE how God works! Not all women have a love & passion for flowers the way you do. While the gesture would have been touching and appreciated if you were someone who didn't love flowers. He chose you to walk up behind her and to pour out His Love on you in the way that He knows blesses your heart. :)

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

Wow! What a simple act of kindness can do!!! So incredibly sweet! Thank you for sharing this story with us! :) Such an encouragement and inspiration to us all! :)

Amy said...

What a lovely gesture and reminder!

Mrs. K said...

Thank you for sharing this story, what a blessing. We recently went out to eat and halfway through our meal the waitress told us that the man who was sitting next to us had paid for our breakfast. We were flabbergasted. I'd love to be able to do this more, look around where I am and away from myself and find ways to bless others.

Chrissy said...

Lovely, and what an encouragement!

Agnes said...

this is so nice and it makes me realize that there are some nice people still in this crazy world. On note though, do you think the extra deal on cheese was worth to get you in that stage? Of course you met that nice lady and it opened your heart but pushing your limit just for a few dollars, it is really worth it?

Bevy said...

I absolutely loved this post.... what a great reminder to be "hospitable" to random strangers. We (I) don't do it enough. Maybe she was an angel? Sent by God, to personally minister to you and your littles and then to bless the rest of us in the end. Thanks for sharing.

Tracy said...

Monica, I can so vividly remember a time when I was jockeying with my 3yo potty-training boy and my 12 mo squirmy kid in the bathroom at wal-mart. I was taking way to much room in the entry and trying to move the cart so that an older woman could get through and nothing was working quite right. Anyhow, I smiled and apologized and she smiled back knowingly and simply said "That's alright! I love kids, and also the moms who take care of them." What an encouragement those simple words were to me- definitely brought that stinging of tears to my own eyes. Praise the Lord that He knows what we need and when!

Christy said...

Wow what an amazing story.

Cheryl said...

Ah Monica,
I am always so uplifted and encouraged when I come to you blog.
I loved the story and this womans sweet heart. You know, I remember when our littles were little and I was out like you were and they were ready for a nap. I just knew and felt that my kids were probably looking like holy terrors and everyone thought I was a horrible mom. I am sure while your children may have been nearing the end of their outing time, they were not holy terrors. Sometimes I think we make that big in our head all by ourselves. That woman in front of you could see that your children were being just that....children and you were being a good mommy...a mommy who she probably remembers being herself when her littles were young. I think that is so very sweet of her to have blessed you with some encouragement. A little sweet, kind gesture sure goes a long way, doesn't it?
I will be more aware of young moms after this post.
Hugs to you.

angie said...

What a wonderful gesture and a long lasting good feeling. No doubt that you will pay the gesture forward. Don't sell yourself short. We are all inspired by all of the ways you touch others even with 3 littles in tow. How about getting your girls involved in noticing a person who could use a hand extended? They are not so poreoccupied with the details of daily living that I think they notice those things more often than us.

Cassandra said...

What an amazing lady. :)

Cindy in PA said...

I discovered your blog about a month ago and have read all your previous posts. (It took me a while, yet it was time well spent:)

Thank you for sharing your story today. One thing I always do when entering or exiting my local mall is to hold the door open for a mother who has a stroller. I remember that being the kind of gift that could make my day.

Thank you for being a blogger blessing!

LynnMarie said...

Some day in the future, you will see a home maker who is at her wits end, and you will have the chance to be the woman who helps her. You have your lesson, you have seen it work, you know how it would make the other woman feel. The question to ask your self is "Will I remember and act?" Some day in the future, you will be that woman. Wait for it.

deirdre said...

UGH!!!!!! DITTO!!!! I sooo get wrapped up in the kids, bananas,crying, cheese and everything else that I forget to look outside my chaos (sometimes a pitty party) and give and receive JOY!!! Awesome thanks for the reminder!!

ktquilts said...

I love reading your blog. Because of all your encouragement and inspiration, I have awarded you the Lemonade Stand Award. Should you choose to accept it, the guidlines can be found here:

http://ktquilts4fun.blogspot.com/2010/01/thanks.html

Blessings,
KT

thehomespunheart said...

Hi Agnes -

I appreciate your point - in this case, I had to go out for milk anyway. I think that we would have had a rough time even if I had skipped the cheese - it was evening and everyone was just getting weary.

Stretching our grocery budget is one of my tasks as a homemaker and I am thankful that I can be at home with my children - so I want to be wise with our money. This significant savings was a help to us.

I think that rather than skip the cheese or not go - I must rely on God to help me relax more and not stress when my children just act like children. To me - that is the bigger lesson.

Thanks for commenting -
Monica

patty w said...

I thought I left a comment earlier, I must be losing it today ! :)

What a sweet , kind gesture from a stranger, it must of been on her heart to know you needed and would appreciate a lovely bouquet !

Jennifer said...

What a blessing! Thank you for sharing it with us. I know I could use the reminder to look outside of my little world more often.
Smiles!

Rachel said...

I had an extremely similar situation last night at Target! My two girls weren't throwing bananas but rather acting BANANAS! :) I had printed off my list for Target from Crystal's Target post and was rip roaring through the aisles to grab the deals all the while dragging the kids through something they just don't enjoy at all. When they spotted a new Care Bear movie on sale for 7.99 and asked for it, my first reaction was "no way- I'm here to save money, not spend it" but after a moment of reflection... my heart softened and I realized that I just saved a ton of money on things we use reguardless- and that it would be a blessing to them to "treat" them for a change. My savings on needed items more than covered the price of the dvd and I got a lesson on giving myself! Plus, the DVD's emphasis was on being a good helper, caring for other's feelings and being a giving person.
Don't you just love a revelation found in Target? :)

Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

You know Monica, You DO give to strangers each and every day that you post on your blog. I look at a number of blogs every day, but yours is one of the very few that I READ faithfully. You don't know me, but your blog posts make me smile. Your gesture of writing is a gift to many.
Blessings,
Nancy

Michelle said...

That is a beautiful story! So glad you shared it! What a blessing.

Debbie Fisher (debbiedee) said...

What a wonderful story! This reminds me of a few days ago. The Christian radio station had "bless someone" challenge for the day. As you go through the drive thru of any place, they challenged the listeners to pay for a cup of coffee for the people behind them and give them some paper to pass it on if they could and the call letters of the station. It was fun to listen to the callers who called in to tell their stories. Some were were even the receivers.

This is a wonderful reminder that it truly takes very little to brighten and bless someone's day.

Anonymous said...

beautiful story.
these days it's easy to get discouraged about how the world is, so it's always encouraging to see first hand that there really are good people left!

thanks for sharing,
connie

Katie said...

What a sweet gesture ~ thanks for sharing! It really stirs ideas in the mind of what to do for others! :-)

Blessings,
Katie

Hebrews 10:24!

Leanne said...

I frequent our local "starbucks" in Target (shh...don't tell anyone), but occasionally you can tell when the person in front of you is having a bad day! Sometimes, I just ask to pay for their coffee! One time I paid for a coffee for a pregnant bride on her wedding day!! The boys still remember us doing that!

Dayna (Spear) Guenther said...

Wow. What an inspiration that lady is! Thanks for sharing!

gemma said...

I wish we could all be like that lovely lady and you know what? I'll bet she wished she could be you, lovely young mom with such wonderful lively children. Thanks for sharing your moment and how much like that pebble in the pond it is. It has touched us all.

Lynette said...

What a sweet post! I have been reading your blog for a while now but rarely comment. When I read that your baby boy was two I was so skocked, I remeber when he was born, wow, how time flies!