At our second duty station (read: about 100 years ago) we were fortunate to have a chaplain who grew up in Africa and kept his traditions, accent and amazing perspective. Each Sunday he would stand at the front and ask, in a deep, booming A.M.E. voice: "Any praises or prayers for today?"
It didn't matter if the congregation that day was large or small, if it was filled with people from town or mostly from the base -- he expected people to stand up in church and share with the whole church. It wasn't about him at the front, it was about everyone together in one place.
Every Sunday, one gentleman stood up and said:
"Pastor, I would just like to praise God that every person here woke up this morning and had the ability to come to church." Every Sunday we all issued a hearty "AMEN!" Unlike so much we do in church, it never got old, it never became trite.
Each week there were other praises or prayers said, and lots of other things mentioned, but this man was so earnest, so grateful, for something so simple EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY. His sincerity and gratefulness was contagious.
We were only stationed there 9 months, but I learned a lot from that man's 3-second praise every Sunday. EVERY SUNDAY he reminded us that we woke up and were mobile. I learned to always, every day, find as many things as I can to be grateful for. It's a habit like brushing teeth and it eventually can become second-nature, like breathing.
For a variety of life and family reasons (probably many of the same ones you all have) some days at my house are very difficult. But on those days, I can easily remind myself: "I was born in America. My children have access to vaccines. Our towns have electricity. Our stores have food in them. I woke up today and had vision to see the sun." When you take a moment to think about it, these are all REALLY AMAZING things!
And then there are times like yesterday afternoon: days when the gratefulness surrounds me, where the things I call "small but huge" greet me like happy faces waving in a parade.
By now, you're wondering just what I've found in the ditch and started smoking to put this on the farm page. Well, it's because yesterday afternoon at egg selling was one of those times when so many SMALL BUT HUGE things occurred that screamed to be acknowledged. And so they must be. Keep reading -- you're in there.
This Jolly Folly Farmer is grateful for all these egg-sellent things:
1. One whole day this week without gale-force winds or rain. Great for enjoying the day. Great for playing ball in the parking lot. Great because Nana (who likes to sit with me) could come out (I can't bring her if I'm scared she'll get too cold).
2. Two new customers! Because of longer days, production has increased so I'm trying to get 10 new customers by summer. I'm hoping to find those additional customers so I can just sell one day a week and do deliveries one day a week. I'm very excited for the longer days and increased production, but my care-giving responsibilities limit what I can add to my life right now and it would be ideal to not need to add another day (please tell people about us and spread the word if you love the eggs). So you can imagine that two new customers is a great start to that. And, the new folks who stopped by were really neat folks and lovely to meet!
3. Seeing a couple parents and kids we love but no longer see regularly since our kids have all gotten older and changed interests. Just really awesome folks we would love to connect with if we weren't all required to deal with the stuff that comes to you in mid-life.
4. Meeting folks arrived from overseas who wanted to buy eggs (or maybe ice cream? who knows? all we had between us was pointing). And, because I am the worker but also the owner and boss, I got to just hand them eggs and say: "Gift! Welcome to Earlysville. Welcome! Glad to meet you! Gift! No money! Welcome!" When you're not in charge, you can't just do things like that (when I worked fast food I always wanted to give my regular customers a free meal on their birthday but would get in trouble for even asking the manager). It's only eggs, but I LOVE the freedom of just doing something when I can.
5. Three of our super-loyal customers who come every week without fail -- rain, shine or wind, they come. They found us on a Thursday by checking the website and adjusted to swing by and get their eggs. These customers make my heart sing when they say "I'm so glad you're here! I love your eggs! They're the best!" I always worry about switching days because I hate the thought of someone having to buy stale icky grocery eggs or running out of eggs because I had to adjust the day due to weather. I get really happy when regulars come on regular days AND when they come on irregular days.
6. Meeting adorable Cody, who is technically a dog, but could more aptly be defined as a living teddy bear.
7. Sharing a laugh with someone who is friendly and hospitable and, like me, is quick with a hug and likes to share a chuckle about the in's and out's of the strange lives we all lead. The world needs more laughter and smiles and I love giving and receiving them like she does.
8. YOU. Just by reading this, you are part of the Jolly Folly community and I am grateful for you! Some of you live in Earlysville, some live 1000s of miles away. Some of you I see every week, some of you I haven't seen in 10 years. But in the end, our time walking the face of this Earth is only measured in the small or deep connections we make to those around us and I am so grateful for each person who shares any part of it with us.
I hope a small or large part of your day is Jolly and that you find a fabulous Folly wherever you are!