Notes from Jan

All of This?

November 21, 2018

A cluster of teenagers huddled outside Shaw’s Market, some  handing out flyers upon entering,  others looking for donations as you exited.  All goods headed for Gloucester’s food pantry.

I’d come for flour and sugar but took the flyer to be polite.

Somewhere between taking their orange flyer and returning to my car,  God grabbed my heart, purse and cart.  Off we went, collecting food for strangers.  Trust me, this is not my natural bent. I can be selfish, self-absorbed, all about me, mine and my kind.  But Sundays, when I vow to love God and my neighbor as myself,  should mean more than a  mumbled acknowledgement with a polite nod towards heaven.

Pure fun, filling the sleigh with tuna fish, peanut butter, canned vegetables, fruit, cereal,  soups and more. I felt like Scrooge after he woke up from his nightmares and realized he had another chance to get it right.

My sack held just six items. Whoever leaves with exactly the two things they came inside to buy?!

Once outside, I stopped at the folding table stacked with empty boxes and tended by three hopeful teenagers.  I handed a bag containing a couple of large cereal boxes. (Cereal’s not cheap.) They smiled and said, “Thanks so much. We appreciate  your donation.”

Then, I pointed to my cart, filled with packages.

They stood wide-eyed and said, “All of this?”

“Yes! All of it.”

Such a paltry exchange, for God’s lavish provision.

May your Thanksgiving be stuffed with an awareness of so many blessings you exclaim, “All of this?!”










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  • Reply Wendy Lane November 21, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes – God is so good! Yes, all of this!! Such wonderful words to reflect on this Thanksgiving Eve. Thank you dear Jan!! <3

  • Reply Carol Taylor November 21, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Wonderful in every way!

  • Reply Noelle Neville November 21, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Your words, your life, your example are all such blessings to me! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply Cynthia Fantasia November 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    I am a puddle. Thank you for inviting us along on you generosity adventure. Perhaps many of us will do the same. I’ll be watching for an opportunity.

  • Reply Myrna November 21, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    Loved every bit of that! You do such a good job of stirring our conscience and motivating us to action. Thankful for so many things….. including you

  • Reply Maggie Rowe November 22, 2018 at 12:37 am

    The comments above speak for me as well. Sometimes we need to be prodded to act. God did it with you and you are likewise sharing the prodding stick with us. Thanks Jan!

  • Reply Sharon Eaton November 22, 2018 at 2:22 am

    Thank you Jan…for your wonderful gifts…to those in need of a basket fulll of food… & to all of us as well who need your gracious & wise teaching in every blog you send.
    Blessings for Thanksgiving, dear friend.

  • Reply AliceMathews November 22, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Dear, dear Jan,
    This one hit me right between the eyes because I too mumble that lovely prayer each Sunday including that honest line “I have not loved my neighbor as myself.” I didn’t see teens outside Mariano’s super market when I shopped for that turkey, etc. the other day, but there are other ways to get down to that “all of this” for others in need. God bless you, Jan, for words that will stay with me today as we THANK God with Karen and Paul here from MA and grandson Randall and granddaughter-in-law Joy from 30 miles away – but as we think more deeply about our abundance in a world of need….

  • Reply Darlia Conn November 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    What a wonderful post, Jan. I shared it with all my children!

  • Reply Laura F.-G. November 22, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks Jan for happy tears as I envision the moment outside Shaws “Jan and the kids” and also learn once again from your very wise words. Yes!!!! You keep blessing us with your Jesus-centered simple acts of kindness and example! Love to you and yours. Thankful you touch so many ☀️ Remembering “all this”

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