Nothing beats giving

It’s late and I am silly tired, I should be in bed instead of sitting here drinking a glass of red wine and eating warm fresh-from-the-oven Nestle Toll House recipe chocolate chip cookies.  Classy, I know.

We picked berries today.  Since my kids don’t know any better, they think berry picking is enormously fun.  I heard Audrey say in the fields to someone “We’re picking and storing berries for winter!”.  She may be freshly four but she knows how it works.  They worked so hard in the warm sun it was delightful.

I dare say I felt a little greedy out there.  So many beautiful berries.  It was impossible to stop picking.  Even when I knew we’d surpassed what we were aiming for.  We all kept going back for “just one more!”.   Before we knew it we had picked 58 pounds of strawberries.

I must admit I felt a little sheepish heading the counter with SIX full boxes of fruit.  A little proud too of my sweet kiddos, but still really, who needs 58 pounds of berries?  I would loosely liken it to how I feel when (hypothetically friends, really) I am expecting another baby and have my trail of kids behind me.  Crazy thankful and so blessed to have a handful of them already….and then I get to have another?

I digress.  Anyways, we played a bit, then I realized we had no diapers and Finn was in desperate need, a sweet lady saved the day by sharing hers and then I had a quick little freak out about something and then we were on our way.  But not before snapping this photo:

Most days I forget, but today I wanted to remember.  This is what I look like on a normal day.  Straw hat from the Goodwill, stains all over my tank top, a generous serving of extra love around my middle, pearl earrings, no makeup (if I’m honest, no shower today) and a baby on my back (today a baby with a hand wrapped in duct tape!).  Pretty much the staples of my life.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that we had more than we were meant to.  Even though I knew well and good we have two freezers and we could freeze every tasty red morsel.  We got onto the freeway and I hollered back “Who wants to take berries to Daddy’s office to share with everyone?”  An emphatic chorus of yes’ confirmed the plan.

On the way there we drove by a food bank.  We’ve been by it many times but never when it’s open.  Today it was.  The line was long and my heart tugged.  We took berries to the office and I asked them for all their disposable cups and bowls.  We walked back out to the van and I asked them to fill up all the cups.  I told them about the food bank I’d seen and that I knew we were meant to share.

Rylee said this, in her matter of fact nine year old voice “We’re a sharing family mom, we like to share don’t we?”.  “Yes, we delight in it.” was my response.

We parked in the lot next to the food bank lines and instead of analyzing and wondering how we should do it or what to say or worrying about what the rules were, the oldest four and I hopped out of the van and gave.  I thought they’d be shy, handing their bright red gems to strangers, but they smiled and smiled.  My introvert self just walked around asking if anyone liked strawberries and every time someone said yes the kids handed them a bowl of strawberries and love.

When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from and you are accustomed to canned goods, shelf stable everything and day old bread I can only imagine how amazing a just picked lovely red strawberry tastes.  One old woman oohed as she bit into her first berry.  Every single one of them smiled back.

As we walked back I heard my son mutter “that felt good”.  It does.  It did.  We were created to share, to give at every opportunity.  And that doesn’t mean just money.  It actually means so much more.  Time, attention, compassion, patience, love,

…and sometimes strawberries.



Julie Zager

Once again, I’m wiping away a tear…I love reading about you and your sweet family. What a wonderful way to love others – with fresh strawberries! You bless many my friend…Thank you for sharing in so many beautiful ways…